Five Albums to Have a Cup of Tea With

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Winter is now at its coldest and there’s not much anyone can really do about it. Instead of getting all worked up in a fuss over it, maybe what you should be doing is putting on the kettle and getting cozy.

There’s something to be said for the little pleasures in life and for me, a warm cup of tea and something wonderful playing on my stereo is the pinnacle of relaxation. With that, I present to you my favourite albums to get cozy with.

Soon It Will Be Cold Enough by Emancipator

This album really does capture the feeling of a cold winter’s day during a time of great reflection and inner sovereign. There’s a wide variety of instruments, sounds and vocals to be found here and all of them tie together flawlessly.

The tranquil female vocalist features some incredible lyrics, which act as a center piece in his tracks throughout the album. Each line that is delivered is surrounded by a beautiful assortment of instrumentation that sounds nothing short of magical. They might be simple, but the over-dramatized timing really helps you realize how personal and deep the words really are.

The Sea and the Rhythm by Iron and Wine

Iron and Wine is definitely of the more traditional folk music that you’d expect. The Texas based folk singer’s work is comprised of a soft guitar and beautiful vocals, incorporated with thought provoking and mellow lyrics. Sometimes sounding almost lost in their rougher, more down tempo tracks and other times sounding lively and happy in a rustic way. The combination of sincere raspy vocals and simple guitar helps makes the lyrics that much easier to understand in terms of emotions tied to each word. With each line you can almost instantly get a feel for the messages that he is trying to convey.

Mellow Owl by Peter and the Wolf

Recorded on a farm in Canada, this album is focused around the definition of sorrow lyrics, however remaining ultimately pleasant. American folk artist, Red Hunter, has written songs rich with thoughtful lyrics and soft melodies and the end result is bliss. It just sounds like there’s been passion in the process from beginning to finish. A lot is said, but somehow the songs find a way to speak for themselves in their simple and quaint elegance. Some are warm, some are happy, some songs are tearjerkers. This album offers an insightful look on changes, love and life.

The Ballasted Orchestra by Stars of the Lid

The Ballasted Orchestra is the third studio album by drone/ambient duo Star of the Lid. What is particularly powerful about this album is the visual nature of the sounds and instrumentation that carries it from start to finish. There’s a very strong presence of disconnection, as all of the sounds have a strange, dark and mysterious tone to them. There is no guitar or drum to be found in this album; rather it’s all soothing and provocative industrial and electronic rhythm and sounds. The end result is surprisingly soothing and peaceful, to the point of deep reflection.

Memory House by Max Richter

In 2002, Max Richter released his solo debut Memory House, an experimental album of “documentary music” which was recorded with the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra. It explores real and imaginary stories and histories featuring poetry readings. The album itself is essentially a minimalist piano approach, timed in such beautiful sync with the poems. The integration of the recordings of post-war and survivor stories sounds cliché. However this isn’t the case. It resonates not just as music and poetry but also as a part of a soul. The subtle silences makes it all ties together in such a peaceful, enchanting melodies.

To hear all of these songs and more, check out the Baron’s YouTube page at youtube.com/TheBaronSJ