The Broken Cradle – Road to Gilead

Gilead may mean, among other things, “hill of testimony” and that is the meaning The Broken Cradle had in mind when he decided to use it as the name of his latest EP. It is supposed to tell the journey of our respective roads to Gilead in our search for happiness and purpose. The EP is a neoclassical and ambient album that starts with the aptly titled Road to Gilead, a piano-centered track with atmospheric pads that create a mesmerizing soundscape. Listening to the multiple textures in the song feels like scratching an itch and not wanting to stop.

The Broken Cradle is the solo work of Eric McLean, a musician from North Carolina with over 20 years of experience. With influences such as Brian Eno and Olafur Arnalds, it is not surprising that his music could fit so well in an album from any of those renowned artists. He is that good.

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Kafka Kaya – Kyrie Eleison

Kyrie Eleison is a transliteration of Ancient Greek meaning “Lord, Have Mercy”, which is an important prayer of Christian liturgy (thank you, Wikipedia). This is as far as I can tell you about the meaning of this song without guessing (I think it is about someone who is down on his luck), but the good news is that we don’t need to know more in order to enjoy it. The low-key vocals, electronic soundscape and synths give the tune a soothing effect that I find very appealing. There is comfort in sound and Kyrie Eleison is proof of it.

Julien Zeno Bitter is the man behind Kafka Kaya, a solo act that he started in 2015 after his previous band split up. With origins in the quiet but beautiful countryside of Switzerland but based now in Berlin, Kafka Kaya has a background in electronic music with a predilection for authentic acoustic sounds. As many other independent artist, Julien produces his music himself and is getting ready to release a new EP in April, which will include Kyrie Eleison too. Check him out below.

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Parra for Cuva feat. Anna Naklab – Wicked Games

Parra for Cuva is definitely one of my favorite electronic music artists. Originally from Germany, I discovered him when the song being featured here today, his cover of Chris Isaak‘s popular Wicked Games, was featured on a now-extinct Youtube channel I used to follow. The track was a real hit, even reaching number 6 in UK’s official Top 40 in 2014, but, nevertheless, he remains relatively unknown. I mean, he should be more famous by now after that success and also because he has consistently released great track after great track (he’s already released one this year).

Nicolas Demuth, Parra for Cuva‘s real name, grew up in the same small town in Germany as singer-songwriter Anna Naklab and, naturally, they ended up working together in a number of releases, including Wicked Games. Her stunning voice is one of the reasons this song is so good. Event though it was a cover of a really well-known song, they managed to make it sound fresh. By the way, while we are talking about Parra for Cuva, check his remix of Mazzy Star‘s Into Dust (not available on Spotify). Simply outstanding.

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BILYK & Endless Melancholy – Far Away

Far Away is a really captivating track. Musically, it is reminiscing of the works of acts like Morcheeba, Massive Attack, and even Mazzy Star; which makes sense because Canada-based singer/songwriter BILYK grew up listening to all of them in Western Ukraine. She has been collaborating with Ukrainian ambient/downtempo project Endless Melancholy, resulting in several stunning songs. One Day You Will Be Free, one of their previous collaborations, got featured in one of the renowned Buddha Bar compilation albums. I honestly think that Far Away is even better.

The combination of Endless Melancholy‘s chill ambient electronic background and BILYK‘s gorgeous and soothing vocals result in a truly spellbinding tune. I should also mention the equally outstanding music video, filmed on the shore of the Baltic Sea on Rugen Island by Roman Hense, which you can find below. Watching the beautiful cinematography with Far Away playing in the background is indeed a fascinating experience.

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Low Detail – Pôrto Alegre

Just like importmedia, Low Detail is a Venezuelan lo-fi music producer who happens to be friends with fellow countryman Blure. I also discovered his music when I wrote about Blure back in September. He started releasing music since 2020 and according to his songs’ credits on Spotify, his full name is Manuel Espinel. That’s about all the personal information that you will be able to find about him online. He lets his music speak for itself.

The picture above is the cover art from Low Detail’s EP, Sunny Days, one of the many releases he made in 2020. My favorite track from it is Pôrto Alegre, a charming track whose only drawback is that it is too short. That’s not a big deal though, as the problem can be easily solved by playing this great tune on repeat. Alternatively, you could simply continue with the rest of Low Detail’s musical catalogue. Totally worth it.

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Seafei – Mountains

Seafei is a musician and producer from Ohio who lives in Singapore. Naturally, this mix of Western and Eastern cultures get reflected in his work, resulting in ambient and electronic tracks that don’t sound like your typical chill-out tunes. Mountains, his latest single, is a great example of that. It is low-tempo Western electronic music that manages to transport you to the Himalayas at least for a couple of minutes.

By all means, check Seafei‘s engaging music out. He got the talent, creativity and skills to become a renowned name within the genre.

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importmedia, Key One – Playa São Paulo

importmedia is a Venezuelan lo-fi music producer who happens to be friends with fellow countryman Blure. In fact, I found his music when he liked a post I made on social media when I wrote about Blure back in September. He has been releasing music since 2018 and his last name is Gómez. Other than that, there is no much information online about him. Just his music, which, by the way, you will love if you like the lo-fi genre, even casually like me.

Last year, importmedia released the third entry into his Lovely Bumps series, which consists of 14 mesmerizing tracks, highlighted by –in my opinion– Playa São Paulo, which is a collaboration with Mexican music producer, Key One. This outstanding piece got some Brazilian vibes (as suggested by its title) that complement the electronic beats wonderfully. If you are looking for a soothing track to chillax to during these crazy times, this is as good as it gets. Enjoy!

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Thriftworks – Braided and Faded

Jake Atlas, better known by his stage name Thriftworks, enjoys life outdoors and is a self-proclaimed ornithologist and pteranodon enthusiast. So, naturally, this experimental electronic music producer named his latest EP after a large, crested, and toothless pterodactyloid pterosaur from the Early Cretaceous period, the Tupuxuara. His goal is to make music that is not quite danceable yet impossible to listen to without moving some part of your body. That is exactly what you will find in that 5-track EP.

Braided and Faded is just the track I chose from Tupuxuara. All of them are pretty consistent in terms of innovation, enjoyability and rhythm, but that doesn’t mean that they all sound the same. On the contrary, each song has its own personality. If you enjoy downtempo electronic music from time to time, Thriftworks will be a perfect addition to your library of that kind of music. Check it out and enjoy your Saturday.

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MidlifeMix – Continental Drift

Say what you want about how terrible 2020 has been, but it has also allowed plenty of people to reinvent themselves in a way that probably wouldn’t have happened in a normal year. Take for example the case of Helen Meissner, who like many others, decided during lockdown to start creating music. Unlike them, she did so at 54; hence her moniker MidlifeMix (MidlifeCrisis was taken!). To make her story even more unusual, her genre is electronic music and did I mention that when the whole pandemic started, she didn’t know much about music production? I particularly love Helen’s slogan: “Old enough to know better, young enough not to care”.

MidlifeMix recently released her eponymous debut EP, which consists of six diverse tracks. Continental Drift is the most chilled one but also my favorite. It feels like drifting away while floating in the air or the sea. However, if you’re looking for something more active, make sure to check the whole EP out. You’ll find what you’re looking for.

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The Musical Endeavor – Ray of Light

For those of you who might not know, vaporwave is a relatively new music genre that consists of slowed-down samples of smooth jazz, hip-hop and lounge music. The Musical Endeavor is a musical outlet led by Liam Taylor, who describes his music as instrumental lo-fi hip hop with elements of vaporwave. This act recently released its second EP, Ray of Light, whose title track is our song of the day.

You can certainly perceive the jazz vibe on this track, mainly due to its piano hook, an original composition by Liam. Ray of Light has a soothing effect that makes it an enjoyable piece. Next time you have friends visiting (if that becomes a thing again at some point), you can play this song or even the whole EP as a musical interlude and get props for not recurring to the typical lounge music we’re all tired of hearing at bars or restaurants. Enjoy!

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