Comment: With a Master’s degree (MEng) in Aerospace Engineering, most people wouldn’t think Damian Boylan could also have an artistic side, let alone one in which he seems to be good at everything: sculpting, painting, video, and, well, obviously, music. Expansions is one if his latest releases: a poignant, classically-infused electronic track that is basically candy for your ears. Damian also created the audiovisual piece below, the perfect companion to Expansions.
Comment: I’m sorry I didn’t feature this great tune, Progression, in time for the summer, but I guess it’s better late than never. The artist behind the track, South London’s Simon Mós, wanted to evoke feelings of nostalgia and melancholy by using experimental guitar recordings into his beats, all of this while maintaining a minimalist production style. Progression is a great example of that and also the perfect way to start your weekend. Enjoy!
Comment: Today, middle of the week, let’s switch gears to something extremely relaxing. Be Conscious is a hypnotic track from London-based music producer Bobby Turner, aka Hatsü, which is a Japanese name meaning Beginning. One problem I’ve found with most ambient tracks is that they tend to sound very similar to each other but, luckily, Be Conscious does not suffer from that issue. Instead, Hatsü introduces subtle changes with layer after layer of textures and tones, resulting in a gentle soundscape that will certainly help you to focus, sleep or meditate.
I hope you enjoy this ethereal piece as much as I did.
Comment: Inspired by the eponymous 1850 poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (sampled at 1:16), Twilight is a relaxing and melancholic lo-fi single from London-based producer Rosehip. The poem describes the ocean though the eyes of a child who’s looking at it, in the middle of a storm, from the comfort of home, and that’s the feeling Rosehip wanted to evoke in the listener too: feeling comfortable during turbulent times.
Twilight is part of Stargaze, the new EP by this talented artist. Despite starting pushing the boundaries of lo-fi recently (2020), Rosehip has already achieved over 8 million streams on Spotify. Once you listen to Twilight, you will see why.
Comment: I discovered a few years ago that listening to ambient music while studying or working did wonders to your ability to focus (trust me, give it a try if you haven’t done it), which is why I’m always keen to discover more ambient pieces. Unfortunately, the vast majority of ambient music sounds exactly the same, and that makes finding great tracks that also sound unique all the more remarkable. Seamus O’Muineachain‘s latest album, his fifth one, is full of such tracks, with the closing piece, Vltava/Shannon, being my preferred one.
The Irish musician named this record Different Timezones because it was written and recorded between the Czech Republic (CET) and Ireland (GMT) last year. The atmospheric songs highlight simple melodies and textures in a delicate but very fulfilling way. In Vlatva/Shannon, for example, you can listen to some birdsong in the background, but just enough of it to enhance the track without letting it become too distracting. If you enjoy this piece, I recommend that you check Seamus’ back catalogue as well. You won’t be disappointed.
Comment: Some people are said to have older souls because they behave like much older people, with similar tastes and hobbies. I deeply believe Kissing Her Goodnight, a soothing new track from London-based artist Eleanor Neish-Melling, aka Eleanor and the Dream, is the musical representation of that concept, as it feels like an indie track from the 1990s. The Blackpool native wrote this song in an attempt to come to terms with a former lover who is now with somebody else. I don’t know if she succeeded at that, but, at the very least, she got a really good song out of that ordeal.
Comment: Ukulele-based indie folk music is hardly a novel idea, but when it is done well and has a compelling melody, who cares? That’s exactly the case with Hey?, the latest single from British #singersongwriter Chxrlotte, a talented young artist with a bright future that you should check out.
Comment: The story of School of Seven Bells (SVIIB) is, sadly, a tragic one. It was formed in 2007 by sisters Alejandra Deheza (vocals, guitar) and Claudia Deheza (keyboards, vocals), and Benjamin Curtis (guitar, synthesizers, vocals), but then Claudia left the band in 2010. Unfortunately, Ben, who was Alejandra’s romantic partner, died in 2013 from sudden-onset lymphoma and, as a tribute, Alejandra took some demos Ben had written prior and during his illness and completed the band’s fourth and last studio album, SVIIB, which was released in February, 2016. It is a wonderful album which, despite the circumstances in which it was created, is actually full of hope and even joy.
To me, the best among a collection of great songs is Ablaze, the first track. It’s a cleverly produced song that features Alejandra’s ethereal vocals and sweet lyrics that become even more beautiful knowing the context in which they were written. If you are only going to listen to one SVIIB song, listen to Ablaze, this week’s #ThrowbackThursday entry. You will be happy you did so.
As a bonus, I’m leaving below the link to the video of SVIIB’s cover of Joey Ramone’s I Got Knocked Down (But I’ll Get Up) (it is not available on streaming platforms). It was written by Alejandra and Ben quite literally while they were ‘sitting in a hospital bed’ and released just before SVIIB.
Comment: Holly Humberstone is a young and immensely talented British artist who in just over one year has managed to make a name for herself in the alternative pop scene. She’s preparing to release her sophomore EP in November, whose lead single is the eponymously titled The Walls Are Way Too Thin. She wrote this song after moving to a small flat in London and it is a catchy piece of “dark pop”. If you were not aware of Holly Humberstone before, write her name down. This won’t be the last time you hear it.
Comment: The Haven is a hauntingly beautiful neoclassical piano piece named after the house in Northumberland where its composer, Steve Luck, spent most of his childhood holidays. This British artist has been composing and releasing music since 2014 and will release an album in October. Definitely keep him on your radar. In the meantime, enjoy the tenderness of this nostalgic piece.