Sep 30, 2016

A general update (Clocks by Coldplay) on various things

I've had a rather non-bloggy week due to a load of live events, although that doesn't really matter because I've got Clocks by Coldplay stuck in my head.

Last week, I went to see Plaid & The Bee. In the parlance of old ravers, they kicked like a flipping mule. Best gig for ages. I just wish I could hear their music in my head now, but I've got Clocks by Coldplay on a loop.

I also co-hosted an hour of spoken word at the Royal Exchange. Always a good gig this. I went for a drink in one of the nearby chop houses afterwards, although I can't remember which one because my brain's being distracted by Clocks by Coldplay.

Bad Language on Wednesday was a doozer. We had Neil Campbell of Salt Publishing headlining. It was standing room only and the audience was one of those buzzy ones it's a real delight to compere. Such a shame the memory's being dampened by Clocks by Coldplay fizzing around my noggin.

And last night, we hosted a sold-out show at the Portico Library to celebrate ten years of the Edge Hill Short Story Prize. I was going to do a waffle about me never winning a major literary prize but instead winning the only chess game I've played as an adult. I forgot because someone was whistling Clocks by Coldplay.

Tomorrow, I'm performing at a charity gig in Chorlton (click for deets). Do come. Clocks by Coldplay. Clocks by Coldplay. Clocks by Coldplay. Clocks by Coldplay. Clocks by Coldplay. WHEN WILL IT STOP?

Sep 22, 2016

Thinking about winter

I like the summer. I'm a Leo. Not that star signs mean anything, but lions are good (tigers are better) and the sun is a Leo thing. I think: I had a mug once with all the symbols on. Anyway, I like the summer.

I also like the cold. Well. The cool. 17 degrees is my favourite temperature. I also love snow because it's pretty and covers all those ugly plants, trees and birds. If snow was made of sun, it would probably average out at 17 degrees. That's Celsius by the way, I'm not mad.

But what I really don't like is the dark. Not that I have that SAD thing, but my mood is definitely affected by all the good sun chemicals. Which is why the impending winter holds a bit of trepidation for me. And I positively detest Christmas, a festival which can cucoon families and hold up traditions in ways that aren't great for us outsider types.

However, I don't have to let the winter get to me. That's a CBT thing, right? Think about things differently. I need to make a promise as the seasons move away from happy sunny lion time. Here is that promise:

When I open my curtains to an autumnal trudgeful of murk, instead of thinking about the damp and the dark, I'm GOING TO PRETEND I'M INSIDE A BIG CAKE.

A big lovely cake. That's why it's dark. I'm inside a humongous cake. Simple!

One day I will burst out and sing happy birthday to someone, or perhaps a huge knife will tear the cake sky asunder, but for now I am inside a lovely, lovely cake.

I mean. I don't really like cake. It's pretentious, not like biscuits. And cake reminds me of weddings which, by and large, aren't really my thing. And tigers don't eat cake, which is a significant problem.

But. Yeah. The cake thing. Stupid cakes. No, this isn't going to work. Bah. If you have any tips on being happier in the winter, please write them on a postcard.

Sep 18, 2016

Listen: Jam City's Send (with added mixtape nomenclature crisis)

Jam City's new mixtape Trouble sits somewhere between glimmering pop and grimy bass music. It's doing weird things to my ears and I like it.

The London producer is offering Trouble free to download. You can swipe it from his site here. And have a listen to Send above, which is all emo pop and fat horns. Which incidentally are the first few words of my Grindr profile.

This has left me wondering. Can you really have a mixtape anymore? Isn't this a mini-album? An EP? Should you be able to play a mixtape on shuffle? What is a tape anyway? What is anything? Does music really exist? Am I perhaps overthinking this?

Sep 15, 2016

Hey Fat Roland podcast S01E05: The Truth About Rabbit Poo

Yes, I have a new episode of my podcast out. My favourite moments in this latest edition include me saying the word "trousers" very briefly and having no memory of why, the comment "can you tell I'm lying" which was funnier than I allowed credit for during the interview, the breathing method, and remembering the bemused alarm on Lee's face when I started doing accents.

Get Hey Fat Roland on iTunes here. And if you're non-iTunes, grab Hey Fat Roland here. Subscribe, rate or review. No, actually, do. I know people say that, but if you don't subscribe, rate or review then I won't know how good or bad this is. And believe me, it's one or the other...

Sep 13, 2016

A new old thing from Jon Hopkins: Cold Out There

Hey look, a new Jon Hopkins video! Actually, a new video by Dan Tombs to an old song on his reissued and remastered 2001 album Opalescent.

To give a bit of context, this was Hopkins' debut album. It wasn't until 2009's Insides when he became more widely known for the techno experimentalism thing. Cold Out There is still phenomenal though. It was even used in Sex And The City. What? Pardon? No really, it was used in Sex And The City.

Apparently that's Norfolk in the video. If you squint hard enough, you can see famous musicians from Norfolk such as Nathan Fake, Beth Orton and (if you count American Norfolks) Gene Vincent.

Incidentally, Dan Tombs does pleeeenty good bands. Here's a heavy slab of video mulch for Walls' classic track Burnt Sienna.

Sep 9, 2016

Listen: Phono Ghosts' Tsunami At White Hotel

Watch out for Blackpool's Phono Ghosts this year. They've done stuff on Skam Records as the electrotastic Meatbingo, but now they have an album out on their own Fonolith label.

Listen to Tsunami At White Hotel. It's pretty typical of their stuff: a cut 'n' paste of Parisian house, 80s pop and jumpy IDM drum programming that may sound distracting on first listen but builds into some pretty detailed and enthralling collage-tronica.

Yeah, I just made "collage-tronica" up. Anyhoo, their Solar Dream Reel album is out now.

Sep 4, 2016

CJ Bolland's Spring Yard scared the pants off me

I sometimes....

No, wait.

I often fantasise about writing a list of my favourite tracks of all time. In order. One, two, three, and so on. It's a fantasy because I'd find it impossible. However, a potential contender would be a bitey little trance track from 1992 called Spring Yard.

You can listen to Spring Yard below if you want.

The artist is CJ Bolland whose crossover 1996 hit Sugar Is Sweeter was a perfect pick-me-up for Prodigy fans. Before that, in his pre-Polygram days, Bolland was in no mood to hit the charts. Indeed, the R&S album The 4th Sign was a glorious collection of stampeding trance music - the kind of stuff us young beat-heads were listening to while everyone else thought techno was 2 Unlimited.

Bolland was melodic too: stand-out track Camargue was pure, sweet Belgian techno. Indeed I could pick any track off The 4th Sign, but Spring Yard was the one that scared me. That's right. Scared. It was a ferocious number that threatened to destroy my speakers. It taught me - warned me - that techno had no bounds. And although the strings sound a little clunky now, the track was also beautiful.

This alongside Sven Väth's similarly throbbing Accident In Paradise? Definitely in my top ten. Or twenty. Maybe. I don't know. See - totally impossible.

And for reference:

Further Fats: Chosen Words: V is for Väth

Sep 3, 2016

Listen: Three tracks from Gonjasufi's new album Callus

Gonjasufi's new album Callus is designed to send your brain to a very strange place indeed. Listen above to The Kill and Prints Of Sin, one all electric guitar and the other all paranoid beats. And below, throw yourself into the Lynchian world of Vinaigrette.

Six years after A Sufi And A Killer, Gonj is still ploughing a unique furrow. In a field that grows weed. On Mars.

There's talk in these tracks of the cross and heaven and crucifixion. If Gonjasufi was Jesus, I'd probably follow him. Then again, I'm easily led. I saw a roadsweeper lorry once with a round rear end that looked a bit like a face. I followed it for three miles.

Further Fats: Gonja Sufi's a smokin' nomad in sound and soul (2010)

Sep 1, 2016

Hey Fat Roland podcast S01E04: Bear In The Air

The latest edition of my Hey Fat Roland is now out.

In episode four, I chat with Dodo Ink author Seraphina Madsen at the launch of her new book to ask her all sorts of nonsense questions. And for the first time, I chat to a couple of singers in bands: Rocketship Forest’s Thom Hammersley and Monkeys In Love’s Laura Simms-Luddington. Our respective conversations revolve around rocketships and forests, and owls (not monkeys).

And as ever, I chat to Producer Lee about time he did stand-up comedy badly and a time I went up into the air in a piece of wood.

You can find Hey Fat Roland on iTunes here. And if you're a non-iTunes person, you can grab Hey Fat Roland here. Or just search for Hey Fat Roland in your chosen pod app. And if the podcast vaguely entertains you, please take an extra step and leave a brilliant rating on iTunes. That would mean the world to me. Hurrah!

Enjoy Rocketship Forest making some music noise in their studio.