Blame it on the algorithm, but when I switched over from Apple Music to Tidal a few months ago, I couldn’t listen to an album or playlist of anything remotely downtempo without being recommended Kiefer, the soulful hip-hop influenced pianist and producer. A cursory glance at his credits reveals piano work on Drake’s Certified Lover Boy, as well as producer or songwriter credits for another dozen or so artists.
It’s easy to see why this young man’s popularity has blossomed as of late; judging by his recent long player ‘When There’s Love Around’, Kiefer’s vibrant style of downtempo jazz is eminently listenable and chill without devolving completely into uber-smooth cocktail jazz (although I’d probably still be a fan of that). A few synths pepper the landscape, either as melody instruments like on ‘crybaby’, or as mood-setting soundscapes like on ‘loving hands.’
The whole album plays like a greatest hits of town and village theme songs from a lost ‘Final Fantasy’ game circa the PS2 era. There’s just something about the twinkling piano melodies, downtempo grooves, and melodic phrasing that brings to mind the shores of Besaid Island. I can practically hear the menu screen click sound effects in the background.
In an eerie case of foreshadowing, ‘When There’s Love Around’ comes pressed in a vibrant blue and yellow, the colors of the Ukrainian flag. Its release predated the current conflict by many months.
Thomas Jacob Jr is a Producer, Composer, Singer-Songwriter, Music Educator and Digital Artist currently based in Arizona – Bringing us rare and interesting selections from his extensive Vinyl collection! For more content follow his vinyl-dedicated Instagram account
Flying in the Sky is an experimental post-vaporwave album by BROKEN KIDZ (aka VDMR) presented by the good folks over at Engram Recordings.
The album is a beautiful swirl of psychedelic downtempo beats lathered in vaporwave inspiration. Thick with reverberation – Flying in the Sky takes the listener on a hazy, blissed-out journey – complete with in flight cocktails and complimentary entertainment!
Spanning 12 tracks, the album is a nice long listen with lots of creativity to get lost in. BROKEN KIDZ does a great job of meditating on each tracks nuances, allowing room for lots of riffs and concepts to breath. Tracks like Cross Faded are a magnificent shoegaze expedition in a gigantic geode encrusted cavern. The sound is a lovely balance between popular vaporwave tropes and experimental electronic influences, with flavors of harsh noise and grunge peeking through the layers. The droning vocals add a distinct touch to the style, injecting sensations of post-rock and drugged up punkers.
All in all it’s a nice release, definitely worth a listen or three. For fans of the more experimental side of vaporwave. You can listen and download now via Engram Recordings bandcamp page!
18 Producers and Artists gathered together to create and experiment for this project. We encouraged all participants to not worry about genre but to focus on exploring their own creative essence. The result is broad, bold and impressive to say the least.
The track list explores the more gritty and eclectic side of underground electronic music – pinballing between floating ambience to distorted groove in a most satisfying way.
We hope this collection of songs is inspiring, perhaps a little challenging, because that’s how the underground flourishes. Please explore and support all the participating artists directly!
Snow day ep by hyacinth is a relaxed downtempo trip-hop project with a touch of post-vaporwave lofi looping vibes.
Rooted in experimental bedroom beat-making energy, the 9 track ep swirls through samples, riffs and grooves with an effortless sense of style. The dusty boom-bap percussion layered with warped jazzy samples take me back to 2008, evoking feelings of Madlib and Boards of Canada.
This little beat tape packs a lot of heart and creative energy into its relatively short playtime – it won my heart over and I found myself playing it on repeat. Perfect for mellow mornings with a warm cup of coffee.
You can support the artist and pick up the release for ONLY 2 BUCKS via their self operated label peradam tapes.
Brought to us by Submarine Broadcasting Company – Clear Muted Sine Recovery is quite an interesting project, and a fun listen!
Following the mission statement of “the intention of being played quietly“, the sounds have a unique wholesomeness to them. Almost how music created for old video games can instill a sense of claustrophobia – the mix focusing on cramming sounds densely onto a tiny cartridge, only to be looped as background music to a greater adventure.
Within the soft tones and wandering song structure lies some brilliant lo-fi psychedelic sounds. Simply put, it’s non-jazz noodling in the best possible way.
I adore electronic music when it sheds all semblance of structure – shifting the spotlight onto other aspects of the sound. This album accomplishes this and THEN SOME. I found myself doing the opposite of the suggestion advice of listening quietly, instead opting to crank up the sounds in my nicest pair of headphones – soaking in each individual tone and synth patch.
Clear Muted Sine Recovery is an excellent exploration in outsider ambient and experimental electronics – focusing on a soft yet unique palette of sounds. The resulting listening experience is quite thoughtful and sometimes meditative. Dark enough to encourage wandering thoughts, but not enough to feel brooding or manic.
Tomorrow Entertainment Records is a label with a catalog as satisfying as it is unique. Embracing a multi-genre umbrella approach, they have helped release music from a wide range of genres, created by producers all over the world!
With a primarily digital catalog that is often-if-not-always on sale, there is no excuse NOT to dive into their world, which is exactly what we are about to do….
Beautiful experimental electronics from MOONSPOTTER – hopping between experimental ambience, trip hop, spoken word and downtempo electronics. I will need someone to swoop in with some translation expertise, but there is a heavy emotion vibe seated around these tracks – washed out guitars soar and glide around subtle percussion, sealing the atmosphere in a rich and lavish cocoon. There is something deeply satisfying about these tracks that I cannot explain, but I needed to share, so here you are…..
Texan Label Sunset Waves presents us with a beautiful and dynamic EP from Deep Shoq – Hypnosis. A lovely 6-track of diverse yet danceable tracks – pulling inspiration from unique corners of electronic music and swirling them together satisfyingly. Dipping its toes into psychedelic bass, future garage and fuzzy corners of retro club. Surface, the last track on the record, is one of my favorites – if only for the unique juxtaposition of nu-garage ambient atmosphere and fierce dancefloor kickdrum. You can stream it on the usual platforms or throw some support direct on Bandcamp. Nice summertime jams – give ’em a taste….
Freshly re-upped bythe gang at Hairs aBlazin’ is 2016’s long player from Twin Columns titled Pulpit. Impressively wide in scope – this concept album really scratches the sountrack-vibe-itch. The mellow synthwave downtempo backbone of the project is the perfect groundwork for moody atmospheres and wonky melodies. There are huge Angelo Badalamenti flavors here as well, with certain progressions and instrumentation being used in a way that makes this area we wander feel Twin Peaks adjacent! Weighing in at over 80 minutes, it’s a very satisfying and immersive experience if you allow yourself to get lost in it….
Thanks to Hairs aBlazin’, this one is seeing daylight again with a fresh cassette release! If that’s not your thing, the digital release is available for only one dollar – so if you enjoy throw a little support their way!