Archive | February 2013

Nighthawks

Image

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone. To me this picture is like a reverse of ‘Nighthawks’, mainly due to the traced lights mimicing the lines of the building in Hopper’s famous painting . The same sultry and lonely night vibe rings through (especially with the solitary waiting girl), but there is something more optimistic about this shot, making it more fitting for the antithetical mood of today. I think it is to do with the bright lights and the lush sky.

I have no idea whose this picture is, I just found it on my computer so I must have saved it a while ago. Compliments to you if you somehow see this, I like it a lot.

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James Blake – Retrograde

Recently released new track from the king of cool James Blake – inventing a sound no one knew they loved until they heard it. I wasn’t a huge fan of CMYK e.t.c but think this track hits the nail on the head; his vocals are given the spotlight over instruments which is a step in the right direction for him. Video isn’t half bad either.

Esbe

Esbe

Picture yourself on a lilo wafting through the ether of space and you might be close to what this sounds like. Mainly instrumental but with a measured and tasteful use of vocals, at once playful and deep; Esbe has reached a new plane of soul-inspired music making.

For the nights when you are by yourself, for the days when you are filled with the energy and brilliance of the sun; he doesn’t suit your mood so much as divert it into his own beautiful vision of the world. So many ‘beat-artists’ fall flat of the main criteria for music; it needs to SOUND good. Take Flying Lotus for example, a well-known pioneer of the genre. Indeed he is influential, his footprints are rife throughout, yet for me it isn’t pleasant. Compared to these mellifluous sounds, he is simply jarring.

Take this for example; Flying Lotus – MmmHmm http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2uCyv05SG1g

I can’t deny there are moments where it all comes together but on the whole it is an irritating noise. A boundary-pushing one, but irritating nonetheless. I genuinely wonder about the fanbase of FlyLo (to keep to my example, there are of course other high flying offenders). Is there an honest appreciation for the SOUNDS he makes, or is it an appreciation of the figure? While the fact that he doesn’t conform to normal musical structure does make it interesting, it doesn’t make it good. Is it good music or is it cool music? These don’t need to be mutually exclusive.

The one qualm I have with this collection of songs (I have listened to Late Night Headphones Vols.1-3 and Sweet & Sour Vols. 1-3) is that they can be too loungy. In the quest to infuse all his songs with soulful licks, I feel that the L.A. based musician loses individuality for each track, as they tend to blend into each other.

I look forward to new his new releases and urge you to check him out and help support a true artist. So prolific already, I hope he continues in this vein. I would also love to see him do more production work, give him a listen and I’m sure you’ll agree.