Maria Minerva and d'Eon just dropped their own versions of "Birds of Paradise" and "Hey Sparrow," adding to Peaking Lights' ever-expanding roster of top notch remixers that includes the likes of DaM-FunK, Main Attrakionz, and Patten, all of whom appear on the forthcoming '936' Remix LP. But if you're craving even more from Madison's best husband-and-wife duo, Peaking Lights are curating additional 936 re-workings by Damu, Sunless '97, Cadenza, and Doldrums available streaming at 936.fm. --Mark Craig, Altered Zones via Gorilla Vs Bear
The UK/Europe release of 936 drops tomorrow on Weird World, the same place you can pick up the limited '936' Remix 12"
In an aerial and libidinous tone, Maria Minerva conveys her love for a woman who’s “sent from above” and touches like "the hands of God” over a fabric of Not Not Fun-brand hypnagogic, dream-funk on her new single “Gloria.” --Mark Craig, Altered Zones
Minerva's Sacred And Profane Love EP drops November 15 on 100% Silk
Not Not Fun's bewitching top girl Maria Minerva is back with a video for "Once Upon," an instrumental track from her recent full-length, Cabaret Cixous. The self-directed video consists exclusively of grainy footage of Minerva's former London haunts, with cars and apartments sweeping past her periphery.
Says Maria Minerva:
"Well, "Once Upon" is one of the two instrumental tracks on my album. Instrumentals are something that people probably don't associate me with because I always sing, but I might go more in that direction. Who knows? And the video is shot with a camcorder on the way from my old house in Stoke Newington/East London to New Cross/South London, where my uni is. First I'm taking the bus and then the train obviously. The video will always remind me of my sad, early days in London. This city really got the best of me but also there's this urban poetry to it, and I guess together with the track title, it tells some kind of story..." --Jasmine Zhu, Altered Zones
Grab Cabaret Cixous, available on CD and LP from Not Not Fun
This new video from NNF artist Maria Minerva mines a completely different visual stock from "Lovecool", the last video we saw for her debut album, Cabaret Cixous. Where that video displayed an interest in dated web art, Tumblr-style new age imagery, and surreal infomercial aesthetics, this Joonatan Allandi-directed video translates the soupy, aquatic swagger of "Ruff Trade" with hand-held footage of a lazy afternoon shooting hoops. Juur mentioned a subconscious predilection for the 1990s and "bad" pop music in her recent AZ profile, and her affinity is especially evident in both this video and track. The "edgy" editing aesthetic, coupled with Juur's seemingly sincere singing-to-camera, recalls a number of music video tropes from that era. --Shea Bermingham, Rose Quartz
Considering her biography, it's surprising that no one saw it coming. Maria Juur, or the artist known as Maria Minerva, was born in the Estonian capital city of Tallinn a few years before the country achieved independence from the USSR. The daughter of an Estonian music critic, she gravitated to the more theoretical side of the arts, earning a Bachelor's Degree in Art History from Tallinn University. Like many a member of the post-communist generation, Maria eventually grew restless in her hometown. A year ago, she moved to London to pursue a Master's in Aural & Visual Cultures at the city’s prestigious Goldsmiths college.
Maria did not begin making music until fairly recently, but her distinctive and zeitgeist-embracing lo-fi disco-pop quickly piqued the interest of the blogosphere when MP3s like "Disko Bliss" and "California Scheming" started circulating in early 2011. On the heels of a 12" on 100% Silk and her Tallinn At Dawn cassette on Not Not Fun, Maria recently dropped her first proper LP, Cabaret Cixous. Two more Maria Minerva releases are also on the way: a second EP on 100% Silk called Sacred and Profane Love, and a collaborative effort with Amanda Brown's LA Vampires. Last week, I spoke to Maria on the phone about Cabaret Cixous and the theoretical underpinnings of her music.
AZ: When did you begin recording as Maria Minerva?
Maria: I started in September 2009. I had been in London during the Summer, and I was so miserable about being back home. I was just sitting in my room and thinking that I needed a hobby for the long Estonian winter. So I made a track called "Lovecool," which is now the single for Cabaret Cixous.
AZ: Can you describe your recording process a bit?
Maria: I don't know, it's kinda hard to describe. Sometimes I just use the chance method, where I enter a random word into YouTube, and something comes up, and then I listen to it and I take a little loop or vocal sample or other musical snippet. It's not very interesting, I'm afraid; it's not like live jamming, but just me with my clips [laughs]. And then usually I have to wait until my flatmate leaves the house so I can sing.
It's summertime in the Northern Hemisphere, and summer jams are here to be embraced. You'll find that Maria Minerva's reprise for Psychic Dancehall's "Long Lost Lover" fits perfectly in your hot summer night's playlist. Minerva morphs the original track into a sexy lounge house with swirling, elusive effects and fainted, "white & neurotic" vocals, rendering an interesting club sound. --Coco Zoabi, International Tapes
By Ric Leichtung
Maria Minerva, aka Maria Juur, was born in the bedroom. Most musicians emerge from there, of course, but it's rare that their first releases are as strong as the Estonian-born musician's lean Noble Savage 12" and sprawling Tallinn at Dawn cassette. Contrary to the usual order of the blogosphere, where an unknown band that has one song can get written up on GVB and cause everyone to freak out, Minerva didn't catch eyes until a month after her two March releases dropped. Arresting and ethereal, Tallinn's "California Scheming" caught on fast, causing fans to lust after two albums that had already almost sold out-- both of which are great. The songs are introspective but accessible, packaged with infectious dance loops ("Disko Bliss," "A Little Lonely," "Strange Things Are Happening In My Room"), entrancing synths ("Unchain My Heart," "Other Side"), and lush, layered vocals ("Hagasuxzzavol," "Hop Hop Gone In Spring"). Her songs are soft, guided by flow rather than form. At times, Minerva's dismissal of firm structure can feel liberating, but it also comes off as a little amatueurish, her musings having calcified prematurely.
Minerva has definite potential, and when taken together, Savage and Tallinn feel very much like a debut bedroom effort. But you can tell that for Juur, the bedroom isn't just an outlet for self-expression, but also a place of study. She studies hard-- frankly, maybe a little too hard. There are lot of similarities between her project and female-fronted acts from LA. Maria Minerva takes cues from early Pocahaunted's echoing, indecipherable vocals, Nite Jewel's italo boogie cheese, and Geneva Jacuzzi's pronounced sexuality.
But like any good scholar, she takes what she's learned and puts her own spin on ideas that have been laid down before. You can hear it in her emphasis on layered vocals and synth pads rather than leads, a fresh and welcome update of the dragging italo trend. She trades in animal magnetism for the coy allure of an unraised brow. But what seperates her from countless others giving experimental music the old college try is her acute self-awareness. In "Sad Serenade (Bedroom Rock 'N' Roll)," she samples an interview of Ariel Pink remembering a time 10 years ago when his idol, R Stevie Moore, offered to collaborate with him after hearing some of his demos. In doing so, Maria brilliantly contextualizes her own situation as a beginner who has just been taken under the wing of LA fringe legacy label Not Not Fun. Juur is cognisant of her role as a promising newcomer and welcomes all that it entails, so it's only a matter of time until she sheds her skin as a genuinely promising follower to a real leader.
100% Silk's Noble Savage is nearly sold out and there's another pressing of Not Not Fun's Tallinn at Dawn on the way, you can also download them digitally from Boomkat. Stay tuned for the forthcoming "Cabaret Cixous" LP due this June.
90s. I remember being so fucking envious of that one guy who was wearing actual Adidas kicks when the rest of us had to make due with our Adibasses and NEKIs.
But there still was a place where we all could be one with this hyper-mode of tomorrow. A plane of existence where it did not matter who you were, what you wore, or what brand of car your father was driving. That wooden, creaking, murky floor in the middle of the classroom was open to everyone-- no child left behind. As we twisted and turned our bodies, we became one with the reddish-green disco-verse around us. Fiendish as we were, hungry for every little wave of sound floating through the air, competing for the attention of it and everyone else around us, we must have looked crazy.
Maybe we were. Insane little kids looking as stoned as hell and back, contorting our minds and bodies as we tried-- tried hard-- to eat it all up. Because, you see, this wasn't some kiddy music anymore, some dull tune they played on the radio before bedtime; this was the real thing. Copious amounts of beats per minute coursing through our veins, setting our bodies and minds on fire. And that VHS tape someone had got from someone else, who in turn had stolen it from some crazy guy in the Ural backwoods, created a sublime visu-aural experience.
As we stood there, resting our weary bodies against yet another constructional carcass that was Soviet-time architecture, we knew we had made it somewhere. But none of us had any clue where.
Text by Risto Happy
Our favourite new enchanting space-cadet chanteuse/acid hippy heroine Maria Minerva just dropped the video for the thoroughly enveloping, drowsy psyche-drama of "California Scheming", a gorgeously bugged-out jam from her recent Tallin At Dawn tape. MM looks every bit the new-age pop pin-up here, floating as she seemingly is in the midst of some kind of telepathy-access infomercial transmitted from the Intergalactic Federation of WTF - a great disparity that matches the way her lonely, alluring vocals manage to retain a sense of glamour and remoteness in spite/because of all the celestial swirl she shrouds them in.
Tallin At Dawn is sold out, but pick up the Noble Savage 12" from Amanda Brown's 100% Silk imprint while you still can
Not Not Fun sure are repping some bright beaming stuff at the moment; stoked to get a hold of this one after reading the description that talks of her expansive "style grid" of "bedroom fantasia silk-pop" and "90s-ized satin-sheets dream ballads." Maria Minerva's "California Scheming" is a real heavy hitter, with its low-laying bass movements and ultra harmonic Enya-drenched dawnscape. Even if she's a long way from California (an apartment in London), much like Nite Jewel and their homely disco, the Tallinn at Dawn tape refracts ostensibly New Age sounding synth rays into some way far off fantasia. --Richard MacFarlane, Rose Quartz