Saturday 15 December 2018

Spotify (And Bonus Soundcloud) Selections December

As I was prepping this December's playlist, I almost fell into the trap I set for myself every year of going down a downtempo rabbit hole. So, this year I decided nah let's swap hemispheres for a change and inject a little bit of warmth into our end of year selections. Starting with a little something I've had sitting in my inbox for a long time now (apologies to the artist!), it unfortunately came to us during the time where I had to take the site down for a little while to sort some stuff out. Regardless it stayed on my radar and I've been trying to find a spot for it and now seems as good a time as any to deploy it and now seems as good a time as any.

Jean Sean is someone we've covered before here a couple times in the past, and the remix fiend didn't disappoint this time. As much as I like to abuse this analogy, this rework took me straight back to the blog house days, more specifically to the like of Crookers (crikey, remember when Fidget House was a thing?) and of course more specifically Major Lazer, who thanks to this remix I found out are still active and making stuff too so I owe Jean Sean thanks for that too. It's not all going to be this bombastically dancehall-esque sound unfortunately, but I think it sets up the anti-downtempo selections I have n mind quite nicely indeed.

Starting off, we're keeping the "They're still around?" theme going, with a two-for-one from Mylo AND Louis La Roche. Mylo was a big deal in the mid 00's, he did a real good house album called Destroy Rock & Roll that had some quality singles on it; Paris Four Hundred, In My Arms and Doctor Pressure and then just kinda dropped off the face of the earth. Only on checking out Spotify was I informed that he'd done another EP this year! and with former 'French Touch' blog house darling Louis La Roche to boot. To be fair to Louis, I don't think he ever went away or stopped making tunes, I just didn't keep up with anything he did post 2010 or so. and it seems that he's left the side-chaining sample laden production of his past behind, at least the blatantly late 90's french house type. There's some samples and the like on here that make me questio nwhether they're chasing the 'tropical house' trend but still, it's nice to hear from 'em.

Naturally, I couldn't just leave it at that, so for the next couple tunes I went back into my memories and dug out some house from days gone by. Starting withprobably my first non-Talking Heads exposure to David Byrne in the gorgeously smooth Lazy from X-Press 2 (that's only a little bit depressing with it's lyrical content). Followed that up with the delightfully funky bonus track Fit Your Heart from Benjamin Diamond. I had to restrain myself from going all out with the funky stuff at this point, so I limited myself to just a couple more in this style. Modjo was a natural choice here, and hipster me wasn't just going to go with the shoo-in of Lady, instead I opted for Music Takes You Back, which I've had several people confuse for Jamiroquai when it's appeared on playlists. The last quarter when it all comes together is where it really shines. What would a dive into funky stuff be without a dash of Chromeo? I thought about putting on a bit from Business Casual here as I recently talked about it on the Podcast, but man Fancy Footwork is just so damn good, here we are 11 years after release, and I'm still madly in love with all the little synth hits and twinkles on the title track.

Ok, so I might've lied about keeping it totally upbeat, but we managed halfway! Besides, it's fast becoming winter at least for those of us in the northern hemisphere. We're keeping things a little bit funky tho, with the original Electric Counterpoint from Steve Reich. I talked about the Royksopp edits of this one that they did as freebies some time ago, and as much as I like them I've grown a real fondness for the original. It's a funny clash of electronic style composition with more traditional instrumentation. I'd hesitate to call it drone but if you swapped out the guitar for some lush synth pads it'd probably fit right in. Speaking of, when I was throwing around ideas in my head for this playlist I was running some errands in the rain when my shuffle decided to serve this one up to me. I do't think any of these playlists has had Tangerine Dream on as of yet, they've enjoyed a recent bump in popularity after working on the OST for Grand Theft Auto V of all things, (I'd love to get my hands on the limited edition CD they made from the OST, songs like Mission Possible are just gorgeous). Some questionable album art choices aside, I firmly believe they're a must have in any electronic fan's lists.

On a similar vein, Vangelis' Blade Runner soundtrack should be familiar to any electronic music fan, if only for Blade Runner Blues alone (though again I am biased because I absolutley could listen to that brassy analogue synth sound all day). Spotify doesn't have the expanded re-release of the Blade Runner OST, and I didn't feel like dropping the 8-minute synth Jam of Blade Runner Blues on you so I went with Wait For Me instead. Though a little more dated in terms of sound than Blues, especially with those MIDI horns, Wait For Me remains an evocative piece and one of my favourites from the OST. Rounding out my suddenly vintage selections is Kraftwerk, of course. They hold a special place in my heart as I've mentioned several times in the past, partly nostalgia and partly my weakness for techy sounds in general. Computer World 2 is a tune I've been meaning to talk about for a while now, I think its by far and away the most obvious tune to point to when it comes to the evolution of electro, and eventually techno. It's almost too easy to draw the line between the Underground Resistance and similar productions myself and Adam have been talking about and Computer Love 2.

And finishing this week, I've included Koshkina from Dispak that I included on last week but one's podcast. I've been doing some menial file management on-and-off all week and the lush sounds of the EP have been making it not as much of a slog as it could have been. Coming hot off the heels of me finding new appreciation for songs like Akira Takemoto's Island In Video Casset as well, it's been an interesting change up of sounds for me. I've just realised that the code to link to their bandcamp was broken in the original post too so I've not only fixed that, but will be including it again here. If you likewhat you hear you can stream it on Spotify (obviously), but if you like what you hear and want to pick it up, head on over to Their Bandcamp, the page has a full description of the process behind th eEP#s recording as well which makes for an interesting read and an insight into the inner workings of the EP. If you enjoyed the sounds of Koshkina I highly recommend the full thing out.

-Claude Van Foxbat

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