Comment: Today’s song played during the end credits of the 5th episode of the second season of The Bear, and I was absolutely mesmerised by it. A quick Google search told me that it was called “Welcome”, and the artist was Harmonia & Eno ’76. I found this curious, as the track had indeed reminded me of legendary music product Brian Eno, and I wondered if he had been involved with the track. (Narrator: He was).
Harmonia was a German supergroup formed in 1973 as a collaboration between members of two prominent krautrock bands. Brian Eno was a fan and described them in the mid-1970s as “the world’s most important rock group.” The band dissolved in 1976 after releasing two albums, but reformed briefly for 11 days in September 1976 to record some tracks with Mr. Eno himself. These tunes became the “Tracks & Traces” album, which remained unreleased until November 1997 due to lost tapes. In 2009, the album was reissued with additional tracks and credited to Harmonia & Eno ’76.
“Welcome” is the opening track of the album, and it has a minimalist and meditative quality. If you appreciate the art of soundscaping and the beauty of simplicity, you will find “Welcome” to be a captivating and rewarding listen. I can’t get enough of it.
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.
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.
Michael FK is a Moldovan musician who creates hypnotic chillout tracks with a mixture of ambient and atmospheric sounds. What I like about his songs is that he tries to transmit something to you, rather than simply repeating sound patterns in a robotic way. In the case of his latest single, Towards The Dawn, Michael wanted to convey a feeling of optimism and hope. I think he accomplished just that.
You can listen to this gorgeous track below. It will become a staple of your chilling afternoons.
This week’s #ThrowbackThursday song is a bit different than previous entries. To begin with, it is a “chill out” tune from Télépopmusik, a French electronic music duo that released its first album, Genetic World, back in 2001. The most popular song on that album was Breathe, which got featured in a Mitsubishi television commercial and got even a Grammy nomination. That being said, it is unlikely that people who don’t follow electronic music that closely knows who they are (they are still active).
I got nothing against Breathe, but my favorite track from that album, besides δp.δq ≥ h⁄4π “L’incertitude d’Heisenberg”, is Smile. I cannot explain why, both tracks are similar, they even feature the same guest vocalist: Angela McCluskey, but there is something about Smile that is hard to put into words. I think it was the blend of Angela’s raspy voice with the delicate unconventional sounds that composed the track. I guess the best thing I could say about this song, besides its being a musical crush of mine, is that if I told you it was released yesterday instead of 19 years ago, you could totally believe it.
Had you heard this tune before? Let me know what you think of it in the comments section below.
Shallou is the stage name of Los Angeles-based electronic music producer and climate change activist, Joe Boston. He debuted in 2017 with his first EP but has just issued his first full-length album in 2020, Magical Thinking. He collaborated with the singer Daya for the 10th track on that record: Older, which is today’s addition to The Alternative Mixtapes.
Older is a beautifully melancholic ambient track ideal for drifting away and forgetting about the world. The song’s lyrics are also deeper than you would imagine, with a stunningly morose bridge in which Daya sings: “Maybe one day when I’m older, I might understand why love just doesn’t happen to everyone who wants it.”All in all, this is a musical gem.
Marga Sol is the official resident DJ at Buddha Bar, Santorini and her music has been featured in thousands of compilation albums, including Buddha Bar and Ministry of Sound. In spite of all that, I wasn’t aware of her existence until I heard this track –What I Long For, from her 2019 album: Coastline– on an AI-generated playlist from one of the two major streaming services. It is possible something similar is happening to you now.
This is a great chill out tune that I would love to hear while sipping a cocktail in Santorini or the Balearic Islands. Sadly, we’ll have to settle for listening to this song at home during the Covid-19 quarantine. Thank you, 2020.