Friday, 31 May 2013

LIES ESCAPE I/S/M/ [VIDEO]

Music arrives from all corners of the world, and it takes you to as many places as well (depending where in the music industry you fit), but as for the former it's certainly true. Music can come from anywhere. And it can surprise you. Especially if you think "cool" music "only" comes from "America" or "England". Cause that ain't true at all. And I think with the last couple of months' worth of music on this site, I think I've proven that good music can come from anywhere. Yep. Even Italy, as I showed last week with FOR's 'Lemme Burn', which is where Lies come from (the music group, not the exponents of mendacity themselves).

Lies is yet another duo, comprised of Oscar Cini and Piero (no surname?), who are from Irpinia, southern Italy - a lovely sunny place, I imagine, far from the struggling summer of the UK. Mr Cini, specifically, sent me some of their music and I was rather taken aback with their hypnotic track 'Escape I/S/M/'. Long story short: I like the song, and here it is.

You could say that I was swayed by the video, but that ain't true. Whilst it provides a perfectly mesmerising visual perspective of the song, it is not integral to its existence. No video is. I like this song's steady beat, sounding like a heart working in chill-mode, with far-off snare claps sounding like slaps of the sea against rock with all their washing reverb. Equally steady is the slow and simple bassline running under everything like a reliable cheesecake base.

Gradually the beat becomes more complex, more components added in, clicks, dinks, hi-hats, and as this happens the song is gradually suffused with ambient synth sounds - alongside the founding two note soft synth begins to fly a more soaring fizz. And the samples put the icing on this cake, especially considering the mesmerising side of things; the endless repetition of these wordless vocals spin round and round your head. Yet it's not intense, it's totally chill.

Anyways, this song comes from Lies' latest album Escaping Colours, out on StrikeBack. Recordings.

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MUSIC WEEK #7

"Ouch" is the word for this week. You may or may not know, but I damaged my knee last Friday falling off a wall. Turns out it isn't so much damaged as broken - the kneecap itself is broken in half. No wonder it hurt so much. The plane and airports on Tuesday were a nightmare, but it was very good to get home. I think I may have to get surgery next week, but I don't know yet; the X-Ray from France shows a very, very broken knee, but I was moving it around more than I should have done (didn't know it was broken), so if I get a new X-Ray here in the UK, the two pieces might have floated back together again, since I have literally not been moving.

Anyway, that's been my week. Sleeping, watching One Piece and being an observer to my brother playing Super Metroid. As a result, the music has not come through as thick or fast as it usually does. I do apologise for that. I will endeavour to keep you, random, regular or persistent reader, up-to-date with the new music that I have been finding.


NOAMIKO - COUCH SURFER
Israeli glitch folk

IKEBANA - ALONE
Stark and bleakly beautiful minimalism from Japan

SPAZZKID - GETTING TO KNOW YOU
Fluttering upbeat electronic emotiscapes

INTERVIEW: YUKI ABE
One half of Tokyo DJ/producer outfit Boys Get Hurt answers the lazy interview

THE GOLDEN BOY - THAT THING
Lauryn-Hill-sampling garage-house


Favourite of the week? Well there's not much to choose from this times, and of course numerousness makes an indecisive mind work too hard, so it's a relatively easy choice: Spazzkid. Very nice. The perfect soundtrack for getting to know somebody you like, as the name suggests.

Au revoir!

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THE GOLDEN BOY THAT THING [FREE DOWNLOAD]

I really like this kind of music at the moment. It's kinda deep house infused with garage and a real sensibility for tunes of the recent past or present (Cyril Hahn's remixes, for instance, are a perfect example, and Tropics' original songs, too) - very nice atmosphere with a totally danceable soul paraded around on soft beats and skipping hi-hats, all blanketed in a laid-back chill.

And very fortunately, I found a new purveyor of that kind of sound: The Golden Boy. (I think just Golden Boy would sound better, but it ain't my name so). The song in question is like 6 months old, but here at Yes/No Music, I don't care very much about that. It is, I suppose, a kind of remix but more an original song, using samples - mad good samples, lowered in tone - from Lauryn Hill's 'Doo-Wop (That Thing)'. A great original to work from with some great vocals, for sure.

Coming from Birmingham, The Golden Boy (aka real life human Dominic Hammonds) has a very nice, totally UK style that grips onto garagey roots with unwavering and absolute certainty. This knows what it is: a tune.

It's the kind of song that paints a picture both of night and day simultaneously, an empty-road urban evening with the streetlights casting their dingy orange glow over everything, or a sunny day in the city completely bustling with people looking for shade. That's what I get.

The samples are great though, used perfectly especially after the first drop when the synth chords come in, measuring the beat in their punctually off-beat way. The break is great, when the whole of the chorus of Lauryn's original plays above a soothing, low synth strings, a breathing space in the song, and something that allows the listener to get what was teasing them the whole time (the chorus in full). But then again, this song isn't a teaser of something more: it's an original song which has been decorated with a carefully chosen, and skilfully utilised, sample, all to the tune of a very urban, UK-flavoured concoction.

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Tuesday, 28 May 2013

YUKI ABE (BOYS GET HURT) INTERVIEW

Who doesn't like dancing? You don't have to be a dancing freak to be classed as someone who likes dancing. You could dance once a year, love it, and be called someone who likes dancing. You could dance once a week. Whatever whatever, you get the point. Like it or not, it's actually quite a big part of society. If it wasn't, there wouldn't even be such a word as 'dance', nor a kind of music. But to actually make music that makes people dance, that must be pretty exciting.

That is certainly the vibe I get from Yuki Abe, Tokyo-based electro-dance producer, and one half of dance outfit Boys Get Hurt alongside Takumi Kawahori. I've written about both him, under the moniker Body Fantasy, (song: 'In In') and Boys Get Hurt (song: 'b e a c h') Yuki was kind enough to answer this lazy interview, much to my happiness and gratitude. Read on and learn a little bit.


Who are you? Where are you from? What do you do?
Yuki. Born and raised up in Tokyo.
I do Boys Get Hurt and some music producing.

Why did you decide to start creating music?
When I was a teen, I started hearing some different genres.
I thought I could mix it up better than usual.

How would you describe your sound? What makes you and your style stand out?
Boys Get Hurt is just emotional dance music.
I think we mostly influenced by "The Get Up Kids".
Now our musical style is called basically Nu Disco, Sea Disco.
Our DJ/Label friends are mostly based in LA or French.
So we feel it's not major.

Is there a perfect time and place for listening to your music?
Beach-side air controlled inside a club in Hawaii.

What inspires you most when writing a song?
When I get hurt by good music.

What is your most memorable musical experience?
08/10/2011 "Summer House" @ WOMB
Our party's 1st time in Tokyo.
It's mid weekday but massive, people dance around.
Awesome experience.

What are your favourite three songs at the moment?
Moonboots - Love Strong

Para One ft. Irfane & Teki Latex - Every Little Thing (Plastic Plates Remix)

Jacques Greene ft. How To Dress Well - On Your Side

Who do you most admire in the music world?
Death Cab For Cutie

In your opinion, what is the future of music?
Always repeating to change.
Gonna melt with other stuff. eg. Visual, Environment, Smell or something, to become new package.
it's time to get through from old system.

What's the future of your music - what do you hope to do next?
We will keep collaborating with many talented guys in the world.
Release from the label, remixing the stuff, touring, etc.
We keep doing the party in Tokyo.
Keep fresh and comfy. :)

What, aside from music, is most important to you?
Coffee, movies and trips.


Well, there you have it. That's Yuki Abe and Boys Get Hurt. (Sea Disco is kinda retro 90s dance with modern flair btw just so you know). I like very much the idea of "repeating to change", and I like even more the idea of keeping it "fresh and comfy" - what a nice sentiment! Anyway, the people of Tokyo are lucky for having such a talented guy, along with Takumi, right on their doorsteps to play them very fresh and chilled sunshine disco for a very good time indeed. THANKS YUKI!

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Sunday, 26 May 2013

SPAZZKID GETTING TO KNOW YOU

Hello. There is some music that is created with such an atmosphere, music that evokes different fantasy worlds almost, ones that you can taste on the tip of your tongue and feel on your skin like rays of light from the sky of a world with two suns; or if that scares you, just a regular perfect-world version of our own world. Colours alive, gentle breezes, mild nights.

Yeah yeah, this is the kind of vibe that inhabits 'Getting To Know You' by Spazzkid - but who is that? Well otherwise known by the real world name of Mark Redito, he comes from Manila but currently resides in LA. What he has created is a sonic wonderland, the perfect scenery for the passing of a perfect day, a beautiful escapist soundtrack that bursts with carefree electricity and popping colours that paint the fantasy-land as it moves along, like a stage from Yoshi's Island or something.

I suppose in a way the song is reflective of its title: it illustrates all the butterflies and small smiles that accompany the sweet feeling of getting to know somebody that you already know that you like a lot. It's sentimental without being emotional, capturing instead the side of emotion that triggers haphazard happiness. See fo yo self.

Cutesy synth piano sets down the melody and cut-up acoustic guitar chords gives the song its foundation, to which a nicely modulated bass responds in kind. Interestingly, the whole song is backed with a dubstep beat - I don't like saying that though because it makes the song sound as though it is a "dubstep" song, which it ain't. It's a half-speed drum and bass rhythm, giving it a laid-back-yet-restless feel. Vocal samples feature throughout, yet are at their best in the song's halfway breakdown, when the beat is given room to breathe - here the vocal samples are chopped up and used as an instrument themselves. At this point, too, a solo synth melds over the top: lovely sound, like a stylophone.

Towards the end, a nerf-machine-gun type popping synth sound - a synth tom drum, maybe? - crazes its way towards the finish. A very electro-pop sound, in a world of cute-chill. There are also vocals from Mr Spazzkid himself, lo-fi and reverberated, that pop up just a few times in the song. Overall, everything in this song comes along in such varied ways and the dynamics are played with - it's a playground of sound that is just too fun not to listen to at least twice in a row upon first hearing. I know I did.

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Saturday, 25 May 2013

IKEBANA ALONE [VIDEO]

Flau Records, based in Tokyo, seems to have been putting out some very nice music recently. There's a decent list of artists versed in many things from folk pop to experimental electronica - for instance, Twigs & Yarn, whom I wrote about on Thursday. And yesterday, from the same wonderful label, came 'Alone' by IKEBANA.

Touted as a kind of ambient shoegaze, IKEBANA is a female duo from Japan made up of Maki and En - both have musical backgrounds, though it feels as though the both of them won't be moving onto anything different anytime soon; it seems that they enjoy very much the music that they are currently making together. How can I tell? Well judging from this song, I think if anyone can play such simplistic music with such feeling it says something about how much they're getting into it.

It's a very easy song to get lost in. With all the minimalism and beauty of its namesake (ikebana = 生け花 = "living flowers" or simply "flower arranging") it sparkles in a very understated way. Try for yourselves.

The first thing I noticed about this song was its opening chord: it's exactly the same as the chord that opens 'Suedehead' by Morrissey - whether that was a conscious thing or not, I dunno; it's still a very nice chord anyway.

Speaking of the guitar chords, they are the main base to this song, always played in the same pattern yet not moving around too drastically, giving a sense of droning, almost like organ music transcribed for the guitar. The voice, softly singing over the chords, is pure-sounding, with just a little echo dabbed onto its tail-end. A simple guitar melody is pinged just after each chorus (the lyrics to which run, "Go away / alone / ooo, ooo / run away / alone / ooo, ooo" - simple and sung so prettily), the same each time, wonderfully effective and uses the space between each note to allow the sound to breathe and resonate organically. Nice.

After the last chorus the guitar chords are set to flanger, slowly warping like water going down a plug hole as the song fades away with the solo guitar still making its delicate sounds over the top, like a dreamy boat on an electrolyte sea. I nearly got swept away when I first listened to this with my eyes closed. It's spacey and shoegazey, that's for sure.

Anyway, it's from new album when you arrive there set for release 8th July - on Flau, of course.
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NOAMIKO COUCH SURFER

It's quite astounding sometimes how a song can turn from the most simple melody imaginable into something positively brimming with texture and a rising tide of sounds.

Well, this is exactly what Tel Aviv-based NoamiKo has done in his song 'Couch Surfer' - beginning with a simple acoustic guitar tune, just four notes, you can kind of tell the direction in which the song will go when the notes begin to vibrate glitchily. It's a masterclass in building up a castle of a track from a simple hillock of a tune. There are some lovely noises that go towards helping the song grow: electronic effects dousing the glitched-out acoustic guitar to go perfectly with the slow-heartbeat of the drums, a harpsichord-or-glockenspiel sound, the backwards chill beat vibe in general.

Lovely stuff - listen fo yo self.

See what I mean? It's a builder. And what's good is that it comes around full circle, too - a complete song with edges and everything, just like a shape, gradually moving from what it was to what it will be via what it is. Yep. From its glitch-folk beginnings, the song goes into an electro-ised Wild West theme, the vocals beginn to harmonise and multiply with plenty of echo over an epic-sounding thumping-and-rattling beat.

Very very nice, a rustic-future vibe here. It's just a shame that there aren't that many further uploads after 'Couch Surfer', which is about a year old as it is. So treasure this track!

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Friday, 24 May 2013

MUSIC WEEK #6

It's been quite a good week. Except for just now. I fell off a wall trying to stop a buggy from rolling down a hill - major ouch I can tell you that. And now at least I know - I am not as strong as gravity, nor as heavy as a buggy. So it's a stupid thing really. But hey - all I am doing now is lying down finding new music and watching One Piece. Fine by me. Besides the pain, it could be worse really.

Anyway, here's a list of this week's music.


GENERATIONALS - PUT A LIGHT ON
Optimistic and catchy

BEACON - DRIVE
Late-at-night-when-no-one's-around reflective chill

MAY E - ピーターパンはいないの [THERE IS NO PETER PAN]
Cutesy wanna-be-a-kid-forever Japanese rap

DEAP VALLY - BABY I CALL HELL
Thumpingingly exciting rock 'n' roll

SUN GLITTERS - AFTER EIGHT
Ultimate chill

TWIGS - HOW'S THAT
Sultry & sexy

LAMU - BACK TO '92
Nostalgic synth heaven

ALITREC - CARTOGRAPH
Experimental with bubbling-gorgeous sounds

INTERVIEW: DAISUKE TANABE
This Japanese glitch-hop artist is a man of few words

HANDBOOK - DIAMOND RING
Great hip-hop instrumental with gnarly sample

SLUGABED - BOMBOK
Basshall oddity with odd video

TOUCHY MOB - DAYS GO BY
Beautiful beautiful

FOR - LEMME BURN Sunny Italian indie funk

TWIGS & YARN - YUUREI
Ethereal Shinto shrine experience

TOKYOLITE - YES! DANCE!
Exuberant indie pop all the way from Indonesia


Favourite track of this week was a relative latecomer to the week's listings: Touchy Mob - Days Go By. Ludwig Plath, the man behind Touch Mob, says that actually the song is a cover of a song by his friend, Sean Nicholas Savage. Whilst the original is nice (listen here), I think TM's version is nicer. Purely a matter of taste. Soz SNS.

Ouch my knee :'(

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TOKYOLITE YES! DANCE!

The exuberant sounds of young Indonesian trio Tokyolite came to me via email from the band themselves, which was jolly nice of them indeed.

The song that struck me most was 'Yes! Dance!' - mainly for it's unstoppable groove. Yes I like a nice groove, and when there are funk guitars and slap bass involved, it's even better. It's certainly a toe-tapper.

There are a lot of different styles thrown into the mix for this one, something that is sometimes a bit risky - mainly if you don't do it right. If you don't do it right, it can sound messy and nigh-on horrendous. Thankfully, Tokyolite have an good ear for sound and their subsequent mix comes out like a well-made cake: tasty.

So here's 'Yes! Dance!'

There's a kinda latin chord structure laying at the bass of everything here, coupled with the speedy drums it does give it a very 'Spanish' feel - the break down beginning "We will carry on..." brings a moody edge to the song, too. But there are also funk guitars in the chorus, coupled with a funky 80s slap bass, which is almsot a little Seinfeld - but then again, there's absolutely nothing wrong with that. I love Seinfeld.

There are even some happy-happy horns in the chorus, too, framing the catchy hook of it with an original, mixed-up-without-being-messy sound. The vocals, whilst perhaps not as in-keeping as they could be with the sound of the song (a little husky maybe; they could, for instance, be a little more lo-fi in their sound - a little more echo, a little less focus), nevertheless do have a nice melody about them that gives a pop feel to the song.

It comes from Tokyolite's latest Hello EP. These guys are yet another artist I have written about lately who are seeing the benefits of netlabels and free downloads - a 'creative commons' approach to spreading their music.

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Thursday, 23 May 2013

TWIGS & YARN YUUREI

Yuurei is a Japanese word (written as 幽霊) and it means 'ghost' or 'phantom'. Nice word. Picture a dangling-handed white-clothed blue-faced ghost with long black hair a mournful expression and you're halfway there. Sadako from The Ring, basically. Pretty spooky eh.

Thankfully this track 'Yuurei' by the cutesily named Twigs & Yarn is not even a jot as spooky as its namesake. In fact, it's not really spooky at all. It's more like a beautiful, blissful dream - totally detached from the world at large and instead floating above it on some heavenly plane looking down at the bustling madness that is the Earth with a serene smile. In terms of the afterlife, this is the dreamy kind - not the nasty kind. Phew

It's an ambient kinda dream-laden track with a vocal sample that sings beautifully reverbed lo-fi backwards-sounding and wholly unintellgible. At the same time, another sings a plaintive 'la-la-la' echoing discreetly in the background; these two both drip their prettiness onto the wide, gentle bass of the song.

Waoeee. It's so nice. And there are a few ambient noises that add to the feeling of ethereal peace that the song emanates, spiritual shrine sounds like trickling water and bells tinkling - it's like being in a relaxation spa in the middle of Shinto shrine floating down a river or something. A great vibe and something that gives me hope for a new project that Twigs & Yarn (duo "S. Orsak and L. McMurray" from Austin, USA) are working on, called Hungry Ghost - cool.

This is on Tokyo-based label Flau.

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FOR LEMME BURN [VIDEO]

This group has the ambiguous or even agnostically indecisive name of Flowers or Razorwire - but we can shorten this, and it seems officially so, to FOR. I will call them the latter. Three characters is easier than twenty for sure.

Good. Now that we've got that out of the way, I can start properly. Well, FOR is a duo (as you can see from the picture - although their bio on their label's site states that it's just one guy) from Trani, Italy, who started making music in 2009. Fast-forward to now and they have a nicely polished sound that combines a few different elements to come up with bouncy, sunny pop with a groovesome groove that just makes you want to shuffle dance on a cloud.

What we have is this bassline that is obviously so noticeable that I have to write about it first and foremost. Yes indeed. It's slap-bass style with a bit of wah-wah thrown into the mix for a decidedly funky groove, one that slides around the notes with glistening brilliance. On top of this there's a constant guitar stab straight outta some 70s funk, a lovely decoration to an already superb foundation. With piano chords and an 80s-style hollow synth zooming around, too, the mix cradles within it a heart that is decidedly in the summers of the past.

Here is the video. Lots of bubblegum bubbles: retro, just like the song.

To put the icing on the cake, the yelp-singing vocals provide a distinct pop hook - though turned on its head with the ripe use of lo-fi aesthetic in its presentation. Can't understand too many of the words but that's not a problem - the sound and pattern of still be stuck in my head. I think that having a nice song stuck in your head is a bit like sucking on a lemon drop or some other boiled sweet that can't be crunched but enjoyed slowly: lingeringly tasty.

This was released on independent Italian record label Snowy Peach.

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TOUCHY MOB DAYS GO BY

What a beard, eh? I have to admit I have never seen the bowlcut-beard combo before - it's rather striking. A strong look indeed. Love it. Anyway, I'm not actually here to talk about beards or haircuts, nor am I qualified to do so. I ain't no barber yo.

Instead, I'd much rather talk about the-man-in-this-picture's music. He goes by the name of Touchy Mob (really great name, actually, for some reason - think it's cause you don't usually describe a mob as touchy, nor is one person ever counted as a mob; it's fun with words) but his real name is Ludwig Plath and he lives in Berlin, Germany. I was recently very wowed by his song 'Days Go By' and vowed to write about it. A few days later, here I am. I stuck t'me guns din' I?

And I'm very very glad I did.

If there's ever a quite original sound, here it is. This song is very unique indeed - for me anyway (feel free to correct me if I'm wrong). The different noises in it combine to create quite a variegated musical scenery, from the blustery synths gently cut off with buffeting modulation, to the clip-clop raindrop tongue-click percussion; from the gentle bass notes locked in with the muffled kick, to the ambient cooing vox synth that hush in the second half of the song. It's a painted picture that is bittersweet, not overly optimistic but not an extremely dark sound either, as shown in the lyrics, "Days go by and I'm still in love with you / It won't last forever / what ever does?". Those lyrics actually coincide with a clash of raised synth chords and it's all very beautiful together. Take a listen for yourself.

There's just something about this song, this guy - the way he sings gently altered with echo and WHAT he sings also - that's very difficult to ignore. Mr Ludwig Plath I think is on to a winner here. The sound, the whole atmosphere of the song in fact, is very honest - presented without overproduction, oversinging, overanything. He certainly sees and understands the whole less-is-more thing (he calls it lichtschwertjazz: light-hearted jazz), or so it seems - in any case there's a bleak-yet-bright feeling I get when I hear this song. Kinda like a lovesong: but bittersweet, as I said.

Anyway, I looove it. It is kind of James Blake-y in a way - not in the exact way that it sounds or is put together, but in the feeling that it evokes. Heartbreaking and heartwarming at the same time. Not an easy thing to do.

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Wednesday, 22 May 2013

SLUGABED BOMBOK [VIDEO]

I've not heard something quite like this song before. And I like that. Difference and variation is a very nice part of life - without it, where would we be? Listening to Capital FM all day and struggling to stray from the conventional, and quite annoying, pop that populates (see what I did there?) some of the tackier radio stations in the UK - and probably in the whole world. Yeah, without difference we'd be a pretty boring bunch. Even that kind of samey pop has its own merits - it is different to the things that are different from it.

Don't get me wrong, though: some difference is just too extreme. Can't handle it. Too silly/too much/horrible/etc. - it's not ALL good stuff. However, the unique vibe in Slugabed's new song 'Bombok' is something that, while a little bizarre (perhaps I'm just swayed using that word because of the strange video), should be celebrated wholeheartedly.

Seriously though, be warned: the video is mighty weird - trippy and even a little gross.

You get me? It's strange. So strange. Who is that... monstrosity? Haha. So weird.

In any case, it's the song that I'm more interested in. With a triumphal feel, it whacks you in the face - or more in the gut, or perhaps even more aptly right in the ears - with bombastic bass kicks that reverberate all around while hi-hats flutter above like shredded metal. But the most noticeable thing at first is this great vocal of "Bombok" which is twisted from high to low, jumbled up and chucked into the air like popping candy.

The style is of big bass, of a kind of dirty dancehall style yet with a radical edge that throws in loopy synth sounds and even mixes in a little saxophone for a surprise ska (mmmm and maybe a little jazz) vibe - that saxophone comes courtesy of Dan Berry. In any case, this strange mix of jazz, ska, bass, dancehall is a very British mix. Nearly two years ago I wrote about Slugabed's 'Depth Perception', and it seems that his sound has changed rather a lot, but in a very good way: dynamism and attitude now blasts through his already established experimental urban roots.

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Tuesday, 21 May 2013

HANDBOOK DIAMOND RING

Now this is nice, yeah, this is real nice. It's sometimes quite surprising what you find. It's quite difficult to fathom sometimes why some relatively unknown artists remain unknown - maybe it's something to do with PR or promotion in general, or something like that, or maybe there is just a lack of desire to be 'famous' and instead just make good music cause they like doing it. I dunno.

Do you know? If you do know, please enlighten me.

This is a song from York (in the north of England)-based producer Handbook, real name Jake Brown, called 'Diamond Ring'. It's hip hop in essence, an instrumental number - or, as he's tagged it on SoundCloud, a "beatstrumental". And it's very nice. Real nice, as I said earlier. There does seem to be a very sharp incline in the amount of clever, chilled-out hip hop sounds that I'm hearing lately, and in all honesty it could be because I'm clueless, but more likely it is possibly true - either way, it's a great style and I'm very much enjoying it.

One element of these instrumental type songs is a killer sample. 'Diamond Ring' is no different. Ch-ch-check it out.

Above the lush crackling-vinyl beat and the bass which has so much texture fly these thin skateboard-strings - these three elements tie in together to create this perfect chilled backdrop, a piece of musical scenery over which the drama of the sample is played out. It's an altered vocal sample from Joni Mitchell's 'Edith And The Kingpin', lower in tone yet still adding a epic sparkle to the song, something stagelike and soaring.

There's a strangely haunting feel to this song, something very mature and well-polished that gives the listener a little tug at the heart-strings when they hear it. Soz for the melodrama but I do think so. I am looking forward to more people talking about Handbook and his very very decent production in the near future.

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DAISUKE TANABE INTERVIEW

Mr Daisuke Tanabe, everybody. I have been a fan of this guy for a couple of years now, ever since I stumbled upon some of his old stuff on Spotify I was hooked by his sound. It sometimes sounds like a computer glitching to a hip hop beat, sometimes sounds like a hip hop song painted in a circuit board pattern.

I wrote about a couple of his songs quite a long time ago, 'Cuculus Canorum' (which is no longer available sadly) and 'Ghost', both of which display his glitch-trip-hop style very well indeed. It's the experimental sound, and the resulting pioneering spirit of having an adventure with music that comes through in his songs, which is very enjoyable indeed. He is also one half of the very cool Kidsuke along with Kidkanevil (who answered these same questions two weeks ago).

And here are Daisuke's answers to my lazy interview...


Who are you? Where are you from? What do you do?
My name is Daisuke Tanabe and I'm making music.

Why did you decide to start creating music?
I was trying to make some sound with old keyboad when I was a kid and it was fun. And I'm still doing it.

How would you describe your sound? What makes you and your style stand out?
Can't explain. Too much thinking on this question.

Is there a perfect time and place for listening to your music?
Whenever you want is the perfect timing.

What inspires you most when writing a song?
Good things to bad things. Everything around me.

What is your most memorable musical experience?
To travel around and meet interesting people is the best thing.

What are your favourite three songs at the moment?
I just got Nina Simone record from recycle shop last week and it was a great album.

Who do you most admire in the music world?
Can't pick one. Everyone is doing their own thing and it's a great thing about making music.

In your opinion, what is the future of music?
...is what people will be?

What's the future of your music - what do you hope to do next?
Cannot tell my future. I don't plan anything at all. But I will make music.

What, aside from music, is most important to you?
I grew up near nature. Nature is very important for me.


Short and sweet. What's the saying? Still waters run deep? Does that apply here? I don't know. Maybe it does. You could say that his answers reflect simple-yet-effective minimalism that is the building blocks for many of his songs - you could also say that his brevity is yet more evidence (along with his musical style) of someone who won't be reigned in by any conventions. Not least my questions! But despite this, you can see that he is an honest person: he certainly doesn't mince his words.

There will be more music from this guy, thankfully. Alongside the Kidsuke stuff (which was confirmed by Kidkanevil in his interview), which Daisuke obviously enjoyed as he said "London is my second home", he also told me that he is "making a new album (finally)" which will be out "hopefully early next year". Looking forward to it! ありがとう!

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Monday, 20 May 2013

ALITREC CARTOGRAPH

Here's a question: do people beef about music like what you're about to listen to? If you've already heard it, then, well, do they?

Despite its rich luscious textures, sumptuous glistening tongue-teasing gobstopper synths that bubble up into your ears like a lukewarm breeze; despite the palm-tree-blown sounds of the white noise cutting synth and the heel-clicking beat and the videogame twiddles in the very background; despite all that, could people actually turn round and say, "nah this is rubbish." They are well within their rights to say so but I would feel very sad about that because this song is lovely. It's just the kind of thing I need as I am sitting here at 2:00 in the morning. It makes everything seem a little surreal.

So anyway, straight out of London town this is Alitrec with her lovely song 'Cartograph'. This has been around for a few months but this is now.

Someone said to me that this song sounds like the "inner workings of real life" and the "cogs of a soul moving" - gnarly viewpoint, but I actually think it does. This image is the perfect one for this song, mechanical yet organic, like a friendly mild-mannered robot taking care of a plant that's suddenly begun to grow out of control. There is certainly something futuristic about this - whether it be a microscopic or a macroscopic vision is up to you and your imagination.

It reminds me a little of Simian Mobile Disco although there is a more experimental edge that is totally pushing it forward - but that familiar half-euphoric glitchy sound, like an electro waterfall, is certainly a welcome noise right now. I was just wondering what everybody would think of this song - I love it, I think all the sounds are delicious, difficult NOT to lap up like so many bowls of whatever the Silver Surfer is made of. Very nice sound. Looking forward to more things from Alitrec in the future.

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Listen to Alitrec on Soundcloud

LAMU BACK TO '92

There isn't a lot wrong with a little bit of synth pop. In fact, I quite enjoy it-slash-would be happy listening to only synth stuff forever (but don't hold me to that because I think I would actually be very sad without everything else, although you can do a lot with synth).

One particular variety that I enjoy is 80s/early-90s style synthpop that seems to be coming from, I suppose, people of my generation who had this sound on in the background - radios or whatever - in early childhood. Those are the formative years, and what you hear when you're younger, especially the stuff that gets a positive reaction from the adults around you, is very influential in later life. I think so anyway. Maybe I'm wrong. I probably/maybe am wrong so don't hold me to anything I've just said. Just consider it yourself and make your own decisions and do what makes you happy.

So here's an artist from Boston called Lamu who seems to be exactly one of these heralds of the not-forgotten-past that I just mentioned. I've chosen to write about 'Back To '92' because even in its name is this nostalgia for a simpler, more-colourful, fun time of life. Perhaps not even nostalgia, but just fond memories: even the smallest of happy memories can make you well up sometimes. Anyway, here it is.

Is it just me, or do those little organ-sounding synth chords sound a little bit (only a LITTLE) like they come from a Christmas song? In fact, I do believe that they are a tad similar to 'Last Christmas' by Wham! which I think illustrates my point: the influence from the past is clear. But whatever, the sound of this song is great - pure synth: some crunchy, some bassy, some high, some low. All of it is a bento box of synth. The chorus is also very catchy is is very good when it's a good song, like this one.

Even the verse has its melodic hook in the vocals, echoing away, describing things from '92 (presumably) that have sentimental value: Walkman, sitting in church, rollerblades, etc. It's a dream-laden picture of childhood, just like a soft focus hazy home video with smiling family and friends being silly together. Everyone looks at their haircuts or their clothes and says, "oh my - what was I thinkin'?!" It's that kind of scene that this song evokes and it's all the better for being able to do that.

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Sunday, 19 May 2013

FKA TWIGS HOW'S THAT [VIDEO]

Oh man, don't you just hate it when you can't find out anything on an artist you want to write about? Gah, it just makes me crazy! But that's ok. I don't mind too much. After a while searching, it's kinda just clear that it's gonna be hard to find even a shred of info or links to any of their stuff on any kind of sharing site that's ever been made in the history of the internets. OH WELL. I'll live, don't worry.

It happens a lot of the time when an artist or band or whatever doesn't have a very googleable name, when it's the same name as some other word that exists in the world, like Twigs for example. Twigs are little bits that come off of trees. Right? RIGHT? But Twigs is also the name of - from what I have found out - an artist from London. And what music they have made. Woweee. Trip-hoppy chill, smooth and fluid and sexy and late-night...

Almost a bit lost for words so just listen for yourself yo and oh enjoy the video cause it's nice too.

Aiya this song is just so... well it's good. It's very good. I love the drugged sound of it, the slow cyclical repetition and what seems to be a loving, lingering touch on every element; the clip-clopping glass-filling-up percussion, the hard rebounding snare, the glowering bass blanket like a deep bath overflowing and I get this image of pitch black sweaty sexful nights, utterly lost in the totality of the moment. It's beautiful.

The voice is honest and soulful, falling on the whole expanse of the song like heady perfume that seems to flood the room it explodes into, a water balloon exploding in super slow motion, noir sex scenes. And the lyrics... "How's that feel"... answered by the spine-tingling "That feels good in my... so so amazing..." - the noises in this song drip like luscious flowers that you've never seen and maybe never will see. You'll have to listen to this song just to relive the uniqueness of the unnameable unknown that slow walks its hips right out of the glorious smoke which is this music.

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SUN GLITTERS AFTER EIGHT

I quite like After Eights. Who doesn't? Those little squares of dark chocolate with mint cream in the middle are delicious. I could eat a whole packet and it definitely doesn't need to be after 8pm, definitely not. Any time of day. Lunch. Before dinner. Elevenses. Afternoon tea. But not breakfast, don't be ridiculous. Tasty shiz that's for sure. Of course if you don't like mint then they ain't for you.

But this kind of After Eight is very different: this is 'After Eight' a song. Sorry for chocolate fans, this is actually a music site - can you hear the roflcopters circling? I can't. And this 'After Eight' is by Luxembourg-based artist Sun Glitters (aka Victor Ferreira). And really, the hint is in the name: this is chillwave or possibly closer to chiiiiillwave. You'll love this song whatever the weather or the whatever because it is chilled right out; I'm in a state of temporary chill listening to this song slumped in an armchair, for instance.

Yep yep yep, this is the kind of song that you can get totally immersed in without realising it - completely submerged in a chillheaven. Please listen to understand what I am talking about.

Beautiful stuff. Such as dreams are made of. A dreamlandsoundscape. The first thing is this constant blurry synth which is like watching the sun refract through a glass of lemonade with the all-blue sky doing its yoga above, a backwards synth kinda sound that's nebulous and inviting. The beat soon comes in which despite being strong props everything up like a bodybuilding cloud, off-kilter as if it has been done wrong but listen: it HASN'T. Not a jot.

Female vocals are sampled and find themselves painted in glorious streaks throughout the song, the lush blended tone of them giving a sumptuously sensual feel to the song - lovely. Lovely lovely. Everything about this is just so damn glittery chill. And if you think you're chilled at the start of the song, wait till you get towards the end of it, when the beat and the melody - the entire song - drops tempo completely, a slow motion skydive through all your most chilled holiday memories that has been slowed down even further, the clink of the beat and its heartbeak-kick and the pulse-of-the-sun bass synth all gradually fading into nothing...

Aaaaand you're back in the room. Btsrsly, get on this guy's SoundCloud and listen the shiz out of his tunes. What a vibe he gives. He definitely picked a good name.

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DEAP VALLY BABY I CALL HELL

Fancy a rock band meeting at a needlework class in California. Fancy that. Well, that's exactly how the pair of people who make up Deap Vally met. How strange. Well actually not so strange because people have a lot of varied interests and needlework certainly isn't one of the weirdest.

Anyway, who cares. The girls of Deap Vally are Lindsey Troy, who guitars and sings, and Julie Edwards, who bangs the drums. They are rock rock rock. Their particular rock vibe is the stripped down rock style similar to White Stripes or Black Keys, fuzzy guitars and thumping drums, but with fearsome energetic vocals that scream as if from the heart of rock itself - a little Robert Plant, just a little one (haha), high and acrobatic.

I came across the video for their newest song 'Baby I Call Hell' like at the start of May, but why it slipped down my priority list I have no idea. Because I discovered it again today and loved it, all over again. I kept meaning to write but... just listen to the song and watch the kooky colourful lo-fi green screen glam-rock video.

It's a bad ass tune. Can I say bad ass? Does that make sense? I never write it, let alone say it, but I think it fits. But yeah, that's what it is. I love that guitar sound, barely any treble at all, just earthy and meaty and low, fuzzed and muffled to the max - and it's a great riff as well. Bluesy and catchy. It's a great sound overall - the amount of distorted earth-shaking noise you can get from a voice, a drum kit and a guitar eh?

The beat is one of those beats that you would just love to play on the drums (you know you would) and it seems as if Edwards is very much enjoying it - and usually if someone's enjoying what they're doing, and they're good at it, it turns out to be even better than if they were just going through the motions. Same with the singing, it's vocal-chord-stretchingly brilliant, properly belted out with all the soul. Get me? It's the passion of this song that shines through - not only does it sound good but it FEELS good yo.

And hey: Deap Vally's debut album Sistrionix is out 24th June.

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Saturday, 18 May 2013

MAY.E ピーターパンはいないの [THERE IS NO PETER PAN]

The image there on the right should give you a good inkling of what to expect from this song. It's a silly picture. I like silly pictures. Cutesy and fun.

I can only guess that the girl who is lying down on the moon next to the astronaut is the person who I am currently writing about: may.e (sometimes meeshiieee). And you can rest safely because the same fun nature of the photo is in her newest song, the delightful 'ピーターパンはいないの' (Peter Pan wa inai no) - 'There Is No Peter Pan'. I hope I got that right? Did I? It's my best effort. It's honestly really fun to listen to - even if you can't understand Japanese, like me.

With bass that seems to pop out at you like bouncy balls descending a light-up staircase (you know, like those old-school light-up disco floors) and a toy-instrument honky-tonk wah-wah sound that jaunts around the place, the song instantly evokes something childish - but not in a bad way. I mean more in the carefree, innocent kind of way - and that is actually reflects everything that's said in may.e's un-characteristic hop onto rap (the majority of her other songs are kinda just her and an acoustic guitar).

It is just a generally "nice" sound, one that's perfect to listen to. The vocals in the refrain are really catchy, but I love her style of not belting the words out but singing them in a very laid-back way - the And, if anybody knows or has played the game Animal Crossing, you'll know what I mean when I say that the little wah-wah sounds in the breaks sound like a KK Slider session from the game. Love that.

And I suppose it fits. Having a look at the translation of the lyrics, may.e talks about how she'd rather sword fight than knit, how excited she is about the prospect of visiting Toys 'R' Us, watching Star Wars, playing Dragon Quest and Zelda and above all, wanting to be a child forever, yet accepting a happy future reality of having a family or something. A lovely sentiment, don't you think?

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BEACON DRIVE

This is a song called 'Drive' from a Brooklyn, New York-based duo who go by the name of BEACON (aka Thomas Mullarney III and Jacob Gossett). It comes from their latest album The Ways We Separate out now on Ghostly International.

I was pretty much drawn to this track as soon as it started. It's a rigid bassline that grows and grows until it colonises your ears and rests in there, leaving you static for the remainder of the song. Nice. And that's how it begins. From there on in we are treated to soft synth that almost glitters over the top, high and low sounds tumbling together to create an abrupt melody that creeps up on you from all angles all at once.

Not only that, but we have breathy vocals singing lovely lyrics, like the refrain, "I've found someone to carry me home". The sound seems to inhabit the very air itself - a really great atmosphere. Add to these reverb and echo and you have this gigantic yet thin vibe on the voice, kind of like dry ice spreading at a school disco but better and with lasers cutting through it, a blazing white spotlight picking out the trails of it whilst everything else is muffled pitch blackness. That's what I get from this. What do you get?

There's something really nice about hearing that dubstep rhythm without hearing that now dreadfully typical 'dubstep' sound. In actuality, I don't think this has the BPM to be officially termed dubstep or whatever, but it is a slowed-down beat that gives it a late-at-night-no-one's-around reflective-chill kind of mood. It's not too strong, sounding even tender at times with soft snares that are like dropping a balloon filled with rice from a not-very-great height. Like it.

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Friday, 17 May 2013

GENERATIONALS PUT A LIGHT ON [VIDEO]

Sometimes all you want is a really upbeat vibe and a catchy melody - something that sits in your head all day, a happy little tune to keep you smiling. This is what I got as soon as I heard 'Put a Light On' by Generationals - a completely sunny sound that's kinda impossible to like unless you're a beastly person (apologies to those who don't like it).

I seem to be writing about a lot of duos recently, and Generationals is no different: Ted Joyner and Grant Widmer, of New Orleans, make up this one. And what lovely music they make! In fact, what lovely music they have been making - 'Put a Light On' comes from their third album Heza which is out now. Anyway. On with the music.

As I said, it's a really upbeat tune. The palm muted guitar seems to just exude a cheerful feeling as it bounces along jauntily - yay! The bassline that runs underneath also has positivity written all over it and locked in also perfectly with the beat that's a clap-along tap-along bop-your-head rhythm. Carefree vocals are drenched in lo-fi aesthetic, slightly distorted and almost replacing the sound of an overdriven electric guitar in some places - mostly with the falsetto singing.

And judging from the video, the message is indeed positivity. Or optimism. Six of one and half a dozen of the other.

See what I mean? The jingly-jangly underwater-sounding whatever-it-is hook is the bit that sticks in your head. Even as I type this now, I am hearing that tune - and it's definitely not one of those annoying tunes, the one's you wish wouldn't get stuck in your head. Perhaps this is down to how interesting the sound of that particular melody is, and indeed the sound of the whole song, in fact: smart pop, you could say.

I can imagine playing this at a barbecue. Or maybe I am fantasising about a barbecue. Happy future memories. And as far as happy goes, Generationals seem more than capable of taking that emotion and bottling it up in very pretty musical form. Hooray!

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MUSIC WEEK #5

Ba ba ba baaaa! You've stumbled onto, purposely visited, or was forced to check out this list of music that I have written about over the past week. It's been a good week. All you have to do is take every day as it comes and have some good music to come home to - or to walk around with. We all love a soundtrack to our lives; anyone could make one of those, comprised of different songs for different activities of the day, separate days of the week, different times of the day... music is that universal I think. How does sound do this to us? I need to read what Pythagoras thought about all of it.

But for now let's get our list on.


BOYS GET HURT - B E A C H
Sunshine party Justin-Timberlake-samplin' music from Tokyo duo

THE FIN - MISTY FOREST
Mellow and rustic indie from Japan

BOTTLESMOKER - BOREDOM AND FREEDOM
Indonesian duo soar away with electronic sounds

POSTILJONEN - SUPREME // HOW WILL I KNOW / ALL THAT WE HAD IS LOST
Slow-house romantic 80s electro and a Whitney Houston cover in that style

INTERVIEW: BOTTLESMOKER
The guys from Indonesia explain the freedom of music

ON AN ON - GHOSTS
Cool heartfelt indie number

SLOPPY JOE - ONCE AND FOR ALL
Jangly 80s style guitar pop (à la The Smiths)

BRAQUEBERRY - BLAQUE WON
Bizarre-yet-fantastic fuzzy electro

THE DODOS - CONFIDENCE
Rock and a masterclass in raising the roof

ALMA ELSTE - JULIAN
Chill heartbreaking acoustic from Paris

MYRRYRS - IS IT TRUE?
Samply

MOUNT KIMBIE FT. KING KRULE - YOU TOOK YOUR TIME
Guttural talk-rap-singing and powerful garage-like sounds


And there you have it. It's so difficult to pick a favourite. Hmm. For the sheer difference, I'm gonna say Braqueberry's 'Blaque Won' - I really dig that song. But then again... ok then, how about top three: 1. Braqueberry 2. Sloppy Joe (just can't get over that Smiths vibe) 3. Bottlesmoker (love that sound). That was really hard. Now I'm going to sleep cause I wrote this at 2:30 this morning #lol #planning.

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MOUNT KIMBIE FT. KING KRULE YOU TOOK YOUR TIME

Well for some reason or another I just haven't been paying attention to Mount Kimbie. I actually thought it was Mount Kimble at first - maybe that put me off. C'est la vie or whatever, it's not a problem, because now I have been alerted by my spidey senses to pay more attention in future. Not real spidey senses, just eyes that could read whenever it was that I saw the first tweet mentioning that Mount Kimbie (I keep wanting to type Kimble) had made a song with King Krule - that sealed the deal.

I really enjoy King Krule. I wrote about his very cool song 'Rock Bottom' at the end of last year, a song that displays Mr Krule's visceral slurring spoken-word-talk-singing quite perfectly. In it he payed homage to The Streets and takes off where it seems Jamie T stopped (two UK artists, if you didn't know; you should check them both out if you like Krule's stuff). I was very happy to hear an even more guttural KK spit every word out with more than an ounce of aggressive, tortured spirit on 'You Took Your Time', sounding at times like an animal in pain. Not in a bad way, of course; in a wow-what-feeling kind of way.

Here it is. Brace yourselves.

I regret now not having listened to Mount Kimbie before now. Soft synths begin a foray into slow garage beat, with a clinically clean crack of a snare and a fizzy cymbal that sounds like rain pattering outside a window. The synth becomes more organ-like at around the halfway point of the song, mournful and crunchy, enjoying its undisturbed vigil before the cymbal comes back, heralding the march on into the noise that follows. It's glorious noise though. Satisfying and affecting.

KK's tone becomes even more threatening, almost barking out the words, shouting and growling, his words taken by Mount Kimble and given a loud echo that yelps in the background as the beat becomes more brutal and tribal yet still keeping that garage rhythm. The bass shudders and shakes you and the music twangs melodiously in amongst the chaos. The ending, with the bare drums and raw shouts of KK, is a great end indeed.

I apologise to Mount Kimbie for ignoring them before. This song btw comes from their upcoming album Cold Spring Fault Less Youth, out 27th May on Warp Records.

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Thursday, 16 May 2013

MYRRYRS IS IT TRUE?

I love samples. Within reason, mind you. But generally, I do love to hear a sample - especially when it's a really good one. Like now. But the unfortunate thing is not knowing where the the sample originally came from! Shock horror! I end up thinking too much about it, wondering awkwardly whether I should know where the sample came from or not - is it an inside joke? Something I just haven't heard? We're not meant to know it? GOOD GRIEF!

And yeah, as usual, it's the case in this song. Though fortunately my awkward agnostic ignorance doesn't actually dent my opinion of a song. Nope. I like em just as well as when I do know where the sample comes from. Wow why do I leave this stuff in? In any case, allow me to introduce the intriguingly heavy 'Is It True?' by MYRRYRS. I wonder about people's names too. Like, is MYRRYR just the phonetic spelling of the American pronunciation of 'mirror'? I just don't know. But I want to know. Is it true?

There are quite a few nice samples in here, including the eponymous "Is it true?" (but cutting some of the original song with it - perfection in imperfection), used effectively as an instrument themselves. I really like how the song starts: as bare bones. Just that sample and a click that claks slightly off-kilter. Then soon we see the bones fleshed out, almost like a Making Music For Dummies lesson - us being the dummies of course, whilst MYRRYRS breezes past us to add all the bells and whistles on in the form of frozen cymbals and a steady kick with impressive dynamism. There's an isolated "Wooooo!" just after the cymbals first come in that really makes use of the space between other sounds to - it comes in again at other times, too.

In amongst all the very low-end sub-bass and samples there is space for the song to breathe, and I think that's something that's quite hard to learn. At what point in a song's life does one say, "alright, ok, no more, stop trying now, it's fine"? MYRRYRS certainly seems to know, allowing each and every one of his polished sounds to shine on their own without being jumbled together too much. Nice song with juicy samples that actually make my mouth water.

This song, by the way, comes from his Southside Horror EP, out 28th May on LA-based label, Body High.

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ALMA ELSTE JULIAN

Simplicity is sometimes best. It is best when it works well. And do you know where it works well exactly? In some songs, yes - but also and particularly in this specific song called 'Julian' by the as-yet-unsigned Alma Elste.

It's a really beautiful song by a girl from Paris in her early twenties - but it doesn't seem to matter about age because her sound is so refined and mature that age becomes a really kind of pointless thing. In fact, I'm sorry for even mentioning it. But in all seriousness, there is a tragic frankness in her voice, lyrics and even the music itself that lends a unique sadness to the ambient chill of the song. That said, the lyrics are quite interesting in their simplistic yet cryptic matter-of-factness:

the house
is empty
the chess game
is underneath the bed
i fell
you ordered me to make mistakes

Put these kinds of words to any kind of music and it will create instant pathos, almost guaranteed. The meaning of the lyrics on a specific level may be lost on us, but the words certainly evoke a kind of lonely helplessness that's for sure. So when the music is just as heartfelt as the lyrics, it's quite a combination indeed. Listen for yourself.

It begins rather unexpectedly with a huge long low rumbling sub-bass note that puts you on edge before you even hear the haunting song itself. And then the guitar. That guitar is really something, I think. The chords in the 'chorus' parts (as there is no real chorus) are surprising, and jump out at you, jarring and off-key and perfectly fitting therefore with the "I fell..." lyric, turned to wordless "oooo"s at the end, illustrating with music whatever unsavoury or unpleasant situation inspired this song. One can make guesses from the title, 'Julian', I suppose.

Yet it's not actually that sad of a song. Ironically, I do think that is the reason why it sounds so heartbreaking - it's just honest, that's all: whatever's being felt, or whatever was felt, was made into a song. Simple as that. But for more music from Alma, you can wait till September for a new EP, or you can check her bandcamp, where you can find her interesting blend of instrumental, incidental and plaintive chill in the form of her earlier Savour Kindness EP that she put out last July. Definitely looking forward to hearing more though.

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THE DODOS CONFIDENCE

This seems to be happening a lot these days. What seems to be happening a lot these days? Well, me listening to a song, not really liking it, then the song continuing and me quite actually liking it by the end of it. That's what you get when you browse around and listen to different stuff that you wouldn't usually actively seek out, eh? You know what I'm saying innit.

Anyway, this is The Dodos and their brand new song 'Confidence'. I hadn't actually heard of them at all but apparently they've been around for a while (you know when someone says 'apparently whatever' it really means 'Wikipediarly blah blah') and have released four albums prior to the one on which this lovely song shall appear, their fifth - Carrier, out 27th August.

But enough of talking this way, even if it was brief. Let's listen to the song shall we?

The pattern of the guitar at the beginning is nice - jaunty and cyclical; but the real treat comes with the progression of the song, rather than any particular part, because it is the progression of this song that makes it, I believe. As soon as the beat comes in, there's a new atmosphere of build-up and potential that then squeezes itself out in the form of distorted guitars with melody that bleats over the top of the crunchy electricity.

Up-tempo suddenly and the song has turned from a folk-esque number into something more resembling space rock. It becomes flighty and weighty and soaked in reverb like a barbecue doused in lighter fluid, a real pleasure for the ears. The beat becomes more hurried and urgent towards the end, the drums hammered and smashed about as the noodly echoing glass-blown firecracker guitar noodles away into noodlesome noisedom. A real surprise. And a happy one at that. Here's to listening to an entire song before judging!

You could even say that, with a title like 'Confidence', the song is reflecting the feeling of gaining gradual confidence about something - the way the energy changes from barstool to stadium in the space of four minutes, the gutsy drive of Meric Long and Logan Kroeber (the duo behind the music) becoming less and less inhibited. Well, that is the nature of confidence, is it not? No inhibitions here. And if there were any, they must have left them at the first few seconds of the song, because after that spirited performance I can't spy any shyness anywhere.

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Wednesday, 15 May 2013

BRAQUEBERRY BLAQUE WON

When the right song comes along, you know - you just know. Yeah well it doesn't always happen that way. It doesn't always turn out the way it does in the movies. Sometimes you think it's the right song and the right song comes along and is all fine for a while and then the right song becomes the wrong song. What am I talking about?

Now that we've got that out the way, I'd like to introduce Braqueberry. Braqueberry is... well, I actually don't know anything about the person behind the name. (Red Bull Music Academy graduate, granted.) Only that, judging by the video they've released, they may or may not be familiar with the amazing game Another World, which was not only amazing but probably the only game I know that is simultaneously cool and actually-going-to-cry-ly frustrating. The video is rife with scenes from the game that have also been edited to include some ladies in bikinis - normal. The video also quite interestingly includes footage of early music making software - fun. But enough of the video.

Let's talk about the actual actual song which is called bizarrely 'Blaque Won'. It comes from Braqueberry's new and debut EP, WEMEN (out now). But seriously, every time I see the word 'braqueberry' it makes me want to laugh, so when I type it I almost do actually laugh. I don't mean that in a nasty way: spellings just make me laugh. I actually and literally love the name. Anyway: Watch & listen.

A kind of drum machine, I guess, is what you're first treated to, alongside what sounds like a shoe squeaking along a newly polished wooden floor. But what comes next is a madly distorted synth that seems to have undergone some intensive bitcrushing, that's for sure, and I love it. It's so brazenly crackly and rough that it's difficult not to love, like a weird and scruffy dog with endearing qualities. Atonal instrument samples flash in and out above the gravelly bass and clash slightly to create an even weirder atmosphere than there was before. It's a completely jarring song, an oddity of a song you could say, but it's truly marvellous.

The difference between this and something that you would be genuinely weirded out by is that this song is only made to sound weird - it isn't inherently weird. It's been specially concocted to have a certain old-school analogue electro noise-freak sound. And I love that. Greatly. But what I am most looking forward to is what might happen to the sound after this first EP - is it a permanent fixture, a heart-deep love of this sound that will never change, or merely the basis for something even better?

PS. Check out the "traditional chinese rip edit" on Youku = more sound compression + (even) more video degradation. lol.

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SLOPPY JOE ONCE AND FOR ALL

I watched a documentary about The Smiths the other day. It was on the BBC and it was kind of informative but really it was just nice to be reminded of a band that I really do like. They're one of those bands that are always in the background - for instance, I've amassed quite a few of their CDs and whilst I don't play them much nowadays, it's just nice to know that they're there. Do you understand what I mean by that? Well, whether you do or you don't, the fact of the matter is that they are a very nice band that kind of live in the past, unaffected and unaltered by anything that happens now. Cause they don't exist anymore. Yep.

But then I remembered that I had seen something really interesting before that documentary - or should I say, heard something really interesting. And very nice. And quite cool. It's a song called 'Once And For All' by a Japanese band called Sloppy Joe. I went back and listened to the song and thought yes I just have to write about this. They're a band from Tokyo who really like guitar music of the 80s, so you can understand perhaps why I led in with the stuff about The Smiths - this song captures the Smiths-sound aesthetic pretty much perfectly. From the jangling light-as-air guitar to the warbling voice, this is a great song and even more great if you're a fan of The Smiths.

Have a listen yo.

Lovely. The drums are particularly stand-out, with rolls and fills that are as much a delight to the ear as, I dunno, sherbet is to the tongue. Fizzy and unexpected. Although much of the lyricism is lost due to the vocal style, it's that very vocal style that I love - it just sounds nice, filled with all the longing expected of a song that sounds like this. In addition, there is a surprise bit of trumpet that really and beautifully works with the song, like a fanfare for the musical style that these guys clearly love.

You could say that it's completely aping The Smiths (in fact I think it does sound quite a bit like 'The Boy With The Thorn In His Side'), but then you'd be an idiot. Why? Because The Smiths were The Smiths and that was 'back then'. This band has come around a few decades afterwards and therefore has an ocean of different music to be inspired by (which, just by one look at their Facebook page, is very extensive indeed); if anything, Sloppy Joe are showing their love and appreciation for music of a certain era by creating songs that evoke that era. Everything sounds new - how can it be a copy?

And if you truly liked that jangly 80s vibe, then you'd love more bands to sound like Sloppy Joe.

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ON AN ON GHOSTS

This is the quite lovely and nice sound of a little band from America called ON AN ON with a song called 'Ghosts'. Yes, I'm doing it again, the song is old, blah blah blah.

Who cares. Maybe I should even just stop pointing that fact out. It's late and I'm tired. Sorry.

There is something about this song that is quite magical. To be honest, this style is not the kind of music that I'd listen to out of choice - the intro sounds a bit like THAT Snow Patrol song, for one, and that put me off straight away. But I am quite happy to say that my opinion changed quite quickly. There's so much going in the song in terms of interesting sounds and dynamics and stuff that makes it really nice to listen to. When I first listened a few weeks ago I was watching the video below along with it. Suffice to say it's mesmerising.

Mellow.

I love the faraway vocals (first lyrics are fab) and the endless quality of the gently strummed guitar, in fact the endless quality of the whole thing - it is a panoramic camera forever turning slowly around a mountain scene with cold clouds and marching pines, with smoke coming from some undefined point that drifts just as endlessly. That's what I get from it. A nice expansive sound.

But there are also really quality details that just make my ear hairs tingle when I hear them. The sometimes explosive drum snare, like a pile of cardboard boxes toppling over, is wonderful, as are a lot of the drum noises: especially the barely-audible taps and the lush paradiddles that pop out of the jumble of guitar sounds. There is also a very nice guitar noise at about 3 minutes 30 in the video. The bass, too, especially when it is alone at that same break in the song sounds gorgeous and clean-yet-unpolished. Never thought I'd be going into such raptures over this kind of indie-rock-I-guess but this one's good innit. Comes from album Give In which is out now.

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