Sunday, 22 July 2018

Back In The Garage

Stuart Davis - Garage (1917)


Lordy help me I'm back on my nostalgic garage kick. Well, I say back like it never really left, and I didn't plan this post but still. Starting off once again with some more soundtrack business, this time more Rom Di Prisco from Need For Speed IV. Any long time readers will be familiar with me waxing poetic about how I love the {Artificial Intelligence} era Warp Records sound because that simple bleepy techno sounded so futuristic to a young Foxbat fascinated with electronic music. Well one of the earliest examples of a tune that made me feel that way is Cygnus Rift, sandwiched away between all the other sci-fi titles on the soundtrack, that intro is a primo example of what I'm talking about. For me it hits the same buttons as when I occasionally get my trance euphoria head on, it's gorgeous stuff. Just be careful turning this one up, that bassline introduced at around 50 seconds in is a real killer shelf wobbler even on low volumes.

Rom Di Prisco - Cygnus Rift [click to download] |HTML5|


Next up is yet another example from Rockstar's in-house productions for Grand Theft Auto III. Like Stripe Summer from last time, it's chock full of cliché 2000's production, obviously taking cues from Daniel Bedingfied's Gotta Get Thru This and the obvious abuse of auto-tune throughout making it a much more clear parody of the pop of the era. While it's certainly more obviously dated than Stripe Summer, it's still actually a very solid tune despite it's satirical origins, fitting in nicely with other tunes I have in a similar style like Felix Da Housecat's Pray For A Star.

Craig Gray - Fade Away [click to download] |HTML5|


And playing us out, another blast from the past. This one gets a lot of fun poked at it for various reasons, but I will stand by it being potentially one of the best remixes of all time when compared to it's source material, as ell as being one f my first ports of call when I need to elaborate to someone what exactly makes Garage its own genre. Coming up on 20 years since it's release and I've yet to grow tired of that bassline, or the sultry vocals of Kelli Ali for that matter. It's a bit long in the tooth at 9 minutes long but I'll be damned if I don't listen to it pretty much all the way through every time.

Sneaker Pimps - Spin Spin Sugar (Armand's Dark Garage Mix) [click to download] |HTML5|


-Claude Van Foxbat

Sunday, 15 July 2018

A Model's Legacy

El Lissitzky - Flying To Earth From A Distance (1920)


Today's post is going to largely center around one song. Not that I'm going to post it and a bunch of remixes mind, no, today we'll be talking about Kraftwerk's The Model, and the effect its had and will likely continue to have on electronic music. So, for those of you that might not be aware; The Model is from Kraftwerk's 1978 album The Man Machine and would actually go relatively unnoticed until it was released on its own as a single in 1981, thentoppin a bunch of charts in '82. Chances are you've heard this one before somewhere, either in its original form in in any multitude of covers its had over the years. It, and the album its from (and especially that cover art) have a superb aesthetic, which leads me nicely into my second point.

Kraftwerk - The Model [click to download] |HTML5|


Ladytron's debut often gets lumped into the elctroclash scene by many, including me. Though I will concede that their debut LP 604 has more of a housey feel to it than your typical electroclash sound, and though the band themselves swears they aren't of the genre it's not hard to see why that they were tagged a such: simple electronics, monotone lyrical delivery, the promotional pictures of the time, which featured them dressed uniform-like against a red background?. But as you've probably noticed by now, all of that aesthetic is pretty much lifted from The Man Machine, and of course so was a lot of electroclash. But Ladytron at least wore their hearts on their sleeves, with He Took Her To A Movie using much of The Model as the basis for its instrumentation, including that iconic melody.

Ladytron - He Took Her To A Movie [click to download] |HTML5|


And truth be told I could drag this post out by reeling off more electro/clash examples, I'm fairly sure that Miss Kittin & The Hacker have a tune that works here but I can't remember off the top of my head. So instead I'm going with a much more out there re-incorporation of the Kraftwerk sound that I only came across a few days ago in an incredibly unlikely source. Playing us out is a piece by Hajime Hyakkoku from the soundtrack to K-On!, an anime about an all girls high school band, The music for the show is actually really good for both the OST and the in-show band but I digress. First I chalked this up to just simply aping the Kraftwerk sound, but when that bassy synth comes in at about 11 seconds in it's incredibly clear that The Model's fingerprints are all over this, and the title is actually a nice reference to that (Computer Love being the B-Side to The Model when it was released as a single). I do always like to see that even a good 31 years after its original release, Kraftwerk was still influencing musicians of all kinds and they definitley will continue to do so.

Hajime Hyakkoku - Virtual Love [click to download] |HTML5|


-Claude Van Foxbat

Sunday, 8 July 2018

Soundtrack Sortin'

John Miller - Heat And Dust


It's hot and humid still. Turns out houses designed to trap heat spectacularly backfire when summer comes so I haven't been doing much of anything. So I took the opportunity to sort out my soundtracks folder and found some good stuff while diving in there. Starting with a slightly interesting tale of Saki Kaskas' Callista, which I'd first heard on the (in hindsight, actually banging) Need For Speed IV soundtrack, only to be nostalgia bombed with it some 10+ years later when it made an appearance as club music in Mass Effect 2. I could go into more about how EA put a some other in-house electronic stuff into the club music of ME2 but that's a tale for another day. Long story short; as someone with an affinity for early 00's electronic vibes, sci-fi settings and making up cyberpunk soundtracks I most definitely approve.

Saki Kaskas - Callista [click to download] |HTML5|


Jesper Kyd has also been a long time recurring member of my soundtrack collection; having going from a demo scene to a mainstay of soundtracks you'll find his name in all sorts of credits these days, from Borderlands to Warhammer. I'd not really given the soundtrack to Codename 47 much thought, but it's chock full of lovely quasi-industrial electronic pieces that set the atmosphere well. The demo version of the Hotel theme takes a little while to get going, but when it does it's super sweet, it's electronics laced with a subtle hint of menace that fits right into a Hitman game. I haven't kept up with his more recent soundtrack work, but after this dive I'm thinking maybe I should.

Jesper Kyd - Hotel Music (Early Demo) [click to download] |HTML5|


The soundtrack to Silent Hill 4 is in the same boat, being one I hadn't played of the PS2 games. After digging out the soundtracks to 1-3 not too long ago I thought I'd scratch my itch for more Yamaoka by checking it out. And I wasn't disappointed, keeping on track with the progression of the 1-3 soundtracks there's not a lot of the metal-on-metal industrial noises this time around either. I haven't spent as much time with it as I would have liked, but Fever Chill is one of my favourites as of now, as is to be expected if you've seen me write about the other Trip-Hop style offerings from Yamaoka's soundtracks. The thing I love the most about it though i the almost muzak-like feel the sounds have, if I hadn't already said where it was from who would've guessed this comes from a Horror soundtrack of all places?

Akira Yamaoka - Fever Chill [click to download] |HTML5|


-Claude Van Foxbat

Sunday, 1 July 2018

Chill Plz

George Ault - New York Night, No. 2 (1921)


The heat continues. Compounded by me thinking it would be a good idea to render out all my old AE projects too, it's been a inclement week to say the least. But it does have it's upsides, I haven't been skipping stuff on shuffle so much these days just because I ain't going into the sweltering rendering room or I just can't be arsed to move. Which brought the Alpinestars back into my awareness, I think I've mentioned my mixed opinions on the White Noise album, I picked it up in the early 00's when I was on my chill electronica kick. It's a bit of a mixed bag in hindsight, and this tune is a perfect example of that: it's your standard generic early 00's electronic sound, there's nothing really remarkable about it at all. But that's not a mark against it at all, in fact I think there's a place for stuff like this in anyone's collection, it's few and far between in mine so it's always nice to have an injection of variety now and then, even if it's not pushing any boundaries.

Alpinestars - Brotherhood [click to download] |HTML5|


Similarly on the list of "Random albums I picked up in the early 2000's" is Blu Mar Ten's The Six Million Names Of God. I think I've talked a bit about this in in the past too, it's similar to the Alpinestars situation I mentioned above, there's a few songs that I will hold up as quality to this day but also a fair bit of filler in there too. This is one of the strong opening salvo of songs, but even then it also kinda falls into that same generic category too (though I will admit I am also slightly biased due to memories tied to this song). Worth mentioning as well however is that Blu Mar Ten's output around this time (and to this day) leans heavily on the rum & Bass side of things, so them coming out with a downtempo and slightly housey in parts album as their debut was a bold move, and one that they did quite well at if I do say so myself.

Blu Mar Ten - Drive [click to download] |HTML5|


And let's finish with probably my favourite album of that category; Röyksopp's Melody A.M.. A masterful debut, a short sharp and sweet LP that landed the Röyksopp boys on the map. It like the others here also starts incredibly strong, the first half of the album regularly making it on my essentials lists. I'm fairly sure I've talked about all of them in the past too, but surprisingly one of the more popular tracks on the LP I haven't mentioned until now. One of two tracks featuring Erlend Øye (of Kings Of Convenience fame), Remind Me is a solid example of whats in store on Melody A.M., even if it gets a little Muzak-y at times. Those of you reading this from the states might know this one from being featured in a bunch of Geico ads around the time it was released!

Röyksopp - Remind Me [click to download] |HTML5|


-Claude Van Foxbat

Sunday, 24 June 2018

Heating Up

Luke Chueh - The Soundtrack (To My Life) (2004)


It's a heatwave in the UK and the footy's on the telly, and England's currently winning to boot so you can bet everyone's going to go a bit mental. So I thought I'd break trend and get a little more upbeat with my selections, a particularly nostalgia fuelled one at that. I've held off on putting this one up for a while but I think it's high time it makes an appearance. Despite being made for an in-game radio station (and one that was a parody of turn of the millennium pop at that) with a made-up and slightly crass artist name, Stripe Summer is legitimately a really good garage song. I will wholly admit that the nostalgia's a big part of that, but I will always have a soft spot for this sound.

Dil Don't - Stripe Summer [click to download] |HTML5|


I can't talk nostalgia and the like without an honourable shout-out to the tune that helped land me this writing gig in the fist place. Paul Rayner's Feel Me is of a unique breed of house that was all over the place when I was a young 'un, you'll find all sorts of names for it, from Organ House to simply Bassline. There's a pretty in depth tale about the tune and how I came into possession of this copy,which you can read in the comment section over on this post. We spent many a night listening to this and tunes like it loitering in car parks in beat up hatchbacks, I make sure to give it a spin every summer or so to have a bit of a wistful look back.

Paul Rayner - Feel Me [click to download] |HTML5|


And just to complete the nostalgia trifecta, a lil' bit more vocal garage courtesy of Artful Dodger. Again back at the turn of 2000 you couldn't have a radio on without this or Modjo, or Stardust or any other number of one-off dance hits making an appearance. I will standby and say that twinkly synth is still gorgeous, and the vocal has aged pretty well all things considered, though I feel that goes for a lot of vocal house tunes. Looking back it doesn't have quite as much variation as I would have liked but then again, it's a radio-friendly single so it was never going to push any boundaries.



Artful Dodger - Movin' Too Fast [click to download] |HTML5|


I hope you all liked this little timewarp back a good 17/18 years or so, I'll be back same time next week with more of the usual. As usual make sure you all stay safe, and enjoy the music.

-Claude Van Foxbat

Sunday, 17 June 2018

Out Of Sorts

Jean Fautrier - Large Tragic Head (1942)


Been feeling strange all this weekend, like indescribably so. So I did what I always do in these cases and put on my special playlist for just such an occasion. It's had a few new additions since last time, first and foremost being parts of Yoko Kanno's excellent soundtrack for Terror In Resonance. The Icelandic touchstones I mentioned last time I talked about this soundtrack are much more prominent here, first and foremost from the get-go being the vocals naturally, but I feel like the structure has a lot in common with the standard Sigur Rós formula too. This is far from a negative mind you, especially in the hands of a composer like Kanno, the ethereal and slightly glitchy break at around 1:46 is divine.

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


I've been avoiding posting songs that are in the monthly selections over on the right, but I figure I can break that rule every once in a while. Borderlands has been ringing in my ears since Friday night and seems to be fast setting its sights on being my favourite piece from Hecker. As is so often the case with me I'm now regretting not taking the deep dive into his catalogue that I usually do with artists I'm interested in. It's been awhile since I've expanded the ambient side of my collection, and listening to An Imaginary Country might just give me case to do just that.

Tim Hecker - Borderlands [click to download] |HTML5|


Finally another more ambient piece I've been revisiting recently. I've said before many times that the few and far between ambient pieces that Tom Jenkinson of Squareusher fame has under his belt are all stellar and it's a shame there isn't more of it (though that may change soon as he's soundtracking a children's series for the BBC called Daydreams). I wanted to add this specific tune to my (K)ey playlist on spotify but unfortunately his debut LP Feed Me Weird Things isn't on spotify. Goodnight Jade is definitely of that Warp school of electronic music: sandwiched between two uptempo Drum & Bass tunes on the tracklist, Goodnight Jade is a moment of reflection that's perhaps slightly out of place if you listen to the album in order, but it's an absolutely beautiful piece regardless.

Squarepusher - Goodnight Jade [click to download] |HTML5|


-Claude Van Foxbat

Sunday, 10 June 2018

Many Moons

Paul Klee - Fire, Full Moon (1933)


A busy end of week has meant a departure from my usual chill slant to my listenings, so enjoy this week's little switch up. Starting off with a slice from the Portal 2 soundtrack, a far cry from it's purely ambient prequel, Portal 2 is full of gorgeous glitchy beeps and bloops twinned with the occasional cinematic orchestral feel. Case in point here with the fantastically titled The Part Where He Kills You, it takes a little while to get going, but the way the electronics come into the mix around 38 seconds in is sublime and it coveres all the bases I previously mentioned. Gets almost synthwave-y in parts methinks, and that title certainly wouldn't be amiss on something from the genre.

Mike Morasky - The Part Where He Kills You [click to download] |HTML5|


I'd actually forgotten that I even had this HEALTH song to hand, it kinda gets lost in the sea o Adult Swim singles. It's from after the release of Death Magic, the album that incorporated a more electronic feel to their work, but it has more in common with their previous noise rock stuff, particularly the raw drums that echo their work for the Max Payne 3 soundtrack at around 2 minutes in. That's not to say it's completley divorced from the electronic evolution they had, the ending breakdown starting around 2:45 is a fantastic melding of glitchy electronics and pounding industrial that you can hear just a little bit of Stonefist in, and actually reminds me a whole bunch of the kinda stuff Mick Gordon was making for the Doom 2016 soundtrack too.

HEALTH - Crusher [click to download] |HTML5|


And finally, speaking of glitchy sounds, another bit from Subhuman compilation. It's got kinda the same sensibility of Crusher in that it's mixing electronic styles with other industrial-esque sounds. Hearing it back to back with the above is a strange experience, it's a hell of a lot less raw in it's overall feel, some of the drums on Crusher feel like they're punching you in the gut whereas Memory is a lot more restrained in is delivery. Not to knock it though, I think it's combo of vocals and production is certainly interesting in it's own way. I only really have one complaint with it and that is the ending, the fade out just seems like a little bit of a cop out after the rest of the song.

Clichexxx - Memory [click to download] |HTML5|


-Claude Van Foxbat

Sunday, 3 June 2018

Runners

Ralston Crawford - Whitestone Bridge (1939-40)


I had time to think about what was going on this week's post, mainly because the train services in the UK remain as inefficient as ever so I spent a lot of time last week on platforms. The train I catch to work was super packed and I was in no mood to put up with that so I asked my music app to play me all things techno and it came up with some top tier suggestions. Starting off with another remix of Beyond The Bounds, and one I actually prefer to the dubstep-ified one I posted in the past. It's actually got a lot in common sound wise with the bits of the Rez soundtrack I talked about a couple of weeks ago now I think about it. Mitsuto Suzuki's solo albums can be a little tricky to get hold of if you don't want to use iTunes, but they're on youtube, and I definitely recommend you check them out if you're like some downtempo IDM style stuff like I do.

Maki Kirioka - Beyond The Bounds (Mitsuto Suzuki 020203 Mix) [click to download] |HTML5|


Moving from something new to something old now, The Knife's The Bridge has been one of my favourite instrumentals for a long time now. I think the last time I mentioned it on the blog was when I used it in that mixtape before I went on hiatus so me and Jordan could work out transfer of the domain ownership and the like, I think it's way past time I dust it off and give it another spin for you lot. Its very much unlike the rest of their output at the time and even the rest of the soundtrack its on for that matter, there's no vocal from Karin, and the electro pop feel of Deep Cuts is dropped in favour of a more eurobeat come techno dealio that I adore. I fall in love with the breakdown around 2:00 every single time.

The Knife - The Bridge [click to download] |HTML5|


And finally, another round from OverClocked Remix's Deus Ex: Sonic Augmentation album, this time the very final track that as the title suggests is a mashing together of a bunch of Deus Ex songs; (thanks to the artists comments I can tell you exactly which ones too). Granted this one isn't completely techno all the way through, but I can't fault the app's choice: Vig does an absolutely outstanding job of nailing a cyberpunk atmosphere from the get go, the transitions between 'verses' as it were are brilliantly executed too, the sample of the "I now have full access to your systems" line at around 3 mins in being a highlight.

Vig - The God Machine (Medley) [click to download] |HTML5|


-Claude Van Foxbat

Sunday, 27 May 2018

Like This

Francisc Şirato - The Way Home (1930)


A mixed bag of tunes on offer this week, I don't often like to do repeats so close to each other but we have another tune from Aimer to start off this week. I actually hadn't had this one come up at all in the few months its been in my collection thanks to my penchant for shuffling all, and it picked a hell of a time to come up too; a surprisingly sunny bank holiday weekend. It does take a little while to get gong, but when things come to a head around a minute in I got instantly transported back many summers ago. It gives me the same vibes that I got from Calvin Harris' output circa 2009, super weird to think that'll be a full decade ago pretty soon.

Aimer - Nemuri no Mori (Kazuki Remix) [click to download] |HTML5|


Speaking of songs that take a while to get going, I picked up Lorne Balfe's soundtrack to the 2017 Ghost In The Shell reboot yesterday too. From the sounds of things the soundtrack was supposed to get an official release but has been canned, so Balfe has a link to his work for it (as fully uncompressed .wavs no less) on his twitter for free. My opinions on the film aside, that's a super nice move from the guy, I must say that the soundtrack is very nice if a little clichéd 'cinematic score' sounding in parts. There's a lot of sedate ambient on there, the whole things sees fairly quiet actually, but there's a whole lot of beautiful electronic arpeggios and stabs a la Daft Punk's Tron: Legacy OST and wouldn't sound too out of place on a synthwave record. Here's Reborn which is a crash course in the overall sound.

Lorne Balfe - Reborn [click to download] |HTML5|


And finally another soundtrack piece that just happened to come on as I was typing. Funnily enough this song from El Huervo samples Akira Yamaoka's "Tears Of..." that I talked about back in March. I always find it interesting to see musicians take cues from each other in this way, it's a nice way of paying homage to your influences and hopefully introducing them to more people to them to boot. I do wonder what the process of clearing a sample like that (if any) is, Konami isn't exactly known for their generosity, especially these days. But I digress; El Huervo takes the initial guitar of Tears Of... and gives it it an even spookier, slightly menacing feel, turning it into a lo-fi hip hop thing that's in keeping with the darker tone of the soundtrack for Hotline Miami 2.

El Huervo - Ghost [click to download] |HTML5|


-Claude Van Foxbat

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