Our second year end feature is “The Best Singles of 2016”. The following selected tracks are all taken from the soundtrack. We hope you like it. For those who might not know so much about us, listen to the tracks and you will see what kind of music we dig.
Stalking Gia – Second Nature
Jessy Lanza – VV Violence
Kllo – Walls To Build
Fortunes. – 501’s
Solange – Cranes In The Sky (Kaytranada DJ Edit)
King – The Greatest
Nite-Funk – Let Me Be Me
Chinah – Can’t Remember How It Feels
Honne – Good Together
Living – A Light
Elderbrook – Closer
Katie Gately – Tuck
Portishead – S.O.S. (ABBA Cover)
Beyonce – Formation (Election Anxiety/America Is Over Edit)
The time is ripe. Coule be too late. I don’t care. Here’s my favourite albums and EPs of this year. The above fantastic and dashing logo is made by a very talented designer friend Kana Saechout. Thanks!
1. Fantôme – Utada Hikaru
2. Hopelessness – Anohni
3. TheHope Six Demolition Project – PJ Harvey
4. Moon Shaped Pool – Radiohead
5. Love Streams – Tim Hecker
6. Blisters EP – Serpentwithfeet
7. Boy King – Wild Beats
8. James Blake – The Colour in Anything
9. Skeleton Tree – Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds
10. Viet Rose EP – Lanks
11. Sirens – Nicholas Jaar
12. Before the Dawn – Kate Bush
13. A Seat At The Table – Solange
14. You Want It Darker – Leonard Cohen
15. Take Her Up To Monto – Roisin Murphy
16. Blackstar – David Bowie
17. Ultimate Lounge – Semi Precious
18. Oh No – Jessy Lanza
19. Advancement – Solar Bears
20. My Woman – Angel Olsen
21. Redemption – Dawn Richard
22. Freetown Sound – Blood Orange
23. I Had a Dream That You Were Mine – Hamilton Leithauser + Rostam
24. Puberty 2 – Mitsuki
25. 22, a Million – Bon Iver
26. Big Black Coat – Junior Boys
27. Syncope – Port St. Willow
28. The Bride – Bat For Lashes
29. 1 Of 1 – SHINee
30. One Day All Of This Won’t Matter Anymore – Slow Club
31. Third Law – Roly Porter
32. Heart Like a Levee – Hiss Golden Messenger
33. We Move – James Vincent McMorrow
34. Strangers – Marissa Nadler
35. Good Luck and Do Your Best – Gold Panda
36. You Know What It’s Like – Carla Del Forno
37. Stranger Things Original Soundtrack Vol.1 – Kyle Dixon and Michael Stein
38. For Those Of You Who Never Have (And Those Who Have) – Huerco. S
We have been a fan of Role’s mysterious aesthetic. Following their debut album How Distant, the London by way of Barcelona group is back with a new EP titled Blurry. Absorbing elements of Dream pop, Witch House, and Trip Hop, they have polished their ethereal sound. It’s ghostly and thrilling, but at the same time, inviting. Stream the EP below.
Makoto Kino, although his names sounds like a familiar Japanese name, is not Japanese. It’s a drone-pop project by Mexico city artist Federico Cabrera Celio. His new album “Eternal Loss” is infused with surreal and Dadaist mood and hued with dark, twisted eroticism. It’s a kind of music you sink yourself in, deeper and deeper.
We can all agree that Japan is a special place for Gold Panda. His latest album, Good Luck and Do Your Best was named after a quote a taxi driver in Hiroshima told the British electronic producer and the album tracks are sparkling with vivid and nostalgic sonic images of Japan. Recently Gold Panda toured Japan, visiting Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka. I had a rare chance to hand him a disposable camera and asked him to capture his time in the country of rising sun. The pictures are now developed and showcased on our friend Public Rhythm.
To a cool side of you. Future Classic’s new signee, Melborne via New Zealand duo Fortunes. has released their new single, “501’s”. It’s a modern R&B track with Thickly layered vocal and saccharine synth lines melting in the groove. Of the track, the band just cooly says, ““It’s about when the weather is hot and you see a hot guy and he looks real good in his jeans.””
LA’s electro producer Tyzo Bloom released his newest single “Ukiyo” and it’s now available to download freely. Tyzo Bloom’s aim was to make people to get lost in the music and detached from the bothers of life; “As a young music producer in LA, it’s really easy to get stressed out and anxious about how to maintain balance in life. (ex bills, work, passion, relationships) This track is a reminder to enjoy the present and to appreciate life.” Download here.
LANKS doesn’t need a label to help make rules. Neither did he need lots of money to create art. He collaborates with friends and family. He believes in people who believe in music. His third EP Viet Rose, which he co-produced with Andrei Eremin, is the absolute proof. The lead singles, “Golden Age” and “Holla” are emotional and experimental take on pop music, while hypnotic “Sometimes” takes hints from the likes of Vaporwave. The final song “Kyneton” may remind listeners of Radiohead ballads; bleak, ghostly, and poignant. Viet Rose, which is named after his favourite Laksa restaurant in Melbourne, is a wonderful representation of who LANKS is, and arguably the best.
Lights + Music sent this Melbourne-based artist a bunch of questions to find out who he is, how he challenges himself on creativity, the making of his new EP, and what he would do to a penguin in a fridge.
Interview: LANKS By Satoru ‘Teshi’ Teshima, October 16, 2016
So, who is Lanks?
LANKS is me. It is my current artistic journey and persona. Some people don’t even know my real name anymore, and this really does feel more like me now. In real life I try to be balanced and level-headed but with LANKS I try to dive deep into my thoughts and emotions.
What songs best describe your personality?
Of my own songs I think Holla is probably the best showcase of me. Emotional and uplifting and there are lots of layers and sections and ideas that all converge to make one big interesting mess. I think that’s me. If I’m looking at other people’s work, I’m not sure, maybe ‘You And Whose Army?’ off Radiohead’s Amnesiac. I like questioning accepted norms and trying to break them, and I think that carries that message a bit.
Have you always been a musical kid since you were growing up?
My older sister and I learned music together from a pretty young age (she played Trombone/keys and I played flute/guitar) and were always playing music together, and even went on to study jazz at the Victorian College of the Arts. So music has always been in the family, jamming out all together and being introduced to the fun and creative side of music first and foremost. My cousin is also a musician, making music under the name Ry X (also in The Acid and Howling).
How old were you when you put your own song online for the first time? Do you remember what it sounded like?
I was always making things, as soon as I picked up an instrument I like creating. I still remember how to play the first full song I wrote when I was 12. I’m not sure if that was the first song I uploaded or not, but I had a bunch of songs I uploaded to myspace as a teenager, and across a few different random soundcloud accounts I probably have a hundred or so random songs and ideas still live on the internet.
Living in Tokyo, it is difficult to see what is actually happening in Melbourne! What is the music scene/community like in Melbourne?
The music scene here is amazing! It feels like there are lots of supportive people and talented creative people all working hard and growing together. Seriously, check out Kllo, Hayden Calnin, Woodes, Big Scary, Andrei Eremin just to name a few. There are lots of people pushing interesting and creative music here, and they are all starting to really impress on the world stage so it’s an exciting time coming up I feel.
I read that you have a home studio. What is your setup like?
It’s pretty minimal and I would like to invest in a few more pieces soon, but I am also a fan of working with restrictions. I have a piano, a guitar, a flute, a mic and a laptop. I only have one plugin right now. It’s been fun making 3 EPs with this same setup, it forces you to be creative when you don’t have a lot. Working with Andrei Eremin on co-production and mixing/mastering helped me bring the songs out and develop them the extra bit they needed though.
How often do you write songs?
I try to write as close to everyday as I can. While on tour I have been writing a little bit less but still making things. I hit road blocks all the time but laziness doesn’t solve problems. A thoughtful, open-eyed, and self-questioning approach is best I find.
When there are too many or too little ideas and you are hitting a creative wall, what do you do to break it?
Creativity and songwriting is all about problem solving, and the longer you stand still for the more you get attached to what was there also. I think my creations have become a lot better the more I have learned to open up a song again and continue developing it. If you sit down and are prepared to spend hours on it and it’s not waste if you don’t use any of those ideas you just came up with, then you’ll be ok. It takes a long time to make something that you are really excited about I think, so devote lots of time to exploring.
More specifically, if you do get stuck, you can also try going for a walk, writing with a different instrument, introducing chance (write notes on pieces of paper and draw them out of a hat or roll a dice), forcing yourself to play on only one string on the guitar or only 2 fingers on the piano, etc etc. Essentially what you’re trying to do is break your natural patterns that your brain wants to walk down. Get out of your comfort zone, the possibilities are endless.
Acoustic and electronic instruments are mixed really nicely in your music. Instrumentation wise, how do you approach songwriting?
I just make sounds with whatever I have around me and that shapes the songs and sonic palette. I love playing piano and I have been playing guitar most of my life, as well as flute, so I experiment a lot with those. I like making sounds that sound unusual to me. That’s what I am always hunting for, something that excites my ear. And the process of creating songs with computers is like weaving a tapestry and takes a lot of time. I really enjoy the process of making things.
Your grandmother is providing you some of the artworks for your recent releases. How did this collaboration happen?
My grandma is a fantastic visual artist and after she designed a tattoo for my sister’s 21st I think there was always an idea in the back of my mind to collaborate with her at some point. My best friend and housemate Will Devereux had done all my cover art up until this year and all my design work, so it was nice to get him to work with my grandma and with her illustrations Will manipulated them a bit and brought a little extra to them also, a bit like a mixing engineer actually. I’ve always been a big fan of my grandma’s work and it has been a real joy to share in this experience with her. No matter what happens with my artistic journey, collaboration with my friends and family will always be a huge part of it, and I’m having so much fun making things with such amazing people.
What’s the meaning behind the EP title, Viet Rose? What does the title entail?
Viet Rose is the name of my favourite laksa restaurant in Melbourne. I live very close to it (too close) and it summed up the past year of my life. Their $10 vegetarian laksa kept me alive. I am a 100% independent artist, which has been a challenge with doing lots of support tours and making 3 EPs in 2 years, but ultimately it means I can release the sort of music I want to and I’ve learned so much doing that. If I release music through a label soon I know why and I know the reasons I would be doing that now, and that is a great thing to learn.
What is it like working with Andre Eremin?
It’s incredible. We both love food, which is the first and most important requirement. And he just has such incredible maturity and skill that he brings to music. It took me a while to find someone who really got what I was trying to do, and isn’t afraid to challenge me on ideas. But importantly, someone that I trust when he does that. This latest EP in particular would not have reached the level it got to without him, and the world will know soon how amazing Andrei is. I’m excited to continue exploring with him.
I noticed that you are an active SNS user (on Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, Twitter). Do they help you interact more with your fans?
Yes. So much! I make friends with my fans. And through social media we can hang and stay in touch and live our lives together. Social media has downsides, I know, but the upsides are incredible. They take away some of those middle-men that used to control your channels to your fans also. Now it just comes down to you and the challenge is can you engage these people and build some connection with them, just like you would with a song. I think that’s really cool, and the internet has empowered us in that way.
Living in the golden age of advanced technology, everything seems so within reach. Do you feel that how people approach music has changed in a good or a bad way?
I am cynical about technology really changing things. I think humans are pretty much the same, emotional beings that they were before all the advanced technology. What that has brought though is that people can make complete songs in their bedroom, and they have a chance to develop those skills in a quiet, non-confronting environment, especially if they are a bit insecure and want to experiment before they are thrust into a spotlight. But ultimately, there were making people music at home before computers made music, but the biggest change is the channels (social media/soundcloud/the internet) giving these people a way to reach music lovers/listeners with their creations. And you can do it from anywhere in the world.
If you compare your life to a movie title what would it be?
Good Will Hunting – My real name is Will and I am always hunting for more information and knowledge. I really love new experiences and new things are what excite me the most. I don’t see myself as a genius or anything (in case anyone reads into this one too much), I believe in hard work, exploration and patience.
Lastly, if you found a penguin in a fridge, what would you do?
Cuddle it forever.
An up-and-coming electronic producer from Mumbai, India, Sandunes released Downstream and now it is available to stream in its entirety. From Hip Hop to UK Garage, she takes influence from various sources, building a soundscape that sounds like no one else. If you are a fan of Ninja Tunes, she maybe the next big thing.