“It’s rare to find dream-pop that resolves with such assured optimism, in which you can sense experience shifting into its proper place… Kramies seems to have mastered the talent of simply breathing it into shape” – Misfit City
Dutch-American singer-songwriter Kramies has been honing his inimitable craft for many years, bewitching all who have heard his music along the way. Fusing masterful songwriting with electronics and atmospherics, stepping into a Kramies song means being swept up into an emotionally resonant vortex of swooning pop that simply demands repeat listens.
Into The Sparks (Single)
A duet with French singer-songwriter Alma Forrer, ‘Into The Sparks’ is a gorgeous anti-gravity ballad. Kramies and Alma’s voices reverberate amidst open acoustic guitar chords, backed by aching synths. The release also includes a stripped back acoustic version of the single.
Recorded live on April 8th 2015 at The Grand Théâtre in Angers, France
On a spring evening in 2015, the setting sun cast deep shadows over The Grand Théâtre in Angers, France, where Kramies was due to play to a sold-out crowd. As the 700 ticket-holders took to their seats and the theatre dimmed to a single amber light, Kramies walked on stage to perform his haunting, romantic songs. This is a recording of that night.
forêts antiques is the new live EP by singer-songwriter Kramies, featuring recordings of tracks from his acclaimed EPs, plus a previously unreleased song.
The Fate That Never Favored Us
Ahead of his forthcoming French tour, dream-pop troubadour Kramies has dropped another gorgeous track produced by Jason Lytle (Grandaddy). ‘The Fate That Never Favored Us’ is a lilting, swaying cosmic waltz, delicately built around melancholy acoustic guitar and eerie synths, through which Kramies weaves his languid vocals. As with so much of his music, Kramies delivers soundtracks to moments rather than mere songs.
The Folklore Sessions
The Folklore Sessions is the free new EP by dream-pop singer-songwriter Kramies, featuring acoustic versions of songs from his two acclaimed Hidden Shoal EPs The European and The Wooden Heart, plus the beautiful piano talents of Grant Wilson (from Syfy’s Ghost Hunters). While his previous EPs mined a wonderfully rich seam of atmospheric yet epic songcraft, The Folklore Sessions demonstrates that Kramies’ songwriting is just as stunning without the undeniable production talents of Jason Lytle (Grandaddy) and Todd Tobias (Guided By Voices, Robert Pollard, Circus Devils). With just his voice and acoustic guitar, plus languid piano backing by Grant Wilson (of Ghost Hunters TV show fame), these stripped-back versions of The European’s ‘Antiquarian Days’, The Wooden Heart’s title track and ‘Sea Otter Cottage’ are given vivid new life through Kramies’ genuinely affecting performances.
The Wooden Heart
The Wooden Heart is the luscious and expansive new EP from Colorado-based dream-pop artist Kramies. The EP features the production and instrumental talents of Jason Lytle of Grandaddy fame, along with the inimitable production and additional instrumentation of Robert Pollard co-conspirator Todd Tobias. The Wooden Heart mines a wonderfully rich seam of atmospheric yet epic songcraft that Kramies has made his own. From the throbbing ambient introduction of ‘The Beginning’ through to the delicate folk of ‘The Ending’, Kramies’ new EP covers vast emotional and musical terrain during its 23-minute run-time. The title track’s windswept grandeur is married to an emotional directness that demands your attention and doesn’t let go, ‘Sea Otter Cottage’ sways and swoons with an almost unbearable poignancy, and ‘Clocks Were All Broken’ both alludes to and embodies this music’s timeless appeal. In addition to Todd Tobias’s production (on ‘The Beginning’, ‘The Wooden Heart’, ‘Upon The Northern Isles’ and ‘The Ending’), The Wooden Heart EP also features the production and instrumental talents of Jason Lytle of Grandaddy fame (on ‘Sea Otter Cottage’ and ‘Clocks Were All Broken’). Rounded out by the beautiful artwork of French photographer Jérôme Sevrette, The Wooden Heart EP is a lovingly constructed work of art.
Produced by Todd Tobias (Guided By Voices, Robert Pollard, Circus Devils), The European sets Kramies’ gorgeous voice and acoustic guitar within a glowing tableau, epic in scope yet delicate in detail. The EP fades into view with ‘Intro’, a simple cyclical pattern of guitar, piano and vocals gradually subsumed by drones and distortion. This leads into the majestic, glacial sway of the title track, guaranteed to make the hairs on the back of your neck stand on end. Then, ‘Inventors’ is the album’s dark, shadowy heart, a ballad of subtle intensity. Single ‘Coal Miners Executive Club’ is an emotionally resonant vortex of swooning pop built around an absolutely heartbreaking chord progression on synthesizer, carried skyward as layers and layers of instruments build and build. And the closing ‘Antiquarian Days’ is a fitting fade towards a sepia horizon, burbling loops and chiming guitars accompanying Kramies’ gentle lament.
Dutch-American singer-songwriter Kramies Windt began writing songs at the age of 14 after buying his first synth, acoustic guitar and four-track cassette recorder at an estate sale in his home town of Cleveland, Ohio. Even though he was never really exposed to any music other than old Dutch Christmas records his family had lying around when he was a kid, their haunting sound would shape the direction of his future songwriting.
Kramies started forming and playing in bands around the age of 16, and by the age of 19, the bands he formed became based around the songs he was writing. The bands took on many forms, playing the underground music scene from Ohio to Chicago. Come the late ’90s, Kramies developed his own sound, based around old-world imagery of cobblestone streets, old trains and castles, and romantic, poetic moments. Kramies and his band went on to open for Spiritualized, Grandaddy, Yo La Tengo, Calexico, Stereolab, Dirty Three and Red House Painters.
Come 2004, Kramies decided to focus on writing and recording in the studio, and began working with producer and engineer Todd Tobias (Guided By Voices, Robert Pollard) and guitarist David Paolucci. Working with Todd and David, Kramies released two albums to critical acclaim: Golden Like A New Thing (ACM, 2008) and Castle of Ghosts (ACM, 2010).
In 2010 Kramies began writing the songs for his first Hidden Shoal release, The European EP, in his coat closet in Colorado. The songs were demoed on four-track, painting a vivid sonic picture of the direction the release would take, drawing on the haunting old-world imagery he loved so much as a kid. The demos were sent to David Paolucci to start working on guitar parts in Ohio. Kramies then toured Ireland, playing really old pubs and small concert halls, which brought new ideas and layers to the songs. The European EP was recorded in June and July 2011 with Todd Tobias, with prominent, swirling guitar work from Dave Paolucci.
Hidden Shoal is excited to end the celebration of its 10th year of existence with the new compilation album Eat Your Friends, comprising remixes and covers of Hidden Shoal artists, by Hidden Shoal artists. This freely downloadable album not only showcases the wealth of original music released through Hidden Shoal, but also the creative ingenuity and deft musical touch of the remixers and cover artists.
From searing solar-flared adaptations to delicately reconstructed covers, deep space jam reworkings, and shimmering ambient tapestries, Eat Your Friends reimagines the Hidden Shoal discography in new and beautiful ways, playing to all the strengths of the roster’s dizzying array of talent.
Includes remixes and covers by: Antonymes, Arc Lab, Glanko, Wayne Harriss, Liminal Drifter, Makee, Chloe March, Markus Mehr, Erik Nilsson, REW<<, Slow Dancing Society, Tin Manzano, Willem Gator, and Zealous Chang of music by: Arc Lab, Brother Earth, Cheekbone, City of Satellites, Medard Fischer, Gilded, Glanko & Daniel Bailey, Kryshe, Memorybell, Erik Nilsson, perth, Slow Dancing Society, Tangled Star, Umpire, and Zealous Chang.
Eat Your Friends is available now as a free download via Bandcamp and is also streamable via SoundCloud. Listen and then throw yourself into the wormhole as you explore the originals and more work by the remixers and cover artists. For all the filmmakers, games designers and others in need of engaging music, don’t forget that all tracks in our catalogue are available for licensing (film, tv, games, compilations etc).
Check out the latest edition of The Big Takover magazine (made out of actual paper!!) and you’ll find an interview with our very own Kramies nestled between the likes of Lush, Kid Congo Powers and Russian Circles! Dig a bit further and you’ll also find a beautiful review of Joe Sampson‘s recent EP Songs of Delay. Good times!
Kramies gives a sneak peek of his forthcoming 2017 EP!
The ever wonderful Kramies has contributed a fantastic, haunting cover version of Jane’s Addiction’s ‘Summertime Rolls’ to the latest volume of French webzine À Découvrir Absolument’s series of compilations. The original, from 1988’s Nothing Shocking, was already a pretty sparse and spacious track, lending itself beautifully to Kramies’ beatless, weightless interpretation for voice, acoustic guitar and synth.
We have a lovely little Tuesday delight for you in the form of a music video for the acoustic version of Kramies new single ‘Into The Sparks’ (feat. French chanteuse Alma Forrer). The track is a gorgeous anti-gravity ballad with Kramies and Alma’s voices reverberating amidst open acoustic guitar chords. Simply beautiful.
Check out the video at YouTube and Vimeo and head to Kramies’ BandCamp to grab yourself a free download of both the original single and this acoustic version. Be sure to check out Kramies other releases, music videos and news here and listen to more of Alma Forrer’s music here.
It’s a special day when you get to share a new single from our very own dream pop troubadour Kramies. So you can’t hold back our excitement at being able to announce the release of Kramies’ stunning new single ‘Into The Sparks’. A duet with French singer-songwriter Alma Forrer, ‘Into The Sparks’ is a gorgeous anti-gravity ballad. Kramies and Alma’s voices reverberate amidst open acoustic guitar chords, backed by aching synths. Simply beautiful. The release also comes with a special acoustic version of the single.
Hidden Shoal is extremely excited to be celebrating its 10th birthday this month. It’s hard to believe that back in May 2006, Perth-based musicians Cam Merton, Stuart Medley and Malcolm Riddoch began Hidden Shoal Recordings as a means to put out releases by local artists. Tim Clarke, based in Melbourne, joined the team in 2007. Hidden Shoal has since gone on to become a much-loved independent label and publisher, releasing over 120 albums from a diverse range of international artists and licensing music from its catalogue across film, tv, web and compilation.
Stay tuned for special anniversary announcements in the coming months!
Check out the lovely live, lo-fi acoustic version of the Kramies‘ track ‘The Fate That Never Favoured Us’ over at the excellent Soul Kitchen webzine. The performance was filmed in the haunted(!) woods of Ohio last year. While you’re in the mood for live Kramies be sure to download his latest EP, forêts antiques, which documents tracks from his 2015 live show in France. The EP is available as a free download.
“With its murmured tonalities and spectral yearns, there’s a ghostly beauty attaching to the faintly forlorn ethereal dreamscape that is ‘into the sparks’, its weightlessness, pause and poise bathing all in a serene enchantment as though a love noted visitation all framed upon a cavernous haloing that arcs and sighs in demurring formations all the time housed in an orbiting hermetically sealed shelling. It marks a twilight happening perhaps rather more a shared moment maybe a journey embarked upon by a chance meeting between Kramies and Alma Forrer, he providing the delicately drawn sonic ghost lights, she the tenderly fragile and trembling hymnal phrasing. However, for us it’s the acoustic version of the same track that ushered itself into our affections, where the celestial unworldliness of the ‘full version’ is somewhat lassoed and drawn earthbound whereupon the love note coding succulently shimmer with a mystical folk beguilement that hints of a thoughtful lost in the moment Linda Perhacs.”
[Translated via Google. Read the original here.]
“Accompanied by the sweet Alma Forrer, Kramies offers us “Into The Sparks”, a sumptuous and phantasmagoric folk ballad on a background of correspondence.
Everything started from a magical and rare encounter between two folk lovers. On one side of the Atlantic, the young Parisian Alma Forrer, author of two first emotional EPs, with eternal and inestimable stories. On the other side of the ocean, beyond the paths and mountains, in the heart of Colorado’s forests, Denver’s Kramies, a compelling singer and friend of the exciting Jason Lytle. Together, the two interpreters offer us a rare moment: “Into The Sparks”, an unexpected and fragile conversation between two dreamers, between two sensibilities, at a distance and at the same time so close. Alma in French and Kramies in English revive the singular art of correspondence; Where, when the two voices agree to better unite.
But what we love above all is the story that Kramies offers us to accompany listening and to tell, with his words, this collaboration. We have translated this wonderful introduction:
“A long time ago, there was a magnificent singer named Alma who lived in a sumptuous place called Paris. Far away, far away in the high mountains, lived a silent troubadour named Kramies. One day, as he was walking through the woods, he began to sing a mysterious song. And as she crouched in her garden, thousands of miles away, Alma also began to sing a curious melody. On that fateful day, their voices crossed the oceans, crossed the small towns and dark forests of greenery to find themselves … and when they finally collided, they gave birth to a magnificent and ethereal song; Into The Sparks. ”
This sacred Kramies has not yet finished surprising us!”
“That there is sensitive or not, it is an undeniable magic Kramies . This ability in some chords to lighten your body, to make it supple, malleable, able to traverse the heavenly distance that separates our life from now from the ancient forests of our childhood. A flight, a suspension of time, an enchanting parenthesis, enchanting. The landscapes of our lives freeze and then parade in slow motion, all more poetic than the others they come to remember to us, Christmas garland of yellowed and smiling Polaroids. Kramies a really special thing to bring to the surface of the most insignificant details of a forgotten ballad on the moor (the smell of the gorse heated by a white sun, the friction of a calf on wild ferns, reflect Of a cloud on a sea of oil, the smile of this unknown crusader at the turn of a path) as the most tragic or magical moments of the crucial stages of our lives. The most gratifying is that Kramies does not even realize what is going to listen to his songs. Magic.
Live, his “amazing” compositions are even more impressive, more beautiful if possible. Dejected from the few arrangements that could have lingered, here we are facing purified melodies, bone, hair, just his voice as a dream appeared and his guitar. No frim, never, no superfluous, no effects of neck or accessories. The simplicity of the evidence, the emotion of the skin, the beating of the heart. It is beautiful (by definition) not to be in the room to listen to this super EP, we are quickly taken to chills and sometimes dizzy in this short and fascinating maelstrom emotions so frozen in the air of this sublime Which is the Grand Théâtre d’Angers. Magic. Seized by the gentle tension and palpable beauty in the room. Despite the digital, the distance, the virtuality. These dreamlike and melancholy ballads cross the space in order to pick us in what we have most beautiful and purest: these scattered crumbs of lost innocence, buried deep within our entrails. I realized then that I knew nothing. I did not know that I had kept all that in me.
Thus stripped and boned and rejoined the Sea Otter Classic Cottage, The Wooden Heart , like Ireland, sublime novelty, is a unique moment, a moment of truth shining and pure beauty. The acme of a season in levitation. A majestic and capitalized performance. A confirmation. A dawn full of promises. Magic.”
“A new release by Kramies is always something to be cherished. But, this time, our favourite self-styled dream-pop artiste has maybe met his match. After his recent dalliance in Angers and the subsequent release of the sublime forêts antiques EP, now he’s partnered with Alma Forrer, a young French singer-songwriter influenced by Barbara, Jacques Brel, and Michel Polnareff among others. It’s hard to imagine anyone more baba cool than Kramies, but Alma Forrer might just have managed it. There are two versions of ‘Into The Sparks’ to download. So, don’t write off the acoustic version, which is simply sublime. Ceci n’est pas une pipe. Ceci devrait être une tube. Formidable Kramies. Allez Kramies et Alma Forrer.”
“Accompanied by the soft Alma Forrer, Kramies offers us “Into The Sparks,” a lavish and spooky folk ballad set against a matching backdrop.
It all started with a magical and rare encounter between two folk lovers shivering. On one side of the Atlantic, the young Parisian Alma Forrer, author of the first two EPs moving, the eternal and priceless stories. On the other side of the ocean, beyond the trails and mountains in the heart of Colorado lost forests, Denvers Kramies, soulful singer and friend of accomplice exciting Jason Lytle. Together, the two interpreters offer us a rare moment: “Into The Sparks,” an unexpected and delicate conversation between two dreamers, between two sensitivities, distance and both so close. Alma in French and in English Kramies reconnect with the singular art of correspondence; where, when both voices agree to better unite.
This sacred Kramies has not finished surprising us!”
“The French chanson creator Alma Forrer and US based avant-garde musician Kramies release the dream-folk two track single Into The Sparks today. The single consists of an acoustic version and a full version of Into The Sparks (available on bandcamp). Whilst Kramies has often featured on the site this is the first time I have had the opportunity to hear Alma Forrer and listening to her compositions is time well spent (also available on bandcamp).
The calmly paced track circles around the room akin to an eagle gliding on thermals and the combinations of voices hold the listener entranced as the subtle electronic hum flows imperceptibly through the four and a quarter minutes of the full version, whilst acoustic guitar flecks dappled shapes to the composition.”
- original French]
“There are encounters that make sparks. And when in addition there are two artists that we love at SK, it kindles the senses, a musical nirvana. Alma & Kramies Forrer – Alma in Paris, Kramies in Denver. One, the enlightened American dream, the other is an ardent Francophile. Together, they offer us a suspended moment of delicacy and sweetness, an air of musical embrace.”
“So skinned and boned and rejoined the Sea Otter Classic Cottage, The Wooden Heart , like Ireland, sublime novelty, is a unique moment, a moment of truth shining and pure beauty. The point of a season in levitation. A majestic and capitalized performance. A confirmation. A dawn full of promises. Magic. ”
“Dutch-American Kramies Windt has presented his romantic, big-and-open-hearted pop songs through a line of fine EPs: The European (2011); The Wooden Heart (2013, promoted by its title track The Wooden Heart); and the splendid The Folklore Sessions (2014). This spring, Kramies launched a brand new single, The Fate That Never Favored Us (produced by Jason Lytle) before he went on tour in France and recorded this live EP called Forêts Antiques.
Forêts Antiques (in English: ‘Ancient forests’) was recorded live on April 8th at The Grand Théâtre in Angers, France in front of a crowd of 700. The singing and playing, or the performance by Kramies is so laid-back and relaxed, yet he’s so present and focused with his songs. “Sea Otter Cottage” (from The Wooden heart, reworked on the acoustic Folklore Sessions) opens the show (or the recorded part of the show), and it’s followed by “The Fate That Never Favored Us”. These songs shows the enigmatic intensity and the vibrant excitement of Kramies’ music. “The Fate…” shows some relation to Jason Lytle’s music, even though the two gents have quite different voices. “Ireland” is a brand new, never before released song and it fits quite well into Kramies’ songbook. “The Wooden Heart” works well, but the closing “Antiquarian Days” (from The European) is probably the best track this time. At first listen, Kramies’ songs appear quite anonymous and somewhat grey. However, when you let the songs spin to grow and fly, they come straight at you. They grab you, hold you, and they never let you go. You’d better give them a try. The man, his voice, and his acoustic guitar. Simple as that.”
- original French via Google.]
“I would be foolish to deny that Kramies has hung in my ears for almost two years, since the virtually ectoplasmic presence and ethereal beauty of the sound of his “Wooden Heart”, audible and visual twice, one by the excellent work of Jerome Sevrette for the artwork, and the other for the imaging facility inspired by the sounds and the same person Kramies, frail seated figure in his chair, as a small kid shaggy blond on the scene, powerful simplicity, fragile in the vastness. Years without time hardware, lulled by the slow flow and glittering river both mother Bagheera, and has both open wounds scar and Peter Pan, two years, lying on the river bank has become the banner and bugle all those little pearls that offers here and there in the illuminated oyster shells littering the bottom of his soul, and I mean it offers, because my dear American troubadour is also generous in dreamscapes that disks, the proof is there that this live recorded earlier this year in the sumptuous theater of Anger (and there exists more beautiful to dream a theater of this ilk?) opening for A singer must die is present. Kramies is even more fragile because more true, a skin-deep without Carnival makeup nor leaks or possible escapes, stand there, arms of his guitar, and throw it to the big wolves ears that inhabit the room. But here, the frail and talented (Jason Lyttle will agree with me) little cub mane of fire inspires a respect that goes to the world of silence, the universe is silent on the nostalgic and sensitive phrased the cantor, you Kramies moves in the inertia of wonder, Kramies took you in its tranquil river current, Kramies I do not know where or carries you would know, but we all share, whatever, the further away by his side more shining gold and music theory, ignites the surface of the water, stunned the world, and there is silence, and silence filled the silence and sings. Yes, I’m biased and probably very biased, it is impossible to listen to the dreamy drifts that Mr unable to take part, will be able to take wings, they can not take dreams for realities. But enjoy the windfall, take advantage of these palms filled with treasures has brought listening, enjoy this way of traveling elsewhere than in our skins, enjoy this time a part of the world, enjoy this current its place under your flesh gleams and sparks.”
– Le Cargo
Kramies’ music is available for licensing (master & sync cleared) through Hidden Shoal. Please contact us with some basic details about your project and the track(s) you wish to use and we’ll be sure to get back to you straight away.