LIF-Embassy Of Music

Featured Artists – March 2015

Every month the AUPEO! content team decides which artists are especially worth lending your ears to. Please enjoy our selection for March 2015!

Kelly Clarkson
Kelly Clarkson, again! If you’re still wondering how a casting show winner can make a sustainable career, you might have missed Ms. Clarkson as the prime example. Her formula for success seems to be pretty simple, but it’s effective enough to keep her running for seven albums and a 13 year winning streak in the music biz: release a quality Pop album about every two years. Maybe throw in a christmas album from time to time.

Life In Film
Are you looking for the right soundtrack for the first sunny days of the year? Here It Comes – the debut record of Life In Film. Just listen to Get Closer, the first single of these indie pop rockers from the UK, to put you in the perfect mood for spring.

Twin Atlantic
Ok, featuring a band who released their last album in August 2014 doesn’t make us look too fresh. We ashamedly admit that it took some time to peel the “boyband for indie girls” label off Twin Atlantic and appreciate the overproduced power of their latest opus. What did we find under that label? Big melodies, tender hooks, a very intriguing Scottish accent and, ahem ok, some good-looking guys too.

The Soft Moon
The third strike of Luis Vasquez, akaThe Soft Moon, is called Deeper, and there is no better name for a record like this. A frigid sound of post punk and (dark) wave hammering to the bone.

Nicolas Jaar
Young and talented composer Nicolas Jaar has just finished his first soundtrack for a vintage Russian movie called The Color Of Pomegranates. Find his most beloved songs on AUPEO!

Four Tet
This coming spring sounds exciting already as Four Tet, aka Kieran Hebden, has announced his new album is finished. If, like us, you can’t wait to hear it then find comfort with AUPEO!, tune in to listen to his best tracks.

Chris Potter
A saxophone player well established on the Jazz scene, Chris Potter just seems to go from strength to strength. He returns in 2015 with another album on ECM, Imaginary Cities. This record features an 11-piece band, demonstrating the creative prowess of Potter not only as an incredible player, but as a versatile and masterful composer and arranger.

Clark Terry
On the 21st February this year, the Jazz world said goodbye to one of the few remaining great pioneers of the genre. Clark Terry’s mastery on the trumpet, and his popularisation of the Flugelhorn in jazz, made him legendary to brass players and other Jazz musicians alike. His effortless swing and blistering chops set him above anyone of his generation, and he even taught Miles Davis back in the 1950s. He played with the greatest names in the history of the music, and will be hugely missed by many.

Ashton Shepherd
Ashton Delilah Shepherd is an independent singer/songwriter from Coffeeville, Alabama.The most emotive songs on her albums are the ones she’s written. Her melodies are inventive, passionate and coloured by her legitimate southern accent.  She also has a cooking show called “Cookin Country” on her website.

John Fullbright
A twenty-something-year-old from Oklahoma. His 2014 album Songs will help shape Americana for the future. Fullbright compounds obvious outlaw influences into something really intimate and simple.

Johnny Winter
Crowning his 50 year career by receiving a Grammy Award for Best Blues Album in 2015 for his final album “Step Back”.  Johnny Winter and his Gibson Firebird can be listened to on AUPEO! 24/7

Do you like Drake? Do you? If you’re reading this, it’s not too late to find Drake in fine form on AUPEO! Go on, have a slice of Drake.

Your Old Droog
It’s rare someone makes it in the rap game relying only on beats and rhymes. Even rarer is an MC throwing out an endless stream of rock references over eleven tracks, each one a winner. Hit “Underground Hip-Hop” for Droog.

björk_photo by andrew thomas huang.jpg large

Featured Artists – February 2015

Every month the AUPEO! content team decides which artists are especially worth lending your ears to. Please enjoy our selection for February 2015!

How to deal with a break up of a 13-year relationship? Well, there is no answer for that. With her new album Vulnicura, Björk documented her own story - from the break up until the recovery. It shows Björk at her best and it’s up there with the great moments of her discography. A masterpiece!

Years & Years
They’ve been all over the usual suspects’ “Bands to watch in 2015″ lists, so we thought you might want to know what British Synth-Poppers Years & Years actually sound like. Enjoy a glittery updated mix of everything that made the 90s worthwhile.

Diana Krall
Diana Krall returns in 2015 with an album of songs she first heard on vinyl, from Elton John to the Mamas and the Papas to Bob Dylan, they’re all covers of iconic songs treated to her husky, rich vocal stylings.

Kenny Barron
Barron, now into his 70s, is one of those musicians who has been around for a long time and played with pretty much everyone from the Jazz sphere. His collaboration with bassist Dave Holland began in 2012, and they return with a beautiful, considered duo album that features some fantastic interplay between these two giants of the genre.

No Cities to Love, the first record after ten years from these indie-rockers, is filled with hits, hits, hits! Sleater-Kinney showing the right way to manage a reunion.

Yes, Bilderbuch are from Austria and sing about Austrian things and they won Austrian music prizes and everything, but come on, their genre-defying musical blend and undeniable nerdy coolness can be understood anywhere. And you can brag about being the Uber-Hipster at your next party if you know about Austrian Indie bands. A win-win-situation.

Glen Campbell
Since contracting Alzheimer’s Disease and thusly going on his “Goodbye Tour” in 2011, the great Rhinestone Cowboy has put out some of his most authentic work. Living at a Memory Care Facility and singing “I’m Not Gonna Miss You” has a circumstantial tone that his songs never had before. On the album See You There and the I’ll Be Me Soundtrack, the country legend sounds as old and farewelling as he is. This is brilliant and affecting music.

Punch Brothers
Chris Thile is always up to something edgy and amazing. This week it’s Phosphorescent Blues, the new Punch Brothers album, which is really beating at the hinges of Contemporary Bluegrass.

The tracks Arca makes rarely cohere to normal ideas of structure or rhythm. Nothing about the way Arca tackles sound is traditional. His music is somehow always more complex than it sounds. This talented young artist also co-produced Björk’s new album Vulnicura.

Luke Slater
The man behind some of the most lauded UK techno ever pressed to wax, Luke Slater has announced details for his next single under the moniker Planetary Assault Systems. The Eyes Themselves will land in February on Slater’s label, Mote-Evolver. While waiting for this release enjoy some of his best tunes with AUPEO!

Joey Bada$$
Boom Bap! Necks are broken here from constant head nodding to B4.DA.$$. Call it Golden Age revival, Classic East Coast, Underground or Real Hip-Hop, the pressures of carrying much of the weight of the future of New York hip-hop are nowhere to be heard on this long awaited debut studio album.

Big Sean
Keeping Detroit firmly on the rap map, Big Sean blesses us with “Blessings”. With Kanye West once again handling most of the production on Big Sean’s third album we will expect him to keep Detroit firmly in the charts also.


Usher doesn’t seem to mind us listening to I Don’t Mind on repeat for two months now. The release date of his UR album has been pushed back several times, but expect another single very soon.

The Weeknd
The Weeknd adding to the Fifty Shades of Grey hype seems natural. Never the artist to shy away from saucy subjects, and knowing the film’s theme, it comes as a surprise “Earned It” is very much a soul ballad, a love song of the traditional kind. We like surprises
Credit: Warner Music

Featured Artists – January 2015

Every month the AUPEO! content team decides which artists are especially worth lending your ears to. Please enjoy our selection for January 2015!

Mark Ronson
Everything is laid out for the arrival of Mark Ronson’s fourth strike. “Uptown Funk” – which we consider a monster single – tops the charts, Ronson took five years to find the best guest singers for his records and now it’s funkytime. “Uptown Special” will hit the stores this week.

It’s a little weird to write about Echosmith in the beginning of 2015 since the four “siblings-gone-band” youngbloods have already been part of our guilty pleasures in 2013. But it seems they were for a good reason. Their hit single “Cool Kids” actually made them cool kids last year and now it’s time to give the guilty pleasure with the silky melodies a second spin. And a third. And a fourth.

D’angelo & The Vanguard
Fourteen years he made us wait, but holy cheese wasn’t it worth waiting for?!

K. Michelle
Is K. Michelle an exception of a reality TV star? She makes good music. Seriously, she does.

Viet Cong
These Canadian guys unveil a strong debut record of black pearls by mixing post-punk with bittersweet, poppy melodies.

How loud can two people get? Loud enough to end up on the BBC’s Sound of 2015 list. Slaves, from the UK, have filthy riffs and enough power to beat every other band this year.

Konono No. 1 
Congolese junk and scrap metal groove merchants Konono No. 1 will be making a rare trip to the UK later this month in order to play a 3-day residency at London’s Cafe Oto. Distorted thumb pianos and beats played on old car parts, their music is as hypnotic as it is groovy, a sound that is curiously futuristic and primeval at the same time.

Bill Frisell
Grammy award winner Bill Frisell’s discography is certainly a diverse collection, and he returns in 2015 with a curious idea for an album, but like all of his output so far it just seems to work. On “Guitar in the Space Age!” Frisell has decided to pay homage to the pioneering guitar-led music of the 50s and 60s that inspired him to take up the instrument in the first place. Unsurprisingly with Mr. Frisell, there’s a bit of everything on here, from surf-rock to country and western, all with his own musical vision and mastery underpinning the whole project.

Lucinda Williams
A constant fountain of great Country songs, Lucinda Williams simply does not quit. The 2014 album Down Where The Spirit Meets The Bone boasts 20 tracks spread over 2 CDs. Blues and Rock & Roll nuances continue to colour her artistic progression and it’s fair to say that Lucinda Williams is gradually defining her own genre.

The Secret Sisters
The Secret Sisters make harmonizing seem effortless. Their writing is catchy, especially on the newest release Put Your Needle Down. On paper, these are traditional standard songs of Country.  However, the sound smartly carries both a reverent southern tropology and a kick-your-shoes-off hoedown vibe.

I love Makonnen
From being remixed by Drake to the top of the charts. 2015 has begun well for ILoveMakonnen.


Music to Dance with Elves to

It’s Christmas, isn’t it? It is, I’m sure. It must be Christmas, since I have seen a bunch of elves running around the place here. It turned out we hired the cheeky, little folks to build a couple of festive stations. Whatever your Xmas traditions or non-traditions are, sitting on Santa’s lap will surely be more merry and joyful with appropriate songs blasting through your speakers, perhaps even resulting in a sing-along! We have enough songs for you to go through the night of roasting a hamster to Classical Christmas, wrapping up a new tablet for grandma to Nostalgic Christmas, fooling around with the kids to Christmas Carols, and finally feasting with friends and family to Merry Christmas.

Be good, people! A very merry Christmas to all you lovely human beings.


Mica Levi Issues the Sexiest/Scariest Soundtrack of 2014

Under the Skin is one of those movies that you know is good when it begins because the intro music is so awesome.  Then, you find out you’re right. Then, you watch the whole thing, including all the credits, without ever getting up to go to the bathroom.  I attribute this congruently to the film’s sheer sound.  Additionally, I anticipate that this recent work of Mica Levi will usher in a new era of focused motion picture scoring.

When initially posed with Jonathan Glazer’s film, which is quite abstract, Levi formulated a process  apropos to the life and testament of Miyamoto Musashi.  She fleshes out the rather bizarre ingénue by breaking her down into five elements.  Thusly, Levi creates a sub-narrative that embodies that character’s very particular set of physiological and emotional changes.  Levi has smack termed her personal approach in the studio as “a mixture of bad recording technique” and “not-fine playing”. Gradually pitch-bending and re-recording re-recordings, she produces a dynamic yet singular sound for the film. The track “Love” is painfully exquisite.  In “Love”, I hear the film’s already nuanced Leitmotif system crystallised into a pop-worthy five minutes and ten seconds –  an acute preeminence that of Lux Aeterna.  What she achieves from this method of layered fragments emotes an intoxicating allure; a continuous glissando of synthesiser and cello braid and coalesce into something which almost sounds like it’s being sung.

In terms of story line, the film takes on an extremely unfamiliar character dilemma.  So, the music must as well.  With that said, this soundtrack is quite minimal. The fact that so much of a film’s weight can be carried by such a finite set of elements makes this soundtrack one that stands outside it’s film — one to listen to. 

- Marion


Featured Artists – December 2014

Credits: Universal Music

Welcome to our featured artists section. Every month the AUPEO! content team decides which artists are especially worth lending your ears to. Please enjoy our selection for December 2014!

Taylor Swift
It’s pretty easy to say that Taylor Swift is the biggest name in music of 2014! And we totally agree with that statement, and with her catchy pop songs too. You can’t shake us off, Taylor!

Lily & Madeleine
“Fumes” – Lily & Madeleine’s second album in a year and it’s proof that harmonizing siblings are veeeeery adorable.

Foo Fighters
Well, who just released another top record and is probably the best rock band at the moment? Exactly!

Punk’s not dead! Rancid have been around since 1991 – and they just came back with a strong record full of wonderful melodic punk-rock! The soundtrack for pogo-dancing underneath the christmas tree.

Hurray for the Riff Raff
She has influences as diverse as their hometown of New Orleans. The transient youth that frequent the Bywater aren’t usually accustomed to such polished Americana sounds as this band brings. The new album “Small Town Heroes” shows grace and sharp reserve. Backing the voice of Alynda Lee Segarra is a set of crafty musicians poised to the fine hairs of their listeners.

Lee Ann Womack
There’s something sinister going on in Lee Ann Womack’s new album… and we love it. She’s a pro, and she always comes through vocally. “The Way I’m Livin'” features a collection of strange, emotional tones. Each song has a new twist, each of which Womack deftly owns.

Sven Väth and Ricardo Villalobos
Two German electronic artists for your listening pleasure on AUPEO!

Abdullah Ibrahim
Abdullah Ibrahim, fresh from a sell out performance as part of the London Jazz Festival, recently turned 80 years old! His concert at the Royal Festival Hall featured contemplative piano solos and also some very beautiful writing for a larger ensemble. It just goes to show that age is only a number, and Abdullah Ibrahim plays with just as much emotion and intensity as he did when he was a young man in South Africa.

Branford Marsalis
He was also performing in this year’s London Jazz Festival. The powerhouse saxophonist on the scene since the 19080s Branford’s accomplishments more than justify his notoriety simply on the basis of his famous family name. His varied career over the last three decades has seen him collaborate with a very diverse group of artists, and he continues to innovate and excite with his instrument today.

Big Sean
Another year, another chart topper by Big Sean.

Chris Brown
Brown’s new record “X” keeps marking the spot with more hits.

Whitney Houston
Houston, we have no problems. Whitney is back on the charts.

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CTM 2015 – Un Tune

Un Tune is the theme for the 16th edition of CTM – the festival of adventurous music and art in Berlin. For one week, from January 23rd to February 1st 2015, the question will be: How do sounds and frequencies affect us?

How do sounds and frequencies affect us? A necessary question, when you consider that you spend most of your working time listening to music, curating radio stations and music playlists, trying to find the perfect soundtrack for mood and theme stations and in the end: for the listener. But beyond that, sound, noise or vibrations are constant companions, everywhere – and ultimately always physical. A synergy of body and the sonic.

With an extensive program, CTM 2015 will attend to the Un Tune theme, to explore how sound, frequencies and music influence the body, based on different perspectives. The scene is spread all over the city and will take place in various venues in Berlin – like Berghain, HAU Hebbel am Ufer, Stattbad, Astra or Haus der Kulturen der Welt. The preview literature for the festival is evidence of quality, and promises entertainment paired with theory. A (sound) research with your own body, if you want to call it that.

With Alec Empire (Atari Teenage Riot), Carter Tutti Void – this project brings together Cosey Fanni Tutti and Chris Carter (both Throbbing Gristle/Chris & Cosey) with Factory Floor’s Nik Void – the mighty doom metalheads from Electric Wizard, the rising producer Evian Christ, the atmospheric noise duo Emptyset, Gazelle Twin and her haunting songs or the dancefloor bangers from Simian Mobile Disco… the first heavyweights for CTM 2015 have just been unveiled. And that’s just the beginning of a top-class line-up that suits the Berlin winter perfectly.

Parallel and in cooperation, Berlin’s festival for art and digital culture – transmediale – also takes place. For further information about the programme, tickets or news please visit: