The Truth Is
Electronic; Soul; R&B; Pop; Gospel
1st December, 2017
THE remaining reviews of the year…
will feature a range of subjects and sounds. Into the New Year; I am approaching artists directly and reviewing artists that have a lot more images and information. That is not a slight against Moir: her lack of archives is a good place to start, really - and she has provided me ample photos for this review! I will talk about her music and future later but, for now, it is worth addressing a few interesting aspects. Before I come to Electronic sounds and new female artists; I will look at contemporary blends and starting out in a homogenised mainstream; addressing mental-health and making pain visible and open; where a young artist goes after recording such a painful and affecting work; where Moir might, literally, go after this; tips and recommendations when it comes to 2018’s music – ending with a bit about rebuilding social media and foundations. It is a bit of a risky review in the sense that, on paper, I have a lot more substance and information than Moir. That is an unusual situation for a journalist: normally, the musician is the one you are drawn to. As it stands; I have information and lots of detail on my website: Moir has stripped her social media and, until her new track is officially released, it is very scant and hollow. It is interesting seeing this – a lot of new artists do this accidentally. One of my main issues is musicians who have little to say and see on their social media pages. Whether they have poor and illogical excuses – they want the music to speak; the sounds are more important than their images – or are drip-feeding people new images with each release; it is something that really bugs me. I’d say the reason I am going after artists next year – rather than looking for submissions – is how few can meet very simple criteria. It is almost like getting blood out of a stone when you ask an artist for a few images – in a day when people are taking an immense amount of photos; there is no excuse to have such a shoddy and anorexic profile. Moir does not suffer this but, going forward, a bit more about the woman herself would be nice.
I feel there are two reasons why Moir has decided to delete her social media. For one; her next single is a raw and revealing moment that talks about hard subjects. I will come to discuss her E.P. (out in February; called The Truth Is) but the whole experience has been a challenging thing. Maybe this is a sort of rebirth and reinvention. Not that I will compare a social media tactic with something like spiritual cleansing, but there might be something in that – Moir is keen to start afresh and rebuild things. I am not sure the exact details of her last year few years but it seems like it has been a very harrowing and draining time. I will come to that side more, soon, but, as I look forward, Moir’s approach reminds me of two artists that did the same thing: Radiohead and Taylor Swift. Radiohead were the first act I saw take their social media down and turn the lights off. I would freak out a bit because I have accrued so many posts and articles. I would worry they would not come back if I hid them all from the public. Modern music is as much to do with strategy and marketing as it is authenticity and the organic. One must realise the competition is stiff and the public are looking for acts that stand out and offer something interesting. Moir has an empty SoundCloud channel and, when one looks at her Twitter and Facebook, is a new-born and virginal landscape. I mooted the reasoning behind this might be personal and deep – maybe this is a way to get into the consciousness and try something different. The modern musician takes an opposite approach when it comes to their promotion: every release has teasers and slow reveal; endless posts and so much information. It can get exhausting and really drain the senses. If one is subjected to constant data and confusion; it creates a degree of exhaustion and befuddlement. When Radiohead took away all their social media content – when they were promoting the album, A Moon Shaped Pool – there was a lot of excitement and discussion. Some felt it was a move that could backfire; some were a bit put-off; others were delighted by the risk and sense of theatre.
Taylor Swift has done it more recently: before she unveiled the first single from the album, Reputation, everything was taken down and there was the naked social media spread. It is certainly a way of getting people talking and the media stirring. Few unsigned/new artists do this because logic and the market suggest the opposite approach should be taken. I think every new artist should decide their own course and not do as everyone else is doing. The way acts are going to stand out is doing things differently and not following the herd. This might seem counter-intuitive but, if you want to get under the skin; imagination and inventiveness must arrive. I think Moir is doing this – deleting all her previous posts – to announce a new stage of her life. It certainly can’t hurt her sense of mystery and potency but there is an overhaul and reimagining. She has been through a lot of confusion and change so it is only natural the arrival of a new track would inspire a fresh identity. I am interested venturing into Electronic music and how it has changed over the past couple of decades. I am a big fan of the 1990s and the Dance that was around then. Now, the comparable market is a lot less nuanced and enduring: artists are putting out sounds that hit instantly and contain little depth and magic. I feel the 1990s’ Dance/Electronic was king because it remains and inspires to this day. You can say the same about 1980s pop but, today, there is a split between the club-bound Dance/E.D.M. and the mainstream Electronic-Pop option. The latter is more appealing to me because the marriage of Pop and Electronic. You get something harder and tough but it has sweetness and melody. Moir has been compared with the likes of Banks and Tusks but melts in Gospel, R&B and Soul. That is an intriguing blend – one not a lot of artists are tackling. I say that but, when you think of Jessie Ware and Sampha; these artists are putting those genres together and achieving tremendous results.
Both, the latter for sure, can claim to have made one of the best records of the year (Process). Moir doesn’t have the same sound of Sampha – as she is a white girl; he is a statuesque black man – but the way her voice and music affects can be compared to the great man. I realise Electronic/Dance music reached its apex decades ago but the way the form has developed and diversified is terrific. Dance was always eclectic back then but, through the years, the best artists have stepped away from the clubs and dancefloors to stand up tall and move in a different direction. I love the mention of Banks (or ‘BANKS’) and Sampha in the biography of Moir. I can hear both artists in her work and it excites me to her the young Londoner aim high and produce authoritative work. She has a natural command and passion most artists take years to craft. What I get from a song like The Truth Is (is) grace, power and revelation. There are contrasting emotions and dynamics: each line and moment of the song inspires fresh thought and speculation. I understand there is a rather personal and emotional background to the song but there is light and hope – one steps away from the song and realises the young artist is rebuilding and making her way up. Returning to modern Electronic and, I feel, the genre is the most promising around. Pop has its promise but there are so many artists plastic and shallow – not providing anything beyond the commercial and pointless. The cheap and tacky Pop artists we find in the charts are not going anywhere (unfortunately) but there is a competing wave of artists who produce something proper and pure. By this, there is music that sprinkles Electronic, Pop and Soul together with R&B/Gospel.
The mainstream is starting to slump into a bit of a bog at the moment. It is not completely homogenised but there is a lacking tactility and mystique. I feel there are fewer artists standing out and promising long-term returns. A lot of modern promise lasts a year or two but fades into obscurity. Maybe that is a sign of competition and the modern nature but one reason (so few remain) is the sounds being produced. Few are providing amazement and original content but I have been less impressed by this year’s mainstream – last year seemed stronger and more exciting. Moir is someone who realises this and is creating music that blends the best out there at the moment. I have talked about Banks, Sampha and Jessie Ware: perhaps the three most promising and talented solo artists on the scene. It is their seamless tangling of edgy electronics/beats with soothing, smooth layers that have seduced fans and resonated. One hears this with Moir: a young artist who has the potential to match these artists and make her own way. I am hearing a lot of new artists take the same approach as Moir. Maybe they are all looking at the mainstream and finding gaps that need to be filled. That might create another issue in itself: the new breed all thinking the same; how is the individual going to get attention is their peers are doing the same thing?! That is something we need to address but Moir has an extra layer and spark that will see her succeed. I can say this confidently because she exudes so much passion and pride in her work. I cannot include a link to her new track – as it is private at the moment – but, when it does arrive, you will hear all the strands/ingredients come out.
Although Moir is not filled with hubris and arrogance: her music is not shy and filled with modesty. There is a woman who tackles mental-health but does not do so in a guarded and vague manner. She is very bold but does not put the listener off. By that, I mean she has a sense of adventure and playfulness with the music but balances that with lyrics that come from the soul – documenting the harder times and moments of clarity that have come to play. I have mentioned mental-health before. This is a subject that is still burdened with stigma but musicians are keen to air it out and make people aware of the true extent. Many are uncomfortable talking about the topic but you cannot hide from it. In this day – when we are less connected with people than ever – many are spending time at laptops and fostering isolation and depression. Anxiety levels are rising and it there is an epidemic forming. Moir has experienced the lash and teeth of depression and, in her new track, brings in some words that some might find tough to take. Not to say The Truth Is will drag you down and seem too heavy: it is a track that will strike a chord with many and shows how open the creator is. I listen to Moir and connecting with her words and personal experiences. The music digs deep and gets into the heart. There is a lot happening on the track; that means one is thinking about it long after it has finished. Her E.P., I will look at in the conclusion, was penned after a traumatic experience. Moir recorded the work in a home-studio and brought in some collaborators. It was a tough time for her but, through music, you can hear that sense of freedom and revelation. I am not sure how cathartic the experience has been but I hope Moir feels less stressed and harrowed than the start of the E.P. Music has the potential to heal and improve – let’s hope it has managed to help Moir and provide perspective.
Moir is based in London. This is a city that can really help an artist and provide so many opportunities. I worry the city is a bit of a mixed blessing for many. It has a lot of music and stages; there are colleagues and like-minded people everywhere – the rush and excitement of the place is electric and intoxicating. I always gravitate towards the city because I love the busy vibe and the range of people. There is always something to do there and the chances of being bored and nil. On the other hand; the crowds and heavy streets can have a negative effect on the mind. I wonder whether artists who suffer anxiety and mental-health issues are aided by a city like London. Moir has a great network of venues and labels around her but, from a personal perceptive, maybe there is a detrimental nature that needs to be deleted. I think the city is the finest on Earth but there are problems and natural downsides that are causing stress and worry. Artists gravitate towards the city and find it a natural home to have their dreams and ambitions realised. Next year will provide a chance for Moir to have a think and see where she wants to head. I think London is a great base but, from a personal and creative standpoint, are there other cities that could provide a greater balance?! I am not suggesting she abandon London: maybe spending a few months in another country would provide some new lease and relaxation. I find L.A. and Berlin are places many new musicians are relocating to. The former has the weather and landscape; it has a rich heritage and seems ideal to many. Maybe Moir would benefit from a few months soaking in the Los Angeles sun. I feel the summer-months would be a perfect time for her to go over there and write some new material. Maybe she is rooted in London but there is inspiration and light to be found somewhere like L.A.
One can argue there is a bustle in L.A. that is comparable to London: I find there is less stress and anxiety to be found in Los Angeles. I feel Berlin is another city that is appealing because of its comparative lack of the busy and strained. Some great bands/acts are settling there: Moir would find plenty of inspiration and fun in the city. I am not saying Moir should permanently relocate to these cities – maybe, the sheer cost and consuming nature of moving might put her off. It might be beneficial if she takes a few weeks out, at least, and recharges the batteries. The cold and wet weather here is going to have a bit of a harsh effect on her mindset and psyche. Balancing the familiar of London with a more exotic and settled city might do wonders for Moir. She has been through a lot of crap the past few months/years. That need to find peace and happiness is going to be top of her mind as we head into 2018. I get a feeling, when writing her new material, there was that sense of loneliness and not being understood. She has been through the mill and felt alone and alienated. Holding onto these emotions creates poison and scars. These are revealed in her latest work – it is one of the most affecting things you can hear. I will look at the new single soon but, before then, a look at where Moir will head next year. There is an E.P. approaching and that will give people the chance to see where the London-based artist is going to go. I feel next year will be the most important for her. Not only will new work be out there; opportunities, gigs and horizons will open up. I feel getting the work-personal balance right will be vital. Maybe going to a new country will provide fresh impetus and a chance to detach. If Moir is thinking of remaining in London next year; I feel she needs to give herself some time to disconnect from music. That seems impossible when launching a career but, given the experiences she has gone through recently, adding to the stress and pressure might have a very damaging result. She will get gigs and interviews but she needs to find some time to think of herself and take her mind out of music.
I think one thing that needs to happen is to rebuild the social media platforms. That might sound like I am contradicting myself – opening up the Internet and giving herself more work – but her career is entering a new stage. I feel there are going to be challenges for her; ample opportunities and good times are ahead of her. The way to get the music to the masses is making her channels as open and revealing as possible. I know why she has taken her content down and made that decision. After the single is out; I hope she brings everything back and really concentrates on getting her name out there. There are some great images – I have, at least – that can be put onto her sites. She has an incredible background so more biography and revelation would make her more accessible and visible. I would like to know about her upbringing and the music that inspires her; where she is heading and hopes to achieve. Moir has a captivating look and sound so I would like to see more of her on social media next year. I know making yourself too open and prolific can cause more strain and seem a bit too eager – many artists prefer to keep things held back and create some mystery. I know London will open its doors to Moir and give her some great love and warmth. Getting her social media built and big means the new music will get out to the people and mean stations/D.J.s will connect with the music. Venues will hear and see an exciting new artist who has a lot to say. There are few who have the same story and sounds as Moir. I want to see her take every chance out there but am aware of what she has gone through. Next year is almost here so, for Moir, there is that opportunity to strike and get her music heard and played. At the same time; she needs to take a few weeks out to relax and find some comfort.
The Truth Is gets into the head from the very first seconds. It seems talking is not really something the heroine wants to do. The truth is: things have changed and times are tough. Maybe conversation is not going to solve anything and taking that approach is not helpful. Finger-clicks and sparse electronics allow the voice to reign and take command. The heroine offers sweet notes and breeze. There is power and strength in the performance but the delivery allows for some relief and light. I think the song talks about a broken relationship but maybe there is something more serious at play. I know a song on her upcoming E.P. stems from a traumatic and harrowing experience Moir had. Perhaps there is a bit of that here. Male, distorted vocals come in and provide a juddering, echoed effect – the likes of the xx have used this kind of sound and effect in their music. It is odd and exciting but provides a different voice and dynamic to the song. The heroine repeats lines about talking and its usefulness. Maybe people have tried to offer support and advice but it rings hollow and insincere. The weight on Moir’s shoulders is heavy and things are quite severe. If talking about a current relationship; things have reached their end and the heroine wants to rebuild. Maybe she needs time to reflect and make her own way forward. People are getting involved; maybe the other party is trying to have their say. Against the shuddered background vocals comes a rolling piano and sense of 1990s Piano-House. The mix of sounds in the song is extraordinary. The vocal remains quite light and contemplative but carries plenty of potency and resonance. It is clear the heroine does not want to be bothered and is looking for a constructive way out of her problems. Whilst drawn to the vocals; one also notices how the composition evolves and shifts. It is like the music matches the emotions behind displayed in the foreground.
The purity of the piano is that distance and getting away from the scenario – our girl moving on and trying to make sense of everything. She is an “expert at holding things in” and that, it seems, is the worst thing to do. Maybe things are so bad revealing it will open floodgates and have a horrible result. She needs to get those words out but feels her natural dispositions means it will be kept in. In a sense; I get little flecks of Kate Nash and Lily Allen in the voice. It is conversational and has a bit of an accent; it shows emotion but never gets too overwrought. The heroine has always kept things inside but, considering the way life is unfolding, the desire to get the truth out is palpable. Perhaps there is so much stress in it is causing damage and depression. Whilst it is not revealed why she is so sad and strained: one feels love and heartache are in her mind at least. We move to cooing vocals and the sort of lush and sensual velvet one hears in Jessie Ware and Sampha’s best works. From there, the percussion tightens and there is a darker, industrial sound. It mixes Dance and Electronic but keeps the mood low and taut. We have shifted from revelation and openness to a sound that is more claustrophobic and edgy. Maybe this signals the way Moir deals with her problems and how she is moving on. Rather than opening to people and becoming vulnerable: hiding away and keeping it all guarded is the way she deals. This is unhealthy but many people cope this way. It is upsetting being that open – you fear you’ll be judged or a torrent will come from you. If she is talking about love and being honest with a lover; it seems things have cracked and the situation is beyond repair. Maybe there is the desire to reveal things to friends and family; discussing something harrowing that is eating her up. The heroine has been plagued by a disease and the need to find a ‘cure’ is paramount. She has tried to contain that ache and, now, it seems there might be hope. I might be misunderstanding but it seems things are improving. Moir might have kept things in before but this realisation – keeping things bottled is not the best way through – means there are going to be changes and catharsis. If she lets out the problems and talks to people; that will mean she is less candid in future. It will get the problems into the air and means they can be addressed. The vocals build up and layer: the chorus gets hotter and fevered; it is both arresting and romantic. I came away from the song will little breath and emotion left. It is a tough song to take but one that shows the heroine has come to a point where she needs to be more honest with people around her. There are beautiful mixes of House, Pop; R&B, Soul and Gospel. The song shifts and goes through different phases and revelations. A stunning and entrancing song from a truly incredible artist.
The dark sounds and juxtapositions one finds in Moir’s work have already got the ear and mind of many. She is a new artist but there are fans who want to hear what she has to offer. Her E.P. was recorded with collaborators she met at the Roundhouse – as part of their Young Creatives programme. The E.P. track, I Said Don’t, was written after a traumatic experience. We can only imagine what happened when you consider the words – let’s not dwell and speculate too much. That sort of courage and fortitude is something that deserves applause and affection. The resultant emotion and anxiety is documenting in the music. Many artists are reserved when it comes to opening up: Moir feels it is important to talk about these times and not hold back. Maybe some will feel the songs are quite stark and bleak but there is ample light and affection that comes through. Moir injects optimism and colour in her music: the contrasts and balances one hears is why she is an artist many more need to get behind. I am keen to see where she heads and what comes next. There will be gigs and new horizons for the young star. She has the chance to make a real impact and get her music to the mainstream. Maybe that will take a little while but I know that will all arrive in time. The Truth Is (is) a brilliant track that puts one in mind of giants like Banks and Jessie Ware. These are artists that connect with Moir; she takes their music to heart and wants to create her own voice. I cannot wait to hear the E.P. and what comes from it. I have mentioned a number that stems from a traumatic time. Maybe the remaining songs are less fraught but one hope there is enough honesty and reveal. Against all of this is tenderness, hope and forward-thinking dreams.
I am also excited thinking where Moir can perform and the gigs that are ahead. I feel she has the chance to play abroad and get some fans there. I have highlighted some cities she might feel would be right for her. Europe is a definite possibility for 2018. The social media channels will be reignited and the talented star will want to get her face to the people. Rebuilding after such a hard time will take steps – she is equipped to deal with the challenges before. The fact she has managed to make music and continue is staggering in itself. Courage and strength are commodities that are not as easy to achieve as one might hope – the desire to hide and close off from the world is a lot more tangible. I will close things off but, looking at the music being produced, and I have no hesitation when it comes to recommending Moir to the people. I miss the days of 1990s music and the incredible sounds that came from the scene. The Dance market was a lot stronger and the mainstream had that diversity and allure – I am less drawn to modern music by comparison. I have high expectations for Moir and know she will craft a successful and happy career. This coming year is a huge one for her. The new track is out in a week and that will give people the chance to see what she has been working on. After that; there is the E.P. and making moves regarding gigs. All of her past goes into the present material. I am proud of what she has achieved and intrigued by the fact she has deleted her social media content. The lights have gone down and Moir is presenting the revelation of her latest track. It is a brave taking this approach to promotion and doing the same as artists like Taylor Swift and Radiohead. Let us hope, when The Truth Is arrives into to the world…
THE songwriter brings the lights back up!