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February 2024 Notebook

Welcome to The Notebook. Every month explore the new sounds that the Hult Center team (and some special guests) are listening to.

Rich Hobby – Director of Marketing

I’m trying not to write this suggestion with too much rigor or frustration, but, as a mediocre musician, it can often be hard to speak about the seemingly bottomless well of insane musicality and natural skill possessed by the human being known as Jacob Collier. This young phenom has been on a 4-part journey of sonic exploration with his “Djesse” albums as he pushed himself to collaborate with artists that intrigued and challenged him, and the results are downright mid-blowing. Thus netting many Grammies, and a spotlight that even saw him tickling the ivories with Joni Mitchell and Brandi Carlisle. His newest edition, Vol.4, is the final chapter of this series and has a list of guests and features that will only distract from what you really need to know, that this is a diverse, continent skipping fusion of incredible music that is both moving and steeped in positivity. We were lucky to have had Jacob join us for a special solo performance a few years back, where he did his signature moves of turning our entire audience into his choir, and you can feel that energy and drive throughout this album, as well as the whole series, and I highly encourage a thorough listen.

Jacob CollierDjesse Vol. 4

Daniel Olbrych – Content and Design Coordinator

On their 4th album the German rock band Blackout Problems wastes no time letting you know they are politically charged a pretty angry. Killer guitar work is paired with club scene drums, and the impeccable vocals, urgency. RIOT brings the Problems to the main stage. The dark and danceable backbone only breaks for a moment with “TALKTOME,” but the song is so good I was actually hoping for at least one more down temp track. “FUNERAL” could and should be charting. “GLOFS” is a banger, elevated by the one and only Rou Reynolds of Enter Shikari. And “TALKTOME (II)” closes RIOT with just a glimmer of hope. The production on RIOT is stellar, the song writing takes chances and the lyrics echo like diary entries. It’s an impressive album that deepens with each listen. The only complaint I have comes from my 7 year old who says; “I can only listen to 2 songs because they all have bad words.” And I guess that’s not really a complaint.

Blackout ProblemsRIOT

Greg – House of Records

Includes recordings of the astronauts speaking from outer space. Like an easy-listening record from the sixties but influenced by Stereolab or Broadcast, and with funky seventies beats, horn sections, and occasionally a very soulful vocal. The arrangements deserve special mention; they really capture the spirit of the past, but with an obviously modern spin. A timeless sounding record.

Ghost Funk OrchestraA Trip to the Moon

Yacht-rock collection of very obscure seventies pop records. Well-crafted songs very competently performed, with surprising melodic turns (why weren’t some of these hits?) and lots of Fender Rhodes keyboards to soothe the anxious soul. Best tracks: “Why Must It End This Way?” “The Cosmic Fool,” and the title track. Music can be the most comforting escape.

Various Artists – Vacation from my Mind

Eryn Hummel – Marketing Coordinator

Bright and ethereal, SZA’s latest single “Saturn” finds its way into my queue constantly since its late February drop. Replete with all of the standard SZA glow, the track streams in atmospheric waves overlaid with signature airy vocals. The single was released with live, sped up, acapella, and instrumental versions alongside the original, refracting the song into gorgeous alternate iterations with a charming effect.

SZA – “Saturn”

“iBiZA” off of IAMDDB’s fresh album release is currently serving as the backdrop for that mid-winter daydream of a sunny escape. Warm rhythm carries the track as it smolders behind the gentle radiance of guitar and transparent vocals. Irresistible and lush, “iBiZA” is 2 minutes and 28 seconds of a swim in equatorial waters.


Abbey Aronica – Marketing Manager

I’ve been really loving Novo Amor lately and his latest single, “Same Day, Same Face” felt a little more upbeat musically but the lyrics still hit the heart pretty hard. He is gearing up for a new album set to release in April that covers themes of big life changes – a major move, a long-term relationship ending and also the discovery of some neurodivergent traits. It reminds me a little of Bon Iver’s 22, A Million album with more complex lyrics. I always get extra pensive and existential this time of year and I think it ‘s really refreshing to listen to an artist that dives into these feelings in such an intelligent and beautiful way. I’ve experienced a lot of change these past few years too so it’s definitely a song I can relate to – I’m REALLY looking forward to this new album – Novo is one of my favorites!

Novo Amor – “Same Day, Same Face”

New Secret Sisters music + a Ray LaMontagne feature = a match made in heaven! I have been waiting for new music from these talented ladies and combining their harmonies with the sultry sounds of Ray LaMontagne was all too much for me. This song is so warm and seductive and having a Valentine’s Day release was an absolutely GENIUS move. This is a song to scream sing with the people you love. I’m honestly just psyched that in this Notebook I get to talk about two phenomenal artists that I love that are both rolling out stunning new albums – yay for me!

The Secret Sisters – “All The Ways” (feat. Ray LaMontagne)

Let us know what are you listening to!

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