With troubling news being delivered from all around, the chaos of this past week finally caught up to me, and I sought a little respite in my headphones as the world spun madly on. The fact that I’m writing this after watching/sobbing over “Hachi: A Dog’s Tale” (cue the Netflix and tissues) isn’t helping much either. Let’s turn it down just a notch with this selection of tracks, which takes on a more instrumental approach and provides a quietly powerful soundtrack of lush beats, serene electronic, and the voice as a raw instrument to the mix.
Flying Lotus – Phantasm feat. Laura Darlington
This week’s post is named after Flying Lotus’ heavy dream of an album, Until the Quiet Comes. In this moment, the words seem to mean a lot. Quiet moments are hard to come by, and life often throws us into a whirlwind of blessings, mishaps, miracles and catastrophes when we least expect it. Anyway, enough with the sentimental bullshit. Sometimes instrumentals are a welcoming break from the norm because they let us delve into a blissful moment of music in a more simplistic form. This is not to say that any of these tracks are simple — far from it, actually. Give “Phantasm” a listen and watch the poignant, gorgeous short film for UTQC, directed by Kalil Joseph.
Sampha – Without
If you’ve heard SBTRKT, then you’ve definitely heard Sampha. His distinctive voice melts ears and soothes hearts, and although he’s spent years collaborating with artists like SBTRKT, Jessie Ware, and more recently, Drake, the London singer/producer is finally debuting his solo album, titled Dual, on July 29. Listen to “Without” and “Indecision” for a taste of what to expect.
Space Ghost – Message Full feat. Redactyl
Not to be confused with superb rapper Spaceghostpurrp, Space Ghost, otherwise known as Sudi Wachspress, is local find. Based in Oakland, the producer/DJ is young, undiscovered talent at its best. It’s hard to give a narrow definition of what he sounds like, but his music takes you into a glistening rainforest of swirling beats that drips and drops its way into your quiet space. Infused with ethereal vocals, “Message Full” is an appropriate intro to his latest album, Patient Mind, which is available now on Bandcamp.
J Dilla – Last Donut of the Night
Last, but certainly not least, is a classic from the late, great J Dilla. Simply put, you’re not a true hip-hop head, nor can you call yourself a beats-producer if you don’t know who Dilla is. Watch the video and you’ll see why this song’s one of my favorites. Love for donuts aside, Donuts was James Yancey’s final album before his passing in 2006. Its re-issue as an immaculate box set earlier this year invited a chance for longtime fans and new listeners to immerse themselves in the work of an artist gone too young, too soon.
That’s all for this week, folks. As always, comments and feedback are welcomed. Tune in next week for a brightened up playlist of fun, summer-lovin’ songs!
Contact Ashley Chen at [email protected].