Monday, 27 January 2014

Feature: MiNNETONKA (Liverpool Echo)

When Emma Leatherbarrow chose to name her project MiNNETONKA, it was probably to try and prevent people like me from writing pieces like this. I mean, after two hours of research, you could ask me almost anything on the suburban Minnesotan City by the same name, or even about the Minnetonka Moccasin shoe made popular in post-war America. I couldn’t put two sentences together about the profile of this Manchester singer, however.

Or maybe she just hasn’t got around to it yet. Either way, the three songs on her soundcloud speak loudly enough on their own. Desert Days is a dreamy number, reflecting that kind of serene tiredness you get after spending all day in the sun. Bird of Prey is similar in conception but different in results, using some interesting synth and percussion as the atmosphere alternates between warm and unnerving. 

These songs are disconcertingly interior as if you are eavesdropping on something quite private, thanks largely due to an inherent lack of any harmonic motion. The layering is precise and more significantly; patient, as the parts are given the time and space to fill your mind naturally like water finding its way across an undulating surface.

MiNNETONKA’s appeal is in her stark, scintillating contrasts. That jarring synth in the middle of Bird of Prey, those rolling hi-hats towards the end of To Be Just Where You Are; evidence of an artist not comfortable being played in the background.    

Having already contributed vocals to the excellent By The Sea LP last year, MiNNETONKA is currently working with Bill Ryder Jones as she prepares an official release over the coming months.  


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