Jan 30, 2010

Album reviews: Shlohmo's clunky knobs, Ambient News's sepia hue and Mark E spluttering all over your face

Right then, enough about Autechre's leakiness for now. Time for some slap-dash album reviews.

Ambient News

The recent self-titled album from Ambient News doesn't push the envelope so much as snuggle inside it to avoid disturbing the postman.

The busy little beat smothered in vocoders on Moon On My Forehead is as energetic as this album gets. It will appeal to those who like looking at their ambient music with sepia-hued retinas: think Tangerine Dream, 1990's Plaid in simmering mode, or particularly the Feed Your Head compilations.

Hiding behind the Ambient News moniker is Cylob, the man who brought us a superb subversion of rave culture in Rewind. This alternative guise gives him the chance to mess around with harmoniums and gamelan-style 'earth' ambience.

Ambient News sounds incomplete. If it was BBC Ambient News 24, at the top of every hour, it would have about 15 minutes of newsreaders filing their nails. It's almost as if Cylob had been gathering ideas together for a long time, but never quite realised his vision...

Mark E

...unlike Mark E. This hypnotic house music peddler has also been hoarding tracks, but his resulting Works 2005 - 2009 compilation is a much grander affair than Ambient News. I wouldn't normally delve into disco house on this website, but this album splutters quality all over your face, licks it off with a big lizard tongue, then spits all the quality back in your face again.

You see, for someone who's made his diminuitive name giving us his take on Janet Jackson and Diana Ross (now there's a duet I'd like to see), a lot of these tracks are a bit too slow, a bit too subtle and dangerously hypnotic. And that's a good thing.

As for individual cuts, I'm not mad on the funkiness of Sun Shadow, even though Mr Scruff has been pummeling away at that track like a Daily Mail reader who's just discovered a hammer for the first time. But Mark E's reworks of Slave 1 and Plastic People are house music at its most sexy and sublime.


Finally, us IDM fans have been dropped a cracking album from Los Angeles beat scientist Shlohmo (pictured above, not to be confused with the beatboxer with a similar name).

Shlomoshun Deluxe is an album of brittle lo-fi beats in the Hudson Mohawke / J Dilla vein. And when I say lo-fi, I'm not kidding. He plugged a mic into his laptop, along with his dad's ancient Jupiter 6 (an old Roland synth with clunky knobs) and, somehow, expected to produce a good album.
He did: it's my favourite album this week. The emphasis is all on the groove, and it has a David Holmes wideness to it - which is a remarkable achievement considering he made the whole thing from sellotape, string, splittle and sausages. Well, maybe not the sausages.

Jan 27, 2010

Autechre's Oversteps: fake leak scandal and a cellarful of gibbons

(Edit: see the comments on this post for a link to the real Autechre leak. Meanwhile, read about the February 2010 release of the album here.)

For a few giddy moments last night, I held in my hairy hands Autechre's glistening new album, Oversteps.

I wrote a brilliant review which described the album as a meistewerk: surprising, disorientating, devastating and effective. My writing was so brilliant, Shakespeare would have drooled on his ruff.

And yet, one of my hundred gibbon researchers leant close to me later in the evening and said, "Fats, it's a fake. The album leak is a fake."

I was devastated. I punched him hard in the face and sent him to back to his damp cellar without a banana.

Deflating balloon farts

Oh how the review trilled. I spoke of chiming frequency modulation, a playful whirr of whistles and bleeps like a pissed-up R2D2, ambient interludes effusing cold isolation and creeping horror, staccato hits that sounded like lip smacking or a deflating balloon fart.

It turns out the album, discovered by many people on file-sharing site Soulseek, was the eponymous debut by Altered:Carbon and was set for release on February 7th. The band are relative unknowns and, yes, they do sound a bit like Autechre.

To my shame, I went from caning the album on my gramophone to being no longer interested. I careered from simpering love to cold indifference. Just because it was no longer Manchester's finest electronic music duo.

Why? It's a storming old-school techno album full of analogue fatness and eerie four-chord melodies. Was it cheapened because it wasn't Autechre? Do I trade off names so easily? Why does my mind work like that?


The clues were there. This was the sound of not-Autechre having fun in the studio, which seemed out of character. It was a move by not-Autechre towards solid beats and structure rather than difficult algorithms, which should have set alarm bells hooting.

But the biggest clue was in this not-Autechre album feeling much more part of a wider musical landscape than the usual, isolationist Autechre beloved of purists: a synth chime borrowed from In Sides-era Orbital; Windowlicker drum stabs; more than a brace of head-nods to Plaid.

If Altered:Carbon deliberately leaked the album pretending to be Autechre, they are reprehensible and should be sent into the corner of electronica.

Knock-down ginger

But I suspect it was some wag playing the online version of knock-down ginger to tease uber-earnest techno fans. I hope a new band gets a splatterful of extra listeners through this bizarre publicity.

Unless, of course, Altered:Carbon are Autechre in disguise. Ooooh, my head hurts. I leave this blog post saddened at my own fickleness. I'm off downstairs to shoot all the gibbons.

Get Altered:Carbon via creative commons label Section 27 when it comes out. Meanwhile, the best way of hearing Autechre's Oversteps is is by pre-ordering it now. While you're at it, read my other Autechre writings.

(Thanks to Rob for making this post possible in a way I didn't quite expect.)

Jan 24, 2010

Here's the skinny (dip) on Warp's Babe Rainbow and Flying Lotus

And now, some news from the Warp label.

Two of these facts are absolute hogwash and were written whilst I was high on methane. Three of these facts are 100% genuine leather newsbites about Warp Records and their artists.

Babe Rainbow

Babe Rainbow (pictured) is the newest act to sign to the label. He is a Canadian experimentalist sitting somewhere amid Req, Burial and anything ending in 'step'. This has been covered a-plenty by other websites, so I'll post more when his debut Shaved EP hits in February. Listen to loads of Babe stuff on Tumblr.

Achy breaky heart

Last week, Warp Records founder Steve Beckett announced to an astonished media that he was, in fact, Miley Cyrus. Tongues began wagging on the set of the 3D kid's film Bolt, where "Miley" would spend hours listening to mp3 demos from wannabe Squarepushers. Billy Ray Cyrus' first dubstep EP will be out on Warp in the spring.

Flying Lotus

I mentioned the release of Flying Lotus' DJ kicks CD in my 2010 preview, but I can add to that the release of a fully-formed FlyLo studio album too. Cosmogramma will be out on April 20th on Warp. He is quickly becoming the godfather of modern beat production, and all ears will be tuned in. There's even a Massive Attack remix on the way, according to this interview in Pitchfork. I know this is exciting, because on my notes for this blog post, I have scrawled "OH YEAH".

Warp Records for Dummies

This Dummy Guide to Warp Records is wonderful, and a definite must-read for Warp noobs and vets alike. I wish I had written it: Rob Gordon throwing the phone is classic rock 'n' roll angst. It finishes with a list of essential Warp albums, so if you're looking to fill up your virtual music shelves, here's where to start.

Skinny dipping

Warp Records is relocating to the house next door to me. They've decided London didn't really work out, so they've bought a modern semi-detached bungalow complete with swimming pool. I am allowed to skinny dip any time I want, and they have promised to furnish my villa with all-new furniture made with off-cuts from vinyl records. I hope the grooves don't chafe.

Jan 21, 2010

Fat Roland's number one album chart death rant

This year, the pop chart will deposit its territorial wastage on another milestone: the thousandth UK number one album.

But before we get all rose-tinted about the South Pacific spending sixteen months at number one, Simpsons-ified versions of Beatles album covers and Orbital showing everyone how a dance music album should be done, let me first spray a phialful of caution in your face.

The album is officially dead.

Kaput. Extinct. Its tongue is lolling. It has crosses for eyes. The album is exactly six feet lower than the soles of your shoes. It is dead.

Simon Cowell's bungalow

This is nothing to do with the much-fondled arguments about unbundled mp3s and the like. Everyone knows great albums are still being made and it will be a cold day in Simon Cowell's bungalow before the general public gives up on the idea of the pop album.

No, this is because the last few number one albums have been beyond horrible.

They have made me want to squeeze out my eyeballs with my buttocks before repeatedly eating and then regurgitating them until I puke out every last one of my internal organs only to use the resulting colon-mush to smother my ears in damp, decaying human insides because, and I repeat, the last few number one albums have been beyond horrible.

Let's look at the evidence. In October, we had yet another number one album from a woman who has the most appropriate surname since James Blunt: Alexandra Burke. This was quickly followed by an emaciated megamouth in red PVC, Cheryl Cole. She may have called Lily Allen a "chick with a dick", but that doesn't make her 3 Words album any less noisome.

If only she had some tunes, it would smell better.

Poor death metaphors

Then in November came the idiocy that was JLS by JLS, in which a doctor tells them they are about to die because of an embarrassing abundance of poor death metaphors in Beat Again ("I need love CPR," they waffle, although performing chest-pumps on a healthy adult can lead to broken ribs and internal damage… let's hope, anyway).

When JLS lost the top spot after one week, there was even more X Factor nonsense with consecutive number one albums from the franchise's out-and-out stars, Leona "Does Anyone Remember Me" Lewis and Susan "Same Nickname As Leona" Boyle. Between them, there's more screech than a box set of Saved By The Bell.

And so, as 2009 reached its disgusting climax to make way for the post-coital cigarette of 2010, who saved us from such X Factor nonsense? Who, dear reader, who?

Sinatra-defiling cheese-monger

Only award-hoovering, Timberlake-mimicking, Sinatra-defiling, Santa-impersonating, cheese-mongering muzak-churning ice hockey bore Michael Bublé. There is nothing crazy about his Crazy Love album. He provokes fan comments such as "thats ridiculace, michael bublé is amaing" (sic). In this Darwinian world, he should not exist: he is rubella / Betamax / Nightmares On Wax's cutting edge.

And yes, Bublé appeared on X Factor.

The next number one album was Sunny Side Up by Paolo Nutini, a six-month-old album of beigeness that makes Travis' The Man Who look like death metal. And if you think his music exists solely to soundtrack montages in Scrubs and One Tree Hill, you're right, it does.

The current number one is by Florence And The Machine and, sweet sweet reader, I don't need to tell you that she's seventeen levels of wrong. The Source are probably rolling in their grave at her treatment of You Got The Love. It least, though, it's a proper album by someone slightly more contemporary than Cliff Richard.

We'll probably get our thousandth UK number one album in May, and it will warrant some column inches from geeky Guardian journalists.

I can guarantee you, though, it won't be as influential as the 100th number one (John Lennon's Imagine) nor as stylish as the first (Sinatra's Songs For Swingin' Lovers). It will simply be a little poot of air in a vast chasm of nothingness because, on the basis of quality number ones, the album is well and truly deceased.

Jan 19, 2010

Best electronica: some quick YouTube links

If you feel a bit out of the loop with all this electronic blip-blop, and if Chris Evans is simply refusing to play the latest Mike Slott, then you might appreciate this list.

Here are ten tracks that have turned my head in the past year or so. You should definitely listen to them all, then get digging on the internet for more of the same. Each artist is tagged at the bottom of this post, so click through to see what else I've written about them.

It won't surprise you to know that there are more than ten acts out there: these were just the first ten I thought of. I would love it if you suggested more in the comments section.

If you're wondering where to start with modern IDM / electronica, Fat Roland's essential yet insubstantial YouTube link guide has got it covered:

Play the whole frickin' lot as a YouTube playlist or click on the links below:

Hudson Mohawke - Fuse

The Tuss - Rushup I Bank 12

Mount Kimbie - Maybes

Joy Orbison - Hyph Mngo

Rustie - Bad Science

Joker - Digidesign

Mike Slott - Gardening

Flying Lotus - 1983

Max Tundra - Will Get Fooled Again

Wisp - The Fire Above

Jan 17, 2010

Karen O versus Brian Eno: the alternative Oscar race

The grouchy Oscars have chucked sand in the face of Yeah Yeah Yeah's frontpiece Karen O and king of ambientronicableeps Brian Eno.

It seems that neither musical genius will be allowed to vye for the Best Original Score Oscar gong at the 2010 Academy Awards. Which is a shame for Karen O for her work on Wild Things, my favourite film of 2009.

The reasons are dull and not worth going into here - thank goodness Pitchfork have done that already - but this raises an important and probably era-defining question:

How else can we decide who's better? Karen O or Brian Eno?

Here's how. (Coughs.) Gentles and ladymen, I present the 2010 award for the Best-Original-Karen-O-Or-Brian-Eno. The nominees are: Karen O and Brian Eno. Let the judging commence.

Best real name

Karen O is obviously not her real name. Her proper name is Karen Lee Orzolek, which almost rhymes Roland Orzabel. But she is trumped by the ridiculous birth moniker of Brian Eno, which is Brian Peter George St. John le Baptiste de la Salle Eno. And that rhymes with nothing - like orange, modem or Christmas tree. Best real name: Brian Eno.

Stupidest album title

Brian Eno may have thrown us a couple of bones in the shape of January 7003: Bell Studies For The Clock Of The Long Now and Lady June's Linguistic Leprosy, but Karen O clearly wins because, with It's Blitz!, she clearly loves exclamation marks whereas the bald one thinks he's above such things. Stupidest album title: Karen O.

Best inventor

I don't think the Yeah Yeah Yeahs have ever invented anything, so Karen O tumbles at the first obstacle. Brian Eno, meanwhile, invented the Windows 95 start-up sound and is often incorrectly credited with the invention of ambient music. Best inventor: Brian Eno.

General coolness

This is a close one. Brian Eno helped out Belinda Carlisle on a French album. Karen O recorded a porn theme with Kool Keith. Brian Eno works for the Liberal Democrats. Karen O made music in a Manhatten loft apartment. Brian Eno produced Coldplay. Karen O wrote a song describing what happens when you stick your finger in a light socket. Like I said, it's a close one, but the O scrapes it. General coolness: Karen O.

Tie breaker: best anagram

'Brian Eno' is an anagram of 'One Brain', while 'Karen O Out Of The Yeah Yeah Yeahs' is both an anagram of 'Yo-ho-ho! A heathy Yankee features' and 'A Nauseate Feathery Hey Hooky Ho'. Best anagram: clearly Brian Eno.

The award for the Best-Original-Karen-O-Or-Brian-Eno goes to Mr Brian Eno.

Now, Brian, can you please keep your speech to less than three minutes. ...Okay, Brian, you can stop now. Brian. Brian! Stop now, Brian. ...Brian, you're just repeating things seemingly senselessly. Stop, Brian. I think he's stuck in some kind of algorithm. Brian!

Jan 14, 2010

Fat Roland challenges Words Dept: Words Dept breaks down in tears

I quite like a challenge. Like licking cats and sticking them to walls.

I once sledged in the snow with over a grand in my back pocket. It was a fun challenge and I still didn't regret it, even when I had to dry all the notes by hand afterwards.

And so, when I challenged Words Dept to name his favourite electronic albums, it seemed as simple as asking someone to do something as easy as lick a feline or lose all your life savings in a snow drift.

But it seems some considerable (and tearful) hand-wringing ensued, and it resulted in this brilliantly creative piece in which a journalist reviews his top ten as part of his top ten, and David Quinn calls me
"the über-lord of electronic music blogging"
which is obviously true, but I'm trying to keep it quiet. The moment this blog gets popular, it cheapens. Like Charles And Diana commemorative plates or Green Day picture discs.

Anyway, read Word Dept's Top Ten(ish) Electronic Music Tracks I Like. I am already a particular fan of numbers two, three, four, five, six and eleven, and the description in number six has a strange kind of genius about it.


Autechre's new album confirmed for March 2010

When I revealed the existence of a new Autechre album last week, it seemed like I was whistling into a black hole.

Apart from a few enthusiastic retweets on Twitter (thank you!), no other blogs took up the story; the internet kept up a nervous silence, as though it was trying not to agitate the delirious drunk in the corner.

At last, hurrah and thrice huzzah, that silence has been broken. Autechre themselves have revealed details of their new album.

After a launching a live tour, Oversteps will stride out on Warp Records on March 22nd (a day later in the States). It is their first album since Quarastice two years ago, which, if I remember rightly, had one of the last album covers drawn by Designers Republic before they shut their famous studio.

The track listing is as follows. Because the titles are as obtuse as ever, I have suggested some rhyming slang to help you commit them to memory:

1. (porgy and bess) r ess
2. (stupid flanders) ilanders
3. (fancy a bonbon?) known(1)
4. (808 state) pt2ph8
5. (peter kay) qplay
6. (dribbler's knee) see on see
7. (ally mcbeal) Treale
8. (hear ye! hear ye!) os veix3
9. (cockney glow) O=0
10. (dappy's an n-dub) d-sho qub
11. (theme bar in rio) st epreo
12. (erm... john and paul) redfall
13. (um, not sure about this one) krYlon
14. (oh, for flip's sake, this is getting ridiculous, are you 'aving a pop?) Yuop

See my original post last week when I revealed the (ever-so-flimsy) evidence of Autechre's new album. Oh then, of course, there was the now infamous Autechre album leak...

Jan 12, 2010

Chick lit rules! New singles from Joy Orbison, Flying Lotus, House Shoes, Pantha Du Prince and (phew!) Martin Kemp

Joy Orbison

Joy Orbison has announced a new EP, The Shrew Would Have Cushioned The Blow, to be released on February 22nd.

The Croydon mailroom worker, who started DJing at the pimply age of 13, provided one of 2009's highlights with Hyph Mngo. In Shrew, he gives us more of the usual Joy: swelling dubstep set to grime up the dancefloor with washes of insistent synths.

The EP features a remix by Actress and is probably the best mouse-like electronica since Mouse On Mars and, um, Vole-netian Snares.

Flying Lotus / House Shoes

Flying Lotus, that hunk of manly beat production, appears this month on a cute-looking 10" courtesy of the Do-Over crew. On The Do-Over Volume 1, there's FlyLo's Sangria Spin Cycles and, on the flip side of the disc, you'll find Motownie beatster House Shoes with his crunchy soul stormer The Makings.

Both tracks are crisper than a starched collar fresh out of the drier, but the best thing is the artwork (pictured), which feels all rather Northern Quartery, cheerful and, well, a bit chick-lit. And yes, it now means I can call Flying Lotus a big flowery girl and not feel bad about it.

Keep an eye on the Do-Over for more, um, doings in the future.

Pantha Du Prince

Pantha Du Prince is ready to pounce with his new album and Rough Trade debut Black Noise (as promised in my 2010 electronica preview).

But first, a single. The shoegaze influence that once dripped through the sound of Pantha Du Prince has well and truly dried up for his recent 12" The Splendour.

Now, we have pin-sharp four-four minimal techno with a kitchen full of clanks and micro-samples. It is pristine: you can see your face in it. I prefer the dirtiness of his 2004 album Diamond Daze, and The Splendour is unlikely to stick in your head for too long, but it's no less beautiful for that.

Martin Kemp

Martin Kemp has taken time out from touring Sign O' The Times with Kajagoogoo (I get my 80s music mixed up sometimes) to bring us a snappy, dark slice of twenty-tens dubstep.

Okay, it's a different Martin Kemp and it's a crap joke. This one is brother of Brackles and his recent single After The Night is an uneasy, primative slab of multi-rhythmic 2-step and should ensure new imprint Blunted Robot's place on this year's calendar.

Listen to The Shrew Would Have Cushioned The Blow here. Cast your ears on Sangria Spin Cycles and The Makings on the Do-Over blog. Hark ye The Splendour on the Rough Trade website. And listen to After The Night at Boomkat.

Jan 9, 2010

Much love from Four Tet - but an icy silence from Monolake

Four Tet

Kieran 'Four Tet' Hebden ambled down some strange improvisational avenues for a while, but he's back on the main road behind the wheel of his perfectly programmed bus to bring us his first album for ages.

There Is Love In You will hit at the end of this month. It follows his massive tune Moth with Burial and the spinning, rolling nine-minute epic single Love Cry, a track which waited nearly six minutes to drop a driving techno bassline that would make Fluke puke with joy.

There is precious little audio rattling about the internet but judging by Love Cry and another album track, Much Love To The Plastic People, we should expect sharp, driving electronica that has that trademark Four Tet subtlety.

If you're not mad on Four Tet, you could do better than get the album for your budgie.


That's not the only album worth stroking your speakers with this month. The other day, I posted some snow-themed electronica; it doesn't get much icier than Monolake's recent LP Silence (Monolake pictured).

With track titles like Avalanche and Infinite Snow, here's an album that will replace your spine with an icicle and stick your tootsies into a bucket of liquid hydrogen. The droning desolation (eg the screaming Shutdown) and barren voices (Null Pointer's autobot narrator) are saved from being utterly disconnected because of the warm, organic real-world samples.

Listen to Four Tet's Love Cry on Stereogum.  Listen to some Monolake Silence tracks on Boomkat.

Jan 6, 2010

Autechre will get-ya their new album in March 2010

Update: Since this blog post, Autechre have confirmed full details of their 2010 album. Jump to my latest piece on Autechre's new album.

In March 2010, we will get a new album from Autechre (other than this Sean Booth one, pictured).

The new album news is according to this Dutch plug for a gig taking place on 9th April. I'm no speaker of Dutch (I can manage as much as "ik ben gek op Amsterdam", which isn't even true.

But the wee bit of information further down the page reveals:

"In maart 2010 verschijnt hun tiende album."
which when mangled through Yahoo Babelfish, reads:
"In March 2010 their tenth album appears"
Then again, the next line, "Naar aloude gewoonte wordt daar tot op het laatste moment overbodig geheimzinnig over gedaan" ends up in Babelfish as:
"To ancient habit becomes there up to at the last moment superfluous mysteriously concerning done"
So it could be complete horse-blouse. But I have counted: Quaristice was their ninth album, so it seems AB Concerts know something I don't.

Thank you to We Are The Music Makers for the tip-off.

Meanwhile, Autechre's Sean Booth is working on a collaboration with architect-turned-ambienteer Kouhei Matsunaga. The album (artwork pictured above) has the snappy title 3 Telepathics Meh In-Sect Connection.

Update: Since this blog post, Autechre have confirmed full details of their 2010 album. Jump to my latest piece on Autechre's new album.

Snurvive the snowpocalypse with snowtronica

Fat Roland would like to advise listeners of serious disruptions to music due to the severe weather conditions, which are likely to continue tomorrow. Electronica listeners are advised not to listen to or make tunes except for the most essential artists.

These are those essential artists:

- Anything by The Avalanches (via Stuart Durber)

- Anything by the Chemical Brrrs (geddit? via Isaac Ashe)

- Anything by Max Tundra (via Dirty Protest

- Biosphere: Polar Sequences (via Dial)

- Digitonal: Snowflake Vectors (via Dan Brearley)

- For delayed journeys, Faithless: Take The Long Way Home or Miss You Less See You More (via A Strangely Isolated Place)

- Herrmann and Kleine: Catch A Snowflake (via Dan Brearley)

- Joy Electric: Walking In A Winter Wonderland (via John Mark Cullen)

- Leftfield: Melt 

- Mike and Rich: Mr Frosty (via LUDD)

- Moby: Snowball (via Ben Edson

- Modeselektor: The White Flash (via Daniel Stirling)

- Monolake - Infinite Snow (see forthcoming album review, prob'lee on Saturday)

- The Orb: Little Fluffy Clouds (of snow. Via Stuart Durber)

- Trentemoller. (While The Cold Winter Waiting, I reckon. Via Isaac Ashe.)

- Various: Tribute To Antarctica (via Mrcopyandpaste)

- Wisp: Frozen Days (via Smucker)

Do add your own snow-themed electronica / IDM in the comments below. Or tweet it and tag it #snowtronica. Together, we can get through this if only we listen to the right music.

Jan 5, 2010

A digger full of puppies makes the Miike Snow go down: new singles from Bullion, Miike Snow and Joker / Om Unit


I swear the Coen Brothers would approve of Bullion's new single: it has more than a hint of Jefferson Airplane circling around the edges.

Say Goodbye To What is a californicating slice of pop psychedelia and it will be released on One-Handed Music on January 25th. Imagine a Led Zeppelin filled with laughing gas - it floats nicely alongside Bullion's Young Heartache EP from last year. Worth checking out too is the b-side Crazy Over You, but it's the a-side that had my spine tingling like a dead-leg.

Pop to Bullion's Bandcamp page, or click play here:

<a href="http://bullion.bandcamp.com/album/say-goodbye-to-what">Say Goodbye To What by Bullion</a>

There are a couple of other tracks you need to know about...

Miike Snow

I may be going soft in the head, but I'm rather fond of Sweden's Miike Snow at the moment (pictured). Silvia is weaker than his usual fayre, although the six minute version is more lovely than a digger full of puppies once it gets into its meandering, kooky stride.

Miike Snow appear to be the pop band it's okay for electronica nuts to be into. You can watch the new video of Sylvia on Youtube: no, that isn't Viggo Mortensen.


Finally, the mauve boy wonder Joker is producing some seriously good stuff at the moment (see what I did there? Joker? Serious? Oh never mind.). His 2009 track Digidesign has got itself an electro-tastic Om Unit remix, and it has more kick than a donkey can-can. Meanwhile, Joker's recent single City Hopper, on the Tectonic label, is worth it for the slow fat fuzz basslines of the b-side Output 1-2.

Jan 2, 2010

Fat Roland's 2010 electronica preview, part two: The Official BBC Electronica DJs In Need Medley

This is part two of my 2010 preview. Here is the link for part one.

Writing a preview for 2010 is easy for earlier in the year. Once you get into spring onwards, it all gets a little fuzzy. So here's my attempt at a preview of electronic music in the rest of 2010, but it may look a little like a blind man punching at the wind.

April - December: "boom bang a bang"
In yesterday's preview, I missed the somewhat tribal Nice Nice and their See Waves single in February. But what I can say is, in April they will give us Extra Wow, an album advertised by their label as a "sprawling psychedelic monolith." I also missed Soma 2010, the Glaswegian techno label's slightly delayed annual compilation bonanza.

Flying Lotus's DJ Kicks CD, mentioned yesterday, should get an mid-April release. Meanwhile, in May, Venetian Snares will win the Eurovision song contest with his version of Boom Bang A Bang. Okay, I lied about that bit.

As summer bears its sweaty heat down upon us, you should go and see Orbital: they'll be touring again, in particular at the Isle Of Wight festival in the middle of June.

LFO collaborator Bjork will appear on the soundtrack to summer 2010’s guaranteed blockbuster movie Moomins And The Comet Chase. Yep. That’s right. The Moomins. Imagine Moon, but replace all the Sam Rockwells with talking marshmallows. This is going to be a classic.

And I can bring your more information about Battles. The band called a ceasefire while Tyondai Braxton worked through some solo stuff, but it’s back to war again in 2010 – well, at least, in the second half of 2010 when their new album is due.

And finally, for scheduled releases in 2010, it's time to get Parisian on yo ass. Daft Punk have been leaking Tron Legacy images on their Twitter feed. The duo have recorded the soundtrack to the film, although it’s not due for release until Christmas 2010. I reckon this will at least ten per cent better than the Moomins film.

Other electronica releases in 2010: "glitchy wonkiness"

Like an unwashed Top Gear fan, I am severely lacking in dates. But this much I know is true:

Eclectic 2-stepper FaltyDL, who delivered Love Is a Liability for Planet Mu this year, is working on a disco album. In less exciting news, "crazy” beat jugglers The Avalanches are in the process of clearing samples for an album supposedly due out in '10 – but don’t hold your breath.

I read somewhere that Boards of Canada have been working on material for three years and it should hit in 2010, but I that’s all I know. And while I'm speculating, Bibio released about 42,000 albums in 2009, so don’t be too surprised to see more material in 2010.

Ikonika will be hopping from Planet Mu to the excellent Hyperdub label to produce a soulful dubstep album without all the wobbly basslines. Hyperdub is not only due to release material from London rookie DVA and long-time grime producer Terror Danjah - they're also promising a debut single from a new artist they're refusing to name.

The glitchy wonkiness foisted on us by Glasgow's LuckyMe crew should continue to be a highlight for 2010. The most anticipated album of 2010, for my money, is the one by Rustie. Assuming he gets round to recording one. And Hudson Mohawke is working on material with Olivier Daysoul – whether it means another album, we’ll have to wait and see.

Expect an album from De Tropix, whose Adeyhey joint has been smearing dancefloors this year. De Tropix is aa London duo that bridges the gap between Prince Buster and Neneh Cherry,

You can also expect something from Gold Panda, with his lovely mix of techno wandering and folktronic meandering. Broadcast will produce an album in 2010, following up their amazingly entitled 2009 production Broadcast And The Focus Group Investigate Witch Cults of the Radio Age.

Oh and there's Manchester band's Everything Everything's debut album too. And the Klaxons maybe. And lots of stuff from the Outkast boys. And Floating Points. And Tiefschwarz. And Beak, a.k.a. that bloke from Portishead.

Let me leave you with a final thought from the greatest dance band of all time.

The Vengaboys recently started touring again and are working on a new single to be released soon. Their producers Danski and Delmundo have released a statement that possibly summarises 2010's potential musical legacy. The Vengaboys say:
"2010 is the year! Look out for the new hit! It's the most gay song we've ever made."
Actual quote. Brilliant. That's enough blogging for a couple of days. I'm off for a lie down and a pint of whisky.

This is part two of my 2010 preview. Here is the link for part one.

Jan 1, 2010

Fat Roland's 2010 electronica preview, part one: or How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Instead Develop A Festering Hatred For Anything On The Wrong Side Of Easy Listening

This is part one of two 2010 preview posts. Here is the link to part two.

Welcome to my ball-bursting, clown-punching, thigh-nuzzling preview of what to expect from electronic music in 2010.

I cannot claim this to be comprehensive, nor even accurate, and I am likely to veer off the rails to feature music I wouldn’t normally be too bothered with on this purist blog. But if it goes “bleep”, then it’s probably registered on my radar at some point, even if it didn’t make the final edit.

Where shall we start? I know...

January: "it sounds exactly like La Bloody Roux"

Beth Ditto will be shouting her massive gob all over the radio again, this time on Simian Mobile Disco’s Cruel Intentions. It will be massive? Why? Because it sounds exactly like La Bloody Roux. To counter that, why not bring things down with noise experimentalist Merzbow, who will complete his massive but quite unlistenable Japanese Birds series with the final two albums in January and February. (See my original, bird-filled post on that series here.)

Manchester glorious bleep poppers Delphic will channel the spirit of New Order when they drop their Acolyte album in mid-January.

See him mashing up the beats and then serving them with peas and a steaming pork joint? That's Bullion. Already known for filtering the sixties through his turntablism sensibilities, his Say Goodbye To What single is described as having a “magical Boards of Canada-visit-Studio 54 feel”.

Howse about a big name for 2010? Croydon mailboy Peter O’Grady will have a great time as Joy Orbison. He is also working on tracks on Four Tet’s fifth album - and their first for four years: There Is Love In You is out towards the end of the month.

Also look out for Miike Snow's Silvia: there's something I like about that guy, despite his unkept hair. Keep one eye out for the Super 8 Bit Brothers, if only to distract you from the energy-sapping truth that William Orbit is releasing a whole box set ('Odyssey') of his pleasing, populist electronica.

Oh and if there isn't enough brainless acid mentalism in January, Mike Dred's got new material out.

February: "an ill-fated 22-track concept album"

February is an absolutely massive month for dance music fans. And no, I'm not referring to Josh Wink's Airplane Electronique or Groove Armada's no-doubt snoozesome Black Light album. Nor do I mean The Streets' Computers And Blues, or indeed Fatboy Slim and David Byrne's ill-fated 22-track concept album about Imelda Marcos.

No, the 'massive' refers to the return of Massive Attack with what is only their fifth studio album in a billion years. Heligoland will be released exactly seven years after 100th Window, and promises treats in the shape of Guy Garvey, Martina Topley-Bird, the guitarist from Portishead AND a seriously exciting remix project from dubstep king Burial.

Speaking of Bristol musicians, production mad skills for 2010 will go to Joker - watch out for his various mixes sprinkling the record shelves throughout the year.

Oh and speaking of dubstep, this slightly jaded sub-genre could go go seriously mainstream in 2010. The main contender could be Benga and DJ Zinc when they collaborate with Ms Dynamite in February. Look out for La Roux remixer Skream too.

Or maybe the battle for the mainstream will be won by Philadelphia’s Diplo, who has teamed up with chart-topper Robyn (the Swedish Kate Bush, anyone?) – although following the pair’s studio sessions, Diplo admitted “I think we broke dubstep.” Silly Diplo.

Hot Chip will make a welcome return in February. Their new long-player One Life Stand will include 70s rock legend, This Heat drummer Charles Hayward. No, me neither.

The Album Leaf will present A Chorus Of Storytellers. mixed by a member of Sigur Ros which gives you an idea of the direction of the album, while Flying Lotus will appear on Muhsinah's single Always / Lose My Fuse. Also watch out for FlyLo's other projects this year: his work with Samiyam under the name FLYamSAM and an inevitably stupendous DJ Kicks album.

If there isn't enough brainless acid mentalism in February, Ceephax Acid Crew has got a new one out ('United Acid Emirates' - genius).

Members of !!! and LCD Soundsystem will guest on electro producer Pantha Du Prince's Black Noise album in February. LCD themselves will release an album in March, although with its rock and disco influences, don’t expect it to feature too heavily on this blog. Which brings us neatly to...

March: "hear it on a BBC ident near you"

Cartoon popstars the Gorillaz have signed up very real, uncartoony versions of Snoop Dogg, Lou Reed and, um, Barry Gibb for their third LP Plastic Beach. Expect it to arrive before Easter.

Electronic breaks / trance duo Hybrid have promised an orchestra on their new album Disappear Here in March or April. I don’t think it’ll be very interesting, but do expect to hear it in a BBC ident near you.

For the less commercially-minded, there's Gonja Sufi's essential new album A Sufi And A Killer. There is also Plaid's "experimental Ambisonic piece" Nord Rute based on recordings taken with reindeer herders. Expect a launch event with Luke Vibert in March.

Autechre will feature on the same bill as Salt N Pepa at Bloc 2010 (mentioned here in November). I cannot write that enough. Autechre will feature on the same bill as Salt N Pepa at Bloc 2010. If you think about it, what's the difference? Really?

Tim Simenon will revive his Bomb The Bass moniker with LP Back To Light, while Dan Le Sac and his quick-tongued chum Scroobius Pip will try to revive the good old days of 2007 - they will start March with a single called Get Better and follow it with album Logic Of Chance a couple of weeks later.

Does It Offend You, Yeah? have the most nauseating album title of the year. Don't Say We Didn't Warn You will complete their final metamorphosis into being a slightly synthier Muse.

Ooo, I nearly forgot Goldfrapp. Head First will be preceded by single Rocket. I have something scribbled here about Tyondai Braxton, but I'm not sure what it means. Hopefullly he will take time out from his fancy classical music commissions to produde a new Battles album.

Finally in March, To Rococo Rot (they of big beat fame) promise their new album Speculation will be "measured" and "restrained". If you want to be as adventurous as Keane, what's the point? And Starkey will follow his 2009 single OK Luv with some more bad boy bleeps on his album Ear Drums and Black Holes, due out at the end of the month.

Sadly, there isn't enough brainless acid mentalism in March.

This is part one of two 2010 preview posts. Here is the link to part two.