Sunday 27 May 2018

Like This

Francisc Şirato - The Way Home (1930)

A mixed bag of tunes on offer this week, I don't often like to do repeats so close to each other but we have another tune from Aimer to start off this week. I actually hadn't had this one come up at all in the few months its been in my collection thanks to my penchant for shuffling all, and it picked a hell of a time to come up too; a surprisingly sunny bank holiday weekend. It does take a little while to get gong, but when things come to a head around a minute in I got instantly transported back many summers ago. It gives me the same vibes that I got from Calvin Harris' output circa 2009, super weird to think that'll be a full decade ago pretty soon.

Speaking of songs that take a while to get going, I picked up Lorne Balfe's soundtrack to the 2017 Ghost In The Shell reboot yesterday too. From the sounds of things the soundtrack was supposed to get an official release but has been canned, so Balfe has a link to his work for it (as fully uncompressed .wavs no less) on his twitter for free. My opinions on the film aside, that's a super nice move from the guy, I must say that the soundtrack is very nice if a little clichéd 'cinematic score' sounding in parts. There's a lot of sedate ambient on there, the whole things sees fairly quiet actually, but there's a whole lot of beautiful electronic arpeggios and stabs a la Daft Punk's Tron: Legacy OST and wouldn't sound too out of place on a synthwave record. Here's Reborn which is a crash course in the overall sound.

update: seems like this isn't available anytwhere to stream other than Balfe's own site. So you'll have to follow this link to hear it

And finally another soundtrack piece that just happened to come on as I was typing. Funnily enough this song from El Huervo samples Akira Yamaoka's "Tears Of..." that I talked about back in March. I always find it interesting to see musicians take cues from each other in this way, it's a nice way of paying homage to your influences and hopefully introducing them to more people to them to boot. I do wonder what the process of clearing a sample like that (if any) is, Konami isn't exactly known for their generosity, especially these days. But I digress; El Huervo takes the initial guitar of Tears Of... and gives it it an even spookier, slightly menacing feel, turning it into a lo-fi hip hop thing that's in keeping with the darker tone of the soundtrack for Hotline Miami 2.

-Claude Van Foxbat

Sunday 20 May 2018

Soundtrack Sundays (Sorta)

William Scott - Five Pears (1976)

As has been the running theme for a while now, this week's selections are all based around soundtracks. That's not 100% true though, as this first tune doesn't actually appear on a soundtrack, but rather comes from the grammatical mess of an album called Ghost In The Shell Tribute Category: Techno Style. And that title isn't exactly accurate either, there's a whole host of genres on the two compilations released, with one song in particular bordering on being Gabba of all things. But anyway, we're talking about the second tune that System 7 and techno heavyweight Derrick May have on this compilation. I don't think I mentioned this last time but the sound on show in the two tracks they have here reminds me of why as a li'l Foxbat I became enamoured with techno and general electronic music in the first place, it all sounded so futuristic to my young ears. The compilation's from 2004 but I think it carries that 90's future tech sound and sensibility with it, it'd only be right considering the source material for the tribute after all.

Moving onto something I recently dug out of my back-catalogue, The soundtrack for Metal Gear Solid 2 of all things. Truth be told it's actually really interesting to listen to on it's own, it's an odd sounding (on paper) mix of early 2000s cinematic score and electronic elements, due in part to the involvement of Harry Gregson-Williams. Not to discount the other contributions to the soundtrack though, Norihiko Hibino especially has plenty of tracks across the series that can fall under that category. Take Twilight Sniping for example, I can't say I ever gave it my full attention because the part of the game it plays in is pretty tense (and it only appears that once) but now hearing it separate from it's context it's surprisingly laid back, taking a form more akin to a slower Omni Trio track or the like. There's times where the reincorporation of the orchestral elements sounds a little off but overall I think it works out, that bassline is lovely for one.

And finally, yet another example from Soichi Terada. I think this'll be the third time or so I've told the tale of how he was one of if not the first examples of Drum & Bass I heard thanks to Ape Escape. And like Twilight Sniping above, it takes on a whole new life when separated from the context of the visuals. Coral Cave is a frantic tour de force of Terada's style; I'm fairly certain that it's got the fastest beat of all the Ape Escape OST, but carefully balanced with these aquatic themed synths firing off in the background. It's a short one at two minutes dead, but if you hit repeat on your music player it's clearly designed to loop fairly seamlessly as you might expect from a PS1 game. It's definitely one of the highlights of the OST, the whole thing is worth your time but check this one out for certain.

-Claude Van Foxbat

Tuesday 15 May 2018

Spotify Monthly Selections May

I'm feeling a little more uptempo this time. In the spirit of last month's selections I decided to stretch my house legs once again and put together this little concoction for you. I didn't want to re-tread the filter/french territory as much this time, and once again I was surprised at the depth of selections on offer through spotify. Seems they've massively expanded their catalogue since I last used them in my early Uni days.

I was running a little short on selections so there is some more electro-house styled stuff in the middle from MSTRKRFT and Siriusmo, but the real meat of this month is the final 5 anyway. I've always liked deep house, but I made the mistake of trying to seriously expand into the genre when it became the hip new thing and the waters got very muddied. I wouldn't mind but the stuff that gets billed as deep house these days is sofar from what I'm familliar with I'd hsitate to call it the same genre. So I compiled a few of my favourites new and old, I could listen to Soichi Terada's Purple Haze all day, and Laurent Garnier's Last Tribute From The 20th Century somehow slipped past me all these years, which is a massive shame because I am madly in love with that bassline on it.

Also featured is Octave One's Burujha, a tune I was introduced to via Ford & Lopatin's (FKA Games) mixtape called Spend The Night With. It's a real mixed bag of genres what with a couple of Enya tunes on there, but nestled i nthe mix is this lovely slice of Detroit goodness that I've not been able to get out of my head since. What's a deep house selection without the one and only Mr. Fingers? hailing form the 80's, Can You Feel It? is top tier deep house to this very day. For the final tune I wanted A:Xus' Callin' You (Baghdad Cafe) but unfortunatley it's not available on spotify in full. So instead I went with a more recent release of his, the ever-so-slightly melancholy Suite Disappointment, which features the same Vocal House style that I wanted Callin' You for, so it all worked out in the end!

-Claude Van Foxbat

Sunday 13 May 2018

Reunions 2

A busy end to the week means I'm glad I shifted the post schedules to Sundays. After a slightly messy Friday of setting up exhibitions, meeting coworkers and friends, making a couple of new ones on the way and then grossly underestimating how quickly I could hoof it to the train station and exactly how long I'd been out, Saturday was a complete write off. Still, I had the foresight to prepare some stuff earlier in the week so here I am with the usual selections.

Billy Childish - Reunion Owl (2011)

I got real into the Adult Swim singles project, slightly disappointing that the past few years haven't had a download of all the tunes, so I took the opportunity to revisit the previous years. 2014's starts off incredibly strong, with a 7 minute disco infused offering from Giorgio Moroder himself, the opening synths immediately recalling The Chase, one of if not his mot famous tune. There's some gorgeous twinkling arpeggios laid on later that have more than a passing resemblance to Daft Punk's Tron: Legacy OST, though it's probably more the other way around given how long he's been in the game. It's interesting to hear Giorgio play with his disco roots with an updated sound, I remember thinking when I heard he'd be producing again that he'd take a Chromeo style slant to it. It's certainly not a bad thing, f anything it's refreshing to hear, and I'm just happy that one of electronic music's allstars is still around.

Track 2 from 2014 next, at the time I was vaguely familiar with Machinedrum's work from soundtracks and the like, It's unfortunately yet another thing that's been tossed on my 'to pickup' pile that grows more than it shrinks. But I can talk about the tune itself! It lets you know from the get go with those delightfully retro piano stabs that this is quite heavily garage influenced (that's UK Garage as in house, not USA Garage as in rock). As a mid 90's baby who grew up in the north of England I have a real soft spot for the sound, it carries with it echoes of summers past, and hell a garage/house style tune is partially responsible for getting me this writing gig in the first place way back when. I do think that the repetitive samples are played up a little too much here, much more recently I think Luke Vibert did a better job on Luke Vibert Presents UK Garave Vol.1, but I'll happily take them both.

My brief dip into the world of J Pop has brought me to Aimer. The EP this is from doesn't have the original version for the song for me to compare to, but I can tell you that this remix is super pretty indeed. In fact I think it comes out not feeling cold at all despite it's title, I do think it's a little let down in terms of structure but then again it is in essence a pop record so that's perhaps to be expected, and that only really sets in one you've looped it 3 or so times like I have when writing this post. Still, more than happy to have extra ammo for playlists when (and if) summer ever starts to roll around. Note the spotify player may not work in your country, if so see this link.

-Claude Van Foxbat

Sunday 6 May 2018


Joaquín Sorolla - Girl With Flowers

Starting this week's selections off with an archival success story. You may remember a loooong time ago I mentioned a fairly obscure remix of on of my favourite tunes ever, Rippin Kittin by Alexander Polzin.At the time I praised Miss Kittin for having it available to stream along with most of her discography (and even tunes she only did vocals for). The link to buy the Golden Boy stuff was long since dead, but having it on soundcloud was better than nothing, especially considering I couldn't find this remix to buy anywhere, or even on YouTube or the like. I still grabbed a copy of it anyway, call it paranoia I've seen stuff disappear from soundcloud before and it's a real shame. Well it seems that my paranoia's paid off once again, I swung by Kittin's soundcloud only to find that the entire Golden Boy playlists she had had been wiped clean, along with a few others. Logic would say that they're in some kind of copyright hell, or best case about to be re-pressed and re-released. It's still a downer though but thankfully in the meantime I've got the version I swiped to keep me company, it's a fantastically sedate version of Rippin Kittin, turning it from an electroclash anthem to something a little more reflective.

Keeping it on the downtempo side of things for now, with yet another entry from one of my favourite soundtrack crafters Yoko Kanno. A far cry from the electronic infused, Björk inspired tracks she made for the Ghost In The Shell: Stand Alone Complex soundtracks, the tunes that appear on the Zankyou no Terror Original Soundtrack keep it fairly acoustic, though there's connections to Iceland in both the show and soundtrack (the lyrics to Von being in Icelandic, Director Shinichirō Watanabe actually citing Sigur Rós as an inspiration and the soundtrack was even recorded there). ís is probably the most famous piece form the soundtrack, it's used within the show to breathtaking effect and I knew I had to have it in my collection. It scratches an itch the same way that Washed Out's Life Of Leisure EP did when I first listened to that, and one that I didn't even know I still had.

The new post schedule means that I missed quite the anniversary around 2 weeks or so ago now: Boards Of Canada's Music Has The Right To Children turned 20, having been released late April 1998. I don't have to to explain to those of you that have been with us a long time how important both this album and Boards Of Canada's work as a whole is to me, I wrote a multiple year long exploration of Warp's releases after all. To the rest of you who might not be as familiar, Music Has The Right To Children is an excellent dropping in point to the world of BoC, it's an essential addition to anyone's collection with a taste for downtempo and ambient. The gelling together of gorgeous retro synth work with slightly off kilter and surreal samples, all backed by almost trip-hop style beats is the synonymous Boards Of Canada sound, and they're on top form throughout Music Has.... Here's my favourite ambien interlude off the album, the short but sweet Olson, which a friend of mine described as "The musical version of a warm hug".

-Claude Van Foxbat