New Zealander composer and producer Rhian Sheehan has recently released his newest album, Stories From Elsewhere. It’s full of really lovely soundscapes that mostly fit the ambient post-rock bill, but there are a few that also can be classified as bona-fide electronica, such as this piece.
“Nocturne 1985” is well-titled, as the synths that create quite a bit of the melodic content came from an 80’s Yamaha synthesizer. Sheehan gives completely in to the Tron-esque feel of this whole work, much to his own benefit. This piece was first released before the finishing touches that you’ll hear in this one, and even then, I liked it. This final mix down expands the wide-atmospheric quality that defines most of Sheehan’s work, and the post-production cleanup gives the work a 21st Century edge that makes it relevant. I’m a tad obsessed with this one, I must admit. Hope you enjoy it!
Canadian alternative rock artist Dallas Green, known more commonly by his recording alias City and Colour is new to me, but research has told me that he’s been around a while. I like all genres of music. Believe it or not, alternative rock was my favorite genre up until I started college. This artist reminds me why. Ever accompanied by a revolving door of various rock, folk, and indie instrumentalists, City and Colour is shaping up become to the modern-day Santana of alternative.
“Thirst” is very energetic and foot-tapping, without being too over the top. Green’s clear, Freddie Mercury-meets-Jason-Mraz type voice will draw you in, if nothing else. Enjoy!
I’ve covered this artist a few times, but I hope you take that as a good sign— I do! Bay Area beatmaker Dailon is known for making wide, atmospheric and glitchy beats with vocal samples that change the original register of the voice. I’d say he’s one of the few that uses this technique well.
“Float” is appropriately titled; this piece is very dreamy, even in comparison to other works of Dailon’s— take a nap with this playing and you will surely find yourself on cloud nine. ;-) Head here to check out his sounds. Hope you float right through your day.
Husband-and-wife duet Jysi and Josh Hewitt comprise the two members of Amarante (meaning “unfading flower” in French, Italian, or Ancient Greek, which is the language of origin for this word… you might notice the similarity to the word “amaranthe”). This band comes from Fresno, California. I suppose “indie” is the best way to categorize their light-footed, energetic style.
“The Wanderer” comes from their newest release, “Udana Prana”, which is on sale now if you check out their Bandcamp. This single features a latin-inspired beat that makes you want to salsa, tango, or even just do some nonspecific wiggling in rhythm. Jysi and Josh’s voices float above the instrumentation in dreamy, ringing tones. I’d say this is an earworm for sure, but better— you don’t have to worry about the radio ruining it for you by playing it to death. Enjoy, one and all!
Can’t Hold Us - Macklemore & Ryan Lewis ft. Ray Dalton
I figured I’d keep you on your toes with some video footage. Seattleite rapper Ben Haggerty, known by his stage name Macklemore, has gained recognition nationwide and beyond with his comrades. Via a combination of honest, slam-poetry reminiscent lyrics and flow from Ben, the beatmaking prowess of DJ/producer Ryan Lewis, and the talents of the group’s two instrumentalists, violinist Andrew Joslyn and trumpeteer Owuor Arunga, this outfit is becoming a slow but steady tour-de-force on the independent rap scene, with just enough mainstream recognition for people to be able to find their music on YouTube and in stores.
“Can’t Hold Us”— coming off Macklemore’s newest album, “The Heist”— is a high-energy, confident-but-not-cocky uptempo flow with a latin-inspired beat. In keeping with Macklemore’s usual style of having another artist sing the chorus, the hook is sung by the song’s featured guest, Ray Dalton (who has a great voice).
“The Heist” is out now pretty much everywhere that one can purchase or listen to music… but if you’re not 100% sure you want to buy it, check it out on YouTube.
29 Nightmares - The Unused Word (produced by Mosch)
The Unused Word, whose real name is Anna, is a singer-songwriter-producer-pianist from Vienna, Austria. She’s just great, in my opinion; think of her as Everything But The Girl mixed with Sarah McLachlan and Colbie Callait, with electronic production flair.
“29 Nightmares” is the seventh track on an EP entitled “∞” (it’s an infinity sign). It’s quirky, heartfelt, and brilliantly produced, much like the rest of her work. The production is the work of another artist named Mosch. Check her out on SoundCloud, and give Mosch a shot while you’re at it!
Arturo Jimenez, who goes by the SoundCloud handle Arthritis, is a Southern Californian beatmaker who writes slow-jam hip-hop beats similar to many of the other artists seen on this blog.
Fans of Anita Baker will recognize the samples in his current piece, “It’ll Always Be This Way.” The ever famous “Sweet Love” is such a great hit that I’m surprised that it hasn’t been sampled before now (though I’m sure it has, I just haven’t stumbled across any songs that have done it). This piece is short, sweet, and available for download. Enjoy!
Icelandic producer Aron Kottur recently shared this piece on SoundCloud. It features his expected prowess with hip-hop drumwork, but the synths and musical sounds are more ambient and spacey than his normal work. There are some solid piano samples in this one, too. Overall, the different elements make for a great combination.
Sorry to say, this one’s not downloadable, but you can listen to it here. Take it easy!
This artist hails from Auckland, New Zealand. His works are always heavily influenced by jazz sampling, recorded live sounds, and electronic elements all blended together.
This piece is my favorite of his collection to date. He mentions in that he got a new mic just before making this, and it’s clear that he put it to good use! There are a lot of recorded sounds in the drumwork and some of the vocals. The vibes are just great all around; great harmonies and a positive mood overall. This one is available for download on SoundCloud. Enjoy!