Saturday, 25 April 2020

πŸ’Ώ LINDSAY LOWEND — LL 2020 - VOLUME 1

⌾ LISTEN TO LINDSAY LOWEND, LL 2020 - VOLUME 1 EP ⌾

Back in 2013, Lindsay Lowend released an incredible collection of music: the Wind Fish EP. It popped with energy, combining hyperactive dopamine-firing electronics and footwork-flavoured beats with videogame music for an unforgettable sound. With the added bonus of being, in title at least, inspired by a unique Zelda title (Game Boy bop Link's Awakening, of course), Lindsay Lowend set a bar of quality for early '10s internet music.

And then he was gone — sort of. Lindsay Lowend maintained an output of a few sporadic tracks from then on, and even an album under his actual name, Antonio Mendez — 2018's Highland Drive.

Meanwhile, the Wind Fish EP, and its creator, drifted into legend.

- But now like Link himself in a legend retold, Lowend has risen and released LL 2020 - Volume 1 into the world: a 3-track EP that enlists the help of fellow VGM-leaning musicmaker Maxo.

Beginning with a dose of chiptune, 'NBA LIVE 99' shares the funk-meets-jazz club vibe of its namesake's soundtrack (check out the NBA Live 99 menu music, for starters) but keeps it strictly 16-bit. The bass fuzz and staccato beat, stuttering melodies and glittery top notes carve a territory somewhere between Streets of Rage and an off-duty Sonic the Hedghog, moving into a second half beset with hefty chords and fluid neon melody. It's a party.

In 'should my pet be eating that' (lol), the sound morphs into something more contemporary, plasma chords clacking with wonky sheen — similar to the spacey vibe of the 'Wi-Fi Menu' theme in Mario Kart Wii and the stark, soft-and-sharp intro to Dizzee Rascal's 'Sittin' Here'. It presses on, driven by a robust D&B-flavoured beat (a passage of skiffling breakbeat dropped in for good measure), the warm melodica-esque chords and a woozy virtuosic melody painting a the by-the-sea vibe.

'Permabanned' (again: lol) finishes things up beautifully. Like admiring a sunset with new pals on Animal Crossing, this is Lowend's effervescent collab with Maxo, streaks of melody like sun sparkling on water playing over a chord progression that K.K. Slider would be proud of: lounge-y, emotive and dipping into pools of chill, snippets of real-life birdsong peal between the instrumental (it's not his first foray into foley, going by this Breath of the Wild redub) — a trickle of reality from your window. An echo, maybe, of Wind Fish title track with its crashing waves and beeping seagulls.

The first multi-track release from Lindsay Lowend in years may be short, but it hits the spot: pure chiptune, VGM-style atmospheres, variegated beats, a lush environment. And if you're left wanting more, that's ok: LL 2020 - Volume 1 is just the beginning.


  • πŸ”” You can listen to and purchase ($1, or more if you're feeling generous) Lindsay Lowend's LL 2020 - Volume 1 over on his Bandcamp.

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Lindsay Lowend Internet Presence ☟
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Thursday, 2 April 2020

🐣 BIG HEATH — PLAN

⌾ LISTEN TO BIG HEATH, PLAN ⌾

Cambridge rapper Big Heath unveils his plan in the video for, well, 'Plan'. Set in a support group for something or the other, Heath jumps up and delivers bars in fast-paced triplet flow, packed with dynamic layering and laced with humour throughout. For example, from the moment he uses "porkie pie" (Cockney rhyming slang for "lie", FYI) and then busts out

"Yo, I rap the brothers that wake up early in the morning just to eat a Weetabix"

the level of humour is real.

Added to this is the intricate ticking and rolling of hi-hats of the trap-flavoured beat, and dusty music box instrumentation for a spooky backdrop, allowing for a juxtaposition in light of Big Heath's humour — something that pelts you throughout the track, and sometimes poignantly.

Speaking about rappers who "take a life then... rap about it," he sums up that it "doesn't make that stuff right." As always though, he jokes to get the point across:

"Yeah I could've been up in the street
Could've shot a coupe Gs
Could've served a couple fees
But that really weren't for me
I could not run from police"

Self-deprecating, funny, self-admittedly feeling "happy just to be alive" when he's rapping, and shot through with positive messages, 'Plan' shows Big Heath as a refreshing addition to the UK's rap scene.



πŸ“ 
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Friday, 14 February 2020

🐣 FOUR TET — BABY (FT. ELLIE GOULDING)

⌾ LISTEN TO FOUR TET, BABY ⌾

Two things stand out quite a lot in this Four Tet track. First of all, the chopped Ellie Goulding vocals are a surprise — a welcome one. Giving 'Baby' its title, the samples litter the track with UK garage flavourings, what with the deft angular cuts, the intentional tinniness, the warmth of the words. The general minimalism of 'Baby' — with its ambient gossamer synths and its shuffling '00s beat — nudge yet more wintry garage aesthetic into your auditory cortex.

Secondly, the midsection. The beat falls away and we are left with gleaming synths, resonating slowly like the radiant heat of a sunny day on tarmac; the glass of a shop window glittering, swaying trees in a city park. What happens here is the emergence of that garage sound into a leafier part of town, the clearing of a green space in a forest of blocks and buildings; birdsong and glowing ambience, reminiscent of Japanese "environmental music" — ambient, but with added flora and fauna for full outdoorsy immersion.

Percussive and driving, warm and emotive, 'Baby' paves a way into inner city paradise, juggling beats, ambient and the sounds of nature for a city walk that leaves the rush, the traffic, for private reflections of the day in a public park.



πŸ“ 
Four Tet Internet Presence ☟
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Wednesday, 15 January 2020

🐣 PATH — WIDESCREEN TREMOLO

⌾ LISTEN TO PATH, WIDESCREEN TREMOLO ⌾

Hazy and sunwarped, the grinding tremolo at work in aptly named 'Widescreen Tremolo' by UK musicmaker Path provides the jagged cradle which rocks the track into unseen oblivion. A gloopy bass groove hides in the background; so too does a shuffling scuttle of a haphazard beat.

Speaking to yes/no via email, Path talks about the track. "I wanted to try to get that early 90s indie vibe but only using synth drums and synth guitar," he says. "I’m pretty happy with how it turned out."

At the halfway mark, the track diverges into a stream of distortion, guitar stabs glittering and the whole thing a ghostly sort of Stone Roses revist meets HEALTH primitivism and self-destruction, plasma-like vocals crooning out from the drone and dust storm of it all.




πŸ“ 
Path Internet Presence ☟
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Tuesday, 29 October 2019

🐣 AYANE YAMAZAKI — KITCHEN SONG DANCE VERSION [εˆζΌ” • PREMIERE]

⌾ LISTEN TO AYANE YAMAZAKI, KITCHEN SONG DANCE VERSION ⌾

Funk dwells in 'Kitchen Song (Dance Version)' by Ayane Yamazaki; the electro bass, with its street-level fuzz and squelch, bounces the track along like a rubber ball, providing the groundwork for the cheery heart of this track. Guitar stabs kaleidescopic and warped add further veneers of funk to Yamazaki's cocktail of sound. Funk dwells here, yes, but so do other, poignant things.

High, single-note strings dance longingly amongst the hefty kicks and trash-can snares and rattling hi-hats in more than just a nod to city pop; soft synths progress with drama behind the treble, giving a soft cushion to the track. It's equal parts jaunty and ephemeral, present and dwelling on the past.

Pairing up what she refers to as "New York" dream pop with the smart, lovelorn feel of the Tokyo-centric genre of the 1980s, Yamazaki's breathy vocals tell the story of dancing in the kitchen, everyday life, casual moments with her lover; the otherwise beautiful mundane this track illustrates in its buoyant simplicity.


  • πŸ”” 'Kitchen Song (Dance Version)' is taken from Ayane Yamazaki's 6-track independent release LIFE, set for release on 30th October.

πŸ“ 
Ayane Yamazaki Internet Presence ☟
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