Spring cleaning

CDs
Spring’s here, and it’s time to thoroughly clean everything – even the CD rack.

This is actually the first time I do this. Not that I haven’t passed a CD on that I didn’t care for before, but never have I removed this many at once. And since musical taste changes and gets refined by time (until you’re about thirty, they say) there has to be some casualties along the way. Even those I have been so sure about that I bought them. Here’s a short list with last words (and a bit of mocking, too. Well, mostly mocking). Starting from top left to right.

      • Cruel Hand – Prying Eyes
        I think that this band does have a good sound, but I also feel it just blends in with the mass. I can’t see why I should listen to this band over any other band that goes with the tag “hardcore punk” or just “punk”. Same goes for most of the Bridge Nine releases from this list.
      • Dead Swans – Sleepwalkers
        It’s a shame that this album just completely sunk into the deep sea of whatever. There were some promising sounds coming from this at first listen, but it just didn’t hold on to me in the long run.
      • Death Before Dishonor – Better Ways To Die
        I get the impression that they have some kind of gang inspired image taken from the hip hop community, which however does flow well together with their bold musical style. I’m just not digging it. But should image go over music? I’ll discuss that in a future post.
      • Death Before Dishonor – Friends Family Forever
        Yeah yeah, whatever.
      • Korn – Live And Rare (Compilation)
        With this album, I found out that I mostly just hate compilations. They feel so redundant. I mean, a digial release in the form of a Spotify playlist would’ve made so much more sense. But things were different back in 2006, so here, 11 live and two previously unreleased tracks. Yeez.
      • Limp Bizkit – Greatest Hitz
        Haha, yeah, more like greatest shitz. Okay, I actually might’ve kept like four songs from this album on my harddrive, so its not like I absolutely can’t stand the music. But I kept them more for the sake of nostalgia rather than the music. Which in itself is somehow problematic…
      • Bridge Nine Singles Vol.1 (Compilation)
        A collection of songs from different bands on the Bridge 9 roster. I don’t know why I don’t like them. My guess would be that they all sound the same (ouch, thats kinda harsh – but thats my experience).
      • Serj Tankian – Elect The Dead
        I think this might actually be one of the first records I ever bought. I still remember walking into the store on release day (the record’s from 2007, and that’s a long time ago, and it’s only getting farther away). I was a big System of a Down fan back then, and I remember how I wanted to support Tankian in his solo endeavour and how I loved his ‘crazyness’. It really just appears so childish to me now.
      • Panic – Strength In Solitude
        Another band amongst bands with the “hardcore punk”-tag.

Feeling like buying some of these releases following my sales pitch? They will definitely be for sale sometime via Discogs.com, but if you want to be sure not to miss out you can always post a comment.

Better late than never: HypeMachine treasures of 2013

Phew. Let me emphasize on that: PHEW. We’re halfway through the second month of 2014, and I have not had much time on my hands to post anything here. That does not mean that the thought didn’t cross my mind, which it did, and the thought told me I should post some musical diamonds of the preceding year found through the HypeMachine. As mentioned in a previous post, last year was a great year for me in many ways. It was the first year where I really started using the website, and it has been an awesome experience thus far. So, without further ado, lets get started with this list. I present to you the 20 best favorited song of 2013.

20. Max Frost – White Lies

Witty, funny and fresh are all words that fit the first single from the Austin, TX based producer and songwriter Max Frost.

19. Sekuoia – Evenings

With a clever use of samples and subtle percussion, Patrick Alexander Bech-Madsen AKA Sekuoia manages to bring forth a dreamy, late-night ish soundscape.

18. Anna Kendrick – Cups (Jellosea Remix)

Jellosea transforms Anna Kendrick’s Cups into a mellow, laid back track with low pitch vocals and a nice and easy beat-progression. Enjoy with a cup of coffee.

17. Shy Girls – Second Heartbeat

Affection materialized as soundwaves, Shy Girls deliver a creamy and equally dreamy pop track, tailored for lovers.

16. Tove Lo – Habits

Unlike the aforementioned track, Tove Lo’s Habits is about moving on from lost love. The track features a slightly more up-beat tempo and is adorned with the swedish singers youthful voice.

15. CitySyd – Rejsefeber

Rejsefeber, in danish meaning being nervous before a journey, is the perfect summer tune. Ever more perfect for the danish summer.

14. Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros – Home (RAC Remix)

RAC (Remix Artist Collective)’s remix of Home makes the song more modern in sound by incorporating synth beats, however still managing to preserve the old folk sound. In other words, it does great justice to the original.

13. Tomas Barfod – November Skies (Feat. Nina Kinert)

https://soundcloud.com/itsindoorsoutdoors/tomas-barfod-november-skies

An electronic pearl unlike anything I’ve heard the preceding year in danish music, Mr. Barfod’s November Skies is very well produced, huge in sound and features enchanting vocals by Nina Kinert.

12. NONONO – Down Under

Soothing vocals combined with playful melodies, NONONO’s Down Under is a must-have addition to your late-summer-evening-playlist.

11. HAERTS – All The Days

https://soundcloud.com/haertsmusic/all-the-days-haerts

Epic  and heartfelt, All The Days should probably be higher on this list, but it’s just so damn hard to choose. This song evokes strong nostalgia for me.

10. London Grammar – Hey Now

Cracked the top ten! A band that I have mentioned a couple of times before on this blog, London Grammar should probably have had more songs on this list if I hadn’t decided to only post one song per artist. I can highly recommend their 2013 debut album If You Wait.

9. Say Lou Lou – Feels Like We Only Go Backwards (Tame Impala Cover)

I once read a YouTube comment calling the music of the two australian born swedish sisters “sad-girl-club-core”, or something amongst those lines. I’m really bugged that I didn’t write that down, since it was both suitable and fun.

8. Keep Shelly In Athens – Recollection

I continue the list in the stylistically same vein as the above, only with slightly more electronics. On KSIA’s Recollection, the band incorporate somehow affectionate samples coupled with a smooth, female voice for your listening pleasure.

7. Ghost Loft – So High

Being one of those bands that release a couple of great songs and then disappear, there is ever more reason to enjoy this chillwave piece.

6. Solange – Losing You (Cyril Hahn Remix)

On C. Hahn’s remix of Solange’s Losing You, the Vancouver-based DJ puts emphasis on the experience of losing someone and gives the song a way more dark feel. Clever work with the vocals plus a total instrumental rework makes it a stand out track.

5. Passenger – Caravan (Kygo Remix)

Kygo was certainly a remixer to watch in 2013 and even more so in this year, and this song was what got me convinced. He alters Passenger’s Caravan into a cascade of colorful melodies along with a smooth-as-fuck beat.

4. Destiny’s Child – Say My Name (Cyril Hahn Remix)

As described in #6, Mr. Hahn likes to take songs into a dark direction, which is also evident on this remix of Destiny’s Child. The guy must be some sort of magician, ‘cos this is hella good.

3. MS MR – Think Of You (RAC Remix)

Think of You by MS MR gets revamped in this highly danceable version by RAC. So awesome. And that chorus! YES

2. Goldroom – Embrace (MyKill Remix)

GOTTA DANCE EVEN MORE TO THIS ONE. I MEAN, SHIT, LISTEN TO THAT BASSLINE. AND THOSE VOCALS. SHIT I THINK I JUST WET MYSELF THIS IS AWESOME

1. Toro Y Moi – Still Sound (Vindata Remix)

https://soundcloud.com/vindata/toro-y-moi-still-sound-vindata

Phew. At #1 already? Grab a glass of whatever and enjoy the view (if you have any) on a sunny day to this song. Wait, what am I saying, if it’s sunny outside, you should go to the park and blast this song at max volume. Fuck the haters, and especially everyone else who’s probably trying to enjoy the outside as well, because this song is a true gem; but I dont have to tell you, since you’ve (hopefully) already pressed the play button!

Top Discoveries of 2013

As mentioned in a previous post, 2013 was pretty monumental. Not only that, it also turns out to have been a rather strange year in some ways. I have been discovering music in new ways and been pretty busy at the same time (not spending much time at the computer), and as a result, HypeMachine has been a regular source of music on-the-go. Since HypeMachine is focused on single tracks (singles, remixes, etc.), and not full-album streaming, the composition of my music discoveries of this year reflect this clearly. However, I have still been able to gather some great artist and their albums throughout the year. Following is a list of the 6 most notable ones. Arranged in order of discovery.

Danny Brown

I became acquainted with the Detroit rapper’s music back in late december 2012, and therefore I think he still qualifies for a discovery of 2013 – ever more so because of the fact that I have been listening to Danny’s music a lot throughout the year. I started with his conceptual XXX, which struck me with his wide vocal diversity (sometimes I would think he had a feature, even though it was only himself rapping), and the different themes one can find in connection with growing up in a city with economic and social stagnation; drugs, theft, sex, etc. Subsequently to XXX I picked up his first full-length, The Hybrid, and shortly after his 2013 record titled Old was released. On Old Danny Brown divided the album into two parts, the first being more thoughtful and reflecting, while the latter was more party-esque oriented. All in all I think his newest release is decent, and I like both parts – however I would say I prefer the reflecting part above the party-part. Have a listen at one of my favorite Danny Brown songs, off his XXX lp:

Nils Frahm

German pianist and contemporary composer Nils Frahm is not entirely a new discovery for this year, but the story goes pretty much the same as with Danny Brown. I started with the three track EP ‘Wintermusik’ back in 2012, and didn’t grab anything new until the winter of 2013 while at Vallekilde. My roomie and I would listen to Frahms music in the evening before falling asleep, and sometimes the music would play until dawn. I also remember taking a very, very long walk in the snowy fields nearby our school while listening to his music. It has in this way been strongly enchanted with all these great memories, and has somehow become much more than music to me. Because everytime I will hear one of the songs from the records I am about to put my words on, I will be flooded in nostalgia, right up until the day I either go deaf or die. Or get alzheimers. Anyway.

The nostalgia-provoking releases of his that I have been listening to were Screws and the somewhat more experimental The Bells. Screws was an album that Frahm made while his main hand (can’t remember which one) was broken, in spite of the doctors advices and odds being against him. The fact that he played the whole thing with one hand can be heard in the simple nature of the music, which I find beautiful and soothing.
The second LP i heard from him was a bit different, as to say a bit more technical at times – an attribute that opens up for entirely new soundscapes. I really love what he can bring out of a single instrument. My favorite song from The Bells is Said And Done, a song that perfectly showcases the more technical nature of this record:

London Grammar

Much like the aforementioned artist, british trio London Grammar’s music reminds me of the spring of 2013, and the days of undisputed happiness while attending the Folk High School in northwestern Sjælland. Unlike the first two, this group is a true 2013-discovery. I was first introduced to them on Disclosure’s debut release, Settle, on the track Help Me Lose My Mind – which I by the way think is one of the best songs of the year. On it, singer Hannah Reid provided her stunningly beautiful vocals onto a more laid back track, compared to the rest of the songs on the same LP, and I was instantly in love.
Then, in september, their debut LP If You Wait was released, and it featured songs from their EP that was dropped the same year plus some new. Thinking of words to describe their sound, the word pristine comes to mind – and I think that the combination of the subtle, detailed instrumentation and Reid’s gorgeous vocals justifies this just fine. Listen to the song  from If You Wait, Metal & Dust:

Massive Attack

A real classic discovery, I heard Massive Attack’s iconic Mezzanine from 1998 for the first time in april. I was surprised by their sound on that release, and I guess I now finally could pin trip hop onto my genre-map. It was dark, weird at times, varied in sound. I loved the deep / low-voiced vocals that were on some of the tracks, but I also think that the female vocals on songs such as Angel was a great feat. Mezzanine is a really interesting release if you like electronic music of any kind, or maybe even soundtracks, due to the at times cinematic sound Massive Attack deliver.

https://soundcloud.com/sanna-w-rn/massive-attack-teardrop

Toro Y Moi

My first introduction to California based “chill wave” singer/songwriter Chaz Bundick AKA Toro Y Moi was through Hypemachine, when a friend favorited Vindata’s remix of Still Sound. The track ended up becoming a fixture in my daily music-rotation, so I hit up his name and saw that my favorite reviewer on YouTube had done a review for his latest album, Anything in Return. To my disappointment the album only scored a lousy 4 out of 10, Fantano saying things like the instrumentation being off and the lyrics being cheesy and at some points just bad.
However, that didn’t stop me from picking it up, and just like the Vindata remix the whole album was on repeat for quite a few weeks to come. Needless to say, the album would score way above 4 for me – I’d say perhaps a solid 7. What I like about the sound on his recent release compared to the earlier ones (that I subsequently checked out) is the greater incorporation of and experimentation with electronic elements, while still keeping it somewhat simple and plain. For example on the track So Many Details, the sound is kind of ‘cheap’ in the sense that it doesn’t sound advanced and thus ‘expensive’. Or on the song Rose Quartz, which has a slowly progressing intro, that evolves into a nice, laid-back track. The overall feel I get from the album is, well, chill in the sense of relaxation, but also some kind of indifference. A sound that I really needed. So Many Details:

https://soundcloud.com/toroymoi/so-many-details

Touché Amoré

The last discovery I could fit into 2013 was none other than post-hardcore outfit Touché Amoré, which I checked out thanks to the countless praise they received from their label Deathwish Inc. and fans on Twitter. While the year once again was devoted to electronic music of different genres, I was able to enjoy their newest album Is Survived By. Being a true post-hardcore/punk-esque record, it was like a breath of fresh air, with the uncompromising vocals and instrumentation. I really liked the rebellious, youth flavored delivery of the vocals, which I think only enhanced the meaning of the lyrics greatly. One of my favourite songs from the album is Harbor, have a listen:

https://soundcloud.com/touche-amore/06-harbor

A year in retrospect

So 2013 was massive in so many ways. In january I went to a Folk High School for half a year (check: Vallekilde) and met so many cool, inspiring people, whom I otherwise would never have met. Many of these people ended up becoming my best friends.
I challenged myself personally in a lot of different ways, explored my interest in writing as I attended the writer’s course, and met a wide range of danish authors.
I went from having texts on my hard drive that nobody knew existed, to standing in front of 50-60 people and reading my texts aloud.

Note: I don’t know the people in the photo, the picture just perfectly catches the atmosphere of the school. It might look like I did not have any friends, but I did. Trust me. Lol. Credit goes to Vallekilde.dk

This kind of self-realization, together with all the people I got to know, makes up for one of the greatest and most vital changes that has ever occurred in my life. Seriously, I now know people from the whole country and not just from my hometown. I’ve seen how things can be done in a lot of different ways and not just the way they do it back home. It was all pretty amazing and I’m having quite a hard time putting it into sentences and keeping it brief at the same time.

Another thing that happened during my stay at Vallekilde was my proper introduction to HypeMachine, a music site that collects songs from the blogosphere and puts them under one hood. I had created an account ages ago, but now I knew people who used it as well, and thus it made a lot more sense to me.

As I dilligently began to use HypeMachine,  I started discovering music in a new way. This does not only mean music diversity, but it has somehow also made it hard to compile a list of best newly discovered artists. You could turn that down as whining. But really, it has not been easy. Coming up is a list of top new artists for this year.

OMG I’M BACK

HORY SHET

HI THERE INTERNET. I have not been posting for a while, and that sucks! The lack of posts is due to the fact that I have been attending a pretty homework-intensive math class since mid-september, and have thus not been in the mood, or had the time for blogging for the past three months. Excuses, yada yada. But now I’m back, and the year is ending! And you should know by now that you can’t say ‘end of a year’ without saying ‘lists’, or ‘hey let’s get drunk’. Well, I’ll have to stick with both, but for this blog I’ll just go with the lists-thing.

So brace yourselves. Lists are coming. Even though I don’t yet know what to put on them. But that just makes it ever more interesting.

New things, nice things

Phew, I know I haven’t been posting something in a long time, but I did not realize my last post was back in june! If only I could be arsed to update this lonely blog of mine some more, and perhaps become a successful blogger… well, a blogger atleast.

So, what’s new in Me-Land? Well, I’ve got a new keyboard. Not just any keyboard, the keyboard. Quite literally speaking, because I have acquired myself the Das Keyboard, a mechanical keyboard unlike any other. It is quite pricy, but there is nothing but quality and typing euphoria about this thing. Although I must say that I expected something a little bit different, I am still going to give this keyboard a try. One does not simply get used to a completely different thing after using the same rubber-dome based keyboard for the last 10 years! Oh, and did I mention that this thing has blank keys? Yes, it is badass. I am badass. Thanks.

Music-wise I have been listening to a lot of different tunes and styles, and names that stand out when I think of the last couple of months are definitely names such as Disclosure, TNGHT and Death Grips.
Disclosure are two brothers from the UK who play a blend of electronic music with some dub and garage influences. I found them randomly through youtube, and in two weeks they showed up on the UK top 40 chart with their song Latch, which is by the way awesome, give it a listen:

Next up is TNGHT, a collaboration between Lunice and Hudson Mohawke. These guys make some weird, sample-oriented, instrumental electronic music, which is essentially hip-hop beats, and this style in particular is apparently called ‘trap‘-music. They released their first EP this summer, and it features the song Higher Ground, which is a bass heavy track with a really catchy sample that relentlessly besieges your brain relentlessly, and stays in your head for days. For some this might seem annoying, but for others it will appeal as a killer track. Check it out:

Last, but certainly not least, there’s Death Grips. If you haven’t heard about Death Grips yet, they’re a Californian trio who make aggressive, forward thinking hip-hop, and generally just don’t give much of a fuck about anything. The trio consists of Stefan Burnett aka MC Ride, Flatlander and Zach Hill. The lyrical themes are obscure and deal with all kinds of things, such as drug abuse, paranoia and lust. The trio recently released their third full-length album, No Love Deep Web. Just about everything is controversial about this album, right from the first day of its release: some days before it was released, the label announced that it would have to postpone the release to sometime in 2013. The band clearly disagreed with this as they released the album themselves, most definitely pissing off some people over at Epic. Furthermore, the album cover featured an erect penis with the title of the album written on it. Maybe its just me, but I have never heard of a band who dared defy a label as big as Epic in this manner.
The album itself turned out to be a grower, and I’ve given it about 10 spins if not more, and I really like a lot of songs on it. The overall sound of the album is very heavy, electronic-wise. Death Grips have not used samples in the same manner as they did on their previous albums, and the vocal style of Ride is not as aggressive as before. But don’t be fooled, this is still aggressive, ugly and obscure as hell.
Have a listen:

Breaking the shell

Finally, I have found some time to write on here for the first time. In fact, this is not only my first post here on WordPress, but my first post on a blog. I have never had a blog before, mostly because I thought I wouldn’t have anything to write about. But then I started to post some journals on my last.fm account, and a few weeks ago I thought why not start a blog. So this is it, let’s see if I can contribute with some interesting topics to the world wide web, or just fill it with meaningless data.