Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Twenty Eighteen

Well, the festive season is over, but it was a good one, for me anyway.  Some nice time to chill and do nothing of consequence, and I had the added benefit of the family leaving town, which meant I was actually on a proper vacation!  I used my time well, I must say -- did some record shopping and listened to some albums that I hadn't got round to, for one.  Christmas and New Year's is also full of great radio programming on 6 music, as well as the best of lists and articles all over the place.  To be honest, so far nothing's really stood out to me on the end of year lists, but I do need to check out some end of year podcasts as those discussions are usually pretty interesting.  And I'll have to try and at least listen to Thundercat's album, Drunk, as 6 music picked it as their album of the year.  If  you're looking for something to check out I recommend the end of year stuff by Jarvis and Gilles Peterson, as well as Tom Robinson's last show of the year, which is where I heard the next track. 

I've not listened to any Can really, but will try to now.  I really like this track, Vitamin C, and was surprised it was by Can -- it seems pretty contemporary, and it doesn't have the sound that I associate with krautrock -- probably cos that term is meaningless, and probably cos all pop music has already been made, or something.  It's from 1972!  That's when Bowie was Ziggy Stardust, and it's not long after the Beatles fell apart.  But it sounds so clean and fresh!  Impressive.

I've recently been opening up to new forms of listening to, experiencing, and enjoying music.  There's lots of ways to do it out there now; I still like my CD's, vinyl, and tapes, but streaming is alright too, and it's easy -- much better than owning or getting MP3's, etc.  So nowadays I might buy something on Bandcamp but then just stream it instead of actually downloading it.  Or I'll do online radio, youtube, see what's streaming at NPR, amazon, itunes.  And now I have yet another option, through my local library -- a service by the name of Hoopla, which is what I've been using to finally listen to Drake's mixtape, More Life.  I don't know what it is about Drake... I don't really care that much for his harder-sounding rap stuff, which mostly leaves me a bit bored. But I really like his more clubby music, and he seems to be really good at a certain romantic nostalgic sound -- the softer pop side in other words.  I like that he's into that, and that he's into different sounds from different places -- so he'll have references to Toronto's Caribbean community on his album, as well as English rappers like Giggs and Skepta.  And he'll give them credit too -- I really like this story about how being sampled for the track One Dance made a huge impact on Kyla.  So here's a few Drake tracks that give me the feels, as well as an amusing cover version (I couldn't find a way put up Get it Together, but check it out -- features an 18 year old singer from the Midlands, Jorja Smith, and housey production from South Africa):

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

"I had good intentions"

So since 2013 we've been blogging about Disclosure. It's funny to see how massive these brothers have become - MASSIVE. They're part of the mainstream in America, which is really saying something I think, for a dance act from the UK. But it goes to show how much ground house music has broken here in Yankland in recent years...and yes even though house music has been American all along, being born in the gay black scenes of Chicago.

For the last week or so I've been listening to both of Disclosure's albums. Laugh at me for writing this way late, way past when these albums have been released - but I don't care. "Settle" from 2013 really seems to be just 24/7 house, while "Caracal" is more pop and r&b focused. I won't post up the links to the songs here, since they're so well-known and easy to find, but my favourites from "Caracal" are "Jaded" (even though I think it has too many lyrics), "Good Intentions" (I infuse some Sufism into it) and the closing track "Masterpiece", which is a real surprise.

Excerpt from a pitchfork interview (laugh, I don't care):
"The thing that got us into garage was dubstep. And once you’re into dubstep, you just start tracing it back. Because dubstep is obviously stemmed from grime, and grime is from garage, and garage from house. That’s the path we found.
In college, I had loads of friends who were into grime and I went to grime and dubstep raves. After a while, DJs just started playing old house and garage records again! We were going to watch Oneman, Jackmaster, and Ben UFO, back in 2009, and those guys were dropping old-school garage records—every third song would be an absolute classic. And we had no idea what some of those songs were. That’s when we decided to buy all that stuff and learn about it. Just because we were 10 years old the first time around doesn’t mean we can’t listen to it now; even though we got to it late, we still discovered it naturally, through buying records."

Man, 2009 both seems like yesterday and also a really long time ago. Time is elastic, I've thought for a while now.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Gorgon City Rinse FM mix from February 2015

House music is THE BEST WORK MUSIC.


I love mixes and I've loved this one since it came out. God, it's 2 hours of PURE BLISS.


Thank you Gorgon City! Muah.
(I also have exciting news regarding music and me...ooh la la).

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Memories of the Future*

* RIP The Spaceape

Self-loathing a go go
I grew up in the 80's and 90's and one thing I'm still pretty nostalgic for from my youth are tapes, cassette tapes -- TDK D90s and the like.  They have an appeal to me that vinyl and CD's don't.  I was at home today and I stuck on an old tape just to have something to listen to, one I dug out from a box in my parents' basement on one of my Michigan trips.  Didn't look at the tracklist or anything, just put it on.  While listening I guessed it's from the late 90's as most of the tracks seem to have been taped from CD's I was reviewing for my old college station.  All electronic, including some euphoric trance!  A couple of the tracks made me look at the tape to figure out what they were though.  First up is 'Rae' by Autechre.  I was surprised when I saw it was them as in my mind Autechre are very angular and harsh, where as this is a very pretty tune:

The other track I looked at the cover for is by an artist I cannot remember at all anymore -- Chistoph De Babalon.  Here are some nice breakbeats:

While I'm at at, I'll put something by Genaside II up as well.  A very mysterious act I came across on a cover mounted free cassette with the long-defunct Select magazine.  This was basically pre-internet so I never really knew a whole about them, but they had some crazy imagery, I remember that.  I'll do some digging tonight.  This version of the track, a vocal version, is actually hard/impossible to find outside of that cassette -- so hard that I've just recorded it to wav from the original cassette and am putting it on soundcloud (actually that didn't happen, so I'm using another random site, god knows how long this'll stay up).  Appreciate!

Try this link if the player doesn't work

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Tunes heard on KCRW

Whoa! Hey!
I'm back! Whoever reads this! (Somehow each post gets hundred of views? Who are you all?? Tell us).

I now live in the very sunny city of Los Angeles. I can't remember the last time it rained here. Earlier this week for 3 days it was at least 100 degrees Fahrenheit.

Anyway, enough about the weather. As a resident of this city, like many I ended up getting a car and in said-car (I named her Mariana...and also one of my two protagonists in the next film I'm writing is also named Mariana...heh) I listen to the radio. The legendary KCRW plays some good stuff sometimes. Thursday night on my late drive home I realized that they play some electronic tunes and other cool things.

A couple of discoveries I made so far, the new Burial tune - which Fahad says he blogged or WhatsApp'd about before, oops. Check it out, it's fantastique:

Another one is by a band I never heard of, apparently they are a Australian "psychedelic rock" band. Well upon reading that Wikipedia description of them I may not get around to hearing more of their stuff, but this tune is great. Here's the longer version, rather than the radio version, of "Let It Happen" by Tame Impala:

More soon. I must say, Shazam is extremely handy.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Summertime '83

I do feel like most things in pop have already been done.  Not exactly a profound thought, I know.  I heard this Style Council song for the first time today (go ahead, judge me) and I found it to be so 2010's -- more so after watching the quite astonishing video.  Very sexual?  Check.  Wonky R&B played by white people?  Check.  Drake-style dad dancing?  Check.  Retro (!) electronics?  Check.  It's got it all!

A couple of months ago I finished my second Mark Radcliffe book.  I quite like the bloke as a DJ but his writing is... surprising.  Actually what's surprising is that he's had so many books published.  Anyway, the one I read recounts tales from his life in music, and includes an account of his first interview with David Bowie.  At the time Bowie said that his favourite albums of his own were 'Diamond Dogs'and 'Lodger' so of course I checked those out from the library and yeah, not bad.  'Diamond Dogs' has that 70's sound that I'm not really into right now, the glam thing, but 'Lodger' was better than expected.  I was afraid of something sludgy but it's quite bright, which I suppose makes sense since it came out on the cusp of the 80's.

Incidentally, the cover to 'Lodger' wouldn't look out of place today -- it looks like a (good) fashion ad.

The artist formerly known as Throwing Shade is now trading under her own name of Nabihah Iqbal and is about to release a new album on Ninja Tune.  I heard the first single off of it online yesterday and on the radio today, and it's quite nice -- has a very 80's sound to it, and I can relate to it's lyrics about ennui upon waking up in the morning very well!  It's extra interesting to me because, having seen a video of her process, I feel like I can almost hear how the track was made.  That's not to belittle her achievement, or say it was easy -- there's still musical talent involved (and after all, she's studied ethnomusicology at SOAS!).  But check out her FACT video and maybe you'll be able to hear the components of the new single too.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

I can't stand the

Sometimes I wonder if there's any point in posting, since a lot of my posts are basically "hey, I heard this and liked it".  But then I look back on a post, hear something great that I posted, and think this is worth it damn it!  Even if the posts are ultra simple, maybe it's something a reader hasn't come across... and if nothing else it's a useful archive for me/us.

So, on to what I've heard and liked recently, heh.  Vince Staples is a rapper out of Long Beach who's quite critically acclaimed -- in fact his latest album, Big Fish Theory, has been described as the second best rap album of 2017 so far (first being Damn by Kendrick Lamar, which is good, so good that when he pops up on Big Fish Theory I get quite happy).  I had to listen to it with praise like that, so got it out from the library.  I've found it a mixed bag -- overall good, but some of the production is a little overwhelming, at least as heard in my car.  There a couple of tracks I really like though, I only wish they were longer!  Almost every track on the album is around three minutes long, or less, which just doesn't seem like enough to me.  Interesting little thing I noticed -- at least three of the tracks mention rain; I wonder if the recent end of the drought in Southern California affected Staples' writing?

First track up is Crabs in a Bucket.  It's the opener for the album, and I was hoping it would set the tone for a UK funky type of direction, but it didn't -- the album is pretty electronic though.  This track actually reminds me a bit of Hyph Mngo by Joy Orbison -- see what you think:

It's definitely a track that I'd like to see a full 12 inch version of, with remixes, if things like that still happen -- could work well on the dancefloor.

Next is up is a track called Alyssa Interlude, but don't let the name fool you -- it's not much shorter than the other tracks on the album, and yeah, I wish it was a lot longer -- it feels like it's just getting started when it ends.  Features an interesting clip of Amy Winehouse talking at the beginning:

The album itself is only 12 tracks, so a quick listen and I would say worth checking out.