For today’s roundup, I’m taking you to places you might expect Vehlinggo to tread (M83) and places you might not (Ryan Lofty). Nevertheless, each cut has a thread of this blog’s quixotic tastes running through it.
M83 – ‘Solitude’
Following up their bizarre and catchy, 80s-inflected (but not 80s-ingested) “Do It, Try It,” M83 is back with “Solitude.” This song, which like “Do It” will be on the forthcoming Junk LP, is a bit of a 180-degree twist from its predecessor single.
On “Solitude,” Anthony Gonzalez and crew offer up a slow, contemplative number that heavily mines the 1970s balladry and sadness studies of Harry Nilsson and Pink Floyd. Contrast that with “Do It,” which is an upbeat, erratic, and challenging send-up to everything from vaudeville to Punky Brewster and Daft Punk.
Although “Solitude” features a killer, bluesy synth solo in the middle, it’s made up of mostly organic-sounding instruments parlaying a cinematic quality I’d almost call schmaltz if not for the way Gonzalez and friends inject such earnestness into their art.
Junk comes out April 8. The band is fixing to tour extensively this year.
Nanobii – ‘Pinky Promise’
The Swedish-based electronic music producer often delves into various shades of happy hardcore with his work, but on recent release “Pinky Promise” Nanobii has given the world a quirky and delightful retrosynth cut.
The instrumental is full of feel-good musical themes, from a jovial melody to a buoyant backup with just enough wistfulness to make it a great candidate for a modern filmmaker’s John Hughes-inspired teen dramedy.
Nanobii is currently working on a retrosynth EP. No word on the release date.
Ryan Lofty – ‘Ride On (feat. Ted Wendler)’
The new Ryan Lofty LP, Tourists from the Future, is a delightfully laid-back record that at times sounds like a more rock- or pop-infused take on the chilled-out, yachtwave/ocean disco of Seahawks.
That’s true with “Ride On,” Lofty’s collaboration with Mansions on the Moon singer and guitarist Ted Wendler, an artist associated with acts that Vehlinggo doesn’t touch, like Diplo.
Regardless of associations, Lofty and Wendler have crafted a spacey, mid-tempo cut that’s as uplifting as it is relaxing, which is a feeling I often want in my life.
47th Ghost – ‘Afraid to Merge’
Brooklyn-based producer 47th Ghost (AKA Wes Batts) has recently released his exquisite Elevated Tapes album, on which “Afraid to Merge” is a surefire standout. He used a combination of malfunctioning vintage synths, analog drum machines, and a trove of field recordings to craft an intense and emotional experience.
Batts’ music conjures up the sort of Massive Attack revival I don’t think even Massive Attack would pull off anymore. (Although I am thankful they are back — with Tricky in tow even!)
It might be misleading or reductive to simply compare Batts to Massive Attack, or trip-hop in general, but he does capture that experimental spirit and slow-burn quality that spiritual predecessors Massive Attack and Portishead made a going concern.
Oh hell, now that I’m deep into this comparison, I might as well do what I often do and try to play matchmaker. So if So if Robert Del Naja, Grant Marshall, Geoff Barrow, Beth Gibbons, Adrian Utley, Dave McDonald, or Neil Davidge are reading this, let me say that I think you need to go to Brooklyn and track down Wes Batts.