That’s “a little night music” for the non-German speaker. I’m not talking about Mozart here, but instead about two songs I can’t help but associate with night. Specifically, the kind of under-the-orange-glow-of-a-streetlight/downtown-after-dark/cruising-the-empty-streets type of night I often experienced whilst attending university in a relatively urban area.
Massive Attack – Protection
This one is a direct result of listening to Massive Attack whilst chauffeuring inebriated classmates throughout the Troy metropolitan area. It’s calm and sparse like a cool quiet autumn night spent awaiting the next pickup across the street from an oft-frequented downtown pizza joint.
DJ Shadow – Midnight In A Perfect World
This song is absolutely one of my favorite things ever put to a record. The fact that the whole thing is composed of samples makes it even more impressive. It features similar female vocals, piano, and guitar tones to Protection, and it’s even got midnight right there in the title. I don’t remember my first time hearing it, but it has since forced itself into a spot in my memory right next to the Massive Attack catalog. And the world is damn sure perfect every time I hear it.
I don’t know, something about light female vocals over reverberating electric piano, a hip-hop drum beat, and clean jazzy guitar takes me on a trip every time. Perhaps one day I’ll have another musical revelation as to why, but until then I’ll continue to enjoy the places where these two pieces take me and the memory of the times when I first started to love this kind of music.