Thursday 30 September 2021

Bite-sized Bits 13

Lothar Charoux - Horizontais (1960)

Making good on my promise from a few weeks back to expand more into the Italo Disco world - but a little different this time. I've made a big show of the inherent cheese that is present in all Italo Disco and its eventual evolution in Eurobeat, and it's an element I do love in a completley un-ironic way, however I am also aware it's very much not for everyone. So today I bring you some Italo that I think is quite far removed from that.

The vocal version might suffer a little from that classic Italo/Eurobeat pitfall of the lyrics being written by non-native speakers, but otherwise I find Spacer Woman to be much more modern sounding than the Italo I've posted before - slightly ironic as I think it'll be the oldest example I've pulled up, originally released in 1983, but I figure that might also be a factor in how different it is - it avoids a lot of Italo clichés because those they hadn't had chance to become cliché yet. I absolutely adore the spacey feel of this one, it's almost in that same 'space-synth' category as bands like... well, Space of Magic Fly fame, the way the pitch bends on the repeating melody is to die for.

I actually found this one years ago on a Vitalic mix on a complation called Colette N°7 and recently unearthed it again as I sail those Italo waters once again. At the risk of repeating myself, it does sound quite modern considering - and it's perfectly at home on Vitalic's mix of his various influences, if you're a fan of his you'll probably be able to hear some similarities here and there. I saw some folk complain about the vocal but I personally like it, while lovely, the instrumental can get a little stale over the 7 minutes. Thankfully both the instrumental and vocal are included on the single so you can have both!

And that'll be all for this time, another time where these small posts have paid off becuase it gives me a chance to talk about tracks I've been in love with recently without worrying abiut sound cohesion with 2-3 other tunes. That and who knows if I could find other Italo tracks on Bandcamp. Spacer Woman is actually a pretty popular tune and even had a new EP of reworks put out this year that you can find on that Bandcamp as well, they're pretty faithful to the original from what I've heard - no super wild genre flips that don't really fit or anything like that. It's also pretty heartwarming to see a label so old embrace Bandcamp as well, a lot of these older Italo and Eurobeat releases can be tricky to get your hands on legitimately otherwise. And finally, as always, stay safe and enjoy the music.


Wednesday 29 September 2021

Bite-sized Bits 12

Karl Benjamin - Black & Gray Curves with Purple (1960)

I don't think I can overstate how much I appreciate Warp's appearance on Bandcamp. Of course there's a bit of bias there as my love for the label is well documented over the past decade and a bit - but it's made pulling up stuff to talk about that much easier, from the relatively obscure to the slightly overlooked, to things I just plain haven't managed to mention over the years there is plenty of material to talk about.

Enter the Port Rhombus EP - Squarepusher's first release on Warp after a couple of EPs under other aliases and the stellar Feed Me Weird Things on Aphex's Rephlex label - decked out in that trademark Warp Purple and sporting an unassuming cover you could be forgiven for overlooking it. But my oh my, what a debut it was, title track Port Rhombus wastes no time in getting into Squarepusher's unique brand of properly mangled Drum & Bass that he was making at the time. It's contrasted with these lovely delicate syths and some solitary twangs that get plenty of time to shine during a couple of extended breakdowns - I might not be as into the beat butchery as I was back when I was first discovering Warp's back-catalogue, but I must admit I do have a lot of love for this one for that, the backing behind the beats is just lovely.

Perhaps not the best starting point if you're looking to explore Squarepusher's work (I'd recommend Feed Me Weird Things or the Big Loada EP for that - though interestingly the Port Rhombus EP was included as bonus tracks on the USA version of Big Loada) but a quality bit of 'pusher nonetheless. Not to mention an interesting bit of history too, it's odd to imagine a time where Squarepusher wasn't one of Warp's mainstays after all. He's adopted a lot of different genres over the years, but for many this kind of wild D&B will always be that quintessential Squarepusher sound.

The rest of the EP is pretty great as well, though the title track does absolutely steal the show - Problem Child sees a return to Feed Me Weird Things style jazzy breaks ran through a blender with Squarepusher's bass noodling over the top of it, give it a look! And that'll be all for this time, I'll be back tomorrow with another Bite-sized bit - until then, as always, stay safe and enjoy the music.


Tuesday 28 September 2021

Bite-sized Bits 11

Friedrich Vordemberge-Gildewart - Composition No. 15 (1925)

The revisiting trend continues, after a long time in storage I've dug out the Moderat again. But in the interest of variety though, I've skipped over II this time though as I think I definitely over did that, instead we're going back to their debut on the album front - the self titled Moderat.

To be fair I also completely rinsed parts of the debut too, Rusty Nails is potentially one of my most played tracks of all time after all. I was of the opinion for a long time that II was a much better album but I've grown to appreciate more of the original on revisit. I remember feeling like it was a bit long in the tooth but it's only 15 tracks (13 for the non-deluxe), but maybe over the years my definition of 'long' has changed!

Coming back there are plenty of signposts of the direction they'd take on II, the self titled is a little more varied, a little more minimal in parts but also sporting quite a healthy IDM streak which both Modeselektor and Apparat both dabbled in previously. Today I've picked a tune that has grown on me massively - Nasty Silence, which dwells pretty heavily in that IDM side of things, with perhaps a hint of Post-Rock to the structure as you can pretty cleanly divide it into two halves as it builds to a crescendo and then falls back into a more ambient feel. It's pretty wild to me that I pretty much forgot about this one, it's very much up my alley in terms of sound - I might have to come back and do a full on Retro Review of this one someday.

This album, and all of Moderat's work actually, has incredible visual direction. The cover illustrations are always a highlight - and the design work and videos from Pfadfinderei are usually a real treat too (and not to mention amazing 'research' work when I was in Art School). That'll wrap today's entry, expect the next couple of posts to be things that I'm planning to pick up for the upcoming Bandcamp Friday (and also look up if they're actually doing it this month too!) As always - stay safe and enjoy the music.


Monday 27 September 2021

Bite-sized Bits 10

Katsushika Hokusai - Nihonbashi Bridge in Edo

Something new for a change. I was pleasantly surprised by an announcement email in my inbox that Soichi Terada had a new album coming out. Well, not too surprised really, he's been consistently releasing things for ages now, most recently another instalment called Dodarebachi from his Omodaka project that merges house, electronics, chiptunes and traditional Japanese Enka. Instead the surprise this time comes from the release not being on his own Far East Recording label, but rather on Rush Hour Music, who put together that compilation a few years back of Terada's House works called Sounds From The Far East.

This new release is billed as a throwback to that very same house work as well, to steal a quote from the Bandcamp page from Terada himself: "a new album that sounds like a reissue". And based on the preview track Bamboo Fighter, he's not wrong - that bouncy bassline is immediately evocative of Sunshower, one of his early hits with Nami Shimada - with other nods to his Deep House works with some gorgeous synth sweeps as well. A real treat if you're like me and have a real love for this kind of sound, as much as I'd love to hear more Drum & Bass from Terada, I'll happily check out more of anything from him.

The full thing isn't out while November 12 - I might be still pretty busy by then so perhaps don't expect a full review, but you can certainly count on a couple of tracks from this popping up here once it's released. As always: stay safe and enjoy the music.


Friday 24 September 2021

Bite-sized Bits 09

Mary Pratt - Smears of Jam, Lights of Jelly (2007)

Another reminder for myself because if I've learned anything over the past year and a bit of Bandcamp Fridays is that wishlisting something to get 'soon' is quite often a lie. Still, here we have a recent addition to that ever growing list, the solo project(s) of Ken Tanaka of Hyakkei. Hyakkei were already on my wishlist of stuff to get as I felt like dipping my toes back into the post-rock world again, and another one I was kind of surpised to find on Bandcamp actually.

Discogs is a little misleading if you go to Ken's page - it doesn't list any of his four solo albums that you can find alongside Hyakkei's works. I checked them out expecting more good post-rock stuff, just solo, and I was half-right. Stealing a line from slightly stilted press piece on the official YT upload of this single - "... a sound approach such as post-rock and electronica, what comes to mind is a nostalgic and warm Japanese Landscapes." which is pretty dead on actually.

A mixture of acoustic and electronic a la some of The Flashbulb's stuff, it's a very pleasant listen. Really the closest comparison I could make would be the similar vibe that The Knife were rocking on their debut and on some of their soundtrack work; think tracks like 'Vegetarian Restaurant' but with a little more electronics going on. As you might have guessed from the title this one is very indulgent piece, loaded with anthemic guitar licks, it just absolutley screams 'indie'. Perhaps a touch generic, but I like it enough. To use the analogy I've mentioned before: sometimes you just need a bit of comfort food, and this is the audio equivalent of that for me.


Thursday 23 September 2021

Bite-sized Bits 08

Jacek Yerka - The Moonlight Bed (2002)

A return to a cult classic this time, with another bit from James Stinson's one-off side project The Other People Place. I've already done a big post on this album in the past, which is why I can't believe I hadn't put this one up before. It's a fairly short album too - clocking in at just 8 tracks and just a little over 51 minutes long but for each and every one Stinson absolutely nails the slick melancholy-tinged atmosphere that defines the album.

Let Me Be Me is still my favourite of the bunch, but I love the whole thing - Moonlight Rendezvous came on this morning and reminded me of that - something about it just hit the spot today, think I might be in the mood for this kind of high-tech stuff (no change there then!). You can be forgiven for thinking that it's a little plain and monotonous (though arguably that is part of the album's intention), Moonlight Rendezvous really comes into it's own if you can spare the time to listen on some proper headphones, it really lets all the little delicate touches shine and fully immerses you in that bass line.

The full LP comes highly recommended from me if you like what you hear. Its a shame that we never got more of this project as Stinson sadly died not long after its release - little bits and pieces have come out since though, Laptop Cafe by a one 'Jack Peoples' is the remnants of a follow up mini-album salvaged from DAT tapes. It took me a long time to even find it as they puzzlingly used a new alias rather than The Other People Place name and I haven't actually listened to it in detail yet - but I'm thankful for there to be more, even if it is unfinished demos.


Wednesday 22 September 2021

Bite-sized Bits 07

Bernd Luz - Dakar 86 (2015)

Proper flashback for this entry. I still have a lot of love for that golden eras of Electro House of the late 2000s, one that is definitely tinged by nostalgia - after all, that's the time I started seriously writing on here. But for all the love I have for it, there are for sure a couple of tracks I used to be mad about that have lost a bit of their lustre over the years since.

I mention all that to lead into this, I had a Kavinsky tune come on the other day and man, is it as good as ever. OutRun might have been a mixed bag of an album, but I can't argue that the singles from it were all proper belters. It's odd that he just dropped off the map afterwards and hasn't really done anything since, especially considering the massive explosion in Synthwave stuff around that time, Kavinsky was a real trailblazer in that area after all. For my money though, the earlier Kavinsky EPs are still fantastic to this day - at the risk of sounding like a teenager again the SebastiAn remix of Testarossa Autodrive is a straight banger (as is the original, which would even go on to make an appearance on OutRun as well).

Kavinsky's first EP from 2006 Teddy Boy is home to both of them, along with some other oddities like an Arpanet remix of Nightdrive and a chopped up Mr. Oizo remix of Autodrive, but then again this was just before the massive electro house explosion of '07 so a little weirdness is to be expected. I've gone with the original Nightdrive this time - partly because I love an underdog and feel like it gets overlooked but also because it's a damn fine demonstration of how locked in to his style he was from the get-go. Coming back to it, its still a great debut and worth checking out - especially if this is your first hearing of Kavinsky due to his release drought.


Tuesday 21 September 2021

Bite-sized Bits 06

Vija Celmins - Mount Holyoke (1987)

A tale as old as time on here - this time we're talking a tune that I found on a compilation. I originally found this one on the We Are The Works In Progress compilation, put together in for Japan Society and Architecture For Humanity after the 2011 Tsunami. It's a slightly eclectic collection featuring some favourites of mine, notable a rare Broadcast offering and a proper unicorn of a solo piece from Karin Dreijer Andersson not in their Fever Ray guise.

My pick of today isn't any of those though (and not just because I couldn't find BC or other legit players for them!), I've gone with one of the tracks that sort of took me by surprise. Nosaj Thing had always been in my periphary, the kind of thing that gets recommended to you all the time when you dip into that side of the hip hop world - think your Flying Lotuses and your Prefuse 73s, but as is the case with so many folks in that category, it was always on the perpetual backburner of stuff to check out. This comp changed that though.

Nightcrawler is not quite as sinister as the name would suggest. The opposite in fact - it's an absolutley gorgoeus piece, and one that's pretty far from the Hip Hop vibes that made Nosaj appear in my recommendeds anyway. I looked up the EP it was originally from on Discogs just becuase I was struggling to pin it down, it's listed as IDM on there which I can kind of see, but as usual with an umbrella term like that I don't think it does a great job of describing it, this one especailly as it errs more on the ambient side. But it is just fantastic through and through, I could live in these sounds forever - that buttery smooth backing is the kind that scratches that very specific itch of mine - and the extra garnishes make it extra sweet as as well. Thankfully it's available on Nosaj's label's bandcamp page, so you don't have to track down either the compilation or the super limited original EP that it originally appeared on - proper value at just 1 dollar to boot.

I do like it when artists do stuff like this, I'm not as heavy into collection as I used to be but it does always irk me when there's these super limited releases - so I welcome any time releases become more accessible like this. I've still got a couple of releases from Nosaj in the queue to check out, one of which is more in this ambient vein as well so there might be more to come in the future. Until next time, as always, stay safe and enjoy the music.


Monday 20 September 2021

Bite-sized Bits 05

Kent Bellows - Kitchen Counter II (Dirty Dishes II) (1984)

If there's one genre that's under represented in my Bandcamp wish list, it's Trip Hop. There's plenty of full on indie hip hop of all varieties sure, but nothing in that specific niche. Chalk it up to the genre not being as popular as it was in the 90's as well I suppose - most of the classic releases are beholden to big labels like Virgin or similar too, so fat chance of them popping up on Bandcamp.

Still, there are bits and pieces on there, admittedly we're stretching the label a bit here as this album is after Fila Brazillia started moving away from that sound and into more general downtempo territory, albeit with often a pretty jazzy edge. I came across A Touch Of Cloth when I was big in my coffee shop style downtempo phase and it pretty much instantly found a home. Airlock Homes marks the start of my favourite bit of the album, the next 4 tracks are all great, and having them be back to back like that is a treat too. I always come back to Airlock Homes though, it's got a sleek jazzy feel to it and I can't help but smile at that bassline. I do have a copy of it physical but I should maybe scoop another one from the BC in case my scuffed up second hand one packs in.

So begins the first proper week of Bite-sized posts, the great irony of doing these has been that I've been finding it much harder to find art pieces to go with them - I'm not being exposed to as much of it as I was in my Uni days last time I did a series like this. The tunes I can write about all day though, so worst case scenario I'll cook up a few and then come back to them and put some images or whatever in there. Until next time - as always, stay safe and enjoy the music.


Friday 17 September 2021

Bite-sized Bits 04

Janet Fish - Preserved Peaches (1975)

A little history this time - Freezepop are a band I've know about for a looooooong time. Another one of those bands I picked up back in the days of limewire when I was searching for stuff to scratch my electropop / electroclash itch around the time (though to be fair, that never really went away!). You might have heard of some of their early work: tracks like Bike Thief, Science Genius Girl or Less Talk More Rokk. Their early work is a little twee to my ears these days, but charmingly so - it's a little quirky in its execution like so many of us were back in our awkward teen years, fittingly that's what they were soundtracking for me.

They then fell off my radar for a long long while, when I checked back in with them I went straight for their then-new album Imaginary Friends, which is a pretty marked development in sound. They still make synthpop, but tracks like We Don't Have Normal Lives feel much more... I suppose refined is the word when compared with their early works. Gone is the sugar fuelled hyperactive feel, the kind that gave rise to their twist of Duran Duran with tracks like Boys On Film. Instead We Don't Have Normal Lives plays out more like the general synthpop of the 2010s era. That's not to say it's generic or anything, but it's certainly closer to that than anything else.

Potentially a disappointment if you were after more of their cheeky and playful electronic of old, but I really like it. Aside from having a soft spot for this kind of sound anyway, I love how it's essentially like looking back at old photos of yourself but in audio form - from the goofy shenanigans of the past to something a little more serious. I will always hold a torch for their tracks that sound like they are from an indie film like Here Comes A Special Boy though, I haven't had a chance to check out their return album released 10 years after this in 2020, but given how they've followed me through life so far maybe I should give it a spin sometime soon.

And that'll do for this unexpectedly wistful instalment of this series - and that also wraps up the first week! It's been pretty good so far, it's much easier to knock out a couple of paragraphs on a random piece from my library than the more long-form posts. I'm still planning to mix it up a bit with a couple of them sprinkled in if I get time, but I'm pretty happy with the process so far. And finally, as always - stay safe and enjoy the music!


Thursday 16 September 2021

Bite-sized Bits 03

Pierre Alechinsky - Discovery of Acid (Act II) (1968)

A bit from Ceephax Acid Crew this time - an artist I didn't check out for a long time just because we never really crossed paths. Always a little undersold as 'Squarepusher's brother', Andy Jenkinson's work is very different to his siblings and stands alone. As the name would suggest, Ceephax dwells mainly within the world of Acid - as mentioned last time I brought up acid it's a genre I'm not super familiar with, I like it at a base level but I ended up bouncing off a lot of it I came across in the wild, not the case here though.

Like DMX Krew, there's a certain playful irony to some of Ceephax's work - again hinted in the name, a play on Ceefax which informs a great deal of his art direction. Look no further than the video for the track I've picked, 'Mediterranean Acid' for proof of that, taking the form of a poorly chroma keyed holiday promotion video, complete with naff effects and Ceephax himself hamming it up with some synths. You can tell he had a ton of fun making it, and that too is reflected in the track itself - a bouncy, more melodic take on Acid than I was used to at the time, I quickly fell in love with it. Dig a little deeper into the Crew's catalogue if you like this one, he has plenty more like it.

I'm surprised I haven't brought this one up more often, this is at least the first time since swapping over to the bandcamp player. I went through a brief period where I wasn't able to stop looping that intro. To this day I think it might be one of my favourite 303 lines ever put down, the base thing is pretty good as is, but I just love how squelchy it gets at points. That'll wrap up today's entry, tune back in tomorrow for more at roundabout the same time - and as always, stay safe and enjoy the music.


Wednesday 15 September 2021

Bite-sized Bits 02

Roy Lichtenstein - The Den (1990)

For volume 2 we're revisiting Mitch Murder, one of the few artists I still keep up with in the Synthwave scene, partly due to Bandcmap reminding me whenever he releases something new, which is fairly often actually. If all the artists operting in that sphere, I find Mitch's productions to be more honest than most - there's always going to be some just in it for the look, as is always the case with genres where the visuals are a strong component. It's easy to overdose on the sound as well, but I also think Mitch does a fantastic job of keeping things varied - take 'Frost' - a Vangelis-esque ambient piece from his latest album Then Again for example.

Today we're going back to his first ever EP, After Hours, or rather, the updated version of it. While I'm usually not a big fan of rereleasing albums with 'new' artwork or other changes that run the risk of George Lucas-ing the whole affair, I must admit it was probably the right choice here. Compared to the original art from 2009, the re-release of After Hours is not only more aesthetically cohesive (if a little cliché), but having the tracks avaialable in lossless or high quality MP3 is a bonus too, as the original release was only 192.

Sporting a funkier feel reminiscent of some DMX Krew cuts and some kickin' rad 808, one of the tracks I always come back to from this EP is Coup De Théâtre, one that has aged quite gracefully all things considered - though perhaps that is because it's from before 'Synthwave' as a whole got established, so it neatly skirts all those potential pitfalls that could make it stale: Discogs lists it as a combo of Synth-pop, Electro and Disco. There are a couple tracks that are in hindsight a little generic such as Square City but overall it's a pretty stellar debut and something I'd recommned even if Synthwave isn't your bag, it's more of a general love letter to retro electronic as a whole.

Unril tomorrow, as always - stay safe and enjoy the music.


Tuesday 14 September 2021

Bite-sized Bits 01

I have had an idea. Not a new one, it's something I've done before here actually back when I was stuggling to balance work and non-work. Back then I called it 'A Tune / An Art a day' - almost 10 years ago now. I ended up doing 101 of them and thankfully, most of that series survives - but some of the cuts were just too deep! This one is pretty much going to follow the same pattern - I write a little about one track rather than the 3 or 4 that normally make up a post.

Konstantin Korovin - Paris. Boulevard des Capucines (1906)

It's gonna be easier for me to make them consistent that way - and actually gives me a chance to weed through my Bandcamp wish list at a much faster pace and hopefully start pushing that growing number back the other way a bit. Think I might be able to squeeze some more variety out this way to boot. In short - should be a positive all around. My current plan is to try and get one for every weekday just so there isn't a deluge of spam (which ideally should have started on Monday I now realise), but I might scale it back to one every two days and keep the weekend in as well if it gets a little hectic regardless. But enough about the context, let's get to the content!

Starting with a recent addition thanks to the metric ton of electronic injected into my collection from the Touched Two compilation - Alexander Ananyev under his 'Dirty Owl' alias. He's not done a lot under the name but I liked the sound of his contribution to the Touched comp so went on to check out the eponymous Dirty Owl LP. Honestly, it was pretty much what I wanted - more of the sound that sold me in the first place - a little IDM in patches and with some decidedly brassy synths here and there. I'm underselling it as usual because those are my favourites, there is a fair bit of variety in there, but tracks like Bill Gilbert Was Here really make it for me. A little bit Flashbulb sounding overall, with maybe a hint of the more melodic stuff from the likes of Plaid and Global Goon - if you're at all into the more mellow bits of 'IDM' like myself, tracks like this are more than worth adding to your repertoire.

And that'll do it for today, tune in tomorrow for another electronic entrée of choice from me. Until then, as always - stay sfae and enjoy the music.


Thursday 9 September 2021

Flash Back

Another quickie post, another one that has had to be all YT players - some because there is no official stream that I'd like and works for everyone, some because they're frankly a bit more obscure - they are all at least from legit sources though, so with any luck should survive, I'll be namedropping them anyway just in case some great filter wipes them out. Theme of today is basically me taking a little dip back to the 90's, roundabout smack dab in the middle as all tracks today are from '95-'96 Let's go.
Enrico Prampolini - Landscape (1918)

Starting off with more proper vintage Moby. Taking a rare trip to the pre-Play era this time with a bit from Everything Is Wrong - even before Play he was a pretty big name, to the point where you'll probably recognise some bits on here from the sound alone even if you don't know the name.

At one point I considered doing a Retro Review of it but I ended up shelving it, it's a very odd album in terms of sound - almost as if Moby can't decide which direction he wants to take: you have ambient tracks that flirt with what would become his signature style on Play like the opening track Hymn, rubbing shoulders with speedy garage rock tracks where Moby pretends to be a punk like All I Need Is To Be Loved. They're not absolutely awful or anything but it's a baffling choice to say the least. Nestled between those two is my choice for this time, the surprisingly hard Feeling So Real, which if all you know of Moby is Natural Blues might come as a bit of a surprise. These euphoric 'ardcore cuts are by far and away the highlights of the album for me, and I wish there'd have been more. All I could find on the official front is the incredibly 90's video for it, so apologies in advance for the shirtless Moby.

A little dip back into the world of trance next with Mystery Land from Y-Traxx. Mystery Land has a bunch of mixes of it (and even some modern ones on a re-release EP), but there are two always competing for the top spot for me: first we have the cult classic Sickboy's Courtyard Remix - which is admittedly overplayed (but at the same time rightfully so), it does fall into the classic Trance pitfall of essentially being one big buildup to a massive payoff, but everything about that second half is heavenly. The other is the Original Mix, it doesn't spend a massive amount of time getting to the meat of the tune unlike the other mix, but doesn't skimp on the lush euphoric bits neither. It's a little bit different from the usual brand of Trance I post - more subdued than the belting anthems of the later 90's, but listen close and you can still catch some familiar elements here and there. Proof positive you don't have to be a full on dancefloor chugger to be an amazing tune.

Jumping back to the very early days of DJ Hell's International Deejay Gigolos label - back when they still used pictures of Arnold Schwarzenegger on their labels and comps, without permission naturally, there's a distinct punk DIY aesthetic to the label. Gigolos was home to tons of electro and techno of the era, I'm personally more familiar with their stint in the Electroclash world circa the early 00's - a genre that perfectly aligned with their visual branding and overall vibe.

But I'm here today to talk about Jeff Mills' EP Shifty Disco. It should come as no surprise that Gigolos saw many big names pop up on the label over the years: folks like Vitalic, DMX Krew, Kittin & The Hacker and even Zombie Nation circa the Kernkraft 400 blow up in '99 were all Gigolo records. But what is surprising is pulling a massive name out so early in the labels history - Shifty Disco is the second ever release on the label, and what an impression it makes. The Sun is my pick of the lot because it just doesn't waste any time, as soon as you drop the needle you are taken straight to what I think is a perfect intro to the EP, and a great demonstrator of what International Deejay Gigolos was all about (and still is to an extent, they do come out with things every now and then). It's very short, but I think it does all it needs to in that time, though I wouldn't say no to an extended cut of this one if I was still mixing like I used to do. Brilliant stuff.

And that'll be all for this slightly shorter post. I'm getting more used to the idea of using alternate embeds, recently had a spanner thrown in one of the long posts I'm working on as an artist featured has since wiped their Bandcamp, nothing that will delay it by much but still. That is still in the works by the way, I've just been trying to keep stuff coming out short-form in the meantime - it's just easier for me at the minute as IRL stuff starts happening again. I'll cut it short here but until next time - as always, stay safe and enjoy the music.


Sunday 5 September 2021

Trip Report

I am back with a sit-rep on what I actually got around to getting on Bandcamp Friday. No massive changes in plans this time though, I did end up subbing out the Arpanet LP for some other stuff though, as well as getting the ADULT. EP thingy I talked about last time but didn't actually post about. Let's get stuck in.
M.C. Escher - Blocks of Basalt along the Sea (1919)

First major change was I decided to listen to a couple of other LNS releases just to feel them out, I ended up on her latest LNS-id first of all - the pun in the title is stretching it a bit, but as it suggests, this is much more Acid flavoured than the track from Recons One I used last time. I do like Acid, but I don't have a right lot of it in my archives, I feel like it's one of those genres that can suffer from being quite same-y in its execution (but admittedly, I haven't gone too deep into the genre so take that with two handfuls of salt). Most of my Acid comes from Squarepusher's brother's project Ceephax Acid Crew, his work tends to be quite creative in the boundaries of Acid and as you might have guessed from some of those album covers, often very much embracing the sillier side of things. I thought that maybe this one might be the same, what with the massive Acid smiley over LNS' frog logo on the cover and all.

So with that in mind, I wasn't really sure what exactly to expect going into this one - would it be some tongue-in-cheek Acid? A straight up tribute to the style that fully embraces all the clichés like Luke Vibert's Luke Vibert Presents UK Garave Vol. 1 maybe? Not quite as it turns out, the opening Blue Acid grabbed my attention straight away with its ambient techy vibes, the frantic 303 that you might expect for an Acid track is very subdued at first and it gives the whole thing this very different feel than I've ever encountered in the world of Acid before. LNS nails the production side of things here too, just when I find myself thinking that it needs a little something to spice it up, something that changed up the formula would drop right in. I can understand the 303 being repetitive to some, and there are some times where I feel it too - I'd have liked that ambience lurking in the background to have more time to shine like it does around the 4:10 mark - but overall I'm very into it, even if the EP has given me 200% of my recommended dose of 303 for the next few weeks.

Turning around in terms of sound with a bit from that ADULT. EP I brought up last time. One thing I love about about ADULT. is that they are doing a fantastic job of making most of their discography available on Bandcamp, including things that were super rare before. The extremely on brand titled Let's Feel Bad Together EP was previously a Beatport exclusive - but you could also get an 'Official Bootleg' CD of it from their website that they would sign with a little personal message for you too. It's from 2008, so just after the release of the nihilistic and intense punk of Why Bother? - though that LP would sometimes leave the electronics behind, Let's Feel... is very much in the vein of ADULT. releases of old.

It waxes and wanes though, tracks like Dance Avoid feel more like their Resuscitation-era sound and shares some DNA with the album immediately after this The Way Things Fall, whereas album closer Sideways feels much more like the fidgety anxiety of Why Bother>. There's not a dull moment on this EP, each of the four tracks are pretty relentless and don't let up until the timer runs out. They feel a little less fleshed out than the mainline album tracks or even some of their other EPs, but I don't want to make out like that's a negative - it makes everything here feel like the 'best of' of an extended jam session or even some live improv.

This is most easily spotted in Nicola's vocals, there aren't really verses to speak of here so much as her playing around with the titles of the songs, most obviously on Dance Avoid with lines like 'Dance avoid, dance avoid, dancing in a void', but again that just plays into what I mentioned above, and even if the content is much more simple than usual, her trademark delivery does an amazing job of matching that Punky atmosphere. I've picked both Today and Dance Avoid here because I think the two show off the two 'moods' of the EP really well (and because Avoid came on as I was typing and I fell in love with the intro all over again).

I also got around to getting the other two thirds of the Evoked Potentials series from E.R.P. (AKA Gerard Hanson or Convextion). They're super small and bite sized at two tracks each, I feel like the label could have compiled them into one, especially considering the original vinyl releases were limited to a couple hundred copies but hey ho. About the tracks themselves though - E.R.P. has fast become one of my favourites over the past year or so, the brand of hi-tech electro slash techno released under the name just really appeals to me in the same way all the early 90's Artificial Intelligence series from Warp does. I know that's a comparison I trot out all the time when talking about this kind of sound but it's more apt than usual this time, parts of the Evoked Potentials series sound a hell of a lot like the stuff B12 was (and continues to) make.

And you'll find yourself among good company if you're into this style of electro - Discogs recommends stuff like Drexciya, The Other People Place and early Underground Resistance - that's especially true here, of all the E.R.P. I've posted so far, Repose most certainly feels more in line with that kind of style. I just adore the spacey vibes on this one, it's very easy to get lost in - the stripped back ambient turn in the last quarter is just divine. It's not quite dethroned the Alsoran EP as my favourite release from him (But there is some bias there as it was the first thing I'd heard as well), but I will happily snap up more of this sound whenever I find it. My only complaint is a very nit-picky one: for some reason there's a good chunk of silence on the end of this one, it ends at around 6:40 for reference.

And that'll do it for this time. I'm a little late on this one because I took an easy day off yesterday because I was feeling a little sick, but that actually gave me time to listen and hash out some thoughts on these picks so it wasn't *too* bad I suppose. I'll be back soon enough with more but until then - as always, stay safe and enjoy the music.


Wednesday 1 September 2021

Coming Up

That time of the month where I look over my ever expanding list of things to get and attempt to make some choices for the rapidly approaching Bandcamp Friday. The most recent additions to the wish list have been a a bit all over the place, normally they follow a theme, but I've chucked a couple on as of late that are just there as reminders really, biggest example being the Warp stuff - it's cheaper direct from Bleep but I find Bandcamp easier to browse. But I digress, let's have a look at some potentials for this round.
Rosalyn Drexler - Men and Machines V (1966)

It's not been as tricky this time, I seem to have managed to catch some stuff way in advance so it means I'm not scrambling for options this time. Quite a techy edge to it this time, but I think it's come together semi-naturally from other things that just missed the cut last time. Starting with another alias of Gerald Donald with Arpanet - as both names suggest it's quite high tech electro stuff, albeit in that early 2000's way. It can get a little long in the tooth at times (but I feel that way about a lot of Donald's other work as well), but the moments where it shines are very bright indeed. Album opener The Analyst waxes philosophical about technology in text to speech tones - some still relevant, the extended parts about 'wireless information transfer' with lines like 'people can now transmit electronic mail (...) from their mobile cell phones' not so much. It's a great mood setter for sure, but the real highlight comes in track 2 - Illuminated Displays, an encapsulation of my favourite of Donald's styles, and the perfect soundtrack to the far off year of 2002.

In a similar kind of vein we have Versalife. Recommended to me because I've really liked the stuff that Convextion has put out under the E.R.P. alias - that kind of spacey techno slash electro type of deal (and bonus points for what is I assume a Deus Ex reference in the name). I initially wanted to start with his debut album but opted for an EP instead - easier to digest that way I thought. And I wasn't disappointed as Night Time Activities Pt. I starts incredibly strongly with Solenoids Of Insomnia, and it would have probably been the track I chose for this post but it has strong competition from the one I actually did pick in Tales Of The Unexpected (or Tales From the unexpected if you're going by what's actually on the vinyl sticker). If you're at all like me and are a big fan of the E.R.P. I've posted before, you'll find yourself in familiar territory here: I'm going to echo something I read about E.R.P's work here: it's all real atmospheric techy stuff - I keep feeling like this one reminds me a little of the more downtempo bits on Aphex Twin's Analord series, though not quite as acidic. I'm liking it a whole lot, it seems like my requests of posts past for more things in this style have been answered.

Another tale from my "Wishlist for later, sounds cool" trips is LNS' Recons One - volume 2 is slightly puzzlingly missing from her Bandcamp but there's plenty there to get stuck into as-is. Speaking of puzzling, her releases make ample use of the now-defunct Bullfrog Productions logo, which I'm very familiar with from my younger days, but enough of that, let's talk about the tunes. I wasn't sure how to feel about the title track at first, the beat was good but I wasn't sure where it was going to go, when that first stab at 0:14 took me by surprise in the best way. It builds upon that solid base as it goes on naturally, but I think those stabs may still be my favourite thing about this one. It's a lot less space-y than my previous two picks, much more bouncy and... well, kinda funky to an extent - it reminds me quite a bit of the instrumental DMX Krew cuts in places, but not as out and out funk as those from DMX. I'm a couple of years late on this one, but I'm looking forward to diving into the rest of LNS' releases and seeing what else she comes out with in the future.

And that'll do it for this time, there is an ADULT. EP I've got lined up as well, but it doesn't quite jive with the others posted above so I'll hang fire on that one for now. As is tradition I could end up picking up a bunch of completley unrelated stuff, only time will tell. It might be a day or so before I actually get around to posting the scoops from this time as I have a busy weekend coming up but I'll try and get it written up and scheduled for some point next week. Until then, as always - stay safe and enjoy the music.