minimalist electronic

Chelou returns after a year’s silence with a spellbinding new song named Halfway To Nowhere. The UK based artist coos softly from a bed of minimalist elements, giving us a goosebump inducing fusion of earthy folksiness and hypnotic electronica. In fact, Chelou collaborated with deep house virtuoso Maya Jane Coles on this haunting song. Her production touch is unmistakable on the steady clattering tune. Halfway To Nowhere is a song that hangs in the air, a deep entrancing ambler in which I eagerly surrender all sense of time. The single will be out on Friday, November 4th. 

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Insomniac Playlist

   Click the songs to hear them. I recommend headphones, a hot cup of tea and a book - put your phone away!

1. Sound Asleep // Blondie : This song just describes that state of mind where you’re craving sleep but it just won’t come to you. Packed with a whirling lullaby melody, a soothing, calming beat and Debbie Harry’s dreamy vocals - this song is perfect to wind down to.

2. Oblivion // Bastille : The basis of this song is about watching someone fall into oblivion and never managing to quite get there yourself. Starting with Dan’s clear, calming voice and a single piano, it escalates into a beautiful tangle of strings with mesmerizing electronic beats and heartwarming, layered high notes.

3. Pale Blue Eyes // The Velvet Underground : It may be decades old but for me, this song is my secret sleeping weapon. Consisting of a mellow bass, light riffs of acoustic-goodness and a pure voice singing some of the most beautiful words ever written - this song and it’s hypnotic nature will have you snoring in seconds.

4. Breathe // Of Verona : This song is purely about love, however the chorus can really help to soothe your breathing and chill you out. Starting out as just a silky voice and basic, haunting accompaniment, it gradually blossoms into a beautifully dramatic collision of cymbals, layered, echoing vocals and a lullaby-esque flooding of drums and piano.

5. Tempt You (Evocatio) // Nothing But Thieves : Pure slow-indie perfection about being tempted away from ‘the city’. It’s a mollifying, smooth vocal that will make your head spin paired with a gradual build-up of minimalistic guitar and electronic sounds - this is sure to send you into a deep on-the-edge-of-sleep feeling.

6. I Work Nights and You Work Days // To Kill A King : This song is written about someone who works nights and comes home to see their partner sleeping lightly. Consisting of a consoling, rich folk voice that lies softly alongside a piano laced with sections of heart-warming strings - this song will make your eyes feel heavy and your bones feel tired.

7. Hold You // Nina Nesbitt (ft. Kodaline) : A match made in lullaby heaven, this collaboration will have you drifting between dreamland and reality. A slightly raspy but somehow clear, Scottish female voice teamed up with a gentle and heart-wrenching, Irish male voice layered over the top of a folk-indie instrumental, this is a definite track for a sleep playlist.

8. The Parting Glass // Ed Sheeran : Now I’m not a massive Ed Sheeran fan, but this hidden track found at the end of Give Me Love from his first album (+) is so simple and yet so soothing that it had to be included. With the only accompaniment being Ed’s harmonized humming and the rest is his reassuring vocal, this minimalistic track is amazing as a lullaby.

9. Final Masquerade (Acoustic) // Linkin Park : The original version of this song was on The Hunting Party, an album that I only own on vinyl but the acoustic version was floating about on iTunes. A true acoustic featuring Chester’s mesmerizing vocal, contrasted with a lower male voice and packets of a woman’s voice during the beginning - this song is like a stepping stone to a chilled out mind.

10. Metal & Dust // London Grammar : Indie relaxation at it’s best, this song can be interpreted into many different messages. Filled with light and fluffy beats, some hidden strings possibly and dominated by Hannah’s velvet-coated vocals, this is fantastic.

I had a much satisfying week of live music last week. I was fortunate enough to finally catch Kevin Garrett live when he opened up for Alessia Cara at the Fillmore in San Francisco, and I’m still glowing from those superb sets. I’d been waiting so long to see both of them, and I was far from disappointed. The fast rising New York artist revealed a spectacular haunting cover soon afterwards, an inky black rendition of Jack Ü and Justin Bieber’s Where Are Ü Now. Kevin’s minimalist electronica and dark R&B cover is gripping from the start, its subtle swells and throbbing beats taking a gentle yet firm hold on my pulse, rendering it impossible to rip myself away from the magnificent track. This is a soulful, anguished cover full of urgent longing, its ghostly production reminiscent of James Blake’s masterful pieces.

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Normally, newcomers drop one debut song, a demo, or some sort of little taste when they first emerge from the shadows to win our hearts. Vallis Alps, however, has gone ahead and dropped a full four tracks, constituting a self titled EP from the get go. The Australian duo showcase an astounding minimalist electronic pop sound within their music. My favorite of the four songs and the most popular so far by stream count is their elegant, intimate treat Young. Young evokes a gorgeous, wispy blend of The xx, London Grammar, Oh Wonder, and BROODS. It’s utterly breathtaking and entrancing. Gliding vocals, heartwarming guitar, and atmospheric production twirl around each other gently, like a spiritual dance of divine beauty. But don’t stop there. All of the rest of Vallis Alp’s other new tunes are amazing, too. Stream haunting Thru, lightly grooving Oh!, and sparkling, bittersweet Reprieve below. Each lovely track deserves your attention. 

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