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‘sInto Dust (not available on Spotify). Simply outstanding.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.