PlayNetwork Plays It’s Favorites (of 2011)

Another year of great music, and  most of us have only scratched the surface, exposed to radio favorites or a few buzz-worthy notables in-between. But beyond that, a sea of music exists that most of us have not been exposed to.

And then there those like members of our Music Services team who eat, drink, sleep, and live music: over morning coffee, in the car, at work, in meetings (wait, in meetings?!), back home again, out on the town, and falling asleep. Rinse, repeat, another morning of coffee and music.

Every year, our passionate and talented music supervisors listen to and catalog, both mentally and literally, thousands of songs and artists while they craft the sound of a brand. So to send off 2011, we’ll share some of our favorites from this past year. Look for several posts over these last two weeks as members of our Music Services team share some of their favorites.  We hope you enjoy!

First up, an in-depth look by Director, Music and Messaging Services Sean Horton at his pick for best album of 2011: James Blake’s self-titled release.

My Top Album of 2011 by Sean Horton

James Blake : S/T on Universal,

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SXSW in Perspective – First Time Around

2011 was my first SXSW experience. Based on the reports from friends and artists I know that had attended, I never thought of SXSW as a festival that catered too deeply to electronic music or hip hop. Though there was a very obvious focus of blues, rock, folk and guitars in general (they were everywhere) this year’s SXSW boasted in an impressive line-up of quality underground electronic music and hip hop, including the likes of Richie Hawtin, Boys Noize, Diplo, James Blake, DJ Premier, Trentemoller, Mount Kimbie, DJ Jazzy Jeff, Marco Carola, Talib Kweli, Switch, Moby, Housemeister, Daedelus, Big Boi, Afrojack, Addison Groove, Skrillex, De La Soul, Starkey, MSTRKRFT, Spank Rock, Jamie xx, EPMD, Baths, Shabazz Palaces, Pharoahe Monch, Beats Antique, Eskmo and Gold Panda to name some standouts. Though it was a pleasure to see so many familiar artists, the real joy for me came from new discoveries like soul singer Charles Bradley, folk-rock singer Sharon Van Etten and electronic crooner Jamie Woon, all of whom delivered stunning sets.

Part of the charm, and sometimes annoyance, of SXSW was the rapid fire pace and sheer magnitude of the performances (89 stages featuring over 2,000 acts with an average set length of 30 minutes).

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[news] Decibel Festival line up announced

This past week the Decibel International Festival of Electronic Music Performance, Visual Art and New Media in Seattle unveiled an updated list of confirmed performers, showcases, venues and sponsors for the 2010 program.  The line up features a plethora of critically acclaimed, international electronic music acts, including Modeselektor (Berlin), Carl Craig (Detroit), Fennesz (Vienna), Beats Antique (Oakland), Mary Anne Hobbs (London), VibeSquaD (Denver), Murcof (Tijuana), Plastician (London), Monolake (Berlin), Dinky (La Araucanía), Theo Parrish (Detroit), Ben Frost (Reykjavik), Starky (Philadephia) and Scuba (London).

For a complete list of the over 75 confirmed acts, visit the Decibel Festival artist page

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[film] Facebook the movie?

My initial reaction after hearing about this was movie, staring Jesse Eisenberg, Justin Timberlake, Andrew Garfield and Rashida Jones, was to cast it aside as another predictable Hollywood drama, trying to capitalize on the hype surrounding social networking. However, after reading more about the  ‘The Social Network’ by David Fincher (‘Fight Club’, ‘Seven’, ‘The Game’, ‘Panic Room’, ‘Zodiac’) and the score by Trent Reznor aka Nine Inch Nails, I filmly believe this is going to be a great film chronicling the most popular social networking site in the world (Facebook).

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[news] Britney Spears teams up with UK Dubstep producer/DJ Rusko

[news] Britney Spears teams up with UK Dubstep producer/DJ Rusko

FACT Magazine reports that UK’s most in demand Dubstep producer Rusko (now living in LA) will be working with Britney Spears on her new album. Could this unusual pairing could spark the end of Dubstep’s subterranean UK roots?

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[news] Sónar Chicago announced

[news] Sónar Chicago announced

Barcelona’s massive Sónar Electronic Music Festival will be hosting a smaller, US version of its festival in Chicago this fall. Sónar Chicago will be co-promoted and produced by AC Entertainment, whom also produce the Bonnaroo Music Festival in Tennessee. Here’s a LINK to the Sónar Chicago page.

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[album review / podcast] Trentemoller’s “Into The Great Wide Yonder”

[album review / podcast] Trentemoller’s “Into The Great Wide Yonder” (In My Room)

A couple weeks ago Danish producer Andreas Trentemoller released his second full length album titled “Into The Great Wide Yonder”.  Seeing how his 2006 album “The Last Resort” is in my top 10 albums of all time, I had pretty high expectations for his sophomore release. Well, this past weekend I listened through the entire 10 track, 60 minute album start to finish and I’m pleased to report, he’s done it again. In fact, I think it’s fair to say that Trentemoller has further expanded on the musical ideas contained on “The Last Resort” by adding more live, organic instrumentation into the mix (guitars, vocals, live percussion, strings, etc).

Stand out songs like “Shades Of Marble” and “Haexan” offer a familiar, cinematic dance tone that Trentemoller fans will appreciate, while melancholy pop tunes like “Neverglade”, “…Even Though Your With Another Girl” and the single “Sycamore Feeling” share more in common with Radiohead and Mazzy Star than with Trentemoller’s catalog of underground dance tracks. It’s this very sort of eclecticism and varied instrumentation that make both “The Last Resort”... Read More

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Sean’s 2009 in Review: (Binary pop, Warp’s legacy, dub mutations and the return of sexy dance music)

2009 has been an incredibly innovative year in relation to music production. Artists like Animal Collective, Fever Ray, Royksopp and Moderat have proven once and for all that digital beats and electronic sound design can appeal to a pop audience that otherwise wouldn’t find themselves listening to “electronic music”.

This year also marks the 20 year anniversary of the greatest electronic music label (arguably greatest label) of all time, Warp Records, which has had an exceptional year across the board with strong indie releases from Grizzly Bear and Maximo Park as well as strong releases from their more obscure electronic artists like Tim Exile and Clark. Warp’s 20th anniversary box set is not only one of the best reviewed collections of the year, it’s also a brilliant testament to the label’s vast catalog of ground breaking artists (i.e. Aphex Twin, Boards of Canada, Jamie Lidell, Nightmares on Wax, Prefuse 73, Autechre,

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OPTICAL 3 : AMERITRONICA

Sunday September 27th at the Triple Door in Seattle

PlayNetwork and Decibel proudly present….

OPTICAL 3 : AMERITRONICA” featuring Folk and Americana infused electronic music performances from Mountains (New York), Benoit Pioulard (Portland) and Goldmund (Boston)

For the third installment of this year’s OPTICAL showcases at the 2009 Decibel Festival, PlayNetwork and Decibel enthusiastically bring a very recently coined genre of advanced electronic, electric and acoustic music that draws on such far-flung and older strains of American folk, classical and early traditional musics with the most advanced of electronic and digital composition. Coined AMERITRONICA this is a pastoral, expansive music that is evocative of nature, wide-open vistas that is yet compellingly modern, technological and abstract.

There is no better example of this sound than that of the New York duo of Koen Holtkamp and Brendon Anderegg as Mountains. Through their own exceptional works and the releases on their Apestaartje label they’ve established themselves as the forerunners of a new hybrid sound that situations itself between the plucked acoustic guitar techniques of Americana legend John Fahey and the subtle electronic textures of labels like Raster-Noton,

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555 KUBIK

I just came across this video, which is one of the most interesting public a/v installations I’ve ever seen. The artists are basically doing animated 3D projections onto very large, sterile building in Hamburg. The projections and sound design give the illusion that the building is actually changing form. It’s a simple but very effective installation that I think urban landscapes need more of. Think of all the boring buildings that could be completely transformed with the use of a projector.

 WATCH!

Sean

www.playnetwork.com

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2009 Decibel Festival line up announced

Seattle WA: With the 6th Annual Decibel festival only two months out, anticipation has been building about the line up.  As curator, I’ve always aimed to appease both the mind and booty through with the festival programming which focuses on leading-edge underground dance music and experimental A/V performance, while paying homage to the artists and genres that have paved the way over the past thirty years.  2009 has seen the rise of Dubstep and Glitch on the West Coast as well as the Deep House revival, which has been fueling Berlin’s hottest night clubs the past few years.  I am pleased to say that this year’s Decibel Festival line up is our most ambitious and balanced to date…

Caspa (UK)  : Alter Ego (DE)  : Mad Professor (UK)  :  The Wighnomy Brothers (DE)  :  Daedelus (US)  : Benga (UK)  :  Robert Hood (US) : Mala (US)  :  Mary Anne Hobbs (UK)  : Reagenz (UK / US)  : N-Type (UK)  : Brodinski (FR) Move D (DE)  :  Alex Under (ES)  :  Boxcutter (UK)  :   Frank Bretschneider (DE)  :  Martyn (US)  :  Tim Exile (UK)  :  Mountains (US)  : Deepchord presents: Echospace (US)  :   Spacetime Continuum (US)  : Voodeux (US)  : Megasoid (CA)  :  Holger Zilske aka Smash TV (DE) Benoit Pioulard (US)  :  Pinch (UK)  :  Sub Swara (US)  :  [a]pendics.shuffle (US) : Ana Sia (US)  : Bruno Pronsato (DE / US)  : KiloWatts (US)  :   Tadeo (ES)  : Christina Vantzou of Dead Texan (BE)  :  Nosaj Thing (US)  :  Mikael Stavöstrand (SE)  : An-ten-nae (US)  :  Dilo (AR)  Mike Slott (US)  : Hookerz &

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Daft Punk to score Tron Legacy

As a fan of Daft Punk and Tron (arguably Disney’s most provocative film), the inner geek in me jumped for joy when I heard reports that the robotic duo were teaming with Disney to score Tron Legacy (slated for release in 2011). If you haven’t seen it yet, here’s a trailer for the film, which looks incredible:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a1IpPpB3iWI]

Eager to hear what Daft Punk was cooking up musically for Tron Legacy, I started seeking out viral clips that might offer some insight.  Just yesterday I found this hand shot Youtube clip that I’d be willing to bet my first born is Daft Punk’s theme for Tron Legacy:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lrew4XtbjrU]

Needless to say the anticipation for this film is massive in the electronic music community.  Not only did most EDM heads grow up watching Tron and playing the video game, but Daft Punk is arguably the most influential electronic music group in history.  Never thought I’d being saying this, but way to go Disney!

Sean

www.playnetwork.com

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