December 14, 2015

2015 Favorites

Welcome to Vibes4YourSoul 2015 Favorites, a non-exhaustive list of the records that made a difference for me this year. May this selection inspire you, as well as its two special podcasts/mixtapes (Part1 dwlnd / Part2 dwlnd - tracklisting below).

Lots of love,

Jm / Vibes4YourSoul


Sufjan Stevens - Carrie & Lowell
(Folk / Asthmatic Kitty Records) 

Who needs drums and bass, when an acoustic guitar, a few vintage keyboard lines, and finely crafted lyrics can weigh so much? Pared down to the bone, Carrie & Lowell strikes right to the heart, even bordering on the sublime when turning sadness and melancholia into a deep feeling of humanity. "I wanna save you from your sorrow" Sufjan sings at some point. Well, he's found a way.

Mocky - Key Change
(Pop, Downtempo / Heavy Sheet Productions) 

Mocky's fifth album, Key Change, is an enchanted interlude floating above the obsolete boundaries dividing downtempo, soul, jazz and pop. The LA-based multi-instrumentalist and producer demonstrates his songwriting talent, as well as his knack for crafting cosy and poetic musical atmospheres. A "feel-good-stamped" moment.

Kamasi Washington - The Epic 
(Jazz / Brainfeeder Records) 

From spiritual Jazz moments, to Pharoah Sanders-like furious musical riots, LA-based Kamasi Washington and his powerful saxophone lead a 20+ musicians pack in an almost 3-hour long journey, that takes you away, far away. A true Jazz masterpiece by one of the most promising Jazz musician of his generation.

Chassol - Big Sun 
(Downtempo / Tricatel records) 
A chorus of birds on a tree, a majestic grandma humming a traditional song, a carnival band jamming...slices of Martinique island life, becoming instruments courtesy of Christophe Chassol sampling & composing magic. More than a vibrant love letter to the artist's familial roots, Big Sun spreads something universal. Following his unforgettable Indiamore, Chassol affirms himself as a true poet of his time.

Beach House - Depression Cherry
(Indie / Sub Pop Records) 

Another faultless release from US duo Beach House, offering more of their addictive melancholic indie sound. Try not to let your thoughts wander while getting caught in their "anthemic" musical landscapes, high-flying keyboards, finely crafted electric guitars-led melodies & Victoria Legrand's dreamy vocals.

Patrick Watson - Love Songs For Robots 
(Indie, Folk / Domino Records) 

Regularly composing music for films, Canadian singer & songwriter Patrick Watson is also the unforgettable vocalist on some of Cinematic Orchestra's most beautiful songs. Truthful to this dreamy & poetic background, his 5th solo album alternates between intimate folk moments and grandiloquent orchestrations full of imagery. An out-of-time pathway tagged with serenity.

Shamir - Ratchet
(Indie, Electro / XL Recordings)

Pop, house, indie, modern disco...Shamir's scattered sound is unclassifiable, so is his fascinating voice, which he likes to refer as a "happy medium" rather than androgynous. So many blurred lines make the young Las Vegas artist debut LP one of the most intriguing music phenomena of these last few months.

José González - Vestiges & Claws
(Folk / Imperial Recordings)

Delicate classical guitar-led melodies and intimate singing are Swedish/Argentinian songwriter José González well as his remarkable ability to convey intense emotions with an extremely light orchestration. Case in point with his third splendid LP, Vestiges & Claws.

Beirut - No No No
(Pop/Folk / 4AD Records) 

Zach Condon & his Beirut band at their best. Stirring melodies turning into addictive grandiloquent horns-fuelled pop anthems, an emotive roller coaster made of irrepressible joy & sweet melancholy. Yes, yes, yes, you'll want more!

Floating Points - Elaenia
(Ambient, ElectroJazz / Eglo Records)

Already well known for his subtle deep house productions & sure taste for digging old-school grooves, Floating Points (aka Sam Shepard) steps up his game once again to deliver this superb concept record. Lost somewhere between ambient atmospheres, nu-jazz flavours and minimal techno influences, Elaenia is redefining deepness.

Matthew Halsall & The Gondwana Orchestra - Into Forever
(Jazz / Gondwana Records)

For his third and most ambitious Lp to date, Manchester-based trumpeter Matthew Halsall added some vocalists to his organic spiritual Jazz cocktail. Another layer of poetry that'll surely help you find some form of serenity.

Herbert - The Shakes
(Deep House, Electro / Accidental Records)

With The Shakes, his first LP in almost 10 years, Matthew Herbert is once again doing the spadework to open new electronic music routes. A cocktail made of an exotic kaleidoscope of samples, moving vocal featurings, colourful world music influences and his unremitting minimal house rhythmic signature.

 EPs / Beat Tapes

Tom Misch - Beat Tape 2 
(Downtempo, Electro / self-released) 

Regularly releasing warm groovy instrumental pearls for the last couple of years, London-based guitarist & producer Tom Misch stepped up his game in 2015 by also adding beautiful deep-house tracks to his outfit, some of which featuring great vocal featurings. One of the most promising young producer around.

Petite Noir - The King Of Anxiety EP
(Indie, Electro, Pop / Domino Records)

A penetrating soulful voice wrapping up a refined electro/indie sound is how I would define South-African artist Petite Noir promising debut EP. Some parallels with Bloc Party and more recently Shamir, with a more melancholic twist.

Das Komplex - Nowadays EP
(Electro/Pop, Deep House / Father And Sons Records and Tapes)

An impressive debut EP from Polish producer Das Komplex gathering a splendid melancholic track ringing a Cure bell, a soulful slo-mo house anthem hinting at gospel atmospheres, a deep & dark old-school house cut,

Thundercat - The Beyond / Where The Giants Roam EP
(NuJazz, Lo-Fi, Brainfeeder records)
One single bass note is enough to immediately distinguish Californian bassist Thundercat from others. Add the cosmic influences of his inseparable friend Flying Lotus and keyboards legend Herbey Hancock, and you get another remarkable futuristic lo-fi jazz moment.

Kelela - Hallucinogen EP 
(Downtempo, R&B / Warp Records)

LA-based singer Kelela second EP is an incredibly cohesive futuristic soul experience. Her strong voice seems made to wrap syncopated beats and lush pads, to creat the kind of ethereal feelings radiating from Hallucinogen.

Vanilla - Origin (Downtempo, Beats / self-released)

A delightful journey between groove, jazzy hip-hop and lo-fi atmospheres. from UK beatmaker Vanilla. Gathering original compositions and classic soul tracks reworks, spiced up by a collection of finely picked samples, this mostly instrumental collection definitely carries some relaxing attributes.

Ishivu - Gryning Ep 
(Deep House / Trunkfunk Records)

Some deep & minimal vibes from Swedish producer Ishivu. Perfect pace, warm keyboards, the kind of perfect warm-up or late night record that will have you starting to move, without even noticing.

Claptone - The Music Got Me Ep
 & various remixes  (House / Exploited Records)

German producer & DJ Claptone definitely had a hot hands in 2015, releasing several great house tracks with a recognizable powerful rhythmic backbone. The Music Got Me and his remix of Gregory Porter's Liquid Spirit are already classics.

Joakim - Kindness & Todd Terje remixes
(Nudisco, House / Female Energy & Olsen Records)

French producer Joakim has been one of my favorite nudisco/house artist for a while. He scored big again this year with his slo-mo remix of Kindness's Who Do You Love (especially the dub version) and a dancefloor killer remix of Todd Terje's Strandbar.

Drake - Hotline Bling & Erykah Badu cover
(R&B, Cash Money Record)

I'm usually not too much into large commercial US R&B sounds, but I know to make exceptions! Case in point with this addictive single from Drake & its cover by the one and only nu-soul queen, Erykah Badu.

 EDIT of the year

Little Beaver - Groove On (DJ Vas & Soulist Rework)

My favorite edit this year comes from French DJs & producers DJ Vas & Soulist, who gave a "101 groove" masterclass by spicing up this 1980 pearl from US singer & guitarist Willie "Beaver" Hale.


The Chill Part (Indie, Folk, Lo-Fi, Jazz...)
Chassol-BirdsPart I / Mocky-HeadsInTheClouds / PatrickWatson-LoveSongForRobots / DasKomplex-LikeAFish / SufjanStevens-ShouldHaveKnownBetter / BeachHouse-Levitation / JoséGonzález-StoriesWeBuild,StoriesWeTell / Beirut-Gibraltar / PetiteNoir-Chess / Shamir-Vegas / Drake*ErykahBadu-HotlineBling / Kelela-AllTheWayDown / Thundercat-HardTimes / KamasiWashington-LeroyAndLanisha / MatthewHalsall&TheGondwanaOrchestra-OnlyAWoman / Vanilla-Footsteps / TomMisch-TheJourney

The Dance Part (Nudisco, House, Electro...)
LittleBeaver-GrooveOn (DJ Vas&Soulist Rework) / BillieBlack&MuraMasa-ThisSimplePleasure / Kindness-WhoDoYouLove(Joakim Dub Mix) / Xinobi-RealFake(CutSlackRemix) / PurpleDiscoMachine-WhereWeBelong / Selvy-GottaHaveIt / Shamir-OnTheRegular / ToddTerje-Starndbar(JoakimFullLengthMix) / GregoryPorter-LiquidSpirit(ClaptoneRemix) / Herbert-Smart&Middle / TomMisch-BeautifulEscape / Ishivu-Gryning(MattKarmilRemix) / FloatingPoitns-ForMarmish

November 24, 2015

The Cinematic Orchestra - Live in Paris, Le Trianon, 231115

In these particularly trying times in Paris, I got some much needed cinematic magic yesterday, reminding me why the Manchester combo has been my favorite band for more than a decade now.
More importantly, all along this very stirring concert, Jason Swinscoe and his crew made a fantastic case as to why Music, and Art in general, is such an essential element to the human kind. A long-lasting cement holding us together, in the face of the many obscurantist forces around.

Revisiting several of their classics, the band is also taking the opportunity of this tour to unveil several promising new tracks, hopefully signalling a much awaited 2016 new album?

Jason is also introducing several new members to the mix, who perfectly mingle into the Cinematic Orchestra's signature (brilliant new female singers, as well as an incredible pianist). Among the main featurings, an old companion of the combo,singer/guitarist Grey Reverend, but also a great surprise for me with the presence of another of my cherished nu-jazz artists, LA-based violinist Miguel Atwood-Ferguson. leading a superb cello/violin trio.

Their tour is pretty short, so check out their upcoming gigs if you do not wanna miss an intense moment of peace and spirituality!

Here are a couple of video extracts to get a feeling of this unforgettable moment. Never mind the poor image quality, just close your eyes...

November 12, 2015

Active Bird Community - I've Been Going Swimming

The relentless rise of the digital era has been a boon for sound engineers & producers of all kinds. If you're good enough at it, a modern DAW software and a MacBook Pro are almost all you need to deliver an almost pro-quality post-prod sound to any musician/band.

As much as I find this tech trend a gift from heaven, I also still enjoy a healthy dose of  "rough" sound, with little (or well hidden) digital add-ons. Especially when we're talking indie rock. Probably my mid 80's/early 90's Uk indie rock side..but I digress.

The whole point of this was to highlight you this beautiful self-released LP from Ny-based band Active Bird Community. A bunch of college friends with an undeniable talent for crafting melancholic indie songs, that you'll find all the more stirring precisely courtesy of their fresh "live-like" recording feel.
I'm thinking early Teenage Fan Club or Blur sound...did I tell you about my Uk indie rock side? Anyway, launch the playlist below, and let it ride, there's a good chance you'll wanna know more about them!

November 11, 2015

Beirut - No No No (4AD Records)

Still catching up with the numerous interesting post-summer releases, I have to recommend you the beautiful 4th LP from Beirut.

No No No will not surprise the fans of Zach Condon's band. It brings more of the same refreshing multicultural folk/pop sound we have become addicted to since his debut, almost 10 years ago.
So get ready for more Beirut-style stirring melodies turning into addictive grandiloquent horns-fuelled pop anthems. Get ready for more Beirut-style emotive roller coaster, left irrepressible joy, right sweet melancholy, rinse & repeat.

Yes, yes, yes, I want more!

A couple of extracts below:

November 10, 2015

Christian Scott - Stretch Music (Ropeadope Records)

Released a few weeks ago, Christian Scott tenth LP is highly recommended to those who like their Nu-jazz wild & adventurous.

In Stretch Music, more than in any of his previous releases, the talented New-Orleans ( now Ny-based) trumpeter digs out a wide range of influences (hip-hop, electro, indie rock...) to colour his powerful free-jazz compositions. Also offering some much deserved space to his talented musicians to forcefully engage with his multiple tailor-made horns, he once again affirms himself as one of the most interesting artist of the contempary Jazz scene.

Extracts below, the album is available on Christian's Bandcamp page.

October 20, 2015

Vanilla - Origin

Self-released last month, UK producer Vanilla's new beat tape, Origin, is a delightful journey between groove, jazzy hip-hop and lo-fi atmospheres.
Gathering original compositions and classic soul tracks reworks, spiced up by a collection of finely picked soulful samples, this mostly instrumental collection is also extremely well produced.

Available on his bandcamp page. My favorite extracts below, among which a cool Kool & The Gang's Summer Madness rework:

October 12, 2015

Crosby, Stills & Nash - Dark Star (V4YS Edit)

Here is a rework of Dark Star, one of the many gems by one of my favorite 70's rock/folk band, Crosby, Stills & Nash.

October 3, 2015

Greyskooledits - Inside The Box EP (Midnight Riot! Records)

As you know Vibes4YourSoul loves here comes 4 great ones, wrapped up in a single EP, released by UK DJs Dave Gerrard & Rob Bairstow, united under the Greyskooledits alias.

Try not to enjoy their cool grooved-up takes of Jean Knight's Mr Big Stuff and Loleatta Holloway's Runaway, or their spiced-up version of classic disco killer Wear It Out from Stargard. 
To cool things down a bit, their deep spaced-oud  rework of Barbara Mason's Another Man is also part of my next DJ sets short list.

Streaming below:

October 1, 2015

Matthew Halsall & The Gondwana Orchestra - Into Forever (Gondwana Records)

At a time when pollution tests cheating seems to be the norm, hopefully some only spit organic & peaceful vibes.

Case in point with Matthew Halsall new gift from (nu-jazz) heaven: his third and most ambitious LP to date, Into Forever, out now on Gondwana Records.

Still a splendid common thread, his trumpet is nevertheless slightly less present on this LP, where Matthew's signature lies first and foremost in his inimitable knack to compose & design dreamy spiritual atmospheres. The addition of vocalists on three tracks (Josephine Oneyama and Briony Jarman-Pinto), a grand premiere for him, adds another layer of poetry to this sensitive journey.

So breathe safely, and take a deep dive...Into Forever.

A couple of extracts below :

September 25, 2015

Tom Misch - Beat Tape 2

London-based guitarist & producer Tom Misch has become a core member of my DJ sets' downtempo moments these last 2 years.

Regularly releasing warm groovy instrumental pearls on his soundcloud page, he stepped up his game these last few months by also adding beautiful deep-housy tracks, some of which featuring great vocal featurings.

If you're not familiar with his dreamy electric guitar sound and splendid melodies writing, his recently released Beat Tape 2 is the perfect way to discover this young talented artist. Addictive content inside!

A few extracts below:

September 14, 2015

Mocky - Key Change (Heavy Sheet Productions)

Released just before the summer, Mocky's fifth album, Key Change, is an enchanted interlude floating above the obsolete boundaries dividing downtempo, soul, jazz and pop.

All along this very cohesive record, the LA-based multi-intrumentalist and producer demonstrates his songwriting talent, as well as his knack for crafting cosy and poetic musical atmospheres.
Add to this the participation of some of my favorite nu-jazz and indie/folk artists like Miguel Atwood-Feguson, Gonzales and Feist, and you get a very special experience.

Feel-good-stamped LP!

A few extracts below:

September 7, 2015

Vibes4YourSoul special mixtape for Caïmite Radio

From lo/fi & groovy sounds to nudisco & deep house, here is a special mixtape I just did for Caïmite Radio, a cool net project set up in Reims, France by Mosta.

More great podcasts and sounds on their webpage.

September 3, 2015

Beach House - Depression Cherry (Sub Pop Records)

I often get overly excited by records...some kind of a classic music freak syndrom. Still, I know that time is the ultimate judge as to really know if my first wave of enthusiasm was misplaced, or not.
US indie/pop duo Beach House are a great example of this. After the initial delight provided by their 2010 and 2012 LPs (Teen Dream and Bloom), both have become more than fading great music memories to me. They're essential companions, core members of my iphone "desert island" playlist, more than validating my early craze.
Obviously, saying that I've been eagerly waiting for their new LP is an understatement.

And Depression Cherry is finally here! (on Sup Pop Records)
And I beg you not to mistrust my laudatory feedback as my early craze for this new album should also easily pass the time travelling test.
And, yes,  in just a few words, Victoria Legrand is still taking us to her nostalgic and dreamy world with her unique voice and style.
And Alex Scally is still designing fascinating anthemic musical landscapes, filled with high-flying keyboards waves and finely crafted electric guitars-led melodies.
And it's still great. Actually "great" is also an understatement, let's me rephrase this to "magic".
And I don't care if the band does not clear out new musical territories with Depression Cherries, cause I just feel so good in this place.
And I guarantee you will too.

September 2, 2015

Andrei Eremin - Pale Blue Ep

Some great melancholic vibes from down under.

In this promessing debut Ep, Melbourne-based producer Andrei Eremin blends deep downtempo atmosheres with hints of folk. A great poetic parenthesis.

September 1, 2015

Kacy Hill - Foreign Fields (G.O.O.D. Music)

A young woman from Phoenix, Arizona, Kacy Hill performed as a dancer on Kanye West recent tour, and was later signed on his G.O.O.D. Music label following a first promessing self-released single.

Here comes her first track for Kanye, and it's a pearl. Can't get enough of this beautiful piano line framing her ethereal vocals.

August 10, 2015

Elis Regina - Vou Deitar E Rolar (V4YS Quaquaraquada Edit)

More Brazilian love, editing this eternal groove written in 1970 by Baden Powell; Paulo César Pineiro for the one and only Elis Regina.

Hope you'll enjoy these sunny vibes:)

Streaming & dwld below:

July 25, 2015

Vibes4YourSoul Mixes#30 - Summer House

A new mixtape for your summer, heavy in soulful tunes and cool basslines. A German feel to it as well, with several recent beautiful tracks from some of my favorite producers there (Session Victim, Alex Barck, Good Guy Mikesh, Claptone...).

Streaming & dwld below:

July 12, 2015

Zig Zag - Stop Stop stop (Vibes4YourSoul Encore Edit)

Here is a DJ-friendly edit I just made of an overlooked pearl from afro/disco 70's band Zig Zag.

Can't get enough of these funky guitar lines and groovy french lyrics!

Streaming and dwld below:

June 24, 2015

Kamasi Washington - The Epic (Brainfeeder Records)

Let's talk Jazz.

A 34-year old American saxophonist, Kamasi Washington rose from a difficult LA hood, to now affirm himself as one of the most promising musician of his generation, with the recent release of a debut LP that should leave a lasting mark on the long history of Jazz music.

The Epic's genesis is an intense 2011 month-long recording session with his friends from the West Coast Get Down band. From spiritual ballads, to groovier parts with vocalists to Pharoah Sanders-like furious musical riots, his sax leads a 20+ musicians pack in an almost 3-hour long journey, that takes you away, far away. And who else than Alice Coltrane's nephew, Flying Lotus, and his groundbreaking Brainfeeder label, could host such a cosmic effort? A perfect match.

So, make some room on your iphone/ipod/whatever, because, Jazz fan or not, I guarantee this fascinating one will durably eat some memory space!

Extracts below, but this one is a long-haul album experience, "single culture" freaks beware!

June 20, 2015

Roberta Flack - Compared To What (Vibes4YourSoul Rework)

A 1969 powerful politically-conscious message against Nixon's Vietnam war, and more generally about social issues of the time (still very relevant now), "Compared To What" is a beautiful jazz/soul song written by Gene McDaniels for Roberta Flack legendary first LP "First Take". The song got subsequently covered/adapted by other Jazz artists.

In this rework, I tried to keep the gospel-flavoured energy of Roberta's interpretation, while reinterpreting it with a housy rhythmic frame.

Hope you'll enjoy it!

June 15, 2015

Taxie - Rock Don't Stop Ep (Eglo Records re-issue)

Since his first splendid deep-house releases as Floating Points, back in 2009, to his remarkable artistic management of Eglo label since then, or his always inspiring eclectic DJ Sets, Sam Shepherd has been ranking very high on my musical radar.

Still in a mission to share great soulful music around, here he comes with another delightful surprise through Eglo sister label Melodies: a re-mastered version of two overlooked late 70's disco/soul absolute gems from US band Taxie.

Simply enjoy the full streaming below!

June 5, 2015

Rob Shields - Bloom

One of my favorite slo-mo/deep-housy track so far this year, courtesy of London producer & DJ Rob Shields.

Isn't this one perfect for your lazy summer beach days?

Streaming and free dwlnd below:

May 26, 2015

Roman Rauch - Heliocentric (Mini LP, klamauk Records)

Mainz-based independent label klamauk records is not the busiest outfit on the House planet, but their rare releases definitely deserve some attention.

Case in point with German producer Roman Rauch mini-LP Heliocentric, a deep jazzy house record, smelling like a good old 90's Blaze-like production.

May 14, 2015

Nicole Willis & The Soul Investigators - Where Are You Now Ep (Timmion records)

Alongside New-York (home of the Daptone Records crew & many affiliated artists), Finland has been establishing itself as another sure spot for high-quality old-school afro/soul/funk/jazz productions these last few years.

Producer/musician Jimi Tenor is of course one of the major reason behind this soulful nordic wave, as is the excellent Helsinki label Timmion Records.

His wife Nicole Willis is now back on the label with her band The Soul Investigators, for a couple of beautiful new singles, a promising teaser of their new LP, Happiness In Every Style, to be released next October.

Snippets below:

May 11, 2015

Mac DeMarco - Let My Baby Stay (V4YS Rework)

Mac DeMarco is one of my favorite indie artist, I can't get enough of his inimitable laid-back indie/folk sound. 

Here is a slo-mo housy take of Let My Baby Stay I've been working on recently. The original song is part of his highly recommended 2014 LP Salad Days, which is included in our 2014 Favorites selection. 

Hope you'll enjoy it.

April 13, 2015

Sufjan Stevens - Carrie & Lowell (Asthmatic Kitty Records)

Warning! Talkin' about a true masterpiece here!

Named after his late mother & stepfather, American songwriter's Sufjan Stevens new LP is an absolute folk wonder.

Who needs drums and bass, when an acoustic guitar, a few vintage keyboard lines, and finely crafted lyrics can weigh so much?
Pared down to the core, Carrie & Lowell strikes right to the heart. It even borders on  the sublime, courtesy of Sufjan's graceful singing, turning sadness and melancholia into a deep feeling of humanity.  "I wanna save you from your sorrow" he hums at some point. Well, he's found a way.

Attention, chef d'oeuvre. Je n'aime pas galvauder ce terme, mais c'est le seul qui me vient à l'esprit pour qualifier cette merveille folk de Sufjan Stevens.
Message d'amour pour sa mère disparue en 2012 et son beau-père, Carrie & Lowell  transforme tristesse et mélancolie en une incroyable sensation d'humanité. Nul besoin de batterie ou de basse pour frapper droit au coeur. Une guitare acoustique, quelques notes de claviers vintage, des textes intimes mais universels, et une interprétation vocale confinant au sublime font très bien l'affaire.
"Je veux te sauver de ta tristesse", fredonne-t-il au passage. Il a trouvé un bien joli élixir.

Assurément mon disque favori de ce premier trimestre 2015, devançant les très jolis albums de Beck (Morning Phase) & Chassol (Big Sun).