Wednesday, 28 August 2013

GUI BORATTO TOO LATE

Here is a nice song from a man called Gui Boratto - you may have heard of him, you may have not. It doesn't particularly matter too much. Only, if you do know him you'll be quicker to pass judgement on what I'm writing I guess. I myself am new to the guy and his music so please do forgive my words if they are incorrect or whatever.

Anyway, he's fairly or should I say relatively well-known. He is from São Paulo, Brazil, and has been a regular of German label Kompakt since 2005. I'm afraid that I might have to cut the biography stuff short because I don't want people thinking that I've like, "discovered" him or anything. He's just well known. Well established. He has a new song out on Kompakt that I like and that I wanted to share with you. It is called 'Too Late'.

Labelled as techno house, it is exactly that if you concentrate on the bare bones of it - there is a minimalist style here that incorporates simplistic dynamic changes to great effect. For me, however, it's 8 minutes and 32 seconds of dance-inducing sounds that are quite easy to get lost in. One key element in this is the bassline. It is very simple and yet has a flavour of funk that cannot easily be ignored.

At 2:55 however it becomes extra fun - the bassline operating differently, a simple guitar or guitar-sounding synth lick providing an extra tang of dance. It's this section that lasts for about a minute and a half which gives it a pop hook, complete with melt-you female vocals, and that exudes a summery atmsophere. It comes back again later in the song, this time adding ambient synths that wash over like a montage of a sped-up sunset and scenes of a beach transitioning from night to day. That's essentially what these two parts of the song do: give it the versatility of being played in unassuming day locations or intense nocturnal venues. I think, anyway.

I like it. It's fun and infectious and even if you don't like your songs too long - which, actually, I thought I didn't, until I learned to open my mind to new things - you should stick 'Too Late' on in the background and see if you don't get even a toe wiggling to its fathomless groove. Besides that, it seems to depict the gradual wane of summer quite nicely. Oh and the song is from Too Late, 2-track 12" by Mr Boratto - the other song being 'We Can Go'.

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Tuesday, 27 August 2013

JULIEN MIER PORCELAIN DUST

Yeah so I know this isn't new. I know that. If you've heard this already thinking 'omg dis aint nu' then I have that one covered. I just like it. But then again I always shoot myself in the foot because of this simple fact: not everyone is always clued up music (I'm definitely not), and I'm sure there are some people reading who will treat this track as new as I am finding it to be - which is extremely new, because I've never heard it before. But then again why am I touting this as a "new music" blog? Who CARES anyway why am I talking about this.

In any case. Well! Well well well. This is a really nice song. It's by a man called Julien Mier, who is from Apeldoorn in the Netherlands (do we always have to say THE Netherlands?) and it is from an album he released earlier this year called Jane's Junkyard - so called because Mr Mier likes to salvage old and tatty bits of sound to create new beautiful stuff. And he really does do just that. The results are rather lovely.

Beginning with minimalist snapping clicks and momentary synth waves, high-pitched melodies descend from above - sometimes clear and sometimes glittery - and a low pop of a kick drives the song slowly along. Right into a raining-down of veritable junkyard percussion, zing-clinking bashes, drillings, a tin-pan assortment of concussive donks that spices the beat very nicely indeed. Sounds too - synth washes, squeaks, bleeps; all frenetic and brought to life through tireless and careful attention to detail.

Vocals - sample or Mier's own I dunno - cut through emotively charged and almost caught in heat distortion from the intense noises of the track. There's something in the voice that charms, even whilst the near-chaos of the sounds boils underneath. It has the feeling of recycled life, coming up for air after a long stressful time, things whirling around your head still but at least knowing that you now have time to relax. Kinda like porcelain dust, in a way: the thing's been smashed. Now there's just the dust to contend with. But still there is the memory of the breakage. That's what I get from it anyway.

If I had the time and if I were not so lazy I'd talk about the whole of Jane's Junkyard, but instead I am just going to heartily recommend that you listen to it.

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Sunday, 25 August 2013

METOME VITAL SIGNS

Jazzy jazz jazz. Lounge jazzy loungey jazz. That's what first springs to mind when I listen to this fantastic new song by the aurally appealing Japanese producer Metome (aka Takahiro Uchibori). It's called 'Vital Signs' and it is nothing short of bursting with life, love and romance. Takahiro was kind enough to answer some questions in a small Q&A with me, and it's clear from his answers that music for him - the same as for many people - is the most personal creative medium. It's certainly the one that works for him; he uses the medium with expert precision.

There is always something exceedingly - well, sexy is the wrong word here but it often is the right one - romantic about Metome's songs: not Romantic (daffodils and Byron etc.) but romantic. 'Vital Signs' could be illustrating that awakening of feeling that occurs right at the start of a romance or relationship or fling or whatever - the vital signs are just beginning to show.

And that's exactly how it goes in the song. There are no drops, no build-ups, just a consistent twitching of soulful samples set off against setting-the-mood electric piano that simply oozes jazz-cool and lounge-chill - imagine if the start of all relationships sounded like this: offhand nonchalance and indomitable yet coolly understated confidence.

Do you see what I mean or am I crazy? Interestingly also it is a song of two halves: the first is fidgety with nervous stop-starts, the second (starting at 2:09) is more relaxed and eased into itself - only because of a thicker sound, helped by long sustained chords - the beat more regular, too. In any case, this is just a small observation - whether it was intentional or if it was not, who knows.

But what is really nice is the sampling. Metome is always really good at chopping up those samples and scattering them to grow and sound just how they're supposed to sound - like little flowers. I understand it can be quite hard doing this kind of stuff, very intricate, and how effortless he makes it seem is testament to his extraordinary talent. Just, well, what more can I say, just listen to those samples. And the beat... oh my goodness. Slow-tick hi-hat, liquid clap, soft kick. Just perfect for this song.

I can't say anymore I'm too hungover.

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Saturday, 24 August 2013

JACOB 2-2 MILO DE VENUS

Some tender loving beautiful sounds for you today. Hello. It's been raining all day. It's not a matter of it stopping, just a matter of it fluctuating from drizzle to downpour and back again. It's just that kind of day. Nobody's home. The sound of Moto GP yawns through the house from the neglected television. It's so dim that I'm tempted to turn the lights on but then it would almost seem darker outside. Gotta treasure this late-August malaise.

Anyway, it's the kind of day where in past summer holidays of your childhood you'd be aimless, bored, stuck indoors. None of your vast library of videogames appeals to you, the TV seems crashingly dull - what do you resort to? Board games? Arts & craft? READING? Or literally just doing nothing: lying on the sofa complaining, raiding the kitchen every hour or so for a bowl of Coco Pops (or whatever your cereal-fancy happened to be)? Nostalgic, innit. And so is this song 'Milo De Venus' by Jacob 2-2.

I hadn't properly seen the cover for the album where this song comes from, Herbivore, out 23rd September on Canadian label King Deluxe; but you can see - there is the colourful custody of childhood.

This Brooklyn-based producer seems to have burrowed his way straight into my heart with his music. It reminds me of so much, on a general scale, that I cannot even begin to list it, but on the other hand, it reminds me of nothing at all: it's an illusion. Nostalgically charged sounds to float you to that sometimes-bleak irrecoverable state-of-mind that tries to reach far back into the mists of time and search for your dreamily romanticised past.

There are ambient sounds of some cosmic pinball machine at work as clunky percussion, accompanying the nicely scatty beat all the way through, 1980s-adventure-movie synth bass gunning for our collective memories, and the gloriously nostalgic crackle of a record player - all decorated with sparkling high-pitched synth and magical cheese-pop bells. It's the malady and dream of the birth of consumer culture all at the same time, those repetitive images - like the Venus De Milo, here subverted by Jacob 2-2 - all wrapped up in this song that exudes the atmosphere that pervaded all our sunny endless lazy summers. Even if it is a borrowed sense of nostalgia, do we not all feel it?

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Wednesday, 21 August 2013

TENDERFIST POSTCARDS

Here's something really nice. It's totally pop indie / indie pop all the way from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia - a band, a quite up-and-coming band - as far as I understand it - around the SEA (that's South East Asia to all those not familiar with the term) area, called Tenderfist. I think there are two or three of them but I don't know.

This particular track is called 'Postcards' and is NOT, as the SoundCloud title says, 'Social Club' - one commenter on the song (see: this is why the internet can be so good) said, "The first (opening) track is called "Rob That Social Club" and the second is "Postcards". I have their CD with me." Can't argue with that, can ya?

But aside from naming mishaps and whatever, this song is like, so totally nice. It has an inescapable groove that I suppose you could attribute first off the bat to the strong piano with some classy accompanying clicks, and secondly to the four-on-the-floor house beat coupled with that kick-matching bass. That piano actually sounds a little housey if you get what I mean. In those lovely almost pummelled-down chords there is a great progression up and down the keyboard. Later on, it becomes more of a constant riff.

The vocals are crystal clear and charming, sounding as well-established and quietly confident as any well-established and quietly confident lead vocalist of a well-established (American) band. What does that voice remind me of? Or rather: who? There's something really familiar about this guy's voice and it only works in their favour.

That up-and-down chord progression is then followed by a light electric guitar, higher octave piano, and decorated around halfway through with a cutesy synth melody, and even later on with some emotive strings whilst the vocals repeat the refrain, "When will I see you again?" The snare rolls in towards the end and everything comes together in a medley of positive sound. The guitar's distortion hangs in the air with sequential chords (imagine them played Pete Townshend/whirlwind style) and fist-pumping rave-like whoops of "Woo!" join the party.

Cute lyrics too. This ain't a lyrics site so you're gonna have to listen to it yourself to hear those. But it's basically about missing someone. If you have a heart, then I'm sure you've probably experienced this before. And what a wonderful illustration of that feeling - the kinda sad but mainly completely infatuated longing and excitement for your crush/lover/partner/friend/girlfriend/boyfriend's return. Very lovely. On their Facebook page, however, they are endearingly modest, saying under Description: "don't worry. just songs by awkward people." <3

This came or comes from Tenderfist's album Tourist Car.

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CLARA MOTO DISPOSABLE DARLING

Here today we have a nice versatile piece of techno from Clara Moto, an Austrian-born, Berlin-based producer. Now, my preconceptions of what "techno" was exactly were pretty much influenced by that line from that Eminem song: "Nobody listens to techno!" I just thought, "Well, I guess if nobody does, then I shouldn't either" - not that I actually ever stumbled across this misunderstood genre until much later in life. Somebody introduced it to me and I decided that it was actually not as bad as I thought it would be.

But aside from the rumbling intensity of "actual" techno, Clara Moto has created a track here that dips its feet in a lot of different sounds, resulting in a smart, well-composed and intuitively dynamic piece of music. If you don't believe me, then perhaps you should have a little listen to it. Just below here. Yep, that play button. Click it - yep - there you go.

Starting off with an lightly industrial-sounding set of percussion, all drenched in a steely variety of reverb - and my favourite being the subtle church bell/tubular bell noise - the kick soon makes its appearance, muffled and organic, more like a heartbeat than anything else. The smooth-smooth bass that joins later seems to meld with the kicks, giving it a wonderful dimension of low-layer sound. On the top layer, a ghostly xylophone flickers like an oil-lamp in fog, and an unintelligible (to me, anyway, perhaps it's in German or Austrian - idk) vocal sample floats in echoing treble like something otherworldly.

But yes. A really nice use of dynamic. Things get turned on and off, the vocal gets the spotlight, then just the bassline, then the kick and bass get a turn to shine. Ambience disappears as intensity takes its place. Everything is switched around and brought back in just at the right moments - precision stuff. Towards the end, in the last minute, I like how all but the strongest of noises begin to disappear - you can really get to hear that intricate percussion, sounding as if somebody is doing some very rhythmic and well-thought out DIY next-door. A very nice tune.

It comes from an EP, Joy Departed, out 26th August on the Franco-German label InFiné.

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Tuesday, 20 August 2013

LAZY INTERVIEW #10: STARLIT EVERGLADES


← #9: METOME #11: YOSI HORIKAWA →

Right now, I am sitting here listening to a new 2-song EP, Psalms of the Planets by Starlit Everglades. It's only a day old and I haven't had time to cover it. In time, I will. But I am sitting outside and the sun is still pretty high in the sky but it's gradually making its way down; frankly, it's kind of the perfect music to chill to. It is kind of the ultimate in chill, ambient and lo-fi all smushed together in a beautiful wave of wordless endless reverb. And very nice it is too.

Of course, I have written about him before, particularly his song 'Mylotic' - check it out.

Very kindly, Mr S. Everglades has come back to the Q&A that I have dubbed the "Lazy Interview" - simply because I use the same questions every time. But, as anyone who has read more than one of these on YES/NO will tell you, the answers are always rather different and, since I think they're quite nice questions, I thought: why ruin a decent formula? Why indeed. So without further waffle, ado, chit-chat, etc. please enjoy the inner workings of this producer.



Who are you? Where are you from? What do you do?
 My name is "J/Aj/or アジェイ" (Starlit Everglades/スターリット エバーグレーズ). I am from places. United States or Japan. I am an ordinary college student who makes music for friends/families/Trees/Sun/Moon/Gods/Goddesses and mystical ancient animals.

Why did you decide to start creating music?
 That is a very hard one for me. I keep trying to say to myself this is the reason, but it just doesn't feel right. Like "was this the reason I started creating music?" I found the reason. I create music for... I guess special moments. Moments like you wish they will never end so you hold onto every second of that moment. For example. There was a time at the beach where the sky was teal coloured and clouds were pink. I was laying on the sand, laughing, smiling with friends. The sun started to disappear gently, the moon rises, lighting things with our lighters while eating ice-cream, I wanted to make something that will not be forgotten, a memory that will never die out. That is the reason why I make music. Something that can stick with you forever and not be forgotten... a memory that will never be broken.

How would you describe your sound? What makes you and your style stand out?
 I sometimes make up names for myself just for fun haha like "Pearl Dive Hop//beat music". It's for fun! But for others, ambient/chillwave/dreamwave or "glo-fi"...... in fact there are a ton of genres that describe my music from what I have seen. Some of them I never even heard of ever. I guess what makes my music stand is probably the positive glittery noises that emerge from my music.

Is there a perfect time and place for listening to your music?
 Yeah definitely the best place to listen is around afternoon...at the beach, with a nice cold pop and fries, or fried dough! Or hanging with friends driving to the mountains on a mellow summer afternoon!

What inspires you most when writing a song?
 Oh various things. I listen to a lot of traditional Japanese culture music, some old beat tunes; my friends, meditation, the chirps the birds make in my backyard, that wind that flows gently around dawn at the beach, seeing cherry blossoms gently floating on a river , the waves that crash onto the surface, my friends smiling, shrines, the emotion "happiness," the word "life." Seeing things like these, ideas just burst.

What is your most memorable musical experience?
 When I first listened to two robots playing music as a young kid. They used to be human like you and me.//▲\\. Robots are beautiful.

What are your favourite three songs at the moment?
 Oh boy uh top three...Okay, got it.

 9th Wonder - All For Your Soul (Instrumental)
 Princess Music - White Wave
 Geotic - Sleeping Forever; We're Gods On Miles of Clouds

Who do you most admire in the music world?
 ... that... is a tough one. There is a big list. But to name a few: Nujabes / submerse / Owsey / Burial / J dilla / Baths/ Stumbleine / Helios / Fat Jon / Boards of Canada / Sloww Magic / Daft Punk / Geotic... and etc. hahaha

In your opinion, what is the future of music?
 I don't know what will be tomorrow but I believe we blossom into something spiritual. It's very hard to explain really. The future is where probably we find our inner selves. Where we continue to dig deeper in our selves. Finding the origin of our spirit to the point where we bloom into something beautiful that cannot be explained. For me, I call it "awake." Some are already asleep as we speak still crating what's down there in their spirit and heart and some are already blossomed. That's what the future of music is for me... I know it's weird sorry haha...

What's the future of your music - what do you hope to do next?
 My music is evolving greatly. If I had a chart of the music I made before and the music I make now is like an "evolution chart"... I think. I have a ton of tracks that are much different of the ones that are placed in SoundCloud. I am giving tracks that were done about 1 or 2 years ago. I rarely give original tracks that I make this year, because I believe they are too early. The tracks that are given out are about just a small portion. What I intend to do is just like before, to touch the spirits within others and continue on. I want to travel with my music all around. Putting a mark of my music on every location that I have always dreamt of going. Right now I am saving, for numerous of things. One of them is for traveling.

What, aside from music, is most important to you?
 The relationships I have with friends, here and from across the big pond, my parents, the beach, spirit, my ears, love, nature, moon, and..... probably the episodes of "Adventure Time".



You can tell from Starlit's answers that his approach to music is very personal - and, really, for the best music, the most listenable and most endearing, surely the best approach or the ONLY approach is personal. Taking slices of life and turning them into music, allowing you - the musician - to create a chronicle of the best times of life, an endless dream of good memories and feelings, must be an amazing way to create music.

And as a listener, you can feel that nature. Here are fuzzy, hazy days that shine in the mist of memory. As such, it's only right and sensible that this musician would want to travel around the world - not only to spread his music around, but to absorb the goodness of the world, suck up culture, experience new sights and sounds, and then gently bring them to life through the wonderful portals of music that he conjures up. More on Starlit Everglades to come!



← #9: METOME #11: YOSI HORIKAWA →

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CHILDHOOD SEMESTER

If there's like, nothing out there about a band or artist - as in, they don't have a Facebook page or Twitter account - then the only way to find out information is to google 'em (it's the verb so I ain't capitalising anything). However, with an ungoogleable name like Childhood, that could be pretty tricky. A lot of people now are taking the one-everyday-word-is-all-I/we-need stance when it comes to band names and aliases. Which I don't mind at all. I actually quite like it. What I don't like is being unable to find out anything. Luckily, Childhood are on FB and twitz so it's ok, don't worry. Just sayin' was all.

Anyway, they are a four-piece/quartet/four-person-band from London. Made up of Ben Romans Hopcraft, Leo Dobsen, Daniel Salamons and Jonny Williams, they describe themselves as a "hot boyband" - you be the judge of that. They're pretty handsome, I'll say that much. But I'm not here to judge looks. This ain't a beauty contest yo. This is a music contest. Minus the contest part.

So anyway, this song is called 'Semester' and it's a wonderfully distorted number that has a really nicely produced bass, a real low-low gravelly sound, something you often don't get with this brand of lo-fi indie pop, which is quite refreshing.

The vocals, with a similar yet Southern-accented yearning and confidence displayed in the past by Alex Turner, are backed up by "ooo-ooo"s that give it a nice pop hook - something retro about that too. There's a grey sky feel to the song, something distinctly English in the sound. The guitars jangle with light distortion in the verses, scream away completely overdriven in the chorus sections, and later on in the bridge get completely shoegazey with heavy doses of flanger - that's whilst the drums go intermittently go mental with a lot cymbal bashing.

It's a nice sound overall - decidedly raw, especially the drums, which sound as if I could be hearing them from next-door, and slightly bleak yet with the friendly jangle and catchiness of pop that will make Childhood a quite-sure hit, if they aren't already. This is the AA-side (what? I thought it was "B-side"?) from a single with another song of theirs, 'Solemn Skies'. You can buy that here.

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Friday, 16 August 2013

JOLLY MARE CASTLEMARE [VIDEO]

I really like the video for this song. But I'm confused because I just checked Jolly Mare's SoundCloud for an image - he'd only JUST uploaded 'Castlemare' and in its description he said he had "a lot of fun making a soundtrack for this amazing video". But I'd say that the video is an illustration of his music. No? Well. I dunno. You be the judge. For me, I think they just work really nicely together. As for the music though, that's what I'm really here to talk about.

I last wrote about this Italian producer - Jolly Mare, that is - when I found his song & video 'Nobody Cares'; it was a wildly synthesised track, loaded with funk and a solid-as-a-rock bassline. Most notably, it was rather retro in its stylisation - not just in the video, but in the sound itself of course. The same goes for the retro sounds in this song, 'Castlemare'. However, it's a very different style. Instead of beachy, sunny, funky stuff, it's videogamey triptune (see what I did there?) synthy 8-bit kind of stuff. Still retro, but a different twist, a different facet of "retro".

It's the videogame sound that rings true with me mostly. It's like the type of music you'd find skulking in the air of the last level of a quite hard retro videogame - set in a castle, obviously; the title being a portmanteau of "castle" and "nightmare", it makes sense really. Why not watch the video and get into the atmosphere of yesteryear, sword in hand, magic in mind, courage in heart.

Space between the synth melodies gives it a careful-where-you-tread,-there-could-be-traps kind of atmosphere, an eerie sound that conjures cold torchlit corridors with their echoing reverb. The melodies themselves are cast in a gloam of foreboding - a little bit dark - helped along by the fidgety beat that seems itself reluctant to get into a full, undisturbed rhythm. At about 2:00 in the song, a regular build-up starts and drum machine toms pound and roll up to a change in the song. The synth becomes fuller, other shining beams of electronic noise wail in, until towards the end when they disappear altogether - bar the clean, glossy bass - and focus shifts instead to that distinctly two-step beat.

Did you beat the boss?

Other than the sound, that video - I am not sure where it's from but it's pretty cool and I think I'd like to watch it now. It's some obscure retro supernatural martial arts film, lots of flying and energy beams involved; a bit like the precursor to Dragonball or at least perhaps an influence on it. Anyway. The music fits perfectly. Bye!

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Thursday, 15 August 2013

CHELA ROMANTICISE (BOYS GET HURT REMIX)

So I'll start this one by saying that I haven't actually heard the original of this song. Usually with a remix I like to hear the original version. But in this case, since I can't do that, I won't do that, and I'll just judge the song on what it is. A song, in and of itself.

It comes from a new EP, Romanticise, by Melbourne-based artist Chela released on freewheeling endless-2005-honeymoon French label Kitsuné. And as they often do, they've put a lot of remixes on the album too. Which is nice because it's a way to prolong the tastiest elements of an enjoyable song without just sticking it on repeat and risk damaging its freshness - plus it's also nice to give some exposure to those lesser known producers who "do" the remixes. In this instance, it's Japanese duo Boys Get Hurt.

Labelling themselves as emotional dance music - even "sea disco" - they create some really nice tracks that evoke sunshine and romance with a hint of nostalgia. I've even done a Q&A with one half of the duo, Yuki Abe. Their remix of Chela's 'Romanticise' exhibits that same brand of fresh, comfortable indie dance which first attracted me to them.

There's nothing really futuristic about it. Like I said, they seem to inject a sense of nostalgia into their tracks and this one's no different, despite being a remix. Perhaps it's that tropical vibe of theirs. Is that nostalgic? I suppose its of a certain time - mid-1990s, but then again what do I know. There's a beach-destined melody on the xylophone counterpointed with a marimba kinda sound that floats playfully within the beat, the new-pair-of-trainers-squeaking-across-a-polished-floor synth sound that bwips and bweeps, the bongo drumming that tribalises the atmosphere at the start. It's all delicious and catchy.

The vocals from Chela sing out with catchy emotion, moving from stretched high to low and confidential; they follow a nice stop-start pattern in the chorus that Boys Get Hurt have followed with a combined synth chord/bass off-beat rhythm. A slice of the vocal has been sampled and lowered, appearing towards the end, alongside a variously scatty hi-hat pinging - falling finally to reverberating piano chords, a shaker, that glockenspiel sound, and a clap. How else could you have wished the song to finish? It's nice. A real sunset ending.

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KOLOTO KILL SCREEN

I wrote about Koloto, real name Maria Sullivan, last month - her track 'Fox Tales' was a hotbed of organic sounds and glitchy beats. I suppose in many ways it still IS. But we are forever moving forward. So let's move on. It'll be on her forthcoming EP (no name nor date for that yet) in any case. We now arrive at her new musical creation, 'Kill Screen'.

It's very different from 'Fox Tales', which was a very natural-sounding track. Full of innocence. This one instead is unnatural, in that it's pretty much wholly synthesised, and it is also not innocent. Not at all. Instead 'Kill Screen' brims with a looming menace from the very outset. A low and gloomy ambient atmosphere is cast with waves of dwindling hollow synth and a glitched-out harp arpeggio; aching sounds, like something being tightened, pressure rising, conjures images of something lurking in the background. A shuffling shifty clipping noise builds up to the drop.

And when it comes it's quite a change.

The harp turns into chiptune synthesisers, wildly bleeping in that same arpeggio; that tightening sound becomes a frantic frenetic beat. It's easier to hear the progression now - a kind of fugue that I guess even Bach might have been proud of - which gives it an epic kind of sound. Those bleeps though, aren't they delectable?

And it gets even more wild after the second drop. The synths are layered on top of each other, the beat more full yet still staccato. It conjures an image of an old castle from some old videogame - it would naturally be like, a boss fight or something, and it wouldn't be easy either. Or a chase scene. In any case, it's a menacing, Dracula-is-coming-for-you vibe that is still whizzing around in my head even after I've stopped listening to it - wholly worthy of its title, I say.

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Wednesday, 14 August 2013

JON HOPKINS FEAT PURITY RING BREATHE THIS AIR

This is a really beautiful song. If I start with that, it makes me feel like everything I write from here on in will just be superfluous gumpf. Despite that, I'm gonna go on with it. Is that ok with you? Is it ok with me? I think so. Because, as I always say, good music deserves kind words. So if I go into raptures, that's ok. Think of it as a star-rating system, but with the quality of the words being the guiding light. Stars and numbers... that's for the NME and other things. Who needs words when you can just listen to a song and, instead of respecting the effort that goes into it, just say, "Mmmmyeah it's an 8/10, stick it up on the site, print it – NEXT!" Not my style.

Anyway. Sorry about that. Today we have Mr Jon Hopkins, a London-based producer, doing a song with pretty-vocal'd chill-step duo Purity Ring called 'Breathe This Air'. (I made up chill-step, but that just goes to show how silly genres are). Hopkins, on his Facebook, describes it as "A new version of Breathe This Air with vocals by Purity Ring" - the original is a much bassier, dancier affair. In the Purity Ring version, it's condensed, prettied up, ambientised and generally blooms in wonderful clouds of sound around your ears - it's a less abrasive sound, I guess. Let us listen.

Isn't it lovely? There are some lovely details at the beginning that really catch the ear. That gentle tinkling piano, the atmospheric noises of endless space, the reversed and spliced samples of the vocal that comes in quite soon, and - a small detail, but an important one for me - the skiffle of the snare drum at 0:29, a great live-drums-sounding technique that pops up throughout the song. The drums themselves are nice: glitchy, catchy, lovely. What Jon Hopkins seems to do is hold things back, giving you a lot of good sounding things but keeping stuff for later - like the lightly crunched modulated synth that hops in after about 1:25. It's this progressive sound that keeps your ears quite excited for what will come later. Brief synth glitches jut in like arrows from heaven.

The vocals from Purity Ring - the female half of the duo, obviously - are just perfect. They're treated carefully, like a rare bird; people always say that to hold a bird, it's a careful balance of not-too-much and not-too-little. This is just how these vocals are laid on the track, not over-produced, yet glittering with a seemingly unending reverb, touched with a little electronic autotune for stylistic purposes (or at least that's what I hear). As for the vocals themselves - what a voice. Beautiful. It's hypnotic.

This comes as a single from Jon Hopkins' 4th album, Immunity, out on Domino records. You can download it digitally on 23rd September.

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Y E A R S ビスタ (VISTA)

So last month I wrote about YEARS or Y E A R S or // Y E Λ R S //'s song 'She Is The Girl Of My Dreams' - dreamy stuff, as you might imagine from the name. But then, most of this bedroom musician's music is rather dreamy (self-described as "Crazy Trap//Chill//Ambient//Dream"). And if there is any insult felt from "bedroom musician", then I apologise. It's just a phrase. A meaningless phrase. Just means you make music at home. Is that so wrong?

In any case, here's another song from the man (or woman - let's not discriminate) him/herself. It's called 'ビスタ' or in English 'Vista' - a view of sorts I guess. It was posted to his/her Facebook page with a message that said it was "really really the last track" they would make: "my mpc is dead so i can't make music anymore for long time". They mean Akai MPC - a cool kinda sequencer/sampler/drum machine. It's an interesting fact that they're so analogue in this digital age. Certainly gives things an earthy, scrabblingly real sound, as it is on this new track.

I just thought it was quite an interesting sound, so I had to write about it. Whilst it coasts along on its attitudinal hip hop beat, complete with synthy woodblock tappings and sharp scatty hi-hat, boom-booming kicks as well. Pop-tinkling chimes glitter icily alongside the smart sampled synth, like the sound of a mystical bath emptying.

The most interesting thing for me was the altered sample of Celine Dion's vocals in 'My Heart Will Go On' - against the brash down-south beat, this kind of jarred, but then that's the sound of this kind of music. It's jarring. Discordant, almost. But I like it. Dreamy sounds, strange samples, big beats. Yeah. A meeting point of real life and the dreamworld.

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Tuesday, 13 August 2013

TOUCH SENSITIVE – PIZZA GUY



UPDATE: 'Pizza Guy', after being the most Shazam'd thing ever in the UK thanks to appearing in a Very.co.uk advert, is being re-released by Future Classic on 26th July 2015 〜❤️️

Just heard this song on the radio and had to write about it. I just... yeah. I really like it. When they first said the name on the radio I was like, a bit confused. The first thing I thought of was an actual touch sensitive pizza guy, i.e. a pizza guy who is touch sensitive. In what way, I do not know. Perhaps it could be a comment on how everything, even pizza delivery, can be done through a touch screen on a phone - so in a way, the actual pizza guy who delivers it is himself "touch sensitive". But it wasn't anything as poetic as that. No. This is just a song called 'Pizza Guy' by a Sydney-based producer called Touch Sensitive.

Now that we've cleared that up, let's continue on our little jaunt. The first thing I liked about this song is the majorly major atmosphere that has been created with these sparkly synths all working together - one playing a simple arpeggio, one mapping out the bassline with a plunging funk that cannot be denied, one bopping like electric popcorn, one glassily jutting out through the rest like an ephemeral spike of sound. In that way it kind of gives me the same buzz that I got from people like College, Electric Youth and Kavinsky (to an extent) - the connection here is a 1980s "classic" aesthetic. Cheesy but meaningful - long walks and knowing glances. Do you know where I'm going with this? It could be in Drive, basically.

And with this wonderfully stylised video, you can tell that's the sound that has been chased like a dream and - I would say - rather successfully attained. Enjoy the sounds and sights.

What else I enjoy is the vocal sample. It is enjoyable. I love it when samples are twisted and turned - played with as if they were another instrument in the song. These dynamic cuts of the sample are supported very nicely by an equally dynamic powerhouse of a beat. Can't really tire of a beat like that. Meaty snare - heavy kick with a tinge of synth. Perfect tempo as well. Perfect for head-bopping whilst looking at things on the internet. That is what I used to do as my job, basically, and all the hours in that office were made all the sweeter thanks to songs like this one, songs that fall somewhere between sit-down-and-chill and get-up-and-boogie. But as I said in the beginning, it's that electric nostalgia that pulses through the atmosphere of this song that I can't quite get enough of.

It is a single off a very short EP of the same name (Pizza Guy) released on the effortlessly cool Future Classic. Anyway - Touch Sensitive will be closely watched from here on in.

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LIES FT JUNO// ORIENTE [FREE DOWNLOAD]

Last time I wrote about Italian duo LIES and their song 'Escape I/S/M' it was thanks to them, or one of them at least, sending me a message. Now I'm writing about them again and it's down to the same fact of their sending a message. It's difficult to keep tabs on everything at once so to have lovely music delivered right to you is very nice indeed. So, thank you!

This time around, however, they have teamed up with fellow Italian producer JUNO// to create a very nice song indeed: 'Oriente'. I've gotta admit I was quite surprised at the result. It's a pretty intense sounding song, with a very solid beat and some very solid bass, all tied together with some wonderful crackling synth arpeggios. It's a veritable electro playground, having all the fun of retro music crossed with the nice production methods of the modern day. You'll find it difficult not to bop your head, wiggle your toes, tap your fingers, raise your eyebrows or whatever it is you happen to do when you find rhythmic solace in music.

Those bass synths are something else, aren't they? Really get under your skin and into your body. Very loud. Those along with that slo-house beat give it an epic feel - especially with the occasional battering of tom drums. There's a dose of the tropical in there, too, with some beach-friendly tubular bell-type things, heavily accented with reverb and other things, making them seem a little unearthly. Screaming synth streams over the top in some places, heavily modulated and sounding like a waterbeam (a Pokémon move for those who don't know) or something similar. Javelins of neon electricity.

Add to this a laid-back, 1990s-songstress-type vocal sample and you have a pretty interesting sound. The dynamic breaks are really nice too - the one at 2:49 for example that only lasts for seconds is perfect; it's just a small break from the intense rumblings of the song, but it's enough to give those same rumblings some massive "oomph" when they come back in. Nice sounds all nicely composed. In fact it actually reminds me of something... kind of a slowed down version of 'Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This)' by Eurythmics. Get what I mean? Similar synth. Anyway.

You can download this song for free. FREE. Download it and put it on your iPod/Phone or whatever other device you happen to own for listening to music on-the-go and just wait till it pops up. Imagine it would be especially cool if you listened to this on a crowded rush-hour tube train on the way home. I don't usually give recommendations like this so I don't think I'll make it a regular thing.

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LAZY INTERVIEW #9: METOME


← #8: SPAZZKID #10: STARLIT EVERGLADES →

Ever since I first heard, and thereafter frantically and gushingly (yuk?) wrote about, Metome's 'Water Cycle' I've been hooked by his sound. Hooked ON his sound. Real name Takahiro Uchibori, he's a Japanese producer and DJ who makes some pretty sumptuous music. And when I say pretty sumptuous, I mean downright delectable.

He is a complete whizz-kid at chopping up vocals samples and creating different rhythms with these truncated vocals, often caught mid-breath, mid-word and often unintelligible. He uses them like an instrument, making the noises glitch and stutter to create a new and alien language that winds alongside smart, sometimes-clinical beats. 'Water Cycle' was like this, if you need an example. He creates blissful atmospheres, not always chopping up samples, but taking lines of sung vocal or instrumental samples and letting them breathe organically - for instance, his 'Take This Love' (also written for Dummy magazine) is just perfect in this case. As is the stunning atmosphere of 'Rain Comes From Clouds'.

What's clear is that he is a very talented guy. Already making waves in Japan, notably in the Tokyo electronic scene, there is no reason that - given a little more coverage from larger publications too blinded by the general proclivities of well-established acts - he couldn't be rather a lot bigger and better known than he is. However, these things take time I guess. Anyway, Mr Metome was kind enough to fire back some answers for the Lazy Interview series - so have a quick read and learn a little bit about what makes him tick.



Who are you? Where are you from? What do you do?
 Hi, I'm making music as metome and live in Osaka, Japan.

Why did you decide to start creating music?
 It might be quite recent that I intended to make music by myself.
 Till then, I made music vaguely. I think it has been 3 or 4 years since I started to make music as an artist.
 I think that music is the most personal thing compared to other creative things such as music, fashion, architecture, etc.

How would you describe your sound? What makes you and your style stand out?
 It might be a little hard to explain my sound.
 It doesn't mean my music is hard to listen to, because I think I pick up a lot of different music and mix it up to make my music.
 If it isn't talking about a genre of my music such as electronica, jazz, funk, bass, rock and more, then I think my music is pure and romantic.

Is there a perfect time and place for listening to your music?
 Well... home, outside, club, or many places, but I choose music which fits the atmosphere of a place.

What inspires you most when writing a song?
 There are a lot of things that inspire me.
 It could be music of different kinds of genres or also it might be nature or love.

What is your most memorable musical experience?
 I just remember that there was a Japanese drum class at a shrine near my house and I joined it.
 I stopped going there after 6 months but it was my first time to play an instrument.

What are your favourite three songs at the moment?
 The songs that recently I've listened to are:

 John Coltrane - Acknowledgement
 Ryuichi Sakamoto - Bibo no Aozora
 Wayne Jones - Run For Cover

Who do you most admire in the music world?
 I respect all people who make their music having their own world views.

In your opinion, what is the future of music/your music?
 The future of music... Now different kinds of music all over the world are mixed through the Internet.
 I think we are gradually heading to the world where people are united more, or get closer to each other.
 However in this situation, it is a fact that music which focuses on or shows where it comes from or its own original culture gains acclaim.

 I have a feeling of worry and hope for the situation that things are heading into one union (integration) as much as possible through the Internet.

What, aside from music, is most important to you?
 What I care about the most when it's music is expressing myself; effort and love.



It seems that Metome's style of music - that is, his knack for extracting samples from here-there-and-everywhere, mixing things together - is reflected in his view of where music is heading, and at a very basic level in the varying genres of his three favourite songs of the moment (jazz, orchestral, funk - respectively). It's a mix, all of it's a mix, and it's only going to get more and more mixed up. But as he quite sagely put it, there is certainly "a feeling of worry and hope" for the future of music, given the ease of sharing/stealing sounds thanks to the internet especially. But enough of tomorrow. In some ways, we can worry about it when it gets here. Mañana por la mañana...

As for Metome himself, it's obvious that he loves what he does. He talks about his inspirations being love; love being important to him; music being the most personal creative avenue you can go down. He may well be right. The loving way in which he treats his songs is evidence of this - I may have even said these exact words in reference to Metome somewhere else before. But that's just it. His is a labour of love, and often it turns out that those kind of labours yield the best results, not only for his own sense of achievement, but for the joy of his audience, for the contentment of our ears as his sounds caress them. Thankfully, there's an EP on the way so we have that to look forward to.



← #8: SPAZZKID #10: STARLIT EVERGLADES → - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
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Monday, 12 August 2013

SPAZZKID IF NOT YOU THEN WHO [VIDEO]

At the time of writing this, I've just come out the bath having listened to Spazzkid's live set on e-venue SPF420 (that's a place where people can stream a live performance of themselves to people all over the world). It was really relaxing. The style of his positive-vibed sounds and samples combined with his slow yet groovesome pace really went well with relaxation time in the bath. You could call it "bathwave" but I'm not sure if it will catch on. If it does, then Spazzkid has the rights to be Godfather of bathwave. If it doesn't, we'll pretend I never came up with it.

Anyway, all of this aside, just today Spazzkid has released a new video for a song off his most recent album, Desire (願う), called 'If Not You Then Who'. It's a glistening waterfall of a song, dealing with the feelings of loss and longing that go with a broken heart. That's what it sounds like to me anyway. The romantic plucked strings of the guitar sail gently beneath the vocals that lament their own fortune. But it manages to sound beautiful, no matter how sad the feelings behind it may be - a beat soon drops in with waves of distorted bass synth. Soon you're bopping along, forgetting that sadness.

The video is pretty cool too. It's freaky, with footage from Japanese sci-fi film, Tetsuo: The Iron Man (1989), that seems to spookily match up with the dynamic changes in the song. Despite the prettiness of the song, the scare-factor in the video is still inescapably there. Maybe that jarring effect gives a perfect illustration of the feelings of coming out of a relationship.

Pretty weird, huh? That metal arm thing reminds me of how the guy's arm in Akira begins to get all weird. One influenced or inspired the other perhaps.

Back to the song. That beat is given some well-placed limelight on its own with the subbiest of basses from around 3:40 for a few seconds. It's only a little bit, but it's enough to come up for a breather - so to speak. That beat sounds damn good on its own (maybe he just wants to show it off?). It's something that Spazzkid seems to do very well in quite a few of his songs. These little dynamic changes don't appear to be much, but I'm sure the amount of thought that goes into where they go, what's going to be involved, what to take away, how long they last, etc. etc. - the result is of course very much appreciated. At least it is by me.

The koto, plucked Japanese instrument, is a lovely touch. It's the kind of instrument that always seems to summon elegance, wherever it may be used, and in this case it's no difference. It adds a timeless appeal, making it sound quite mature at the time. He doesn't have to "rely" on synth, but even in this case those scattered synth chords are really very nice, giving it a trance-like edge. Very nice. Weird vid, but oddly works.

You can go and download 'If Not You Then Who' for free if you like :)

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NEEVA EVEN IF... EP

Hello. Today I had my first ever red "Forelle" pear. It was very sweet but not as juicy as regular pears. Perhaps it wasn't ripe enough. In any case, it was tasty.

Now that we have that out of the way, I'd like to introduce this very nice Italian producer called Neeva. With the IRL (In Real Life - of course, how could you not know that? but don't fret if you didn't, there's a first time for everything) name of Federico Orrù, he makes really nice electronic music. On his most recent release, the Even If... EP, he has collaborated with quite a few people both in terms of "featuring" artists and remix artists - it's nice to see because often you think of electronic musicians as quite solitary people.

I mean, they make music "on their own" don't they? So it's just heartwarming, in a weird way perhaps, to know that they are building strong communities. Neeva himself is quite active in his local community, collaborating with artists at galleries, for instance. Often this kind of thing has to do with "label-mates", as I've heard them called; in this case it would have been Russian label Ritmo Sportivo, but I don't know if any of those featuring are actually on/have anything to do with the label. Possibly/probably/most likely not (except Cream Child). Which makes my point kinda moot. Whatever. I could be wrong though. Nice to see collaborations, is what I mean.

And it can quite clearly influence the resulting sound of a song. For starters we have 'One Day' featuring Tokyo duo N-Qia. I wrote about this for Dummy magazine because I think it was my favourite from the EP. It's the most melodic track on the EP, with ghostly vocals from Nozomi and a frantic pots-and-pans beat, pulsing with orchestral synth. The remix of this one by Sun Glitters keeps the general sound but adds saw-wave bass and extra cloudy synth, turning it into a hazy dream of the original.

The rest of the collaborators keep things decidedly dark. Italian producer Grovekingsley provides a spooky-yet-urban spin on 'What', a nocturnal hip-hop beat underpinning solemn, murkily reverberating synths. Likewise, Mario Mereu helps provide the dark atmosphere on 'Tail' - an unearthly synth rises and falls in conjunction with low-end vocal samples. But around 1:30 in this track, something positive, a ray of warm, pulsating sunshine rains upon the gloom, joined by scraping glitched-out electric synths. But this darkness can be quite energetic, shown in Russian producer Cream Child's remix of 'What'. It's a towering, house-beat-led foray into the dark, industrial side of dark music. Like looking into the edge of a dark forest without actually getting lost in it. Bleeps twist and turn in the bleak water-moving-around-in-old-pipes sound. Pretty intense.

The only song that Neeva "does" by himself, 'Waiting For', is an ambient, bass-ear-massage that washes over you in tones of pretty chilled-out stuff. Gradually leads to a more distorted sound, more beset with percussion. Sounds like a deserted beach in winter. Scintillating synths rain down, clopping percussion zooms in at the end - a party is beginning - is that what we were waiting for? Who knows. It's nice anyway.

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Listen to Grovekingsley on Soundcloud
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II. FOUR ON THE FLOOR

Here is some quite dancey stuff to get dancey to, should you ever want to get dancey. Sometimes it's nice to get dancey; other times, it's nicer to chill out. Since I can hardly judge the mood of each and every person who reads this (wish I could) it is hit and miss whether you are going to like it at the time. Timing is a big part of finding a new song to like. Find it in the wrong mood and you might not like it. Your tastes are more fickle than you think.

So anyway, I was messaged on Facebook with this the other day. A song called 'Four On The Floor' by a French duo from Dijon called II. - that's their shortened name anyway: sometimes it's Un Et Un Font Deux (One And One Makes Two).

As a song, it reeks with attitude as soon as you click the play button. The synth stabs that you're presented with from the very start are telling of what is soon to come. I love that kind of synth sound though, cut-off, chopped, brimming with treble - like an instrument from the future. That sound comes to characterise the rest of the song as it's put on delay and muffled by turns.

The song is an uncomplicated house song with guts, that much is for sure. About halfway through the beat subsides and all that's left is this metallic bass zooming around - sounds great. The beat features a plosive kick and claps, snare fills and tambourine shakes, and moves a little faster than your average house song. A female vocal of "yeah... ahh" - chopped-up of course - gives it a sultry, soft human edge.

All in all, yes. I like it. A nice sound that encompasses the slightly poppish side of dance music, dark and disco-like. It appeared on New's Lighters Records first compilation We Re-Created Disco, showcasing a number of talented alternative electronic dance acts.

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Sunday, 11 August 2013

DIANA PERPETUAL SURRENDER (FOUR TET REMIX) [VIDEO]

I haven't heard anything from Four Tet in a while. Why? I don't know. It's quite easy to miss things if you're not looking for them, I guess. I just assumed, maybe, that something would pop up eventually. And it did. And it's good. As you'd expect

You may have already heard this doing the rounds recently. It's a remix of 'Perpetual Surrender' by a Canadian band called DIANA. The original is quite a nice song by itself: nice percussion, synths that wash over you, groovy slow-jam bassline and caressing female vocals that get right in your ear. This combination of nice things kind of lends itself to a good remix, especially someone with a good ear.

Enter Four Tet. He takes the slow percussion and speeds it up, making it a clip-clopping tick-tocking tribal sensation. A house kick then bursts onto the scene. The start of this song is a typical Four Tet intro. A lush build up that kind of sends your mind into a frenzy. So many new elements are added and then repeated ad infinitum; layers of samples from the vocal, breathy bits and snippets of sung words. A glitchy affair. Before you know it, even these have become a part of the beat itself. He is the king of looping. Let's loop forever.

And this video is nice. It's cool. Karaoke style. 112 bars intro.

Soon he introduces the bass. It is a funked-up groovesomely majestic stand-out variation of the bassline from the original song and it works really nicely. The vocals are treated with respect, being allowed to breathe over the top of the jungle-noise percussive beat; in fact, he has taken the echo from them that is present in the original. Perhaps that's a better thing, I dunno. Probably. They just sound clearer and it suits the busier background sounds of Four Tet's version.

The saxophone solo and more noises rush in towards the end. Then the abrupt finish. What! It's over! Huh! !??!??¿¿¿⁄⁄⁄⁄!!¡¡¡ I know. I know. It's nice. It's like it should NEVER end. But it has to. Like all things. But at least it was nice enough to have that feeling of wanting it to go on for longer. Nice one.

btw you can download this song for FREE on DIANA's website the debut album of DIANA, incidentally named Perpetual Surrender too, is out 20th August on Jagjaguwar.

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Saturday, 10 August 2013

MUSIC WEEK #18

Week of stuff innit. What de hell. What is life. What is real. What is internet. Where am I. What are you. Let's listen to music together and forget that anything has happened.

The art btw comes again from whatevenamdrawing.tumblr.com.


INTERVIEW: SPAZZKID
Spazzkid, aka Mark Redito, is a really nice guy. Learn some more about him with this Q&A

MELORMAN - YOUR DAY
Really chilled ambient loveliness

GAMMA-F7 - TWO TONE PITCH BENT
Crazy electronic stuff

THE ORWELLS - WHO NEEDS YOU
Bouncy garage rock with v nice vocals

CUUSHE - TWILIGHT
Stunning beautiful electronica with beautifully whispering vocals

ARISTOPHANES 貍貓 FT SUMI & PETECHAN - 牆裡人 THE WALL
More Mandarin rap and cool retro beats

INC. - ANGEL
Sexy R&B

LINDSAY LOWEND - WIND FISH EP
A mix of videogame cutesy synths and hip hop swagger. Amazing

DYGL - I'M WAITING FOR YOU // NASHVILLE
Lo-fi nostalgic garage rock/lovesongs from this Japanese band

LES BICYCLETTES DE BELSIZE - SEBASTIAN (NAITSABES)
British indie with a charming sound


My favourite, I'm sorry to say this everybody, was Lindsay Lowend's EP. Effing marvellous. I can't get over how much I like it. I could just have it on repeat forever. However, everything else was enjoyed by me also. There is nothing wrong with having a favourite, I say. Anyway have a nice weekend, bye.

LES BICYCLETTES DE BELSIZE SEBASTIAN (NAITSABES) [FREE DOWNLOAD]

I'm a little confused about where this song is coming from. But I did my best and I think I can explain it. So. Originally there was a song by a duo called Charlie and Paisley called 'Sebastian' in which they were backed by the band, Les Bicyclettes de Belsize Park. Les Bicyclettes de Belsize then practically remixed the song, which consisted of setting it to reverse and putting in some nice samples in the form of snippets of dialogue from classic British films.

I suppose it wasn't really that confusing in the end. But still, it's a lot easier to get your head around things when you write them down, don't you find? Well, for me, it helps.

The reverse quality to the song is what gives it an equal dosage of beauty and strangeness - the latter mainly in the reverse vocals that now say "Na-it-sabes..." instead of "Sebastian" as they do in the original. The beat, now in reverse, takes on the mantle of an off-beat trip-hop rhythm and, together with the winsome lilts of the instruments of the song, the whole thing turns into quite a life-affirming piece that - for me at least - calls to mind the Baz Luhrmann song 'Everybody's Free (To Wear Sunscreen)'. Although that song used to leave me a little depressed because it was literally taking you through the future of your life.

Thankfully, 'Sebastian (Naitsabes)' isn't quite as polemic as that "feel-good" diatribe. It's much more subtle, mainly heard in the resulting effect of the ambient backwards sounds and the samples. For instance, the samples I most connected were from Billy Liar - a Keith Waterhouse novel, play, then film: "It's the town. It's the people we know. I don't like knowing everybody - or becoming a part of things. Do you see what I mean?" Being from the homely-homely suburbs of Surrey, I can understand that.

Anyway, it's a well chosen set of samples, all from the old British "kitchen sink" dramas of the 1960s. Gives it an Englishness that makes me feel nostalgic. Nice, whimsically winsome (I've used that before and I'll used it again), unique sound. BTW their name comes from a 1968 British musical film of the same name.

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Friday, 9 August 2013

DYGL I'M WAITING FOR YOU // NASHVILLE [FREE DOWNLOAD]

This bit of music is really quite nice. For some reason, I haven't been able to shake the feeling of just having woken up all day today, leaving me with a hazy, fuzzy mind/brain. Not my favourite feeling. Just makes everything slow and depressing.

Then I re-discovered this band. I first heard them when I... well I can't remember, but I remember thinking, "Yeah, I'll write about that one day" - a few months on, here I am. The first song itself is four months old (second is 6 months old), but who caresss. Not I. They both comes from a Japanese band from Tokyo called DYGL (pronounced "day-glo") and it's called 'I'm Waiting For You'. It's a very nice number that brings to mind miscellaneous Americana - long drives, long beaches, surfing. That kind of sound.

Beginning with a delicate bit of clean guitar work that is very pretty with its reverb, almost fragile sounding, the rest of the song kicks in. It's a lo-fi number, that's for sure. The drums are so fuzzy that you can barely hear them, but it fits the distorted jangle of the guitars just fine, as well as lazily yelping vocals. It suits my mood.

There's a retro hint to it, especially in the way the guitar chords in the chorus move up and down the fret board with that stop-start, foot-tapping pattern. The refrain is yelled out and it all fits together perfectly. A great, catchy song, soaked in a nostalgia for something that is wholly un-Japanese - something I can relate to. You can watch that song live, too, at MARZ - a live venue in Shinjuku, Tokyo.

As for this other song, 'Nashville', there's that same nostalgia, but this time it's tinged with a tragic air. It makes this one more beautiful than 'I'm Waiting For You', simply because of the slow sadness that this song. The bass and chord progressions are something that we've all heard before, but they are just done with such a different attitude that makes them sound fresh.

I think it's the vocals in this song that make it stand out a little more, too. They switch between regular and falsetto, sounding at times as if they are longing for, aching for, something. Some memory or present desire that can't be attained. Given that the song's title is 'Nashville' and the band are from Tokyo - which are worlds away geographically and culturally - I think it can be guessed that it's a lovesong to the American city.

The guitar work is really nice, not just the chords, but far off twanging guitar solos like distant memories, the country-song swing that it has to it. This is a really underrated song that I think a lot more people should know, or at least hear once in their lives. A wonderful sound. There's a video too. Watch it.

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Listen to DYGL on Soundcloud
Follow Nobuki Akiyama (one part of DYGL) on Twitter

LINDSAY LOWEND WIND FISH EP

This is my kind of music. Like, so seriously, it is my kind of music. I can't stress that enough. So if I talk too nicely about it then you're just gonna have to deal with it. Sorry. Anyway, I just saw someone post a song from this EP on Twitter and once I explored further into the actual EP itself I just had to post it up. I have a bit of trouble with multiple-song posts, because as you know I usually only just write about one song; when I write about lots of songs in one place, I tend to write about each song individually. But who wants to go onto a music blog and hear the blogger being self-deprecating, trembling in fear at the task ahead of him, complaining of his own efforts and talents? Nobody, of course. And that's why I am about to plough ahead. Once more unto the breach.

So first of all this is a nice collection of songs by someone called Lindsay Lowend (great name), a guy from America. I don't know anything more than that. The EP is gloriously titled Wind Fish after that mythical is-it-real-or-is-it-a-dream entity from the classic Gameboy title, Zelda: Link's Awakening - and it's not the first time that LL has referenced the game: he uses its intro theme for the intro in this mix, for instance. References aside, it's a stunning EP. One that makes you glad to be alive & with ears to boot.

On the whole it's a beat-heavy foray into a world that mixes cutesy electronica/game soundtrack with sunny hip-hop. When it all first starts with 'GT40', a rap sample declares "Got dem hoes in the kitchen" - a refrain that pops up throughout the song. The song is all swagger and sweetness, a strange mix, but it works. Machine gun hi-hats fire over explosive kicks and snares that cook up a glitchy skate-hop beat. Female vocals feature as samples throughout - something that's taken to the next level on 'Sass Mouth'. Altered female vocals zing through the distorted bass of the track, a more laid-back affair than the previous song. It's late evening in this one. Sunset has only just finished, leaving a red sky and the remnants of a humid day behind.

The strange videogame soundtrack synth sounds of 'It's George' are quite lovely - the high-pitched synth that almost seems to cry out is a stroke of genius. The audacious way that it's toyed with and strongly modulated is almost breathtaking. Just before 6 minutes in this song there's a brain-twisting drum solo (from where, I don't know - anything to do with a George the Drummer somewhere?) that seems to mark a change in the song's dynamic in general. This next section features minimal fluffy synth, dreamy glockenspiels, a sense of fidgety urgency - sounds a bit like the music in the Mysterious Woods from Link's Awakening, actually. This one's heavy with nostalgia. A real journey. And it's where you see the hip hop influence fall away in everything except the beat.

Same goes for final belter and title track 'Wind Fish'. Game-like synths set the scene at the beginning but we're soon transported to a dance-mat aesthetic, frantic double-speed house pianos battle against cutesy swarming synth-vox. The second half, however, is a dream world where the samples are chiptune-waves crashing on the beach, then a glossy synth chord odyssey with a two-step beat before finally we're whisked away out of the dream and back to reality.

Anyway. It's damn good and damn beautiful and if you like hip hop or game music or anything remotely electronic and wholly original, then get this. You can buy it iTunes.

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Like Lindsay Lowend on Facebook
Listen to Lindsay Lowend on Soundcloud
Follow Lindsay Lowend on Twitter

Thursday, 8 August 2013

INC. ANGEL [VIDEO]

It was really weird when I stumbled across this song because I was sure, in fact I was rather certain, that I had heard of someone called Inc. before. And sure enough, I had. I scrolled back through the posts I've done over the two years this blog has been active (albeit with some blips in activity - but how art reflects life!) and found a draft post I'd saved for a live performance by Inc.. I really dug it at the time and I suppose I do still dig it now.

[actual words from the draft] It's called 'A Usual Thang', but is actually a live rehearsal of two of their songs, 'Special Tensions' and 'Fountains'. I'm sure you'll agree it's pretty interesting. Nothing but a few guys playing their lovely music in what seems like a warehouse. Formerly Teen Inc., the band is fronted by twin brothers, Andrew and Daniel Aged. As for their music, it's a sometimes speedy, sometimes soul-filled melting pot of 80s jazz fusion and early Prince. Even the guitar effect used during a solo about three quarters of the way through makes the guitar sound like a soft synth.[end]

How funny. If you're interested in that, you can watch it here.

Anyway, now they have some new music. This particular one is called 'Angel' and it's really to celebrate the video release because the album it's from, No World - their debut - was out 19th February this year.

What we have now is a majorly R&B-influenced song. It's undeniably sexy. The beat that's slow and every now and again marks the ends of bars with agitated fills and extra heart-pounding kicks. Speaking of the beat actually, it's lovely. Those snare rimshots (lol I know but that's what they're CALLED) are something else. Wholly ambient synth gives this bubblesome, quilted or maybe isolated vibe to the song - like it's cut off from the rest of the world. Intergalactic whistles chime in and out in slow patterns.

The vocals are really nice, too, striking a pretty balance between whispering and pleading. The lyrics are touching too. Why not listen to them and space out for a bit? You know what I mean? Cause you can. Cause it's that kind of song. That kind of sound. It's just like a futuristic slow jam wearing the filigree of new-school R&B sex music, complete even with cheeseball electric guitar whines that creep in - it's all rather good. I like it a lot. Do you?

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Like Inc. on Facebook
Visit Inc. official site
Follow Inc. on Twitter
Watch Inc. on YouTube