Sep 24, 2018

Too long, didn't watch? Jon Hopkins' new video for Singularity

For those who are simply too busy to watch a whole vido, here's what happens in the new Jon Hopkins promo for Singularity, directed by Seb Edwards.


Bloke comes back from the newsagents. Stands in a puddle for a bit. A woman listens to his leather jacket. They pretend they're Torvill and Dean and she's like, shut up, I'm that Peep Show guy doing Flashdance. And he's like, let me go into this other room to see what's there. He checks the radiator's on. We never find out if the radiator's on. After a bit of a spin, they pop into the woods for a fag.

I think that covers it.

Sep 22, 2018

Is Aphex Twin's Collapse EP any good?

Yes. Of course it is. Don't be stupid.

Considering he's been splattering out tracks like the biggest nosebleed in the universe, Aphex Twin's latest Collapse EP seems to have clotted enough to catch plenty of attention.

Lead track T69 Collapse seems to squidge together his skippy Syro style with the cascading Windowlicking of his earlier work, and it does it to great effect. The insectoid dice rattle on 1st 44 is a real ear-tickler.

And keep an eye on the clattery and insanely melodic MT1 t29r2: it's one of his cheekiest tracks and may well end up being a live favourite. If it's not already.

The whole EP is jittery, certainly much more than 2016's Cheetah EP, but never loses its groove.

Strange, isn't it. You blast out over 200 tracks on Soundcloud, and all the beat-geeks rake through the material, with nothing getting much attention beyond forums and the occasional thinkpiece. You package up a few tracks with Warp, slap the dizzying artwork around a few tube stations, and everyone's abuzz. It's nice.

He's come a long way for a dancing teddy bear.

Sep 5, 2018

Pop-up Fat Roland - some upcoming gigs

Hello there, internet. I've done another video. It's a bit like a serial killer doing another murder but, er, you can subscribe to my nefarious feeds.

You'll never catch me, rozzers. Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha etc...

This one's about some upcoming gigs, but it's not just bland promotion. Honest. It's got spiders in! Actually, I lied, there are no spiders but watch it anyway. Thanks.

Aug 31, 2018

Listify my Spotify: Sun Electric, Moderat, Surgeon & morr

Here's what has been plopping up on my Spotify recently.

As you know, Spotify has a "random" function, where it chucks all of your mp3s into a tombola. It picks them out one by one, and no one gets a prize at the end. Here's an arbitrary chunk of ten (see picture) 

I've deleted all the duplicate artists in this list. Also, I nixed a Transglobal Underground track because I really wanted to get Skee Mask in there. It's cheating. Sue me.

What should I add to my Spotify playlist? Hit me up in the comments below.

Aug 26, 2018

Back to the Edinburgh Fringe

I went to the Edinburgh Fringe and it was good.

My previous visits have been frantic, either because I was only visiting for a few days or I was doing a show. This year, I went for a full week which gave me time to go for meals and drink with friends and be a normal human being.

That said, I did see a lot of shows. My highlights were:

> Garry Starr fully standing on my lap and making me do a lady-and-the-tramp with spaghetti

> Barbara Nice's wonderful show Raffle which is, er, a raffle

> Lou Sanders mentioning 2 Unlimited and totally losing it

> Competing with Abby Oliveira in the Loud Poets game show and just having the best time

> Having Brian Gittins asking me my top 50,000 types of horse and being prepared because he asked me the same thing in last year's show AND I'VE BEEN THINKING ABOUT IT ALL YEAR

> Recounting my time at a racist guest house for Tales of Whatever (pictured above: me and the Tales chaps)

> And so many other good performers: Foxdog Studios, the Delightful Sausage, John-Luke Roberts, Sean Morley, Sheeps, Beach Hunks, the list goes on, except it doesn't because I've stopped typing it

I didn't bring my Seven Inch show to this year's Fringe because the set design, which is rather integral to the whole thing, is too complex and/or bulky for touring.

That said, I've got some big ole live shows coming up (check my live page), so I'm currently formulating a new hour of material. And with a week full of Fringe audiencing still rattling in my head, I'm not short of inspiration.

Aug 13, 2018

Top Four Tips Of Writing Good

Do you like words? Do you like making words with a pen, or perhaps with a keyboard?

Here are some writing tips in the form of a brand new video I've recorded and edited (below). It's only two minutes long and it's hardly sophisticated, but it took me about six weeks to make. Lawks. Please, Gods Of Simple Animation, make the next one quicker. The music you hear in the background is also by me, using my magical musical fingers.

It's all a load of stupid, but for people doing creative writing, there are pretty solid tips in here. I'm your mother, sneaking in vegetables with distraction techniques.

Open wide...

Aug 4, 2018

Cain's Savan comes with dashings of Delhi

Back in early 2015, when all this was just fields, I praised the "epic playfulness" of Cain's Savan EP. Cain is a Scottish DJ who's played with Amon Tobin and Mike Paradinas, so my blog comment must have been, er, just the boost his career needed.

I recently revisited the EP and now I'm obsessed with it. I'm playing it over and over again. I don't know what it is - it's so tuneful, so fun, and drizzled with dashings of Delhi-style melody. Nagan is especially brill.

It's funny how a record can reappear from the past and grab you more than ever before .The same thing happened with Death In Vegas's Dead Elvis album. Have a listen to Cain below.

Incidentally, Cain is back with a new extended play. The Eshu EP came out a couple of weeks ago and is positively tribal.

Jul 31, 2018

A special message from thingy from the Prodigy

Hello there, I am Kevin from the Prodigy or whatever my name is. I would like to tell you about Need Some1, my brand new single wot is out on gramophone.

Need Some1 sounds like Jilted Generation on spice, and it's got guitar riffs, sirens and an extended kazoo solo.

Excuse me, I just need to get the phone. Hello? Oh hi Tarquin. We're losing the kazoo solo? That's a shame. Okay bye, love to Elspeth.

Where was I? Oh yes. My brand new single contains a sample from Loleatta Holloway. You might remember her from being the shouty voice from Black Box, or from being the shouty voice from Marky Mark, or from being the shouty voice from that time I hid in her garden pretending to be a gnome.

I like being in the Prodigy and when Fat Raymond (it's Fat Roland - FR) asked me to write this, I was dead excited. I created a new Word document and began to write because I'm a file starter, a twisted file starter.

Thanks for reading everyone. Yours sincerely, Steve from the Prodigy whatever his name is really must google it before publishi--

Jul 30, 2018

From ammunition tunnels to veganism: it's Orbital's PHUK

Yesterday, I flapped on about ancient techno titans Underworld's new single. On a related note, Orbital are back with a track called PHUK (see video below).

According to this interview with Consequence of Sound, PHUK is about:

> bankers
> demons
> Brexit
> empire
> ammunition tunnels
> the 1990s
> middle age
> veganism
> inclusivity
> trousers

I may have made that last one up, although I'm pretty sure PHUK stands for "Paul Hartnoll, Underpants Killer."

Their new album Monsters Exist is out in mid-September. It features the voice of Professor Brian Cox, which I presume is him just going "wow, these synthesisers are amazing, they've got buttons, look at the buttons".

Jul 29, 2018

Teatime Dub Encounters - Underworld and Iggy Pop get shashed on gronk

Iggy Pop and Underworld tried to drum up a track for the Trainspotting sequel T2, but they failed because they were all honked up on skag.

Actually, they weren't, but their new collaboration Teatime Dub Encounters did arise from Trainspotting-inspired studio sessions in a London hotel room.

"Hello, is that room service? Yeah, have you got a spare jack to XLR lead, we've run out. Oh and Ableton Push. Just leave it outside the door."

The result is an EP that doesn't much feel like a continuation of Underworld's previous album Barbara Barbara, We Face a Shining Future.

Instead it feels more the kind of ephemeral collaboration you got in the mid 90s, when Begbie first chucked his pint glass off a balcony. When Iggy Pop or Lou Reed or even flipping Pavarotti turned up in other people's stuff.

In other words, odd, awkward, not cool, but kinda charming.

My favourite on the EP is Trapped. It feels like Johnny Cash trying his hand at disco, if it was mixed by Fluke. Jump over to YouTube for a listen.

I can only hope there'll be more bleepy stars giving ageing singers a chance. Skrillex and Dolly Parton. Orbital and Vera Lynn. Autechre and the Keyboard Cat meme  I know that last one doesn't fit the joke - I just really want to see Autechre perform with Keyboard Cat 

Jul 23, 2018

BlueDotBlog: Love is all

On my final day at the BlueDot festival, I checked out a couple of science talks. By which to say, I sat snoozing and caught occasional words like "protozoa" and "pulsars".

Actually, Jodrell Bank's astronomer Tim O'Brien gave a great talk about sounds from space. He once bounced Stephen Hawking off the moon, using our lunar partner as a giant delay pedal for the scientist's voice. It was, as astrophysicists would say, well good.

I caught tiny bits of Warm Digits, Crazy P or Little Dragon, but the Sunday will be remembered for three particular music highlights. I'm going to rank them in order, like Top of the Pops. This is Top of the Bands that Played BlueDot on the Sunday...

At number three, if you can get through the cloak of weed shrouding the tent, it's The Orb. Alex and his chums dug into his ever-pulsating back catalogue, and I'm glad he appended his Little Fluffy Clouds remix with a big chunk of the original. Tuuune.

Straight in at number two is Vessels. You can still hear the beating post-rock heart in their rollercoaster climbs and swoops, their techno electrified by the inclusion of a live drummer. In going to be playing Vessels a lot this next week.

Still at number one, because they've always been there if you're honest about it, it's the Chemical Brothers. Tune after tune after tune, eye-smooshing visuals from start to finish, and a five-minute cameo from robots with laser eyes. Stupidly entertaining.

I think that's everything. Oh yeah, I finished the festival seeing Rob Kemp's The Elvis Dead where he reimagines Evil Dead 2 through Elvis Presley songs. Not seen the film, not bothered about Elvis, but crikes it was funny. And an utterly surreal place to be when you're sitting in the front row still sweating from the Chemicals ten minutes previously.

This year, BlueDot lit a rocket under their line-up and sent us all to somewhere cosmic. It's an experience like no other, the Lovell telescope's constant presence connecting us all to something more important than wristband checks, portable toilets and chafed feet. "Love is all" said the Chemical Brothers' final graphic, and that pretty much sums up BlueDot, the nicest, friendliest festival in the UK.

Jul 22, 2018

BlueDotBlog: Welling up at the Workshop

Seeing the Radiophonic Workshop perform the Doctor Who theme tune had me welling up a bit on my third day at the BlueDot festival.

I guess it's just a mixture of childhood memories, their own history, and the fact I once had a painful breakup with a Dalek. They say they'll call, but they never do.

I saw The Long Now, an Eno-inspired soundscape project by Finnur Bjarnason and Richard Norris, aka the bloke from The Grid, and a bit of Hookworms too. Has to be said, I wasn't overly fussed about catching Gary Numan, and instead found myself quivering to the whiplash wit of comedian Josh Jones. Love that guy.

I watched my writer chum David Hartley perform a rare feat of making two fifteen-minute stories thoroughly engaging. I'm actually camping with Dave, and if I'm not nice about his writing, he'll poke me in the eye with a tent peg. (Seriously though, thanks for the camping company, Hannah, Dave and Debs.)

My dirty techno fix came courtesy of Ralph Lawson and Helena Hauff's excellent inner city electronic takeover. I was equally baffled and impressed at the modular mock-Erasure music of Look Mum No Computer.

I have two bestest highlights yesterday. Lamb's showstopping Gorecki, a perfect example of how to overcome technical problems - they had to stop the show at one point - and go on to bring the house down. And Future Islands, whose feather-light synth pop seems to feed singer Sam with all kinds of demons. My favourite move of his is the sideways bowling ball. Try it sometime.

That's all for yesterday's BlueDot fun. No pictures this time because I'm trying to save battery. More tomorrow - I really need to tell you about the man whose hat was on fire.