BEST CHILL MUSIC - WEEK 20
It's that time again when we gather to hit the “pause” button on life and the “play” button on yet another edition of We Are: The Guard's Best Chill Music. For those of you who're unacquainted with our column, our primary goal is to provide our readers with a space in which they can take it easy after the stress and chaos of the working week, without the burden of worldly responsibilities weighing heavy on their shoulders. Simply pop in your earphones, and for the next 30 or so minutes, unwind your way into the weekend to the chill sounds of Ella Vos, Calvin Harris, cln, FRND, Tommy Trash & DENM and others.
STWO – FILL THE VOID (FEAT. AMIR OBÈ & DANIEL CAESAR)
Dim the lights, as Stwo has delivered the ultimate late-night number in the form of “Fill the Void.” Featured on his debut EP D.T.S.N.T., the song once again finds the Parisian producer merging the hip hop and the electronic worlds, with Stwo enlisting the help of Detroit's Amir Obè and Toronto's Daniel Caesar – both OVO Sound affiliates – to create a hazy, intoxicating piece of after-dark R&B that truly evokes the feel of a drunken stupor.
ELLA VOS – YOU DON'T KNOW ABOUT ME
Ella Vos challenges the patriarchy and wins on her empowering latest single “You Don't Know About Me.” The Los Angeles artist – who recently became a mother for the first time – was inspired to write the song in response to the ongoing global assault on women's rights by our current President. Carrying a powerful pro-choice message from the very start, “You Don't Know About Me” also doubles as a spiritually elevating synth pop piece that acts as a showcase for Ella's vocal prowess.
CALVIN HARRIS (FEAT. FUTURE & KHALID) – ROLLIN
Calvin Harris continues to distance himself from the maximalist dance pop that propelled him to stardom on the latest single to be showcased from his forthcoming album Funk Wav Bounces Vol. 1, “Rollin.” A cruise-controlled slow jam that pits a couple of unlikely guest stars – rap veteran Future and fresh-faced soul singer Khalid – against a spread of Com Truise-style analog synths, expect to hear “Rollin” everywhere this summer.
CLN – BREATHE
As any nocturnal creature will tell you, the stillness of the night-time can be a truly enchanting thing, and it's this very stillness that Callan Alexander, also known as cln, encapsulates on “Breathe.” Written by the Brisbane producer at three in the morning while he was getting ready to go on his first tour of the United States, “Breathe” hears cln mixing moonlit xylophones with howling vocal harmonies to create the ultimate late-night hymn.
FRND – BE HAPPY
Heartache is a learning process, a learning process that FRND (pronounced Friend) journeys his way through on “Be Happy.” A tale about moving past the pain of separation and finding gratitude, “Be Happy” hears FRND utilize a mixture of acoustic and electronic instrumentation to depict his road to maturity. “'Be Happy' is about finally reaching the point of acceptance and seeing things objectively,” reveals FRND. Enjoy.
TOMMY TRASH & DENM – DREAMER
“Dreamer” is quite simply the summer dance anthem that ravers everywhere were waiting for this 2017. Pairing Queensland DJ Tommy Trash's larger-than-life deep house production with We Are: The Guard signee DENM's rasping vocals and sing-along melodies, “Dreamer” is festival-ready in every sense of the word. “Tommy showed me this instrumental and I just started singing something over it,” says DENM of the collaboration. “I decided to lay the vocals down and it turned into 'Dreamer.'”
NOMBE – WAIT (ADDAL REMIX)
If you didn't think that that NoMBe's effortlessly cool “Wait” could get anymore chill, then think again. Milan producer and purveyor of so-called “emotional music” Addal has shared a deep house remix of the genre-defying drift that most definitely amps up the vacation vibes. Featuring NoMBe's soulful vocals set against Addal's signature tropical percussion, consider it an essential addition to any summer playlist in the making.
EVERYTHING IS RECORDED – EVERYTHING IS RECORDED (FEAT. SAMPHA)
Richard Russell – the coveted producer and owner of XL Recordings – recently used his radio show to premiere “Everything Is Recorded,” a song from his debut music project of the same name. A downbeat piece of electronica that positions insistent, jazzy piano chords atop a bed of fractured beats, “Everything Is Recorded” also features London crooner Sampha, who indisputably steals the show with his expressive vocal performance.
AYELLE – LACUNA
Ayelle hones her experimental approach to R&B on “Lacuna.” Produced by ChenBeats, the song is a minimalistic, percussive-driven reverie overlaid with the London artist's piercing, Banks-style vocal incantations. “I like my space,” she sings at one point, “but I'd like you in it.” Ayelle: “It's sweet and naive but hopeful, that there might be a person who you wouldn't want to change, and that could share your space without invading it.”
CHIMES – NITE SWIMMING
Who needs The Chainsmokers and Coldplay when you can have CHIMES? The London duo – comprising of singer-songwriter Paul Aiden and producer Jamie Draper – give the two biggest acts on the planet and their recent collaboration “Something Just Like This” a run for their money with “Nite Swimming.” Opening with shimmering guitars and Paul's Chris Martin-esque vocals, before leading into a massive festival-ready drop, “Nite Swimming” has crossover hit written all over it.
Thanks for listening. Until next time, stay chill. x
“Photo” by Siddharth Bhogra is licensed under CC0 1.0 (cropped and resized).
Jess Grant is a frustrated writer hailing from London, England. When she isn't tasked with disentangling her thoughts from her brain and putting them on paper, Jess can generally be found listening to The Beatles, or cooking vegetarian food.