Wednesday 25 September 2019

Aeria Gloris

In another strange twist, I found out recently that more of Yoko Kanno's work has made it onto Spotify. Not just any of her works either, no this time it's the entire soundtracks she made for the Ghost In The Shell: Stand Alone Complex TV series. You might've heard me mention Kanno several times previously, she's one of my favourite composers even when not working with electronics. I'd have liked for more of her work to land on streaming platforms but you can't go much wrong with the Stand Alone Complex works. So I'm going to take you through them and choose some of my all time favourites to share with you.

I couldn't be talking about these OSTs without starting with this one. We're kicking off with the opening theme to the first season, Inner Universe featuring Origa. Fantastic production, and incredibly befitting of the high-tech world of Ghost In The Shell, the clash of Origa's unique vocal contributions and the slick electronics establishing the whole man/machine thematic elements of the series in an absolutely gorgeous fashion.

Jumping to the second OST album now with it's opening track "Cyberbird", used to amazing effect within the series itself but more than capable of standing on it's own. That intro is just as euphoric every time I hear it, and while on paper I'm not a huge fan of strings in my electronic music, I think it works incredibly well in the tracks favour here (and if you want to get all philosophical again, ties into that man/machine theme once more).

Keeping on that slightly euphoric theme, this next track in particular I think may be my favourite example of the electronically oriented ones. The overall execution reminds of The Knife, especially in their Silent Shout era (though it came out the year before that album). Here's "Torukia".

And finally, a side of the soundtrack I've failed to mention until now. Among all these upbeat and other tracks there are quite a few downtempo pieces, sometimes bordering on Trip Hop. Any lontime readers will know I am a sucker for any and all things of that nature so it's a testament to the soundtracks I'm only mentioning it now. Featuring yet another unique vocalist contributor in Ilaria Graziano, this one does take a little while to get to the meat of the track, but stick out the jazzy percussion of the first 2 minutes and you're treated to a deliciously smooth piece of downtmepo goodness. It actually has a bit of a late 90's - early 00's feel to it, the smoothness of the synths in particular is giving me major All Saints - Pure Shores vibes, which was produced by William Orbit after all!

And so wraps up my whirlwind tour of all things Ghost In The Shell Soundtracks. There's another album or two I didn't mention here, if you like what you've heard so far check out Yoko Kanno's stuff on Spotiy and hopefully we'll see more of her work make the platform in future!

-Claude Van Foxbat

Sunday 22 September 2019

Trails (And Tribulations)

Hello. It is me again. Thought I'd swing by with yet another update on what exactly is happening. The site is still live (barely), I haven't been updating as much as I should have for a variety of reasons, IRL reasons like being promoted at work (good!), taking a trip to Portugal (good!) and having to deal with house moving headaches (not so good!) but regardless I'm trying to make more time for y'all once more. And with that in mind let's dive into what I have today.

Hot off the heels of a live radio event and Aphex Twin's latest live set on September 14th, warp comes through once again with the announcement of the "WXAXRXP Sessions" just in time for the 30th anniversary. This will be a huge box set of a bunch of sessions both new and old from the backcatalogue, most interestingly being the above. For the first proper time you can have the Complete Boards Of Canada Peel Session from 1998, featuring the until now bootleg only "XYZ". Which is a good thing because it's one of their finest tracks, though I will admit it is a little strange listening to it without the radio hiss and John Peel's dulcet tones introducing it as I'm used to from the bootleg.

It's not just Boards on the roster however, the other offerings from the "WXAXRXP Sessions" feature a who's who of the label past and present; Aphex Twin, Bibio, Oneohtrix Point Never, Flying Lotus, Plaid and LFO being the highlights for me. The WXAXRXP Sessions are available come November (15th I want to say?), as a 10x12" vinyl boxset or digital, tracklists and details over at Warp's official retailer Bleep