May 23, 2019

Derrick Hodge

Good morning.

Today we're listening to Derrick Hodge, bassist and composer from Philadelphia. He’s on Blue Note Records and plays bass in the Robert Glasper Experiment. We’re listening to his solo albums, which demonstrate his proficiency across many genres, especially jazz, funk, and hip-hop. His pieces are beautifully meandering, highly sampleable, and almost entirely vocal-free. Hodge first learned electric bass in elementary school, and then taught himself upright using electric techniques. His album The Second, from 2016, opens with a jam that recalls the coda of Kanye's "Runaway," but has… better musicianship. It's followed by an eclectic set of tracks, several of which create contemplative spaces that bass, guitar, and string riffs float through. 2013’s Live Today is even more wide-ranging in genre, but the throughline is Hodge’s masterful playing and arrangement.

The Second by Derrick Hodge (50m) Spotify / Apple Music / YouTube Music / Tidal

Live Today by Derrick Hodge (60m, 🗣 on the tracks with features) Spotify / Apple Music / YouTube Music / Tidal

Enjoy today.

🔔 🔔 🔔

May 22, 2019

Mulatu Astatke

Good morning.

Today we’re listening to Mulatu Astatke, an Ethiopian vibraphonist, percussionist, and composer. Known as the "father of Ethio-jazz," Astatke creates beautiful and spooky pieces that are the epitome of cool. His compositions fuse New York jazz with Latin percussion and traditional Ethiopian folk. The result is something that feels timeless yet new. Its "spookiness" comes from the repeated use of diminished chords, or the “devil’s interval.” The rhythms are funky, which makes the music very sampleable: Astatke’s catalogue was discovered by many Westerners via samples on songs by Nas, Madlib, and Kanye West. At age 75, Astatke just finished a USA tour, and is about to tour Europe.

Mulatu of Ethiopia by Mulatu Astatke (60m) Spotify / Apple Music / Google Play / Tidal

Mulatu Steps Ahead by Mulatu Astatke (50m, 🗣 on “I Faram Gami I Faram” only) Spotify / Apple Music / Google Play / Tidal

Have a really good day today.

🇪🇹 🇪🇹 🇪🇹

May 21, 2019

Tim Hecker

Good morning.

Today we’re listening to Tim Hecker. Like several other artists featured on Flow State, Hecker started off making dance music and then mellowed out. Harmony in Ultraviolet, from 2006, sounds like a recording where someone accidentally discovered how to get industrial and office machines to play warm chords. On Anoyo, which came out earlier this month, synth and string chords emerge in fragments, as if being recalled by a spotty memory. Aside from its skippable second track, Anoyo creates exactly what we’re constantly seeking in this newsletter: an atmosphere of profundity. Last we have Ravedeath, 1972, the most distorted and experimental of today’s recommendations.

Harmony in Ultraviolet by Tim Hecker (50m) Spotify / Apple Music / YouTube Music / Tidal

Anoyo by Tim Hecker (30m) Spotify / Apple Music / YouTube Music / Tidal

Ravedeath, 1972 by Tim Hecker (50m) Spotify / Apple Music / YouTube Music / Tidal

We’re on break from the Tuesday mix this week. We’ll be back next Tuesday with a new one for our subscriber Javier.

🔮 🔮 🔮

May 20, 2019

Art of Listening presents: Colleen

Today we have a guest host: Mike Godlewski, who runs Art of Listening. Based in San Francisco, he hosts “listenings” where people assemble to experience an album together, including context around the artist and the work’s creation.

Today we’re listening to Colleen, the solo project of French musician Cécile Schott. Schott first learned how to make music in 2001 after a friend gave her a disc with free music production software loaded on it. Since then she has created an eclectic body of work, incorporating her own found sounds as well as mallets, toy instruments, music boxes, the spinet, and the viola de gamba. The looping, ethereal quality of Colleen’s music sounds like it was lifted straight out of a dream.

Captain of None by Colleen (40m, 🗣 occasionally) Spotify / Apple Music / YouTube Music / Bandcamp

The Weighing of the Heart by Colleen (40m, 🗣 occasionally) Spotify / Apple Music / YouTube Music / Bandcamp / Tidal

Colleen Et Les Boîtes À Musique by Colleen (40m, 🗣 occasionally) Spotify / Apple Music / YouTube Music / Bandcamp

Have a lovely day,

🤝 🤝 🤝

May 17, 2019

Armando

Good morning.

It’s Friday so we’re listening to something more upbeat. We’re playing two albums from Chicago house pioneer Armando. He loops short disco and funk samples, a style later popularized by the likes of Daft Punk, who built upon the dance genres conceived in Chicago, Detroit, and New York. On the first track of his debut, One World One Future, Armando welcomes the listener to Warehouse, the Chicago club from which house music got its name. Armando’s international hit “Land of Confusion” helped spawn acid house, the house subgenre that features high-resonance, wet-sounding synth leads. Shortly after the release of his debut album, Armando died from leukemia at the age of 26. Trax Classix, released posthumously, collects singles and unreleased material that Armando played out at the Chicago clubs where modern dance music was born.

One World One Future by Armando (70m, 🗣 samples on some tracks) Spotify / Apple Music / YouTube Music / Tidal

Trax Classix by Armando (70m, 🗣 samples on some tracks) Spotify / Apple Music / YouTube Music / Tidal

Make sure you have something to look forward next week.

😀 😀 😀

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