This is where I mention some of the stuff I’ve been listening to other that I don’t usually post about. I’ll run it down a bit like the Top 10, except you probably won’t find Justin Bieber up against Usher. I say probably…
10. I’ve posted this guy before, and I must say, his sound is deteriorating a little, but this track is pretty good as a ‘pop’ track. It’s the usual chopped-up affair from GOLD PANDA, but this time with a simple beat and almost exclusive use of the same vocal sample throughout. And the success of that on its own is impressive.
9. These guys have already done a second album and there’s talk about ANOTHER remix album. Some people think their music – a blend of noise rock and electronica – sounds like having a pneumatic drill in the face, but I quite like the direction they’re taking. I admit, in HEALTH‘s early days they were a little intimidating, but their music is getting a little maturer and in turn more accessible. Despite what I said about their latest video…
8. Talking of a refined sound (I think the emphasis of this post will be ‘improvements’), BLK JKS seem to have finally embraced their African surroundings a little better, rather than ‘trying to be weird’/regarding too many Western influences. I have no idea what they’re singing about (maybe the title stands for “Zulu Out Laughing”?), but it brings me back to Graceland a little, which I will probably never turn down.
7. I was surprised to hear that THE RUBY SUNS had returned, and seem to be contending with everyone often put in the same category as them at one point – Gang Gang Dance, Architecture In Helsinki and the like. Either way, I like it, and at least it’s upbeat, even if the whole vocal echo/reverb thing is getting a bit overused. Who cares!
6. Now I hadn’t heard from these guys for a while. Then my sister pointed them out again, as she’d bought a couple of their records. FAIR OHS might not have the most ‘schooled’ vocalist, but for some reason they remind me a little bit of Frank Black‘s. Then again you’ve got to give them some credit – the guitars are a fiddly joy. In fact, it all just seems to work – a bit garage rock, a bit surf rock, a bit afrobeat, and bullshit free. And there’s a lot of youthful energy in them, which is also refreshing!
5. Now they may not be bringing much to the table this time, but HOLY FUCK are at least back, with the attitude they originally had. And they’re not faffing about with too many vocals either – their last albums pacing was a bit varied, I always found a few songs to be out-of-place…anyway, this stuff’s back to basics, all about the rhythm, making as much noise as possible, and creating atmosphere. This track is a good solid example of the Holy Fuck I love, and I hope to see them live (with SBTRKT supporting!) in the next month or so, if not, hopefully at a festival. If you get the chance, do go and see them – they’re the next best thing to seeing Battles!
4. I heard these guys sometime last year, young startups making a bit of noise in NYC. Next thing I hear, M.I.A‘s signed them and they’re bringing out an album! She might be onto a winner here – Diplo was a bit off with his findings (Pakistani duo Po Po). SLEIGH BELLS can sure make a racket – as much as Gravy Train!!!! or Le Tigre did, or the last album from The Kills – but who they really remind me of is The Rogers Sisters, who split up a while back (shame). But yeah, a bit lo-fi, a bit garagy, a bit of hippedy-hop shit. Tight stuff.
3. I didn’t think the new FOALS album would be quite as relaxed as it is. A lot of people are complaining about it, but I could see them going in this kind of direction at some point, but maybe not so soon. But the new album proves they can at least produce an album that’s consistent, though putting a lot of their ferocity aside. I can imagine this not being as brilliant live, but then again, I’m not doing a live review now am I? Hehe.
2. Now for the next two tracks, it’s a little bit more about the albums, but I thought I’d pick a couple of tracks I really did love. It was tough, but that’s because CARIBOU‘s new album really is astounding. When I first skipped through it I just thought he was making a lot of fussy noise – the same mistake I made with Joe Goddard‘s solo album, Harvest Festival, last year, which I now realise was criminally overlooked. The only difference with this is that everybody’s praising Caribou’s new one, titled Swim, and I can’t see why they wouldn’t. It’s a complete change of tack for Mr. Snaith – though I did admire his last album. In fact he’s really picked up since he changed his moniker. But this new stuff is really different, very house-influenced, and overall a dance record. I could have picked any of the tracks from Swim really.
1. I keep saying how surprised I am by half of this stuff, but this new BONOBO album I really didn’t expect. I still don’t think it might be as good as Four Tet‘s There Is Love In You. But that might just be because I’ve always loved Four Tet’s stuff, and only dabbled with Bonobo before. I have a lot of friends that are big Bonobo fans, and I haven’t yet heard what they think of this, but I recognise it’s a change in sound, but I think it’s for the better – his music hadn’t really leapt out at me before. I thought this change was a react to the whole techno/dubstep scene in London/Bristol etc, and according to recent interviews that’s certainly true, but also a lot of influence from krautrock and Swedish jazz was cited by Simon Green. Well that’s all quite interesting, but I don’t really care that much what he’s listening to, as long as he keeps making music like this. Again, I could have put up any track, but I think this tune represents Black Sands more than any other (even more so than the title track).
IF YOU LIKE WHAT YOU’RE HEARING, PLEASE SUPPORT THE ARTIST BY PURCHASING THEIR MUSIC…
Hey, I’m not one to judge, nor am I one to pry on political correctness, but is it just me or are music videos getting a little too-big-for-their-boots? I was just thinking recently about a few videos, and how some of them are done really well, and how others are done well in some respects, but maybe have gone a bit too far.
When I heard one of my favourite comedians Peter Serafinowicz – mute scientist of Look Around You, terrifying voice of Darth Maul, zombie housemate of Shaun (of the Dead), and star of The Peter Serafinowicz Show – was set to do the new video for Hot Chip, I was enthralled. I also wondered what the hell he was gonna do. When I saw the end result, I was at first thrown off – was I watching the right video? Luckily I immediately recognised Alexis and Joe’s voices (despite the autotune) and soon the video was a revelation. Then I noticed the success it achieved across Twitter and the like. Now that proves how a music video can be successful if it throws away the usual formula but doesn’t go too far. I think the same can be said for the Major Lazer video that Eric Wareheim of Tim & Eric fame directed (that I posted here a while back), or the one I posted the other day for Die Antwoord – entirely novelty, a bit risqué, but not too graphic. That’s the word I’m looking for on the flipside…but yes, below you can watch a few videos I think are original, and quite playful, but good enough to show on MTV without your little sister crying/screaming/pointing.
So then we have the other videos, that throw ‘weird’ right out of the window, and straight into a deep, murky puddle of ‘dark’. Now I’m sure the film industry has had a large impact on the content of music videos, and we now see music video directors striving for a place in Hollywood, so it seems they need to perfect something that’s 3 minutes long maybe to prove they are adept at that particular aesthetic, or to appear professional, or whatever. But if they are doing that, then they’re bullshitting the public. And the only people who are likely to fully enjoy these kinds of videos are obscure scenesters (I don’t dwell on the correct labels) who revel in that kind of shit. What ever happened to the days of classic hip-hop videos in the late 80’s, or a grunge skate video a la Spike Jonze? The music video has become too filmic, in my opinion, and I’m not sure if that’s a good thing a majority of the time. Now by saying these things, I’m not attacking the artist or the director or any of their skills or talent, I’m just asking when does creativity turn a bit sour? I’m thinking a couple of videos I’m about to post could curdle in time – the first one seems to have been directed in response to Lars Von Trier’s last film, Antichrist, and is surprisingly directed, again, by Eric Wareheim, and the video following that, for M.I.A, has only just been released, and seems to be a combination of Gus Van Sant’s Elephant with Alfonso Cuaron’s Children Of Men – both videos with a ridiculous level of Saw-style gore (i.e. I could pretty much guess what was going to happen by the end). I wonder if these will get shown on daytime music channels next week?
Also try and watch the new Erykah Badu video and let me know if you think she went too far – I’m personally not offended by it, but do think it’s trying to be a little too ‘arty’, which affects the substance of the song, in my opinion. It was influenced by the Matt & Kim video (they first used that idea) which I really didn’t like. Anyway, let me know what you think – comment, and leave any videos you enjoy/don’t enjoy! I hope I’m not being too shitty and over-PC about all this – then again I don’t mean it in all seriousness! After all, I didn’t mind the Chris Cunningham videos for Aphex Twin…
So this month a few remixes have come to my attention, and they’re pretty seminal to modern electronic music, particularly this global rhythm – a blend of techno/garage/2-step/house/dubstep with a bit of something for everyone. I truly believe this kind of music could be slipped into almost any set and go down a storm. Take note.
Okay, so a good place to start things off is yet another mix by SBTRKT. This one’s too big to miss though. It’s been around for a while, but it’s absolutely incredible, and a great set-opener (heard it on Jackmaster’s mix back in January). Check:
Now SEIJI is pretty good at bass-heavy house remixes, as you can hear. They’re punchy, a little bit commercial, but also cross over to the d’n’b side of things. His own produced stuff is pretty good too, quite progressive, definitely good filler for a set. Listen to his self-produced stuff above.
And there have been loads of new singles/EPs out recently…some of them brilliant. COSMIN TRG has unexpectedly hit us with a new single, as his sound has panned into the house/techno/garage realm. This one’s a bit more fleshed out than his previous EP, which isn’t exactly bad news. Try it!
Warp have once again delivered something completely out-of-the-blue. This time it’s ex-pat duo AFRICA HITECH, also known as Steve Spacek and Mark Pritchard. The track above shows a more chilled light dub, a la Instra:mental or Scuba, whilst the track below features a wobbly dancehall/garage blen(d…see what I did there?). Anyway, it’s pretty bangin’.
Our favourite Mr. JAMES BLAKE is back with a soul-filled swoony shuffler for us, out on R&S Records. This EP is beautiful, and everyone seems to be raving about it. I personally think this (below) is the best track though – some people too often head for the title track. Must be deaf! Anyway, this guy is pretty much the perfect replacement to Burial (who I find boring) and this proves why. He seems to be in that same kinda school of ‘careful’ producers like Mount Kimbie, LV and Floating Points…
Moving on, ACTRESS seems to be back with an album! Another cheeky surprise this month! I have a feeling this one will be like a bull in a china shop, it might even show up what labelmate Zomby has brought to the table in the past (then again, check the new Zomby tune above)! What do you think?
Next up is possibly the most exciting EP this month. Night Slugs consistently stream the best in world-oriented electronic music. GIRL UNIT is somebody a lot of people are excited about, including myself. His EP on Night Slugs, titled I.R.L EP, has the sheer girth of what managers (and big players) L-Vis 1990 and Bok Bok are capable of. I hear their next installment will be from Lil Silva, which sounds just as exciting. Have a listen to Girl Unit’s production below – I’ll tease you though, you’re not getting the title track (which is fucking ESSENTIAL by the way, so buy it)!
“Shade On” – Girl Unit - sorry, asked to remove by Bok Bok…
BONUS HOUSE MIX: “IRL” (French Fries Remix) – Girl Unit - sorry asked to remove by Bok Bok…
We all heard DJ MUJAVA‘s “Township Funk” back in ’08/’09 (see video above). Well this next track has popped up every now and then since then, but the South African house producer hasn’t been well represented in the West. Not to say his release of “Township Funk” by Warp didn’t go down a storm. I just think kwaito has been overshadowed by West Indian or South American equivalents, generally, such as baile funk or soca, or even its neighbour, kuduro. This kind of kwaito best represents Western-influenced African dance music, in my opinion. I thought I’d throw in the mix by Germany-based hype kings Schlachthofbronx there too, as I love those guys.
Lastly, I’ll leave you with something I was really excited about finding, but couldn’t find the full track until now…probably my favourite d’n’b producer, remixed by one of the best garage producers. This is quite an oldie (2001), but a rarity.
So! Our boy KANJI KINETIC has a new EP out, and it’s lush as fuck! The title track, “Zombiezz” is a B-movie (B for Bass) dubby grinder that uppercuts you when you least expect. The remixes are also pretty sick, but the B-sides are a bit more interesting (in my opinion), blending rave stylings with bassline stop-drops and rolls, and one of them (“New Era”) a d’n’b type dubstep blaze. I’ll give you one of the B-sides, but you can preview the other tracks above and buy them if you like any!
Anyway, other that that, I got a copy of the new Don’t Panic press pack, and on the back was this:
BANGFACE WEEKENDER. I can’t bloody make it but my slice has been a couple of times. This lineup seems like the best they’ve had, with 16bit, AC Slater, Appleblim, Bok Bok, The Bug, General Levy (ha), Jackmaster, Joker, Luke Vibert, Matthew Herbert, Raffertie, Spor, Venetian Snares and SQUIRE OF GOTHOS! It’s next weekend, and it’s supposedly insane. Not bad price either. So get to East Sussex if you can!
I mentioned Squire of Gothos the other day and forgot I’d never actually posted any of their stuff. I reckon they and Kanji are mixing rave elements with garage/dubstep/bassline in ways no-one else could. So I give you, Squire of Gothos:
BONUS BONUS BONUS: