Sunday, 20 May 2018

Soundtrack Sundays (Sorta)

William Scott - Five Pears (1976)


As has been the running theme for a while now, this week's selections are all based around soundtracks. That's not 100% true though, as this first tune doesn't actually appear on a soundtrack, but rather comes from the grammatical mess of an album called Ghost In The Shell Tribute Category: Techno Style. And that title isn't exactly accurate either, there's a whole host of genres on the two compilations released, with one song in particular bordering on being Gabba of all things. But anyway, we're talking about the second tune that System 7 and techno heavyweight Derrick May have on this compilation. I don't think I mentioned this last time but the sound on show in the two tracks they have here reminds me of why as a li'l Foxbat I became enamoured with techno and general electronic music in the first place, it all sounded so futuristic to my young ears. The compilation's from 2004 but I think it carries that 90's future tech sound and sensibility with it, it'd only be right considering the source material for the tribute after all.

System 7 Vs. Derrick May - Prototype 1 [click to download] |HTML5|


Moving onto something I recently dug out of my back-catalogue, The soundtrack for Metal Gear Solid 2 of all things. Truth be told it's actually really interesting to listen to on it's own, it's an odd sounding (on paper) mix of early 2000s cinematic score and electronic elements, due in part to the involvement of Harry Gregson-Williams. Not to discount the other contributions to the soundtrack though, Norihiko Hibino especially has plenty of tracks across the series that can fall under that category. Take Twilight Sniping for example, I can't say I ever gave it my full attention because the part of the game it plays in is pretty tense (and it only appears that once) but now hearing it separate from it's context it's surprisingly laid back, taking a form more akin to a slower Omni Trio track or the like. There's times where the reincorporation of the orchestral elements sounds a little off but overall I think it works out, that bassline is lovely for one.

Norihiko Hibino - Twilight Sniping [click to download] |HTML5|


And finally, yet another example from Soichi Terada. I think this'll be the third time or so I've told the tale of how he was one of if not the first examples of Drum & Bass I heard thanks to Ape Escape. And like Twilight Sniping above, it takes on a whole new life when separated from the context of the visuals. Coral Cave is a frantic tour de force of Terada's style; I'm fairly certain that it's got the fastest beat of all the Ape Escape OST, but carefully balanced with these aquatic themed synths firing off in the background. It's a short one at two minutes dead, but if you hit repeat on your music player it's clearly designed to loop fairly seamlessly as you might expect from a PS1 game. It's definitely one of the highlights of the OST, the whole thing is worth your time but check this one out for certain.

Soichi Terada - Coral Cave [click to download] |HTML5|


-Claude Van Foxbat

Sunday, 13 May 2018

Reunions 2

A busy end to the week means I'm glad I shifted the post schedules to Sundays. After a slightly messy Friday of setting up exhibitions, meeting coworkers and friends, making a couple of new ones on the way and then grossly underestimating how quickly I could hoof it to the train station and exactly how long I'd been out, Saturday was a complete write off. Still, I had the foresight to prepare some stuff earlier in the week so here I am with the usual selections.

Billy Childish - Reunion Owl (2011)


I got real into the Adult Swim singles project, slightly disappointing that the past few years haven't had a download of all the tunes, so I took the opportunity to revisit the previous years. 2014's starts off incredibly strong, with a 7 minute disco infused offering from Giorgio Moroder himself, the opening synths immediately recalling The Chase, one of if not his mot famous tune. There's some gorgeous twinkling arpeggios laid on later that have more than a passing resemblance to Daft Punk's Tron: Legacy OST, though it's probably more the other way around given how long he's been in the game. It's interesting to hear Giorgio play with his disco roots with an updated sound, I remember thinking when I heard he'd be producing again that he'd take a Chromeo style slant to it. It's certainly not a bad thing, f anything it's refreshing to hear, and I'm just happy that one of electronic music's allstars is still around.

Giorgio Moroder - Giorgio's Theme [click to download] |HTML5|


Track 2 from 2014 next, at the time I was vaguely familiar with Machinedrum's work from soundtracks and the like, It's unfortunately yet another thing that's been tossed on my 'to pickup' pile that grows more than it shrinks. But I can talk about the tune itself! It lets you know from the get go with those delightfully retro piano stabs that this is quite heavily garage influenced (that's UK Garage as in house, not USA Garage as in rock). As a mid 90's baby who grew up in the north of England I have a real soft spot for the sound, it carries with it echoes of summers past, and hell a garage/house style tune is partially responsible for getting me this writing gig in the first place way back when. I do think that the repetitive samples are played up a little too much here, much more recently I think Luke Vibert did a better job on Luke Vibert Presents UK Garave Vol.1, but I'll happily take them both.

Machinedrum - Want Me [click to download] |HTML5|


My brief dip into the world of J Pop has brought me to Aimer. The EP this is from doesn't have the original version for the song for me to compare to, but I can tell you that this remix is super pretty indeed. In fact I think it comes out not feeling cold at all despite it's title, I do think it's a little let down in terms of structure but then again it is in essence a pop record so that's perhaps to be expected, and that only really sets in one you've looped it 3 or so times like I have when writing this post. Still, more than happy to have extra ammo for playlists when (and if) summer ever starts to roll around.

Aimer - Cold Sun (Ryo Nagano Remix) [click to download] |HTML5|


-Claude Van Foxbat

Sunday, 6 May 2018

Post-Erity

Joaquín Sorolla - Girl With Flowers


Starting this week's selections off with an archival success story. You may remember a loooong time ago I mentioned a fairly obscure remix of on of my favourite tunes ever, Rippin Kittin by Alexander Polzin.At the time I praised Miss Kittin for having it available to stream along with most of her discography (and even tunes she only did vocals for). The link to buy the Golden Boy stuff was long since dead, but having it on soundcloud was better than nothing, especially considering I couldn't find this remix to buy anywhere, or even on YouTube or the like. I still grabbed a copy of it anyway, call it paranoia I've seen stuff disappear from soundcloud before and it's a real shame. Well it seems that my paranoia's paid off once again, I swung by Kittin's soundcloud only to find that the entire Golden Boy playlists she had had been wiped clean, along with a few others. Logic would say that they're in some kind of copyright hell, or best case about to be re-pressed and re-released. It's still a downer though but thankfully in the meantime I've got the version I swiped to keep me company, it's a fantastically sedate version of Rippin Kittin, turning it from an electroclash anthem to something a little more reflective.

Golden Boy & Miss Kittin - Rippin Kittin (Alexander Polzin Mix) [click to download] |HTML5|


Keeping it on the downtempo side of things for now, with yet another entry from one of my favourite soundtrack crafters Yoko Kanno. A far cry from the electronic infused, Björk inspired tracks she made for the Ghost In The Shell: Stand Alone Complex soundtracks, the tunes that appear on the Zankyou no Terror Original Soundtrack keep it fairly acoustic, though there's connections to Iceland in both the show and soundtrack (the lyrics to Von being in Icelandic, Director Shinichirō Watanabe actually citing Sigur Rós as an inspiration and the soundtrack was even recorded there). ís is probably the most famous piece form the soundtrack, it's used within the show to breathtaking effect and I knew I had to have it in my collection. It scratches an itch the same way that Washed Out's Life Of Leisure EP did when I first listened to that, and one that I didn't even know I still had.

Yoko Kanno - ís [click to download] |HTML5|


The new post schedule means that I missed quite the anniversary around 2 weeks or so ago now: Boards Of Canada's Music Has The Right To Children turned 20, having been released late April 1998. I don't have to to explain to those of you that have been with us a long time how important both this album and Boards Of Canada's work as a whole is to me, I wrote a multiple year long exploration of Warp's releases after all. To the rest of you who might not be as familiar, Music Has The Right To Children is an excellent dropping in point to the world of BoC, it's an essential addition to anyone's collection with a taste for downtempo and ambient. The gelling together of gorgeous retro synth work with slightly off kilter and surreal samples, all backed by almost trip-hop style beats is the synonymous Boards Of Canada sound, and they're on top form throughout Music Has.... Here's my favourite ambien interlude off the album, the short but sweet Olson, which a friend of mine described as "The musical version of a warm hug".

Boards Of Canada - Olson [click to download] |HTML5|


-Claude Van Foxbat

Sunday, 29 April 2018

Rezurrection

Time for me again to slip on my nerd glasses and talk at length about videogame soundtracks. This time with another important one in the development in taste for the younger version of myself, you see when I've talked about Graeme Norgate's soundtracks for Timesplitters being formative for me because there weren't many games incorporating electronic music in their soundtracks I've actually been telling a little lie because he isn't the only one around that time responsible for that. There are two other main sources I can think of off the top of my head, Grand Theft Auto III with it's Drum & Bass and Trance radio stations in MSX and Rise FM respectively and the other biggy which is the delightfully trippy on rails shooter known as Rez



Unlike the other game soundtracks I've talked about though, I think Rez has earned it's place in the history of electronic music. To understand why you have to look at the development of the game itself, starting with the original inspiration for the game itself, shamlessly quoting wikipedia:
"In 1997, Tetsuya Mizuguchi (ed: Producer/creator of Rez) was on travel(sic) in Europe and had been taken to the Street Parade in Zurich, during which there was a large electronic dance music concert attended by around 300,000 people. Mizuguchi was taken in by the sights and sounds around him from this, and recognized how this experience was similar to the inspiration that Wassily Kandinsky, a Russian painter, had used to "[paint] a canvas of the sounds that he saw".[8] He saw this tie to his previous ideas and envisioned a game where one would shoot down enemies in time to the beat of music that would put the player into a trance, forming the basis of Rez."
But that's not all, during development the game was being worked on with placeholder tracks from the likes of Underworld and Fatboy Slim, and the team reached out to all kinds of techno and electronic musicians to get them on board for the game and rumour says that even Aphex Twin was on board for a while, but none of his work appears in the final game. It's a shame that not all these artists made it into the final version of Rez, if it had I think it would rival the early Wipeout games soundtracks as home of electronic powerhouses of the time.

And that's basically the gist, and if you look up gameplay (with helpful subtitles by ChipCheezum) I think they did a bang up job. For a young Foxbat who was super into tech, electronic music and cyberpunk sci-fi (but didn't know it yet) I was drawn to it for reasons I couldn't explain. The soundtrack to Area 1 as seen in that video remains my favourite out of the whole thing, and everytime I hear those opening stabs I fall in love all over again. Those of you who've watched the video will notice that the album mix here is slightly different than in game due to it adding more elements as the level goes on, I do actually prefer the album version truth be told. But you know how the archivist in me is, I have both the album version and a rip of the in-game versions just in case I ever feel like switching it up.

Keiichi Sugiyama - Buggie Running Beeps 01 [click to download] |HTML5|




And while I think it's the opening level's music that defines Rez, and even the marketing material makes reference to the trance-like nature of the game and audio (see above), it does stray from the Trance genre from time to time. The other big hitter from the Rez soundtrack is Adam Freeland's Fear which is more in line with the kind of stuff I imagine they were using from Underworld as placeholder tunes, it plays out more like a Big Beat tune from the era, something more akin to The Chemical Brother or the like. It's a little repetitive for my tastes, but it really comes into it's own past the halfway mark, the introduction of that super smooth backing around 2:50 really does it for me. And of course, bonus points for the quite obvious Dune references with the "Fear is the mind killer" samples.

Adam Freeland - Fear (Rez Edit) [click to download] |HTML5|


Unfortunately a few of my other all time faves don't appear on the compilation, and I'm not really comfortable posting the gamerip because the quality ain't great and I have no idea who to credit with the songs. To round things off we have a little bit of a wildcard. Now it wouldn't be a game influenced by electronic music culture if it didn't have a comedown section now would it? Well, Rez pulls no punches in this area, there's no post-dancefloor lullabies here. Instead you're treated to the abstract glitch of Oval, it's a tough listen I'll give you that, but ride it out and it actually all becomes quite pretty starting around 43 seconds or so. I'd say it's not really my cup of tea but I've actually grown to love it over the years, it would certainly explain some of the more abstract pieces in my collection from the likes of Oneohtrix Point Never.

Oval - P-Project [click to download] |HTML5|


Speaking of influence I find it funny that there's so many references to the demo scene and VJs in the history of Rez's development, as some of you may or may not know, I actually do that kind of work freelance on the side, and there's been many a time I've watched a little bit of Rez gameplay for some colour inspiration, or ideas on how to merge audio + visual that much better. Much like the music video for Daft Punk's Around The World, each element in Rez is linked to a piece of the overall composition which is pretty spectacular when used in an interactive experience, and the music video for The Chemical Brothers' Star Guitar also has each element of the song represented by a visual cue. And it's things like that that continue the cycle, always know your roots, and always give props to those who've inspired you and so on. It shouldn't have taken me this long to write this all down but better late than never I suppose.

-Claude Van Foxbat

Sunday, 22 April 2018

Lost Angels

Jean-Michel Basquiat - The Dingoes That Park Their Brains with their Gum (1988)




Earlier this week I was re-reading my posts about the importance of archiving music (and art in general really), and I was inspired to take that mantle up once again. Revisiting the massive pile of rare and obscure FlyLo I picked up at the start of this year. Among that pile is a compilation that was put together for the LA Times simply called LA Times. It's full of otherwise unreleased tunes and other quality pieces from around the (fittingly enough) Los Angeles era. I listened to Los Angeles to death and I thought I was sick of it. And then tunes like Momma Dingo roll up and remind me why I played it so much in the first place, I'm a sucker for that rough round the edges feel of FlyLo's sound around this time.

Flying Lotus - Momma Dingo [click to download] |HTML5|


Sticking with the them, there's also Glendale Galleria from '09, released on Tectonic and sharing a B-Side with Joker, it's quite a bit different from FlyLo's usual output. I'd call it a one-off, but it's actually got a lot in common with Crosswerved from Ideas+Drfats+Loops in that it's basically FlyLo doing a garage-come-dubstep tune. There's flavours of Burial on here, something that holds even more true if you check out the 'original version' on the LA Times compilation I mentioned above that's even more Buial-esque. The final outro is gorgeous and I wish it had a little more time dedicated to it but otherwise a solid addition to the catalogue.

Flying Lotus - Glendale Galleria [click to download] |HTML5|


And finally because I've made it a mission to rid the world of the curse of the Japanese Bonus Track, and because frankly it's a fantastic album closer, here is The Things You Left from Until The Quiet Comes. I will always adore that bass, and I knew it since my ears first heard it that that would be the case. Deliciously smooth, short and sweet, a perfect sound to go out on.

Flying Lotus - The Things You Left [click to download] |HTML5|


-Claude Van Foxbat

Sunday, 15 April 2018

Getting Technical

Louisa Matthiasdottir - Fólk á göngu




Over the past couple of days I feel like I've come around to being my old self again. I found more art like the stuff I used to make (and I might return to some day) After a long period of being really into acoustic downtempo and (shock horror) guitar based music, I've come back around to diggin' techy sounding things once again. Starting off with some of my favourite purveyors of Drum & Bass, Commix. I loved Call To Mind, it's chock full of thick basslines and all around good stuff. How You Gonna Feel is a rare example of Commix with (non-sampled) vocals. Their choice was a little unconventional when it comes to Drum & Bass vocal accompaniments but it compliments their production very well indeed. Also serves once again a kick up my arse to finally pick up that compilation album they put out a few years back.

Commix - How You Gonna Feel [click to download] |HTML5|


Moving from one to the other here with a fairy recent instrumental addition to my collection. Not that there's anything wrong with Yanagi Nagi's vocal stylings mind you, but this instrumental is equally gorgeous on it's own, and the instrumental lets it be heard in full. It's very clean sounding and a touch on the dreamy side to boot, I thought the piano was a little cliché at first but it has grown on me. It's fast becoming one of my go-to tunes to have on while I do things, but it's equally as enjoyable if you give it your full attention.

Yanagi Nagi - Shinjitsu no Hane (Instrumental) [click to download] |HTML5|


And finally, another techno cut that I missed out last time. That intro had my interest from the word go, it's certainly a unique sound if nothing else, and as it went on and added more and more elements my interest bar only went up. When the entire tune comes together it's a fantastic listen, there's even some reversed(?) vocals throughout just to chalk another mark on the uniqueness scale, the end result is the exact opposite of the minimal tunes I was griping over last week. My only issue with this one would be that the title might be more at home on some French House revival track, but the song itself more than makes up for that.

Dave Angel - Latin Lover [click to download] |HTML5|


-Claude Van Foxbat

Sunday, 8 April 2018

A Mixed Bag

John Cage - Fontana Mix (Dark Grey) (1981)


Not gonna lie, the time to post snuck up on me this time. But luckily I'v been pretty good about keeping a steady source of new tunes coming in. Starting off with something that I was a little lacking in as of late with some good old fashioned Techno. I can be a bit picky when it comes to techno, especially when it comes to the compilation this is from there's a lot of crossover with minimal which ain't really for me. But there's some good stuff on here too, Floating Point wasted no time getting it's Underground Resistance / Galaxy 2 Galaxy on and with that had pretty much sealed the deal from the get go.

Bryan Zentz - Floating Point [click to download] |HTML5|


Flipping it 180°, earlier this week Jean Sean dropped my a line with his latest. Or at least, eventually did after some email tomfoolery which is the story of my life. It came through a couple months early unfortunately, as the morning I got it in my inbox it was snowing again here in the UK, definitely one to dig out again come July. Saying again what I said over DMs, that sax in the last quarter is lush, it's been a logn time since I've heard any sax not being used for a cheesy chromeo-esque retro feel or straight up old school MIDI sax samples so it was doubly refreshing to hear.



Been digging back into Stenchman as of late too. Despite me being officially done with dubstep for many years now, I still make an effort to keep up with Stenchman, mainly because he's always coming back with a creative spin on things even if they are often quite crudely titled. Stench has a history of incorporating folky elements into his work, which you can hear a little bit of here in a tune from his house/garage alais Philestine. I really dig the sound of it overall, it's got this slightly rough feel that is a constant in all of Stenchman's output. Similarly, I really like how you can still hear bits of the man's dubstep work in Philestine tunes, especially on the basslines here. My only complaint is that the final fade-out is a little overdrawn but that's small potatoes really.

Philestine - Scruffy Little Tyke [click to download] |HTML5|


-Claude Van Foxbat

Sunday, 1 April 2018

Can I Get A Re-do

Eyvind Earle - Through The Fog (1997)


Well I beefed it last time with the code for Ben Prunty's tune. You'd with so many years blogging under my belt I'd be beyond simple html goofs but nope. Anyway, this gave me a good excuse to post more of his work this week. Here's another piece of the FTL soundtrack, which despite being a battle theme is quite pretty. Though I suppose that goes for most of FTL's OST when it's not competing with missile launches, lasers and warning sirens for sound space. The build up is fantastic, and you get to hear little bit of the musical theme reincorporation Ben mentioned in my last post towards the end.

Ben Prunty - Cosmos (Battle) [click to download] |HTML5|


From one Ben to another (well, Benn in this case) with The Flashbulb. I did some more listening after last week's post and put the brutally depressingly titled Soundtrack To A Vacant Life back in rotation. It's a hefty album at 31 tracks but I think it's a perfect crash course in all things Flashbulb, I might be slightly biased because it was my introduction but hey. Here's the first tune that grabbed me from it, andthe first I ever heard of his work, the absolutely gorgeous Warm Hands In Cold Fog.

The Flashbulb - Warm Hands In Cold Fog [click to download] |HTML5|


And finally a revisit to sci-fi, with a surprisingly trip-hoppy addition from Vangelis to the Blade Runner OST. It doesn't appear in the actual film, Vangelis put it and a whole bunch of songs together for the film's 25th anniversary, which explains the style difference. I think t still fits very well tough and I absolutely adore the sprinkling of spoken word throughout, it's like being a phreaker tapped into a whole bunch of phone lines at once and it doesn't get more cyberpunk than that.

Vangelis - BR Downtown [click to download] |HTML5|


-Claude Van Foxbat

Tuesday, 27 March 2018

Dive In The Sky

Koshiro Onchi - Diving (1932)


Coming as no surprise to anyone, I've been digging things of a more downtempo persuasion as of late. But in contrast to the usual lo-fi trip hop / hip hop I usually post when I'm in one of these moods, I've been on a more 'space-y' kick. I'm dipping my toes into some writing beyond the blog and I've been looking for some suitably thematic accompaniment you see, and like so many times before, the Röyksopp boys were there to deliver.

Steve Reich - Electric Counterpoint III. Fast (RYXP's Milde Salve) [click to download] |HTML5|


Next, the tune that actually made me settle on the space-y descriptior, the opening from Ben Prunty's sublime soundtrack to indie darling FTL. It plays every time you launch the game, butunlike some other misguided attempts at that idea (looking at you Burnout Paradise), I'm not at all sick of this theme some 6 years later. The opening stabs create this isolated feel that goes hand in hand with the quieter parts of the game, before giving way to a slightly IDM backing beat after some time. The album even comes with a .txt file from Ben himself detailing the process behind the compositions. He says:
"So I tried to merge two ideas. The first is an overt retro aesthetic, with fun melodies, arpeggios and simple synthesizers to evoke that feeling of playing an older game. The second is a calculated, cinematic atmosphere, with high-quality percussion, ambiences and deeper textures. The intention is to suggest that the game's world is bigger than you can see and there's more going on in the universe than just your own adventure."


Ben Prunty - Space Cruise (Title) [click to download] |HTML5|


And finally, some of Wisp's reworking of Selcted Ambient Works Vol. 2. I remember stumbling across these years ago when I was a mite more snobbish than I am now, what blasphemy was this, reworking SAW 2? Never mind it was perfect already, how would reworking ambient music even work out?. Well as it turned out, especially in the cases of more melodic tunes like Z Twig, pretty damn well. There's even a little bit of Blue Calx mixed into this rework too which is a nice touch. The end result comes out looking more like a tune from The Flashbulb or Casino Versus Japan which is fine by me, I can appreciate both the moody original and this rework just fine, they suit different contexts after all.

Aphex Twin - Z Twig (Reworked By Wisp) [click to download] |HTML5|


-Claude Van Foxbat

Sunday, 25 March 2018

Guest Night Tales Vol. 4 (2018 Version)


Another week and another revival. Long time pal of mine and former partner in film going by his online moniker Thousandcats' selections are equally eclectic as those we've had so far. Though it's missing a fair few tracks than the original Grooveshark one, the structure is very well crafted; with peaks and breaks throughout before taking a left at the last hurdle with the excellent Avril 14th from Aphex Twin's Drukqs and a little bit of the Little River Band. It's again a fantastic way to inject some freshness into your listening library, there's some real class tunes in there by some artists I'd never have come across in my travels, including a then fairly obscure CHVRCHES when he originally put this list together in 2013. Me and Thousandcats might not always see eye to eye when it comes to music, but we've do share some common ground, and that's where the gold is to be found.



Like Jamie's from the week before, it's a short but sweet entry this time, and like last week again I'll try to balance it out with a regular post come midweek, keep an eye out come Tuesday. And as always, stay safe and enjoy the music.

Tuesday, 20 March 2018

Lost In Fog

A post that's been long overdue today, as I talk a little about the musical stylings of Akira Yamaoka, the man responsible for a great deal of the soundtracks for the Silent Hill series. Now if you know anything about games you might know that the Silent Hills are a little spooky to say the least, and as you might expect some of the soundtrack reflects that, often being quite literally industrial to go with the rusty chain link structures of the otherworld presented in the games. We'll dive right into things right after the album art of the original soundtrack in all it's 90's CG glory.



But that's not to say it's all brutally oppressing in it's atmosphere, in fact some of the tunes are quite nice. Contrast that link I posted above to this tune here. Same soundtrack, just some 20-odd tracks apart, only instead of sounding like the inside of a forge we're instead treated to some trip-hop flavoured goodness, opening with some vinyl crackle and a lonely acoustic guitar. The end result wouldn't sound too out of place on one of those dime-a-dozen lo-fi hip hop youtube vids, but I think Akira's got them beat seeing as he was making stuff like this in 1999.

Akira Yamaoka - Tears Of... [click to download] |HTML5|


That's not conjecture on my part either, Akira's work on the Silent Hill games takes a lot of inspiration from dark trip hop from the likes of Portishead and co. (there's even a texture of a Portishead poster in Silent Hill 1, here's a better shot of it). I dare say there's other points of reference too, The Reverse Will from the second game leans more on the trip hop side of things by bringing some scratching into the mix, but also I think touches on some Boards Of Canada territory too as about 55 seconds in there's a reversed sample of a child (one of the game's VO cast, actually) reciting the the "Now I lay me down to sleep" prayer. On paper that sounds very much like Boards' modus operandi on Geogaddi with it's slightly occult undertones and general unsettling vibe, however Yamaoka's soundtrack actually predates Geogaddi by about a year.

Akira Yamaoka - The Reverse Will [click to download] |HTML5|


And finally, the tune that made me want to make this post in the first place. The soundtrack to Silent Hill 3 has the least of the heavy industrial overtones and more of the ambient and trip/hip hop stuff, there's so many good tunes to pick from but if I had to choose only one it would be this. End Of Small Sanctuary is part of a select few tunes that put me on a highway to nostalgia town, like all those others I'be talked about in the past that I used to listen to shit 96kbps rips that I'd got off limewire on my whopping 256MB mp3 player. Aside from that personal attachment though, I still think it's a solid work in it's own right. It's nothing crazy complex or particularly long, but it nails the atmosphere its going for and more often than not I catch myself going back for just one more listen before it ends.

Akira Yamaoka - End Of Small Sanctuary [click to download] |HTML5|


-Claude Van Foxbat

Sunday, 18 March 2018

Guest Night Tales Vol. 3 (2018 Version)



Jamie's addition to the series gets the 2018 revival treatment this week, kicking off with the sublime opener to Burial's Untrue before going the complete opposite with a contribution from the Jackson Sisters before returning to it's chill slant for the remainder of it's run. It's a short one at only 8 tracks, but the ground covered in them is phenomenal, leading nicely to the explosion in sound that is White Chords for the finale.

Once again an eye opening, genre crossing peep into other people's listening. I'm having a lot of fun revisiting this series, rediscovering some memories tied to tunes that I didn't know I had or had long since forgotten about. Accompanied by some vertical slices of some paintings from Avis himself, Vol. 3 might have been the shortest one of the lot but it had a lot of soul in its carefully selected and structured tracklist.



With the playlist begin so short I am going to do what I said last week and break the once a sunday schedule I got going on to write a little post to go up in a couple of days to make up for it a little, and it's going to be a non-spotify one to make up for the deluge of playlists I've been putting up latley (it's so convenient though!) Anyway, look for that post going up come Tuesday and as always, until then, stay safe and enjoy the music.

-Claude Van Foxbat

Sunday, 11 March 2018

Guest Night Tales Vol. 2 (2018 Version)




The revival continues, the week sees the return of the first true proper 'Guest' offering, this one was made by a friend of mine at Uni and it was the first moment I realised this could be a series, and pretty much what I said last week still stands: I was really into seeing other people approach the same prompt, and since I don't get to see that as such these days now that my art college days of briefs & crits are behind me, it's been refreshing to revisit this idea.

Grim's offering is a slightly eclectic mix of Hip Hop, Dubstep and Reggae, and just a smidgen of Demon Days era Gorillaz. It's straying form our Electronic label quite a bit, but that was the reasons why I ran with the idea of the Guest Night Tales in the first place. Unfortunately just like my list there were some casualties in the tracklist but I think the meat of it is there and it works just fine. It's only now looking back I see how many tunes I swiped for my own collection from this list, which is another bonus of looking into other peoples collections I suppose: despite the differences mine and Grim' lists might have we had common ground in terms of the Dubstep and Drum & Bass we liked. It's good to step out of your world for a little while, you might just find some tunes and artists you really dig, after all "You Might Like" and "Users Also Liked" algorithms can only take you so far.



There's still a couple more of the Revivals before we hit new ground, the next couple have pretty slim track-lists due to spotify not having the infinite variety of grooveshark, I'm thinking those weeks I might make a second normal post mid-week to make up for it a little. Regardless, stay tuned for more and as always stay safe and enjoy the music!

-Claude Van Foxbat

Sunday, 4 March 2018

Guest Night Tales 2018: The Revival

Cleaning up my HDD this week I found some remnants of art I did for the 'Guest Night Tales' series I did back in 2013. +I still really adore the idea behind it, it's shamelessly ripping off the actual real Late Night Tales compilations but still I like peering into other people's listening, and ultimately their different approaches to the same prompt: "What's your perfect late night playlist?"

So back then I ended up with a bunch of grooveshark playlists that I asked friends to contribute some art and a track-list to. Grooveshark kicked the bucket in 2015 and since then the posts have just consisted of a list of the few songs I could salvage from Grooveshark's recovery option at the time. Until now. I've decided to give them a new lease of life as spotify playlists this time. Now there are some downsides, some tunes straight up aren't on spotify so some of the playlists re missing anything from one or two songs to whole chunks in some cases. Still, it's nice to have them back and functional again.

Starting with my contribution, 2015 me helpfully didn't list the entire playlist when GS died, so I rebuilt most of it and added even more songs to it, it made sense to given the time that's passed anyway. Some alterations were made: I swapped out the Plaid Mix of All Is Full Of Love for the Guy Sigsworth one, and one of the linchpins of the ambient section, The KLF's Madrugada Eterna is missing but overall I'm still happy with how it came out.



I tried to really capture my listening progression over the playlists runtime, starting with a little bit of 80's stuff, slowly changing into the electropop block by way of Chromeo, which gives way to more of a downtempo / electropop combination with The Knife and friends before going full on trip / hip hop with a little help from the likes of Nightmares On Wax and Blockhead before finally beginning to wind down with the more ambient block featuring the likes of Boards Of Canada, culminating in the rhythmic ambience of Charlotte's Mouth and Nightvision.

Nothing too surprising for longtime readers, but stay tuned in the coming weeks as I resurrect the other playlists in the series and add a few more to the stock. It's gonna be a good time. If anyone reading would like to make their own Guest Night Tales list, please feel free to do so! Whether you make it and send me the link or just give me a tracklist to work with I'd love to have it featured here.

-Claude Van Foxbat

Sunday, 25 February 2018

Reflections

Helen Frankenthaler - Reflections IV (1995)


A return to a more eclectic mix of tunes like I used to do in years past. Starting with a little underrated piece from Massive Attack's Protection. For me the LP is so, so close to being on my 10/10 albums list, but it falls at the last hurdle with a slightly naff live cover of Light My Fire which doesn't really fit with the rest of the album. Still it's essential listening for anyone into downtempo, and Eurochild is home to one of my favourite verses ever courtesy of Tricky at around 2:53: "Take a second of me, You beckon I'll be. When you're sad I'll mourn and when you tear, I'm torn.".

Massive Attack - Eurochild [click to download] |HTML5|


I've spoken on a few occasions about my favourite vocalists, and Trish Keenan of Broadcast is very near the top of that list. All her songs have a light bittersweet edge to them now that she is unfortunately no longer with us, but I'm always consistently in love with her vocal delivery. And what better song to show that off than the fairly minimal cover of Nico's Sixty Forty, Trish's vocals have a slightly lo-fi feel to them here, but it continues to remain one of my favourite pieces of hers.

Broadcast - Sixty Forty [click to download] |HTML5|


Keeping it downtempo for the final choice. I've been having a lot of Moby's more ambient work on in the background while I work. Play is still a fantastic album (if a little overplayed) almost 20 years on. Here's the short interlude Down Slow, a far cry from the ambient pieces on the fittingly titled Long Ambients 1: Calm. Sleep. it clocks in at just over a minute and a half. It comes up in the shuffle once in a blue moon and sometimes just blindsides me and I get a little lost in it. This has been one of those times.

Moby - Down Slow [click to download] |HTML5|


-Claude Van Foxbat

Sunday, 18 February 2018

Nostalgia Trippin'

I've posted at length several times about my love for Graeme Norgate's Timesplitters soundtracks, they were supremely influential to a young Foxbat dipping his toes into both the world of electronic music and shooters. But a lot of that attention has been focused on Timesplitters 2 (which to be fair had the majority of my time back when). So today I thought I'd do a cross section of some good tunes from the other 2 games, the OG and Future Perfect. Get a load of those character models from 2000.

I thought I'd start with something a little unassuming first, the soundtrack to the built in mapmaker mode. I know I dole out a lot of criticism for generic productions and the like, but I have a real soft spot for menu themes and tracks like this. It's a little bit like ambient music, Norgate's sound engineering skills put to the test to make a tune that fills the silence but won't drive you out of your mind as you edit and re-edit variations of your map. Maybe it's the nostalgia talking, but I think I could slip a couple tunes like this into my cosy electronica category.

Graeme Norgate - Mapmaker [click to download] |HTML5|


Something I especially like about the overall design of the Timesplitters soundtracks as a whole is how Norgate plays with the genres on display, fitting given he location and time-period hopping backdrop of the games. Compound is a one-off big beat come trip hop style tune with samples and some vinyl scratchin' dotted throughout. It's a one off composition that only appears in the multiplayer map of the same name, which sounds like a lot of effort on its own but this is just one of many tunes from the OST that are made for that exact purpose.

Graeme Norgate - Compound [click to download] |HTML5|


I like that tunes like the above are decidedly non-videogamey in how they feel. The same kind of applies to the final tune I have for you from the third installment, Future Perfect. Here Norgate stretches his trance legs and takes us on a 7 minute ride. It'd be just as at home on the dance-floor as it is with deathmatches, and I've been often tempted to throw it into one of those mixtapes I put together semi-infrequently. The break at 4:15 is so deliciously in the style of old school trance euphoria and I adore it. Thanks for all the good times, Graeme.

Graeme Norgate - Spaceport [click to download] |HTML5|


-Claude Van Foxbat

Sunday, 11 February 2018

Rainy Days

Kiyoshi Saito - Coral (1958)


After a couple of weeks of themed playlists, you'll be pleased to hear that this time we're back to the usual format. Starting right with more obscure Flying Lotus tunes, Catacombs is a bit of an enigma, for one this is billed as the extended version, but I can't for the life of me find any evidence of a non-extended version. Pedantry aside, the tune itself is a terrific listen, the Thundercat-esque style on here is buttery smooth and an absolute treat for the ears. I say esque because nowhere does it say Thundercat did the noodling for this one, it's well worth your time.

Flying Lotus - Catacombs (Extended Version) [click to download] |HTML5|


Following an impromptu synth jam at work, I turned one of my teammates onto Analog Worms Attack. A lot of folks don't realise there's more to Oizo than Flat Beat, and that the man's sill going strong to this day. I can see why though, the LP of Analog Worms Attack is a different beast than Flat Beat. Oizo's house-influenced tunes are in the minority here, replaced with a distinctly gritty and rough-cut hip-hop come electro sound. I adore it, but those looking for more flat antics will be let down. Here's one of the less abrasive numbers on there, Bobby Can't Dance

Mr. Oizo - Bobby Can't Dance [click to download] |HTML5|


I've been revisiting Stenchman as of late too. I've tons of material from the guy over the years, and he's got more going than just the Dubstep of days gone by. Looking over the list I spy quite a few that I'd like to put up, but this one ended up making the cut. Silicon Future is definitely heavily Garage inspired, while Stench usually puts stuff in that style out under his Philestine moniker this one comes across more of a meeting of the two aliases, which is something that'd start to appear on his later free compilations. The tune's as good as ever too, hard to believe it was 2012 when I picked this up for the first time.

Stenchman - Silicon Future [click to download] |HTML5|


-Claude Van Foxbat

Sunday, 4 February 2018

Songs In The Key Of Chroma: Part 2 - The Downbeat

Back with part 2 of the CMYK playlists, we're rounding out the inks this time, heading down the list in order as we have been so far gets us to... Yellow. Home of all things downtempo, with a strong hip hop/trip hop lean to it, with some slightly funkier numbers in there for good measure. A warmer feel than Cyan and far from the dancefloor thematics of Magenta, Yellow is your go to winding down playlist (parts of wich may or may not have been adapted from my Morning After playlist). It might take the weather warming a little for these tracks to reach their full potential, but regardless enjoy this dive into my downtempo masterclass. Think artists like: Thievery Corporation, Nightmares On Wax and Bibio



And finally, Key. Not black as you might have expected, though black is covered in the range for Key. I don't quite get it either but I don't make the rules. Key as the shades of the thumbnail might suggest is where all the darker parts of my music collection lie. It's earthy tones and dark greys that I can turn to if I'm having a rough day and ain't feeling the uplifting vibes of Cyan or Magenta. Key is so far the most varied of the playlists, there's some decidedly non-electronic stuff in there, and some tunes I can't put in there due to them not being on spotify (honourable mentions to Suilen's Zakuro which would absolutely be on this list if they had it.) It's currently the shortest list at the time of writing, having trouble finding things to put into it but when I do, I instantly know they belong. Think artists like: Portishead, Depeche Mode, Trentemøller and Massive Attack



I'll continue to try build each playlist up to 100 tracks, in the meantime you can find all the CMYK (plus a few others) playlists over on my spotify. That's the end of the themed playlists, I might repost them when I get to the 100 tune mark for each but it should be back to regularly scheduled programming next week. As always, stay safe and enjoy the music!

-Claude Van Foxbat

Sunday, 28 January 2018

Songs In The Key Of Chroma: Part 1 - The Upbeat

I've been back on my playlist creation and curation trip again, I wanted to make something akin to mood playlists but didn't want there to be a million and one of them knowing me. So taking a leaf from my art education I divvied them up into your four printing inks, I'll be posting them all so far and giving a quick breakdown of what's within them today.

Cyan is a bit of a mixed bag, in here you'll find a slightly downtempo leaning collection sprinkled in amongst little bits of electropop, some ambient selections and other various lush sounds. If I had to pigeonhole it I suppose it be in the vein of motivational playlists. Think artists like: Röyksopp, Ladytron and Boards Of Canada



Magenta now, there's not as much here as I would like but I'm still building them up (my end goal is 100 tunes for each ink, so stay tuned for updates). In here you'll find all manner of tunes to cut loose to, a mish-mash of gorgeous tunes of the House, Electro, Synthwave persuasion, plus a few more. Think artists like: Perturbator, Carpenter Brut, Macrosss 82-99 and Vitalic



It's been a fun experience, I'm trying to limit myself to 2-4 tunes per artist so there should be plenty variety in there. I already have the other two playlists, Yellow and Key put together on my spotify if you're interested in a sneaky peaky at the upcoming post. Like I said earlier I'll be trying to build each of these up to the 100 mark,so give em a follow if you're into that. I'll be back next week with the other side of the inks which will be a little bit more laid back than this offering.

-Claude Van Foxbat

Sunday, 21 January 2018

Out Of Phase

Elmer Bischoff - Figure In Landscape (1957)




Haven't been feeling myself as of late, going to keep the text to a minimum and share some tunes of a more ambient persuasion. Starting with a rare beatless contribution from Flying Lotus, takn from the Ideas + Drafts + Loops compilation he put out some years ago now.

Flying Lotus - Puppet Talk [click to download] |HTML5|


Geogaddi has finally returned to my rotation. In between sinister slices of slightly occult undertones there are some of my favourite lush Boards Of Canada offerings. Over The Horizon Radar will forever be among them.

Boards Of Canada - Over The Horizon Radar [click to download] |HTML5|


Squarepusher has few ambient pieces to his name, but those few are all very solid additions. Tommib being one of them, chcok full of gorgeous distrotion and all the things that scratch my itches, but most of all I love the way it subtly fades up to prominence and then just as soon its gone again.

Squarepusher - Tommib [click to download] |HTML5|


-Claude Van Foxbat

Sunday, 14 January 2018

Standard Protocol

Laszlo Moholy-Nagy - Flower (1925)


A blast from the past as for the first time in I have no idea how long we have an actual, factual shuffle post. These were my bread and butter some years back so it's nice to revisit them once in a while. Speaking of revisiting, I used to skip over this next tune because I wasn't really into the intro, but as the tale's gone so many times before after giving it a little time it turned out to be very much the opposite. The section starting around 2 mins in is extremley powerful, and I wish it stuck around longer. Overall, very nice once you give it the chance.

Nutritious - Distortion HQ (UNATCO) [click to download] |HTML5|


As for things I don't really dig, this tune is a mixed bag for me. It's incredibly generic at points, even feautring your mandatory EDM style dubstep breakdown towards the midsection. But I can't bring myself ot fully dislike it, for one that ethereal intro is a fantastic reimaging of Beyond The Bounds, and it's already incrdible vocal accompaniment gets a solid treatment here too. I'd love a full-lenght trancy version in the style of the intro, but I can be content with looping it as is for now.

Maki Kirioka - Beyond The Bounds (Eshericks Remix) [click to download] |HTML5|


And finally, the final tune and impetus for this post, another tune I'd overlooked because it didn't grab me initially. Once again it does get a little generic in parts especially towards the end but I've grown to like it since. I like the slightly sinister edge to the overall atmosphere, it's like if Distance had some more wobbles going on.

3x6 - Protocol In Dub [click to download] |HTML5|


-Claude Van Foxbat

Sunday, 7 January 2018

New Year, New Archive

Over tha past coupel of months (with a holdiaybreak over the end of Decemeber, natually), I've been on a mission to acquire some fairly obsucre things not only for myslef but so I can post them here and hopefully lessen the search for any others interested in the material. This has been our mission statement with all previous archive posts, the target of today's being none other than Flying Lotus. In addition to the 4000x4000 version of the You're Dead! album art above, I have some tasty findings to share with you all today. More on that in a second, but first a Los Angeles-era B-Side.

Flying Lotus - My Chippy [click to download] |HTML5|


First of which is from a bootleg (maybe?) compilation called LA Times. I'd imagine it came bundled with the paper at some point but I can't find any solid info one way or the other, googling "Flying Lotus LA Times" will get you a bunch of results but none in relation to this release. Anyway, I'd reccomend it for anyone like me who is in need of more deliciously compressed Los Angeles style wonkiness, it's not so difficult to get a hold of if you tweak your search terms a litle. Heat Wave is a short sharp glimpse into that world.

Flying Lotus - Heat Wave [click to download] |HTML5|


Lastly, the fruits of a collab between FlyLo and Samiyam, portmanteau'd into FLYamSAM. Their stuff appears on a couple of legit compilations, but some kind soul put them all together (and a few bonus ones) onto a bootleg compilation simply called Bootleg Beats. There's some failiar tunes on there but the standout by far for me is The Offbeat, one of th etunes which did appear on legit compilations. It again definitley has that Los Angeles sound to it, with maybe a smidgen of the sounds of Pattern + Grid World too, which is the exact style that drew me to FlyLo in the first place. I can't belive this one was under my radar for so long, I've given it a ton of play over the last few months and now here's hoping you will too.

FLYamSAM - The Offbeat [click to download] |HTML5|


-Claude Van Foxbat