Music & clubs

Chill-out winter gigs

Make the most of this dark and frosty month with some of last year's mellow releases played live.

Image for Chill-out winter gigs

Photo by Nicol Vizioli

Make the most of this dark and frosty month with some of last year’s mellow releases played live.

February seems like the perfect month to tone it down a little. Still easing into the new year, what better way to collect your strength for the upcoming months of spring than through a variety of concerts from rap and jazz to old school trip hop and folk?

Since their 2012 debut album, Israel-born pianist Shai Maestro and his trio have garnered a reputation as some of the jazz scene’s promising talents, joining greats such as Chick Corea and Diana Krall on stage. His piano play has always been on the dreamier side. However, on his latest album, The Dream Thief, released via the renowned jazz label ECM last year, Maestro and his trio give the silence in between the notes more space than ever before, which will make for a riveting and quite meditative performance at Silent Green Kulturquartier.

You prefer slick rap verses and vocals autotuned like hell to get into a mellow mood? Then Kodie Shane should be at the top of your list in February. Dropping her debut LP Young HeartThrob last November, the Atlanta-based rapper wraps her penchant for romantic love songs in a lofty cloud of reverb-y samples, echoes and delays that’ll help you slide towards spring with ease.

With downtempo tunes and trip hop-y references, Morcheeba certainly have the tag ‘mellow’ written all over. Since their moody 1996 debut album Who Can You Trust?, the London band might have slipped into happier tunes with songs such as “Rome Wasn’t Built In a Day” over the years, but they’ve kept a fairly consistent sound palette throughout their two-decade long career. Fans of Morcheeba’s triphop beginnings will certainly get goosebumps hearing their trademark Fender Rhodes sound on songs like “Sweet LA” off their 2018 release Blaze Away – and maybe that’s what you should do, too.

Despite what the title might insinuate, music-wise, Neneh Cherry’s latest album Broken Politics is a less forceful endeavour than its 2014 predecessor Blank Project. After stepping back into the limelight four years ago, she almost instantly continued working with Kieran Hebden aka Four Tet and RocketNumberNine to record another gem of an album. Apart from a couple of up-beat tracks like “Natural Skin Deep”, a softer sound reigns supreme, incorporating a wide range of styles from 90s-enthused beats on “Kong” (thanks to Massive Attack’s 3D) to intricate piano arrangements, leaving Cherry’s political lyrics plenty of space to breathe.

Odetta Hartman, on the other hand, invites you to follow her down the route into folk territory; a genre she’s been steeped in since birth. Named after folk singer Odetta Holmes, she wrote her thesis on the origins of US American folk music, and as a musician has tended to the genre with her debut record 222 as well as her sophomore record Old Rockhounds Never Die, released in summer last year. If the word ‘folk’ triggers memories of grizzly bonfire ambiance in you, then luckily Odetta Hartman is not that type of folk singer. The banjo and the violin are her most prominent instruments of choice, tweaked and twisted with heaps of delays, filters and other electronic effects, complemented by a variety of field recordings. Creating a trippy and haunting sound, Hartman’s tunes are worthy of the term future folk, providing you with the necessary boost to get you through the winter.

Shai Maestro Trio Feb 1, 21:00 Silent Green Kulturquartier, Wedding | Kodie Shane Feb 8, 20:00 Kantine am Berghain, Friedrichshain | Neneh Cherry Feb 20, 20:00 Astra Kulturhaus, Friedrichshain | Morcheeba Feb 25, 20:00 Huxley’s Neue Welt, Neukölln | Odetta Hartman Feb 26, 20:00 Privatclub, Kreuzberg