Tuesday, 26 September 2017

Nil Locales

Time to check in with my favourite roof-based band, the Celiling Demons. They're back with their latest offering, this time an album by the name of Nil. Things are going to get a little serious from here on out, so I'll leave you with the accompanying text for the album:
"In our time, depression and suicide litter the land like the broken bottles under our feet. Anxiety and detachment leave us feeling like ghosts. We turn to methods to cope, in bad habits and goodbyes. Amid this cold scenery, alternative hip hop group Ceiling Demons return to confront the emptiness"


I've no shortage of tunes dealing with a similar subject matter, be it the brutal honesty of Aesop Rock talking about his nervous breakdown on 'One Of Four', the resolute pessimism of The Mountain Goats asking life to do it's worst, Trent Reznor's idle rage on 'Everyday Is Exactly The Same', and the thick melancholy of Beth Gibbons of Portishead. And hell, even from unexpected sources such as ADULT. with lines like "Just when I think I'm in control, I fall apart again".

I could go on, but why have I even bothered to list those examples you ask? Well as a fellow inhabitant of the mental health issues boat, it's an issue very close to my heart (that and me and the Demons share a Northern background and all the associated trimmings to come of that too) And the Ceiling Demons have offered their own arrow to the quiver of media in this vein. And it all begins in a much different fashion than we're used to, The Rose with a stripped back acoustic approach accompanied with what I can only describe as wounded delivery. It's a fantastic mood-setter and a brave move to open with something so different in terms of sound to boot, with the added bonus of establishing the light/dark theme running throughout.

It's not long before we hit the first counterpoint, Chasing Dreams in Nightmares, a return to more familiar territory, albeit a much more aggressive angle than the last few we've covered so far; to quote a Gorillaz title, Spitting Out The Demons. As someone who turns to things like writing these posts, or re-visiting my 1001 side projects in times of strife, the bars at 1:44 resonate with me pretty deeply.

My feelings towards March Forward remain much the same as last time: I touched on the positive vibes last time, and it's present again here which I appreciate a heck of a lot. After all, this is what made me draw the comparison between Aesop Rock's One Of Four and themselves in the first place (particularly towards the end when Aes and the text to speech voice start looking up again). Unfortunately the positive angle can be a difficult one to do without sounding glib, but as I said last time I think the heart shines through here.

A return to a more skeletonised structure on Dust, I'm of two minds with this one, as I was listening I thought I'd quite like it to be an instrumental introspective bit around the middle ground of the album, but as it went on things got more intense and the intention finally clicked. It's difficult for me to listen to, not because it's bad or anything along those lines but rather it touches upon some real and raw areas for me. It's more of a compliment than anything when you frame it that way, that they've managed to capture the mindset so accurately. Not to say my instrumental wishes weren't granted mind, towards the end we have the almost-ambient Scattered by the Squall, which in hindsight is a better place for it, nicely setting up the epilogue Elegy of Nil, book-ending the whole experience and in keeping with the theme of contrasts, is a complete 180 from the minimalist intro, instead we're treated to an explosion of strings a la Don't Get Lost In Heaven / Demon Days.

It's an intense experience, perhaps one that may not be for everyone, especially for casual listening. But naturally not all music is for that, on the whole the LP is well structured and is thematically consistent throughout, and through that I think they've well achieved their aim of confronting the emptiness. And hopefully it'll connect with and lend a metaphorical hand to some people that were in that same place as me a few years ago.

You can find more Ceiling Demons on:
Bandcamp
Soundcloud
Spotify
Twitter
Facebook

-Claude Van Foxbat

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Lost & Found

You ever find some tunes you like, but they seem to have disappeared of the face of the net, legal or otherwise? I have a few of those strings to my bow, be it Alexander Polzin's remix of Rippin Kittin, to my most recent foray into techno with Mijk Van Dijk's 'Magic Marble Box Vol. 2: Tokyo Trax EP. It seems as the years go on I'm finding exceptions to the rule of 'if it exists, it's on the internet' which is a bit of a shame. Still, it's been a productive few days for me picking up some tunes, some rare and some not so (and some not suitable for the blog). Let's get stuck in.


Friedensreich Hundertwasser - Island Of Lost Desire (1977)




Starting with another rare J Pop addition to my collection. I did have a few already (and let's be real, it was only a matter of time after being bitten by the Macross 82-99 bug). I think it has a lot to share with other easy-going, cosy electronic I've mentioned in the past like Plone, though without that slightly lo-fi edge that Plone had throughout their stuff. Longtime readers of the blog might hear a little in common with Celadon City too, in fact I tweeted this at him a couple days ago for that very reason.

Sasaki Sayaka - Zzz (Instrumental) [click to download] |HTML5|


Keeping things in Japan for the time being, tracked down the name of another one of the surprisingly electronic pieces on the Jormungand OST. Sandwiched between proper orchestral soundtracks and some more acoustic moodsetters is this lovely little bit of IDM flavoured goodness. A little more ordered than your standard glitchy IDM fare, but man do I love those sounds, only complaint is that I do wish it panned out a little more, but it is meant to be a soundtrack piece after all.

Taku Iwasaki - Explain Music [click to download] |HTML5|


And happy accident to finish us out, these two flow together pretty well (albeit unintentionally thanks to the shuffle) and fits one last Japan mention in there to boot; a revisit from the last podcast with Casino Versus Japan's Local Forecast. In hindsight this album, Go Hawaii, could also fit into my newly coined cosy electronic category, tunes like this Metrobolt and Warm Windows all have that lovely slightly lo-fi edge to them that I think qualifies. Definitely check out those if you're looking for more in this vein.

Casino Versus Japan - Local Forecast [click to download] |HTML5|


-Claude Van Foxbat

Sunday, 17 September 2017

Replacement Service

Apologies for the massive delay, as some of you might know I work in a university and we're currently manning the battlestations for the return of the students next week. In an effort to remedy that (and the future delays that will inevitably happen) I'm writing and scheduling a ton of posts now and this week to hopefully see us through. The submission system I had in place had an unfortunate hiccup, despite having my DMs set to open, I'd gotten a DM but twitter didn't tell me for screening reasons. Surprisingly forward thinking for a company as lackadaisical about harassment as twitter but I digress. First up is a little something I missed from Celadon City about a month ago, a remix of a one James Deen (which you should be careful about googling if you're at work). It's a lovely injection of warmth in these waning days of summer. It's not tagged with any specific genre but if you've heard the past few times I've posted some Celadon City, you should know you're in for some smooth goodness.



And finally the screened tune I mentioned above. Just as a quick aside, like I said I had no idea I'd even gotten a DM and only saw once Jean Sean tweeted me to say so. If something similar happens to you I'd suggest you do the same on the off chance it gets caught in the spam filter. Anyway, this one came to me tagged as trap, which I must admit isn't my genre of choice but I've clearly been out of the loop for some time because this is pretty far from what I used to hear in that vein. Between that and the number of names credited for the remix I was hesitant at first, but it turns out this is the exact opposite of a 'too many cooks' situation and once again making me slightly guilty for judging beforehand. Things get pretty bombastic around the 2 minute mark, so I'd recommend hanging on to hear that.

Update 18/9/2017: The tune is out! have a soundlcoud player in addition to our own embed!

Princess Nokia - GOAT (Boston Chery x Jean Sean x Eli Cure Remix) |HTML5|


-Claude Van Foxbat

Sunday, 3 September 2017

Filed Away



Fell down the file organisation rabbit hole again, and I found that Röyksopp's The Inevitable End was yet another piece in my collection left slightly incomplete due to the fabled words "Japanese Bonus Track" so I set about fixing that. And as is tradition I archive them here to make it easier on folk who may end up in that boat in future (and also should I need it backed up elsewhere). Much like the (non-Japanese exclusive) bonus tracks from The Understanding it's a fairly standard Röyksopp tune, though there's more than a little of Junior's sound bleeding through at points, and the ever present melancholic streak that runs through all of The Inevitable End. The real highlight here is that gorgeous noodly synth that comes in about 2:45 or so, bringing with it the vocals not long after too. Feel like it's a better album closer than Something In My Heart to boot.

Röyksopp - I Just Don't Understand You [click to download] |HTML5|


I also found this one buried at the bottom of my soundtracks folder, it's been forever since I heard it but I'll always remember what it's from, even though there's no obvious clues with the album title or the like. Much like the bits and pieces of the Jormungand OST I've put up, tracks like these always stand out a little more to me with their incorporation of electronic elements. Zakuro might go a little bit symphonic later on but I fall for those glitchy intro sounds every time.

Suilen - Zakuro [click to download] |HTML5|


And another archiver to round things out. I spent a silly amount of time digital crate digging as it were to find this one from Apparat's Shapemodes EP. And even then it's not a proper 320 but hey ho, beggars/choosers and all that. So once again to save everyone else (and future me) some hassle here is Solaris, one of 6 tunes currently scratching my IDM itch at the mo, you know the score for me: spacey melodics and glitchy undertones. I sometimes wish Apparat would revisit this kinda style, it'd be interesting to see what he brought to the table with the extra years of experience under his belt.

Apparat - Solaris [click to download] |HTML5|


-Claude Van Foxbat