Apple Music so far seems to run hot and cold for me. Some days it’s spot on, some days it wants to me to listen to “Deep Cuts: The Decembrists”… yeah, no thanks. My luck seemed to change earlier today when they offered a great collection of DJ Koze remixes, one of them being “Elementary Lover” by Matthew Dear. It’s a perfect combination of Koze’s electronic beats and Dear’s iconic vocals, and a great track for some late night listening.
I’ve never personally played Minecraft before but I can certainly appreciate it’s universal appeal. Who doesn’t want to create their own world? The one aspect that I had never really considered though was the music. Daniel Rosenfeld, who goes by the name C418, created music for Minecraft which has been lauded for defying the visual look of the game, being so much more than expected. To this end, record and lifestyle company Ghostly is bringing this beautiful soundtrack to vinyl and CD.
As any cursory listen of the touching sounds will reveal, this isn’t a record meant solely for lifelong gamers and MineCon diehards; anyone in love with ambient, neo-classical, or minimal music needs to hear Volume Alpha.
When I read the quote above on the Ghostly product page I didn’t quite believe it, but I decided to listen to the 4 song sampler which I’ve placed below. All I can say is that I’d listen to this on repeat all the time. If I hadn’t known that these songs were created for a “kids video game” I would guess they were a score for a Miyazaki film, or something of the sort. You have to give this a try, I swear you won’t regret it.
Sam Valenti, founder of Ghostly Records, wrote a piece on Medium that echoes my thoughts on curation, specifically how important it is to music. Services like Rdio or Beats rely too heavily on algorithms to make your experience “customized.” Unfortunately, you end up being bucketed with everyone else who may have listened to a similar set of albums or artists. Curation offers a point of view, a variety of options which can even contradict each other and surprise you.
If you’re a music nerd you might remember a guy named Jimmy Tamborello. He was one half of your favorite early 2000’s band, The Postal Service, the guy who made all the beats for Ben Gibbard to sing with. The Postal Service was but a brief moment in the life of Tamborello, who also records under many monikers like Dntel and James Figurine (you must listen to his older albums) and is a fantastic electronic musician.
Several years back he put out a record of remixes, but not remixes of any usual pop group. He made a remix of Enya songs. Tamborello was a big fan of Enya’s music in his teenage years, and as an homage decided to interpret some of his favorite tracks with his own musical language. The result is a quirkier, pop-inspired Enya album that’s unlike anything you’ve ever heard. Kyle plays the album on repeat quite often and I’m a huge fan of it.
This tribute is free to download, simply click here.
Sufjan Stevens has a new album called Carrie & Lowell which comes out March 30/31. Now he’s released a new single called “No Shade in the Shadow of the Cross” which I’d describe as a return to the old Sufjan. More traditional in sound, it combines Sufjan’s voice with a steady plucking guitar and the slightest trace of river flowing in the background. It doesn’t get more calm and lovely than this.
Incredibly it’s been five years since the last album from Sufjan Stevens came out, the challenging, sprawling Age of Adz. That album to me is his pinnacle, a masterpiece that he may not be able to trump. This statement will be tested soon enough as his new album Carrie & Lowell is being released on March 31.
The preview below sounds like a return to his older work, with sort of an Illinois or Seven Swans sound to it. It’s quite lovely though I hope he still plays with the experimental side of music making as well, like the fantastic “Impossible Soul” from Adz. Clocking in at over 25 minutes and it’s an incredible song hat hits about every high and low you can imagine.
Was digging through Soundcloud this morning and stumbled upon this mixtape by Tycho which he created for Vice’s music blog, Noisey. It’s a really great mix featuring lots of my favorite artists like Jamie XX, Caribou, Apparat and lots more. Definitely some good tunes to work to.
Telefon Tel Aviv – “The Birds”
Apparat – “Arcadia”
Tstewart – “Untitled”
Bonobo – “Flashlight”
Jamie XX – “Girl”
Dreams – “Bloodsport”
Howlings – “Hearing Voices”
Jai Paul – “Jasmine”
Dusty Brown – “Hide No Signs”
Caribou – “Silver”
Blackhall & Bookless – “Kevins Spacey” (Virginia Remix)
Dauwd – “Moiety”
Beacon – “Fault Lines” (Dauwd Remix)
Spoon – “Inside Out” (Tycho Remix)