Music for peak winter time – without the jingle bells

December 22, 2009 § Leave a comment


Music to walk alone in the snow to. Music to stay home and feel winter sentimental with. The time is not for jingle bells, and already worn out carols that you forgot what meant, or sexist crooner tunes from the 50s for that matter. Whatever, if you want to hear that, just have a stroll down shopping street and get bombarded. Here’s what I would rather listen to when white snow covers the city, candles are lit in the windows, you walk in silent winter evenings or sit at home cuddling up with all your winter sentimentality (which is perfectly nice and good).

Bibio not only made one of my favourite albums this year, he has a back catalogue of delicious guitar meditations, well worth diving into and exploring. Contrary to his most recent album, which is far more complex and genre eclectic, the old stuff revolves around the same focus on electro-acoustic guitar patterns and simple drum loops. Some call it laptop folk. Whatever it is I love it.

Bibio – Looking Through the Facets of a Plastic Jewel

In the 60s, Jan Johanson made a stunning interpretation of old swedish folk tunes by adding jazz. They are intrinsically tied to my feelings and perception of Sweden, and always make me long for natural landscapes and hiking trips, or simply say “fuck it all, I’m becoming a primitivist and I’ll move out into the wild and eat lingon berries and chant sad polka tunes by the mountain rivers”

Jan Johanson – Polska från Medelpad

Jan Johanson – Vallåt från Jämtland

I have already mentioned Pat Metheny once before in relation to the turning of music into muzak through use in commercial advertisements. Luckily, this part of Metheny has not been distorted by that, so we can go straight to it. Album is One Quiet Night. Playing on a baritone guitar gives Metheny the sound of expansive, grand thickness, like he’s painting yet vaster winter landscapes with every guitar stroke, I mean strum.

Pat Metheny – One Quiet Night

Pat Metheny – Song For The Boys


Guilty Pleasures (Semi-cheesy piano ballads)

December 9, 2009 § Leave a comment



This is the first post in a serie set out to explore the hidden-away listening practices that make us lock the door to make sure we are alone, feel ambivalent when asked about our opinion, and ashamed when caught in the act. All hand-picked from my own musical closet. For your guilty pleasure.

Piano ballads. How come so many of us listen to them, and yet still do not speak about our affections toward them. It might be because most of them seem a bit too cheesy and overly emotional. Fuck that. Here’s my self-therapeutic way of coming out the closet: “Yes! I listen to and indulge in piano ballads, often.”

First one, definately cheesy, all down to the recurring “This song is for you”-theme, the soulful melisma in the gaps, and the heartfelt “yooooouuuuuu” in the end. But, how do I feel cared for. Really, those singing mothers gives me goosebumps and I can listen to this all evening (when I’m alone).

Q-Tip – Caring [myspace]

Tom Waits, everyone’s favourite bar ballad singer. Listen to the weeping violins! I want to cry. They break my heart, and I’m not embarrassed about it (… maybe these blog posts should just be on feeling guilty and content at the same time, because this is exactly how I feel about this)

Tom Waits – Tom Traubert’s Blues (Four Sheets to the Wind in Copenhagen) [website]

Norwegian pianist Bugge Wesseltoft plays the nordic folk jazz tradition very well. Is this even a ballad? Whatever. I get equally sentimental by listening to this and feel equally cared for, so we will have this track on this list. It’s also a tradition that I like very much.

Bugge Wesseltoft – In Dulce Jubilo [myspace]

Now it’s your turn, listener and reader hiding behind your screen. Come out your screen and tell us about your guilty pleasures. If any good ones come up, I might do a post on the kind of guilty pleasure, or one of you can make a guest post even.

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