Grace Notes: Prelude To Henry, Charlatan

Chansons Pour La Vie: I. Prelude to Henry

My friend Aaron has been putting together mixes for quite some time now. His latest, titled Chansons Pour La Vie: I. Prelude to Henry, might be one of his most eclectic yet. It’s certainly a very personal one. Compiled for his unborn son, Prelude to Henry, “came together as I was contemplating the baby boy that’s currently gestating in my wife’s womb, and wondering what must be going on in there, what that might sound like.” If this mix is any indication, then the kiddo has already developed some fantastic tastes in music. Throughout Prelude to Henry, you’ll hear strains of Harry Belafonte and Harry Nilsson, Aphex Twin and Oneohtrix Point Never, Talk Talk and Stars of the Lid. And the inclusion of Don Henley’s “Boys of Summer”? Well, that’s just the icing on the cake. Yes, the icing.

Charlatan

These three tracks from Charlatan’s Triangles have been expanding my mind ever since I first came across them. “Lime Beauty” is especially beautiful: the press copy describes it as a “tropicalia paradise”, and there’s certainly something bright and sun-kissed about its nine and a half minutes of swirling synth atmospherics and pulsing beats. But there’s also something mysterious and otherworldly going on — as if the tropical environment hinted at in the song is on some alien planet, or some hidden corner of the globe hitherto unseen by human eyes. “Vodka Rocks” is darker and moodier, striking a more melancholy tone in the midst of 8-bit textures and sonorous, bell-like tones. Finally “Swimming Pool Summer Nights” evokes M83’s more contemplative moments. The track is a study in contrasts — angelic choral synth washes arching high overhead, ominous analog pulses tunneling far below — and all the more affecting as a result.

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