We’ve been exploring the back catalogs of several little-known bedroom synthwave artists lately, and we found an old release by The Pillars of Creation yesterday that we’d like to shine a light on today. The Soft Sound EP was released by Chicago’s Marc Zielinski (The Pillars of Creation) to little to no acclaim just over two years ago, due only really to the bite-size niche market that consumes these kinds of warped lo-fi synth jams. The track at the tail end of the four-track EP, “Gloom”, samples Reflex’s proto-chillwave “Night Jam A” as its base melody, building upon it with layers and layers of melted loops and whirling lead synth tracks. All in all, the rework alters the original tune enough to merit its own acclaim, creating a new beast out of Reflex’s seminal pre-Neon Indian synth track. Come for the funky key-bass and stay for the splashy, smeary surround sound synesthesiæ brought on by The Pillars of Creation’s notable 2011 song “Gloom”, which is anything but morose in tone. Do tha right thing, and grab a free MP3 download of this oft-overlooked jam gem, and then do some traveling into the deep space that is The Pillars’ repertoire of self-released full-lengths and EP’s.
This jam came out two years ago. Considering our penchant for minimalism, you would have thought we would have posted it before, but nope. That is an error we now intend to remedy. Despite the myriad club, house, ambient, and IDM artists out there creating simple build-and-release-based loops, very rarely does one stumble upon an artist or tune that creates a distinctly memorable moment with all of the subtlety that one would expect out of that brand of electronic music. With Moomin’s “You”, a warm, gentle desperation is created, built, and sustained over the course of nearly seven minutes with nothing but ambling rhythm synth loops, four-on-the-floor deep house beats, and a persistent digital whine. That is literally the entirety of the track, but you have to hear it to believe it. Named for the fairy tale characters featured in Swedish-Finn artist Tove Jansson’s children’s books, Berlin’s Moomin manages to tenderly captivate while remaining perfectly energetic and danceable without getting boring at all (at least, in our opinion). Along with greats like The Field and The Sight Below, what makes his minimalistic electronic music so impressive is that so much can be built from so little, and with 2011’s “You”, Moomin succeeds. So, despite the age of this song, do tha right thing, and grab a free MP3 download after the jump. Afterwards, you can purchase The Story About You via Amazon, iTunes, or from Smallville Records.
AMDiscs is a bedroom record label known (along with Beer on the Rug and Fortune 500) for its expanding portfolio of artists and releases in the vaporwave vein. Featured on AMDiscs’ 2013 compilation, this particular jam by Saint Pepsi is of course no exception to that generalization. Saint Pepsi seems to be the new flavor of the month, especially among followers of that incredibly weird but incredibly chill sounding microgenre of experimental electronic music. “Balancing Towers” is essentially just chopped and screwed early 80’s synth-funk, but the effect on the subconscious that this increasingly popular slice of VHS-wave has is definitely noteworthy. Where witch house once turned culture on its head with its chopped and screwed covers of pop hits, the vaporwave vibe of artists like Miami Vice and Vektroid crafts a particularly sterile retro-futuristic vision. With “Balancing Towers”, Saint Pepsi simultaneously reminds us of the duality of high class living with vintage bassline, glittering electric piano, and soulful musing. Despite the nostalgic smell of success present in the slow jam, one is unable to shake the sneaking feeling that’s all just a pixelated house of cards, waiting to crash like a cocaine-fueled stock market bought and sold exclusively by labor saving devices. Do tha right thing, and grab a free MP3 download of Saint Pepsi’s smooth retro track “Balancing Towers”. Afterwards, check out the rest of his repertoire, or definitely check out AMDiscs’ 2013 playlist for more similar songs.
Lately, we’ve been getting a lot of questions about broken links and requests for working links for the second volume of our free monthly mixes. Because we appreciate your interest, instead of just fixing the .rar links in old posts, we decided to compile the whole set here for your convenience. If you’ve missed the window of opportunity to enjoy some of our older playlists, just click the cover artwork to download, or press “stream” below it to visit the corresponding Bandcamp page. Which is your favorite?
The music of Miami Vice perfectly encapsulates that smooth 80’s vibe that we know and love, reserved only for the upper echelon of society. While he’ll never be able to top Jan Hammer’s original compositions for the titular TV series, the vaporwave artist will nonetheless regale us into infinity with his retro DOS-based re-imaginings of that golden age. “Yacht”, our favorite track from newly released Smooth Nights, ambles along haphazardly, like a fun drunk. Reminiscent of an 18 Carat Affair vignette, it’s akin to a really shitty ghettoblaster recording of that snapshot moment in your favorite tune that really gets your heart pumping. The pastel-colored retro synth tracks trip all over the bassline and reverb-soaked percussion in what amounts to the “ringtone worthy” section of some lost one-hit wonder. Miami Vice manages in the space of only a minute-and-a-half to remind us with “Yacht” what we dearly miss about the garish elitist capitalistic excess of the decade to end all decades. Do tha right thing, and grab a free download of Miami Vice’s Smooth Nights right this second, at least to have “Yacht” available at your beck and call for that next house party. We also highly recommend his previous release, Culture Island, if you like that airless, perfectly benign corporatist tone.
Synesthesiæ Films is not only our single favorite Youtube channel, but is also the creator of the official music videos for many of our favorite artists. Utilizing retro found footage and heavy visual editing, Synesthesiæ Films crafts nostalgic video montages for the vintage vibes purveyed by acts like 18 Carat Affair, Holy Other, Klockhaus, and many more. Periodically, they’ll put together a very short “station ID”, melding a choice cut from some lucky VHS-wave artist with washed out footage or decades old vector art. Do tha right thing, and enjoy these teasers created by Synesthesiæ Films, and then subscribe to their Youtube channel for more creative visual insight into the best of today’s electronic acts. You can even download their podcast mixtapes, deemed “Colourcasts”, at their Soundcloud page.
R&B-infused glo-fi superbeing Giraffage churned out a quick rework of Owl Eyes’ “Closure” the other day, complete with all the fringe benefits one might expect from the San Franciscan producer. Free to download, the jam gives a hazy, magic hour vibe to the original composition by heavily appropriating the eloquent howls of today’s chopped and screwed musical movement. Notably toward the end of Giraffage’s remix of “Closure”, Brooke Addamo’s soulful vocals, the retro guitar, and sensual R&B time keeping fade into the background as Charlie Yin (Giraffage) slows that shit down, turning the last bit of the tune into a haunting Chris D’eon-esque concentration on the titular refrain. Do tha right thing, and grab a free MP3 download of Giraffage’s dreamtrap improvement on Owl Eyes’ Australian electro-pop single “Closure”. Afterwards, check out the original version of the track, and definitely grab a copy of Giraffage’s latest full-length, Needs, as well.
Capo Blanco kicks fucking ass. Our favorite Russian VHS-waver brings energy and sass to the table with every single last little thing that he releases. The slow tempo and sparse analog synth sections in February’s “O’Love” are a match made in heaven with the peaking reverb-soaked percussion and the retro bassline. This tune is a wordless concentration on the core makeup of those funk, boogie, and soul jams of times past; a chopped and screwed italo-disco track, if you will. Come for the vintage electric kickdrumming, and stay for the warped atmospheric synth tracks towards the ambient midsection. We truly believe that Aidar Salihoff (Capo Blanco) is one of the best artists in this subgenre, and we hope that he never stops making music. Do tha right thing, and grab a free MP3 download of “O’Love”, by Capo Blanco, and soak in the sweet summer vibez today.
After hearing Heathered Pearls’ hypnotic avión remix of Diana’s “Born Again”, we were curious about the quality of last Summer’s original composition. Quite frankly, we’re fast fans. You know how smooth and dreamlike School of Seven Bells’ jams used to be? Then one of the sisters quit, they got signed on to Vagrant Records, and now their sound is mediocre at best. With “Born Again”, that lucid dreaming Balearic vibe is present in full force, and it sounds a bit like what we imagine School of Seven Bells would resemble today if they hadn’t gone to shit. A churning, bubbling layer of synth sounds underscore a selection of retro basslines, analog synth tracks, and exotic samples. In “Born Again”, that smooth late 80’s mood music style that comprises the lion’s share of VHS-wave tunes is the backing instrumentation for a sensible, radio-friendly chillwave song with strong, clear female vocals. Do tha right thing, and grab a free MP3 download of the Toronto foursome’s experimental pop hit “Born Again” below, and then check out Heathered Pearls’ powerful ambient rework afterwards.