Monday 20 September 2010

Haven't You Heard? Being A Dickhead's Cool

I'll just leave this here...via [LINK]

Memorable quotes:
- Just one gear on my fixie bike.
- Tramp Balls.
- Indeterminate sex reference.
- ???

The End.

Sunday 19 September 2010

[Review] V-Moda Crossfade LP

Do you believe in love at first sight?

I first heard word the V-Moda Crossfade LP in a press release email a few months ago. My first impression was that they were an incredibly stylish piece of hardware with impressive V-Moda internals. By the time I took a look at the technical specifications, I was salivating. The Crossfade LP packs a pair of 50mm dual-diaphragm drivers with a frequency response of 5Hz to 30,000Hz.

Recently, by a very lucky series of events, I was given the opportunity to get my very own pair of Crossfades. Now that I've had about a week with them, I'm excited to share my findings.

Right from the start, the Crossfades catch your attention. The packaging is sturdy, and has a nice heft that feels like professional equipment.

Inside the box you'll find the Exoskeleton case, which I am a HUGE fan of. This hard case is a great way to store the Crossfades and their extras for travel, and has a nice rubberized finish.

Also included in the box are a product manual, VIP warranty card, and a microfiber cleaning cloth with an embossed V-Moda logo. The Crossfades come with a one-year premier warranty, and with V-Moda's Replay-Replacement program, if they ever break, you get 50% off of a new pair!

The Crossfades come with two, count 'em, two kevlar-reinforced audio cables. The cables are detachable, which makes for easy storage. One is 3 feet long and includes an in-line mic with volume controls. The other cable is almost 6 feet long, and does not have the in-line controls. All of the 3.5mm jacks are gold-plated, and a 6mm gold-plated jack is also included.

The headphones themselves are a gorgeous example of brilliant design. The shape of the ear cups and frame gives the Crossfades a pointedly "different" look. There are subtle V-Moda logos on the frame above the ear cups, which are a very tasteful way of branding the product. The frame is all metal, and I have no doubt that the Crossfades will last me several years without wear.

The headband is padded well, and the pads on the ear cups are made of memory foam. I found the Crossfades to be EXTREMELY comfortable, and had no trouble wearing them all day.

When it comes to looks and comfort, these headphones are fantastic. However, it's the sound quality that matters when reviewing headphones. The Crossfades don't dissapoint.

They have stood out from the crowd in every testing scenario. Val Kolton and V-Moda have given the Crossfades a very healthy dose of Bass. Mids and trebles are refreshingly crisp as well. They especially shined while playing dance and bass-heavy music, but they also made acoustic tracks sound great. V-Moda has many well known DJ partners that have helped them develop the Crossfades, which may explain the strong presence of bass. It may come close to overpowering higher ranges of sound for some, but it comes down to personal preference. Personally I don't think the extra bass muddies the higher ranges.

If you have a chance, test-drive the Crossfade LP headphones at your local Apple store, and enjoy their top of the line performance. They retail for $249.99, which is more expensive than many pairs of over-ear headpones on the market, but they are worth the money. Still cheaper than a pair of Beats Studio headphones, and with very comprable sound quality, these should definitely be on your list if youre in the market for new headphones. Their solid construction, fantastic audio quality, and impressive level of comfort make the V-Moda Crossfade LP and excellent pair of over-ear headphones.

When I Found The Knife

Two weeks ago now, I set off on a quest to get into a band. Any band would do and I had an idea of who I was gonna look for, but I didn't really like what I heard, somehow I stumbled onto a video of The Knife I forget which song exactly but that didn't matter, all that mattered was I LOVED it. Within the hour I had listened to every track from their three albums and counted the cost, and now here we are.

Bit of backstory for them first before I jump into the tracks: The Knife are an electronic duo from Sweden, consisting of Karin Dreijer Andersson and her brother, Olof Dreijer. Olof does the tracks whilst Karin lends her vocals to them. And if you've heard What Else Is There? by Royksopp you'll have an idea of how she sounds. Onto the tracks: probably their most popular one (famously covered by José Gonzalez and used to advertise Sony's Bravia TVs) is Heartbeats. chances are if you liked José's you'll like this, after all they ARE the same song, although The Knife's is slightly more upbeat.

They rarely perform live, but when they do, it's really something else. I'd say it's up with Kraftwerk's and Daft Punk's concerts as an experience. Hell, the live audio is entitled "An Audio Visual Experience". have a look for yourself, first of all: The Audio, it's much slower than the studio one, I don't know which one I like more.

Second: The Visuals, they certainly know how to put on a good show, minimal as it may be.

I don't really have much more to add than that, so have more songs instead; This one's a nice slice of lovely electronica. The hype sticker inclded with my copy of Silent Shout has a quote on it along the lines of "...echoes of Kraftwerk, stunning", and while I do kind of roll my eyes at that description, Forest Families certainly lends itself to that comparison at least a little. Like the entirety of Silent Shout there's much more of a cold atmosphere to the electronics, and it's one I am totally in love with.

A rare instrumental this one - taken from the soundtrack they did for a swedish indie film called Hannah Med H (Literally meaning 'Hannah with a 'H' if I recall correctly). It's a bit of a shame there aren't more instruwmntals from them on the main albums, as much as I love Karin's voice, though there are plenty to go at on this soundtrack. It's in a strange valley between the delightfully indie first album and the poppier follow up Deep Cuts, even as far as various tracks from the soundtrack being included on re-issues of both those albums. The soundtrack is worth picking up even if you haven't seen the movie, The Knife's work stands alone and isn't overly 'soundtrack-y'. There's some gorgeous acoustic bits that you can expect to make an appearance soon too, in the meantime get a load of this trancy cut The Bridge

There's definitley an overall bleakness to their lyrical content, very pronounced on Silent Shout as you'll have heard above but even on the initally bubblegum-sounding Deep Cuts there's an element of that present. Take One For You for example, aside from being more downbeat than say Heartbeats, Karin's delivery is fittingly subdued. The glittery explosion of sound around 2 minutes in is lovely though backed by slightly concering lines like "Then they let us go to hunt us down again"

Definitley expect to hear more from them in the future, I'll do my best to keep it varied and to break up this slow streak we're having latley. damn life interfering with my internet self!

Pining For The Fjords,
-Claude Van Foxbat

Wednesday 15 September 2010

Just dropping by...

Hi there, Just a quick post because things were going a little slow... So here are two amazing tracks to keep you dancing: I know this one is old, but I really like Tiga and I really like Chromeo.

This remix is beyond amazing. I was expecting it to be a slightly altered version of the original, but Chromeo truly shaped the song towards their own style. The added vocals, guitar solo and synths just give this song so much more depth.

And here's the new Jamiroquai track.

It's Jamiroquai, it's funky and it makes me happy. So that's why I posted it.

Enjoy, Mr. Brown

Struttin' Songs

As we know, every journey needs a soundtrack, and me? After a long day at college I just wanna walk home and get my swagga on along the way, and I'm sure you lot do as well, so today I'm picking my current favourites; the ones that make you feel like an unstoppable king as you saunter down the street :).

A bit like this

I like the kinda song that has a bit of funk and catchiness to walk to, the kind where you end up taking steps to the beat without realising, as demonstrated in classic Oizo fashion by the man himself, I DARE you not to get you groove on to this one!

A bit more funk and a little less electronic fiddling this time, and also featuring Del Tha Funkee Homosapien on the vocals. It's real old, but the track itself is timeless, due in part to that ever so catchy sample and Del's flowing rhymes. who says we only post house? :P.

This track is the same as Around The World and Eple in the "that song I know but I don't" category, and like both of them it's an amazing tune, highlighting Scruff's excellent sample work, essentially making the song his own. If you have an ear for funky tunes, this will be your jazz flavoured fix for a while, that gets sweeter everytime you come back to it.

This isn't to say I only like that stuff to walk to, no sir, sometimes you just gotta have some lovely electro. For example, Soulwax does it again with another excelent remix that manages to remain interesting despite being the same few bars repeated over and over. Oh, and it's about 10 minutes long too, so it's perfect for those loooooong trips, Enjoy :).

Topping off the Electro side of things is Zombie Nation. This version of Worth It is from the EP and is slightly slower than the album one, making it just the ideal tempo. This is by far my favourite to walk around to, and even though my favourites change weekly, this track remains in my playlists, which I only only do to truly great tracks, like Da Funk. And now I'm rambling, better shut up and post the player already.

To all of you who walk to your daily distraction, be it work or school, Enjoy. That tops off another installment of Pick 'N Mix, hope you have as much fun with these tracks as I do, stay safe, enjoy the tracks, don't get caught and make like Leo up there wherever you go and strut like you mean it!

No street is safe from my swagger,
-Claude Van Foxbat

Wednesday 8 September 2010

A Very Warped History 3: 1994 (2 Of 2)

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This post. this was the one I anxiously awaited doing when I started this series. Some of you will like it, many of you will probably not, Some of you may even grow to love it as much as I do, as is the case with the majority of these Warped posts. It peaked at number #11 in the UK album charts, being another case of Warp's success stories and probably their most unconventional and experimental release. And you know it's going to be good when Aphex himself describes it as "like standing in a power station on Acid" But that's enough chit chat, let's get stuck into it shall we?

Selected Ambient Works Volume II is one of my favourite albums of all time, (and I'm not kidding when I say it owes me weeks of my life back, it's over two hours long) I'm sure most of you think of grinding beats and snare rushes when you think of AFX, but this album is full on ambient in the style of Brian Eno's soundscapes of his "Ambient: X" series. It's unique in that none of the tracks (apart from one) are actually named, Instead of a tracklist on the rear you are given this image:

Confusing right? that is, until you learn that the symbols match up with pictures in the linear notes. an example of one can be seen here, showing the one named track, Blue Calx, and a full decode and explanation can be found on this page. I love that idea, leaving the names entirely up to the listener/viewer, and is only the beginning of the mysterious properties of SAW2. Also, no matter how natural and smooth the tracks sound, remind yourself that ALL these tracks are electronic. Yes, I was blown away too.

Now, onto the actual tracks; as mentioned before it is entirely ambient with only one or two tracks featuring any kind of beats at all, but it's not about that, it's about the textures and compositions of them. Some are dark, some are light, but each has it's own specific feel. Here are some of my favourites (leaving out most of the more sinister tracks to make it easier to listen to)

Take for example, Track One (or Cliffs, if you've seen the pie charts). This is where you'll decide if you like, dislike or love the album. I'll let the music talk for me on this one. turn the lights off, relax, and just listen

Arguably the most "known" track from SAW2 is 'Rhubarb', it's been used in plenty of things from animation shorts to service testing for the BBC. And it's also arguably one of the best, I can't really describe the feeling, a combination of melancholy and nostalgia maybe? Regardless, give it the same treatment as Cliffs and you can't go wrong.

I feel the album flows much better with all the mellow tracks together, but that's not to say I hate the more sinister pieces. sometimes you gotta creep yourself out you know? oh, and this track isn't included on the US release so enjoy, it's a semi-exclusive! (2019 update; thanks to the advent of streaming, no longer as exclusive. Hope this works for all you in the US)

Moving back to the relaxed side of the spectrum, the opener from the second CD and the explicitly named track, Blue Calx. Picture a more ambient version of Nil from the first half of this post and this is what you'll get. You know what to do. (2019 update: oddly not named on the spotify track listing for some reason. Oh well, much the same for all the others I suppose)

Another quasi-popular track and one of the more accessible from the album is Z Twig, much like Rhubarb it has that "I've heard this before but I dont know where" feeling. Stay tuned for this one cropping up again in a themed post soon, I have other plans for it.... planned.

Time now for Exclusive number two, released only on the vinyl version and hard as hell to find a decent rip of on the net (I Scoured for months to find this copy), enjoy a 320 of probably the best track from the whole album; Stone In Focus. It's not posted on any blogs as far as I can tell. it's fascinating in that the little click in the background changes tempo sporadically, and the song speeds and slows in the same way. Amazing stuff. (2019 update, not on spotify this one, so youtube embed it's got to be. Also not as rare as it was 10 years ago, you can buy it digital and direct from the man himself here

Annnnnd time for one last track before I wrap this one up, Lichen is more of a classical piece, it's lovely for doing nothing at all to. So much so that AFX himself used to put it in his sets as a cool down song in the late 90's, and the crowds loved it, maybe for the occasional wave of bass, maybe for the smoothness of the sounds. You decide for yourself.

So there you have it, Selected Ambient Works Volume II in a nutshell. And it sums up Warp pretty well too: a label releasing experimental music that are moderately popular, and then become cult classics that people like me get to rant and rave about.

To all those who aren't a fan of Ambience; I apologise, BUT I will say that you should really tune in for the next few entries as we enter the prime time of Warp in the mid-nineties, they're a lot more accessible and less... shall we say "out there"

Imagine, You Are A Cloud,
-Claude Van Foxbat

Sunday 5 September 2010

Mr. Brown's Festival Review: Laundry Day 2010

As I mentioned before I went to Laundry Day yesterday, so it’s time for another festival review I guess… Because Laundry Day was an open air festival that happened during daytime, some pretty fun stuff happened you’d normally miss: I saw a 14 year old girl vomiting at 2 o’clock, some guys stealing fire extinguishers backstage and trying to make a foam party by themselves ... But above else the festival was a safe one considering all the buzz since the Love Parade incident. The first noteworthy performance I saw was a live performance by the Waxdolls. This electropunk duo from Ghent (off course they’re Belgians) knew how to work a crowd. It’s probably best to describe them as a mix between the Subs (they bring the same energy to the stage) and MSTRKRFT back in the day (combining rock with electronic bleeps)… After only one year of existence, Waxdolls shared the stage with Vitalic, Digitalism, and Alter Ego. And if that still doesn’t convince you these boys are doing a great job, here’s their most recent single:

And here’s another track from their first album High Speed Killer Ride (buy it, these guys rock!):

The next performance I want to talk about is by CJ Bolland. He was giving us an amazingly consistent techno set, when suddenly the music stopped and a beatboxer took over. He gave it his all for about five minutes to end with the famous “this is going to make you freak routine…”. Mister Bolland immediately took over again by dropping it and a magical collaboration was born.

And as a little special, here’s a classic:

Last artist I want to talk about is my new hero, DJ Feadz, the reason I went to Laundry Day in the first place. His set was a mix of ravy choppy tunes and supreme mixing brilliance. He managed to keep me interested for the entire two hours he performed by giving the crowd lots of variety, lots of teasing and some catchy tunes everybody likes to hear from time to time. Highlights of the show were him dropping MC Hammer, Mr. Oizo’s Rubber (after teasing it half an hour beforehand, I was afraid you were never going to play it again, you sly devil Feadz…) and Meet Her At The Love Parade by Da Hool.
I’m just to forget the obligatory Uffie you played and keep watching out for your next performance. I will try and get my hands on the set DJ Feadz played and post it when I finally track it down.

All in all Laundry Day was a nice festival (but damn you Netsky playing at the same time as Feadz, I felt bad missing you). Sorry for spamming the blog with posts, but I might be gone for 3 weeks…

Enjoy, Mr. Brown

Wednesday 1 September 2010

Here's top 5 chillin' in September tunes

So, it looks like we already are in September, that means I have to make my top 5s again, yay !

I've heard a lot of really good songs during August and I'll give you my 5 favorite calm ones today.

Rei Harakami is a Japanese IDM DJ, his work reminds me a lot Wisp's, really peaceful, but with some DnB in the back.


An amazing remix by Port-Royal, one more talented band from Italy, it's hard to define their work, some songs are pure Electronica, some other are way more Ambient and they make some nice Post-Rock too.


OK, you know me, I need to talk about french artists, I can't help it. Pilooski makes some of my favorites edits. So what happens when Pilooski meets Nina Simone ? I'll let you decide.


Squarepusher's new project on Ed Banger Records : Shobaleader One. What can I say ? This is pure genius, I love Squarepusher and he didn't disappointed me with this little gem. Get ready for an epic Mr Oizo remix in my top 5 Bangers.


And of course, the best comes at last. Cassius's new song, from their soon to be released on ED Banger EP : "The Rawkers". I've listened to it for about 2 hours, and I can't get enough of it.

The little dubstep touch, the lovely sample from "Gladys Knight & The Pips - I Feel A Song"... everything just sounds goddamn good.


Can't wait to hear the remixes of this one...

Enjoy, and get ready for my top 5 bangers !