Jul 25, 2007

Reqing out* to retina.IT gets the headnod over stalking Sven Väth and Andrew Weatherall in The Orbit


So what musics have been troubling me ears?

Let's begin with Cylob (pictured), who made his name in the 90s remixing the likes of Aphex Twin and Mike Flowers Pops, both of whom sport more hair than they deserve to. The 'lob span his first reel-to-reels in The Orbit club, Leeds, a venue which arguably spawned my Fat Roland career. I remember watching DJs Andrew Weatherall and Sven Väth with intense interest, hovering behind them like a stalker. As I left the club, I had a lucid moment when I decided, with a theatrical flourish, that yes the world needed my DJing skills. (It didn't, but I went into DJing anyway.)

Cylob's new track Rock The Trojan Fader isn't as immediate as his lovable classic Cut The Midrange Drop The Bass, but it has the same playfulness and eccentricity. Vocoded voices dance up and down analogue keyboards while everything else collapses into a heap of flurried beats.

It bodes well for new album Trojan Fader Style, which I haven't bothered to listen to yet because it's all one long track.

On to everyone's favourite aging relative, Unkle.

The moment Unkle persuaded arch-miserablist Thom Yorke to wail about rabbits and headlights, I was transfixed like a rabbit in some headlights. Yeah, neat simile, I know. Since that high point last decade, we haven't had much output from the band founded by James Lavelle and David Holmes-collaborator Tim Goldsworthy. So the new Unkle album War Stories should be a rare elixir.

It isn't. It is a decent rock album, and comparisons to Kasabian and Stone Roses are fair. The opening tune Chemistry reminds me of Puff Diddly's ridiculously entertaining Come With Me: that's not necessarily a good thing.

But the Fat Roland blog is about electronica, and when Unkle are collaborating with the likes of Josh Homme and The Cult's Ian Astbury, it just ain't gonna ring my bell.

Like former member DJ Shadow, they seem to have found a formula that works. Generally. Most of the time. Kind of. They just need to move on from trip-hop rock crossovers, which were vogue about 52 years ago.

Back to the good music. When I played retina.IT's infectious Tetsub at Manchester's TV21 bar recentlly, I was overwhelmed with a head-noddy Req moment. Anyone who's got into Req will understand me.

retina.IT have now released Semeion, a greatest hits of sorts, full of mid-tempo glitchy bleeps and distorted yet distant funk.

Their studio lies within erupting distance of Mount Vesuvius, and I wonder if they haven't got a satellite or two picking up the sinister clicks and scrapes sprinkled across this sparse, lunar album.

It's such a pleasing effort, lying somewhere between the coldness of Robin Rimbaud and the chunkiness of Clark, that I'm going to give this the head nod over Cylob and Unkle.

I'm careful about who I hyperlink to on this site. Thankfully, I got through this post without mentioning that Unkle used to record in Meatloaf's recording studio. Ah dammit, there's a link to Meatloaf. Oy, stop linking to Meatloaf. Aaw look, Blogger's gone and put a label down there too...

*yes, Reqing out. I just invented it.

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