OTU Presents: The Winter EP Vol. 2

Grab your scarf and gloves, stick on a pair of headphones and warm up with the second volume of our Winter EP. There’s been a rather large gap between this edition and the first instalment, but it’s arrived eventually and couldn’t be better timed with the weather getting much colder recently.

Once again, our resident designer (Indi) has lovingly put together a crispy new artwork, which adds a nice touch of visuals to accompany the listening pleasure of the 5 tracks included below. As per the previous edition, there’s no restriction on genre, artist or anything else: if it feels wintery, it’s got a chance of making the cut!

Click here for volume 1, and head below for volume 2.

Mr. J. Medeiros-Fear and Safety ft. Bekah Wagner

-He’s not massively well-known, but Medeiros’ recent Saudade album was certainly one that got a fair few replays from me, as he offered a combo of uptempo efforts and softer, more atmospheric efforts such as this one. The production is slow, progressive and reflective, which also represents the vocal work throughout as Medeiros paints a developing picture with his raps, whilst Wagner’s vocals really gain life as the song evolves. A very easy listen, and one that also feels perfectly suited to a ‘night music’ tag. If you like this, I suggest you grab the full album.

Britney Spears-Unusual You

-I did say there were no restrictions! Even I have favourite Britney songs, and this one from her Circus album ranks as my absolute favourite from her lengthy back catalogue. Why? Because truthfully, it’s so non-Britney. The production offers wistful synths and soft percussion, held together in a package that has a very relaxing quality with a little verve to keep it dynamic. The vocals are solid enough, and its the catchy, airy hook that anchors this track in a drifty, wintery style. Try it, you’ll probably be as surprised as I was!

City and Colour-Coming Home

-Jagged acoustic guitars, emotional vocals and not a whole lot else makes this a prime contender for one of the top winter songs in this collection. The minimalism and the simple, effective lyrical content gives the song an addictive rawness, and the whole track feels like a secluded monologue which gives it an incredibly personal nature. This is a fine example of how to organically create a real atmosphere around a track, and credit is due here for doing so with minimal accompaniment.

Kanye West-Say You Will

-A more obvious, well-known choice but an excellent one nonetheless. Everything about this production screams ‘dark winter night’, with the vocal sample setting a haunting backdrop, whilst the intermittent bloops almost sound like a radar/nautical GPS system, and hence conjure images of isolated ships floating on dark seas (too far? I’m feeling expressive!). The vocal work is as lonesome, introspective and broken as you could hope for, playing off the instrumental excellently, and as my ‘isolated ship’ comment shows, it’s a song that really does evoke a range of lonely, cold images. Textbook winter music.

Clams Casino-All I Need

-Clams’ Instrumentals EP caused me to herald him as one of my favourite upcoming producers at the moment, and this track is a huge reason for that proclamation. Play this one from start to finish, allow yourself to zone out, and you’d be forgiven for thinking you’re sitting in the middle of a rain shower with your headphones on. It’s a wonderfully-layered instrumental that showcases Clams’ ability fantastically, as winding synths are combined with clattery samples that ooze a natural, almost tribal feel to create a production that feels like a living, breathing entity.

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