Chillout

Music Pick: The Cinematic Orchestra – Ma Fleur

 
The Cinematic Orchestra – Ma Fleur

The Cinematic Orchestra - Ma Fleur

To Build A Home
Into You
Breathe
Music Box
Familiar Ground

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cinematic orchestra - HustleBear.com
Ma Fleur is one of my favorite albums. God damn this is gorgeous! I was reading something when I first put it on in the background. I had to stop reading. I actually laid down in my bed and didn’t do anything until the album finished. Suddenly realizing I’m in the presence of greatness, I didn’t want to dilute my first experience.

I was a fan of Cinematic Orchestra’s earlier albums, because I like well executed jazzy electronic chillout, and I noticed their previous album went in more beautiful and sweeping directions, but it was never anything close to this album. Sounds like a completely different band. Surprised me that they had this within them. Ma Fleur is minimal. This music doesn’t sound like it’s created from nothing. The music here sounds like it’s what’s left after all the fluff has been carved away. Stripped down, raw, bare, honest, open, and so beautiful. Very gentle yet so intense, this is a gorgeous and carefully crafted piece of minimal jazz soul. Maybe this isn’t the aggressive masculine music you would expect from a blog about achievement and hustling called Hustle Bear, but yeah, this is a touching masterpiece of strong emotional impact, and I thought this should be shared.


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Music Pick: The xx – XX

 
The xx – XX

Music Pick - The xx - XX

Islands
Crystalised
Shelter
VCR
Infinity

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The XX
This is one of those albums you’ve got to let grow on you. When I first listened to it I remember thinking that I couldn’t believe I actually listened all the way through that boring piece of shit album. I couldn’t understand what the buzz was about, it didn’t click with me, and I never intended to listen to it again.

This music is sparse. Very minimal electronics over a minimal acoustic sound with a male/female duet that goes for personality over precision. I like simple soft minimal music, I just didn’t like this album.

Some day later I heard the song “Islands” come on the radio again. I was in jammed traffic and frustrated in a hurry. It kind of hit me, whoa, this is really pretty, and it’s so soothing right now. I was kind of pissed that the song ended so soon and some crappy My Chemical Romance song came on and totally ruined the vibe. I gave the album another chance and I couldn’t believe I didn’t first realize how awesome this is. Even almost 2 years later it’s still one of my favorite albums to play in my room while I do whatever various things I do. I literally could listen to this on repeat all day.

The Beatles wrote a lot of very simple and light hearted songs that were surprisingly epic and touching. That’s kind of how I approach XX. Everything is stripped away, the vibe is very easy going and playful, yet the undercurrent is deep and soulful. I love this album. Lower your guard, clear your head, enjoy.

[Video after the break]

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Music Pick – Groove Armada: Goodbye Country (Hello Nightclub)

 
Groove Armada – Goodbye Country (Hello Nightclub)

Music Pick - Groove Armada - Goodbye Country (Hello Nightclub)

Suntoucher
Drifted
Raisin The Stakes
Fogma
Healing

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groove armada - andy cato - tom findlaySticking with Groove Armada, compare the sound of their later albums I’ve reviewed with their earlier sound here on “Goodbye Country (Hello Nightclub)”. They used to have this more chilled jazzy house electro soul R&B vibe; yeah just check it out. A masterpiece in its own right, this album flows between intimate and increased energy, fantastic for playing during chill get togethers. I like how each song has a long intro to set the vibe and establish itself as it draws you in. As the band’s name suggest, their grooves always kick ass. For more of Groove Armada’s jazzy chilled house vibe check out their even earlier album that put them on the map: “Vertigo“.

[Video after the break]

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Music Pick of the Day – Delerium: Karma

 
Delerium – Karma

Music Pick of the Day - Delerium - Karma

Silence
Enchanted
Duende
Euphoria (Firefly)
Til the End of Time
Heaven’s Earth

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This is a classic.
Taking cues from an erotic electronica genre pioneered by Enigma and Deep Forest in the early 90s, with their album “Karma” Delerium forged a darker ethnic tribal sound. This album kicked off the genre of electronic worldbeat. There are a million knock-offs now, but when this came out, there was nothing like it. Despite all the imitation, and years of advancing technology, this still holds up as a serious contender for best electronic worldbeat album ever. Dark, erotic, ethereal, atmospheric, with driving grooves that keep it all still accessible.

sarah mclachlan - fumbling towards ecstasy“Karma” spawned a sleeper megahit with Sarah McLachlan’s signing featured on “Silence”. I noticed that the track and consequently Delerium got massively recognized a few years and a couple albums later, when “Silence” remixes became club hits. I only picked this cd up in 1997 because I was into dark industrial at the time and this was one of the many side projects of the underground metal industrial band Front Line Assembly, which is the duo of Bill Leeb and Rhys Fulber. This cd was a shock to the fans of their underground industrial side, way too poppy and commercial. Consequently, Delerium fans were in for a major shock if they looked for other work by this duo.

You’ll have to go back to 1997 to remember how exciting this new sound was, but the album hasn’t lost its awesomeness. This is a classic that will persist. You just can’t deny that this is a brilliant and beautiful album.

[Videos after the break]

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Music Pick of the Day – Apparat

 
Apparat – Walls

Music Pick of the Day - Apparat

You Don’t Know Me
Hailin’ From The Edge
Useless Information
Limelight
Holdon
Arcadia

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Very creative and clever electronica. Combining IDM with Post Rock with Ambient with Soul with a bit of Hip Hop and Jazz. Just a really imaginative sound that’s still accessible and sexy. Full of atmosphere, but still with a groove, and so much subtle brilliance. There really isn’t a clear genre that this falls under as it’s kind of all over the place, but overall it’s a solid consistent album without any tracks that need to be skipped. I almost smell a masterpiece.

[Video after the break]

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Music Pick of the Day – Thunderball

 
Thunderball – Scorpio Rising

Music Pick of the Day - Thunderball

Heart of the Hustler
Domino
Vai Vai
Solar

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This is one of my favorite CDs. Adding Drum & Bass to funky 70s blaxplotation movie music and some latin soul. I’m adopting the first track as the Hustle Bear theme song. Listen for the chorus “Watch out! For the Hustle Bear!”. What a fucking cool album. Both chill and energetic. The beats are clever and complex and FUN. Great for the gym. Great for when you have some friends over. Great for when you’re in the mood to get down and get some of that… anyway it’s a cool vibe, check it out!

Music Pick of the Day – Sacred Spirit

 
Sacred Spirit – Vol. 8: Jazzy Chill Out

Music Pick of the Day - Sacred Spirit

You’re Gonna Love
Bad Luck
A New Dawn
Da Cool
Love Comes My Way
Some Like It Easy

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EPIC ALERT!! The album title isn’t too creative, but I will go on record and say this is one of the most creative constructions of music ever forged by man. I am floored by this album, and I can’t stop listening to it. Gorgeous, just fucking gorgeous. As the album title suggests, yes it is jazzy chillout music, but that’s an understatement. This is jazz in an electronica framework, with some elements of classical music. There is so much detail, complexity, emotion, all with a simple easy attitude, making the album feel beautiful, deep, serious, and a lot of fun at the same time. Pay attention to the details; the piano is like it’s own emotional character running throughout the album; the soundscapes are atmospheric; the sampled singers are dripping with soul and attitude; the violin brings dramatic flair; the beats are alive with groove and energy. I had a hard time picking which songs to share, because they are all outstanding. My favorites are the opening “You’re Gonna Love” and “New Dawn” which features Nina Simone in a whole new light.

I don’t know how he blended this all together and left it sounding so tasteful and classy, but my hat comes off for Claus Zundel who has not only created some phenomenal music as B-Tribe (reviews to come later), but most amazingly, he has never put out a jazz release before this. I know, what the fuck, how the hell…? But maybe that’s why this turned out so well, because he approached jazz from a different angle, and so he brought a new fresh spin on it. Besides, the guy is a proven musical genius in many different genres, constantly challenging himself to absorb some new style and master it.

Music Pick of the Day – Marconi Union

 
Marconi Union – Distance

Music Pick of the Day – Marconi Union

Sleepless
Through Glass
Inter
A Temporary Life

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Amazing. This is my favorite ambient album. Gorgeous detailed electronic soundscapes with subtle pulsing energy and a post rock flare. Even has elements of deep bass dub. Great to fall asleep to, read to, relax to. I could listen to this album on constant repeat in headphones everyday as I go about life.

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Music Pick of the Day – Govinda

 
Govinda – Erotic Rhythms from EarthMusic Pick of the Day - Govinda

Tu M’Aimes
City of Pleasures
Le Zephyr
Two Become One

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And we start off the music pick of the day with a classic. As the album title suggests, this album screams sex. The 2001 album “Erotic Rhythms from Earth” by Govinda is some sort of cyber ethnic worldbeat album. Infusing electronica with elements of India, the Middle East and subtle bits of Jazz. This is sophisticated and elegant. Very chill but with just a little too much energy to be professional massage music. It’s hard to believe all these gorgeous soundscapes were created by a guy from Texas, Shane O’Madden. There is singing on every track, but not really any lyrics, the singing is ethereal and more of an instrument with the music. Even in the songs with lyrics, the singing blends subtly in with the music and doesn’t stand out. That’s the problem I have with his recent stuff like “Sound Sutras“. The music is still quite good there, but he’s using vocalists singing pop songs (or even worse, he’s singing himself) and while theoretically this could work, it doesn’t. “Erotic Rhythms from Earth” is clearly his best in my book, and one of the best chillout cds I ever heard.

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