Posts tagged ‘electronic’

February 3, 2012

Benjamin Damage & Doc Daneeka feat. Abigail Wyles – Halo

Spheric minimal electronic tunes from Benjamin Damage & Doc Daneeka, an English producer duo, born within Modeselektor‘s label 50weapons. Their collaborative long player They! Live  has just been released last week.

Watch their video for Halo with mysterious images within a dark setting (including the symbol for former Eastern German automobiles, a beige Trabant). Their distinct, light and drop-like beats and obscure soundscapes remind you of Modeselektor or Moderat just as much as of Burial and Four Tet. Overall, it achieves an interesting balance between sophisticated, ambient melancholy and dancefloor-ready techno. Abigail Wyles enriches this and two more tracks on the LP with her vocals, providing them with some higher pitches and a distinctively dreamy appeal.

Though Halo it the centerpiece of the album, many of its tracks are much more techno and house-affine, for example Creeper:

If you’re more into their smooth, obcure side and Abigail’s gentle voice, take Battleships as another great song:

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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!

November 30, 2011

SBTRKT, Sampha & Jessie Ware

Pardon my French, but: Oh my f***ing god, this is beautiful!

Jessie Ware and Sampha collaborate in the 2 minute short, but intense love tune Valentine. Both are best known for having provided their voices to one of this year’s best new artists, SBTRKT (see below).

Somewhat unsurprisingly, this track is much softer than the usual, bass and synth-focused stuff from SBTRKT. Sampha, with a voice smooth like silk, is one of the most important factors of SBTRKT’s latest success. Mandatory for a song with a name like this, it’s available on heart-shaped vinyl, on the label Young Turks.

SBTRKT (read Subtract) is symbolizing a musical identity independent from a single person. Hence, his alter ego, London-based producer Aaron Jerome, is always performing behind a charismatic mask. For anyone who doesn’t know his  self-titled album yet, check out a fan-made video for Hold On featuring Sampha and the track Right Thing To Do featuring Jessie Ware.

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SBTRKT’s style is combining electronic and distinctive R&B elements in a unique, innovative manner:

“The main thing are the synths, arrangement and syncopation. I tend to play around with chords or pads first, and then start applying some drums to it. Even though I guess I write ‘bass music’ I tend to add bass in last; rhythm and arrangement are most important for me. A lot of people seem to mention ‘2 step’ alongside my name guess it’s just because of the syncopation that genre entailed.”

In that sense it is much like The XX or even Little Dragon. After all, Little Dragon’s singer Yukimi Nagano has given her voice to SBTRKT’s best known track Wildfire:

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November 26, 2011

Apparat feat. Soap&Skin – Goodbye

Collaborations between artists of different styles are in good fashion these days: The one between Berlin-based electronic artist Apparat (aka Sascha Ring) and Austrian singer-songwriter Soap&Skin (aka Anja Plaschg) can definitely be appreciated.

The result is a well-woven synthesis of experimental styles – his electronic ambient soundscapes and her uniquely dark, heavy and almost disturbing vocals.

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An instrumental version, included in Apparat’s latest LP The Devil’s Walk, was also used for the soundtrack to AMC’s hit series Breaking Bad. The following video was edited by Plaschg herself, using scenes from the movie Spione by Fritz Lang, the maker of Metropolis.


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For anyone interested in either of these artists, check out two more examples of their work:

Soap&Skin – Thanatos (from Lovetunes for Vacuum)

Apparat – Song of Los (from The Devil’s Walk)

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November 13, 2011

New Look – Nap On The Bow

Part-time model Sarah Ruba and producer Adam Pavao have both united musically and romanticly. Together the Canada-based duo form New Look, creating crisp-clear electronic synthie pop. Their self-titled debut album has been released recently on K7, label of Chromeo and the DJ Kicks series.

The opening track Nap On the Bow clearly stands out – and has all it takes for repeated plays. Bouncing bass beats and bubbly synthie sounds combine with Sarah’s breathy, but secure voice. Its video was created with the touch-free Microsoft Kinect camera, perfectly visualizing that spherical underwater feeling.

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November 7, 2011

Oh Land

In case you still don’t know this one: Danish electro-pop singer Oh Land (a pseudonym for her name Nanna Øland Fabricius) has been around for more than 3 years already, but her success has only picked up speed throughout the last months. She certainly deserves it and should effortlessly get into 2011’s  top new artists.

Often compared to Lykke Li La Roux or Florence Welsh, Oh Land can certainly compete in points of innovation, quality – and looks. However, she is also just as unique. Her self-titled, second album was released earlier this year after she moved from Denmark to Brooklyn about a year ago. It’s filled with tunes to sing along, most of them quite danceable. Playfully using her voice and instrumenting it with a drum pad and soft percussions, her songs create energetic, colorful images of electronic fairytales, like in White Nights:

 

Besides these poppish and cheerful tunes (the most successful example might be Son of a Gun) there are slightly darker ones like Wolf & I as well as slower, seductive ones like Rainbow. Her songs  are generally, both in lyrics and instrumentation, contradictory. They are pending between two poles, between light spirituality and fairytales on the one side and obscure power and vulnerability on the other side. In that aspect her latest LP is very similar to her less known debut Fauna.

Not all of the album’s songs are that good, but these pearls are enough to compensate and create a great overall set. Oh Land promises good entertainment in concert, as she is currently touring Europe and beyond.

By the way, there are still spare tickets for her gigs in Berlin on November 20th and in London on February 23rd!

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(And no, didn’t chose that artist for her looks. Though might as well could have.)

October 23, 2011

The Brandt Brauer Frick Ensemble

The feeling of an acoustic orchestra hall – blended with jazzy tunes and the mechanics and sound of electronic music? Yes, and all combined with a stunningly captivating emergence of rhythm and density.

The three Berlin-based guys from Brandt Brauer Frick have enjoyed growing enthusiuasm around their unique sound which originates in classical and jazz music. It evolved much further though, avoiding instruments like saxophones or contrabass that are usually connotated with jazz. As 31-year-old Paul Frick stated in an interview (in German) “I had to study Composition for eight years first before getting into Techno.” In live shows the ensemble often consists of ten musicians, playing their entire dimension of instrumentation.

Audiovisuals

Watch the ensemble’s latest and quite entertaining video for the minimalistic yet dramaticly dark piece Pretend, featuring Emika:

Another highly enjoyable video certainly is this medley of their Album You Make Me Real with the band in action, thus presenting its true originality:

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