Taken from the album “Simple Things” released in 2001 and generally regarded as “trip-hop” this track turned me on to the album as a whole, and really was part of a UK explosion of trip-hop, chill-out bands at the turn of the millennium...
Pioneers of psychedelic rock, formed in 1965, and – naturally – from California, Airplane’s most iconic line-up included Grace Slick and Paul Kantner before splits took place and Jefferson Starship and Hot Tuna emerged as two different bands. Airplane’s break-out album from 1967 was “Surrealistic Pillow” from which this instrumental track emerged...
Joni Mitchell! Amazingly prolific! This is taken from her fourteenth album, “Night Ride Home.” “The Windfall” is actually about wealth and more particularly about a maid who tried to sue Joni. (“you want everything for nothing…”)
Founder member of 60’s psychedelic band Jefferson Airplane, Kantner died in 2016 leaving a musical legacy of simple guitar fuzzy outlines steeped in dreamlike reverb.
From the superbly named 1995 album “Hed Phone Sex” this is one of those sampling tracks that take you up, up and away. Funki Porcini is in fact one man – James Braddell –whose music might fall into categories like downtempo or nu-jazz. He’s also a film maker…
The name comes from Greek mythology – the Queen of the Underworld – but “Persephone” is trademark twin guitar Wishbone Ash. Taken from their fifth album, “There’s The Rub” – the one with the cricket ball being rubbed on a pair of whites...
Minimalist piano chord changes and an ethereal feel, this track, used in the film “American Beauty” of course, just oozes ambience, though not so much in the Brian Eno, background wallpaper kind of way, more the meditative contemplative fashion.
Polish in origin, Judie moved to England with her parents and started gigging in folk clubs before signing to Elton John’s Rocket label in 1978. Her one and only UK hit was “Stay With Me Till Dawn” which reached the lower echelons of the charts in 1979...
The voice of Steely Dan and half its creative genius with the late great Walter Becker, Donald Fagen’s released four solo albums, the best known perhaps being his first, “The Nightfly.”
Formed by Neil Cowley - the keyboard man with Zero 7 – and Ben Mynott, Fragile State released two instrumental, cool jazz albums in 2003/4. “Seraya” comes from “The Facts and the Dreams”
Obsessive record collecting German duo, Florian Seyberth and Peter Heider have been making music together since the late 90’s. Taken from their 2008 album, “Grains”, “Sign” blends modern studio electronics with a bittersweet soul ballad. It incorporates their trademark electronic experimentations with a strong melody, and I think it’s got that West Coast feel with its addictive fusion of acoustic magic and shiny production.
One UK music critic once said that The Blue Nile ‘do virtually nothing very slowly.’ Chris Martin recently admitted he’d never heard of them. So who are they? Well, they’re from Glasgow, and amongst the cognoscenti, famously take anywhere between five and eight years to release a new album...
If, like me, The Beach Boys were your equivalent to The Beatles, then Brian Wilson stands as a God-like figure alongside Lennon and McCartney. “God Only Knows” and “Good Vibrations” must surely rank alongside any pop songs of the last millennia.
From the 2004 release “Ariels”, the last track on the album features the voice of Katty Heath. Bent themselves were a two man operation who drafted in session musicians like BJ Cole to give depth to their songs but essentially raided their own record collections to take mischievous samples including several by Nana Mouskouri the Greek legend!
A UK band who seem to continually be on tour round the world, Acoustic Alchemy formed in the mid 80’s as a two man acoustic guitar sound, until tragedy struck Nick Webb with pancreatic cancer. They could easily have folded, but mainstay Greg Carmichael instead reformed the band with additional percussion and electric guitars from Miles Gilderdale to form what is now a settled line-up.
How many of you can name a Swiss pop band? Me neither! But that’s what Double were – though this is no yodelling or misty mountain hop. In fact “Captain of the Heart” is one of those one hit wonders, though I think it’s set apart by being a truly epic song with its casual sophistication and melodic grace.
I spent 1985 working in Sydney; my drive to work was accompanied by one of the local FM stations, playing international pop and Aussie bands. Ah the mid 80’s! Those hair styles! And these Oz guys who formed Icehouse were the epitome of mulletness. Think Kevin Keegan crossed with David Hasselhoff.
A seven piece outfit from Leeds, UK, formed in 2009, Submotion are close to a halfway house between Bonobo and London Grammar, and I can’t say fairer than that! Atmospheric, delicate yet heavy, lush textures, great root bass, deep groove brass and the voice of Ruby Wood are allied to complex rhythms. It’s a heady mix, great for kicking back.
What it is to have an older brother who’s into music. Best known as bassist and singer with Cream, Jack’s solo album “Harmony Row” from 1971, came to my ears from bro’s room. A haunting song, beautifully constructed, with a South American vibe that stems from its initial influences, “The Consul at Sunset” quickly insinuated itself, so that when bro went out, I raided his room and slammed it on.
Taken from his solo album, “Secret Story”, the final track is another example of how Pat can build a piece to a magic crescendo; think of how Barber does it with his “adagio for Strings” and you’ll be on the right lines. Truth is, I could fill my playlist with Metheny; but a word of warning if you don’t know his catalogue. He is eclectic in the extreme. Some of it is hard to listen to!