Monday 27 March 2017

Go East

Aki Kuroda - CONTI/NUIT/É IV (1979)
Shout out to my shuffle today for serving up an impromptu theme. All today's selections hail from Japan, starting off with a bit from Soichi Terada's fittingly titled retrospective Sounds From The Far East. I always get indecisive about whether to say Terada's tunes are inspired by video games or the reverse, a lot of his stuff has an 'arcadey' feel for want of a better term and he is responsible for the Ape Escape soundtrack on PS1 so I feel it it could go either way. Anyway, a rare non-Drum & Bass offering from him this time, a relatively slow house type number that shows off a little of what I mentioned above.

Second, another part from Cornelius' soundtracks from Ghost In The Shell: Arise. There's some gorgeously smooth pieces sprinkled throughout, (the intro to this one is absolutely fantastic for one) and a whole lot more with vocal accompaniment to boot. Appearing on Heart Grenade is Sean Lennon of all folks, wouldn't say he'd be my first choice, then again I haven't heard any of his stuff prior to this. Despite my initial concern he actually compliments the track fairly well in all honesty, wonder if he'll show up in any more electronic things in future.

And finally something a little more cliché, I've posted this one before and I am still unashamedly in love with it. The introduction is pure distilled late 90's trance, which granted I do have a nostalgic soft spot for, but if it's not your bag it only shows up at the intro and outro. The rest of the 9:10 run-time is a crash course in the techno sound of the era courtesy of Mijk Van Dijk, both longer and smoother sound wise than it's For Boys counterpart on the same EP, out of the two this one is still my favourite.

-Claude Van Foxbat

Sunday 26 March 2017


I haven't posted in quite a while ashamedly, and introductions were never my strong point, so let just get straight into it!

Firstly, a track I've had on repeat for the last week or three, Daylight by Aesop Rock. I enjoy Aesop's use of doubled up vocals, but after a while, it can become a little tiresome. That's my only criticism of Aesop Rock. The samples are solid, the beats tight and well balanced in the grand scheme. It's just a well written song, and the track suits it perfectly.
Part two is Nightlight. It is exactly what you'd think it is, a yin to Daylight's yang. It too is executed soundly (ba-dum tss), and perfectly fills the mood. Many of the lines from Daylight are repeated, albeit with a new negative or darker answer. One of my favourite lyricists.

"My God, NightLight flipped th beauty of Daylight on its back and fucked it." (sic)

Next up, Utah Saints. I never really got into the 90's electronica, and I think it's fair to blame the general quality and style that many of the hits from that era share. Although the album (Two) cam out in 2000, it still holds many of the characteristics of 90's dance. This track I find to be somewhat exempt, and I cannot find any reason why. It starts so simple and basic and just builds to something fantastic throughout. The vocal work sounds like some of the early Moby vocals, and the simple delay feedback used throughout to blend sections works favourably. Enough chit chat, enjoy it.

Lastly, something soothing and soft yet powerful and resonant. Gotye's remix album Mixed Blood (2007) was a really quite good album in my opinion. This 3am mix really quite suits the title, fitting perfectly with the vibes that abound at 3am. A soft, soothing and haunting synth and some stunning vocal work. Bravo Joe Hardy.


Monday 20 March 2017

Monday Moods

Jules Lefranc - Le Metro Aerien
Another selection of things I've got on; kicking off with my favourite obscure band, Alpinestars. With only 2 albums to their name and an incredibly difficult to google name you won't find an awful lot about them on the web. I picked up their second one, White Noise in my early 2000s days of picking up anything that caught my eye under the chillout section. I put it away a few years ago because I wasn't so hot on it anymore (or so I thought), I dug it out again after giving two of the standout tunes a revisit (the equally hard to google Snow Patrol parts 1 & 2). Turns out I don't have as many qualms as I thought with it, there's definitely more than a hint that it's from the era, the Moby-esque strings and guitar being one of the more obvious ones, which isn't an issue if you have a soft spot for tat kinda sound like I do. Here's Brotherhood which shows that off very well.

On that same note, and from the same year as a matter of fact, I will forever love the use of strings on Anything Is Possible from DJ Mehdi's debut. As much as I love the House & Electro of Lucky Boy and the Ed Banger era, I wish we had more of this more laid-back hip-hop style output from him. I think that I described this one on the podcast as positive trip-hop, which in hindsight isn't 100% accurate, in fact it's probably a little bittersweet given the circumstances of Mehdi's passing. But it still rings true to me a little, you can find me always returning to this one when I need a little musical pick-me-up.

And rounding off this selection of downtempo vibes is the E-Z Rollers. Tucked away on an album chock full of drum & bass are a few tracks that lean on the slower side of the BPM scale. The trip-hop reworking of Walk This Land being one of them, the jazzy elements present on the rest of the album feel just at home here as they did on the drum & bass parts. It's a little on the short side but a gorgeous listen nonetheless. Keep your ears out for a re-incorporation of a sample of Derrick May talking about techno producers from the preceding track on the album Retro

-Claude Van Foxbat

Monday 13 March 2017

What's On

Micael Bell - The Ring (2008)

Oh man has it been a week already? I don't have anything in the pipeline this time so lets gather 'round the fire for a good old fashioned what I've had on the last couple of days, it's been a while since we've had one. Starting off with another relic of my early 2000s mission of grabbing anything chill I could lay my mitts on. Blu Mar Ten's debut album is a big departure from their Drum & Bass output before it, there's a lot of house, downtempo and ambient laden throughout this one. I still think that some parts of it are a little rocky, but I'll be damned if I still don't absolutely adore the one-two punch of the opening track (Home Videos) and Drive, it's seen me through many a hazy morning after.

Dug The Deadbeats out of storage as well, and there's a similar story with them too; their first LP Lounging showed promise but had a couple missteps here and there. Fast Forward to 2010 or so when I'm checking out some Nightmares On Wax mixtape and see them come up again, and in that 9 year gap they managed to come through with one of my favourite hip-hop jams in a long time. It ain't incredibly complex, but it don't need to be, if anything captures the soul of their second LP Made In The Shade, it's You Never Know.

I went back and read my review of Mind Bokeh from '09 too. And something I mention is how the 1 minute intro for Excuses is a tad excessive for me. Thankfully I also have the EP version which cuts it down to a much more light 26 seconds. It's this version I fell in love with originally actually, watching the music video over on youtube; Bibio's hazy delivery, the off kilter beats and the video's gorgeous chromatic aberration had me sold from the get go. I still think it's one of the strongest offerings Bibio has, and a nice into to the hip hop side he occasionally dips into

-Claude Van Foxbat

Monday 6 March 2017

Analog Heart

Capping off a Monday dentist trip with some delicious synth work from DMX Krew. It's been a while since I scrolled through his soundcloud and it seems that much like Venetian Snares, Ed's been a busy lad as of late. I should come back more often cos I inevitably find something new to binge on every time I'm there. This time it's Radioactive Leak, though DMX Krew has always had that retro edge to it this one does feel sightly different, methinks it has a certain vaporwave/future funk slant to it, and at the risk of sounding real cliche again parts of it would be right at home on a Sega CD game.

He's also done a new age album since last I saw, fittingly called New Age Travellers. Here I was expecting full embracing of he cheese a la so many other New Age records, MIDI sax, dolphin and whale noises you know?. Well it ain't that, instead it's more lovely synth based chill stuff. I'm mad in love with this one, shame it's a tad shot but it's quality every time. Getting slight E-Z Rollers vibes off that intro, and the whole thing really just makes me want to play VA-11 HALL-A again.

-Claude Van Foxbat

Wednesday 1 March 2017

The Live One

Apologies for the large gap, as is par the course for moi, had some plans that didn't work out. Decided to fall back on the fairly large backlog of Warp stuff that's gathered in the time being. Most notably the return of Shobaleader One, seven years after Squarepusher promised us there'd be more from his then newly formed 'band' as it were. It's not new material (which isn't to knock it, just laying cards on the table), but rather a compilation of Squarepusher tunes played live and in the Shobaleader style which in itself is quite interesting, the first Squarepusher live offerings since Disc 2 of Do You Know Squarepusher? if I recall right. Slightly annoyed that this wasn't up on any steaming services but then again it ain't out yet. I'll have to check back in 9 days when Elektrac is released proper and give it the once over.

I've heard Journey To Reedham a million times, but it's still just as nice in it's Shoabaleader rendition. I do think I prefer the synths of the original to the bendy guitar here but to be honest I hadn't given it that much thought until now, mainly because I was distracted to how one-to-one with the original the drums are, I'd be convinced they were a backing track if it wasn't for the slightly ska sound they have to them. Whoever it is doing the drumming for Shobaleader One, I've got mad respect for them to keep up with 90's era Squarepusher beats.

-Claude Van Foxbat