While I always try to stay on top of breaking new sounds, every now and then you have to go back and right a wrong. Much to my surprise, it turns out that I never posted this incredible gem from Montreal producer Thomas White, so we’re going to go ahead and fix that right meow. Trap music (and electronic in general) is in such a constant state of flux with rapidly emerging influences from various genres, but rarely has anyone ever applied the basic fundamentals of it to a wildly different yet naturally cohesive genre with such powerful and chilling effect. It’s almost breathtaking how this reimagination of the classic blues and jazz track manages to evoke such massive sound with only the bare necessities. I could have summed this entire writeup with the word “WOW,” but let me say that those who stick with this track will be rewarded with more than they thought possible.
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The remix collective RAC is known for, well, their remixes. But in the last year and a half they’ve made a name for themselves with some pretty outstanding original material. The latest of which involves folk singer Katie Herzig, who they’ve remixed before. Continuing to prohibit themselves by being defined by any traditional “electronic producer” label, “We Belong” is an anthemic ballad heavy on the keys and strings. It’s a track that anyone can love, especially on Valentine’s Day.
Upon playing Sylvan Esso‘s “Hey Mami” for the first time, the opening might lead you to believe you were in for a fairly standard “girl with guitar” folk song, even with a decent hint of soul. It isn’t until halfway through that Megafaun’s Nick Sanborn intrudes with plucky, electronic fuzz bombs that dance around Amelia Meath’s croonings – proving one of those rare but always special “oh shit” moments when discovering new music. Beyond the sonic merits of the duo’s track, “Hey Mami” is a welcome feminist narrative and a great introduction to a duo who are just barely getting started.
Agnes Obel is a Danish singer-songwriter who’s already commercially successful in Europe and has been for some years, yet is now just barely gracing my ears. I’ve always had a soft spot for female vocalists, especially the ones with the deep, ethereal touch. Similar to Joanna Newsom in that her voice alone powers her records over thin, plucky instrumentals – “The Curse” being held up by only the softest hint of strings and trickling piano keys. You’ll find yourself simultaneously put to ease and entranced by her delicately warm modulation.
Buy her latest album Aventine on iTunes now
A long time ago my uncle was giving me shit for listening to artists that had an electronic edge to them, that I needed to spend more time with real instruments. This was a person whose musical taste guided me growing up, and it always kind of stuck with me that somehow electronic music was “easier” than the alternative. While obviously I learned that is not the case, the conversation immediately came to mind as I heard this song from London-based producer and musician Cosmo Sheldrake.
Aside from having an infinitely badass name (it just has to be his real name, right?), he’s a multi-talented instrumentalist who played jazz and classical piano since the age of 4 and regularly performs with a host of other instruments. Just see the image above. Armed with those tools and very basic looping equipment he crafts organic, soulful beats that sound almost natural. Could this music have been created without any electronic assistance? Maybe. Would it have been inspired without it? Probably not.
Check out a live video of this incredibly talented musician below. Just.. wow. That’s an unacceptable way to close a blog post but what else can you say?