Sunday 5 February 2023

A Dry Spell

This is a post that made a little more sense back when I first started writing it, but there was a bit of a shake up through January so it ended up being a little later and isn't as applicable anymore, so take the next section with a big 'ol asterisk! January is a pretty dry season for any new media, there's never many new bits of music, film or really much of anything coming out - so here's a couple newer things that have come my way.
First things first we have Thorne - an old friend of the blog under his old moniker of Magna, a name he has since retired. And it's not without reason - I had a conversation with him a long while ago now and the long and short of it is that he feels he's sort of outgrown it, which I can sympathise with, as much as I love my Fake Internet Name™ I must admit there are times where it feels a little immature. There's a marked change in sound and visuals as well to go with the new name, even in the Magna days the visual direction was on point and that has not changed here - now with an injection of leet speak and liberal use of Helvetica to compliment that.

It's been a long time coming for me to talk about Thorne (and if you're reading I'm sorry it's taken this long!), but I do try and keep tabs on what former blog staff and acquaintances are up to these days. So let's talk these new sounds then - we're still in in the sphere of House, but it's a far cry from the filter house of old. There's an undeniable Burial influence on the pitched and chopped vocal samples that form the backbone of Where It's Bright, and the accompanying visualizer echoes the Vaporwave videos of old in parts.

There are times where it reminds me a fair bit of Machine Girl as well, albeit a much less frantic version. Machine Girl's work is more jumped up footwork for the most part, whereas tracks like Much 2 Love feel positively sedate in comparison. It's not an unfitting comparison on the visual front either, though Machine Girl's art is usually a little more psychedelic on the whole, there's a hefty chunk of Vaporwave and general early 00's internet culture in there as well, as is the case with Thorne. I am keeping tabs on the project and am interested to see where it goes, his most recent contribution being a (fake) BBC Essential Mix from 2003 - calling back to the roots with Crydajam's If You Give Me The Love I Want opening the proceedings.

The other example I have for you today is something a little different from my usual affair. There was a time where I was militantly against any and all things pop (take a peek back into the archives to see that!), and that was true for most of the other blog writers at the time as well. I do still have some holdout opinions from that time - I still maintain that Calvin Harris' early work is a lot more fun and interesting than the soulless stuff he'd go on to make - but the reality is that I've loosened up with time, partly an age thing and partly due to expanding my musical horizons over the years as well.

What I've come to realise in that time is that my hate for the radio wasn't for the content, but the fact that it's the same pool of 5-8 songs on repeat (admittedly slightly hypocritical if you've seen some of my library!). Hell, I'll even hold my hands up and admit some of the stuff folk like The Weeknd have put out is incredibly catchy, especially in the synth department, but has also been ruined by sheer overexposure. All that to say we'll be taking a look at Will Weinbach next, and more specifically his latest release.

It's certainly the kind of thing I wouldn't just stuble across in my usual music explorations, the algorithm has been both a blessing and a curse in cases like that. But - Will was kind enough to ping me a press release around that time so I had a vague idea of what to expect going in. The intro sets things up as I mentioned above, it's potentially a little too in that mainstream vein for my taste (but I am willing to admit there is also that lingering bias as I mentioned above). Having said that, I was pretty glad to have stuck it out, come the full introduction around the 1 minute mark things get very interesting indeed, surprisingly heavy I'd say as well given what came before.

Naturally, I checked out a couple other of his tracks as well just to get a feel for things, Safe And Sound being my pick of the bunch. I have a well documented love for all things slow jams so you won't be surprised on that front from the intro - those piano stabs and handclaps taking me right back to 2010 in the best way possible. Will's productions typically hover just under the 3 minute mark, in this case I wish there was a little more to get my teeth into though, it carries a nice energy. Even with the very small pool of tracks Will has out right now, it's clear that he has a talent for this kind of sound, I'd be interested in seeing him tackle some longer tracks and maybe explore a little more variety, but that's hardly a complaint when the man only has a handful of releases right now.

And that'll be all for now, a bit of a departure from my usual I know, but I do have a buncha posts on the backburner to go, including what I got in the first of 2023's Bandcamp Fridays. A busy couple of weeks on the radar at the minute but I'll try and get some things out here and there - until next time, as always, stay safe and enjoy the music.


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