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.


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