Playlist: Austra

Canadians explain their selections exclusively to Clash...

Canadian outfit Austra – fronted by songwriter and singer Katie Stelmanis (pictured) – release their second studio album in the UK on June 17th. Said album, ‘Olympia’, is reviewed here.

Ahead of its release, ‘Olympia’ can be heard streaming on Deezer – click here for some of that Clash-approved goodness. And to mark the album’s arrival in stores physical and virtual, as well as on streaming services of course, Clash here has a lovely playlist from the band.

Members Katie and Dorian Wolf explain their choices below, exclusively to Clash…

(Nb. You need to be signed into Deezer to stream this playlist in full.)

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Portishead – ‘The Rip’

Katie: I love the build-up in this song. It starts with a beautiful melody and vocal line, and breaks into a mad ‘rock out’ where nothing is in time or in tune. The imperfections of the song and especially this album led us to want to create something as ‘real’.

Marshall Jefferson – ‘Move Your Body’

Katie: I found a version of this track on YouTube where everything is played live on the floor. Live drums, piano, bass and vocals. It’s a classic house track played by real musicians – and that idea of actually playing dance music live was a huge influence on ‘Olympia’.

Perfume Genius – ‘Dark Parts’

Katie: I pretty much got into lyrics with ‘Olympia’. They were never something that I was particularly drawn to, maybe because I’d never found lyrics that I could identify with as much as the ones on the Perfume Genius album. This record (‘Put Your Back N 2 It’), and particularly this song, made me want to make lyrics a focus of Austra, whereas previously they were always an afterthought.

Uakti – ‘Japura River’

Katie: A friend introduced me to this album and I remember thinking it was the music I had been waiting for my whole life. A group in South America that makes all its own instruments, that Phillip Glass wrote music for, and this is the result. It’s a similar aesthetic to an ensemble of flutes, other wind instruments and mallet percussion; this instrumentation was also a huge influence on ‘Olympia’.

Björk – ‘Thunderbolt’

Dorian: This has got to be one of my favourite bass parts ever. It’s so un-intuitive, but expressive, and when it reaches a climax at 3:28 it blows my mind every time. And then I found out that Björk used a gigantic Tesla coil, and the sound of the bass was formed by bolts of lightning passing through it… Unbelievable. I tried to reproduce that sound on one of the B-sides using a single sawtooth wave and some reverb and delay.

Azari & III – ‘Reckless (With Your Love)’

Dorain: I was listening to these guys like crazy at the end of the summer 2012. So fun. I was trying to get into that vibe when writing the bass part for ‘Home’.

Bee Gees – ‘You Should Be Dancing’

Dorian: This is the kind of disco party I had in my mind when working on (new single) ‘Painful Like’. So smooth.

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