It's Friday night, the train is rushing through the darkness; Amason sing Ålen, fading the day away beautifully. It's been a tough, intense week. And a busy weekend lays ahead. I feel that my batteries are drained. Yet, there's the music.
I close my eyes, everything around me, the drunk teenagers, the exhausted late-shift workers, the lonely and the party people, they all disappear. And I feel the melodies vibrating through every fibre of my body.
Curating the Weekly5 is, no matter how exhausted, my weekly highlight. Of course, it's also a complicated process as every second week, I could actually in good consciousness recommend ten songs. But dedicating time to something that not only gives me joy but feels like an essential part of survival is incredibly important. I hope you have a similar thing that recharges you in such a way, no matter what it is.
Moving on to today's selection, it's a spectrum of every facet of music I love. There's the epicness that makes you feel small and insignificant; there are emotions that crawl under your skin. The curation features catchy melodies and weird, artistic gems; there's lightness and heavyweight.
In all fairness, I have to admit that I'm slightly too young to have experienced the height of Moby's career. His breaking record Play was released in 1999. However, I remember hearing Find My Baby and Extreme Ways on compilation CDs we used to buy back then. The latter track obviously gained a wider audience as the title track for the Bourne films.
Nevertheless, it wasn't enough for me to keep up with Moby. So I didn't acknowledge the release of his latest record, Reprise, back in May. Until this week. It's a best-of that wasn't only praised. However, critics weren't too pleased with the bombast of his classical interpretations. Too much pathos, too much bombast. And it might even be true for some of the reprises. Well…
Oh baby, oh baby
Then it fell apart, it fell apart
The NYC-based artist lately released an edit of his Reprise Version of Extreme Ways, shortened and condensed. The song starts subtly; an acoustic guitar and a piano, accompanied by strings. And Moby, who's more telling a story than singing. It brings out the essence of Extreme Ways, which simply remains a melancholic, self-doubting hymn without the electronic trickery. And yes, it shortly erupts in a lot of bombast in the end.
Only a couple of months ago, Worries And Other Plants released his debut album Dreams & Nightmares. But Dio, the mind behind this one-man show, is driven by creativity. There's just no other way for him than to write and record.
Waking Me Up is his latest single release and an early announcement of an upcoming EP next year. Recorded in his apartment, the song certainly gives away a vibe of DIY-bedroom sound. Dreamy and earthy, polished and rough, dreamy and wide awake. Worries And Other Plants does musical gymnastics, bridges gaps with an impressive split.
At its core, Waking Me Up is a rock track with whispered lyrics, completely disregarding any kind of rock'n'roll flair. It feels like stoner, yet it isn't heavy to actually qualify. And one thing stands out: The Swiss artist works his guitar in a distinct wave style, creating this beautiful contrast between the thick groove and the playfulness of the meandering guitar melody.
I cannot help it: The 23-year-old Norwegian artist Moyka catches my attention with every new single. And Illusion is no exception. After Stay, I Don't Wanna Hold On, and December (I Never Learn), it's the fourth release of Monika Engeseth.
Once again, Moyka demonstrates her power of creating addictive pop music without being simple-minded. The epic quality of Scandinavian artists like Aurora or Sigrid shimmer through her work. The recipe is easy yet effective: start with a pumping beat, add a catchy melody, and decorate it with an ethereal voice. It always feels eternal.
Illusion can be traced back to the same recipe. But the strength of Moyka's songs is founded upon the contrast of sound and message. Illusion's soundscape is immersive, driven. But, at the same time, the song tells a sad story of hopeless love. Of course, sad songs can be cathartic in themselves. But with Illusion, the music itself is the element that liberates one from all the despair.
Last Friday, the NYC-based artist Noah Kardos-Fein, alias Yvette, released his sophomore record, How The Garden Grows. The ten-track album is an intense experience of kinetic beauty and hostility. Finally, the 5-year-long waiting since Yvette's debut Process was worthwhile.
"I wanted to see what new limits I could push myself and my instruments to," Kardos-Fein explains. The result sounds, as demonstrated in all the tracks but today in Best Intentions precisely, challenging – to say the least. It's borderline chaos, dancing on the brink of the abyss, somewhere between total darkness and cracks in the clouded sky. Avant-garde electronica.
Roaring synths spiral downwards, a tricky beat barely creates a rhythm, swelling strings provide a shimmer of hope. Kardos-Fein pushes out his lyrics in suffer and pain. Best Intentions is almost unbearably complex yet somehow intriguing. The energy of the song's wilderness doesn't let you get away. And you feel that there's a riddle, a secret within that needs to be uncovered.
Ever since my brother introduced me to Insomnium through their fantastic intertwined songs The Primeval Dark and While She Sleeps, I'm fascinated by this Finnish metal band. I'm equally in love with captivating melodies and metal's martial attitude. Insomnium is a band that uniquely unifies both qualities.
Throughout 2021, the band released a couple of songs. However, none of them really struck the chord as I'd expected. On Friday, Insomnium combined the three previously released songs in the EP Argent Moon. But there's a fourth track included: The Wanderer.
I rarely feature metal songs in this playlist. And first, I was very sceptical towards The Wanderer. To me, metal has to be a crushing noise. But this song features a lot of clean voice, starting rather dreamy with the jangly guitar. Maybe it's metal kitsch to some; perhaps it's too heavy to others. But, on the other hand, there's this overwhelming and expecting nature to the sound. For most of its runtime, The Wanderer remains a heavy but slow ballad, building an epic instrumental monument and contrasting the pathos-dripping, cinematic sound with a raw yet not too brutal growl.