Album Review: Alice Ivy – I’m Dreaming

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Australia’s dance scene is reaching new heights this year thanks, in part, to the revolutionary young artists pumping it with new life. Annika Schmarsel, better known by her stage name Alice Ivy, is at the forefront of this movement with her music style as new-age as her path to success. The Melbourne-based beat-master has performed at Splendour in the Grass, toured with Urthboy & Joyride, sold out multiple independent headline shows and was recently signed by record label Dew Process, all from the craze of her two singles, 'Touch' and 'Almost Here'. But her long-awaited debut LP I’m Dreaming, released last week, is something different — something more. Her previous singles are pieces to a much larger story, told through an amalgamation of well-balanced and utterly creative tracks.

There is nothing we love more than the story of an underdog. With songs such as 'Chasing Stars', 'Almost Here', 'Get Me A Drink' and 'I’m Dreaming', Alice Ivy’s album acts as a looking glass into the triumphs and losses endured by the artist during the past years in her musical career. While this album feels personal, it is her refreshing electronic style and production that keeps this album light and dreamy; an album intended to be explored from start to finish.

Alice Ivy is many things: a producer, an artist, an instrumentalist, a vocalist and more. 'Touch' is one of the purest examples of her unquestionable skillset. This track takes its listeners straight down the rabbit hole to our own personal wonderland, opening with a sample from one of our favourite childhood past times. Infused with funky beats, soulful vocals and an R&B style, Alice Ivy delivers electronic production that is out of this world. The cinematic song is the soundtrack to dancing through to the morning, desperately clinging to a night that, in that moment, you want to last forever.

Surprisingly, it is Alice Ivy’s ability to collaborate that deserves her the crown of best contemporary talent within the electronic music genre. 'Chasing Stars', featuring ARIA-winning singer/songwriter, Bertie Blackman, is an ode to this. The singer’s raw vocal performance, paired with warm synths and whimsical horns, creates a dreamy, washed-out track to play on a hot Summer’s afternoon. 'Be Friends' is another example of a crowd-winning collaboration. Featuring the voices of Cazeaux O.S.L.O and Tim De Cotta, the track combines flavours of hip-hop and electronica to create an upbeat song on the importance of friendship — particularly during times of musical domination. The song is accompanied by an enjoyable, down-to-Earth music video entailing the very real struggle of trying to find your friend at a music festival. However, later in the album, it is 'Get Me A Drink' that is the ultimate party anthem. Complemented by a feverish, tongue-twisting rap from Charlie Threads and smooth vocals from E^AST, Alice Ivy pulls out her best beat drops and instrumental sounds to completely intoxicate her listeners.

Alice Ivy concludes her album with two sensations in mind, the first being floating in the gentle breeze on a bed of clouds, and the second, dreaming; the way any good journey should end. 'I’m Dreaming' opens with the sweet, sweet sound of Georgia van Etten, only to be elevated by Alice Ivy’s magnetic beats. From soul vocals and R&B instrumental sounds to hypnotic beats and glitches, the track continues to define Alice Ivy as an artist that cannot be defined, and for this reason, deserves to represent the album’s entirety. The track eases into 'Kaya High', which blends crackling vinyl sounds, smooth soul vocals and cool piano strokes to create a jazz-inspired euphoria. With brave lyricism such as “Big city, no limits”, and rising beats, the track leaves the listener up in the air in the greatest possible way.  

Amassing over 900,000 plays for her first singles, it was only expected that Alice Ivy’s debut album would soar her to new heights — and it has done exactly that. The body of artistic genius, I’m Dreaming, washes over you in warm waves, with each song perfectly synced to the next — to be savoured through a hot Summer’s day with your closest friends. Alice Ivy’s national headline tour kicked off in Sydney on February 16, and we can only imagine the sensation of witnessing her talent live. We’re all dreamers after all.

Written by Hannah Woodfield

You can purchase I'm Dreaming here or stream it via Apple Music

Find out more info about her February/March tour dates here