Friday, 28 September 2012

New Music Mix - 28/9/12

Here's my latest selection of new-ish tracks for your aural pleasure. Special mention this week should go to Morning Ritual Recordings who haven't released a bad track yet this year - there's 2 of theirs in this mix. Just click on the play button, then sit back and listen. Here's the track listing:

  1. The xx - Sunset
  2. Connan Mockasin - Forever Dolphin Love (Erol Alkan mix)
  3. Jacques Greene - Prism
  4. Eaux - Luther (Holy Strays Reshape)
  5. Grasscut - Blink in the Night (Shadow Version)
  6. Holy Other - Held
  7. The Pictish Trail - Imperfect Time
  8. Holy Strays - Christabell (B)
  9. Atoms For Peace - Default
  10. Chet Faker - Terms and Conditions (Nicolas Jaar remix)

Thursday, 27 September 2012

Live - in pictures: Gravenhurst / Eyes & No Eyes at Cecil Sharp House, London 26/9/12

A rather unusual and quaint venue (the home of English Folk, apparently) but they do a decent line in real ale and were warm and welcoming to us. My learned friend (who'd been there before) said that there are normally chairs put out in the venue, but the promoter had asked for these to be taken out - maybe they were expecting a moshpit to develop?

Eyes & No Eyes (there were actually more than 6 people watching them..)
Eyes & No Eyes were the support - an interesting four piece who do the quiet/loud/quiet well, with lots of experimentation and, unusually, a cellist.

Gravenhurst at Cecil Sharp House
Nick Talbot (Gravenhurst) took to the stage flanked by 2 ladies and entertained us for over an hour with his beautiful melodies, bursts of loud guitar, and a witty line in banter that bordered on stand-up comedy. Having had a tough time in Nottingham the night before - "At least 40 people paid to see me and then stood and talked all evening. I told them that it wasn't like watching the TV, and I could actually hear what they were saying, but they didn't take any notice" - he was pleased to have an appreciative audience.

Gravenhurst live (heckling mum not pictured...)
The only heckling came when he came back on for an encore. A lady shouted out "Are we allowed to call out for songs we like?" and Nick's reply - "Yes Mum, you can, that's what an encore's for" - had the audience in stitches and gained cheers for his Mum & Dad, who were standing at the front.

All in all a great night out.

Friday, 21 September 2012

Track of the Day: Brats (Cadence Weapon Remix) by Liars

The squelchy, hi-hatted original is turned into a stomping anarchic whirl by Cadence Weapon as he proceeds to dissect and disseminate the original. Frontloading it with the original vocals, he reserves the second half to spit his own verses over and give us his own opinion on what makes a brat.

Listen and download it for free above.

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Video of the Day: 'Putty Boy Strut' by Flying Lotus

When I first heard this track I wasn't too keen - it's all a bit Bobby McFerrin for my liking, particularly until Thundercat turns up half way through to lay down some bass grooves. But this video suddenly makes sense of the whole thing in a mad kind of way - it's the best marriage of visuals and music I've seen in a long time.

Anyway, the signs are looking good for the new album 'Until The Quiet Comes' which is out on 1st October - you can pre-order it from Bleep here.

Track of the Day: 'Angels (Four Tet remix) by The xx

After their live performance with the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra last night The xx topped the night off by whipping out this new mix of Angels for the first time. Due to be released 'in a few weeks' it's a gentle, looping remix with a an entertainingly distorted middle. Check it out below.

Download The xx Angels (Four Tet remix)

Recommended music: 'Cruise Forever' by Austin Cesear

There's an analogue warmth that permeates this album; hisses and crackles are brought to the fore (like on the opening track 'Cloud Hall') and a slightly fuzzy quality throughout that makes a refreshing change from the anodyne technological crispness that prevails these days.

The footsteps and jet noises that lead from 'Cloud Hall' into 'If You Knew What You Would Do' speak of a desire to move on, not to remain static. 'The Groove' is a slow burning, slightly menacing loop of deep bass over which a treated voice speaks about "coloured lights flashing...and spirits taking over my mind".

A percussive loop makes up most of 'Peralta Palace', and when a mournful wind instrument appears it gives the track a Middle Eastern feel with hints of the call to prayer. The pace then picks up with 'The Beast', which is trancey and insistent.

'Shut In' is the album's behemoth - 9 minutes that start with some wafting keyboards and progressively build but without ever reaching a climax. The bass drum is joined by more layers of percussion, and some repetitive keyboards vibe their way in. snatches of vocals add some colour but the tracks never really takes off and leaves you a bit underwhelmed.

'In the Depths of the Ocean is our Capitol' floats by, and then the album closes in a slightly non-descript fashion with 'Travellers in Faith dub'.

Overall the track titles and sound effects combime to make you think of distant lands, cloud palaces in the sky, fantasy kingdoms and general other-worldliness. Maybe it outstays its welcome a bit towards the end, but it's still well worth checking out.

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Recommended music: 'Particles of Bliss' by Ryan Davis

After regularly releasing singles and tracks on compilation albums since 2006 this is Ryan's debut long player. Released on the Traum Schallplatten label, this is an album that's similar in feel to Dominik Eulberg's release for them last year. Starting with the quietly cinematic 'The Enchanted Garden', the melancholic, contemplative feel soon gives way to some warm and melodic Tech-House.

'Where The Right Things Are' sucks you in to it's melodic groove, while 'Beluga' is clinical but compassionate, moving your feet and your head as well. Things get slower and deeper on 'Break The Night With Colors', where the machines start threatening to take control, and then Davis reaches for the squelch button on 'The Field'. 'Aquarius' is another fast-paced dance floor pleaser, then there's a chance for a quick breather with 'Head in the Clouds'.

We're thrown straight back onto the floor with 'Entangled Lives' which is Teutonic tech at its best. 'When Rain Drops Soft' is another calmer, more contemplative tune that builds slowly, adding layers of keyboards as it progresses. Then 'Eyes Wide Open' throws in a dark, almost trance-like bassline and a few good keyboard crescendos

The album ends unexpectedly as Davis picks up the microphone and takes the vocals on 'Dragonheart'. Over a crunching beat he quietly sings his way through a track that's not a million miles away from Depeche Mode. While the lyrics aren't anything to write home about it does hint at a different direction for his music which would be worth exploring in the future.

While these are uptempo tracks there's a certain melancholia to them - the minor keys and thoughtful melodies made this a cut above your usual electronic dance music. Highly recommended.

Saturday, 15 September 2012

Track of the Day: 'Blue Dream' by Batwings Catwings

In contrast to the electronic vibes of the last 2 TofD, here's the improbably named Batwings Catwings from Los Angeles. This brand new track from them is a slight departure from their previous track 'Radio', moving them more into Seattle grunge Riot Girrl territory. It's punchy and sassy, with great lyrics like 'Are you still the one with an addiction, your eyes are barely still human'.

Have a listen to the track, and even grab a free download if you're quick enough.

Friday, 14 September 2012

Recommended music: 'Out of Time - Out of Touch' by Group Rhoda

Not a group at all, but a solo work by San Franciscan Mara Barenbaum, this intriguing debut album ha smuch more to offer than might at first meet the eye. The basic drum machines and simple basslines are a gateway into a world that owes as much to seventies film soundtracks as it does to Californian dubbed-out stoner vibes. Think Peaking Lights meets John Carpenter and you'll have an idea of the musical vibe. Throw in a hint of East German coldness and some reverb'ed organ and you'll be about there.

Over the top of the tracks floats Mara's distinctive vocals - often sounding aloof and detached from the music, they somehow compliment the overall feel by sounding slightly out of place, as if she was just passing through on her way to another life.

The album is out now on one of my favourite indie labels, Nightschool Records - buy it from them here.

You can listen to a clutch of tracks from the album below.

Track of the Day: 'Terms and Conditions (Nicolas Jaar Remix)' by Chet Faker

A brooding record, that starts with a slice of atmospheric chillyness, picks up the pace with some ticking rhythms, adds a chunk of manipulated vocals, and then turns into a bit of a house monster. Cool without being cold, intelligent without being smart-arse, hip without being hipster, it brings the best of both of their two worlds together.

You can listen, and download the track for free, at the top of the page.

Thursday, 13 September 2012

Track of the Day: 'Luther (Holy Strays Reshape)' by Eaux

Morning Ritual Recording have released 2 of my favourite tracks so far this year: 'No More Power' by Eaux and 'Christabel B' by Holy Strays. To go with those we now have a track by the former remixed by the latter. Here Sebastien Forrester (aka Holy Strays) takes 'Luther' and (IMHO) radically improves it, resulting in something that, certainly when it starts, sounds like something that wouldn't be amiss on a latter-day Radiohead or Thom Yorke album. The slow-burning groove and haunting warmth of the original is replaced by skittery beats and a clinical precision that brings out a totally different character to the song.

You can listen to the track and download it for free above.

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Recommended music: 'Each Dream A Scheme' by Water Borders

It may only have 3 tracks, but at 35 minutes long it surpasses a lot of recent albums in length, and the breadth of musical ideas could shame a few bands with reasonable long careers. The vocals have more than a touch of Matthew Dear about them, as do parts of the music, but this is definitely a record that looks to the Middle East and Eupope for its influences as much as New York or Los Angeles. In places it's like a modern update of some of the themes that Matt Johnson (The The) was exploring in his early work (ask your dad), and it's a record that equally matches experimentation with introversion, with surprising result

Part 1 starts quietly with some looped vocals and the sound of bowls being rung. A simple keyboard refrain is overtaken as the beat and vocals arrive simultaneously, telling what sounds to be dark tales (although throughout the record it can be hard to make out the lyrics). Just when you're used to it the track morphs into something else entirely, with a faster pace and a ringing bassline, which is matched with laser noises and vocals about crocodile tears. Towards the end it turns more frantic, with manipulated vocals and wailing wafting in and out of the mix.

Part 2, with its menacing synth line, reminds me of Laibach's Cold War industrialness (ask your dad again) and is definitely not the sort of music you'd want to meet in a dark alley on your way home.

Part 3 is the most insistent track here, drubbing its rhythm into your head. It ends with a buzzing, vibrating hum and some snatches of Middle Eastern vocals to close the circle and bring us back to the themes of Part 1.

'Each Dream A Scheme' is out now on Tundra Dubs records. You can listen to some of Part 1 below.