Archive for Venus Hum

The holiday playlist

Posted in Commentary with tags , , , , , , , , , , on December 4, 2012 by softsynth

So it’s December and all that and while Softsynth may seem the cynic, he still appreciates the holiday season. In fact now that the Month of Ho is upon us the Softsynth Holiday Playlist has been added to the iPod and is in full play mode. This year’s playlist will be familiar to those who have followed this blog lo these last few years, and as always, if you know of something that should be here that isn’t (yet) shout ‘er out! Continue reading

Electronic xmas tunes ’11

Posted in Observations with tags , , , , , , on December 22, 2011 by softsynth

Every year we troll about for new electronic holiday music. Perhaps it’s in reaction to the ubiquitousness of the xmas music we hear from radio stations, malls, co-workers computers…in the sea of the same holiday fare those in the electronic community sometimes want a little something to listen to, to get our spirit on without having to hear Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas” or even our loved but done to death “Do They Know It’s Christmas”, let alone the older classics. Continue reading

Electronic music for the holidays, 2010 edition

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on December 7, 2010 by softsynth

Tis the season and all that. Each year Softsynth, like so many, starts to slowly get into the holiday spirit and accordingly, we get the hankering for a little seasonal music. Last year we saw a few holiday-related songs get added to the pile, like Pet Shop Boys merely okay “It Doesn’t Often Snow at Christmas”, Tori Amos’ lovely seasonal album, Midwinter Graces, Liquid 360’s “Change Has Come (For Christmas)”, Rush Coil’s kind of neat 8-bit holiday album, 8-Bit Christmas and thanks to reader Michael we got our hands on a copy of the late, lamented Book of Love’s weird, and thoroughly enjoyable take on “We Three Kings”. This year we’re very much enjoying The Golden Filter’s fantastic “White Nights”, a Psychic TV cover that’s made for a lovely holiday tune (and available for free download at their web site). There’s also Hurts’ brand new seasonally-cheesy but still kind of nice “All I Want For Christmas Is New Years Day” and we’re very excited to hear Saint Etienne’s new Christmas album, A Glimpse Of Stocking. But other than the above, a handful of songs helpfully suggested by our readers last year, and stand-bys like Venus Hum’s always great Switched on Christmas, the “old faithful”, Electric Fantastic Xmas (a must-own for electronic fans), and of course Erasure’s Crackers International and Crackers International Part II, and not a whole lot more from our genre. The self-serious electronic community rarely deign to throw out holiday-themed songs – once a fan club staple for many bands in days gone by – as it is often seen to compromise the cred they’ve spent years trying to build.

So our annual holiday lament: if we want to get into the holiday spirit, whatever you celebrate, the only refuge from the traditional standards remain the small handful of tracks spun out from within our genre, and occasional dips into the South Park Christmas album and of course the umpteenth playing of “Do They Know It’s Christmas”…

(Anything else new out there in the way of electronic holiday tunes…?)

Watch: All I Want For Christmas Is New Years Day

DVD Review: Venus Hum – Mechanics and Mathematics

Posted in Commentary with tags , on May 12, 2010 by softsynth

Generally speaking, Softsynth doesn’t review DVDs or concert films. But the folks at team Hum sent us an advance copy of their first concert film and we admit an absolute weak spot for the Hum and so here we are.

(And on that note – full disclosure – several folks have pointed out that Softsynth doesn’t really champion specific bands, rather we are inclusive of anything and everything in the whole wide world of electronic music. Venus Hum have been the one exception to that, and are, in fact, the only band we have set out to “champion” {see cloud tag to the right for a sense of how often we revel in this band}. Not only are they ridiculously original, not only are they great song writers with admirable fealty to the electronic cause, and beyond-thoughtful lyrics, and not only do we have a rather pathetic crush on singer Annette Strean, but they seem like such a nice bunch doing some really wonderful things in music and put quite simply, they deserve a much wider audience than they get. We adore this band, up and down and it’s a pleasure to get new material from them. It’s hard to be objective where this band are concerned but we try, lord knows we try…)

So, that out of the way, what’s the DVD like? Continue reading

Religion in electronic music

Posted in Commentary with tags , , , , , , , , on April 25, 2010 by softsynth

Maybe it’s just because we follow our mutual preferred genre so closely that this seems to stand out but it strikes Softsynth there’s almost a disproportionate number of theistic, or “religious”, if you will, music in the electronic world. Some are confirmed so, others are merely assumed to be such given the subject matter of their songs, but either way there seems to be an awful lot of electronic music that takes a little ride on the religion highway. Continue reading

The Softsynth seasonal playlist

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on December 17, 2009 by softsynth

We blogged last year about the dearth of holiday-themed alternative music, especially electronic music for the season. One year on and the picture isn’t much brighter. Why should we care? Well, even the most cynical among us (and Softsynth is the very embodiment of cynicism) can’t help but get caught up in at least elements of the season, whatever you may celebrate and seasonal music is a big part of the scene. It’s ubiquitous – you simply cannot escape it, especially if you travel about with say, two Softsynth Jr’s in tow who want to get their Xmas on. so how does a fan of alternative and/or electronic music survive the season and still play along? Continue reading

The Softsynth 2009 Playlist (songs of the year ’09)

Posted in Commentary with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 12, 2009 by softsynth

So this will be the last in the long line of “lists” for the year. We had mused about doing up a “best singles of the year list”

and were both overwhelmed by the task at hand and felt persnickety about the notion of being limited to just singles.

The era of the single is definitely upon us what with the death of the CD as the last remaining form of “physical” music and the growth of iTunes culture, but damn it, Softsynth is a creature from the age of album appreciation and the best songs are so often not the tracks sent out to be appreciated by the masses, but those that remain buried in the outer confines of an album. (That said many of the best songs

released there were, indeed, singles, so we’re not limiting ourselves here). It’s what made for the great mixed tapes of yore. (And for those of a certain age, too young for the pure album era of the 70s, but older than those who know only the MP3 era, the mixed tape was a crucial part of our musical upbringing. we created our own playlists, as a kind of precursor to the era we increasingly find ourselves in today via one-off MP3 downloads, but with tracks culled from albums or singles as we saw fit, depending on our mood at a given time.)

This is literally the only time through the year that we open things up to acknowledge the best stuff from various genres, not just electronic music (and in our next post we will revisit the question of what exactly constitutes so-called “electronic music”).We will paint with a wider brush just to fully colour in the year. So away we go, the singles of the year, er, songs of the year, uh…no, the “2009 Softsynth playlist”…

Continue reading