Nujabes – Modal Soul
Instantly pouring into the jazzy keys and uplifting beats the late artist is renowned for. Modal Soul is yet another fantastic collection of soulful vibes and laid back hip-hop rhymes from a pioneer of this perfectly executed style of ambience. It’s a fusion that has you locked in from the start, rhythmic beats will have you moving without noticing, while the blissful pianos and thoughtfully cherry-picked samples will have you whisked away into a daydream. If you are lucid enough to pay attention to the lyrics you will be pleased to find a combination of deep thoughts and emotionally charged lines synced wonderfully into the music.
Infected Mushroom – Army of Mushrooms
The boys from Israel unload an insane platter of psytrance madness here. Their signature low end energetic wobbles (not to be mistaken for commercial dubstep) and lively synth overtones and chaotic melodies are even more refined here. From ‘Nevermind’ the nutty opener they move into the hidden beauty of ‘Nothing to Say’, a track with a hook as entrancing as it is emotional. Knowing they are fully in control of their impressive skill set of mind-altering melody compositions, they round off the end of the record with a surprisingly fitting Foo Fighters cover. A great place to jump into the unstoppable sounds of a band that knows how to bend bass and forcefully drive energy out of you repeatedly.
Semifinalists – Semifinalists
This indie rock band from England has a unique sound that easily separates them from other acts in their genre. Their self-titled album was their debut and was first released back in 2006, but it still retains a wonderfully fresh sound even over ten years later. The second track ‘Show the Way’ quickly unearths their diversity and abilities, moving swiftly from soft harmonized vocals to a rock breakdown, then immediately into danceable electronics – all without breaking a sweat. They have a talent for stringing together very pretty, starry moments into catchy, underground club riffs, all with unimposing jolly keys doing their own thing in the back. As much as you will enjoy listening, this is a band you can’t help but want to experience live.
Pogo – Ascend
From the colourful isle of Australia, South African born another luscious blend of externally acquired sounds. Now a deeply adept magician in the art of sampling chunks of film and animation, then liberally throwing them on top of hypnotically bouncy beats; as his pseudonym suggests. This time his source material includes heartfelt scoops of Winnie the Pooh in ‘Boy & Bear’, a whole new spin on Aladdin in ‘Carpet Ride’, and a slowed down but dreamy use of Despicable Me’s Agnes in ‘Unicorns’. Often left alone, even Kevin McCallister gets an outing in this pleasing nod to the beloved John Hughes film in ‘Big Tree’. As with all his releases each track is instantly captivating, these enjoyable little bites of nostalgia will please any fan but be warned – at the very least your feet will tap with a mind of their own.