I mentioned this great song recently in another entry and I think it makes sense to feature it as this week’s #ThrowbackThursday song. Frou Frou was a British electronic duo that released only 1 album, Details, back in 2002. They disbanded in 2004 but Wikipedia claims that they reunited in 2017. I don’t know if that is true or not but Imogen Heap, the lead singer, has had a successful career as a solo artist that predates Frou Frou. Her voice is one of those you can recognize right away.
Anyway, Let Go, which was part of the Details album, gained notoriety in 2004 when Zach Braff chose it as the key track on the award-winning soundtrack of his hit indie movie Garden State. The song was also featured prominently in one of its trailers (which you can watch below). The lush electronic strings and Imogen’s distinct vocals are impossible to resist in what ended up being one of the best tracks of that decade.
Kōdəh (pronounced as Kodah) is the Slovenian word for codes. Koda, on the other hand, is a Native American term for friend or companion. It makes sense then that Shakthi Prasad, a Spain-based indie electronic music artist from India, chose ˈKōdəh as his stage name. He’s been active in the music scene since 2008 as the drummer of different progressive rock bands in Bangalore. In 2019, Shakthi decided to pursue a Master of Music in Music Production, Technology, and Innovation at the Berklee College of Music in Valencia, Spain, which started his journey into ambient and experimental electronic music. He is preparing his debut album as a solo artist to be released earlier this year.
His debut single, Swerve, was released already last month. It features Los Angeles-based singer KEANA, who has received training in classical and jazz vocals and met Shakthi at the college mentioned above. The track is a call for humanity to wake up and care more about each other and has been covered by Rolling Stone India. Musically, I’m not sure if it is because of the lush electronic background or Keana‘s vocas but the track reminds me a lot of Let Go from Frou Frou, a song that deserves its own feature as a #ThrowbackThursday post. Anyway, Swerve is a great debut single that flags ˈKōdəh as someone that we should really pay attention to. The best is yet to come.
Michael Caria, from Sardinia, Italy, but living in London, calls himself a designer of melancholic soundscapes. I think that’s description is spot on. His musical project is called Michael It‘z and his music, while deeply experimental, is also very pleasant to the ear. It is electronic music but in a relaxing, ambient-like way. Michael’s objective is to make the listener feel something with his music in the same way a surrealist or abstract painting can do that without knowing what the painter had in mind.
Polytechnic Confusion was released as a single late last year with Cleopatra Records, and it is also included in Michael’s brand new album: Plastika | Music For A Film. The track is a great example of everything I mentioned above and then some. Sure, it is an unusual kind of music but there’s something about it that leaves you thirsty for more. Seriously, give it a try.
I can’t claim to know much about the work of electronic music composer and producer David Grellier, aka College, because, unfortunately, that’s not the case. His goal is to “synthetize into [his] music the emotions of [his] childhood”, reason for which his music is heavily influenced by ’80s pop culture. If you watched the movie Drive (2011), you should have heard his most widely known song, A Real Hero, co-written with Austin Garrick from Canadian synth-pop duo Electric Youth, duo that also features on the track. If you just listen to this song, you’ll quickly notice two things: a) It certainly has an 80s vibe, and b) It is a mesmerizing track.
Despite getting nominated to an MTV Music Award for ‘Best Music’ and becoming an underground hit, A Real Hero is still relatively unknown to the casual music fan. Even then, it has been covered multiple times by established and not so established artists (and I’m planning to feature one of those covers here soon). In fact, a fun anecdote is that a few years ago, while I was on holiday in Malta, one night there was a really good guitar player performing some music at the hotel we were staying. Near the end, he started playing a song that instantly reminded me of A Real Hero. I quickly dismissed that thought because surely that song wasn’t popular enough to be played randomly by a guitar player in a small island on the Mediterranean Sea. Well, it was A Real Hero and it was one of the highlights of that trip. Enjoy this tune as this week’s #ThrowbackThursday entry.
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.
Remember Toys In The Attic? I really loved that moniker but, unfortunately, due to legal reasons, Alexander Borczynski had to change his stage name. He chose Dreddbeat, which is a cool name too, and released a brand new EP, which he named Toy Box (perhaps as a homage to his old moniker). Style-wise, it’s really close to mainstream pop/hip-hop, and honestly in terms of production quality, you wouldn’t be able to spot the difference with any of the songs currently featured on any top 10 most popular hits. Alexander really knows what he’s doing.
Granted, the EP’s main genres are not really my cup of tea but that does not mean it doesn’t have songs we could all enjoy over here. One example of that is the opener, In The Name of Love, which has an insanely good hook that stays on your mind long after the song has ended. It showcases Dreddbeat‘s skills as an artist and music producer
Overall, I think this is a nice addition to the Electronic Mixtape and a perfect song for a Saturday evening. Hope you enjoy it!
I admit I’m not a big fan of experimental music, but when the result is something this interesting, I’ll listen. The Chronicles of Manimal and Samara, or TCOMAS, are a London-based duo formed in late 2019 by Andrea Papi (Manimal) and Daphne Ang (Samara); and when you have a musical act listing as influences the innovative works of Kraftwerk, Depeche Mode, and Tool, and the poetry of Sylvia Plath, Virginia Woolf and Jim Morrison; you know that the resulting music will be anything but conventional. They want to bring music, literature, art and history together while defying musical genres boundaries, and their fourth and latest single, Mata Hari, is no exception to that. I warn you, this will not suit everyone, but I really dug it.
Mata Hari was an exotic Dutch dancer who was convicted and executed during World War I for being a German spy, but it also means ‘sun‘ in Malay, and that is the meaning it has on this track, which is told through the eyes of an artist who declared his love for somebody through a painting. The song, with its atmospheric soundscapes, mixes poetry and the spoken word with electronic music and rock, aiming to reimagine how 80s music will sound 60 years from now. Trust me, you are extremely unlike to find something else resembling TCOMAS and Mata Hari.
Give a chance to this immensely creative band. Worst-case scenario, you’ll hear something pretty unique; and best-case, you’ll dig it just like me.
Last week, we featured Sigur Ros‘ classic, Hoppipolla, as the #throwbackthursday entry. Naturally, the turn this week is for a great tune that was based on the Icelandic band’s song. It is not a remix per se, hence the slighly different name, but more like a tribute to the original song. I’m talking, of course, of Chicane‘s Poppiholla.
Nicholas Bracegirdle, aka Chicane, is a legendary British musician and producer with a wide number of top ten hit singles across Europe and Australia, and I’m not referring only to electronic music charts. This lists includes Poppiholla as well, which peaked at number 7 when it was released in 2009. It is hard not to feel better or even euphoric just by listening to it. Sadly, the music video, which you can watch below, is also fitting nowadays despite being 11 years old.
I didn’t know Paul van Dyk was about to release a new album when I featured him here back in June, but he did just that last week with Guiding Light. Its lead single is also the title track, a collaboration with Sue McLaren, and I have to say that it is pretty good. McLaren is an UK-based vocalist, DJ and songwriter who started as an indie rock artist but eventually and almost by chance ended up focusing on electronic music.
This track, Guiding Light, is a typical uplifting trance tune from PVD, but there is nothing wrong with that. Its enthralling melody and sweet vocals will draw you in and make you have a blast for the duration of the song. If you are looking for music that can cheer you up this weekend, this is a good start.
There’s no much background info I can give you on Toys in the Attic. All I know is that this project consists of one person, based in Rhode Island and that he is pretty active on Twitter. According to his songs’ writing credits on Spotify, his name seems to be Alexander, but the fact that really matters here is that this artist is really passionate about making music of all genres, but mostly alternative and synth-based tunes. His catalogue is small but varied, with some songs flirting closely with dance music while others, like Where Giants Sleep, are mellower.
Where Giants Sleep is a catchy track that takes you on an auditive journey. It’s easy to imagine that you are driving through a scenic route when listening to this tune, and the destination is your happy place. By all means, check Toys in the Attic out and you can start right here, right now with this addictive track.
Update: Due to legal reasons, Alexander has had to change his stage name. While old songs will remain under the Toys in the Attic moniker on streaming platforms, new music will be released as Dreddbeat.