Background Music

More and more these days it seems I rely on background music to get me through the day. Usually stuff with minimal lyrics. Things like ambient/downtempo beats from soma.fm or techno from ah.fm if I’m feeling a little from upbeat. Occasionally I will put on the the lo-fi beats playlist on Spotify. If I’m trying to read something its usually the piano stuff that keeps me focused.

The minimal lyrics part is important because lyrics force my brain to actually listen and try to understand and process the words which is usually not what I want to be doing when I’m trying to read a long blog post or a book or whatever. This is why hip-hop with lyrics is not background music for me as I will try to process the lyrics. No Lupe Fiasco while I’m trying to read this book, thanks.

Music like this is not what I would call active listening, none of it sticks to my brain and is memorable. I can’t for example give you a favourite ambient/downtempo track from all the tracks I’ve listened to or any of the techno or piano etc. Its all just sort of background audio stimuli which I need because silence is worse and ambient city noise isn’t really consistent enough for me (also not as pleasant if I am being honest).

So that’s it about these kinds of music: It’s Better Than Silence. Hm, that is actually a good name for a playlist that has this kind of background music in it 🤔.

Recent Bandcamp pickups (SEP 4 – OCT 2)

Hey friends, I return with another one of these posts. I would normally say that it has been a while since I’ve done this but the flow of time has ceased to have any meaning to me in 2020. Bandcamp has been continuing to do their Bandcamp Fridays after their first one they did which means I have a bunch more music that I picked up and I would like to talk about.

The first one is Live at WOMAD 1985 by Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan. This is a qawwali album; qawwali is a form of Sufi devotional music. This kind of music is not something that is normally on my radar and I would like to thank the Bandcamp Daily blog for bringing this to my attention because it is a wonderful listen. The sheer ecstatic energy of the performances builds up through each of these tracks and really showcases why Nusrat was a legend of this genre.

The second one is Sufi Dub Brothers by Ashraf Sharif Khan & Viktor Marek. This album combines the sounds of the sitar and the sound of acid dub and industrial to a fantastic effect. The very concept of combining these sounds is something that never occurred to me and now that I’ve heard this, I want more in this style. Truly a unique gem that I also found due to a post from the Bandcamp Daily blog.

The third one is How Can I by park hye jin. I don’t think I have talked about park hye jin before on this blog. Her music is what I call ethereal club music or maybe dark house. Its music you can easily envision being part of a DJ’s set at a club while also having a bit of a melancholic and lonely vibe to it. Her last album is also worth a listen if you do end up enjoying this one. I didn’t realize she had released a new album because it was released under a different Bandcamp account, here’s hoping I don’t miss out on more of her releases.

The fourth one is Reknowing by Lena Raine. This is a remix album containing remixes of tracks from her debut artist album Oneknowing. I love the variety of remixes on offer from different artists, no track sounds the same. I’m a big fan of Lena’s work and I’m glad to see her collaborate with other artists like this. My most favourite remix is the one by Yasunori Nishiki because it has this sort of haunted ethereal feel to it that I really like. It reminds me of a certain haunted section from Final Fantasy 7 Remake.

The fifth one is わたしの小さなGALAXY by ミカヅキBIGWAVE. For those of y’all unfamiliar with Mikazuki Bigwave, they usually make music in the future funk genre which is a very upbeat genre but this album signals Bigwave’s move into a more chill downtempo style. Very much borrowing aspects of the lo-fi aesthetic and combining it with future funk. This is a very nice and soothing album to listen to on a rainy autumn morning.

The sixth one is Hades: Original Soundtrack by Darren Korb. Ever since Hades was released, Hades has been on my mind. What an incredible game. I bought this OST really for just the one track, the Eurydice solo of Good Riddance with Ashley Barrett’s lovely voice on it. That song really just makes me cry a little bit because of how good her voice is. The rest of the soundtrack is another slam dunk by Darren who has done music for previous Supergiant games before.

The seventh one is Seven Times Down Eight Times Up by Elzhi. I haven’t listened to Elzhi in a while, the last time was when he released his Illmatic homage album Elmatic. I am happy to say that this Detroit area legend is still incredible at what he does. His lyricism is on point and the production on this album is some of the best production I’ve heard in a Elzhi record; shoutout to JR Swiftz.

The eight one is Run Away by Tycho and rum.gold. I’ve talked about Tycho before on this blog so y’all might already know that I’m a fan. This collaboration with rum.gold is quite possibly some of the best Tycho that I’ve heard in a while. rum.gold’s husky voice is smooth as hell and it especially shines on the acoustic version of Run Away. If this is the start of collaborations between these two artists I’m excited to see what the future has in store.

The ninth one is Go Bravely by Denise Chaila. Y’all wonder what happens when a talented artist rhymes Irish with English? Well wonder no more, after you listen to this album you will know what that sounds like. I found this via the Bandcamp Daily blog and I instantly fell in love with Denise’s flow and style, the way she uses wordplay in a cheeky humorous way. I’m really looking forward to hearing her over some better production and especially production that is a little more minimal than it already is because I think it will really allow her spoken word delivery style to shine.

That’s all from me this time around. I hope y’all find something that you enjoy amongst the above. I won’t make any promises about having another of these posts in the near future but I really hope I can write one of these again soon as they are truly a lot of fun to write. Stay safe and see y’all next time.

Album Showcase: No Pressure by Logic

If at the start of this year you told me that one of my favourite hip-hop albums from 2020 would be a Logic album I would have laughed at you. But here we are, I am about to start singing praises for the latest and (allegedly) his last album, No Pressure which was released on July 24, 2020.

When I say I like an album I usually mean that I like every track on the album and I don’t have any tracks that I would skip on a repeat listen. I am glad to say that I like every track on this Logic album which in itself is a new thing for Logic’s music.

Don’t get me wrong, I have liked a few of Logic’s tracks over the past few years but I have never liked an entire project of his. The album before this (Confessions of a Dangerous Mind) was quite possibly his worst studio album and if I had to pick a one word descriptor for it would be “wack”. So, when I heard that there was a new Logic album coming out, my expectations for it were quite low. Well, suffice to say that my expectations have been surpassed and then some. My impression of Logic as a person changed for the better as well due to some of the subject matter of the album.

I want to go through this album track by track for this post. Every track will be under its own heading with the name of the track. Let’s get started!

Continue reading Album Showcase: No Pressure by Logic

Album Showcase: Alfredo by Freddie Gibbs and The Alchemist

Music video for 1985, a track off of Alfredo

If you would have asked me which rapper would be perfect for The Alchemist’s production style, I would say either Pusha T or Freddie Gibbs. Well folks, I’m glad to inform y’all that this collaboration album between Freddie Gibbs and The Alchemist is fantastic and just what one would expect from such a collaboration.

Continue reading Album Showcase: Alfredo by Freddie Gibbs and The Alchemist

Recent Bandcamp pickups (FEB 6 – APR 21)

Hey everyone! It has been a while since I’ve written another one of these posts and hell it has been a while since I’ve written anything for this blog. As you may have noticed the world is kinda upside down right now. But enough of that, let’s talk about some music I bought on Bandcamp over the last couple months. Maybe you will find something that brings you joy in these troubled times.

The first one is Building a Better World by 猫 シ Corp. & t e l e p a t h テレパシー能力者. Another ambient vaporwave album in the same vein as the sixth album in my last Bandcamp picks post. Just some relaxing sounds on this one, I especially enjoy the sounds of rain which sound crispy. Music like this usually goes into my “writing ambient” playlist for times when I want to write and I don’t want lyrics interrupting my thought process.

The second one is Sendagi Collection by Macroxx 82-99 & Vantage. This one is another really fun future funk collaboration album released on Neoncity Records. Honestly, just listen to the track called “Daddy D”. It’s exactly what you think a future funk track by that name sounds like. Just listening to this album again for this post makes me want to get up and dance.

The third one is Tiny Postcards by Josie Brechner. Like many other people right now I’ve been playing Animal Crossing: New Horizons. Very glad Josie released this set of very nice AC themed tunes. I’ve been following Josie ever since the release of the EXTREME MEATPUNKS FOREVER OST that she did. Purchase of this album also goes towards supporting a NYC based food charity so buy some good music for your Animal Crossing playlist and support a good cause at the same time!

The fourth one is Solitude EP by Amerigo Gazaway. I’ve got some lo-fi beats to chill/study to for y’all right here. These days I spend a lot of time by myself in my own thoughts and the title of this EP hit me right in one of those moods. These are some of the best lo-fi beats I’ve heard in a while. Not really lo-fi in a production sense but in a musical sense. Wait, is lo-fi a term for a aesthetic now instead of actual limitation of physical music storage media? Doesn’t matter, it sounds good and that’s what matters to me.

The fifth one is 1988 by Knxwledge. Another fantastic album from the Los Angeles based producer and Street Fighter aficionado. Immaculate production on every track and fantastic sampling. The little skits in there are fucking hilarious (“I listen to Knxwledge but I prefer trap music”). I also love the way the track names form phrases and sentences. If you are a hip-hop head you owe it to yourself to give this album at least a listen.

The sixth and final one is Resonance by Yumiko Morioka. I discovered this album via the Bandcamp Daily blog and I’m very glad I did. It is a very relaxing piano album. Some of the tracks here remind me of music from the Chrono Cross OSTs, strong Yasunori Mitsuda vibes off of tracks like La Sylphide 空気の精. The story of how this reissue came to be is very interesting as well and I’m glad Métron Records was able to get this album from 1987 (!) the attention and care it deserves and release it to a new audience in 2020.

That is all from me. I hope you found something to your liking here dear reader. I did buy more albums in this period that didn’t make the cut for this specific post but if you want to take a look at those as well, you can take a gander at my Bandcamp profile. If you use Bandcamp’s social feed feature you can follow me there and see which albums I buying without having to wait for me write another one of these posts.

Until next time. Stay safe out there y’all.

Album Showcase: Eternal Atake by Lil Uzi Vert

Playlist of the Eternal Atake album on YouTube

For the past week or so ever since this album came out it has been on regular rotation for me and before I get into it this is hands down the best trap album of the year for me. It’s still March but I honestly don’t think we will have a trap album better than this in 2020. I hope I’m proven wrong but that’s the pedestal I’m putting this album on.

Continue reading Album Showcase: Eternal Atake by Lil Uzi Vert

Producer Props: Surf & Turf by Boldy James

Music video for Surf & Turf by Boldy James, featuring Vince Staples

I first found out about the new Boldy James album via a post on r/hiphopheads linking to the Pitchfork review of the album. I didn’t know who Boldy James was before this but my interest was piqued by the fact that the album was produced by The Alchemist, a producer I’m a big fan of.

As soon as I started listening to the album, it was obvious that this was another fantastic work of production. Boldy James’ rapping is pretty good but I don’t think I would have listened to the entire album if it didn’t have that sort of production.

If you enjoyed this and want more of The Alchemist, he had two projects in 2019 that are worth a listen, Lamb Over Rice and Yacht Rock 2. The Alchemist is truly a master of setting the mood with his production and especially on Yacht Rock 2, you can feel the beach vibes coming through. One of my personal favourites is the Paris x La x Bruxelles Instrumentals. Pure instrumental goodness.