Tag: downtempo

It’s Sunday night. Chilly outside, but you’re rugged up inside your swank, tastefully decorated abode. There’s a quietly crackling fire, and a glass of wine in your hand. Perhaps your sweetie is giving you a loving look. What’s missing? A corking soundtrack, is what! As per usual, Zero 7 delivers for this situation and many others with another beautiful composition with some of my favourite singing/lyrics ever:

Likufanele, likufanele,
igama obizwa ngala,
Obizwa ngala.

The internet informs me that it’s sung by the Philani Mothers, who are a group of South African nurses. The language is Zulu/Ndebele and roughly translates to “The name you are called suits you”, which I think is just wonderful. Alternatively, some say it could also mean “In the firelight, your eyes are stars of summer in the firelight”, which is equally wonderful. Either way, kick back and let the good times flow.

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Yes, I watched Her, like the hipster that I am. It really is quite the lovely film though! It has a quiet, contemplative air about it, which is occasionally graced with moments of passion. Much like this song, which featured in its soundtrack. Interestingly enough, it’s a song that sounds just as delightful in reverse as it does being played in the usual manner: chilled, thoughtful and rather pretty.

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Michael Franti from Spearhead has featured on either/or before, but it’s safe to say that it was a little different to what I’m bringing you today. From a classic soul tune to something that, while inspired by soul, feels totally different. And in a good way! Would it be weird to call this lusciously smooth? It is, you say? Well dang, I’m going to go with it anyway, because that’s what it is!

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Now that a bit of the fuss around the XX has died down, I can now swoop in and… pretend I was in on the group the entire time, and that I’d known of them for ages. Yeah! The XX! Capital group! I really like that song of theirs! You know the one! Yeah!

I can, of course, be accused of being a filthy wretched liar, because truth be told, I really wasn’t aware of their existence. Just because I write for a music blog doesn’t mean I have any knowledge of music! Just like how most newspaper writers don’t know anything about news. But enough about that – this is a smooth cocktail of downtempo tones and alternative beats that I most certainly dig. So I may not have known about them before, but I certainly know now!

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Now that the joy of Christmas has passed, it is now time for the crushing come-down from the high. Overeating! A pile of crappy gifts that you have to put somewhere! Debilitating weariness! Allow me, ladies and gentlemen, contribute to this feeling of dreariness with one of Radiohead’s most biting, angsty tunes, which has been given a downtempo remix by good ol’ Zero 7.

My tomfoolery aside, this is spectacular. Been quite a while since I’ve heard this, but I do distinctly remember the first time I did: I was blown away by the departure from the original version, yet it all seems to work wonderfully well.

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Guess who writes for a daily music blog and forgot to post anything for a week or so. Me! I went on holiday and forgot to say anything, and my internet connection was rubbish anyway, so I didn’t post. Whoops!

Anyway, here is some supremely classic, incredibly smooth downtempo to usher in the end of the year. Time to wind down! Take a load off! Drink ’til your liver disintegrates! All to some of the most gorgeously chilled out music I’ve ever heard.

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Everyone likes 12 minute songs, right? Of course you do! Allow me to introduce Mr. Thomas Rusiak, a Swedish “rapper, hip hop producer, musician and singer” that I was made aware of many years ago. Rusiak presents a rather elegant piece of alternative downtempo (I guess???) that possibly won’t be everyone’s cup of tea due to its length, but if you listen from about 4:40 onwards, it hits a rather wonderful chord change that I just can’t get enough of.

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Inside by Thomas Rusiak on Grooveshark

D’ya ever get those weekdays where, despite the fact the weekend has just finished, you kind of wish the next day was Saturday? So you can just curl up inside a blanket and let the hours drift on by? Today was that day for me. Unfortunately, there is no known cure for the harsh reality that gets dumped on you the next day, but Zero 7 is here to alleviate the symptoms.

Morning Song comes from their yet to be topped, 2004 release When It Falls, and is in fact the closing track. Despite its name, the majority of the song has a sumptuous late night feel to it, before breaking into a more up-tempo sunrise at the end. Zero 7’s current creative direction seems an age away from their earlier work, but I’m not complaining. It doesn’t stop this, and many other songs in their back catalogue, from being utterly fantastic.

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Ah, remixes. Destroyer of many songs! Painful intrusions upon treasured memories! Granted, I can’t really say as such in this case: I heard the remix before I heard the original version. Thankfully, both versions of the song are pretty damn fine. This classic soul tune gets an unobtrusive but completely bad-ass back beat and some record scratching to along with it, creating quite the tune in the process. It drops a fair bit of the arrangement in the process, but the end result is still golden.

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It has been, I think, far too long since I found some bitchin’ downtempo beats to groove along to. Sacrilege, I know. So here are some beats from 1998, to keep you on top of the times.

I’m always pleasantly surprised when music doesn’t convey what era it was made in, this song being a fine example. Granted, it’s plenty simple as a composition, but it’s also damn fine.

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