Monthly Archives: July 2011

Jem

Jem is a Welsh singer-songwriter whose first album, Finally Woken, had a lot of amazing songs in the trip-hop genre. A friend of mine bought the album when it first came out and we listened to it for the first time together. I remember immediately loving it. I recently rediscovered Jem and was just asking if she had ever released a second album, which I just discovered she had in 2008. “They”, and “Come On Closer” are definitely my two favourite tracks on the album. I also love “Just A Ride” which I had totally forgotten was a Jem song until I released to the album only a couple of days ago.

I also forgot how diverse Finally Woken is. The first several tracks are darker, more electronic/trip-hop, but as the album progresses we get more acoustical sounding/”folktronica”. I just listened to her second album, Down to Earth, for the first time the other night. I need to give it another listen for sure, but it had some great tracks. Nothing compares to the singles from the first album though. It seemed much lighter, although there were some tracks which were more like her earlier style.

A lot of Jem’s music has been in all sorts of media, which is why some of the songs I had forgotten were hers until relistening to the albums. Her music has been featured on numerous T.V.  show such as Damages, The O.C., Desperate Housewives, Wonderfalls, 90210, Six Feet Under, Crossing Jordan, Grey’s Anatomy, Medium, and “Wish I” was used as the theme tune to the ITV show, Celebrity Love Island. According to her website: Jem is working on a new album that is supposed to be released the summer of this year (and it already being August this weekend, should be soon!) Fun fact: Jem (along with Guy Sigsworth) wrote the song “Nothing Fails” which was eventually reworked for Madonna’s American Life album! (Madonna is my all time, absolute, hands-down, favourite artist of all time!!!)


Esthero

I first discovered Esthero some time ago now, and her first album Breath From Another is a favourite of mine and one of those I always keep in my car. But just recently I finally got around to getting her second album, Wikked Lil’ Grrrls. She has only had these two albums thus far – the first being released in 1998 and the latter in 2005, but she is working on a third which should be released soon (if it hasn’t all ready; I haven’t seen it yet).

Despite having only two albums in the past decade, Esthero has had many collaborations with other artists, including DJ Krush, Black Eyed Peas, Left Eye, Timbaland, Kanye West, and Nelly Furtado to name a few. I really really love her first album. In an interview Esthero stated that she was not too fond of the album, but it has definitely become a trip-hop classic (and you know how much I loooove trip-hop!). I can’t even say which songs I like best because I like them all so much! I love her voice on this album and the trip-hop vibe is just incredibly chill. The songs are all so incredibly well done.

Having now listened to her second album I did not enjoy it nearly as much, although it was still really good. I will definitely have to give it another listen in the near future. It definitely had some great tracks but there is nothing like my love affair with Breath of Another. Check out her website for more info about her music and newest projects: Esthero


Bacil

I know nothing about Bacil except the fact that he is a Slovakian hip-hop artist that I just stumbled upon and I love him! I’ve probably said how much I love eastern European languages for hip-hop (especially my Polish hip-hop). The beats in the songs I’ve found so far are great and many have a great electronic element to them. I am trying desperately to find a full album of his!

Check out some of his videos!


Lamb

One of my all time favourite genres of music is trip-hop, and one of my favourite bands in that genre is Lamb. The duo is made up of producer Andy Barlow and singer-songwriter Lou Rhodes. Their music is mostly trip-hop, particularly the Bristol brand of the genre, but they also use many elements of jazz, dub, and drum and bass. The duo has had 4 albums to date, and I am most familiar with the compilation Best Kept Secrets.

One of their most famous tracks is “Górecki”, which is inspired by Górecki’s Symphony of Sorrowful Songs, which is an absolutely amazing symphony. It is heart-wrenchingly sorrowful and Polish so you know I love it! Their song ” Górecki” starts off with simple beats and a beautiful melody, and about a third of the way through the beat really picks up and it is an incredible moment.  “Gabriel” is another of their big singles, and it is one of my all time favourite trip-hop songs. The way the music builds is incredible, the lyrics are beautiful, and the sounds completely captivate me.

“Angelica” is definitely one of my favourite Lamb tracks. It uses part of Debussy’s “Claire de Lune” and you know how much I love the fusion of electronica and classical!  I could go on and on about so many of their tracks so definitely check them out! Lamb


Émilie Simon

Émilie Simon is a trip-hop/electronic artist from France. I first ran into her single “Fleur de Saison” from her second album Végétal and immediately loved her! Her self titled debut album was released in 2004 and went on to be a big success. Simon toured and appeared on TV shows all over France promoting the album. Simon wanted to orient her second album towards a more wintry or polar setting, and she proceeded to record sounds which relate to coldness such as the sounds of smashing ice and footsteps in the snow. Coincidentally, in the midst of her search for sounds for the album, she was contacted by producer Luc Jacquet to compose the original soundtrack for his documentary film La Marche de l’empereur (March of the Penguins in English), concerning the migration of emperor penguins during their annual migration (which I loved! Morgan Freeman is the best narrator!)

The album of hers I am most familiar with is Végétal, released in 2006. The album definitely has more rock elements but is still heavily electronic. “Fleur de Saison” and “Opium” are definitely my favourite tracks on it. The first is an energetic song which is absolutely one of my all time favourite French singles, and “Opium” is incredibly haunting. I believe she uses prepared piano for the track which is pretty badass.

She seems to have a thing for flowers, as in most of her videos she is surrounded by/part of a flower and many of her lyrics (particularly on Végétal) relate to flowers. AND her compilation is called The Flower Book. Check out her site: Emilie Simon