L.D.C.N - Alone

When I first heard “Alone” by England-based producer L.D.C.N, it struck me how well the artist commanded the space within the track. “Alone” isn’t here to melt your face off; it lives in the cracks and crevices of sound, yet still defined and is able to get its point across. “Alone” is off of L.D.C.N’s newest release, Summer Rain; if you like what you hear, head on over to Bandcamp to check out more. As always, enjoy.

Turn Back Tuesday

Every Tuesday, I’ll highlight a track that was released before the advent of Tumblr. Each track is chosen both for its influence and worthiness for additional exposure.

M83 - Run Into Flowers

I used to think that artists who let their music be used in any sort of advertisement were selling out at least a little bit; as I’ve grown older, I’ve reversed that position. So many of my favorite bands and songs I found through advertisements; if it weren’t for some company trying to sell me something, I would have missed out on years of enjoyment. So, if I ever hear a band I like in a commercial, instead of thinking that they’re selling out, I think of the people out there who wouldn’t have heard the music otherwise.

If you’ve watched any television over the last few years, you’ve undoubtedly heard the music of M83; it seems like every other commercial has their electronic dream pop stamp on it. However, back in 2003, M83 was just a little start-up; when they released Dead Cities, Red Seas & Lost Ghosts, people stood up and paid attention. “Run Into Flowers” is easily the most accessible track in the album; its incessant need to push ever forward makes the track’s run time seem so short in the best possible way. M83 has certainly paid their dues over the years to get where they are now; take a listen to “Run Into Flowers” for an early example of their brilliance.  

Lorenz System - Meet Me in Montreal

In the end, it’s up to the listener to decide what vocals in a track are trying to say, which is especially difficult when there aren’t any words at all. The most entrancing aspect of Thailand-via-Birmingham artist Lorenz System’s “Meet Me In Montreal” are the vocals, a hypnotic, wordless rise-and-fall. The music tries to give the listener clues; a downtempo vibe and colorful beats paint a picture of worship, reverence, and hope, with a splash of melancholy. “Meet Me in Montreal” is off one of Lorenz System’s long-lost releases, The Other U; jump over to Bandcamp to give it a listen and as always, enjoy.

Turn Back Tuesday

Every Tuesday, I’ll highlight a track that was released before the advent of Tumblr. Each track is chosen both for its influence and worthiness for additional exposure.

DJ Shadow - Midnight In A Perfect World

If The Avalanches’ Since I Left You is the first album I’d recommend to someone getting into sampling, then DJ Shadow’s …Endtroducing would be right behind it. Releasing your best work first is typically seen as some sort of negative, that you haven’t “progressed” at the rate and the immaterial standards of its listeners. However, this is a tough way to look at media in general; each project has its own mission statements, and it’s tough to judge two projects against each other if they were aiming in opposite directions. 

There is a general consensus that DJ Shadow has not topped …Endtroducing, but with such a stunner of an album, does that really matter? A standout, “Midnight In A Perfect World” is ever-conscious of time; from the title to the time ticking away at the end, “Midnight” is aware that it is meant to be heard at a certain time, in a certain place, in a certain mindset. “Midnight” rolls along so smoothly that it’s easy to miss all the subtleties of DJ Shadow’s work; give it a few spins before making an assessment. We may never get another …Endtroducing, and that’s just fine.

(exitpost) - Waiting

I don’t typically use the term “next level” in a facetious manner; when I find something worthy of such a title, it’s truly unlike what I’ve heard before. (exitpost), based out of New York, just dropped his first full length, Sweet Fade, and the whole thing is an unbelievable listen. The first track that grabbed me was “Waiting”. A good track leaves you wanting more, and “Waiting” carefully manipulates space to keep the listener guessing. Go ahead and grab Sweet Fade on Bandcamp right now; it’s truly next level.

Zander One - Softsands

There’s two criteria I use when critically assessing a person’s creative output; if it accomplished what it set out to do, and whether it was worth accomplishing in the first place. When listening to Zander One’s newest release, Absolution, I was struck by how both of these requirements were met quite easily. Some people might think that an uncomplicated work failed on some level; however, Absolution isn’t out to change the world; it’s there to make the world just a bit more bearable. “Softsands” is a good example of this; downtempo is the name of the game here, flowing in and out of the listener’s ear with relative ease. Check out Absolution on Bandcamp via Virtual Urban Records and as always, enjoy.

Turn Back Tuesday

Every Tuesday, I’ll highlight a track that was released before the advent of Tumblr. Each track is chosen both for its influence and worthiness for additional exposure.

The Avalanches - Extra Kings

If I knew someone who was thinking of getting into sampling, and was asked to recommend them an album to get started, Since I Left You by The Avalanches would be the first one I would hand them. Sampling can be a very controversial practice; every artist needs to draw their own lines, what constitutes stealing and what belongs in the public domain. I feel like Since I Left You has done the best job over the years of establishing the parameters of how and what to sample. Since I Left You blends sounds from so many different sources that only a true artist could have put it together in such an appealing arrangement.

"Extra Kings" may be my favorite track off of Since I Left You; while “Since I Left You” and “Frontier Psychiatrist” got most of the attention 14 years ago, “Extra Kings” serves as the yearning closer, repeating “I just can’t get you….since the day I left you” until it fades into the distance. While another album from The Avalanches would be nice, “Extra Kings” makes sure no stone was left unturned, no sound wasted. Enjoy.

Memory Cards - Uppers

I blogged about Memory Cards a little while back, and when “Uppers” dropped in my inbox a few days ago, I couldn’t have been happier. It’s becoming increasingly obvious that at least this generation of electronic music artists is all about the idea of re-purposing; taking samples with an established vibe and completely flipping them on their head. I wouldn’t exactly call “Uppers” catchy; rather, it refuses to leave you, swirling around your brain, popping up whenever it feels like it. The track I reviewed previously, “Mythril Stone”, was very subdued, based around one sample; “Uppers”, appropriately, kicks it up a few notches, while still maintaining the essence of Memory Cards. Check out Slot 2, from which “Uppers” is the lead track, on Bandcamp; as always, enjoy.

YUME - FlowerChild

I would have to say that Ciara’s “Promise” is probably one of the most sampled songs of the last five years. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing; there’s so much in “Promise” to draw inspiration from, it’s hard not to find a buried hook that could be re-purposed for a different artistic vision. The thing that struck me about YUME’s “FlowerChild”, which samples “Promise”, is that it avoids the money shot parts of the song. Someone may hear “Promise” and want to crank the vocals up to 11; YUME is more interested in a subdued state, lying below the surface, waiting to be discovered. It certainly makes “FlowerChild” unique among other quality “Promise”-inspired tracks. Check out more from YUME on SoundCloud and Bandcamp; as always, enjoy.

Turn Back Tuesday

Every Tuesday, I’ll highlight a track that was released before the advent of Tumblr. Each track is chosen both for its influence and worthiness for additional exposure.

Fennesz - Before I Leave

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Have you ever come across an album that you know you should like, but you just can’t get your head around it? It’s been recommended by countless people, lauded for its vision, but something still holds you back? That was my relationship with Fennesz’s Endless Summer for a good long time. All the elements of electronic music that draws me in were there; that forward-thinking feel, that notion of “future music”, that no one else was doing what the artist was able to accomplish.

Typically when I come across such an album, there’s a “breakthrough” track; the one that allows everything to fall into place for the listener. For me, it was “Before I Leave”, an absolute stunner of a track that’s still fresh thirteen years later. Endless Summer vacillates between the harder and smoother points of electronic music, and there is no better representative for this sound than “Before I Leave”. Take a listen as we delve deeper into summer, and as always, enjoy.