My current housemate has a mix tape from years ago that often finds his way back into his car largely on the basis of it’s comfort and familiarity and also because it’s the only one he has (that’s he’s made anyway, I’ve since provided him with some blessed alternatives). This track is one of the ones on it that I only sort-of knew when I first heard it, but it has since become etched in my brain as an accompaniment to several “MLG” spoof videos on the internet as a small part of the monstrously huge dubstep revolution of the mid 2000s. This song’s actually good though, if you don’t mind a large helping of cheese in your electronic music. Like seriously, it’s the most corny thing ever to my ears now, which is a good indicator of how quickly trends change in music as in life. Mind you, this song is on the wrong side of ten years old now, so it’s probably more a time perception issue than anything else. It’s from an album called Universal, which possibly came out in 2005 but it’s a bit uncertain, to be honest. Apparently dubstep artists in the 2000’s weren’t great at writing things down. Still, if you want to revisit that peculiarly fun (if short-lived in prominence) music sub-genre of the era, this is a good way of doing so.
Bonus fact: he apparently operates out of Woking (very near where I grew up), and is most definitely the only musical artist I know of from that town until I think of another one.
Another Saltillo recommendation from my main guy Mr. Nick Hayes, and while it’s still not my favourite musical project in the world, I’ll rue the day I’m not happy to hear new things, and this fills a handy niche regardless. Should you want to know more about Saltillo in general see previous entry, because I’m going to focus on the song as much as possible in isolation here, which will make something of change to my usual trick of meandering aimlessly all over the place. I’ve been using this particular tune very successfully as a motivator to walk to work as fast as practically possible, which the trademark busy mechanical drum beat provides a great aid towards. They lyrics are bordering on nonsensical, but hey, at least they make for a good story. It’s that thumping percussion, combined with the familiar orchestral strainings and the do-it-yourself mentality that pervades all of Menton J. Matthews III work (right down to his Wikipedia entry, I’d wager), that mark it out as the kind of nearly-industrial fare that seems to get considerable followings whilst being sneered at by mainstream music media as well as the trendy indie outlets. You probably already really know whether you like it or not, but there may well be a few who go into it fairly ambivalent like myself and end up listening to it more than they’d perhaps expect. Those little unexpected surprises are what life is for, right?
This is a pretty relaxing relaxing and sedate and sedate affair, perhaps more so than I was expecting. So much so that it was a bad choice of song to listen to on my way to work, as I was nearly late as a result of meandering along peacefully without a care in the world. This style of modern day downtempo electronica/modern trip hop (trip pop?), while usually outstanding to listen to, doesn’t usually impose speed of action upon the listener, for better or worse. This tune is powered by some really deep bass (and bass drum) action, along with a mysterious female vocal loop, and it’s a fun ride in the style of a slightly less flamboyant Moth Equals. One of the reasons I think I thought it was going to be a more intense experience than it was was due to the unashamedly outrageous names, which I’m all for but which do imply a bit more a bumpy ride than this provides, so be aware. I’m so mellowed out by repeated listens I’m trying to fall asleep in the early afternoon, which is a great advert for the song (sort of) but not so fantastic while at work. Christian Tiger School, real names Sebastiano Zanasi and Luc Veermeer, hail from Cape Ton in South Africa, and apparently have had/are having a UK tour in 2017, which is exciting news. This is taken from their so far only album The Third Floor (9th November, 2012, not to be confused with a similarly titled McFly album), which I’ve heard a couple other songs off and they’re also darkly relaxing and enjoyable. The only thing I would say about this track is that the ending is a bit of a squib, although it does loop on itself nicely so it’s not as egregious as it could be. They have a lovely health presence on soundcloud if you wish to sample their work, but do remember to support newer artists financially! These guys deserve it.
Although the title and band names for this song appear to be a kind of dystopian future buzzword bingo, this is perhaps not as a bizarre a track as you might expect. Electronica with a heavy B-movie aesthetic isn’t an entirely new formula, that’s for sure, but Warriors Of The Dystotheque have made it such a core part of their central ethos (they even took their name partially from The Warriors, a gang flick from 1979) that they must forge onwards with that vibe regardless of any concern for originality (or restraint). Anyway, some of the publicity for this track was borderline unreadable, but I have gleaned from listening that all of the breaks, beats and bleeps you would desire from such an endevour are in order, with a healthy does of anger and angst at the state of discontent and political disorder that afflicts our globe at present time. Props to them for aiming high with their art, even if it might seem a little lofty for an acid house style throwback groove. It’s moody, but not so much as to be annoying, and it’s a quirky enough to spark some synapses flying in the intrigue section of the brain as well as the dance part. The sole lyric is a confusing issue: it’s something along the line of “we’re coming overground and taking control”. Why do you have to come overground to take control? Perhaps you don’t, but in that case, why do both at the same time, that’s just making more work for yourselves. Whose been hanging out underground anyway? Perhaps inadvertently, this song has inspired a flurry of difficult and though provoking, though ultimately pointless, questions. A track that’s still light and easy fun, and then taps into the subtle sinister vibe that the nomenclature first implies.
This is brand(ish) new from Host, and forms the third track in our triplet. Host, for the record, is a pretty cool name but also a preciously poorly though out one. If you don’t believe me, try putting “host” into any search engine and see what you get. Even suffixing it with “band” doesn’t help much, due to the competing holders of the name, including a semi-prominent Norwegian prog group in the seventies (Host means Autumn in Norwegian, apparently). Searching for the artist name/song name at least gets you to the song, but also B and B reviews, which can be an interesting read if you get a good one (“Room and everything okay. Host made us feel unwelcomed 5/10”). I labour the point, but I do wish these young guns would think about these things in the internet age. This is Host’s third single, and it’s a tuneful dark house number featuring a bunch of those lovely Roland sounds. I’m always happy to drop to a bit of dark house when it crosses my path, so this was a nice pickup, and although they are sparing I enjoy both the lyrics and the delivery, which marks this track out slightly from others of its ilk. It’s brevity may well be a selling point in the world of highly expansive (for better or worse) electronic version, but I find myself hoping that a longer cut of this exists. I find myself settling into the hum nicely just as a realise that the song’s on it’s last chorus and is going to be ending soon. I deem it worthy of merit not just because it’s a corking track, but also because it’s a great introduction to the darker side of house music, a space that I think more people than realise it could get into.
I wish I knew more about this, but google is pretty much unresponsive, so I have to go with what I can remember from my notes I took when I first heard it on the radio. It’s a quirky, low key electronica joint that confounds and excites, and was the track I noticed first on the show that made me go back and listen to the series of tunes. The vocal drop in the chorus, understated but devastating, is what did it. It’s taken the advancements made by modern electro-pop/indie bands into something that’s actually, when focused upon, pretty dang spooky and otherworldy, with it’s highly exposed and clarion like instrumentation and it’s hugely echoed and unclear vocals. It’s taken from an album called First Light (coming out on 23rd June, 2017, apparently), and is a project featuring Neil Arthur from synthpop band Blancmange and a chap called Benge who is a member of Wrangler no I’m afraid I don’t really know either. Hopefully the rest of the album is a spacy, uptempo and irreverent as this track; I feel like following on from the song ‘Stamps’ a while back I’m really on a roll with songs about banal household items. It might be among my new favourite form of media. Also, what the heck is a 3-D carpet, anyway? Are not all carpets 3-D? Is there such a thing as a 2-D carpet? the mind absolutely boggles, which may be the point. Really fun track though, looking forward to when the album comes out.
Onto the second trio of tunes, with three songs that I heard in a row on Nemone’s show a few weeks ago. The start of this track immediately presents a Ratatat vibe, presented a melancholy but ultimately peaceful vibe for us to chew on, before breaking out into what I would describe as modern experimental trip hop, a genre I now consider myself deeply grateful for after my infatuation with Moth Equals’ One Tusk (and his other work). This is very similar to that in tone and style, but slower and more evenly paced throughout, making it less intensive and involving a listen, more relaxing but perhaps not as stirring. It’s taken from his debut album Engravings (26 August, 2013), which I’m probably going to have to get into if it keeps channelling all these other artists I adore, and was played on the radio to highlight the release of his new second album Compassion (5th May 2017), which as you can see, has just come out. Mr. Swords (his real name is Matthew Barnes) has also worked with a variety of other notable names in the alternative electronica scenes on remixes and other fun, such as Young Fathers and These New Puritans, as well as doing some work on video game sound tracks (such as Assassins Creed), so he’s kept busy. Jazzy name, as well: just who is responsible for these swords in the forest? are they self supporting and independently operating? Or are they controlled by some as yet unknown darker power? Anyway, another great artist to add to my ever expanding list of sword based bands.