The interesting thing about Russian singer and composer Elza is that while her debut solo album Nothing’s Wrong, it seems that though her work is clearly in the wheelhouse of experimental indie punk, it’s clear that she has a real knack for sound design. The way this comes through, aside from her extremely clean composition, is in the very subtle ambient electronica that infiltrates almost every track on the album.
While the general public waits for the album to drop on November 2, examples of this ambient sound design phenomenon are present in the first two singles off Nothing’s Wrong, “Swayed” and “Endeavor.” Apparently Elza has traveled all over the world to hone her sound, studying sound design and engineering in Tel Aviv and Vancouver before settling in Toronto. This would explain why her style on these first two singles is eclectic and bold but she clearly she also knows her way around a studio. Then there’s her voice.
Stylistically, while Nothing’s Wrong straddles a number of genres, Elza’s vocals are right in that female indie niche that gave birth to phenoms like Tori Amos, Bjork and even Dolores O’Riordan. In fact, on her YouTube page Elza covered “Zombie” by the Cranberries as a tribute to the late O’Riordan. That influence can also be heard on “Endeavor,” a straight-shooting melodic ballad where the afore-mentioned ambient sound design is very subtle but also defintiely present, as it does most of the heavy lifting in carrying the track from a simple folk-style ballad to something more indie or electronic. With almost no help, the mine races with remix possibilities when listening to “Endeavor.” That’s not just a good track, that’s good sound design.
“Swayed,” while still definitely weird and indie, is a little more obviously aligned with the dancefloor. With a syncopated beat and industrial-style synths, this track is also composed in a way that illicits strong emotions from the listener while also demonstrating great technical prowess. The remixes are almost built in, if one’s mind is tuned to such things. The rest of the album follows suit, with musical feet planted squarely in rock, indie and even folk but the sound design and composition containing varying levels of ambient electronica or even outright EDM.
Most of the tracks on Nothing’s Wrong are aching to be remixed. It’s likely as well that since they’re produced with electronic elements and with sound design in mind, the stems would be very easy for EDM producers to work with. All this not only shows shows Elza’s expertise as an artist but that she understands the science of sound and is happy to push its limits. There’s a lot of potential here, so here’s hoping Elza sees it too and hooks up with other producers for collabs and remixes. Either way she’s one to watch and Nothing’s Wrong is definitely an album to take a good listen to, no matter what genre you prefer.
Nothing’s Wrong by Elza will be released in full November 2. It will be available to stream on Spotify or to purchase on her Bandcamp page. In the meantime, “Endeavor” and “Swayed” can be streamed on Spotify and Soundcloud. .