Anna maakte eerder al de behoorlijk goed geslaagde Perfect Folktronica. Een zoektocht naar de perfecte combinatie tussen pure folk en het gebruik van elektronica. Deze Perfect zoekt ook naar een samensmelting, maar dan tussen ‘digitaal’ en ‘melancholie’. “Robots have feelings too, you know”. 000111100 en kippenvel. Dat idee. En ze is er wederom in geslaagd. Wat een heerlijk vibe. Hij had ook Perfect If You Like The Original Soundtrack of Drive kunnen heten, waar daar is ie door geïnspireerd. Maar ‘Melanlectro’ leek toch logischer. Niet mooier. Wel logischer. :-)
Perfect electronic melancholy, the feeling you get when you’re driving alone through the night on an empty motorway. This playlist is inspired by Kavinsky’s Nightcall, very fittingly the song under the title sequence of the film Drive. With this playlist I wanted to explore the dark side of electronic music. Electronic music has the propensity to have a cold and distant feel about it. In most of these tracks the artists have exploited this property, while they were able to capture the emotions evoked this chilliness at the same time. Its this combination what unites these tracks under what I call Melancholic Electro. It takes you to the eighties guided by husky voices and synthesisers.
The vocals play an important role in many tracks; they’re very often sultry and husky, like Amy Millan (Stars), Lizzy Plapinger (MS MR), Sune Rose Wagner (The Raveonettes), Sébastian Tellier and Pat Grossi (Active Child), just to name some.
An electronic playlist would not be complete without Blood Orange and Com Truise. The first adds a ‘soul’ quality, mainly through the vocal parts, to the electro spectrum (like Millionyoung) and the latter is a heavy synth user, the original basic of any electronic act. These synths you also find with the Liars, Makeup And Vanity Set and Tobacco (analogue synths!)
I believe that melancholy does not necessarily mean negative emotions, although the dictionary would disagree, but I find support in Emily Brady’s 2003 article in Contemporary Aesthetics:
“… rather it [melancholy] involves the pleasure of reflection and contemplation of things we love and long for, so that the hope of having them adds a touch of sweetness that makes melancholy bearable …”
Craft Spells, Air France and FM Attack with their cheerful tunes also capture this longing for times past (in personal and world history). FM Attack really makes me want to get a Lolo Ball and neon leggings.
Night Works is the darker side of Gabriel Stebbing, he left Metronomy before they released The English Riviera (which includes The Look). Metronomy’s 2008 album Nights Out is definitely darker than The English Riviera. It seems that Gabriel Stebbing took the heavier sounds with him. But The Look makes you want to go back to the summer, yes this too is melancholy.
The dark melancholy is well represented by Chromatic’s cover of Neil Young’s Hey, hey, my, my (Into The Black). “Better to burn out than to fade away” really captures the most important thing about melancholy, fading away means being forgotten, but burning out will always leave an impression. This impression is that what long for when feeling melancholic.
The obscure Canadian duo of Josh McIntyre And Talvi Faustmann (Prince Innocence) perfectly combines a haunting electronic sound with husky vocals, which I believe to be the main characteristic of melancholic electro.