Hypnotic and daringly simple, full of the tinkly jangle of toy instruments, Lullatone’s music will just make you feel good. It’s unafraid to be innocent and childlike.
Now, following in the footsteps of Brian Eno’s Music for Airports, they’ve concocted “Elevator Music” in a pay-what-you-wish Bandcamp album. (That’s part of the beauty of Bandcamp.) The duo of Shawn James and Yoshimi Seymour is joined by guest vocalist Tateishi Souta and the Sakuragaoka Junior High School Choir. If it sounds a bit like music for tots, see the looping lullabies album after the break. (With all the electronic artists I know having babies, this may be just the thing.) But it’s also more than that, they say:
We propose a new kind of elevator music – one that makes you want to snap and clap, and talk to the stranger next to you.
We’d like to feel like going up and down vertically in a box held up by wires is a magical adventure.
But, we’d also like elevator music that sometimes makes you want to get out of the elevator and take a walk outside.
Lately most of the elevators in our city don’t play music, so we imagine songs like these when we ride them.
Speaking of simple ideas that can make the world better, Shawn sends CDM a quick video of their DIY rolling keyboard stand. Making the music keyboard coexist with a computer setup has long been a challenge, with some sometimes-odd solutions. (If you haven’t seen the infamous Creative Labs Prodikeys demo, take a moment.) This rig is essential for making the clean, tidy setup they need to make this sort of music – but might also work for the same reason for you, too. (Or, if you need to make something more grungy, then I suggest instead heaping your keyboard atop a mound of dirty laundry instead.)
Updated: Those aren’t IKEA desks. The smaller one with casters they built themselves; the larger one is store-bought, but from a Japanese maker, not a Swedish one. Shawn writes:
All of the wood is pine from our local hardware store. It is only a 3 minute walk from our house, so I am always in that place.
The base is 3cmx3cm pieces and the top 35cm x 90cm.
The bottom are the smallest plastic wheels we could find.
At first I tried to build it all without any screws, only using pegs and glue. But after it was all together, I realized that my less than expert handyman skills left me with a wobbly mess.
So I went back and re-inforced it with stainless L brackets hidden on the backside. After that, smooth rolling!
I had a nice sketch, but my little helper drew trains and scribbles all over half through, so I had to wing it from there.
[The larger desk] is from a Japanese company called Nitori. But, it is really similar to Ikea.
More Lullatone goodness:
A good album to start with, I think, in terms of its range, is their 2006 “Plays Pajama Pop Pour Vous.” For all its dreamlike minimalism, it’s got real songs on it.
The latest lullabies release is “Looping Lullabies” from September, and perhaps as welcome for insomniacs or fans of daydreams as it is for babies and parents.
From a pure sound design perspective, their 2003, all-sine-wave “Computer Recital” put the duo on the map. It’s the sort of self-imposed restriction that’d terrify most of us, and they pulled it off.
I love their aesthetic sensibilities, visually and musically; they’ve really created this dreamy, saturated, sparse childhood wonderland. And they’re doing terrific things with electronic sounds and vocals (solo and young persons’ choirs) at a time when each of the two can fall into familiar ruts. I can think of no better time for it, either; their terrific blog and albums are like having instant access to the musical/visual equivalent of a Seasonal Affective Disorder lamp.
Now I can go back to them and be a good kid and clean up my workspace now and then…
All photos courtesy/(C) Lullatone.