There’s almost always music playing in the Shentonista office. We find that it helps to have some music playing in the background instead of empty noise—whether it’s to help us concentrate or to keep the energy up during a shoot—and we wanted to share some of the tunes we’ve been listening to of late. This month, we pick out some songs that will provide you a bit of calm on a hectic workday, or to form the perfect atmosphere for a lazy, relaxing weekend at home.
Some of our favourites:
I by Aphex Twin
This quiet, gentle track immediately transports the mind to a more serene place. Aphex Twin, or Richard D. James, first started DJ-ing in raves in his hometown of Cornwall, England in the 1980’s. He has since carved out a name for himself by experimenting with acid and ambient music, going on to rework tracks by St. Etienne, the Cure, Meat Beat Manifesto and more, becoming one of the most lauded electronic artists of his generation.
Say My Name by Ólafur Arnalds
Arnarlds gives Beyoncé’s timeless R&B melody the mellow treatment with this cover. The talented Icelandic native is a multi-instrumentalist, composer, and producer, and started out as a drummer for several metal bands. Arnalds’ foray into neo-classical music was spurred by a request by a German band to play some piano-and-string pieces for an album, and it seems Arnalds hasn’t looked back since.
Speak Up Selah by Linying
Local singer-songwriter Linying has been making waves with her ethereal vocals and moody melodies. She started out by performing at her school’s talent show when she was 13, and has since collaborated with DJs and producers from around the world; been signed by Universal Music Singapore; and most recently, performed at the South by Southwest music festival and conference in America. It looks like Linying’s star is set to rise even further, and with such deeply emotive tracks like Speak Up Selah, it’s easy to see why.
Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence by Ryuichi Sakamoto
Born in Tokyo, Japan in 1952, Sakamoto is an Academy-award winning composer. He picked up piano at the age of three, played in jazz bands throughout high school, and went on to study electronic music at Tokyo’s University of Art. Sakamoto’s music spans from experimental ambient to photo-techno and glitch, and he has collaborated with names such as David Sylvian, Iggy Pop, and Brian Wilson. This track is taken off the 1983 movie of the same name, starring David Bowie and Sakamoto himself—just one of several movie soundtracks he’s worked on, including 2015’s The Revenant.
Shake It Off by Ryan Adams
The road hasn’t been easy for Adams—he’s been through a string of bands since he was 16—but he’s found considerably more success by going it on his own. Like Taylor Swift, whose irrepressible pop-ditty he completely overhauls, Adams is one of the few alternative-country artists who has achieved mainstream commercial success. Shake It Off isn’t just a single cover, though—Adams re-made Swift’s entire 1989 album, of which this song is taken, turning her lovelorn, beat-driven tunes on their heads and making them into sound that is truly his own.
Follow Shentonista on Spotify for more recommended listening.
Have a tune you’d like to share? We’d love to know—leave a comment below, or write in to firstname.lastname@example.org.