FIVE FAVOURITES: Sandunes

Mumbai-based producer Sandunes (aka Sanaya Aredeshir) has focused less on musical technicality, and more on emotional catharsis on her latest EP, Spare Some Time. While for some this decision might compromise high production standards, that’s not the case here. Spare Some Time is a polished, calming, electronic mediation on the necessity of expressing emotion. The four track creation is an aural salve for overwhelmed ears, flowing with shimmering synth textures and soothing beats that remind listeners to take stock of the love in their lives.

We think one of the best ways to get to know an artist is by asking what music inspired them to write in the first place. We caught up with Sandunes to ask about her “Five Favourites” – five albums that influenced her writing techniques. Check out her choices below, and scroll down to listen to Sandunes’ track ‘Love It Less’ & her new EP at the end of this post.

 

1. Bonobo – Dial M for Monkey
There was a phase when I was a college student in Bombay, where these tunes soundtracked life as we graduated from conformity into rebellion. My very first experiences of freedom or independence are so intertwined with this album, and it does that thing of physically transporting me to a blurry and beautiful time from a previous life, where with a group of friends in a beach town by the ocean, we woke up and fell asleep to this record for days on end. There is something so mystical, innocent and whimsical about it, and it is also what inspired me to start producing my own music. (I’d highly recommend this for nighttime winding down routines.)

2. The Books – The Lemon of Pink
This is another one I keep returning to. I think the idea of composing music from a formulaic place is usually looked at negatively, but the concept with this body of work was extremely gripping, and so well executed. I fell in love with the way this sound collage unfolded, and the combination of textures, tones and samples really inspired my awareness towards found sound in my environment. (I’d highly recommend this for long drives out of the city.)

3. Air – Moon Safari
Another piece of nostalgia in this album. I think the meaning of the term “classic” varies for each of us, and to me Moon Safari is just that. Also another sound track from a previous life, this one laid the foundation for all things trip-hop and definitely inspired some songwriting, attention to detailed production, and synthesis! I remember having an “Aha!” moment with ‘Remember’ at some point when I realised what I loved about the tune was all the synths. (I’d highly recommend this for the backdrop of your next potluck…in a post pandemic world when you can dine with all your friends again!)

3. Fleet Foxes – Fleet Foxes
I have had many walks, many drives, and shed many tears to this album. There is something so pure, honest and organic about how these songs have been written and recorded. It cuts through the clutter and hits the emotional nail straight on the head. I remember finding it especially gentle on the ears after listening to a lot of over-produced electronic music, going back to vocal harmonies and guitars feels like balm to the soul. (I’d highly recommend this for your next hike/solo trail up a mountain.)

4. 30/70 – Fluid Motion
A more recent addition to this list and what I’m currently listening to. I love everything about this album. I find it bold, I love the choices, the musicianship, and I love how the artistry with regard to musical skill meets production and delivery so well. Each time I listened, I felt like there was so much scope to absorb something new that was happening.
(I’d highly recommend this for your next dance party.)

5. Coco Rosie – Grey Oceans
I love this album and had it on repeat at a time when my ideas about songs and song structures were beginning to expand beyond traditional songwriting. There’s so much whimsical movement and magic woven into this record that it really captivated my imagination and always seemed to paint a very visual picture. Despite encompassing a range of emotions like sadness and melancholy, this record shines a light on the end of the tunnel for me. (I’d highly recommend this to deal with grief or loss.)

Thanks to Sandunes for sharing her favourites with us!
Listen to Sandunes new EP Spare Some Time on Spotify.
Follow her on Facebook for more updates.

Photo Credit: Abhilash Bhaishya

FIVE FAVOURITES: Jackie Mendoza

Born and raised in the border city of Chula Vista, California, Jackie Mendoza blends the cultural influences of her hometown and her motherland of Tijuana, Mexico, creating eccentric pop, Latin-driven dance beats, and vibrant soundscapes. She’s just released her debut EP LuvHz via Luminelle Recordings; a 6-track exploration of love and relationships.

We caught up with Jackie to ask her about her “Five Favourites” – five albums that have influenced her songwriting techniques. Check out her choices below, and make sure you listen to her single ‘Mucho Mas’ at the end of this post.

1. Nicolas Jaar – Space is Only Noise
It was hard to narrow my list down to 5 favorites but these are some albums with the most spins. It was funny to find that most of these are from 2009-2011…which reaffirms how impressionable I was in my late teens and how these albums paved a way for my own music. My older sister showed me this album when I was a senior in high school and learning how to drive. I blasted this album the first time I was allowed to take the car out by myself. This is an album I connected with 5 seconds after listening to it. The sound was so interesting to me and unlike anything I had heard before. It incorporates pop elements into experimental electronica and never seizes to include the Latin influence; everything I love in one big sound.

2. Air – Talkie Walkie
I used to do my homework to this album while I was in middle school. I wanted to cover the song ‘Surfing on a Rocket’ and make it my own. Before Garage Band and Ableton, I had to download programs from questionable websites if I wanted to overdub my vocals on top of a track. This album sparked my imagination to think about producing and writing music because I wanted to sound just like Air.

3. Kid Cudi – Man on the Moon II: The Legend of Mr. Rager
This album really helped me get through a lot of teen angst. I went through stages of depression in high school and while I had to take antidepressants, this album was a big help too. I felt understood and helped me appreciate solitude.

4. Animal Collective – Merriweather Post Pavilion
This is another album I would play through and not skip a single song. Like Air, Animal Collective is another band that sparked my interest in producing music. The vocal harmonies, abstract lyrics, and experimental instrumentation stuck with me and I’m still inspired by it today. This album reminds me of summer in San Diego. I’m really lucky I had the opportunity to work with their producer, Rusty Santos. Working with him was really enriching and felt almost effortless.

5. Carla Morrison – Mientras tú Dormías
I hadn’t thought about singing in Spanish until I heard this album. I saw many commonalities in Carla’s music; ukulele, soft vocals, and electronic sounds. Hearing her music encouraged me to write in Spanish and to not be afraid to write love songs.

Photo Credit: Tayo Okyekan

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut