Music For Cleaning Your Apartment

Music For Cleaning Your Apartment

The last few days have been pretty alright. Not too much going on, a little downtime to clean and just relax (oh, and recover from the John Till/Chicago Farmer/Old Shoe New Year's Eve show, which was a doozy). To that end, as I was cleaning up and doing dishes and whatnot, I decided to try out a bunch of music that I hadn't heard before, or had dismissed previously when my tastes were a little less developed. In any case, here's what I found!

1. Bluetech - Rainforest Reverberation

I've been more into downtempo electronic music lately; I find it to be soothing and good for downtime. Having said that, I still don't know a ton about the genre. My brother recommended Bluetech, and I had heard that name before, so I gave it a shot. Based on the awesome album art, I went with Rainforest Reverberation. Very glad I did. The whole album has a very dense feeling of growth underneath all the shimmering synths, surprisingly light, melodic bass, and lush harmonies (I often hesitate to use the word "lush" when discussing music, but this is one time where it really is the perfect descriptor). The themes of conservation, growth, and the cycle of seed/plant/tree/seed are very calming and excellent for reading or quiet time curled up on the couch. Definitely one you want to listen to start to finish to get the full effect.

2. The Sea and Cake - Nassau

The Sea and Cake (incidentally, the band's name was taken from a misinterpretation of someone saying "the C in cake") are what happens when 90s indie meets lo-fi fuzz-jazz. Their 1995 album Nassau is where I chose to dig in (they have something like nine albums, not counting appearances and EPs, etc.). Nothing too crazy here, but the music is interesting nonetheless. The bare production style really lends itself to the flitting little guitar and piano melodies, while the drums are just barely making themselves known underneath. Vocals take the backseat here, as the album builds an atmosphere with just the slightest degree of tension, as the guitar parts occasionally refuse to resolve the way the ear wants them too, holding out until the very end to give the listener a better payoff. Very loose feel to the whole album, almost improv, and there is clearly room for some of that, but it's not jam band music, I wouldn't say. Just some cool music to chill out to.

3. Phosphorescent - Here's to Taking it Easy

Atlanta-born, Brooklyn-based songwriter Phosphorescent (real name Matthew Houck) has created a singular type of indie/hippie/mainstream/artistic music. His broad experience writing music is evident in the layered horn sections, inescapable piano grooves, mournful-but-not-quite-sad vocals, and laid-back subject matter. At just nine songs long, Here's to Taking it Easy is the perfect album for getting ready in the morning. Bright, cheery songs juxtaposed against moody vocals that glorify the chill times in life, where maybe everything won't be so bad if we just stop for a minute. The acoustic guitar lines are beautifully played just where they are needed, only to recede into the background so another instrument can shine. At the end of this album, that's what I really noticed: every time one melody ends, another begins. They run parallel to each other, they weave in and out, but they all wind up together at the finish line.

4. John Zorn - The True Discoveries of Witches and Demons

This isn't the first time John Zorn has shown up in one of my columns. His 2009 album O'o is one of my personal favorite albums of all time. So when I heard he had a brand new album out with a new outfit (including organ virtuoso John Medeski), I jumped on it. I expected it to be totally different, but I did not expect it to be what it was. Zorn is an accomplished composer and multi-instrumentalist, but I did not expect the sort of jagged, cliff-running, breakneck stop-and-go jam-metal that is The True Discoveries of Witches and Demons. Sizzling organ jumps all over the place while blastbeat drums and chugging guitars and bass all coalesce into a surprisingly coherent mess. It's an insane album, start to finish. I said "Whoa" more times during this album than I have in a very long time, if that counts for anything.

5. Phish - The Siket Disc

Long-time Phish fans will already know about this one, but it's so good I'm going to talk about it anyway. Back in late 1999, the Phish from Vermont went into a studio in NYC and recorded a live instrumental album with engineer John Siket, for whom the disc is named. The result is simply one of the most unique albums in Phish's catalogue, and bassist Mike Gordon has stated in interviews before that The Siket Disc is the only time the members of Phish have listened to their own music while on the road. The music is essentially the middle of a deep, type-II Phish jam: ambient, instrumental, ethereal, soaring, dark, grumbling, shifting, hypnotic, and above all, unpredictable. Fan favorite "What's the Use?" has its origins here (incidentally, "What's the Use?" has seen a dramatic upswing in occurrence in Phish's last few shows. It really is a great song). Another short album at just 35 minutes, The Siket Disc seems like it's over just when it gets started. But that just means you'll have to listen to it again, and oh, will you want to.

As always, I sincerely hope that you find something here that excites you and you listen to over and over again the way I do. A lot of relaxing stuff here, with the exception of the John Zorn album. So next time you're at home, just taking it easy, throw some of these on. I think you'll enjoy them.

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MozellRomans wrote on January 18, 2016 at 7:01 am

I'll try to listen one of those. Thanks for the share. :)

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