Release Date: May 13, 2014
Record label: Partisan
Genre(s): Electronic, Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock, Indie Rock, Club/Dance, Indie Electronic, Alternative Singer/Songwriter
Mountain Man’s Amelia Meath and Megafaun/Made of Oak’s Nick Sanborn represent a study of contrasts. Together as Sylvan Esso, they create synthy pop songs falling somewhere between Poliça, tUnE-yArDs and Autre Ne Veut. Starting off as part of the Appalachian-inspired trio Mountain Man, Meath brings a strong folk influence to Sylvan Esso. Her melodies are unwavering; she conjures a new one in each song using her soft and soothing voice against Sanborn’s beats and production.
Electronic minimalism is often a difficult thing to master. If the artist gets it right, it can capture that human emotion that computers are so prone to sidestep. If they get it wrong, however, the listener is left wanting something more substantial, something meatier to get their teeth into. Fortunately, Sylvan Esso is an artist that got it right, perfecting the less-is-more approach on their self-titled debut.
Folktronica is a genre that’s gone from strength to strength in recent years – acts from Wye Oak to Tunng, from Caribou to Ellie Goulding have forged a gorgeous coalescence, exploiting the oft-delicate nuances and frank emotion of folk, and the textures, dynamics and modernity of synth-based sounds. Pushing the envelope one step further, Nick Sanborn (Megafaun) and Amelia Meath (Mountain Man) fused to create Sylvan Esso. They merge their skillsets together, and then yank in opposite directions until the sound is stretched like elastic between two conflicting camps; Meath’s vocals invoke a serenity, while Sanborn’s production creates immense in-depth structures.
Head here to submit your own review of this album. Sylvan Esso, the duo born from the unlikely pairing of folk singer Amelia Meath and electronic producer Nick Sanborn, prefaced their self-titled debut with the single 'Coffee', easily one of the best songs of the year. The song's melancholic musings are chilly and lonely yet warm and sultry. The dreamy mixture promised for an exciting, genre-defying debut.
Crocodiles don’t have dental floss, and with all their meaty meals, even one of the animal kingdom’s most invincible predators is susceptible to nasty toothaches. That’s why it developed a relationship with the Egyptian plover bird, which will sit inside the beast’s mouth and munch on troublesome bits of leftovers. The crocodile gets a nice cleaning, and the plover enjoys a safe snack within an overtly intimidating set of incisors.
Amelia Meath and Nick Sanborn aren’t new to this. She’s previously made music with Mountain Man and he with Megafaun, but the silken sounds of Sylvan Esso are a cut above. Heartfelt, human electronica that pulses with a folksy emotion thanks to Meath’s beautifully warm vocals, the duo’s debut LP is a summer essential. The gigantic ‘Play It Right’ thrums with a layered lushness, while the ultra-rhythmic, playground sing-songery of Dirty Projectors and Tune-Yards skitters across ‘Hey Mami’.
Everyone and their grandmother is making electronic music these days, but even so, Sylvan Esso is still quite an unexpected project. Those who are fans of Vermont's (mostly) a cappella trio Mountain Man will be familiar with Amelia Meath's arresting vocal skills, but on Sylvan Esso, her voice is placed in a drastically different context. Born out of a remix Nick Sanborn (bassist for Megafaun) made for the Mountain Man song "Play It Right," the duo decided to extend the collaboration to forming a band.Recorded in Durham, North Carolina over the course of a year, certain tracks — such as album bookends "Hey Mami" and "Come Down" — sound very much like Mountain Man songs with added electronics.
Tropical, African. Soul, blues. R & B, simplicity. Sylvan Esso blends it all and makes preconceived notions of electronic-driven music parallels to unintelligent dubstep fade away. The group’s debut self-titled album opens with rich, rhythmic vocals from Amelia Meath, and electronic producer Nick ….
If you take a member of a cappella folk group Mountain Man and the bassist of Justin Vernon associates and not-afraid-of-a-beard Megafaun and let them start a group together, you’d be pretty sure of what the outcome would sound like, right? Wrong. When Sylvan Esso dropped “Play It Right” last summer, Amelia Meath and Nick Sanborn had, to some extent, confounded expectations. Rather than the expected folk music excursions what we had was a bass-heavy electronic track with wandering, skittering rhythms formed around Meath’s sweetly cooed vocals which still carried a precise snap from her work with Mountain Man.
Sylvan Esso’s singer Amelia Meath cut her teeth and got the most recognition as part of the mostly a capella act Mountain Man, a group built on pastoral vocal harmonies. Her partner in the band, Nick Sanborn, has made electronic music as Made of Oak, but he also has his roots in folk as a member of Megafaun. The two played a bill together, Sanborn remixed a track of Meath, and Sylvan Esso was born.
The eponymous debut album from the Durham, North Carolina duo of Amelia Meath and Nick Sanborn, the former a soulful crooner and songwriter best known as a member of Appalachian indie folk trio Mountain Man and the latter a talented electronic producer and bass player for country-psych rockers Megafaun, couldn't sound any further from the duo's flagship projects. Emitting a heady and evocative blend of breezy, late-night laptop-pop and glitchy metropolitan folk, Sylvan Esso's sophisticated confections fall somewhere between the fractured tabletop buzz of Tune-Yards and the breezy indie pop cinematics of Feist. Standout cuts like "Hey Mami," "H.
In the middle of 2013, a song called “Play It Right” by a group called Sylvan Esso started circulating online. The only information available out there was that it involved one part Amelia Meath from Mountain Man and one part Nick Sanborn from Megafaun. But it actually didn’t matter — everything you needed to know was in that one song. Partway between Purity Ring and Dirty Projectors, between contemporary electronic music and ancient folk cooing, Meath’s saccharine vocal tickled the most timid parts of even our grown-up selves, the parts that still believe in magic, value wonderment, and covet the spirit of charm.
There are bands that arrive fully formed with a fresh sound satisfying a need listeners didn’t even know they had—and then you have an act like Sylvan Esso, who fill an obvious void. The Durham, NC duo’s fusion of quirky folk and quirky electro-pop would have otherwise been inevitably and awkwardly willed into existence, since those are two of the most reliable, likeable, and syncable subgenres that fall under the “indie” umbrella. It’s a good starting point for Sylvan Esso, but it’s their endgame as well.
“There are hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of ways to get through the day — just find one,” Conor Oberst counsels on his new solo album, “Upside Down Mountain.” Mr. Oberst may not have hundreds of styles, but he’s multifarious enough. His hugely prolific career now extends more than two decades: through solo albums and various bands, including Bright Eyes, the protest-minded Desaparecidos and the songwriters’ alliance Monsters of Folk, among others.
Sylvan Esso (Partisan) Appalachian femme trio Mountain Man and North Carolina psychers Megafaun each pony up a bandmember to Sylvan Esso's digital outlook. Harmony queen Amelia Meath and bassist Nick Sanborn employ rootsy, organic backgrounds in service of an electronic flourish. The former's signature vocal play lifts "Hey Mami," while the latter's penchant for weighty accompaniment highlights said vox frolic.
As part of the a cappella trio Mountain Man, Amelia Randall Meath saw a debut inspired by Appalachian folk music parlay to a backing role for Feist on her Metals tour. Appropriately, Real Estate’s Alex Bleeker recently likened Meath to the Nintendo Game Genie, meaning she could be plugged into any band and fill their needs, also demonstrated in work with Bleeker’s Freaks and one-off project BOBBY. But it is on Sylvan Esso, the self-titled debut for duo Meath and Nick Sanborn of Megafaun, that she finally lands front-and-center, rising to the occasion.