Saturday 17 December 2016

The Memes Jack

Fittingly after last time's dive into Carpenter Brut what would be the first thing I come across on soundcloud? Another iteration of the We Are Number One meme, which there are about to be plenty more mixes like this of now that the stems are available. It's had its funny moments for sure so I gave this one a shot. But its actually like really good, to the point where the vocals don't even sound that out of place. I'll wait with bted breath for the extended one to come out, but for now enjoy both it and it's instrumental counterpart.

-Claude Van Foxbat

Monday 12 December 2016

At The Joinery

Another post I've been holding onto for a while here. Let me tell you a little tale about me and synthwave. I was obviously well one that Kavinsky train since day one, I did see some people start making similar stuff that didn't have the electro lean of Kavinsky's stuff, but didn't really keep up with it aside from the occasional Lazerhawk or Perturbator. And that was fine, it got me by for a while and I was content. Flash back to two years ago when I first lay ears on Carpenter Brut...

My first exposure came in the form of the violently explosive Roller Mobster through Hotline Miami 2. This wasn't the plinky 'outrun' style of synthwave I'd seen around the 'net before, and it went hand in had with the neon drenched fast-paced violence that is the Hotline Miami experience. It does take on more retro style elements later on mind, taking a funky turn on a breakdown around the 2 minute 20 mark.

And I apologise for what may be the 4th time I've posted Roller Mobster, but it was important to lay the background (honest!). Anyway, one of the reasons I was drawn into Carpenter Brut in the first place is how different his overall aesthetic was. Most Synthwave I'd seen was all sci-fi, old 80's anime and retro-futurism (not that there's anything wrong with those but it was quite played out). Brut on the other hand is all about low budget 80's horror schtick, so expect lots of slightly occult imagery like goat skulls and the like, alongside some slightly seedy titles like Le Perv.

The closing song to the Hotline Miami 2 LP and a slightly different beast next. No pun intended there, but it is originally from the soundtrack to the movie of the same name, which did feature some beasties and a strong Lovecraft streak. Clocking in at 6 minutes long, Escape... does take a little while to get going, but it's a solid listen all the way through and it all makes the eventual payoff at 5:20 all that more sweeter.

-Claude Van Foxbat

Saturday 10 December 2016

Weekend Reflections

Things slowing down and had time to think. Might not have been the best of ideas but hey whatever cannae change anything now so musn't dwell. Now that slightly depressing glimpse into my life is over let's talk tunes again.

Pierre Alechinsky - Pavan One Thousand Regrets (1971)

Been on that Ford & Lopatin train again, shame it seems lke we won't see another LP from them for a while, I dig out this and their earlier work as Games every so often and fall in love with the retro aesthetic they have going on. The LP, Channel Pressure is a lot less sample based than the Games work and features a lot more of Joel Ford too, definitely check it out if this tickles yer ears.

Also found an old copy of one of Evan's mixtape type dealies he put out. Was always nice to get a mediafire link from him every now and then and have me instrumental hip hop needs catered to for a while. It's been a while since I've had one but I don't mind, looking over the stack of stuff he's given me for free, it'll tide me by for a few years more methinks.

Ev K - Morning

Also Nightmares On Wax has been back in rotation too. I mean, he never really left but still. After hearing about how one of my co-workers worked on the design of an early album of his I dug them all out in full force once again. Thought So... always seems to get overlooked in the grand scheme of NOW stuff, but it's home to some of my favourties. I'll have to get around to fixing up all the Warped posts sometime next year and see if my fave picks are still the same.

-Claude Van Foxbat

Tuesday 6 December 2016

Time To Split

Frequent readers should know by now that I'm no stranger to posting game soundtracks. But this time I'm going to cover something a little special to me, I've said before that I give some credit to games in general for making me realise electronic music was my thing and what I'm about to cover was one of many that had a hand in that. I've held off posting any of this for petty much the entire time I've written here and now seems a good time as any.

Yeah we're talking TimeSplitters 2, the frantic arcadey shooter that occupied much of a young Foxbat's time. The main composer for TS2 was Graeme Norgate, who like most of the Free Radical crew was ex-Rare and himself is responsible for some tunes from GoldenEye for the Nintendo 64. We're going to start off with the TS2 version of Streets, which blew me away when I was younger, I'd never heard straight-up trance in a game that wasn't licensed music, and it accompanied the often frenzied shootouts on the map in spectacular fashion.

There's a wide variety of moods and genres explored as one would expect from the games time-hopping aesthetic. It gets remarkably chill at points too, take the theme for the industrial tiles in the mapmaker mode, not necessarily what you'd expect in a fast-paced FPS but it works out. I only really got to appreciate it on it's own like this, my experience with it in the game was quite limited, usually brief snippets caught while everyone was reloading in splitscreen.

The single-player had some gorgeous tunes too, a lot of quite ambient stuff come to think of it. TS2 is also one of the things that made me realise I dug cyberpunk before I knew what cyberpunk was even called. Returning t it, it's fun to see all the little references put in too, I didn't catch the significance of "Neo Tokyo 2019" back then, and the level itself is pretty much a love letter to Blade Runner and Graeme's soundtrack has hints of Vangelis' soundtrack too, which only makes me love it more.

-Claude Van Foxbat

Saturday 3 December 2016

An ADULT. Retrospective, Vol. 2

A little late on this one but I'll elaborate in a little while. One of the things you'll find out quickly about ADULT. is that sometimes it can be incredibly hard to google related terms. We're covering the Nausea EP / LP this time (Discogs calls it a mini-album), and you'll notice the cover below is very small, one of the casualties of the aforementioned goole issue, searching for "ADULT. Nausea" gets you all kinds of results that aren't to do with the band

The opening and title track is a bit of a different beast from the ADULT. sound you're used to; there's a whole lot more bleepy electronics going on, which I'm not sure suits ADULT's overall style, that's more Freezepop's territory. Nicola's delivery is sparse but on point as usual though.

Nausea does however mark the first appearance of one of my favourites, Skinlike. It's again a bit more upbeat than usual, but not as bleepy as the title tune so Ithink it works out better. It's a shame that the whole album seems to go oft unmentioned in the whole electroclash scene, I can see it fitting right in with Kittin & Hacker's stuff on International Deejay Gigolo at the time, full of 2real lyrics like "Just when I think I'm in control I fall apart again" and in fact they did appear on a remix EP for Tuxedomoon on International Deejay Gigolo around this time.

Another early version of a tune that would get reprises on later releases, Nicola's delivery is again sparse here, that might be an unfair comparison to make though, as this is still early in the release timeline, but things are spiced up a little bit with a few lines with more melodic delivery than usual. I still prefer the cleaned up and slightly reworked version from Resuscitation more, but it's still a solid tune regardless.

-Claude Van Foxbat