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A Feeling of Timelessness

Edition #18 • Sylvie Kreusch, Mdou Moctar, Catalyst, R Plus, Julien Bracht

Let’s jump right into today’s selection. I always feel ashamed to say that it’s a fantastic edition. That’s quite silly since it’s the artists that keep delivering distilled greatness.

On the other hand, I don’t know if you agree with my taste. I guess I overthink too much. But, in the end, you’re here because I at least sometimes struck your chord.

Today, I feature an opulent ballad, incredible guitar sounds from Africa, rattling Swiss rock, a bold cover song and colourful electronica. The thread following all those songs is a certain ambience of timelessness.

Keep in mind that you’ll find these tracks also in the playlists on Spotify and Apple Music.

Sylvie Kreusch – All of Me

Belgian singer Sylvie Kreusch is most famous for her contributions to Maarten Devoldere’s Warhaus and its self-titled sophomore album. However, Kreusch has been steadily releasing music, building her reputation as a formidable artist.

All of Me, this year’s second single, certainly contributes to this notion of captivating attraction. Kreusch’s smoldering vocals spark warmth and comfort. In addition, the song features a vintage feeling, a timelessness that just keeps on growing.

Although All of Me starts like a brutal march, Kreusch quickly changes the perception to a velvety smooth ballad, banning the war drums to the background while lo-fi strings take the spotlight. The track remains relatively low-key for two-thirds of its runtime. But then, the brass section explodes into a frivolous firework. Pure adrenaline!

Mdou Moctar – Afrique Victime

Mdou Moctar is, according to MOJO, “the hottest shredder in the Sahara.” Moctar released his new record, Afrique Victime, on Friday. Listening to this 9-track album undoubtedly proves MOJO’s verdict to be almost an understatement.

Born into a conservative Muslim family, the Tuareg based in Niger rose to be a pioneer of Tuareg Blues, combining African soundscapes and Western guitar music. The album’s title track is like a best-of of his incredible variety.

The track Afrique Victime is a wild 7-minute ride, continuously taking up speed and power. Moctar forges contemporary Saharan music and classic rock tunes in a fire of virtuous guitar escapades and longing melodies – all while reflecting on love, religion, women’s rights, inequality and Western Africa’s exploitation at the hands of colonial imperialists.

Catalyst – Jolene

This is genius storytelling: “Jolene is pregnant, she’s driving a car. Through the radio plays a heavy guitar, and it feels like it’s a personal theme song. On the passenger seat, the machine gun.”

No, Jolene by alternative rock duo Catalyst isn’t a cover of Dolly Parton’s hymn. Instead of stealing a lover, the single tells the tale of a bank robbery. And the Swiss-based outfit underlines the story with a soundtrack heavy as lead.

Jolene is grooving, rattling and roaming like a driving a Mustang through a shotty, dusty gravel road. The drums sound like drum fire. The guitars shatter through glass like bullets. It’s just like Catalyst sing: “Jolene is special, and she’s pretty smart, plays a dangerous game with a dangerous heart.”

R Plus & Amelia Fox – Love Will Tear Us Apart

Love Will Tear Us Apart is the undying hymn of Joy Division. The band only released two records but still managed to influence musicians around the globe until this day. Ian Curtis, the Manchester outfit’s mastermind, took his life 41 years ago – way too early.

Love Will Tear Us Apart meant the world to me when I was a teenager, and it still does,” Rollo Armstrong explains. Armstrong, the brother of Dido, is most famous for his essential role in building Faithless. Working together with Sister Bliss, Armstrong created R Plus. Together with newcomer singer Amelia Fox, R Plus covered Joy Division’s biggest hit. “We wanted our version to sound like a piece of music found in a time capsule buried under the now empty DJ booth at the Haçienda, and wanted to capture both the sadness of the song and the late-night euphoria of that legendary club.”

It’s a bold move. It’s even more courageous to adapt the track into an electronic dance track. However, the fact that Love Will Tear Us Apart still works in R Plus’ iteration demonstrates two things: the incredible brilliance of Joy Division’s songwriting and Armstrong’s talent.

Julien Bracht – Streets

It’s been a busy week for Julien Bracht. Not only did he release the second album, Choirs to Heaven, as part of the duo Lea Porcelain, but he also dropped a new solo track. Back in March, Bracht was featured with Melancholia in the Weekly5.

His latest song is called Streets and certainly deserves attention. On the edge of progressive electronic, the sound creates a stunningly infinite atmosphere. Bracht manages to bridge the gap between dancefloor and colourful ambient dreams. Streets feels like techno but, at the same time, not at all.

While catchy electronic music has a bad reputation for being too simplistic, Streets stays captivating without descending to arbitrariness. It’s an exotic, intriguing track.

And that’s it for today’s edition. I hope you’ve found musical inspiration, and in the best-case scenario, one of the featured tracks receives the honour of being added to your personal playlist. I’m looking forward to next week’s selection.

All the best,