Master of the ambient tracks that make one long for beautiful summer days, fading memories, and fantastic dreamscapes has done it again. San Fran native Scott Hansen’s combination of soothing synths, subtle-yet-driving bass tracks, and clicky drums makes for the perfect track to soothe your otherworldly needs.
It’s obvious that his sound has evolved since his single, Coastal Brake, which recalls memories of long drives, passing cityscapes, and the yawning expanse of the ocean. Yet still, something in his sound remains resolute and solid—this is a musician that you can always come back for to find that indescribable feeling that only tracks like this can evoke.
Check out Hansen’s captivating design blog, ISO50, and prepare yourself for the release of his new album in early 2014.
Dark, minimalist hip hop from the UK’s golden-tongued emcee. Existential and eerie, this track is a far cry from Pip’s usual angry-but-upbeat political messages. Perfect for those days where you’ve given up on caring about all the worry and false desperation and misplaced emotion that seems to define the mental paradigm. Days like today.
Welcome to my new favorite thing. An electronic A/V virtual band consisting of Cherry, Goldie Foxx, and Dyna Mink. Coming from nowhere to drop catchy club beats and party anthems, every song of theirs manages to make me want to shake my ass every which way. (Not necessarily a good thing.)
Not much is known about the actual musicians behind the band, but their virtual presence (including an anthropomorphic fox and mink) is shown through their colorful, psychedelic visual style. Check them out if you want something to dance to.
I stumbled across this guy randomly on Reddit, the stage name of Mitch Nordine. His new album, Our Identities Lie In Glowsticks, is available as a name-your-price deal on Bandcamp, so give it a listen.
I did a little more sleuthing (a google search) and found that he also composed the soundtrack for a Steam game, Element4l. The game looks beautiful and dreamlike, and the soundtrack fits it well. Epic fairy-tale music with just the right touch of glitch and breaks.
Oh hey! It’s been a while since anything showed up here, huh? Over a year. Hmm. I took a break from Tumblr to get the rest of my life in order, but now I’m back with a few new blogs and a fresh enthusiasm for social media-ing. So let’s get to it!
A few months ago, I was dragged along to a show in Williamsburg by my roommate and coworker Mia. It turned out to be an awesome chiptune show, completely surpassing my expectations of what a few guys with gameboys could do! The headliner was a guy named Kris Keyser, a Brooklyn-based chipsmith with a penchant for speed and good times. (Plus, he shares my name, so I’m automatically drawn in!)
His tunes are straight up chip, with no samples or synth loops. The result is music that would be right at home in the BEST 8-BIT INDIE GAME EVER, perfect for those drawn-out boss fights and striking down waves of pixellated enemies. Check it out.
Italian-born Mauro Remiddi, who now records out of New York under the name Porcelain Raft, has had an interesting musical career, composing music for award-winning film shorts, playing for off-Broadway productions, and collaborating with several musicians on a variety of projects. His wayward and varied life is reflected in the dreamy strains of his current sounds, betraying a mind that’s never truly touched down, never at rest.
On his first full-length EP as Porcelain Raft, Strange Weekend, Remiddi blends together shoegaze and dream pop sounds, making liberal use of lilting organ riffs, muddled guitar, and breathy, agendered vocals. His never-quite-satisfied lyrics hint at that part of us that wants to float away, leaving the tribulations of daily life behind us as we cruise down the coast, watching the clouds disappear over the horizon.
New Jersey-based producer Clams Casino (nee Mike Volpe) started gaining recognition after sending his instrumental samples to explosively popular rapper Lil B (aka Based God), which the hip hop star then used as backing tracks to his rhymes. Sampling breathy female vocals from pop starlets such as Imogen Heap and layering them over soothing breaks lends an unexpectedly ethereal nature to Volpe’s tracks. They stand spectacularly on their own, free from the driving, chaotic influence of Lil B’s lyrics. He’s currently preparing to drop a solo EP, Rainforest, while on tour with Brooklyn noise-rock luminaries Black Dice this summer.
Pittsburgh based psych-rockers Black Moth Super Rainbow have been conspicuously quiet since the 2009 release of their album Eating Us. Many of the band’s members have been pursuing independent projects, including synth-master The Seven Fields of Aphelion, who released her album Periphery in 2010 under Graveface. Frontman TOBACCO dropped a few independent and pre-BMSR tracks on his Soundcloud account, culminating in the release of this track a week ago. Though whether this track is a single or part of BMSR’s just-announced forthcoming album remains to be seen, its psych-wave vibes are great for chilling out to on a warm spring day.
The result of a collaboration between Lone and Keaver & Brause, Kona Triangle’s 2009 album Sing A Sapling Into Existence combines ambient synthetics (reminiscent of Boards of Canada) with stuttering, hip-hop influenced drum tracks that evoke Bibio and some of the better break artists out there. Their use of both synthetic and recorded ambient samples makes their songs perfect backgrounds to the subtle movements of the world.
Gold Panda is a composer and producer from London known for his warm, crackly electronic sounds and soothing melodies. Under the label Ghostly International (of course), he released the album Lucky Shiner in 2010 to immediate critical acclaim, receiving the Guardian UK’s First Album Award for it. The single Marriage was released as an EP this year, featuring remixes by Star Slinger, Baths, Forest Swords, and Halls. (You can stream the entire EP on Soundcloud.) The song features a melodic beat driving the action, overlaid with simple piano refrains and just enough fuzz to create a sound that warms you from the inside out. It’s a perfect track to put on while watching the cars pass by on a drizzling evening. Dreary, yet soothing.
Ghostly International artist Tycho's (Scott Hansen) re-release of his 2004 album Sunrise Projector as Past is Prologue features remixes by a few other electronic artists, including one of my favorites: Brooklyn’s own Mux Mool (Brian Lindgren).
Lindgren takes Hansen’s distant, dreamy sound and adds his own broad, moving psychedelia to create a track that’s otherworldly, trippy, and chills-inducing. It provides the perfect soundtrack to discovering other worlds from the comfort of your own couch.
I’ll be going to see Mux Mool play at Fright Club on October 11, and will hopefully being seeing Tycho at the Music Hall of Williamsburg on the 16th. If you happen to be in the New York area for either of these shows, definitely stop by. I can guarantee they’ll both be wonderful sets.
Brooklyn-based indie folk suit Grizzly Bear's 2004 album Horn of Plenty was widely touted as one of the best albums of that year—an oft-longing, sometimes sweeping collection of folk ballads that skillfully mixed expert instrumentation with dirge-like sentiments to paint a sad, soulful picture.
A year later, several prominent producers and artists came together to remix the entire album, including such names as Dntel, Safety Scissors, Ariel Pink, and Final Fantasy. My personal favorite from the album (besides Owen Pallett’s beautiful, soul-wrenching take on Don’t Ask) is definitely London’s little known Simon Bookish's choppy, driving version of Eavesdropping. Cutting apart and patching together vocalist Edward Droste’s lyrics creates a whole new song and feeling from the original track.
Ryan York is a glo-fi electronic artist from LA who creates digital music under the moniker Asura. His music—an engaging fusion of gravelly soundscapes with detailed electronic repetitions—evokes other bands in a similar vein, including a few of my favorites such as Boards of Canada and Underworld. Asura is a project exploring the space between the subjectivity of mind and the objectivity of nature, first explored by the Japanese poet Kenji Miyazawa in his collection An Asura in Spring. York’s music encourages the listener to relax, let go, and let the music take the mind where it may, making it perfect for meditation and reflection.
I just moved to New York City a few days ago, just a few blocks away from the recently burglarized DIY venue The Silent Barn. (Link goes to their Kickstarter.) Being an indie geek and a supporter of all things DIY, I decided my first show in the city should be a benefit show for TSB, held at Death by Audio. (Another excellent venue.)
Austin, TX native duo Zorch will be headlining tonight. They’re an experimental group with a penchant for wavy effects and heavy percussion, falling somewhere on the spectrum between dream- and noise-rock. They make heavy use of the interesting Omnichord, a nifty little device manufactured by Suzuki in the 80s. Their sound is brash, trippy, and engaging. I’m excited.
This closing track to Cape Town’s electro-jazz-tribal-dance band Goldfish's 2010 album, Get Busy Living, is a perfect summation of what the band is all about: catchy dance songs spun from threads of jazz and traditional tribal music. It features an ongoing African drum track overlaid with samples of native vocals and Dom Poole’s lilting piano strains.
Stephen Wilkinson, a British music producer who produces under the name Bibio, is widely known for his innovative use of both musical and ambient samples, as well as his tendency towards a “retro” electronic sound, making use of archaic equipment and instruments. His sound varies widely between upbeat synthpop melodies and slow, Simon and Garfunkel-esque folk ballads, all with his distinctive late-seventies twang. He’s currently signed to Warp Records, under which he released his newest album, Mind Bokeh, in 2011 along with an accompaniment of singles, K is for Kelson.
You wouldn’t expect a band with the name of Radical Face to deliver sad, soulful ballads, but that’s just what you’ll get out of Ben Cooper’s solo project. His first released album, Ghost, features lamenting guitars, sweeping scores, and Cooper’s moving voice laid over meaningful lyrics, creating an album that will make you think, and might make you cry. His next album is a trilogy entitled Family Tree, the first album of which (Roots), is expected to drop this year.
The Most Serene Republic ~ Don’t Hold Back, Feel a Little Longer
Ontario-based symphonic band The Most Serene Republic has undergone many sonic changes since their formation as The Oneironauts in 2003. Bringing together a number of talented members and experimental producers, this band experiments with everything from orchestral arrangements to thudding electronic beats, weaving a complex and engaging tapestry of sounds together into albums that fit many moods. This band’s sound took an electronics-heavy turn with the addition of producer David Newfeld for their 2009 album …And The Ever-Expanding Universe. This track especially highlights the influence of Newfeld’s frantic and beat-heavy direction in said album.
German chillwave artist Michael Lüeckner once recorded under the names Digital Jockey and Computerjockeys. He began to experiment more with looped and layered guitars in 2002, picking up the name Guitar to reflect his design. Taking inspiration from shoegaze bands such as My Bloody Valentine, his muddled and lagging electronic sounds reflect the iconic band’s own languid sound. In 2006, Lüeckner took a trip to Japan, where he collaborated with vocalist Ayako Akashiba to create the album Tokyo. Using samples from traditional Japanese instruments such as the koto to complement the singer’s angelic voice, he created a soothing ambient album with a balance of influence from traditional Japanese music and more modern chillwave sounds. The first track, Sunday Afternoon at Tamagawa River, opens the album with a long, relaxing song that, if you close your eyes, might just convince you that you’ve been transported back to feudal Japan.
Off of the Ghostly International label comes San Franciscan electronic musician and graphic designer Scott Hansen, better known for his work as Tycho. On this single, Coastal Brake, looped guitars and a steady beat under electronic whines and pops make for a trippy, driven sound that’s perfect for background music for a drive along the coast.
The Books are a folktronica/found sound duo from New York City that use a variety of sources for samples featured prominently in their music, including furniture, ambient sound, and salvaged cassettes. After their release of their well-received poetic album Lost and Safe in 2005, the pair took a break from creating music until the production of their most recent album, The Way Out, in late 2008. It was released in 2010 on the Temporary Residence Limited label.
In their single, Beautiful People, The Books experiment with techniques such as backmasking and tone modulation over lyrics about irrational numbers and geometric figures. In doing so, they create a sound entirely their own; eccentric, yet appealing to even the most discerning ear.
The new single from Brooklyn slo-fi band The Antlers’ forthcoming album, Burst Apart. The Antlers established their place in many a melancholy heart with 2009’s soul-wrenchingly sad Hospice. Though a departure from Hospice's ballads, this track gives an almost eerie, distant sound, coupled perfectly with lead singer Peter Silberman's distinctive warbling vocals. A promising tease for the new album.
You can stream the entirety of Burst Apart through NPR here. (Link via Crumbler.)
Welcome to La Langue Verte, a blog for upcoming, rare, and local music. I’ll be sharing a variety of music from different genres and tastes with you with the dual interests of giving exposure to up-and-coming artists as well as expanding the musical horizons of you, the reader.
Thank you for your interest in LLV, and keep on listening.