Sometimes, all you want from your music is a background track to whatever you’re doing… whichformeismostlyhomework. It is this aesthetic that connects the two bands featured here: Youth Lagoon, who I know nearly nothing about, and schultzing, a German jazz quintet.
Youth Lagoon. Just one dude, 22, named Trevor Powers. Cool name. The 2011 album is The Year of Hibernation. So mysterious. Guaranteed forty-five minutes of either quality background tuneage or, depending on how into it you want to get, some very legitimate music. Alt-pop powered by layers of lacy synth, from piano to steel drum. His vocals hide in the low-fi and electric, but they bravely fade into Fleet Fox-ish cathedral paintings. I haven’t listened for the lyrics once. The songs stay dreamy, an “eerie yet nostalgic” vibe reminiscent of The XX about them until he drops the bass, when things can get pleasantly epic. Youth Lagoon’s true charm, I believe, is in his patient construction of each song, building it appreciably – if at times too safely – then delivering when the moment arises. Such as at 2:20 in Posters, the first in The Year of Hibernation.
A less safe embarkment would be for the shores of schultzing. One of my now-favorite bands and a refreshing break from the indie scene. Their seven-song 2011 album is federleicht (light as a feather) and it features Mateusz Smoczyński, a Polish jazz violinist, whose heavenly strings often synch with Hanna Jursch’s singing. Their lack of capitalization reflects the experimental nature of their jazz, from the twisted nine-minute jam they called Karawahn, to Ballade, a smoky song led along by two Peters — Schwebs’ stand-up bass and Ehwald’s tenor sax. Claremont, the song featured above, pretty perfectly epitomizes the light and featheriness federleicht suggests.
No schultzing song allows you to disengage from it the same way Youth Lagoon is susceptible to, but still I find myself able to fade from and study to it. (As well, of course, as get down to it.) Both have a certain levity, that I realize now may be from their shared lack of lyrical allure. What I mean is Youth Lagoon’s are unassuming, voice so shrouded in static distance; and because schultzing’s German is incomprehensible to me it slides from my brain like rain from a rock. For neither am I tied down in one part of my mind, following the words of the song; I’m free from understanding them in a literal way.
Let them do for you what you like, and happy studies!