Friday 11 September 2020

Delayed Arrivals

Do you ever think you have something in your collection and it turns out that you never did? It's something that's happened to me more than a couple of times (though less since I overhauled my folder structure a few months ago). It has been a while since I've had it happen, but recently I did have a couple of cases of it, and I'm going to share the results of that for you today.

Marina Pallares - La llegada de la abundancia (2007)

First up is Helen Marnie of Ladytron's first solo album. I remembered the announcement and release in 2013, I was still at University then, I remember listening to it and digging it. And apparently I just never bothered to follow up on it? Which is a shame because it's a very nice album. I'm not as familiar with Ladytron's later works from around the time, but compared to the stoic electronics of Ladytron's debut 604 that took more than a bit of influence from Kraftwerk's The Man Machine, Crystal World is much more dreamy in its execution. It's a style that compliments Marnie's voice very well, I liked her vocal command in Ladytron and I'm more than happy to see the trend continue here on the very first track of the album. It's slightly odd for me to think of tracks like this that are still fairly recent in the grand scheme of things as slightly nostalgic but they kind of are, this one in particular reminds me of that one summer around 2009 when electronic was all over the airwaves.

Similarly we have Au Revoir Simone, pretty sure I had some loose MP3s of theirs on an old phone many moons ago that got left behind. But like with Marnie I remember liking it a whole lot but then just never following up on it. And then a few years ago now when the new Twin Peaks was on and they were doing that special guest band bit, Simone were one of the bands included which kick started a reminder in my head. Move In Spectrums is an album I've mentioned in passing once or thrice; specifically the gorgeous slow jam that is Somebody Who. Revisiting it after some time though, and it's instead Crazy that's really resonating with me. I am totally enamoured with what they do with the synths here, and much like some parts of Gorillaz's Plastic Beach, I can't believe that some of these tracks weren't big hits, especially Crazy with it's chorus that almost demands you shout out along with it. My favourite part right now is the final build up and payoff starting around the 2 minute mark, which is just divine.

And finally, my long time loves The Knife. This one is not like the others in that I've known about it for a long time but was never able to get my hands on it, thankfully now it's much easier to get via bandcamp, albeit on on its original EP. Originally released on one of their first ever EPs, Afraid Of You is an almost perfect summary of the sound that early The Knife productions had, the kind that my friend once lovingly described as "Napoleon Dynamite-esque". And hopefully that should make sense when you listen; it sounds very crafted, and I mean that in the hand-made sense, the whole record has this very DIY style to it. Not to say there aren't signs of where they'd take that sound in future, this track is probably one of the very first examples of Karin playing with vocal roles: pitch-shifting her vocals to adopt different characters and perceived genders, something that they would continue to do throughout their career. The drums also have a slight edge of the Deep Cuts style to them, which is probably why it was included on this issue of the Heartbeats EP.

It's slightly oddly nestled between two remixes of Heartbeats which seems a little odd, feels like it should have been the closing B-side personally but I digress. I have a real love for this slightly acoustic-meets-electronic sound that early Knife records had (one that as no doubt influenced by Karin's previous band Honey Is Cool), and Afraid Of You is a shining example of it.

Apologies for the big gap in posts a little while ago, I work in education and as I'm sure you're all aware things are more than a bit messy at the minute, and they are only going to ramp up in the next few weeks. Not to bring the tone down or anything, just thought I'd say somethin'. Hell, even with that little gap, I've already posted more this year than I did for all of 2019! (Even if I did cheat a bit with old re-posts). So I'll try my best to keep things semi-regular, but I hope you'll understand if things are a little more patchy than usual. As for you? As always, stay safe and enjoy the music.


No comments: