2016: Second Quarter Favorites 22 picks from the last three months

This feature is made possible by Stagelight Monthly Music Contest. Submit a song for a chance to win $3.5K+ in studio tech, or simply vote and you'll be entered to win a prize every week! Download your FREE copy of Stagelight, The Easy Way to Create Music, for Windows or Android and start making music today. [What is this?]

For each year's first three quarters, we celebrate by sharing a list of our favorite music releases. Unlike our year-end lists, these quarter features are casually compiled, with an aim to spotlight the underdogs and the lesser-heard among the more popular picks. More from this series



Babyfather

BBF Hosted By DJ Escrow

[Hyperdub]


We couldn’t tell who was real and who wasn’t. If I’m honest, we didn’t even know what the full meaning of keeping it real was anymore. At this time, I found a lot of realness and comfort in the rap album called BBF. Babyfather’s tunes had us in the zone. Especially when we had a bottle in our stretched hands. The instrumentals alone had me pulling up this tape over and over. Is this quite serious? Is this quite serious or what? Get me. This makes me proud to be British. Tears and cookies. Let me fill your double cup. Gimmick. Gimmick. Nothing happens in a bubble. Fuck MI5 and its original title. We’re never gonna get it. It’s more fucking gunshots outside and the sunrise always over the horizon. Whatchu gonna do? You hear the sirens? Can you hear it?



YYU

Karaoke

[Lillerne]


What is it about repetition that draws a listener in? It can’t just be the comfort in the instant familiarity. There has to be something bigger, right? Perhaps it’s the affirmation that, out of the seemingly endless differences in life, not only do patterns emerge, but also the patterns have been there the entire time. Chance just may be how and when you view something. I mean, a ton of shit fell on various heads before an apple hit Isaac Newton’s. It’s all about time and place. And time and place are ever repeating. With YYU, repetition isn’t as much a mode expression as it is the expression, and on Karaoke, no matter how quick something changes, no matter how long something lasts, it all repeats itself. Always. What YYU is doing has been done, and it will be done later. YYU is just strolling on that Newton tip right now.



Foodman

Ez Minzoku

[Orange Milk]


In a helpless era, when the age conspires to make us feel irrelevant, powerless, incapable of affecting much of anything at all, Foodman (a.k.a. Yokohama producer Takahide Higuchi) presents an appealing solution: Become the god of your own miniature world. Ez Minzoku, Higuchi’s newest petri dish, swarms with hyperactive life forms, moving and squawking according to his rules. Hair metal guitar chords honk across the mix; horrified screams and mischievous squeals pile atop one another; funk bass stretches languorously over tap-tapping MIDI snares. The sounds make a kind of weird sense when taken as a whole, the way the word “jungle” reduces a teeming riot of life to something fathomable. “Mid Summer Night” is the most conventional track, a cool R&B, but the strands of its DNA are unmistakably woven by Higuchi — the rushing-heartbeat bass, the polyrhythms following their own logic. This kind of dissonance doesn’t only rebuke the comfortable norms of pop music — it’s the firmament of a whole alternate world lorded over by one mad Foodman.



James Ferraro

Human Story 3

[Self-Released]


           .-'"""'-.
      ,____|_______|____,
       '._____________.'  
           |.-- --.|      
           |(o) (o)|      
          (|       |)    GENDERLESS Mii
           |   U   |     CONSCIOUSNESS
 __        | .___. |        
/|||       |       |     
||||       :       :       EVERY NIGHT
|  |/)      `.___.'          I CRY
 \  /       __) (__        AT SIZZLER
  \/\      /\ \ / /\     
   \ \    /\ \ ^ / /\     
    \ \  / |  |0_/\_ \     SZECHUAN 
     \ \/ /|  | \  /\ \     COWBOY
      \  / |  |0//\\ \ \
       \/  | /   \ |  \ \
           |/ .-. \|  / /
        .-'|-( ~ )-| / /   HI! MY NAME'S         
        \  |--`-'--|/ /   
         \ |       | /
          \|   |   |/
           |   |   |      COULD U IMAGINE
           |   |   |     CHOKING TO DEATH AT
           |   |   |        RED LOBSTER?
           |   |   |
           |   |   |
           |___|___|     IKEA JUST PURCHASED
          `|---|---|'         A FOREST
          *|   |   |*    
           |_._|_._|
          /'  /|\  '\    SOMEONE POISONED
         /   /^ ^\   \    THE WATERHOLE!
        /__.'     `.__\



Tim Hecker

Love Streams

[4AD]


Writer and theorist Boris Groys once asked, “What is it about the present — the here-and-now — that so interests us?” In some sense, our cultural and economic reliance on aesthetic “movements” in both art and art-music drives the force of cultural overproduction, but for the last 15 years, Tim Hecker’s been out on his own, uncharted terrain. Love Streams continued much of our love for Hecker — again carving out icy gorges with Piano Drop-era melodies and closely-knit choral textures. Bobbing about in gentle, collapsing hooks, now in part indebted to the chorale composition of Josquin des Prez. Tracks like “Bijie Dream” and “Castrati Stack” were well-studied gestures toward perhaps the vastness of tech possibility, with subtle coloring in soft Icelandic auroras; while it didn’t sound as close to the “liturgical aesthetics after Yeezus” as some would’ve hoped, the soft use of auto-tune as a compositional device revealed much more about contemporary aesthetics-in-motion than it ever did about pop. Cutting up functional elements, now worked into a taut, electric collage, Love Streams showed us the need for challenging ensemble music again — every moment, a new composite sublime du jour.


For each year's first three quarters, we celebrate by sharing a list of our favorite music releases. Unlike our year-end lists, these quarter features are casually compiled, with an aim to spotlight the underdogs and the lesser-heard among the more popular picks. More from this series


This feature is made possible by Stagelight Monthly Music Contest. Submit a song for a chance to win $3.5K+ in studio tech, or simply vote and you'll be entered to win a prize every week! Download your FREE copy of Stagelight, The Easy Way to Create Music, for Windows or Android and start making music today. [What is this?]

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