BEST CHILL SONGS – WEEK 34
On Monday, America was blanketed in darkness, and for once, it wasn't a metaphorical gloom as conjured by the President of the United States! We hope that you enjoyed the eclipse from wherever you were on the continent. For us, it was beyond liberating to be able to take a step back from life's problems, and remind ourselves of how small and insignificant they are in the grand scheme of this vast universe. Even though the most profound music would struggle to recapture that sense of release, we nonetheless aim to free you of all worldly troubles yet again this Friday with the following edition of We Are: The Guard's Best Chill Songs. Just slip on your headphones and cereal box glasses, and prepare to be dazzled by the latest music from Gordi, Novo Amor & Ed Tullett, Nick Hakim, Elohim, A R I Z O N A, and five other favorites!
GORDI – BITTER END
Gordi releases her much-anticipated debut album, Reservoir, this Friday, and to celebrate, the Australian chanteuse has shared the video for the lush, sprawling “Bitter End.” Directed by Michael Beets, the clip – which is also available to watch in 360 – focuses on a wooden puppet, who passes his sad, lonely existence by dancing and gazing at the stars. It's a highly affecting watch that resonates deep in the soul, with Gordi's timeless balladry only adding to the emotionality.
SYML – FEAR OF THE WATER
After amassing millions of plays with “Where's My Love,” SYML – the solo project of Barcelona frontman Brian Fennell – has shared another song from his recent debut EP, Hurt for Me. A devastatingly arresting piano ballad that pairs Fennell's effortless falsetto vocals with an unexpectedly rhythmic Latin-indebted beat, “Fear of the Water” comes accompanied by a transfixing Keith Rivers-directed video that features a variety of dancers moving as if they're possessed by the music.
NOVO AMOR & ED TULLETT – CAVALRY
Ahead of the release of their debut collaborative album Heiress in November, Novo Amor and Ed Tullett – who first came together in 2014 for “Faux,” before reuniting last year for “Alps” – have shared the lead single, “Calvary.” A sweeping, luscious five-minute folklore odyssey, “Calvary” showcases the symbiotic relationship between the British troubadours, with the duo harmonizing like brothers over a billowing, ambitious swirl that truly carries listeners to Arcadia.
PETIT BISCUIT & MØME (FEAT. ISAAC DELUSION) – GRAVITATION
When it comes to bromances, it doesn't get much better than Petit Biscuit and Møme. The French producers, who first met while touring the festival circuit, celebrate their bond with “Gravitation.” Featuring Isaac Delusion singer Loïc Fleury on guest vocal duties, it's a starry-eyed slice of ambient music that, for three-and-a-half minutes, really makes you feel as if you're drifting through time and space. “We share a lot of artistic references and a certain philosophy of life,” Petit Biscuit writes of Møme. “This track is the fusion of our two artistic worlds and was composed between our travels and shows in many countries.”
GOLDLINK (FEAT. JAZMINE SULLIVAN & KAYTRANADA) – MEDITATION
Having recently earned gold certification with his previous single, “Crew,” GoldLink returns this Friday with the video for the Kaytranada-produced groove “Meditation.” The clip, which was directed by Christine Yuan, sees the Washington, D.C. rapper rolling up to a club, whereabouts he locks eyes with a beautiful girl across the dancefloor. Jazmine Sullivan, who performs the soulful chorus, and Ray J also make an appearance in the video, which takes a violent turn when GoldLink is challenged to a fight over his love interest.
NICK HAKIM – PAPAS FRITAS
As we reach the midpoint of this Friday's column, we bring you an interlude of sorts from Nick Hakim. Featured on his 2014 debut EP, Where Will We Go Pt. 1, “Papas Fritas” (Spanish for “French Fries”) is a meditative instrumental groove that clocks in at just over two minutes. Bringing together twinkling pianos and muted percussion, over which Hakim's hazy falsetto vocables wash over like a cool, late-night breeze, it's an understated albeit mood-altering composition to while away these final summer nights.
ELOHIM – ECLIPSE
Following on from the celestial spectacular on Monday, Elohim has shared the aptly otherworldly “Eclipse.” The song – which comes after “Sleepy Eyes,” Elohim's collaboration with Whethan – is an electronic pop gem inspired by the recent alignment of the Sun, the Moon, and the Earth. Pairing Elohim's airy vocals with sparkling synth pyrotechnics, “Eclipse” is pure dancefloor fodder that's every bit as brilliant as the once-in-a-lifetime event that we witnessed five days ago.
HAUX – COLOGNE
Woodson Black, the photographer-turned-musician who records as Haux, is consumed by wanderlust on “Cologne.” The successor to “Touch” is a sweeping ode to the German city of the same name, which Black first fell in love with while on tour. Featuring his quavering vocals set against a billowing backdrop of pianos and drums, it's an evocative listen that grows in urgency as Haux sings: “Remember Cologne/When it's late at night/You're all alone/You're not feeling right/Can you see the lights?/Are we losing sight?”
A R I Z O N A (FEAT. KIIARA) – CROSS MY MIND PT. 2
Just when we thought that we'd got enough of A R I Z O N A's hit single, “Cross My Mind,” the New Jersey outfit return with “Cross My Mind Pt. 2.” Coming almost exactly one year after the anthemic original, it's notable for the fact that it features A R I Z O N A frontman Zach Hannah sharing vocal duties with Kiiara. To say that the We Are: The Guard favorite makes for a perfect addition to the song would almost seem like an understatement, with her line “Oh, but not a single day goes by where you don't cross my mind” taking on an extra significance in the wake of her mentor Chester Bennington's untimely passing.
ZALMA BOUR – CLEANSLATE
Introducing Ohio native Zalma Bour, who in a musical landscape overpopulated by alternative R&B acts, makes quite the entrance with “Cleanslate.” Produced by Bour alongside Singawd, the song is a deeply intoxicating piece, with Zalma's ethereal dulcet tones meeting a percussive-rich instrumental that lulls all who listen into a mesmeric stupor. “For me, it's an ode to the people that are 'too nice' to have a moment to be not-so-nice,” Bour tells Pigeons and Planes of “Cleanslate.” FFO: BANKS, FKA twigs.
Until next Friday! x
“Photo” by Maranatha Pizarras 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.