GIRL CRUSH IN WONDERLAND

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This one is more difficult than usual because it’s defined by beats and female voices that have wound their way into my spine, up the nape of my neck, through my head, clouding my eyes, rolling through my nose and out of my mouth as I do anonymous sing-along versions while dancing in my room. The one binding strain is the magical catalyst that brought me to them – Annie Mac and her other worldly week day shows. Hers has got be my favourite voice in the universe, just because of the bridges she’s built between a nutter like me and songs that are waiting to be adopted and re-played until they are born again.

We’re well in to 2016, struggling with resolutions we made at the beginning of the year but still under the illusion that we could possibly pull them all off because it’s March. What better way to yank out four voices from the closing months of 2015 that made me feel like I could become a unicorn if I wanted to bad enough.

There’s always that twilight moment between the time a distinctive voice first crashes into the public realm, early adopters who hear it and feel that surge of excitement at having discovered a raw sound that holds the promise of earthly domination in the coming months, and then the actual moment where it’s everywhere you go. Unfortunately, I didn’t make the most of twilight because I was too busy building my empire but here we are now.

  1. Dua Lipa – New Love (Warner Music)

Speaking of unicorns, Dua Lipa is definitely one. I first heard ‘Be The One’ in October last year and it made the multi-tasking neurons in my brain stop and light up in a collective flare. Of course, now she’s all over every ‘voices to watch out for in 2016’ article, including, might I add, FORBES magazine: http://www.forbes.com/sites/livbuli/2016/03/01/10-reasons-why-dua-lipa-could-become-the-next-big-pop-star/#6a06b6f23d66

I remember feeling completely swept away, smitten. She has the ability to crawl in to places in your head reserved for wasabi after shocks, ice lolly brain freezes and dangerously overwhelming gin and tonic highs. But with a melodic rawness that’s both powerful and vulnerable, her music includes no man’s land spaces waiting to be filled with our own associations – something every artist aspires to create. Once a song is released in to this concrete jungle, it belongs to no one and everyone at the same time. I love all her three releases so far like favourite but unique bangles reserved for different days of the week. The omnipresent ‘Be The One’ is what first made me fall in love, and ‘Last Dance’ is as enchanting as the forest she runs through in its video, but here’s the very first – ‘New Love’ –  because there’s something hauntingly arresting about its simultaneous hope and nostalgia. Oh, and she also covered Jamie xx’s ‘Good Times’.

2. Danny L Harle – Broken Flowers (Columbia Records)

‘Teardrops feel like showers/ There’s nothing I can see/ Lying awake for hours/ Time stands still around me’

Nope, I didn’t write those lyrics, but the voice on producer Danny L Harle’s insanely catchy ‘Broken Flowers’ sings them. You know those mornings where you Just.Could.Not.Be.Arsed to deal with expectations, humans, traffic, laundry and life in general? The beauty of this track lies in its ability to create gold out of shit – serious new age alchemy going on here. I listen to it and for three minutes and twenty two seconds, I embody the most power pop ‘F you’ vibe my body can muster. These beats are everyone’s mundane responsibilities wrapped in electrocuted glitter and transformed into a subversive anthem. Go!

3. NAO – Bad Blood (RCA Records)

Then there’s NAO. Everyone I’ve introduced ‘Bad Blood’ to goes ‘WHOOOAAAAAA, where did THAT come from?!’ What gets me most about this song is how every pause is as special as the surge of sound that comes right after it. Like the three seconds on top of a water slide before you become a soaked rocket. I’d love to spew some more ridiculous metaphors to describe her tune, but I’d rather you felt the sexy surprise for yourself. Just be prepared to think ‘I want whatever she’s tripping on’.

4. Riton – Rinse & Repeat feat Kah-Lo (Ministry of Sound)

This last one inhabits a different planet because it’s SO badass, you don’t have the TIME for spaces, recollections, daydreams or imagination. Cheers Annie, Riton (British producer Henry Smithson) and Kah-Lo have made my inner Mad Max come alive. Nothing beats a no bullshit garage vibe – no need for milk, sugar, foam or some synthetic syrup when one shot of gritty espresso will do – ‘This is not how I woke up/ But it’s how I look now’ – says Kah-Lo with a voice that’s distinctly her own but aptly reminiscent of notorious favourite Azealia Banks. I’ve been listening to this every damn DAY ever since I found it in November last year. Just like the title says – Rinse & Repeat. If Charlize Theron listened to acid house, she’d start with this.

I always upload all my recommendations into a playlist on my Soundcloud, but because of major label streaming restrictions, a bunch are unavailable. YouTube for now peeps, more later!

Tweet me @chooncracker if you feel like Alice or drop me an e-mail at chooncracker@gmail.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cracker Mini Mix: Bass Cake

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The guilt I feel for letting two months pass without writing anything can only be assuaged with one thing – a slamming bass line. To be fair, the stress of moving into a new flat and dealing with all sorts of impossible humans in the process is the main reason I didn’t sit down. But it wasn’t because there weren’t enough tunes that didn’t hit me between the eyes – may as well curl up under a mound of boiled spaghetti and sleep for a few years if you haven’t discovered any good music to save your sanity every other day!

The one element that always gets my vibe back on track is a memorable bass line. Especially when I want to blur out incoming static. The calming (and reviving!) nature of repeated, visceral, low frequency sounds can remind you what to focus on in your own cluttered mind, or zone out everything around you with their persistent power. Or dance like a grizzly bear that’s just sneaked out of a zoo and found a forest to leap in. Sometimes all three. Who doesn’t want THAT?! I can trace my obsession with bass (and bass lines) to two songs that are both, creepily enough, track no 7 on their respective albums.

The first is possibly one of the most famous and well loved – The Police’s ‘Every Breath You Take’  from their fifth studio album Synchronicity (interestingly, the first album I listened to from beginning to end and copied the lyrics from at the wise age of ten). The second is Bakithi Kumalo’s bass solo on Paul Simon’s ‘You Can Call Me Al’. Again, song no 7 on the seismic, life-changing album that is Graceland, which my mum made me listen to on a road trip when I was 12. Later absorptions were Queen’s resounding, rainbow-flavoured bass lines on pretty much everything they did, amplified by Freddie Mercury’s voice which sounds like a deep dish pizza baked for about ten years. Soon, the combination of bass and synth took over my life, no points for realising why I’m married to all sorts of categories and sub categories of electronic music now.

Here is a teensy playlist of three recent (and one slightly older) songs whose bass lines make me want to run up to a terrace and dance like the above mentioned grizzly bear. Except more sexily. A unicorn maybe? Hot Creations is one of my favourite dance labels out there; not only did the 2012 smash ‘Benediction’ turn me into a forever fan of co- founders Jamie Jones and Lee Foss (who also happen to be members of the talent behind the track, Hot Natured, along with Ali Love with recent additions Luca C and Annabel Englund), but the art on some of the releases looks like some sort of next level circus ballet kaleidoscope.

Three of the tracks in my bass cake are Hot Creations releases. The first is from Jamie Jones’s recent EP, ‘Siberian Express’. It’s called ‘Captain Kirk’s Battle Dance’ – I don’t want to describe it because the glorious name can tempt any one (if not, you don’t deserve to listen to it or enjoy candy).

The second is ‘Pinball’ by Paul C & Paolo Martini. I heard it when I was packing up my old flat into card board boxes to escape a crazy flatmate and couldn’t concentrate because I heard this. It was the perfect accompaniment to my mood. The song deep fries late seventies disco, coats it in a weird but delicious synergy of hot sauce and maple syrup and serves it on a spaceship bound for 2015.

The greatest woman in the world, the unicorn queen of dance playlists and good vibes, Annie Mac, played track number three A LOT this November. And I fell in love with it. This one makes me forget everything for six minutes and want to dance covered in bad ass glitter. May as well, since it actually asks you to ‘shake your tail feather’.  ‘Chunky’ by Format:B

The fourth one is actually around four years old and one I’ve loved for a while, but the bass on it and the careful way it maintains its speed at a constant, deliberate plateau makes me want hug Nicolas Jaar for a week. Like anything Nico, it makes me wonder at how so many elements and the consequent feelings they create can fit in to one track and make them sound like a family since time began. ‘The Ego’ is also one of the sexiest songs in the world – a category Marvin Gaye invented.

Click here for a unicorn times:

You can write to me at chooncracker@gmail.com or Tweet me @chooncracker

 

One Cracker

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One of my favourite feelings is the sensation I get right after one sip of a caramel macchiato. The caramel hits first, so sickeningly sweet that my teeth clench and I’m semi-blinded for a micro second. But then there’s hot, bland foam and a sudden hit of a sharp espresso shot. It’s like a candy floss crazed kid suddenly morphing into a bloodshot-eyed banker. And the aftertaste is the uncanny combination of this otherworldly personality, unsettlingly settled. THIS aftertaste is how the bass line on ‘Makeba’ makes me feel.

Last weekend, I got a text message informing me I’d been charged a hundred and twenty rupees for my subscription to Apple Music. Yup, my three month trial period was over and there I was, feeling dutifully bound to press play on Beats 1, standing in a towel, deciding which lucky tune would soundtrack one of my first weekend showers. And ‘Makeba’ was my favourite from Anna Lunoe’s show that (Mumbai) morning and (LA) evening. While obviously a tribute to the musical legacy of Miriam Makeba, the vibe has its own multi-layered sweetness (hence the caramel-inflected gush above, dedicated to its macchiato bass line). It released in June this year, but it’s never too late to discover something fun!

The second verse goes ‘Nobody can beat the Mama Africa/ You will love the beat that she’s gonna give you/ I need a smile you can love/ Make it go, the sufferation of a thousand more’. While I got sufficiently obsessed with Miriam Makeba’s music at university, the three songs that stayed with me were ‘Naughty Little Flea’, ‘Orlando’ and ‘Amampondo’ (apart from the anthemic Pata Pata that everybody knows and loves). Check them out! The bass line in Amampondo thumps in to my stomach lining every time I hear it, along with an ache aligned with my wish to have been around in the Johannesburg of the time – it’s that deep and visceral. The songwriter/singer/beat maker behind this tune, JAIN, hails from Toulouse and interestingly, cites Otis Redding and Nina Simone as influences. Her track ‘Makeba’ has been my cracker this past week – no one can come close to Miriam Makeba’s gentle but powerful style, unique in its ability to awaken something sweetly mellow inside everyone, and this song encapsulates some of the feelings I had when I first heard Miriam’s music. And is an intriguingly wistful yet happy introduction to a past it honours in case you haven’t visited the sounds before.

Check out the Soundcloud link below!

Tweet me at @chooncracker or write to me at chooncracker@gmail.com if you want some more espresso-inspired tune-age!

Cracker Mini Mix: Underwater BPM

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Hello again! Let’s reverse habit and click here first, before reading:

I’ve become somewhat obsessed with tracks that create an underwater sensation in my ears – that particular moment when your head is beneath water but you can still see the sun. A couple of weeks ago, one of the greatest, ‘how-is-he-possible’ producers and one of my top 10, Kaytranada, uploaded EIGHT NEW TRACKS on to Soundcloud in one shot. I died, maniacally listening to each so I could pick my favourite. I love all. I do. But, I’ve chosen ‘Whateva U Want’ because it’s got the unique ability to let you dance while sitting in a chair, a skill I’ve mastered during week days spent at a desk. Kaytranada has this effortless knack of making funk seem like his invention. He fades the beats in and out while making them more present than ever, exactly how I feel when my ears are blocked with water and everything I hear comes with a gurgling bassline; this song is the reason behind my underwater playlist.

The beautiful, soul-saving YouTube channel, The Sound You Need, has introduced me to some of the most ethereal music to have kissed my eardrums – everything you hear there is the audio equivalent of sneaking bare foot on to a freshly mowed lawn when no one is watching. A month ago, I heard another weird and wonderful underwater sensation song (that’s my genre invention, you read it here first). The ‘drop’, if you can call it that, is the closest I’ve come to experiencing exploding bubbles though headphones. It’s by French producer Mome, featuring the vocals of Merryn Jeann, and is aptly titled ‘Aloha’ –another way of saying you’re wide awake and dancing under the sea?!?

The next one is three years old, but I’ve included it because it’s new to me. One of the first producers that got me hooked to the big, stunning world of everything electronic was Nick Bracegirdle of Chicane – the first time I heard a song by him was at the grand old age of 13, on a ‘party’ compilation. The song was ‘Saltwater’ featuring Clannad, and it unsettled me in the best way possible because I couldn’t put it in a box in my brain, so used to only classic rock and charting pop. Many years later, when I was 23, I fell forever in love with Chicane, especially ‘Low Sun’ and ‘No Ordinary Morning’ – still two of my ultimate favourites. The reason for this autobiographical digression is a producer called Scarper whom I discovered on Twitter a couple of weeks ago. I checked out his track ‘Bubblecloud’, and it made me feel like Chicane did all those years ago. If you love dreamy, twilight-flavoured melodies framed with bass, this is it! The name ‘Bubblecloud’ made the track fall into my theme’s lap.

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At 4 is ‘Indian Summer’ by Jai Wolf – underwater with sixties Bollywood feels! I rarely have ‘WTF’ moments when it comes to music, but the first time I heard this song a few months ago, my eyelashes trembled with happy confusion. My underwater soundtrack also features Tom Misch, a new discovery signed to Delicieuse Musique, one of my favourite record labels. The track ‘Clapclapclap’ sounds like a daydreaming mermaid’s brush with disco. These days, that’s kind of my secret identity anyway.

The last track came to me via one of my favourite features – Annie Mac’s Free Music Mondays, where she uploads a track she loves by an upcoming producer for free download. Every Monday. Also, did you think I could proceed with a post without mentioning the idol of my radio-obsessed life? ‘Comfort in Your Company’ is the aural version of trying to blink under the sea. But in time to a sexy staccato beat while a mini wave sort of nudges you.

Track List:

  1. Whateva U Want – Kaytranada
  2. Aloha – Mome feat. Merryn Jeann
  3. Bubblecloud – Scarper
  4. Indian Summer – Jai Wolf
  5. Clapclapclap – Tom Misch
  6. Comfort in Your Company – Ren Phillips feat Cameron Bloomfield

If you loved these, write to me at chooncracker@gmail.com or Tweet me at @chooncracker I’m pretty sure water will feel different now.

ONE CRACKER

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I don’t know what it is about being 29, but my internal hard drive is losing wiggle room for all flavours and degrees of BULLSHIT. Whether it’s the general lack of respect for personal space or views, the alarming nature and claustrophobic size of people’s expectations and inability to just calm the f**k down and let you do your own thing without pronouncing their ignorant verdicts on what THEY think YOU should be doing instead of concentrating on their own crap, I have seriously had it. As my friend Abhik says – ‘Kindly manage your expectations and leave the premises’. Unfortunately, most premises don’t belong to me and so, all I can do is chug calming green tea (or many bottles of wine) and blur my vision and hearing so both senses become massively selective. For this very purpose, I found my anthem to lovingly soundtrack this internal rebellion.

I’d been hearing snatches of the same track for a couple of months and maddeningly, didn’t know who had made it. Finally, on September 11, I was listening to an Annie Mac podcast (bless her electro soul, beautiful airwave voice and curly hair and yes, I’m still and always will be, smitten) and heard the whole track with all the info I needed! Eats Everything is one of my favourite garage/jungle producers (his brilliant alias is a bonus) and one of the most respected dance music producers Bristol has given the world.

‘Let’s Go Dancing’ is originally by Tiga and Audion, and Eats Everything’s edit, called ‘Dancing (Again!)’ has been shooting rockets through my bloodstream this past month. The song went ballistic across dance floors and Disclosure released it on their Method White label. The raw grit of its sound makes my toes curl, every time I hear it I can cut out every ugly vibe trying to piss on my mojo. I thought I’d missed the boat trying to write about it way after its release, but the killer video just dropped less than 24 hours ago! YAY! What better occasion to mark my one month love affair with a soul-saving piece of audio mercy? The video is morbidly funny, a metaphor for telling butt wipes to F off without actually saying it. The track with its original length can be found right below it, premiered by THUMP on August 18.

And yeah, you’re welcome.

If you want me to choose something fun for you, write to me at chooncracker@gmail.com or tweet me at @chooncracker

Cracker Mini Mix: Dawn

I heard a song last week that I couldn’t quite fit into a ‘regular’ time of day. It made me think of that early half light when your eyes have opened accidentally, or if your night out is turning into morning. But one of my favourite associations with dawn (yup, that time of day has a word and I know it!) is one of those rare moments when you know you have a relaxed day ahead and can may be let your toes uncurl one by one. The song that inspired this scientific breakthrough of solar proportions is ‘Clean’ by The Japanese House. It’s so deliciously lazy and full at the same time. The best part? It reminds me utterly and deeply of Imogen Heap’s ‘Goodnight and Go’. I’ve put together a baby playlist of songs for dawn, including Jamie Woon’s lush latest,  tracks from Maribou State, Alina Baraz & Galimatias, Angel Haze AND the classic Kaytranada rework of ‘Be Your Girl’. I close with the soft but heavily raw Ben Khan because by this time I’m sure the sun has risen! Happy crusty eyes and lazy lashes!

Track listing:

Clean – The Japanese House

Sharpness – Jamie Woon

Wallflower – Maribou State

Make You Feel – Alina Baraz & Galamatias

Moonrise Kingdom – Angel Haze

Be Your Girl – Teedra Moses (Kaytranada Edition)

Youth – Ben Khan

Tweet me if your lashes felt happy at @chooncracker or e-mail me at chooncracker@gmail.com

Cracker Mini Mix: The Unlikely Sessions II

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Over the past few weeks, I have encountered some super fun reworks of retro, nineties and present day songs that we know and love in their original form(s). But the right imagination can turn them into a carnival, as I sort of said in my very first post.

  1. Easy Love – Sigala (Ministry of Sound)

This song is the reason I decided to do a part 2! It makes you feel like poster colours have SOUNDS. Anybody who has the baby ghost of a dancing bone in their body has loved funk in some form or another. Sigala sample ‘ABC’ by the The Jackson 5 here in a way that only be called a controlled heart attack. The xylophone vibe of the groove is pure happiness. Here, get electrocuted by a candy floss version of the past:

2. Return of the Mack (Kaytranada Blend) – Mark Morrison x J Dilla

A track that dropped in 1996 changed my life NINE years later, when I was 16 and heard it in a dodgy ‘club’. Mark Morrison made longing sound ‘cool’ with Return of The Mack. I love this song in a way you love everything you love when you’re 16: desperately. Kaytranada’s remix doesn’t have the heavy dance melody of the original, but a slowed down, sexy Rn’B aura that changes it into a ‘hang out’ song. Yum.

3. Paul Kalkbrenner – Feed Your Head (Sony/ Columbia)

Now we’re in a past where I didn’t exist: 1967. The year Jefferson Airplane released Surrealistic Pillow and gave us ‘White Rabbit’. They didn’t know then how surreal their sixties pillow would get in 2015 – this Paul Kalbrenner remix is hauntingly perfect. Grace Slick’s voice reminds me so much of Florence and her very talented machine, and Kalkbrenner’s version has that scary ability of making you nostalgic and happily present at the same time.

4. Queen of Peace (Hot Chip Remix) – Florence and the Machine (original version on Island Records)

Picture my heart attack when I found out on September 4, 2015 that my favourite electro pop duo had remixed only the greatest woman vocalist of our generation on September 3. Yup, Hot Chip remixed… Florence & The Machine! SHEEEEEEEEEEEEEEET! The original ‘Queen of Peace’ has the grand orchestral styling and heavy riffs Flo fans are so familiar with. She has such gut-wrenching power in her voice, one wouldn’t expect a semi-techno rework to cuddle her vocal chords so perfectly. But that’s the best part about a pleasant surprise. This version makes her the queen of a very bass-inflected peace. I can’t go a day without calling out to my #1 inspiration, Annie Mac: Thank you for making it your HOTTEST RECORD IN THE WORLD on September 3! Just saying.

Unfortunately, YouTube has taken down this track, but you can listen to it on Soundcloud for now. I’ve made a mini playlist of these four tracks and the best-for-last at number 4 is Hot Chip + Florence:

Tweet me your favourite unlikely remixes at @chooncracker or e-mail me at chooncracker@gmail.com!

Cracker Mini Mix: The Electric Earworm

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So I’ve been a bit shit and not posted in 17 days (an update for my baby fistful of readers) and been feeling horrendous about it because I have tunes to gush about! This time, I’ve decided to play with a term I first heard on BBC 6music a couple of years ago. You know that delicious but inconvenient feeling when a song gets stuck in your head and you can’t get it out no matter what you do, where you go, how boring your lunch or your companions are? (Actually, it’s great to have a tune in your head for these mundane moments because it’s what keeps you from yanking out eyeballs! Others’, not your own.) THAT kind of special, life-saving, daydream-aiding, toes-beneath-desk-tapping, choreographing-dance-moves-in-the-shower sort of SONG, is called….an EARWORM. Since you and I probably have seventy three such tunes in our eyeball-saving mental library, I’ve picked five earworms that only entered my life recently. Preeeeesenting my fourth Cracker Mini Mix: The Electric Earworm

  1. Impossible – Lion Babe (Interscope Records)

My undying love and reverence for Annie Mac is not a secret. Recently, Mele did a five-minute mini mix for her that prevented my brazenly bad Tuesday from getting even worse. THAT is what I call a ninja tune! (Pun intended, for those who got it). Anyway, I tweeted her, she ‘favourited’ it and it was the single most glorious moment of 2015 for me. Here, check out my not-so-humble screenshot:

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The point behind my starry-eyed revelation is, it was through an Annie show on Radio 1 about a month ago that I first encountered the don’t-mess-with-me-vibe of Lion Babe. Isn’t that a baller name? Imagine introducing yourself: ‘It’s Lion Babe. First name Lion, last name Babe’. Lion Babe are actually are a duo from New York (comprising badass front woman Jillian Hervey and instrumentalist Lucas Goodman) and while they’ve been putting out music since 2012 I only heard them (via Annie) with ‘Impossible’ a month ago. The next time you’re feeling a bit low or annoyed and need to feel a bit gangsta again, listen to this. It’s been my go-to song to play while I take a morning shower or need a post-lunch pick me up. (Also recommend ‘Jump Hi’ by them, featuring Childish Gambino).

  1. Yeah Yeah Yeah – Jax Jones (Eton Messy)

If you’re into dance music and your introduction to it began in the nineties, Moby was instrumental in opening a whole new world to you (at least that’s how it was for me!). One of my favourite feelings is encountering a tune by a contemporary producer that makes my skin cells feel exactly like they did with an old favourite. Dance music (and pretty much all music) is a mutating creature that consciously or subconsciously borrows from past or present influences while rooting them in a personalised context, so this isn’t my scientific breakthrough. However, with ‘Yeah Yeah Yeah’, Jax Jones has done for me now what Moby did for me then with ‘Lift Me Up’. I kind of told him:

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 It’s a killer, check it out. Also, it happens to be on Eton Messy, one of the coolest independent dance labels out there.

  1. Foreign Language feat Jess – Flight Facilities (Future Classic)

So. Now that you’re (hopefully) enjoying my electric earworms, this one falls into a special place. I’m a bit of a disco douche, being overly partial to music that favours shameless synths and inflated beats above all else. Nothing screams contented flamboyance like disco can. This one is a few years old, but I still feel not enough people are fawning over the bottled happiness that Flight Facilities have to offer. I also used this as one of the accompanying tunes for my friend Abhik’s Martini Candyland review for our joint venture ‘The Melting Mixtape’ https://radiowasabi.wordpress.com/category/the-melting-mixtape/ but because I listen to it every other day, it’s definitely an earworm. It’s perfect to get ready to, especially if you’re planning to look a bit sexy.

  1. Boy Boy Boy – andhim (Black Butter Records)

While this has been around for a year, I only discovered it after hearing about it on Beatport a couple of months ago. Although the only vocal you hear is the constant ‘boy boy boy’, it’s the looped, trippy guitar notes that make this track an electric earworm. It’s one of those no-brainer mood boosters splashed over a cheeky bassline. When it comes to streaming music from YouTube, I have to admit I don’t usually watch the video because it’s open in another window and I just want the song. BUT, the video for this track is pure hilarity, I guarantee you’ll go ‘whaaa?’ while watching it but will definitely laugh!

  1. Tove Lo – Talking Body (Jax Jonex Remix)

Yes, I’m on a bit of a Jax Jones fangirl trip these days. Tove Lo is not an unfamiliar name to anyone sort of familiar with the charts this past year, and while ‘Talking Body’ made a huge ripple (not least because of its straightforward lyrics) it’s this remix that’s made it to my electric earworm selection. You’ve got to reserve judgement until the 47 second mark though, ‘cause that’s when it gets you. And after that, it keeps getting you until it becomes a staple in your espresso-replacement part of the day when more coffee would be lethal and so you resort to a headphone rush to keep things going. Really sexy house bassline twist to a pop record, frantic but tight.  Can’t get enough.

There you have it, my five electric earworms that’ll live in your cranium for weeks! I also made a playlist of them on my Soundcloud page, lucky you!

Do you have any earworms you’d like to share? Tweet me at @chooncracker or write to me at chooncracker@gmail.com

Cracker Mini Mix: Moon Walk

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Before you think I’m going to choreograph a Michael Jackson tribute video on my blog, stop. (FYI, I love MJ to death so don’t take that the wrong way). I recently joined Twitter (yes, I’m late to the explosion) to reach fellow mixtape maniacs and quickly discovered some of the kindest, most interesting producers out there. One of my brand new followers had posted a link to a recent track he’d made. While listening to it, I was trying to decide how it made me feel (as one does), and it made me feel….like I was on an ethereal, solo holiday ON the MOON. And then I thought….why not put together a playlist of recent songs that could soundtrack a visit to the moon? No, I’m not normal. But how many tired workout playlists do you want to listen to before you stop running and want a personalised motion picture soundtrack designed for your explorations in outer space? Don’t answer that, just check these out. And maybe say a silent hello to Neil Armstrong’s satellite spirit.

I’ve written mini descriptions for each track below my playlist link (because it’s fun).Try and read them while you’re listening, tell me if you feel what I did!

  1. The Man From Another Place – Jimmy Maheras (Plastic Love Recordings)

A salute to the track that inspired this whacked out theme! The groove is so infectious, my 60 year old dad starting moving his head to it while reading the morning paper this weekend on my visit home! Once the song comes into its own after the groove pauses, I feel like I’m semi walking/bobbing over an arid moonscape beneath soft white light. The beat is defined and fluid simultaneously, how can you not love it when that happens!

  1. I Luv U – Demo Taped

This one is an out of body experience, like being underwater with speakers fading layered sounds in and out. This is what the absence of gravity must feel like! When I first heard it, I tweeted the man himself. Adam Alexander (he’s 17, by the way), is a singer/songwriter/producer from Atlanta who produces under the name ‘Demo Taped’ and lists Flying Lotus, Daedelus and Nosaj Thing amongst his influences. He sent me two hearts and I had to share them:

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  1. Afterglow – Ryan Hemsworth 

I have been a Ryan Hemsworth fan since first gift wrapping my ears with his remixes of Frank Ocean and Cat Power. This tune epitomises what I like to call the ‘sailing sensation’ – that extended moment when you’re in the ZONE – when you’ve reached your destination, mental or physical, and all you have to do is ride with it. Moon time!

  1. Piano Jam – Kygo

Where would I be without some Kygo? Certainly not on the moon! This is mega gentle and the perfect extension for our sailing sensation. When the strings make an entrance, it’s a symphony for a floating moonwalk.

  1. Lost feat MO (Frank Ocean Cover) – Major Lazer (Mad Decent)

Speaking of Frank Ocean, the man who marked a turning point in 2012 with Channel Orange, here’s the next one. I love Major Lazer and the hyper kinetic energy that oozes from every pore of their mash ups. When they covered Ocean’s ‘Lost’, I nearly died of excitement. If bubble tea had a sound, this would be it. Not only is ‘Lost’ a convenient title for being, well…on the moon, the vibe is pretty outer-spacey.

  1. Superman – Ferreck Dawn (Radio Edit) (BMKLTSCH Records)

Now that you’re killing it on the moon, I’m sure you feel like a super slick superhero. That’s why it’s time for some nutty deep house to rock your moon socks.

  1. Constellations – CamelPhat (Spinnin’ Deep/ Spinnin’ Records)

For plateauing energy levels, this is the perfect tune to maintain where you’re at without losing it. Also, it’s called ‘Contellations’ – a lovely coincidence. I swear.

  1. Drive You Home – Sam Feldt & The Him featuring The Donnies The Armys (Spinnin’ Deep/ Spinnin’ Records)

This is the last one, aptly titled ‘Drive You Home’. Sam Feldt’s tropical mixtapes have been on loop in my room on several mornings, and here is his latest solo release. The sheer happiness factor here is unmistakable, and there is nothing else I’d rather feel towards the end of a playlist. Especially the trumpet – nothing says ‘invincible in outer space’ like a confident trumpet.

If you feel amazingly moon-bound, write to me at chooncracker@gmail.com. Or tweet me @chooncracker

 

Cracker Mini Mix: Summer Sunday Sessions

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This is exactly what you think it is: a playlist designed for the day before Monday hits you between the eyes again. A lot of ‘chilled out’ music is, in my opinion, associated with a distinct lack of lyrics, as if the presence of words will make you want to host a karaoke rave on a Sunday afternoon (don’t look at me, I haven’t done this. Yet). I find that vocals can sometimes aid the ‘calming down’ process. I’ve picked recently released tunes (May/June/July 2015); pieces by artists I follow, played by radio DJs I love, on labels I trust. From the scattered mayhem that exists on most audio platforms as far as ‘new’ releases are concerned, here are my handpicked eight; a half hour of relaxing choons to accompany your mid Sunday languishing/post siesta eye rubbing/ early evening tea drinking.

I’ve posted the track listing below the link (because I’m kind like that) along with the labels that released them (in case you’re a not-so-closet music nerd like me).

1. Them Changes – Thundercat (Brainfeeder)

2. Thirstin’ – Jack J (Future Times)

3. Nothing Left (feat. Will Heard) – Kygo (Sony Music/Ultra Music)

4. 1998 – Chet Faker feat. Banks (Future Classic)

5. Weight in Gold – Gallant (no label yet)

6. Loud Places feat Romy – Jamie xx (Young Turks)

7. How Hard I Try feat. James Hearsey – Filous (Ultra Music)

8. Nightcall – Kant (Black Butter Records)

If you enjoyed some, or all, or none of the above, write to me at chooncracker@gmail.com or follow me on Twitter at @chooncracker