Thursday, July 30, 2015

094/100 - "Pequênas Hiroshimas" by A Shelter In The Desert

"Pequênas Hiroshimas" by A Shelter In The Desert is a phenomenal EP, one where every single minute is used effectively to articulate their particular form of effervescent postrock.

Dynamics, melody, layers of sound, oomph... they are all provided by a very tight, muscular band. This is the kind of music you want on your music player when you need an adrenaline spike: powerful, moving, relentless; yet expressed with a quiet and graceful confidence.

I found this EP to be an utter delight, one that I will come back to time and again. It has earned a place on my iPhone.

Why only 100 words?

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

093/100 - Rand & Holland

Rand and Holland's self-titled album, released on A Guide To Saints, is an engaging listen, one that takes a number twists and turns as it projects its original narrative.

Each track has a different guitar-orientated sound ... from instrumental rock (the opening track, "Cobra") to a progressive drone-based opus (the final track, "Old Crow"). It is a strange and heady mix that takes a wee bit getting used to ... it confuses as much as it entertains ... but when you get it, when it all clicks in place, you will have some remarkably imaginative and unique music to appreciate.

Why only 100 words?

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

092/100 - "Such is our condition" by Dave Dorgan

I recently wrote the liner notes for Dave Dorgan's netlabel day release on Subterranean Tide - "Such is our condition". After listening to it repeatedly while on holiday I felt it apt to mention it here too.

Dorgan's album is the kind of multifaceted ambient electronica that I cannot get enough of. At times his soundscapes can be dark and mysterious, almost Lovecraftian in feel; other times they are open, broad, and filled with light; from the beginning to the end, Dorgan's quality control and craft is evident.

"Such is our condition" is utterly gorgeous and makes for a compelling listen.

Why only 100 words?

Monday, July 27, 2015

091/100 - "Aperture" by The Sound of Rescue

Downloading “Aperture" was one of my first priorities upon returning back from my holiday. Did it live up to the hype? Of course it did … surpassed it, in fact.

"Aperture" is a consistent collection of drone-infused instrumental postrock soundscapes that tick all my boxes: dynamics, melody, grit, graft ... The Sound Of Rescue know their craft.

"Aperture" is a reminder of just how good TSOR are: their tightness and their collective creative imagination are both evident. Their desire to evolve is also apparent.

All in ... a great album that, for me, has taken the edge of my return to normality.

Why only 100 words?

Sunday, July 26, 2015

090/100 - "Torpor" by Good Weather For An Airstrike

Tom Honey is a musician whose music, under the pseudonym of Good Weather For An Airstrike, improves with every release. His latest - "Torpor" - is a wonderful slice of ambient-infused electronic postrock: an engaging cinematic experience with delicious beats, the euphoric use and emphasis on melodic piano, and layers upon layer of delightfully atmospheric synths.

With Honey it is all about the details, he takes what I've described above and throws in thoughtful vocal samples ("You're Slipping Away") or collaborates with artists such as Inachus ("Eio") to take a great piece and make it spectacular.

In short, "Topor" is spectacular.

Why only 100 words?

Saturday, July 25, 2015

089/100 - Orbital’s “Blue Album”

I will forever associate Orbital’s music with flying, due to a failed attempt at listening to their track “Belfast” back in 2007. It was my first flight to that fair city and I wanted the song to accompany my arrival. Unfortunately, I was only able to listen to 34 seconds before the seatbelt sign came back on and I was asked to switch off my iPod.

Thankfully airplanes are more liberal, this means Orbital’s “Blue Album” is now inextricably linked to Venice, Italy; their distinct, vibrant, thoughtful yet quirky form electronica in delicious contrast to the city’s grandeur.

“You lot!”

Why only 100 words?

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?

Monday, June 22, 2015

078/100 - "The Common Silence" by Lee Chapman

"The Common Silence" by Lee Chapman cements the reputation of Eilean Rec. as a purveyor of the most excellent ambient soundscapes.

Chapman has excelled himself with this vibrant, engaging and well rounded release. His ability to combine tranquil field recordings with equally sublime electronics is a delight that brings the height of summer to the listener ... regardless of the season they themselves are listening in. He also does mysterious very well, feeding the mind of the listener as well as their ears.

Chapman is a skilled sound-sculptor and, with ease, demonstrates that there is nothing common about this release.

Why only 100 words?

Sunday, June 21, 2015

077/100 - "Be Life" by Anne Garner on Hannes Kretzer's Unperceived Records

"Be Life" by Anne Garner on Hannes Kretzer's Unperceived Records is an extraordinary release: think Julee Cruise from Twin Peaks and you'll get an idea of Garner's dreamy vocals. Pair her exceptional delivery with some delightfully downtempo electronics, music that is gently infused with a modern classical aesthetic, and you'll get the gist.

I still mourn the loss of Trish Keenan from Broadcast, it pains me to listen to their music - such talent gone way too soon. Anne Garner's truly exquisite music, whilst in no way as quirky, does something positive to fill the void left by Keenan's untimely passing.

Why only 100 words?

Saturday, June 20, 2015

076/100 - "Ancient Ocean" by Scott Lawlor and The Gateless Gate

I am in a fortunate position: I get to release music that I want to hear. Case in point is the recent collaboration between Scott Lawlor, and one half of The Gateless Gate, Allister Thompson; I consider the album they created - "Ancient Ocean" - to be an outstanding entry in the canon of both my netlabel and ambient music as a whole.

"Ancient Ocean" is deeply atmospheric and wildly progressive. Both parties shine: Lawlor's drones form an expressive backdrop for Thompson to let go on his guitar. As a fan of ambient and progressive music, this is a dream come true

Why only 100 words?

Friday, June 19, 2015

075/100 - "Analysis" by Craün

"Analysis" by Craün from Hush Hush is an interesting proposition: seven artefacts of approximately three to four minutes each that explore the ambient genre. Each artefact is different with some tracks darker that others but all of them have one impressive attribute: their conciseness. Each artefact says so much in the time allotted: waves of synths interplay with the subtle sound of field recordings to convey a sense of the immediate.

And when "Analysis" moves from drone to the more soulful ambient techno on Artefact 5.0 the expression remains the same: a consistent sense of now ... and I like that.

Why only 100 words?

Thursday, June 18, 2015

074/100 - "Silent Shout" by The Knife

The Knife are like Marmite: you either love them or hate them. Personally, I love them.

With "Silent Shout", their fourth album, the Swedish siblings Karin Dreijer Andersson and Olof Dreijer have distilled their powerfully evocative expression and created something wonderfully unique. Their electronic soundscapes and otherworldly vocals make for an engaging experience. Dreijer Andersson's vocals, in particular, are as dissonant as they are delightful, they work exceptionally well as a counterpart to the duo's vibrant, engaging electronica.

"Silent Shout" is a shot of adrenaline that you take aurally, a rather addictive pick me up for a very grey day.

Why only 100 words?

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

073/100 - "Jurassic Park" by John Williams

I have featured the music of John Williams previously but it seems apt to make mention to his soundtrack to "Jurassic Park". As "Jurassic World" pounds the box office it is fitting to revisit the truly icon score to the original film.

Williams has a way with motifs that ensure they are catchy yet never overplayed, his theme for Jurassic Park is no exception: glorious and poignant, it is the antithesis of the Star Wars theme's bombast but no less effective. It is majestic, like the triumphant entry of Royalty albeit the Royalty it heralds is Mother Nature herself.


Why only 100 words?

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

072/100 - "Church with no magic" by PVT

"Church with no magic" by experimental rock band PVT is a compelling listen. Their mix of synths, guitars, electronic manipulation, rock percussion and vocals reminiscent of the 80s 4AD sound makes for an entertaining commute into Glasgow.

It is hard to think this album is five years old already: it has a timeless quality that makes it feel so now but with a fascinating aesthetic that could have been from thirty years ago - it is the kind of music Tyler would have listened to in Douglas Coupland's "Shampoo Planet".

PVT’s noise is the sound of the colour of the sun.

Why only 100 words?

Monday, June 15, 2015

071/100 - "Branches never remember" by Adrian Lane

Adrian Lane has an idiosyncratically unique sound, one that is hauntingly beautiful, utterly intriguing and very much his own. Lane uses stringed instruments in such a way that you, the listener, are left wondering "what is that instrument?"

His latest album - "Branches never remember" - on Preserved Sound is a prime example of his particular brand of expressive folky brilliance: the sounds he presents are beautiful and intriguing, as stated before: they are beguiling in the way that gets under the skin but also atmospheric, cinematic and totally engaging. This is folk-infused, imaginative modern classical music at its very best.

Why only 100 words?

Sunday, June 14, 2015

070/100 - “Crux” by Emmalee Crane

“Crux” by Emmalee Crane was not the first album of her’s that I picked up: I fell in love with her particular sound through her second album, “Formantine”. However, after picking up this album and her third - “Crowd of Reeds” - I decided to go back and explore her debut. It is a stoater!

I’ve spoken before about how her ambient sound conjures up visions of the sea and makes the perfect accompaniment for Lovecraft’s writing. “Crux” is no exception, it has a majestic atmosphere about it that I love.

Crane has a unique sound that must be treasured and encouraged.

Why only 100 words?

Saturday, June 13, 2015

069/100 - "Constance" by southpacific

One of the first instrumental rock albums that I ever owned was the 2000 release "Constance" by Canadian band, southpacific. I was given it by a dear friend who knew I'd love it.

It is all I love about instrumental rock: walls of fuzzy guitar-filled sound, an emphasis on dynamics and a dreamy atmosphere; the influence of shoegaze is evident here albeit without the barely audible vocals of more notable bands of that genre.

For a fifteen year old recording, “Constance” still holds true. It hasn’t aged and still sounds as fresh as it did all those years ago.

Why only 100 words?

Friday, June 12, 2015

068/100 - "Hunting High and Low" by A-HA

My album for today is dedicated to my dear wife, Olwyn, on her birthday. Her first album (mine too) was "Hunting High and Low" by Norwegian heart throbs, A-HA. It is a remarkable synth pop recording that stands the test of time insofar as it is, in my opinion, beyond dating - it has a timeless quality that ensures it never sounds old.

Yes, it is 30 years old ... and it is a product of its time and place ... but it is what is for me: an extravagant, vivacious slice of pure joy.

I guess you never forget your first.

Why only 100 words?

Thursday, June 11, 2015

067/100 - "Magic Chairs" by Efterklang

"Magic Chairs" by Efterklang is one of those hauntingly beautiful albums that stays with you long after the album has finished. Efterklang’s combination of dreamy electronics, post-rock and orchestral instrumentation is inspired, it creates wonderful soundscapes over which vocalist Casper Clausen can sing so intently.

I find this album, Efterklang's first on 4AD, to be a real joy. I loved their first two albums on The Leaf Label - “Tripper” and “Parades” - but this one really stuck out to me and stuck with me … it's the kind of positive record that brightens any day with its gentle yet engaging ambience.

Why only 100 words?

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

066/100 - "It's still a secret" by El Ten Eleven

I’ll readily admit to be rather taken with "It's still a secret" from El Ten Eleven, the instrumental rock duo from Los Angeles.

Their particular brand of upbeat, inventive instrumental post-rock is an utter delight for a warm Summer's day in central Scotland. Big fuzzy bass lines intersect with layers of sweeping syncopated guitar and driving yet intricate percussion to create something truly beautiful and catchy.

What I find remarkable is the sound this duo can achieve... they sound more alive than some full bands and their tightness as a unit is exemplary. It does make for compelling listening.

Why only 100 words?

Tuesday, June 09, 2015

065/100 - Fleet Foxes

The self-titled debut album from Fleet Foxes never disappoints. Its combination of dreamy vocal harmonies, jangly guitar and pounding folky rhythms really hits the mark when I put it on my hifi.

I'm not a huge folk fan but this album just works for me, it was one of the albums that defined my late noughties, an album that my whole family get. Tracks like “White Winter Hymnal” and “Meadowlarks” are simply stunning ... they are exemplary tracks from a remarkable album, one that I have no doubt will last the test of time and be upheld as a classic.

Why only 100 words?

Monday, June 08, 2015

064/100 - “Teen Dream” by Beach House

I bought “Teen Dream” by Beach House after hearing the cut “Norway”, an intriguing track that prominently features a wonky synth motif that can drive you to distraction, if you let it, along with some utterly divine vocal harmonies and a really unique character. The track encouraged me to investigate further and I am so glad I did.

I find Beach House’s chilled “dreampop” sound to be a late night delight, music to relax with at the end of a busy day. “Teen Dream” has a sufficient concentration of imagination, vocal harmonies, synths and energetic percussion to complete any day.

Why only 100 words?

Sunday, June 07, 2015

063/100 - "Violator" by Depeche Mode

"Violator" by Depeche Mode is a classic album. It was one of the first synth albums that I got into. There is an energy to the recording that I connected with, an energy that sparked my imagination: I longed to have some that I could dedicate "Enjoy the Silence" to ... thirty years later I am glad I do.

What I love most about this album is its longevity. It is a tenacious recording that defies dating and will live on long after its peers are forgotten. Each track stands on its own and that is the mark of a classic.

Why only 100 words?

Saturday, June 06, 2015

062/100 - "A New Horizon" by Allister Thompson

I am proud to call Allister Thompson a friend. I love his ambient project, The Gateless Gate, and have developed a real fondness for his solo album "A New Horizon" that he released recently under his own name.

It is an interesting concept: psychedelic folk music with an emphasis on vocals that is underpinned by earthy field recordings. Initially I thought the field recordings were too loud but somehow the wall of sound presented on each track has really grown on me. I think this is due to Thompson’s delivery: he has a voice that just works on this album.

Why only 100 words?

Friday, June 05, 2015

061/100 - "Mr Beast" by Mogwai

"Mr Beast" by Mogwai is one of my favourite post-rock albums. I am blown away each and every time it comes on. From the opening piano motif of "Auto Rock" to the dying embers of feedback from "We're no here", it is one exhilarating roller coaster of an album.

I doubt I am the only one who got into Mogwai as a result of hearing this album after borrowing it from my local public library. Tracks like "Glasgow Mega-Snake" really grabbed my attention with its dynamic interplay and ferociousness. They have yet to disappoint all these years later.

Why only 100 words?

Thursday, June 04, 2015

060/100 - "Souvlaki" by Slowdive

I'll readily admit to being new to shoegaze. It's a style of music that I missed in the late 80s / early 90s when I was obsessed with thrash metal and latterly alt.rock. I am delighted to say I'm onboard now!

"Souvlaki" by Slowdive was my entry point into this wonderfully sonic, delightfully aural genre. It is an album that somehow combines the aesthetics of ambient soundscaping, dreamy pop and full-on frantic guitar all at the same time. This is music to get lost in, truly immersive music, it is a personl regret that I didn't get into it sooner.

Why only 100 words?

Wednesday, June 03, 2015

059/100 - "Ruebke" by Islands of Light

"Ruebke" by Islands of Light is a mystery to me ... I have no idea how it is on my iPod Classic but I am glad it is there.

It is an album filled with wonder ... the kind of wonder that can only be created with a piano and an ear for atmospheric ambience: delightfully delicate soundscapes that emphasise melody, pieces where substance wins out over style; that's not to say Islands of Light don't have style, they do, it is simply understated like the music they create.

I love serendipity and I get pleasure in finding sublime treasures like “Ruebke”.


It turns out I picked up this album based on Brian Housman's recommendation. Thanks Brian!

Why only 100 words?

Tuesday, June 02, 2015

058/100 - "Splendid Labyrinths" by Max Corbacho

A glorious swathe of ambient synths greet the listener when they put on the latest release from Max Corbacho. "Splendid Labyrinths" is a wonderful series of self-contained soundscapes with tracks ranging from five to sixteen minutes in length.

For some a labyrinth is synonymous with a maze but there is a subtle difference: with a labyrinth the emphasis is on the journey through whereas with a maze it is all about escape from. The tracks presented here are journeys in their own right, splendid journeys of discovery where we travel with Corbacho through landscapes he has made with sound.

Why only 100 words?

Monday, June 01, 2015

057/100 - Led Zeppelin IV

Led Zeppelin IV is one of my all-time favourite albums. From the opening of "Black Dog" until the ending of "When the levee breaks", it encapsulates the dynamic nature of rock music.

I find it impossible not to be moved by this album: time slows as I pretend to be Jimmy Page with his Gibson, emulating the riffage of "Rock and Roll". Nothing comes close to the oomph of that track! Or when "Stairway to Heaven" comes on and time simply stops as I take time to soak it up.

Led Zeppelin IV is a masterclass in exuberant expression.

Why only 100 words?

Sunday, May 31, 2015

056/100 - "Under the Sodium Lights" by Slow Dancing Society

"Under the Sodium Lights" by Slow Dancing Society has a relaxed ambience that is utterly engaging. I find myself continually transfixed with its dreamlike expression: sounds come in and out, vocal samples appear from nowhere, distinctive motifs are played on both electric piano and guitar; it is an unadulterated pleasure to consume.

Ambient music isn't everyone's bag: at times it can be dull, repetitive and monotonous; dreary and lacking in basic musicality. This album from Slow Dancing Society proves it doesn't have to be that way. Ambient music can be vibrant, alluring, varied and alive; ripe with possibility and potential.

Why only 100 words?

Saturday, May 30, 2015

055/100 - “Moon Safari” by Air

I remember renting “Moon Safari” by Air at my local library. I was intrigued by the cover: knew there was a connection with the graphic artist Mike Mills and wanted to know more. I really didn’t expect the moog synths and vocoders; the easy listening vibe; I was instantly hooked.

I saw Air as an underground, not-mainstream band; and I loved them for it. They had a foreign mystique that intrigued me and really complemented their retro-futurist sound.

They have yet to repeat the overall excellence of “Moon Safari” but they have had moments of brilliance since then.

Why only 100 words?

Friday, May 29, 2015

054/100 - "Puesta Del Sol" by Good Weather for an Airstrike & Oathless, remixed by Inachus

Remixes are always a daunting prospect: I worry that the remix doesn't do the original justice.

Remixing the Good Weather for an Airstrike & Oathless collaboration "Sol" had the potential to go wrong. I mean, how could it be bettered? And yet Inachus has done a sterling job creating something new, fresh and vibrant; something different yet on a par.

Inachus has added percussion and emphasised existing sampled film dialogue to deliciously up the ante on these already expressive ambient tracks. They retain the feel of the original but Inachus takes the tracks in a whole new and very delightful direction.

Why only 100 words?

Thursday, May 28, 2015

053/100 - "Lanterns" by Son Lux

"Lanterns" by Son Lux is an album I keep returning to when I feel the need for a burst of creative energy. I find this album wonderfully progressive and imaginative, with percussion, electronic accompaniment, and vocals all truly engaging and very much next level;

This is future soul music for mavericks, outsiders, and those in the know; music that is cherished for the inspiration it provides as much as anything else. It is the kind of music that stands on its own, head held high, proud and confident, walking its own path within the vocal electronic genre;

Nothing comes close.

Why only 100 words?

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

052/100 - "Leaving the ISS" by Cousin Silas and musicformessier

"Leaving the ISS" by Cousin Silas and musicformessier is an ambient guitar delight. It is an album that put on when I need to unwind: I find the complex layering of synths and delayed guitars wonderfully relaxing. The repeated motifs are like post-modern lullabies that help me slow down and switch off.

The combination of these collaborators - Cousin Silas and musicformessier - works really well. They are exemplary ambient guitarists with skills that are both plentiful and evident: I am not sure who is doing what, no seams or cracks are visible, all that is apparent is their beautiful music.

Why only 100 words?

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

051/100 - "II" by Moderat

Moderat - the collaboration between Sascha Ring aka Apparat, and Gernot Bronsert and Sebastian Szary from Modeselektor - make a bleeding-edge form of dance-orientated electronica that I have only recently come to acknowledge and appreciate. Whilst familiar with Apparat, Modeselektor were new to me.

I picked up Moderat's album - "II" - for £1 on Sunday and have been enjoying their big bouncy synths, deep bass, hypnotic percussion, skittering rhythms and delightful vocals ever since.

I can see where Thom Yorke got some inspiration for his solo work, this is a heady combination of style and substance that has me wanting more.

Why only 100 words?

Monday, May 25, 2015

050/100 - "Trance Soundtrack" by Rick Smith

Soundtracks that feature other people's music can be a bit hit or miss. Whilst I prefer to hear music specifically composed as backing, I do appreciate the placement of the right song to catch the mood.

"Trance", the accompaniment to Danny Boyle's film, features an exemplary combination of music specifically composed by Rick Smith from Underworld and tracks from Moby, UNKLE and M-People (yes, M-People). I really enjoy the sequencing of tracks on this release: both composed and chosen work well to build atmosphere and emotion, making the soundtrack stand well on its own as a delightful mixtape.

Why only 100 words?

Sunday, May 24, 2015

049/100 - "Woman" by Rhye

"Woman" by Rhye is an extraordinary album: sensual and extravagant, yet heartbreakingly poignant; it feels like it was born out of necessity, the yearning necessity of a lover's mind; and of urgency, the need to capture those fleeting moments, to distill them for appreciation at a later time and place;

Singer Milosh and instrumentalist Robin Hannibal released "Woman" in March 2013 and it has haunted me ever since. This is music for couples: a post-modern Sade for the fixie set. But don't let that put you off. Dive into their delicious alt-R&B sound and do so accompanied.

Why only 100 words?

Saturday, May 23, 2015

048/100 - "Regarding Henry Soundtrack" by Hans Zimmer

Hans Zimmer's soundtrack to "Regarding Henry" is an interesting proposition: a product of the early nineties with its fretless bass, jaunty air and jazzy vocals (from no other than Bobby McFerrin) it is a piece that manages to stand proudly on its own, a cinematic masterpiece that easily transcends the film it is intended to accompany.

This is unlike any other Zimmer soundtrack that I've heard: it lacks his trademark orchestration and instead has a distinctly easy orientation ... a laidback, romantic, soft rock kind of vibe;

I haven't heard anything quite like "Regarding Henry”, it is unique and very special.

Why only 100 words?

Friday, May 22, 2015

047/100 - "My Secret Passions - The Arias" by Michael Bolton

I have a secret passion. It involves the secret passion of one Michael Bolton. He loves his Arias and I love his love for these amazing songs.

I'm not an Opera fan and not really a big musical theatre fan, but I connect with these arias. They are snippets, the best bits of an Opera, and I'm probably guilty of some form of musical tourism: consuming the best bits that were chosen for me by a guide rather than finding them for myself. I don't care. I love the magical other-worldliness of this album, it transports me far away.

Why only 100 words?

Thursday, May 21, 2015

046/100 - "Awake" by Tycho

"Awake" by Tycho is a wonderfully upbeat release from the Ghostly International camp, one that puts me in a good mood whenever it comes on.

I love how music can enhance a mood like that and I think, in the case of Tycho, it is the attention to detail and real craft that's poured into the release: I would be very proud if "Awake" was my record and I guess that feeling transfers.

The best bit of "Awake" for me is Scott Hansen's layering of sound and, of course, his synths. Hansen makes listening to his music a true pleasure.

Why only 100 words?

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

045/100 - “Mediterraneo” by Bruno Bavota

The perfect follow-on from “Illume” is the upcoming album - “Mediterraneo” - by one of my favourite modern classical composers, Bruno Bavota, who presents a delightful mix of solo piano and the more neo-classical combination of piano, strings and acoustic guitar; Bavota is an accomplished musician and his touch comes shining through in all he does on “Mediterraneo”.

There is something warm, light and relaxed about this recording that makes me very happy indeed. It exudes the spirit of vacation, of freedom and the spontaneity of rest - I cannot wait to listen to “Mediterraneo” while on the beach this summer.

Why only 100 words?


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