Rayannah w/Cartel Madras, Jon Bryant, Beach Body
Friday, October 19, 5:30pm
The Carleton, 1685 Argyle Street, $15
From the airy opening flourishes of "Best of You," Rayannah's latest single, it's clear that the Franco-Manitoban's twist on electronic music isn't what comes to mind when thinking of the genre: "In general, my stuff is pretty dense harmonically for the style of music I'm making, I just can't help it," she says, sitting on a Parisian terrace and speaking via Skype.
The jazz-trained musician builds songs as soft and tightly furled as peony petals, layering lovelorn lyrics over pedal loops. Though it sounds like a new romantic spin on ambient music, Rayannah calls her plush songs injected with dramatic vocals "electro-soul" with global influences (those influences really shine in a harmony-heavy backing chorus on 2015's "The Water") and says she's inspired by so much, it makes her nervous to list her influences.
With a new record dropping in 2019, the artist is excited to share the new directions her work is growing into at her Halifax Pop Explosion show Friday at The Carleton. "My approach is to treat the stage completely differently from the studio," she says. "Maybe that's also something I carried over from jazz—because in jazz, for example on one record, you'll have two or three versions of a song sometimes, and often it's typical to do things differently from night to night, to try something new, and the stage is this playground where you experiment.
"There's something about seeing things I think is really important with electronic music, too: I could take the beats as they're produced on the record and play them and then sing, but that's not what I want to do, so I try to be physical and when I'm bringing something in really show that it's coming in—because when you go see an orchestra, half the fun is that you can see the flutes come up," she continues, mimicking cranking dials as she hand-talks. "The biggest service anyone can do to the music that they're making is bring their baggage. There's so much interesting stuff to be heard, so that's interesting because now we're starting to hear music that's five genres mixed together."