Wednesday 26 September 2012

Train Tracks

I like trains. They're alright, but up until now I've never had a reason to take them every day. Until now. I managed a few days before I couldn't cope anymore and enlisted the help of my ever trusty headphones. And that's where it comes into its own, the train journey now becomes your own personal music video.

Of course, I can't mention train soundtracks and music videos without dropping the most infamous example of it. The Brother's prolific video for Star Guitar was certainly present in my mind the first couple times I took the train, and it was only fitting that it was one of the first to accompany me on it. It felt fitting to use the original stone cold classic, while I do love Shinichi Osawa's electro-fied version, I had to give the Chems their run for the video alone.

It had been a while since I'd given Skream's debut a listen again, It's bloody quality stuff to this day, as a lot of earlier dub is. One of the standouts to me was the closer that just happened to come up after Star Guitar, it's filled with little flourishes in sound that are just great. And that constantly rolling bass lurking in the background of the mix doesn't go amiss either.

Just over halfway there and shuffle steps things up a bit, with a dollop of new school house from Rex The Dog. I love this track because it's a bloody perfect example of drop-teasing done correctly. Unlike tracks where you get 5 minutes of buildup for 30 seconds of payoff before another five minutes of build (looking at you there, Deadmau5), Rex teases you with snippets of the main hook before delivering in spades and heading effortlessly into breaks. It's really something.

I just couldn't leave Shinichi hanging though, after all The One is pretty class. So as we pull into the station this little number comes on; the closing track to The One, filled with all the good vibes and electro warbles that the rest of the LP has, all based around that one loop. I always get it and The Patch mixed up, they are quite similar 'cos they're both are based around a loop, the difference being I listened to The Patch to death and had forgotten all about Ami Nu Ku Tuu so that was a nice surprise!

And finally, giving me an upbeat start to my day was a long forgotten track from UK indie kids The Go! Team. Get It Together joins the exclusive club alongside Chris Clark's Lord Of The Dance of tunes I have with playful wind instruments in them. While that whole part of the track is pretty sweet,the real highlight for me is that amazing breakdown at the end (2:45) that completely changes the feel of the track and infuses it with some vinyl scratchin', hip hoppin' goodness.

Right, and now m'off to go book my ticket in preparation for doing it all again tomorrow! I'll catch you again somewhere down the line.

-Claude Van Foxbat

Wednesday 19 September 2012

Another Late Night

Actually having a schedule again has mad a big difference for me. No more am I going to bed at 3AM, and I kinda miss the late night aesthetics. But that doesn't mean I can't hit you up with some of my favourite accompaniment for the wee hours!

A bit of a wildcard this one, BoC don't often do remixes but when they do it's the same standard of quality you'll find on their LPs. Boom Bip is given the whole Campfire Headphase treatment on this one, unfortunately as good as it is, and given the sheer popularity of BoC, it is actually quite hard to come by in any quality above 192kbps so apologies in advance.

Apparat's Walls lends itself well to late night endeavours, this track in particular was especially memorable as even though I could barely hear it with the volume turned low, most of it was still perfectly listenable, especially after that cacophony of sound is released around 2 minutes in.

I've long since fallen out of the dubstep scene, but I still love the older styled stuff, especially when it comes to remixes. Like Skream's brilliant rework of La Roux's In For The Kill, this one is one of my favourite dub remixes. I haven't heard of Various before, probably because they have a really vague name, but this remix is class; chilled out vibes with smatterings of vocals from the original dropped throughout, works even better on a low volume.

Autechre made a surprise return to my collection when I checked out the Warp20 (Unheard) Compilation. I thought their techno experiments ended not long after Incunabula, but apparently not according to this unreleased gem. It shares a lot of melodic and structural qualities with Incunabula, and that album is one of my favourite examples of ambient techno so this new addition goes down a treat.

That'll be all for now, I'll be dropping more quick selections when I can, I'm trying to spice things up in terms of variety so stay tuned. Until then just have a gander at these fine music pieces.

New York, Lower East Side,
- Claude Van Foxbat

Friday 14 September 2012

A Very Warped Epilogue: Part Three

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I don't even know how I managed to miss this one out of the main coverage, but at least I'm giving it the go-over now. Along with Richard D. James Album, this EP ranks high in my list of all time favourites by the Twin, once again, like with WIndowlicker with a lot of credit going to Chis Cunningham for his legendary video for the title track.

So what is there to be had here? well quite a lot actually, to the point where it's officially labelled as a 'mini-album' to fit within UK chart criteria for EPs (30 mins and under). It wastes no time in kicking things off with the spectacular bombardment that is the title track, which I'm sure needs no introduction, but I'll give it a go anyway. Like Windowlicker, there's not really a lot of insane beat tampering going on as you'd expect, but at the same time it's the complete opposite of Windowlicker in terms of sound. That was morelaidback and smooth, this is straight up in your face abraision.

The EP turns things 180 for the second track (frequently mislabeled as Film), introducing us to probably one of the lightest tracks outside of the Selected Ambient Works volumes that AFX has ever done. There's no introduction it just dives right in with all the elements already there, but each is just fantastically executed, that drum work and the light 'n airy keys just sound so right together.

I have an interesting story with this one, whenever I heard it I always thought "that's a neat idea" and then skipped it, thinking the entire track was based around the titular bouncing ball-esque sounds. It wasn't until I listened to a live bootleg that I heard the track in full, and that break at around 1:30 just absolutely blindsided me. On the strength of that I gave it a full listen and the rest of it is just quality, I'm still not a huge fan of that intro though.

Something unusual for an AFX EP next, it's a reworking of To Cure A Weakling Child from Richard D. James Album by RDJ himself. I have a similar taste for it as Bucephalus Bouncing Ball, the intro is OK, but the break and everything after 1:20 is downright spectacular, thanks to that updated rendition of the original's melody.

And finally, playing us out is another chilled number in the vein of Flim. Unlike its earlier counterpart, most of IZ-US is based around one melody rather than the back and forth exploration on Flim, but it's short enough and structured nicely so that it works. The ending of it, and with it the EP is a bit abrupt, but like a lot of AFX material released around this time, it's not about flashy endings.

Of course, I couldn't just have all that build up and then leave you hanging without the video could I? no, unlike the EP itself, we're going out with a bang with the infamous visual compliment to the main mix of Come To Daddy. Enjoy.

Stop Making That Big Face!,
-Claude Van Foxbat

Monday 10 September 2012

Hip Hop Grab Bag

It's that time once again, where I go trawling through my files for listening/sharing purposes. I was tracking down Boards Of Canada's early and rarer works when that hip hops itch needed to be scratched once again. And I decided the only cure was a little bit of everything, in the vein of my older pick 'n mix styled posts. More words and music after the art, as usual.

Now, Boards Of Canada. Usually ambient electronic tunes right? well, back when they were signed to Skam Records, they donned the name Hell Interface for a couple remixes on a couple of compilation/sampler type dealies. Much like AFX, BoC took the opportunity spread out genre wise with the new name, leaving their techno infused ambient vibes behind for this one. And because of that we get a sweet techy sounding rework of Midnight Star's Midas Touch.

Mr. Scruff is a mainstay of mine for chilled out hip hop vibes, Keep It Unreal has some real quality on it, especially during the opening half. A lot of it seems to be overshadowed by the (admittedly brilliant) Get A Move On, so enjoy the track immediately after that: Midnight Feast. It's a slow moving number fitting of it's title, with some smatterings of piano throughout, not unlike Krush's Song 1 I put up not too long ago.

A brief turn to the upbeat before we dive back into mellow vibes, Mehdi's earlier works are pretty special themselves, his unique brand of hip hop/electro melding that I thought was underused on Lucky Boy is out in full force here, and it's terrific. The samples are well selected and brilliantly executed throughout, the break at 0:45 being the highlight of it all for me.

I mentioned the hip hop bits spliced between the D&B on the E-Z Rollers Weekend World before, there's only a couple so I got worn out on them for a long while. After I gave them a rest for about 5 months, this popped up again on shuffle, and it was fresh once again. It captures that hazy lounge feel very well indeed, not something you'd expect from a largely D&B record, but it works incredibly well both on the LP and by itself.

And lastly, the opening cut from Tricky's debut Maxinquaye. If we're talking hazy atmospherics, this one is the undisputed king. From the moment those beats come cascading in, backed by those swooping synths until the end, it just doesn't stop. Of course, the vocal stylings of Martina Topley-Bird play a big role in the atmosphere as well, as she almost whispers through the verses. A real classic, and probably the best stylistic example of trip-hop there is.

Drop Hazard,
-Claude Van Foxbat

Thursday 6 September 2012

You Can Ignore My Techno?

So I've posted some Orbital tracks a couple times over the past few weeks, and I've noticed a curious trend: Every time I've posted a track of theirs, our lovely Hype Machine page that's meant to archive everything we post for the fine people there to listen to, has completely missed them out every time! So today I'm going to do a little experiment, to see whether the old Hype Machine just doesn't like Orbital.

Starting much like every week does with Monday as we trek through Orbital's classic Brown Album. Now I love me some contrasts in my tunes, and they're on this album in spades; opening with that organ-esque synth before the unrelenting rolling beats come in is just fantastic, especially when it all falls away for that magnificent bass filled break at around 1:20.

Similarly, remind is another favourite of mine, as just like in Monday, you're greeted by a lovely 'n light intro, but it's not long until that fades, leaving you with straight up techno. The lightness returns in a break around the three and a half minute mark, but doesn't last long before it's swept away among that sea of spectacular squelchy 303s.

Bringing things back a little bit to their debut, the Green Album, we have a few more prime examples, my favourite two being the live tracks packed in. The first, Chime is an Orbital staple I'm sure I don't need to introduce. True to it's reputation, it is pretty sweet indeed, there's some fine basslines throughout and of course the usual 303 affair we've come to expect. Classic.

Immediately after you're treated to another slice of techno goodness, and the mixing together of the two tracks is pretty special. What follows is a slightly more laid back approach to the usual tech sounds. That is until about 2 minutes in when some more drums come into the mix as does a crunchy guitar-esque synth. but then it's gone just as soon as it appeared, and we're back to laidback territory, they act almost as extended breaks because they just make that eventual explosion of sound that much sweeter.

Right, let's see if the HM picks any of that up! I've given them plenty of opportunities in this one, so I'm looking forward to what gets archived, keep F5ing that page for any signs of Orbital.

Sine Off,
- Claude Van Foxbat

Wednesday 5 September 2012


Hi there C2C's album is finally out, needless to say that I was pretty excited to get my hands on it. It's pretty much a flawless album, except for Down The Road that I still find awfuly average and I don't even understand how they could chose it to be their first EP, that song's incredibly weak compared to the rest of the album. If you like melting pots, you'll be served, because it's filled with influences from Gospell to Jungle, Jazz to Hip Hop, all this with great voices. Voices you say ? Half of the tracks include featurings from people such as Derek Martin or Olivier Daysoul. The Cell opens the album, and from what I've heard it's also their opener when they do a live, more than understandable, the progression is amazing.

Happy, the more than well named song, features Derek Martin's golden voice in a very Gospel influenced track that'll make you enjoy a long train trip like nothing else.

Delta on the other hand is more than actual, beat juggling, scratching, samples coming from everywhere... I don't like rating songs, but this deserves 11/10.

Olivier Daysoul's been on my little list of voices I love since his track with Hudson Mohawke, Joy Fantastic. I didn't know what to expect, that song could have been heading in a lot of different directions, they decided to keep it "classic" and it works, god does it work.

Last C2C song I'll post today, Arcades, from Down The Road EP, but also on this album with F.U.Y.A. and Down The Road. You probably heard it a lot, but this time it comes with a video!

My little bonus, because I know a lot of you've been waiting for The Magician


Plastic Plates - Things I Didn't Know (AMine Edge & Dance Remix)
Waze & Odyssey - Love That Burns
Ladyhawke- My Blue Eyes (Jacques Renault Remix)
Vanilla Ace - Vanilla Sky
Sohight & Cheevy - Travel Anthem (Moullinex remix)
Walker & Royce - Little Things (Eli Escobar Remix)
NTEIBINT - Time (Fabrizio Mammarella Remix)
Kill The Hero - Surrender (Shazam Remix)
Two Door Cinema Club - Sleep ALone (Beataucue Remix)
Hot Chip - How Do You DO ? (Todd Terje Remix)
Jonas Rathmans - W4W


Tuesday 4 September 2012

You Can't Ignore My Techno

Bringing up Warp's unique take on tat early 90's techno sound got me listening to other tech stuff I have from around that time, mostly 1993-1992. Warp's "Electronic Listening Music" as they call it is undoubtedly my favourite, but it's nice to see the roots and progression within the genre, and how it relates to the electronic scene as a whole today.

Opening the proceedings is a tune I only just barely remember from my youth (mostly because of the mental music video). I forgot about it for a long time, until I was looking at samples for Orbital's Halcyon + On + On and looked it up on YouTube. The tune itself hasn't actually aged that badly, the production on it is still top notch and holds up unlike some of the older 'anthems'.

And I can't go mentioning that sample without posting the incredible Orbital track. like Autechre's The Egg/Eggshell mixes, one's more dancefloor based, and the other's a bit more sedated. I'm never quite sure of the two versions of Halcyon I like more; the On + On mix is a spectacular example of Ambient Techno, but the original makes brilliant use of some samples that are a lot quieter in the other mix. But I've already Posted On+ On, so this time original version wins!.

Slowing things down as we draw things to a close we have the legendary Underground Resistance with an incredibly smooth number from their debut Revolution For Change. The sounds laid down in those first 30 seconds or so are golden, they're absolutely incredible for 1992 and the introduction of that bassline not long after is just fantastically done. The Resistance's reputation is well deserved,and this is as good a demonstrator as any.

lastly, we have a group I discovered one day while discogs hopping. While I'm not a massive fan of their name, they do have some pretty good tunes. The LP I took this from, Colourform is mostly made up of slower paced, ambient-ish stuff with a few moodier tech stuff thrown in for good measure. It doesn't have that ethereal quality of the straight up ambient tech, nor is it as fast in terms of percussion, but still manages to create that calm atmosphere in a style that's refreshingly different.

And that concludes our adventures through the world of early 90's techno, it's a shame there's no real equivalent in sound these days, but there's certainly more than enough of it to go around.

Just For A Short While,
-Claude Van Foxbat

Saturday 1 September 2012

Well well well

Hey there, I'm kinda back so I thought I'd share a few things before I forget and or run out of time to post.

Rex The Dog just remixed Robyn's Who's That Girl... feels like this track time traveled from the 80's and it's goddamn good.

Benga's new EP Pour Your Love features a remix by the four french guys I've been listening to a lot this year, the talented dudes of Club Cheval. If you liked Now U Realize you'll definitely love this clubby remix.

At Home, from Crystal Fighters's latest EP got remixed by a name that's brand new to me, Fusty Delight. His soundcloud is filled with great remixes, check it out if you enjoy good synths!

And I couldn't end this post without mentioning Macklemore & Ryan Lewis. These two men are one of the best collab that could happen in hip hop. They already release a lot of great songs and their LP will be out in Octobre, they're also touring Europe in September so if you they have a gig near your place, grab a ticket!

This the first song I've heard from them, I was incredibly impressed by the quality of everything in it, there is simply nothing wrong on any level, nothing could have been done better in my opinion.

And their brand new release, Thrift Shop. I hope you like big coats and broken keyboards.