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  • Kenny Sandberg

5 Songs I Love w/ Kael Alden

Following the release of Kael Alden's new Album Saturated Highs (which we love!), so we caught up with him to gain some insight into the influences that make up this eclectic sound. If you like his choices, be sure to check him out. He's also hosting a livestream on YouTube tonight, which you can find at the end of the page!

  1. Caribou - Back Home

The entire "Our Love" album really hits the spot for me every time I listen through it. Something about the blend of delicate organic textures with big warm synths and simple yet powerful melodies. I have a fun little memory associated with this song... Once, while hiking through a slot canyon at midnight in southern Utah with some friends, we stopped to smoke some weed. All of us grew up Mormon, and had just recently left the religion. Weed was still very novel to us (and still is in fact). We sat there on some rocks in the pitch black, just a tiny sliver of sky shining high above us. One friend had brought an earbud splitter, so we all plugged in and I put this song on. The soft start and the energetic buildup had us feeling like we were flying through that canyon at super speeds by the end. It's hard to top moments like those!

2. Gallant - Weight In Gold

Heard this song on KEXP while in traffic in LA and it's probably the one and only time I've had to immediately pull over and look it up. The power in those vocals! And that blend of synths and soul was a literal revelation to me. Suddenly I knew exactly what kind of music I wanted make!

3. James Blake - Retrograde

First time hearing this one was another revelation moment. Guess I'm just a sucker for synths and soulful vocals, but never had I heard anything so moving before.

4. Nick Hakim - Qadir

Whoa! I just want to sink into this song forever. Put it on like a warm blanket! Hearing this one in 2020 right as I set out to commence writing my debut album I was reminded to keep it chill sometimes. I do love a big wall of sound every now and then, but this song is a case-study in simplicty. A solid groove, some texture, a nice melody... firing on all cylinders in the slow lane. (That might have to be my next song title).

5. I'lls - Plans Only Drawn

How does nobody know about this band? I think they've all moved onto other projects since making a few EPs between about 2013-2015. I know one of them now plays with Kllo (who I also love). Their atmospheric and melancholy sound, heavy use of falsetto, and once again those rich synths and swirling textures just create the perfect vibe cocktail! If there's any critique perhaps it's that their songs tend to eschew typical pop structures, wandering a bit aimlessly at times. But that's the charm of it to me. I just love to get lost in a mood sometimes.

Watch the Livestream below.

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