Tuesday, 31 July 2012

VISITOR RNB

Wow. The epicality of this radical track by Visitor is just too much to bear. It's certainly pretty cool, and definitely something that I will look forward to hearing more of. Before you even listen to the music, the artwork to the right of this silly bit of writing will tell you that: yes, this will be a good track. It will be. Just look at it. Of course it will be. Why would anybody spend time creating a cool little graphic like that for music that is no good?

So this is 'RNB' by Visitor. They got a bit of traction recently when Jacques Lu Cont who included them in a mini-mix for Annie Mac - perfect when their EP, Coming Home // RNB, is due for launch on 10th September. This will come ahead of a full album launch - details of which I'm sure will come our way soon.

Onto the song itself. It seems to be aligned with the style of retro 80s-ness that is permeating a lot of electronic music at the moment - especially any of the songs associated with the wonderful film Drive. All the right elements are there: we have that rigid bass synth fuzzing in the background, a bit of standing-on-a-cliff guitar solo stuff, the couldn't-be-anything-but-80s drums, some hollow flute synth hopping around over the top, and most importantly - glittering, mood-making bells.



Second-half of the song seems to, using the same sounds, become more of a majestically huge, electronic pop-rock ballad. The vocals are powerfully catchy and exude a sense of the dreaded sing-a-long - not dreaded really, but I just liked the way that sounded. All in all a track to enjoy and headbang to whilst playing some games on the Sega Megadrive or reminiscing about The NeverEnding Story. Or just rocking out in your own private dreamworld. Love this. What an atmosphere it makes!

Like it? Then remember: Visitor Coming Home // RNB EP out 10th September.

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More Visitor sounds on SoundCloud
Here is their official site
This is Visitor's Facebook page
Follow Visitor on Twitter
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CRYSTAL CASTLES PLAGUE

I was going to hold back on posting this, but I was just told by someone that they heard it on the radio. As the YES/NO blurb reads, it's all about new stuff. Gotta drop it like it's hot yo.

And this is as hot as a witch holding hot iron rods burning at the stake, I have to say. That is: hot and scary.

Crystal Castles have gone from strength to strength. Starting off with their self-titled debut, the duo - Ethan Kath and Alice Glass - began with near-industrial, electronic noise music. This is essentially electro with a DIY/punk aesthetic. It was all very dystopian, all very like broken robots in a grotty 8-bit club playing chiptune rave music. It was different, brutal, energetic. Key tracks for this sound were the devastating 'Alice Practice', the mental 'XXZXCUZX Me', and the painfully good 'Courtship Dating', a reworking of a HEALTH song.

But beginning with their second self-titled album (referred to as Crystal Castles II), they began to veer towards the dark side. People call it drone, witch house, goth trance, blah blah blah. It is what it is and it's dark and electronic, moody and trance-like. Ethan Kath seemed to have ditched his modified synthesiser (he stuck a chip from an Atari soundboard in there to get those bubbly bleeps you hear on their first album) in favour of a certain, piercing Dracula-organ-cum-heavy-trance sound.

And, really, it's no different with their latest: 'Plague'.



In fact, it is a bit different. It's actually more eerily gothic than before. Beginning with a heady bit of drone that wouldn't sound out of place in the basically unlistenable Mater Suspiria Vision's repertoire. However, this soon turns into a distortion-laden slice of energy, complete with Alice's trademark yelps and screams in the background. The quieter parts of this song have seen Alice also sing melodically, something I've never heard before. It's a nice change and a different dynamic - something the duo can use to sculpt very different songs this time around.

The beat is great: though the kick is crazy, the snare is slow and leaves the rhythm hanging in the air, swaying to and fro above the breathy synth work of Ethan. There is some amount of noise and industrialism in here, as with their first album, with the section towards the end of the song including what sounds like a sample of an angle grinder or something as equally sickening yet satisfying to hear.

This song makes you clench your teeth and fit on the floor like you just don't care. Gone is the mashed potato, the twist, even Soulja Boy's Superman dance. This marks the rise of the epileptic. It's all I can imagine when I listen. Kind of like a cross between moshing and rigor mortis.

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More Crystal Castles music on their SoundCloud
Crystal Castles on Facebook
Crystal Castles official site
Here's the Wikipedia page for Crystal Castles
Crystal Castles Youtube channel
Crystal Castles... Myspace
Follow Crystal Castles on Twitter
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RITUALZ †‡† RHYTHMIC RELEASE

Whilst Ritualz (pictured right) seemed to begin life on the music scene as a herald of strange gothic dance music, distorted out of all recognition and even slightly frightening to even listen to, it seems these days, a few years after his inception (not like that convoluted film), to have calmed down, expressing a desire to move in more conventional patterns. That's how it seems. Or sounds.

There's a peculiar kind synth he uses that seems to not only carry distortion in its movement, but also a sense of buffeting winds and unreal hollowness; for this new song, 'Rhythmic Release', it's no different. Except his inner, perhaps more meditative side has come out and allowed him to turn up the chill on this track, especially in the little quiet bit after the halfway mark. Then we hear another kind of synth that Ritualz likes to use: very high pitched, screeching, trance-style notes. However the regular bass is something new, as are the more meaty-sounding drums. The general sense of dread is gradually slipping away from his songs. In the menacingly authoritative vocal sample he uses in this song is the most 'fear'.


We first saw this kind of change in his experimental veer from the path of gothic dance music, Outworld Music I, which I wrote about in May, and it marked an exciting potential. Perhaps he will break into more mainstream dance circles.

Who knows. All that I know is that this song, though not his strongest ever, has elements within that have the potential to make his music more attractive for a more amount of people.

But is that really what he wants?

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Check Ritualz on SoundCloud for more music
Ritualz official site
Here's the Facebook page for Ritualz
• And Follow Ritualz on Twitter
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Monday, 30 July 2012

DESTINY'S CHILD SAY MY NAME CYRIL HAHN REMIX [FREE DOWNLOAD]



This stunning remix comes straight from the mind of Cyril Hahn, a Swiss-born Canadian producer. It's an unexpected reworking of the absolute tune that is 'Say My Name' by Destiny's Child, and it's been done very, very well.

Starting with some mellow organ-type synths that set the mood for a decidedly chilled, summery vibe, Cyril Hahn goes on to create huge atmosphere in the song - namely with his fabulously sparse deployment of the 'Say my name' sample (which he had doctored with a lower, more masculine pitch), creating a superbly energetic build-up. When all the vocals from the chorus of the original song kick in towards the end of the song, it's like you've been waiting an age for them and it's such a joy to hear them all echoing out from the song like a beautiful boulder of nostalgia.

Everything about this remix is well-done and joyously positive, as if the solemnity of a true carefree attitude had made its way into your very heart and became the beat you danced to on the sand, in the sea, in the sky. It's wonderful.

What's more, you can download it here:



Isn't that great? I'd download it before some kind of limit is reached.

And if you liked that I really really recommend listening to the similar treatment he gives Mariah Carey's seminal 'Touch My Body'.

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This is Cyril Hahn's Tumblr
More fabulous music from Cyril Hahn on his SoundCloud
Here is Cyril Hahn on Facebook
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Saturday, 28 July 2012

ALT-J ∆ AN AWESOME WAVE

Finally. Finally. Finally.

Finally, I have drummed up enough energy to write about this amazing album. It truly is. From distorted sub-bass to folk guitar and literary references, this album has it all and delivers it in such a stylishly effortless way, allowing you to sit back and soak it all up like some kind of joyous land sponge with an addictive personality.

I saw that it'd been extensively covered online, yet the word of mouth is only just starting. So please start now, and please share these wonderful sounds to all of your friends. This can be enjoyed in any country, at any time of day, with any people, in any mood, by people of any age, any class, any musical preferences, any backgrounds. I think the word is 'universal'.

So anyway, this is alt-J, or if you like. The name is how to make that little triangle on Mac keyboards. As mentioned by bassist in the band, Gwil, "in mathematical equations it’s used to show change" and it couldn't have been more apt. The music on this fantastic album An Awesome Wave marks some kind of change: it's very different to a lot of what I've heard before.

Kindly enough the band put the whole album on SoundCloud. That's a tick next to their name. Not only this but they were also kind enough to provide notes to each song. It helps explain the album, which fortunately or unfortunately (depends how you look at it), needs a bit of explaining at some points. 'Intro' for example is described as having been originally called 'Nod to Canon' and in fact acts a tribute to "everything that we have unconsciously borrowed/stolen which has unwittingly contributed to our body of work to date."

That 'canon' encompasses Maurice Sendak's Where The Wild Things Are in 'Breezeblocks', Luc Besson's Leon in 'Matilda', Last Exit to Brooklyn by Hubert Selby Jr. and Robert Capa and Gerda Taro (two war photographers) in 'Taro'. In addition to fictional/well-known influences, there's the death of a matador referenced in 'Something Good', a childhood memory in 'Dissolve Me', and a violent experience in 'Bloodflood'. It's packed full to the brim of these influences and is perhaps what makes An Awesome Wave such an enjoyable listen.



For example, I didn't know anything about those war photographers. I looked them up when I first listened to the song. Now I know about them. Things that make new connections in the brain are quite exceptional. But really, alt-J have just used the simplest and most effective formula existing to create music: as Steve Jobs said, "Creativity is just connecting things."

I've already written too much, I'm so sorry. Musically, this album is just as good as it is conceptually. Some stand-out parts, then. There are the altered, guttural vocals on 'Intro' - highlighting the strength and unique nature of the vocals in general. Similarly, the refrained, subsequently layered and sung in a round style 'Please don't go, I love you so' in 'Breezeblocks' is sheer pleasure to listen to (same in 'Matilda' - you forget the power of repetition). The shivering, lusty vocal style in 'Tesselate' is something great too, sounding like whispers from the heart of the world. The refrain in 'Something Good' is beautifully catchy, too.

That song also includes a great drop into its more folksy part at around a quarter of the way into the track, blissfully sending you out in a row boat onto a lake bubbling with new and old sounds that come up to greet you like cartoon fish. The childish, happy rhythms of 'Dissolve Me' support the conceptual childhood memory that runs through the song lyrically and there's this beautiful nostalgia that is ingrained into all parts of that song just popping out of it like fireworks.

Juxtaposition of acoustic guitars (the first interlude, for example), vocal harmonies (splendorous in 'Ms' and the stunning hidden track 'Hand-Made') and real drum sounds with meaty and nearly disfiguring extended bass notes, wildly distorted and spine-straighteningly strong, is refreshing to hear. Strongest in 'Intro', 'Dissolve Me' and especially 'Fitzpleasure' (whose now-and-again guitar riff is hollow, hard and heavy), it's an example of the 'folk-step' sound they seemed to have created.

Just as brilliant creating energy and making you feel crazy as they are being prettily minimalistic and chilled (as in parts of 'Bloodflood' and 'Taro'), these diverse musicians seem set for great things. Could write even more. Says it all. Sorry for wasting your time. Buy this album.

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alt-J on SoundCloud
Here's their official site
And their Tumblr page
Here they are on Facebook
This is their YouTube channel
Follow alt-J on Twitter
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Friday, 27 July 2012

ANGEL HAZE NEW YORK + WERKIN' GIRLS

This is fresher than fresh, a breath of air that's like chewing on mint gum made of ice and caffeine. Angel Haze is a hot new female artist who is set to explode and splatter all over the world pretty soon.

Why? Cause she's utterly ineffable, that's why.

Pitchfork has given a more in-depth treatment than I have, writing a veritable book on the young rapper. You can read that here (but you must know about all of the musical and artist references they make otherwise it is like reading an essay on sociology). That said, you want more info, you go there. I'm here to chat about music, not history.

Where to begin. Swagger doesn't exactly cover what these songs have. Swagger is for the weak. This is pure attitude. Angel Haze, much like Nicki Minaj, spits rhymes that are as open as space, explicit as porn, and as raw as taking a bite out of a passing cow. She is truer than Nicki Minaj, not just because of the music itself, but also because she's blown up before she's signed to a major record label, not after. They both rap. That is where the similarity ends. She makes Minaj sound like Oprah.

'New York' is drenched in daring audacity and utterly full of confidence. With a beat that sounds like a soundtrack to a march, it has all this potential energy into it, more like watching a battle about to happen rather than actually watching one happen. Two of my favourite lines: 'I am zero past a hundred / Spittin' like a dragon that were mission from a dungeon / Y'all a bunch of niggers getting trippy off of nothing / Tie a rope around ya neck and let me kick you off a bungee'. There's a careless Minaj reference in there. And then there's the un-politically correct: 'You bitches are lyrically like some fuckin' Down's syndrome, no offense'. Brilliant stuff.



And then 'Werkin' Girls', also from her album Reservation (released 17th July), is on another level entirely. It's dirty, dark and damn good. There's this huge bass that bounces out alongside a beat so slow and aggressive it feels like I could fall over just listening to it. Her bars on this one are just something else entirely, she's a fast rapper and she delivers the line so effortlessly - there's no tripping up on anything, it's like her mouth is a machine gun. But at the same time she's putting all her energy into this, you can hear her gasping for air sometimes. There's something in her aching to get out and it doesn't just get out: it bursts out like a volcano erupting.



It's such a joy to listen to not just a talented wordsmith who can weave words together, creating original rhymes and unique imagery, but also to a talented speaker who raps with the such finesse and precision that - especially on the first listen - you can't help but smile. Pure wicked joy.

Angel Haze is real. Do believe the hype. Don't accept any comparisons. She is entirely original. She's just 20 years old and she's going to be huge. As she rightfully says in 'Werkin' Girls':

'I just popped up out the blue / I'm spontaneously combusting'

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Listen to Angel Haze's RESERVATION on her Bandcamp page
Here's more Angel Haze sounds on her SoundCloud
Angel Haze on Facebook
Here's her YouTube channel
Follow Angel Haze on Twitter!
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TAMARYN I'M GONE

Good morning. To start the day, I've got a pretty song from a beautiful singer: 'I'm Gone' by Tamaryn. She's New Zealandish (is that right?) born and bred, but moved to San Fransisco at some point to pursue the rosy path of music. It's not a bad life at all is it? Maybe that's why her music is so ear-friendly. Easy-listening. But not in a picture book kind of way. More in a grand impressionist painting kind of way.

You just know from first look, first listen, that it's a pulchritudinous thing. I think that's a good way to describe this song. It's actually a kind of sound that isn't insanely happy, it's more sadly content than that. It reminds me of an overcast day by the sea, the wind blustering along the dirt-coloured beach and the sea with its shade of dark teal and brown whipping its washes in the near-distance. You walking along in a raincoat and hair tangling around your face, hoping for a sunny day at the beach but preparing for the dismal seaside experience.

Perhaps this is just because I am used to a day by the sea anywhere in the UK. It's kind of beautiful in a disappointing way, isn't it?

Not like this song. It's beautiful in a pretty way. But judging from the title, it's supposed to sound like a grey day at the beach. 1-0 me.


Nice, isn't it?

I totally dig the lazy laid-back psychedelic effects on the guitars and the lo-fi, 80s-esque drums. All of it pours over you like a stream of liquid nitrogen, chillingly hypnotic with its distorted sounds and Tamaryn's voice, purring and crooning in the midst of the clashing guitars. The track is a chasm of absence and loneliness out of which this blissfully aching dreampop sound erupts.

It comes from her upcoming second album Tender New Signs, due for release on 16th October on Mexican Summer records. She's collaborated on this on with longtime collaborater-producer Rex John Shelverton. And if it's all like this, I'll be looking forward to it.

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This is the Wikipedia entry for Tamaryn
The Facebook page of Tamaryn
Tamaryn on SoundCloud
Follow Tamaryn on Twitter!
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Thursday, 26 July 2012

THE CHEMICAL BROTHERS THEME FOR VELODROME LONDON OLYMPICS


This is a pretty audacious track from the legends that are The Chemical Brothers. They (Ed Simons and Tom Rowlands) have been around for quite some time yet they're still making lovely music. I'll spare you any needless introduction.

They were commissioned to compose a tune to reflect the cycling events in particular at the London 2012 Olympic Games. That's quite an honour. What they came up with a monster of a track called simply 'Theme For Velodrome'.

Chalked for release on 30th July, it starts as a genuine classically composed piece and quickly descends into robotic, electronic madness. People say it sounds like Kraftwerk and then dismiss it as a copy. I don't really care if it sounds similar. I like how it sounds and that's that. A lot of things sound like a lot of things. Moving on...

The track's beat thuds alongside a bassline that pulls no punches, and there's an overlayering of little synth blips that get their own moment in the limelight about halfway through the track. It's a fast-paced, machine-gunning, pumping race-em-up kind of song. Though in a very dystopian way - it's not a sunny, happy song, but something that would fit better as a soundtrack to Death Race (the original, 1975 version) or Rollerball (also released 1975 - big year for dystopia). There's an air of panic and frustration in this song, the atmosphere of a tense race is all percolating through the air between my ears and the fabulously expressive sounds of Chemical Brothers' Olympic feat.

I wonder: will they also be providing the soundtrack for other events? If not: who is? And if no one: why is there only a soundtrack to one set of events?

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More Chemical Brothers goodness on their SoundCloud
• This is their official site
Here is the Wikipedia entry on Chemical Brothers
Myspace for Chem Bros
The Facebook of The Chemical Brothers
Follow The Chemical Brothers on Twitter
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CLAUDE VONSTROKE LE FANTÔME FEAT JAW

I continue my obsession with the voice otherwise known as Jaw with another track that's been recommended to me by Teki Latex. It's a song by Claude VonStroke, (real name Barclay Crenshaw, hailing from San Fransisco, USA) called 'Le Fantôme'. It sure is a big tune.

Claude VonStroke himself is a pretty extensively known for his music. He's "headlined almost every major club, festival and basement after-party in the world," so I can safely say that this guy knows what works when it comes to music designed to make you dance. This song, featuring the vocal gems of Jaw, is absolutely no exception.

'Le Fantôme' indeed does have all the trappings of a toe-tapping, feet-moving wonder. And that's what it is really. Starting off with this beefy techno kick that ignites the beat and fires the rest of the song into life, the path ahead is a laid-back and funky minimalist house-style furore all the way to the end of the track. For example, the build-up at 4:40 and the nonchalant dropping back in of the beat at 5:10 is such a brilliantly thought-through moment.

The organ-style synths that get louder and louder as the song progresses, and the whispers every now and again, reflect the slightly sinister atmosphere floating above it like a dusty ghost - but a dusty ghost who not only likes to but also knows how to dance. He's doing a two-step now, can you see?



That selfsame spooky (Ghostbusters-style) atmosphere is bolstered by the splendid vocals of Jaw, which I could really listen to all day and and night. He sings about being your worst nightmare / your best dream / behind the mirror / when you scream - at least I think that's what it sounds like. He also declares about a third of the way through: I'm a ghost. The effect on the vocals does well to make them sound as wobbly and warbling as possible without losing the meaning. This is what I imagine ghosts to sound like, to be honest.

So it's very spooky. But with such an affable bassline, it couldn't be any spookier than spooky. Kind of like a techno house response to Michael Jackson's 'Thriller'. Spookstep.

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More Claude VonStroke sounds on his SoundCloud
Here he is on Facebook
Wikipedia page about Claude VonStroke
Myspace?
Follow Claude VonStroke on Twitter
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THE KNOCKS AND FRED FALKE GERONIMO

The Knocks are a pretty successful (NME say that, together, they are one of the "20 hottest producers in music right now" but what do they know?) electro duo consisting of Ben "B-Roc" Ruttner and James "JPatt" Patterson - I'm sure you knew that already. I wish I had a cool alias like that. R-Tomz?

Only works if you actually make music, I think.

Anyway. They recently collaborated with French producer Fred Falke to create this pretty cool track 'Geronimo', released 23rd July. I say pretty cool because it exudes a minutely disappointing sense of semi-standardness. All the right elements are there, you know, the grinding distorted synth coming on like endless waves of energy, the thumping four-to-the-floor house beat, the now-and-again vocal track howling underneath everything, the half-funk bassline rumbling like a mini-earthquake. But for some reason it's just not doing all that it could.

That's not to say that it isn't a cool track. Cause it is: it's on Kitsuné, for Allah's sake! The French Touch (Fred Falke in this case) is always pretty magic.



The best thing about it actually is the build-up that these guys create. The energy is immense and it's hard not to get even a little bit excited about this track. I love the ruthless hi-hat and the galloping brightness of it all. The funk bassline is also really tasty. But, like I said, although it's good it could be better. Remember: I said minutely disappointing, not terribly or even mildly. Covering my back here.

The video - and if you haven't watched it, do - is also very cool and echoes the absolute unhindered freedom that this song sweats out as it does its hardcore workout in my ears.

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Here's the Wikipedia page for The Knocks
The Knocks on Facebook
Listen to more from The Knocks on their SoundCloud
The Knocks on Myspace.
This is the Knocks' official site
Follow The Knocks on Twitter
And here's the Wikipedia page for Fred Falke
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Wednesday, 25 July 2012

BURNS LIES

It doesn't matter whether it's Burns as in 3rd degree burns or if it's Burns as in Mr. Burns from The Simpsons (officially the best character), this particular Burns is better than the 3rd degree kind and roundabout on-par with the Simpsons kind: this is Burns.

So, exhaustive introduction over with, let's get onto the music.

The song is 'Lies' and it was uploaded to YouTube like two days ago. There's this great euphoric club vibe to the whole song, like something you'd hear halfway through a night out and one of the only things you'd remember the next morning. Complete with a nice bit of snare roll every now and again, Burns totally ramps up the energy in this track until it's near fever-pitch towards the end.


Yeah, it's really nice, isn't it? A sound-of-summer kind of song. The female vocal is pretty powerful, evocative, and goes very well with the trance-like synth chords that blast at you as if all creation hinged on their being sent to your ears as fast as possible.

Along with the slightly dancehall-ish skewed beat the track makes for you like some anonymous dancefloor dweller who leads you through the crowds, clears a space in the middle of it all, and starts twirling you around like a spinning top, lights flashing all around in an epileptic's nightmare of carouseling neon lasers. That's exactly what it's like.

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Here is more Burns on SoundCloud
Here is Burns on Facebook
Here is Burns on Twitter
Here is the official site of Burns
Here is Burns not on Myspace
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DOP THE HYPE + TALK SHOW

I have found out who Jaw is.

If you read my post covering Para One yesterday, you will know that I was agonising over who did the vocals for the wonderful song 'When The Night'. We knew the name, Jaw, but we knew nothing else. It was a mystery. A big old mystery.

But then I got a tweet from Teki Latex, a Paris-based electro/hip-hop artist, who told me that Jaw is part of a group called dOP.

That's them, just in the top right of this post. You can see that they are "a dynamic trio of musicians, combining live instruments, vocals and electronics as if it was the simplest thing in the world" (thanks, EB). Or maybe you can't see that. But they just are.

So in the spirit of finding new music to enjoy, and without further ado, here is my chosen song from their SoundCloud, called 'The Hype'. With its stand-out mean-ass beat that exudes pure bass and modified vocals from who I can only assume is this mysterious Jaw, the track is well-tuned in the direction of being one thing: a deep-house treasure trove.



It's intense and heavy, kind of like carrying a cloud full of rain that keeps thundering and flashing like a crazy storm across a field that is not a field at all but a dancefloor with multicoloured glowing tiles. And in fact it may be like the kind of heavy when you carry a watermelon like Baby in Dirty Dancing.

And I really have to share another song. It's called 'Talk Show' and it goes a little something like this...



It's like film noir meets jazz and they start tangoing around a room filled with smoke that smells of pure dance sensibilities. This is where the skill as instrumentalists come in. It's sometimes not just about being able to manipulate sound via analogue or digital means. Sometimes it's about playing some instruments and bringing a super retro sound to what is really a modern world. It's a playground of real sounds that slide easily into the ear like a person going down a water slide into a filled with brilliant turquoise water. That easily.

Looking forward to hearing more from these guys.

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Here's dOP's SoundCloud for more rambunctious sounds
Here they are on Facebook
Myspace.
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Tuesday, 24 July 2012

SBTRKT GLOSS

Anyone who's anyone has heard at least one song from SBTRKT's 2011 self-titled debut album. Those selfsame people probably loved that song.

It was probably 'Wildfire'.

Nothing wrong with that. Great song. Great album. Now we can see that, thanks to a new track released yesterday, that it's completely consistent.

The release of this great new track is SoundCloud-only, as far as I know or just for the moment. Either way that doesn't detract (or subtract, ha ha) away from the fact that the song, titled 'Gloss', is pure gold. It's a real El Dorado of sound. It's very different what SBTRKT, real name Aaron Jerome (but who cares? As he says, "let the music speak for itself"), has put out before. It's purely instrumental, for starters, and that marks quite a big difference to the self-titled album in that most if not all the tracks feature vocals. But please correct me if I'm wrong.

Instrumental is a good way to go. Lack of vocals = no what-does-this-song-mean pretension. Gives you time to focus on the sound of the actual song. And this is what SBTRKT does with seeming effortlessness and a clear, pure joy for the creation of sounds.



It's wonderful. Sounds a bit like Gold Panda, but then it doesn't. That deep, melodic sub-bass rumbling throughout is something that I think is quite recognizable. But then again, what do I know? The song just sounds brilliant. The beat with all its schizoid snare and screeching distorted synths like alien cicadas aching in a sharp and vivid night etched with equatorial heat against pulses from synth pads as mellow as they are a warm breeze flowing through the whole thing. It's beautiful. Glitch house ambient.

One comment on SoundCloud said that it "feels like swimming over clouds". Couldn't agree more. It's all about the music.

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Listen to more SBTRKT-able sounds on SoundCloud
Join SBTRKT on Facebook
Follow SBTRKT on Twitter
...Myspace...
It's the SBTRKT official site!
Here's a Wikipedia page devoted to SBTRKT
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PARA ONE YOU [FREE DOWNLOAD] [VIDEO]

It's funny that Annie Mac has shared this wonderful song by French producer Para One, aka Jean-Baptiste de Laubier, because it was last night on Annie Mac's show that I first heard some music by the man himself. There he is, on the right, with the glasses.

That particular song was called 'When The Night' and features vocals from an enigmatic singer known only as Jaw, about whom I can find absolutely nothing written. Does anybody know who this guy is? Who is Jaw? What is Jaw? Is it possible to ever truly know Jaw?

Either way, he's done a veritable number on Para One's track. 'When The Night' is a blissful glitchfest of electro house interweaved with heady doses of life-affirming funk and soul. Favourite lyric: My name is Whatever... My name is Whatever +1. Great stuff. It sounds like a James Brown / Mr Oizo hybrid. Listen below.


It's full of summery vibes and that's what we like. Especially with the sun finally back from the menders and working properly, it's time this song was pouring out from car windows like both flavours of Slush Puppy and onto the roads and pavements where everyone would swim in it like fish-turned-human-turned-fish-again.

The song of this post, however, is a little different. Called 'You', it's quite different to 'When The Night', and in fact is just a little taster of how juicily versatile Para One's new album Passion really is. There's definitely an element of garage here, namely in the beat, which creates the foundation for the entire song: fast-paced, euphoric, urban, and completely electro'd to the max. That garage beat is the song's hook, really, and something that is currently making me listen to it a million times in a row. The vocal samples are fun, offbeat and funky, mixing with the frenetic synths whizzing around as if the track were really a boiling pot of joyful dancing molecular structures. Or little atoms at a party.



Wonderful. You can download the track now. I know you want to.

But I've also found the video. It was directed by a couple of members of Club Cheval (Panteros666 and Myd, to be exact), a Parisian quartet of electro fun who are pretty big at the moment - or in other words, le groupe parisien en plein boom actuellement. Enjoy!


Para One - You by paraone

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Listen to more Para One on his SoundCloud
You can also find Para One on Facebook
Look, Para One is on Wikipedia!
Myspace, too...
And of course, follow Para One on Twitter
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Monday, 23 July 2012

TAME IMPALA APOCALYPSE DREAMS [FREE DOWNLOAD]

They're back. Tame Impala are back - and how glad am I they are! Their wonderful, psychedelic Beatles-aping album Innerspeaker pretty much blew my fragile little mind and opened it up to the possibilities of some boys from Australia bringing the sound of the sixties to the 21st century in an intense tableau of guitar licks as wide as the outback and as beautiful as the sea combined with garden shed drum virtuosity dirty fuzzy strongman bass and vocals coming from the very ghost of the Summer of Love itself.

So naturally when I saw that their new album, Lonerism, would be flying off the shelves 8th October in the UK, I got pretty excited. How excited? I can't tell you. Excited enough I guess. And when I heard their new song 'Apocalypse Dreams' I was even more excited. Why? Because they've kept that self-same energy that dominated and swept over previous outing Innerspeaker like a platinum tide of sun and ecstasy (n.b. feeling not drug). Have a listen:



It's a good thing this song is available for a free download because it is such a good song. It's a rich, luscious sound that still drips with all the psychedelic intensity of a bus ride through a desert under a deliciously empty blue sky. It's still very Beatles-esque, but it really isn't a bad thing: it's a brilliant thing.

At the 2:59 mark the song cuts off like a tape turning over and launches into wave after wave of flanging guitar madness in a glorious soundscape of chill. I don't know whose idea that was but it's a great bit of dynamism from a band who knows dynamism inside out. In all its effect-laden beauty, this song stands out as something that'll be floating around this summer like an electromagnetic wave of joy as a hot sun rolls around the land like a giant weeble. Everything about this song is perfect perfect perfect.

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• Here's Tame Impala's official site
• Here's their Wikipedia page
Tame Impala on Myspace...
Tame Impala's Facebook page
• Check out more of their stuff on SoundCloud
Follow Tame Impala on Twitter
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Sunday, 22 July 2012

MESS ME CALL [FREE DOWNLOAD]

It was this time a year ago that I was first listening to the Swiss electro-house producer Mess Me. A year ago. Yep, I wrote about his track, 'Lightless'. But now he's got this new track that he added on SoundCloud yesterday and it's pretty fabulous, I've gotta say. He posted a link to it on his Facebook page in fact, along with the warning/disclaimer/carrot-on-a-string: only for '80 synth lovers ♥

Quite promising, no?

It would mark a massive change in his sound. What I heard last year was hardcore electro house, lots of fuzz and buzz and grinding, distorted synth tearing into my brain. It was great. But now he seems to have taken up the mantle of an 80s reviver (like College, Gentleman Drivers, Kavinsky, etc) and gone to town with his new found retroness.

The song is called 'Call' and is full of heavy, electro house energy - the thumping thud of the drum tracks and a saw wave, ongoing bassline that undercuts everything make that pretty clear. But there is the addition of some complex synth arpeggios, as high-pitched as they are hollow and clear. Listen below.



Great isn't it? There's a certain Balearic euphoria to this, I think. I found this in the beat that sped up before a drop and also in the general simplicity of that electro house foundation - the notes he had chosen, well, perhaps I'd heard them a lot before in a lot of party, summer music. And that's basically what this is: it's party, summer music. The sun's actually shining in England today. I'm going to listen to this song again and jump around whilst I make some coffee.

Oh, this is a FREE DOWNLOAD by the way.

*downloads*

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Here Mess Me is on SoundCloud
And Mess Me on Facebook
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Friday, 20 July 2012

TOP GEAR MUSIC SNES

What a treat this is.

Top Gear was one of my favourite games on the SNES. The SNES wasn't even mine, it was borrowed, and luckily this amazing game was included in the borrowment. It's not an easy game. But it's a racing game. I used to spend hours on it.

That's a screenshot of the game. I remember playing that track. The frustration of not having turned quickly enough and just ploughing through all those trees was terrible.

But the music was something that stayed with me. I was so glad that I found it again. The bleeps and arpeggios and synthesised wonders of this game's soundtrack are a joy to hear.

This is the one I remember the most. It's the first track. People say it sounds like 'Bliss' by Muse, but 'Bliss' by Muse has a lot to answer for. They're standing on the shoulders of giants.


Isn't it wonderful?

And if you liked that, here are the other tracks from the game.

Title Track
Track 2
Track 3
Track 4

All of them were added to YouTube by this guy.

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Learn all about Top Gear here on the Wikipedia page about it
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Wednesday, 18 July 2012

FREDRIK CHROME CAVITIES


There's nothing like a bit of this in the morning, no siree there isn't. What's this? You've heard it before? Of course you have. You won't know this band's name though, unless you knew them anyway. They're Fredrik and the song is called 'Chrome Cavities'. Chrome cavities. Sounds a bit sterile. But then again, the cleaner the better.

They are the ün-pop darlings of Kopparberg's ün-mainstream TV adverts for their ün-not-tasty (double negative, it's ok) fruit cider. It's quite a good bit of branding because it gives a summery and generally quite affable fruity cider quite a dark and indie aesthetic. It's like pushing a happy, brightly dressed 14-year-old into a muddy ditch then sending him off to a questionable (ün-questionable) warehouse rave with only a cow, given him by his mother, to trade for food and whatever else.

He comes back home covered in body paint, a beard puffing from his chin and resting on his chest like an angry cloud, bottles of Kopparberg inexplicably strung around his neck, rattling like a street performer. His mother is at a loss. She tells him off for being so ün-good and ün-clever, then she gets so angry about the cow and asks the still-inebriated son of hers what he traded for the cow. He pulls out three beans and she goes absolutely ün-sane. His name was Jack...

The story is ün-Jack and the Beanstalk.


So that's the kind of thing they're doing. Here's a link to the advert if you just haven't watched enough TV to have had your eyes treated to it. Amidst the slough of deeply troubling and brain-curdlingly annoying adverts, it's nice to hear some nice music.

Allah forgive me, I've been chatting too much about adverts. So sorry. So... The song is dark with a bassline that is as modulatingly rich as it is deep and heavy. Vocals come in like nonchalant chants, echoing and distant, and try to offset themselves against synth sounds that could be the nocturnal squeaks of undiscovered android animals limping in the swamps of invented memory. The beat is consistently frenetic and stripped back, feeling acupuncture for your dancing feet. Surprise addition of strings to this track brings it back to Earth a little bit.

Really looking forward to hearing more from these Malmö-based Swede ün-pop-boppers.

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Omg, Fredrik on Wikipedia
Omg, Fredrik's official site
Here is their Bandcamp
Here is their SoundCloud
Omg, follow Fredrik on Twitter!
Oh... wait... is that... Myspace?
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Tuesday, 17 July 2012

AZARI & III INTO THE NIGHT

Wow. Argh. Waa! Yes: noises. Or loud noises. Depends on the situation.

As inexplicable as they are incomprehensible, these noises quite aptly describe how I feel when listening to this wondrous Azari & III (pronounced "Azari and Third") track. I'm listening to it right now for the four-hundred-and-fortieth time and I ain't one bit sick of it. In fact I can't stop listening to it and I'm quite worried. I'm anxious that I won't be able to stop, ever. It's just... can't resist... too... much... vibe...! Gah!

The song comes from their self-titled album of earlier this year and is called 'Into The Night'. It's a four to the floor, housey, beautiful, midnight-magic kind of 80s dance sonic psalm of the retro-future. It is absolutely full of energy and like ingesting a battery, if you were battery powered; I love it, everything from its sultry, soft toffee synths to its disco platform vocals.

Listen to it yourself, yo. So many vibe.



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Here are Azari & III on SoundCloud
Here they are on Facebook
This is their official site
Myspace...
Follow Azari & III on Twitter
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Wednesday, 11 July 2012

UNISON BROTHERS & SISTERS


If you want dark and innocuously modest music in the mornings, or actually at any time of day (it depends when you're reading this), then I'd get to know Unison if I were you. It's an old song but whatever.

The above song is an example of their pitch-black, echoing electronica, 'Brothers & Sisters'. Starting off pretty unassuming, but, like a night torn asunder by cicadas and frogs and crickets (if they stay awake at night), high-pitched noises and - eventually - the frenetic beat come in. The bass is a constantly transistory, in that it's not just one sustained note, but a series of low, wobbling notes - picture a jelly sitting on a power plate. Now imagine that this jelly is filled with, not mandarin segments, but faded polaroids of hoax ghosts and some piece of ancient, worn floorboard with some esoteric symbols carved into it.

What a picture. Sorry about that. But you know what I mean.

Like a mantra, the vocals come in with a 'Brothers and sisters something-something-something...' with their breathy echo - a wondrous female voice that sounds a bit like the singer from Portishead. The entrance of the clean-yet-slightly-distorted, repetitious guitar arpeggio is something special too, coming in after the night-noises stop and the kick is already strongly thumping. But from these humble origins the song builds into this crescendo, a wave of sound that constantly washes over you until its end, crashing with synth and fuzz and noise.

Darkly wonderful, wonderfully dark. Brilliant, too. Listen up. They call it 'death-gaze' and 'death-trance', but it's much more like deep-dark-electro-witch-house-ambient. Has a better ring to it.

The video is also great, you should watch it FULL SCREEN by clicking here.

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Official site for Unison
It's Unison on Myspace
Unison's SoundCloud
FOLLOW UNISON ON TWITTER
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Monday, 9 July 2012

SIMIAN MOBILE DISCO A SPECIES OUT OF CONTROL

Simian Mobile Disco don't often fail to please. Since 2007's massively sensitive to the electro zeitgeist Attack Decay Sustain Release, there hasn't been anything that's grabbed me. Well, there was 'Audacity of Huge' and '10000 Horses Can't Be Wrong' but I wasn't compelled to listen to the album, Temporary Pleasure, any more in depth than those two songs. Bad of me, yes probably.

But here we are. It's 2012. Five years since Simian Mobile Disco busted out onto the scene at the same time as other acts like Justice. And I think it's pretty fair to say they're back. Their new album, Unpatterns, is a pretty joyous aural treat. Give it a listen if you still have time for electro house in your busy life.

One song on the album with which I am particularly enamoured at the moment is 'A Species Out Of Control'. It's a fabulous track, something between a study of layering and tension, and an experiment with modulation and filters. They're certainly come a long way since 'Hustler'...



The way the song builds up is really great, starting as something that could be something as simple as a Flash game soundtrack, quickly becoming much, much bigger than that. There are many parts to this song, each succumbing to the weight of more distortion or a more complex beat as it progresses through its 5 minute 18 second duration.

Although I think the action stops a little soon and abruptly, like an rhubarb crumble that lacks crumble, the chilled ambience at the end of the song - along with the kick still kicking and the bassline still bassing fuzzily in the background - is a good way to end it all. Bravo and hooray.

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Hey, Simian Mobile Disco are documented on Wikipedia!
Hey, it's their official site!
Check out more of their sharp sounds on SoundCloud
They're also on Facebook
Follow Simian Mobile Disco on Twitter!
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Wednesday, 4 July 2012

THE FLAMING LIPS FEAT KE$HA 2012 (YOU MUST BE UPGRADED)

Watch out everyone: it's everyone else, and The Flaming Lips. It's an interesting one, because they've teamed up with a lot of other artists for their new album, from Tame Impala and Yoko Ono, to Neon Indian and Nick Cave, there's a lot of talent in the mix. The album is called The Flaming Lips And Heady Fwends and is out now.

An interesting song and the first single from the album is '2012 (You Must Be Upgraded)' featuring, bizarrely, Ke$ha. The song also features Biz Markie (not sure who he is so here's Wikipedia to help) and whoever the hell Hour Of The Time Majesty 12 is/are - strangely I found this whole spiel about Illuminati conspiracy fairytales when I searched for them/her/him/it: http://www.hourofthetime.com/majestyt.htm. Weird.

What is it with people and conspiracy theories?

...Anyway here is the song.



The Flaming Lips have always been a bit weird, or brave, whichever you like. With past songs like 'She Don't Like Jelly' and 'Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots Part 1', there's definitely something different in the makeup of this psychedelic rock band for however long they've been going, like well over 20 years.

Both the band and Ke$ha herself have never done anything that sounds even remotely like '2012'. The stop-start rhythm of the drums and the brazenly brash buzzing synth that sounds like a snippet of a HEALTH song or something. Not only does Ke$ha's breathy, decadently slack and sultry voice fit perfectly with the slapdash distortion of the song, it also sounds perfect when saying lines like "Put me under your acid spell / Cause I want my mind to be completely toast". It's sharp and strong. Could be Sleigh Bells (thought it was when I first heard it). But then again it couldn't really be many people and listening back, it definitely sounds like Ke$ha.

Then there's this great breakdown in the song from about 2 minutes in to about 3:30. Gentle and floaty, it's just this vast synth swirling around as Ke$ha's vocal becomes more and more reverberated. Then the song whirls round and shoryukens whoever's listening to it as the crazy sawing of the original synth and the original beat swing back in like a meteor on a string.

It's different, it's quirky, it's brave as hell, it's got Ke$ha in it. It's brilliant.

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The Flaming Lips official site
They're on Wikipedia!
They are also on Facebook
And Twitter

Here's Ke$ha's official site
Here's her Facebook page
And here's her mofo'ing Twitter
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Tuesday, 3 July 2012

GENTLEMEN DRIVERS FEROCE


Watch that. And tell me it's not cool.

Granted, the video isn't original (it's actually a short film called C'était un rendez-vous by Claude Lelouch), but it fits this brutal electro house song so very well. It might as well be the original. Like when Jimi Hendrix covered All Along The Watchtower and Bob Dylan said "yeah, ok, it's basically your song now" - same with this video. Gentlemen Drivers have done it better.

Hailing from Paris, this duo have described themselves as having an American imagination with a French sauce. And you can hear it. There's that big bold Parisian sound with a bit of American euphoric techno thrown into the mix. This particular song is quite old, but it's amazing. The dark, Dracula-at-the-organ-like synthesisers join us at the beginning of the journey and accompany us all the way to the end of the song. Soon the beat drops in, the kick perfect with one ounce hammering treble, 50 ounces full and meaty. The little drops where some modulating, low-attack synth chords are perfect too, providing a bit of respite from the atonal medley of fluttering synth that is always present.

Great song. Shame I got on it so late. Looking forward to hearing more.

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They are on Facebook.
They are also on Twitter.
Here's their Myspace.
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