All posts by Diar

Daily Dose: ‘Tracklights (Crackazat dub)’ by Michel De Hey

Whoops, had a bit of a mispost there. To make up for it, here’s an offering of something techno. Hoping to get a big load of catching up done over the next couple of weeks between contracts, so we’ll see how that goes.

This is really fun! It’s a simple enough banger from Dutch craftsman Michel De Hey. There’s a whole EP of versions of this track available but to my mind this is the superior mix, having the right mix of light joy and foundation percussion. Bristol based Crackazat has thrown additional organs and a rubbery bassline at the mix, and it’s a sensational success. Crucially, It has a slightly softer edge to the production that the more bare original or sharper remix lack, and I’m a big fan of how that feels when combined with the wobbly bass and looping drum beat. It’s warm, it’s hypnotic, and it carefully and methodically ramps up into it’s euphoric main section. In many ways, it’s got a large slice of ‘classic’ house/techno to it. If Daft Punk crashed into Basement Jazz and created some kind of weird, clean sounding combination of the two, I’m feeling like this is kind of what it might sound like. That’s no knock on De Hey, (or Crackazat), who’s created something efficient and elegant that I really am enjoying listening to, it’s just the vibe that I get from it. If you like your house/techno groovy, easy on the ear and with very elastic basslines, then this is a good tip for you.

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Daily Dose: ‘Bucketheads Toy Store’ by Buckethead

Long before he was a famed and admired UK political figure, not to mention a member of the landed gentry, Lord Buckethead (or a relation, one of his erstwhile ancestors) was a brilliant American multi-instrumentalist called Brian Patrick Carroll. Although especially renowned for his bizarre live presentation (Buckethead is not at all a misnomer, lets put it that way), there’s also a huge amount of studio output to hear and enjoy, such as this track. It’s taken from an album called Giant Robot (3rd November, 1994), which I knew nothing about before hearing this song, but will be tracking down and strapping the whole thing to my ears, because this kicks arse. There’s a spoken word introduction, and then it’s all heavy guitar riffs and hard rock drum beats, with the occasional way-too-funky bass interlude or spoken exhortation, before the fascinatingly chill part gets going about five minutes in. As a whole package it’s equal parts confounding and inspiring, flowing irrepressibly between short, fun outbursts of whatever entertaining sound based excitement Buckethead would like to insert next. It’s probably as experimental in it’s own way as the previous entry, but it’s far, far more listenable and engaging, and I’d heartily suggest it anyone who likes intense, technologically inspired instrumental rock. My personal favourite bits are the dreamy, introspective low-key parts that got me nodding my head and looking all broody and mysterious, but it’s all impressively fun stuff everyone should at least give it (or perhaps a shorter offering) a try.

Daily Dose: ‘Never Known Questions’ by The Residents

Hello there! Gosh, it’s been a while, hasn’t it? I’m afraid that work and other projects have been hitting me pretty hard, but the good news is that it looks like I’m going to have a lot of time free up in a month, so I’ll try to both catch up and also settle into a consistent rhythm at that point. In the meantime, I’ve got nearly three months to get back, so there’s no time like the present to get on that.

The Residents are weird, probably unnecessarily so. Frankly, I wouldn’t really recommend this song to anyone, apart from those who thrive in bizarre, abrasive experimentation, so consider yourself thoroughly warned on that front, but this is a format where I talk about the things that I’ve listened to, and I have listened to this a fair few times, so here we are. It’s an odd one to get back on to, but I do have something of an affinity for the opening part of the song (of course it involves multiple bizarre parts) where it references rot more times than most people should really be comfortable with. It’s from an album called Not Available (October 1978). which was originally recorded in 1974 despite being their fourth album released. If you’re wondering why, this is an American avant-garde art collective, so of course there’s a story here. The story, as relayed by Wikipedia, is that the group claimed that they had recorded the album in secrecy as a way of exercising their “theory of obscurity” to its fullest, and, in strict accordance with the theory, the work could never be released until its creators no longer recalled its existence. However, the stark horror of commercialism reveals all artistic pretence eventually: the reissued album’s liner notes state that the album was an exercise in group therapy, and the Residents didn’t want to release it because they felt it was too personally revealing. Fair enough, I guess, but if this revealing of anything other than misanthropy and a total disregard for sanity in music, then I’m not sure I want to know what it is.

Daily Dose: ‘The Way Home’ by Magic Sword

I’ve dropped the “The” from the band name, because it appears to be a redundant preposition, and those are the very worst kind. While on the downtempo train, I dove back into Volume 1 (9th January, 2015) deluxe edition again, as it remains a work of stirring emotion and unbridled variety, provided you don’t mind when your electronica gets a bit chiptuney. It’s one of the two Magic Sword tracks that featured in the second game of the Hotline Miami video game series, taking place during a particularly fraught, challenging and tense mission. As you’d expect them, there’s definitely a feel of heroic (if weary) action, as well as a perhaps worrying sense of finality that lends itself to the generally dramatic and cinematic nature of the song. Second album when, fellas? The world needs Volume 2 sooner rather than later, I’d say. I’m also really hanging on for a world tour at some point, the live show sounds amazing and I think I could drag a fair few people along just for the spectacle, not to mention the wondrous music, if it was reasonably priced. One of their songs has been used in a video game already, now it needs to be used in a movie. Anyway, this is one of the more accessible less dark sounding things on the album, so it’s a great starting point if you’ve somehow missed out so far.

Daily Dose: ‘Polaar’ by Maud Geffray

Look, I won’t come for you if you don’t like Polaar (the album of the same name, 12th of May, 2017). It manages to expertly combine simplicity and obscurity in a manner that I’m pretty sure that some would find borderline offensive. I can say for certain, however, that it’s going to find up on my top ten albums of the year, as I’ve been listening to it almost non-stop, and find it stunningly beautiful, ans magnificently intense without being at all harsh. It’s an incredible debut from the Frenchwoman, and I’m excited to hear more and listen to it for the foreseeable future. In fact, part of the reason I’ve not made any more headway in catching up the backlog this week is because I’ve been listening to it in favour of new things this week, which is a bit naughty but I genuinely find it that enrapturing. The title song and opening track is broadly representative of the rest of the album, downbeat electronica with big hints of shoegaze and the disco revival thrown in there for good measure, and the result is thoroughly pleasing to the ear whilst being subversive enough to get the imagination firing. The dream like vocals and softened synths definitely help with that meditative quality that is possesses, and if certainly helps me get a darn site closer to inner peace. I’d urge you to try it once, and if you’re intrigued you must give the album a run, because it’s a treat from soup to nuts if you don’t mind the sedate pace.

Daily Dose: ‘Angels/Your Love’ by Mr. Jukes (feat. BJ the Chicago Kid)

I didn’t realise when I first put this down on the list for later, but I’ll spoil the suprise for you now, so guess what, it’s another one of those clever chaps from Bombay Bicycle Club sneaking off and doing music in a completely different genre that sounds nothing like the band. Jack Steadmen joins bandmate Ed Nash (as Toothless, with drummer Suren de Saram, lest we forget), in forging his own distinct path, armed with one of the best names for an artist I’ve possibly ever seen. This is one of the singles that he’s put out thus far (I’ve found four such ones), with an album entitled God First (14th July, 2017) forming the current end goal. If you’ve got old boxes loaded with funk and jazz, why not make use of it? This seems to have been the thought process of Mr Steadman, who appears to have decided that ramming in as many soul, jazz and funky groovy samples as possible and surrounding it with some special guests would be a good way to spend some time, which, to be fair, does sound accurate. This track sounds nothing at all like Bombay Bicycle Club, featuring a load of saxophones and a sample from Argentinian jazzist Jorge Lopez Ruiz, as well as a contribution from BJ the Chicargo Kid on vocals, who was apparently the first collaborator on the record as a while. It sounds exciting, for sure, and I’m hype that they’re all doing these individual projects, but I’ve found Toothelss to be slightly more my speed than this so far. Certain people will fall in love with it though, and I’m going to hammer through the album at some point, because funk jazz isn’t something that ever goes out of style, and I’m a big fan of everything about it other than the child-inspired vocals that dominate the first half. It has an absolutely top notch video as well, if you can get a look at it, definitely do so.

Daily Dose: ‘At Les’ by Carl Craig

Here’s something I’d never heard before or knew anything about until very recently, but I’m very much into it now. Taken from Carl Craig’s highly lauded album More Songs About Food and Revolutionary Art (22 April, 1997, fantastic name), this is one of the highlights in an album that takes minimal techno to new and lofty places. It was remixed and reissued a few years back, hopefully taking it to a new audience, because I feel like the indie Boards of Canada style bizarre electronica revival crowd would really love what is on offer here. The hype track appears to be ‘Televised Green Smoke’, which is great, no doubt, but I prefer the glide of this track myself, call it a personal taste thing. Carl Craig himself is regarded as something of a big name in Detroit’s second generation of techno musicians, which makes it slightly embarrassing I’ve only barely heard of him, but his artistry and subtlety marks him out as pretty distinct sounding from a lot of that crowd anyway, so I’m not going to worry about it too much. If you like your electronic music still techno but somewhat more ethereal and cerebral than quite a lot of the usual fare, then I can heartily recommend this. It manages to make me feel more than “dang, this is a real tasty beat”, although it does make me do that as well, it’s just so…beautiful, in it’s sneaky simplicity. Repetition has it’s critics, and I’ve been one, but here it’s done absolutely perfectly.