Mar 31, 2017

Mar 29, 2017

I'm too techno to be Brexit

I'm too mired in Belgian techno, German house and Liechtensteinian glitchstep to be anti-Europe. The stars of the European flag are my disco lights.

I grew up surrounded by people whose parents may well have been fairly new to the UK. And even then, my non-BME friends were geeks and weirdos who never quite fitted in. 'The other' was, in some way, the default of everyone I knew.

So I don't get any of this. People talk about taking back control, but that's hogwash. I've no doubt the Brexit wrecking ball was swung for nefarious reasons, whether it be blatant racism or a niggling distrust of 'the other'. The politics of pressure led to a terminal state of crapage.

That last sentence was constructed from Front 242 titles. They're from Aarschot in Flanders and they make music about the destruction of all that is good.

Yes, the European mainland gave us Aqua, DJ Otzi and Basshunter. And they will pay for this in the Great Pop Putsch of 2019. Dammit, I've said too much. But Europe also gave us... us. If we're not in union with ourselves, then we're little more than post-Zayn One Direction.

Today, little Britain got a little littler.

Further Fats: In the belly of the beast: a week in Tory politics (2009)

Further Fats: This is not an analysis of the EU Referendum (2016)

Mar 27, 2017

Nathan Fake's creative block has made something beautiful

It's funny how creativity ebbs and flows. Sometimes it doesn't even do that. It flubbles, all blobby and heavy, and leaves your heart all sunken and no good.

Nathan Fake's recent track HoursDaysMonthsSeasons, taken from his new album Providence, was inspired by a creative block, apparently. It certainly has a nagging melancholy that comes to some kind of resolution later in the track.

Says Nathan: “HoursDaysMonthsSeasons is a reference to the amount of time that kept passing that I hadn’t made music, or addressed problems and thoughts that I’d been having.”

I feel like I've had a bit of a creative resurgence recently. Blogging more, making a bit of music, thinking better and dafter about things I'd like to do. I've even chucked this blog into a fresh new template, which I may or may not keep depending on how it affects my traffic.

In fact, the end of HoursDaysMonthsSeasons reminds me of those these glimpses of light (tempered by occasional moments of dull blog stat logic); those moments when the air sparkles with possibility.

Beautiful. Nothing flubbling or blobby about this at all.

Further Fats: My Harder Better Blog Writing Tour Faster Process Monday Fats (2014) 

Further Fats: Kraftwerk Badger Spacehip - an Edinburgh Fringe diary (2015)

Hire me to write for you (2016)

Mar 25, 2017

How does Spotify work? I'm glad you asked

I've made a Spotify playlist of this website. What's Spotify, you ask? Don't worry, old codger, I'll explain.

When you press the play button on Spotify, the internet triggers a signal. That signal falls down the internet drain until it reaches the artist you want to play. They receive a notification in the form of a massive electrical shock. The artist then starts to perform the track you selected, which is how the music appears in your ears.

And because it's electricity, it happens almost instantly.

Every time an artist gets a piece of music played on Spotify, they receive thirty-seven hundred dollars. That's per stream, which is why streaming is seen as such a lucrative business model that offers no threat to the music industry. Unlike, of course, physical sales in which the acts only get a button and a chewed ballpoint pen for every CD sold.

The Victorians used Spotify a lot because it was the easiest way to distribute those bicycles with the huge front wheels. Its usage tailed off after the Great Hat Dispute of 1875: the Victorian's early experiments with wearable technology resulted in a large number of mass casualties. The person who brought Spotify back into public popularity was Howard Donald from Take That, although I can't explain why for legal reasons.

So make the music world a better place by launching the Fat Roland Spotify playlist here. It comprises most of the tracks I've waffled on about on Fat in 2017 - and do follow the list because there'll be more to come.

Further Fats: If you ask me, people on the internet should talk about the internet more (2008)

Further Fats: Do you pay for your record collection? (2009)

Further Fats: Best of 2013: a Spotify playlist (2013)

Mar 23, 2017

Stand back because Lone's in a Crush Mood

Following his hyper-jungle twelfth best album of 2016, Lone is returning to the safety of a 4/4 beat.

Nottingham's biggest dance act since, er, KWS is about to drop four Ambivert Tools EPs directly focussed at the dancefloor. Listen to Crush Mood taken from volume one below. "Free your mind, free your mind..."

This series is coming out on the legendary R&S label who, at one point in the 1990s, released every good thing ever to have existed (Selected Ambient Works, CJ Bolland, Sun Electric, Biosphere, Seabrook crisps, Dave Angel, System 7) (I lied about the crisps).

Further Fats: Anski updateski onski myski campaignski (2005)

Further Fats: CJ Bolland's Spring Yard scared the pants off me (2016)

Mar 21, 2017

Luke Vibert just made me do a poetry

Acid house legend Luke Vibert has revealed plans for a new album called Luke Vibert Presents UK Garave Vol 1. Yep. Rave and garage. Garave.  You can listen to a bit of it below.

He calls the album, out in May on London's Hypercolour Records, an "ode to the era of M25 convoys, mobile phone hotlines and raving amongst dogs on strings in British aerodrome fields.”

That, my disco-brained friend, sounds like a challenge.


The flyer
The tobacco-burned flyer
Says this way to the rave
So you can dance and
Dance and
Dance and
Look at dogs and
Go for a fly if you have the appropriate licence
The flyer
Has a number written on it
It gives directions to the rave
So you get a van and
Drive and
Drive and
Look at the rain as
You sit in a traffic jam for the rest of your life
The flyer
Says this way to the rave
And yes
We should have flown

Fat Roland

Further Fats: Chosen Words: E is for Ecstacy (2010)

Further Fats: Electronic Sound magazine: the future is buttocks (2013)

Mar 19, 2017

You too can hire Fat Roland's chewed vegetables-- er, I mean-- words

I'm keen to get more work as a freelance journalist. But before I talk about that, let me get something off my chest.

Reviewing music is not a natural thing to do. Who forces albums down their ears, swishes the music round their head, then vomits it out as words? You don't see that in nature. do you. You don't see bunny rabbits chewing up lettuce then snotting out an essay on vegetable distribution.

Music reviewers are the scum of the earth. They drain all that is good in the mystery when discovering new stuff. Anyone who reviews music should be reviewed themselves. "Uses the word 'soundscape' too much: one star." See how you like it THEN, music reviewers.

I'm lying, of course. People who write about music all deserve sainthoods. Although this is not a blog of music reviews because I only mention stuff I enjoy, I like reviewing stuff. It's something I've done on and off for...

*gets calculator*

...92,000 years.

I've spent a day finalising a handful of album reviews for Electronic Sound. The albums I've been writing about today are, respectively: accomplished, epic, astonishing, pointless. disgusting and banging. One of those is Clark's new album.

Back to my original point. My writing is for hire. If you would like me to write for you, get in touch. I know many words such as, um, 'soundscape'. I also do interviews and stupid rants (see also: my column for Electronic Sound).

Let me be your unnatural yet talented lettuce-chewing bunny rabbit. Click here to start writing an email to me right away.

Mar 17, 2017

Orbital get a keyboard fixed

The Orbital brothers push five pounds across the counter. The grey-faced man pockets the money and hands them a Casio keyboard.

“So it’s fixed?” says one of the Orbital brothers (can’t remember which one). “You mended the problem with our synthesiser?”

“All fixed,” says the man. He picks a piece of fluff off his jacket.

The Orbital brothers look down at the Casio keyboard on the repair shop counter. Its buttons are missing. They have been replaced by small blobs of blue-tack. And the black keys are clearly sticks of liquorice stuck down with chewing gum.

“Where are the...”

“Best I could do,” says the man. “All your sounds are lost. And it’ll last about six minutes of moderate usage. But, you know, it’s fixed.”

“What about all the noises we made for Chime?” says one of the Orbital brothers (can’t remember which one).

“What about the Goldfrapp vocals? Or the new Satan edits for the Wonky album?” says the other Orbital brother (can’t remember which one).

“The stuff we did for the Olympic ceremony? Is it all gone?” says the other Orbital brother (can’t remember how many there are).

The man’s brow furrows. He bristles a hand over his stubble. He looks at all the Orbital brothers, directly into their numerous faces.

“That’s why,” he says, “you should always back up.”

That, faithful blog reader, was a little story I just wrote about how, when my computer broke the other day, I lost my entire digital music collection. Call it an allegory, if you will. A bitter, painful allegory. 

*launches Spotify*

Further Fats: Orbital, Manchester 2009: please miss, can I go to the toilet? (2009)

Further Fats: Bleep Years day fourteen: Orbital's Planet Of The Shapes, 1993 (2012)

(Picture: Ken Eakin)

Mar 15, 2017

Moiré's London techno looks to the sky

Moiré calls his music "London techno". It's about time London started releasing techno. Y'know, instead of that "knees up Mother Brown" Chas 'n' Dave stuff.

Hard industry underpins everything about Moiré's new album No Future, out on Ghostly International. You can feel the steel of the city. But it's a work that looks to the sky too: track titles like Magma Dream and Jupiter are clues to its Philip K Dick influence.

Here is a stream to chuck your ears at (below). On Lost You, featuring the vocals of LTJ Bukem's mate DRS, there are swear words. It's how they talk in that London.

(Fat Roland would like to apologise to everyone in London for this blog post. Next time, he will choose a better target such as Wales or France or Pluto or basically anywhere that is not Manchester.)

Further Fats: Bleep Years day nineteen: LTJ Bukem's Horizons, 1995 (2012)

Further Fats: My first time performing in London was-- oh hold on, I just need to pop in here for Rizlas (2016)

Mar 13, 2017

Ed Sheeran is here to destroy us all

Every song is Ed Sheeran.

Or at least it feels that way. This week, Ed Sheeran shifted so many albums, he outsold the next 771 bestsellers combined. Not the next 71. The next 771.

He has so many songs in the top 20 singles chart right now, I had to produce this graphic (below). These are rough screenshots I took of this week's chart. You can tell which tracks are not Ed Sheeran: I have struck them out with a cross.

Click the graphic for a bigger view.

Everything is Ed Sheeran right now.

So much so, I have added a Sheeranizer to this website which will filter out any blog posts that don't mention Ed Sheeran. You can see the Sheeranizer in the top right corner of this website if you're viewing it on a desktop.

If you can't see the Sheeranizer, you're either reading this on a mobile phone, or it's several months later and everyone has forgotten who this guy is. Ted Shearings? Edge Earring? Bed Sharon? No sorry, can't quite remember the name.

This is like the real life version of that autumn leaves picture.

Which leads me to one question. What is Ed Sheeran up to? Why does Ed Sheeran need to be everywhere so much all of the time?

Because it's a grab for power. We were all fixated on Justin Biebpipe and yet here comes the Suffolk scamp taking over everything.

Ed Sheeran is in charge now. Ed Sheeran will not be held back. If you try and stop Ed Sheeran, he will tear you to pieces. Ed Sheeran will bite your face off.


Either that or people quite like listening to his music. One or the other.

Mar 11, 2017

Too slow slow, hush hush, three oh three*

Why do I keep missing 303 Day?

For those not up on their music technology, '303' refers to a music-making box called the Roland TB-303 Bass Line which was made by the Roland corporation back when everyone was into Kajagoogoo and Toto.

The silver box had a built-in sequencer. Party kids high on emulsion and terps quickly worked out you could get a biting acidic sound in the higher registers of this bass unit. And electronic music's longest-lasting underground genre was born.

Two acid tracks three decades apart, there.

And yet, I keep missing the most important day of the year. The one date in which we can all come together by tweeting alone from our respective bedrooms about how great acid house music is. That date is, of course, 3/03.

Nope. Completely missed it. I should blog on March 3rd every year about the wonders of acid house and acid techno and all things acid but I don't. Tsssch. Bad blogger.

I fear that, back in the 1980s, instead of buying that magical silver box I would have been bopping to Kajagoogoo. That, blogchums, is the real horror of me missing 303 Day.

*I'm hoping this is a reference to a Kajagoogoo lyric. I may be getting my bands mixed up.

Further Fats: Syntheme's winsome shit, Kompakt's ambient 'shosts' and Circlesquare's dullness (2009)

Further Fats: Painting 2010 beige: Eno, Orb, Hardfloor and Seefeel (2010)

Mar 9, 2017

What's in the Unbox? Techno remixes and new Future Sound of London

You know that film where there's a couple of cops and a bad guy and they're near some telegraph poles and there's something in a box and they're all like "what's in the box, what's in the box" and it turns out to be Chris Martin's head or something?

You'll be pleased to know that has nothing to do with the latest in the Unboxed Brain series of remixed records that span off from last year's Brainbox album from De:tuned. Listen to samples below.

This seventh remix EP has techno heavyweights Kirk Degiorgio, Mark Broom and The Black Dog producing reworks of techno heavyweights B12 and Scanner, while there is a new track from techno heavyweights Future Sound of London.

No wonder its unboxed - it's too heavy to lift.

Further Fats: Saturday night, I feel my brain is getting hot (2012)

Mar 7, 2017


This is it. This must be the end.

Welcome to my 1,000th blog post. It has taken 12 years, two months and 22 days to get to this point. When I posted "watch this stain" in 2004, I was in black and white, and all I wore was a petticoat. These days it's all skateboards, telephones and haircuts.

There have been huge musical milestones while this blog has been online. Band Aid 20. Downloads. Ed Sheeran. YouTube. Band Aid 20. Smart phones. Biebermania. Band Aid 20.

But it's the world of electronic music that has been most turbulent. This website has survived Burial dubstep, Skrillex dubstep, witch house, chillcore, the 80s revival, the 90s revival, autotuning, sidechaining, two Orbital splits, the Harlem Shake, the Technics relaunch, and Mr Aphex Twin opening the nozzle and then some.

Because of the millennium bug, there is no way a blog can continue beyond a thousand posts. So this is the last ever-- wait, hold on, the phone's ringing.

...Yes, this is he.
...It can? That's not what the blog authorities told me.
...What do you mean I have to continue? On whose authority?
...Oh I see. Yes, they ARE a very important person.
...I am a bit annoyed, yes. I'd planned a retirement.
...What? Yes of course bloggers retire. I'll have you know, I earned money.
...Huh? Well, about 75 quid, I think.
...No, not per year. Since 2004. Why are you laughing?
...Now you're just being rude. I'm putting the phone down. Twazmuppet.
...Yes, I'm still here-- Hey! You just hung up on me. Dammit.

So I suppose I'd better continue, typing into the void, my keyboard spinning through the deadness of space. Thank you for reading any one of the previous 999 posts. If you want a more serious take on blogging, firstly WHY, secondly have a look at my blogging tips from 2011. Or read my decade nonsense from 2014.

And thank you to Blogger for remaining pretty much consistent all this time, even though your spellcheck still doesn't recognise "bloggers".

Take it away, Moby. I've been waiting YEARS to post this.

Mar 5, 2017

Death of a computer: what I discovered while nozzling out the dust

My computer died. Again. It was inevitable - I'd been "downloading" spray cheese into its portals for eight years.

Before I took it to the PC place to get it either cremated or resurrected as some kind of blue-screen zombie, I opened it up to hoover out the inside. This is what I found.

> Dust.

> Rust.

> Musk.

> Clippings, various types.

> A skellington (not pictured).

> Steve Brookstein (pictured), despite the restraining order.

> A small commune of reasonably successful dog walkers.

> The momentary tension between smugness and embarrassment when a friend spots you browsing creative writing books in the local library.

> Sixteen black holes, one of which may just be a big spider.

> The A56.

> Spray cheese. To be honest, this one wasn't a surprise.

Mar 3, 2017

Listen to Batu's noisy woodpecker

I don't go on about woodpecker techno enough.

That's a thing now. Did you not get the memo? A couple of distressed squirrels should have dropped it off before scuttling back into the forest.

I'm not sure when woodpeckers started making techno. I know in the mid-2000s you had all those peacock prog-metal bands. All that preening and overwrought guitar solos. Give me a break.

And there was that time a sparrow barbershop quartet won X Factor. They were pretty awful and the rapping albatross should have won.

Don't get me started on pigeon funk.

Anyway, this new Murmur EP by Bristol's Batu, on his own Timedance label, is gloriously awkward (samples below). It is indeed the kind of sound I'd expect if woodpeckers made techno. Which they don't. The squirrels lied.

Further Fats: 13 bird related facts about Merzbow's Masami Akita (2009)

Further Fats: Finding healthy pop wheat amid the pop forest fire of, um, doom (2014)

Mar 1, 2017

Miaow miaow Ceephax miaow Acid miaow miaow miaow Crew

I start March with a very important message. This is for the musicians and producers that read this blog. Or for anyone friends with people that make music. Print out this blog post. Read it to them.

This is the message: Music makers, you must tweet about cats more.

Cats stuck in trees. Cats falling off walls. Cats accidentally driving tractors. Cats elected to prominent positions in civic societies. Cats writing electronic music blogs.

Oh and cats no longer stuck in trees.

I know what you're going to ask. You're right - this doesn't mean you can't include dogs in your music.

For example, listen to Murray Mint below, a track taken from Ceephax Acid Crew's soundtrack for the Troma comedy Essex Spacebin (pictured). Seriously, have a listen. Those are dogs in that track.

Or cats trying to deceive us. Woah, where did that thought come from? What if all dog samples are cats doing impressions of dogs? There are no dogs in music: just faking felines. That would be underha-- er-- underpaw.

I'm confused now. Ignore what I said before. Never trust cats because they might not be cats. And certainly don't tweet about cats, I mean, what are you, crazy?!

Glad I cleared that one up. Phew.