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Electronic Music

We love the Swedish duo, Icona Pop, here at flashbracket but what we love even more is a remix by the Cookie Monster. The Sesame Street character has already covered Carly Rae Jepsen’s Call Me Maybe last year as Share It Maybe (again about cookies, natch), and now he is back covering Icona Pop’s 2012 hit, I Love It as Me Want It (But Me Wait). Cookie Monster is starting to catch up with The xx as one of my favourite remix masters! Click to watch my favourite Sesame Street character do his thing.

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This week, after eight years of hiatus, Boards of Canada released their fifth full-length studio album, Tomorrow’s Harvest. It is dark, deep, atmospheric, and a great listen. I was super excited to purchase this album — yes, despite all my streaming and um, sharing of music files, I do support my favourite musicians — and have been listening to it non-stop for the past few days. The album is blanketed with a dystopian vibe while retaining the trademark Boards of Canada-esque textural synths, distorted sounds, and cinematic rhythms without the electro beats sometimes associated with electronic music.

Songs on the album carry melancholic titles such as Sick Times, Cold Earth, and Collapse, a departure from the optimism conveyed by the Dayvan Cowboy from their 2005 album, The Campfire Headphase. This track is triumphal and affirmative, so much that a fan made an alternate video for the song set to an exhilarating footage of daredevil Felix Baumgartner skydiving. But Boards of Canada, whose name bears homage to the National Film Board of Canada, sets their two music videos produced to date to scenes of landscapes and the natural world — a nod to National Film Board of Canada’s documentary films that has inspired the brother duo. It is difficult, however, for me to watch their music videos because the group’s songs are so complex and evocative that I feel that the visual effects provided for their music never brings the tracks any justice. That said, the attempts in producing a Boards of Canada music video is a brave one, and the resulting products are always beautifully rendered.

See the music video for Reach for the Dead, the first single from their new album here.

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“We are Londoners so we are used to rain. But the enthusiasm and support despite the weather is amazing.”

This is what the bassist and vocalist, Oliver Sims of The xx, said to the drenched crowd on Friday night here in Montréal. And it was true. Everyone was ecstatic and there were even some free-spirited concert goers dancing in the rain. A great concert can make for a great experience regardless of the season. But Montréal is high precipitation city and hosting an outdoor concert can mean some unfavourable temperatures. The xx and Grizzly Bear landed here on a cloudy day, fragile to the threat of rain that sprinkled on and off on Friday. As optimistic as I wanted to feel about the weather that day, it ended up pouring like cats and dogs by the end of the night at Lachine Canal.

I had dressed appropriately with layers under my rain coat, had pulled on my tall rain boots, and hauled my big umbrella. But this city rains more than my hometown of Toronto — and of course Montréal gets more snow as well. At last year’s Osheaga, a violent rain storm drenched the concert for at least one of the three days of the music festival.

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What happens when microscopic crystallization is set to electronic music? A music video for Jon Hopkins’ new album, Immunity.

I have been listening to the U.K. musician for a few months now as I find his work perfect for winding down or as background instrumentals for working purposes. So I was excited to hear about his new album, which was released yesterday, and to promote the release Hopkins teamed with The Creator’s Project to showcase tracks from the album. The team includes Linden Gledhill, a former biochemist, who is now a photographer that specializes in taking magnified, abstract images of chemical reactions under the microscope.

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Image is of Linden Gledhill’s work station from www.creatorsproject.vice.com

Gledhill teamed up with art director Craig Ward to create this bright and animated feature that includes snippets from all eight tracks of the album. The photographer used food dyes to show the reaction of crystal growth to Hopkin’s music vibrations. This innovative project results in beautiful, and almost hypnotic images that provides a sneak peek into the world not visible to the naked eye.

Go to The Creator’s Project for more photos and the complete story of this video.

Jon Hopkins’ new album, Immunity, is now available.

Update: I listened to Immunity in its entirety and it is soooo good! It is honestly one of the few albums that I managed to love in its entirety on the first listen. Please support this talented musician and purchase the album for low-key weekends or to play head-nodding beats while you work. Listen to Collider, track four from Immunity here.

Everyone is talking about Daft Punk’s newly released album, Random Access Memories, which came out just three days ago. I still have not gotten around to listening to the new album but I did read snippets of press about the band and their current initiatives, including this interesting article from The New York Times last week. (The Parisian duo own a home in California and speak accent-less English?) What was also in recent news was that the singer of the above classic, One More Time, Romanthony, who was an influential house producer and singer in his right, passed away at the young age of 45 earlier this month. I love this song and even though it is from Daft Punk’s early work, their second album in 2001, Discovery, I consider it a quintessential Daft Punk song — pounding house beats, glamorous upbeat vocals, and 80’s nostalgia. And of course, the awesome animated video makes this video worth revisiting. This will definitely tide me over until I finally get a listen to their new album.

 

The Knife’s fourth studio album, Shaking the Habitual, came out on last week and it is the Swedish duo’s first album since 2006. I have yet to listen to the new album but I did see the music video (which is really a short film running in at ten minutes) for their first single, Full of Fire. Watching the video reminded me of the reasons why I love both the music that The Knife churns out every few years as well as the group themselves: The Knife exemplifies the true artist, penning social and political themes in their music, and producing inquisitive and experimental music videos. Not all of their music is an easy listen but they do produce fun and catchy hits, such as Girls’ Night Out and Heartbeats, both from 2003’s Deep Cuts.

The video above is for NY Hotel from The Knife’s previous album, The Knife, and was the only single from the album. The song and video is short, running at less than three minutes, and the aesthetic is sparse, based on a cartoon of simple line drawings. The viewer observes a couple spending their last day together which ends with one watching out the window while her lover walks away. The simplicity of the visuals makes the message so much more powerful; it is hard not to be moved and feel sadness for the couple. Interestingly the video is not available on YouTube but is available on Vimeo only. Click above to watch the video, directed by Andreas Nilsson and Andreas Korsár.