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July 25, 2014

We Are Shining: Hot Love

Going Rogue on the Streets of London With Model-of-the-Moment Adwoa Aboah

Freckled beauty Adwoa Aboah loses herself to the beat-scattered, gospel blues of We Are Shining in their video for new single "Hot Love," directed by Simon Cahn. The London-based outfit made up of Morgan Zarate and Acyde, garnered attention with an early release on Young Turks (as The Shining), while their recent collaboration with breakout singer-songwriter Eliza Doolittle, “Killing,” made waves with a flinch-inducing viral video capturing a dancer seemingly unaware of throwing knives narrowly missing her head. "There's a lot of experimental Afro, Latin and European music from the late 1960s to 1980s," Zarate and Acyde say of their current playlists. "In terms of production it's about putting yourself in another world and getting the music to sound like that place." Following a cosmic mix tape, Devileyes, today's ecstatic video by the Parisian filmmaker comes ahead of the duo's debut album out later this year on Marathon Artists. Its free-spirited protagonist Aboah, who has fronted campaigns for H&M and Henry Holland and is the daughter of Camilla Lowther and Charles Aboah, makes the ultimate muse. "I wanted her to be almost like Juliette Binoche in Lovers on the Bridge, which isn’t an easy thing to pull off," says Cahn.

"Hot Love" is released on Marathon Artists on September 8.

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Sunrise, Sunset: Moses Sumney

The Rising Soul Star Reflects on the Imperfect Roots of his Songwriting

“It was fascinating to watch the Downtown Los Angeles sunrise, when the natural world immerses the industrial environment in light,” says lo-fi prodigy Moses Sumney, who is perched on top of the Ace Hotel in the latest installment of our series with Yours Truly, Sunrise, Sunset. “It's such a contemporary phenomenon, it feels almost futuristic. I live in Mid-City, where things are more quintessentially California: the sun peaks up out of the palm trees and casts their shadows on the sidewalk.” The San Bernardino-born singer-songwriter’s expressive folk-soul hybrid turned music industry heads throughout 2013 despite playing only a handful of shows and being without a record label. He is fresh from playing New York Fashion Week’s closing party with Solange Knowles and her Saint Records a fortnight ago, covering Sade’s “Love Is Stronger Than Pride” in a collaboration with fellow breakout alt-RnB artist Kelela. “Solange was a sweetheart,” says Sumney. “She gave me a warm introduction and came back onstage during my set to ensure the rowdy fashion week crowd was paying attention.” Sumney starts his weekly month-long residency at Los Angeles’ Bootleg Theater tonight, with alongside local rising artists Deradoorian, yOya and Kan Wakan. “I’ve seen tons of residencies at the venue and they seem to represent an LA rite of passage,” says Sumney of the city’s live music heritage. “It feels very egalitarian that someone like me, who wasn't raised in the LA scene at all, could come in so suddenly and be embraced.”

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Emilíana Torrini: Tookah

The Elfin Icelandic Singer Gets a CGI Makeover by Shynola

The computer-generated portrait of ethereal singer-songwriter Emilíana Torrini floats and multiplies in the experimental video for her standout track “Tookah”, directed by pioneering British visual artist trio Shynola, aka Richard Kenworthy, Chris Harding and Jason Groves. “I loved the idea of being a creepy mermaid singing and luring the viewer into the dark,” muses Torrini, who has been nominated for four honors at this February’s Icelandic Music Awards. “To be honest if they said the idea was me playing a unicorn dancing on a rainbow, along with some gummy bears, I would have done it. I’m just glad it wasn't that.” “Tookah” comes from the album of the same name; the word was invented by Torrini to describe a subtle kind of emotional state or inner inspiration. “Happiness and love were things that always hijacked me but Tookah is something gentler, like a whisper,” she says. “It is gentle and breezy and peaceful with bags of humor.” NOWNESS spoke to Shynola, who have made videos for U.N.K.L.E, Blur and Radiohead and recently short film Dr. Easy for Warp, about this latest collaboration.

What was your inspiration behind Emilíana’s siren-like floating head?
We’re fascinated by the idea of the ‘uncanny valley’ [when a computer generated image looks like a person, but not quite]. There’s something unsettling about it, yet you cannot take your eyes off it. This led us to cast Emilíana as some sort of mysterious CGI siren. Our hope is that you think it is both pretty and weird at the same time.

Did you take your visual cues from the music?
That’s always the guiding force behind every music video we make. It’s our job to make visuals that intertwine with the music, hopefully in unexpected ways. Quite often you see music videos where you could replace the sound to no discernible difference. To us that is a failure.

What’s it like working with Emilíana?
Singers often have a twinkle in their eye that’s hard to define and Emilíana certainly has that. A singing CGI model of their own head would freak most people out. She was more amazed than repulsed, thankfully.

Tookah is out now on Rough Trade.

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