Isao Tomita: Arabesque No. 1
84-year-old composer and synth soothsayer Isao Tomita passed away this weekend in Tokyo. He introduced the near-infinite possibilities of a relatively new invention, the Moog modular synthesizer to Japan—approaching the instrument like an orchestra that could express sounds and “colors” never heard before, and evoke sensual qualities. Especially loved was his 1974 album Snowflakes Are Dancing (with the impressive subtitle: Virtuoso Electronic Performances of Debussy’s Beautiful Tone Paintings by Tomita). He took Claude Debussy’s beautiful wandering piano compositions, like “Arabesque no.1” and “Clair de lune,” to another dimension. One of our favorite quotes from an interview he did with Resident Advisor: “Back then, I was often criticized for using an electronic instrument, but the sound of thunder has been around since the dawn of time, and that’s electricity.”
ABRA: Come 4 Me
In a video directed by Tyler Mitchell, Atlanta-based ABRA’s “Come 4 Me” gets a luminous, colorful, sexy makeover. The track might clock in at just over one minute long, but there’s plenty conveyed in that time. The experimental R&B-meets-electronic tune is full of steamy thumping bass and ABRA’s vocals are sultry to match.
Chance the Rapper feat. Lil Wayne + 2 Chainz: No Problem
Hip-hop darling Chance the Rapper premiered his new song “No Problem” (featuring Lil Wayne and 2 Chainz) on Zane Lowe’s Beats 1 Radio show and it’s everything we were hoping to come of his highly anticipated Coloring Book mixtape (now streaming on Apple Music). Full of distorted yet euphoric gospel vocals, the track’s lyrics caution not to step in the rappers’ lanes (“You don’t want no problem with me”), yet it’s five minutes of delightfully positive vibes.
Bois: Asleep with Songs of Longing
Nomadic singer-songwriter Bois cathartically releases Asleep with Songs of Longing, an album written and recorded in New Orleans and Miami. Opening with “Beauty,” a howling saxophone rips into the conscience and sets the mood for the pensive nature of the LP. The instrumental sections and complete songs, like “Falling”—with its kaleidoscopic effects, irregular heartbeat, and discordant, churning layers—are a special highlight. Bois’ soft voice and vibraphone glue everything together.
Fischerspooner: Everything is Just Alright
If the star of Nicopanda’s SS16 campaign film looks a little familiar, it’s because Josh Killacky was the dancer and choreographer of that viral hoverboard dance cover to Justin Bieber’s “What Do You Mean?” Now wearing the genderless, punk-and-ballerina inspired designs by Nicola Formichetti, Killacky dances aggressively to a new song by Fischerspooner—which will be on their upcoming album SIR. The dark, throbbing track “Everything is Just Alright” pairs well with Killacky’s combat-like moves, juxtaposed against the flowing ribbons and soft look of the apparel.
ListenUp is a Cool Hunting series published every Sunday that rounds up the music we tweeted throughout the week, also found in Listen. Hear the year so far via Cool Hunting Spotify.