Wednesday, 29 April 2020

Aural Fixation

NSFW Warning: Just a heads up, some of the album artwork featured in this post will be Not Safe For Work (NSFW). Might not be too much of an issue with the current situation, but thought I'd best mention anyway. Also future proofs this post too.
Regardless, enjoy!
-CVF


I've been waiting to write about this one for some time now, I mentioned it a couple of times on the podcast way back when, and had planned to do something written around then. Part of the delay has also been the potential NSFW as mentioned at the top of the post but I figured that now is as good a time as any to pull the trigger.

Yes today we're talking another soundtrack, this time for the quite obviously risqué Panty & Stocking With Garterbelt. A coming on 10-year old anime that was born of a simple idea; what if a show in the style of the Powerpuff Girls was just outright filth? And so you have a show about a couple of angels kicked out of heaven who are only interested in sugary sweets and sex.

For a show with such a lowbrow premise it's actually really funny, and if you watch it in English you could pretty much mistake it for an [adult swim] show. Anyway, the show itself hits the same buttons for me as sleazy electroclash does, but I will sing the praises of the soundtrack all day every day to boot, it's incredibly fitting and (if you pardon the 2010's blog vernacular and innuendo) actually banging. Let's dive in.



Kicking off with the track that sparked this idea in my head, PSG wastes no time dropping quality tunes as this one shows up in episode 1. I said this on the podcast too, but part of what I love so much about this OST is that it is absolutely a throwback to that era of electro and 'bloghouse', which was kinda dying out by tail end of the 2000s. And it fits the slightly seedy overtones so well.



It's TeddyLoid that consistently steals the show, this soundtrack was my introduction to his works, and that super loud throwback electro sound is his staple. Corset Theme is a prime example of that, and also showcases something else I've grown to love about TeddyLoid's works; that distortion on the vocals throughout is great, but when it's kicked into high gear on the more shouty parts it's incredible and really gives the production a feeling of power. Also of note, I'm skipping over some of the extra sleazy tracks on the OST with names that wouldn't be out of place on an electroclash release like "Beverly Hills Cock", "Dancefloor Orgy" and "Technodildo"



Moving out of electro and TeddyLoid territory for the time being, I was hoping to drop this one on Adam back when we were podcasting because it would be supremely up his alley with that MIDI Piano stab intro. And that's not the only piece of inspiration this one takes from vintage house, rave and garage; the vocals are a natural one too, hitting that same groove from the get go. But that's not all, I wish you all could have seen my face the first time I hit the bit after the breakdown around 1:43 or so, something about those Robin S style synths in the background really made it hit home in the best way possible.



There is a follow up OST album too, ironically called "The Worst Album". This one features even more genre variety, including some of TeddyLoid and the like's foray's into Dubstep (that do sound a bit dated, but I am still burnt out on that style of Dubstep so take that with a hint of bias). That being said the excellent tunes don't stop, this one was made for a throwaway montage scene and only appears in 1(!) episode. And like Champion, when I hear those 8-bits of the intro crop up in shuffle, I can't help but smile a little and get ready for the lovely wobbly Drum & Bass to come.



The D&B continues into the latter half of the LP, with this fantastic flip of the ending theme Fallen Angel. Continuing the theme of throwbacks, this takes me right back to when I fell into a Liquid Funk obsession back in Univeristy courtesy of Hospital Records. Every now and then they come out with a tune that takes me back, but I've yet to hear one that does it as strongly as this remix. I really can't praise it enough; from creative chops of vocals to being a mostly original composition it's all in all a fantastic remix. I could live in those euphoric breakdowns forever.



Spotify is sadly missing the 'third' OST album, which contains full versions of some tracks with the voice actors over them on the above two albums, but frankly I'm just happy to have these two back so I can share them in all their smutty glory. I was intending to put a couple more tunes too but I think this is long enough as is. I urge you to check out the albums if you at all like what you've heard, and if you end up watching the show too all the better! As always folks, stay safe out there and enjoy the music.

-CVF

Monday, 27 April 2020

Electric Futures 2020

NOTE: Hi there! I'm going through the backcatalogue and re-publishing all the posts I can find. I'm re-posting them as new articles too just so there is visible content going up. This post is originally from January 2017.

Enjoy,
-CVF


Horacio Garcia-Rossi - Couleur Electrique Lumière (2000)


Kicking off with a slight electro slant this time, I was picking apart my look over Perturbator's LP The Uncanny Valley and seeing if my opinion had changed much. I don't think it has to be fair, the album is still mastered incredibly loudly (or at least my copy is, for good and bad, depending on the situation). But I did manage to find some things I hadn't put in my original post. Assault didn't really grab me first time through, it's not helped by having a real generic title for one, and secondly if you've listened to as much Perturbator as I have it's standard fare at this point. That is until you get to 2:30 of course, somehow I'd forgotten in the time past that there's a massive switch up from a slow and deliberate synthwave tune to more much aggressive feel as befitting an artist featured in Hotline Miami.



I recently put the Half Life 2 soundtrack back into my collection after a long absence, I've gotten to know them pretty well in the decade plus they've been around. Still though, there are little pieces that I will forever adore, one of which being Sector Sweep from Episode 2. That pulsating intro is a joy to listen to and perfectly captures the track's title, I especially enjoy it being used as a basis for the rest of the elements to be built around, it's not often you see a soundtrack have so much symbolism with the media it's accompanying.



And we can't be talking futuristic soundtracks and not give nod to perhaps my favourite opening theme of all time, Inner Universe. Ironically enough after speaking about soundtrack symbolism, Inner Universe nails it also, the contrast between the electronics and Origa's unique vocal contributions matches the world of Ghost In The Shell incredibly well. It's been a long time since Stand Alone Complex ended, and Origa herself passed sometime ago now, bet her work and the world of Ghost In The Shell will be forever entwined.



-Claude Van Foxbat

Saturday, 25 April 2020

Reunions (2020)

NOTE: Hi there! I'm going through the backcatalogue and re-publishing all the posts I can find. I'm re-posting them as new articles too just so there is visible content going up. This post is originally from July 2017.

Enjoy,
-CVF


Meeting an old friend tomorrow who's seen me through some tough times in the past. It's been a while because well we both have lives now and all that (see also: me and keeping up with posts), things are a little tough right now too so I'm gonna get a lil sappy with some nostalgic tunes from my library..

Max Ernst - A Friends' Reunion (1922)

Starting with something from many late nights and early mornings cutting videos for uni. We're in that boat once again but I have Omni Trio's signature piano keys to keep me company, with Tracey Thorn doing her thing too. Much more sedate than the original for sure, those added basslines that are distinctly Omni Trio are a delight to listen to.



Kittin's been one of my favourite voices in music since I picked up Kittenz & Thee Glitz sometime in the early 00's. Got a special place for a lot of stuff she's been involved with, Hometown especially so. Out of nowhere Miss Kittin & The Hacker drop an EP after a few years of quiet, and it's a much more of a love letter to their new wave roots than the deliberate explicitness of their electroclash stuff. Kittin really shows of her talent for more downtempo stuff here, which is why I dig this and Rippin Kittin so much.



The Knife are also an incredibly important band to me, but I've already said enough about that in previous posts. I picked up their entire backcatalogue a long time ago and put it all in rotation. I don't think there's a single track on any of them that I don't associate with something or someone. And here's a primo example of that.



Apologies if this was a little self indulgent and that, I know it's pretty shit to read about blogger's memories when you have no connection to them but I just needed to drop something. We'll be back to regular stuff next time.

-Claude Van Foxbat

Thursday, 23 April 2020

Monday Blues 2020: Trip Hop Boogaloo

NOTE: Hi there! I'm going through the backcatalogue and re-publishing all the posts I can find. I'm re-posting them as new articles too just so there is visible content going up. This post is originally from April 2016.

Enjoy,
-CVF


Vasily Polenov - Downpour (1874)

Back with more downtempo things for yer ears, trying to not make it and out and out sadfest as I might've done in the past but we'll see. Starting off with an early bit of Zombie Nation circa '99, this one was always a highlight for me as I'm sure you aware I a fiend for anything trip hop to start with, and doubly so when there's some vocoder goodness n there too.



Mr. Scruff and his penchant for jazzy sounds now. Adored this one for a long time, my favourite parts is where the tune gets slightly more upbeat sounding during the breakdowns which is a nice little twist on the usual formula. Also as a reminder I need more Scruff in my collection once again.



Finishing off with Martina Topley-Bird. This one in particular has been quite popular as of late because it's been sampled a whole bunch. Haven't heard much form her in a while, but between Her solo career and extensive work with Tricky I think we'll have enough to tide us by. Here's Sandpaper Kisses.



-Claude Van Foxbat

Tuesday, 21 April 2020

Bank Holiday (2020 Re-post)

NOTE: Hi there! I'm going through the backcatalogue and re-publishing all the posts I can find. I'm re-posting them as new articles too just so there is visible content going up. This post is originally from April 2015.

Enjoy,
-CVF


Ah, Bank Holiday Monday: a British tradition. Not so much of an impact this one seeing as I'm only in Uni on Wednesdays these days but hey ho any excuse. So sit tight as I regale you with audio offerings from my collection.

David Hockney - Yves Marie in the Rain (1973)


As you may have seen on our FB I went thorough a bit of a Chemical Brothers thing, working my way out of it now but I will still say Exit Planet Dust is still the cure for what ails me. And the opening track will always have a place in my heart as well as the annals of Great British Electronic.



Keepin' it on the isles, I've been looking back at my 2-step shenanigans I enjoyed as a yoof. Back in 2002, The Streets dropped Original Pirate Material. The lyrical content may be a bit dated these days (dropping references to Nintendo 64's and that) but as a soon-to-be-teen in the grimy post-industrial landscape of the north there was no record that I connected with better. That's changed since then of course, but I'd be lying if I didn't have a soft spot for tunes like this.



And one last local tune, what would be a post from me without a little Nightmares On Wax?. An early highlight on Thought So..., 195lbs is a perfect example of the jam style structure of the LP, as it was recorded in parts on a road trip as N.O.W upped sticks from the UK and settled in Spain.



-Claude Van Foxbat

Sunday, 19 April 2020

Hangin' On The Telephone (Once More)

NOTE: Hi there! I'm going through the backcatalogue and re-publishing all the posts I can find. I'm re-posting them as new articles too just so there is visible content going up. This post is originally from January 2016.

Enjoy,
-CVF


Turns out waiting for phonecalls: not fun. Especially when the quiet gives your silly brain time to think shitty questions like "Do they have the right number?" So here I am writing a thing to distract me. Is it working? I 'unno but I'm gonna keep typing anyway.

Hiro Yamagata - Rainy Day (1986)

Been listening to a lot of Gorillaz as of late, there were some rumblings of new things to come from Mr. Albarn not too long back which I am very much looking forward to. Until then Plastic Beach and co are more than enough to keep me going. I'll forever love the synthesized sounds on show here, especially on the choruses.



A long long time ago I posted a bootleg recording of a Broadcast Peel Session, and ever since then I've lamented that there was no other Broadcast songs with a similar sound. Well look no further if you were like me, as the main hook of Living Room consists of an arpeggiated almost organ like synth. And of course Trish Keenan is on top form as usual to tie it all together.



And one last revisit to the synthpop side of things. I've been meaning to get some more indie synthy things in the collection (but then again what am I not meant to be adding to it at any point?), and I gotta thank the Simones for reminding me on a semi-regular basis of that. A bit like a musical shopping list.



-Claude Van Foxbat

Friday, 17 April 2020

Sounds Without Borders

Hi all, just dropping by with some new writings. I've been all nostalgic digging back into the history of posts as I put things back to some kind of working order (up to 300 posts now!). Weird how time passes you by, I saw the review I did of the Squarepusher album Shobaleader One: D'demonstrator. Pretty sure I've said this on the podcast before but in my mind I still remember that review, and it seems fairly recent. Well it's clocking in at 10 years old this year! And as always the more things change, the more they stay the same. Squarepusher is still around and is actually just off the heels of a new album + EP. Here's one that he mentioned a long time ago but is just seeing a proper release now, it's gorgeously melancholy which is something that I have been wanting from Squarepusher for a long time now.



SO that tune's been rattling around in my head for a few weeks now; and just yesterday he put out the delightfully eerie video for Detroit People Mover, I actually got to see it 'premiere' too. Remember all those years ago when I lamented Squarepusher not doing more ambient because I loved it (not that I don't love his usual output, but you all should know by now I'm an ambient fiend). Well he must have heard my call, and so I've been looping these two back to back for a couple of days now. Supremely lush, must remember to scoop the EP with these on sharpish. Enjoy!

Wednesday, 15 April 2020

Vintage Oizo (Part Three)

NOTE: Hi there! I'm going through the backcatalogue and re-publishing all the posts I can find. I'm re-posting them as new articles too just so there is visible content going up. This post is originally from September 2016.

Enjoy,
-CVF


Not a full in-depth look at an EP this time unfort, simply because there ain't that much more material to get stuck into, it's around '99 and '00 and Oizo's well on his way to taking off. But you already know that, so let's not dilly dally and get into it.



Contrary to the image above, we're actually visiting the Analog Worms Attack EP first, for a B-side that didn't make it onto the LP. The Dead Chair is standard fare Oizo at this point, the samples and rough electro waves in the intro should be enough to tell you that. Still it's a solid addition to the pack if you really dig that era's sound as I do.


Then onto the Last Night A DJ Killed My Dog EP, probably Oizo's most conventional of the lot (which would make sense, it came out in 2000 after the Flat Beat success). It features a whole host of remixes from the likes of Alex Gopher and Demon. And in true Oizo fashion none of these are simply labeled (X Remix) oh no, but more on that in a bit. For now here's the original, same as it appears on the Analog Worms Attack LP.



One of the mixes is by a one Matthew Herbert, someone I've been meaning to cover but getting hold of it is proving difficult. I was introduced to him through his 2001 LP Bodily Functions, a mix of downtempo and house that has little in common with this remix. What you do get is a funky feeling cut-up reworking of the original that is well worthy of being included on a Oizo release.



And finally, one of my all time faves that I have listened to hundreds of times since I picked it up off some MP3 site in the early 00's, the unsettlingly titled Monday Massacre. I prefer it to the slightly altered version dubbed No Day Massacre on the Analog Worms Attack LP, there's not much difference between the two, but in the EP version you get the absolutely gorgeous breakdown starting at 2:29 whereas the LP version has Feadz laying down some scratching over the top of it.



-Claude Van Foxbat

Monday, 13 April 2020

Clash Me (Again!)

NOTE: Hi there! I'm going through the backcatalogue and re-publishing all the posts I can find. I'm re-posting them as new articles too just so there is visible content going up. This post is originally from April 2017.

Enjoy,
-CVF


Futura 2000 - Untitled (The Clash)
You'll never guess who has two thumbs and an unhealthy appreciation for a niche electronic sub-genre from the early 2000s. That's right, it's time for another semi-regular installment of Claude goes on about Electroclash. Naturally my first port of call to start the electroclash journey was International Deejay Gigolo, so I got stuck right in with some Fischerspooner. It's been a while since I brought em up, and even then last time I think it was Emerge which everyone knows about (but is still a class tune mind). Much like Miss Kittin's eventual debut with I Com, #1 sways between the dancefloor and more meditative offerings, and the slightly sexy Turn On is a standout.



I've been really diggin' the more punky side of Electroclash these days. Back when I was more about the smooth & sleazy tones of Felix Da Housecat and the like, I inevitably picked up some pieces here and there but it was never really my favourite. Enter Mount Sims, with the fittingly electroclashy titled UltraSex, a rather recent addition to my collection but has quickly become a mainstay. Much like on Felix's Kittenz & Thee Glitz, there's plenty of critique of media and 'Hollywood' (though not as pronounced as on Kittenz). Hollywood Bride doesn't waste time, there's not an intro so much as a short couple of seconds before the whole thing kicks in, Sims himself shows off his vocal prowess quite well here too, a rare non-monotone delivery style in the sea of electroclash (barring the slightly forced Kitsch/Bitch rhymes). Only real complaint is the chorus synth is a bit weak, but every other element is on point so it can slide.



And finally, more ADULT. Like with Mount Sims, I wasn't a huge fan back when I was mega into electroclash, but they've since grown to be one of my all time favourites. I'd by lying if I didn't say that Nicola Kuperus' breed of stoic delivery with just a hint of anxiety wasn't a big part of that. That's not to discount Adam Lee Miller's contributions mind (Hand To Phone has been a near constant in my playlists for more than a decade at this point), the production on Side-Swiped does a fantastic job of complimenting the vocals and creating the dark and slightly unnerving atmosphere, the way the synth effortlessly slides in after the title drop around 1:40 is just fantastic and makes everything feel like it's plunged into slow motion for a second or two.



-Claude Van Foxbat

Saturday, 11 April 2020

Go (Euro)Beat Crazy

It's high time I make good on a promise I made on the podcasts all that time ago. It's not been intentionally delayed or anything, but now feels like the right time to do it, so join me as we take a trip into the world of Eurobeat. Okay, so part of the delay was me waiting for a decent amount to become available to stream legally, a weird thing about Eurobeat is that the copyright folk are VERY active and regularly take down videos and the like. With that out of the way, a little background:


The logo of one of the big players in the Eurobeat world, Super Eurobeat. Should give you an idea of what you're in for!

For those of you not aware, Eurobeat is the final evolution of some very specific genres. As I mentioned on the podcast, it's actually really interesting to hear the roots of the original genres in Eurobeat. It starts as many good electronic genres do in Disco, which split off into many different directions including House, Synthpop and most crucial to our tale today; Italo Disco.

Italo Disco, as the name implies is Disco, but with an Italian twist. Now truth be told I don't have much Italo in my collection (that's a rabbit hole to go down another day), but the ones I do know off the top of my head are pretty solid; tunes like Gary Low's I Want You for example. There's definitely an element of cliché to the proceedings, but ironically that cliché vibe is what helped it spawn one of my other favourite genres in Electroclash. But I digress, Italo Disco started to wane in popularity by the early 90's: enter its successor, the titular Eurobeat.

Taking it's cues from the above, mixed with a little Hi-NRG and so mixed in for good measure (and some questionable graphic design, see below). I'm going to quote a line from Ishkur's original Guide To Electronic Music here which echoes my opinions on Eurobeat pretty nicely: "Unlike other genres, Eurobeat knows what its limitations are. It's not trying to save the world or convert anyone over to its (...) sped-up cheese". Which when I read made a bunch of things suddenly click, especially when twinned with my new outlook of there being no guilty pleasures, you like what you like. (Saying that, once again I am adding to the list of genres/songs I like that have been memed to death!)


An example of a typical Super Eurobeat compilation cover, they all follow a similar format!.

But that is pretty much how I feel about Eurobeat. Is it cheesy at times? yeah totally, but it does what it means to do and does it well. I can enjoy it and still have the occasional chuckle at the lyrics and the absolute audaciousness of some of those synths from time to time (bonus points if you play a bit of Eurobeat Bingo too!) With that, here is a cross section of some of my favourite Eurobeat (that I can find on spotify).

I distinctly remember listening to this one for the first time, mainly because it took my interest in the genre from a passing thing I might right about to something that I could really see myself enjoying. Looking back at it analytically now, it hits the same buttons for me as late 90's trance euphoria does, no doubt helped by that pop structure to the songs themselves. Funnily enough it sounds very much more 90's than I remember back then but if you remember Myself and Adam's musings on the subject, that's not a bad thing at all!



Further to that, Burning Up For You hits all those same notes in fantastic fashion (also for some reason all the titles on Spotify are in all caps). It's energy is also part of the reason that my commuting music has consisted a potentially unhealthy dose of Eurobeat, it most definitely wakes you up and it's pretty hard to be too mad at delays or what have you with this in your ears.



We're going forward chronologically here, so while the sounds are getting less dated (to an extent) the formula remains the same. Note that this one has the subtitle (Eurobeat Version), as I discovered on Spotify there is also a 'Eurock' version. Which I thought was neat, I always like to see ways styles of music can cross over, and Eurobeat does love it's unnecessary guitar solos so it only makes sense. But upon listening it's nowhere near as good as the Eurobeat one. Maybe it's that sped-up cheese sensibility that I quoted Ishkur on above, maybe I'm just a sucker for synth power notes.



Finishing up with the latest one I have on repeat with Rain; I live for those power synths and chrouses. Funnily enough I feel like the guitar-y solos aren't as out of place here as on other Eurobeat tracks but it's also not as obnoxious as other examples either. Bear in mind that this is just a cross section of what I could find on Spotify, and even more specifically tunes that fill that same niche for me as Trance and the like. I joke about a lot of Eurobeat sounding the same but if you feel like exploring further be aware there is a slight more variety than what I'm presenting here.



If you're interested in more, I'd recommend the official Initial D compilations, which ramps up the cheese with engine revs and tire squeals but makes it even more hype in the process. They usually clock in about a minute or so per track too, so if you're looking for a quick injection of eurobeat variety, check them out! Well this post went on longer than I expected, I'll see you all back here soon, as always: Stay safe, and enjoy the music.

-Claude Van Foxbat

Thursday, 9 April 2020

Seein' Doubles

NOTE: Hi there! I'm going through the backcatalogue and re-publishing all the posts I can find. I'm re-posting them as new articles too just so there is visible content going up. This post is originally from May 2015.

Enjoy,
-CVF


Over the last week or so my mouse has picked up the annoying quirk or double clicking when I press it once. Not terribly inconvenient but still irritating. To counteract this I've been changing up everything to be doubled, from music to visuals and all sorts. Enjoy!

Chris Cunningham - Still from New York Is Killing Me (2010)

Starting off with an often overlooked instrumental from the Gorillaz's debut. It's not hard to see why, in a sea of solid tracks a tune that's entirely instrumental save for Damon popping in to say "All of which makes me anxious, at times unbearably so" would be the one to lose out. Still a nice tune, and it nicely captures the Gorillaz vibe of Phase One.



More from Pretty Lights. As I said this tune like many others feels right at home in Los Santos. I almost feel like it drags its heels a little, but just as I'm mulling over whether its overstayed it's welcome, the killer cuts on the outro sell me on it once again.



And finally more from my new favourite Swede since The Knife split. I can't get over the intro for this one, as soon as that thick bassline hits I know I'm along for the ride. Like most of Viklund's tracks it knows how to leave you wanting more, and it mostly delivers on that promise I just wish the intensity of the outro didn't end in a fade out.



-Claude Van Foxbat

Tuesday, 7 April 2020

Diggin' Results

NOTE: Hi there! I'm going through the backcatalogue and re-publishing all the posts I can find. I'm re-posting them as new articles too just so there is visible content going up. This post is originally from April 2015.

Enjoy,
-CVF


Got an interview with University on Tuesday, feeling good about it but of course that's always the case with me until I have to actually go in there. Anyway here's the results of my weekend's listenings.


Found the above on Reddit of all places, my music discovery there has been pretty limited until now, turns out there's some good stuff in them threads. Intro on this one's very lush indeed. Check this guy out, he more than deserves yer support!

I've been on the hunt for more classical meets experimental electronic since I got my mitts on Rossz Csillag Alatt Született, and where should I find my fix but from the most credited composer in my library Yoko Kanno. That breakdown in the middle is straight up amazing to boot.



And as always my most recent favourite jam from Squarepusher. It's got to have been well over a year since I first heard this one on that promo video and it's still just as sweet. The fact it's played by actual, literal robots only makes it even better. Welcome to the future, where robot bands play jazz.



-Claude Van Foxbat

Sunday, 5 April 2020

Lousy Smarch Weather

NOTE: Hi there! I'm going through the backcatalogue and re-publishing all the posts I can find. I'm re-posting them as new articles too just so there is visible content going up. This post is originally from March 2016.

Enjoy,
-CVF


I woke up to snow today. I thought we were done with that but evidently not. So naturally I went lookin' for some tunes to warm things up a bit. Here we go.

Kent Bellows - Kitchen Counter: March 1983 (Dirty Dishes) (1983)

And what better way to do that than fire up this one from Projections' debut LP. A lot slower than the Bossa Nova of say Thievery Corporation's Saudade but still carries that sound sensibility with it. The breakdowns are gorgeous, and there's plenty of them to be had over it's 6 minute run time.



Keeping things downtempo with another visit to my man Nightmares On Wax. This one was particularly ironic as I grabbed my brekky this morning, talking about spring in Egypt as I watched the snow out the window. The tune's not too shabby either I s'pose, deffo a highlight on Carboot Soul



Bibio has a new album out this April too, seems to be a theme for him and I can't blame the guy, his tunes definitely have a sweet spring / summery vibe to them. So I decided to go back in time about 5 years and give Mind Bokeh a listen again. My updated verdict? Still as sweet as ever.



-Claude Van Foxbat