This week’s curation has been an emotional rollercoaster. At first, I wasn’t sure to have enough songs to fill the edition. But as Friday grew old and night fell, more and more extraordinary tracks came together. In the end, I had to choose from eleven pieces.
Maybe it seems trivial from the outside, but the process of curating this newsletter is painful. My mission is to share great music with anyone willing to listen. Not sharing a song that speaks to me always feels like neglecting a part of myself. In a way, Weekly5 is accompanied by vulnerability and doubt. Did I choose wisely? Or did I kill too many darlings?
But ultimately, the deadline approaches and puts an end to the worries. The best I can hope for is that there are songs that also speak to you.
Five songs obviously survived the slaughterhouse. They tell stories of love, sex and bicycles. They trigger gratitude and self-doubt. They leave you energized and relaxed. Hopefully.
Adna – November
I vividly remember encountering Adna for the first time. I stared at the cover of her second album, Run, Lucifer, and was immediately captivated. In front of a grey wall stands this woman with large, deep eyes. The gaze is filled with heartbreaking melancholy and an ancient sadness. As vulnerable as a flower and as steadfast as a rock in the storm. It was the perfect metaphor for Adna’s art. Gentle music is a lethal weapon.
After the third record, Closure, Adna went silent. It’s been a long four-year wait. Finally, the Swedish artist with Bosnic roots released a new single, November. The song is pure Adna; this shimmering melody played by a guitar, the composition’s ethereal flow like the sea on a foggy day at the beach.
There’s innocent beauty and bittersweetness in November. There’s an eternity in this song about vulnerability. And while it’s a hymn full of love, hope and gratitude, there’s also a ring of doubt that one could find somebody who’s fully embracing you.
With Adna’s music, the world stops spinning. At the same time, I ask myself how it kept turning without it.
Yet No Yokai – Aya
A colourful storm is hammering down on Lucerne, Switzerland. It can mean only one thing: The experimental psychedelic rock band Yet No Yokai released a new track.
Last year, I was spellbound by their song Vagus, the opening to a musical sci-fi story into which the trio plunged. Sounding ingenious, with fuzz krautrock humming and buzzing in infinity.
Aya, inspired by thoughts about mortality, is expanding heavily on the instrumental side. A gloomy thunder, full of wonder and mystery. The single is a rhythmic ride with an archaic quality. Yet No Yokai are painting glimmering wastelands, summoning the gods of an ancient time through their powerful rock music. Their sound is simultaneously earthy and otherworldly, human and alien.
Ya Tseen – Close the Distance
Nicholas Galanin, born in Sheet’ka (Sitka, Alaska), is Tlingit and Unangax̂. As an Indigenous man, the artist opens a unique perspective on the world. In his work, he calls for an accounting of the damages done to land and life by unchecked capitalism while envisioning alternate possibilities.
As Ya Tseen (“be alive” and a reference to his Tlingit name Yeil Ya Tseen), he released his first album, Indian Yard. It’s a rich work exploring human emotions from love and connection to pain and frustration. A suitable variety of musical influences accompanies the wide range of themes. No song on Indian Yard’s an example of the record’s overall sound.
However, the electro-soul in Close the Distance caught my attention. Released as a single back in February, this song provides an ecstatic entrance into Ya Tseen’s multi-faced world. Close the Distance is hot and humid like the jungle. You can hear the sweaty bodies touch under dimly lit bedsheets. The song pumps pure erotic.
Manu Delago – ReCycling
You gotta love Manu Delago’s spirit of innovation. On Friday, the acclaimed Austrian musician started his second attempt of the ReCycling Tour, stating that “culture and environmental protection cannot wait for the end of the pandemic.”
Delago and his bandmates are embarking on a 1600-kilometer-long tour by bicycle. 25 concerts await. They even packed all instruments in specially manufactured trailers. With a bit of help of solar panels and muscle power, they charge the batteries for the equipment.
As a teaser, Manu Delago released ReCycling, demonstrating that he’s not only ingenious in planning an environmentally friendly tour. The single is a captivating techno track packed with soundbites from a bicycle. The bells are ringing, and the spokes are rattling, the beat is ground-shaking. There’s even a sampled nod to traditional Austrian brass music, creating another unique, groovy layer to the sound. Even the song’s title – ReCycling – is mirroring the many facets of Delago’s work.
Kings of Convenience – Rocky Trail
This is, without a doubt, the comeback of the year! For the first time in twelve years, Kings of Convenience published new music. Even a new album, Peace or Love, is announced – set to arrive in June.
The Norwegian duo, consisting of Eirik Glambek Bøe und Erlend Øye, were at the forefront of independent pop and folk music. Their song Misread is part of every lounge music playlist with a shred of self-respect and is utilized for countless advertising clips.
Now, the kings are back with Rocky Trail, embracing once again their signature sound. It’s a laid-back tune, perfectly balanced and simply lovely. Nothing is distracting the whispering, sunny mood. Nothing arouses suspicion or discontent. Some might find the Kings of Convenience boring or bland. Still, by now, it shouldn’t be a surprise: It’s relaxation in its purest expression. So, let’s just sit back and let the mind wander.
I realized that it’d been a while since we last created a playlist together. It’s time to change that. It’s a pretty dreary day in Switzerland, cold and rainy. So let’s collaborate on a playlist full of songs that make you feel warm and at home.
If you have a song that evokes these feelings in you, share it with the community. Please send it to me by email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or leave a comment on this post.
All your recommendations are compiled in a playlist that I’ll present next Sunday.
All the best,