Random Acts of Music #2 – A BBC 6 Music ‘Fluenced Playlist

Susanne Sundfør

In this second ed. of Random Acts of Music we’re taking our lead predominantly from serious music influencer and doyenne of experimental electronica and idiosyncrasy, the dulcet-toned MaryAnne Hobbs. To spice things up and keep it diverse, we’ve also lobbed in a few choice cuts from across the 6 Music Board.

Just in case you missed our first New Music Playlist #NMP, you can check it out later by clicking this link.

Today’s playlist is somewhat submerged in dense, dark soundscapes at points tinged with glistening moments of ethereal brightness. There’s an almost religious, definitely spiritual quality to some of the tracks; to counter the celestial and bring things back down to earth, we’ve included some extremely earthy and very meaty animalistic vibes.

Full Spotify playlist at the end of the post.

Photo : BBC 6 Music

Starting off the latest Recommends playlist is Aphex Twin with Umil 25-01, just one of a bunch of tracks the electronic Gandalf has uploaded out of the blue. Originally dropped as a bonus track to follow the release of ‘Orphaned Deejay Delek 2006-2008’, it’s a meandering snake of a tune peppered with sharp percussive hits. You’ll find this amongst others over on the Irish-born Englishman’s label home Warp.net. Check it out.

Walking a completely different sonic path is Berlin based musician Martyn Heyne whose magical guitar-work adorns expansive, visceral soundscapes.

Latest single Carry teases a new album due out later this year on the newly established 7k label. Speaking of his own personal interaction with music Martyn offers “For me the only way to discover something new in music is to listen without any preconceptions as to what it is. No expectations at all”. Sound advice.

August Rosenbaum is a Danish composer whose innovative compositions are currently taking music industry and media types, as well as fans by storm.  If music could be described as a luxuriously adorned celestially beauty, Credo is it. Or if you prefer your analogy a little more Italianate in a futuristic Renaissance kinda way – in the Dane’s own words – “Imagine an altar boy stepping forward to sing at an Italian church mass in 2050”.

Credo is Lifted from the August Rosenbaum album ‘Vista’ due out on November 24th on uber-hip, Danish independent record label Tambourhinoceros. If the two single releases provide a vista of what is yet to come on the full length, we can look forward to something pretty special! (Check out lead track Nebula – a ‘poignance’ of strings set afloat on a sea of all consuming darkness).

Another track that could easily have been recorded in the shadowy, nocturnal darkness of a marble-lined Gothic cathedral is Mountaineers, the Susanne Sundfør single featuring the illustrious John Grant. The Norwegian music artist recently signed to the Bella Union label for whom she’ll play an intimate album launch in London’s Courtyard Theatre on 22nd August (see poster for details).

Mountaineers is to music as Villette was to literature, and like the Bronte novella, there is something almost preternatural in its power.

It unfurls, largo, with Grant’s potent plain chant vocal lingering long on a brooding thrum, creating frissons of tension and mystery. Into Grant-created darkness comes the light of Sundfør’s magical vocal. Like a gentle hand soothing a troubled soul it adds an uplifting and bewitchingly ethereal texture as it majestically whips the melody up from Hades to Heaven.

Susanne Sundfør will be interviewed on Monday 14th August by Radcliffe and Maconie for 6 Music. Programme start time 1pm GMT. Her latest album Music for People in Trouble – from which Mountaineers is lifted – is due for release on 25th August. Susanne’s first on Bella Union, it is currently available to pre-order here

The MfPiT promotional tour kicks off in Helsinki on 12th September with a pitstop in London on 2nd October and one in Dublin five days later on 7th.

Speaking of heaven and higher highs, Midnight the new single from Jessie Ware, is a delicious R&B redemption from the Gothic froideur of its Playlist predecessor.

Earthy, sensual, seductive, its the perfect vehicle for Ware’s powerful honey-textured vocal. One minute it’s gliding recklessly over undulating synth lines, the next storming through a stomping piano riff, the temperature of Ware’s vocal matching the rising heat of the lyrics.

A taster of her as yet untitled upcoming album due later this year via PMR/Interscope, Midnight is an audacious ode to risqué love with a searingly hot, rhythmic pulse.

From hot blooded carnal pulses to ‘junglesque’, tribal ones. Listening to Pact Infernal‘s Purification is like crawling blindfold through a dark echo chamber surrounded by an invisible audience of strange sounds. The highly charged atmosphere is laced with intrigue, and shaded with a touch of terror reminiscent of ‘what danger’s lurking in the jungle?’ film-scenes.

Purification is the opening track on the duo’s debut ‘concept’ album Infernality which is on release via the Horo label and was “written to invoke a tribal ritual of the mind“. It’s deep … mineshaft deep.

Keeping the textures deep and immersive, we move onto Leaving the Park from Brookly-based Daniel Lopatin aka Oneohtrix Point Never. Another tune from his score for the film GoodTime it’s due out on Warp on 11th August.

An intensity of frantic squiggles and streaks of noise rush through a booming darkness in a sound that strangely feels both expansive and claustrophobic.

It’s certainly immersive, drawing you into its spiralling galaxy. Innovative expression of chaotic emotion, Leaving the Park has a back to the future feel as it references Tangerine Dream in the most post-modern of ways.

American multi-instrumentalist wonder-woman Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith has as fuller diary than most, with a prolonged stint of festival and island hopping pencilled in, starting with a slot at prestigious Øyafestivalen in Oslo on 11th August.

Finnish Flow Festival (try saying that with a mouthful of peanuts), plus dates in Sweden, France and Poland follow, as well as a mid-Winter gig in NYC that will see her showcase her upcoming album.

Kaitlyn played the Nils Frahm festival in London last year where per that flaxen mistress of the decks, she “enchanted the room“.  The inventive and far-seeing electro-experimenter continues to enchant with An Intention, the first taster of her new album entitled The Kid which is due out on 6th October.

There are similarities of sorts with Welshwoman Kelly Lee Owens – both artists push and stretch boundaries oft’ beyond their ‘comfort zone’; they both also favour a fusion of existential synths and breathy harmonies.

The apparent effortlessness of Smith’s art belies the perfectly arranged elements that furnish her imaginative electronic habitats.

Full details of her tour schedule and album release can be found on Smith’s website.

 

Four-piece Grizzly Bear who hail from Brooklyn, NYC, have just dropped single Neighbors taken from their upcoming album Painted Ruins which is due out on the Columbia label on 18th August.

When they finish live-love-bombing New York’s clubs, they’ll be hitting my home town, where they’ll pitch up at Vicar Street for a double date on 4th/5th October with Finn-Dane super-group Liima. UK and Euro dates follow – details on their FB page.

Photo Tom Hines

Possibly the most touchingly beautiful and warmly endearing song on this playlist, Neighbors is the fourth release from the bands first long player since their 2012 album Shields. It’s as mellow as the dawn glow with a caress more tender than a gentle breeze.

Blending swatches of folk, indie and electronic, the track flows across lines of heaving synth, warm-textured ‘horn’ samples and tight circular guitar riffs. The understated vocal complements the carefully produced union of organic and electronic.

You can watch the rather quirky but really entertaining visual accompaniment to Neighbors here.

For the next track, what we wanted to bring you and what we can bring you are unfortunately two different things. What we wanted to include here was the Andrea Belfi remix of the Dead Light track, Sleeper. However, as it’s currently unavailable in any format other than MP3, that isn’t a playlist runner.**

A huge favourite of Ms. Hobbs, drummer Belfi has re-imagined the short, soul-stirring Sleeper, weaving inspired rhythm patterns into its minimalist fabric.

Belfi’s percussive choreography is akin to expressionist or freeform dance. Vital, expressive, uninhibited and provocative – it enlivens and reshapes, bringing new textures to the surface of what already was an incredibly captivating composition. Bravissimo.

Sleeper (Andrea Belfi Remix) is one of four brand new mixes due out on 25th August on the Village Green label but can be pre-ordered here.

**On the playlist we’ve included Sleeper in its original format and an Andrea Belfi solo track, Lead (percussive shades of Sat in Your Lap).

The Spotify gods are not being kind to DervSwerve just now, as lo, we’ve been struck down with déja vu yet again, as the track we wanted to feature hasn’t been uploaded. No matter, we’ll pluck another from the heart of the Blondes catalogue.

Blondes are a two-piece based in NYC who are set to release Warmth their first album on the R&S label. The track we wanted to bring you was MRO* but the only track available to us just now is KDM, which at just under 6.50 is one helluva #tuunne.

Warmth Artwork

It’s the type of track where using the word trance would be apt as the groove is all rather heady and hypnotic. Pulsing rhythms beat into layer after layer of synth trance but it’s in the overall packaging that the genius lies.

There’s an underlying graininess and almost deliberately unpolished edgy rawness to their skilfully arranged, idiosyncratic production.

Warmth is due for release on 11th August but can be pre-ordered here.

*As of 11th August, MRO has been added onto the RAoM playlist

 

Our penultimate playlist entry is from an old hand under a new guise. Purl trading under the Illuvia moniker brings us the delicious Surrounded. To quote from his bandcamp page …

Music as a doorway to the Eternal – Welcome. My name is Ludvig Cimbrelius and I create music, endlessly … it is a language capable of expressing some of the vast depths of beauty that resides within us all.”

How absolutely wonderful is that?

Equally wonderful are the cool, clean lines of his self-released track Surrounded. Minimalist electronic breeze, piano notes in the form of Summer raindrops, and harmonies in the guise of spritely echoes.

It’s just all too gorgeous.

Illuvia is lifted from the album Eternell and you’ll find both over on bandcamp. Buy it and let your senses be beguiled!

..

Last but by now means least, easing us out is the fascinating Two Thousand and Seventeen from Four Tet.

On the wings of Kieran Hebdon this is an amuse bouche from his new album due out later this year on his own label Text Recordings.

It shimmers. It stuns. Precision fretwork of the most intoxicating kind is paired with laid back synth soundscapes to create something so unique that it defies categorisation. Which can only ever be a good thing.

Strings played in an elaborate Asian style are the gilt-edged bling to a paired-back electronic twilight, ornate decor melded with layers of grey.

With its exquisite guitar sequences, which are played with dexterity and flair, and backroom fodder synths, this is a track where melodrama is counterpointed by the most workaday of ‘backing tracks’. Simply perfect.

And a simply perfect ending to what’s been a pretty special playlist. To hear our regular Random & other playlists or to keep up with all the news and views follow us on Facebook and Twitter, or hop across to Spotify! DervSwerve

 

Advertisements

Random Acts of Music – A BBC 6 Music ‘Fluenced Playlist

Starting today, we’re going to be bringing you a ‘playlist/new-music’ project that’s been on the bubble for some time.

As many of you would know, DervSwerve is involved with Tom Robinson’s Fresh on the Net new music support system and hub. This has led to relationships and inter-minglings with various BBC Introducing houses as well as the holy grail of the airwaves, 6 Music.

For some time now it has been our mission to operate in tandem with, as well as support those shows featuring new artists on both Intro and 6. We’ve already spun some Intro supported sounds here over the years, most recently in our Discover Brexit pieces. However, the time has now come to get into a proper Beeb groove and as of today, we’ll be bringing you playlists aligned to the Saturday night ‘Intro’ shows as well as 6 Music Recommends.

We’ll be taking our tips from the gurus over at BBC 6 Music as they pull together playlists sourced from all over the map geographically and sonically. Our Random Acts of Music will take in all the different flavours and tastes of 6 Music and BBC Intro DJs; music of every texture, colour and origin.

Everything in moderation being the DervSwerve motto, we’ve a little bit of everything in today’s #NMP, Random Acts of Music, which interestingly has quite the DIY bent to it as well as a more than mellow feel. Full Spotify playlist at the end of the post.

Kicking things off is Hollow Hand with their just released trippy-Kinksian single End to Everything. A quartet from Brighton, they released their debut album Ancestral Lands in 2015. Interestingly they like Wilson guitars and Liv Ullmann. Check out the groovy Medieval themed visual for their glorious, harmony-filled psych track here!

Californian Angelo de Augustine is up next with his DIY track Crazy Stoned & Gone lifted from his upcoming album Swim Inside The Moon which is due out on 18th August. The singer, who recently signed to the Sufjan Stevens label Asthmatic Kitty, recorded the album live in his house –  vocals and guitar were done in his bathroom, while the piano was recorded in the living room.

Speaking of the DIY recording de Augustine explained: The album was recorded live in the bath tub of my house using a 1970s four-track reel-to-reel tape machine, one SM57 microphone, and an old PA mixer. I positioned the microphone in such a way as to pick up the reverberations of my voice and guitar off of the walls of the tub. After the guitar and vocal performance was recorded, I would often in the same vein add piano, electric guitar, or synthesizer on top of the song.”

Swim Inside The Moon out 18th August is available to pre-order and music fans in the UK can expect to see AdeA take it live this November. One to watch much.

From Dyffryn Conwy in Snowdownia comes space popper supreme, George Amor t/a Omaloma. His new single Eniwe is taken from the album Aros O Gwmpas which is out on the Cae Gwyn label and comes on the back of his recent stint playing the BBC Intro stage at Latitude. It’s trippiness ‘sonified’, a gorgeous drifting prism of loveliness that’d be right at home soundtracking a Cadbury’s Flake ad.

Earlier this year Stirling native, Scott William Urquhart, released his album Lenten Dawn Chorus. Now he is re-releasing a track from his 2015 EP Rosie’s Smile. Instrumental Galaxies is four minutes of technically adept guitar playing with many as twists as turns, and comes highly recommended by both Gideon Coe and Lauren Laverne.

No stranger to these pages, US based Weyes Blood is an artist that is lyrically, musically and vocally at the top of her game. Her recently released album, Front Row Seat to Earth was as spectacular as it was critically acclaimed, as was borne out by its mesmerising promotional live shows.

Natalie Mering, the person behind the WB persona, is as pithy as they come – check out her latest pinned tweet “How many pity likes you give on twitter is one more magic bean in your sympathy sack in hell”. Burn!

Used to Be lifted from FRStE is according to 6 Music’s Lauren Laverne very Stevie Nicks (Silver Springs). It’s set for release on 4th August via Mexican Summer records. If you don’t already have the album, count this as a good first investment.

We’re back in Gideon Coe territory with Belgian singer-songwriter Melanie de Biasio. Her album Lilies, is due out in October via the coolly named Play it Again Sam records, with lead track Gold Junkies just released and what a teaser it is. There’s every genre and none in here – touch of art pop, hint of mid-60s, washes of dark Americana, and nightshades of moody electro-pop.

De Biasio’s sound is intense, her style unorthodox, the result intoxicating.

Turning night to very colourful day is Wesley Fuller‘s #1 Song, which is due out 4th August. The Aussie power popper who hails from Melbourne is set to release his debut album Inner City Dream this September. One for fans of Parquet Courts and Lemon Twigs, this rainbow riot is a current fave of Steve Lamacq.

Vibing the Leo Sayer look with a drummer that’s not a million miles from a late 60’s Ringo Starr, Fuller is fast making a name for himself outside of his native Australia with his sounds of summer, vivacious pop anthems.

Mancunian Aldous RH is Feelin’ Blue and he’s produced the cerulean video to prove it. However, the sound of Lauren Laverne playing his track on 6 Music Recommends should perk him up no end! Aldous used to be in the band Egyptian hip hop, going on to release his debut solo album Seductive Atmospheres in 2015. He says his music is neo-blue-eyed soul – I call it understated, infectious ear-worm.

Feelin’ Blue is out now on Handsome Dad records.

Iron & Wine‘s single Call It Dreaming is lifted from his first album of new material since 2013. Recently featured in the latest ed of Uncut Magazine, I&W aka Sam Beam, has his feet firmly planted in an American country landscape flavoured with pinches of indie-folk. His latest single is a lush and gorgeously textured, guitar-driven wonder the warmth of which perfectly offsets the poignancy of its lyrics.

Speaking of his upcoming album Beam says, “This collection speaks to the beauty and pain of growing up after you’ve already grown up. For me that experience has been more generous in its gifts and darker in its tragedies”.

The album Beast Epic is out on 25th August on Sub Pop records.

Moon Diagrams is the project of Deerhunter co-founder and drummer, Moses Archuleta and the single Nightmoves is lifted from the album Lifetime of Love which was written and recorded in NYC and Georgia over a ten year period. Moon Diagram’s is like a sort of re-imagining of Deerhunter – some of the same and then not – a different genre with threads of the Deerhunter aesthetic woven through its fabric.

Current single Nightmoves is a mellow psych-trancer with an hypnotic rhythm. Lifetime of Love out now on the Sonic Cathedral imprint.

Bill Baird aka Blond Bill, is an American multi-disciplinary artist, TV presenter, environmentalist, painter and creator of concept albums! IOW a man of many talents. Most recently Bill released two albums designed to be listened to at different times of the day.

Brighter of the two, Easy Machines is a child of the morning while Baby Blue Abyss is a record to dive into as the dark rises. Our featured track the delightfully mellow and uplifting acoustic Telephones very of the dawn – is due for release on 4th August, via Talk Show records.

Last but by no means least, a gem of a vintage country track from the late American singer-songwriter Steve Young entitled Seven Bridges Rd. First released in 1969, the song has been covered by music stalwarts such as The Eagles, Dolly Parton and Joan Baez.

Young, who passed away last year at the age of 73, was well know for his idiosyncratic brand of ‘outlaw country’ and in fact his sound and style of easy charm recall that other legend of fine country wine, Lee Hazlewood. Seven Bridges Rd is taken from the re-issued album Rock Salt & Nails out now on A&M records.

We’re going to finish as we started, wrapping things up with the latest single from Angelo de Augustine.  Haze is as warm and heartfelt a piece of acoustic intimacy as you’ll hear anywhere. A lo-fi melodic rarity that will gently wrap you in its arms, should you choose to let it.

To hear our regular Random & other playlists or to keep up with all the news and views follow us on Facebook and Twitter, or hop across to Spotify! DervSwerve