Monday, 14 April 2014

WOOLFY – CITY LIGHTS EP

Waking up waking up is difficult especially on a Monday morning soooo why not go on a disco odyssey for 8 minutes 11 seconds? And this ain't no sweaty throwback New York dopamine-enhanced disco club disco, this is like the slow jam of disco, slo-disco, and as such it's perfect for a brain that doesn't want anything faster right now. Perfect for a brain that like, wants to wake up, but not suddenly, and definitely not anytime soon; this kind of quasi-sleep in the early morning is quite nice its own horrible little way.

And what track pray tell am I chatting about? Well, it's come aaall the way from LA and it's by a guy named Woolfy (real name Simon James) and the track is called '17' which is one of those Great Ages – others being 18, 19, 21, 23, 27 or something (this is what happens when you write early in the morning, you make shit up) – that everyone loves so much. Anyway, like I said earlier this is like slo-disco, slo-house, chilled kinda sound, and it reminded me of the sort of sounds I heard once on one of German (Munich) label Permanent Vacation's If This Is House I Want My Money Back compilations – there've only been two so far so it's one of those – which is funny cause this other track at least ostensibly has something to do with Perm Vac. After some reading, I've found that he first released music under his alter-alias Woolfy vs Projections (his The Astral Projections of Starlight album) on Permanent Vacation, so there you go.

Anyway, it comes from his newly released (14th April) City Lights EP which features two original tracks and two remixes. Here you go it's right below uh so you can listen to it.

At the beginning and at the heart of '17' the main riff is provided quite unusually by a ukelele or mandolin or something, a little toy-esque riff that gives the track a cutesy earthiness, grounding it something entirely different from what the funkily popping slightly slap-bassline and rich piano chords will have you believe. Combine this with misty swooshing tides of synth, scattered tumblings of lead blips and ever-so-often saw-wave chord stutterings, you have quite the soundscape – a mix of Del Mar flavours, coastal indie pop and late-night lounge music. Glassy organ solos enhance the atmosphere, draping it in classy inebriation; and that's not to mention the singing, which talks of some kind of romance and being 17 years old ("And when you grow up grow up to be the woman that you are / you're gonna appreciate the fact that I / kept myself away / cause you were seventeen"). Ghostly, synth-punk vocals reverbing into space with the slacker refrain that mentions sex, cigarettes, Ford Cortinas (¿¿¿ or am I deaf ???): "Couldn't care less."

It comes as the late-late-night sequel song to the first track of the EP, the eponymous 'City Lights'. It's a nicely bouncy track, a slapdash acoustic guitar riff being the foundation of the track, packed with organic percussion like shakers and gently muffled kicks and this one fluid sound that sounds like a cross between a delayed sample of water simultaneously dripping into and draining out of a sink, and tasty woodblock cloppings. This roots-indie flavour is strengthened by two additional things: a xylophone that gives the track a airily cute appeal, and of course the vocals which appear endearingly unpolished and campfiery. In fact, campfire is very much the vibe here. A beach campfire. WHICH is strange considering the song's title and its lyrics: it's about city lights. Being in the city. So in some ways, instead of making "the city" out to be this archetypal hazy, scary, hard-edged, blocky place, the magnitude of its impact is brought down a peg or two thanks to Woolfy's treatment of it – it becomes pretty and quaint, essentially having been observed from a different angle. The finishing refrain, "We live to love you…" – a perfect sing-along – tops it off as a lovesong, the so-often-done love-letter to a city, but with a refreshingly down-to-earth difference.

But wait there's more! Two remixes of '17' grace this EP, too. One by fellow LA-ppl Split Secs is a slow-builder into a synth odyssey, sawtooth boops bouncing along with retro intent in place of the more organic bassline of the original. The vocals, reverbing and dreamy before, are now much trippier, blasting off into the void with heavy delay and reverb like a weird cloud passing above. Synth lead roars into life and explodes with the same trajectory as a cosmic boiling kettle amidst the warm chords and popping clusters of melody. Francis Inferno Orchestra, from Melbourne, makes it a more intense ride, however, with clearer synths playing cosmically over the hard pulse of kicks, waves of phased-out sound blanketing it all. The second half of the track is pockmarked with laser-like synths and a mash of sounds from crashing disco hi-hats and cymbals to booming toms and thickening chords. Both remixes do different things, one is low-key and the other is imbued with much more of a sense of head-spinnery than the other, but both are excellent treatments of the original.

Soooo yeah that was Woolfy. And it will maybe (maybe) surprise you to learn that this has graced your ears today courtesy of Australian label Future Classic, who've been putting out great stuff for ages, wonderfully diverse all the way from the surgical synth of Charles Murdoch to the Drive-inspired sounds of Touch Sensitive, and this most recent release with Woolfy (his debut with the label) continues a much-loved series of sounds with dance/electronic-leanings that ooze originality as much as they do quality and loveable quirks.



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Listen to Woolfy on SoundCloud

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Listen to Split Secs on SoundCloud

Like Francis Inferno Orchestra on Facebook
Listen to Francis Inferno Orchestra on SoundCloud



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