If there ever was an award for "The Greatest Midnight Record of the Year", the winner is without a doubt Violeta Päivänkakkara with her 5-track EP Kuu.
This Finnish spectacle of darkness is best enjoyed with all the lights out. Maybe a few little candles, but surely not too much. It would spoil the experience. This is an EP that I enjoy a lot several times a day, but is impossible to listen to when I'm already in bed, on my way to dreamland. It is as interesting as it is frightening. At least to me.
Imagine yourself in a dark forest. Alone. With this playing in your headphones. Over and over again. By the time the ghosts that you are so afraid off get to you, you've already shit yourself. Or worse. Usually that is a bad thing, but the fantastic music of Violeta Päivänkakkara is worth all that. And more. There's a nightmare hidden inside this music. But like all nightmares, this will end, you will wake up & all will be well. And here, with this EP, you don't just wake up, you'll feel alive like never before. If you let her take you on a 18-minute trip, it might just change your life. Or at least the way you listen to music.
I'm fairly sure there is no other EP out there so far (this year) or is being released later this year, that will come any close to this. Masterpiece is an understatement. I'm so in love, all my (ex-)girlfriends are gettin' jealous. 12 out of 10.
Sunday morning. Despite finding my bed late after far too much 90s dance tunes last night, I'm up. And I'm enjoying this fine little 3-track EP by Jeannot. Three songs written by John Glouchevitch, and recorded with some friends this Spring (one of them being Philippe Bronchtein aka Hip Hatchet). And just like Hip Hatchet's Coward's Luck EP last year, this is a sweet EP with only 1 tiny problem: It's over too soon!
This would be perfect on a Winter Sunday morning, with snow gently coming down and the world still asleep, but a Sunny Sunday morning with a cup of coffee and nothing else but the soothing sounds of this little masterpiece is also extremely fine. How good can a Sunday be? Based on the 1st 40 minutes, today is gonna be a great last day of my vacation. Thank you Jeannot, for starting up my Sunday this good!
Digits has recently released his new EP and it's another fine piece of music. Perfect for the late Saturday afternoon, getting yourself ready for a party tonight. Perhaps, while you're cooking dinner or sorting your clothes for the evening to come. Whatever your plans are, Where Do You Belong? will get you in the mood. "Looking For The Cure" is my favourite track, but this EP is best enjoyed from start to finish!
You can get it for only a few Dollars on digitsmusic.com, ór you can sent a receipt of a recent purchase his way & he'll sent you a free download-link. This artist is looking for new ways to keep people interested in paying for music, which is a cause well worth supporting! And when he's using nice tunes like these while doing so, it's guaranteed to work!
So on the days I don't feel like working out (which are most days of my vacation so far), I listen to this 4 times in a row and I'm sweating my arse off dancing & jumping around. I've just added it to my daily wake-up routine, for when I'll have to go back to work next week, it's impossible not to get out of bed when this track is booming out of the stereo!
There is no way I can really explain it. I've been trying for a few hours, days, maybe even weeks by now. But I can't. It is without a doubt not possible for me to explain why this is the finest record of the year. It is. That is all I know. Openingtrack "Woolgatherer" (if I must explain) is a perfect example of all the strength Conveyor combines in their music. It is rhythmic and a-rhythmic, it has their vocal harmony in a way Fleet Foxes might just be a little bit jealous of and it sounds delicious.
"Reach" is the 5th (song and) highlight on Conveyor's debut album, with the strange sea-like sounds and little bells combined with slow, almost soothing voices. It playfully guides you into "Homes", the next beauty. The song strongly reminded me of TV On The Radio, a great reference in my book. It is slow and powerfull building up to a 'Grande Finale' that never comes, with the drums guiding you through a song that only counts 17 (short) words near the end. Stylish and mesmerizing.
"Mukraker" was on the blog in January as a 1st taste of the upcoming album and it is still as good now as it was 6 months ago. It fits within the surroundings and that outro is among the finest moments in music I've heard this year.
This debut album is magic. Conveyor was a great promise 12 months ago, and have filled that promise beyond expectations. The rhythmic changes, the harmonic singing, the fine instrumentations, if the perfect debut album would excist, it would sound like this. I you are to buy 1 record this year, this should be it.
Today, 2 years have passed since Plug in, Baby! first started. In those 2 years, I've written almost 700 blogs, numbers of visitors have doubled and tripled, but most importantly, great music was found and shared.
For this blog I surf the web, trying to find great music to share. Sometimes, the music finds me, but I mostly go surfing for it. A great way of spending time, and I cherish every little pearl of music that I find and eventually can share with you. Without Plug in, Baby! I probably would never have found great bands like Conveyor, The Deloreans, Dry The River, The Rest and many more. Without this blog I would've never fallen in love with the beautiful music of Hip Hatchet, Pickering Pick, Rebecca Brandt, Bridie Jackson and (again) many, many more.
So for me, this blog is a success. It's my own little piece of the world wide web, where I can share my love for music in my own way, hoping to help you (the readers) discover great new music and on the other side, helping those great, yet unknown, bands get a little more attention. If I have ever helped 1 person fall in love with 1 band through this blog, I consider my job well done (not counting myself in this theory, though I've fallen in love several times in the 2 years that have passed).
I would like to thank everyone who visits Plug in, Baby! for taking the time to read my little declarations of love, and hopefully you enjoy most of the music as much as I do. The future is bright, with amazing things ahead of us. There's a few fine dance tracks lined up for tonight, tomorrow will be all about Conveyor's debut album (which is my new favourite record of the year, sorry Bridie..), there's 2 more interviews in the works and I have some amazing tunes on my laptop impatiently waiting for their moment of glory. Sit back, have a drink, enjoy your weekend; Plug in, Baby!
I tried to find a great party-track to this little story, I hope you forgive me for using this previously posted track. It still kills! #letsdance
Just about 2 months ago there was an item about Numbers & Shapes, the debut album by New York composer Rebecca Brandt. There was nothing really special about this, I fall in love with music all the time. Now that another 2 months have passed, it is safe to say, there is something special about this album, because I still can not get enough of it! It is still one of my favourite Sunday morning records and I fall asleep to her mesmerizing piano works at least twice a week. As of this week, she has serious competition, but for now this album is the instrumental highlight of the year. And Rebecca Brandt, turned out to be a very sweet lady, sending me an impressive thank you-mail, within 24 hours after I wrote my little lovestory. We've done an email-interview over the weekend, so we can get to know the lady responsible for Numbers & Shapes a little better.
Rebecca Brandt, talented composer from New York. What else is there to know about you? Married, kids, pets? I've always been in love with music. Started playing piano at age 4, violin at age 8, and had my first private composition lesson at age 10. I studied music composition and film scoring at NYU, and now I live in Brooklyn, New York. Aside from my solo project, I also write music for films and teach piano lessons. Not married and no kids, but I do have a fish named Gandhi.
You have released Numbers & Shapes a little over 2 months ago now. How did the release of a solo-album make you feel? It was a very exciting and emotional experience for me releasing my first solo album. It was also exhausting! I put 2 years into this project and it was a ton of work, definitely challenging. But I also had a great time with it, had a lot of fun, and it was absolutely worth every second.
How does the process of writing a song work for you? I don't really have one particular writing process, but I guess a song falls into one of two categories - it's either been meticulously thought-out, or it kind of just comes together. Often I will shape a song around a concept of music theory I want to try out, or create an obstacle and try to work around it (for example, write a song in 3/4, with 3 sections, with 3 instruments). I also like to play around with layering and fun instrumentations, and will sometimes pick a strange combination of instruments and try to make them work together. As for "it kind of just comes together" - sometimes a melody will pop into my head at an inopportune moment, like riding the subway or taking a shower, and I really didn't put much thought into it.
Once a song is finished, what’s next? When I write film scores, all the music is done on the computer with MIDI instruments, so there's not much to do once the piece is actually completed. With "Numbers & Shapes" though, after I composed each song, I also did the orchestrations and notated each part so the pieces could eventually be played live. There were over 30 instruments spread across the 14 tracks, so this took a while! Because the ensemble is so large, my producer Marc Plotkin and I created a mobile recording set-up, so we could travel to different studios and locations to record each musician separately. This allowed us to get the best possible sound for the instrument we were recording.
Do you expect to play the music live? Go on tour with it? Yes, we're in the process of working out a live show in New York. I would love to tour with the ensemble, so we'll see what happens!
What kind of music do you listen to yourself at the moment? My musical taste is kind of all over the place. There's just so much great music out there, so why limit yourself. Lately I've been listening a lot to Yann Tiersen and El Ten Eleven. I love film composers Mark Mothersbaugh and Philip Glass, electronic music from Massive Attack, Bonobo, Lemon Jelly, Emancipator, and The Books, and classical composers Maurice Ravel and Beethoven. I'm also always listening to Radiohead, Sigur Ros, and The Bad Plus.
What does a regular day look like for Rebecca Brandt? I do a billion things in any given day, so nothing ever feels regular! I work for a tech start-up, teach piano lessons, write film music and work on personal projects every day, and I make my own hours for each of these jobs. Every day is different, so while I'm definitely kept on my toes, I've also learned to be very, very organized with my schedule! iCal is my best friend.
What are you working on at the moment? Any future plans? I'm writing two film scores at the moment, and working on organizing the "Numbers & Shapes" release show.
When will you consider 2012 to be a successful year? I've already considered 2012 a success! Releasing "Numbers & Shapes" was a huge accomplishment for me, and something I am very proud of. Everything else this year has to offer is icing on the cake!
Thank you so much for your time and answers, Rebecca Brandt. When doing live-shows, please make me some videos, because I doubt you'll be visiting the Netherlands somewhere soon (although you're more than welcome..). For anyone interested, you can buy the digital album for a "pay-what-you-want" price or get it on CD via bandcamp.
All of the music files featured on this site are for sampling purposes only. If you like any of the songs, please support this band/artist and go buy the albums. If you are the legal owner of a music file or picture featured on this site and would like this removed, please contact me @ jeroen[at]pluginbaby.nl and everything will be removed as soon as possible.
Plug in Baby! is a music blog dedicated to sharing beautiful music. I don't care about styles or hypes; if it's good, i'll share it. Words are
scarce, I prefer to let the fine tunes speak for themselves. Long reviews about great albums are rare, but not impossible.