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