Thursday, 23 September 2010

It's been a while, kid.

It's the 1000th post (sorta), and I've been planning on this for a while. It's not bad news, don't worry. The site has come so far, and I don't think I need to explain why, but seeing such a great community develop over something I do for fun feels better than anything else in the world. And if you haven't noticed, we've been having trouble expanding even more. To put it harshly, we've hit a dead end. So here are some things I'd like to address. I want change. ilictronix is incredible. Absolutely phenomenal. But to be honest, it's disturbingly regular. In my opinion, it's time for something different. Something that sets us apart. I'm thinking big picture here. My original intentions for ilictronix were to spread the word of electronic music. I wanted to get artists known, and I wanted to get people to listen to some great music. We've exceeded all what I originally expected, and things are now going swimmingly. I want to start a catalog for artists that showcase their talents. Something that you'll see at the bottom of every post mentioning them. A familiar box that shows a picture, some info, and some links. On top of that, an option to rate the artists, and even an option for admins to list them as "noteworthy." I want this to be legit. I want the site to rely on the music of uncopyrighted music, or at to least have complete rights to post certain tracks. What we're doing is fine, giving well-deserved exposure. But if we wish to become a heavy-hitter in the blogosphere, we're going to have to get our shit together and branch out from this website. So what does this mean for all of us? A total site reconstruction. Is it a lot of work? Shit yeah. If these plans go through, expect a lot of downtime. Maybe even stopping the site for a month or so. We've hit a dead end, boys and girls. And now it's time to grab a sledgehammer and smash the shit out of the wall. Getting away from blogger, getting away from a feature-less website, and enriching the internet, one song at a time. So who's with me? Please leave comments listing your opinions on this matter. I'm counting on you guys to measure my own sanity. Take care, Prez

Monday, 20 September 2010

Haven't You Heard? Being A Dickhead's Cool

I'll just leave this here...via [LINK]

Memorable quotes:
- Just one gear on my fixie bike.
- Tramp Balls.
- Indeterminate sex reference.
- ???

The End.

Sunday, 19 September 2010

When I Found The Knife

Two weeks ago now, I set off on a quest to get into a band. Any band would do and I had an idea of who I was gonna look for, but I didn't really like what I heard, somehow I stumbled onto a video of The Knife I forget which song exactly but that didn't matter, all that mattered was I LOVED it. Within the hour I had listened to every track from their three albums and counted the cost, and now here we are.

Bit of backstory for them first before I jump into the tracks: The Knife are an electronic duo from Sweden, consisting of Karin Dreijer Andersson and her brother, Olof Dreijer. Olof does the tracks whilst Karin lends her vocals to them. And if you've heard What Else Is There? by Royksopp you'll have an idea of how she sounds. Onto the tracks: probably their most popular one (famously covered by José Gonzalez and used to advertise Sony's Bravia TVs) is Heartbeats. chances are if you liked José's you'll like this, after all they ARE the same song, although The Knife's is slightly more upbeat.

They rarely perform live, but when they do, it's really something else. I'd say it's up with Kraftwerk's and Daft Punk's concerts as an experience. Hell, the live audio is entitled "An Audio Visual Experience". have a look for yourself, first of all: The Audio, it's much slower than the studio one, I don't know which one I like more.

Second: The Visuals, they certainly know how to put on a good show, minimal as it may be.

I don't really have much more to add than that, so have more songs instead; This one's a nice slice of lovely electronica. The hype sticker inclded with my copy of Silent Shout has a quote on it along the lines of "...echoes of Kraftwerk, stunning", and while I do kind of roll my eyes at that description, Forest Families certainly lends itself to that comparison at least a little. Like the entirety of Silent Shout there's much more of a cold atmosphere to the electronics, and it's one I am totally in love with.

A rare instrumental this one - taken from the soundtrack they did for a swedish indie film called Hannah Med H (Literally meaning 'Hannah with a 'H' if I recall correctly). It's a bit of a shame there aren't more instruwmntals from them on the main albums, as much as I love Karin's voice, though there are plenty to go at on this soundtrack. It's in a strange valley between the delightfully indie first album and the poppier follow up Deep Cuts, even as far as various tracks from the soundtrack being included on re-issues of both those albums. The soundtrack is worth picking up even if you haven't seen the movie, The Knife's work stands alone and isn't overly 'soundtrack-y'. There's some gorgeous acoustic bits that you can expect to make an appearance soon too, in the meantime get a load of this trancy cut The Bridge

There's definitley an overall bleakness to their lyrical content, very pronounced on Silent Shout as you'll have heard above but even on the initally bubblegum-sounding Deep Cuts there's an element of that present. Take One For You for example, aside from being more downbeat than say Heartbeats, Karin's delivery is fittingly subdued. The glittery explosion of sound around 2 minutes in is lovely though backed by slightly concering lines like "Then they let us go to hunt us down again"

Definitley expect to hear more from them in the future, I'll do my best to keep it varied and to break up this slow streak we're having latley. damn life interfering with my internet self!

Pining For The Fjords,
-Claude Van Foxbat

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

A Very Warped History 3: 1994 (2 Of 2)

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This post. this was the one I anxiously awaited doing when I started this series. Some of you will like it, many of you will probably not, Some of you may even grow to love it as much as I do, as is the case with the majority of these Warped posts. It peaked at number #11 in the UK album charts, being another case of Warp's success stories and probably their most unconventional and experimental release. And you know it's going to be good when Aphex himself describes it as "like standing in a power station on Acid" But that's enough chit chat, let's get stuck into it shall we?

Selected Ambient Works Volume II is one of my favourite albums of all time, (and I'm not kidding when I say it owes me weeks of my life back, it's over two hours long) I'm sure most of you think of grinding beats and snare rushes when you think of AFX, but this album is full on ambient in the style of Brian Eno's soundscapes of his "Ambient: X" series. It's unique in that none of the tracks (apart from one) are actually named, Instead of a tracklist on the rear you are given this image:

Confusing right? that is, until you learn that the symbols match up with pictures in the linear notes. an example of one can be seen here, showing the one named track, Blue Calx, and a full decode and explanation can be found on this page. I love that idea, leaving the names entirely up to the listener/viewer, and is only the beginning of the mysterious properties of SAW2. Also, no matter how natural and smooth the tracks sound, remind yourself that ALL these tracks are electronic. Yes, I was blown away too.

Now, onto the actual tracks; as mentioned before it is entirely ambient with only one or two tracks featuring any kind of beats at all, but it's not about that, it's about the textures and compositions of them. Some are dark, some are light, but each has it's own specific feel. Here are some of my favourites (leaving out most of the more sinister tracks to make it easier to listen to)

Take for example, Track One (or Cliffs, if you've seen the pie charts). This is where you'll decide if you like, dislike or love the album. I'll let the music talk for me on this one. turn the lights off, relax, and just listen

Arguably the most "known" track from SAW2 is 'Rhubarb', it's been used in plenty of things from animation shorts to service testing for the BBC. And it's also arguably one of the best, I can't really describe the feeling, a combination of melancholy and nostalgia maybe? Regardless, give it the same treatment as Cliffs and you can't go wrong.

I feel the album flows much better with all the mellow tracks together, but that's not to say I hate the more sinister pieces. sometimes you gotta creep yourself out you know? oh, and this track isn't included on the US release so enjoy, it's a semi-exclusive! (2019 update; thanks to the advent of streaming, no longer as exclusive. Hope this works for all you in the US)

Moving back to the relaxed side of the spectrum, the opener from the second CD and the explicitly named track, Blue Calx. Picture a more ambient version of Nil from the first half of this post and this is what you'll get. You know what to do. (2019 update: oddly not named on the spotify track listing for some reason. Oh well, much the same for all the others I suppose)

Another quasi-popular track and one of the more accessible from the album is Z Twig, much like Rhubarb it has that "I've heard this before but I dont know where" feeling. Stay tuned for this one cropping up again in a themed post soon, I have other plans for it.... planned.

Time now for Exclusive number two, released only on the vinyl version and hard as hell to find a decent rip of on the net (I Scoured for months to find this copy), enjoy a 320 of probably the best track from the whole album; Stone In Focus. It's not posted on any blogs as far as I can tell. it's fascinating in that the little click in the background changes tempo sporadically, and the song speeds and slows in the same way. Amazing stuff. (2019 update, not on spotify this one, so youtube embed it's got to be. Also not as rare as it was 10 years ago, you can buy it digital and direct from the man himself here

Annnnnd time for one last track before I wrap this one up, Lichen is more of a classical piece, it's lovely for doing nothing at all to. So much so that AFX himself used to put it in his sets as a cool down song in the late 90's, and the crowds loved it, maybe for the occasional wave of bass, maybe for the smoothness of the sounds. You decide for yourself.

So there you have it, Selected Ambient Works Volume II in a nutshell. And it sums up Warp pretty well too: a label releasing experimental music that are moderately popular, and then become cult classics that people like me get to rant and rave about.

To all those who aren't a fan of Ambience; I apologise, BUT I will say that you should really tune in for the next few entries as we enter the prime time of Warp in the mid-nineties, they're a lot more accessible and less... shall we say "out there"

Imagine, You Are A Cloud,
-Claude Van Foxbat

Sunday, 5 September 2010

Mr. Brown's Festival Review: Laundry Day 2010

As I mentioned before I went to Laundry Day yesterday, so it’s time for another festival review I guess… Because Laundry Day was an open air festival that happened during daytime, some pretty fun stuff happened you’d normally miss: I saw a 14 year old girl vomiting at 2 o’clock, some guys stealing fire extinguishers backstage and trying to make a foam party by themselves ... But above else the festival was a safe one considering all the buzz since the Love Parade incident. The first noteworthy performance I saw was a live performance by the Waxdolls. This electropunk duo from Ghent (off course they’re Belgians) knew how to work a crowd. It’s probably best to describe them as a mix between the Subs (they bring the same energy to the stage) and MSTRKRFT back in the day (combining rock with electronic bleeps)… After only one year of existence, Waxdolls shared the stage with Vitalic, Digitalism, and Alter Ego. And if that still doesn’t convince you these boys are doing a great job, here’s their most recent single:

And here’s another track from their first album High Speed Killer Ride (buy it, these guys rock!):

The next performance I want to talk about is by CJ Bolland. He was giving us an amazingly consistent techno set, when suddenly the music stopped and a beatboxer took over. He gave it his all for about five minutes to end with the famous “this is going to make you freak routine…”. Mister Bolland immediately took over again by dropping it and a magical collaboration was born.

And as a little special, here’s a classic:

Last artist I want to talk about is my new hero, DJ Feadz, the reason I went to Laundry Day in the first place. His set was a mix of ravy choppy tunes and supreme mixing brilliance. He managed to keep me interested for the entire two hours he performed by giving the crowd lots of variety, lots of teasing and some catchy tunes everybody likes to hear from time to time. Highlights of the show were him dropping MC Hammer, Mr. Oizo’s Rubber (after teasing it half an hour beforehand, I was afraid you were never going to play it again, you sly devil Feadz…) and Meet Her At The Love Parade by Da Hool.
I’m just to forget the obligatory Uffie you played and keep watching out for your next performance. I will try and get my hands on the set DJ Feadz played and post it when I finally track it down.

All in all Laundry Day was a nice festival (but damn you Netsky playing at the same time as Feadz, I felt bad missing you). Sorry for spamming the blog with posts, but I might be gone for 3 weeks…

Enjoy, Mr. Brown