Thursday, July 02, 2015

088/100 - "Rapture" by Tropics

The soulful electronica of Tropics is a like breath of fresh air on a warm, stuffy day. His album - "Rapture" - follows the path laid by artists such as the mighty Sade and sits comfortably on a playlist with her and another personal favourite, Rhye: sensual yet relaxed vocals that play affectionately with jazzy instrumentation to stir the imagination and create a chilled, uncluttered vibe to heal the soul.

This is could easily become the soundtrack to that very sacred, special place for you: music for lying entangled in the arms of your lover or for when you return to your favourite beach after a notable absence.

Why only 100 words?

Wednesday, July 01, 2015

087/100 - “Black Sands” by Bonobo

There is a scene in “High Fidelity” where Rob puts on The Beta Band in his record shop and claims he’ll sell fives copies.

This afternoon I fell in love with an album playing in Fopp. The title track to “Black Sands” by Bonobo was playing and I was overcome by the languid jazzy vibe, especially the lilting clarinet. I picked up the album on vinyl there and then.

The rest of the album follows in a similar vein: delicious downtempo soundscapes enriched with jazzy instrumentation and a soulful touch.

Nothing beats a record shop for perfect moments like this.

Why only 100 words?

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

086/100 - Fifty Shades of Grey Classical Album

I am annoyed. Today I picked up the Classical Music tie-in to “Fifty Shades of Grey” for 50p. It is a magical selection of known and not-so-well known (to me) orchestral and choral tracks - it has, for example, the Flower Duet that was famously co-opted by British Airways. Debussy, Verdi, Pachelbel, and Chopin all feature. It is wonderfully sequenced.

That’s why I am annoyed: this wonderful compilation is intrinsically linked to something contemptible. I know I can withstand the associations but I doubt others will, which makes me mad: such beauty brought low by poor fiction.

Why only 100 words?

Monday, June 29, 2015

085/100 - “Crooked we stand" by 18 Seconds

I've spoken of my love for instrumental rock music before, there is something inside me that finds solace in the noisy bluster of dynamics and structure.

18 Seconds’ form of instrumental rock music, as presented on his latest album "Crooked we stand", takes in a number of influences: post-rock and shoegazing dream pop both come readily to mind, as do instrumental bands like El Ten Eleven … but what makes “Crooked we stand" stand out is care that has been poured into it. The passion is evident from when the first note begins until the last is but a memory.

Why only 100 words?

Sunday, June 28, 2015

084/100 - "Age of Anxiety" by Rodney Cromwell

Sometimes an album just clicks. You put it on and after a few seconds you know it feels right. That was my initial reaction when I put on "Age of Anxiety" by Rodney Cromwell for the first time.

Cromwell's quirky, indie-synth Casio-pop expression could as easily be from a long, lost album from the early 80s as it is from a brand new, bleeding edge recording on Happy Robots. Vibrant and engaging, these timeless electric daydreams have a beguiling quality which, in concert with their upbeat rhythms, make for the perfect Monday-morning accompaniment for the work commute.

Why only 100 words?

Saturday, June 27, 2015

083/100 - "Bones" by Son Lux

The latest album from Son Lux - "Bones" - is their first as a trio: working with Ian Chang on drums and Rafiq Bhatia on guitar, Ryan Lott, the man behind Son Lux, has created new soundscapes that take his vivid, technicolor take on vocal-infused electronica to the next level.

"Bones" is a wall-of-sound unlike any other ... except Son Lux, of course. Lott, Chang & Bhatia have managed to maintain the uniqueness of Son Lux’s sound whilst simultaneously expanding its reach: it feels wider, broader, fresher, a true progression from previous album but with trusted familiarity; I can't get enough.

Why only 100 words?

Friday, June 26, 2015

082/100 - "Selective Sync Conflict" by Taggart & Andre LaFosse

Andre LaFosse is one of my favourite guitarists so when I heard of his latest project, in collaboration with Taggart aka award-winning composer and multi-instrumentalist Ross Garren, I was intrigued. 

"Selective Sync Conflict" features the combined talents of Garren and LaFosse as expressed in quirky ambient sounds, future jazz, abstract downtempo glitchiness, emotive melodies and the odd bluesy guitar flourish. 

This is a truly imaginative release that rewards the attentive listener with some remarkable sonic sculptures: tracks that are expressive, vibrant and varied; I found "Selective Sync Conflict" to be most gratifying, a pleasure from start to finish.

Why only 100 words?

Thursday, June 25, 2015

081/100 - LateNightTales - The Cinematic Orchestra

I've spoken before about the Late Night Tales compilation series and whilst I've come to realise that they aren't all for me, the Cinematic Orchestra’s mix from 2010 presses all my buttons!

Jazz, soul, and electronica are all really well represented on this mix. Hearing Terry Callier, Shuggie Otis, Thom Yorke, Björk and Imogen Heap in the same mix is phenomenal but then throw in Steve Reich, Sébastien Tellier and the mighty Cinematic Orchestra themselves and you have one awesome mix.

What I love with these compilations is their sequencing, as a listener you get a near perfect listening experience.

Why only 100 words?

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

080/100 - "William Barber" by Spheruleus and Friends

"William Barber" by Spheruleus and Friends, released on Hibernate references an old, scratchy wax cylinder recording and celebrates the spirit of creative thought and expression found there.

Isnaj Dui, Antonymes, Fraser McGowan (Caught in the Wake Forever), Christoph Berg (Field Rotation) and Hibernate boss Jonathan Lees join Spheruleus on his journey to capture something of that old Headmaster's spirit and, in doing so, they create a wonderfully melancholic selection of ambience that gives a nod and a wink to modern classical expression.

“William Barber" is an electroacoustic delight, an engaging celebration that gives new meaning to the phrase “found sound”.

Why only 100 words?

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

079/100 - "A Beautiful Mind" soundtrack by James Horner

I was saddened to hear of the passing of James Horner, the composer whose music has underpinned many of my favourite films, including The Wrath of Khan.

One particular favourite is Horner's soundtrack to "A Beautiful Mind". It is a genuine pleasure: an orchestral masterpiece with some deliciously abstract vocal arangements and a focus on atmosphere. I picked it up on CD years ago in a bargain bin somewhere local. I recognised Horner’s name and gave it a punt. I was not disappointed.

Horner has left his mark on the world. His creativity will touch lives for years to come.

Why only 100 words?


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