Listen, if you haven't heard of Tatiana Maslany and Orphan Black yet (and seriously, if you haven't, where have you been? Do you even exist?) I'll try to educate you quickly on why she's the most talked about
actress badass of the past year.
Maslany is amazing, simply put – though there's nothing simple about her performances, and "amazing" actually doesn't seem like a worthy description of what she's been accomplishing on the witty BBC America series. Orphan Black follows street-savvy hustler Sarah Manning, who witnesses the suicide of a woman who looks just like her in the first 3 minutes of the pilot (get ready to binge watch, because the addicting, fast-moving chaos is nonstop after that). Sarah (played by Maslany) gets thrown into a conspiracy in which her lookalike (also played by Maslany) is just one of many other lookalikes (yes, all played by Maslany). ALL 10+ of them. Because they're clones. The creators of OB have done a stellar job at creating a drama/thriller that completely transcends sci-fi's wacky genre stereotypes. They've created complex female characters Maslany thoughtfully brings to life, all of whom you develop an affinity for, empathize with and even relate to (perhaps some more than others).
Without diving too much into OB, let's get back to Maslany, who starts filming the third season this fall. For now, she's been in Vienna filming Simon Curtis's The Woman in Gold, a true story of a Holocaust survivor named Maria Altmann (played by Helen Mirren) fighting alongside her attorney (Ryan Reynolds) to reclaim lost family heirlooms stolen by Nazis in World War II. Tatiana stars as young Altmann in flashback scenes.
As much as her everyday life may consist of acting, Maslany's a music fan, and she's emphasized the use of music to get into character on set. Due to her hectic schedule, she's a slippery person to pin down, which isn't surprising considering the fluidity with which she melts into her characters. Nevertheless, she excitedly jumped at the opportunity to share 10 of her go-to tunes this summer with us. She named composer/songwriter genius Son Lux as a favorite, which makes sense – he's extremely underrated. A classically trained composer, Ryan Lott's creativity is intriguing; his style is ever-changing as his music progresses, and maybe that's why Maslany vibes so well with him. Every project has been different, from film scoring to hip-hop collaborations with Serengeti and Sufjan Stevens. His single "Lost It To Trying" was one of the standout tracks on his LP Lanterns, full of high, effervescent synths, flutes and scattered drums. Follow that with the stripped-down "Easy," an ominous-yet-sensual track with addictive drums and horns.
Next up, Tatiana names arguably one of my favorite tracks since it came out last year: "Feel Real" by Deptford Goth. It's a gorgeous, heartbreaking track – melodic and dreamy enough to listen to on a loop. Also cue up "Objects Objects," Maslany's second pick from DG. The former Merok Records artist has been readying a new album as the follow up to his poignant debut LP Life After Defo.
"Hell is chilly," says psychedelic rapper and fearless creative Mykki Blanco. She's admirably and tirelessly carved her own place in hip-hop, with legends from KRS-One and Björk naming themselves as fans (where are these collabs?). The Illuminati Prince/ss explores identity, especially on "The Initiation," with whispered Latin chants over an eerie Sinden beat. Mykki's currently on tour.
Next up, Son Lux's fellow Joyful Noise Recordings labelmate Kishi Bashi. "Carry On Phenomenon" plays as an upbeat, anthemic indie tune, a highlight from his album Lighght, which also harbors "Philosophize In It! Chemicalize With It!".
Been meaning to see tUnE-yArDs live, and I've no doubt that this pick by Maslany would be dope to see on a stage. "Find a New Way" is the opening track to Nikki Nack, her new album that dropped this past May. Yes, man. YES. Love this jam. The drum patterns on the intro and that rhythm? Just dance.
James Blake's sophomore album Overgrown was easily one of the best albums of 2013, so it's not shocking that Tatiana's vibing to the soulful "Retrograde" and "Take A Fall for Me" featuring RZA. The R&B-tinged "Retrograde" is something more reminiscent of the style SOHN's mastered, soaring vocals paired with dreamy production. "Fall" is a last-minute plea, Blake's haunting "you can't marry her yet" swirling around as the Wu-Tang member waxes poetic about transatlantic love slipping through his fingers.
It's a list full of imaginative records by some great artists. Massive thanks for sharing some dope tunes, Tatiana!
- Son Lux – Lost It To Trying [PURCHASE]
- Son Lux – Easy [PURCHASE]
- Deptford Goth – Feel Real [PURCHASE]
- Deptford Goth – Objects Objects [PURCHASE]
- Mykki Blanco – The Initiation [PURCHASE]
- Kishi Bashi – Carry On Phenomenon [PURCHASE]
- Kishi Bashi – Philosophize In It! Chemicalize With It! [PURCHASE]
- tUnE-yArDs – Find a New Way [PURCHASE]
- James Blake – Retrograde [PURCHASE]
- James Blake – Take a Fall for Me (featuring RZA) [PURCHASE]