Monday 3 August 2020

Digital Digging

I've been looking through my Bandcamp collection and Wishlist in prep of the upcoming Friday, where they're continuing the tradition they've had recently of waiving their cut of the sales for that day. I've been taking advantage of this because it feels nice to do, and also it turns out having a set date to get music on actually makes me actually decide on things instead of throwing them in the pile of "to get to". Anyway, here are the results of that perusal.

Yiannis Tsaroychis - Cafe "Neon" At Night (1965)

I don't even have that much in my Bandcamp collection but already its easy for things to get a little lost, take The Flashbulb's Love As A Dark Hallway, I picked it up some time ago but then never really mentioned it here. I think the main reason for that is that it was an album I'd loved from afar for a couple of years by the time I got it, so while it was new it wasn't 'new' y'know? To cut a ramble short definitely check out The Flashbulb, Benn Jordan is a fantastic musician and his work under The Flashbulb moniker is often a lovely mix of ambient sensibilities and fairly accessible IDM. I'd almost argue it's easier to introduce folk to the genre with Flashbulb (although now I'm writing this, that's not counting the more melodic Aphex Twin pieces!), all the key elements are there just not as face melty as some others. Pastorial Whiskers almost sounds like it could be something from Squarepusher funnily enough, especially the Hello Everything era with those swooping synths and jazzy bass guitar work. One last side note I do like how Benn included different album art for each individual track for this album, it's a nice touch, a shame most music players don't support it fully though.

It's a similar tale with this next album actually, maybe even a longer one than the above. I first fell in with this one back on Grooveshark of all places, back when it would have been a new release in 2013. For all it's flaws I did really like its recommended system, it was better at showing you new stuff than Spotify at any rate which at least for me gets stuck in a loop of the same few albums and tracks, but I'm digressing again. It's been a while since I listened to it properly, the one album is very much lost in my usual MO of shuffling everything I own. Which is a shame because its a very slickly done slice of Ambient and IDM and is totally in line with that techy sounding vibe I've been after lately. There's definitely more than a bit of Burial influence on here and it sounds a lot like there's a touch of Moderat as well, especially the II album, they were only released a few months apart actually! It can get a little long in the tooth for me on some days, but as you might expect with my recent techy kick I'm very much into it today.

Third verse same as the first! I was a long time admirer of Soichi Terada's work on various soundtracks but his solo work was at that point either only on vinyl, out of print or just tricky to get hold of. Thankfully that's changed in recent times and a compilation of his various solo pieces is now easily grab-able on BC, Sounds From The Far East is essentially a 'best of' of Terada's House works, as much as I love his Drum & Bass from Ape Escape he has a real knack for the slower tempos too. Part of the reason I love Terada's work so much is that it sounds like he has so much fun when making them, something you can hear in the production and is reflected in the album art for this comp too. It's an unfortunate casualty of the digital version having a different tracklist curse, but it's not too hard to find the missing / replaced tracks out there if you're so inclined like I was. There are a ton of tracks I could pick but I went with one of my favourite deep house bits in Purple Haze which wastes no time getting into the swing of things, and is full of the hallmarks of Terada's sound of this era: sweeping synths, big kicks and bouncy basslines.

Something new (to me) to wrap up, once again making me further amend my "I don't like minimal" sign to say "I don't like a lot of minimal" (although this is technically tech house but the point stands if you give it a listen!) I checked out Swayzak based off the electro-poppy State Of Grace and I Dance Alone, and was greeted with this and similar tracks instead. I was surprised for sure, but then again this isn't the first time I've seen an artist make a dramatic 180 in sound. I've yet to take a proper dive in but I have found more than a few tracks to catch my ear that are once again scratching that techy itch I have. Low-Rez Skyline is fairly sedate which makes for really good at-the-computer music, there's a lot of little flourishes and switch ups throughout that keep things fresh and interesting for me. It echoes of one of my other favourite Tech/Deep House pieces: Marshall Jefferson's Mushrooms remixed by Salt City Orchestra, albeit minus the absolutely stellar spoken word element. If you asked me originally I'd say that Skyline could benefit from that type of treatment too, but now I'm not so sure. It's a little lengthy at almost 10 minutes, but that makes it one of the shorter tracks from this album, I could see that being a deal breaker for some and on paper I would include myself in that, but I'm only now beginning to feel it growing stale after my fourth or so listen in a row when prepping this post.

And that'll do us for today. Stay tuned this week as both mine and coincidentally the blog's birthday come up on Saturday, I don't know what if anything I'm gonna do yet but I hope to come up with something. There'll be certainly no party this year that's for sure. And on that note, as always, stay safe and enjoy the music.


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