It is summer and I’m searching for a job and practicing writing out my kanji so I need a soundtrack. Here’s what has caught my attention. A top 18 if you will.
My Bloody Valentine – Blown a Wish
I used to listen to Jazz, Hip-Hop (real stuff like Big L and Wu-Tang) and anime soundtracks and despite the fact I break those albums out I’m increasingly listening to electronic/ambient/shoe-gazing music. This track in particular is like a cake with a rich filling, it’s one to close your eyes and savour. I feel like this is my entry to a dream realm.
Wild Nothing – Chinatown
This guy tries so hard to imitate The Smiths and My Bloody Valentine and it would be tragic if he didn’t pull it off but he has. Almost too well. Jangling guitars and beautiful harmonies with melancholia choked vocals. Just listen to the album in small doses or you’ll top yourself.
The Senate Arcade – On the Floor
My sister and I used to bomb around various race-courses on Project Gotham Racing 2 with this track playing. These guys aren’t going anymore which is a shame because this is music that drives me.
Arcade Fire – Suburbs
Their albums are epic, doom-laden miserabilist apocalypses with anthems for doomed alienated youth. Yet they are still beautiful and addictive.
Jack Wall, Bioware – Suicide Mission (Mass Effect 2)
Fast, improved, dramatic sci-fi combat deserves a great soundtrack. Mass Effect 2 has it. Now I can be a space marine and shooting aliens in the face as opposed to quiet and genial.
New Young Pony Club – Because We Want To
Tahita Bulmer slinks through the exciting electro-pop harmonies to deliver great lyrics. Cool video to. Beats listening to Kasabian or Razorlight.
Etsuko Yakushimaru – Venus to Jesus
Pleasant seems like faint praise. If the word pleasant doesn’t evoke strong emotions then perhaps they need to attach this track to the definition because it is a pleasant experience – utterly charming from the lyrics and music that set-up the anime well.
Kenji Kawai – Positive Morning (End theme to Patlabor 1)
This was one of those seminal animes I grew up on. Late night on the Sci-fi channel having undergone an exciting experience with the characters, emerging from a robot massacre and the wreckage of a tower to see the sunlight over Tokyo Bay. This theme came on. Despite massive destruction it generated the feeling of positivity.
Madvillain – Papermill
Madlib and the Metal Face Villain – Doom’s vocals skitter across the awesome funky Madlib sample from their upcoming second collaboration.
Immi – Sign of Love
Two things about this track:
- It is the opening theme to the anime, The House of Five Leaves;
- I must be going soft listening to stuff like this.
Nas/Large Professor – It Ain’t Hard to Tell Original
“I’ve mastered dialects of uncommon languages / a black man caught by the Klan couldn’t hang with this.”
I LOVE this track and reminds me why I listened to Hip-Hop in the first place. The beat is wintry, the lyrics punch hard and there are great similes and metaphors.
Mercury Rev – Holes
My film will end with me slumped back against a wooden train bench staring listlessly down the carriage as my head bounces to the rattle of the train. The windows are steamed up with condensation. It’s raining outside. The nearest people are at the end of the carriage in the background. I wipe a gap in the condensation on the window and look out at passing countryside and mountains. This song will play. My life has fallen apart. The sun shines through the gap. This song is beautiful. Life is to.
MNDR – Fade to Black
Before University I would have rather died than be caught listening to electronic music. Now I can’t get enough of stuff like Anti-Atlas and so forth. The latest one that has caught my heart is MNDR. Her look is cool and the beat is just infectious, scuzzy and totally addictive. It comes from the EP E.P.E. which has the equally magnificent C.L.U.B. and I Go Away.
Sakanaction – Aruku araundo
This is a Japanese rock-band doing electronic pop. And it works. Just let this run once and it will soon be on repeat. You might try howling along to them as well.
Billy Ocean – When the Going Get’s Tough (The Tough Get Going)
This is one to sing in the shower. My get up and go song and perhaps the most memorable thing about the film Jewel of the Nile.
Masashi Hamauzu Final Fantasy XIII – The Gapra Whitewood Electronic
To celebrate the release of Final Fantasy XIII I made a post raging about how FFXII was awesome, particularly its graphics, fighting system, freedom, characters and soundtrack. Final Fantasy XIII was a bit of a come-down. The only thing it got right (in my opinion) were the graphics and the soundtrack. Ambient bliss that makes the dull grinding just about bearable.
Hans Zimmer – Dream is Collapsing (Inception)
Falls off balcony and into raging sea. Wakes up. Best build up music ever.
Dave Wise – Donkey Kong Country 2 Forest Interlude, Bramble Blast
The Donkey Kong games were amongst the best of the 16-bit generation. The first game: A gorilla and a little monkey team-up to bash lizards in order to retrieve a pile of stolen bananas in the first game. Happy, happy fun in the sun.
The second game? The scope is bigger, a pirate ship, a massive island with haunted forests, swamps, amusement parks, ice caverns and a castle, the gorilla has been kidnapped and you’re the little monkey. The theme is darker, the predominant feeling is one of melancholy (my favourite feeling) as you’re hounded from one side of the screen to the other through a myriad of gothic levels. I own the soundtracks but these are my favourites:
Forest Interlude – A spooky forest full of rats, wasps and ghosts in jackets that toss barrels at you. I miss the time when videogames were whimsical.
Bramble Blast – a giant thorn bush that drove me nuts and is as bad as it sounds especially when racing that evil parrot.
That was 19 instead of 18 but Bramble Blast needed to be included!