It’s that time of the week again when we sit down and pluck out some hidden gems from our inbox. In ‘What’s In The Box?’ we provide a home and a couple of lines for tracks we have enjoyed but just didn’t have time to get to properly in the previous seven days.
This week it would appear that chilled out R&B was the favourite sound for new artists, but we’ve mixed it up with some vintage rock sounds, electronica and pop with nine cracking tunes.
Racing Glaciers – “New Country” (Laurel Remix)
First up this week is a remix that proves to be the complete antithesis of the original song. Racing Glaciers’ “New Country” was a stirring, Gladiatorial battle of a song but this remix from is anything but. Instead it has become almost unrecognisable as it drips muted sounds into a black pool of languidity deep within a hidden cavern, buried in a mountainside. Ripples of sound gently drift across the surface in an otherwise silent environment, deep greens of phosphor glowing softly providing the only light for this unspoilt world. It’s 3am music and it’s worth staying up that late just to play it.
Secret Colours – “It Can’t Be Simple”
With their retro psychedelic almost proggy sound, the imagery on Secret Colours latest video is entirely fitting. A love letter to the recording and playing technology of yesteryear, it is an analogue enthusiast’s wet dream with oscillations and vibrations aplenty. “It Can’t Be Simple” itself harks back to the late sixties and early seventies, with a Doors like keyboard line hidden within blurred guitar fuzzes and swirling, hazy loveliness. It’s a bit like being inside a lava lamp.
Mattheu – “Sanguine”
Hailing from Manhattan, Mattheu is gearing up for the release of his debut EP (Virgin) later this year with the release of the conversely named “Sanguine”. Rather than being cheerful and upbeat, it is a delicate mist of low tempo R&B infused pop. It is soulful and heartfelt while still offering a kind of cold, stark quality through its use of electronica and staccato beats underneath the subtle sheen of melody.
Hawkon – “Burn Me Down”
Also from the cupboard marked chilled electronic R&B sounds is London based producer Hawkon. Slightly more uneasy and unsettling than Mattheu, “Burn Me Down” is that little bit darker, like soul that has been buried in a glacier for tens of thousands of years before being thawed out in the present day. It still sounds wonderful but it’s not entirely smooth, some of the ice has melted within the machine and the resultant electronic glitches whirr and click into the melody to great effect.
Pastel Colours – “Hands Like Silk”
We had Secret Colours earlier and now we move to Pastel Colours, a Cornwall based five-piece that also have an ear for vintage, psychedelic guitar sounds. Marbled patterns of light and sound entwine and swirl in amongst crashing rhythms and jangled riffs. The denouement is a like an escape from an underground bunker as the sound breaks free into the light, open and liberated to go forth and groove on down.
Emmy – “Hurricanes”
Hushed to the point of being little more than a whispered word on a winter’s morning, “Hurricanes” by Emmy is as fragile as they come. Just a single touch with a feather could shatter this wonderfully preserved snowflake. The 20 year old’s vocals float out across a valley shrouded in a sunken fog, muting the sound and befuddling the senses so it appears to be coming from all around you. She sings with a choral quality, elegant and beautiful, like her voice is from a higher plane.
CONCLΔVE – “Ocean Star”
It’s been a little while since we last featured the mysterious “Beatsmith from the Land of the Thousand Islands” but he’s back and kicking his 2014 off with his first ever video, for old track, “Ocean Star”. Taken from his forthcoming debut album and featuring the vocal talents of Luxe Calip, it sounds like an eerie Lana Del Ray, Halloween Lana perhaps? Not spooky but blending her trademark nonchalance with an electronic disquiet, like waiting for the inevitable heartbreak or disappointment to come.
Elephant – “Elusive Youth”
As our years continue to advance at an alarmingly quickening rate, our own youth is feeling ever more elusive and like a figment of our imaginations. Thankfully we have delightful pop moments like the gorgeous new track from Elephant to keep us going. It’s a kind Cults meets Sleeper meets Lyla Foy tune and frankly, that is all we need to know.
Moderat – “Last Time”
Taken from the deluxe version of last year’s II, Moderat are about to release “Last Time” as a single in its own right, featuring a new mix from man of electronica’s moment, Jon Hopkins. Aside from sounding fantastic, it makes us want to ride a motorbike through the autumn tree lined towns of Germany, and we don’t even know how to ride a motorbike.
That’s it, two weeks in a row! That’s a new record for ‘What’s In The Box?’! All being well, we’ll be back next Saturday to make it a threepeat with more inbox rummaging goodness.