My fall has been filled listening to two seemingly very different types of music: electronic music and soulful R&B. While on the surface this seems very much like a war between human and machine, the two find themselves in each others’ worlds quite often. So this is a mix of body (danceable electronic music) and soul (soul and R&B), and some that is both body and soul. While this has nothing in common with what I usually listen to in the fall, this is inevitably where I find myself, even though I am one of the least soulful and rhythmic people you will ever meet.
Flying Lotus – “Dead Man’s Tetris (featuring Captain Murphy and Snoop Dogg”
Steven Ellison, aka Flying Lotus, is someone who certainly has no boundaries to his music, covering jazz, hip hop, soul, and the farthest corners of the electronic galaxy. “Dead Man’s Tetris” is the most playful song off his new album You’re Dead!, and gets bonus points for it’s wonderful use of Snoop Dogg. I’ve always said people like Snoop Dogg and Nicki Minnaj are like character actors: wonderful in spicing things up on a guest verse but a full album of them is a bit too much to take.
<!–Aphex Twin – “CIRCLONT14 (shrymorning mix)” “produk 29”
The mysterious Richard D. James is Aphex Twin, and after a 13 year hiatus, couldn’t have picked a better time to return. His frenzied, highly intelligent, and anarchic electronic music sounds more at home in 2014 than at any time before. It could almost be the soundtrack to The Social Network 2 if there ever was one. “CIRCLONT14 (shrymorning mix)” is one of the best songs on his new album Syro and surprisingly one of the more normally named songs, the rest of which sound like viruses waiting to infect your computer.–>
SBTRKT – “NEW DORP, NEW YORK (featuring Ezra Koenig)”
This is out of the straight-fun department. SBTRKT (pronounced “subtract”) is another mysterious electronic musician always sporting a tribal mask and not releasing his name. The London DJ however lands on the more groovy, soulful side of the electronic music spectrum. Vampire Weekend’s cheeky frontman Ezra Koenig is the star of “New DORP, NEW YORK”, which is sort of a jazzy, street-smart shuffle full of clever wordplay that is hard to shake.
Prince – “Breakdown”
In case you missed it, Prince released not one but two albums this month in Plectrum Electrum and Art Official Age, the latter which is one of the better Prince albums I have heard. The Godfather of modern R&B actually hints at a lot of the music he has inspired on Art Official Age. “Breakdown” is your classic Prince slow jam, with a screeching, desperate Prince bringing “Breakdown” home in the last minute.
Jessie Ware – “Want Your Feeling”
If you aren’t familiar with Jessie Ware, she is basically what you get if you crossed the gentle British soul of Sam Smith with the pipes of Mariah Carey. While Ware tends to tip pretty heavy on slow, heartfelt ballads, it’s the songs that put a little bounce in them like “Want Your Feeling” that grab me most.
Caribou – “Can’t Do Without You”
If you haven’t noticed a pattern, Caribou aka Dan Snaith is another singular electronic musician, who combines some of the mathematical brilliance of Aphex Twin with the soulfulness of electronic artists like SBTRKT. Thus, the hypnotic heart of “Can’t Do Without You” is the perfect body and soul song.