Mix

Just Breathe: a deep dive back into 2000s chillout music

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Warm up from your self-isolation and winter cold with a flashback to one of the most evocative sounds in pop and electronic music; from the haunting, therapeutic classic ‘Breathe’ to mesmerizing lost gems like Gaelle’s ‘Rain’. The sound of skyscrapers blurring together into endless bokeh lights; all the wooshing synths, e-pianos and warm basslines you could want. Originally a list on RYM.

‘DISC 1’

white flag – dido / halo – kate havnevik / let go – frou frou (imogen heap w/ guy sigsworth) / o papierkach – nosowska / midnight lounge + love hangover – jody watley / loving you – lemongrass / rain – gaelle / ho humm – moloko / take control – t-love / sublime – supreme beings of leisure / everybody changes underwater – dannii minogue / juz za kilka lat – iza lach

‘DISC 2’

slow down – morcheeba / you won’t forget about me (lounge mix) – dannii minogue / metro (from nancy drew: danger by design) – kevin manthei / a day in the park – ryuichi sakamoto / volunteer – grace jones / memory without consequence – takahashi & jansen / me odio cuando miento – fangoria / breathe – télépopmusik / fragile – kylie minogue / dizzy – siouxsie and the banshees / black cherry – goldfrapp / say – the creatures / goldfish – siobhan donaghy / conversation’s over – sugababes / have you never ever – margaret berger

Further Listening:
– My own Curios From The Background mixes, particularly #4 and #5
– The Hedkandi Winter Chill compilations
– Mono’s “Life In Mono”
– Margaret Berger’s “Mind Game” and “Naive (16)”
– Moloko’s “Day For Night”
– Royksopp with Anneli Drecker – “Sparks” and “You Don’t Have A Clue”
– Royksopp’s “Forsaken Cowboy”


2021 favorites · new music

Dax Pierson’s Nerve Bumps (A Queer Divine Dissatisfaction), Ratskin / Dark Entries

techno / IDM / space music


More like this – Lukid’s Lonely At The Top (2012), Laurel Halo’s Chance Of Rain (2013)

When adding more 808s and the same 2-3 vocal riffs to old genres seems to pass for ‘the future’ in these past few years, it’s reassuring to hear something this hard to box. While his Dax’s mechanical, syncopated beats have plenty in common with techno and IDM, his background goes all over the place; from musique concrete to post-rock. He tweets: ‘It’s as if folks can browse my record collection through my music.’

His grainy, swamp-like textures have enough going on to reward close listens, but what double-sold me was the way each song transforms at such a fast rate. “I Slay The Pain” for instance. It adds several new ideas during any given minute, from a glitching piano to mutating drums to Dax’s own voice. In the end though, it has a coherent mood and every transition makes sense. These songs feel [i]alive[/i]. They work as a journey as much as they do as songs, with his beats bursting in all directions like we’re zooming on ships through his own future world. It mirrors the familiar cyberpunk dystopia but without that done-to-death synthwave slant.

My other favorite songs and moments:

  • The steely, mysterious synth pulses of “For The Angels”, resembling a more surreal take on space music. A fast-paced but careful build-up that hypnotizes me without making me wait whole minutes for single elements to pop up. Laurel Halo fans rejoice.
  • That mountainous, resonant crumble that kicks off “Catch”, reminding me fondly of Fever Ray. Like the rest, it invites my curiosity as much as it intimidates me. This cave has alien beasts lurking in it.
  • The way these hectic rhythms halt for the ghostly synth-organ and despairing guitar fuzz of ‘For 2 24’. The result sounds like an android’s-lament, equal parts creepy and mournful.
  • The menacing alien atmosphere that opens the ambient/drone track ‘NTHNG FKS U HRDR THN TM’.

Considering Dax’s struggles with quadriplegia along with ‘an almost constant schedule of dialysis, hospitalizations, surgeries, and recovery periods where he cannot produce, ‘ the sheer dedication he shows to his art blows my mind. If you like your e-music mechanical, exciting and/or distinctive, don’t miss this.

My music · update

‘Fish In Oceania’: 2nd single for my upcoming Seahorses album

See my previous post for first single “Mouthbrooder” and what I’ve been doing this year.

Seahorses is a downtempo/’aqua-lounge’ project originating from way back in 2016; I was inspired by Spencer Nilsen’s Ecco The Dolphin music, the space age of the 50s-60s and ocean-themed library music from the 70s.

Tentative track names & sequence for Seahorses

  1. Fish In Oceania
  2. Floating By
  3. Manatee
  4. In Our Submarine
  5. Jellyfish
  6. Dorsal Fin
  7. Mouthbrooder
  8. A Wandering School
  9. Sand Dollar
  10. Blue Whale

‘B-sides’ “Lullaby For Sad Porpoise” and “Seahorses” will be exclusive to the download.