Sunday 25 February 2018


Helen Frankenthaler - Reflections IV (1995)

A return to a more eclectic mix of tunes like I used to do in years past. Starting with a little underrated piece from Massive Attack's Protection. For me the LP is so, so close to being on my 10/10 albums list, but it falls at the last hurdle with a slightly naff live cover of Light My Fire which doesn't really fit with the rest of the album. Still it's essential listening for anyone into downtempo, and Eurochild is home to one of my favourite verses ever courtesy of Tricky at around 2:53: "Take a second of me, You beckon I'll be. When you're sad I'll mourn and when you tear, I'm torn.".

I've spoken on a few occasions about my favourite vocalists, and Trish Keenan of Broadcast is very near the top of that list. All her songs have a light bittersweet edge to them now that she is unfortunately no longer with us, but I'm always consistently in love with her vocal delivery. And what better song to show that off than the fairly minimal cover of Nico's Sixty Forty, Trish's vocals have a slightly lo-fi feel to them here, but it continues to remain one of my favourite pieces of hers.

Keeping it downtempo for the final choice. I've been having a lot of Moby's more ambient work on in the background while I work. Play is still a fantastic album (if a little overplayed) almost 20 years on. Here's the short interlude Down Slow, a far cry from the ambient pieces on the fittingly titled Long Ambients 1: Calm. Sleep. it clocks in at just over a minute and a half. It comes up in the shuffle once in a blue moon and sometimes just blindsides me and I get a little lost in it. This has been one of those times.

-Claude Van Foxbat

Sunday 18 February 2018

Nostalgia Trippin'

I've posted at length several times about my love for Graeme Norgate's Timesplitters soundtracks, they were supremely influential to a young Foxbat dipping his toes into both the world of electronic music and shooters. But a lot of that attention has been focused on Timesplitters 2 (which to be fair had the majority of my time back when). So today I thought I'd do a cross section of some good tunes from the other 2 games, the OG and Future Perfect. Get a load of those character models from 2000.

I thought I'd start with something a little unassuming first, the soundtrack to the built in mapmaker mode. I know I dole out a lot of criticism for generic productions and the like, but I have a real soft spot for menu themes and tracks like this. It's a little bit like ambient music, Norgate's sound engineering skills put to the test to make a tune that fills the silence but won't drive you out of your mind as you edit and re-edit variations of your map. Maybe it's the nostalgia talking, but I think I could slip a couple tunes like this into my cosy electronica category.

Something I especially like about the overall design of the Timesplitters soundtracks as a whole is how Norgate plays with the genres on display, fitting given he location and time-period hopping backdrop of the games. Compound is a one-off big beat come trip hop style tune with samples and some vinyl scratchin' dotted throughout. It's a one off composition that only appears in the multiplayer map of the same name, which sounds like a lot of effort on its own but this is just one of many tunes from the OST that are made for that exact purpose.

I like that tunes like the above are decidedly non-videogamey in how they feel. The same kind of applies to the final tune I have for you from the third instalment, Future Perfect. Here Norgate stretches his trance legs and takes us on a 7 minute ride. It'd be just as at home on the dance-floor as it is with deathmatches, and I've been often tempted to throw it into one of those mixtapes I put together semi-infrequently. The break at 4:15 is so deliciously in the style of old school trance euphoria and I adore it. Thanks for all the good times, Graeme.

-Claude Van Foxbat

Thursday 15 February 2018

Spotify Monthly Selections February

Back once again with another Monthly Selection! It's officially a series! February's listenings are all suitably loved-up; cribbing a few choice cuts from my personal Valentine's playlist we open with the eternally classic Your Love from Frankie Knuckles, before taking things in a more uptempo funky direction with the duet of Chase & Status and Chromeo. Followed by a nod to my roots with the bombastically filtered house of Macross 82-99 and some classic pre-wubfest Dubstep from D1.

Taking a turn into slow jams towards the end, The Knife's fantastic live version of Heartbeats caps off the playlist. Taking maybe just a smidgen of inspiration from José Gonzalez's cover of their song, The Knife take the upbeat electropop of the studio version and turn it on it's head, it's devastatingly beautiful. I can't overstate how much I adore Karin Dreijer's vocals, she is and remians one of my top 10 voices in music.

-Claude Van Foxbat

Sunday 11 February 2018

Rainy Days

Kiyoshi Saito - Coral (1958)

After a couple of weeks of themed playlists, you'll be pleased to hear that this time we're back to the usual format. Starting right with more obscure Flying Lotus tunes, Catacombs is a bit of an enigma, for one this is billed as the extended version, but I can't for the life of me find any evidence of a non-extended version. Pedantry aside, the tune itself is a terrific listen, the Thundercat-esque style on here is buttery smooth and an absolute treat for the ears. I say esque because nowhere does it say Thundercat did the noodling for this one, it's well worth your time.

Following an impromptu synth jam at work, I turned one of my teammates onto Analog Worms Attack. A lot of folks don't realise there's more to Oizo than Flat Beat, and that the man's sill going strong to this day. I can see why though, the LP of Analog Worms Attack is a different beast than Flat Beat. Oizo's house-influenced tunes are in the minority here, replaced with a distinctly gritty and rough-cut hip-hop come electro sound. I adore it, but those looking for more flat antics will be let down. Here's one of the less abrasive numbers on there, Bobby Can't Dance

I've been revisiting Stenchman as of late too. I've tons of material from the guy over the years, and he's got more going than just the Dubstep of days gone by. Looking over the list I spy quite a few that I'd like to put up, but this one ended up making the cut. Silicon Future is definitely heavily Garage inspired, while Stench usually puts stuff in that style out under his Philestine moniker this one comes across more of a meeting of the two aliases, which is something that'd start to appear on his later free compilations. The tune's as good as ever too, hard to believe it was 2012 when I picked this up for the first time.

-Claude Van Foxbat

Sunday 4 February 2018

Songs In The Key Of Chroma: Part 2 - The Downbeat

Back with part 2 of the CMYK playlists, we're rounding out the inks this time, heading down the list in order as we have been so far gets us to... Yellow. Home of all things downtempo, with a strong hip hop/trip hop lean to it, with some slightly funkier numbers in there for good measure. A warmer feel than Cyan and far from the dancefloor thematics of Magenta, Yellow is your go to winding down playlist (parts of wich may or may not have been adapted from my Morning After playlist). It might take the weather warming a little for these tracks to reach their full potential, but regardless enjoy this dive into my downtempo masterclass. Think artists like: Thievery Corporation, Nightmares On Wax and Bibio

And finally, Key. Not black as you might have expected, though black is covered in the range for Key. I don't quite get it either but I don't make the rules. Key as the shades of the thumbnail might suggest is where all the darker parts of my music collection lie. It's earthy tones and dark greys that I can turn to if I'm having a rough day and ain't feeling the uplifting vibes of Cyan or Magenta. Key is so far the most varied of the playlists, there's some decidedly non-electronic stuff in there, and some tunes I can't put in there due to them not being on spotify (honourable mentions to Suilen's Zakuro which would absolutely be on this list if they had it.) It's currently the shortest list at the time of writing, having trouble finding things to put into it but when I do, I instantly know they belong. Think artists like: Portishead, Depeche Mode, Trentemøller and Massive Attack

I'll continue to try build each playlist up to 100 tracks, in the meantime you can find all the CMYK (plus a few others) playlists over on my spotify. That's the end of the themed playlists, I might repost them when I get to the 100 tune mark for each but it should be back to regularly scheduled programming next week. As always, stay safe and enjoy the music!

-Claude Van Foxbat