I’m intending to write a bit more about unsigned music on this blog over the coming weeks—especially focusing on unsigned acts in Manchester, and trying to tie in a bit with some of the stuff on our All FM Radio Show.
So let’s get things started with the first review:
Hannah Atkins – Falling
Manchester-based Atkins’ music is reminiscent of an early Imogen Heap (or Heap’s earlier band, Frau Frau). It’s got that really great mix of edgy but sweet-sounding synthesisers and live instruments and vocals.
The layers of sound are arranged intricately, but without overloading you with sound. There’s some really interesting stuff going on with samples and effects, but crucially these don’t get in the way of the lyrics or the vocals. In fact, the vocals soar above the arrangements. Underneath, synths meld with live violins and guitars – but the juxtoposition of studio wizardry and real-life instruments really works, and there’s a real feeling of space to the music.
It also reminded me of some tracks by (Manchester based) band Lamb – and they’re famed for their live performances. By the same token, live, in a big venue, Atkins’ music would really go down well. It’s not hard to imagine her playing venues such as Academy 2 or the Jazz World stage at Glastonbury, with a full complement of live musicians. In fact, though, the live shows I’ve seen so far involve just her.
And – for the moment at least – you can still catch her in smaller venues around Manchester. I recently saw her at the Iguana Bar in Chorlton, and was impressed by the live show – which was mainly performed using a stage piano. The live shows are great – I’d definitely recommend getting down to one if you can.
Her latest album, Falling, is available to buy online. It’s a beautifully-packaged in a tiny Fairtrade cloth bag.