Archive for January, 2012

January 20, 2012

Emmy the Great – Paper Forest

Time to present a bit of another great, yet far too unknown singer-songwriter.

Hong Kong-born and London-based Emmy the Great (aka Emma Lee-Moss) released her first LP First Love in 2009. Her songs are sweet guitar tunes, yet terribly direct and honest in their words.

Paper Forest (In the Afterglow of Rapture) is the second single from Emmy The Great’s second album Virtue, released last September. Fast-paced lyrics, a moving rhythm and Emmy’s sweet voice dominate the song, while its video tells about the struggles of becoming older.

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Mistress England was recorded during The Observer Sessions – it’s a beautifully sad song of grief for all the English mothers who have raised their daughter to marry Prince William – and failed.

Finally, Gabriel is a song off her debut album. More playful, more childish, but maybe more orignal and certainly made to sing along, her first LP is definitely worth its time, as well.

For further recommendation, listen to the rather sad, but irresistable songs Absentee or Edward is Dedward, both are telling a touching story about coping with the the death of a loved one.

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January 11, 2012

Art Documentary: PressPausePlay

An unmissable documentary about art in the digital age for any passionate art and music lover: PressPausePlay. Fully available on Vimeo or their homepage.

As the production studio House of Radon describes the video:

“The digital revolution of the last decade has unleashed creativity and talent in an unprecedented way, with unlimited opportunities. But does democratized culture mean better art or is true talent instead drowned out? A Film About Hope, Fear and Digital Culture.”

It shows the various chances and benefits of the digitalization and democratization of arts and creative industry, yet it doesn’t neglect negative aspects and risks (yes, these actually exist!). 

“Cultural democracy or mediocrity?”

It is a high-quality, 1,5h video containing interviews with some of the world’s most influential creators in music, movies, photography and advertising, including Ólafur Arnalds, Apparat, Moby, Bon Iver, Hot Chip, Keith Harris, Lykke Li, Robyn, authors from Pitchfork, or Napster-founder Sean Parker, underlined with beautfiful tunes and  powerful eye-candy.

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January 5, 2012

Danger Mouse (feat. Norah Jones & Julian Casablancas)

Introducing another highly creative, innovative and versatile artist and producer: Brian Joseph Burton, aka Danger Mouse from New York. Having produced albums by Jay-Z, Gorillaz or The Black Keys, Burton has gained pace in music business.

One of the best albums of last year is the collaboration between Danger Mouse and Italian Hollywood-composer Danielle Luppi: A ‘soundtrack without a movie’ called Rome. Getting the voices of Norah Jones and Jack White (formerly performing with his sister as The White Stripes) onboard during a five-year period of production let this album rise into high quality.

Largely reminiscent of classic Italo-Western movies, it’s been produced with the help of many musicians originally playing on the scores for composer Ennio Morricone.

Listen to Season’s Trees, featuring Norah Jones.

Another recommendation is the incredible Two Against One with Jack White.

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Quite different from the collaboration on Rome, another track definitely worth listening to is Little Girl, involving a strong guitar solo and much more energy. Taking the well-known voice of the The StrokesJulian Casablancas and the instrumental expertise of the US-band Sparklehorse (who broke up in 2010…), this song lets listeners wait for more from the same menu.

“You tortured little girl, showing them what love is all about.
Where did all the time go? Everywhere it’s gone, gone, gone.”

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The third piece is the collaborative project Broken Bells, involving Danger Mouse and The Shin‘s singer James Mercer. Their self-titled LP was one of the best indie releases in 2010. Watch the sci-fi video for their song The Ghost Inside, starring Christina Hendricks, best known for her main role as a secretary in AMC‘s 50’s show Mad Men (By the way, this is a strong recommendation, too!).

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January 2, 2012

Best of 2011

Without losing too many words, presenting the soundepiphany Best Albums of 2011!

Beware, it’s a colorful mix between Indie Pop, Folk, Electronic, Rock and even R&B and HipHop tracks.

The list is rather softly ordered and slightly biased since some albums grew on better over time and some diminished in its significance. Folk, female vocalists and electropop are dominant.

20. Jamie Woon – Mirrorwriting

19. Wild Beasts – Smother

18. Kimbra – Vows

17. Cloud Control – Bliss Release

16. Bon Iver – Bon Iver

15. Bombay Bicycle Club – A Different Kind Of Fix

14. Florence and The Machine – Ceremonials

13. James Blake – James Blake

12. Apparat – The Devil’s Walk

11. Lykke Li – Wounded Rhythms

10. Slow Club – Paradise

9. Drake – Take Care

8. Feist – Metals

7. Moddi – Floriography

6. Metronomy – The English Riviera

5. Oh Land – Oh Land

4. Bodi Will – What?

3. Fleet Foxes – Helplessness Blues

2. Laura Marling – A Creture I Don’t Know

1. SBTRKT – SBTRKT

Albums that didn’t make it: Plan B – The Defamation of Strickland Banks; New Look – New Look; Marian – Only Our Hearts To Lose; Those Dancing Days – Daydreams and Nightmares.

And some LPs that didn’t quite make it, simply because they’ve just recently been released or because I’ve discovered them too late – and don’t want to make quick judgements:

The Roots – Undun; PJ Harvey – Let England Shake; Girls – Father Son Holy Ghost; St. Vincent – Strange Mercy, Danger Mouse and Daniele Luppi – Rome; Destroyer – Kaputt; Frank Ocean – Nostalgia, Ultra.

In my humble opinion, 2011 has been an incredible for good music. Especially those artists mixing elements and styles of differents genres have grown in support. Considering female vocalists, several important artists have released new, brilliant LPs this year, from Lykke Li, Feist and Laura Marling to Oh Land and of course Florence and The Machine.

May the next year be just as good for music! Happy New Year!

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