Introducing… Alma Elste

Our Introducing... series focuses on artists who we think are worth shouting about. Here we have Parisian synth-pop parvenu, Alma Elste.

Posted on Jul 29th, 2013 in Features and Interviews, Alma Elste / By Larry Day
Introducing… Alma Elste Here at Bearded we aim to shed light on acts who don't necessarily have giant labels or muscley budgets waving banners behind them. This Introducing series will focus on artists who we think are great, regardless of how much hype surrounds them or where their origin story lays.

Name: Alma Elste
Location: Paris, France
Genre: Synthpop
Similar Artists: Lorde, Lana Del Rey, Summer Camp
Contact: Facebook, Twitter
Events: New track 'Virtualism' has just dropped.

Ever the centre of the chichi brigade, Paris is once again proving why it's a cultural Mecca. Spawning Alma Elste, the city is offering up one of its brightest musical denizens to the wider world, and giving Lana Del Rey's cinematic zeitgeist-tastic pop a continental contender. There's a smattering of Lorde-isms, in that the synthwork is firm but flighty and full of nostalgic nods to the past. It's a de rigueur tone that's being championed by a elite caste of dramatic chanteuses. There's also a distinct Summer Camp-ness to the timbre of her noises (as in the band, not a sunny flamboyance). Her masterful, serene, golden-gullet vox are as washed out and blasé as Elizabeth Sankey, but the nonchalant apathy implies much more emotion that you may think. It's a restrained, bedraggled weariness. Kind of like passing out during a fist-fight.

Elste's first track, 'Virtualism', hit the Internet recently, taking musos unaware and unprepared for the sheer talent about to unfold. Given the overwhelmingly positive reaction to the track, she's not going to remain unsigned and unknown for much longer – when we start getting meatier releases on our plate, she'll skyrocket towards bright lights like the pop starlet that's blatantly aching to break free.

The cut itself is chock full of the breathy nu-goth doldrums that Del Rey built a career on. There's a shrill, terrorised theramin synth and juddering percussion shuffling underfoot ensuring a stern backbone. It's oozing visions of a greyscale '90s; there's an odd splatter of house synths and a whirring vortex of angst signals the climax of 'Virtualism'. In regards to subject matter, Elste displays a romantic disharmony: “We'll last until sunrise/ we'll make it.” There are numerous references to the imminent failure of a relationship, despite her best intentions or desires. It's a mixture of hope and loss, simultaneously optimistic and pessimistic. She mentions chugging 40s, her love of GTA (she's influenced by the sexiness and danger of Vice City), stealing baseball cards and running red lights in a Corvette: 'Virtualism' is an ode to a conjured youth, a false reality – the world of video games.

There's little wonder that she's taken off so strongly. She may only have one song available at the moment, but there's only a matter of time before that changes and there's an EP or a record to devour. She'll either battle or fight alongside Lorde for adoring legions – they share a thematic coven – but regardless of which way that goes, Alma Elste is going to be a massive deal come 2014.