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POP / ROCK
Yongen: Transnational Dream Pop Luxury
Give a listen to the elegant dream pop of Yongen, the project name of songwriting team Chieko and Toshio Kamei. A modern crooner a la Bryan Ferry, Toshio's voice has a refined, architectural quality about it; he arcades serenely through the big, curvaceous melodies of Moonrise, giving the entire album a great neo-debonair sound. Rhythmically this album contains lots of savvy bossa nova and samba references; tailored synths keep the overall tone airy and modern. An exquisite blend of transnational influences and lush sound.
NEW AGE / WORLD / FLUTE
Suzanne Teng: World Flute With a Serene Energy
Enchanted Wind might be global flutist Suzanne Teng's best yet: seven long tracks that showcase her sinuous, slowly unfolding melodies on the alto flute, bass flute, and the rare contrabass flute. The mood here is profoundly quiet and serene; there are no beats at all and the accompaniment on harp, dulcimer, harmonium, and zither is delicate and minimal. The approach shows the full scope of Teng's talent too; stripped of adornment, you really hear how masterful her tone and breath control are, and the music itself is timeless.
Wicked Boy: A Wicked Mix of Ambient/Jungle/Trash Trance
Straight from Skultuna, Sweden, comes the fantastically dark and deeply textured ambient-trash-trance of Wicked Boy, whose influences include Massive Attack, Yello, Prodigy, and Depeche Mode. This album, "The Treatment", is full of gritty beats and smart loops. Listen for the icily femme vocals on the title track that contrast with the gritty, brooding backdrop. Other standouts include "Pressure," "Strange Days" and "Wide Dynamics."