In an industry where everything has a tendency to end up sounding remarkably similar within genres, London based duo Psapp, consisting of Carim Clasmann and Galia Durant, are about as close to unique as it’s possible to get without being unlistenable.
Both are also decidedly multi-talented, with Durant taking care of vocals, keyboards and violin whilst producer Clasmann, who has previously worked with the likes of Einstürtzende Neubauten and Natacha Atlas, deals with guitars and the more technical wizardry. They are both responsible for the assorted whimsical noises that have rapidly become a part of the Psapp sound.
You’ll also be more familiar with them than you realise. Their music has featured on the hit TV shows Nip/Tuck and The OC and their track Cosy In The Rocket will be known to many as the theme tune from Grey’s Anatomy.
Originally released in 2004 it’s surprising to see that something this original hasn’t dated, but it has that underlying melodic appeal that means it still has a good amount of life in it yet. The only thing that actually seems to have been changed for the relaunch is the cover art drawn by Durant.
There’s a delicious complexity to this release that takes a listen or two to really appreciate fully, both within the tracks themselves and the in the overall structure of the album there’s a captivating melodic structure that you only get with some very specific planning. Then again, with Clasmann’s background none of this should come as much of a surprise.
The tracks themselves are intricate and airy and at times downright bonkers, especially when it comes down to percussion. About Fun for instance contains a cat’s meow, most probably at the instigation of the cat-mad Durant. Amongst others you also find music boxes and glockenspiels, which will prompt an inevitable comparison to Múm, and the occasional hint of a squeaky toy here and there. Aside from the fact of how quickly you get used to this, the major surprise is that none of this distracts at any point from Durant’s dreamy yet breathy vocals.
Curuncula, resonating with emotion with its spliced samples, melancholy guitar loops and staccato drums, is quite possibly the best track in the album, but the rest aren’t far behind. Rear Moth, with its 5/4 melody and strings and thought provoking lyrics, and Calm Down, with its opening metallic hook and swishing background are also definitely worth a listen or three.
Admittedly something like this is essentially background music, and would be better suited to a Summer release for some laid back garden Pimms-drinking but it’s still curiously enthralling. If you’ve felt that you should like electronica, but have always found what’s on offer appealing but ultimately uninspiring and a bit on the chilly side then this may well be the album to listen to.