Best of October 2016 – The Playlist

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Album Review: Jamie Isaac – Couch Baby // Jazzy Summer Nights

Jamie Isaac, the London-based artist who’s been gathering quite a bit of hype, is one of the good ones. He started making music a few years ago, but he learned to play the piano in his early years, inspired by his grandma and the jazz music that was always playing at his parents’ house.

And these influences are clear as crystal and beautifully integrated into the tracks of his debut record. Couch Baby is one of those albums you listen to on warm summer evenings. It’s just getting dark and you’re sitting outside, the sound of the music trickling through the half-open door. Isaac works in that luscious, deep, dark bass drum with rippling trip-hop beats, uses guitar and synth reverb alongside the quiet centerpiece of his work – jazzy piano and rhythms.

All of this catches that one certain, kind of European, neo-jazz, soulful, cool, lounge sound that’s been the biggest trend of the trendless for a few years, simmering just out of sight of the commercial side of things. Isaac creates a wonderful atmosphere that just swallows you up.

And while the songs are beautifully detailed, the distinct lack of changes in the bpm department is not everyone’s cup of tea. But overall, Jamie Isaac is definitely one of those we have to watch, because he might just be the next big thing.

Track of the Week 06/06/2016

This week’s Track of the Week is a bit of a cheat because I want to introduce you to Sir Was.

The Swedish artist’s latest EP Says Hi is a beautiful example of how free and effortless music can sound. With a mixture of sounds he picked up with his phone (for example the sounds of a pet store on Falcon), the soulful feeling of jazz and the slightly more serious-sounding electronic elements it’s an EP I can’t just pick one song from, because it works best in its entirety.

Stream Says Hi below

Album Review: Tourist – U // That Kick You Need on Sunny Summer Mornings

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It took William Philips, aka Tourist two years to complete his first album. And does not disappoint.

The artist himself is currenly best known for his songwriting contribution to Sam Smith’s hit song Stay With Me, skyrocketing the latter into world fame and several Grammy nominations. Now Philips has focused on his own baby, his danceable electro album U.

Using beats, synths and melodic themes that go straight through your heart to your feet, he tells a story about a relationship from beginning to end, leading us through anxiety and bliss with To Have You Back, a single he offered for free on soundcloud a few months ago. The album then moves on to sadness and anger, expressed as the complicated emotions that they are in Seperate Ways, and ends the journey with For Sarah, a deeply melancholic track.

Musically, Tourist takes inspiration from many different sub genres of electronic music. Using a theme throughout a whole song, modifying it and telling his stories with it is a daunting task, but he masters this in a beautiful way. The album never gets boring. With techno beats and synths that remind of some kinds of lounge or ambient music, it’s music to dance to and to dream to.

U is inspiring, anxious, beautiful. It pulls you in, gets your brain working, your imagination flowing and your feet dancing. It’s a brilliant debut from a seasoned, confident artist who clearly knows what he’s doing. Tourist is one to watch.

Day 12: ABBY – Hexagon // ever so gentle, ever so Berlin

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Abby’s hometown Berlin is quite audibly an influence. Their second album Hexagon was released in August in Germany, Austria and Switzerland, but only made it to the UK and the rest of the world in October.

That meant I could buy the vinyl for my Dad and then mourn over it when I was back in England because I had to wait for more than a month for it to be available.

Overall, it’s a very gentle, calm album. With a mix of electronica and indie-esque melodies it definitely fits in with the current trend. For me, this album really represents the time of change when I moved to University and, therefore, is laden with emotional baggage, not necessarily just bad.

This brings us to the end of my personal 12 Days of Christmas. Thanks for coming along for the ride and I hope you’re having a wonderful holiday season!

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Day 8: Howling – Howling // Australia + Germany = the perfect collab no one expected

howling-sacredgroundRZ-2500-finalMultitalent Ry X and producer and Innervisions leader Frank Wiedemann released a collaboration track in 2012 called Howling that went viral. Despite living half a world away from each other, Ry X is from Australia and Wiedemann lives in Germany, they knew that what they had is something that needs to be exploited.

The tracks on the album that came out in May on Counter Records were mostly recorded in rehearsals or other random places – Wiedemann’s mansion in South Germany, California, Miami, Zurich, …

Different cities have different vibes and that’s maybe what makes this album stand out. The strange, otherworldly vibe of the album is beautifully accentuated by gentle and very professional production.

This is definitely a personal highlight for me this year and it makes me a bit sad that we can’t expect a new album anytime soon, and that we can’t even be sure there will be a new album. But if time and patience make for another album of similar quality and expertise, I am more than happy to wait.

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Day 3: Modestep – London Road // It’s brutal and I love it

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Modestep, the British electronic rock band, released their second studio album in May this year.

This album really breaks the theme I have in my favourite albums this year – but I do love me some dubstep/rock mix.

This is another album that split the record shop clientele in two. Some loved it (an overall highlight being Game Over) and some hated it. But it’s no secret that some sort of dubstep sound is not everyone’s proverbial cup of tea.

The album consists of a wild mix of songs that can either hype you up for a night out or just get your creative juices flowing. Most of all, it’s interesting, and that’s what reeled me in.

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