Monday 22 November 2021

'Tis the season

Jamie Wyeth - Winter Pig (1975)

That time of year again where I bust out the downtempo stuff (which to be fair, is true for the rest of the year as well, but it does increase around now). Had a quick peruse over my playlist and had a look to see if there was anything I could share - feels a little more limited than usual but I also didn't take a deep dive and see what was available on Bandcamp, I just snagged some that I knew I already owned.

But I digress, let's get into the tunes. First of all we have some more from Flunk - I found Flunk back when I went crate digging (albeit digitally) through the back-catalogue of Guidance Recordings. Guidance, on top of being one of my favourite house imprints ever, also massively dabbled in the downtempo side of things - even releasing a whole series of compilations focused on Dub and Lounge style stuff. The original album For Sleepyheads Only is very fitting of its title, a very fine slice of early 00's downtempo goodness. But this time we're talking about the accompanying remix album called Treat Me Like You Do (the title taken from the Blue Monday cover on the original LP), I've chosen Athome Project's remix of See Thru You - I'm pretty sure I've posted it before but it's probably my favourite of the bunch so it bears repeating. A stripped back and skeletal version of the original that dials up the Trip Hop side quite a bit, it's very fitting of the Vinterdepresjonsmix subtitle - I don't think you need a translation for that one.

Taking things back in a predictable IDM direction next with a bit from Casino Versus Japan's second album Go Hawaii. Actually my introduction to CvJ, it's a fun little album with some real nice tunes on it. I've long since posted and re-posted my favourites from the middle of the album: Local Forecast and Metrobolt respectively, but the rest of the LP is certainly worth your time if you enjoy them. With very faint echoes of Boards Of Canada on It's Very Sunny and the closing track Go Hawaii, the whole album has this kind of lo-fi feel that really sets it apart, the DIY sounding electronics of the two tracks mentioned above being the real highlight for me. I've chosen Over Island this time around, which follows a similar off kilter DIY sound to the above two, but with a much more jaunty feel - a dash of hip hop and the more playful melodies of Aphex Twin circa the Richard D. James Album era will put you in the right ballpark. Most of the album still sounds fairly fresh as well despite it coming up on 20 years old - pick it up if you're looking for some hazy vibes as the seasons change.

And one final repeat just because. We revisit the soundtracks for the TimeSplitters series once again, they had a profound impact on me as a young'un - Graeme Norgate (previously of Rare fame and behind some of the OST for Perfect Dark and GoldenEye as well!) proved to be incredibly versatile when making tunes for the time-hopping setting of the series, ranging from full on swing for a 1920's nightclub to pulsing techno for the year 2401. Sometimes I do wonder if some of it is just blinkers from nostalgia, but then sometimes a track like the Spy Fi Tileset theme comes on and I can't help but feel like I'd fall in love regardless. Norgate has a real ear for melodies as frequently demonstrated on his OST work, and freed from the confines of audio having to fit on a cartridge, his work shines even brighter. In-game, the Spy Fi theme appears as the 'Industrial' theme which is a pretty apt description actually, at least for the opening portion. I'm forever grateful that Norgate and Free Radical put this soundtrack up for download way back when - they were ahead of the curve in that respect, and to Norgate for continuing to keep it alive via his Bandcamp.

Righto, that'll be a wrap for today, things are quieting down roundabout now as well so I should be able to put these posts out a little more reliably, I still have some bite-sized ones in the draft pile that I might put out as well, in addition to one really long post that needs a bit of a tidy that I might try and put out come the holidays. But there I go digressing again. So, until next time, as always - stay safe and enjoy the music.


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