Monday, 31 July 2017

๐Ÿฃ BLIND POSES — FADING

The progression of this track is quite something, from the basic semi-industrial mechanics of its first steps as a slice of sound, until its final moments faded and out of fuel, it charts futility and energy transfer, one thing turning to another thing, the flash of a flame before it fizzles into the ether, into nothing, and how fitting then that it is titled 'Fading'. It's exactly what it sounds like. The occasional retro lo-fi drum machine thump of the kicks twinned with the pulsing zing of its cymbals keep things steady as a plaintive musicbox melody plays, an innocent meandering of harp-like plinking reverbing mistily into the air. Further clanks of percussion make their way into the mix, a fluttering garbled wow-wow of synth grabbing space for itself before later a tiny flute, melancholy, homely, plays its sweet song in the increasing jostle of the beat, drips with aching nostalgia like a phantom.

The mounting tension of this thicket of sound created by London musicmaker Blind Poses with its metallic mire of percussion plays aside this wonderful pastoral synth melody, rounded and retro-feeling, a filmic vision of returning home and of domestic scenes, of comfort and stability, heartfully emotive. There is a moment of teetering over the edge and an insistence of beeping from 2:35–2:58, and then synth splashes in oily explosion, distorted tracts of keyboard-born sound following the original melody and then warping so that it is noisy and atonal and crashing crazily whilst that innocent melody struggles in this sonic storm, the beat now with brutal gnashing teeth bashes its way along. Gradually it becomes calmer, the beat a now a clatter of percussion, noises falling away until there is no more, the living-breathing analogue organic journey of this track lodged like a memory in your mind.


  • ๐Ÿ”” 'Fading' is taken from Blind Poses' upcoming debut Muddy Thoughts EP, described by the musicmaker themselves as a "collection of hazy synths and tape-crusted drum samples created with an MPC1000 and some guitar pedals."


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๐Ÿฃ LEXI THE LEXICONIST — I MADE THIS FOR YOU

The first loving touch of this track is that guitar, those sun-tinted chords that sweep deliciously, an all-seeing eye of jelly-bodied chillment and curling slumber with its lounge jazz flavour, the fingers slowly sliding on the strings mellow and breezy yet sultry and moody, light and sophisticated, two interrupted whiskies waiting on the veranda with ice sweating and the full length gossamer drapes fluttering like slow-motion ghosts and the long shadows cutting up the glow of light on the marble floor. 'i made this for you' is already artfully atmospheric with its jazzy sixths and sevenths reverbing into the neardistance a slight decay gently warping its clean sheen, dripping with warmth and sun and skin-sapping humidity.

The vocals of New York-based Lexi the Lexiconist enter the equation, the tone of her voice like rich silk rippling, the way her words tail off, the echo of it, the soft whispering velvet washing into the silent voids of the song. A trap flavoured beat adds slo-down percussive kinetic energy to the languorous veils of mist that the vocals effuse—created by producer kloudbeats these soft solid bumps are soaked in muffled vintage lo-fi, this contemporary sound poached in a gorgeous cocktail of yesteryear, the kicks dusty thudding, the hi-hats distorted tip-tapping rattling, the snare clack emptily resonating across this simple scene of love and lassitude. And at 2:33 the bpm decreases and low pitch-shifts accompany Lexi's vocal, sub-bass quakes rumbling beneath this new sense of slowness and silence, hearing your own heartbeat in the push and pull of passion, plumes of pastel smoke erupting in a someplace of pleasure.




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๐Ÿฃ TD_NASTY — WHERE U WANNA BE FEAT. CLARA LA SAN

There is a majestic languor in this track that suggests a lack of full wakefulness and somnolence equally, a crepuscular pre-morning wash of hazy colours before the sun climbs up over the horizon and yawns at the wide open open sky, a twilit post-day swirl of burning flavours, the mystical feeling of this neither-day-nor-night mirage evident in the glittering shoals of sound that gently glint and glimmer glorious as the glamour of Clara La San's vocals gleams with graceful detached R&B sultry vigour, its layers and harmonies tantalising in the totality of room-to-breathe that this song exudes, everything seeming to have its moment to carve out its own shape on the nothing noir of the song's quiet spaces.

The creator of this vessel of lounging emotion is the Manchester-based TD_Nasty fka Trap Door, who like a modern day electronic underground Janus two-headed watching yesterday and tomorrow simultaneously in a crystal ball of formless shapes materialises the preened parchment of the past with the retro-facing chords and their marginal complexity – these classic progressions of familiar slow-jam songwriting, the clunking percussive keys – and distills the amorphous future into drinkable clatterings of percussion and pummelling spacey beat blent experimentally alongside various qualities of digitised sound rounded and glassy glistening, far-flung futuristic hollow synths, all the while this synthetic backdrop frames the humanistic aching vocals, so at once this is assuredly recognisable at the same time as being so wonderfully alien exotic.


  • ๐Ÿ”” Fiona Jane Burgess (of London band Woman's Hour) directed the video for the song, which stars Dutch dancer Naomi Weijand in an improvised performance shot in one take on 35mm.
  • ๐Ÿ”” The Clara La San-featuring 'Where U Wanna Be' is taken from the recent TD_Nasty EP, released via collective Gang Fatale. For just a fiver you can be a digital owner of this 6-track project, or you can listen to it for free, on their Bandcamp.


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๐Ÿฃ RADICULE — BLUE LOTUS

Visions of what you should be doing whilst this song is playing rise up like sea fog or hazy summer memories: should you be reading books in a minimalist European cafรฉ, should you be wheeling your suitcase through the arrivals section of a white-tiled airport anticipating a new city, should you be melting on Monacan yacht? It has this rich mahogany-and-teak feeling to it, probably effused mostly by the wide robust warmth of those piano chords just lightly touched with the decay of existence, a conjuration of insta-sophistication that is very wooden floors and old world cocktails, image-heavy magazines and leather armchairs—ceilings high and jostling with spirits of the past who never left these rooms of leisure once they broke free of their skins.

This open-armed embrace of classic flavours is the main body of 'Blue Lotus' by New York beatmaker radicule, that piano really drenching the air with all the sensations that this warmest of seasons evokes and inspires, relaxation especially with the multiple thudding kicks and the wonky offbeat slide of hi-hats and snares that swaggers throughout. An undeniable thickness of life lounges in the cradle of gemstone clinks and pecuniary chiming clanks that flow tapestry-like scuttling sewn-together bag of jewels spilling out, a luscious lawn of legal tender lolling along for gorgeous texture, a vital candelabra of ornamentation, working with a small flute interlude to dutifully deck out this ephemeral track with the sparkle and glitz of idealism.


  • ๐Ÿ”” 'Blue Lotus' comes from radicule's 9-track beat tape COMFY CAR CHRONICLES out now via Grape Records. You can listen to it here if you like.


๐Ÿ“ 
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๐Ÿฃ SCOOBERT DOOBERT — MY SCOOBERT SNACK

This track has a very melting away feeling, the quality of chocolate bars split in half to reveal oozing caramel and various other fillings gloop their way down, the soundtrack for filming an ad for the latest and greatest chocolate bar, the gooey fable of this track, its undeniable sweetness and slacker gluttony, the delicate elegance of it like the gold foil that coils off eager to get your greedy mitts further into the confectionary. That is at least sort of what this track sounds like. The laid-back beat, clacking snares and chilled tapping of hi-hats, the occasional bodyslam of a kick drum full-bodied and thudding, gives 'My Scoobert Snack' the wonky foundation that it needs to continue in that vein, bass guitar blaring deep pockets of robust rumble for that extra horizontal funk.

The Encinitas, California-based multi-instrumental musicmaker Scoobert Doobert has centred the sleepy haphazardly creeping entirety of this track on the guitar however—which is named Scoobert and which may or may not be perceived as a dog also. So there's that: this crunching liquid heavily effected low wah-wah crooning from the guitar, strains of soulful sound that evoke slouching chill, hefty compared to the tiptoeing glassy arpeggios, the dawning glitter of an electric piano, the single synth string rising putting poignancy and sprinkling spookiness into the midst of this half-stoned reverie, the holding-back-laughter giggliness of it, the rising tension sauntering sleepily downstairs, a journey to the fridge in the middle of the night.


  • ๐Ÿ”” The video for this track – presumably also created by Scoobert Doobert is spliced together snippets of Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! made so it looks like the characters are singing the guitar. After a few seconds in this clip really does become the essence of this song.


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Sunday, 30 July 2017

๐ŸŒ VISITS — HAMPTON, UK

On the outskirts of London, deep into the green and leafy suburbs on the border with Surrey, lies the town of Hampton. It's a historical old village on the River Thames, all Tudor cottages and ancient orange brick to match the equally old Hampton Court Palace, which stands a mile or so downriver.

Built in 1515 by Cardinal Wolsey before being handed over to the ferocious, many-wifed King Henry VIII, Hampton Court Palace is a world-famous heritage site. This is the draw here. Tourists from all over the globe make the journey to see the palace and its manicured gardens, but very few seem make it any further into the surrounding areas to explore and discover the charm hidden in its streets.

Hampton Village is a quiet place. It's a classically British cultural cocktail of middle class city-commuters and ex-council house tenants all drinking in the same local pub (The Dip) and playing with their children on the village green. Not much has changed here over the years. The Sainsbury's supermarket in the 1980s-born shopping precinct still serves the steady stream of old ladies shuffling with trolleys; the local youth play about in the tufts of grass between houses and do wheelies on bikes along the roads. The intoxicating thing is this village feel whilst literally being in Greater London, the endless residential greenery of it all. The village and the surrounding area are an underappreciated jumble of delicate details, preserved and maintained over centuries, old but still lived-in and cherished. Gorgeous jigsaws of tiles line the way to colour pops of glossy front doors that are shrouded with the overflowing lush greenery of a rainy English summer. The epitome of Britishness, delicate gardens of flowers and sturdy bricks, people living out their lives in buildings older than America. Once a vital lifeline in trade and transport, the River Thames at its Hampton stretch isn't much more than a weekend playground for yachters and other riverine enthusiasts. But along the riverbank history is haphazardly buried. We stumbled into Garrick's Temple to Shakespeare, a Neoclassical folly built in 1756 by the actor David Garrick who used to live in the large "villa" across the road. The temple is set in a slice of greenery along the banks of the Thames and is kept up to date by the Shakespeare trust and welcoming volunteers.

A copy of a Zoffany painting inside the temple depicts the riverside as it was almost 300 years ago, with the same grassy undulations leading to the river itself, a small weeping willow sapling by the bank, still here today and gigantic. In England you are never far away from oldness. Bushy Park is also full of old trees. Connected to Hampton Village on two sides, Bushy Park is one of London's Royal Parks. It's the second largest (1,100 acres) of the capital's regal green spaces and was founded by Henry VIII as part of his hunting grounds. As such the park is still home to herds of free-grazing deer that are often overly friendly and in search of scraps of picnic food. Pockets of fenced well-kept gardens and grassy meadows bring back warm hazy childhood memories of exploring both in the depth of winter and heat of the summer. Hampton hums with its own history and claims to fame: David Gilmore had a houseboat here, Alan Turing once lived here, famous old-time architect Sir Christopher Wren lived opposite Hampton Court, Jamie T mentions the town's northerly counterpart Hampton Wick in a song. It is the quintessential "nice place". It even has one of the UK's only outdoor heated public pools. Million-pound houses sit across the road from bungalows that will one day be cleared for more million-pound houses. It's an area that seems to have undergone gentrification and reverse-gentrification all at the same time. It is tree-lined street after tree-lined street, a museum of a suburb, a model for the infinity of family bubbles.



Friday, 28 July 2017

๐Ÿฃ EMSEATEE — PEER (LOMEA REMIX)

Shuffling sheafing leafs of metallic whooshing hi-hat fluttering electric with glitching staccato sharpness, the thin cutting veilsome foundation of this track, the garage offbeat swing tending to our hearts and nerves with its gratifying regular irregularity the extra monomolecular blades that swish through the air, here is the overriding rhythm of it, London-based Lomea's remix of 'Peer'. The original track by Oxford dwelling producer Emseatee is a brooding quick march with a heavy atmosphere and similar glitching electronics, which glitters and stutters with broken down computer aesthetics towards its end.

This new version holds onto that glitchiness, twins it with satisfying organicity in the realness of its percussion, the real rattling rasp of its hi-hats, the snapping clack of the snare as it gets cut-off and left to resonate alternately, the shuffling pattern of the booming kick. Juddering stabs of electro wonderland begin to jostle as the track starts lift-off, rising synths creating a blinding blare of bright light, more and more electro parts joining and crammed together and now this intensity, this grind and buzz with still that sizzling garage rhythm, an airy track that takes the original and feeds it steroids and incants strange magic to it, grows it some wings, flies it too close to the sun.


  • ๐Ÿ”” Lomea's remix of 'Peer' is taken from The Nostos Remixes, a collection of remixes taken from Parts 1 and 2 of Emseatee's previous Nostos EPs. You can listen to it on SoundCloud or download it from Bandcamp.


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๐ŸŒญ GLACCI — CELADON FIRE

Icy: the cut glass crystalline precision yet far off distal feeling of the beginning of this track, the delicate mysterious entity vibe of it, belies what comes next. A grinding thumping mayhem erupts from its centuries old hiding place, bursts forth from the ice cavern, boulders toppling from the blocked entrance as the track marches out with the speed and intensity of techno, the dust storms raging in the wake of its unrelenting thudding kicks, a bed of crackling decayed overdriven noise spreading over the land. Nottingham-based producer Glacci ushers us into this uptempo driving beatscape with the sheer energy from those rounded kicks drawing us in and ever closer, letting it bounce into our hearts and through our veins.

YES/NO LAZY INTERVIEW #27 W GLACCI (August/2017)


But 'Celadon Fire', itself evoking something almost contradictory – a fire the colour of celadon, a sort of pale green – whilst delivering gallons of this beat-centric seismic activity, does so with a keen sweetness, a bright bold neon-leaning glaze of gemstone synth, a breezy Fox's Glacier Fruit, iridescence and clarity ringing out against the ballast of the beat and its piledriving nature. There is darkness summoned in the brutalism of the beat, but this sheen on top, this lemon curd, this sugarwork of shining sound, the bundle of glacรฉ cherries that Glacci places on top helps curb that darkness, brings it somewhere otherworldly and turns this into a beacon of a track, a flame in the darkness, the sparkling brilliance of discovery in its buoyant gravity.


  • ๐Ÿ”” 'Celadon Fire' is taken from Glacci's debut album Lifeforce, out via London label Terrorhythm on 31st July. You may pre-order from iTunes if you like.


๐Ÿ“ 
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Thursday, 27 July 2017

๐ŸŒญ THINGS THAT ARE TASTY — KUNMING

From sharing impromptu hot pots under the gaze of blushing waitresses with two students we met on the train, to biting into warm, soft steamed buns stuffed with meat and flavour whilst getting giggled at by the girls behind the counter. We took in the city with all of its flavour and buzz and discovered a depth of taste infused with a criss-cross of ethnicities and traditions all injected with contemporary twists.

The Spring City's streets are rammed with interesting eateries that dish up delicious dinners late into the night. We ate our way through the best places in Kunming we could find to fill a hole in our hungry traveller stomachs.

๐Ÿด Northwest Style Barbecue, Kunming Branch ่ฅฟๅŒ—้ฃŽๆƒ…็ƒง็ƒค ๆ˜†ๆ˜Ž
Oh what an introduction to what we now know to be such a classic Chinese way of eating: ็ซ้”… huo guo. Known in English as hot pot, it's a metal pot of filled with a broth various spices and herbs, split down the middle into two flavours: one herbal and cooling, the one other spicy and red. The guys we were with told us to choose the stuff we wanted to cook in the hot pot from a buffet of small dishes. We chose plates of small quail's eggs, lotus root, meat balls and tofu. The boys picked up a lot more.

We slid the selections into the broth and spent time chatting and drinking and until the food was cooked, soft and tender. Each item was rich with the flavours of the stock. It was a fun way to eat, excitedly selecting small dishes from a long table laden with various selections of nibbles ready to cook. There were even small buns and cakes for pudding too.

Read more about our meal and the fun we had with the guys here!

๐Ÿด Su Ji Xiang, Vegetarian Buffet

Buffets are just such good value in China. The vegetarian kind are especially good as you don't have to navigate strange off-cuts of unknown meat and are left to effortlessly explore Chinese cuisine. This place cost 20 yuan (£2.30) and we got to eat a wide array of Yunnanese dishes that were cooked using fresh ingredients. Su Ji Xiang was busy with locals eating a mid-week dinner with families and friends on a rainy evening.

๐Ÿด It's Cafe
Kunming has a growing trendy independent cafe scene, where young people chill out. It's Cafe was a wonderful place to find, its soft focus on image and a style leaning towards a Chinese imprint of a laid-back coffee house. The decor was casually considered with delicate detail, such as the stylishly shaped mugs that embodied the equally contemporary atmosphere.

We hung out, wrote and planned our travels at It's Cafe. The people who work there were friendly and the atmosphere was easy and chilled, penetrated only by the beat of Slim Shady LP being played over the speakers. A guy weighed out coffee and slipped it into bags to sell to disdaining customers. A serene pocket in the middle of the city, we wish It's Cafe could be our local cafe.

๐Ÿด Vegetarian Hot Pot
What a find, what a deal! For 25 yuan (£2.80) you can have yourself an all-you-can-eat vegetarian hot pot. We sat and pondered what to do as the coloured plastic plates of potatoes and tofu passed us by on the what we seem to call a sushi go round, but with no sushi. The lady who was serving us kindly explained as best as she could to two westerners, with zero mandarin, that one side of the pot was hot – she mined cooling down her mouth her hands – and the other was cool; she mimed a swoosh of air coming out of her mouth. We nodded, thanked her and then looked around hopelessly for a hint of what to do from our fellow diners.

Our hot pot was filled with a kettle and we simply took passing plates from the conveyor belt and popped 'em into our hot pot. And then we waited while they cooked. We sat close together in small seats and chatted through the steam of the pot whilst eating our moneys worth and more.

๐Ÿด #51 Cafe
With a dark and stylish interior this cafe felt a little more grown up than the whimsical and cute It's Cafe. We were served coffee in delicate china, and poured it ourselves from a jug. It's not the way we are usually served coffee, but it was somewhat satisfying to pour it. Felt real sophisticated like. The coffee was fairly strong and it was a good place to hide during a downpour.

๐Ÿด Bao
Bao (ๅŒ…) is the best. Warm and soft, snacking on bao in China saved us from being dangerously hungry, since usually steamed buns are sold super cheaply and are quite easy to find. The spicy tofu filling in these ones were some of the best we had from street side stalls from all of the places we ate on our trip in China. For about 20p a bun we couldn't help ourselves from picking up a snack every time we sauntered past, which was every day. The girls serving us were really sweet—if a little embarrassed to have their picture taken!

๐Ÿด Bao
A good bao place near to our hotel, we had some late night snacks from this place. There aren't any English signs so it is helpful to learn the Chinese characters for basic fillings for steamed bun. Minced pork is the classic filling but we also love the spicy tofu.

๐Ÿด Salvador's

We needed some space to plan our trip onward to Vietnam and just a little time out from the city and also... we really fancied some home comforts. After seeing the menu online we hot-footed it down to Salvador's which is tucked neatly into Culture Alley in the area surrounding Yunnan University. The menu is big and very tempting—we greedily tucked into their falafel plate and spent the rest of the afternoon sipping on a large pot french press coffee.

Buzzy with a steady stream of Western immigrants propping up the bar and locals getting a fix of the famous homemade ice cream, Salvador's is not Chinese but the Western owners have a focus on supporting and enriching the lives of their staff and the wider local community through various projects—teaching their staff English, for example. This place seems like an ever-evolving idea that is working towards something greater than itself. Cute upstairs area with tiny chairs and low tables.

๐Ÿด Vegetarian Life Style Buffet ๆจจ่กŒ่ฎฐ ็พŽๅ‘ณ็ด ้ฃŸ
Another vegetarian buffet, we arrived at this one a little later than we should have done. Usually these buffet places are all finished and done by 8pm so it's best to arrive around 6pm. Mock meats and vegetables are standard along with sweet Chinese biscuits and breads, a lot of watermelon and other fruits too.

This place was really local, not much English spoken at all but the people ran it pointed us in the right direction and we managed to let them know we were there for the buffet (20 yuan per person) and not the hot pot which was on offer too. A clean and modern place with interesting items on display, like old radios and posters of influential historical figures such as Einstein alongside some quotes.