There’s a very Anglophone feel to this weekend’s playlist, with America, England and Australia featuring heavily. Even the obligatory Swede is based in the UK! There’s also a very chilled feel to a lot of the tracks, so if you fall asleep halfway through the article you’re forgiven. That said though you’ll be woken up very suddenly by the last song; it’s a banger!
Child/Olstad is a meeting of minds and music – electronic musician Chris Child (synths & production) and classical pianist Angelica Olstad. Having worked with eachother in the past on others projects, the duo recently decided to collaborate again and the result is an EP called Versions. Versions sees the duo combine electronic and classical sounds to sublime effect on tracks like Sonatine 2. With minimal tones that echo Philip Glass but infused with the warm accessibility of Ludovico Einaudi and Nils Frahm, the track and its parent EP are a sonic delight.
Synesthete (pronounced sin-is-theet) is the electronic project of New York musician Dan Dellecese. He describes his music as a blend of modern electronic synthpop and 80’s influenced synthwave. Dellecese has teamed up with British singer Christina Rotondo on new track Eclipse, a track teeming with layers of synths that echo back to the days of chilled 90s electro, but with lyrics and vocals give the track a bit of bite and an air of danger. The end result is a sound the reminds you of acts like CHVRCHES and Phoria; as dissimilar as those artists are musically, the upbeat yet reflective nature of Eclipse captures the essence of what makes people love those bands so much. You can catch up with the song and more by Synesthete on iTunes and Spotify
Australian Hobart Curtis serves up a real musical curiosity with Don’t Hate Me. There’s an 80’s indie meets modern electro vibe to the track, all filtered through layers of dreampop and trance infused melodies. What you end up with is a song that feels sunny and upbeat, but lyrically goes to some dark places. It pulls that off well, as he sings ‘Don’t hate me, I do that enough’ you just want to reach out and give him a big hug and tell him that everything is going to be OK.
Sis is a band, not a person but are another act that pull seemingly disparate genres together in to a whole and very relaxed sound. Moonsail sees the San Francisco quintet sidle up to reggae, downtempo, minimal electro and folkish melodies, picks their pockets and makes off with the best bits. The result is a song that layers laid back beats, subtle electronica and leftfield but rich female vocals to great effect. Balancing the ability to be catchy yet with a flair for the experimental, Moonsail is a sublime tune.
It wouldn’t be me it there wasn’t at least one Swedish track on the playlist, and this week we have a real jewel in the form of Let’s Sway by Avante Black. The UK based Swede has the smokiest and most emotive voice you’ve heard for a long time and the track exemplifies why alt.pop continues to be such a popular and important musical style, but in this this instance it still pushes the sonic boundaries of the genre. Warm and personal with a real sense of louche sophistication, Let’s Sway has a bit of lyrical attitude and a real catchy melody and chorus. Alt.pop at its finest!
After a three-year hiatus ESA (Electronic Substance Abuse) – the long running solo project of iVardensphere member Jamie Blacker – is back with a real stormer of a track in the form of Bad Blood Will Out. It breathes life into electro-infused industrial, dark and rhythmic and it pulsates with a real air of sensualised danger. Nuances of techno, the more brooding edges of ambient and dance merge magically into one on a song that is a musical depth charge. The track will feature on the upcoming That Beast album – you can check it out over on Ghost Cult – that’ll be released via America’s Negative Gain label.
South London band Chroma Falls cites acts like Aphex Twin, Boards of Canada and Floating Points as influences. You can hear that on some of the more esoteric and experimental brushstrokes that are applied to the broad and rich canvas that is Obsidian. Released by Land Recordings, richly layered and with an aura of shadowed majesty, the banks of synths rely on their sheer force and densely textured sounds to win the listener round. And it works. The track comes from the EP of the same name which you can check out here.
John Kunkel’s The New Division never fails to delight and he’s scored another winner with One Night In Tokyo. With futurepop flowing through its veins, the rock elements that drift in and out of range serve to give the song a wistful air as he sings about ‘intimacy in a relationship almost lost’. That is balanced by the more optimistic tones of the arrangement, giving the listener a sense of hope that things are going to be OK in the end. One Night In Tokyo is the first single from the upcoming Fader EP which is due out on May 11th.
Rayvin Moon hits all the right notes on her debut Tyler Durden. A song that feels more literary than cinematic in its scope, the words cascade down in a waterfall of striking images. Mixing the powerful with the profane as it tonally references artists like Lan Del Rey and Lolahiko, Tyler Durden manages comes across like a road diary of emotions you’re reading in a new and unfettered light. Rayvin explains the backdrop to the song by saying; “It’s about a relationship with someone who I personified as my own personal Tyler Durden, and how he brought me back to life after a really difficult series of events, how we defied societal norms together, and how badly I wanted to heal and be beautiful for him.”
Last up this week is everybody’s favourite Brazilian pop outfit Sofi Tukker with Baby I’m A Queen. To my ears it’s got a slightly darker feel to it than most of their previous releases and the fuzzy bass in the intro was a pleasant surprise. But it still has that heady mix of personal politics, pop beats and catchy hooks that typify the Sofi Tukker sound, and shows that underneath their sometimes bright and brash exterior, there’s real quality and musicianship behind what they do. The track will feature on the upcoming Treehouse album due out April 13th, an album which certainly promises to be a must-listen on release.
That’s it for this week, hope you enjoyed some if not all of the tracks, and be sure to explore more of their music. Until next week!