Every Monday through Friday, we deliver a different song as part our Song of the Day podcast subscription. This podcast features exclusive KEXP in-studio performances, unreleased songs, and recordings from independent artists that our DJs think you should hear. Each and every Friday we offer songs by local artists. Today’s selection, featured on the Afternoon Show with Kevin Cole, is “Heat Haze” by Walls from the 2011 album Coracle on Kompakt.
Walls are the London based duo made up of Alessio Natalizia (Banjo or Freakout) and Sam Willis (Allez-Allez). Originally from Manchester but based in London since ’96, Willis has long been an admirer of the Cologne sound, and the duo instill it in their productions and DJ mixes, not only to create the signature electronic sound of Walls but also in their work with other artists. In fact, after the release of their critically acclaimed self-titled debut in 2010, Walls starting working with Jamie XX, James Holden (who included them on his DJ Kicks compilation), Caribou (who asked them to remix his track “Kaili” as well as support him at his Shepherd’s Bush Empire show), The Field (who asked them to remix his track “Leave It” and support him on tour), Pantha Du Prince (who asked them to remix his track w/ Panda Bear “Stick To My Side”), and most recently Battles who they supported on tour. In short, this is richly melodic indie-tinged techno.
Walls’ music has all the trademark notions and influences you’d assume from a band on KOMPAKT, using krautrock and shoegaze textures and matching them with rich, euphoric, pop grooves, but there’s a lot more here than meets the eye. Their latest album, Coracle, is a noticeable step up from what was already an amazing entry, placing much more emphasis on groove, rhythm, and pulse this time. Walls capture the layers of guitar and synths, harmonic melodies and driven beats that made their debut an instant cult hit. The music on Coracle is intensely personal, vital, and transcendent. It’s a rather short album, but, as you’ll hear on today’s featured song, “Heat Haze,” it’s one specifically designed for relaxation. And speaking of relaxing, the band recently had their music inserted into floating relaxation pods in London as part of a project with Floatworks. We’ve heard of this sort of sound immersion floating relaxation thing before, but this is pretty cool stuff.
If you have yet to hear Walls do their thing, this is a perfect time to settle down and take a listen to a fantastic young duo from London. Catch up with them on their Facebook page or their website. For now, here’s the video for “Into Our Midst,” another song from the new album: