So far this year the music business has seen some really great new acts step into the arena. I Am Harlequin is the creation of German-born and London-based musician Anne Freier. While you may not have heard of her before now, odds are good that you’ve recently heard her music somewhere – her tunes have been getting spins on BBC 6Music, Radio 2, Radio 4, and NME Radio. Last season, one of her tracks was also used on the television series Skins. Anne has been praised by The Independent as one of their ‘Ones To Watch’, adding that ‘she’s the beautifully cool pop star we’ve been waiting for’.
Being a talented multi-instrumentalist, Anne takes credit for the writing, production, and recording of all her music. She exhibits a creative love of melody, strings, piano and unique percussive techniques in her work. Growing up in East Germany at the end of the GDR regime, Anne’s influences range from the opera and classical music she was exposed to in her youth, to a wider range of international popular music she discovered later in life.
Having released several singles over the last year, this summer saw the release of her first EP. The extended-player titled Craze is a creative and unique five-track collection of pop/rock songs. Opening up with the eerie title track, you’re immediately drawn into a world of haunting percussive cuts and piano melodies. Later on, the song ‘Something Else’ has a playful 80s feel to it with some really compelling synthesizer work. The collection closes with a beautiful piano ballad called ‘Wild Ones’, proving that Freier excels at a wide range of sounds while maintaining her own definite style.
Throughout her work, Freier’s voice demonstrates a wide gamut of vocal capability. She has both a strong and clear higher range as well as a haunting, yet silky, lower one. Lyrically, her songs tend to look at love, relationships, and one’s own complicated emotions through a dark, yet hopeful, lens. Overall, this is easily one of the strongest EP’s released from a new artist this year.
Anne has also proved that she intends to be a visually compelling artist. The video for the first single and title track from Craze (shown below) is a haunting and wind-swept collection of images. Her YouTube channel states that it is an ‘experimental music video, shot using a mirror construction and rig’. It’s also accompanied by an interesting ‘how it’s made’ image of Anne with this mirrored rig and video camera attached to her.
If this has whet your appetite, you’ll be pleased to know that I Am Harlequin has some gigs coming up in the next couple months – including a set at the Strawberry Fields festival in Leicestershire. Her fantastic EP can be streamed on her Soundcloud page, and she can be found on Facebook and Twitter as well. It’s great to delve into the world of a talented new artist, check her out!