Los Angeles-based singer-songwriter Lo-Fang â aka Matthew Hemerlein â conceived and wrote his debut album Blue Film while traveling around the world and across the United States over the last three years. His passion for making music led him to pick up and play with musicians in Cambodia, Bali, London, Nashville, Tokyo, and other points along the way. Songs were written in transit, in hotel rooms, and anywhere the moment inspired him. Billboardâs Jason Lipshutz writes, âBlue Film funnels Hemerleinâs various vagabond experiences in 12 tracks of ornate, rhythmic electronica worth disappearing in.â
A classically trained musician, Lo-Fang is fluent in diverse genres and styles of playing, which are juxtaposed throughout Blue Film. He sings all the vocalsâhis falsetto is soulful and often hypnoticâand plays every instrument, among them, violin, cello, piano, guitar and upright bass. The set veers from minimalist to intimately symphonic, including ten original songs and two covers. The tracks are sequenced into an atmospherically ethereal blend of shifting textures, beats, and moods that Dazed & Confused called a âbrooding, quietly intense exercise in electronic torch song.â
Lo-Fang says the initial template for record was based on a mix-tape called âBlue Film,â an assemblage of songs from various places and states of mind dating back to 2009. Some tracks grew out of events from his own personal evolution. Lyrics might come from a phrase spoken in conversation, or a fly on a wall that persisted as background noiseâthe ephemera of life. Like a novel written with elegant economy of prose, Blue Film evokes feelings beyond what the words convey. The merger of Lo-Fangâs classical background with his left-of-center approach to pop songwriting further deepens the punch. Thereâs mystery to the music, which aligns with his preference for each listener to arrive at their own interpretation.
Blue Film was cut at studios in London, Nashville, and Los Angeles and finished at the storied Capitol Studios in Hollywood. Throughout, Hemerlein collaborated intensely with GRAMMY Award-winning producer Francois Tetaz (Gotye), who he says has âa vast encyclopedic knowledge of musicâ that illuminated and reflected his work at every step of the process.
The albumâs opening track, âLook Awayâ is up-tempo, dreamlike and psychedelic, with a lush strings interlude mid-song. â#88â opens with spare picking and swells to orchestral fullness. Lo-Fangâs cover of BOYâs âBorisâ adds an edgy darkness â likewise, his take on the buoyant Grease classic âYouâre The One That I Wantâ is fueled by both longing and menace. Both covers are true to Lo-Fangâs thoughts on reimagining songs â âI think of them more as remakes, like with movies. I take the same story arc, but everything is differentâtone, colors, tempo. Like what Christopher Nolan does with Batman, that sort of thing.â
Blue Film is 4ADâs first release of 2014. In spring 2014, Lo-Fang will tour with Lorde.
Lo-Fang is set to play his maiden UK live shows next week.
Having spent most of the Spring in his native USA on tour, where he supported Lorde alongside his own headline shows, Matthew Hemerlein will be joining Lorde on stage for her debut London shows next week...
Lo-Fang's debut album Blue Film is released today.
With the LA Times lauding the record as "an early contender for debut of the year" and NYLON remarking on “a chillingly beautiful realism that penetrates your very being”, Matthew Hemerlein's first record is available to purchase digitally today, with the limited blue vinyl to follow from next week in the US at the 4AD Store and in all good record shops. Full links below...