Archives for the month of: July, 2014

Album Review: Reality Testing, Lone (R&S Records, June 2014)

lone-reality-testing-500x500Reality Testing is an immersion in beats and tunes so pleasing, you wish you could spend an afternoon doing nothing but listening to it with headphones and a warm breeze. In the expanding universe of electronic dance music, Lone, a.k.a. Matt Cutler, has distinguished himself with this release. The debut single “Airglow Fires” won song of the year at the 2013 Worldwide Awards and started generating buzz for Reality Testing, released almost a year later.

I don’t have a lot of electronic music in my collection. When ‘ambient’ was all the rage in the 90’s, I tried but was uninspired by acts like The Orb, Boards of Canada, and even Moby. It was too sparse, too ethereal, for me. But Reality Testing is more accessible, I think because of Cutler’s mastery of melody. Each track has an essence of dance-influenced melody but with a more sophisticated treatment than techno or club-centric Electronic Dance Music.

“Airglow Fires” and “Aurora Northern Quarter” are the most uptempo and hard-hitting, begging for play with an obscene subwoofer. On the mellower side, “Clutched Under” and “Jaded” showcase Cutler’s talent as a melodist but also use beats that cause an involuntary case of the head nods.

It’s nice to see ambient-inspired music reincarnate itself with a maturity that moves beyond the technological demonstration of synthesizers and drum machines into the songwriter’s realm of making people move.

 

 

Playlist: World Cup 2014, Brazil

world-cup-soccer-ball-2014-5c2ttgmySwept into the World Cup whirlwind, I find myself yearning for a soundtrack to what feels more like a festival than a sporting event. Since the host country is home to some of my favourite music, it’s fitting to craft a Brazilian-inspired playlist to enliven things.

This playlist owes a debt to radio programmers who expand and sometimes erase boundaries to help popularize music like this. Gilles Peterson of BBC Radio 6 is credited with a quarter of the tracks on this list, simply due to his excellent collective, Sonzeira and their new release, Brasil Bam Bam Bam (Brownswood, 2014). Similarly, I need to thank Toronto DJ John Kong for introducing me to track #11 by Wando, which has been in high rotation for the better part of a decade since I first heard it. Another standout is Gilberto Gil’s excellent acoustic session for MTV Brazil: Gilberto Gil Acoustic (Atlantic, 1994)

  1. Um Toque (feat. Gabriel Moura), Sonzeira, Brasil Bam Bam Bam (Brownswood, 2014)
  2. America Latina (feat. Marcos Valle & Patricia Alvi), Sonzeira, Brasil Bam Bam Bam (Brownswood, 2014)
  3. La Costa, Natalie Cole, Thankful (Capitol, 1977)
  4. Pais Tropical, Jorge Ben, Jorge Ben (Universal, 1969)
  5. Maculele, Nazare Pereira, Beleza Tropical: Brazil Classics 1 (Luaka Bop, 2003)
  6. Samba em Pilet, Luciana Oliveira, Pura (YB Music, 2013)
  7. Palco, Gilberto Gil, Gilberto Gil Acoustic (Atlantic, 1994)
  8. Aquelle Abraco, Gilberto Gil, Gilberto Gil Acoustic (Atlantic, 1994)
  9. Flamengao, Bebeto, Malicia (Copacabana, 1980)
  10. Waters of March, Basia, Clear Horizon – The Best of Basia (Sony Music, 1998)
  11. Nega De Obaluae, Wando, Wando: Retratos (EMI Music, 2006)
  12. Brasil Pandeiro (feat. Emanuelle Araújo, Arlindo Cruz & Chico Chagas),  Sonzeira, Brasil Bam Bam Bam (Brownswood, 2014)

Obrigado por ouvir!