WHAT THE TEAM LISTENED TO IN AUGUST
Our CULTED SOUNDS series continues with the team’s favourite picks from August. Despite major albums dropping from the likes of Billie Eilish and Kanye West, it appears nostalgia is a running theme throughout the playlist, from 80s electro to classic Drake. If you’re looking for a fully curated list of sounds all in the same genre, then this isn’t for you. Instead you’ll be met with a list that jumps from Elton John to Little Simz. Who doesn’t like to be kept on their toes?
If you’re in the mood for some old school beats mixed with a touch of this months best tracks, then here you go. A bunch of songs that will, at the very least, keep you entertained for 4 hours and 19 minutes, to be precise. You’re welcome.
MARK FARINA, SEAN HAYES – DREAM MACHINE (DOWNTEMPO MIX) (2003)
August was a rollercoaster month for me and the tracks I listened to perfectly reflect that. I had my holiday booked but had so much work to get through, which lead to constant mood swings. Prior to my holiday and during my holiday in Crete, I listened to music that felt uplifting, from 80’s vibes such as ‘Cccan’t you see’ by Vicious Pink and ‘Waiting for the stars’ by Vitalic, David Shaw and The Beat, to more techno tunes like Territory by The Blaze. But what goes up, has got to come down, so here and there I would calm my mood with chilled, dreamy tracks like this timeless one which I originally heard at Hotel Costes in Paris (since discovering it a while back, I have played it a billion times).
I got back to London a few days ago and I’ve had this track on repeat since. It just makes me feel chilled and soothes my massive holiday blues.
FOUR TET – LOCKED (2012)
You can see a pattern forming in my chosen selection, hitting both peak summer vibes and more mellow tech tracks as we face the looming September ‘back to school’ reality. After attending a festival and a couple of events the past month, I was definitely in a party mood, from listening to modern dance tracks by Fred Again… to nostalgic sounds of the 90’s with ‘On A Ragga Tip’. My song of the month is much more laid back though, an 8.5 minute long track by Four Tet from their 2012 album ‘Pink’. I’ve loved this song for years now, and find the slow build up to be just as good as when I first heard it. It’s slow, dramatic and a rhythm you can just unwind to, who said you need lyrics for a belter of a song? If you do anything today, stick this on your playlist. And for maximum listening pleasure, always play loud through headphones.
P.S. Yes it was me that added Babybird’s ‘You’re Gorgeous’ and no, I am not ashamed to say I love it.
KANYE WEST – OFF THE GRID (2021)
Ladies and gentlemen, after weeks of waiting and false promises – Donda is finally upon us. After having the album on repeat since its release, I’ve concluded that ‘off the grid’ is my favourite and most definitely deserved a mention in this weeks playlist. I’m fairly sure my last chosen song was from Kanye, but he’s dominating the scene lately – sorry not sorry. The song brings classic Kanye angst accompanied by an eloquently produced beat, starting off slow then instantly hits you with a drill like 808 as both Ye and Playboi Carti spout nonsense. What makes the song however, is when Fivio Foreign jumps in soon after with immaculate flow and takes the spotlight for himself – just hits different.
Kanye is a genius when it comes to producing songs that pump you up, and this is definitely up there with one of his best.
THE BLACKBYRDS – STREET GAMES (1977)
Listening to the sultry tones of Donald Byrd and The Blackbyrds is exactly the remedy I needed to quiet the Donda vs Certified Lover Boy debate raging on in my brain this month. Steely electric guitar strung across wacky yet wonderful 80’s synths and an abstract keyboard solo that can best be described as “ good, but maybe a bit too long?”. Abolish you inner Kanye shouting at Chance the Rapper and melt away to the watery guitar licks courtesy of Barney Perry. Street Games actually dropped on their Action album in 1994 alongside their most famous track ‘Mysterious Vibes’ but was never given the same look in as the aforementioned certified banger. Street Games is a bit of a hidden gem in my book and definitely worth a spin in the summer sun!
KANYE WEST FT. KENDRICK LAMAR – NO MORE PARTIES IN LA (2016)
As a diehard Kanye West fan, I felt like the long-awaited release of DONDA did not live up to my expectations. That said, the waiting around led me to dive headfirst back into Ye’s back catalogue and reminded me just how unbelievable some of his previous work was. Specifically, The Life of Pablo. A flawless album from start to finish, No More Parties in LA featuring Kendrick Lamar stands out with the duo elevating each other’s performance lyrically. If you miss the old Kanye (see track nine from TLOP), simply listen to old Kanye. You won’t be disappointed.
FRED AGAIN… -MAREA – WE’VE LOST DANCING (2021)
Fred Again has done it again. Bringing in freedom with a heavy serving of dance-electro greatness with some serious panpipes this is beat that gets me in a Friday afternoon type of good mood. Blessing us with the ultimate, feel good Summer anthem, in tune with the times of the final return of our social lives The Blessed Madonna gives us a steady but enjoyable rhetoric that we can all relate too, collectively craving a party and a dance. Plastered on billboards all over London’s underground it puts a constant smile on my face.