Misc.Inc allows us to wistfully wander in 'Childish Dreams'

Dresden based Lo-Fi Hip-Hop producer Misc.inc revels in reverie in his latest release ‘Childish Dreams’. His bedim based beat is drenched in somber overtones as the leading sax sample causes us to be still and present by its effectiveness. Jazz has the power to draw us into the most venerable and fragile spaces within ourselves. There is something about the sound of brass being played with such gentle, poignant purpose that markets a magical state of melancholy.  Misc.inc is well aware of this as he gives the sample time to breath and be absorbed by the listener. A straight-up Lo-fi gem that sustains with a lasting repose. 

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The magical world of Masakatsu Takagi

While many features on our blog are about up and coming musicians, part-timers, or those looking for a break, Masakatsu Takagi is very much a professional musician. While not a household name by any stretch, those interested in anime will have no doubt heard Takagi's work before. He has been a frequent collaborator with Mamoru Hosoda and has scored his highly acclaimed animation films, Wolf Children (2012), The Boy and the Beast (2015) and this year's Mirai (2018), which has already garnered rave reviews both in Japan and around the world.

The film was recently released in America through GKIDS. The soundtrack which contains our featured track, "Inner Garden" was released the same day by Milan Records based out of LA. While I haven’t had the chance to watch Mirai yet to comment on how the music harmonizes with the image, from what I've heard of the score, including this whimsical little number "Inner Garden", it more than stands on its own as a beautifully composed, emotional soundtrack.

Masakatsu Takagi has been compared to some great composers like Ryuichi Sakamoto, Goldmund, Philip Glass, Alexandra Streliski and more, but his work really stands on its own. There's a magical quality to his compositions. There’s a feeling of being in touch with nature, a simplicity, free of noise and clutter.

Our featured track, "Inner Garden" is a wonderful example of Takagi's talent and contains rich instrumentation ranging from delicate piano flutters, to chimes, wood blocks, strings and more. There's an Asian feeling to the tune, leaning towards Buddhism or Shintoism, as bells, blocks, chimes and a feeling of serenity loom throughout. There's almost a cyclical feeling emoted, which I'm sure has to do with themes in the film as, Mirai deals with a young boy travelling through time to meet his relatives from different generations.

The soundtrack to Mirai was recently released and comes highly recommended to fans of animation music, soundtracks, classical music and piano music. This is a piece of art everyone should really discover. It's a chance to shut off the noise of the world for a bit and be transported to a magical world created by Masakatsu Takagi.

Animation fans make sure to catch Mirai, especially if it's playing a theater near you. For the rest of us, if “Inner Garden” has piqued your interest, make sure to check out Masakatsu Takagi's other art, both in audio and visual form on the following platforms below:

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Lake Turner gives lessons in patience on "Prime Mover"

“Prime Mover,” the eponymously titled single from Lake Turner’s brand new EP, is first and foremost a lesson in patience and composition. Eschewing widespread techno tropes like big bass drops and heavily saturated hi hats, the track builds deceptively, with melodic elements that enter the soundscape around a relatively straightforward rhythmic structure. This slow build makes for a surprisingly emotional release, giving the listener just enough air to prepare for a driving climax that confirms, without question, that this is more than just functional 4/4 beat music.

Have a listen for yourself, and enjoy the chromatic abstractions that visually accompanies the track. If you like it, Algebra Records has released a limited edition transparent vinyl edition that’ll look great on the shelf and sound better on the platter. Click the photos to grab a copy from Lake Turner’s Bandcamp.

— review by autonomy

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Lost in an ocean, Caramel Smooth Heaven finds you

It’s hard to imagine the overwhelming solitude of drowning in the ocean. But that’s exactly what New Zealand artist Caramel Smooth Heaven aims to portray in this new album, “The Shallows.” Heavy stuff, to be sure. Though while the emotions are weighty, the production here on the lead single, “Blue Clouds,” is restrained. The skittering garage-influenced drums, no doubt familiar to fans of Jamie xx, provide just enough structure for the pulsing, saturated synth pads that propel the track. The result is a moody, vulnerable composition that pays respects to the beautiful tyranny of nature.

Releasing this single is Kaiseki Digital, a unique label that aims to sonically capture the spirit of Kaiseki, a Japanese culinary technique that tells a story with food. If you enjoyed “Blue Clouds,” you’ll love the full album, which is available now for just $2 on Bandcamp. Support!

—review by autonomy

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Deep bongo bombs from Sweden's Tekkla

Swedish duo Tekkla sends summer vibes to Melbourne’s clipp.art label with a deep house bongo bomb, continuing clipp.art’s brisk pace of dropping quality singles. But ‘Love Vibration’ itself is anything but brisk. Clocking in at a breezy 110bpm, the track evokes beach side vibes with gentle bongos and builds beautifully with subtle pads.

Whether you’re a dj looking for the perfect opener to warm up the df, or just need a bit of summer nostalgia in your life, you can’t go wrong with Tekkla’s ‘Love Vibration’. And after that track gets you in the mood, Tekkla’s got a brand new mixtape for clipp.art that’ll surely have you hankering to crack open a coconut. You can hear the mixtape below, and if you like the track, hop over to clipp.art’s bandcamp to grab a copy yourself.

— review by autonomy

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Laid back vibes from lofi producer- radicule

Straight from New York to your eardrums, 22 year old beat producer radicule cooks up well seasoned tracks with the right amount of dust and definition. With a taste beyond his years, radicule references old anime, 90s cartoons and classic video game tracks resulting in a hazy lofi sound that feels more like it belongs in a walkman than an mp3.

Fortunately for us, that lofi analog touch is now available through the beat compilation ‘Seasonal Sounds 5: Fall’ courtesy of Boston label - Dust Collectors. The compilation features 44 tracks of headnodding beats to pop in your cassette player and float away to. Expect a start-to-finish mix of diverse beats, nostalgic samples, and faded soundscapes.

Get your chill on and grab it on Bandcamp

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Primate's new EP 'Out of Time' is anything but Primitive

Human life is on the edge of being wiped out, while nature is taking back over” 

A simple dystopian description from Brighton-based producer Joe Vince, aka Primate, describing his latest EP ‘Out of Time'‘. The release imagines a future where our disaster-ridden civilizations approach extinction as the organic creep of the natural world begins to set in.

In many ways ‘organic’ might just be the key word here, as synth-rich soundscapes, textured atmospheres, and naturally swung percussion frame the release as a whole. But it’s really the balance between organic and electronic elements that makes this release shine.

Take the opening track ‘Exposed’ as the perfect example. Organic arpeggiated bells dance up high while slithering electronic synths lurk in and out of the soundscape. As Vince explains-
"Exposed is apocalyptic story telling music, heavily inspired by cinematic sound design."

’Out of Time’ achieves a rare balance of organic and electronic elements, musical and technical, all the while presenting the larger narrative of our temporal existence alongside the ever-present natural world.

Support the release on Bandcamp out now via Small Print Recordings

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Pianist Alexandra Stréliski Explores Moments of Vulnerability with INSCAPE

“A piano, on its own, is a very vulnerable thing, and I want to share this moment with the listener.” 

This honest confession coming from Montreal-based pianist and composer Alexandra Stréliski, commenting on her latest release, and second full length album, INSCAPE. A work that is largely characterized by vulnerability, sincerity and honesty, not only in the medium but also in it’s inspiration and delivery.

The creative medium itself, a piano laid bare, carries with it a kind of intrinsic sincerity. Nothing to hide behind, no overbearing production, nothing competing for your attention. Simply and naturally, Stréliski and her piano.

The inspiration for the album as well carries with it a kind of honest vulnerability.
“To me,” says Stréliski, “Inscape was an existential crisis. A year where everything capsized and I had to go through various interior landscapes – hectic, beautiful and painful at the same time. I found myself in a space filled with grey areas that I didn’t know how to escape.”

The album is a collection of fleeting moments which are as much an internal dialogue as they are meant for a larger audience. Coming to terms with unanswered questions and loose ends, INSCAPE is one part melancholic masterpiece and one part triumphant metamorphosis. A delicate butterfly of rare authenticity within the contemporary music landscape.

Out now from Montreal label ‘Secret City Records’
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Cuts addresses our Uncertain Future with 'A Gradual Decline'

Anthony Tombling Jr a.k.a. ‘Cuts’ is a British film maker and composer who approaches his productions with a sense of purpose, which is palpable in his upcoming release ‘A Gradual Decline’ out Nov 30th on Village Green Recordings.  Tombling says “We are living in the age of the Anthropocene and it feels like everything is in decline. We’re in a moment where extinction is regular. I wanted this record to reflect these frailties.” It is obvious from this statement that Anthony deeply feels the decline of these corroding landscapes plagued by global warming and industrial pollution. Although Tombling is commenting on dire facts most of us are already aware of, it is his unique, skillful and even hopeful interpretation of this tipping point that really sets this work apart.

Music can bring us to many different places. We can seek comfort in nostalgia, we can seek escape in hedonism, we can seek joy in stories that are told in which we can relate to and sometimes, when we can bare it, we seek truth in music like this. ‘ A Gradual Decline’ is an urgent call to action reflecting all the bleak sobering realities of a contemptuous zeitgeist. It is a record that gives a raw and unfiltered look into the harsh, hard to swallow truths of environmental decay. And in an auditory sense, this is exactly how the album feels. Crushed percussion, a dark driving bassline, harrowing melodies and somber sonic textures sustain a focused feeling of frailty. ‘A Gradual Decline’ is a project of political importance. It is a drop in the ocean of music, with the potential to be powerful, moving and poignant as we stand facing a most uncertain future.

Pre-order the album on Bandcamp

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Audio / Visual Overload from Richard Devine and Numbercult

In case you missed it, IDM guru and sound design genius Richard Devine just dropped what is arguably one of the deepest modular synth records of all time.

’Sort/Lave’ was composed almost entirely on his custom built Eurorack modular system and features 12 tracks of dizzying percussion, galaxy-deep atmospheres, and utter sound design opulence. It’s an album that really sets the bar for what is possible with modern-day modular systems while still retaining all the rich musicality we’ve come to expect from the Atlanta-born producer.

Adding a visual dimension to the already incredibly detailed track ‘Revsic’, digital artist Craig Ritchie Allan aka Numbercult focused on unpacking the tracks densely packed constituent parts.

”When I set about constructing the video, I wanted the visual elements to engage the dynamics of the music, it felt like there was something elemental about the acoustic elements, so I starting thinking about about travelling through inner space, sub atomic structures forming and splintering apart and electric flashes of colour. I finished off by dropping in some sci-fi inspired interface elements to give the feeling you’re in a craft traversing a microverse.”

Get the full audio/visual immersion by checking out the clip above in full 1080p or by supporting the release over on Bandcamp.

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