Playlist 12.11.17 : Five Songs for the Weekend

Playlist 12.11.17 : Five Songs for the Weekend
Playlist 12.11.17 : Five Songs for the Weekend
Playlist 12.11.17 : Five Songs for the Weekend

Smerz – No Harm

The Norwegian duo Smerz combine an intimate R&B sensibility with slow, shuffling electronic beats. Their songs capture a sense of youthful, emotional turmoil—the vocalists/producers Catharina Stoltenberg and Henriette Motzfeldt told i-D that one of their recent singles, “Because,” is about “being careless while wanting to care.” This malaise finds fuller expression on their new track “No harm.”

Enigmatic moments have always punctuated their output—they frequently sample random conversation snippets and use field recordings to craft their songs—and the blown out beats and the cynical perspective of “No harm” stretch their sound into more unsettling territory. Over cold, guttural synths Henriette repeats, “I wanna feel you,” creating a sense of bittersweet desire. She subtly shifts the mood, becoming apathetic at one second, dropping the “you” she’s singing about, and then sounding absolutely dejected, concluding with, “I wanna feel something.” The song’s static-filled breakdown features Motzfeldt’s pitched up voice ironically saying there’s “no harm in trying,” as if to lighten the mood. The emotional complexity expressed throughout is almost as captivating as the song’s dusty groove and hard-edged percussion. Smerz have a strange ability for making their weary voices and disaffected sounds and voices danceable and melodic. “No harm” might be the most extreme example of their skill for making discomfort fun.

Read the rest of this article at Pitchfork

Helena Hauff – Gift

Hamburg’s Helena Hauff has quickly risen to become one of the most vitalDJs in the global techno circuit. Listening to any short snippet from her recent closing Dekmantel set reveals how painfully palpable her blistering energy on the decks is. And while she’s perhaps garnered more attention for her DJ sets, her analog-only productions, like her 2015 debut album, Discreet Desires, demonstrate her vast range, from acid house to earworm electro, mixing in sinister cuts with graceful ones.

On “Gift,” the first single off her upcoming EP, Have You Been There, Have You Seen It, Hauff keeps things a bit lighter—or as light as someone who proclaims that feel-good music is like someone “spitting in your face” can actually get. Starting off with a simple kick and a squelching bassline, she slowly incorporates soft arpeggios that cushion the wobbly beat. A rickety drum pattern constantly threatens to throw the entire progression off-balance. Hauff overlays some buzzing synth lines to the mix and adds some hi-hats for good measure, which adds clarity to her characteristic chaos. “Gift” finds Hauff reining in some of her hardcore influences to craft a more measured, lucid track than she’s released thus far.

Read the rest of this article at Pitchfork

Young Fathers – Lord

Edinburgh art-rap experimentalists Young Fathers, who came to prominence by winning the UK’s esteemed Mercury Prize for 2014’s DEAD, appear ready to follow up 2015’s White Men Are Black Men Too. They’ve uploaded a new track called “LORD” to YouTube along with a couple of messages.

On Facebook and Twitter, a screenshotted iPhone note reads:

We’ve just finished a new album,

and it’s about fucking time.

Anyway, here’s a song from it, a song called LORD.

See youz soon.

Meanwhile, on YouTube, they write:

Young Fathers have finished a new album
We hope you hear it sometime in the near future, for now here is a song, a song called LORD
You can’t dance to it

It’s true! “LORD” is a grandiose, futuristic piano ballad replete with a huge gospel choir, jarring digital bass, and sing-songy lyrics such as “This is my cross to bear.” It hardly even qualifies as hip-hop at all, even by Young Fathers’ already loose conception of the term.

Read the rest of this article at Stereogum

Grandbrothers – Bloodflow

Grandbrothers‘ latest offering is very much in the vein of neo-classical compatriots and contemporaries Hauschka and Nils Frahm – dramatic piano flourishes and grand, sweeping sonic statements marry beneath minimalist-lite motifs. Where Grandbrothers take a leap to leftfield is further down in the mix, right at the bedrock: built on a foundation of thumping rhythms and clubby beats, this could easily find a home inside sweat-soaked warehouses as easily as the majestic symphony halls of continental Europe.

Erol Sarp and Lukas Vogel – the minds behind Grandbrothers – are following up their debut record Dilation.

The accompanying visuals are similarly multi-faceted, serving as an extension of the track and short film by itself.

“When I first heard the track I was really intrigued by how certain parts repeated yet kept evolving in a way that felt amazingly effortless,” says director Hugo Jenkins. “This made me reflect on different forms of spirituality and therapy that often involve repetitive tasks. I tried to let this repetition inform the way the film is structured, often returning to a particular idea but revealing a little more each time we see it. The feel of the music is just so emotive I felt an abstract exploration of memory, family and the mother/daughter relationship made sense to me. The environment I chose to explore this in was drawn from a personal experience I had a few years ago.”

Read the rest of this article at The Line Of Best Fit

Chynna – Asia Black Market

As a teenager, the 22-year-old Philly rapper Chynna fell in with the A$AP Mobas they were rising, in 2011 and was mentored by their late, great co-founder A$AP Yams, who pushed her to write her own raps. After breaking out in 2013 with “Selfie” and following-up with the more polished “Glen Coco,” she started working out the kinks in her flow, learning how stitch verses together like a rap couturier. Across her songs, Chynna makes it clear that she’s equal parts petty and glamorous, and she leans into each brag so you know that she means it.

The hongsΔmman-produced “asia black market,” a standout cut from her recent project, music 2 die 2, is full of casual flexes and finesses. Over slapping 808s, rattling hi hats, and crackling static, she toys with the idea of entertaining a suitor. “Might’ve been a demon or a heathen in your past life/Something still attractive ’bout the seed that didn’t act right,” she murmurs, mulling the premise. But it’s clear he’s way more into the prospect of a hook-up than she is, and that she finds power in the exchange. There’s some melody to her voice, but she isn’t singing; her shifting inflections occasionally carry a tune, adding a bit of charm to her musings. As Chynna coolly weighs her options on “asia black market,” her indifference becomes infectious.

Read the rest of this article at Pitchfork

P.S. previous PLAYLISTS & more by P.F.M. // Top images: @adashoffash,, @journeyintolavillelumiere