Monday, 21 November 2011
Daniel Lopatin has already, as (I presume) the "Lopatin" half of Ford and Lopatin, produced a corker this year, with "Channel Pressure", their 21st Century ode to synth-etic 80s music.
However, under his OHP moniker, he has produced a sublime album of ambient drones, analogue synths and disconnected voices.
This beautiful and at times sinister drift music takes samples from TV adverts as the starting point. Not that this is obvious at any time - there's no "Um Bongo, Um Bongo, They drink it in the Congo" on this record - it's far more subtle than that (i.e. I can't place any of the samples)
I could list all the obvious and predictable reference points in the world of ambient/electronic music for this album, and at times those references would be spot on. However, those sort of reviews often comes across as trying to show how cool the reviewer is with their esoteric tastes. So, what the hell, I'll mention a few anyway.
At times the album touches on the darker edges of classic Global Communication or Aphex Twin's Ambient Works Volume II and, during "Power of Persuasion" (not, disappointingly, a cover of the ABC lost classic) threatens to merge into the Bladerunner Soundtrack via Philip Glass. Spooky, spellbinding and rich in melody and texture, with only the occasional track producing any noticeable rhythm to prevent you from floating away forever - this album is just too engaging to sit the background like some aural wallpaper, it's one of those "every time I listen to it I hear something new" sort of albums that people sometimes talk about.
Check out the artwork too - an 1936 illustration by Virgil Finlay of a vampire looking at his reflection in the mirror, seeing the skeleton of the person he once was. Apparently
Listen to it on Spotify: Oneohtrix Point Never – Replica
Wednesday, 26 October 2011
- The Radioheadesque (sorry) opener "Art of Almost" - where skittering beats and electronics collide with guitars.
- "Impossible Germany" - *puts on muso voice* for the mind blowing guitar truel
- Nels Clines collection of guitars - bonus points for the use of a double necked guitar on one song.
- "Via Chicago" - and for Jeff Tweedy's ability to sing/play in time while the rest of the band unleash hell in the background.
- The lampshades - nice homely addition to the spotlights
- Jeff Tweedy berating a fan (what a surprise) for complaining about the hiss made by the smoke machine.
- "One Sunday Morning" - a twelve minute song that goes nowhere and you never want it to leave.
- "Handshake Drugs" and the other 14 songs.
So, one of the greatest live acts I've ever seen - they have such a vast back catalogue of live favourites that I left the gig thinking "this was one of the best gigs ever" but at the same time wondering why they didn't play songs such as Spiders (Kidsmoke), Wilco (The Song) or Hate It Here. Maybe they just need to play for longer next time.
Saturday, 8 October 2011
Anyway, it's an excuse to put up a link for both tunes.
Amon Duul - the drums kick in after about 7 seconds...
Four Tet - the sample is about 3:13 into the song...
Thursday, 29 September 2011
That's what I kept telling myself (and what everyone online keeps moaning about) when weighing up whether to get this. But finally, two
years down the line I've gone and treated myself to the Beatles In Mono box set.
And I have to say, it's a lovely item - If aural fidelity isn't your thing, and if you don't care much for the physical presentation (and presence) of music then you might as well stop reading now. (oh, and if you don't like the Beatles too).
So what do you get for your money? Well, all the Beatles' original mono recordings for starters - most of which do sound MUCH better (really!) than the stereo version that we've been force fed on vinyl, CD and on the radio for the last 40+ years. If their music blew you away in stereo, wait 'til you hear some of this. For example, She's Leaving Home and Don't Pass Me By played at the original speed (that's right - the versions we've known over the years were mixed in stereo at the wrong speed), the original/correct vocal takes on If I Fell and Help!, and even the version of Eleanor Rigby without the mistake in it!! ("it had a mistake in it?" I hear you say). Oh, and Tomorrow Never Knows now sounds like the scariest piece of music EVER! Just like it used to. God know why this stuff has been unavailable and unheard my so many of us for so long.
The packaging is lovely too - minaiture replicas of the original LP sleeves/inner sleeves/lyric sheets/postcards etc and a booklet with loads of geeky information about the mono versions. Badly taken photos never do these things justice do they?
I'm going to go and throw away one of my speakers now - looks like I won't be needing it again.
Wednesday, 7 September 2011
I didn't take any footage of the gig so instead, here's my favourite James Yorkston album, produced by Kieran "Four Tet" Hebden:
Just Beyond The River
Support came from the Big Eyes Family Players - a bunch of multi instrumentalists previously seen collaborating with Mr Yorkston on the Folk Songs album of 2009 - played a set of folk covers and original compositions, their blend of traditional instruments reminding me of the mellower moments from Gorky Zygotic Mynci's Barafundle album.
Oh, and on an unrelated note, my friend Ron and I wore similar shoes that night - he suggested I took a photo so here it is...
Friday, 26 August 2011
Y Niwl, "the Welsh Shadows", at the Green Man pub, put together a 40 minute set of 60s garage rock and surf music, which everyone from Black Francis to Quentin Tarrantino knows is arguably the coolest sound known to rock. Giving each song a number rather than a title (their set taught me the numbers from 1 to 20 in Welsh) is a nice way of avoiding over-pretentious titles for instrumentals too.
Laura J Martin deserves a special mention, purely for bringing Chaka Demus and Pliers back to the masses with her kooky ambient folk cover of Tease Me.
After that I caught the first few songs of Fleet Foxes' headline set on the Main Stage - now I love their albums and, yes, their harmonies are beautiful, but live they left me a bit cold. Maybe it's just that Saturday night isn't the right time for their music (they're more a mid afternoon in the sun kind of band), so I left early; as did a few others who I bumped into during another jaw-dropping set from Squarepusher, who was kicking off 4 hours of "after dark" music courtesy of Warp records. One hour of Tom Jenkinson on bass and FX pedals with a live drummer, creating sounds you can barely imagine and a set of tunes that it was impossible to dance out of time to (trust me, I tried). Nice touch with the futuristic microphone headpiece too. There's no footage of him from the festival online yet, but here's an feature and interview with him from the Culture Show in 2006...possibly the greatest living bass guitarist?
To finish the weekend off in style, Suuns seem to have found a winning formula of brooding electro and dirty rock, before "national treasure" Gruff Rhys' set sent us all packing with a smile on our faces. Because that's what he can't help but do...
Monday, 11 July 2011
Thursday, 23 June 2011
Wednesday, 15 June 2011
Wednesday, 8 June 2011
Tuesday, 31 May 2011
Anyway, it still stands as one of THE great debut albums; a flawed classic, which now comes packed with plenty of goodies - all the associated b-sides, which at times surpass many of the tracks that made it onto the album. To The Birds, My Insatiable One, The Big Time etc. are some of the strongest songs they ever did. You also get some serviceable demos and unreleased songs to pad out the two CDs.
Anyway, buy it, listen to it and watch it!
Sunday, 29 May 2011
The Flaming Lips - Phoebe Battles The Pink Robots
Thursday, 28 April 2011
My favourite album by Stereolab, one of my favourite bands. It brings together the band's love of krautrock, 60s garage and easy listening, whilst striking the perfect balance between experimentation, repetition, melody and marxism (probably) - managing to be both derivative and innovative.
Even the track names (or "tests" as the album calls them) could be Stereolab titles. my favourite being side one, test 2: "Lateral modulation for determination of tracking pressure in conjunction with bias correction".
Saturday, 16 April 2011
So, another year, another successful record store day, but the question is – what next? Looking at the number of people queuing up outside record shops, and the number of exclusive records that were release for the day, it did remind me a bit of valentines day – a lovely sentiment, but surely people should be making the effort all year round. It’s all very well people spending a heap of cash on records one day a year, but that alone isn’t going to keep the independent record stores afloat. And as for the artists and labels – much as I love them making these exclusive releases to celebrate Record Store Day, surely EVERYTHING they release should be exclusive and a little bit special. If not, why are they bothering to make or sell music?
Anyway, cynicism aside, I did pick up some good stuff although I missed out on a couple of things I really wanted (Suede 7” and the Far Out Psych 7” box set). I must get there earlier next year; I hear that some people started queuing at midnight, so I think I’ll start queuing the day before at about 5pm - whilst the shop is still open.
So, here’s the lovely records I picked up :
Arp – Pastoral Symphony remixes 12”
Franz Ferdinand – Covers 12” EP (Debbie Harry, Stephen Merrit, LCD Soundsystem, ESG and Peaches all covering FF songs)
KORT – Please Don’t Touch 7”
Yeasayer – End Blood 7”
Clinic – Ladies Night 10” EP
Mute Records’ Vorwarts LP&CD
Some were even on lovely coloured vinyl. Mmm mmmm
The couple in front of me each bought a copy of the Radiohead 12” – the last 2 in the store – I presume this was either to sell one on ebay, or they were hedging their bets about the long term prospects of their relationship and didn’t want the headache of sorting out who owns which records at some future date.
Nice to see so many of the records already going for a fortune on ebay too – I’m sure that will do wonders for the independent record stores.
Oh, and I also got this excellent bag, which came with a free mix CD (or was it a mix CD with a free bag?). I think it sums up the day quite well.
Wednesday, 13 April 2011
Yuri Gagarin might have been the first man in space, but he never told the story quite like this....
...but this is Phil Talking, with a letter on returning to earth - "now everyone's a rocket man, as long as it's served with a balsamic dressing"
And, here's Walk Like a Panther - Tony Christie's sequel to Is This The Way To Amarillo...
Friday, 25 March 2011
Stereolab - Peng
Mogwai - The Hawk is Howling
Halloween (death, demons, skulls and melting faces) - October 2010