POTW (2019/5): Yoga Chill by Michelle Qureshi

This week’s playlist of the week is Yoga Chill, from Michelle Qureshi, and brings together a selection of beautiful pieces in the chill out, new age, ambient and acoustic genres. You don’t need to be doing yoga to enjoy this playlist – it makes great background music for reading, studying or other non-physical activities, which is great if you’re an unbendy couch-potato like me.

Michelle Qureshi is an acoustic artist in her own right, writing and recording almost classical style new age and ambient pieces, often guitar based. She has several tracks in the playlist, so you can get a feel for her style. (She’s also included a couple of tracks by Andy Salvanos, who I’ve mentioned before in the blog.) Michelle brings a great deal of feeling to everything I’ve heard her do, and pieces like Never Odd Or Even can leave you floating off into some imaginary sunset, so I think you’ll really enjoy listening.

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Playlist of the Week (2018/42)

Stoneygate's Playlist of the Week No 42, 2018

This week’s playlist is from ENILSounds, aka Line Munch-Petersen, a “one-woman-band” from Copenhagen, Denmark, whose Traffic Jam List 2018 playlist I featured back in August. Line says about her work, “I make music because I have an urge to. I would love to be able to make a living out of it, but it is not my main goal. That is to be happy while I am doing it.” Line considers her style to be soft-synth electronic pop music, with lyrics about life, love and loss, but says some would label it New Age. In any case, listeners have said her music reminds them of Enya, but with a Joni Mitchell style vocal.

In case it’s not obvious from the title, this playlist is part of a series Line has been curating, to show off the most popular tracks that are trending by independent artists, plus a few from mainstream artists that fit with her vibe. She’s been faithfully creating  new lists of artists’ most popular music since early this year; This is October’s – enjoy!

 

 

 

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Playlist of the Week (2018/41)

POTW No 41: Soulful Fox's Chill-out Downtempo Dance Music

This week’s POTW is the fantastic Chillout Downtempo Dance Music, by Soulful Fox, an independent music producer and performer from Liverpool who makes uplifting electronica music that leans towards house, downtempo and liquid drum and bass.

After studying for a music degree, she took a detour and started a career in banking, but  decided it wasn’t for her. She subsequently went into music teaching, which she loved and which also gave her the opportunity to learn music production, using Logic  software. You can find some of her excellent work via this playlist, or at her CD Baby or Soundcloud pages.

 

Stoneygate Sleepwalker CD

What a Week!

I can’t believe it’s Friday already (yeah, I know I keep saying that, but seriously, they go really lightning-fast at the moment).

So, in place of my cancelled Tune-A-Day June, I went for an 8 Day Sync Songwriting Challenge, organised by one of the agencies that deals directly with the film, TV and advertising industries, Catch the Moon Music, based in Los Angeles. Getting my work placed in visual media has been very much on my radar for a while, and it’s only a few days since I did a very useful seminar by another songwriter who does a lot of this.  8 days sounds so much more doable than 30 days at the moment!

The challenge is led by Cathy Heller, who started the Catch the Moon Music agency; I’ve been following her podcast for over a year already, because I’d heard about her success getting her own songs into sync placements, so when I saw the challenge, I jumped on the opportunity.  Monday was Day 1, so we’re already half way through.

Unlike the 30 day challenge, where I was trying to get one piece of music together every day, the 8 day challenge is all about getting one song written and ready to pitch for licensing in the timeframe, including research, songwriting, arrangements, recording, mixing and mastering. (They will listen to demo quality pieces at the end, but the full scale challenge task is to get something finished that is ready to use).

It’s taken me a few days to really get into the swing of the course and overcome the unexpected niggles that come with being a whole 8 hours ahead of LA, with course instructions for the day arriving based on LA time.* Once the research phase was done, I had a pretty good idea of where I was heading, though, so I had a bit of a catch up day yesterday where I more or less finished the songwriting part and got started on production and arranging. My submission will be a somewhat upbeat song about having been close to death (yes, really!) –  so it’s new territory in a lot of ways for me. I’ve taken a lot of the inspiration for the song from what happened to Dad last year.

One of the really great things about doing the challenge is the Facebook live videos Cathy has been doing, which give an industry insider perspective and are incredibly inspiring.  Sometimes that’s in a very-gentle-kick-up-the-backside kind of way, to challenge us out of any negative mindset we may be hampering ourselves with, because it’s so easy to slip into ‘I’m not good enough’ mode as a perfectionist musician.

In other news this week, Dad & I had a useful meeting with his PhD supervisor to work out how we go forward, as he is coming to the end of his leave of absence, and I’ve been preparing for him to come and stay for a week as soon as the songwriting challenge is finished. Plus, the Sleepwalker CDs I designed a couple of weeks back have arrived (and been checked) along with my first batch of Survival CDs, in time for my gig at Lincoln’s Sonophilia Festival on 14th October.

Next week, when Dad and I aren’t attacking a few of the smaller jobs that need doing around the house, I’ll be getting my Sonophilia gig ready. Plus, I have to finish the 8 day challenge and readjust my body-clock to UK time! But before that, the challenge’s ‘Monday evening’ live feedback session starts 2am on Tuesday for me. That’s the scary and important session where they tell you what they thought of your song, if you’re one of the lucky ones that get feedback, so it’s worth showing up for if I possibly can.

 

Ghettoblaster

Playlist of the Week (2018/35)

Award winning choreographer Laura Kriefman's 'Star_Gazing' playlist is this week's POTW.

This week’s POTW is Star_Gazing by Laura Kriefman. It’s a crowd-sourced collection of songs about stars, space and the sky. I thought it would be an appropriate playlist for sitting outside after sundown, staring into space after a busy day in the heat of summer*.

Laura is an award winning choreographer, and founder of Hellion Trace, a Bristol-based company which specialises in ‘augmented dance’, bringing movement and technology together. A great example of their work was the Crane Dance in Bristol, where the group animated three cranes to music, captivating a live audience of 10,000 people – and a further 4 million online. Other creations have included a LED Dress that reacts to live sound, wearable controllers and a collection of street-installed constellations made of interactive lights that you have to step on to illuminate.

 

*If the weather isn’t behaving, please listen indoors – we don’t want you or your headphones to get wet!

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Playlist of the Week (2018/33)

Playlist of the Week (2018/33): ENILSounds' Traffic Jam List 2018

This week’s POTW is the fantastic Traffic Jam List 2018 from ENILSounds, aka Line Munch-Petersen, an indie musician from Copenhagen, Denmark. Line produces mainly electronic pop with a “sprechstimme” (simultaneously sung and spoken) style vocal delivery, but her collaboration with ZODALITT (Lise Jonsson) has taken her into some quite different musical territory with overtones of 1930s music halls, where her vocal performance style sounds very much at home.

Line’s Traffic Jam list focusses in on songs about travelling and journeys, both physical and metaphorical.

 

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Playlist of the Week (2018/18)

This week’s POTW is a compilation focussing on mental health, a slightly surprising topic for a playlist, but it turns out it works rather well. Fighting the Monster – mental health awareness is full of tracks around the topic of mental health (and maintaining it), but it’s not in any way a depressing listen. There’s a broad range of genres and moods represented, from in-your-face rock to dreamy ambient, and if anything it’s quite a thought provoking set of tracks, as there’s not always an immediately obvious connection with the subject of mental health.

Fighting the Monster – mental health awareness is curated by Verity White, an independent British rock artist, whose recent Break Out tour has seen her perform in venues in Manchester, London and Cardiff. Verity’s voice sometimes sounds like Stevie Nicks, but it can also be far edgier, and both sides of her vocals can be heard in the excellent Exhale, the leading track on this playlist.

(Disclaimer: there are, very occasionally, tracks on this playlist which contain swearing – please use the skip button if you are offended by a track.)

 

 

Ghettoblaster

Playlist of the Week (2018/10)

What’s really great about being in a community of independent musicians is how many artists really understand that we’re in this together, and that we all benefit when we do things that help each other out and work together.

My POTW for this week is another female-focussed playlist, drawing attention to lesser-known women in music. Let’s Hear it for the Girls is another playlist from Susan Moss / MoonDreams, who has been amazingly supportive of my work; she’s even been very kind, putting Sleepwalker at the top of this list (at the time of writing) – the best spot. Being a fairly prolific playlister, her name will crop up again – I just haven’t written that article yet!

One of Susan’s most recent offerings, Keep Moving (Basement Recording), is on my Chilled Retro playlist currently, and is a raw folk-rock song about keeping going when the going is tough, which I can rather relate to after everything that’s been going on with my Dad’s health the last few months.

I hope you enjoy listening to this little slice of girl-power… more to come!