Jon Hopkins: Form By Firelight (with Raphaelle Standell)
English musician Jon Hopkins fine-tuned his ambient electro production skills under the masterful ear of none other than Brian Eno and the conceptual brevity of this mentorship has paid off. Hopkins released his Asleep Versions EP this week, a 25-minute album conceived as a single piece. “Form by Firelight” (with Raphaelle Standell) takes listeners on delicately textured, meditative sonic sojourn adorned with sparkling synths and lingering keyboard riffs. Hopkins recorded the EP just outside Reykjavik in the town of Mosfellsbær, and a touch of the magic found in Icelandic music surely found its way in.
Bill Withers: I Can’t Write Left-Handed
This week, 11 November marked a commemorative day in which many Western countries paid tribute to the the men and women who bravely served in our armed forces. Their heroic efforts are painstaking and singular in a way that most people will never truly understand. Bill Withers—a singer/songwriter known for his ability to distinctly translate human emotion—offers an inkling of what a Vietnam soldier went through with “I Can’t Write Left-Handed.” The haunting song describes a young man Withers had met—he’d been shot in the arm, and needs someone to write a letter to his mother. The song is an elegant anti-war statement that sends chills with its realness.
Frank Sinatra: I’ve Got You Under My Skin
We recently had the pleasure of meeting iconic rocker Iggy Pop, who told us a range of contemporary acts he enjoys listening to—a rowdy group that includes G.O.A.T., Ice Age, Black Lips and Sleigh Bells. But, he tell us, a song that he listens to in his personal time is Frank Sinatra’s “I’ve Got You Under My Skin,” a tune he’d love for more people in the younger generations to listen to and appreciate. Iggy’s love for Ol’ Blue Eyes offers insight on his early years in music; Iggy spent the ’60s as a drummer deeply invested in the blues. He even moved to Chicago—a town Sinatra toasts—to pursue the blues, where he ended up falling in love with the theatrics of rock instead.
The Sugarhill Gang: Apache (Jump On It)
Henry Jackson, better known as Big Bank Hank from the early ’80s rap trio The Sugarhill Gang, passed away this week at just 58 years old after a battle with cancer. The industry pioneer’s career began with him as a music manager for hip-hop artists Grandmaster Caz and the Cold Crush Brothers. He was discovered as a rapper by Sylvia Robinson, who teamed him up with Wonder Mike and Master Gee. With them, Big Bank Hank’s lyrics—ghostwritten or not—will be forever immortalized in Billboard chart toppers like “Rapper’s Delight” and “Apache.”
Julie London: Nice Girls Don’t Stay For Breakfast
Hôtel Bourg Tibourg in Paris’ Marais district is letting guests take the hotel’s lobby “soundtrack” home with a mix compiled by Guillaume Sorge. The artistic director at Red Bull Studios Paris has selected 12 songs to take listeners through different decades, countries and styles, evoking the way the hotel’s ambience seems to suspend visitors in time and space. Featuring Julie London’s sultry jazz ballad “Nice Girls Don’t Stay For Breakfast” (1967) and underground Berlin-based electronic producer Siriusmo’s instrumental “Liu” (2013), find the vinyl box set limited to 1000 pressings in December at Paris boutique Colette and Hôtel Bourg Tibourg.
ListenUp is a Cool Hunting series published every Sunday that takes a deeper look at the music we tweeted throughout the week. Often we’ll include a musician or notable fan’s personal favorite in a song or album dubbed #PrivateJam. Hear them all in our ListenUp playlist on Spotify.