Hockeysmith‘s double single “It’s Happening / You’re Happening” is out now via her own label eel.
Hockeysmith is the musical outlet of Cornwall-based Annabel Hockeysmith. Since 2014, the artist has produced a catalogue of fantastic, disorienting dance music, draped in the dream-like textures of shoegaze. Her latest single “You’re Happening” is, as Annabel puts it, “a boozy smoochy number.” It’s got the haze of a night where everything starts to blend together – r&b vocals melting into lofi fuzz, wide washing synths stirred up by groovy percussion loops.
The song is produced by frequent Hockeysmith collaborator Lxury whose lofi, sample-driven dance music has caught the attention of folks like Disclosure. He lays back on this one – kick, snares, and typically crunchy percussion loops in no rush to land on beat. Annebel‘s vocals orbit the rhythms, dancing laps across the width of the stereo, at once hypnotic, psychedelic surrealism and tantalizing r&b anthem. Somehow something like an 80s pop ballad seems to slowly emerge from the depths of the song. The hook is absolutely undeniable, and when Lxury gives us a passage of saxophone it’s more George Michael or Sade than it is Parker or Coltrane.
The song’s vibe is so enthralling that you don’t always register its odd twists – the little snips in its fabric, like skips on a cd. Lxury‘s sharp-cut edits are jolts in your sleep, forgotten moments where you half-wake from the dream. He uses these to switch between grooves – what sounds first like a stutter is actually the kick in his next pattern. Annabel‘s vocal produces the same effect, shifting under your feet even as you sway with her melodies. You only register that she is repeating the line “baby now you cease” when she finally completes it – “baby now you cease / to exist.”
“I was a bit tipsy when I was working on the demo vocal,” says Annebel, “but we ended up keeping it. Some notes might be off key but that’s what I love about Andy as a producer, he manages to capture the authenticity in my songs without making it sound too polished.”
Hockeysmith initially formed as a teenage collaboration between Annabel and her sister Georgie. On 2014’s debut EP But Blood, the pair blended shoegaze with acid house and emerged with an ethereal collection of psychedelic atmospheres. The group evolved in the years since, as they immersed themselves in Cornwall’s post-rave culture. Now mostly a solo act, Hockeysmith continues to explore original bewitching, hypnotic sensibilities, but her music feels less genre-bound. She slides between odd ball electro-pop, modern psychedelia, and her first love; the undeniable shoe-gaze of MBV, Cocteau Twins, and Sonic Youth.