May 30, 2007
Mark E gets it on with Mouse On Mars while Amon Tobin gets it on with a spoon and pans of varying sizes
If you slashed me in half, maybe with a machete or a surprisingly sharp no-entry sign, you would realise the word MANCHESTER is written through me like BLACKPOOL through rock.
So when guitar electronistas Mouse On Mars (pictured) teamed up with the legendary Manc combo The Fall to form a whole new group called Von Sudenfed, I was bound to froth at the mouth whether or not it was any good.
Thankfully, it is any good.
Their debut album Tromatic Reflexxions is a clattering, shattering mess of bleeps and beats and Mark E Smith yelps. The LCD Soundsystem-style bedding is not as experimental as other Mars material; it is immediate and urgent and fits so well with Smith's distorted ramblings.
All counted, The Fall have released over 90 albums. Von Sudenfed's album stands as a highlight in that swaggering legacy. If you like The Fall, buy it.
Less successful is Telefon Tel Aviv's Remixes Compiled.
This is a tottering pile of production work stretching back to the days when they were in short underpants. It includes a Nine Inch Nails remix, but only because Aviv were bumming studio space from Trent Reznor. It's an adequate compilation, but it won't last more than a handful of plays on your bright green Tomy CD player. (What do you mean you haven't got one?)
Thirdly, Foley Room is Amon Tobin experimenting with 'found sound'. In other words, he has been capturing noises with the magic of microphones rather than ripping from other records.
The result is a collection of sporadic sheep bleats and cutlery clinks that goes on for two hours.
I am, of course, lying. It's the usual blunted cinematic denseness from Tobin, keeping your head in the reefer clouds and your feet in rock and roll hell. Bar a few extra oddities (lions!), there's nothing new here, But that's the point; he's not allowed to change because he's good.
'Though it does include kitchen utensils, so I was almost right.
May 27, 2007
It's been like a ghost town round these parts recently, so let me warm your chilled heart by swaddling you in free music.
In the second installment of my occasional series of free mp3s, here's a singer who has one finger on the pulse of electronica and another on the pulse of classic soul. Probably with separate hands.
Jamie Lidell (pictured) is 36 days younger than me and sounds 62 times better than he normally does thanks to this stupendous Luke Vibert acid remix of his A Little Bit More track.
The jabby, almost ADHD synths match Lidell's frenetic performance style. Consider yourself swaddled:
ZOIK! This mp3 is no longer available. Go to the latest mpSunday here.
May 17, 2007
This is the dullest video I have posted on this blog, but a weird vicar playing Debussy on a theremin is worthy of anyone's time.
It's actually performance artist Eliot Fintushel from the wild and wacky land of California.
It isn't exactly the best example of theremin playing. This unique instrument has been used to much greater effect by a million people from Led Zeppelin to Marilyn Manson. And there was a band I saw at the Roadhouse once but I can't remember their name, so let's move on, shall we?
No, comedy theremin is okay by me. Bill Bailey does comedy theremin well - and a damn sight better than this other video by Fintushel. I think he's trying to get all Sinead O'Connor on our ass, but it's about as effective as a chocolate fireman.
May 15, 2007
Q1 The First Commoner of the Land is the Speaker of the House of Commons, a.k.a. Michael Martin
Q2 Tony Blair is the UK politician that has been played (or parodied) by Michael Sheen, Robert Lindsay and David Tennant.
Q3 Paddy Ashdown’s first name is Jeremy, Obviously.
Q4 The Sun prefered to call Paddy Ashdown Paddy Pantsdown in the early 1990s.
Q5 In his own words, Iain Duncan Smith was a quiet man.
Q6 In the 2006 local elections, (b) Independent Kidderminster Hospital and Health Concern ended up with the most councillors out of them, The Christian Peoples Alliance and SALT.
Q7 William Pitt The Younger’s father is called William Pitt The Elder. Minus a thousand brownie points if you got this wrong.
Q8 In no particular order, Simon Hughes, Chris Huhne and Sir Menzies Campbell came first, second and third in the 2006 Liberal Democrat leadership contest. No, not Lembit Biscuit or Mark Oatcake.
Q9 Dennis Skinner called the Minister of Agriculture a "slimy" and a "wart", said the only thing growing in the 1980s were “the lines of coke in front of Boy George and the rest of the Tories”, told the House of Lords to go to hell and called Dr. Owen “a pompous sod” – after which he offered to withdraw the word “pompous”. His infamous nickname is the Beast of Bolsover.
Q10 David Cameron has been an MP for six years.
Q11 David Cameron's constituency is Witney, in Oxfordshireland.
If you got 10, you are Mike Paradinas and you are the foremost genius of electronic music. If you got 9, you are Max Tundra, which makes you a genius, but just not as recognised. If you got 8 or less, you are Adamski, the keyboard wizard.
May 13, 2007
Every few Sundays, I'll pop an mp3 onto the site which you can download and listen to until you sick up noise from the very depths of your ear drums.
The series, which may or may not last, will be called mpSunday. Every time I post a new mp3 for mpSunday, I'll delete the previous mp3.
So get 'em while they're hot.
The first track is Clark's Ted. He's signed to Warp, his first name is Chris, he's from St Albans and he played Futuresonic last night. Ted seems kind of upbeat, almost dance-floor friendly, but it's just.. a little squinted.
PING! This mp3 is no longer available. See here for the latest mpSunday.
May 11, 2007
These are full recordings (or "podcasts" if you will) of several shows I co-presented last month.
When I say full, I don't mean full. We've had to edit out the music because if you don't edit out the music, the tubes of the internet become entangled and Donald Trump sues you because he owns Google. I think.
If you are going to listen to them, right-clicky your little mouse and 'save target as'. I wouldn't want the interweb service provider dude to get upset because my twenty million readers start streaming my guff.
Now, guff my streams, that's a different matter. You are more than welcome to do that at any time. If I knew what it meant.
May 8, 2007
Lee and I waded through a mire of pedantry and trivia last week in the latest of our pub quizzes.
I'll post the general knowledge quiz in the next couple of weeks. Meanwhile, here is the politics round with some of the more boring questions bitten off and spat out onto the sawdust floor of best-forgotten memories. Answers on the Fat Roland blog in about a week's time.
Oh and before you switch your brain on, you'll notice some Google things around the site. It's just a bit of fun and I'm fascinated to see what links the Google ads throw up.
Speaking of throwing up, quiz until you are sick at Nine Tenths Full Of Penguins.
Wading boots on; here we go:
Q1 Who is the First Commoner of the Land?
Q2 Which UK politician has been played (or parodied) by Michael Sheen, Robert Lindsay and David Tennant?
Q3 What’s Paddy Ashdown’s first name?
Q4 What did The Sun prefer to call Paddy Ashdown in the early 1990s?
Q5 In his own words, what kind of man was Iain Duncan Smith?
Q6 In the 2006 local elections, who ended up with the most councillors out of these three parties: (a) The Christian Peoples Alliance, (b) Independent Kidderminster Hospital and Health Concern, (c) SALT.Independent Kidderminster Hospital and Health Concern
Q7 Name William Pitt The Younger’s father.
Q8 In no particular order, who came first, second and third in the 2006 Liberal Democrat leadership contest?
Q9 He called the Minister of Agriculture a "slimy" and a "wart". He said the only thing growing in the 1980s were “the lines of coke in front of Boy George and the rest of the Tories”. He told the House of Lords to go to hell and he called Dr. Owen “a pompous sod” – after which he offered to withdraw the word “pompous”. Who is this controversial MP and what is his infamous nickname?
Q10 For how long has David Cameron been an MP?
Q11 Name David Cameron's constituency.
May 5, 2007
Luke Williams usually quivers under the duvet pretending he's Quinoline Yellow, a melodic electronic artist attached to the seminal Skam label and now to his own Uchelfa. (Dol-Goy Assist album pictured.)
But now he's under the bed with the bogeyman pretending he is someone else. Now, he answers to Tatamax, and he's just blurted out a superb album of cut-up sounds and dream noises.
It's called Wells Sentry and it's his debut album as Tatamax. Some will label it 'musique concrete'. This is where lost souls frolick through the long grass with a mini-disc recorder, a microphone and several large Francophile pretenses.
It is indeed a disc full of detailed found-sounds; there's a great snooker ball clack which bounces around the inexplicably-christened 54434D iadem.
But with the exception of the Venetian Snares-lite Kill Switches Demo, this is a haunted house of wafting dynamics and cheap plastic sonics that will keep you entertained long after the ambience has tip-toed back to spook your nightmares.
While you're in HMV confusing them with your request for this particular piece of digital tomfoolery, why not ask for Emissions: From The Archive?
This is a compilation of early Two Lone Swordsmen tracks. When I say early, I mean it's way before they started sounding like PiL. The 'Emissions' bit refers to the label they ran before they were scooped up by Warp Records.
It could be very standard upbeat mid-90s lounge dance, if it wasn't infused with late-night-smoky-clubness. Expect your clothes to smell in the morning.
And remember - this is from the same production brain that brought you Sabres Of Paradise extra-orgasmically-gorgeous Smokebelch.
Finally, I would type about Matthew Herbert's new offering Score, which is a big pile of music he's written for films, musicals, ballets, jazz clubs and scouting jamborees. I lied about the last two.
But I don't like it much. Instead let me spend the last few lines of this internetular missive telling you I am writing this from an internet cafe in Southport (time used 46min, balance £2) inbetwixt running a bookshop for a chorus of Salvation Army people.
I bet Aphex Twin's never done such a thing. Run a bookshop for the Salvation Army, that is. I'm sure he's been in an internet cafe. I don't know. You'd better ask him. Don't ask me--
--damn, that's £2.50.
May 3, 2007
But I couldn't help linking to this review of the Dump Valve label. It's one of those articles that strays into Really Interesting Territory (TM).
Writer Anthony F Wilson (that's an F not an H) posits the theory that there isn't much to separate Warp Records' techno revolution with the latest revolution in British music known as grime. I love saying "Dizzeee Raaaaarskuw", so grime gets my vote anyday.
He's also made me a little blushy about using the phrase "IDM" so liberally; I think he makes a valid point. Or is that just my m*ddle-cl*ss angst? Read the article here.
May 1, 2007
After years of fiddling with the minutae of voice manipulation and techno doo-dah-dery, Bjork (pictured) is back with what could only be described as a "choon".
That's the kind of "choon" that must, by law, be accompanied by a gurning grin and random air chops, possibly even throwing a T shape across the room to a confused but amiable grandmother.
With Timbaland on production, Bjork's Earth Intruders is the Icelandic chantause in tribal animal skin ripping apart the bones of Gary Numan's cars and spitting them out at anyone who dares come near. It's a progressive, aggressive pop song with sharp, nasty, bitey teeth, graar graar.
So Bjork is back - and how. Expect new album Volta to go stratospheric from next week and look our for her first tour since the prehistoric ages.
Also worth a lizzle through your hizzle phizzle (listen, head, phones) is the perverted Bee Gee squeal of Battles' latest single Atlas. I imagine this is the sound a startled alien would make when suddenly confronted by Stephen Hawking doing wheelies on the moon. A work of astonishing originality and definitely a Marmite moment if message boards are anything to go by.
If you fancy your electronica a bit more, um, commercial, try Boom Bip's Sacchrilege EP.
Less blippy and more electro than previous Boom Bip, this is gorgeous intensity with a classic techno vein running through its, um, commercial heart.
The only thing, it's just a little, um, commercial.