Nov 26, 2008

Orbital come back around. Well, it seems logical, doesn't it?

Well, slap me with a chocolate banana and call me Humphrey, I cannot believe my internet-reading eyes.

Orbital have reformed!

The brothers Hartnoll (pictured) are taking their bobbing headlights to the Big Chill, which happens at the beginning of August next year.

At their last recorded gig, I blubbered like a little girl who'd lost her chainsaw.  When the last notes of One Perfect Sunrise rang out in a live session on John Peel's show, it was the end of a band that was single-handedly responsible for my love of dance music.

My most vivid memory of the 90s (are we allowed to talk about the 90s like that yet?) was the swathe of blue light washing over gurning faces at one of their mid-90s festival gigs.

And now they're back, according to this piece in the NME.

Says Phil Orbital: "It's not an exercise in nostalgia, the time just seems right."

The timing is terrible.  It's eight and a half months away.  I'm going to have to nail my joy down and triple-wrap it in gaffer tape, lest I explode from months of delighted anticipation.

I'm still waiting for that chocolate banana slap, by the way.

Nov 23, 2008

Oramics is like television, only backwards

There's was something refreshing about Sunday night, like a slap in the face with a glove woven from miniature bunny rabbits.

I went to an electronic music night with seven, count 'em, seven female artists. It was a million miles from bearded nerds with bleepy toys.

But more about that later in the week.

Meanwhile, the picture above is the best picture in the world. It is Daphne Oram, electronic music pioneer and co-founder of Maida Vale's Radiophonic Workshop.

She created the Oramics machine, a piece of gear that would make the super-sleek geeks at Korg recoil:

It was about the size of a chest of drawers and was constructed from metal shelving materials. Electric motors pulled eight parallel tracks of clear 35mm film stock across scanners that operated like TV sets in reverse.
I love Daphne. Read about her in the Guardian here.

Nov 16, 2008

Six wheels on my digeridoo

I've been hiding from my keyboard for the last couple of weeks.

While I rediscover my blogging rhythm, here is some music to mash up your ears, um, big style.

First up, Manchester's grime collective Virus Syndicate bring on their mechanistic style on second album Sick Pay (pictured). Sub bass with intelligence.

This next band is more entertaining than a marching band of kazoo-playing sealions dressed as go-go dancers. Gang Gang Dance offer a sort of tribal prog-techno that probably needs to be seen live to be appreciated. Their new album is Saint Dymphna, and it makes me want to roller skate through Brooklyn on a six-wheeled digeridoo.

And lastly, go and listen to Mira Calix. The Elephant In The Room: 3 Commissions is lovely and orchestral and evocative, and is ideal listening when you've been so busy working, you ain't had no time to blog.

Nov 1, 2008

Swimming with the sharks in the (Basic) Channel

This week, I have been mostly listening to the relentless stabbing* of German techno.

Basic Channel's BCD-2 is well worth a listen if you like watery synths splashing on top of throbbing waves of shark-infested drum machines.

For the dedicated techno fan, this compilation of a decade or so of Basic Channel releases renders all those rare 12"s dead. But it's worth it for the inexorable attack of the bass drum. Go buy.

Off State-side now. Producer Mike Cadoo has reissued his 2005 internet album Shimmer And Fade in a real life album format.

Released under his Bitcrush moniker, the three ideas here are electronic noodling, pop sensibilities and live percussion. With guitars. Four ideas, then. Like an indie Lemon Jelly. Five.

It's a pleasant enough 70 minutes of listening, but I wish it didn't wear so many influences on its sleeve, whether it's Plaid, New Order, Boards Of Canada, early Verve, MBV, Lackluster or Proem. If he stuck to the drudging indie stuff, this could be magnificent.

Finally, holy child of Detroit Kenny Larkin (pictured) has made his Chronicles 12" series available on one double CD for the first time. Detroit's a little too smooth for me, but the packaging's pristine and you get a free mix too, so give the boy some love.

I'm not sure if Detroit has many sharks, so I can't end this post neatly by looping back to my original theme of infested waters. You'll have to write your own ending in the space below.



*if you like relentless stabbing, there's a new documentary in which Justice slash up the face of a psycho fan. That's, like, soooo Dead Set.