Friday, 24 September 2021

Bite-sized Bits 09

Mary Pratt - Smears of Jam, Lights of Jelly (2007)

Another reminder for myself because if I've learned anything over the past year and a bit of Bandcamp Fridays is that wishlisting something to get 'soon' is quite often a lie. Still, here we have a recent addition to that ever growing list, the solo project(s) of Ken Tanaka of Hyakkei. Hyakkei were already on my wishlist of stuff to get as I felt like dipping my toes back into the post-rock world again, and another one I was kind of surpised to find on Bandcamp actually.

Discogs is a little misleading if you go to Ken's page - it doesn't list any of his four solo albums that you can find alongside Hyakkei's works. I checked them out expecting more good post-rock stuff, just solo, and I was half-right. Stealing a line from slightly stilted press piece on the official YT upload of this single - "... a sound approach such as post-rock and electronica, what comes to mind is a nostalgic and warm Japanese Landscapes." which is pretty dead on actually.

A mixture of acoustic and electronic a la some of The Flashbulb's stuff, it's a very pleasant listen. Really the closest comparison I could make would be the similar vibe that The Knife were rocking on their debut and on some of their soundtrack work; think tracks like 'Vegetarian Restaurant' but with a little more electronics going on. As you might have guessed from the title this one is very indulgent piece, loaded with anthemic guitar licks, it just absolutley screams 'indie'. Perhaps a touch generic, but I like it enough. To use the analogy I've mentioned before: sometimes you just need a bit of comfort food, and this is the audio equivalent of that for me.


Thursday, 23 September 2021

Bite-sized Bits 08

Jacek Yerka - The Moonlight Bed (2002)

A return to a cult classic this time, with another bit from James Stinson's one-off side project The Other People Place. I've already done a big post on this album in the past, which is why I can't believe I hadn't put this one up before. It's a fairly short album too - clocking in at just 8 tracks and just a little over 51 minutes long but for each and every one Stinson absolutely nails the slick melancholy-tinged atmosphere that defines the album.

Let Me Be Me is still my favourite of the bunch, but I love the whole thing - Moonlight Rendezvous came on this morning and reminded me of that - something about it just hit the spot today, think I might be in the mood for this kind of high-tech stuff (no change there then!). You can be forgiven for thinking that it's a little plain and monotonous (though arguably that is part of the album's intention), Moonlight Rendezvous really comes into it's own if you can spare the time to listen on some proper headphones, it really lets all the little delicate touches shine and fully immerses you in that bass line.

The full LP comes highly recommended from me if you like what you hear. Its a shame that we never got more of this project as Stinson sadly died not long after its release - little bits and pieces have come out since though, Laptop Cafe by a one 'Jack Peoples' is the remnants of a follow up mini-album salvaged from DAT tapes. It took me a long time to even find it as they puzzlingly used a new alias rather than The Other People Place name and I haven't actually listened to it in detail yet - but I'm thankful for there to be more, even if it is unfinished demos.


Wednesday, 22 September 2021

Bite-sized Bits 07

Bernd Luz - Dakar 86 (2015)

Proper flashback for this entry. I still have a lot of love for that golden eras of Electro House of the late 2000s, one that is definitely tinged by nostalgia - after all, that's the time I started seriously writing on here. But for all the love I have for it, there are for sure a couple of tracks I used to be mad about that have lost a bit of their lustre over the years since.

I mention all that to lead into this, I had a Kavinsky tune come on the other day and man, is it as good as ever. OutRun might have been a mixed bag of an album, but I can't argue that the singles from it were all proper belters. It's odd that he just dropped off the map afterwards and hasn't really done anything since, especially considering the massive explosion in Synthwave stuff around that time, Kavinsky was a real trailblazer in that area after all. For my money though, the earlier Kavinsky EPs are still fantastic to this day - at the risk of sounding like a teenager again the SebastiAn remix of Testarossa Autodrive is a straight banger (as is the original, which would even go on to make an appearance on OutRun as well).

Kavinsky's first EP from 2006 Teddy Boy is home to both of them, along with some other oddities like an Arpanet remix of Nightdrive and a chopped up Mr. Oizo remix of Autodrive, but then again this was just before the massive electro house explosion of '07 so a little weirdness is to be expected. I've gone with the original Nightdrive this time - partly because I love an underdog and feel like it gets overlooked but also because it's a damn fine demonstration of how locked in to his style he was from the get-go. Coming back to it, its still a great debut and worth checking out - especially if this is your first hearing of Kavinsky due to his release drought.


Tuesday, 21 September 2021

Bite-sized Bits 06

Vija Celmins - Mount Holyoke (1987)

A tale as old as time on here - this time we're talking a tune that I found on a compilation. I originally found this one on the We Are The Works In Progress compilation, put together in for Japan Society and Architecture For Humanity after the 2011 Tsunami. It's a slightly eclectic collection featuring some favourites of mine, notable a rare Broadcast offering and a proper unicorn of a solo piece from Karin Dreijer Andersson not in their Fever Ray guise.

My pick of today isn't any of those though (and not just because I couldn't find BC or other legit players for them!), I've gone with one of the tracks that sort of took me by surprise. Nosaj Thing had always been in my periphary, the kind of thing that gets recommended to you all the time when you dip into that side of the hip hop world - think your Flying Lotuses and your Prefuse 73s, but as is the case with so many folks in that category, it was always on the perpetual backburner of stuff to check out. This comp changed that though.

Nightcrawler is not quite as sinister as the name would suggest. The opposite in fact - it's an absolutley gorgoeus piece, and one that's pretty far from the Hip Hop vibes that made Nosaj appear in my recommendeds anyway. I looked up the EP it was originally from on Discogs just becuase I was struggling to pin it down, it's listed as IDM on there which I can kind of see, but as usual with an umbrella term like that I don't think it does a great job of describing it, this one especailly as it errs more on the ambient side. But it is just fantastic through and through, I could live in these sounds forever - that buttery smooth backing is the kind that scratches that very specific itch of mine - and the extra garnishes make it extra sweet as as well. Thankfully it's available on Nosaj's label's bandcamp page, so you don't have to track down either the compilation or the super limited original EP that it originally appeared on - proper value at just 1 dollar to boot.

I do like it when artists do stuff like this, I'm not as heavy into collection as I used to be but it does always irk me when there's these super limited releases - so I welcome any time releases become more accessible like this. I've still got a couple of releases from Nosaj in the queue to check out, one of which is more in this ambient vein as well so there might be more to come in the future. Until next time, as always, stay safe and enjoy the music.