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FBi Northern Lights Competition – The Finalists

FBi Radio is Sydney’s very own community behemoth, absorbing entire local undergrounds of electronic, beatsy, alternative and vaguely retro-futuristic music, condensing and excreting it in the form of two 24 hour tastemaking broadcasts. For the second year in a row now, Sydney’s bearded and bob-haired musical illuminati are running the Northern Lights competition, which gives one artist flights to, accommodation near and a performance slot at the illustrious Iceland Airwaves festival, and have just released the shortlist of candidates as a free download for us to enjoy. Pretty sweet right?

Anyway, here at Happy, we have a lot of opinions about electronic music and we’d never give up a chance like this to write some of them down. Here’s our odds on who’s gonna be jumping on that flight to Iceland in September.

fbi northern lights

We give you the odds on who’s gonna take top spot at FBi Radio’s Northern Lights competition and be exchanging the freezing Sydney winter for the freezing Reykjavik summer this September.

GL – Won’t You See

Odds: 12 to 1

Cosmically funky, GL‘s single is reminiscent of something left on the cutting room floor from a now defunct New York City disco studio that closed doors in ’87 – so far so good. You might have thought that being signed to Plastic World would give these guys a leg up on the competiton, but perhaps FBi are looking to unearth someone who’s a little less represented. We’re anticipating big things from GL in the near future, but I’m not laying down all my chips on this duo for Northern Lights.

WZRDKID – Hitchhiker’s Guide

Odds: 8 to 1

With a name that sounds like he should be one of these guys, WZRDKID are a duo outta Mildura and are representing the thriving alternative to the awful aesthetic to the rest of Australia’s hip-hop scene. There’s a decent flow to their works, the instrumental hip-hop piano and refreshingly un-trap beats are always on point and the fact that this is the only Hip Hop artist in the finals gives them some credibility among the producer heavy lineup here.

White Hex – Paradise

Odds: 20 to 1

Melbourne’s answer to the world remembering that Europe (the continent, not these guys) put out some cool music in the 80’s, White Hex have no difficulty moving on from their minimal, dark techno to the most grandiose of stadium synth-pop. It has the texture of ice, conical and infinitely reverberating, drums cracking like glacial shifts and arpeggiations billow like clouds rising from Eyjafjallajökull – perfect for the Icelandic scenery. But, does this represent what Australia should be sending to Iceland? Someone that sounds Icelandic already? Let’s put White Hex in the ‘maybe’ pile…

Airling – Ouroboros

Odds: 4 to 1

After hitting play on Ouroboros for the first time, I could imagine the greying CEO of Future Classic spitting out his cigar, slamming his fist on the table and screaming for an intern to get Airling signed as soon as possible – J Jonah Jameson styles. With her beautiful voice, the dulled out trip-hop breakbeats sliding through the backdrop and the unshakable feeling that what you’re listening to is actually artistic, we’d put a few of our hard earned on Airling getting that Icelandic green light.

The Walking Who – With Roses

Odds: 50 to 1

With Roses is my favourite track on this compilation. Tessellating guitar and drum patterns, soothing vocals and an eyes-closed blissful dance feeling belie the fact that The Walking Who not so long ago were just another psych band from the south coast. Unfortunately, we have an inkling that FBi won’t fork out to ship amplifiers, guitars and drums all the way to the other side of the world, and this brand of Grizzly, Weird Fishy, Alt-Jtastic indie music is a little off the radar in recent years, which is a shame, cause I love living in the past.

LUCIANBLOMKAMP – Help Me Out

Odds: 2 to 1

I’m not a gambling man, but if I was, I would put it all on this beatsmith outta Melbourne. Help Me Out and LUCIANBLOMKAMP‘s recently premiered-via-THUMP record are two of the best electronic music releases this year, and it would almost be ridiculous not to send this guy to Iceland. Unless of course, FBi is gonna double bluff us all and send someone as average as Elizabeth Rose.

Hubert Clarke Jr. – HEART/MIND

Odds: 10 to 1

Good producers know it’s not about getting the whole room dancing, it’s about getting the right people on the floor at the right time, and it’s this skill that exudes through on Hubert Clarke Jr. ‘s HEART/MIND. The pulsating beats and hypnotic mantras of Bert’s tune are built for the all-night sets of the mythically exciting concept that is the European music festival, and will keep that guy on acid up near the speaker rather than talking to your date. Why did you have to bring a girl with such strange coloured hair?

Shūnya – Akashic Record Store

Odds: 7 to 1

We have FBi radio on here in the office, and I also have it on in the car, and sometimes when I’m just chilling out. Most of the time, it exists in the background and it’s pretty chill, but then sometimes, stuff like Shūnya comes on, only for me to start listening to the song halfway through and trying to find my feet among the tympanic/tribal drums and the squealing, distorted flute solos. FBi loves throwing us off like this, and it wouldn’t surprise us if this Melbourne composer was given a spot at Iceland Airwaves this year.

KUČKA – Unconditional

Odds: 16 to 1

Are we sick of artists sampling found sounds and sourcing vintage synthesisers? Apparently not, as here we are, writing about Perth’s Kučka, who has garnered attention from A$AP Rocky as well as French record label NUUN, who are releasing her self titled EP over in the EU and US. There’s a lot of buzz around her, and we anticipate that there might even be a little too much international buzz around this up and comer. All in all, it’s pretty middle of the road, so I’d be surprised to hear her take out top spot.

Jasia – Inverbatim

5 to 1

Orchestral major chords have a real ring to them, grandiosity meets the simplicity of a single scale – anyone who saw Sigur Ros at Harvest two years ago can attest to the incredibleness of seeing such a piece of music performed live, which makes Jasia rather an apt choice to send to Iceland. Inverbatim sounds like the sky on fire with valkyries riding luminescent sky turtles in slow motion while the clouds slowly shift hues. And before you ask, yes, the acid is definitely kicking in.

You can download the entirety of the shortlisted artists songs for free from FBi’s bandcamp. Winners will be announced at the end of September. Please note that all scores are completely arbitrary and based off one (very biased and very unprofessional) writer’s ideas and a few very briefly researched facts about both FBi and the artists listed above. If you still want to place any bets on these figures, then you might need to visit this site.

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August 18, 2014

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