Jingle Things: “Holiday” Music Video

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The holiday season is here! Every Wednesday leading up to Christmas, I’ll be highlighting an interesting something-or-other for you to enjoy as you deck the halls. This week, I want to show you a music video that was released a couple of years ago, but that I just recently discovered.

Set to the song “Holiday” by Body Language, the stop-motion music video tells the tale of two stuffed animals falling in love and attempting to escape a toy factory. It’s got everything! Action, romance, dancing and, uh… suggestive scenes… Ahem.

Anyhow, it’s a joy to watch and works great with the song it’s promoting. Speaking of the song, if you’re having trouble making out the lyrics, don’t worry. You’re not alone. But it’s still extremely catchy and combines that techno-pop sound I love so much with the sounds of the holiday season. Have a look-see!

Here’s a fun fact: that video was animated by Starburns Industries, who have done work for [adult swim] shows such as Moral OrelMark Shelly’s Frankenhole and Rick and Morty. Imagine that! Of course, that video led me to discover a whole compilation album. But that’s a story for another post.

If you like the song “Holiday” by Body Language, you can find it on iTunes here.

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.

Spooky Things: Creature Feature

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You know, when it comes to music to listen to on Halloween, my searches haven’t proven to be particularly fruitful. For the most part, my options are limited to cheap compilation CD’s full of second-rate cover songs. That and, of course, “Thriller”. But I have found one band providing unique and clever alternative music formed around the spirit of the holiday. Enter the world of Creature Feature, if you dare!

A collaboration between L.A. composers Curtis RX and Erik X, Creature Feature takes it’s influences from all things creepy. Classic horror movies, terrifying tales of the macabre and even the oddly unnerving music of the carnival. It’s all fair game. A combination of rock and electronic elements help to set the music apart and give it it’s own identity.

It all comes together to paint a very Tim Burton-esque picture of the dark and the paranormal, with a heaping dose of fun tossed in for good measure. The band has released two full-length albums and a couple of singles since their debut in 2007. And people are taking notice. The band has built up a loyal cult following, one that eagerly anticipates each new release.

What more is there to say? Creature Feature is a cool band offering something unique to the music landscape: a supernatural romp that simultaneously sounds pleasantly retro, yet thoroughly modern.  A perfect fit for any Halloween party.

You can check out Creature Feature at their official site, where you can listen to, and purchase, each of their songs. Their music is also available for download on iTunes and Bandcamp.

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!

Something to Listen To: “Worlds” Review

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When you’re a fan of a particular genre of music, you’ll sometimes find yourself bored of what you’ve been listening to as of late. And then, just as you’re about to start listening to something else, you come across an album that hits your musical tastes just right, and rekindles your fascination for that genre and where it’s heading. For me, that genre is electronic music (an umbrella term, mind you), and that album is Worlds, the debut album from producer Porter Robinson.

Taking it’s inspiration from both the dance and synthpop sub-genres, Worlds provides a wonderful tour through the bold, other-worldy atmosphere, heavy on the bass and skinned with synths. I’d describe it as an emotional dance album. The amount of heart put into this shows in both the music and it’s vocals.

A few of my favorites:

  • “Sad Machine”-  Far and away my favorite track from the album. “Sad Machine” is a moving duet between Robinson and a computerized singer, portraying the loneliness of an artificial intelligence. All laid against a memorable beat that fills me with joy, while the lyrics break my heart. The thought that this is what computers truly feel makes me want to hug my laptop and tell it that everything is going to be okay… I probably shouldn’t be saying things like this on the internet.
  • “Natural Light”- Anytime an album chooses to change tone and pace will obviously gain anyone’s attention. In this case, “Natural Light” provides one of the album’s most soothing moments, bring to mind a moment sitting outside in the middle of the night taking in the sights and sounds around you. Well, that’s my take, anyway.
  • “Fellow Feeling”- A track with some variety. “Fellow Feeling” starts of with a brilliant combination of synths and violins, only to break into a trip to the intense, glitchy landscape in the albums only real foray into dubstep territory. At the end both are combined for a finale worthy of the dance floor.

Grand, passionate and inspiring, Worlds reminds me why I fell in love with the various forms of electronic music to begin with, and makes me interested to see where Porter Robinson goes from here.