Posts from 2011

Submotion Orchestra

Friday, September 30th, 2011 by Sjoerd

Sub // Soul // Chill

One could consider Submotion Orchestra a loungy exponent of the dubstep genre. This, however, would do them no justice. The tracks are crafted with more skill and consideration than the average ‘lounge’ sounds, while the subtle approach has nothing to do with the blunt destruction radiated from the average dubstep track. Their debut album Finest Hour consists of soulful tracks pulsating with sub bass fueled emotions & intricate downtempo rhythms, equally able to hold their own when stripped to acoustic renditions.

Subtle soul floating on a sub-bass driven undercurrent.
All Yours (Acoustic Version) [get 320 kbps mp3 here]
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Lack Of Afro

Monday, September 26th, 2011 by Sjoerd

Funk // Beats // SoulLack of Afro

Lovers of beats and soulful production should not be a stranger to Adam Gibbons. Often compared to DJ Shadow’s early sound, this funky dude is a frequently asked remixer who also produces for acts like The Diplomats of Solid Sound and Frootful. Lack Of Afro rolls original samples into played instruments, making any song he touches feel vibrant and organic, stirred up with deep bass and heavy drums.

Lovingly produced soulful grooves.
Lack of Afro – A Time For (feat. Wayne Giddens) (from This Time)
Lack of Afro – Roderigo (from Press On)

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Erica Mou

Saturday, September 10th, 2011 by Julija

italian acoustic // singer-songwriter

Despite Italy’s long and diverse popular music tradition, some seem to equate Italian music exclusively with Canzone Napoletana, grandiose film scores and heart breaking ballads of such artists as Eros Ramazzotti or Laura Pausini. Italy’s vibrant contemporary pop scene is a little known secret. Erica Musci, better known as Erica Mou, is one of the most promising talents coming from Italy’s singer-songwriter scene in the recent years. Erica’s album È (2011) is a collection of raw, warm and intimate songs, evoking true Italian spirit with a global, modern touch. Erica will be playing in New York, Los Angeles and Miami as a part of the Hit Week, Italian music festival, highlighting the catchiest contemporary music Italy has to offer.

Gracious melodies with quirky rhythms.
Erica Mou – Giungla
Erica Mou – È
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Friday, August 5th, 2011 by Kyle

indie folk // rock

“How long can you disguise what you feel with a song?” is my favorite Infantree lyric. Similar to a present-day Déjà Vu, Would Work is deeply poetic with louder rock, banjo-fringed folk and baroque styling. Strong lead vocals, each unique to their three songwriting members, and marvelous harmonies stay my attention alongside progressive arrangements. Every song is a painting embodying the band in surreal brushstrokes detailed with touching piano, disquieted hallways, or Spanish hue. Serious yet playful; connected to growth and learning; the unstitched fibers of their being are rooted in sounds branching out – forming a companionship that includes you. (thx, Elana)

Poetic timbre.
Infantree – Mourning Glory
Infantree – If She Could
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Tuesday, July 26th, 2011 by Michelle

tropical pop // indie folk

The sunny calypso pop of Jonquil is somewhat of surprise considering the band hails from the decidedly untropical Oxford, England. Geographical location aside, the four-piece’s effervescent indie pop is vibrant, uplifting, and completely infectious. If the horns, keyboards, tropical percussion and uptempo guitars weren’t enough, Hugo Manuel’s falsetto soars through each song with an anthemic flair. “Fighting Smiles” and “Get Up” from their One Hundred Suns EP are a must-have for your summer playlist.

Tropical pop with an English twist.
Jonquil – “Fighting Smiles”
Jonquil – “Get Up”
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Agnes Obel

Tuesday, July 19th, 2011 by Julija

chamber folk // singer-songwriter

Danish-born and Berlin-based songstress Agnes Obel possesses a natural sense of tone and melody as well as a truly faultless voice. The beautifully crafted somber folk melodies of her debut album Philharmonics (2010) linger in the air and stir the heart. While Agnes vocal delivery brings to mind the long-time Aurgasm favourite Ane Brun, the album ranges from romantic quirkiness of Joanna Newsom to echoes of Debussy. European readers might recognize the bright melody of “Just So”, as the song was used by German telecommunications company and played all over Northern Europe ever since.

Soft piano and haunting vocals.
Agnes Obel – Just So
Agnes Obel – Riverside
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Jóhann Jóhannsson

Thursday, July 7th, 2011 by Julija

icelandic composer // contemporary classical

The cinematic nature of Icelandic composer Jóhann Jóhannsson’s work has led him to work on countless soundtracks for documentaries, shorts and feature films. And In The Endless Pause There Came The Sound Of Bees (2010), composed as a soundtrack for Marc Craste’s award winning animated film Varmints, embodies ghostly choirs, gentle strings, lyrical piano, all wrapped in the barely perceptible electronic processing that Jóhannsson is known for. Largely orchestral and choral, it is recommended for those of you, who enjoy the electronic synthesis of Fennesz, Icelandic melancholia of Sigur Rós and ethereal minimalism of Arvo Pärt.

Painfully beautiful.
Jóhann Jóhannsson – City Building (Alternate Version)
Jóhann Jóhannsson – Rainwater
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Saturday, June 18th, 2011 by Paul Irish

cinematic // vocal orchestral

Woodkid (Yoann Lemoine) is probably best known for his work directing films for artists like Katy Perry and Taylor Swift, but those successes haven’t kept him from expanding his talent into new realms. With booming drums, powerful brass, and fluttering woodwinds, the uncomplicated title track to his premier EP “Iron” (accompanied by an eery and equally beautiful video) makes you feel like you’ve entered an epic battle from which there is no turning back.

Powerful simplicity flush with presence.
Woodkid – Iron

(Words and music provided by snover)
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Sarah Jarosz

Wednesday, June 15th, 2011 by Kyle

americana // bluegrass

When music reminds me of home, it stirs up childhood joys and fantastic daydreams of life yet lived. Vocal tones threading struggle with hope, telling lyrics backed by bluegrass or folk-rock, with mandolin and banjo especially hitting that note. Gavin Glass does this, as does Sarah Jarosz. On her debut, Song Up In Her Head, she captures escaping wonder with inner intimacy that’s incredible to realize is the work of a 17 year-old. Among her originals is the Grammy-nominated instrumental “Mansinneedof” and brilliant covers of Tom Waits and The Decemberists. Parts of a lifelong journey having a steady pulse of assurance on the road ahead.

Mandolin wind on the road that’s going home.
Sarah Jarosz – Tell Me True
Sarah Jarosz – Long Journey
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Sunday, May 29th, 2011 by Sjoerd

Songwriter // Jazz // Soul

Subtle layering of emotional songs with attitude both playful and deep make Stacey Dowdeswell an artist to keep an ear on. Her debut album Turn That Light Out oozes soulful and mostly contemplative songs, co-written & produced by label mate Scrimshire, benefited with added depth and clarity from Benedic ‘Nostalgia 77‘ Lambdin’s engineering. Electronic heads should check the pair of remix albums where Stac’s songs are reimagined by beatsmiths like Bonobo, Ashley Beedle and Natural Self. Bass driven “All Or Nothing” is a full-bodied red wine, and “Tip” is a mature, intelligent track, while Hint’s counterpart takes all that maturity into the club and shakes it like there ain’t no tomorrow.

Blue eyed soulstress from LDN.
Tip (Hint Remix)
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