I met up with Jenna Bennett at the Devil’s Dyke pub for an informal chat about everything she’s doing. In between the giggles, she told me about playing open mics, her band and letting other people rearrange her songs.
“I don’t really get angry that much, I am an emotional Bernard [?] but if someone upsets me, I will write a song about it. I don’t tend to confront people about things.”
Since I started writing about music in Brighton, there’s someone I’ve wanted to tell you about. Her music is deeply personal, and yet highly relatable. I can’t tell you why, and it’s for one of the reasons I love writing about music. There’s music which just needs to be talked about, and it’s often the most difficult to quantify why using just words. Maybe words coupled with some frantic arm gestures – indicating something of the whizzes and pops that happen in your brain while you watch her perform will do. Although a video of me leaping around flailing my arms might be entertaining in a YouTube kinda way, it wont tell you much about Jenna Bennet, and she’s far more interesting.
After seeing her perform on her own live, I knew I’d end up writing about her. With little effort, she achieves something that any musician strives for; the hairs on the back of your neck stand up. There’s magic in the way Jenna performs a song. You’re being exposed to an intimately personal and cheerfully delivered part of her experience, which is part of her appeal. Her own quirky personality leaks into her delivery, giving her a unique and highly appealing sound overall that is undeniably authentic.
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There are hundreds of directions music could take in the new web wide world. Records like Konoba’s ‘Mind the Gap’ provide an exciting glimpse at a destination any aspiring singer songwriters should be endeavouring towards. It culminates a life’s work. There’re plenty of releases with great songs well performed, but what makes this stand out is a production style that’s unique to one man.
Konoba (real name Raphael Esterhazy) is a native French speaking, Belgian born architecture student. He took the chance to travel to London to study music, then to Brighton to study production, and then brought the two worlds together with a playful flair that demonstrates the huge potential for a creating with a home studio.
The album kicks off with the track ‘Everything is Everything’ and a few bars of a hard edged industrial loop, made using a sample of a broken printer. The minimalism of the opening bars opens up to a flowing acoustic guitar part and a warm vocal; a whole chorus from one voice. He uses the studio and the technology as another instrument in itself, made up of smaller individual sounds, but ultimately built into the track in a way that gives it a voice of its own.
Breathing life into technology the way Konoba has managed to on this is no small task. It means creating an extension of an idea that has been explored before in the music of people like Radiohead: how do you express emotion through technology? ‘Mind the Gap,’ explores this, perhaps unconsciously, and provides a very strong argument that technology doesn’t hinder the pursuit of true expression. In his own words: “There’s a lot you can these days with a little bit of equipment, if you know how to use it.”
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