Friday, 25 February 2011

Phantom goodness

Ok, I'm 7 minutes in listening to this new mix by the Phantom's Revenge and I just had to post this as soon as I could...

So enjoy ladies and gentlemen just like I am right now:

Mr. Brown out!

Thursday, 24 February 2011

The Numbers. What Do They Mean?

Like it or not, numbers rule everything around you, everything from temperature to test scores is dictated by them. So I was looking through my record collection today and numbers are a consistent element in my music; a lot of tracks I have either have numbers in the title, or are simply named after the numbers themselves. And with that, here are a few choice cuts from my catalogue. Starting with the track that got me thinking about this post. Three is fittingly the third track on Massive Attack's sophomore effort Protection, The song itself has little to do with the number other than a brief mention in the opening verses and the sampled voice in the background that could be saying "Three" or "Free" depending on how much attention you're paying.

Boards Of Canada have always had a way with numbers, their own label Music70, Numbers Station samples on Geogaddi and finally: Twoism. Their first commercially available release, featuring remnants of their original techno stylings fused with the chilled out sounds they're now known for along with some pretty strange vintage samples.

Obligatory Danger track coming up, seeing as pretty much all his track names are numbers 'n letters combos. The best track he never released as well as the first I heard by him, the old but still fresh 13H12 ranks up there with my favourite electro tracks of all time. Pure dancefloor moving energy, 'nuff said.

One half of The Knife here with some of Karin Dreijer's solo project. Taking an upbeat turn compared to the rest of her solo album, Seven almost sounds like it could be a Knife track but has a much more... natural feel than the stuff from Silent Shout, Dreijer's distinct vocals and lyrical content being the only concrete similarities.

Alright, I'll admit I started struggling for ideas here so I came up with these. Years are still numbers right? right! Up first with 1983 from the album of the same name is Flying Lotus. This was before Warp signed him on and he was instead on L.A. based independant label Plug Research. While 1983 might not be his most popular album, it does have some great tunes on it. For example, if you ever wondered what 8-bit chiptune hip hop would sound like, 56 seconds in is where you wanna be.

Finally, Caspa. Yes, Caspa of "Where's My Money" fame. Only this time it's chilled out Drum 'N Bass, quite a bit different from the usual sound of the scene and more of the very early Dubstep, as in before it was even called Dubstep. He's done a few tracks like this and while it's not his best, and it might not be on par with some of Skream's tracks, it's still quite good and definitely worth a listen.

There were so many other tracks I wanted to post here but I either decided against it or it had been done already. The only one I really wish I could have put in here was Nine by Autechre, you should go check it out, it's in Part 3 of the warped posts!

11. 1. 5. 17. 5. 6,
-Claude Van Foxbat

Sunday, 20 February 2011

A Very Warped History 7.5: 1999

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A very mini entry this time as we cover another instance of Warp gaining some mainstream popularity thanks to one of their flagship acts, Aphex Twin. The Windowlicker EP is infamous because of it's downright disturbing video (and the cover art of course). Like Aphex's other infamous video, Come To Daddy, it was directed by Chris Cunningham and is actually a big parody of how mainstream Hip Hop videos and how they portray women. And an exuse for Aphex to put his face on more things.

The full Windowlicker video (NSFW)

Onto the title track, Windowlicker is really the standout from this EP, and is probably the most accessible Aphex Twin song there is, being catchy enough to grab the casual listener, but still have that Aphex edge to it. It's also one of my favourite songs ever. Even more so when the mind melting breakdown at 4:50 drops.

The second song, reffered to as [Formula] or [Equation] by fans is well... completley strange, to the untrained ear, it's probably just noise. oh and the track's actual name is THIS:

Yeah, and to top it off, the last 10 seconds or so of the song actually contain a PICTURE of Richard's face. That's right, run the end of [Formula] through a spectrograph and you get THIS:

It's not all freaky faces and noise, mind. the last Track, Nannou is a sort of prelude to the stuff that would crop up later on Drukqs, an ambient-ish piano piece. It's one of the reasons I love Aphex, he's known for his harsh electronic beat fests, but he also makes some really nice downbeat stuff as well.

So ends Windowlicker, tune in next time where I'll be covering one of my favourite underrated Warp acts, Broadcast with their debut on Warp; The Noise Made By People.

J'aime Faire Des Croquettes Aux Chiens,
-Claude Van Foxbat

Thursday, 10 February 2011

A Very Warped History 7: 1999

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When Nightmares On Wax dropped Smokers Delight in 1995, Trip Hop was going from strength to strength with records like Massive Attack's Protection, Tricky's debut Maxinquaye and Portishead's Dummy leading the way. It wasn't to last however; fast forward to the edge of the new millennium, Trip Hop is slowly fading away in favour of Drum 'N Bass and Jungle. But George Evelyn, or Nightmares On Wax, remained undeterred and brought us Carboot Soul which moves away from the ganja infused vibes of it's predecessor and instead brings more instrumentation and even a couple of tracks with vocals, courtesy of obscure soul singer Sarah Winton.

Onto the tracks, if there's one thing N.O.W does well it's intros, and Carboot is no different. Les Nuits sets the pace for the album perfectly, at the same time highlighting the progression in N.O.W's sound in both title (Smokers intro was Nights Introlude) and the actual composition itself. Have a listen, it's worth it.

A song I posted before, Morse is simply too good to pass up. After the brilliant intro you are treated to another 6 minute slice of awesome that just gets better after every breakdown as more stuff is added to the mix. also features one of my favourite basslines ever at the beginning.

N.O.W said that most of the music on Carboot soul is inspired by tunes he grew up with, namely Soul. And it's probably most prominent on this track. Incredibly funky with some obscure samples, all driven home by that great beat.

This next one plays a bit like Morse, featuring another one of my favourite basslines from the album, but it's much shorter at just 2 and a half minutes. Not much happens in it compared to some of the previous tracks, but Nightmares' production is so solid you probably won't care.

A bit of a wildcard compared to what came before and longest track on the album; Argha Noah is all about the documentary samples and low frequencies until about 1:50 when some sparse piano keys are introduced, many things come and go from the mix after this, things like organs and guitars popping up from time to time. Very hypnotic, with just enough variation to keep it fresh throughout.

The second song featuring full vocals, Survival is a slow moving R&B-esque number. Like Finer, the other track with full vocals, Nightmares' production takes a backseat as the focus shifts onto the Winton's voice and lyrics. That's not to say the backing track isn't good though.

Carboot's closing track shares similarities with Les Nuits, but with heavier beats and being generally more upbeat (well, as upbeat as chillout can be I suppose). And so the album ends the same way it began, albeit in reverse as the stings slowly fade out instead of in.

Just one more release to go before we hit the big 2K, though it's not big enough to warrant it's own part, so look forward to Warped 7.5 coming sometime soon! there's plenty to look forward to in the 2000's, including Squarepusher, Broadcast and even more from Boards Of Canada.

...And Spring Would Be A Beautiful Time In Egypt,
-Claude Van Foxbat

Thursday, 3 February 2011

A Very Warped History 6: 1998

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Ah, the ever elusive Boards Of Canada. One of my favourite electronic acts of all time. brothers Marcus Eoin and Michael Sandison have been making music as Boards Of Canada since 1987 and recorded more than 5 other albums in that time. Copies of which were only given to family and friends (all the supposed copies floating around the Internet are fake with the exception of the Old Tunes tapes and Boc Maxima) before their big break with Twoism in 1995, the record that would lead to Warp Records signing them on.

Their debut on Warp, the excellently titled Music Has The Right To Children is one of the finest electronic albums ever recorded and is a perfect introduction point for anyone new to Boards, showing off their style of trip hop flavoured beats with some ambient style synths just below the surface. BoC also have a habit of making short melodic interludes that break up the other tracks, The first of which acts as an intro to the album.

This is immediately followed by the psychedelic, sample heavy beat fest that is An Eagle In Your Mind. The drone-y synths and the samples combined make for an interesting listen, Headphones recommended for this one.

As with a few other tracks on here, Turquoise Hexagon Sun featured on an earlier release, the Hi Scores EP, and I don't blame them for including it again on here. It's a brilliant track exhibiting all the flavours that are uniquely BoC: The beats, the melodies, the samples, and just a tiny hint of nostalgia lurking beneath the surface.

Another of the brief melodic interludes follows, this being halfway through the album, you've come to expect it at this point. But what comes next is nothing short of fantastic.

One of my favourite tracks from the album, Roygbiv. (a mnemonic for the colours of the light spectrum: Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo & Violet) It was the moment the album clicked for me, starting with that catchy menacing sounding synth, slowly adding more to the mix until it becomes something truly special.

Another one of my favourites and track I've posted before; Olson. BoC really have a way of weaving emotion directly into their music, and Olson is no exception. It's awfully short but in a good way, because then the track stays just as sweet on repeat listens. An absolute classic.

Coming into the final stretch we have something that sounds a bit like early Autechre: Pete Standing Alone. Opinions vary on this track quite a bit, but personally it's one of my favourites, so much so I once had it on repeat for about 15 minutes without realising.

To play us out, what is in my opinion a perfect closer to this album. I'll let the track speak for itself here, literally.

And so ends another Warped post, enjoy the sounds and don't forget to drop me a line about these tracks, especially those of you new to Boards Of Canada.

All Nostalgic,
-Claude Van Foxbat

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Good promos

Everyday I get emails from artists or labels promoting their new "320 KBPS EXCLUSIVE CERTIFIED HOUSE MUSIC BANGER". Most of the times I ignore these emails, mostly because the track is probably shit or because the promo was sent to another 1000 people, which sort of ruins the whole "exclusive" bit of the promo.

But sometimes I do get a nice little personalized promo, meaning some thought was put into sending this stuff. This song was sent to me back in mid-January, but I ignored it, thinking it wasn't any good. But the same man emailed me the track yesterday and I thought: "Meh, let's give it a go." And it is damn good.

That man is London-born singer Seb.

He's been releasing some stuff over the years, with some success, and now he put his vocals on Burns & Fred Falke's new collab "First Move", the successor of the dissapointment that was "You Can't Stop Loving Me".

This is a synth-filled, bassy and smooth track that's easy to listen to and it fits this cold weather we've been having (well, apart from Australians and Brazillians, the buggers).

And as a bonus, a remix from the good old duo of Alan Braxe and Fred Falke.


Freezing my ass off,