Mix

Daydreams In The Garden / A Moomin-inspired playlist

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Original Tumblr post here

A mix inspired by the music & visuals of the Moomin universe with folksy, sweet, calm, pastoral and thoughtful moods. Ranges from misty folk songs to gentle new age; featuring twinkling keyboards and pseudo-classical/chamber elements (woodwinds, harp, strings).

Featuring music from Moomin Voices (a recording of songs written by Moomin creator Tove Jansson), the 90s anime OST, the 1980 puppet show OST, 4AD and more!

Track list

mumintrollet’s visa tove jansson, johanna grussner & mika pohjola / aikea-guinea cocteau twins / antarctica echoes vangelis / bordeaux durrutti column  / rozo, du pecoj world standard / kun ha minami he sumio shiratori / vite, petite fille david snell / parachute area / thibault et l’arbre d’or emmanuelle perranin / silver chord jane weaver / glad glasser / most unusual graeme miller & steve shill / icebow delicate features / open sequences a vision of panorama / i’ll read you a story + push the boat onto the sand colleen / le reflet dans l’eau train fantome / the dancer linda perhacs / lily of the valley brian bennett / february milan pilar / eternal garden ray russell / soft spring paul williams

About this mix:

Seeing several Moomin gifs floating around Tumblr for years (many through the happymoomin blog; Moomintroll floating on a pink cloud for instance) I began watching the 90s anime/cartoon out of curiosity. The undiluted tenderness of this show struck a chord with me, and it became a great wind-down activity; excellent escapism. I have fond memories of the first days I spent semi-binging it in winter/spring of 2017.

One of my favorite parts was the scenery, which depicted the four seasons perfectly with a rich pastel style. After seeing the first episodes, I found the song at the end of the “Kun Ha Minami He” medley featured here on Youtube, and my sister suggested I make my next mix centered around the Moomin universe; this was an amazing idea of course. I was getting into folk music and anything ‘pastoral’ at the time, so it didn’t take long to find the right songs. The original name was ‘Pastoral Fantasy’, but this proved too generic.

‘Daydreams In The Garden’ came from another talk as we tried to capture the exact feeling of the music I chose: dozing in a garden or somewhere else familiar, at peace with nature with a wistful tinge. I admit a few later songs like by Delicate Features and Mars Lasar wound up giving it more of this than intended, but they fit the mix otherwise.

In general, this is a mix of psych/chamber folk, new age, the most woodsy/pastoral library music I heard up to this point, and a slight dash of dream pop (Cocteau Twins, Area, Durrutti Column). The folk songs represent the older original books by Tove Jansson while the new age elements (most from the 80s-90s) represent the animation – parts of Shiratori‘s BGM have a new-agey hue themselves. Library tracks like “February” and “Soft Spring” have both eighties and oldtimey elements, so they form a middle ground. Many have a chamber element or arrangement: piano, harp and flute are most prominent instruments. Gentle strums and simple twinkly keyboards are the other signature sounds.

I aimed for a soft, feather-light feeling for sure, although it wound up quieter than expected; this was good. Like a lot of the Moomin media, there was an inherent soothing effect. Songs like “Vive, Petite Fille” and “Soft Spring” are some of the most fragile I’ve included on a mix. I’m reminded of nature blooming in the morning hours with “Lily of the Valley” and World Standard‘s “Rozo, Du Pecoj”. The latter reminded me of Shiratori’s BGM so I knew I had to include it; there’s both the simple keyboard and the wordless female vocal (like the one heard from Shiratori’s wife in some Moomin episodes). Making a mix this ‘weightless’ was a novel task, as a lot of my first favorite albums were uptempo and rhythmic.

It’s 70% a spring mix, but there’s some leftover winter. The transition of winter to spring being one of my favorite seasonal periods, I loved exploring this idea. First there’s Vangelis’ Antarctica OST which (while made for a very different piece of media) has a gentle mystery/loneliness recalling Tove Jansson’s portrayal of wintertime. “February” by Milan Pilar, meanwhile, evokes a snow-covered forest. “Icebow” is chilly as the title suggests, a song I’ve come to associate with the regrowth of nature: flowers blooming for the first time in months at the dawn of a new year.

I had to touch on the ‘adventurous’ part of Moomin, the reason for songs like Vision Of Panorama‘s “Open Sequences”, whose breezy/seaside mood brought the boating episodes to mind. “Take Wing” is the most cinematic, a feeling of dramatic flight and fantasy, whereas “Parachute” had me picturing a group discovering things out in the open, surrounded in mist. “Bordeaux” is the journeys south Snufkin takes throughout Moomin stories; adventurous but calm and serene.

I knew I needed more direct feeling sof joy somewhere to match the many celebrations had in Moomin, so I included “Aikea-Guinea” by Cocteau, being one of their more euphoric songs in the vein of “Lorelei”, along with Milan Pilar’s carefree new age piece “Meadows And Pastures”.

Finally, there’s a sub-section of eerier folk songs – “I’ll Read You A Story”, “The Dancer”, “Le reflet dans l’eau” – I intended this to represent the myths of ghosts, The Groke, etc. from throughout Moomin. The latter especially reminded me of a lurking magical energy.

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