EMMANUEL MACRON WINS THE FRENCH PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION 147

After a rather intense period of campaigning, which saw hackers attack Macron’s personal and private emails – something which the media and his rival Marine Le Pen were banned from providing details about so not to sway voters’ opinions – last night it was announced that hotly tipped favourite Macron had indeed won the election and would become, at the age of 39, France’s newest and youngest ever President.

Macron, a liberal centrist, who is pro-business and a strong supporter of the European Union, won with 66.06% of the vote and, rather than walk out to meet his many supporters at a rally held outside the Louvre to mark his victory to the French national anthem, Macron instead opted to do so to the EU piece “Ode to Joy.”

During the speech that followed he said:

“Thank you my friends…thank you for being here. Thank you for having fought with courage but kindness for so many months because it’s true tonight…YOU won. FRANCE won. What we’ve done….everybody was saying to us it was impossible – but they didn’t know anything about France. Thank you for your trust, thank you for the time you devoted to this.”

Admitting defeat, Le Pen told the media she had called Macron to congratulate him and wish him well.

Politicians and party leaders on both sides of the Atlantic also shared their views on Macron’s victory with the European Commission chief Jean-Claude Junker being one of the first to pass on his congratulations.

News of Macron’s win delighted social media users, especially Americans, with a number of celebrities also posting their thoughts.

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REVIEW: DAVID FEDERMANN – ‘WATER’S EDGE’ EP 39

Mostly unknown outside of France, jazz musician David Federmann has enlisted the help of several friends to collaborate on his new EP, which blends jazz and electronica together in a way perhaps never heard before.

Opening number “Water’s Edge” doesn’t make for the strongest of starts, as the piece works more as a spoken word track rather than an actual song. Those who like rather psychedelic sounding instrumentation might enjoy this, and vocalist Karen Luke’s voice is captivating in some respects, but it’s a shame that her voice hasn’t been put to better use.

Featuring Coco Jonza, “Significant Other” fares somewhat better, if only because the tempo has been kicked up a few notches however what lets it down is its length – at just over six minutes, it could and potentially would work and play much better for those who listen to it, were it cut down to maybe four.

“Dream It” is perhaps the most radio friendly track on the collection and features Awa Sy. With a toe-tapping rhythm, it would perfectly suit being played in clubs across the country and has just enough momentum to leave listeners feeling energised and upbeat.

The introduction to “In Between” is rather pointless and the track might hold a listener’s attention better were the song to kick straight in with its first verse. Camille Delage’s appearance on the song works, given how, for lack of a better word, ‘different’ sounding the track is, but sadly, said difference is not represented in a particularly good way.

Federmann’s music tends to work best when it’s upbeat, and nowhere is this more evident than on “Ring Road.” Yes the instrumental intro is a little long winded, and lyrically isn’t not the most sophisticated or complex piece ever shared, but nevertheless, it’s four and a bit minutes of considerably enjoyable musicianship.

Not much can really be said about closer “133”, featuring Valli, other than that it maintains the more positive and up-tempo style of its predecessor and as a result, the collection ends on a better note with which it started.  Ultimately, with its array of guest vocalists and several genres and styles reflected through its six tracks, “Water’s Edge” is an EP that certainly won’t suit everyone, but for those looking for something a little ‘out there’, they won’t go far wrong giving this a few listens.

Water’s Edge is available now and for more information on David Federmann, give his page a like on Facebook or follow him on Twitter. Header photo credit: Bartosch Salmanski.

HARLEQUIIN TALKS “YOUNG ONE” & PREMIERES NEW TRACK “BANDIT” 56

Having already been a session musician for Paolo Nutini and others, artist and producer Rory Simmons, AKA Harlequiin, is no stranger to the music industry, and his own work reflects everything he’s learnt since he first starting playing instruments at the age of 10. With his third EP due out later this year and as ThisIsTheLatest proudly premiere his new track “Bandit”, he chatted to us about the artist he’d most like to produce for, his upcoming performance plans and his thoughts about the impact of social media in the music business.

TITL: Hi Rory. First of all, what would you say your unique selling point as an artist is? What makes you different from your many other artistic counterparts?

Rory (Harlequiin): I’m a musician who’s come from the jazz world as a performer, but now I really feel I fit into electronic music and alternative pop as a producer. But being an instrumentalist that brings perhaps a different dimension of live performance to the music I make as Harlequiin.

TITL: Has music always been your career plan or did you have other ideas and ambitions growing up? 

H: No, music has always been the thing for me really, as a young Cornish slip of a man, I basically just wanted to play in as many different environments as I could. I started playing brass instruments and guitar in local bands and school bands in the small town I grew up in and when I was 18, I got a place at Trinity College of Music in London.

TITL: You’ve been a session musician for the likes of Paolo Nutini and Blur among others, so at what point did you ultimately decide it was time to focus on your own musical ambitions? What did your time working/touring with those artists teach you?

H: Being on the road with any big successful artist is really interesting both in terms of the everyday workings of a large operation like that, i.e. all the different people it takes to keep it rolling, but also the way the artist and management approach the overall arc of their career. It’s really interesting seeing different audiences being cultivated and various territories being prioritised. Quite often this is a more sub-conscious thing; it’s not as if these are always first hand conversations being had with artists – being in that environment is a real eye opener I guess on how you become really successful in the music industry as an artist.

TITL: You’re both an instrumentalist and producer – which of the two did you get into first and is it hard or fun to juggle/work the two? 

H: I was an instrumentalist first. I started playing trumpet and guitar at about 10, and then only started getting into production and music tech at about 25. I’ve always been very much into writing but until getting my head into music software, it was always a pencil and manuscript that helped me channel that.

TITL: If you could produce music for any other band or artist, who would it be?

H: There’s an amazing kind of macabre country singer from the US I love called Lera Lynn, I saw her playing on True Detective a while ago and totally fell in love with her vibe. I’d love to do something a bit heavier and produced sounding with her….she lives probably 3000 miles away – but you never know, it might happen.

TITL: Is there a story behind your latest single “Young One”? Can you remember when and where you wrote it, and what made you decide it’d be a good choice for a single release?

H: I wrote “Young One” with an amazing vocalist called Amelka May who also features on the track, and we kind of wrote the track with another artist in mind – but it was languishing on my hard-drive and when I revisited it 6 months later, I felt like – “no, I’m keeping- this is meant to be a Harlequiin track.”

TITL: You’ve released 2 EP’s so far and are soon to release a third. What can you tell me about this latest collection, and how would you say it differs from its predecessors?

H: This third EP is maybe a bit tougher sounding than the others, and perhaps a bit more psych too.  I’m just trying to write songs and develop the production in a way that serves the song. I think this EP has twists and turns but still very much sounds like Harlequiin. Caribou, Jamie Liddell and Fourtet are still big influences, but I’m also trying to include as much live instrumentation as possible – as long as it sits sonically within the music.

TITL: You’ve received recognition and support from the likes of BBC Introducing and Wonderland, among others. How much of an impact on your career has such reaction/responses had, and which outlet/individual would you most love to hear praise you and your work?

H: It’s been great getting support from the people you mentioned of course – but really it’s people listening and connecting with the music that’s important. That might sound trite, but that’s what really connects for me. There’s something visceral and exciting about seeing Harlequiin tracks being DJ’d. The idea that people connect with the emotion of the song by moving or dancing is huge for me.

TITL: How do you feel about social media, and do you feel it is still possible for bands and artists to achieve success without being socially interactive with their fans/potential audiences?

H: Difficult to say. Probably if you are big enough, you don’t need to engage with those platforms to remain connected. However, a lot of those people that are big enough probably aren’t of the generation that naturally would use social media in that way. And for those artists it would feel contrived and un-natural. If Thom Yorke starts using Snapchat, I’m out….

TITL: Are there any tour or performance plans in the works? 

H: We are playing a show in Paris next month as part of Disquaired Day, and there are a couple of festivals coming up over summer too. We are also planning on a London headline show later in the year, along with another release…. a London headline show has been a long time coming!

If you could play one venue anywhere in the world with three other bands or artists who can be living or dead, who would they be and where would you perform?

H: The Filmore in San Francisco is a venue that I’ve already had a chance to play, but would love to go back there. It’s got so much history and it’s an amazing sounding room. It’s pretty difficult to choose 3 musicians, and I want to avoid saying Miles, Hendrix etc., so I’m going to say Slim Harpo, Captain Beefheart and Andy Stott, at the Filmore. That would be a weird gig – but hopefully quite fun!

Check out “Bandit” below and for more information on Harlequiin, give his page a like on Facebook or follow him on Twitter.