Born out of necessity during the Covid-19 pandemic, ROUÉ —Schahryar Kananian and Steffen Andrae—has managed to craft their sound without ever sharing the same physical space. Their debut EP, “Eastwest / Remote,” is dropping on June 28th, 2024, and it promises to be a captivating blend of alt rock, indie and pop influences.

ROUÉ’s sound is a fascinating evolution from the work of PSSGS, a band we’ve spotlighted before here on IDIOTEQ. While PSSGS had their own distinct style, ROUÉ ventures into more experimental territory, weaving together indie, Radiohead-inspired elements with a touch of Persian psychedelia. It’s like taking a journey through pulsing electronic landscapes, accented by Arabic string melodies and intricate drum rhythms.

The EP “Eastwest / Remote” features six tracks that are as eclectic as they are cohesive. You’ll find a mix of indie pop, electronic music, post-punk, dark jazz, and oriental sounds. Kananian and Andrae’s collaboration brings together Kananian’s indie and psychedelic background with Andrae’s post-punk DIY ethos and occasional jazz explorations.

ROUÉ makes it their own with a heavier reliance on electronic and post-punk textures.

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Lyrically, the songs delve into themes of longing and the surreal worlds that grew in our minds during lockdown.

Kananian’s vocals move fluidly from melancholy to contemplative, sometimes soaring into falsettos reminiscent of Oriental scales.

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The synthesizers and atmospheric soundscapes give the music an ethereal quality, while sharp guitars and distorted tones add a sense of urgency and introspection. The drumming—a blend of samples and live recordings—captures the unique blend of intimacy and distance that marked the band’s creative process.

To perfect their sound, ROUÉ teamed up with Hamburg-based electronic producer Lukas Endhardt.

The artwork for “Eastwest / Remote” is just as thought-provoking, with design by Fabian Bremer and a painting by New York artist A.T. Gregor. Gregor’s piece, “Pressed upon a Pane,” resonates deeply with the EP’s themes of isolation and yearning.

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ROUÉ is firmly rooted in the DIY tradition.

They’ve handled the recording, production, and release of their debut entirely on their own. “Eastwest / Remote” will be available digitally and on 12” vinyl, offering a tangible piece of their musical journey.

If you’re looking for something fresh and experimental with a Radiohead twist, ROUÉ is a band you need to check out. Their debut promises to be a fascinating listen, capturing the essence of creative collaboration in the digital age.

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