Ela Stiles and Jensen Tjhung – Golden Scapel With a bubbling pot of active projects, this collaboration between Jensen Tjhung (Lower Plenty, Deaf Wish) and Ela Stiles (Songs, Bushwalking, solo) was released with zero ado. Which suits it, completely. Channelling the loose-limbed intensity of Moonpix-era Cat Power, its nine songs were slow-cooked between Sydney beach trips and late nights foolin’ around on an eight track in Melbourne. “Most of the songs are about each other in some way,” says Stiles.
Amid a smattering of duos, the two sling lead vocals back and forth and provide harmonies that serve the perfect offhanded justice to each other’s intent. Tjhung’s warm, weary croak is cooled by Stiles’s bare and sombre voice. But it’s when she sings plainly, alone – on White Tiled Room and piano ballad Who Do You Believe – that you find yourself wading thigh-deep through feelings you didn’t see coming.
There’s constant, quiet experimentation here, with luscious percussion couching the frayed and rambling Curse, and fractal sprays of folk guitar on Woman Returned.