Something to Listen to: “Dynamo”

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One piece of the independent music landscape I haven’t gotten to talk about yet is Moodgadget Records. An affiliate of indie label Ghostly International, Moodgadget focuses on exploring the diversity of electronic music, showcasing established favorites as much as they do the up-and-comers.

They’ve also just reached their 10th anniversary.

In celebration of this milestone, Moodgadget has just launched their 100th release, Dynamo. A compilation album collecting a whopping 22 tracks from many of the fresh faces in Moodgadget’s stable, including some new exclusives. The best part? They’ve made it available to stream right now on SoundCloud!

So that’s cool and all, but what is you want to take this album on the go? Well, they’ve also made it available for purchase from iTunes for the low, low price of $6.99! Let me reiterate: $6.99 for 22 tracks! That’s a really good, really rare deal. I wouldn’t pass this up if I were you.

You can find more about Moodgadget Records by visiting their official site.

Something to Listen to: “Ghostly Swim 2”

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In case you missed it, comedy network Adult Swim and indie record label Ghostly International have just teamed up yet again to release their second free compilation album, Ghostly Swim 2. You may remember that I talked about the 2009 original a couple of weeks ago. So you know that I’ve been anticipating the release of this one.

Ghostly has a tendency to segment their releases into two categories. Avant-Pop acts as a fusion of electronic methodologies with pop sensibilities, while SMM, a meaningless acronym, represents the more experimental and ambient music. If the first Ghostly Swim was an avant-pop album, Ghostly Swim 2 focuses more on SMM.

I’d spend more time telling you why you should buy it, but you can download it right now for free at the official site! Instead, I’m going to do a track-by-track breakdown and briefly tell you what I think. Feel free to listen along.

Pascäal – “Holo”

True to it’s name (well, the sound of the name, anyway), “Holo” sounds as though it could have been recorded in a large, hollow cave. The electronic noises bouncing of every wall. There’s not much to day about this one other than that it’s atmospheric and puts me right in the mood for an ambient, relaxing album.

Shigeto – “Tide Pools”

Ghostly mainstay Shigeto drops a new track in the form of “Tide Pools”. It’s a haunting combination of synthetic pianos and digital wind chimes set on top of a soothing beat. This one’s sure to invoke feelings of pleasant peacefulness with just a hint of melancholy.

Anenon – “The Grapevine”

Anenon takes his turn to introduce my favorite track of the album. The buzzing of electronic voices work together to sing a melancholic song backed by an energetic set of drums. This track utilizes a nontraditional sound to form an emotional piece. It may sound weird, but I love weird.

Heathered Pearls – “Supra”

Heathered Pearls’ “Supra” focuses on a synth piano among a series of other ambient noises. It’s quiet, but hypnotizing. Another fine addition to our 45 minutes of auditory relaxation.

Babe Rainbow – “Don’t Tell Me I’m Wrong”

Having apparently just made the jump from Warp Records, Babe Rainbow provides Ghostly with “Don’t Tell Me I’m Wrong”. The track consist of a booming drum, a cheerful tune and a haunting set of vocals wailing in the distance. Another quiet, atmospheric track to populate one’s night.

Dauwd – “Kolido”

Dauwd’s entry, “Kolido”, rests continues the practice of electronic elements and far-away vocals resting on top of a subtle beat. About 2 minutes into this one, the beat starts to take on a catchier rhythm fit for a dance floor.

Patricia – “Spotting”

Patricia starts the second half of this album with a quiet synth piano and a thumping bass, as the other elements of the track are introduced one by one. Distorted clapping and complimentary electronic rhythms start to fill the room and the beat starts to progress and shift. By the end, though quiet intimacy is maintained throughout, the tracks has become one catchy ride for the listener.

Lord RAJA – “Spilt Out In Cursive”

The most ambient track on the record so far, Lord RAJA’s “Spilt Out In Cursive” relies almost entirely on subtle tunes and creepy background noises before fading out. Calming or unnerving? I’ll let you decide.

CFCF – “Oil”

CFCF’s “Oil” starts out on a pleasant couple of xylophones, before the electronic elements and bass start to fill the background with life. This progress until the xylophones are replaced by a faded piano sending things into a calm atmosphere. A peaceful ride, through and through.

Feral – “Mirror”

Following a trail of far off sounds, “Mirror” paints a picture I’d like to call digital popcorn. Computer noises and popping sounds play backdrop to a gentle tune and a series of synthetic drums.

Mary Lattimore & Jeff Zeigler – “I Only Have Eyes For You”

“I Only Have Eyes For You” spends it first time on some magnificent chiming among the sounds of soaring skies. Different elements get tossed in and out until settling down to a gentle conclusion. Uneventful, but nonetheless heavenly.

AceMo- “Futurism”

“Futurism” is probably the most melancholic track on the record. Haunting synths set the tone before the drums and vocals continue the song down the downbeat slope.

Nautiluss – “Lonely Planet”

Nautiluss comes in to close out this record with a decidedly up-tempo track. “Lonely Planet”‘s beat moves at a steady pace while the synths decorates it’s path. A nice finish to one soothing journey.

So there we go. 13 new tracks from some of Ghostly’s finest. If you want to hear it, head over the Adult Swim’s site and get downloading.

You can download Ghostly Swim 2, here.

Jingle Things: “Home for the Holidays, Vol. 2”

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So, remember when I said that song “Holiday” led me to a whole compilation album? Well, today I’d like to talk about that. Om Records is a record label that focuses on electronic, dance and hip-hop music. In the years of 2010 and 2011, the label collected a number of their more winter-centric releases into a compilation album, titled Home for the Holidays. Of the two volumes, I’ve gotten a chance to listen to the second one and I highly recommend it.

As I said before, the high-energy romp “Holiday” by Body Language (which I talked about last week,) is included on the album. Joining it is a collection of lounge-ready electronic and jazz fusion tracks all fitted with elements of the holiday season. From Montesco’s mesmerizing rendition of a classic in “O Holy Night”, to the beautifully relaxing “Dreaming of Santa” by The Electronic Tabernacle Symphony, the feels of Christmas are pretty well explored.

It’s all makes for some wonderful music to throw on as you’re chilling during these winter nights, and the number of styles on display here adds some nice variety. Above all, it’s just nice to hear Christmas music that sounds a little different than what you may be used to hearing. If that sounds like what you’re looking for, then I recommend you seek out Home for the Holidays, Vol 2.

You can find and download Home for the Holidays, Vol 2 on iTunes and Amazon.

Something to Listen To: “Ghostly Essentials: Music for Makers”

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A wise man once said: “The best things in life are free.” Indie record label Ghostly International knows the value of this very well. As I’ve discussed before, you can already find a number of free compilation albums collecting music from all over the label’s catalog. Well, now they’ve just added to that collection.

Released as a companion to the contest Ghostly is currently running in partnership with 3D-printer producer MakerBot Industries, Ghostly Essentials: Music for Makers collects ten tracks that have been “specially curated to help soundtrack your creative process”. The compilation include works from Ghostly favorites such as Matthew Dear, Beacon, Solvent and Lusine among others.

As I quoted above, the product description promises this album to be the perfect soundtrack for creative work. And I have to admit, these atmospheric, electronic tracks have been doing a good job of keeping me engaged as I write this very post, but they also make for a really cool listen on their own. On top of that, most of these tracks have been released over the past year. So if you’re looking for a guide to what the label has been up to recently, this is a good place to start.

But again, it’s free! If this sounds interesting, go ahead and download it and see for yourself. I’ve got to hand it Ghostly for once again providing a free and easy way to explore and discover the music of some great artists.

You can download Ghostly Essentials: Music for Makers here. And for more information of the related contest, follow this link.

Something to Listen To: “You’re Dead!” by Flying Lotus

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One of the more prominent names in the indie music landscape at the moment is Steven Ellison, better known by his stage name: Flying Lotus. His experimental, genre-blending style has attracted a large number of fans since he first hit the scene back in 2006. So, of course, I had to check out his most recent studio album: You’re Dead!.

(Note: I’ve embedded the trailer below, but be aware that it contains some very violent, NSFW, imagery.)

As you can probably deduce from the title, You’re Dead! explores a number of dark ideas. Chief among them, the concept of death and the discovery of what comes next. These ideas are most apparent in songs such as “Decent Into Madness” or “The Boys Who Died in Their Sleep”. And while the album ventures into a broad range of emotions, feelings of confusion, uncertainty, or dread can be sensed throughout.

You’re Dead! collects and mixes together the sounds of electronic, industrial hip-hop and jazz, among others. But the focus shifts from track to track. One moment, you’re listening to a multi-layered rap, the next, an intricately executed jazz session. But the shift between styles is so seamless and subtle, you might not notice the change until after it happens.

In fact, one of the best things about this album is FlyLo’s sense of continuance. While each of the 19 tracks are distinctive and stand on their own quite nicely, they all flow in and out of each other in such a way that the album works as one engaging 40-mintue ride. This is one album you’ll want to listen to from begging to end in one go.

All in all, this is an incredible album. It’s the work of a master of his craft, at the top of his game. And by year’s end, it will probably remain my favorite album of 2014.

You’re Dead! by Flying Lotus is available at Bleep, iTunes, Google Play and Amazon.

 

You know, I thought about talking about talking about this as part of my “Spooky Things” series. But I think I’ve got planned for this Friday is a bit more appropriate for Halloween… Stay tuned!