Hello friends. We’re back again with another course of recommendations from Chillhop staff — the lockdown has been kind to some and unkind to others, and we want to spread a bit more positivity.

If you’re looking for something new to try, check out what we’ve been enjoying. If you end up liking it, drop us a line on Twitter!

Book: Jesse Ball – The Village on Horseback, Prose and Verse: 2003-2008

From: Ben
Find it: Milkweed.com, or your local library!

From the site’s description:

From the author of A Cure for Suicide and Census comes a philosophical recasting of myth and legend, folklore and popular culture: a fabulist’s compendium of poetry and prose.

Jesse Ball—long-listed for the National Book Award, a finalist for the New York Public Library’s Young Lions Fiction Award, and named one of Granta’s best young American novelists—is one of the most interesting, lyrical, fanciful, and “disturbingly original” (Chicago Tribune) writers working today. And The Village on Horseback is one of his most dazzling and varied works. These experimental pieces—including the Paris Review’s Plimpton Prize–winning novella “The Early Deaths of Lubeck, Brennan, Harp & Carr”—ask the reader not to imagine the world for what it is, but for what it could be: a blank tableau on which a spirited imagination can conjure tales out of, seemingly, nothing.

The Village on Horseback is an unmissable treat, a book of voyages to be taken on journeys far and wide.

I’ve been reading a lot of Jesse Ball. His bibliography is dense and impressive. I began with The Village on Horseback and I recommend you do the same. It contains two of the best novellas I’ve ever read and some of the wildest poems/microfictions all packed into one compendium of magic. Every page is a wondrous escape. 

— Ben

Music: Ólafur Arnalds – Living Room Songs

From: Kyle
Find it: On his site!

From the artist’s site:

Following in the spirit of Ólafur Arnalds’ critically acclaimed Found Songs (2009) then came Living Room Songs. This time Ólafur took the idea further and invited the audience into the comfort of his living room, where the songs were recorded live and the whole process filmed. The songs were instantly released in form of a free mp3 download and video stream- straight from Ólafur’s Reykjavik apartment.

IN HIS OWN WORDS: ‘One night I was just playing my piano here in this apartment and I was writing a new song and I didn’t have my phone on me which I usually use to record ideas. So I actually took out my MacBook and I didn’t want to open like a proper recording program, so I just opened Photo Booth and recorded a video of myself playing the song so that I would remember the song. And I really liked the atmosphere of that video and that’s when I thought I should do a series of songs in my living room…’ 

In 2011 Ólafur Arnalds, an Icelandic multi-instrumentalist, composer & producer was just starting to come into the spotlight. Combining elements of modern classical music, post-rock and electronic music – he came up with the idea to record an album in his living room on his piano he composed all the pieces for this album on. He had the idea to record videos of each song being recorded and invited different musicians and family members to come play on the songs, which created very intimate videos and recordings that have a really nostalgic and special quality to them. I first heard this album when I was a freshman in college and it completely changed the way I listened to and created music and shortly after started making instrumental music myself. 
— Kyle

Watch: Utopia (British TV series)

Black comedy combined with a conspiracy thriller, with the subject matter being surprisingly prescient for the current state of the world.

From Wikipedia:

The plot centres around a graphic novel called The Utopia Experiments. It is rumoured to have predicted some disastrous epidemics (like BSE) in the past. There is an unpublished sequel which contains even more pertinent information for the survival of humankind. Various groups and people want this manuscript, some to find out the hidden truths in it, others to cover up conspiracies and secret identities.  

Amazingly filmed TV series with lots of symbology, beautiful visuals and a strong story that’s pretty relevant in the current time/situation. Unfortunately it got cancelled after two seasons, but Netflix is working on a remake. For now the BBC version is still up on Netflix. 
— Jochum

Cheers, and thanks for reading our recommendations again! We’ll be back soon with another installment; if you want to talk about movies, TV or books with us in the meantime, consider joining the Chillhop Discord, which has a whole slew of relevant channels.

  — Matt and the Chillhop Team