Compiled by Anna Jansen
Folk met al het goede van elektronica, of andersom. Een logische cross over tussen twee genres, in ieder geval. Deze Perfect staat op geven, zeker als het om heerlijke melancholie en diep gemoed gaat.
I am proposing the possibility of a perfect marriage of these two genres through the following songs.
With this list I am trying to unite two genres which have grown closer together over the past few years. I chose to put these songs in this particular order to complement the build up of each song, kind of mirroring the start and end of a song with the previous and subsequent song, but also to create a build up in the whole playlist.
We start with the more electronic end of the spectrum – I base this purely on the sound, not the actual instruments used.
I believe the first three songs should be considered as a triptych. In all three the bass has very distinct dark character pulling you in to float on the chords and the voice(s). They are very sensitive songs about loss and emptiness (well thats how I interpret them anyway). I believe that the lyrics to Youth are just brilliant: “setting fire to our insides for fun” – pain can be a positive thing, it makes you survive. It supports my idea that melancholy is not necessarily a negative emotion – longing for past feelings either good or bad.
Then along comes Apparat with Black Water, I believe this guy is just the genius of build up within a song and it caries on the theme of existentialist lyrics as it’s about the temporality of things.
From Black Water we move into Easy Water by Caveman, a song which picks you up from the vast melancholic atmosphere created by previous songs by its pounding rhythm which kind of hypnotises you…
A Perfect (yes pun intended ;) state of mind leading you to the fragile voice of Peter Silberman on Kettering with equally fragile lyrics. With this song were fully in the Folk end of this miniature spectrum. I believe the end of this song melts perfectly into To Build A Home, a very bare and simple composition, and not much like most of the Cinematic Orchestra’s work at all.. The piano here actually does remind me of the guitar parts in Daughter’s Youth.
Finally, My Morning Jacket! Jim James’ very versatile voice and theatrical string parts brings you in a happy and contempt mood – something like walking through a field with an August afternoon sun on your face. The fragile ending transfers neatly into the next song by Perfume Genius, the shortest but most powerful song in his catalogue.
Then, the Middle East, Rohin Jones’ voice quite similar to Mike Hadreas makes it a natural transition. The lyrics are nice an airy and the overall composition is quite simple, however, listening to how every instrument takes its irreplaceable role and the burst into a bombastic orchestra kind of sound around the 3 minute mark makes it an intelligent song. The last three songs kind of balance out the heavy start of this playlist. BUT there come the Raveonettes which leave you wondering what will come next. Observations is gloomy and rough, the drum, guitars and piano clearly take their place, but the composition feels very electronic-y. Its a very haunting song and Perfect for nighttime drives on empty motorways.
The Mother we share by CHVRCHES has a very airy electronic sound, which makes you want to wave your hands in the air. A perfect set up for the next song.
The Look by Metronomy, this song is so different to all other songs on the album. It’s very simple but ever so catchy and fresh. It is very electronic, but the guitar riff just reminds you of the multitalented Joseph Mount.
The same kind of rhythm used in The Look you can hear in Peter Wolf Crier’s The Beach. But in a much more folky way! It has complex layers of vocal and instruments, really coming together at around the two minute mark. I love the fact that thats where the lyrics stop.
Then we have the bright Austra (sorry for the pleonasm), rhythm again plays an important role in this song. It has an airy feel, but those painful lyrics balance it out straightaway. This song you really ought to sing along aloud and dance too – I love the paradox of sound and meaning in this song.
Forget airiness, it’s time for pounding beats and haunting voices again. I believe him to be the 2013 (and hopefully many more years) Dutch promise (yes he’s been in Berlin for ages but still..): Thomas Azier. I believe his work is pure perfection, his voice, the lyrics, the perfectly well matched sounds underlining his vocals, the suspension, the explosion of energy…
Rhye’s tension and sensuality of Fall just make you tingle. Mike Milosh’s voice is just so sexy really adding to the soulful sound. But the very minimalist approach with instruments and composition somehow makes it fit just right between the electro and folk, while really soul and jazz are probably considered to be the labels of this music.
The trend of minimalism continues in the next very folky song by Foy Vance, I believe his voice is a nice follow up to that of Mike Milosh. It’s a harder voice, not as husky, but equally calming. Be The Song is very intimate too, like Fall, but whereas Fall is mainly sensual, this song is about deep deep love. I like the fact that they’re positive songs as in they do not dwell on heartbreak.
Continuing with folk, with a hint of country: Dust Bowl III by Other Lives. Again beautiful vocals but the hypnotising guitar really draws you in and at around 03:40 your’e galloping into the unknown. It has an epic Western film quality to it but the lyrics really speak about the uncertainty in life.
Back to the smooth sounds of electro with MS MR and Dark Doo Wop. An apocalyptic love song guided by an orchestra, and this out of the hands of just two people.
When we talk about folk anno 2013, Half Moon Run has to be included. This band really fits in with My Morning Jacket and Other Lives. Again a song about loss. It’s very harmonious and atmospheric and Devin Portielje’s voice really evokes a beautiful honest sadness carried throughout the whole album. Another one of of my 2013 favourites, like Thomas Azier and Daughter.
Woodkid! A voice reminding you of Antony Hegarty (Antony and the Johnsons), a very fragile voice, but even with the orchestral sound Yoann Lemoine’s voice still grabs your focus. This playlist finishes as he sings the golden age is over – referring to childhood I think. This playlist has been my playground for many hours now you GO and PLAY!