Sunday 28 June 2020

Out Of Character

Breaking the trend with two new posts back to back just to mix it up a little. That and my old writings are very dated now, some of them carry extremely powerful 2010's teen energy. Anyway, this is just another rundown of tune I like at the mo, and as the reason for the title is twofold: One, it's odd to have back to back new posts in this hellscape of a year. And two, we're starting off with a recent addition that is of a genre that I very much am unfamiliar with.

Roberto Aizenberg - Character (1968)

If these past few years have taught me anything it's not to say with complete confidence that "I don't like X", which is something I should have come to terms with after my Eurobeat and J-Pop jaunts. Yuzo Koshiro takes a break from his usual Trance MO on this LP, experimenting with Drum & Bass and other genres along the way. Today's order is Hardstyle (I think?), I have some Hard house and Trance but me and Hardstyle and by extension Gabber never really gelled, could be that I have just heard some bad Gabber in my time! This one has taken me by storm though, every time I hear that intro I get a little bit hyped. It's a little surreal to be sending work emails to tunes like this but it's keeping me sane. Or at least what passes for it around here.

Next up is Cylob. I've been meaning to take another deep dive into Cylob since the Rephlex days and some solid remixes he's done over the years. This one is slightly reminiscent of another favourite of mine from him Rewind purely because I love love love the Mac text-to-speech voices. They have a slightly omnius vibe to them always, and more often than not are used as monotone accompaniment to a track (not that I'm complaining about that!), from my brief foray into that world myself I'm pretty sure that you can add parameters to do interesting things with the pitch and the like (See the old Moonbase Alpha memes from years ago for a not so practical demonstration). And that's exactly what Cylob does here, I love those voices at the best of times but making them 'sing' like this is absolutely brilliant!

And finally, an obscure compilation I was surprised to find a legal stream of, the suitably German compilation of Hambrgeins. If the Helvetica on the cover and minimal design didn't tip you off, this compilation is exactly that: a bunch of Ambient, Tech House and Minimal all put together in one big turn of the millennium package. This has been an important listen for me as I try and scope out what I like potentially branch out into that world. Some of them are hits, some of them are misses, some of them are hits that are too long in the tooth and need a bit of variety, but I digress. This one is of the former, scratching my glitchy / smooth juxtaposition itch all so commonly hit by Apparat or The Flashbulb. Take this as yet another note to self to check out Pawel further in the near future.


Thursday 25 June 2020

Cross Section

Apologies for the slight delays recently, I've been on a bit of a roll with restoring a bunch of blog posts (over 600 republished as of writing!) but unfortunately we're hitting the era where a lot of the posts either have broken soundcloud links b/c they've been taken down (Which I am still republishing, just with a note that they're broke) or even worse have no formatting which makes it an absolute headache to fix the links. Here's a screenshot so that all of you can share my pain as well:

Yeah. So I thought I'd return to form with this original post as I just talk about the kinda stuff I'm listening to as of late. Let's get right in, my techno itch came up something fierce a little while ago as you might have notice from the High Tech Dreams mixtape I did a little while ago, I used that as a springboard to dive further into the work of Mijk Van Dijk. Van Dijk's stuff has been hit and miss with me in the past but the hits have been incredible hits. I chose the album 'Teamwork' as I hadn't yet heard anything from it, as the name suggests it's an album of collaborations, each track is Mijk with another producer. I picked the opening track with Humate (who I'm slightly familiar with from Love Stimulation) so it was looking to be a good time. I love that intro something fierce; partially the gorgeous synth accompaniment that is very Van Dijk, partially the nostalgic if a little cliché Tomb Raider samples that make up the backbone of the track.

Not to play out the High Tech Dreams post again, but I recently replayed Ape Escape 3 for a slice of nostalgia and the soundtrack still holds up incredibly well. It marks the return of Soichi Terada after being absent from the sequel, I always want to describe his soundtracks as suprising given the subject material. They're cutesy games form Japan about catching monkeys, I certainly wouldn't expect it to be home to some absolutely gorgeous Drum & Bass and House, but I suppose that's what you get when you bring an electronic musician in as a composer (And I am not complaining at all!). Gorgeous skittering beats, lush synth pads and a surprisingly thick bassline are the order of the day here, with the fittingly titled Eversummer Island. It cuts off abruptly as do most of these OSTs, mostly because I think they're designed to loop back into themselves.

A recent addition to my listening repertoire, Swayzak were supposed to appear in some form in that High Tech Dreams mixtape mentioned above, but were cut last minute. Currently making me eat my words a little as so many other bands have with my "I don't really like minimal" stance. They also cross over into the world of electroclash a bit in the early 00's which as you all may know is essentially scoring a critical hit on me (Doubly so when one of their works is a collab with Nicola Kuperus of ADULT.). A little lost on where to begin I jumped in on 2000's Himawari which is a suitably high tech treat. I chose State Of Grace to best represent this, I can see how people would lump this in with electroclash, there is a kind of Fischerspooner-esque style to the proceedings, and even some German thrown in there toward the end to suggest that Euro vibe of labels like International Deejay Gigolos. It sounds surprisingly modern for 20 years old now, though Kirsty Hawkshaw Of Opus III fame on the vocals is a bit of a throwback for sure. At least in that department I will say it's a least a little early-mid 00's, regardless it's an all around solid production.


Tuesday 23 June 2020

Animated (2020)

NOTE: Hi there! This is an older post that I've re-published and am re-posting as a new article too just so there is visible content going up. This is going to carry on for a while as I fix the ~8 years of broken links in the archives, but do note that the next post will be an original one! This post is originally from August 2017.


Aurel Cojan - Paysage Animé (1998)

Taking a sharp left here to talk about some more soundtrack stuff. As the title would suggest the following are all taken from the few anime soundtracks I have in my collection. Now that may have just sounded incredibly nerdy but trust me here alright? Kicking off with Inner Universe which may be the finest opening tune ever devised. As at home standing alone (heh) as it is in the opening credits, I'll forever love the contrast between the electronics and Origa's unique vocal contributions which go hand in hand with the world of Ghost In The Shell incredibly well.

Moving into something a little more recent now, the OST to Jormungand has a real nice electronic slant to it in parts. I'm saving some of the more housey numbers for another day, so instead have this slightly out-of-place downtempo trip-hop esque number from it. The flute(?) running alongside throughout is giving me serious Weekend World era E-Z Rollers vibes and I sure ain't complaining about that.

And finally, another slight oddity from the Trigun OST. Nestled between spaghetti western Spanish guitar and all manner of other world music influences comes Philosophy In A Tea Cup, with a fairly unique blend of breakbeat and piano that's pretty far from my usual comparison of Omni Trio. I want to say there's something distinctly Japanese about it's stylings but then again like last time I mentioned this tune I feel like it would be just as much at home on an early Ninja Tune comp too.

-Claude Van Foxbat

Saturday 20 June 2020

Songs Of The Times (Chromeo - Quarantine Casanova)

I was looking through bandcamp yesterday to scoop some releases and support their latest charity donation incentive for Juneteenth, and when I was browsing I found out that Chromeo had made a mew mini-EP during lockdown, so I thought I'd give it a look. It has the suitably Chomeo-style title of Quarantine Casanova.

Let's go over to Dave of Chromeo with a quote from the bandcamp page describing the process:

“Honestly, it started as a joke,” says Chromeo frontman Dave 1. “At the beginning of quarantine, we hunkered down in our studio, freestyled a song called ‘Clorox Wipe’ and posted it online to cheer people up. The response was overwhelming. So we wrote another one, and another one. Fans kept asking if we were going to release them for real, so after a couple of weeks, we obliged.” “As usual, it’s a high brow-low brow thing with us,” adds synth master P-Thugg. “These are obviously the funniest tracks we’ve ever written, but they connected in such a visceral way. We figured if we were to put them out, there would have to be a charity and an awareness component.”

Chromeo have always had a bit of self awareness in their style, often embracing the cheesier side of funk in a charming way. Quarantine Casanova is no different at least from a lyrical standpoint, the tongue is FIRMLY in cheek here. That's something that might be a turn off for some, I admit I was torn between eye-rolls and smirks at some of the rhymes, but it's brought in some needed levity to recent happenings.

Clorox Wipe is the first order of the day and is definitely a solid way to start the EP. I have been very much out of touch with what Chromeo have been doing since Business Casual 10(!) years ago now, from what I recall they were fleshing out their sound and I wasn't a super fan of it at the time, it's since grown on me but the point stands. Probably due to lockdown, the EP has an overall more basic feel, evoking for me the breakout days of Fancy Footwork (Even down to the tiny bonus tracks at the end of the songs!) which is refreshing to hear. I still have a major soft spot for that sound even all these years later.

I promised myself that I wouldn't harp too much on the humorous side of the album, but there is something inherently funny about a funky slow jam about respecting social distancing rules. It's worth noting that despite the jokey nature of the content and lyrics, neither of the Chromeo boys have taken it as an excuse to cut corners, the EP is solid throughout, I adore the glittery 80's intro on this one, and as you all well know I could listen to vocoders all day every day so there is more than enough for me to get my teeth stuck into here.

I really appreciate this one, the lyrics so far have been relatable at a base level but this one hits on another level, a combination take-down of influencers and the like, as well as a reassuring anthem if you're finding it hard in the current climate. Choice lines such as "Everybody's always bragging about all their activities / But there's really nothing wrong with zero productivity" are (to use an already overused internet phrase) really wholesome. Not to say that the humour is lost though, there are also lines like "You ain't gotta look fly when you're underneath the covers / You got WiFi, then you're covered" which never fails to make me grin a little, partly because of that absolutely dubious rhyme!

Skipping over one track for one final slow jam, that also takes the wholesomeness to another level; what starts as Dave lamenting all the Quarantine problems you've come to expect at this point but takes a lovely turn toward the end with this stanza:
So if you're seriously depressed
Suffering from all the loneliness
Close your eyes and this is what you do
You can picture us

Stuck in a room with you

Which is a lovely thought, and a nice twist that makes it not yet another track just about quarantine. The instrumentals also get a chance to shine not long after hat, not that I hate Dave's vocals or anything but up until now I don't think the instrumentation has had a chance to take center stage. (Not that it matters as the rest of the tracks on the EP are instrumentals of the above!)

The price is fairly reasonable I thought (but I am in GBP after all), but I appreciate not all of you will have the freedom of expendable income right now. If you do, consider picking this one up, it's a quality slice of Chromeo funk and all proceeds from the sales are being donated to Know Your Rights Camp's COVID-19 Relief Fund.For convenience, here is a link to the Bandcamp page! If this is your introduction to Chromeo, definitely check out the rest of their work, as mentioned before I feel like this release is most similar to Fancy Footwork (But I also haven't listened to their last two albums either so take that with a grain of salt), but if you like this odds are you'll find their whole discography appealing!

As always, stay safe and enjoy the music


Thursday 18 June 2020

We Don't Need No Edumacation (2020)

NOTE: Hi there! This is an older post that I've re-published and am re-posting as a new article too just so there is visible content going up. This is going to carry on for a while as I fix the ~8 years of broken links in the archives, but do note that the next post will be an original one! This post is originally from October 2017.


Johannes Itten - Education (1966)

Apologies for the lack of updates as of late, as I've said before we're in pretty much peak busy time for university work, and I've spent most of this week teaching Photoshop, commuting and sleeping. I'll try my best to write some things come the weekend but no promises.

Anyway, I was looking over the recent posts and decided to combine two themes to start off: we're keeping it Daft Punk like with Alive '07, but I'm also archiving a tune from the Tron: Legacy OST. So for whatever reason the Punk lads decided to make this one an Amazon exclusive track, between that and some iTunes and Nokia exclusives it means that no matter which version of the OST you get you'll be missing a couple of tracks. Which is a massive shame because they (and this tune in particular) are absolutely smashing. Get a lot of those downright terrific synths, its gorgeous and sadly a little overlooked thanks to the amazon business

Keeping a digital theme with a return to Jormungand. Another of my favourite electronically tinged bits from the OST, it builds in a quite interesting way. I won't lie it does lose me a little bit towards the end just because it gets a little bit clustered and noisy, and I think that super distorted vocal could do with being less so. But other than that it's a short sharp sweet little number, both at home in the show and separated like this.

And i might as well round out the soundtracks and make it 3 for 3 with another piece from the Ghost In The Shell OSTs. I can't say that Cornelius' contributions to the series are my favourite, but that's only because of the previous soundtracks by Yoko Kanno and Kenji Kawai are nigh perfect. Though as I said on a podcast a long time ago, I appreciate the electronic focus of the Arise OST, and thematically I think it fits with the series super well. The ambient tracks are where Cornelius really shines, but there's some upbeat stuff to get stuck into too, from the future beats style of the opening theme, to the obviously more techno and IDM inspired feel of this one.

-Claude Van Foxbat

Monday 15 June 2020

Beats To Blog By

There's been more than a few times where for years I've not checked out an artist no matter how often they appear in my recommends. It's a bit of a quirk of mine, one that sometimes pays off because I can visit them if I'm ever in need of something new to listen to. This post centres on one such occasion like that; it's about Japanese hip-hop producer Nujabes.

Exploring the work of Nujabes is a bit of a minefield, he has a cult like following that means that you get weird relics of misinformation that I thought we'd left behind in the Limewire eras (more on that later). His style is distinct and often imitated (sometimes poorly), it's not very difficult to see why he's gained such a following, between featuring on some soundtracks to the recent explosion of LoFi YouTube it was almost a perfect storm. For a crash course in the overall style to expect, look no further than the closing track from Modal Soul, Horizon. It's a little long at 7 minutes but it has all the elements that you can come to expect.

As much as I dig it, the style is very much formulaic, usually centred around an (admittedly well chosen) sample. Not that that is by any means a knock of his skills, Nujabes is primarily a producer after all so it only makes sense. Do note that I'm probably artificially amplifying that a bit by choosing tracks that I like, which just so happen to have that structure. What I'm trying to work towards here is that while these solo instrumental pieces are nice, Nujabes especially shines when fully embracing that producer role. More on that after this 'un. (Ed note: the version on Spotify is a good few seconds shorter than the actual release, so it ends kind of abruptly)

Jumping back to the first paragraph for a second to talk about one of my major gripes around the fandom: often times you will find the full soundtrack to Samurai Champloo credited to Nujabes when it actually included a bunch of other artists such as Fat Jon and Force Of Nature. Likewise with some other tracks out there that are produced by Nujabes sure, but they're not released under his name. Super nitpicky I know but it just reminds me of all the fake 'Daft Punk' and 'Aphex Twin' tracks floating around the 'net, and I believe the artists deserve proper credit. Anyway, here's a standout example, Nujabes' production really shines when twinned with a vocal accompaniment, doubly so with those additional scratches courtesy of DJ Top Bill.

Rounding out with a track not by Nujabes at all, production or otherwise. It appears on a release that is potentially the cause of all this confusion in the first place, titled Modal Soul Classics By Nujabes. Between that and the album already listed here just called Modal Soul, it's not too hard to see how some wires could get crossed, in reality he compiled the album, but it's made up of artists who inspired him. And there's some real treats on there, my favourite being Takero Ogata's Omnipresence from 1999, you can feel the influence had on Nujabes' own productions from the jump, and I personally adore that MIDI as hell pan flute that sounds like it was ripped from a Nintendo 64 soundfont (though I will admit it does sound a little out of place).

I do love the idea of that kind of compilation album too, it makes me wish that some other artists did similar, as not only do you get to experience their influences, you also get a laundry list of other artists to check out and broaden your horizons. Which brings me back around to my opening point, if you can narrow down what it is you like about a specific artist's style you can get more apt recommendations. Here's hoping I've done that for some of you here today! As always, stay safe and enjoy the music.


Saturday 13 June 2020

Lush V.20

Note: this is a Re-post of an article from 2014 that you can find the original of here. It's still a solid selection, but you'll notice 2014 me was a lot less wordy than current me, so apologies for the comparatively short post! In the meantime, Stay safe and enjoy the music! -CVF

Click for big (3000x2000)
Syd Mead - Mobilage

Starting with an album I long struggled to add to my collection due to the ridiculous mark-up on it: Global Communication's 76:14 (So called because that is it's total length, the tracks follow suit,though annoyingly they don't match on spotify!). Not that it isn't well deserved mind, it's a gorgeous record throughout and no doubt a fine example of the ambient style of the time. Echoes of The KLF's Chill Out all over this one, combined with that mid to late 90's sense of futurism before the turn of the millennium. Tune in, switch off.

Back to OPN for a bit from Rifts. I adore that album because it's just so dense, I had it in rotation from when I got it in like December '09 and only took it out maybe two years later. The 27 track, 3 album compilation may be too big to digest in one sitting, but it's chock full of little moments that are just brilliant. Prime example here, this track is just beautiful.

I can't believe I've neglected to mention the grandaddy of ambient so far. Eno may not have been the progenitor of Ambient but he coined the term, and his influence is plain to see. the album this is taken from is themed around space and the moon landings and that vibe is captured excellently here. This predates the Global Communication track by 11 years but the foundation is largely the same, albeit minus a drumbeat. Listening to them both back to back is pretty interesting, I definitely recommend it.

-Claude Van Foxbat

Thursday 11 June 2020

Outta Nowhere

I had long given up hope of this exact track appearing. I recall mentioning it on the podcast and being doubtful as it was old then and Carpenter Brut had even put out another album without this track on. Fast forward to 2020 and Brut has put out another album and there was still no sign of the now 4 year old track that so far only appeared on the efficiently named CARPENTERBRUTLIVE album.

Well colour me surprised when apropos of nothing, he finally drops it as a one track single. I would have maybe liked a full EP but I'll take it, to my further surprise, even though it's not a completley different mix than the live one, something about it does feel different: I didn't feel like the crowd noise was *that* intrusive on the live recording but now having heard the studio one I can see that's not true. It's been a while since I talked about Carpenter Brut, if this is your first time seeing anything by them, imagine synthwave versions of retro slasher flick soundtracks and you're most of the way there. I'm not huge on synthwave, but Brut is one of my favourites and the aesthetic is a big part of that, the cover art for this one should tell you all you need to know.

I've been very much out of touch with Gorillaz since Humanz. I wasn't thrilled by that album (but then again I wasn't super thrilled with Plastic Beach when it came out and now I adore it). I'd heard a bit of the follow up, The Now Now and made note to check it out at some point. They're doing a neat thing this year with an 'Episodic' release called Song Machine, kinda like Röyksopp's Lost Tapes (both of which I hope get a proper compiled release once they're done!). One that caught my ear was Aries, featuring Peter Hook of New Order fame. Which is fitting because methinks it has more than a smidgen of New Wave influence here, it's intersting to hear Gorillaz get increasingly more electronic between The Fall and now, but I am very much here for it, obvious bias aside. Damon Albarn's vocals shine as always, and twin very well with that new wavy sound, which if you'd told me I'd be sceptical. Here's hoping that the trend continues.

Tuesday 9 June 2020

High Tech Dreams

It's been a while since I made one of these, I've been putting it off a bit as I refine the tracklist but I think it's looking pretty solid. The overarching theme is once again techy sounding stuff, but unlike in the past where I've focused on actual techno I thought I'd mix it up a little bit this time. Initially inspired by the lush and fragile works of Rei Harakami and Susumu Yokota, their influence is hopefully reflected in my choices of tracks (Definitely considering the amount of soundtrack pieces in there!).

We start off with a bit of Drum & Bass but it's not long before we take a turn into more ambient territory courtesy of Kensuke Ushio, I bring the tempo back up a bit with the gorgeously retro Out Of Phase from Yoko Shimomura before bringing things back down again with some Rei Harakami and others. It was an interesting one to put together, I had a vague idea of the tracks I was going to pick, but there were some final stage switch-arounds and additions. Also trying a different player that should display the track titles as it plays!

Again I will admit I am not the best mixer in the world. I do like some of the transitions and things I have going on here but that's the bias talking! It'll be a while before I get the itch to make another one of these anyway, I've been busy republishing the old archives of the blog so I thought I owed you all something a bit more substantial. Regardless I hope you enjoy the content at least, and maybe find a few new tracks to pique your interest. Full tracklist below:

Soichi Terada - Mount Amazing 2
E-Z Rollers - Retro
JMJ & Flytronix - In Too Deep
Kensuke Ushio - Fire Witch I
Yoko Shimomura - Out Of Phase
ConcernedApe - Starwatcher (Maru's Theme)
Rei Harakami - Pone
Mitsuto Suzuki - Clear
Susumu Yokota - Tobiume


Sunday 7 June 2020

Post - Post-Interview Post (2020)

NOTE: Apologies for the back-to-back old posts but I really liked this one. A major reason I enjoyed blogging back when is it's a living archive of the kind of stuff I was listening to or just starting to listen to at the time. It's fun to see how much (or in this case, how little!) things have changed over the years. I have vague memories of writing this one, I was still in University. Enough nostalgia though, as always stay safe and enjoy.


Got back in from having the third years grill me about my work and where I'm going to take it this year. It was actually pretty good and I got some good contacts from them and I feel a lot better about my plans now I had 'em give me the OK. Back to the chilled selections it is then, tunes after the art!

Edward Hopper - Chop Suey

FlyLo's ideas series has taken hold of me again, especially the more unconventional ones in there. There's a bunch of tunes like this one with beautiful sample work and gorgeous basslines. Only complaint here is that it seems to be mastered quite loud (if at all) which gives me a bit of a jump when it comes up in my headphones.

Jumping back into Unkle's debut here, the instrumental version of this tune Unreal was a favourite of mine, and I got a lovely surprise when I got this bonus one featuring Ian Brown of The Stone Roses fame lending his distinct northern-ness to the track. He compliments the vibe set up by Shadow and Lavelle brilliantly.

I've avoided putting up anything from the Sneaker Pimps for a while, 'cos I assumed like Portishead and co. they'd probably been blogged to death already. Turns out the few that had posted them are dead, which is a shame, they bring some real neat sounds to the field of trip-hop, I recommend you check 'em out.

-Claude Van Foxbat

Friday 5 June 2020

An update for June 2020

I've been unacceptably quiet on this for a while, I've been trying to keep myself occupied with restoring old posts and catching up with new tech stuff but neither of those are really valid excuses. I figured I better say something now rather than wait even longer and make it worse (even if I am rolling my eyes cynically at brands doing the same thing lately).

It goes without saying that as someone who has a deep passion for electronic music that I have an immense amount of respect for the Black Community. Hell, this site wouldn't EXIST if it weren't for the creation of House music in the first place. What happened to George Floyd is absolutely reprehensible and unfortunately an all too common occurrence. I want you all to know that I, like so many others, am 100% in support of the movement and wish all of you taking direct action safety.

It may not be much but I thought I best make it known rather than avoid the elephant in the room. Bigotry of any kind is not welcome in this community, nor the electronic music community as a whole, the collective genres of which owe so much to the Black, LGBT+ and POC communities.

Black Lives Matter.

Tuesday 2 June 2020

Ilictromix: Caius (2020 Post)

NOTE: Hi there! This is an archive/re-post of an old series of Mixes that Adam used to get artists to make for us. This post is originally by Adam and is from February 2015. I am going to try and archive all these posts he did in future. I still have all the MP3s so it's just a case of re-doing the HTML and putting them on Mixcloud!


Our popular Ilictromix series is back and I'm excited for you guys to hear what we have in store. This week we travel to Copenhagen Denmark, and learn about an artist who couldn't have put together a better mix to start us off with again.

Todays mix comes from a 19 year old funky powerhouse that goes by the name Caius. I came across him because of his stellar track "Love You Right" and I knew we had to have more. This is the first track he put out and I can't wait to hear what else he has up his sleeves.

This Ilictromix is topnotch and reminds us why we love Disco-House so much. Caius has only been making music since 14, after bedroom raping to Big Seans Finally Famous Mixtapes (Yes we all feel old now). I think after hearing this Ilictromix we can all be glad he shifted gears into his current production style.  Tracklist after the jump.


FKJ - The Twins
MAM - Crushed Ice
Star Slinger - I/IV
Le Nonsense - Kaer
Xtrafunk (Feat. Loumar & Nas) - Deep Down
Cherokee - Take Care of You
Myth Syzer - Bonbon a la menthe (Stwo Remix)
Kido Yoji - Won’t You Come Again
Breakbot - Easy Fraction
Touch Sensitive - Show Me
Irfane (feat. Outlines) - Just A Lil’ Lovin’
Kartell - It’s You
Alexkid - Love We Have
Alina Baraz & Galimatias - Fantasy
Bondax - All I See (Darius Remix)
The Swiss - In The City (Luke Million Remix)
Caius - Love You Right
Exmag - Somethin’ Bout Your Love

Find more of Caius on his Facebook, Soundcloud, or Twitter 

-Adam Tucker