Northern Lights and beyond – Saigos Music (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

What’s the difference between an album and a playlist, or indeed a channel? Well, often not that much. All three have to go on a sort of sonic journey, one where the music follows a pre-ordained sequence of the curator’s choosing, follow dynamic ups and downs, were one track is sympathetic to or deliberately conflicting with the next to create a desired effect. All are designed for prolonged listener pleasure rather than the quick sonic hit.

Northern Lights is described as a channel, in the past it might have been a themed compilation album or a mix-tape, and is a collection of lo-fi instrumental pop, chill wave and ambient cinematic scores from a number of artists, composers and creators, three of which come from Saigos Music. I Think She Likes Me is an understated (relatively speaking because everything here is built on restraint and relaxing minimalism) meander through alt-jazz grooves and filmic sonic drifts and Smooth Ride has the feel of an old vinyl recording coming through a distant radio, half-heard and soothing and then put to an early-hours, slow, wind-down clubland beat.

Rainy Wednesday is the standout track for me, restrained and graceful piano and spacious dance floor pulses, a place where the classical world and the mediative zone meet, where grace and gentle groove, poise and poignancy slow dance across an empty dancehall surrounded both by the ghosts of the past and the potential of that still to come.

Explore Saigos Music’s other, stand alone, creations and you find some wondrous sounds and some gorgeous glimmering graphics. Lean On Me is an exercise is making something soulful and compelling out of a confident beat, wandering electronic and a beguiling vocal line hanging just on the edge of comprehension, Outerworld is skittering, trippy and slightly oriental-infused in its musical DNA and Cruising’ is soft and seductive, skittering and soothing.

My advice to you is put on Northern Lights as some chilled background music and then explore Saigos Music at your leisure. In a world where we find ourselves locked away from the hustle and excitement of nightclubs, bars and live music in general, the answer is to bring something into your home, something which is non-intrusive, chilled, perhaps even seductive, and Saigos Music has everything that you need on that score.

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