Wednesday, 12 March 2014

The Chapters Playlists

Over the past year and a bit,  primarily for my own personal enjoyment, I've been developing a set of playlists of electronic music that are designed to take the listener on a journey, not merely through my own personal preferences but to work as something of a story. Each of these 10 chapters has had a separate theme, each is made up of 10 songs by different artists and all of them are designed to be linked together, so if you want, you have a huge, 100 song extravaganza, by 100 different artists. Although there are many big names floating around in there, the playlists have ended up being filled with fairly underground tunes and so if you like, it's also a trip through lots of electronic subcultures. I thought I'd post a little explanation of each of the Chapters on here, so you can pick and choose as you like, or if you're really brave, tackle the whole thing in one go! Links to all the playlists are included in the title but for now sit back and enjoy the music!

Chapter I
This first chapter was put together during a very cold January and features a range of chillout tunes that span a range of genres and speeds. It opens with the haunting Between Two Points by The Glitch Mob and accelerates slowly with some Italian house and Netsky before dropping off again with Rusko's Love No More and from there finds it feet and builds into Primal Scream's Movin On Up, the first ray of warmth after the cold wintery tunes.

Chapter II
With the sunlight slowly emerging, I went into a nostalgic trip into the 1980s and based the second chapter on modern songs that sounded like they belonged on, or were influenced by the neon lit bars of Miami's South Beach. From Grum, Avicii and Miike Snow to more obscure tracks from Birdy Nam Nam and Beatific, this collection stands out for the great synth lines, fat beats and uplifting rhythms designed to see in a little bit of sunshine. They stand out as retro influenced, but thoroughly modern tracks.

Chapter III
If the second was the beginnings of a night, the third is firmly in after party territory and represents a gentle winding down of the energy found in chapter II. Where it opens on heavy tunes from Crystal Castles, Jack Beats and the wonderful Right Thing To Do by SBTRKT, the latter end of the playlist slows things down, even becoming acoustic. Ice by LIGHTS is a gorgeous piece of electropop, melded to Lazer Cake and then a rare alternate version of Pressure by Skindred that almost jars as it signifies a moving on.

Chapter IV
Party over, chapter IV sees the music moving out into a warm, almost tropical feel, finding you bathed in the first rays of a new day. The delicate keys and strings of Take A Walk from Passion Pit welcome a renewed hope. As the music progresses it takes on very much a Carribean feel, from the party feeling of the Little Dragon remix to the reggae influences of Here To Stay. Things cool off towards the end with Kim Ann Foxman's reworking of Sunset and end in triumphant style with Strangers and their glorious rendition of Shine On You. 

Chapter V
Chapter V takes you away from the heady realms of the previous few chapters back down into the gritty real world, merging drum and bass with ambient arrangements and tops it off with some slowed down house tunes to keep you moving. Arrows by Icicle firmly roots this selection in a darker sound, continued through Sub Focus and Mt. Eden, while Bring Me The Horizon's Memorial is an achingly melancholy work that eventually gives way to some fresh air from Fur Coat and Jamie XX.

Chapter VI
From here we head deeper still into the many corners of four to the floor music, with revitalised disco tunes and deep house giving way to techno, acid and more besides. The Skream remix of Hell Could Freeze is a great forward thinking piece of nu-disco, that still works with the electrofunk of Lemaitre and the swing influenced deep house of Eats Everything's I'd Like To. Tiesto's revamping of The First Note Is Silent into a fully fledged techno banger comes straight from a strobe filled 3am, with the remix of Burns ushering in slightly more conventional house.

Chapter VII
While this convention is kept in chapter VII, the music is pushed forwards to the future with a selection of songs from over 25 years that all look forward in their sound. The warm, exquisite basslines of Colours from Maya Jane Coles rubs shoulders Zinc's remix of Bulletproof and vocals from more radio friendly artists such as Lady Gaga and Goldfrapp are kept in check by the deep beats that underpin them. The TEED take on Disclosure end's things in grand style and paves the way for more chillout tunes to come.

Chapter VIII
Chapter VIII is all about a fall and then rise in energy and does this by slowing things right down fairly early on and then building the tracks back up. While Hot's Groove is a perfect successor to the end of VII, Flying Lotus and Great Skies's Late Decide starts to wind things back before we get the soulful melodies of James Blake. From here, the vibrancy starts to bristle under the surface in Nu:Logic's unique track We Live There and through the trap tunes begins to usher on something more. Turn Back The Time see's this energy released and finally the adorable Sonnetanz returns things to where they began.

Chapter IX
Once again this list opens up with some gorgeous deep house tunes but this time instead of reducing the energy it instead attacks the pace and rhythm and leaves you with something more ambient, almost reflective on the start of the chapter. Fred Falke's Reaching Out remix and Ejeca's VIP of Horizon throb with bass potential and although this is carried on through Zomby and Wilkinson, the last three songs are far more mellow and experimental than anything that has come before. From Hell Is Other People through to the Maths Time Joy take on Ellie Goulding, you begin to feel a sense of an ending emerging.

Chapter X
For a final flourish, this last chapter opens in a fairly forward thinking manner. Through their title's, contents and themes these last tracks hint towards a passing through, commenting on what's come in the previous nine chapters and taking things forward. Zimmer, Jungle and Shadow Child keep things fairly upbeat but from Bright Tommorow and Golden Arrow you experience a drawn out start to the conclusion. Sunchase, Calibre and Four Tet feature with some ethereal drum and bass and finally the Shikari Sound System remix of Radiate passes sentence, a track that leaves you emotionally charged and with lyrics that celebrate the joy of music. It's a perfect ending in my eyes.

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