Autechre – Clipper [Warp]
From the 1995 album “Tri Repetae”. I have a thing for pieces of music that build around a central theme and this tune is a perfect example. The fundamental 1 bar rhythmic pattern introduced at the intro develops with percussion, melody and dynamics. It wraps around droning notes as they envelop each other throughout the piece. The busier it gets, there’s always that familiar central focal point to come back to. Listening to it feels like meditation.
Mira & Christopher Schwarzwalder – Ayun
It’s this low-slung, sexy, slinking deep house gem and I love the feeling it conjures up for me. Mira and Christopher Schwarzwalder’s talents complement each other perfectly as a duo both in studio and on the stage and they are two of my favourite current artists.
Pachanga Boys – Black Naga [Hippie Dance]
No other piece of music rips my branium apart quite like “Black Naga”. The track is a being from an alternate universe! I feel like the term ‘mind blowing’ has been overused to the point of dilution in this day and age, but this song actually does blow my mind down to the last neural fuse.
M.A.N.D.Y. vs Booka Shade – Donut
I just love this track! Whenever I hear it I feel like breaking out into a weird, ‘Thunderbirds’ style dance like I’m a marionette puppet with strings attached to my arms and feet, bouncing around the place like I’ve got Tony Hawk’s moon balance cheat turned on.
Stephan Bodzin – Singularity [Life and Death]
There’s something symphonic about Stephan Bodzin’s productions. The lead in Singularity is an intricately thick sound and it moves and holds, fills and creates space in all the right places. A really solid melodic foundation for this atmospheric piece.
Nico Stojan – After The Hour (Lake People Remix)
A true ‘end of the festival’ track. Every time I hear it a tear rolls down my left cheek as I think about all of the amazing memories I’ve had on the last day of a festival, dancing way after my legs have given up, with so many people I love and cherish.
Howlin’ Wolf – Smokestack Lightening [Chess]
There’s a soft spot in my heart for old blues music, the precursor to the rock ‘n roll movement, and one of my favourite tunes is Howlin’ Wolf’s “Smokestack Lightening”. The man has a gruff, booming voice with such depth and I can hear the passion he has for his craft in each word sung, each note played. It’s that sort of lively playful blues that gives me energy I didn’t know I had.
Alice In Chains – “Unplugged” [Columbia Records] ALBUM
I grew up in the grunge era so this represents the soundtrack to my youth. When AIC visited MTV to film their “Unplugged” special, something magic happened. Even though I loved their heavier albums thoroughly, without being drenched in chorus and distortion effects the compositional prowess of the band and the singers’ unmistakeably unique vocal harmonies shine through on this release. I remember having this album on repeat, singing along with all of the parts and I even wore out more than one copy of the CD in my car stereo. If I had to pick a favourite track it would be #1 – “Nutshell” – a raw, stripped back ode to loneliness and despair with one of the most emotive chord progressions I’ve ever come across – which portrays the solemn mood even before the lyrics enter. Maybe also track 4 – “Sludge Factory” where singer Layne Stayley (RIP) shows off his impeccable falsetto and incredible gift for imagery in words like “Look in my eyes deep and watch the clouds change with time, twenty hours won’t print my picture milk carton size”.
Blind Melon – “Soup” [Capitol Records] ALBUM
Part 2 of the soundtrack to my youth is Blind Melon, whose 2nd studio album “Soup” came out about 8 weeks before lead singer Shannon Hoon (RIP) died. The 90’s was a cruel double edged sword – it brought with it magnificent music, but whose writers were artists battling personal demons, many of whom didn’t win the fight.
Blind Melon are story tellers and their psychedelic brand of folk rock is an eclectic mix of songs that jump from cheeky and playful to deep and introspective. “Soup” is my all-time favourite album, containing my all-time favourite song “Mouthful of Cavities” which is an affecting, soulful male/female duet with both singing slightly different versions of the lyrics in a simultaneous call and response. Every part of this song brings a tear to my eye, the vocal, the lyrical content, the guitar riff; they are all impeccably moving.
Jeff Buckley – Grace [Columbia] ALBUM
To round out the soundtracks to my youth, the list can’t be complete without Jeff Buckley’s (RIP) only full length studio album, “Grace”. Buckley was second to none as a vocalist, lyricist and musician and listening to Grace feels like having a direct line straight to his innermost thoughts. His lyrics were poetry, his voice angelic and his compositional skills outstanding on their own, serving as an ideal platform for his message to sit atop. Another that was taken too soon – a legacy was accomplished with just this release.
Ana Wares – Sonarcotic (Lo-Fi- 45)
This immersive producer layers up intricate, delicate yet strong keys and chords into radiant grooves that come littered with real instrumentation as well as smart samples. She counts the likes of Mira, Sander Markey and Florian Kruse as fans, is a composer, pianist, lyricist and artist manager who also manages the Lo-Fi-45 label and has just launched her own imprint, awares recordings.
This latest release was written on site at Rainbow Serpent Festival, Australia’s biggest underground dance music festival, on her laptop in her caravan after being heavily inspired by watching Super Flu then Lee Burridge on a Sunday afternoon.
“I was entranced by how beautiful the sets were constructed melodically and felt the overwhelming urge to create. One of the tracks, Eye to Eye to Eye was on my first release as ana wares – “Saturn Return EP”, and the other is Sonarcotic. I especially love how the top end parts interweave to create counterpoint harmony, and the chimes that ring out leaving a lasting echo of an impression long after they’ve sounded.”
As described, the single is a blissful and resonant piece with gorgeous melodic leads, lingering chimes and a warm incandescent feel that stays with you long after it has finished playing. De- signed for lush and zoned out sets, it shows off ana’s real playing chops, rare knack for meaningful melody and exquisite compositional skills.
As well as an instrumental that removes the whispering, crystal clear vocal, remixes come from Kaymid, a new alias of Kasey Taylor. Melbourne artist Kaymid has been DJing for thirty years, has warmed up for John Digweed and played all over Australia. He was also part of Digweed’s Bedrock night in London, and this new alias is about techno and obscure, left of centre sounds that are truly original. His remix here is filled with just that – quirky melodies, curious synths and bells and much more, and they all work to sooth mind body and soul as the lazy drums roll on endlessly. A wordless instrumental places more focus on the striking musicality of the track.
Ana Wares – Sonarcotic (Lo-Fi- 45) Cat. No.: LF011 Out now..