Sonic Space: Melting

By Maya Poddar, The Dartmouth Senior Staff | 11/2/15 8:31am

The weather is creeping toward frightful, but right now it’s mostly just cozy. Is there anything that cold, grey days lend themselves to better than large mugs of hot chocolate and mountains of blankets? Unfortunately, cozy weather coincides with piles of work, and finding music that both encompasses the coziness of the fall and motivates me to get work done is hard to find.
In times like these, I turn mostly to female vocals layered over complex and pulsating beats. So, this is a playlist my friend put together, and I’m sharing it with all of you. Please listen responsibly.


The first track on this most prime of sleepy study weekend playlists is the indispensible “something” by CYN. CYN’s voice is sweet and charming and reminiscent of A Fine Frenzy. At first listen, the song seems fairly stripped down, but the beat is painstakingly constructed featuring blips and eddies that subtly accentuate CYN’s delicate vocals.

The second track, Doja Cat’s “Diggin You,” starts with Siri and finishes with a meow and a laugh. The middle chunk of the song is spacey, with lightly distorted vocals layered over a well-rounded, synth-heavy R&B beat. If “something” is complexly arranged for simplicity, then “Diggin You” is complexly arranged for completeness. The full-bodied nature of the track gives this ethereal track a satisfying heft.

The next four tracks all feature the crystal clear voice of Alina Baraz, a 21-year-old singer out of Los Angeles.

The third song, Ta-ku’s “Down For You,” opens by highlighting the beauty of Baraz’s voice. The introductory beat of delicate piano tones allows her voice to fully demonstrate its jazz-like quality. In this track, Baraz’s voice is reminiscent of Julie London. Once her voice is fully shown, the beat fills out. The piano shifts from the base of the song to a delicately tinkling accent. The composition keeps the song alert enough to offset the inherent mellowing quality of Baraz’s voice.

The fourth, fifth and sixth songs are all collaborations between Baraz and Danish electronic artist Matias Saaybe Køedt, who goes by the moniker Galimatias. The two are a match made in heaven. Galimatias’ complex, layered tracks complement Baraz’s dreamy vocals. The beats are sharp, multi-faceted and engaging. This is one of those rare instances in which both the vocals and the track are equally good and complementary. The three tracks are distinct, but clearly in the same style. Each track has an understated energy. These aren’t songs to rage to, but they’ll keep you surprisingly awake.

The last track in this playlist is a slightly summer-y number with just enough dark notes to keep it in fall territory. “Halfway Love” by LA-NO flip is energetic but has a melancholy edge due to the low bass notes that permeate the track.

Maya Poddar, The Dartmouth Senior Staff