In 2016, there’s almost nothing that people love more than a great electronic duo. Daft Punk, ODEZSA, and most recently Disclosure have all been able to bridge the gap between popular music and the ‘cult’ of electronic dance music (EDM). Attending festivals like Beyond Wonderland or Electronic Daisy Carnival for the full EDM experience is a fantastical sensory event, but it’s not for everyone. Even if you find frenized summer festivals overwhelming, there is still a place for you in the wonderful world of synths, turntables, and flashing lights.
In recent years, once-secluded electronic music has made a transition: a genre formerly reserved for basement clubs has burst onto the mainstream in a big way. Whether you are a lifelong fan of electronic music or just getting started, you need to check out Marian Hill.
Comprised of Philadelphia natives Samantha Gongol and Jeremy Lloyd, Marian Hill is breaking new ground by bring authenticity to a category saturated by overproduction. Marian Hill starts by recording laid back, smooth vocals accompanied by real instrumentals, then adds a layer of electronic editing. Because of my jazz music background, it took me a while to find electronic artists I connected with. I craved an element of soulfulness in my music that computer production just can't offer. That's why I was pleasantly surprised when I found Marian Hill - there's a yummy, warming quality to Gongol’s vocals, especially when accompanied by swooping saxophone riffs. Lloyd and Gongol use electronic music to amplify the emotional qualities of their music, not distort them.
The duo's first EP, Sway, was released in 2015 and demonstrates that what it means to be “current” in the music industry is evolving. The cover art of Sway shows a woman, most likely Gongol, holding a crushed, mutilated saxophone. The instrument is still very much the focus of the image due to its presence in the foreground and because it is the only object that has true color. This choice is the perfect summation of the duo’s style which is contemporary but also strongly referential of a time gone by. So, go check out Marian Hill. You will not regret it!