|OCTOBER of d o w n t e m p o // ぼreaks (REC me)
Same ol' same ol' lfg. Rec me albums!!!
1. March ('60s) - 3.685
2. September (Discogs nerd Japan) = 3.608
3. January (Ambient) - 3.567
4. July (Grind) - 3.553
5. June (Metal) - 3.532
6. May (AsleepBS) - 3.404
7. February (Glitch) - 3.278
Sit Down for Dinner
I jam this
|In Love With A Ghost
2015 AND 2016 baby
lol anode you are such a hypocrite, this is the sappiest most death-by-whimsy e-music I have heard all year
and I was on the verge of laughing at it, and then it made me intensely nostalgic. proper being a graduate part-time recluse self-teaching Japanese energy all over this thing ("Can I Be Your Internet Crush" an obvious highlight on that basis); the prod keeps such a light touch and the songwriting is so cursory that this is a breezy (and q replayable) listen, but the m o o d is liminal and distantly lonely in a way that either transcends or doesn't quite amount to chillout (depending on what you're looking for) and generally carries. found a lot of these pieces indistinct and insubstantial, but they flow together well and I enjoyed looking back at probably the most boring year of my life with this thank u
The Mirror Conspiracy
Oh yes, this is template shit - very cool rec, doesn't reinvent any wheels but rocks that smooth, slightly seedy downtempo vibe to a tee. Great beat switches and vocal samples across the board, found this really engaging without it ever being too much (also very replayable). Love the closer in particular, really smooth rolling breaks on there, but as a whole this ticks all the boxes. Great pick.
Kids Fill The Floor
Thought this was a dorky bunch of sentimentalist analog-toned faff for my first 2-3 spins, but then I came back to it a few days later and something had clicked - heard a lot of emotional warmth in those warm tones and muggy melodies. Reminds me a little of Boards of Canada, with v little of the eerie atmosphere and beat genius I actually listen to Boards of Canada for (but all the residual nostalgia). Pleasant album.
So this is pretty much the baseline of what I was expecting this month - smooth beats and unobtrusive nu-jazz doodling to ease the runtime. Defs good chillout music, but even by the standards of such things I found this plain (and way overlong at 66 minutes) - the nu-jazz was more lubricant than atmosphere and the beats themselves did little more than their duty. Approach as mood music or go home, I guess. The way"Mass" works in a neat bassline is something I could have used more of elsewhere - that one's a good tune.
ed. and you fucking knew this was a 3 all along? get tae fuck kid
Oh boy hmm, there's *something* here, and I'm not convinced that this record makes sufficient use of whatever *it* is. I want to say this record is deceptively straightforward but has a strong mysterious edge, but it spends so much of its time making its mind up over where to take each track that the latter side rarely surfaces - slightly underwhelming, but only because the intrigue is so obviously there. I dig how simplistic the rhythms are here tbh - think adds a lot to the atmosphere but needs more pronounced song progressions to ride off. Enjoyed this anyhow, esp "An Hour" and "Anneka's Battle" (boi that's a a sweet midway double-highlight)
Beats and Breaks from the Flower Patch
ALRIGHT there "Kompys" "2000" ol' buddy ol' pal, you need to STOP recing me albums with perfect openers that nail everything appealing about them, before following through with a tracklist of straight 3.5s!!!
(I mean, don't, because I'm more than happy with one guaranteed keeper + a solid listen or four for the rest, *but*
but yeah, that opener is pure heartsick bliss and it's been a hot minute since I heard any vocals nail "pining" in such a positive light. The beats and breaks (and chillout arrangements) themselves ain't half bad, but there was something utterly magnetic about the opener that I feel the remaining tracks sublimated into serviceable-chill-times. I'll eat it. Bonus points for tight af track timings and an economical album runtime!
2 perfect atmo DnB longbois + 1 shorter seductive winddown. Second best Harvey rec I have received, big congrats.
So this is your classic trip-hop fix with a little more pomp/majesty in its orchestral side but, crucially, *no less* noirish atmosphere and seedy vocals? I'm not sure it found the right balance for most of its runtime - most of the tracks carefully navigated the palettes in question without really hitting their groove. "It'll Be Half Time In England" was kinda an exception that proved the rule (maybe being instrumental gave it the space the rest of the tracklist needed to breathe?) - loved how that one balanced the sublime and s u s p e n s e. Some cool ideas elsewhere didn't quite take off (beat in "Britannica" was killer, but what did they do with it?"). Shoutout to "King Deluxe" though - rly liked how that one abandoned trip-hop almost entirely and went for near-psychedelic orchestral wooze. Made me think of what Nico would sound like if she were remotely good. Good job also to"Girl Lips Glitter" for dishing out the sleazy breakbeat odyssey this album needed to make the list. Otherwise, this was okay I guess lol
Jfc Ryus, you chill to this? I *tried* to chill to this when I had a ton of residual stress, and kinda actively hated it. Came back and approached it as the claustro rave fuel that it really is and had a considerably better time, but still -_-
Suspect this is going to grow from here, will hold off rating
ed. yeah this is competent shit, but also airless and fraught and stresses me out. NOT chill
Lol so I was going to shade this for being an Obvious rec, but tbh it's a glaring omission in my ratings so *fair shit*
I've heard bits and pieces from Bonobo over Yt algorithms over the years, but never doubled down on him - this record definitely made me glad that I did, but it took me a while to puzzle out my precise Vibe. Even for downtempo, this tends towards something while other things happen territory - the chord progressions and melodies are almost wilfully unengaging (big exception being the t/t) and the atmosphere does offer any of the lush/eerie/fantastical edge that I often love in stuff imo unfairly lumped in as "background" music. This rarely held my attention - but damn, I did enjoy how easily it blends into the background a lot! The prod and arrangements are anything but flimsy (El Toro and We Could Forever maybe my highlight here), and I found it very viable album for repeats. Don't think it ever transcends "chill" and I'd be lying if I said I felt strongly attached to it, but I've already got a ton of mileage out of it and do rate it for what it goes for
Break from Reality
Solid chillout DnB record, neat fringe pick from this year too. "Long Rhode Home" was a fab central highlight, and after a couple of spins I started to really appreciate the variety of tracks: you get your straight-up drum n rave on the opener, something a little more chill-ready on the likes of "The Feeling" and "Soul Fire", and just the right nod at that downtempo loungey noir haze on the excellent closer. Still found it a little overlong and occasionally stodgy in its pacing, but this was a cool find
Where Were U In '92?
Hmm I get this for ravespace, and I do not get it for outside-of-ravespace. The breaks themselves are neat (if fairly template), but there's not much else to fish for here beyond airhorn abuse and obnoxious vocal samples. I was a PIPE DREAM/(dream in the pipe??) in '92 and this album can dream on hm
Waltz for Koop
PERFECT OPENER and lovely voices across this whole things yes! This is more [nu-]jazz than downtempo, but I'm very here for it - like it best when both sides are on display ("Modal Mile" and "In a Heartbeat" oh yessss), and a little less when it goes full armchair jazz mode ("Tonight"), but this is still a very smooth and wonderfully succinct jam. Extra points for ease of replay value.
This is a really cool find - pensive, distant, slick almost to the point of coldness, but always with a sense of intention and presence to it that kept drawing me in. L o v e those tones on the second track (and onwards) - this makes me intensely nostalgic for when I was immersing myself in early Sweet Trip and churning through glitch pop records in 2020, not that it's the same style (SHOHEI AMIMORI! that's who! it, um, reminds me of - hammers/chimes on "Miel" are a lovely parallel). Very much scratches a similar itch for me, but I like how fluid and succinct these pieces are. Last track opened up an almost new age-y space that also reminded me of a lot of things I like. Feel this is slightly better active than passive listening, which is a rarity this month but mm I'll take it
Yes porc daddy, thank you - track length aside, this was the first heavyweight contender for list champ, and if it takes almost half an hour to dip into downtempo at all on "Greek", it's easily worth it because this is a vast ambient treasure and I could most defs have gotten into it at any time in the past year! Have given it a few spins, but don't think I'm close to having explored it properly - the back end especially - but man, this is a sublime record to get lost in. Love how patient it is, how soothing the tones are - just nails that ambient je ne sais quoi. Would play this in between Vladislav Delay and Monolake and consider the experiences either side enriched. Minor quibble that the uneasy tone of the opener is a little misplaced as introduction statement and that "Hebrew" is on the dated side of '90s ambient techno, but that's small fry and I'm looking forward to spending more time with this.
|Love Spirals Downwards
This is, uh, a square-ass ethereal wave album? Not sure how it fits the brief for this month at all, but I was meaning to jam this band/album specifically so it gets a blind eye there.
For the most part, this is a bunch of genre tropes (brittle tones/dreamlike atmosphere/soothing arpeggiations/ethereal vocals/reverbreverb etcetc) played solidly but indistinctly. Part of me appreciates the variety of tracks, but most of me feels that they're all solid but piecemeal and that the album's identity as a whole is lacking. Decent record for sure, but not one I feel glued to
NICE, two for two on this one. You were right on the money with the genre tags/actual function disjuncture here, has a bit of a clubby edge to it (esp re. basslines) to be properly "chill" imo, but it makes up with this with swagger and idk I enjoyed both a lot. Great pick.
Pacific Memories: The Early Tapes
Really chill easy going lounge vibes oh yeah baby, get this into my cafe put this on my Persona playlist. Think many of the vocal tracks might have been better off instrumental (second and fifth tracks especially - "Color Conscience" is v tight though, maybe this guy is the issue), but otherwise this is exactly the effortless loungey daze I was hoping for. Generic downtempo = based
E S T A R A
Uhm okay I guess this sappy bedroom glitch record works for chillout? Heard of this guy here and there, but avoided him because his name kinda stinks. This was an overreaction, but I took little enough away from this that it's not going to graduate into a regret; reminds me with Baths at his least substantive. The production and melodies are vaguely/vapidly pretty, but not nearly enough that I'd jam them for their aesthetic. Liked "Wavxxes" as a lategame highlight though, that one packed a punch that is sorely lacking across the rest of this. Feel it could take a lesson or three from 17.
Okay, this is more what I signed up for - lush arrangements, soothing melodies and strong R&B vox across the board. Some distractingly flat lyricism aside ("Parkway" rly does not own that bad bitch schtick hot damn), this is end-to-end solid and occasionally sublime. The second side is where it opens up for me - "Repetition", the title track and "Rain" are major highlights and can slide into a playlist or two. Rest of this scratches an itch unhurriedly.
Weight of Your Own
I ~think~ I jammed this when it got reviewed and then forgot about it? Who knows - this is pleasant enough, but a little breezy and innocuous in a way that I can't help but feel stems from a lack of s u b s t a n c e. Doesn't pack the deep_chill factor that I was expecting, but is otherwise palatable.
This is a great album - effortless chill, but with a load of colourful arrangements, strong melodies and mmmmm vocal performances to make it something more (this Mosez boi can hit it!!). Love the way it fades in and out of moodier vibes - "Red Dust"! - love how easily it goes by if you're not paying attention, love how much warmth and fuzz it brings, love how much there is to soak up if you tune in properly. Will be coming back to this.
Damn, and there I was thinking we were unwinding - this is a straight-up dissociation/desensitisation trip from earlydays techno. I can vibe with that fix too, but--
hold that thought, relistening to this at this very moment and, third time lucky, successfully chilling to it. Good shit. Not nearly as cold as I remembered for whatever reason. Bit homogenous though, and I'm not huge on the motif that "The Fairy Tale" forces through (shame bc the noisy sample at about 2:00 is killer), but this was a cool addition!
Lovers from the Past
This is downtempo?? I'm hearing eyeliner-smudged goth-boi baritone achey breaky darkwave all over this thing. It's kitsch and melodramatic as all hell, but the songwriting is at least reined in to the point that it never runs away from itself. Definitely on the crass end of dour theatrics for my taste, but
Start With the River
I did everything in my power not to view this as an eezee listening Boards of Canada clone with discount percussion, and uh uh uh uh it certainly does not overstay its welcome!
What the flying fuck, is this a Japanese beatsmith with *good* rap features? Didn't know they were out there. Very welcome addition to the list tbh, is no less smooth than anything else here but brings generous amounts of grit and darkness that would not have been amiss earlier on y'all -_-. The instrumentals on this are tight n seedy, often with so much peripheral menace that I keep thinking of Kool Keith bursting out on top of em ("What's behind darkness" esp), and - semi-related - that closing run is hella tight. Very well-paced album tbh, doesn't waste any time and sticks to a lean runtime. Maybe missing a few distinctive highlights, but I'm sold and should finally check more from this guy.
|Evan Marc and Steve Hillage
Jfc this pushes all the right buttons for me - slowly evolving ambient/dub techno that flexes effortlessly engaging progressions over an album-long arc? Yes on all counts, love the prod, love the parabolic structure, love the motifs, best rec of the month, fuckin' A thank you
This was cool and defs went by easily. Beats+bass were a highlight for me, v much here for how on point they are across all that hipping and hopping. Wasn't so into the rap on this, but thought it did quite well to switch in and out of lusher instrumentation (as on "Veteran's Leg" - could maybe have used so more of this). This record feels lean in some ways; spends so much time holding down minutely poised beats that I found maybe a tad more inner tension than I did cruise potential. Neat album anyhow