Tuesday 7 June 2022

Same Name Game 2

You ever stumble across a note that you'd left yourself and just plain forgotten about? that's what this post is. Around the same time I made the first version of this post I must have made a second draft for a sequel that then got buried under other posts. There was nothing to it other than a cursory list of tracks so I figured I'd come in and flesh it out, and here we are.
Claudio Bravo - Mystic Package (1967)

The main limiting factor for this one is that some of the tracks aren't on my usual bandcamp players, but that's not the end of the world. It's also not the case for this first one either. Kicking off with a bit from Kavinsky's delayed debut. After a string of home-run EPs I was very excited for Kavinsky to drop an album, which eventually came to be in OutRun. OutRun is... fine. I told myself at the time its just because I was getting a little sick of the retro electro aesthetic but even on revisiting it my opinion remains the same. By far and away the best tracks here are the ones that were already on EPs that came before, but there are a couple standouts in the original camp as well. Don't let that put you off if you've never listened to Kavinsky before, the album is a great starting point. Since originally making notes for this post the man has announced a second album as well, and the single from it is very nice. Here's one of the standout originals, Blizzard.

From there we hit up Light Club, with one of the many tracks from Hotline Miami that are seared into my brain. Their Blizzard is a perfect addition to the sequel's soundtrack, very befitting of the more surreal direction that it took. Slightly off kilter, I think I could best describe it as nervous trap, a great choice to set the atmosphere for the scenes with dialogue. Sadly, like a lot of artists from the Hotline Miami OSTs, there hasn't been a release from Light Club in nigh on 10 years at this point, though a quick thumb-through of Discogs tells me that one half of the duo is still pretty active. I always think that's a bit of a shame, if you really dug the vibe of the OSTs like I did and go looking for more you can find that well dries up pretty quickly. Having said that, some of them are still at it, M.O.O.N. of Hydrogen fame has just dropped a new album for example.

A duet of Close Your Eyes next, first with Circ. I've talked about Circ's one and only album at length in a Retro Review and my feelings remain pretty much the same - if you like slightly kitsch early 2000's electropop as much as I do then you will find a lot to love. Echoing my thoughts from last time as well, the standout moment is still that incredible and obviously euphoric trance inspired breakdown around 2 minutes in - between that and the rest of the track its a great little capsule that is a distillation of the era's 'dance music' sound (see also, the very of-the-era music video) in my mind it's in the same ballpark as records like Mylo's Destroy Rock & Roll for example.

Speaking of, we're going to head over to The Chemical Brothers' Push The Button next, an album that I've thought about doing it's own retro review of. It's a bit of a mixed bag in my opinion, but one that's a little overlooked at the same time - look past overplayed tracks like Galvanize and there's some really great moments on here, my favourite being the spectacular closer Surface To Air. Close Your Eyes follows a similar kind of arc though, a real slow burn that builds to a post-rock-esque crescendo - not always my preferred way of things but sometimes it hits the spot just right, and when it does it's lovely.

Trying to make up for the back-to-back YT players with a little bonus, first things first kicking things more downtempo with my local hero Nightmares On Wax. Taken from Thought So... it has a little bit of a different sound to the albums before and after it, and a big part of that is probably down to how the thing was recorded - the whole album is a series of sessions recorded along the way as N.O.W moved from the U.K. over to Spain. This gives the whole thing this really interesting jovial 'live' quality, it feels like one big jam session and you're along for the ride.

And finally a bit of UNKLE, specifically their first album when it was a collaboration between James Lavelle and DJ Shadow. Psyence Fiction is a great little album, it was supposed to be getting an anniversary reissue a couple years back if I remember right but nothing seems to have come of it. Regardless if you are at all into 90's trip hop or are even just a fan of DJ Shadow it's certainly worth your time, Shadow's influence is very pronounced on it. Unreal is one of my favourite tracks from the LP, and there is also a sort of 'bonus' version on the end titled Be There, featuring Ian Brown of The Stone Roses on the vocal front. It feels very natural in its execution, it's not like the vocal has just been hastily overdubbed or anything - Ian's voice suits this sound really well, it's a collaboration I'd have liked to have seen more of, with UNKLE or a similar act.

And that'll be all for this time, I think I used up all my 'same name' ammo for a little while now! A little bit more of an eclectic mix this time around, but I hope you've enjoyed these tracks as much as I have putting this all together. I'm hoping to get back on track with the posting schedule so keep an eye out for more but until then, as always, stay safe and enjoy the music.


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