Saturday 24 December 2022

Feelin' Festive

John Everett Millais - Christmas-Eve (1887)

Let's talk the state of Christmas Music. A good chunk of it is supremley overplayed (my deepest sympathies for those of you in retail or simialr spaces) - be it Macca farting about on a synthesizer to the omnipresent Carey, you've heard it all a million times. Last Christmas is pretty great still, but I do have a love of 80's synthpop so there is some bias at play there. All of this to say let's have a look and see if we can't come up with some alternative tracks from my collection.

Some more from Bonuts to start with, I've been hanging onto this one for a while for just such an occasion. Christmas Morning is, much like the rest of Bonuts, a short, sweet (if a little raw) treat. Starting off surprisingly pschedelic with a wave of hazy noise, that soon gives way to some lovely keys drizzled with distortion. Sprinkle a nice beat on the backend of it and you have your first of many Bonuts. The things comes out feeling a lot like some of FlyLo's demos, especially with the sloooooow doooooown outro.

And what's Christmas Morning without some Sledding eh? By comparison this one shares much more similarities with the actual Donut County OST, following that tried and tested formula of guitar based noodling that gave the original that fittingly indie feel. Surprisingly frantic in parts, Sledding feels very much more fleshed out tham much of the other content here on Bonuts, especially in comparison to Christmas Morning. There's a lot of layers to get stuck into here that I've only really come to appreciate on repeated headphone listens, a lovely little addition to the Bonuts list.

I am admittedly strethcing the definitions of 'Christmas Song' a little, but that's part of the fun! That's going to continue for a little while longer with the next track I have here, a little bit from Susumu Yokota's Love Or Die. The first thing you'll probably notice about Lov Or Die is that all the track titles are especially wordy - some of them even read like cliché light novel titles, but that's something that Yokota only did for this album. Look beyond the titles though, and there's lots of lush electronics to get stuck into here - A Song Produced While Floating Alone On Christmas Day being the one in question here. I just adore it, that main synth melody is a total earworm and has this lovely warmth to it.

Let's get a little serious for the last one with some actual, factual Christmas song content. Released as part of Röyksopp's 'Track Of The Month' series some 12(!) years ago now, it's one of the first tracks that came to mind when thinking up content for this list. Hailing from that Junior / Senior era of their sound, the ToTM series has a nice balance of poppy moments and the more subdued, alomst ambient they;d explore on Senior. And this track is a prime example of that: it builds slowly over the first minute and a half before a simple, almost whispered "Happy Christmas" ushers in a blizzard of electronics that is just divine. This is Röyksopp doing what they do best.

And that'll about wrap it up for now, hope you've enjoyed some of these alternate offerings free of twee sentimentality and overplayed guff. We've only really scratched the surface this time around, but that just means more to go at come next year! And I'm sure there's plenty more to discover between now and then as well. On that note, I'll be back soon enough with more but until next time - as always, stay safe and enjoy the music.

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