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Shapeshifter stays, rides, and drowns in Melancholia

Weekly5・Edition #12 | 🎵 Julien Bracht, Frederik, Ursina, Baker Boy, Moyka

A couple of days ago, a member of the Weekly5 community approached me and asked if there was a chance to get the playlist on Deezer. I’m very grateful for such input, as my goal is to serve you with the best possible experience.

However, I’m currently curating the playlists on Spotify and Apple Music by hand, which takes time. Tools that let you curate multiple platforms simultaneously are not free either.

Curating five new songs for you is a great pleasure. I love to discover new music and share it with like-minded people. That’s why I’m dedicating around 8 hours each week to create this newsletter.

Obviously, time isn’t something I’m thinking about when it comes to Weekly5. But financially, I pay more attention. With the current service, Weekly5 amounts to 262.80 Swiss Francs, 21.90 per month. This includes the Apple Music subscription (which I don’t use privately), hosting the website and the domain.

Adding additional costs is something I reflect extensively upon as I have to pay for it. New cost-driving services need at least to benefit a majority of the community.

I thought I share these facts and considerations with you as one of my values is transparent communication.

Now, let’s move on to today’s selection.

Julien Bracht released the first single from his upcoming album. Photo: @mxj_000

I’ve selected a somewhat odd bunch. There’s pumping but melancholic techno. There’s a cold synth sound. There’s hypnotic wave pop. There’s exciting hip-hop with a didgeridoo. And there are intimate, folky tunes.

At least, you’ll probably find something that might strike a chord.

Julien Bracht – Melancholia

Melancholia begins with buzzing synthesizers as a thick beat starts to emerge out of the darkness. Suddenly, the song breaks free of the noise, and a melody presents itself.

Melancholia is the first single of Julien Bracht’s upcoming album. Bracht has been active as a producer in Germany’s techno scene for quite some time. Although he was busy as the other half of Lea Porcelain, he now returns to his origins.

Nevertheless, the song is more than pure techno. Melancholia is a captivating blend of electronic genres. Densely arranged, the single pours an impenetrable layer of sounds in one’s ears. Melancholia is beautiful but dangerous, as the risk of losing yourself in this ocean is highly probable.

Frederik – Shapeshifter

Frederik isn’t a single person but a band. However, it’s the vision of Rolf Laureijs, who sought a valve for his experimental sounds. Laureijs – known for outfits like Wavering hands, a=f/m, or Dans La Tente – mingles pop and wave to dreamy art.

On Friday, the Swiss band released their first album, Portraits. “I tried to find a basic structure in the songs within which each instrument can develop a narrative. In this consciousness, the album’s acoustic space opened up for me, whereby I also found my way back to the guitar. It’s the sum of the individual pieces, which act like individual snapshots, that form Portraits,” Laurejis explains.

Shapeshifter acts as a perfect snapshot for the album. The lyrics and the singing remain monotonous and repetitive, creating a hypnotic atmosphere. But the instruments are escaping again and again into small caprioles, adding playfulness to the song.

Ursina – Drown

Drown is a beautiful piece of singer-songwriter music. Smooth and warm like the first days of Spring. Dark and bittersweet, like a Friday night in solitude. Created by Swiss artist Ursina, this song wraps itself around the listener like a blanket.

Her musical upbringing is clearly echoing: Listening to artists like Tom Waits or Jeff Buckley in her teenage years, later studying jazz in Lucerne, and being captivated by Scandinavian artists like Ane Brun or José González.

It’s hard to pin down the source of Drown’s attraction. Is it Ursina’s crystal voice or the haunting lyrics? Is it the delicately arranged sound? It’s probably a combination of them all that makes Ursina’s latest single something that grabs your soul and holds on.

Baker Boy & Yirrmal – Ride

Ever heard of Baker Boy? Danzal Baker was born in Darwin. Raised in the continent’s remote Northern Territory, Baker Boy would soon become one of Australia’s most promising hip-hop artists.

Collaborating with his cousin Yirrmal, Baker Boy created Ride, a celebratory hymn. “I wanted to make a song that could bring people together on the dance floor, no matter who they are or where they come from,” he explains. That’s certainly the case with this single. Ride is a catchy, driven hip-hop track with a unique didgeridoo sample.

Baker Boy embraces his origins. He raps in English but also in Yolngu Matha, the language representing his Arnhem Land family. With his art, Baker Boy wants to inspire younger generations to be proud of their culture and become leaders in their communities.

Moyka – Stay

23-year-old Norwegian musician Monika Engeseth, aka Moyka, published new music. As demonstrated impressively in previous releases like the EPs Circles and Spaces, she walks the line between epochal pop tunes and the icy atmosphere we know of Scandinavian artists. And you can hear heroines like Aurora or Sigrid in the sound.

Nevertheless, Moyka’s latest single, Stay, once again shows her potential. It’s a longing hymn in the remote wilderness. At the same time, Stay works in the bolts of lightning and wafts of fog on the dancefloor. “I want to create a mystical universe where people can feel at home,” Moyka says.

With Stay, she added another building block to her synth-driven world. Moyka is undoubtedly a name to keep in mind.

An older song revisited

I recently stumbled back over The Slow Readers Club. I still vividly remember the first concert of the Manchester outfit in Switzerland. The venue wasn’t packed but very exuberant, at least.

Their sound is reminiscent of well-established bands like the Editors or the White Lies. However, The Slow Readers Club manage not to sound like cheap copy-cats. Frankly, it’s mainly owed to frontman Aaron Starkie’s charismatic voice.

And if you listen to songs like Lunatic or On The TV, it’s pretty clear why the small audience in Zurich was ecstatic. However, I’d like to recommend Plant The Seed from their 2015 album Cavalcade. It’s a pumping and grooving track.

Next week, Weekly5 goes into a short Easter break. However, I have prepared a spontaneous little special edition. I’ll reveal five songs that influenced my taste in music and probably also shaped me as a human. It will be a more intimate and personal newsletter.

All the best,

P.S. Please excuse the bad pun in the subject line.

P.S.S. If you enjoyed this edition, please give it a like or post a comment and let me know which song you liked.