Hi everyone, happy Monday :) In addition to the playlist this week, I made a small survey about your experience with Deep Voices. I would be grateful if you could take the time to complete it. I’d like to learn more about what you get from this newsletter and what else you might like to get from it in the future. As always, feel free to reply to this email to contact me directly with any comments, too. Thank you!
One of the features I like about Spotify is the ability to follow people, which lets you see what they are listening to in a feed. You can follow your friends, but you can also follow public figures or colleagues. I talked about this once in a previous newsletter, because I figured out Aidy Bryant’s profile name. Right now, for example, she is listening to the Chloe x Halle song “Do It.” Most of the people I follow are music nerds whose playlists I stumbled upon and hoped keeping tabs on their listening would clue me into new discoveries. I noticed one guy, Eule Chris, who I discovered because of his comprehensive playlists of music featured in Wire magazine, was constantly listening to artists I’d never heard of. When I’d click to listen to them, I’d almost always see that the song or album was brand new. Where was he finding out about all of this totally obscure, just released material?
Spotify doesn’t show you are large list of all the week’s new releases. Instead, they point you towards a curated list of their own, as well as a playlist that shows you new music from artists you already follow. No dice if you want to find something new outside of that. So I figured there must be some sort of feed Eule Chris was tapped into. This week I finally searched around until I found everynoise.com which is indeed a reverse chronological database of every release uploaded to Spotify, split into genre. And those genres are extremely specific and comprehensive. While you can certainly see all of the releases quantified under the large umbrella of “rap,” you can also dig into everything from “emo rap Italiano” to “German cloud rap.” Poking around, I listened to brand new kuduro and dub techno from obscure artists I almost certainly would not have discovered otherwise. I have no doubt I’ll be populating future playlists with songs I find via this feed. In fact, two of the songs this week came to me that way, Elsa Hewitt’s “Inhaler” and Vanyfox’s “Dormência,” the aforementioned kuduro track. It takes some patience, but it’s likely one of the most neutral ways to find new music I’ve ever seen. Still, it’s not a perfect system. Though I quite enjoyed discovering the music of Florence Adooni this week, she is most certainly not Finnish electronic.
Nominally a psychedelic rock group, at best the duo of Blues Control lean heavier on the psychedelic and do away with the rock. In addition to their typical guitar/keyboard set up, “Rest on Water” is bolstered by saxophone, which floats loosely across the entire track. The piano has a drunken ragtime quality and the whole thing feels like a blissed out improvisation, which it may very well be. A timeless track that could have as easily come out of the New York loft jazz scene of the ’70s as the weirdo Danish world of Posh Isolation today.
In general, it’s fair to say popular music has become less and less stratified by genre in the past several years. Artists like Frank Ocean or Billie Eilish have led this charge, taking bits of R&B, hip-hop, indie rock, and pop, melding them together to make a hybrid sound that has enthralled audiences of all types. Spotify’s popular, genreless playlist Pollen is a tribute to this non-style style. Maybe I’m wrong, but I don’t think the same is true for experimental music, where it feels easier to identify the separate strains. But listening to Yantan Ministry’s music, I’m struck by how difficult it is to categorize. Some moments are euphoric, some are dystopian. Sometimes the sounds are angular, sometimes they are soft. Their instrumental EP, appropriately titled Radio Unnameable, is mostly electronic, but contains plenty of organic sounds, from piano to laughter. The track included here, “From Harm,” feels as much like modern composition as it does techno, starting with the raw scrub of strings. The last song, with its loping guitar, feels like heartbroken country meets goth with some funky bleeps. The one thing I will say about the whole album is that the tone is pretty mirthful throughout. A truly fun journey of unexpected sound.
Lion’s Drums, “Water”
MB Gordy, “Back Alleys”
Blues Control, “Rest on Water”
Shiho Yamada, “La grande bleue”
Michael Vetter, “Falte”
Elsa Hewitt, “Inhaler”
Entro Senestre, “Constant Elevation”
Tara Cross and Stefan Tischler, “Checkpoint”
Jasper van’t Hofs Pili Pili, “Smiling Lingala”
Yantan Ministry, “From Harm”
Emeralds, “Science Center”