Tobi Morare — Starter
There’s a lot that I love about Berlin-based producer Tobi Morare’s album, Soul Kitchen, and it all kicks off here. Pulling inspiration from ’90s downtempo and IDM, Morare laces in a hefty dose of funk straight out of the 70s thanks to liberal wah-wah use, and lays down hooks you can hang your hat on. I don’t think I’ve played this yet without turning the volume waaaaay up.
The Real… Bossa Nova (album)
(Ed.: This is the first track on the album Laura recommends, The Real… Bossa Nova, which is not available on Spotify. However, a helpful Spotify user compiled all of the individual tracks into one playlist, which you can find here.)
Whether you’re on a beach vacation, or enjoying cool drinks on the back deck, a warm summer evening is begging for 1960s-era bossa nova. This compilation album has authentic music from Brazil (Antônio Carlos Jobim and João Gilberto) to jazz greats (Stan Getz, Myles Davis, and the Dave Brubeck Quartet) setting the right mood for the season. It’s going to be on “repeat” the rest of the summer.
PUBLIQuartet — Montgomery: Break Away: III. Smoke
Lately, and rightly so, composer Jessie Montgomery has been “blowing up,” as the kids say. Exhibit A: the BSO is putting one of her works on their opening night program at Symphony Hall next month. Here is one of my favorite examples of her music, Smoke, for string quartet. It’s less than 4 minutes long but absolutely packed with ear-catching ideas and sounds. I can’t wait to hear what’s next from her.
Sibylle Baier — Colour Green
When Sybille Baier was in her twenties in Stuttgart, Germany, she recorded a secret diary of songs on a tape recorder she propped up on a stack of books. Then she forgot about it. Nearly 50 years later in Western Massachusetts, her son unearthed the recordings and decided they needed to be shared with the world. The result is an intimate collection of songs that sound as if Baier is sitting directly across from you, knees touching yours as she sings. In the titular track, Baier knits a green sweater and imagines spending her summer in New York City.
Piffaro — Dalza: Calata ala Spagnola
A couple of friends and I road-tripped to New York for a hard rock show this month. And what did we, three heavy metal connoisseurs, listen to on the drive? Renaissance music, exactly! This little unassuming tune has been one of my favorite secret gems in our playlist. In a world where songwriting gets more complicated by the day, not to mention overburdening production quality, it’s nice to have a simple melody and nothing more. P.S., listen for this one on the air!
Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra, Ryusuke Numajiri — Akutagawa: Music for Symphony Orchestra: Allegro
The best way to describe this 5 minute slice of musical chaos is if Shostakovich or Prokofiev took laughing gas and scored a Tom and Jerry cartoon. And the resemblance to those composers is no mistake! Akutagawa once snuck out of Japan into the USSR on a personal mission to meet his composing idols, and brings that mischievous energy to this rollicking Allegro.
Leon Fleisher — Schubert: Sonata in B-Flat Major, D. 960
Looking back over the years that I’ve been at CRB, one of the things I’m most proud of is an interview I did with author Andrea Avery about her memoir Sonata: A Memoir of Pain and the Piano, in which she shares her journey with music and rheumatoid arthritis. The memoir is built around Schubert’s Piano Sonata in B-flat, D. 960, and that piece just happened to pop up on my shuffled playlist and bring back some nice memories.
Carly Rae Jepsen — Beach House
When Carly Rae Jepsen releases a new single, it would be a shock if I didn’t pick it for this series. So, true to form, I present to you: an absolute bop, an earworm perfect for summer, CRJ’s “Beach House.” Come for the hyperpop, stay for the dark undertones and the backup vocals from various members of her production team. I love when you can hear how much fun a group of people had when they were recording something.
The Beths — Expert in a Dying Field
…Since it’s my final contribution to Instant Replay, if you’ll indulge me, The Beths also released a new single this month, and it’s very good. I love the contrast in their vocals, the way they play with rhythm, and their tight harmonies; in my mind The Beths can do no wrong. (Note: I promise, the title is not a reflection on leaving radio after 12 years, and I almost didn’t include this in case it gave that impression. It’s just a very good song, and the lyrics are an extended metaphor about a romantic relationship that has run its course.)
“Expert in a Dying Field” has been stuck in my head for weeks, and the video brings up a lot of nostalgia for one of the first projects I worked on here, involving reel-to-reel tapes of concerts from the Gardner Museum in the 1970s. And if you’re watching the video and getting an overwhelming sense of warmth and friendship, it’s likely because it was filmed in the house of Larry Killip, the band’s “longtime friend and collaborator.” As they wrote in a really touching Instagram post, Larry “mastered 2 of our albums, and has nursed a number of Jonathan’s microphones and tape machines over the years… We’re big fans, and so we say Thank You Larry!” Larry is like so many people I’ve worked with here – quietly and consistently making things hum behind the scenes, with a passion and dedication to the craft that’s clear through their work. I can only hope that I’ve been a Larry to the team here, too.
Carly Rae Jepsen — Beach House
I also pick “Beach House” by CRJ. Rani may be leaving us, but rest assured, I’m still here to carry our Carly torch into the Instant Replay future.
Listen to this month’s playlist:
The full cumulative playlist is available here.