Posts tagged ‘chill’
CHILL: Small Black’s “Photojournalist” is the first teaser from their upcoming album, “New Chain” set to be released through Jagjaguwar Records. It’s purposefully hazy, muddied and sweetly spacey. The soung begins with dreamy synth and sounds like drops of water in a pond set to digital electronica. Their intimate and moody lyrics, “set to rise up again like a ghost”, are stretched across a slow sexy groove, not unlike the xx. The band have been touring with a Their Bated Breath favorite, Washed Out. — David D. Robbins Jr.
VIDEO BELOW: Small Black “Bad Lover” (Self-titled EP)
SOMNAMBULISTS OF THE WORLD, UNITE AND TAKE OVER: When Titania sleeps, this is what she surely hears. Memoryhouse is the Ontario-based duo of Denis Nouvion (singer) and Evan Abeele (instrumentals). The band makes atmospheric chill for the extremely laid back. Their new EP, ” The Years”, consists of four tracks, “Sleep Patterns”, two songs given names of Virginia Woolf novels, “The Waves” and “To the Lighthouse” — and “Lately (Deuxieme).” The latter plays like a drowsy School of Seven Bells behind these cryptic and languidly sung lyrics: “Lately, I’m not sleeping / I’m not breathing / Without machines / Lately, my heart’s been breaking (x2) / Through the seams.” Nouvion’s heavily echoed vocals play prettily, almost a half-step behind the muffled cascading of synth and white noise that sounds in part like television static, light oceans waves or a distorted soft rain. The band recorded a second version of “Lately” dubbed “Troiseieme” — which begs the question: Where is the “Premier” version? It’s nice to hear a band that isn’t in a hurry and isn’t trying to hide deficiencies amid a bluster. Below are the two versions of “Lately” — compare the two, and see which you prefer. — David D. Robbins Jr. (Still photo taken from video for “Lately (Deuxieme)”.)
RADIATING HIS ESSENCE: Just when you thought you’d wear out your Toro Y Moi, Washed Out, Letting Up Despite Great Faults and Gaslamp Killer discs — just across the horizon comes Baths, aka Chatsworth, California’s Will Wiesenfeld. Baths is working on an upcoming album, “Cerulean”, at one of the best record labels, Anticon. (The musical home of Odd Nosdam, Thee More Shallows, WHY? and Sole.) Bath officially leaked a single, “Maximalist”, last week — but has had a video of himself playing the track live in his bedroom (see below) on YouTube since December of last year. His newest leak, “Hall” (via the Forkcast), shows just how comfortable Wiesenfeld is with layering hazy synth-jams over fuzzy loops and high falsetto. He coos over the top of a reverse back track and clanking noises while altering his vocal pitch to get different ranges and effects, sometimes sounding like tribal chants. It’s a gorgeously warm piece of music, with transitions all falling just right. Listen to some of Baths’ other tracks at his MySpace page. — Words by David D. Robbins Jr.
VIDEO BELOW: Baths “Maximalist” (Live in his bedroom)
THE SWAY OF THE SEA: Adam & Alma’s new EP “Back to the Sea” begins like a siren’s song, beckoning with two-part acapella harmony and these lyrics: “Take my hand / It’s just thinking of you / Take my heart / It feels for you.” The languid opening transitions into a dark and sexy piece of electronica that really takes off with intermittent percussion and sythn. This young duo from Stockholm, Sweden, consists of Ellen Arkbro and Johan Graden. The second track, “Smile For Me, Sun” (below) is a sensual, chill dance track that seduces with pretty lyrics and phrasing: “I take off my clothes, / Letting you touch me … / I can trust again / Trying to forget that I … / I’ve shown you my skin.” The five tracks on this record have a lot of range. The Bjork-like number “Naked”, combines experimental sounds, distorted vocals and Swedish electro with an ominous Massive Attack-styled bass. The final track, “Bon”, uses some jazz and classical influence — with cello and what sounds like a toy piano. Really a pretty album. You can download it for free from 23 Seconds Netlabel site.
HEAD-BOBBING WITH BONOBO: Bonobo is the stage name of musician and DJ Simon Green, who will be releasing his fourth studio album, “Black Sands”, on March 29th, 2010 through Ninja Tune. Green’s new record likely will have BBC Radio One DJ Gilles Peterson drooling all over his vinyl. Bonobo blends ambient house and chill with an acid-jazz tradition. Tracks like “El Toro” are spirited with strings, heavy African percussion, horns, and maracas like some long-lost Brand New Heavies unearthing — or rebirth of the Solsonics for the club set. “We Could Forever” skips and bops with electronic dance beats, cut-up samples, bird whistles and flute used as slickly as Dr. Dre did on The Chronic’s “Lil’ Ghetto Boy”. Like a number of dance-hybrid creators — including Erlend Oye, Zero 7 and Thievery Corporation — Bonobo makes stellar use of female vocals. “Black Sands” features the sexy, soulful, and simmering R&B vocal stylings of UK songstress Andreya Triana on three tracks, “Eyesdown”, “The Keeper” — and the smoothest song on the album, “Stay the Same”. The track opens with a light acoustic guitar, a hard beat and these pretty, chill lyrics:
“A night train. / Midnight. / Bags gathered ’round my feet. / Possession. / Some lesson, to carry with me. / Heavy. / Soothing. / Like a gentle symphony. / I rest my head right back upon my seat. / It’s hot and cold though — the best thing for me. / This train is, moving. / But my heart is stationary.”
— Words and art by David D. Robbins Jr.
(Illustration makes use of press photos off Bonobo MySpace page)
SONG BELOW: Bonobo “Stay the Same”
WELCOME TO HELIGOLAND: Trip-hop’s biggest studs, Massive Attack, are back with their first LP in seven years, “Heligoland” — named for an island situated in the North Sea. The island is known for being a bomb-testing ground for the British Royal Navy after World War II.
“Heligoland” (release date Feb. 9, 2010) feels like the masters of gloomy chords and hellish bass grooves have returned to what made them the musical standard. It’s not that the album sounds like any of its predecessors. It doesn’t sound like “Mezzanine” or “Protection”. But it’s the moodiness and experimentation that is quintessential Massive Attack. It’s the moving away from the cinematic sounds of 2003’s “100th Window” and back to a gutter-soaked worldliness. A real-world grit smeared across heavy grooves and unexpected musical transitions.
The first track “Pray For Rain”, featuring TV On the Radio singer Tunde Adebimpe, “brings the black back” to Massive Attack — as founding member Grant “Daddy G” Marshall said he would. He may have been joking, referring to race as opposed to mood — but it sounds like both are back. The song moves darkly through low dub, wicked piano, African drum beats, and these lyrics tinged with sulfur and brimstone:
“In deepest hollow of our minds. / A system failure left behind. / And their necks crane, / As they turned to pray for rain. / Dull residue of what once was. / A shattered cloud of swirling doves. / And their eyes changed, / As they learned to see through flames. / And their necks craned, / As they turned to pray for rain.”
The track “Flat of the Blade” soothes with computerized bleeps, synth-drums in reverb — with vocals sung by Guy Garvey. It’s a song that sounds a lot like David Bowie.
For those that don’t know, Massive Attack is the Bristol, England duo Marshall and Robert “3D” Del Naja. They’re an ensemble band, featuring guest singers on a majority of their tracks. They’ve worked with Sinead O’Connor, Tracey Thorn (Everything But the Girl), David Bowie, and Mos Def. “Heligoland” features Martina Topley Bird (who has worked with Tricky), Damon Albarn (Blur and Gorrilaz frontman) and the husky-voiced Horace Andy.
“Heligoland” came about in a strange fashion. Daddy G says that he and Del Naja were working in separate studios on an album called “Weather Underground” — putting their creations together and going on tour with the results. Both became bored with the music and stripped it down and began re-working in Albarn’s studio. They created news sounds, new songs and made the music more cohesive.
“Splitting the Atom”, the third track on the album, showcases the band’s trademark supernatural elegance, with deep, thumping organ and hand claps before moving into a beautiful slacker hip-hop vocal delivery:
“Incandescent light at doors / In adolescent menopause / In little clicks you got the music stops / The needle sticks and the penny drops / The summer’s gone before you know / The muffled drums of relentless flow / You’re looking at stars that give you vertigo / The sun’s still burning and dust will blow / Honey scars, I’ll keep you near / Our blood is gold, nothing to fear / We killed the time and I love you dear / A kiss of wine, we’ll disappear / The last of the last particles / Divisible invisible.”
One of best tracks on the album, “Paradise Circus” (apparently named for a roundabout) seduces with intermittent and alternating bass beats, symphonic violins, and the sexiest vocals Hope Sandoval (Mazzy Star) has ever delivered. The band released a video for the song (explicit material) featuring legendary porn star Georgina Splevin. The 73-year-old starred in the adult movie, “The Devil in Miss Jones” in 1973 — and reminisces about her role in the movie and what she loves about sex, seduction and film. — Art and words by David D. Robbins Jr. (“Heligoland” album art manipulated)
Massive Attack “Pray For Rain”