A German producer teams up with Norwegian percussionists to make a sweeping, mutating composition. The ensemble setup plays up Pantha du Prince's talent for arrangements, a way of braiding electronic and acoustic sounds into a richly imagined whole.
Manifestra often mutes the singer-songwriter's genre-shredding side in favor of pointed folk songs about foreign policy, the death penalty and income inequality. Still, there's a certain springiness to the arrangements, thanks to a crack band whose horns, keyboards and strings exude elasticity.
Broadcast's Trish Keenan died two years ago, but she left behind this gorgeous tapestry of sound. Though it was recorded as the soundtrack to a psychological thriller, Berberian Sound Studio actually works best when the listener's eyes stay shut.
The R&B singer and songwriter's album goes down smooth. The vibe that we're used to from a lifetime of Christmas music — Eskimos figure large, children cannot sleep — is here, but these songs wear it lightly.
Not since Aimee Mann's One More Drifter in the Snow has a collection of seasonal music been so finely engineered to locate the holidays' melancholy side. But Tinsel and Lights is as warmly rendered as it is achingly bittersweet.
Stevens views the holidays as a labor of love — worthy of creativity and care, hard work and an ocean of ideas. In Silver & Gold's nearly three hours of music, impeccable grace never strays far from playful ridiculousness.
Few performers manipulate sound quite as aggressively or effectively as these electronic musicians. On Instrumental Tourist, they form a single enveloping organism even as they dump their own daring and distinct ideas into the mix.
Van Wissem plays the lute with his heart equally in the 17th and 21st century. Jarmusch is a filmmaker whose work frequently blurs the line between movies and music. Together, they make a rich, appropriately cinematic sound on The Mystery of Heaven.