Comment: There’s no much I can tell you about A Tree On A Hill. I don’t even know the artist’s real name. What I can tell you, though, is that this Swiss artist feels a deep connection with nature, which inspires him to compose moving pieces such as Blue Dahlia. The track represents the lifecycle of that beautiful flower, from the moment it is planted to the moment it gives way to a new cycle. In a way, listening to Blue Dhalia makes this interconnected world feel alive.
Comment: I used to live next to a small cemetery. It was one of those green areas that happened to have some old graves in them. You would think it was a creepy experience, but, actually, taking walks there was extremely peaceful and serene, no matter what your mood was. I felt something similar when I listened to Cemetery Walk, the second track in The Aquaerials’ hauntingly beautiful new EP: After the Apocalypse. If you’ve been paying attention, you may remember then that The Aquaerials is the moniker of multi-instrumentalist Mark Swanson. who keeps composing gorgeous neoclassical melodies, just as the five tracks that make this record.
With all that is happening in the world nowadays, from the war in Ukraine to Twitter’s implosion, it comes in handy to have the soundtrack for what comes after the end of times.
Comment: French artist oppidum is undoubtedly one of the best electronic music artists out there. He was featured here two years ago with his single Genius Loci, and even then you could tell he was different. Now he’s back with a new, self-produced, EP, Vignemale, whose lead single is the superb Murmuration. Vignemale is one of the highest peaks in the Pyrenees, and the EP is the story of the five-day journey to reach it. oppidum’s trademark is creating instrumental downtempo electronica tracks that combine acoustic instruments with field recordings, and you will find plenty of that in Murmuration as well.
The acoustic guitar tones in this hypnotic track are phenomenal. I feel I could listen to Murmuration all day on repeat.
Comment: Perhaps you remember Fan Theories‘ debut single, Next Great Holiday, which was featured here almost 2 years ago. If you do, then you’ll be happy to hear that they’re back with a new single, their third one so far. The Finnish band drew inspiration from the world’s “miserable state of affairs” to write Kids In Heatwaves, an infectious song with a refreshing sound that is quickly becoming their defining attribute.
Two friends from Sweden, one a house music producer, John Dahlbäck, and the other one a 3D animator, Erik Ande, decided to work together on a music/motion art project as a way to abstract themselves from their hectic lives that involve, according to them, too many children and dogs around. This project is heartaake, and as you can probably guess already, its music style is basically #lofichillout. John and Eric say that their biggest influence is the silence that surrounds them when they make music.
However, unevershowmeløv –I got no clue what it means but the song is about taking it easy– is not your typical chill out tune. It has personality. Sounds and a melody that make it easily identifiable, which is not something I can say of many chill-out tracks. Also, at just 01:46 minutes, it does not overstay its welcome. As implied by the animation below, unevershowmeløv is a great track to listen to while driving. The artists behind heartaake say that this music is their chill zone and I think they manage to transport the listener to that place as well. What else could we ask for? Welcome to the chill zone!
Alex Urwicz is a classically trained pianist and composer based out of Paris. In 2020, he co-created a label called WUCA Records that specializes in classical and neoclassical music, on which he released his debut EP, Couleurs, earlier this year. In addition to that, Alex has worked a composer, arranger, and producer on films, documentaries and advertising for the past 5 years. He clearly knows a thing or two about making music.
Couleurs consists of four tracks inspired by colors. Ardoise, for example, is the French word for a bluish shade of gray. It is the first song in the EP and also my favorite. You could say this of the four tracks but Ardoise is particularly soaked in sweet nostalgia that will transport you to your childhood or another time that you remember with fondness. It reminded me of the stunning soundtrack of the great movieAmélie (I should write about Yann Tiersen at some point). The bottom line is that Alex Urwicz is a talented composer that you should follow if you like sweet piano-based melodies. You won’t regret it.
For a long time, London-based multi-instrumentalist Jack Beech has been producing music for other artists, but after contracting COVID-19 in January this year, Jack felt the need to create his own music and started writing an EP. That record, called Noctilucent, is available to stream everywhere already and consists of four delicate ambient tracks of different textures. One of them is the eponymous track that we’re adding to our mixtapes today.
The word noctilucent means something that glows or shines at night, and that’s what Jack tried to convey with this song and the whole EP album. Even our darkest times can result in something bright that gives us purpose. An atmospheric ambient song with a beautiful piano melody at its core, Noctilucent takes us on a haunting journey through the most gorgeous landscapes of our imagination. Please do give it a listen because you are not going to regret it.
For most people, buying a house is an important achievement that requires plenty of sacrifices. For Michigan-based artist Mark Swanson, that meant selling all of his instruments (he had been playing music for years). Well, all but his keyboard, which he tried to sell as well but could not find a decent offer for it. A few years later, when Mark felt the itch to play music again, he had to use the only instrument he still had: the keyboard, which not only explains how The Aquaerials started but also his sound. Influenced by artists who should be familiar to regular readers such as Ólafur Arnalds, Max Richter, and Sigur Rós; Mark creates minimalist neoclassical compositions that are simple yet beautiful.
Insomniac’s Respite, the latest single from The Aquaerials, is an instrumental piano piece that was inspired by sleeplessness and a general feeling of anxiety. However, being an instrumental piece, each listener can interpret it in a different way. Composed, recorded, mixed, and mastered by Mark himself in his home studio, Insomniac’s Respite is a delicate track that is as serene as a lullaby. If you want to relax, this is the perfect track for you. Enjoy.
Andrew Land is a British multi-instrumentalist, producer and composer who was classically trained through his youth and then studied contemporary music on his own. This has resulted in a style of music that combines elements of both approaches, neoclassical music with traces of ambient and electronic sounds. It is not surprising then that one of his main influences is Oláfur Arnalds, who regular visitors should be familiar with. This year, Andrew is releasing his debut album, Relevant Matters, and he has given us some appetizers with a few singles and even an EP: (Making Good) Defects, all recorded and produced by the artist in his home studio in the Midlands, UK.
This EP contains three gorgeous tracks, including two versions of Defects: a stripped down version that you can listen to in the video below, and the regular, more atmospheric version, which you can find in the mixtapes mentioned after the video clip. Both versions are stunning and well worth your time. The track (s) got a cinematic vibe that evokes a feeling of peace and tranquillity. I fell in love with it and, hopefully, you will too.
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.