Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Eyesdown (Floating Points remix) // Bonobo // (ninja tune)

My blog hasn't been for going all that long but already I have devoted an inordinate amount of words toward Floating Points, because, honestly, he's my favourite thing in music at the moment. His remix of Bonobo's Eyesdown is, unbelievably, possibly his best tune to date.

The melancholic mood evoked by the sullen female vocals and the jittery synth is erily beautiful and immediately striking, unlike some of his other tracks that are more slow-burning. Still, he doesn't lose any of the subtlety that his prior tracks exploited to create hypnotic and dynamic tracks despite their simplicity. FP also creates huge space in the track for the wistful vocals and synth to play about in; it seems as though Sam Shephard is (deservedly) becoming more confident in his production.

Hear the track here:

Bonobo - 'Eyesdown' (Floating Points Remix) by Ninja Tune

Monday, 29 March 2010

Triangulations // Scuba // (hotflush)

Paul Rose's label Hotflush recieved copious amounts of attention after releasing Joy Orbison's killer tune Hyph Mngo back in the summer, and now Rose has released his second album Triangulations to a much larger audience, under the name Scuba. Unsuprisingly, his work inhabits the same musical niche as J Orbs, as they both create spacey, subtle works that are as much fun to dance to as they are to simply sit down an listen to. However, the opening chords of the lead track from this album, Before sounds very similar to Hyph Mngo, so much so that it would be easy to think one was a remix of the other. Describing it it this way does it a disservice though, as the rest of the track (and the album) is much more original.

Scuba's form of "dubstep" (it's technically dubstep, but its such a broad term) is heavily influenced by techno on tracks such as Minerals. On others the tracks are less opressively repetitive, and is where the album really shines, such as on the aforementioned Before and You Got Me. Despite the techno influence, Rose uses a healthy amount of organic sounds, which add subtlety to the otherwise hypnotic beats. The synth on Latch makes it sound very much like a Burial track, to which Rose's music has much in common, as this, like Burial's Untrue, serves best as a chilling album, for when driving or taking a night bus.

Overall, the album is very understated, letting the infectious rythms creep up on the listener rather than being immediate. Unfortunately, it does suffer because of this as the album never has a release, which is slightly frustrating. This fact should not tar what is an excellent late night listen.

Scuba - You Got Me by Hotflush

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Rinse: 11 // Oneman // (rinse)

The best thing about this mixtape is the flow. Oneman has mixed this list of songs to make the changes practically unnoticeable and results in it seeming so completely natural and effortless, like the songs where tailor made for that order. Funky in places, and garagey in others, Oneman has chosen songs that take influence from dubstep, but are lighter and dancier: no sub-bass in sight on this record. The serene flow of the CD is particularly impressive because of the vast differences in sound, especially from staple Rumours & Revolutions by Zomby into Martyn's beautifully melancholic remix of Acid Bells by Efdemin, which features a lonesome piano melody that wouldn't seem out of place on a sad pop song if it weren't for the 2 step beat, then into Get Low by Geeneus, urging the listner to skank.

The centre of the mix showcases the most dancey material: a welcome change after the clamer tunes biding our attention. Citizens Dub ft. Bubbz by Bok Bok and Untitled Mambo (Boogaloo Crew Remox) by A4C are particular highlights. In fact, Joy Orbison's tune almost seems most out of place: its spacey intro breaks the flow and its sound doesn't quite gel with the rest of the record (not to say that it's not incredible when listened to on its own) and is then awkwardly mixed out before it can have any true impact.

The last few tracks give the mix an extended coda out; they maintain quite intense synths, but are also repetitive, creating a blissed out vibe, giving the listener a chance to recuperate after the former songs. Modeselektor's remix of Headhunters Prototype is especially good as it maintains what is essintially one synth line over a cacophony of heavy beats.

On the whole, the mix showcases a lot of producers who otherwise would not get much attention. Oneman has showed his masterful command over the turntables and created a mix that doesn't let up the tunes for the entire hour, whilst never seeming repetitive or forced.


News Songs // LCD Soundsystem

A couple of new LCD Soundsystem songs have been released over the last couple of days. The first, called Oh You (Christmas Blues), is the only song credited to LCD Soundsystem off the soundtrack for the upcoming film Greenberg. James Murphy credits himself for the rest of the album, apart from a couple of 70's tunes. Following that theme, the Oh You (Christmas Blues) sounds nothing like the band it comes from, instead sounding more like a classic rock song from way-back-when. It is still awesome, in a very laid back way.

Listen to the song here:

The second song is not from the Greenberg OST, but also not from the upcoming as-yet-unnamed third LCD album, released May 17th in the UK. As posted on the DFA website, the song is part of the current Yves Saint Laurent fashion show. This sounds more typically like Murphy's band, featuring sparse piano over an analogue synth rythm. Overall, however, it is a little boring and repetitive, which I suppose does suit models catwalking rather well.

Listen to the song here:


Sing (Floating Points Remix) // Four Tet // (domino)

Four Tet's previous single had an excellent remix as the B-side (by Joy Orbison, no less) , and his latest release, Sing, is no different. Floating Points completely dismantles the song, extracting the ambience of Kieran Hebdens work and using it to bookend a frantic thumping that makes up the body long (nearly 14 minutes-long!) remix. Being Floating Points, of course, the isn't as simple as that. The main riff expands from a beat to a short, sharp synth, and glides about samples from the original song, interspaced with distant wistling noises. A very calming, ethereal atmosphere is evoked because of all this, which is a far cry from the rest of his back-catelogue. For only one moment in the duration of the song that it sounds anything like Floating Points is at the 10 minute mark, but the vast majority of the time it sounds like someone comletely different, which is particularly impressive as he has already spanned so many sounds in his previous work. The remix is subtle in its elegance, so the 14 minutes passes in a breeze.

On a side note, I really don't like Four Tet's music. On paper it has all the elements I like, but something about the way he constructs melodies around his rythms really annoys me, yet I can't quite put my finger on what exactly it is. Strange, since the remix's of his songs are nothing but gold.

Sing(le) released 15 March.

Sing (Floating Points Remix) (10 minutes edit) // Four Tet :

Love Cry (Joy Orbison Remix) // Four Tet:


Sunday, 7 March 2010

Peoples Potential // Floating Points // (eglo)

Classicly-trained Flotaing Points has flirted with all the scenes in Londons underground dance scene - a bit of funky, a byte of garage (puns definitely intended) in his wonderfully sprawling dance tracks. Peoples Potential is possibly his most housey track to date, but that means little as his painstakingly crafted tracks are still vastly different to anything anyone else is producing.

Sam Shepherd (the real name of Floating Points) has a unique method of constructing dance music, carefully his melodies float in and out of the listeners attention, never completey overpowering or disappearing altogether. One line is brought to the foreground while others mingle in the background, vying to be brought back to be the centre of attention, by which Floating Points can build and release multiple times through his tracks, each time subltly different from the last. An insistent synth riff comes first, leading onto a drone that develops into a flickering noise which demands urgency. The way the riffs are contantly changing makes the track organic, and this feeling is only heightened by the eratic jazz piano that appears out of nowhere halfway through the track, snakes around the synth line, dances with it, but never overpowers it. Maybe not quite as good as some of his other tracks, especially like K & G Beat, but this track certainly shows how Shepherd refuses to be confined to one particular scene, and still amazing in its own right.

Peoples Potential // Floating Points:

K & G Beat (his best track to date):


Ou Est La Swimming Pool //

I was going to do a post on Ou Est La Swimming Pool's DJ set they did last night at Little Johnny Russels (a pub in Southsea), but I was drunk and I payed very little attention to them to make any sort of judgement. So instead I looked them up today post-hangover.

Honestly, they have such a pretentious name that you would think they would have at least some musical talent to back it up. But no, they are well and truly awful. Shit, even. They have taken up very simplistic nu-rave (remember that?) sound, which involves simple 4 on the floor beats and synths, and have some atrotious and uber-serious lyrics which they shout, instead of sing. Described like this, they may sound a bit like an aggresive dance act, yet they lack any sort of immediacy to fill this mould as their beats just plod along.

Dance the Way I Feel // Ou Est La Swimming Pool:


Saturday, 6 March 2010

Interesting Article + Kool tracks

Drowned in Sound sometimes has some very insightful articles and this one is no different:


It certainly is some food for thought. Being a music blogger (even if for a few days) I may sometimes be the antithesis of the romantic view evoked in the article. I perhaps do "consume" music very quickly, but there have been many times when i have become so completely engrossed with a particular album or band that i have had no interest in any other music, first with Bloc Party's Silent Alarm and a precious few since. The analogy of a prisoner used on the first paragraph is certainly highly idealised, but i do see the authors' point, especially as we are exposed to just so much media, it is difficult to shift your full attention to just one thing for even a few minutes, let alone days or weeks.

Kool Tracks:

Silver Rocket (live) // Sonic Youth

Back Home // Gold Panda

All My Friends // LCD Soundsystem

Gold Soundz // Pavement

Thursday, 4 March 2010

The Shrew Would Have Cushioned the Blow EP // Joy Orbison // (AUS)

Joy Orbison has been enormously tipped since he released Hyph Mngo back in the summer. He took the overused garage influenced dubstep template and built upon it looped vocal samples and synths to make a track that resembled more of a house track. It and the rest of his limited output, which blends all the best bits of funky and garage with dubstep, contributed his nomination to the BBC Sound of 2010 poll. The 22 yr old has released this oddly titled EP against this relentless hype and he has not failed to deliver.

The main attraction of the 3 track EP is not, in fact, the eponymous song, but instead the second A-side So Derobe. Joy Orbison (whose real name is the rather less interesting Peter O'Grady) uses a sublime Boys II Men sample to evoke an anonymous and distant longing, something not dissimilar to the vocal samples used by the equally talented Burial. The beats are as heavy as they are complex, and O'Grady scatters the rhythm with breakbeats. The song is not upbeat, but rather seems to take an understated atmospheric route and instead just flirts with dance rather full-on embracing it. There is a certain amount of swagger to the song showing how the Croydon resident is comfortable with his sound and this EP shows a lot of development.

The title track, unusually, is not as inspiring but takes a similar tone as So Derobe with a slightly more chilled approach to dance music in comparison to the songs that made him famous. The synths and vocal samples are haunting, but they do not evoke as a strong physical or emotive response to make it awesome.

Stream the EP here:




Wild Beasts @ Wedgewood Rooms - Portsmouth // 3.03.10 //

+ support from Lone Wolf and Erland & The Carnival

On Wild Beasts' website they have the lead singers, Hayden Thorpe and Tom Fleming, down as playing the instruments of falsetto and tenor respectively. No kidding, and tonight style-wise they are polar opposites too, with Thorpe sporting a long, immensely gelled do and Fleming with a shaven head. Their voices, a combination of castratee and Ian Curtis impersonator, however, mix beautifully with jangly pop from the instruments. Heavier than they are on CD, the pounding rhythm section carries their effervescent melodies into the small but lively venue.

Their dark lyrics juxtapose with the light and dreamy music, which creates an eerie atmosphere to dance to. I only knew a few of their songs, unfortunately, but their performance was very impressive so I will definitely be purchasing their album.

The band were clearly very into it, their playing was tight and exuded passion. They shared an anecdote about a gig they did with Lethal Bizzle (of all people) saying how they were intimidated by him and his team as they where on edge, as it was only the day after the smoking ban. Hilarious and unbelievable.

Lone Wolf was the first support act, who are in fact a six-piece, yet the lead singer played a solo gig in a almost too ironic to mention twist. His was quite quiet and bland acoustic guitar set except for a nice electric organ song and a surprisingly good electric guitar closer, which built from calm reverby introduction into a noisy climax.

Second support act Erland & the Carnival where nothing more than landfill indie, the only redeeming features being the good drummer, liberal use of keyboards and the odd incongruous segment of noise. The lead singer was a douche but he did produce a childish bat-and-ball instrument and a very strange hand-held electric instrument during two of the songs' breakdowns.

Wild Beasts // We Still Got the Taste Dancin' on our Tongues:





Wednesday, 3 March 2010

Fire Like This // Blood Red Shoes // (v2)

Over the last couple of years several new punkish duos have gained prominence, such as the likes of No Age, Wavves and Japandroids. They have proved the credibilty of the minimalistic set up whilst making incumbent acts such as Brightons' Blood Red Shoes less of a novelty. Their latest output, Fire Like This has at least superficial pretenses to these contemeraries, by adding heavy distortion to fill out their sound with copious amounts of noise. Conversely they have embraced poppier lyrics and melodies than on their first LP Box of Secrets.

Some moments do come devilishly close to the aforementioned bands, such as the track Heartsink which has an immensley dense guitar riff carrying the song, and pretty much all of the closer Colours Fade. The penulemate track is one of the best of the new Blood Red Shoes, as their floaty la-la-la vocal melodies are hypnoticly repetitive against the aggressive double onslaught of Laura-Mary Carters guitar and Steven Ansells intense drumming.

Other moments, like the opener Don't Ask, wouldn't be out of place on their first album and at these times the album is the least interesting. Like every song on the album,the song descents into a frantically chaotic bridge where the duo, ironically, seem the most comfortable . Frustantingly, their raw energy is constained by the duo's use of simple pop verse-chorus structures which hinders their punk aesthetic.

Vocal cries are delivered from both members, but they are often contain inane and punk-by-numbers lyrics, which is unfortunate as their melodies do counterpoint each other and the music very effectively. Again, the forgetable lyrics do damage to the angry image they present.

Another sign of their progression is the use of strings, which are used on Follow the Lines and at the end of One More Empty Chair. In both instances the string are completely superfluous, as if they where added out of politeness due to a nagging friend. It also spoils the romantic image of just the two of them against the world.

Dispite this, their are many haunting moments to the album, most of which are created by the dreamy vocals floating above the effortlessly heavy riffs, epsecially at the end of Its Happening Again. Their change of direction is certainly brave of them, but in comparison to their aforementioned American counterparts they are not perhaps as original as they would imagine.

Hear the album here:




Spanish Sahara // Foals //

Oxford university dropouts who take partying very seriously, Foals have released Sanish Sahara as taster of their forthcoming sophmore album Total Life Forever. I'm still in two minds about their new direction. Yannis's vocals carry the long introducion, but they are too bland to give them any impact. When the dynamics shift, the pay off explolsion of noise is underwhelming and unneccesary after the lackluster buildup. Gone are the duel interwoven guitar line, leaving one riff from the lead guitar lonely.

On the plus side the keyboards are interesting, but they seem out of place by being too calm on a track which demands urgency. Foals have tried too hard to create an epic anthem but they have fell flat on their faces. The video accompanying the track is similarly funless. However, this isn't even lead single from the upcoming album, so there is still plenty to get excited about. Foals have released a free remix of the song which you can download from their website.

Watch the video here: