Zyna Hel is the new avant-pop project from leftfield musician Elisabeth Oswell, who colours her lyrics with a melancholic tone and conjures up imagery that radiates genuine poetic potency. With a sonorous voice, Oswell drives the words to the forefront, and her restrained soundscapes – sometimes built of little more than a sparse drum pattern and a synth loop – leave her with little to hide behind. “There’s an atmosphere I want to create around my words and my voice doesn’t lend itself to fuller instrumentation” she explains. “I listen to a lot of doom metal, drone, Stars of the Lid, Earth, Labradford; artists who have a minimalist approach, and perhaps this has subconsciously influenced me”. It’s got us gripped, and we’ve began digging through an intriguing curriculum vitae which boasts collaborative work with the revered underground musician Andrew Liles. “Andrew and I met for the first time in Italy a few years ago when I was playing with a band called Hush Arbors”, she tells us. “A little while later I sang for him on Mind Mangled Trip Monster, a record about coming to the realisation that there is no God. We recorded in his studio right next to the graveyard where Sylvia Plath is buried, and although I usually can’t sing someone else’s lyrics, the energy was right and it felt very natural to me”. Aside from music, Oswell has dipped into realms of visual and performance art, and she admits she’s got a tendency to get sidetracked by her creative instincts, “I could get into crochet next month and end up playing gigs wearing knitted catsuits”. But we feel assured that she’s channelling plenty of energy into this project, because Zyna Hel’s music feels like it’s erupting.
File Next To: Beth Gibbons | Zola Jesus