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

FRESH CRACKER: BEST NEW ARTIST

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The internet is flooded with ‘best’ and ‘new’ songs, producers, and musicians every nano second. I feel the words are used so carelessly; what’s best and what’s new changes every time you blink, so the power of such a strong testimonial wanes when the next life-changing artist is supposedly discovered in the time you spent buttoning your shirt before going to work this morning. So, yes. When I say ‘Best New Artist’, I MEAN they are THE BEST NEW THING I HAVE HEARD IN A LONG TIME, and I listen to A LOT of things ALL THE TIME.

Anyone who knows me will tell you Annie Mac is the woman I idolise above every source of inspiration I have; I try and listen to every podcast of every show she broadcasts on BBC Radio 1. I write down the track listing, I study the sequence, I remember her introductions, descriptions, and validations, inhaling every recommendation she plays like a shameless duck. It’s called a productive girl crush.

So, yesterday, while listening to a recent podcast, I heard one song that blew the beat out of my heart. You know that feeling when the voice in your head goes ‘WHERE DID THIS COME FROM? I want to go back in time and be a part of the experience that inspired these words, this tune, and that voice!’ And then, if you’re lucky, the artist will remind you of another artist you love, while sounding completely original, and the neurons in your brain will twist and flip until you remember who, exactly, reminds you of THIS new guy.

When I heard Rationale singing ‘Fuel to the Fire’, my cranium went into hyper overdrive trying to place an uncanny and striking resemblance. I heard David Bowie’s arrogantly stunning baritone mixed with the feel and melancholy in Future Islands’ music. And then there was this new guy’s voice, still sounding fresh despite its familiarity, changing my very-receptive-to-change, world. There is a very deep pain in his sound, but it’s perfect because there’s blinding, hopeful power right along with it as he sings ‘Pressure, air keeps falling/ On my shoulders/ From what I know it/ Ain’t no justice/ In these moments/ But we’ll find comfort/ When kingdom comes’. His voice makes my spine feel like a separate entity, that’s how physical the effect is. I searched for the song on YouTube while getting ready for work this morning. It had clocked 70 views. Around noon, the number was 225. When I started typing this less than an hour ago I saw 4,285. As I finish, it says 5,367. Come on, CLICK on the link below and let’s help him hit a million. No one in the recent past has deserved it more.

Follow me on Twitter at @chooncracker or e-mail me at chooncracker@gmail.com

Cracker Mini Mix: The Unlikely Sessions

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There is a backlash to the concept of the ‘remix’; how it takes away from the original, robs it of its inherent and intended awesome-ness, and ‘robs’ in general, as though the producer is some unimaginative thief leaving dirty footprints on the sultan’s ancient carpet. Please. Get with the times. Sometimes, yes, a version can be fairly shit. But sometimes, it can add a dimension to a classic making the world (and the original, beautiful carpet) a better place.

These are a few of the coolest (and most unlikely) reworks to have invaded my ear space in the last few years.

Paul Simon: Diamonds on The Soles Of Her Shoes (Todd Terje Dub) YEAR: 2013

Graceland is the album that inspired me to study and work in music (for reasons I won’t go into now), and Diamonds is my favourite song on it. Before Paul Simon purists carve out and then throw their eyeballs at me, give this a chance. Todd Terje isolates the best bits of the track: the stellar bass line, soft percussion, Ladysmith Black Mambazo’s sweet vocals, Simon’s distinctive voice, and hints of the lyrics, and then re-mixes them into this beautiful milkshake.

Dolly Parton: Jolene (Todd Terje Remix)   YEAR: 2015

I don’t like country music. Nor am I a closet Dolly Parton obsessive, collecting silk bell bottoms (I mean that respectfully, I think Ms Parton is a gangster in the nicest possible way). But, I love ‘Jolene’. I don’t know who she is but the melody her name is wrapped in is silkier than the bell bottoms mentioned above. The Terje version takes the riff of the original and turns it into a relentless earworm. I’ll shut up so you can listen.

Florence and the Machine: What Kind of Man (Nicolas Jaar Remix)  YEAR: 2015

Florence is unmatched; her fiery voice and fierce red hair to go with it. I have loved her (and her Machine) ever since her first album ‘Lungs’. Her third (and newest) ‘How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful’ is one of the best things about 2015. However, Nicolas Jaar is one of the best things pretty much every year of my life. It’s hard to image a female rock ballad going all electronic on you unless it’s Nicolas doing it. Every beat, every break, every repetition, extension, and deletion, is pure art.

Wiley: Skanking (2 Bears Remix)  YEAR: 2012

I didn’t know what ‘grime’ was until 2012. But then I interned with Ninja Tune and heard the semi-sweet sounds of Wiley on the Big Dada imprint. I do NOT like sounds being categorised by genre tags, it’s so limiting! Like describing a feeling with one word. Like saying ‘I went on a rollercoaster and it was mad’. Instead of ‘my stomach turned, my eyes expanded, my feet fell of my body, my life flashed before my eyes, and my nose exploded’. However, ‘grime’ is a lovely descriptor because you don’t know whether it’s gritty grime, slushy grime, dirty grime, or strawberry seeds flavoured with floating feathers. So you can use your imagination. The 2 Bears remix of this Wiley original is the meanest, sexiest, sleekest, most banging remix of all time (or this time). I will never get over it.

Follow me on Twitter at @chooncracker or drop me a line at chooncracker@gmail.com if you liked my post or want more! x

Hello world!

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Hi! I’m Kadambari and this is my self indulgent attempt at sound tracking your day with the most delicious tunes you’ve never (or maybe) heard.

Welcome to chooncracker, where I’ll invade your ears with all sorts of songs for all sorts of times.
I’m a mixtape maniac, radio addict and music nerd, associating tunes with eating, showering, dreaming, hibernating, ignoring, smiling, missing, kissing, dining, wining, dancing and pretty much stumbling my way through the days and weeks (with headphones on, obviously).
I’m currently surviving Mumbai, working at Sony on playlists and compilations.
This is dedicated to Annie Mac, the ultimate airplay gangsta, mash up monsta, bassline blender, choon bandit, curation QUEEN, my biggest, craziest, loveliest inspiration. Hi Annie, I love you!
I studied Ethnomusicology (yep, try saying it out loud) at the weird and wonderful School of Oriental & African Studies in my favourite home, London.
My first ‘office’ space after graduation was the Royal Albert Hall, I still don’t believe it. I then obsessively tracked playlists at every radio station in Europe at an internship with a radio plugger, interned at the surreal and perfectly nutty indie label Ninja Tune, and THEN studied the UK Top 40 radio airplay charts at Nielsen Music. I moved back (not out of choice) to New Delhi, India and died without music. Now I’m in Mumbai and it’s kind of fun!
WELCOME TO MY ORIGINAL MOTION PICTURE SOUNDTRACK, WIPE YOUR FEET AT THE DOOR, TUNE IT AND ZONE OUT!
 Follow me on Twitter @chooncracker or e-mail me at chooncracker@gmail.com