Nov 30, 2006

It's a project; it's in a warehouse

Time for a Fat Roland night out! Sequence held part two of their Warehouse Sessions last Friday, featuring Autechre, LFO and Massonix, with support from DJs Surgeon, Rob Hall and residents Mark Turner and the Computer Controlled DJs.

Fil and I arrived in the pouring rain at Boddington's Brewery, which has been converted into a haven for lightstick-waving gurners. The Warehouse Project is a great name for the venue on two counts: (1) it's in a warehouse and (2) it is a project, so it won't last forever.

Unusually for us, we got there too early. This is okay because as middle-class toffs, we would have been mortified if we had arrived too late for the watercress sandwiches and the green tree and stilton soup.

>Arms & legs

After wasting time thinking about how we were going to last 'til six in the morning, we each cut off an arm and a leg for a three-quarter pint of beer. It was cheaper to buy a meal than drink a beer.

Half way through the night, we bumped into two guys who were here for the house music night next door. We invited them into our techno ghetto, but they said something along the lines of they would rather cheese-grate their eyeballs whilst being fed their own liquidised fingers. Or they said they'd rather hear music to dance to. One or the other, not sure which.

Apparently, Maggot from the Goldie Lookin Chain was there. This is a random fact and had no bearing upon our evening.


I'd better talk about the music. The soundsystem is notoriously quiet, but I expected as much, so I wasn't disappointed. Unlike a few months ago when I went to Alton Towers to find Rita was shut. I mean, really.

I hadn't heard Graham Massey's Massonix before, but I was more than au fait with his 808 State beat combo. It was much of the same: rich, complex, beautiful, a man clearly enjoying throwing everything into the mix and smoothing it over with analogue fuzziness.


LFO were suitably over-serious, with monotone visuals reacting to every metronomic bleep. But the highlight for me was Autechre. Accompanied by a great lazer show (wooo!), their usual fare of disjointed percussion and clattery clicks sounded absolutely fabulous darling. You could hear every whir and every spap. ("Spap" is the only way I can describe Autechre's sound sometimes.)

I didn't gurn, nor did I wave a light stick, but it was nice to hear some top quality electronica / IDM at a gig for a change. And this is someone who went to Take That earlier in the year, so I know me gigs, me.

Nov 26, 2006

Reviews: Repeat Repeat, Soma Compilation & Gescom

Woo, I'm still buzzing from seeing Autechre, LFO and Graham Massey on Friday. But more about that later. Have some reviews to keep you going.

>Filter this
Artist: Repeat Repeat
Title: Squints (LP)
Label: Soma
Listen like a mother here

I don't waffle much about 4/4 house music on the Fat Roland blog, but I'm willing to make an exception for Repeat Repeat. Here we have a debut album of hypnotic grooves, with beats that snap and click rather than stamp and punch. It's mesmerising and ever so slightly different from anything you have heard before. As subtle as the film Fargo and as off-kilter too.

>Filter this
Artist: Various
Title: Soma Compilation 2006 (LP)
Label: Soma
Listen like a sister here

And while we're on a Soma tip, this compilation album is the cream of their smooth techno releases from 2006 and therefore is as essential as a badger handbags (which are very essential indeed, especially if you're a badger). Featuring among others Alex Smoke and The (legendary) Black Dog, it's made even better by top techno-nobs Slam and Modeselektor on remix duty. It's a little housey for me, but its quality cannot be underpanted... er, I mean, underestimated.

>Cut off this
Artist: Gescom (a.k.a. Autechre)
Title: Mini Disc (LP)
Label: Touch
Listen like a mad uncle here

I have absolute respect for Autechre, and the fact they released this, the first ever minidisc-only release. In fact, I really like this album because it's the only record I know designed to be played on a 'random' setting, but I absolutely can't recommend it because the Fatblog is all about getting people to salivate over electronic music, and this sequence of 88 short noises just ain't going to get the juices flowing. Having said that, I can't resist giving you the entire track listing here. Deep breath: 1 Cut Begin 2 Cut Begin (Continued) 3 Cut Begin (Continued) 4 Cut Begin (Continued) 5 Cut Begin (Continued) 6 Cut Begin (Continued) 7 Cut Begin (Continued) 8 Amendment 84 9 Helix Shatterproof 10 Newer Beginning 11 Newer Beginning (Continued) 12 Polarized Beam Splitter 13 Polarized Beam Splitter (Continued) 14 Polarized Beam Splitter (Continued) 15 Polarized Beam Splitter (Continued) 16 Polarized Beam Splitter (Continued) 17 Inter 18 R M I Corporate Id 1 19 Pricks 20 Pricks (Continued) 21 Pricks (Continued) 22 Pricks (Continued) 23 Devil 24 Is We 25 Is We (Continued) 26 Dan Dan Dan 27 Dan Dan Dan (Continued) 28 Dan Dan Dan (Continued) 29 Dan Dan Dan (Continued) 30 Shark 31 Shark (Continued) 32 Shark (Continued) 33 Shark (Continued) 34 Shark (Continued) 35 Shark (Continued) 36 Shark (Continued) 37 1D Shapethrower 38 Shoegazer 39 Vermin 40 Vermin (Continued) 41 Vermin (Continued) 42 Hemiplegia 1 43 MCDCC 44 Gortex 45 Alf Sprey 46 Interchangeable World 47 Interchangeable World (Continued) 48 Interchangeable World (Continued) 49 Cranusberg 50 Cranusberg (Continued) 51 Cranusberg (Continued) 52 Raindance 53 Horse 54 New Contact Lense 55 Of Our Time 56 Crepe 57 Crepe (Continued) 58 Crepe (Continued) 59 Crepe (Continued) 60 Wab Wat 61 'MC 62 Peel 63 I G E 64 Knutsford Services 65 Fully 66 Fully (Continued) 67 Squashed to Pureness 68 Squashed to Pureness (Continued) 69 Squashed to Pureness (Continued) 70 Squashed to Pureness (Continued) 71 Yo! DMX Crew 72 Go On 73 Stroyer 2 74 - 75 (Continued) 76 Shep 77 Langue 78 Poke 79 Poke (Continued) 80 Poke (Continued) 81 Poke (Continued) 82 Hemiplegia 2 83 Territory of Usage 84 Territory of Usage (Continued) 85 Tomo 86 Tomo (Continued) 87 R M I Corporate Id 2 88 Pt/Ae. Did you get all that?

Fat Roland recommends Boomkat for your music purchases.

Nov 22, 2006

Boobah humbug

If you thought the Tellytubbies were surreal, then you have never seen Boobah.

Here is a video of the children's telly programme Boobah re-edited, set to music by two artists I have been dribbling about this week on my blog - Autechre and the Aphex Twin. Oh and there's a bit of Goldfrapp too.

Behold, the collision between cultures! Well done, creator Dave Rowland. You freak, you.

Nov 20, 2006

Ten places I want to see Autechre played

I'm off to see uber-techno-super-gods Autechre on Friday. I'm as excited as pink buckets because you never hear Autechre played in regular pubs and clubs; it's usually all Beyonce Aguilera and the Arctic Monks and suchlike.

Here are ten places I want to see Autechre played:

>At the final of the X Factor. I want to see Ben / Bobby / Betty / whoever warble You Raise Me Up to the sound of synthesisers mating over hot coals.

>At the start of most Sanctus 1 services (this already happens - I'm just plugging them).

>In the heels of every trainer shoe ever sold in the UK. The frequencies should phase out anything that comes out of a scally's mobile phone speakers.

>From speakers fitted into the side of planes, so when they fly low over your house, instead of getting the roar of the engines, they would emit a deafening analogue C major seventh.

>On the Quite Early Show in April 2007, although I doubt my co-presenter Lee would allow it as he likes girl's music.

>As muzak in the lobby of the entrance hall to the parallel universe to which I have been digging a tunnel for the past sixteen years. I've been digging with Christening spoons and hiding the soil in Paddington Bear toy coat pockets, so that my escape plan from this universe won't be discovered by Barbie and Ken who watch over me all day from their ivory watchtowers made not of ivory, but of lego and poo.

>On the moon. Obviously.

>Behind Bjork's voice. She's used Graham Massey and Mark Bell as producers, so the Autechre boys seem like a logical step.

>On a stage in a big Ten Mile-style stand-off between Autechre and 808 State. The Manchester band that comes up with the most original, fartiest sound wins, and the hyped-up audience will mimik TB303 sounds in celebration.

>On my CD player. Well, technically, in my CD player, not on it.

I may have to settle for that last one, although I'm still holding out hope for the parallel universe.

Nov 18, 2006

µ faces*

I'm not a huge fan of forums, but I am a member of the We Are The Music Makers forums. These are for dedicated fans of the holy pentangle of electronic dance music, namely Aphex Twin, Autechre, Boards Of Canada, µ-Ziq and Squarepusher. (I hasten to add, I am not very dedicated because I don't post much.)

One clever bugger, who is very dedicated, has swiped a load of photographs of forum members and built an impressive collage. Have a look at the collage here and see if you can spot me.

There is a clue - all the photos have names on.

*It's meant to be a pun on 'New Faces'. Yes, I know, sorry.

Nov 16, 2006

Come on my Selected

The Aphex Twin album I am most fond of is Selected Ambient Works 85-92. This is for two reasons.

Firstly it reaches sub-atomic frequencies that can only be heard by wildebeest and Brian Blessed. If you don't believe me, turn the bass button to "really bassy" on your ghetto blaster and stick track four on. Ageispolis is likely to turn your trousers brown - not from your poo, but from all the angels' poo in heaven. It's that loud. Seriously.

Secondly, We Are The Music Makers contains a sample from the original Willy Wonka film with Gene Wilder. Nuff sed.


I also love the album's simplicity, an attribute lacking in later tracks like Windowlicker. Technically, this is a third reason, and therefore the first paragraph of this post is looking a little shakey. Never mind, I shall continue.

The album was a mammothian influence in my life. I would have killed puppies to have made music that great. I mean, how easy would it be? Just play one note, put it on a loop, then plonk a keyboard riff over the top, wazz in a few chords and give the whole shambles a name by tossing a box of Scrabble into a Kenwood BL440.

>Pickled Onion

If only Pickled Onion* had been around then. He produced an online Phase Box, which might as well be called a Make Your Own Aphex Twin Tune box. I would recommend you play with it vigorously by following this link*. (If you haven't got Shockwave 10.1, download it now.)

Another tyrannosaurusical influence in my life was The Orb, and I am fond of them for seven reasons, all of which I won't list now.

* original links no longer active

Nov 13, 2006

Reviews: The Flashbulb & Hecker/Voafose

>Filter this
Artist: The Flashbulb
Title: Flexing Habitual (LP)
Label: Sublight
Listen with your ears here
Boots the chemist saw fit to use The Flashbulb's drugged-out sonick magick in their Campaign For Real Beauty advertising campaign (see the video here). There is something truly beautiful in Flexing Habitual, an offence of maimed breakcore in the best Squarepusher tradition; it's as digital as war. There is melodic songwriting here too, but the velvet glove isn't big enough to hold this grenade. Go buy.

>Filter this
Hecker / Voafose
Title: Kit001 (10")
Label: Rephlex
Listen with your ears here

Like someone whispering your name from the other side of a football match, these tracks from two upcoming albums on Rephlex are hardly going to trouble the airwaves. However, this sort of minimal frappery and subtle sonic distortion makes me more excited than a clown car hooter. It's Salvador Dali's Persistance Of Memory in sound. Distorted bells, flappy clicks and echoing drips. You can't go wrong.

Nov 11, 2006

Now wash your hands: it's the Toriton Plus

If you have never thought of sound as a waveform before, well, blow my physics hat off, here are some actual waves making sound. The Toriton Plus comprises a bowl of water, a bunch of lazers and a dose of magic. Oh, and someone's hand.

My mate Ed told me once he was going to buy some lazers to make a lazer harp. He would fire the lazers across the heads of an audience and people could reach up and cut the beams with their hands, setting off MIDI samples and thereby creating their own unique orchestra.

All this triggers two thoughts. Firstly, I would be impressed at anyone who can make a lazer upright piano. And secondly, I wonder what the Toriton Plus would sound like if you replaced the water for milk, and you surrounded the whole thing with kittens.

Nov 9, 2006

Note to self: must make blog more readable and stop faffing around with language

Do you remember the days when everything had wires? Radio used to have wires. Phones had them too. And cars. And lions. And wires. Wires had wires once.

These days, nothing has wires. Everything is portable. That's why some people still call radio "wireless", because it means you can carry your radio by pushing it around on a trolley with no fear that any wires will get tangled with the wheels.


As I get older and bits fall off, I have become increasingly fond of radio ("wireless"). From my humble beginnings with community radio station Refresh FM, via my flirt with the BBC with Greenbelt FM, to more humble beginnings with Refresh FM, the medium of radio ("wireless") is a drug I now find it difficult to kick.

I will be presenting and producing shows on Refresh FM next Easter. The station is only on air for two weeks, but the carthorse of momentum needs to bolt now for the broadcast to be a success.


With that in mind, my co-presenter-in-drag Lee has set up a Myspace page for us. You can find it at You will find blog postings by Lee (co-presenter) and my evil self (Eyan) about our plans for the radio (wireless) shows next year (2007). We also have downloads (mp3s) of interviews (chats) we did. I am very (overly) excited (giddy) about it (it). Enough parentheses (brackets).

Please "friend" us, despite my previous pathetic pilfering petty protestations at such a verb.

I say arse to alliteration.