Today’s artist spotlight is on the noise soul singer/songwriter/producer Alex Vargas. His debut EP “Giving Up the Ghost” was released on iTunes January 22, 2016.
The singer was raised in Denmark but is based in the U.K., according to A Music Blog Yea. He was in the band Vagabond, who opened up for The Script and James Morrison, but left in 2010 to pursue his own solo ventures as a way to have more creative freedom, according to MTV.
The EP features new age production styles, such as pulsating synths that elevate the listener and allow the song to sway in waves that can break abruptly and then re-emerge. Vargas’ music includes purposeful glitches that stop and start background vocal tracks or other parts of the instrumentation, as heard in the song “Giving Up the Ghost.” These glitches are used to further the groove of the song but to also create an unconventional beat simultaneously.
Notable tracks by Alex Vargas are “Giving Up the Ghost” and “Shackled Up” and “Solid Ground.”
Vargas’ vocals are intense, his falsetto is haunting and the overall production is dense but not overbearing. Vargas’ music has a cold, chill atmosphere, which complements Vargas’ vocals well.
He combines his soulful vocals with techno production and real electric guitar pickings. When describing his music in an interview with A Music Blog Yea, Vargas said, “There are kind of no boundaries. You know, you are not sort of picking a side anymore. You don’t have rock-n-roll, soul, R&B, it’s not like that. It is a lot of different things. I think electronic music with sort of live guitars and soulful melodies is one way of describing it.”
Through finding inspiration in artists ranging from D’Angelo to Sam Cooke, Aretha Franklin and Jeff Buckley, Vargas channels in these older works with new-age production to create a sound particular to his creativity.
“I am definitely heavily inspired by lots of different things. I asked my friend, what he would call it. He is a very talented producer and he called it Noise Soul, which actually, I think works. Maybe sort of Acoustic Electronic Noise Soul,” said Vargas in the same interview with A Music Blog Yea.
Vargas’ songs are raw and carry themes of introspective critical thinking towards his inner faults and the breakdown of his mental strength along with his relationships. Vargas’ internal turmoil, which seems to inspire many of his new songs, propels a lot of the lyricism. The honesty matched with unique take on production creates a refreshing listen.
In “Solid Ground,” Vargas sings “I know he's safety / And I am disarray / My will be done / I'd have you any way,” going onto sing “In the arms of another / You're on solid ground / I'm a fool / I'm a coward / And I'm breaking down.” His honesty shines through and his vocals are easily able to bolster the lyrical themes, which have a chilling effect.
Vargas has created his own sound and possibly even his own genre, not from a lack of respect for other genres, but as a direct result as his reverence for artists from all areas of music. As a result from his experimentation and commitment to rawness, he has created an exceptional EP that balances the new with the old, big with the intimate and sound with the silence.