Playlist: Morning Commute

Now that winter is approaching, the dark mornings are making getting out of bed so much harder. So, I’ve made an early morning playlist to ease into the day and waken up softly.

Artists such as Bon Iver, Benjamin Francis Leftwich and Bear’s Den start off the playlist as an acoustic canvas. A Blaze of Feather, my new favourite folk band, also make an appearance here. During festival season this year this mysterious band kept popping up on numerous festival line-ups, despite no one knowing who they were. Eventually folk singer-songwriter, Ben Howard, and visual artist, Mickey Smith, claimed the responsibility of the band. Their sound still has the musky elements of Ben Howard’s music but with a bit of a darker texture, similar to his second album: I Forget Where We Were.

Weaving throughout the playlist are the odd indie-rock artists. My rekindled love for Palma Violets came through with two of their more sedated songs, in contrast to their usual post-punk, upbeat tracks. Mac Demarco also shines through on this track with euphoric melodies in This Old Dog. Great way to start the day.

To finish off the playlist, Keaton Henson makes an appearance. The perpetually aching vocals throughout each of Keaton’s tracks is a little heavy for the morning, (Bit different to Mac) but his music, although heartbreaking, is simultaneously some of the most soothing music I’ve come across. The melodic chords, paired with the raspy vocals from Henson create such alluring tracks for the early morning commute.

(Ocean) Bloom: A collaboration.

After the triumphant success of Planet Earth II, released in late 2016, The BBC have announced the release of another Attenborough conquest, in the most beautiful way: Blue Planet II. The song that soundtracks this anticipated prequel is a rework of Radiohead’s opening track ‘Bloom’ from their 2011 album: The King Of Limbs. The rework of this poignant track features eery, reverberated vocals from Radiohead lead singer: Thom Yorke, which depict the hauntingly prepossessing nature of our world. The vocals are also lifted throughout the track by Hans Zimmer’s unprecedented orchestral work, creating a sense of enchanting beauty to the prequel.

Radiohead are no strangers to this emotive approach to music. Much of their work draws on issues in the world that we do not understand. Their tracks exhaust emotion, which is what makes them so admirable and appreciated, for me at least. Zimmer reinforces this sense of awe and emotion within Bloom (Ocean) on the prequel, with his orchestral strings that lift the vocals on the track to a higher wave of emotion.

Hans, is also no stranger to this evocative approach to music, and has soundtracked many iconic cinematic moments. In another analysis of the collaboration, Vox examine the exact technique that Hans used to create this mystical canvas for the Radiohead remake. It explains that the technique that Hans uses throughout this piece is labelled as “Tidal Orchestra” (a fitting name), and goes on to explain that, “It’s always present and creates a whole musical environment, that’s built out of a single note.” This technique creates such a sense of enchantment, paired with the images of all the weird and wonderful creatures in the documentary.

Ultimately, this collaboration highlights the message to us that our world is a beautiful place, which is such an important message, as Thom states in an interview with the BBC about the prequel: “It is bigger than you.” When combined with both the orchestral works from Zimmer, the narration from national treasure David Attenborough, and the incredibly mesmeric shots from the documentary, this is precisely the message that this prequel is sending to the audience. It reminds us that music really can be used to create such enlightenment and admiration for the world, as Hans states in the interview, “You can get under their skin and maybe make them feel about things slightly differently, if this can make you love and appreciate this beautiful world and maybe remember that we’re meant to leave it slightly better than we found it.”

Producer of Blue Planet II, Orla Doherty, summarises this collaboration perfectly: “One of the hardest things is to capture the scale of [the ocean]. But when you put the collaboration of Radiohead and Hans together, that scale is in their music.”

Watch the video below:

Playlist: Introduction

So… It’s my first post. I thought the best way to get started would be to make a playlist of all the songs and artists I’m into at the moment: a mixture of well-known and unknown artists.

I’ve gone for a bit of an eclectic collection here. Firstly, after the release of LCD Soundsystem’s new album: American Dream, (which definitely didn’t disappoint) I’ve found myself reintroduced to some of their older stuff. As you’ll see in the playlist. I’ve also thrown in some of The Avalanches’ older songs from their debut, Since I Left You, just because I’ve found myself quite drawn to that album over this (not so sunny) summer.

As for some of the under-the-radar artists: I’ve chosen artists such a King Krule and Hazel English based on their delicate vocals in these tracks. I might have gone a little overboard with the Declan McKenna tracks on this one, but his debut album has been on repeat pretty much since its release, so going overboard was inevitable. His distinctive vocals foreground an array of political messages from a voiceless generation throughout the album.

So yeah, that’s a brief overview of my first playlist. Enjoy!