VEiiLA is Echoes Radio's September CD of the Month.
The Sound of Beautiful Alienation. “To say that VEiiLA is melancholic would be an understatement. But rarely is alienation rendered so beautifully and in such an original, compelling fashion. The band has called their sound ‘music for introverts,’ but it could just as well be music for the depressed, the forlorn and the oppressed. Nüte sings in a voice that can be fragile, sultry, domineering, sarcastic and heartbreaking. Their sound design is one of the most original I’ve heard.”
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VEiiLA: Sentimental Craving For Beauty
Genres: Dark Cold Wave, Downtempo, Alternative Pop, Electronic, Bleak House,
Dream Pop, Trip Hop, Witch House
For Fans Of: Emika, Lana Del Rey, The XX, Zola Jesus, Sevdaliza
Hometown: Vanadzor, Armenia
Release Date: September 8, 2023
Selected as Echoes Radio's September CD of the Month
Echoes is a 34-year-old syndicated radio show in the USA (80+ stations)
Creating beauty and passion out of harrowing despair comes easy for Russians-in-exile VEiiLA. With immaculate electronics, slow enthralling rhythms, and female vocals flush with late-night sensuality, the duo of Bes and Vif crafts an entwining melancholia with devastating existential lyrics.
VEiiLA's second studio album, Sentimental Craving For Beauty, is the artistic equivalent of a Venus flytrap — hidden under seductive layers of mellow electronics, translucent guitars, soft percussion, synth bass and Vif's tantalizing, alluring vocals dwell the paralyzing vapors of venomous despair, hopelessness and ultimate surrender to the unavoidable and inevitable pain of human existence.
Disguised as relaxing downtempo music, VEiiLA leans towards Schopenhauerian pessimism where one does not conquer the pain; verily submission to pain is the only answer to a world that is made of suffering.
This grim outlook isn't based on mere musings of the poet's soul. When Russia invaded Ukraine, not willing to support the ugly war and the horrible autocratic regime, Vif Nüte and Bes Eirid packed their lives in a couple of suitcases, left their homes and embarked on a journey without destination. Calling themselves in the fashion of the late Kurt Vonnegut “a band without a country,” as modern Russian dissidents they taste the bitter liquor of disappointment blended with a healthy dose of morbid, soul-crushing realization: the world is in fact as ugly as it gets.
What followed was a period of wandering through Armenia living in strange hotels and apartments and slowly drowning in depression.
VEiiLA is pronounced "Vay-la." It's a stylized reference to a Baltic mountain-dwelling demon that lures men into her cave by singing and then devours them.
At the time of their exodus VEiiLA had half an album recorded. There was the name too, Sentimental Craving For Beauty, which (traditionally a literary reference, this time to Galsworthy's Forsyte Saga) initially meant something bright and hopeful to the band.
Having their life shattered in pieces, however, it also put some distance between the artists and their creative work. In short, nothing made sense anymore. And so the album was thrown into the fire. After a while though, new inspiration came, new songs were written and the line “sentimental craving for beauty” appeared to present a different side: when everything falls into ruin, when nothing good is left, the only thing that keeps one going is this craving.
Thus the album rose from the ashes in a purer rectified form.
Musically VEiiLA charted a new direction, re-inventing their style with a bare minimalist palette of sounds. Instead of taking a well-worn path of lush studio production, Vif and Bes focused on writing songs that could be played live in real time with their own four hands, a drum machine and a vocal looper. This resulted in a stripped down production with only a few occasional extra layers. The recent addition of electric guitar with Vif's distinct yet subdued styling added fresh textures to their sound.
This updated minimalism cleared even more space for the intimate vocals' hypnotic swirl, murmuring their introspective allegories of universal indifference and lost hope.
As VEiiLA themselves put it: “We wanted to simply find some ground and not fall into the abyss. We just couldn't breathe, couldn't sleep, and we needed something not to go insane. So we spent more time playing the instruments and less time staring at the screen, and somehow the album wrote itself. It was a good distraction. Is it more than that? Maybe it will speak to someone, inspire someone, or at least make some miserable wretch across the globe — who like Steppenwolf is torn between fear and the razor — feel less lonely, knowing that there are at least two souls of the same sort on this planet.”
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