On October 28th, 24 year old Woodes released her debut – self titled – EP, which has since had quite the warm reception from fans and certainly from critics online. ‘Rise’ to which you can watch the official video for above, was the opening track on said EP… it’s quite the opening!
Once you’re done marvelling at how great ‘Rise’ (and Woodes herself) is, have a gander at what Woodes has picked in her Winter playlist and why!
This is one of my favourite pieces of 2016, a piece taken from ELLIS, a collaborative short film between French, Italian, German, Tunisian and Moroccan immigrants, the primary 3 being pianist/composer Nils Frahm, Woodkid & actor, Robert De Niro.
The film that accompanies this piece is in the thick of winter, it’s dark and beautiful. To me there’s something about the piano that is wintery and light, I love the way it progresses into urgent sounding strings. It’s music with a message and it’s beautifully done.
There were two tracks released for this short film. Winter Morning 1 & Winter Morning II (The latter features De Niro’s full monologue)
I remember reading this quote by Nils Frahm when it first came out –
“Robert says it all in 17 minutes. We are not facing a refugee crisis. We are facing a crisis because we do not embrace, we do not sympathise and we cannot give up fear. Art can encourage so I hope this project will help fight the fear in all of us.”
Another two part piece… this was the album that got me hooked on James Blake. I remember doing a full analysis of it when I was studying… it helped me figure out what all the subtleties were in this evolving track. To me it’s raw; the lyrics barely make sense in parts – “Cute but I’ll take the bus” is one of my favourite lines. There are parts that distort, there’s beauty in imperfection.
I was trying to pick my favourite Cinematic Orchestra track (As they always accompany momentum following sadness or the isolation of winter for me)
I went with their latest single, ‘To Believe’ ft Moses Sumney, as I have found it valuable to me this year in dark times.
I saw The Cinematic Orchestra in Melbourne a couple years ago… as a live act they have the power to transport their listeners to a timeless place. I value that kind of music creation above all else.
I saw Moses Sumney when I was in LA. He did backing vocals at James Blakes debut live show for the new album and I was transported to a similar place. He has such a beautiful persona… this last couple of months I’ve really enjoyed watching his music grow. His latest EP has been on high rotation for me.
This was the first Sufjan Stevens song I’d ever heard. I googled the lyrics straight away & found everything I could listen to and have been a super fan ever since. His mention of Lake Michigan always reminds me of flying over the lake in the thick of winter after visiting my family in Chicago. Outside the plane window there was broken ice as far as I could see… a vast pattern of broken shapes, white and deep blue. I play his Christmas albums every Christmas.
Jon Hopkins is one of my favourite producer/writers on the planet. I think he has such an amazing ability of making a listener feel both big and small. He was one of the first artists that got me into purely instrumental music through his albums ‘Contact Note” & “Insides” – I initially found him through his collaboration production work with Coldplay on ‘Viva La Vida’.
Immunity is my go to song when I need to inhale and exhale and re-evaluate a situation. Something I feel is extremely relevant at the moment.
I’ve had so many bike rides to this album & this song. So many long walks and night drives. What I love about the length of the track is that by the end I’m in a better headspace… I find motivation, I find connection… I find inspiration. When this album first came out I noticed King Creosote singing in the background. I knew that Jon had worked with him before and loved hearing that little sample of human voice in the background. Barely audible.
I recommend finding the ‘Immunity – Asleep Versions’ accompanying release. Perfect for finding peace & taking time to breathe.
I am so moved by this performance. Another project with a powerful message that directly connects to winter. I feel as a musician, to be a part of something like this would be a truly humbling & purposeful experience. I love when art has the power to motivate and connect people.
Also – the logistics of this performance boggle me – the idea of getting a grand piano onto a floating platform and being able to mic it up… for Ludovico’s fingers to be so expressive even in the cold. The result is taking millions and millions of viewers to the artic. They don’t get information thrown at them, there is no emphasis on fear or guilt. Just music accompanying nature, providing a sharable window into a problem that desperately needs to be addressed.
I don’t think I could do a winter playlist without Bon Iver. For Emma, Forever Ago is up there in my very favourite EPs ever. I also heard somewhere that his name translates to ‘Good Winter’
There’s something so beautiful and intimate about every track he creates. I was mid-high school & I remember finding a little group of friends that adored his music. We’d sit around with guitars, learning the chords. I remember playing ‘Flume’ at a café with my friends, singing harmonies every Sunday morning.
When the latest Bon Iver album came out, I went to the listening party in an alleyway in Fitzroy, Melbourne with my guitarist and his girlfriend after rehearsals. We all poured in and listened on cassette and it was one of my favourite moments of the year. In a rather dark 2016 I nestled in between many strangers & a couple friends. We were surrounded by kind, quiet and polite people. Genuine fans, all gathered around for a communal listening experience. I feel lucky as a fan of Bon Iver to have so many of those little moments over the years. From sitting in parked cars listening at the beach, as it rains in Townsville to sitting next to strangers from all parts of the world in a dirty little alleyway.
I’d forgotten about my obsessive love of this band for a couple of years. When I lived in Queensland, prior to getting exposed to a range of different types of music, Fleet Foxes were my absolute favourite. I think I got a little carried away finding electronic music for a while that I forgot about the power of guitar and layered voice for a bit. I don’t regret straying, but I’m glad I came back.
I revisited this album & Helplessness Blues a couple months ago. I think there’s something about this first album that’s both wintery and lush. I imagine pine forests and campfires. Their harmonies are beautiful. We used to drive up to swim in the creeks in the rainforest outside of Townsville listening to this record. The damp humid air and the tall trees. The mist over the dam. We never had snow as it was the tropics, but it would get much cooler by the time we got to the top of the mountains.
One of my favourite groups from Iceland. It was hard choosing a favourite, as so many of their instrumental tracks remind me vividly of winter.
This one reminds me of riding a bike through the snow with large glowing street lamps. It’s icy blue and a little bit dream-like & I love the female vocals. One day I will visit Iceland and do a road trip with these guys playing on the stereo. I really hope this will be soon.
Another one of my favourites from Iceland. This felt like the right way to finish this playlist. I felt like listening to this today. A reminder that all is not lost. Whilst winter can be isolating and cold, you can always find warmth.
I woke up to a fairly dismal view of the world, but then as I scroll through social media I see my friends and the artists I adore spreading words of hope, of love.