As we lamented in our sprawling end of year list the abundance of great music released in 2021 made it difficult to keep up. We aim to rectify that with this new summer series where we cover the music that we are ashamed to admit we never quite managed to highlight, yet have found ourselves returning to again and again.
Well this beautiful melodic electronic collaboration appeared late in the year between Mike Paradinas and Mrs Jinx – who I wasn’t really familiar with, but had previously been on Planet Mu but had made some melodic electronics that Paradinas wished he had.
I listened to this album a lot when it appeared. But it was one of those rare works where the more you listened, the more it became part of you, and the harder it was to write about. Its sweet and gentle natured without being twee, and weirdly enough it feels light and airy. It reminds me a little of the kind of electronica being made in mid-late 2000’s, but with a mammoth injection of soul – as in heart – not the genre soul. It also reminds of (and they’ll hate me for this) the kind of wallpaper music that you hear when they’re showing the scorecard in the cricket and wrapping up the days play. In fact I wish it was, because whilst if you’re not listening carefully you will hear pleasant somewhat downtempo electronics with no huge shifts in dynamics, but if you pay attention it is a melodic smorgasbord – everything has its place, everything feels tightly composed and happens at the right time in a way that is ridiculously pleasing.
The collaboration came together in lockdown via file swapping and was completed in a ridiculous 10 days after swapping stems, and with Paradinas responsible for the final mixdown. Surprisingly (to me at least) it’s an album that was borne of sadness, with both having recently lost a parent to cancer. This what they have to say about it:
“Overall the result is an opus of deeply personal moments of grief, depicted in a feeling of serene, misty tranquillity that makes it easy to get lost in.”
Perhaps I’m tone deaf but I don’t really hear the grief. I’m not hearing any heaviness or lethargy – though perhaps it’s the electronic strings, and whilst I acknowledge moments of melancholy (particularly on – wait for it – The Ballad of Darth Vadar), overwhelmingly this does not feel like and exercise in grief. I’m hearing, warmth, hope and a certain optimism. But I do hear the tranquillity. There’s a lightness to this music. I’m also hearing two incredible artists working together to create something quite unique and beautiful. This album is special and will mean something important to many people in coming years. It’s the kind of album that becomes part of your life, and you reach for it at times when you need it.
For me, ‘Afternoon Sunshine’ with its subdued wash out is one of the most beautiful incredible songs I heard this year. But to be fair most of the album is like that. Paradinas released another album this year that I didn’t hear, but I can’t possibly imagine that it could be any better or emotionally resonant than this.