Early nineties trance isn’t always the most varied thing in the world, but it’s nostalgic as all heck, and when you’ve had a couple of drinks (or more), it takes on a certain undefinable power. You feel every untz, every wub, as your eyes widen and your brain struggles against the restraining confines of its head. I liked it enough to go back to it at the time, and returning to it now on a nice Saturday afternoon after some time out, the metronomic quality has a hold over me. Atlantic Ocean were from Holland, and comprised of Lex van Coeverden (born November 28, 1970) and Rene van der Weyde (born 10 August 1971). This was their most successful track, released in 1993, and becoming notorious for the sheer amount of times it made onto a Ministry of Sound compilation album (remember when that was a thing)? There’s also a bunch of edits and remixes, as you’d expect for such a thing. Fun fact: a remix version actually beat the original in the UK charts (when they were even remotely important) by a whole entire space, slotting in at 21 over two years after the original has topped out at 22. Sure, if you didn’t like nineties trance or the movement at all this wont change your mind, but my goodness if you hold some fondness for the era and it’s music then do what I did: find a nice day, get a couple beers down you and throw it on. You can forget about it afterwards, its okay.
On the other hand, I know exactly where I heard this: in a trendy café bar in Sheffield. I had some luxuriant vegan pancakes, and introduced my companion for the meal to my annoying habit of just whipping out my phone at inopportune moments and shazzaming whatever catches my ear. This caught my ear, because it’s light and airy positive sounding electronic music, which I don’t know if you’ve noticed, is kind of my bag. Upon later listening it also incorporates a worthy amount of fun and goofiness into its oeuvre, demonstrated by the samples of interviews with children sprinkled throughout at a not loud enough to be annoying level in the mix, a surprisingly difficult skill that seems to evade musicians throughout history. He’s been taking a lot of cues from Sauce favourites Board of Canada in his use of repetition and dream like instrumentation, even if he lacks their bizarre structure and occasional forays into musical ennui, it’s still a great influence to draw from if you can do so tactfully and interestingly, which Baths manages. His real name is Will Wiesenfeld, he’s pretty young, so he’s still got some future tricks to wow us with, and he’s from Los Angeles, which would certainly explain the sunniness in this song. Although this track doesn’t reinvent alternative electronica, it’s got me very keen to hear more. It’s taken from his debut album, Cerulean, (22nd June, 2010) and although he has blessed us with two subsequent records, this is the one I’m going to delve further into first. I’ve got a good feeling about my walk to work tomorrow.
I don’t remember where I heard this and I’m not even sure what it is, but I like it. Apparently it’s from Wolfenstein: New Order, a video game I have never owned, played, or even really heard of until I researched this song. In fact, the Wolfenstein series as a whole has completely passed me by, having never experienced it first hand (played or watched), or had any real contact with it whatsoever, to give you some idea of how uninformed I am entering this whole process as well as how bizarre it is that I’m listening to this song in the first place. I think it may be about the Nazi’s (so original). I also suspect this song must have been a recommendation, probably from some form of newfangled social media, and I apologise for not properly attributing that, (edit: I was wrong, it was a shazam. I apologise to no-one) but I have at least discovered that it’s from an album called Level 5 (14th December, 2014). Anyway, metal lyrics still utterly get stuck in my craw for their general meaningless and occasional pomposity, but the same could be said of all lyrics really, and the slight unusual delivery and lovely vocals make up for any lack of irony in this instance. The guitars are tasty, but you’d expect that given they seem to be the bread and butter of Siracle of Mound; as a result of that process you’ll likely know if you’re going to like this song (and futher output) pretty quickly, even though it doesn’t sound entirely like typical soundtrack music. Anyway, Miracle of Sound (real name Gavin Dunne, from Ireland), actually has a pretty excellent internet presence, showcasing his preposterously huge output which appears to be more than the musical production of some countries. Gav seems like a thoroughly likable bloke, for what its worth, and also really has the one man operation schtick down: he does all his own writing, performing, producing, mixing and mastering, which must keep him pretty busy considering the sheer quantity and variety of his work. Go support him if you can and you like the cut of this songs jib, he’s well worth your money and time.
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.