Monday 22 July 2013


It's always nice when someone comes back to you after you've written something nice about them. So I was really happy when Alma Elste kindly sent us over her brand new song, 'Virtualism'. A couple of months ago I'd written about a song of hers called 'Julian', an bass-assaulted drawling acoustic song - very pretty indeed. The strange thing was that barely no one had listened to the song, despite it being something that the world-at-large would have gladly enjoyed. I don't really like to make comparisons, but at a time when Lana Del Rey is like, well popular, the heartache and lone-lovers vibe of Parisienne Alma Elste is bound to appeal.

'Virtualism' however is not an acoustic number: it's electro. From the start it brims with wide, warm electro - it's a comforting sound, something that's familiar on the ears, so easy to fall back into like a very well-designed armchair. Thudding kicks and muffled snares hide behind this buzzing wall of noise, later joined by circuit-board arpeggios and whooping soft synth solos.

The most entrancing thing about this song, however, is Alma Elste's voice itself. It is husky and laid-back, a caramel croon that's charming in the slight vibrato at the end of each line and beautiful in the effortless almost whispered glide between notes. Could just listen to her sing all day without the music, to be honest. A close second to this are her endearingly mundane yet cryptic lyrics - this is a lovesong, but one that speaks in stark poetry instead of sloppy balladry:

I'm in your car
We run red lights
I don't give a damn about here
drinkin forties, playin GTA
I stole some baseball cards
the end's behind
give up timeline
we can always sleep tomorrow
We'll last until sunrise
We'll make it
I like your Corvette
I could almost see myself with you

Her references are indeed images of "virtualism" - the world of Grand Theft Auto spilling over into reality with the petty theft of baseball cards, the traffic offences, making you wonder what else they did together. But of course the highest sense of "virtualism" in the song is the almost tragic last line, "I could almost see myself with you" - even the subject of the song, whoever it may be, is not a true reality yet. And it's quite nice that these are touched with that synthpop vibe (co-created by Willy Duft) because it gives a dreamy appeal, something not real, a little bit videogame if you get me. Escapism. A summer romance that never was nor will be.

Anyway, that was that. She's got a lovely voice and she's working on releasing an EP at the start of 2014. What's not to like?

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