Sunday 31 January 2016

Q & A: Mississippi Jones

In what will hopefully be a continuing series, I talked with another of the more recent blog pals I've made; Mississippi Jones. They caught my eye a while back by both tickling my elctroclash/electropop ears, having a scheduled series of releases throughout the year and just generally being nice folk. I think I've written enough about the duo of J@$ and Mississippi herself over the past year or so, so let's get stuck in.

Claude Van Foxbat: First things first is what we ask everybody who we Q'n A, what have you got in rotation right now?
Mississippi Jones: We're listening to Hannbal Burees apple juice standup. Comedy is always background noise for our project time. Also Amy Winehouse was on earlier cause we are cover her song Addicted for a show we're playing tonight 'The Bong Show'. It's in an art house and centers around weed- a very popular topic here in Seattle. :)

CVF: Do you have any reflections on your process from start to finish?
MJ: It's definitely getting more refined, we are understanding more what kind of a sound we want and how to create that. Our process is to release every 14 weeks with new material and we just wrapped up our final piece last week for this series. With the fourth release, we now have our second full fledged album. It is definitely a process we are going to stick with, getting heard as an indie band means having music out on a regular basis, and interacting in the local scene. It's much easier to do that when you have new content.

CVF: Is there any other media (Movies, Games etc.) which have made an impact on your work?
MJ: Tarantino is one of my favorite directors, he has definitely influenced at least one song "Mr. White". Maybe I'll write a song about feet next. Banksy is also another big influence, one of the songs off the most recent EP is titled after his last big NY art project "Better Out Than In". Street art has always been fascinating for us, we post about it on Instagram daily. The concept that some art could be illegal or less valuable simply because it is outside is very culturally relevant to today. We play in galleries and have a lot of artists friends so visual art and conceptualizing emotions play out in our music as we try to grab emotions and leave them on a track.

CVF: Something else I always like to ask is what was your introduction to electronic music?
M: I grew up going to raves when they were out in the woods and everyone used them to sell and move drugs. It's about the same now lol. The genre has definitely grown in depth, and it is so varied I wonder if wer're headed to a place where it will take over music entirely. The term EDM can cover everything from dubstep to happy hardcore to ambient psytrance. There is really something for everyone and communities around it are still growing.

J: I was introduced to electronic music through Donna Summer "I Feel Love". Which is widely recognized as the first breakout electronic dance music song ever. It was pioneering in the way it adopted that kind of instrumentation and composition. There were politics of disco and the racist, sexist, homophobic nature of that disco movement. When Donna Summer came on the scene it was empowering for women, it opened up for gay people and people of color to be accepted and celebrated and creative. We still see these issues today in a lot of electronic music, both the hetero normative bias, misogyny and general bigotry but also other people trying hard to open it up again for others.

CVF: Slightly related, how did you get involved with your current scene?
MJ: Going out and meeting people, asking around and playing show with other musicians. Getting out of the house and off the internet, and also making connections through social media that have been very beneficial. It's not all or nothing, you can't just play out and you can't just be on the internet. You have to work the gray areas in between to make it happen. The music scene is Seattle is big and everyone is a musician, everyone is creative and it is exciting to be in a city where creativity and art play such a major role in so many lives.

CVF: Do you remember what your first ever produced track was?
M: I wrote a bunch of songs some music for friends and family one year and a friend recorded it for me. I gave it out for xmas, that was a lifetime ago. I've recorded off and on with different groups and solo since then.

J: I've been recording stuff since I was a kid. Using cassette decks back and forth, to analog 8 tracks, to using digital now. I've done a lot of projects. I used to work with rock bands mostly, mostly. A few rappers and instrumentationalists as well. There was a performance art collective and we recorded and toured extensively and even headlined Burning Man back in the day.

CVF: You've got 4 words to sum up your sound, go!
MJ: Electronic heart analog soul.

CVF: What's your equipment setup look like?
MJ: It's a messssssss. The studio desk is a labor of love that gets used often and looks like a snake pit of cables and wires. Instruments are piled around the studio space we use, and get pulled out as we need them for various songs. Live we have a very simple set up intentionally. We can literally play anywhere and sound like a full band which is amazing and unique, and not something that could've happened even 10 years ago. Soft synths and samplers are at the heart of it.

CVF: And finally, what's in store for the future of Mississippi Jones?
MJ: More shows more music, more art more origami. Stay tuned for releases, and follow us on instagram, talk to us on facebook we are very friendly and are always open to connections from around the world or around the corner. I spend a lot of time on twitter too, talking with musicians, writers, and artists and posting collage like pictures of galaxies and street art. If you need any Canadian graffiti, my account is a good place to find it. We can see into the future, but if we told you we would have to kill you. Let's just say it's gonna be real good.

CVF: Alright that about wraps it up, thank you! thanks! It's been real interesting to see all the different replies to the questions, been along time since we've done a duo too so that's been pretty interesting too!
MJ:Thanks as always for your thoughtful discourse on our music. We really appreciate the article and can't wait to read it!

And there we have it, another Q&A successfully in the bag. Now I just need to find some more people to email/tweet these out to, to keep the Q&A ball rolling. Alternativley if you're reading this and would like to answer the Q's anyway, feel free to drop me a line at the usual places!

Find more Mississippi Jones at:
Official Site

- Claude Van Foxbat

Friday 29 January 2016

Hangin' On The Telephone

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

Wednesday 27 January 2016

Midweek Downtemp

It's Wednesday again. Last night was an absolute farce thanks to a combination of poor web design and faffing around with general information forms. So I'm afraid the more upbeat synthwave wave of posts may be over for a while. Sorry in advance, but for now lets take a walk on the slower side of things.

Roy Lichtenstein - Crying Girl (1964)

It's no surprise to any of y'all now that I do like me some Oneohtrix Point Never. But I'm gonna give you all a break from the usual synthy arpeggio picks and instead show off this massive collab again. The rest of the Borden, Ferraro, Godin, Halo And Lopatin EP is pretty artsy and airy, after all it was recorded as one big jam session if I remember right. Still, I can always count on this one to be a good time, it's far and away the most conventional one on there but it keeps all the gorgeous elements present in the others.

I have a troubled relationship with Birds, most of the time that intro bothers me and I end up skipping it, The rare occasions where I let it play out are worth it though. I don't know if I've ever praised Apparat for his vocal contributions on his own stuff but he deserves it, does a great job of matching the atmosphere.

Been paying The Understanding a few more visits as of late. The bonus tracks included on the deluxe edition are a little hit and miss in parts, but the hits are especially good and provide an instrumental edge that was a little lacking on the main album.

-Claude Van Foxbat

Monday 25 January 2016

Celadon City: Q & A

I sat down with Celadon City the other day to discuss his newest project, the final release of an album after a few years worth of work. He's been kind enough to show of a couple of tracks from it, and the latest is a solid example of that quirky, playful electronic sound that I've come to know over the past year or so. Stay tuned for the Q&A after the tune itself!

Claude Van Foxbat: Thanks for taking the time to talk to us, I've been a big supporter of your tunes over on the blog for a long time now, why don't you give us a bit of background for those that might not know who you are?
Celadon City: Hi! I’m Ethan and I create music under the moniker Celadon City. I’ve been writing for more than 3 years and I am on a mission to experience as much as I can on this Earth. I work at a coffee shop and go to college to study Biology.

CVF: You've been working on this LP a long time, now it's close to release do you have any reflections on your process from start to finish?
CC: This LP has been choatic, magical, and important to me. Its a journey for sure when you have to really collect what you have in your arsenal and write about it. I think this is the first professional step in my music writing career, and it solidifies my choice of becoming an artist. Right now I’ve been getting everything ready for the release and also preparing some personal stuff.

CVF: It's clear to see that Pokémon has had an influence on you, are there any other games or franchises which have made an impact on your work?
CC: I really started getting into indie games when I was 19. I didn’t grow up with a wide selection of games, except the Halo series. I’ve played alot of Half-life and have been addicted to this game called Flower, which you are guiding a petal through a low-key storyline and meditating in the process. Its very spiritual and soothing. Games with a beautiful soundtrack are my weakness ❤️.

CVF: Something I always like to ask is what was your introduction to electronic music?
CC: My dad raised me with constant playing of Radiohead, especially Kid A. I really found my roots to electronic music when I was listening to Tycho and post-rock groups like Explosions in the Sky and M83. What made me want to be an artist was the indie, DIY scene that had been emerging very heavily in 2013-2014, where Giraffage, Teen Daze, and Slow Magic found their way onto my iPod. It was magical seeing artistry in music and a beautiful culture associated with the scene.

CVF: Slightly related, how did you get involved with your current scene?
CC: Hmm, I hang out with a lot of different places. I have a lot of friends who are locals in my home town. OKC is not very internet based and it has a really cool organic community that has helped me expand from net music. I'm very fluid with who I’m with or who I am listening too. Its fun seeing multiple realms of the music industry and they all have their own unique qualities and stories.

CVF: Do you remember what your first ever produced track was?
CC: OMG, so before I had even had a DAW or Garageband, there was this website sponsored by Adidas I think, and they had a “Beatlab” where you could just play loops and drag given sample to make hella basic beats. I thought it was the coolest shit and so I ended up making a three track EP that I never released.

CVF: You've got 4 words to sum up your sound, go!
CC: Ambient Electronic For Expeditions

CVF: What's your equipment setup look like?
CC: So right now I am practicing my drum pad skills and working on doing more in my live sets. Also I am having a friend of mine doing some ableton stuff and some guitar just so we can jam and have fun.

CVF: And finally, what's in store for the future of Celadon City?
CC: I honestly don’t know but I'm excited. There are some wonderful things out in the world. And I for sure will go and see it all.

CVF: Alright that about wraps it up, thank you! (Now I have to try and find the old code we had to make it formatted like an actual article...)
CC: Wonderful ❤️ let me know if you need anything else! thank you for interviewing me.

And there we have it. Nice bloke he is. Oh and before I go I should mention that Celadon City's debut album Earth: OST will be available on Hush Hush Records' bandcamp, you can pre-order it if you'd like, but the full thing drops on the 12th of February!

You can find more Celadon City on:

- Claude Van Foxbat

Saturday 23 January 2016

Clicky Clicky

So much for that schedule I was keeping to so well. And my mouse continues to change its mind about whether it's going to click once or twice. Other than that not much of note which is probably for the best. So back to the slightly irregularly scheduled song things.

Decided to check in on Commix, I know they put out another LP a while back this time of some old unreleased things if I remember right? Cheching up on their discogs it seems it's been reduced to just George Levings of the original Duo (which even further back was a trio). I'd not listed to any of it save for Fallen above which was released on its own digitally, so I thought I'd treat myself.

I really dug Commix's style of Liquid that was on Call To Mind, but this time around things feel a little more sedate, a little like some stuff Moving Shadow was putting out in the early 00's. Not that that's a problem mind, I got a real soft spot for that kinda sound because that's when I was first started paying attention to the genre.

Not to say there isn't stuff similar to Call To Mind to sink your teeth into; Gorgeously smooth intros that give way to full, thick basslines. My only complaints are minor, it seems a little short, and that Breakdown towards the end is beautiful, I'd rather it fade out there than have the D&B portion come back for only a few bars. Still, yet another mark on my ever growing list of 'Things To Pick Up'.

-Claude Van Foxbat

Thursday 21 January 2016

We'll Do It Live

This week seems to be going an awful lot quicker than the last, to the point where I haven't even managed to get some tracks lined up on the side to post. Bear with me as I half wing it half shuffle it to find some tunes for this one.

Wassily Kandinsky - Dominant Curve (1936)

Let's start with what got me up this morning shall we? M|O|O|N's Hydrogen is permanently drilled into my skull thanks to Hotline Miami. I can't think of much to say about it in all honesty, it's been a part of my library for so long it's just another piece of the puzzle. Sometimes I think it could do with a little more variety but that doesn't stop it from being a cracking tune.

On the flipside, a tune I have wanted to animate to since I first heard it. I never will because I love it too much, I'd hate to ruin it even temporarily through overexposure like so many other songs I have done projects to. That and I think Pfadfinderei could do a much better job than I could anyway.

I've let Los Angeles back in for another round or two as well, and even then that's only because I get exhausted on my stock of FlyLo so I retire all of it in one go. I'd be lying if I said I didn't adore Los Angeles in all it's noisy glory, it's like an Analog Worms Attack for the 21st century.

-Claude Van Foxbat

Tuesday 19 January 2016

Don't Count On It

You;d think after 3 years of Uni and freelance I'd know a thing or two about making sure things get there on time, well it turns out I don't and I need to chase up Celadon City about a Q&A we had planned for yesterday but no matter. As compensation have a belated usual post in its place until I know what is even going on.

Trust as soon as I moan about my soundcloud feed not turning up anything good for the umpteenth time, it actually comes through. My buddy Abbrev. once again works up something with the slightly retro vibe, I can't fault it for much, if anything I want him to re-post it in 5 months or so and see if it catches the summer blogger's ears.

You all should be no stranger to the slightly sinister synthwave from Scattle by now. I don't know why I haven't thought to check if he had a soundcloud until now but hey ho. Get a load of this for your weekly fill of shamelessly retro sounds, this time with bonus Howie Scream samples.

It's not over yet though, while Scattle could easily be at home on a film soundtrack, Magic Sword take it in a slightly different direction. From what I've heard a fair few of their songs take a while to get going, but they do in spectacular fashion; layering on sounds until you end up with some hybrid synthwave come electro house anthem. It's pretty nice.

-Claude Van Foxbat

Friday 15 January 2016

Right On Time

Look who has two thumbs and is managing to keep to schedule so far this year, it me. Originally intended to be a soundcloud roundup but I'll be damned if the holiday drought isn't keeping firm. As such have another round of me current playing list instead.

Morris Graves - Time Of Change (1943)

I've mentioned The Flashbulb's penchant for post-rock stylings a fair bit as of late, but never actually shown off any examples of it until now. The second half of the album's intro should do that nicely though. It also helps I'm a sucker for spoken word samples too but I digress. Together the two opening tracks perfectly display both sides of the LP, both the ambient and the more upbeat.

Been a while since I posted some synthwavy stuff, though I got most of it out of my system with that NYE post. I made the mistake of animating something to this tune a while back, which if you've ever tackled something like that you know is a sure fire way to get you to hate the song. But truth be told I still love it a whole lot, as soon as I hear those twinkling opening notes I fall in love all over again. It helps that it's got a shelf wobbling bassline to boot.

And lastly a downtempo throwback to 2001 with Röyksopp's debut LP. I actually prefer the slightly remixed version they used to play live (mainly because they added a vocoded chorus if I'm honest), but I'd be lying if I said that sample wasn't worth the price of admission alone.

-Claude Van Foxbat

Tuesday 12 January 2016


Thought it would be nice to see some pals out shopping yesterday, turns out they were both disease ridden and now I have caught their ills. So this post is going up a little later than usual because I have been asleep 80% of today. Another downtempo selection to ease my aching head.
Vasily Polenov - The Ill Woman (1886)
First off is the last part of the broadcast collection I needed. Their debut on Warp, a collection of singles and B Sides from their singles on Duophonic. It flows incredibly well given its complied nature, and is definitely wearing the 60's influence on it's sleeve, even moreso than on The Noise Made By People. I've loved this song for a long time, much of the album has melancholy lyrics but I very much empathise with the ones on here, especially during my early days of Uni.

Slammed a load of OPN on my phone on a whim the other day, and it's come in mighty handy today. I still need to pick up OPN's newer stuff but I refuse because it's marked up to like £15 at the minute because its so popular. I'm more than content to go over the mountain of material that Rifts has to offer anyway.

And the granddaddy of ambient makes an appearance once again. Dug out Another Green World again after spying a youtube comment comparing this to Fischerspooner's Tone Poem. I do love Eno's work, I just don't post it to much outside of the ambient series because it doesn't exactly fit. Making an exception today and besides, there's some synth stuff going on here so it qualifies.

-Claude Van Foxbat

Saturday 9 January 2016

How 2 Adult

Oh boy me and InDesign nearly had some fallout today, you'd think after a few years worth of experience things'd be easier, but adobe always keep me on my toes when it comes to software. Anyway today I did some adult things (not like that you 'orrible minded lot) so I forgot to post. So have a hastily put together 10PM post.
Ellsworth Kelly - Spectrum Colors Arranged By Chance VI (1951)

For all the smack talk I did in the opening paragraph, editing to audio isn't half therapeutic sometimes. Special thanks to Siriusmo for keeping me sane while I awkwardly nudge 5 text boxes into alignment. At least I could try and do it to the rhythm of the beat.

Perhaps it may have been a tad fast tho, so instead have a slower cut from Commix's debut to even things out. I put it away a lot because I tend to wear out the track-list, but I'll be damned if that rumbling bassline isn't sexy as hell nearly every time.

Put Music Has The Right To Children back in after a long abscence. Still as good as ever, the album has earned its reputation had more than enough said about it, and for my money it's still the best jumping in point to BoC's own personal brad of ambient infused sound.

-Claude Van Foxbat

Wednesday 6 January 2016

Someone Search For Earth

Long time music bud Celadon City has wasted no time getting down to business this year, he's mentioned offhand a couple of times about the LP he's been working on for years now and it's slowly becoming a reality. I'm no stranger to album releases ofc, but there's something a little more exciting about it when you know the person behind the tunes.

Speaking of, lets actually talk about the music, it's once again a more ambient style piece than the usual Celadon City sound I've posted before. I've been giving The Flashbulb's Soundtrack To A Vacant Life a listen again for a few weeks now, and this tune could almost pass for one of the songs on there only without the post-rock bits. Now you all know I love ambient as it is, but if the albums title, Earth: OST, is anything to go by I should be in for a major treat as themed albums are also a weakness of mine. If this is the introduction to the LP, I am very much on board where Mr. City is going to take me.

-Claude Van Foxbat

Sunday 3 January 2016

January Blues

Hello all, it's 2016! And don't you worry nothing much has changed, I'm still your resident selector with a penchant for Cyberpunk sci-fi and moody electronic sounds. So let's start this shindig.

Miwa Ogasawara - Nacht (2010)

Never a lot to do in the winter unless you like naff telly. So instead I revisited my favourite gang of bounty hunters the Bebop crew, the OST is well known for it's frequent jazzy bits but there's a good selection of genres in there too. Here's a long time favourite to warm you up.

I know I dumped a load of Hotline Miami stuff for the year end track dump, but it's still super good. And it's not all frantic doorkicking synthwave neither, have a surprisingly introspective addition to the soundtrack from Scattle.

And finally Wisp's reworks of Selected Ambient Works Vol. 2 make a reappearance. I haven't given them nor the original LP a listen in a long while, but I'm feeling it right about now. It hits a nice mid point between the ambient techno of 85-92 and the all out ethereal of Volume 2 that's quite refreshing.

-Claude Van Foxbat