Thursday, 26 July 2012

Plum.....Jam Hot

Back in July last year I acquired a taste for fine female voices after listening to Kathryn Marsh so I turned my nose in the direction of Plum, the alter ego of Edinburgh based Shona Maguire.  As one of Scotlands few female electronic producers, she'd just released a concept album 'The Seed' to much critical acclaim .

Big news  last November was a new single 'Smile' from the album, with the 'B' side the result of a Tweet Ralph can remember seeing on Twitter some time back where she'd collaborated with top dubstepper TeKlo on the track, taking them both out their comfort zone.....

Because Smile is such a heavy track, I wanted to explore the realm of Dubstep some more for the B-side, and TeKlo was the perfect fit” Plum explains. “It was a fascinating creative process. We started from nothing, and spent a lot of time discussing ideas. But eventually we got something we could both get excited about and it just flowed from there”.  

After weeks of different versions, Plum and TeKlo retreated to a secret countryside studio and finished the track at 6am following an intensely creative studio session. 

The beautifully tense "Rainbow" was the result, taking ideas from Acid House, Dubstep and Metal, trapping them into a corner, with Plum’s lush vocals gluing it all together.  Plum’s album The Seed was released in April 2012, and with the release of Smile as the album’s second single - a unique take on dubstep/electronica, which was co-produced by Kyle MacKenzie (Dirty Disco/El Hatred) – Plum was keen to push her creative boundaries even further.

It's an intense, addictive track and definitely a bit of musically lateral thinking for Plum.

here's the mean and moody video for 'Smile' created by Ralph's favourite Independent Scottish Video Production Company 'wakeupadvice'.

The title track of 'The Seed' jumps at you with a thumping almost Stranglers like (Peaches) bass and drum beat before Plum's thrillingly clear vocal kicks in. Some say PJ Harvey, I'm getting hints of Bjork especially in the hauntingly lovely 'Meadow of Weeds'.  

Whereas 'The Seed' is in your face from the first note, 'Meadow of Weeds carries you along on a river of vocal loveliness. 

Myriad is a more mainstream crowd pleaser piece of electronica with Plum's vocals maintaining their Scottishness (nae bad thing) in the same way the aforementioned 

Bjork's vocals appeal.

Image of The Seed

The album which was crowd funded is based around the concept of an idea, from the planting of it's seed, through its growth to its point of fruition (mirrored nicely in the stunning animation work on 'The Seed' video d
irected, filmed and edited by Greg Hoyna  and written and produced by Jim Wolff, Jordan Laird and Michael Kinlan from Leith Records ).



Not Defunct!
Already a well respected member of the electronic music community, Plum has previously released 2 EP’s on the now defunct LA based label Summer Rain and was the only female artist to be signed to the prestigious (but sadly also defunct) Benbecula Records, releasing her debut album ‘Different Skin’ through them in 2009. Pulling together the collective influences of artists such The Knife, Goldfrapp and PJ Harvey, Plum has created a sound that slots perfectly into the current music scene along side (or a bit above) contemporaries like Exit Music or Niki and the Dove.

Now you know long winded up ma own arse reviews, I'll let you make your own mind up from all the fancy links I've put on, however I've not had 'The Seed' off the jukebox laptop thingy connected to ma headphones for ages so I'd recommend you all go and do the same.  It's only £8 from Plum's online shop (some other nice stuff there...tell her Ralph sent you and see if she'll cut you a deal) where her first two albums are also available (although no surprises, 'The Whispering Chamber' is still sold out).

So what's the latest...well she's just been and gone and got herself nominated in the Best Electronic category of The Scottish Alternative Music Awards 2013.....

Not only has there never been a solo female winner at the Scottish Alternative Music Awards (SAMAs), but Edinburgh-based musician Plum has just become the first female ever to be nominated in the Best Electronic category.

Speaking on being shortlisted for the Scottish Alternative Music Awards Plum said:
“I am absolutely delighted to be shortlisted for this award. Female electronic music producers are very rare right now, so I hope that my shortlisting inspires other female artists to produce great electronic music and compete with the best."

“My latest album, The Seed, was entirely funded by my fans, so it is great to be able to reward them for their dedication by securing honours like this.”

The winners of the Scottish Alternative Music Awards are voted for by the public - from Monday 11 February, fans can vote for their favourite shortlisted acts to win an award at:

She will be releasing her next EP, Betsy Thunder, in June 2013, along with live dance performances resulting from a residency with Edinburgh’s Dance Base due to take part in March 2013.

Uniquely for an unsigned act, Plum already has a group of über-fans who follow her every move and have even been known to die their hair in support of the artist, as well as baking cupcakes topped with edible Plum logos to hand out at live gigs. Her music has also already been used on the BBC’s Lip Service and a Scottish Government anti-knife-crime advertisement. She can even count 2013 Brit Award Nominee Goyte and Canadian rap-legend Buck 65 among her fans.

Here's a wee favourite of mine recorded in The Rockhopper Caravan at Go North


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