Thursday, September 11, 2008


My obsession with Japanese songstresses making beautiful noise is at an all-time high. Be prepared, because over the span of the next few posts, this will be a recurring theme. The first lady in line is Caroline Lufkin. She was born in Japan, but currently resides in LA, Her sister, Olivia, is a J-pop star in Japan, and Caroline herself had her fair share of working with a mainstream label there. However, due to creative differences, she left the label and ended up being signed to Temporary Residence Limited, after emailing her demos to them. Caroline's music can be best described as melodic, electronic dream-pop. Her doll-like, amiable vocals over lush soundscapes create a tiny little utopian world over which innocence predominates. Imagine The Postal Service, fronted by a Japanese Emilie Simon. There are certain hints of Bjork or Imogen Heap, too. Caroline's debut, entitled 'Murmurs', is a strong album where each song is as consistent and accesible as the next, which means if you like one, you'll pretty much enjoy all the rest. On a scale of 1 to 5, I'd give it a solid 3,5/5. If you want more variety, then you can check out the digital-only remix album, 'Murmurs Mixes'. A couple of the reinterpretations shine through, like the dancey Owen Vallis mix or the Lullatone one with the band's signature micro-pop sounds. However, none manages to surpass the beautiful originals. I should mention that she sings in English, so no language barriers here, but I wouldn't mind if she sang in Japanese, though. Sample the choice cuts below, tanoshindene! (Which apparently means 'Enjoy' in Japanese. No, I just googled that!)

Caroline - Where's My Love
Caroline - Sunrise
(Murmurs, 2006)

Caroline - Sunrise (Sunset Mix)
Caroline - All I Need (Owen Vallis Mix)
(Murmurs Mixes, 2008)


Friday, July 18, 2008

Astrud Gilberto

I was first introduced to Astrud's music through the remixes on the Verve Remixed series. My natural assumption was that she's Bebel Gilberto's mother. Apparently, even though she was once married to João Gilberto, Bebel's father (hence the surname), Bebel was in fact the offspring of João and another bossa nova singer, Miúcha. Either way, it all runs in the family. I'd been meaning to delve deeper into Astrud's discography, but wasn't sure where to start, for she rose to prominence as a legendary Brazillian bossa nova singer in the '60s. I decided to just pick the latest compilation album and give it a whirl. And I was bedazzled. My advice is that if you're still unfamiliar with her music like I was, then "Coffee & Bossa: The Chillout Sound of Astrud Gilberto" is a safe bet for proper introduction. As summer's in the air, it's perfect time to lie down and lounge away your time by listening to some soothing, velvety, authentic Latin music courtesy of Astrud Gilberto. It's like a good massage to the ears. Enjoy some choice cuts below, including what I think is one of the best remixes Koop has done, fitting in the repertoire of both perfectly.

Astrud Gilberto - So Nice (Summer Samba)
Astrud Gilberto - Fly Me To The Moon
Astrud Gilberto - Windy
Astrud Gilberto - The Girl from Ipanema
Astrud Gilberto - Dindi
Astrud Gilberto - Here's That Rainy Day (Koop Remix)

MySpace/Official Site/Buy

Monday, July 14, 2008

The Midnight Mix: Trip Like I Do

Walk of solitude. Night lights. Strangers passing by. Sounds from the nineties seeping into your ears. Simple kind of bliss.

Massive Attack - Unfinished Sympathy (Instrumental)
(Single, 1991)
Mono - Life In Mono
(Formica Blues, 1997)
Sneaker Pimps - 6 Underground (The Umbrellas Of Ladywell Mix #2)
(Becoming Remixed, 1998)
Lamb - Wonder
(Between Darkness And Wonder, 2003)
Tricky - Makes Me Wanna Die (feat. Martina Topley-Bird)
(Pre-Millennium Tension, 1996)

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Lullabies In The Dark

Talk about music living up to the band's name. 'Song For Marie and Elise' is 6 minutes of glistening aural bliss. Think: an instrumental Sally Shapiro or Kleerup track. A very good debut from the Belgian duo Lullabies In The Dark. For now, it's available on 12" vinyl and digital only, alongside a pulsating, more dancefloor-friendly remix by Aeroplane and a quite good b-side called 'Code 7429'. A promising start for an electronic band you'll possibly be hearing a lot more in the future.

Lullabies In The Dark - Song For Marie And Elise (Original Mix)

MySpace/Label site

Monday, May 5, 2008


Hird is the alias of the 24-year-old Christoffer Berg, who hails from Gothenburg, Sweden. Honestly, I wouldn't discover him if it weren't for the fact that Yukimi Nagano, who happens to be a childhood friend of his, lent her vocals to some of his best tracks. She's one of my favorite vocalists, you may already have heard her phenomenal works with Koop. Speaking of Koop, Hird's music is not drastically different from them. Easy-breezy electrojazz. Relaxing, atmospheric deep house. Music that's best served chill. If you're a fan of that vibe, you're gonna like his stuff. Start off with a pair of tracks from his debut "Moving On", "Keep You Kimi" & "I Love You You My Hope" featuring the very talented Yukimi, and go from there if you'd like to. Wait til the sun comes down, lay your head down and start lounging. Enjoy!

Keep You HirdHird
"Keep You Kimi (feat. Yukimi Nagano)"
from "Keep You Hird"
(DNM - Dealers of Nordic Music)
Buy at Amazon

Moving OnHird
"I Love You My Hope (feat. Yukimi Nagano)"
from "Moving On"
(DNM - Dealers of Nordic Music)
Buy at Amazon

I Love You My Friends EPHird
"I Love You My Friends"
from "I Love You My Friends EP"
(DNM - Dealers of Nordic Music)
Buy at Amazon

Moving On RemixedHird
"I Love You My Hope (Do Right Remix)"
from "Moving On Remixed"
(DNM - Dealers of Nordic Music)
Buy at Amazon

Moving On RemixedHird
"Keep You Kimi (The Knife Remix)"
from "Moving On Remixed"
(DNM - Dealers of Nordic Music)
More On This Album

His MySpace.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Electronica Unplugged

The thing about netlabels is that they don't find you. You have to find them yourself. So once I settled down with a decent label I can trust, the next sensible thing would be checking out the links section and have a look at the other possibly like-minded labels. That's exactly how I discovered this lovely compilation, courtesy of German netlabel Aerotone. The premise is as self-explanatory as its title: to "combine acoustic music with electronic bits and pieces". And the contributed tracks lived up well to the label's proclaimed statement: 'we love melancholic music'. It's a subtle, low-key, understated affair, but never feels mediocre. In fact, some of the instrumental pieces here have been played more than a few times by me. And let's not forget that all is available for absolutely no costs. Save it for a day out in the park, or just listen in the comfort of your bedroom. It won't change your world, but it certainly makes it more bearable. Sample three of my fave tracks from volume 2, and if it sounds good to you, click on the album titles to download the whole deal.

mié - summer
your hand in mine - the youngest one had a rose in his mouth
balún - sweet ´n low

(Electronica Unplugged 2, 2007)

Here's vol. 1 as well.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

I Am Robot And Proud

I Am Robot And Proud is the one-man-band moniker of Shaw-Han Liem, who resides in Ontario, Canada and makes little nuggets of chirpy instrumental laptop pop. Adjectives I would use to describe his sounds are: fun, playful, bubbly and delightful. The kind that I'd love to play during study time. He has released 3 full-lengths and is currently in the works for a new album, so look out for that. For now, check out 3 tracks from his most recent album, 'The Electricity In Your House Wants To Sing', and one bonus from a re-issue, 'The Catch & Spring Summer Autumn Winter'.

I Am Robot And Proud - The Electricity In Your House Wants To Sing
I Am Robot And Proud - The Work
I Am Robot And Proud - Places We're Trying to Find
(The Electricity In Your House Wants To Sing, 2006)

I Am Robot And Proud - The Catch
(The Catch & Spring Summer Autumn Winter, re-issue, 2006)


Visit his site for a couple more mp3s. (his music's also available on iTunes)


I'm sorry for the longtime absence, apparently, I consider this blog to be kinda of a 'side-project' saved for a certain mood, and as that certain mood has stricken me again, hopefully frequent posting will resume. For those who are still around this place, thank you.

Thursday, February 14, 2008


oto (previously mentioned here) is back with new materials, albeit this time with new members and a different name, soto. Brand new 4-song EP, self-titled, and totally guilt-free, released by netlabel Creation Centre. More blissful, cozy, texturally rich daydreaming tunes to warm you up. If you enjoy their previous effort, you'll feel the same with these tracks. Remember, in case you dig the two tracks below, feel free to go here and download the rest (and learn more about the band). Happy dreaming.

soto - Only Star
soto - My Blue Plane (soto version)

Official site

Sunday, February 3, 2008

The Midnight Mix: Sleepytime

A little mix created with the purpose of lulling myself to sleep. Dreamy & lighthearted. The audio equivalent of a soft, velvety pillow pressed against your face. Lights out. G'night.

Air - Playground Love (Vibraphone Version)
(Playground Love - Single, 2000)
múm - Nightly Cares
(Summer Make Good, 2004)
Piana - Something Is Lost
(Ephemeral, 2005)
Phelan Sheppard - Weaving Song
(Harps Old Master, 2006)
Saint Etienne - Bedfordshire
(Tales From The Turnpike House, 2005)

Saturday, February 2, 2008


Flunk is a well-known electronica trio hailing from Oslo, Norway. They've released 3 albums to date (bar the remix compilations). The latest one "Personal Stereo", out last year, was quite weak compared to their previous efforts, and I didn't think much of it. However, it has its moments, whose quality can definitely stand alongside their strongest tracks. Here are two of my favorites. Laidback, summery folktronica. Just about what I need right now.

Flunk - Personal Stereo
Flunk - Sit Down
(Personal Stereo, 2007)