Friday 31 December 2021

Seeing off 2021 - One more for the road

Maria Primachenko - Father Frost Carries the New-Year Tree (1960)

Another year, another calendar to file away in a drawer. We made it! And I thought I'd celebrate the traditional ilictronix way: a random smattering of tracks from a variety of genres. Not going to be as long as previous years I don't think just because I'm writing this the morning of, but the spirit is there nonetheless.

Let's start with something a little older (shocking, I know) - I dug out the first Commix album a little while ago when a co-worker was asking me from some Drum & Bass recommendations, they liked some liquid funk stuff but found a lot of it to be quite same-y which I can totally understand. I went a little deep with some of the cuts but also put some general must haves in there too, and Commix's first LP is certainly one of the latter. Coming from Goldie's Metalheadz label, it's among good company in the world of D&B, but it can be a little tricky to get into anything from the 'headz as there is an absolute ton of material to get through given how long they've been around - not the worst problem to have but it is a factor. As for Commix, I've chosen the opening track Be True this time around, but there are plenty of massive tunes on it to get stuck into - it's not quite my favourite from the album, that would be Emily's Smile, but it's misspelled on the Bandcamp page and it irks me a bit. Still, what a bloody fantastic way to open an album eh?

Going even older this time around with some Mijk Van Dijk. I fell in love with his brand of techno a few years ago now and I find his stuff a little underrated in my personal opinion, not every track is golden but those of them that are have quickly become mainstays in my rotations. Which brings me back around to that opening point, I keep tabs on Mijk's bandcamp as it has slowly grown over time, it's very far from a full discography but I imagine it's a minefield of defunct labels and super old releases the man himself might not even have access to anymore - not to mention the issue he'd probably have with putting up his tracks from Ridge Racer and Armored Core. Still, he's managed to get some of the big ones on there, including 1996's The Wildlife, released as Mijk's Magic Marble Box. It ain't my favourite from the man but still a jam, I've gone with his own remix of the title track this time - it's not too dissimilar from the original mix, a little slower though. Partially the bias I have from it being included on a great mix compilation of his works called Multi-Mijk but also because the little touches he brings to the remix highlight what I really love about Mijk's works

You know what? Let's go even older still and get some proper full on Italo Disco in there. I wouldn't say I've gained a new appreciation for the genre this year, but I have certainly got my hands on more of it than ever before - that was a deliberate choice on my part as my love for Eurobeat is very well documented at this point - and to oversimply it, modern Eurobeat is pretty much Italo with a much faster BPM, and the early Eurobeat releases are pretty indistinguishable from Italo anyway. We're getting off topic there though, I'll echo what I've said about this one in the past, Spacer Woman stands out in its field because it sounds surprisingly modern given the original is from 1983. Perhaps not like 'released last week' modern as it's betrayed by the vocals a little bit, but certainly wouldn't sound out of place on an early 00's International Deejay Gigolos or similar compilation. I adore tracks like these as well because of that futuristic edge to them, which sounds a bit silly to say now but imagine hearing this in '83, I was fascinated with the wild sounds of electronic music from an early age, and tracks like this are a perfect demo of the kind of sound that set me on this path.

Yet more from ThorHighHeels this time, I keep wanting to post some things from their soundtrack to Umurangi Generation but the main OST is not on Bandcamp I don't think. Still, some tracks from it appear on Positive Yellow, which itself is a fantastic release - I'm linking to the version on bandcamp with a couple of bonus tracks and not the original this time, there's no real difference between the two otherwise. As I've said before, Positive Yellow is a love letter to the early days of 3D, that wild west kind of time where electronic music and low polygon counts collided on the fifth generation consoles. I am obviously mad for this one, as a young'un a lot of my exposure to electronic music beyond my parent's collections was through my PS1 - I think THH has done a great job of capturing that style without it feeling too pandering, they very clearly have a lot of love for this era too and have done a great job of exploring the different styles of the era. All the while still giving it that slightly tongue in cheek feel that they bring to their video work - if track titles like PIRATE_RIP_GHETTOBASS or ':)' didn't tip you off.

Some more from LNS now, this time going back to the first I'd heard from her in Recons One from the EP of the same name. It's a fantastic introduction to her works, one that gets surprisingly ambient at multiple points too. The opening and title track is pretty far from that though, starting out like a regular electro record from the get go - but when that big stab hit at about 14 seconds in, I knew I was in love, and less than a week later I'd scooped her entire digital discography. I just love the hi-tech vibe here, it was just so different to all the other old school style electro I was listening to at the time - and the way it adds additional layers on every 'loop' is just great too and keeps things feeling fresh throughout. I haven't managed to talk about LNS as much as I would have liked this year but I have listened to these EPs plenty - I'll be sure to take a deep dive into what's been released since and report back with my findings to make up for that though!

A little bit of a repeat of last year this time with another from Yuzo Koshiro's soundtracks to Wangan Midnight Maximum Tune. The series of albums is a properly massive treasure trove of trance that I've had a consistent fling with for a couple of years now, I just haven't talked about it much as only 5 & 6 were available on streaming, along with a re-issue of 4. The later entries of the series are still fine, they do start to stray from pure trance though, dabbling a little in Drum & Bass and even Hardstyle in parts. I played the hell out of one of those hardstyle-style ones last summer with Don't Stop - so when I saw the expansion to 6's OST released, it should surprise no one that my favourite was instantly Happy Moment. Leaving all pretences of being hardstlye-like behind, this one is absolutely 100% cut from that cloth - it's just so unabashed I can't help but like it. Not a genre I'd say I was too into in regular times but man I've been really jamming out to this one over the past month or so.

And finally, right on time same as every year, we have The Knife. I do my best to include this on every new year's roundup, as not only is it apt but I will take any and all chances to shine a light on their soundtrack for Hannah Med H that this is taken from. This is them in all their Deep Cuts era glory, down to the steel pan as heard on Pass This On, it was never included on any other album so you'll have to pick up the full Hannah Med H Soundtrack if you want it, some tracks from it were included on re-issues of their first album but this one is an exclusive. That's not a bad thing at all as it's full of great songs, and it's now really easy to come by now they're on Bandcamp.

And that'll do it for this year, it's been pretty wild but I've managed to keep to my word about being a little more reliable posting here. That should continue into '22, I've had a few tech gremlins on the backend I might have to look into as it seems my strategy of 'it all works just leave it alone and it'll be fine' is starting to fall apart a bit. I also have been neglecting the republishing side quite a bit because I've gotten to the point where the posts I'm fixing are all unformatted and it's a real pain to untangle the mess of code and text so it's readable. But otherwise things should carry on as normal, and you don't come here to hear me vent so I'll wrap it up here!

Thank you all for reading - and as always, stay safe and enjoy the music.


Tuesday 28 December 2021

Belated Best Of

I sat down today with the intention of doing my annual bevy of tunes to schedule for the day before NYE - what originally started as my teenage electro-fiend self sharing my own personal playlist of big choons sort of became a cross section of past and present faves from a variety of genres. I still intend to do that, but as I started hashing out some choices I thought I'd change gears a bit and instead share some of my favourites from this year. Time has gone all funny as I had to trim some out that were very firmly from last year but I think I've ended up with a good selection, we'll get into it after the break.

It goes without saying it's been a pretty strange year - as such I've been spending a lot of time with HEALTH as their current electronic infused sound is very cathartic at times: often intense and with a pronounced nihilistic streak as well. While DEATH MAGIC is probably still my favourite of theirs, I've got a real fondness for everything they've done since that pivot to the more electronic side of things (which was always there to be fair, it just got more pronounced with DEATH MAGIC). Some of their latest I haven't been so hot on - on paper the collab with Nine Inch Nails should have been amazing, I don't think it was bad mind you, but I think perhaps my expectations were a little high. Still, you're always going to have moments like that with artists no matter what, and the rest of the singles that have been coming out like DEAD FLOWERS have been more up my street. Perhaps not as electronic as previous, but still a very great example of what I mentioned in the opening sentence.

I'd also been spending a lot more time with Oneohtrix Point Never as well. I'm incredibly behind on the man's output nowadays, but I am more than happy to see him achieve the levels of success he has done. I'm pretty sure if you go back and read my first post about OPN when I first discovered him about 10 years ago I mention his work having that cinematic quality to it, and to see him get soundtrack work is very validating (plus as well noted, I am all in favour of film soundtracks being more electronic and interesting than your usual stereotypical 'cinema strings')

But we're getting a little off topic, I've listened to a ton of ambient this year, much for the same reasons as listed above, and OPN's work is still among my favourites of the genre. I've liked a lot of the direction he's taken since - there's been much more experimental output as of late and I'd go as far to say as the last traditional 'ambient' album he did was R Plus Seven in 2013, and even then parts of that album were totally signposting the more experimental direction he'd take. All of this is to say that there was perhaps part of me pining for a 'classic' OPN tune, perhaps not one loaded with lush Juno arpeggios like the Betrayed In The Octagon era but along the same kind of lines.

The original Nothing's Special (that's included as a b-side on this single and on the main album, Magic Oneohtrix Point Never) came close with it's lush synth-work and mournful treated vocals - but the version that features Rosalía on the vocals is just spectacular. An unexpected collaboration to be sure, one that I've seen written off and bashed for as a result, but one that I absolutely adore. My only complaint is that I would have liked an instrumental version on the single to complete the trilogy.

It's not all doom and gloom though, as I mentioned in my little mixtape last post, I've also been spinning a ton of the soundtrack to Unbeatable, an upcoming rhythm game with a little free demo called [White Label] on Steam and Itch. I'm going to essentially copy/paste what I said last time here because otherwise I would just be repeating the same points anyway - Unbeatable has a totally enthralling visual style that is utterly drenched in nostalgia - it's totally designed to target that [adult swim] generation, if you're at all like me and stayed up way too late watching shows like FLCL as a teen, then you'll find it familiar.

The soundtrack does a downright perfect job of complimenting that aesthetic, aping bands like The Pillows to great effect, with a real rough 'round the edges feel that makes sense in the context of the game but also . I couldn't not mention this one just because it became a swift obsession of mine and made up a big chunk of my listening for this year. While not totally electronic, it does stray into that side from time to time: be it the Avalanches style sampling of Proper Rhythm, or the mandatory lo-fi hip hop joint I chose in Homework Salad By Night - it just wouldn't be the complete [adult swim] experience without it now would it?

And finally, a little bit from LNS. A recent addition to my radar, I ended up scooping her entire discography on Bandcamp not long after first being introduced. Her latest, the punnily titled LNS-id, is as you might expect a much more acidic affair than her usual. Don't be put off by the cover though, despite the cover's design, the sound on here is pretty far from 'ardcore acid stuff - as album opener and my favourite of the bunch Blue Acid does a fantastic job of demonstrating. It's a somewhat menacing beast, the Acid is definitely there in the form of a machine gun 303 arpeggio lurking in the background but it's contrasted with these slow synth sweeps in the background that give it an altogether different feel from the small amount of acid I have in my collection (which isn't saying much because I'm really unfamiliar with the genre beyond broad strokes as a result!). The rest of the album is a more standard Acid affair, I don't mean that as a knock though as it's all lovingly done: even following the standard 'Acid' blueprint of sounds LNS still manages to make some interesting stuff but by far and away the most striking is this intro track. Brilliant.

Honestly, there was even more I could have put here. I did hesitate calling it the 'best of' because A) I am perpetually behind on new stuff, so there could be things I haven't even heard yet and B) You all know I like to talk at length, so at least this way it keeps things more manageable! (Plus, I don't know how many more covers I could have used to make that blended pic I used up above for the post either) finally, C) not everything is available on bandcamp unfortunately, so this was the best compromise. Rest assured it was a bumper year for new tunes, I even managed to get some new Eurobeat as well. I'll try and swing back around again with a big end of year track dump, but if I don't manage that take care and I'll see you all in 2022. As always - stay safe and enjoy the music.


Tuesday 21 December 2021

Staying Frosty - Another Winter Mixtape

Miwa Ogasawara - Kosmos (2010)

Another year, another time where I put together a little something to sort of cap things off. I do normally end up doing another post or two after but I always like to make one of these both as a creative exercise and just out of tradition at this point. This year's winter roundup is a selection of tunes I've loved, discovered or re-discovered over the last year or so - while not as traditionally 'wintery' as the last couple have been, I think it still has a little of that spirit running through it. Part of the reason I started doing these little tapes was to actually get around to putting up songs I love that might not be readily available on your conventional streaming platforms and while there are more that a few of them this year, I've managed to squeeze a little more readily available ones in there too! I was also pleasantly surprised to see Blu Mar Ten digitally re-issue the album that I Wake Up is from - The Six Million Names Of God - an interesting curio of early 2000's 'chillout' records that I think I may have covered on here before, it has some really nice tunes on it.

But we're getting a little off topic there - as is always the case with these little mixtape dealies, I did have a plan for what tracks I was going to use - but that quickly went out the window when I started laying things down. I still managed to get a few choice cuts in there regardless, but there are plenty of choices made on-the-fly too! Overall, I'm pretty happy with it, I will be the first to admit I ain't the best mixer in the world, doubly so when jumping between genres so frequently like I have here. Having said that I don't think it's too bad, and with the sheer variety I have on show it was never gonna be perfect so... Full tracklist and my usual track-by-track breakdown below!

Yoko Kanno - Hanna
Röyksopp - You Don't Have A Clue
Kensuke Ushio - Trace Of Twilight
Peak Divide - Homework Salad By Night
Masafumi Takada - So That The Forms Of Heavenly Maidens Linger Before Me Yet More
Sugar Plant - Simple
Blu Mar Ten - I Wake Up
Moby - Whispering Wind
Akira Yamaoka - Witchcraft
Boards Of Canada - Turquoise Hexagon Sun
Hiroshi Yoshimura - View From My Window
Moderat - This Time

Fully embracing my soundtrack side to start off with, Yoko Kanno's Iceland-influenced soundtrack to Terror In Resonance leading things. Perhaps not strictly 'electronic' to begin with, but I absolutely adore the little glitchy parts in the mid section, and making good on that Icelandic influence, the whole thing builds to a brilliant post-rock style crescendo. Röyksopp follow - another one of my all time favourites. I did almost use Sparks again as it is for me the nigh perfect summary of the style I'm going for with these tapes - but instead I went with a bit from Junior. Featuring the same vocalist from Sparks, Anelli Drecker, it felt like the next best thing. While an intentionally much poppier record than their previous, fans of their style of downtempo will still find a lot to love on Junior, case in point with You Don't Have A Clue.

Back in soundtrack territory for a double feature - first with a gorgeous almost ambient piece from the 2019 Boogiepop wa Warawanai. It was pretty tricky to not go full ambient with the whole thing in all honesty, especially with Kensuke Ushio's OST work all carrying this same super smooth sound. Between this and his solo work under the Agraph alias, he has fast become one of my favourites of recent times - as evidenced by his inclusion on my last couple of mixtape-likessss. It's not around for long before we take a slow dive into lo-fi town - I've been playing a lot of Unbeatable as of late, a game with a totally enthralling visual style that is utterly drenched in nostalgia, and the soundtrack does a downright perfect job of complimenting that aesthetic, aping bands like The Pillows to great effect. Not totally electronic, but it does stray into that side from time to time, be it the Avalanches style sampling of Proper Rhythm and the mandatory lo-fi hip hop joint I chose in Homework Salad By Night.

From there it's a case of digital crate digging. How do you follow up a lo-fi tune without getting stuck in a rut? Why, a bit from the soundtrack to the videogame tie-in for Samurai Champloo of course - with a slight techy feel, it opened up a lot of choices for the next entry. I ended up going with Sugar Plant, a band that is sort of shoegaze, but in a downtempo kind of way. I fell in love with them hard over the summer, their repeating grooves are really easy to slip into and a joy to listen to, and make the time just melt away - I used the full 6 minutes of the tune for just that reason. Simple actually reminds me a fair bit of some tuff from Morcheeba, look them up if you dig Sugar Plant.

I already talked about Blu Mar Ten in the opening paragraph so let's skip over to the next entry from Moby. I went for a deeper cut this time on purpose, initially planning on it being the 'Slow Synth' version of We Are All Made Of Stars but ended up going with Whispering Wind - originally a B-Side for the Natural Blues single. A hefty dose of my bias for treated vocals is part of that decision or sure, but the whole B-Side album is a nice complimentary piece to Play, partly because the tracks on there haven't been played to death like the main album.

From there we round out with a bit more Silent Hill stuff from Akira Yamaoka. I knew I was going to use something from them but hadn't quite narrowed it down, I wasn't expecting to end up going with one of the later ones from Homecoming in all honesty, but I knew it was perfect when it came on. Yamaoka's ambient and trip hop stuff is gorgeous, and Witchcraft, while a little softer than some of his other works just hit perfectly at that time. From there we get some Boards Of Canada, can you believe I've never used them in one of these tapes before? I would normally have gone for an ambient piece but what better compliment to Yamaoka's work than the more beat heavy bits of Music Has The Right To Children? (Though Turquoise Hexagon Sun actually originally appeared on the Hi Scores EP!)

Rounding out the selections we have a real odd couple - first we dive headlong into ambient with a bit from Hiroshi Yoshimura's iconic Music For Nine Post Cards, beautifully delicate, View From My Window was one of the tracks I knew I was going to use from the start, I was just waiting for the right moment. To be completely honest I was ready to call it there, it's a great send off piece. But I was inspired by the 'moods' that Spotify had applied to me in their year end wrap up: Wistful and Euphoric, so to fit that brief I put Moderat's This Time on the end. It's been a long time since I really listened to Moderat's second album and I had forgotten how powerful this one was. Wonderful stuff and a apt capstone to this whirlwind tour of the last year or so. Covered a lot of ground and yet there were so many that didn't quite make it in, but then there's always next year I suppose!

I hope the tail end of the year is treating you all well, I know that writing here has been a little slice of consistency in a world gone mental - and hopefully reading has for you too. Tune in to this one for just under an hour of calm - and as always, stay safe and enjoy the music.


Wednesday 15 December 2021

Ç'est Nostalgique

Takashi Murakami - And Then, And Then, And Then And Then, And Then (Blue) (1996)

Couple days ago my brother decided to do one of them Spotify blend thingies - it's actually kind of a cool feature, generates a playlist of both your listens and essentially just compares / contrasts 'em. We have quite different taste but we do cross over from time to time. From there though I got super nostalgic for them halcyon days of the blog - the time where I was an absolute hype fiend who subsisted solely on blog house and constantly chasing the next electro house hit. And there we have the theme of today's post - come on board with me as we take a trip back in time and try not to have an existential crisis along the way.

And what better first stop on that trip than the Justice boys? There were so many choices I could have made and honestly I was going to just pick somethin' from the iconic  because it was (and is to this day) an absolutely stellar album. I chucked on all of my Justice on shuffle to get some inspiration, I ended up going with a deep cut. I wasn't expecting to find this one so readily available to stream in all honesty, but it seems that the Justice boys have been pretty good about archiving most of their releases digitally. I've gone with the B-Side to D.A.N.C.E - predicatably called B.E.A.T. Even if you're totally sick of the original from it being played out I'd give this one a listen, it's more of a remix of the original in reality - but it's a gorgeous tour de force of Justice's sound of the era, one that heavily foreshadows their later funkier progression rather than a straight up electro house chugger. (This one is listed as extended despite being the same length as the original release as far as I can tell)

Keeping that train going with MSTRKRFT - as one friend amusingly put it "remember those years where vowels were really uncool?". Their debut The Looks is actually before the big heyday of the blogosphere in around '07 or so, but only by a year. It's a pretty short album but each of the entries on the tracklist are all hits - 8 tracks on the original, but 9 on my copy with the bonus remix on the end. I've chosen Easy Love for our next stop on this trip, a tune pretty infamous at the time for it's typically cliche 2000's 'dance' video - that is to say, incredibly horny, You can see it in all of it's crunchy 240p glory on YouTube if you'd like. I've got a lot of love for this early MSTRKRFT work, admittedly due to my massive weakness for anything vocoded though, but I'd be lying if I didn't get a little rush of memories every time I hear Work On You or this one come up every once in a blue moon.

Kind of a contrast to the Justice lads - you can find most of Boys Noize's stuff up to a point on Bandcamp as well. I was hoping to get some stuff from Oi Oi Oi on there, as the name might suggest that is an album full of yer classic bangers that I absolutely rinsed back when. But that's fine because Power is on there - an album I don't think is quite as consistent as Oi but is still home to some pretty big shakers. Truth be told it's closing track Heart Attack that might be my most favourite of them all, but that's not keeping with the pumpin' electro of the last couple so I'm going to tweak my choice slightly. I did initially consider either Starter or Jeffer, two early standouts that I had leaked copies of back in the day - Jeffer did almost win out with it's fantastically fidgety feel, but I changed my mind at the last minute to the opening track instead. Perhaps a little bit of a cop out, but it's a really great opening track, one that I think I've heard used on TV as BGM a couple of times to boot. Coming back to it with hindsight, you can really feel the evolution from the Oi Oi Oi era, a little rocky in places but when it shines man does it shine.

And that'll do it for this time around. It's been a long time since I did a bloghouse nostalgia piece like this, I was pretty surprised to find so much of it on Bandcamp actually, so many times I've wanted to do posts like this but ended up on non-official Soundclouds or otherwise dead accounts - I did think about maybe making this one a little longer but I'm pretty content with it as-is, if only for that deep Justice cut alone. Things are winding down IRL so I may be a little more active than usual - there's a mountain of old posts that still need fixing to be re-published so it might not be 'new' content though. Still, I have the makings of another annual winter time mixtape cooking as well so that should be coming up fairly soon, will be a good time. Until next time - as always, stay safe and enjoy the music.


Thursday 9 December 2021

Situational Report

Stuart Davis - New York Waterfront (1938)

Back with a slightly delayed update on Bandcamp Friday pickings up - but if the trains can get away with it then so can I. Not much different to report really, I did end up with pretty much everything that I posted about on the day but with a couple extras but I thought I'd give a little rundown anyway. Let's get stuck in.

Some more Zamilska this time, I did mention in passing last time that it was part of my listening but didn't end up posting any. My definition form last time rings true - Zamilska is an absolute master of her distinct brand of incredibly atmospheric techno - heavy and claustrophobic, usually makes for an intense listen. I've been absolutley addicted to Back lately, cut from the same sort of cloth as Moderat's first album which I've been revisiting as of late. This is the kind of track that is screaming out to be used as an introduction to to a set or mixtape, the steady build and eventual payoff of that lurking melody in the background is absolutely brilliant. A lumbering beast that takes a while to get going, but once it does, it's a perfect example of Zamilska's output.

Another cut from the MSRG EP I picked up as well, one that I only ended up with on my radar to a label email. I've been devouring a whole load of Electro this year and the Afterwork Programming EP was a fine addition to that roster. Fairly short at only 4 tracks, I knew early on that I was going to pick this one up. Following on from the spacey hi-tech of the opening track Dancing Data (that I have a well documented weakness for) we have Keep On Wshn - by contrast a pretty upbeat piece, certainly the fastest Electro track I've picked up as of late, if not the fastest in my entire collection. Reminding me a little of some of the bits on International Deejay Gigolo Records compilations from back in the day actually now I think about it, it has that same kind of MO to the sound. I do love the frantic nature of it, but I must admit the real moment of love happened at about 1:12 when those lush flourishes begin to appear in the mix, they stick around for the rest of the tune thankfully because I can't get enough of them.

And finally a little bit more from Gimmik to round out. Polar opposite of the previous tunes, this one is a much more standard downtempo IDM style affair, this one actually reminds me quite a lot of The Flashbulb's Soundtrack To A Vacant Life in style, both in use field recordings and just generally. Small echoes of Casino Versus Japan's Go Hawaii too, come to think of it. As mentioned last time, Gimmik's work in that early 00's IDM world really shows here, tracks like this would be right at home being released around that time, the majority of this album is very accessible with no proper beat mangling going on but I think All Around The Lake might be the most accessible of the whole bunch - I have a real fondness for them anyway, doubly so at this time of year where I get a little more downtempo than usual. After giving this one a few spins I actually felt a little inspired and jotted down some potential ideas for another of my annual winter time mixtapes, I haven't actually started it yet but stay tuned for that in the near future!

And that'll be all for this time, I'll have to get my head down and get to work on fleshing out that mixtape, surprisingly busier than I remember this time of year but I guess that's to be expected compared to last year. But anyway, I hope you've enjoyed the selections on show here, even if a couple of them are technically repeats! Until next time, as always, stay safe and enjoy the music.


Friday 3 December 2021

Last minute checks

Laura Knight - Sundown (1947)

Oh boy it's that time of the month again where Bandcamp Friday has done sneaked up on me again. I've actually been pretty good about it last couple of times so I can't really complain too much - it is my fault this time. With a return to tradition, let's all gather 'round the fireside as I try and find some choice selections from my ever growing wish-list that catch my ear (and hopefully, yours as well).

Kicking off with more from Soichi Terada and his new upcoming LP Asakusa Light. I'd wish-listed it before I even listened to any of it because Terada is among my favourite makers ever since I heard the original Ape Escape OST as a wee one. This album sees him return to House once again rather than the Drum & Bass that introduced me to him - but the man has a long history with the genre and he's damn good at it too. Enter the newest preview track to drop: Double Spire - I was pretty impressed with the last one, Bamboo Fighter and figured I'd take a look at it again, and let me tell you that Terada did not disappoint. Right from the get go, he launches a surgical strike on the deep house loving parts of my brain with a simply gorgeous, luscious pads - and then not content with just that, some swiftly applied pitch bends are there to win me over completely. Garnish with some deliciously retro piano stabs and it only goes from strength to strength. The whole thing isn't out until the 12th of December so I might not pick it up this time around, but if the rest of the LP is of this standard then I may have to do a full-on in-depth dive into it on release. Simply wonderful.

Other than that, I've been keeping up with the trend of the last few months where I've been picking up smatterings of Electro in the old school style. I've mentioned a few of them in passing already, but a new one this time is more from Versalife with the finale of the Night Time Activities series. After loving the first one I listened to the second entry and was kinda lukewarm on it, but there may be time yet for it to grow. Still, didn't want to write off the rest of it without giving it a go, so I put part 3 on just for completions sake - and I'm enjoying it much more than the predecessor, the opening track is right up my alley. Billed on the Bandcamp page as "Dark, sinister and intense!", the first track is anything but: very much of that sleek hi-tech school of sound that you might hear from the one The Other People Place album for example. I think spacing my electro stuff out like this has been a great idea, it can get a bit same-y at times just due to the nature of the genre - but much like my love for that particular brand of early 90's ambient techno stuff, I love to immerse myself in this kind of sound every once in a while.

Other than that, it's been a whirlwind of jumping down my list and sampling bits of it here and there, from the claustraphobic glitch techno of Zamilska to reissues vintage Japanese Ambient records and back again. It's very easy to burn yourself out doing this, I know as I have done it many times over the last year or so and even came close this time.

But to the surprise of no one, I ended up back in IDM territory - I have had a well documented long love affair with the genre (and a hatred of the name). I've added plenty of artists to my wishlist from various early 00's compilations I've gathered over the years and a fair few of them are still active! Martin Haidinger is one of them, with an impressive list of credentials: one half of Abfarht Hinwil and founder of Toytronic Records, the source for a lot of those compilations I mentioned. Back in April he released a new album under the Gimmik alias, Cloudwalker - I posted a track from it back when there was only one available for preview but this was my first time with the whole thing.

I wasn't dissapointed, the track that was up for preview way back when, Carters Final Transmission is very much in my favourite style of IDM - balanced glitchiness with these crisp and flowing synth accompaniment that has an edge of melancholy to it. I've been a little lukewarm on some of Gimmik's past releases but I'm very into this one so far, it sounds very much like the stuff from those early 00's compialtions I was talking about which as I already mentioned isn't a downside to me at all, I will always and forver love this style. Carters Final Transmission might still be my favourite of the bunch, but I've picked out opening track Short Wave Memories to highlight for now as it's probably the most evocative of that old style I mentioned - there's lots of lovely squelchy synths and catchy melodies scattered throughout if you're as big a fan as me. Keep an eye out for more pieces from this one in the near future.

And that'll do it for now - I've got some other things lined up to pick up but I'll figure I'll do a follow up post to this one as it might change a bit between now and then. Not sure if Bandcamp Firdays will continue into the new year, the line from BC themselves just said "Will continue for the rest of 2021", it'll be a shame if they stop but I do understand, they are a company after all, waiving your profits once a month probably isn't ideal. Even if they do stop, I'm thankful that I was personally able to support so many artists that I love and make plenty of new discoveries along the way as well - and I hope you have too! On that note, I'll wrap up here - As always, stay safe and enjoy the music.