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's new mixtape Every Night is released this week, and is available to both stream and buy now (links below). Expanding on his musical repertoire, the collection features brand new song, the title track 'Every Night', alongside reimagined pieces from his debut album Blue Film, which was released earlier this year. You can hear the title track below.
His rendition of John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John's ‘You’re The One That I Want’, which features on his debut album, was recently hand picked by director Baz Luhrmann (Great Gatsby, Moulin Rouge, Romeo & Juliet) to base his global ad campaign for Chanel's flagship No. 5 brand around...
Since wrapping his US/UK tour with Lorde, a headlining tour of the US and promoting his debut album Blue Film, Lo-Fang has been busy in the studio recording Every Night, a mixtape expanding on his musical repertoire. Featuring five new songs along with classical and ambient interludes, a remix of 'Boris', and the final two pieces to album closer 'Permutations'. Also included is a stunning cello version of his single 'When We’re Fire', which has just been posted online. The full mixtape will be available to download from 30th September via...