Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Shobaleader One: D'demonstrator (Review)

I'd be lying if I said I'd been keeping up to date with Warp's new releases after trawling their back catalogue for classics, but as I went to pick up more stuff from bleep.com I noticed 'Pushers new album. I knew it was coming, I'd heard Cryptic Motion, so I decided to check it out. And I was stunned.



Squarepusher is back, with a new "band" and this time bringing what I can only describe as his own twisted vision of Electro House to the table, or as Warp describes it: "The perplexingly titled 'Shobaleader One' is a dizzy whirl of proggy, vocodered soul; double-jointed electro-funk; Daft Punk-esque disco; electrifying finger-taps and various other mutations of speed-metal and fluorescent pop music". And with that in mind, my first album review:


It begins with Plug Me in, opening with some simple guitar chords we've seen before on Ultravisitor and Just A Souvenir. And then the beat drops, and the vocals too which carefully dance the line between vocoded and auto tuned, and all of a sudden it's a different beast entirely from anything we've heard before. Almost perfect opener IMO, just a bit too laid back in comparison to the rest of the album. 9/10



Here is where the Electro dabbling starts, set to some funky guitar riffs and even more almost incomprehensible vocoded verses. And while it's not going to set the floors on fire like We Are From Venice, it's damn fine electro, just with added guitars. think Pourriture X or Planisphere Part 4, only less crunchy. Overall, a very decent song, but it can get tedious after a while if you're looping it as I am. 8/10



I honestly have no idea how to describe this track. There's nothing to compare it to but I'll do my best :). One of the more laid back tracks on the album, Into The Blue keeps it fairly simple and focuses on the lyrics, sounds like some crazy futuristic pop from the 80's. I can hate or love this track depending on when it comes up, so I'm going with my gut feeling at the moment.6/10





Frisco Wave is a very strange track indeed, it sounds like a more modern track from Aphex Twin's unreleased Melodies From Mars; and that's not a bad thing at all. No vocals on this one, and as the first instrumental (minus a few random vocalisations) track of the album it's not too shabby, something about it just hits all the right places. Perhaps it's that melody, rising and falling in waves (no pun intended), which is too damn catchy for it's own good! 9/10



Megazine (the track used in the D'demonstrator trailer) is what happens when 'Pusher decides he wants to do some Metal fused with his new Electro style. and he knows how to make it last, introducing the now expected vocoders over the top and some droney synths in the background. And just when you're getting tired of it, there's a kick ass guitar solo in the last quarter that injects the track with some much needed freshness at the right moment, and because of that Megazine gets an 8/10.



By far my favourite track on the album, Abstract Lover is a slow moving electro number, the satisfying beats lead into the synth-esque guitar riffing which is simply amazing. the way it merges and flows with the beats is just fantastic and the vocals only add to the winning combination. Already in my list of favourite songs ever and one of the best electro tunes I've heard in a long while, I only wish it was longer than three minutes. 10/10



This one's a bit of a mash. It's like Jazz mashed with an 80's power ballad and some hair metal. Yeah. The track gets much better after about a minute or so if you haven't given up on it by that time, only just my least favourite but still good, if only for the later parts. 5/10



I shouldn't really need to explain this one, but I will anyway. Released earlier as a single, it's pretty much the gateway to the album. In short: if you like Cryptic Motion, you will like D'demonstrator. One of the best tracks here as it pretty much encompasses everything the album is about. only compliant: could be a bit shorter, but that's me being picky 10/10



and the finale, which like Megazine is straight up screechy guitars in your face. This time with added kicks, even more guitars over the top and some soft synths for good measure. And while that kickdrum does come across as a bit obnoxious at first, it soon slides into it's place in the mix. It sets out to be as outrageously filthy as it can, and it succeeds.8/10



And that rounds up my first review, I would've included the Japanese bonus track, but it was hard to find a 320 of it, regardless it's similar to Planck and Megazine so if you like them, check it out, it's brilliantly titled "On Fire Again"



Now for Shobaleader One, the 'band' itself, I love the look and the anonyminity of them, it really adds to the aesthetic of the album as a whole. Odds are we'll never find out who they are (yet), they all have adopted psuedonyms and according to 'Pusher they come from a metal background but also are "mad into" R'n B. you can certainly feel that style on the record, as they set out to make what the Square man himself calls "Space Pop".

At the moment he says he's writing more material for them to perform as it's an "ongoing experiment", and is in touch with Andre 3000 from Outkast after he stated he'd like to collab with him. Make of that what you will, I'm off :).

What the hell is a Shobaleader?,
-Claude Van Foxbat

Sunday, 24 October 2010

[GXC 002] Poka - Phoenix Sun EP

Hi, my name is Jordan and I like Disco.

Sorry I couldn't find an image for this one.


I've written about poka many times. You know why? Because he is fucking incredible.

The 2nd installment of Galaxie Comete Records is a bit... more modest than usual (for the most part). If you can recall my GXC 006 post, which is also featuring Poka's work, it was in-your-face, cut-up, and pure awesomeness. However, Phoenix Sun EP takes a lighter approach at modern disco house - and it's welcomed.

Phoenix Sun starts off as a down-to-earth funk track, and stays that way for the majority of the song. While the track doesn't change all too much, everything flows together quite beautiful, making it the perfect track for almost any mood.



Heartbreaker is equally modest and equally awesome. The vocals in this track really make it glow, and the loops travel through the song so subtly that even your annoying friends who label everything as "so repetitive omg" will like it. Heartbreaker is truly a beautiful track, and there's no escaping that.

Poka - Heartbreaker

Party In Me is straight up audiporn. The energy is this song is so concentrated, it's hard to explain unless you're listening to it for yourself (so click that damn play button). The lyric cuts add a nice touch, and the everything-else (guitar clicks, drums, bells, etc) make this song a chunky funky soup. This happens to be my personal favorite track from this release, and I feel it also has the best sound development. The title's pretty funny too - gross if you really think about it.



Live Together is a complicated track to explain. It starts off with a basic lounge style, and develops into a rhythm-friendly sound, which greatly resembles early house music, and hey, who doesn't love early house music? While there isn't a whole lot to say about this track, it's a great way to end a great album.



And as a bonus, just so you can see how versatile this guy is.



So there you have it. Hopefully with this post, you were able to get some insight into one of the best house musicians of today's time (he's here to stay, bitches), and maybe even pickup some great tunes for your library.

Comments are greatly appreciated,
Prez

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Freaky Frequencies

As I'm sure you've seen from my other Pick 'N Mix posts, I have a soundtrack for almost everything. And this October is no different, I have an assortment of tunes to make you dance, and some to creep you out. Let's begin :)



I'll start with the electro first, Oizo delivers with the original version of pourriture, not necessarily a Halloween song but fits the bill quite well with it's screechy guitars and haunting vocals. I'm also using it for my Zombie movie I'm doing at college, so there's that too!



This one earns it's place on the list simply because it samples old zombie flicks, what more can you ask for at this time of year, eh? There's a surprising lack of samples like that actually, I sense a gap in the market! I will team up with someone and create Progressive Zomstep House! any takers?



Next up is a track I heard best described as "the theme to the most messed up and awesome game show ever". Sébastien's weird combo actually works out pretty well, it's catchy as all hell despite sounding incredibly cheesy at the beginning.



And whats Halloween without thriller? 'cept this ain't the thriller you know, it's remixed by our man La Roche. 'nuff said.



One late addition that came up as I was writing, one of my recent favourite tracks - a real downbeat number from Fever Ray, for those of you who want a more ambient night :).



For the finale, one track that will genuinely creep you out. I'm not going to say much other than if you need some sounds for freaking people out, this is the track to do it with. (fun fact: Gwely Mernans translates to "Death Bed") also, if you want more creepy stuff from AFX check out Hankie from the Warped series.



sorry for the huge gap, been bogged down with coursework and stuff, you know how it is. (not as bad as being a Chilean miner, mind) This means I won't be as regular sometimes, but now I should be back to my old schedule (for a while). Warped will continue after this post, but for now, just be glad I finally got something up. :P Define 'Regular' -Claude Van Foxbat