Music We Love: Ambient Guitarist, Nico Wyland, Shares Her Favorite Songs
Meet ambient guitarist Nico Wyland. Putting out tunes under the moniker FerrariLover, she makes hypnotic soundscapes armed with just her guitar and major effects. Here, she shares her 5 favorite songs.
1. "Tropical Disease" by Air: When I first started doing this list, I thought it was impossible to pick only five songs. But if I had to choose one, this would be it. I don't have a lot of words to describe it. I remember being on a trip to NYC years ago and listening to it on repeat on the subway. [French band] Air are heroes of mine. In their live KCRW version [below], you can see JB Dunckel playing the Rhodes piano, Arp Solina Synth, and then at the end, pure magic with the Korg MS-20. The song takes you on a journey. It is genius. Though I am a guitarist, JB Dunckel, who plays keys for Air, is one my greatest inspirations. The song is just transcendent: with the arpeggio sequence in the beginning, then it slows down, then the strings, then the Korg outro, with the brilliant bass playing of Nico Godin, who is also a great inspiration for me. Simply incredible. This is how you write a love song -- or even just a song about beauty.
2. "The Right Stuff" by Bryan Ferry: I discovered Bryan Ferry and Roxy Music when I was about 28 and living in LA. I remember reading about the influences of the dance artist Tiga. I'm not sure if this was on that list, but it was within a matter of days that I "rediscovered" the 80s sound that I grew up with, along with several other artists. This album, Bete Noire, was actually nominated for a Grammy -- for good reason. It is definitely my favorite. Bryan Ferry is just amazing; his voice, his words. The musicianship and originality are high level and he's always working with so many talented musicians. I love the back-up singers, horns, that sexy guitar tone. He has everything going on in his music. I just saw him live as well -- I have this on vinyl and when it comes on, whatever the context, it just changes the energy. This is real music. He captures the feeling of being young and enraptured, and does it with class. I remember driving late nights in LA and listening to other albums before I discovered this. It is timeless.
3. "Yes" by McAlmont & Butler: A masterpiece that speaks for itself. My first year of college, I discovered The London Suede (hard not to put them on this list because they have been a great influence!) Brett Anderson's voice is transcendent, and his co-writer in the early days, the legendary guitarist Bernard Butler, wrote this song with singer David McAlmont, who has the kind of voice that just defies words. The vocals on this track are unbelievable. I am in love with this song. It is beyond underrated. Just listen. You either get it or you don't. All I can say is: YES.
4. "Bateau Rouge" by Thievery Corporation: I grew up speaking French, so the culture is kind of in my bones. I also love Brazilian jazz, and this song is pure bossanova jazzy French. The lyrics are so French. The thing I love about the language and culture is the obsession and reverence they have for the arts, the romantic quality infused in daily life, and the way one can express emotion so effortlessly. I think French has less words than English, but one word says so much. It's a song about being under the tropical sun and finding freedom in going beyond the everyday. Only the French would write this lyric: "Do I bore you? / Do I give you too many smiles?" It's hard to explain but anyone can feel the vibe just hearing the song. This is my instant France/tropical vacation song. Thievery Corporation made such a beautiful album with Saudade.
5. "Hansel and Gretel" by Daniele Gottardo: Daniele is an Italian virtuoso guitarist and mentor of mine. The moment I saw him play on YouTube years ago, my jaw dropped. You can the hear the classical influence in this song. If you want to see guitar playing like no other, just watch 4 minutes into the song, but his brilliance with the fretboard is apparent at the most quiet of moments. Tone like this is divine. He wrote all the instrumental parts. I just remember listening to this on headphones walking in Rome when I lived there. It was surreal, getting on the tram or bus with many people, in the street, doing my classes, busy, studying guitar or Italian or running an errand, or just languidly in the piazza at night, and this made a symphony out of the Eternal City. Always one of my favorite songs.
Are you a music lover? Do you want to share your favorite songs with us here on The Music Mermaid? Head over to our Music We Love form right here.