Jan 31, 2014

The Fat Roland electronic music logo quiz

Here's a quiz! Look at these logos and musical motifs. Name the electronic music artist associated with them.

Answers in the comments. Why not post your score so other people can admire and/or laugh at you?

Good luck!

That last one's a screenshot of an animated GIF, dontcha know.

Answers in the comments below this post, so careful with your scrolling.

Jan 29, 2014

My problem with The Wolf of Wall Street


There's a film called Wolfy Wolf Street where Leonardo DiCaprio plays a he-wolf living on a street with other he-wolves while a load of she-wolves shave their fur off and howl at his request.

Leo-Wolf is a bad wolf who buys a yacht and a helicopter and bad stock cubes that are a bit like catnip for cats except it's not cats, it's wolves. The film lasts sixteen days and it's directed by a martian called Scorcese.

Martian-Scorcese is a man-martian and Leo-Wolf is a man-wolf and his sidekick is a Jonah-Wolf who's a wolf not a whale and he's a man-wolf too. There are lots of other men-wolves too numerous to remember because the martian man filled the film with as many men-wolves as he could fit in his imagination which is a lot because he's a martian.

When Leo-Wolf feels sad or tired or weird on bad stock cubes, he's nasty to his she-wolf mate. It's as if she's not a she-wolf but a barometer to reflect the mood of Leo-Wolf: a wolf-reflection. There's a British she-wolf and she's there to make an incest joke and plot get-out point. And there's another she-wolf and she wears pink and it's important to know she's a single mother and she cries and she owes her success to the he-wolves.

I don't think the martian likes she-wolves very much.

Leo-Wolf is based on a real wolf called Naughty Belfox or something and he's a nasty fox which is why the wolves in the film are being nasty too. The eighty-hour film is set inside Leo-Wolf's eyes and they're really big eyes because there are buildings and oceans and stuff.

The martian asks 'what does the fox say' and makes Leo-Wolf act it out, so it's not the martian's fault he doesn't like she-wolves. He's only really interested in telling the story of Leo-Wolf's character who's a nasty fox.

Except the martian chooses to show full she-wolf nudity and no full he-wolf nudity. That's a directorial decision and you can't palm it off on blaming the main character.

Except the martian decides that [SPOILER] the bit where Leo-Wolf stops using the bad stock cubes is skipped over completely. Which is odd because the film is fifty years long so the martian certainly had time to do that. Almost as if the martian *isn't* as interested in story as you might think but instead just wants to show lots of he-wolves howling and being horrible to she-wolves forever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever.

I liked that other film. The film about the woman in space going round and round and trying not to drive the space-bus under 40mph in case George Clooney explodes. The film was 51% her-astronaut and 49% him-astronaut and they kept showing pictures of the earth as if to say "look, that is what the earth is made up of too".

That's MY earth, I thought when I saw the earth and thought about the earth.

Maybe they should make more films like that.

Jan 27, 2014

Best electronic music of January 2014

I know what's going to happen. I'm publishing this on the last Monday morning of the month, and in about two hours, Thom Yorke will suddenly release a track with Venetian Snares (or something) and it'll be number one by Sunday,

Daaaamn you, Yorkie.

Let's give this a go anyway. It's not quite the end of January 2014, and I'm resigned to missing great stuff out in error, but here is the pick of the best electronic dance music this month.

Also, I'm aware by numbering these in preference, I'm comparing single tracks with albums. Which is a bit like comparing a Dairylea slice with a juggernaut full of chalk, but, er, um, shut up.

The best electronic music of January 2014:


Hopkins, who is no stranger to the number one spot on this website, goes slo-mo acid with devastating effect as this track morphs into an epic designed to hypnotise. Tip of the fedora too to Moderat, that Modeselektor and Apparat collaboration that bowled me over with last year's Bad Kingdom (video still pictured above)  Listen.


Monkeytown acid again! A silly acid bath of a track, by which I mean 'acid bath' in a good way, not in a murderous way. It's dirty and trippy and it's good to have the mice back. Listen.


If this really is Actress' last album, it's a bit of a party pooper. Shuffling and claustrophobic loop variations. He saves the more comfortable upbeat motifs for later. Glorious in its miserablism. Listen.


Dark field recordings filtered through the anus of hell, droned into your veins like a syringe of diseased noise. An essential 12" if you like obscure techno. Listen.


Detailed, almost mathematical, percussion on this EP from dubstep label pioneer Shackleton. He allows the simple repetition plenty of space to tap little holes into your brain. Listen.


Dense drum 'n' bass album scattered with a warehouse rave sensibility. I suspect this one will grow on me throughout the year. Listen.


Bibio's pastoral leanings faded on me a bit over the past few years, but this EP is loaded with beautiful melody. Listen.


Check that LTJ Bukem sample on the A-side. On the flip side, King Brute is rough and gravelly: it sounds like a purring cat's inside your speakers and it has KNIVES. Listen.


You can't go wrong with a bit of melodic dancefloor techno, and D/R/U/G/S does it better than most on this EP of collected muzoid scraps. Listen.


Bangface scares me. It makes me long for Coldplay and cardigans and Watercolour Challenge. Actually, that's a lie. This is a December release but I've included it here because it is day-glo and stoopid and ace. Nice one, chop one, snorted. Listen.

Jan 26, 2014

Jungle: say hi to the camera

I love these videos by Jungle, the groovesome duo appeared who earlier in 2013. The structure is simple: dance around a bit, say hi to the camera at the end.

Of course, if I tried the same, I'd knock the walls down and the last thing you'd see before the electricity shorted out is my dusty hand waving limply from under a mountain of devastated concrete.

So, y'know, if Jungle want to hire me as a dancer, they know where I am.

Jan 24, 2014

This is what happens when I change my Facebook profile picture

I decided to change my Facebook profile picture into a tribute to the Great Soprendo, former television magician and one-time husband to Victoria Wood.

Here is the profile picture.

It quickly attracted this comment from a Facebook friend:
"Looks like a cream egg wrapper?"
So I googled for creme eges. It kind of does. So I did this:

I thought that would be enough, but oh boy, my Facebook friends are tenacious.

This reply came back:
"Love it. Could you make it egg shaped?"
Yeah. No problem at all. Erm...

Good to see I'm putting my Photoshop skills to good use, huh? *sigh*

If you want to follow me elsewhere on the worldinternetweb, Facebook isn't the best place as I'll only accept your request if we have friends in common. So there. And also, you'll get subjected to this kind of crap.

But you can:

- stalk me on Twitter;

- wipe my This Is My Jam on your toast (expect lovely electronic music goodness every few days);

- spot me on Spotify (expect lovely electronic music goodness updated very sporadically);

- viddy me on Vimeo (expect lovely electronic music goodness made by my own hands);

- or shuffle through some other blogs by friends on this David Hartley blog post (no lovely electronic music goodness as far as I can see).

Jan 22, 2014

Harder Better Faster Fats: Blogging a.k.a. spurting your eyes, blood-style

Last week, I revealed my unease about 2013. I said I'd blog my way through that unease, because if blogging isn’t about opening a vein and spurting liquid innards into the surprised face of the reader, then what is it for?

Before we get stuck into this week’s execrable navel-gazing, here’s a track you should listen to.

I neglected this blog last year partly because of my entirely worthy work with Electronic Sound and Now Then Manchester (you should read both). The latter published an interview I did with The Orb. Lawks! Meanwhile, this site shrivelled


Here’s a metaphor.

Imagine a hugely promising contestant on The Voice. Week after week, the contestant soars and thrills to the delight of the judges.

In one fateful week, the contestant comes on naked, covered in peanut butter, and riding miniature unicycle circles on top of Tom Jones’ sturdy hair. No-one would enjoy it. Not even me. Everyone would say, “I liked it when Fats was clothed and singing.”

Last year, my blog stopped singing and instead it donned the peanut bu-- wait, is this metaphor working? Should I put my clothes on? Sit STILL, Tom.


Although my non-blogging work continues to be fun and exciting, I missed blogging here.

I don’t know whether it’s the instant validation of comments and stats, whether it’s the therapeutic nature of structured writing, or whether it's because have a massive ego and if it was the 1700s, I’d be building follies instead. I just know that I like writing in this format.

Listen to that track. Caribou’s Sun is a track frozen in my memory as playing over Deaf Institute speakers into my drunken brain after the Manchester Blog Awards in 2010. A focus amid the haze.

Blogging feels like that focus. Amid the chaotic, diagonal leglessness of life, it's that little, repeated thing that keeps me grounded.

"Sun, sun, sun," I slurred while dribbling into my beer.


My first move this year was to relaunch this blog for a ‘world wide Buzzfeedernet’ (broadsheets, you can have that phrase). Shorter paragraphs, more


space, and a posting schedule that saves
Friday for fluffier, more visual stuff.

It's going alright. Fat Roland on Electronica was tied to a pre-EDM outlook. Netloafer has loosened things up. It's already earned a plug from MC Hammer on his Twitter feed (hello to my new readers: sorry it's not that hip hop).

This was a rather whimsical blog post. My fiction writing is tighter than that, honest.

Which, incidentally, will be the subject of the next instalment of Harder Better Faster Fats.

(Pictured: Caribou)

Jan 21, 2014

Story: Post, a commissioned piece for 330 Words and H@ndles

My partner in writingtons Tom Mason is staging a social media-themed play called H@ndles at the Lowry on January 31st.

As a lead-up to the event, he has commissioned a series of stories for his excellent fiction blog 330 Words. Mine was published yesterday and it's called Post.
The journalist from the local paper had Aubrey pinned into the corner; his yellow jowls threatened to drip onto his dog-eared notepad. He asked Aubrey questions with a wet mouth and Aubrey, paint-roller in hand, fixated on the journalist’s flapping, glistening lips.
Each 330 Words story has a related photo. I took this story's picture in Urbis before it became a footie museum.

Have a read of the short short story here: Fat Roland: Post.

Jan 20, 2014

Four Tet's ten-minute beat challenge

If your laptop is loaded with Ableton or Garageband, the musician’s concept of being “in the studio” is a nonsense. The studio follows you around like a randy dog, constantly rubbing its icon in your face every time you log on.

Which is why Kieran Hebden, known better as Four Tet, seems to be in a corner of his living room in this ten-minute beat challenge (video below). I’m half expecting a hoover to appear screen-right at any moment.

In this challenge, he has to create a passable beat against the clock. He needles his way through fragments of Thriller on a record player he seems to have stolen off a child, then slices and filters the results to create Four Tet’s knife-sharp house music motif.

Here’s the video. I’ll spew out some thoughts beneath.



1. Although he finds some super sweet sounds, he’s right when he says that lead motif is too much. It’s still better than anything I could do. Obviously. Because he’s mother-flumping Four Tet.

2. I use Ableton too, and it’s good to see he uses similar techniques to me: finding the groove; letting things clash until something clicks; tweaking and tweaking and tweaking.

3. He has a mouse from the 1920s.

4. With such clipped samples, it’s a reminder to all music makers that less is more.

5. Spooling through vinyl like that is an honourable way to make music, as this brilliant documentary on the Amen break will show.

6. Why would you hoover a wooden floor? Stupid Fats.

Now go forth, laptop musicistas, and make beautiful music.

Jan 17, 2014

U Can't Touch The UK Charts: an MC Hammer infographic

There are many things you can touch, but you literally cannot touch statistics. Try it. See, it's impossible.

Here are some statistics (above) about MC Hammer's hit singles in the UK compared to anyone else who has ever had a hit single as 'MC-something'.

Two rather pleasing things: firstly, that nicely balanced 'weeks in the UK charts number' and the fact that the joint second most successful MC of all time is Manchester's own MC Tunes.

Oh and the only other person to have a single beginning with "Yo!" is, er, well you can see for yourself.

Jan 15, 2014

Harder Better Faster Fats: how I want to make 2014 better than 2013

In the spirit of this site being a bit more personal than Fat Roland On Electronica, I wrote a lengthy blog post about how my life is awful and we should all just live in a dungeon gnawing the plaster off the walls and listening to Lionel Blair read out the contents of his own soul.

Instead of bombarding you with the whole thing, and to inject a little entertainment into it, I am going to split it out over a few weeks. I am also going to make you listen to this:


Underworld's Always Loved A Film makes me feel nostalgia mixed with a tickling, bubbling hope that fizzes from foot to groin to noggin. It's in this spirit that I present this week's 'Harder better faster Fats'. Yes, that's what I'm calling it. Shut up.

So then. By way of an introduction: I feel uneasy about 2013.

Despite brilliant high points such as Fat Roland’s Electric Shorts and the Edinburgh Fringe, it’s left me with an uneasy feeling. I joined an amazing writing group, did some really fun video and Twitter work, and some wonderful luck came my way. But I think I let opportunities slip.

These blog posts will be me working out that slip.


Take the film trilogy Naked Gun.

I love that those films because I am stupid. It was all so slightly off-the-rails and I love deadpan. But every time I watch it, I feel that I could be watching Airplane!, which is even better.

Maybe that's what 2013 was like: Naked Gun when you could have been enjoying Airplane! If you're not familiar with that analogy, replace those film titles respectively with Bradley Walsh and Bradley Cooper, or the current series of Sherlock with any other series of Sherlock.


I feel optimistic about 2014. I've made myself some promises. Little targets throughout the year to make the next 12 months more, well, less slippy.

They will involve my writing and my focus and my health and some pretty deep crap. As I blog about it over the next few weeks, I'll accompany it with some of the most hopeful records I can find.

(If this all sounds dangerously like therapy-through-blogging, then welcome to Netloafer...)

If 2014 turns out as well as I hope, I'll be dancing around my hovel to the pulsating glory of Always Loved A Film whilst mentally crash-landing a plane with a blow-up doll, far far away from the wall-gnawing Lionel Blair dungeon.

Now, that's hope...

(Pictured: Underworld.)

Jan 13, 2014

Things that are easy and things that are hard (new Fractions video)

I recorded a new Fractions video. Watch it above or see it on the Fractions page. Either way, viewing is recommended with human eyes and not with, say, a fence or a heel or a country. Eyes. They're usually best for looking.

This video is about things that are easy and things that are hard.


1. Being silly.
2. Making people laugh.
3. Understanding maths.
4. Listening to music.
5. Empathy.
6. Simple punctuation.
7. Reading stories and books.
8. Eating too much food.
9. Typing.
10. Lists.


1. Window licking.
2. Winning and/or presenting Going For Gold.
3. Going back in time and un-inventing the cigarette.
4. Playing professional football for India.
5. Alchemy.
6. Giving birth to a kestrel.
7. Becoming NASCAR champion with a Meccano car.
8. Reciting the entire track listing of Now That's What I Call Music.
9. Shouting Swedish at Lego ponies.
10. This particular list.

I feel, on this new-look website, that we're really getting to know each other.

Further Fats: Fractions 6 ("Interestag")

Jan 10, 2014

Hip hop DIY: Safety instructions with Coolio

When carrying out DIY tasks, please ensure you follow these safety instructions with Coolio. Especially when near walls. You can never be too careful. Right, Coolio? Coolio? Jeez, someone get an ambulance.

Images: Gevmag.com, Cali-market.comAAP, Popdust.com, screenshot, Artinbase.info, Thefivecount.com, Allhiphop.com, Reuters, screenshot. Please comment for attribution changes.

Jan 9, 2014

Live performances in February

I've added a couple of live appearances to this site. Click yourself here if you want to see - in real life - my flesh, my bone, and my ornamental puppy Barry. The live appearances are:

- A talent contest and cabaret night;
- A London-based open mic night visiting Manchester.

I'll keep my gigs updated on that page, just for you, dear netloafer. Come see me. I do a strange mixture of literature and comedy.

By the way, I lied about the puppy. And, if I'm honest, the bone. I do have visible flesh though, I think.

Jan 8, 2014

A little Novation motivation for my creation stimulation (ignore the cats)

I bought a new thing. It's a MIDI controller. You plug it into your DAW and, wait, hold on, this reminds me of a Twitter conversation I had with Benjamin Judge.

So I got a thing. It's a Novation LaunchKey Mini and it's super cute. You can see it in the photograph above. Ignore the cats. They were a present off chums in Scotland. The cats, that is. Beautiful, aren't they? They're like real cats but not real.

I've not released anything as Hounds of Hulme since 2012 apart from as backing audio on Fractions. It doesn't mean I'm not constantly banging out mad choons of varying low quality; it's kind of a necessary creative splurge that keeps my brain ticking.

This little beauty (ignore the cats) will make that low-quality banging just that little bit more fun.

Further Fats: Because / a melon / only slightly: birthday thoughts (2012)

Jan 6, 2014

Where did dubstep go?

Where did dubstep go?

Not so long ago, it wobbled up from the underground to the broadsheets via that bizarre Britney Spears middle eight on Britney's Hold It Against Me. We stopped calling Burial dubstep and bowed down to our low-end oscillating masters.

Where did it go? Skrillex hasn't had a hit for a year. All people make now is doom-laden ambient music, UK garage, drum ‘n’ bass and fey folk pop pap. Seriously. Physics says nothing disappears: dubstep’s atoms have to be somewhere.

Has it become Lionel Blair? Has it become the latent sexual energy in Chas & Dave’s performances?

If you know where dubstep has gone, please get in touch. Your information will be treated with confidence and given to the one extra Romanian that’s entered the UK. Send a postcard to Big Questions of 2014, Fat Roland Towers, Evil Lair, Lionel Blair Mews, Manchester, UK.

Further Fats: "There is little in the party manifestos about whether dubstep is dead..." (2010)

Jan 5, 2014

"Apart from Dizzee Rascal and the Script, of course..."

There was a BBC News website article the other day about how digital has boosted sales of video and music. In short, the picture is as follows: there are more million-selling singles, there are fewer million-selling albums. And streaming is king.

However, I was more drawn to the comments underneath the article...

"Digital in the long term will lead to a communist utopia.”
“1D, Skyfall and The Hobbit- is the whole of Britain stuck in permanent childhood? What were the figures for porn?”
"For me, music ended in 1979 - apart from Dizzee Rascal and the Script, of course.”
“It is a great signal that we are now starting to understand ourselves to know of how we grow ourselves together.”
“Sting and Jimmy Nail will rescue the music business.” 
(This originally appeared on my Twitter feed. You can follow me here if you have nothing better to do / if the restraining order has expired.)

Jan 4, 2014

Story: And This Is My Mother

In the fog of Christmas, my writing chum David Hartley kindly posted a story of mine called And This Is My Mother on his advent bog Merry Gentlemen.

It was a rather harsh story where I was cruel to the characters and there wasn’t much redemption. Which is what I feel about Christmas. It astonishes me how a season filled with lights and glitter can feel so dark. Anyhoo, you can read the story by clicking on the big 22 here.

I wanted to convey the theme of disappointment in as surreal a way as possible, yet using a recognisable festive occurrence: visiting a partner’s parents at Christmas.

Sometimes there are things that come easily in a story. They tend to be images. (I should warn you of spoilers at this point so read the story first.) In this case:
someone scrunching their face into screwed-up paper;
his intensely annoying childishness;
the subversion of Christmas things (crushing a bauble, punching carol singers);
his “making it snow” moment happening ‘off-camera’;
her feeling of existential angst while driving;
and finally, the reveal in the hut, which was the first thing I came up with when writing the story.
My next story? Something about a hangover, I think. That sense of losing who you are and everything being terrible. A bit like Christmas.

Jan 3, 2014

Fractions 6: "Interestag"

I do this thing called Fractions. Small fragments of video. Not a lot of sense. I'll probably get locked up. Nurse, pass the lotion.

Here is the latest one. It's getting a bit frivolous, so the next one I do is bound to be deep and meaningful.

See the rest of the Fractions videos on the Fractions page of this site or on my Vimeo site.

Jan 2, 2014

5 pop music predictions for 2014


Justin Bieber will age before our eyes. He will bulk up some more before his muscles reduce to fat and then massive wrinkles. He will take up golf but it will wreck his feeble, wrinkled physique. He will have a reunion tour with himself but abandon it on doctor’s orders. He will die with Usher at his side.


The usual schism stuff. Arch looks at award ceremonies. Passive-aggressive lyric / Guardian article wars. Mud-wrestling. That kind of thing.


Harry Styles (pictured) will see Twitter feeds like Harry My Cat Died and Bad Harry Art. He will see an opportunity. After a series of top-level meetings with the Scientologists, which is a church and not a cult, he will buy the Scientology movement, which is a church and not a cult, and change the name of the Scientology movement, which is a church and not a cult, into The Styleologists. He will change it into a cult, because it is definitely a church, by changing absolutely nothing else whatsoever.


Ha ha. Only joking. In fact, what will happen is that Daft Punk will sell another million records with an Aphex Twin covers album. For the titles, they will take existing Aphex Twin titles and stick 'Get Lucky' on the end. For example, Donkey Rhubarb Get Lucky, Halibut Acid Get Lucky, and
∆Mᵢ⁻¹=−α ∑ Dᵢ[η][ ∑ Fjᵢ[η−1]+Fextᵢ [η⁻¹]]
η=1 j∈C{ᵢ}
Get Lucky.
The music will be produced with similar care and attention. It will feature the return of Basshunter, Robert Miles, DJ Caspar and two members of Fleetwood Mac.


Country and western music will thereby obtain widespread respect and support in Europe for the first time ever. A broadsheet journalist will coin the term ‘Dubstep Country & Western’, while the NME journo who thought of ‘C**t-step’, complete with asterisks, but didn’t get it into print in time will be fired and then thrown into a skip.

What are your pop predictions for 2014? Why not write them on a piece of paper and show them to a child?