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