Loud Sounds 30
Cover photo: Maya Yenn
"Loud Sounds" are some of the best new tracks we've found. We are coming back with the 30th installment of the series. Meet experimental electronica and jazz gone electro pop.
Maya Yenn – Better Luck Next Time

Maya Yenn is an independent UK composer, singer and producer. Her latest single not only has a curious sound that's both sinister and playful, but feels melodically fresh, especially when it hits hits you with the catchy chorus. The unfamiliarity of the sound was born from an unorthodox approach to songwriting and production. "Better Luck Next Time" was written and fully produced as a jazz tune and then completely rearranged to be an electro pop number. A similar technique was used to great results on Disclosure's 2015 hit collab with jazz great Gregory Porter — Holding On.

Maya Yenn
In a literal sense, the song is about a guy on a plane who's so focused on work he's still trying to get a report done despite the fact his plane is going down over the Atlantic. But really it's an analogy for humankind's self-destructive behaviour; our culture to work until we totally burnout and how our actions as a species are also destroying the world around us.

It's essentially a song that takes that old phrase "rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic" as an analogy for the way we treat people and our environment, except in this case the deck chairs are a report with a deadline and the Titanic is a plane going down over the Atlantic. I just feel like as a species we're always so obsessed with "progress" and that tunnel vision is so pervasive that we miss the big looming iceberg up ahead in the form of burnout or climate change, so I wanted to write about that through a character.

Billie Holiday and Frank Sinatra were actually the starting point of the song's sound. It became more dark-pop as I worked on it together with my co-producer Michelangelo. The first arrangement was just the vocal, a brush kit, piano, double bass and brass - basically a traditional swing song. It's taken on more eclectic elements as we've developed it and now those jazz influences are much more subtle. Michelangelo really learned into the darker aspects of the sound with his production choices which gave it an entirely new character, it just gave it this way more sinister energy.

I usually fully record and produce the track, then Michelangelo gets hold of it and fully produces it his way. The final product usually ends up somewhere in the middle of both of our versions but for 'Better Luck Next Time' we had a really hard time marrying up the jazz sound with the alt-pop sound. It just wasn't working to have both styles represented equally in the song so the swing elements took a backseat and it was a good lesson not to try to wrestle a song into something it's not. I'm really happy with where we arrived, it's undeniably an alt-pop track now but there's still a whisper of the jazz version in there if you listen closely that serves the haunting feel of the song.
Also check out Maya's other singles.
Evo Auxilium – preceded by

Evo Auxilium is an independent electronic music producer and songwriter based in Minneapolis, MN. His output is head-spinningly diverse and includes 7 albums recorded since 2014. His latest six-track EP called "TWISTER" came out today. And the first track on it is our favourite. It sounds like a walk through a magical forest haunted by spirits, robotic bees and talking shadows. It stops abruptly before switching to the next song on the album, the one it was actually sampled from. Spoiler alert: the giant robotic bees are going to attack and swallow you on that one. So don't let yourself get lulled to sleep by the gloriously hypnagogic "preceded by".

Evo Auxilium
This song is about dreams—more specifically the hypnagogic state of consciousness between wakefulness and sleep. I really tried to capture that feeling of when one just starts to drift off, and the mind becomes more active while the body becomes more relaxed.

A lot of this song is actually using samples from another song of mine called "rock and a hard place," which is the song that immediately follows "preceded by" on my upcoming EP, TWISTER. I created the low droning sound by reversing and processing a recording of my bassline from "rock and a hard place." I've been having a lot of fun making music lately with my bass guitar, which is a Sterling by Music Man "StingRay" bass.

For some of the other sounds on this song, I experimented with granular synthesis to create the skittering, bubbling sounds. I also used granular synthesis to create the sort of anxious, crispy "voice" sound that comes in around the 0:35 mark. The very soft vocal sounds throughout the whole song is a recording of my voice (my microphone is a Rode NT1A, lovely mic) that I have processed pretty heavily. Finally, the synth that comes in as the song comes to a close is made with iZotope Iris 2, which is an incredible synth. One might find this song to have a bit of an abrupt ending, but that is purposeful. This song flows directly into the next track on TWISTER, signifying a transition from the hypnagogic stage to full on dreaming.

I'll give a little more background about TWISTER here. This EP came about because I was incredibly inspired by David Lynch's "Mulholland Drive." I saw that film for the first time a few months ago, and it absolutely blew my mind. In the past, I've struggled to understand and get "into" Lynch's works, but this one in particular really helped me along. A lot of my music is heavily inspired by film and television, but with this project, it pretty much has a direct line of inspiration. TWISTER is me trying to capture the surreal and non-linear nature of dreams. Coincidentally, my last EP project was an EP about dreams—it's called COLORS IN MY DREAMS. However, TWISTER is actually quite different from that project; it's far more experimental and non-linear. I was going for more of a "sound collage" approach on TWISTER versus the "anthology" approach of COLORS IN MY DREAMS.

Other influences on "preceded by" are Arca, Boards of Canada, Autechre, Deaf Center, Brian Eno, Little Snake, and more that I can't really remember off the top of my head. My style is comprised of so many different influences it's hard to keep track sometimes, haha.
Check out more music from Evo Auxilium.