Something to Listen to: New Tracks From Passion Pit

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Ever since being featured in the soundtrack for the 2011 video game LittleBigPlanet 2, indietronica band Passion Pit has received a huge amount of attention. Their new album, Kindred, has just been made available for pre-order and, with it, two tracks have been made available this weekend for purchase. Take a look at the official videos below.

Going in reverse-chronological order, “Where The Sky Hangs” is a bright-sounding tune perfect for starting off your day.

Now that you’re up and around, the track “Lifted Up” can get you moving.

Like what you heard? For more info about the album and where to pre-order it, you can visit Passion Pit’s official website.

Something to Listen to: “Mind Bokeh” by Bibio

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So, today I thought I would take a look at a slightly older album that I’ve recently gotten the chance to listen to. Music producer Bibio released an album back in 2011 that he dubs Mind Bokeh. Described by Bibio as “a balance between the familiar and the non-familiar” and you haven’t started listening to this guy’s work yet, this isn’t a bad place to start.

Bokeh refers to the blur produced by an out-of-focus camera. Mind Bokeh does a great job of playing on the idea of a mind out of focus. Whether the sounds used verhe on the experimental or the traditional, they are often muffled or otherwise obscurely textured, giving me the sense of wandering through a hazy dream.

There is hardly a track on here that doesn’t stand out in some way. From the guitar-heavy soundtrack-worthy “Take Off Your Shirt”, to the retro jingle-powered “Feminine Eye”, you can find plenty of individual tracks to revisit on multiple listens.

No doubt about it, Bibio has always had a unique sound in his work, but not one without it’s evolution. He’s not afraid to experiment and venture into different territories. In this case, he’s crafted a colorful and varied listening experience. One populated by different textures and is as cheerful in some parts as it is poignant in others.

You can find Mind Bokeh by Bibio on iTunes, here.

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.

Something to Watch/Listen To: “Latin Boys”

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I, uh… I don’t know what to make of this.

This new music video comes straight out of Panda Bear’s upcoming album Panda Bear Meets the Grim Reaper. The video for “Boys Latin” is definitely an awesome one, combining CGI animation with a mild cel-shading technique and a watercolor-like color pallet. It’s also pretty weird, in a good way. Take a look!

Once I sit through the whole thing, it looks to me like a neat visual interpretation of finding a soul-mate and starting a family. I’ve also seen others interpret the infecting plant life as a traumatic event that one must emotionally deal with. Either way, making sense of this one requires a fair amount of interpretive thinking, and that’s pretty cool.

The music is also a joy to listen to. A hypnotic beat plays background to some wonderful synths and haunting vocals. I haven’t yet listened to much of Panda Bear or his group, Animal Collective, but this has definitely made me interested.

You can pre-order Panda Bear Meets the Grim Reaper on itunes here. 

Something to Listen To: “Ghostly Swim”

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Last week, Wired reported that indie record label Ghostly International and comedy network Adult Swim would once again team-up to release Ghostly Swim 2 on December 23rd. I figured this would be a great time to talk about the 2009 original, Ghostly Swim.

Ghostly Swim‘s lineup consists of some of the key artists from Ghostly’s catalog of artists. In the video above, you’ll hear Michna’s ambient yet bouncy beat, “Triple Chrome Dipped” followed by Mux Mool’s electric trip, “Night Court”. Through the rest of the album, you can hear label co-founder Matthew Dear perform a bone-chilling yet prideful tune in “R + S”, while School of Seven Bells provides a suitably melancholy song in “Chain”. The Chap is represented with their wonderfully quirky track “Carlos Walter Wendy Stanley”, while Deastro takes us on a simultaneously intense and cheerful ride in “Light Powered”.

But, if I have to pick a favorite out of the album, I’d go with Tycho’s “Cascade”. It’s a beautifully composed piece that brings to my mind a fallout from an emotionally traumatic event. It makes me think of watching the sunrise, but with a feeling in my heart that I’ve just said goodbye and have to figure out how to move on. Well… that’s my take, anyway.

This compilation album is what introduced me to Ghostly International and ultimately pushed me into exploring the world of underground music. Best of all, it’s free to download. So if you haven’t had the chance to listen to this one, I highly recommend that you do.

You can download Ghostly Swim for free at Adult Swim’s official site, 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.