Sunday 29 November 2020

The Pang of Nostalgia

Paul Guiragossian - Dans la Nuit or Nostalgie (1986)

I've been working on re-publishing all the old entries of the blog which is why this post is a little later than normal - it's something I've been putting off recently, it's not difficult or anything, just a bit tedious (and marred by technical glitches such as Soundcloud changing how their embeds work meaning old player from like 2014 no longer work but I won't bore you with the full tech details). All that to say that looking over past posts, I can't help but appreciate how much I've changed (and likewise, how much has stayed the same) - there are posts from the early 10's where I put only one sentence before a track! Contrast to now where I think if anything I'm too wordy at times.

And that got me all nostalgic for the types of posts I used to do where I just threw down some tunes without any sort of connecting thread - just a 'what I've got on' kind of vibe. Granted, now I think about it the last few posts I've done could be categorised as that but let's do it anyway! First we have something that just barely missed being on the algorithms post (and the Spacey one too!) - it was recommended to go in one of the many playlists I have and while it sort of fit the overall vibe of the playlist it wasn't 100% right for it. Still I couldn't help but be entranced by it, takes a little while to get going but once it does it's a gorgeous piece of lumbering dark electro. I sheepishly admit that this is the first I'd heard of Andrea Parker so I looked her up out of curiosity, and while she hasn't put anything out in quite a while there is plenty to get stuck into in her discography. Another one for me to put on the ever expanding list.

I've been listening to a fair bit of Client recently too - I was originally planning to make a Retro Review of this or another of their albums but that fell a little by the wayside. Similar to Andrea they haven't released anything for a while but their work is harder to come by - being on of the few acts I was surprised to find aren't on Bandcamp. About the band themselves - I just adore Client's overall aesthetic - I've mentioned before I am an absolute sucker for that early 00's retro electronic revival so there is some bias there. But it's not just the sound that I love about Client, it's the escalation of the visual side of things too. Bands of this era may have done visual shout-outs to Kraftwerk by dressing in uniform and looking vaguely disinterested, but Client take it further by fully embracing the often-hinted at fetish side of things (in case the album art didn't make that obvious already). My bias is showing again perhaps, but the combination of the business-wear come uniform styles, garnished with leather and latex absolutely go hand-in-hand with this breed of electronic for me. It's most definitely in the same vein as Nicola Kuperus of ADULT.'s work for their album covers - she too has a slightly fetishistic and surreal presentation to her photography that is beautifully twinned with their more punky electronic.

Back to the tune itself though, I remember City being a fairly bleak album in terms of content which in hindsight was probably just the single Radio sticking out in my mind. I put the album back in rotation not too long ago and was presently surprised by One Day At A Time coming up on shuffle a couple of days ago. I'd hesitate to call it a positive vibe but it's certainly more upbeat than other parts of the album and definitely doesn't telegraph that Fetish angle I talked about above. I love the vocal delivery on here, parts of City have that stoic style that was in at the time again harkening back to Kraftwerk, but then more melodic tracks like One Day At A Time shine brighter for it.

And finally, I've been revisiting Squarepusher's latest EP again since it's release. Not to sound like a broken .mp3 but once again I cannot stress enough how much I love his ambient work, there's precious little of it, but every single one is just brilliant. The Lamental EP is by far the biggest selection we've had of it from Squarepusher for a long while, with MIDI Sans Frontières leading the charge in glorious form. I had the chance to see this video for Detroit People Mover premiere way back in April when I first posted about it, and it remains as powerful if not more so these months later. The EP title rings true, the whole thing feels like mourning - I don't know what video they had planned originally, but this backup one they put together as the lockdown hit is beautifully poignant. The combination of vintage photos and lush synths seems more like something from Boards Of Canada than Squarepusher of all Warp acts, but I would love to hear more of this more delicate sound from Squarepusher in future. Then again, he has never been one to stick to a sound for too long though.

And that'll about do it for this one. I'm slowly working through the archives as before (only 1300-ish posts left to go!) so the next one may be a re-post of a really old one. Apologies in advance, both for the re-run and any horrific writing contained therein from a teenage me, I'll try my best to not go full George Lucas and editorialise them to hell and back!

But as always, stay safe and enjoy the music.


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