Tom Misch - The Journey (4:25)

A song for a Friday-night in. You’re in a house near the beach, looking out a window at the faint caramel haze of a sun just set. The Journey plays, its soulful strings echoing around the room as you scribble in a notebook. Clouds roll in, and the room is a whole lot darker than it used to be. Excitement and anticipation for the future hangs in the air.

This track from Tom Misch, 18 year old London composer, gets as close to narrative as wordless music can get. Poignant strings evoke feelings of isolation and anticipation, while a melodic lick repeats with comforting assurance and warmth. Later, a guitar with a warm twang dances with an air of confidence and closure. A beautiful song from a talented musician.

Download Misch’s EP for free here.
Find Misch on Facebook and Soundcloud.

Moods - Voodoo (4:01)

This track is sexy. I’ll try to get a little more intellectual than that, but the point stays valid. This track is smooth. This track is soulful. If you’re not making love to this song, you’ve made a terrible mistake.

Moods’ ‘Voodoo’ manages to distill the sound of prohibition-era jazz/funk improvisation groups, an amazonian jungle, and some sort of smooth-talking film-noir detective’s personal soundtrack, while throwing in some brassy trumpet licks for good measure. It’s bold, simple, and it just might be one of my favourite tracks this year.

Find Moods’ soulful beats on Soundcloud.
Keep up to date on Facebook.

Cherokee - Don’t Matter ft. Darianna (5:08)

Did you miss me? Doubt it. Did you miss this track when it came out? Probably.

If there’s one thing I know, it’s that the French make great electronic music. They just consistently kill it. Case in point: Cherokee

With a superb balance between synthetic and acoustic sound that reminds me of LemaitreDon’t Matter deals out some ridiculous funk. A muted bass, tom-toms, and a gorgeous tonal lead delivering the spaced apart melody all fit together nicely while a light but grizzly synth ties it all together. Darianna’s vocal work is confident and effortless, and distinctly French - despite being sung in English - with an airy glide between her perfectly placed notes that makes this track all the more suave.

Another French electro-king has been born. It’s just not fair.

Find Cherokee on Soundcloud and Facebook.
Purchase the ‘Don’t Matter EP' here.

Shook - Hold Tight (3:42)

There’s a little guitar pick in the first quarter-minute of this song that almost entirely embodies the sound that Shook has achieved - jaunty and funky disco music, with a little cheek. It’s simple, sounds brilliant, and dances so perfectly over the cut-off filter that you just have to listen to the rest. And I recommend it.

Hold Tight is one of those tracks that you can engulf yourself in. There’s a diversity and versatility among the sound design which affords the track a comfort, an ease-of-listening, and which makes for some killer music. Dance, if you’d like. Nod your head. Appreciate the gorgeous and playful synthesizers, and maybe consider wearing sunglasses more often.

Find Shook on Facebook or Soundcloud.
Purchase his EP “The Rise and Fall” here.

Shapeshifter - Sleepless (5:18)

Some of the most articulate and expressive sound, in my opinion, comes not from the human voice, but rather from a saxophone. It’s no secret - I absolutely adore saxophone for it’s soulful timbre and solemn swaying sound. I saw Shapeshifter at Rhythm and Vines Festival over New Years this year, and when they cracked out the sax for the show, I knew I had to write about them. Sleepless, a drifting and poignant masterpiece, is my favourite track by the group (who hail from New Zealand, my home), and features some pretty gorgeous saxophone throughout. 

Unlike most songs on the 2009 album The System is a Vampire, this track isn’t drum-and-bass. It’s okay, though - the influence is there, and it’s lovely. Shapeshifter always work wonders lyrically and melodically. This is no different. There’s an impressive power behind the smooth and emotional vocals, and a heavenly reverberated and echoed guitar solo thrown in for good measure. Listen to this song while you look at the stars, and cry a little. You’ll enjoy it.

Purchase links are above.
Find Shapeshifter here, or on their Facebook.

(Remember: I take suggestions and submissions! Send any and all tracks to me here, and if you pique my interest, you can expect a write-up.)

Uppermost - Reminder (4:19)

It’s a new year, and already we’re off to a good start. French electronic all-star Uppermost has charmed me with this track; a lovely ‘pogoesque’ composition of detached vocal points, warm guitar licks, and delicate, bubbly and crisp percussion. Not only does Reminder make me feel content and substantial, but it has made me realize something even more important: artificial record static at the start of songs is always gorgeous.

Since releasing the brilliant and hard-hitting ‘Faster,’ and with the wonderfully diverse and exciting album Action, Uppermost has been making consistently large strides in the electronic music scene. His production boasts as much precision and measure as it does emotion and soul - an effective handling of what is both an intricately expressive art, and a difficult skill. Uppermost is clearly comfortable behind his tech-weapon of choice (FL Studio, I believe), and his complacency shows itself as delightful and exciting music. An artist leading the pack, and certainly an artist to follow.

Find Uppermost on Soundcloud and Facebook.
Visit his Official Website.

(A side note: Uppermost is very interesting to follow on Facebook. His posts are laden with introspection, speculation, existentialism, and inspiration. Often poignant, always piquant. He’s an intelligent guy. “The power of expression lies in its ability to be free. The loss of independence turns human beings into predictable puppets.” )

Alina Baraz & Galimatias - Make You Feel (3:40)

It’s raining, the coffee is brewing, and you’re curled up on the bed with a blanket and an old book. You look out of the hotel window. Curves of rain run down the glass, pooling at the bottom, and distorting the unfamiliar view. It’s 2pm - though it might as well be midnight, for the light in this place is consistently hazed and coloured with a pale white-blue, regardless of the time. Make You Feel plays on the record-player that you picked up for 120 Francs, though you have a suspicion the country you’re in uses the Euro, and that the shopkeeper simply took pity on your traveller’s naivety. Things are happening; not necessarily good things, but important and tangible things, nonetheless, and that comforts you.

This track by Galimatias - who I’ve been following since his stellar EP with Joppe, “Departure” - is a gorgeous blend of vocal patter, pads, and warm percussion. Music like this makes you feel (Ha!) substantial, important. A lovely distraction from some of our usual musical humdrum, and one that’s available for free download.

Follow Galimatias on Soundcloud and Facebook.
Find his other songs on Bandcamp.

Fryars - Cool Like Me (3:38)

He wasn’t born in that sweater. She wasn’t born wearing leather.

I’d never heard of Fryars until a few weeks ago when I found this track on Youtube. After that, I’d still never heard of Fryars. For some reason, the first time I listened to this incredible track, I entirely dismissed it. I am so glad I had a second listen.

Cool Like Me is lyrically tongue-in-cheek, but actually rather inspiring. I can’t stress how exceptional these lyrics are. Vocoders give the vocals some depth, while a driving drum beat and a sort of french-house-nu-disco add tone and feeling. The production reminds me of Madeon or Lemaitre, but with a more washed out and relaxed vibe. It’s a gorgeous song with a gorgeous video, too.

You can just bow down and be a machine, or you can be cool, cool like me.

Find Fryars on Soundcloud and Facebook.
Purchase his new EP here.

KOAN Sound x Culprate x Reso x Asa - Cascade (7:10)

If you know anything about electronic music, you should know how big this collaboration is purely from the phenomenal list of artists. Low-frequency juggernauts KOAN Sound, plus experimental and subtle Culprate, plus off-beat masters Reso and Asa, all on one track, is truly fantastic. The intricate, multi-faceted and incredibly well produced track is being sold to support the the Movember & Sons charity.

This track has everything you would expect and more. Airy and clean pads set the scene in traditional Asa style, contrasting with the sharp and appetising percussion (which I’d bet was a product of KOAN Sound and Reso). The modulation and depth of the bass-lines and low frequency is entirely tangible - a rich and smooth sound, expertly produced, that settles well in to the song’s dynamic. Around the four-minute mark, I can only assume that Culprate took hold of the Red Bull Studio’s computer, and laid down some of his trademarked and off-kilter (yet melodically wonderful) production. It’s drawn-out, brilliantly modulated and humanised, and as strange as ever.

This is art. I’d highly suggest donating for the cause, though if you’re skint it’s entirely possible to download the track for free.

Download the song here.
Follow Inspected Records on Soundcloud.

Perseus - Shadow of the Beast (5:15)

AlunaGeorge and Nero and Lenno had a musical three-way offspring devil child, and they called him Perseus. A mellifluous blend of delicate and soulful vocals, processed percussion, and a bass-line that jams through the whole thing with tangible funk and frisson. The use of sampled vocals is brilliant - two separate tracks, I believe - and gives the song a ‘crafted’ feel. Lyrical subject matter, while brief, manages to be both upsetting and inspiring. The tone of voice reminds me a little of the singer from ‘Must be the Feeling,’ and lends itself perfectly to such prominent groove.

Download the track for free here.
Find Perseus on Facebook.