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Archive for the 'downtempo' Category

Imogen Heap
“Hide and Seek”

A stroke of brilliance–That’s what this track is. Without any traditional percussive elements, it creatively injects a sense of vocal percussion by staggering the harmonies on the upbeats of chord transitions. This combined with literary imagery in the lyrics, gives this song a great feeling of depth, fluidity and purpose.
There are some digital elements to the voices in the harmony, especially in dynamic changes. It helps push the melody forward, and proclaims a sense of urgency. All the combined voices help it rise and fall with purpose and ease. There are aspects of this song that remind me of the music composed by Benoit Jutras for Quidam.

From the Album: Speak for Yourself

Emiliana Torrini
“Today has been ok”

Icelandic. Organic. Exotic. Atmospheric. Acoustic. Melancholic. These are all words that aptly describe Emiliana’s music. This is a song made for closing-credits. It is also one of those songs perfect for personal reflection.

Soft, carefully-chosen piano chords along with xylophone cues and a non-intrusive bass line create a very soft foundation onto which she weaves a carefully-planned, soothing melody. Listen before you go to bed tonight, and you will sleep like a baby.

From the Album: Fisherman’s Woman

Michelle Featherstone
“Coffee & Cigarettes”

Warning: This is an intense break-up song about quitting.

I don’t see this current musical path changing anytime soon. I’m suffering from a small bout of melancholy. Does the song make us melancholy or do we pick the song because we are melancholy? Whatever it is, I’ll make the most of it. I appreciate music more lately if it has a prominent rhythm piano part, gospel influences and an acoustic feel. There’s something very poignant and penetrating about this sort of musical style. It also helps if it is very lyrically bewitching–like this one.

From the Album: One Tree Hill, Vol. 2

Over the Rhine
“Latter days”

It’s my party and I can cry if I want to. Well, I’m not crying. Because it’s my birthday, I’m breaking the rules and playing the only song that could possibly be played on my birthday — “Latter Days”.

I’ve listened to this song every year on or around my birthday for the past 5 years. So what — I’m sentimental. A very dear friend of mine introduced me to this song some 7 years ago. She is a magical person, and this song reminds me of her to this day.

Happy Birthday to me. Enjoy!

From the Album: Good Dog, Bad Dog: The Home Recordings

Ingrid Michaelson is Breakable

Ingrid Michaelson

Have you ever thought about what protects our hearts? Just a cage of rib bones and other various parts.
This is a cute song, from a really cute girl. I didn’t pick the song because she was cute — I learned she was cute only after I was in like with this song. I like it a lot.

I’ve noticed a recurring theme in my musical tastes lately — Repetitive notes. It started with Rufus Wainwright the other day. A lot of music I like a highly repetitive motif, I can’t help it. I hope you like this song.

Stay tuned. Tomorrow is Sunday, and that means I’ll be mixing things up a bit.

From the Album: Girls and Boys

Erin McKeown

Erin McKeown

Erin McKeown is not just a singer. She plays multiple instruments on her albums, and she produced her latest album, “Sing you sinners”.
I’m not sure what it was that grabbed me about this song. It isn’t terribly emotional, and it doesn’t have a great deal of moving parts. It’s just a simple, clean, and pretty song.

From the Album: We Will Become Like Birds

Death Cab for Cutie
“I will follow you into the dark”

A bit of honesty and vulnerability takes this song a long way. For a time, proceeds of this song went to help fund the relief efforts (Children’s health fund) caused by the destruction of Hurricane Katrina. That wins it a gold star from me.
The band was invited by Eddie Vedder to join Pearl Jam on 2004’s Vote For Change Tour, and Death Cab landed a major record deal shortly thereafter.

From the Album: Plans

Magnet – Duracellia


Product placement? The name of this song sounds like it could be for a battery, but it isn’t. Not even songfacts has anything to offer up about this song.

Magnet hails from the UK, wouldn’t you know it? I hear more and more great music coming from the UK, and less and less from the US lately. We make great movies, they make great music. That’s been the theme lately, anyway. (just my opinion).

What I like about this song are the bass drum hits. You’ll notice they sound very flat and loose. The first one hits right around the 1:00 mark. It gives the song an ethereal quality, and makes it lighter in my mind’s eye.

A big thanks to Sarah (the red) for showing me this music.

From the Album: The Tourniquet

Chris Martin

Sorry for such a late post today. As you know, Sundays are special ‘days off’ for me musically. Today I’m posting a song near and dear to my heart. This was the first Coldplay song I had ever heard, and at the time I had written them off. I wasn’t crazy about this song at first. In fact, it was a bit of an annoyance to me. However, after their second and third singles released, i realized this band was no one-hit-wonder. Now, I love this song.

This particular version is from Sounds Eclectic Too — an amazing radio program. So many great bands have been featured on ‘sounds eclectic’ albums. Go out and buy this album. It’s worth it.

From the Album: KCRW – Sounds Eclectic Too

Sia – Breathe Me

“Breathe Me”

A couple of months ago a friend introduced me to this song. I love the sound of the upright piano. There’s something very organic and unaffected about it. One person’s interpretation of this song: “it is about being alone and wanting a friend to talk to about the worries and cares in life.”

I could certainly agree to that.

From the Album: Colour the Small One

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