Saturday 29 October 2022

Almost There

Good news is the issues on *this* site are fixed. I think. I'm not sure how things were set up before, couldn't make heads or tails of how it was set up or what went wrong so I've gone with an alternate solution that *should* have the same outcome. I finished fixing it up a couple days ago and you shouldn't have seen any changes, bar from a brief window where I needed to fix the naked redirect, which isn't as fun as the name would imply. But enough about tech, let's talk tunes.

The Understanding has a much more surreal cover than the super clean modernist look of Melody A.M.

Seems that every year around this time I go back to Röyksopp, I'd like to say it's to synchronise with the seasons but really I think it's just I get the itch every few months or so. I have a lot of love for the Röyksopp lads, they are one of the longest serving acts in my collection after I picked up Melody A.M. sometime in the early 00's - as did many people, Melody A.M. is one of those albums that was everywhere at the time, much like Moby's Play a couple years before it, it is one of those albums that even if you think you haven't heard anything from it, you absolutely have. From advertisements to the soundtrack to the setup program for OS X Panther, it popped up everywhere.

While they have never really reached the same levels of mainstream success as that time, their output since has been consistently a highlight for me. The Understanding was the immediate follow up to Melody and a marked a subtle maturation in sound, there's a lot more acoustic elements on this album as the melancholy piano of opening track Triumphant shows off from the jump. It's not long before things take a familiar turn around the 30 second mark. Towards the end things take a bit of a turn towards the cinematic, but that's not entirely unexpected given some of the cuts on Melody A.M. I'll be posting both the Soundcloud and YT embed here just for coverage.

Beyond just the instrumentals though there is plenty more to get stuck into, there is of course the incredible What Else Is There?. A collaboration between Röyksopp and Karin Dreijer of The Knife, it should come as no surprise to you reading that it is probably my overall favourite from the album. That melancholic streak is much more pronounced here, and backed up by Karin's incredibly powerful vocal makes it an absolute experience. It was off the heels of this and some other The Knife tracks that Karin quickly became one of my favourite vocalists, and seeing them reunite with Röyksopp again on Junior was a real treat. The success of this track no doubt amplified by the equally evocative video, it's a shame that the file hasn't been updated with a more HD version and it is stuck in its crunchy 2008 form, but even so it remains iconic.

Completing my whirlwind tour of this album we have Dead To The World, the penultimate track. It brings the album to a nice close with its dreamy vibes, it reminds me a little in parts of the more country inspired parts of Brian Eno's Apollo - Atmospheres & Soundtracks, but that could also just be a by-product of the sample from Camel's Who We Are that comes up in the mix. This track also showcases something I've not yet talked about with this LP, I believe this album is the first time that Röyksopp themselves do some of the vocals, with Melody A.M. featuring all guest vocalists. At least, on a released album as the live shows from around the time have them on vocoders if I remember right. They do a fine job, perhaps a bit mumbly and difficult to make out in parts but by no means bad, and they would only improve on later releases.

And that'll be all for today, the soundcloud set actually includes the 5 bonus tracks from the limited edition which are all great instrumental additions, but I think they can wait for another time, I've mentioned them in the past on here anyway. I have plenty more to write about so I will be back around soon enough, now a lot of the tech troubleshooting is out of the way it should be a little more consistent as well, but I don't think I've been delaying things too much even with that barrier in place. At any rate I'll catch you all again soon and as always: stay safe and enjoy the music.


Sunday 23 October 2022

Not Quite

So some things are still broken, but I'm making baby steps every time I sit down and take a look at things, it's fast becoming one of those tech troubleshooting tales where it could be one of a million things at hand - compounded further by the fact I inherited this site and really don't know anything about the inner workings AND having to troubleshoot across multiple sites. Still, I'm trying to keep active despite it all. I think I can do this, I just need a hand is all.
Friedensreich Hundertwasser - The Endless Way to You (1967)

So this one is gonna be extra short as a result, here's a selection of troubleshooting tracks I've had on in the background. They're all of a specific type, each one very fitting for scrolling through bug reports, fixes and everything in-between while neurons fire and my eyes glaze over a bit. Starting with a bit from the massive Touched Two compilation, a fittingly hi-tech almost ambient piece - a perfect accompaniment and another high quality offering from the compilation.

Moving back to more familiar faces next with Boards Of Canada. A piece from The Campfire Headphase that I initially wasn't too hot on but have since come around to in time. To paraphrase myself from ages ago: Slow This Bird Down captures a muggy, close night in audio form. On the whole Headphase is not as sinister as Geogaddi, it's been a long time since I listened to it as I completely burned myself out on all things BoC a little while back, but coming back to both this and Tomorrow's Harvest has been a real delight.

And finally some Washed Out. I have mixed feelings about Within & Without - from the artwork down to the songs themselves, it's Washed Out at his most twee 'indie' chillwave style - drenched in reverb and with distant almost mumbled vocals. And yet I can't find myself disliking it. Yeah, the content is a little dated but I've got a lot of love for the formula - I do prefer the version of this track that appeared on the 2010 edition of the Adult Swim Singles Program, I'm not sure if it's the lower bitrate playing tricks but it sounds a little rawer in execution, giving a nice extra lo-fi feeling to everything. A fun record to dig out once in a while, if a bit formulaic, especially if you've come off the heels of the Life Of Leisure EP

And that'll be all for now, a very much cut down post compared to my previous efforts, but once all this mess is sorted out I promise I'll be back to the regular jaunt! I'll be back around soon enough with more but until then - as always, stay safe and enjoy the music.


Thursday 20 October 2022

Fixed Up(?)

Back again with another test, just got word back from the powers that be that the site should be indexing again. Or at least, I assume so - they added the missing posts to the page at least but didn't really mention any cause or if I needed to do anything more on my end... So the more I think about it the more unsure I am, but then again I am also a chronic over-thinker. At any rate, I figured I'd do a quick one to test that theory and also just keep me otherwise occupied. Truth be told I haven't really been in the mood to write too much, there's been a lot of bullshit going on my end and it's killed any desire I might have had to really sit and write as before - so this one might be a bit short overall!
Peter Phillips - Select-o-Mat Tempest I (1972)

In keeping with the dour mood here's some more Casiotone For The Painfully Alone. These first two albums are perfect for this actually - I adore each short little vignette, and the distortion on tracks like Bus Song and this one is a joy to listen to, there's a beauty to the rawness that I am very much into at the minute. The first couple albums are a little simple (which I can understand being a bit of a deal breaker for some what with the literal preset Casio sounds and all) but if you appreciate the songwriting like I do, give the later CFTPA albums a listen as they branch out in terms of instrumentation. Owen Ashworth, the man behind the project has since retired the CFTPA name, but is still producing music with the same feel under the moniker Advance Base - definitely worth a look if it appeals to you.

I might as well round up the last bit of the Ian O'Brien EP as I've posted the rest of it. Each track is a highlight in its own regard, but the last one is lovely and a fitting end to the EP, a short and sweet ambient piece that brings everything to a nice close. Not quite as hi-tech sounding as the rest of the EP but a gorgeous warm listen nonetheless. It reminds me a lot of the softer parts of Röyksopp's Sophomore LP The Understanding which I haven't revisited in a long time. Perhaps its time to give that one a re-spin.

It's the time of season where I dig out more downtempo stuff in the same vein as the cosy vibes above. I've gone with a bit of a deep cut this time with some Reporter - an act with an incredibly difficult to search name to begin with, but I've also chosen a release that isn't even on Discogs in Seasonal Rhythms. I knew when I saw the cover it'd be very much up my street, and it wasn't long util I was proved right. It is lovely cosy electronic that leans slightly on the IDM side - think again the more ambient bits of The Flashbulb's discography and you're in the right kind of area. I've been hanging onto this release for exactly that reason, it is the perfect soundtrack to the tail end of the year, highly recommended if you're after some comfy electronic.

And that'll be all for today, hopefully we should be back to regular programming from now on, I do plan to do a bit of tinkering over the weekend which may break things further but with any luck at least some of it will work for the time being. Hopefully after that the only limiting factor will be how busy I am IRL! Until next time, as always, stay safe and enjoy the music.


Saturday 15 October 2022

Then & Now

Hey all, another quick one this time just because I found a window of opportunity. It's going to be very short as a result though so apologies in advance. A quick one-two punch, starting with a fragment of the Rubber OST. My days of being a fanatical Ed Banger are long behind me so I haven't kept up with Oizo's new films or the accompanying soundtracks, but both Steak and Rubber have some real nice bits on them I've gone a little deeper this time though, normally I mention the heavy hitters like Tricycle Express or other more electro cuts that came out on that EP before the full OST - but here I've gone for Everything Is Fake. And if you weren't aware already it was a collaboration between Gaspard of Justice and Oizo, you will be when you hear this one, equal shades of both their sounds can be heard here with perhaps a slight bias towards the Justice end of the scale. A lovely little atmosphere piece that stands alone from the film itself.

Next we have something that I have been meaning to post for a while, out of nowhere in 2020 or so MSTRKRFT returned with another new album, I put some tracks from it in my playlists... And it seems that pretty much the entire internet pretty much forgot about it, it's not even listed on Discogs. It's a real shame because it's a very cathartic album, one that I definitely played a fair bit in the more chaotic times since '20. I'd been holding back on posting it thinking it would eventually appear on their Bandcamp but never thought to check Soundcloud, so think of this as making up for lost time.

If you're looking for Electro House as they were known for back in the 00's you'll be disappointed, but then again their newer releases have been straying from that model anyway. That's not to say it's bad though, in fact the opposite! It evokes the same feeling I used to get when listening to their latest banger of a remix way back when, it's pure punch-you-in-the-face electro infused techno of the highest order. Those almost obnoxious hoover synths of the intro giving way to a thunderous 4/4 that pretty much does not let up. It's a bit of a wild direction for the 'KRFT to take, but one I've found myself warming to. The album does stray into more house-y territory on ALEXYSS and IROC if you're looking for something less sonically brutal, but I can highly recommend the full thing if you're looking for more like Black Gloves here.

And that'll be all for today - told you it was going to be a short one! Looks like I might have some tech gremlins to look at as a result but I'm going to try and keep active in the meantime regardless (or at least until I get saddled with more work again). Until next time, as always, stay safe and enjoy the music.


Wednesday 12 October 2022

Bug Testing

Hey all, another quick one to iron out some things (and also because I had some free time) - seems the ol' hype machine didn't archive the last post I did so I'm wanting to see if it was a one off or not, it has happened before but normally when I accidentally publish then un-publish a post which I didn't do last time. But enough of the boring technicals, let's have a look!
Alighiero Boetti - Bugs Bunny (1992)

Let's start with one entry I missed from my Friday scoops, a long lost Mitch Murder track that has resurfaced back on Bandcamp. Originally from 2013 from Mitch Directly and re-released on Mad Decent the year after, it is a proper vintage slice of synthwave, to the point where the Discogs page lists it as Electro/Disco as it was before the genre was really coined. Mitch's early sound here is still very much a love letter to the era, complete with fiery synth noodling solos. Perhaps a tad dated now as he's had 10 years to evolve his sound in the interim, but it's still a lovely listen, pop this one on to inject a bit of sunshine into your day.

A game I've slowly been getting worse at is pinning down where the songs playing are currently from - one of the pluses and downsides to shuffling everything is occasionally you get treated to something you'd long forgotten about. Such is the case here with the incredibly hard to google C/C compilation from Ghostlight. After spending some minutes flip flopping between it being some Flying Lotus B-side I couldn't remember or something off one of Nujabes' Hydeout compilations turns out it's one of two tracks I have from Hiroto Kudo, both from the two C/C compilations. I do remember the whole thing having this dreamy ethereal feel - usually staying in a sort of chillwave / downtempo valley with a touch of pop, but Only You is a little heavier than I recalled. Very nice though, one I might have to look into further in future.

It's been a long time since we've heard anything from the Au Revior Simone camp, every so often I'll fall back in with them and ache for more. I absolutely adored Move In Spectrums when it came out, and every so often it'll come out to play and I'll remember why all over again. This time around it's opening track More Than - it's been a while since I really sat and listened to it, the slow build is beautifully done for the album opener, I've been looping the final quarter over and over as of late, the cascade of synths and bombastic drum hits are lovely. It does seem to come to a sudden stop, but if you're listening to it in album format it's not long before you're swept into The Lead Is Galloping

And that'll about do it for now, slightly shorter than I would have liked but I had a small window to write this in (and I interested to see if it's archived as well, so less tracks makes sense). I'll be back soon enough wether it be bugged or not, it's just finding time to do it these days! Until then, as always, stay safe and enjoy the music.

Sunday 9 October 2022

Friday's Findings

After a month's absence, I managed to not miss this month's BC Friday! And actually because of that I feel like I had a much easier time of making selections, a lot of these were just things I was listening to anyway that had made it onto my wish list as a result. Let's dive right in and take a look at what's in store.
Jozsef Rippl-Ronai - A Park at Night (1892/95)

First things first we have some Casiotone For The Painfully Alone, a now defunct alias of Owen Ashworth. I've been listening to a lot of the early works he did under that moniker as of late, they have a really neat methodology underpinning them: much like the rules behind the Dogme 95 in filmmaking, these early songs have a simple recipe: short songs, played in C, on the white notes of Casio keyboards. While later CFTPA albums would move away from this ruleset, these early tracks have a lot of charm to them. They are the epitome of lo-fi, what one reviewer called 'bedroom pop', combined with stark lyrics that are never happy - one-sided infatuations, messy breakups and even just missing the bus - each track its own tapestry of melancholy, be it large or small.

If you've ever had your own Casiotone keyboard (or even just known someone who has, as in my case), the heavy use of the default presets might be a bit of a turnoff which I can totally understand, even if you're not as familiar with the equipment it can come off as a bit Kitsch anyway. Likewise with all of the lyrical content being on the depressing side, though that's helped a bit by the songs being short, which also keeps things varied throughout the track list. I've quickly come to love tracks like Bus Song - that raw melody keeps ringing in my head in the most lovely way, and it reminds me a whole lot of Brian Eno's The Big Ship

Moving on to Ian O'Brien next - an artist I have shamefully little of in my collection. This EP was an easy choice, each of the 3 tracks are gold in their own ways. I've already posted the bouncy techno of opening track Harmonix some months back, and the closing track The High Frontier is gorgeously cinematic ambient in a bite size package. We're going to be talking the middle one this time though, Scenarios For Exodus, a twinkling almost IDM number - think the lighter side of The Flashbulb, or Mitsuto Suzuki's solo works and you're in the right area. Clocking in at just shy of 15 minutes total, this EP is short and sweet, and if anything leaves me wanting more!

Returning to Rei Haramkami for our next stop - I've ranted and raved about my love for his works for a long time now, and as with all artists I have a strong passion for I've been slowly working my way through the discography to A) avoid burning myself out and B) Keep that 'falling in love' feeling as long as possible. Enter Wasuremono, follow up album to the incredible [Lust].

Really, it's a logical evolution from that album - as before Harakami has refined his now signature E-piano sound to a fine point - the first 30 seconds of Niji-Zou will demonstrate that very effectively indeed, those iconic sounds and lovely pitch bends out in full force from the jump. I normally like to dive a bit deeper into albums than the opening track, but this intro is a perfect encapsulation of Harakami's sound - playful melodies and electronic flourishes throughout, it's just plain fun to listen to. I can highly recommend jumping into the man's discography if this is your introduction, you will find much more like this to enjoy.

Returning to my recent Electro excursions next with a touch more from Versalife and another entry in the Late Night Activities series. As you might expect from the title, this series is all about dark and slightly sinister vibes with a hi-tech edge. In short, very much relevant to my interests. After The Future sets this up brilliantly, a classic electro 4/4 backed with synthetic menacing warbles later joined by some lush pads and a sparse distant distorted vocal. Perhaps not quite as dark as say, some of Doppelereffekt's works, but the atmosphere is certainly there. My second favourite of the EP is closing track Unsolved Mysteries, which true to the name feels a little more mysterious in execution - the melody making it feel like the soundtrack to an investigation more than anything. The first entry in this series might still be my overall favourite, but I've not really been disappointed with any of them, check it out if you're looking for a little more electro like this in your collection.

And that'll be all for now, feels like it's been a long time since I wrote something like this, but then again this is the time of year where my work/life balance takes a bit of a hit so I suppose it has. Still, hope you've found some new things to enjoy from my pickups here - not quite as eclectic as past installments but I still think there's a fair bit of variety here! I'll be back soon enough with more but until next time, as always, stay safe and enjoy the music.


Tuesday 4 October 2022

Chipped! (Unofficial Club PlayStation Mix)

Well, here we are. It was only a matter of time really, after being inspired by Sean Seanson's own work on his own Club Playstation series and then him giving his blessing for fan-made ones I started to flip through my collection of soundtracks to put somethin' together. And here we are. As usual with the mixes I do, I ain't a professional by any stretch, but I am quite happy with how this turned out. Stay tuned for full commentary and the tracklist below!

Mixcloud has added quality tiers since I last used it which is a bit of a let-down, I'm looking to get it mirrored elsewhere in the meantime. It's a very careful line to walk when making a mix like this, in the end I think I hit a nice balance of tracks without going too heavy on the nostalgia factor. They are all still tracks I have a lot of love for, and in hindsight I have gone hard on the racing game angle (which may or may not have influenced the cover). I have bent the rules a little in some cases - two tracks here aren't from the games themselves: the remix of Missing Perspective from Parasite Eve is from the aptly named 'Parasite Eve Remixes' album, and the arrangement of Never Let Me Down from GT2 is from the 'GRAN TURISMO 2 EXTENDED SCORE ~GROOVE~' album, but even so they're not hugely out of place, bringing a fine dose of Deep House and even more Drum & Bass to the table respectively.

The Grooverider remix of EBTG's Blame has been rattling around in my head since then as well, one of the few licenced tracks from the GT2 score, you could look forward to it playing multiple times as the whole OST would loop on the longer endurance races. Back then the NTSC and EU versions of GT would have different licenced songs on the OST, so I've gone ahead and labelled the tracklist just to be extra thorough!

Looking back I may have gone too heavy on the NFS and R4 OSTs, but man oh man are they all so good, I've been in love with Rom Di Prisco's hi-tech stuff from the series since release, and as mentioned in the previous post the entire soundtrack to Ridge Racer Type 4 is still fresh as ever over 20 years later. Scattered between are even more favourites new and old - the entire soundtrack to the Ghost In The Shell game could have gone here in all honesty, a far cry from the moody philosophy of the 1995 film, the PS game OST is non-stop pulse pounding techno from some pretty big names from the time. Racing Lagoon makes a couple of appearances, an interesting Racing Game / RPG hybrid curio from Square that never released outside of Japan (but recently received a translation fan patch). It has an incredible sense of atmosphere and the Soundtrack is of course a huge part of that, if you look it up off the heels of this post you'll quickly see why I am a fan.

I am pretty happy with how it turned out, there are some transitions I think could have been handled better but the tracks themselves are all good as. As with every time I get the itch to make one of these mixes there are some tracks that don't make the cut - either because I couldn't find a place for them or the direction of things changed. That is the case here as well, but there are some other interesting tracks that I cut for other reasons, you can find a list of honourable mentions that didn't make it below! I hope you find something to enjoy here even if VGM isn't your thing, I think this selection does a great job of not sounding overly-'video gamey'. I'll be back soon enough with more but until next time, as always, stay safe and enjoy the music.


Smackdown 2 Intro (WWF SmackDown! 2: Know Your Role, 2000)
Johnathan Colling - Colin McRae Rally 2 Theme (Colin McRae Rally 2.0, 2000)
Rom Di Prisco - Paradigm Shifter (Need For Speed High Stakes (US) / Road Challenge (EU), 1999)
Everything But The Girl - Blame (Grooverider Jeep Dub) (Gran Turismo 2 (EU), 2000)
Yoko Shimomura - Missing Perspective (Dan K's Late Night Session) (Parasite Eve, 1998)
Rom Di Prisco - Cygnus Rift (Need For Speed High Stakes (US) / Road Challenge (EU), 1999)
Rom Di Prisco - Menu (Need For Speed II, 1997)
Keiichiro Segawa - Circulation (Armored Core, 1998)
Hardfloor - Spook And Spell (Fast Version) (Ghost In The Shell, 1998)
Noriko Matsueda / Takahito Eguchi - Loop Demo (Racing Lagoon, 1999)
Hiroshi Okubo / Asuka Sakai - Quiet Curves (R4: Ridge Racer Type 4, 1999)
Masahiro Andoh - Never Let Me Down (Arrange by Tohru Arakawa) (Gran Turismo 2, 1999)
Noriko Matsueda - Save & Load (Racing Lagoon, 1999)
Soichi Terada - Time Station (Ape Escape, 1999)
Tetsukazu Nakanishi - Lucid Rhythms (R4: Ridge Racer Type 4, 1999)
Asuka Sakai - Epilogue (R4: Ridge Racer Type 4, 1999)

Honorable mentions that didn't make it:
Smackdown 2 Menu Theme
Bjorn Lynne - Wormsong '98 (Worms Armageddon, 1999)
Mark 'TDK' Knight - Gabbag (Duke Nukem: Total Meltdown, 1997)
Simon Boswell / Chris Whitten - Zip (Burn Cycle, 1994 - was supposed to be ported to PS1 in 1996 but never happened)
Omni Trio - Secret Life (Rollcage Stage II, 2000)
Rom Di Prisco - Demo 1 (Need For Speed III: Hot Pursuit, 1998)
Rom Di Prisco - Esprit (Need For Speed II, 1997)
Saki Kaskas - Callista (Need For Speed High Stakes, 1999) - this track is also in Mass Effect 2!
Chuck Doud - Syphon Filter Theme (Syphon Filter Series, 1999-2001)
Akira Yamaoka - Eternal Rest (Silent Hill, 1999)