Parvati Magazine is pleased to introduce its new music columnist, Adam Nathan.
As much as the warm months of summer are celebrated and the cold, less popular, and seemingly mean-spirited months of winter are mourned, the needed balance of winter provides us with a time of retreat and quiet contemplation. Whether this happens physically or psychologically, we all need a winter of the soul to ponder over the insights we have harvested over the year, or our lives. In honour of this month’s theme, Renewal, a couple of artists came to mind: Pop icon Lionel Richie and Underground sensation Poolside. Although their most recent contributions were each released in 2012, they definitely fit the bill.
Ah, Lionel Richie – easily one of my all-time favourite artists. From his early days in The Commodores to his incredibly long-lasting solo career, his genre- crossing music was built and well received by putting his words and a voice to the most coveted of all things known to man: love. His music is synonymous with weddings, break-ups, love making and, well, maybe, when no one’s around, singing along loudly to “Sail On” while driving alone on a highway at night.
A few years after his last quietly released album Just Go, and 6 years since his last Gold selling album Coming Home, Richie released Tuskegee, an album that not only paid homage to his own music, but acknowledged the country music part of his roots. Born and raised in Tuskegee, Alabama, Richie was influenced by Classical, R&B, Motown, Pop and Country, and that’s what Tuskegee is, a collection of his line-blurring hits… but with a twist: they’re duets with some of Country Music’s biggest names. Tracks such as “Sail On” (with Tim McGraw), “Easy” (with Willie Nelson) and “Endless Love” (with Shania Twain) give a definite renewal to his classics.
Now, although I’m not really into traditional country music, I respect what this album represents – an originality and fearlessness to acknowledge and embrace past influences regardless of opinion. The result was a Billboard Top 10 selling album for 2012. Not bad, Lionel. Not bad.
Now, from the Deep South to sunny SoCal, some light that’s making its way through the cracks of the Underground is Los Angeles hipster duo Poolside. Their breezy and funky coastline sounds made waves across the pond as uber cool London culture magazine Dazed & Confused praised their debut single “Do You Believe” as “pop-tinged disco, brimming with optimistic vocals and retro acid synths”. The brainchild of members DJ Jeffery Paradise and Filip Nikolic, Poolside’s Daytime Disco sound is inspired by the good times feel good vibes of yesteryear’s heroes: The Style Council, Bobby Womack, Gladys Knight and Bill Withers (Lovely Day specifically).
Although Poolside’s music is reminiscent of chillaxercising by a pool or outdoor party with great people, it was their remake of Neil Young‘s timeless “Harvest Moon” that really caught my attention. It’s a tricky thing to attempt to renew a classic song and they did so with a cool and contemporary grace as Poolside’s “Harvest Moon” is a sun filled rendition that makes me feel that it’s summer somewhere right now and, for a few minutes, with closed eyes in a warm room, it’s already here.
You can find their version of “Harvest Moon” on their debut album Pacific Standard Time along with other great tracks such as: “Tulsa”, “Next To You”, “Do You Believe”, “Slow Down”, “Give It a Rest”, “Between Dreams”… oh, the whole album is amazing.
Adam Nathan is the Principal and Creative Director of Jellyfunk – a borderless creative boutique outfit of design and music. He was heavily entrenched in the global underground dance music scene as a DJ and a founding partner of Juno nominated Release Records until his departure from the company in 2004. He felt creatively and emotionally stifled and a break from the scene was what was needed as he had many questions about himself, the Universe, and life, in general. His path led him through a multitude of experiences, teachings, people and places, and all roads led to today. The appetite for knowledge and truth hasn’t left him and neither has music. His own forthcoming imprint Jellyfunk Records will be what he would like to see more of – quality and uplifting funky music that gets you moving.