Daniela Andrade – Digital Age

Hello world!

ZaRecords is coming back, friends.

After two and a half years, it’s about time. There will be new content and new ideas. There might even be new people involved. We’ll see. Hopefully together!

And because cycles are wonderful, I’m marking this (slight) return with one of Daniela Andrade‘s most recent songs, off her fresh “Shore” EP. Her music has changed shape and color, but its heart stays the same throughout the years. Investigate her work now, if you haven’t before. It’s far more visual, it’s become as lush as it’s always aluded to, even during the most naive inklings she put out years ago. “Shore” goes hand in hand with a beautiful series of videos. If you like them, support Daniela here.

That’s the plan for ZaRecords too – something old, something new, something borrowed, something avant-garde. 🙂 My marriage to this craft of translating one art to another remains unshaken.

If you like the song, I encourage you to support Daniela Andrade (and ZaRecords) by simply buying the Shore EP. Just click on the image below!


Tom Odell – Songs From Another Love EP (2012)

So soon, so soon after playing one of his songs as a “single”, I can’t help but write about this EP by young, oh so young songwriter Tom Odell. I know it’s not necessarily the highest-brow material I’ve written about, but it hits so many right notes with me that I’m really quite alarmingly close to feeling overwhelmed by the emotional reaction I have to his music. Let’s see if I can convey the same vibe to you good people.

Tom Odell

I must admit, I am a ridiculous softy sometimes, especially when music brings it out of me. I see the human heart as a vacuum surrounded by ever-thickening walls made of ever-friable materials, just aching to buckle and implode, and music – in this case Tom Odell’s music – gnaws at the fragile balance, rakes at the sandstone walls, bores its way through and somehow, gently, sweetly, leads the structure to the point of collapse. I haven’t been listening to artists who have this effect on me lately, not only because I try to avoid the sickly sweet state of catatonia which becomes so tempting with every second of their music I indulge in, but also because there aren’t many of them, as far as I’m concerned. I’m not going to name them here because it’s probably the most motley, insufferably mongreled list you’ll ever read. Suffice to say, it’s not the kind of list which grows easily and which one can subject to the census of reason. Tom Odell made his way on that list of mine with four songs, gathered on his debut EP.

He’s probably the youngest songwriter I know, save perhaps for Daniela Andrade, of whom I’ve written twice before (incidentally, she’s on that list as well), but he reminds me of so many songs I used to listen to obsessively so long ago, while also somehow managing to circumvent the inevitable jadedness, that I can’t help feel a certain amount of awe at his intensity. I love his accent, I love his “older-than-it-ought-to-be” voice, his vibrato – Starsailor, anyone? -, the simplicity of his songwriting – the good kind, the kind you don’t get bored by, the kind that stories have, when told well – and the briefness of the record he chose to make his entrance with. A four-song EP, by a boy. I can see how annoying it can sound at first glance. Well, it doesn’t sound pretentious, it doesn’t bite off more than it can chew, it doesn’t beat its chest in adolescent bravado. It’s an understated work of brilliance, soaring as the gospel backing vocals kicking in at just the right times, truly intense, without being hysterical or dark.

His full-length LP, “Long Way Down”, is on the way and I suspect it will be one of the records of the year for me. I’ll post “Can’t pretend” again, because I can’t not post it. It’s a different version, from the Jonathan Ross show. Listen to it and tell me it doesn’t hold the same sweeping, earth-shaking power that Rob Dougan could muster on some of the songs on “Furious Angels”. There’s really not much more I can say after that reference. Enjoy!

Daniela Andrade – Things We’ve Said EP (2012)

Hello dear friends! This is a very special day for ZaRecords – it’s our one year anniversary! I started this blog on my birthday last year, and it’s proven to be the most long lasting endeavor I have ever set out to do. I started with what my friends considered an unlikely choice, given my normal musical tastes – Daniela Andrade, a soft, gentle troubadour of this intermediary season. At that time, she hadn’t yet released a professional recording of her music – the only way you could hear her was on YouTube or on TheSixtyOne, where one can still download her covers for free, and purchase her early recordings, as I did, under the name of “Red Letter Days EP”.

It so happens this is also my birthday, and I don’t feel like flooding this post with many words. ZaRecords is, after all, an attempt at a music blog, rather than a display of wordsmithing prowess. I debated then, as I do now, writing about Morphine’s “French Fries With Pepper” song, which is the song I always listen to on this day… but Daniela Andrade has been with me throughout the year, inspiring me every day with her constant stream of perseverance and sincerity. This openness and honesty shone through and resulted in the issuing of her first EP – Things We’ve Said, a lovely concentration of all of the themes expressed in the previous, simpler, bedroom recordings of her songs. This EP represents a goal achieved, a victory of no small value, a first, honest step on a hopefully long career choice, just as this blog represents the same thing for me. Daniela Andrade’s smooth, almost childish voice, is now a symbol for me, and for this I thank her, just as I thank you, my dear friends, who have kept me inspired and enthusiastic throughout this entire year, in which so many things could have gone so very wrong.

Daniela’s EP studio recordings are unavailable on YouTube – the record is easily available on her website for a modest sum. I leave you with two recordings of original songs of hers, one new and crystalline, but as warm as ever, the second also present on her record. One caught in the limbo of being out there, without being committed to vinyl or CD, the other safe and sound, in many more ways than one. Thank you Daniela, and thank you, friends, for holding on.

Daniela Andrade – Red Letter Days EP

I’ve decided to write about Daniela Andrade even though she doesn’t actually have an album out yet. Even this EP is more of a technicality, since it’s not available for hard-copy purchase anywhere, at least to my knowledge. I suspect it was just a way to bulk some songs together on http://www.thesixtyone.com, a very nice music site I actually discovered her on, in spite of her being a pretty massive Youtube star, from what I gathered later on. But I’ll try to keep these collector’s ramblings to a minimum around here.

Have you ever walked around with your ear-buds on when your mp3-player of choice is turned off? There’s sometimes this whistling, hissing, chiming sound that gets through to your ears if you do that. It’s just the air playing around, but sometimes it makes for better music than anything on the mp3-player. You’ll never be able to remember any melody, but you’ll probably remember having heard something very delicate, very ephemeral, which your entire body makes just by walking around, providing the air with an opportunity to play, well, you. This is what Daniela Andrade’s music reminds me of. This unbelievable, intimate, half-whispered game is what she initiates with every one of her songs, sometimes to such an extent that it creates a hypnotic effect. There’s a quality about music which seems to often be sent into the background by many musicians and more importantly by listeners – fluidity. Beats make things solid, palpable, they place a song at a threshold where one can experience them via touch as well. And one remembers the texture and touch of something solid. It’s not as easy to describe the particular feel of a fluid though, fluid music isn’t as easily remembered on this level. However, it leaves a mark of its own, it bathes the mind and nudges scents, tastes, qualities of light into your perception, ever so insidiously and gently, it creates connections in your head to the little things which go unnoticed, not issues of history and events, not drama, but space, light, temperature instead.

The Red Letter Days EP is recorded like all of her songs – in her not-even-twenty-years-old-yet bedroom, with a fancy, novelty microphone, which provides for very good quality, but not the crystal clear, frozen perfection of studio equipment. There’s just enough hiss in the background to really drive home that feeling of air swishing through your ear buds as you walk the streets in the morning, off to some minor task or other that you think might or might not be a pivotal moment in your life. The air, at least, is there for certain, and it plays well.