Zero 7- “The Colour of Spring” (feat. Only Girl) Free Download

I had my doubts after the UK duo’s efforts with “Yeah Ghost” but they certainly deliver on this beautiful track made available today from RCRDLBL.com.  The track is part of a “Track Track” double cover album effort featuring well established artists like Arcade Fire, Broken Social Scene, Orbital, Underworld, and others and will be released on September 3rd along with a book about the English synth pop legends.

Since “The Colour of Spring” is a cover song, it can’t stray too far from the original, but Binns and Hardaker strip it down to a simple piano melody and place it alongside the beautiful vocal work of “Only Girl” (Ellen Murphy) to add a sense of urgency at the beginning.  There are some additional beautiful spacey synth sounds that wander in and out and a simple, repeating deep bass line (think Massive Attack’s “Protection”). A gradual fade out at the end of the track adds to its mystique.  It is really a great emotional piece.

I think what this track has that was missing from “Yeah Ghost” was that mystique of previous efforts as well were the beautiful vocals of Sia who went solo and then hit the charts on David Guetta’s “Titanium.”  There just wasn’t that iconic moment like they hit with on tracks like “Destiny” and “Somersault.”  Perhaps the closest they came on “Yeah Ghost” was Martha Tilston’s performance on “Pop Art Blue” but that track itself isn’t anything close to those Z7 standbys.  Only Girl’s vocals provide that mystique on this awesome cover track.  I just hope they can parlay that mystique over to their next full release!

Keep Chillin’

-Chris

Cream Chilled Electronic

OMT (One More Tune) Records has released a massive, three disc chillout set called “Cream Chilled Electronic.”  Thanks to Kate at UK music PR firm, Kish Communications, I was able to get a preview of the new compilation.

The compilation features not only almost four hours of chilled out tracks, but also some of the top names in the genre such as Air, Dido, Groove Armada, Moby, Royksopp, and Zero 7.  It was a bit heavily laced with the usual tracks by those artists which are normally featured on many chillout compilations, but I think overall it has a good balance of some well-known artists but yet has some that haven’t made it big yet as well.

One of the things I first noticed on this collection of songs was the number of artists that were popular in the 80’s.  There are songs by New Order, Simply Red, and Tears for Fears here.  Even Chaka Khan makes an appearance!  Definitely seems fitting since everyone is producing the 80’s synth pop sound these days, so why not include a few of the original artists?

My favorite track by one of the more well known artists was “Silver Cruiser” by Royksopp off of their recent release “Junior”, which has a bunch of off beat drum hits and wall of sound synth moments that took my breath away.  Fortunately I was able to gain it back with the minimalistic ending.  I hadn’t listened to all of “Junior” back when it came out and totally overlooked this track.  Will definitely give this one more spins now!

For the newcomers (at least for me) on this album, I really enjoyed the soulful, bluesy Misti Blu by Nottingham, UK trio Amillionsons.  Evening Star (Pink Frost Remix) by Todd Sparrow was a trance-like track with a great groove.  It seemed like a combination of Daft Punk’s sound with Neil Tennant’s (Pet Shop Boys) vocal style.  I also enjoyed another trance-y number called “November” by Norwegian Danny Andersen’s “Blackbelt Andersen” project.

There is also a bit of classical music influence on this compilation with a very well done  synth version of Barber’s “Adagio for Strings” by William Orbit.  “Angelica” by Lamb also has an electronic take on one of my favorite classical pieces, Debussy’s “Claire du Lune.”  The main melody of the piece is there along with some synth runs and other samples that brings a new twist to an old favorite, but still maintains the delicate nature of the original.

As I wrote earlier, there are a lot of tracks on “Cream Chilled Electronic” that appear on many other chillout compilations, however that is overcome with the quality of new tracks as well as the quantity (sitxy tracks!) and the diverse nature of chillin’ music  you get with this set.  I’d recommend picking it up as soon as possible!

Keep chillin’

-Chris

Great compilation to begin with…

Ultra Chilled 01-

After my first visit to the Irish bar where I first heard some great chillout music, I purchased Ultra Chilled 01. I believe this is a great compilation to introduce oneself to the genre. It has a great selection of chillout tracks with some well known artists and some unique to the genre. Among the 29 tracks on two discs, there are well over two hours of quality chillout tracks. Here are the highlights of Disc one. Since it’s late, I’ll cover the rest on the next post.

Dido- Here with Me (Chillin’ With the Family Mix)-

A pretty well known hit starts off Disc 1. The song was a bit overplayed on the radio when it was released, but this mix sets the tone for the rest of the compilation. The addition of a prelude with string instruments was welcomed and reassures the listener to relax and enjoy the music. The volume of the strings present in the album version of the song is brought down a bit and the drum track is brought up a bit, which makes a nice touch. The background vocals are brought down as well, which makes this version, in my opinion more enjoyable overall than the album one.

Sure Thing- St Germain

This is probably my favorite track on the entire two disc album. After a fade out of New Genius, this lively track kicks in a great beat with catchy, background vocals. Off of St Germain’s “Tourist,” I could listen to this one all night long.

Blindfold- Morcheeba

Another great early track. In fact, most of my favorites on this compilation are on disc 1, but disc 2 definitely does not disappoint. This track off of their second album Big Calm has a nice light feel with great vocals by Skye Edwards, bright sounding background strings, and has a great lead in to the next track “Bent,” which is a nice haunting number.

Eple- Röyksopp

After listing Sure Thing and Blindfold as early favorites, this peppy track is another light, airy number with heavier emphasis on electronic sounds. It’s a tad repetitive, but still accomplishes the goal of providing a soundtrack to chill.

Hymn of the Big Wheel- Massive Attack

This one seems grand in scale, but accomplishes it with minimal instrumentation accompanied by deep bass drum hits. A haunting, quiet outtro with thunder and rain sounds transitions nicely to Kruder & Dorfmeister’s “Original Bedroom Rockers.”

Destiny- Zero 7

Probably my 1-A favorite track behind Sure Thing. After hearing this song I was hooked on Zero 7 and went out and listened to as much as their stuff that I could find. Great vocals on this one by Sia Furler; strong enough to carry the song through, but delicate enough to still hear everything in the background. One of the most perfect chillout songs I have heard.

Daydream in Blue- I Monster

This one is currently being used in an AT&T cell phone commercial. Decent song, but very chopped up with different samples, strings, and other noise. The verses are good, but the rest is a mess. I just mentioned it since it’s on TV all the time now.

Anyway, the first disc is a great start to a terrific compilation for folks to introduce themselves to the genre.

Keep chillin’

ChilloutScene.com