Sunday 24 June 2018

Heating Up

Luke Chueh - The Soundtrack (To My Life) (2004)

It's a heatwave in the UK and the footy's on the telly, and England's currently winning to boot so you can bet everyone's going to go a bit mental. So I thought I'd break trend and get a little more upbeat with my selections, a particularly nostalgia fuelled one at that. I've held off on putting this one up for a while but I think it's high time it makes an appearance. Despite being made for an in-game radio station (and one that was a parody of turn of the millennium pop at that) with a made-up and slightly crass artist name, Stripe Summer is legitimately a really good garage song. I will wholly admit that the nostalgia's a big part of that, but I will always have a soft spot for this sound.

I can't talk nostalgia and the like without an honourable shout-out to the tune that helped land me this writing gig in the fist place. Paul Rayner's Feel Me is of a unique breed of house that was all over the place when I was a young 'un, you'll find all sorts of names for it, from Organ House to simply Bassline. There's a pretty in depth tale about the tune and how I came into possession of this copy,which you can read in the comment section over on this post. We spent many a night listening to this and tunes like it loitering in car parks in beat up hatchbacks, I make sure to give it a spin every summer or so to have a bit of a wistful look back.

And just to complete the nostalgia trifecta, a lil' bit more vocal garage courtesy of Artful Dodger. Again back at the turn of 2000 you couldn't have a radio on without this or Modjo, or Stardust or any other number of one-off dance hits making an appearance. I will standby and say that twinkly synth is still gorgeous, and the vocal has aged pretty well all things considered, though I feel that goes for a lot of vocal house tunes. Looking back it doesn't have quite as much variation as I would have liked but then again, it's a radio-friendly single so it was never going to push any boundaries.

I hope you all liked this little timewarp back a good 17/18 years or so, I'll be back same time next week with more of the usual. As usual make sure you all stay safe, and enjoy the music.

-Claude Van Foxbat

Sunday 17 June 2018

Out Of Sorts

Jean Fautrier - Large Tragic Head (1942)

Been feeling strange all this weekend, like indescribably so. So I did what I always do in these cases and put on my special playlist for just such an occasion. It's had a few new additions since last time, first and foremost being parts of Yoko Kanno's excellent soundtrack for Terror In Resonance. On Hanna, the Icelandic touchstones I mentioned last time I talked about this soundtrack are much more prominent here, first and foremost from the get-go being the vocals naturally, but I feel like the structure has a lot in common with the standard Sigur Rós formula too. This is far from a negative mind you, especially in the hands of a composer like Kanno, the ethereal and slightly glitchy break at around 1:46 is divine.

I've been avoiding posting songs that are in the monthly selections over on the right, but I figure I can break that rule every once in a while. Borderlands has been ringing in my ears since Friday night and seems to be fast setting its sights on being my favourite piece from Hecker. As is so often the case with me I'm now regretting not taking the deep dive into his catalogue that I usually do with artists I'm interested in. It's been awhile since I've expanded the ambient side of my collection, and listening to An Imaginary Country might just give me case to do just that.

Finally another more ambient piece I've been revisiting recently. I've said before many times that the few and far between ambient pieces that Tom Jenkinson of Squareusher fame has under his belt are all stellar and it's a shame there isn't more of it (though that may change soon as he's soundtracking a children's series for the BBC called Daydreams). I wanted to add this specific tune to my (K)ey playlist on spotify but unfortunately his debut LP Feed Me Weird Things isn't on spotify. Goodnight Jade is definitely of that Warp school of electronic music: sandwiched between two uptempo Drum & Bass tunes on the tracklist, Goodnight Jade is a moment of reflection that's perhaps slightly out of place if you listen to the album in order, but it's an absolutely beautiful piece regardless.

-Claude Van Foxbat

Friday 15 June 2018

Spotify Monthly Selections June

June's playlist might be the most mixed bag of the lot so far. There's a theme still, albeit a loose one. I got a little bored with my electropop playlists, so I went looking for tunes in my library that could slot into that category to inject a little more variety in there. Some of them like Miss Kittin were obvious choices, whereas a first glance additions like Squarepusher and ADULT. might seem a little out of place. Surprisingly though, Tonight, We Fall is probably one of the most electopop style tunes that the duo have, definitely much more approachable than the anxious, nihilistic and often experimental electroclash that I mainly associate them with. Nicola Kuperus' delivery on the track is fairly nice as well, breaking out of the expected monotone delivery that is so prevalent in electroclash.

Things do go a little bit sideways towards the end though, I wanted to include Moby's Blue Paper because I've been listening to it fairy regulalry for the past month or so, but I couldn't find the perfecttune to follow it sound wise without it bing jarring. So I went completely in the other direction and made the last portion of the playlist all ambient, I do think that Tim Hecker's Borderlands was the correct choice to follow Moby, it's probably the mot alike in terms of sound (only without the beats). Months from Oneohtrix Point never plays us out, originally from Russian Mind, I was first exposed to it through the compilation of his early work called Rifts, which is a gorgeous dive into analogue soundscapes. The whole analogue gear angle might be slightly overplayed and a bit fetishised, but Daniel Lopatin is an absolute wizard when it comes to all things Juno.

-Claude Van Foxbat

Sunday 10 June 2018

Many Moons

Paul Klee - Fire, Full Moon (1933)

A busy end of week has meant a departure from my usual chill slant to my listenings, so enjoy this week's little switch up. Starting off with a slice from the Portal 2 soundtrack, a far cry from it's purely ambient prequel, Portal 2 is full of gorgeous glitchy beeps and bloops twinned with the occasional cinematic orchestral feel. Case in point here with the fantastically titled The Part Where He Kills You, it takes a little while to get going, but the way the electronics come into the mix around 38 seconds in is sublime and it coveres all the bases I previously mentioned. Gets almost synthwave-y in parts methinks, and that title certainly wouldn't be amiss on something from the genre.

I'd actually forgotten that I even had this HEALTH song to hand, it kinda gets lost in the sea o Adult Swim singles. It's from after the release of Death Magic, the album that incorporated a more electronic feel to their work, but it has more in common with their previous noise rock stuff, particularly the raw drums that echo their work for the Max Payne 3 soundtrack at around 2 minutes in. That's not to say it's completley divorced from the electronic evolution they had, the ending breakdown starting around 2:45 is a fantastic melding of glitchy electronics and pounding industrial that you can hear just a little bit of Stonefist in, and actually reminds me a whole bunch of the kinda stuff Mick Gordon was making for the Doom 2016 soundtrack too.

And finally, speaking of glitchy sounds, another bit from Subhuman compilation. It's got kinda the same sensibility of Crusher in that it's mixing electronic styles with other industrial-esque sounds. Hearing it back to back with the above is a strange experience, it's a hell of a lot less raw in it's overall feel, some of the drums on Crusher feel like they're punching you in the gut whereas Memory is a lot more restrained in is delivery. Not to knock it though, I think it's combo of vocals and production is certainly interesting in it's own way. I only really have one complaint with it and that is the ending, the fade out just seems like a little bit of a cop out after the rest of the song.

-Claude Van Foxbat

Sunday 3 June 2018


Ralston Crawford - Whitestone Bridge (1939-40)

I had time to think about what was going on this week's post, mainly because the train services in the UK remain as inefficient as ever so I spent a lot of time last week on platforms. The train I catch to work was super packed and I was in no mood to put up with that so I asked my music app to play me all things techno and it came up with some top tier suggestions. Starting off with another remix of Beyond The Bounds, and one I actually prefer to the dubstep-ified one I posted in the past. It's actually got a lot in common sound wise with the bits of the Rez soundtrack I talked about a couple of weeks ago now I think about it. Mitsuto Suzuki's solo albums can be a little tricky to get hold of if you don't want to use iTunes, but they're on youtube, and I definitely recommend you check them out if you're like some downtempo IDM style stuff like I do.

Moving from something new to something old now, The Knife's The Bridge has been one of my favourite instrumentals for a long time now. I think the last time I mentioned it on the blog was when I used it in that mixtape before I went on hiatus so me and Jordan could work out transfer of the domain ownership and the like, I think it's way past time I dust it off and give it another spin for you lot. Its very much unlike the rest of their output at the time and even the rest of the soundtrack its on for that matter, there's no vocal from Karin, and the electro pop feel of Deep Cuts is dropped in favour of a more eurobeat come techno dealio that I adore. I fall in love with the breakdown around 2:00 every single time.

And finally, another round from OverClocked Remix's Deus Ex: Sonic Augmentation album, this time the very final track that as the title suggests is a mashing together of a bunch of Deus Ex songs; (thanks to the artists comments I can tell you exactly which ones too). Granted this one isn't completely techno all the way through, but I can't fault the app's choice: Vig does an absolutely outstanding job of nailing a cyberpunk atmosphere from the get go, the transitions between 'verses' as it were are brilliantly executed too, the sample of the "I now have full access to your systems" line at around 3 mins in being a highlight.


-Claude Van Foxbat