You all need this in your lives...

It's a gift that just keeps giving.


Festive Shit: Part 2

Have you seen all the fucking lights? When did December become an excuse for massive energy consumption? They're everywhere, lit up like a neon birthday cake, draining the power grid, owners grinning proudly in the local newspaper. I don't remember this happening on such a wide scale in the past but times they are changing it seems and I suppose polar bears are just going to have to deal with it. Apologies if this all sounds somewhat cantankerous, but its difficult to maintain a sense of what's right when you're wilting in 35 degrees, 100 percent humidity and fluorescent Santa keeps waving at you from the neighbour's roof. Anyway, in a bid to avoid being sucked into the crass consumer circus that's marauding around outside my door I've battened down the hatches and fired up the headphones for a spot of music appreciation.

As a belligerent fan of drum and bass it's been a real pleasure to hear the material that the likes of D Bridge, Instramental and Bop have been contributing to the scene lately, for a while it seemed like there was no hope for the heavyweight champion of underground genres but a stripped down, atmospheric approach and plenty of dystopian soundscaping seems to have done the trick. All in good time too it seems, with D Bridge's impeccable latest offering The Gemini Principle still sending an icy shockwave around the globe, newcomer Consequence drops a more than suitable successor, Live For Never on the Exit Label. It soon becomes clear why D Bridge was so keen to release this debut LP from a relatively unknown artist, the similarities are instantly recognisable, but whilst they share a penchant for intelligent drum edits and otherworldly synths, it's clear that Consequence has drawn his influences from many and varied purveyors of dark and ambient music. In contrast yet in compliment to beats worthy of Photek, Instramental or Bukem are flourishes of Burialesque sampling and distortion at play amongst melodies and atmosphericss that could have been plucked from the mind of Vangelis or Eno. The whole album has the feel of the soundtrack to a movie set in a centuries distant, space borne adaptation of Tokyo, floating like a metal hive over the shattered remnants of a ruined Earth. Forgive me for being melodramatic but this really has to be heard to be fully appreciated, I haven't been this surprised by Drum and Bass since I first listened to Current Value, and in this case the shock and awe are inspired by truly affecting music rather than all out ear bashing.

I've also been somewhat caught unawares by Bass Clef's latest album, May the Bridges I Burn Light the Way, which takes the staccato 2-step of The Zamayatin Tapes and grafts it onto some crazy Soca drums and whistles before assaulting your ears like a mescaline powered favella soundsystem made entirely out of pieces of the M25. If you could imagine such a thing. To be entirely honest the enthusiasm and vigour of it all became a bit too much around halfway through the album but on the last couple of tracks this demented whirlwind of noise fades into utter serenity. Broken Love sounds like it came from another world entirely, softly building nostalgic strings over breathy, mechanical percussion before unleashing offbeat jazz drums, gently moaning voices on the wind and a melting brass band, then all of a sudden the midpoint of the track sees all this disappear into one of the loveliest tunes I've heard in some time, complete with subtly glitched drum edits and a damn fine horn section. Finally another unexpected gem, Halliwick, rounds off proceedings with marching beats accompanied by lush strings, rolling pulsating bass another fine Brass chorus. All of which sort of begs the question, why on earth haven't we heard more of this side of Bass Clef in the past and will we get more in future? Here's to hoping so, after the initial onslaught of tracks 1-7 it's just about the only thing keeping me from climbing the house next door with a bottle of Cachaca and a golf club.

But fear not, festive rage can also be averted in any of the following ways:

Getting hold of Tapes' E.P, Hissing Theatricals, which fires bursts of 8 bit sunshine up your face in the manner of a dub loving Atari in the throes of a fatal power surge.

Seeking out Loops Haunt's head mangling Electronic Explorations mix, an experience so unsettling that it will leave you sobbing with confusion as you struggle to rearrange your thoughts.

Or listening to Aardvarck's new Bloom 4 E.P. Possibly the most interesting approach to music at 140 bpm I've heard all year.

Enjoy yourselves over this most festive of seasons, I'm off for some more Cheesecake and G&T's on the Verandah, it certainly beats glaring at the miserable weather and drinking until I'm numb enough to venture outside. Happy Christmas!


Festive Shit: Part 1

Sometimes Christmas gets in the way of lots of things, such as having spare money, free time, decent television etc. Unfortunately there also seems to be a whole heap of awesome music dropping all around the place so I've decided to treat myself (and you) to a whole heap of goodness, despite the detrimental effect on buying presents for my friends and family. Don't ever say that I don't do anything for you.

Ambivalence Avenue turned out to be one of my favourite surprises of the year I snapped up Bibio's latest release The Apple and the Tooth as soon as it was available. The first four tunes are a slight departure from Ambivalence Avenue, his sound seems to becoming more layered and crowded but richer for it, however the true selling point of the record is the all-star remix line-up that follows. Gems amongst these are the Eskmo remix of Dwcan, which incorporates the San Fransiscan's swinging, atmospheric flex into the original's dark and creeping textures to great effect; an incredible Gentlemen Losers' remix of Haikuesque, taking on a beautiful, melancholy edge, before a haunting organ comes in to raise all the hairs on the back of your neck; and Bibio's own remix of "the palm of your wave", which winds gypsy-folk fairground strains sinuously around the original vocal like a hypnotic fortune teller pickpocketing your ears. It may not be a full album release but it's certainly worth that money you were saving for a fibre optic Christmas tree.

Back in London the Grievous Angel
Redux of Margins Music has dropped on Keysound and it's fucking awesome. It's comforting to see that rather than adopting the tried and tested methods of mashing together two tunes into one catchy monstrosity, Grievous Angel has deftly interwoven his source material into an entirely new piece of music which is worthy of it's predecessor's name and reputation. In the same regard he avoided the easy option of simply rearranging the original tracks into one continuous mix and instead produced a living, breathing hybrid monster. It's almost as though London ate Margins Music and let it digest for a while before exhaling the whole mixture in one hour long episode of sublime flatulence. Snatches of vocal bubble up through the blended textures, the drums chatter amongst themselves and whole neighbourhoods breeze by in an instant leaving only a lingering suggestion of their existence. If anything this Redux surpasses the original in it's attempt to capture the sound and essence of the fringes of the London scene, although I will concede that I may be getting slightly carried away here.

Something I've been after for a while now is
The invisible Lodger, a collab between the outstanding Various Production and morose Scottish poet Gerry Mitchell. I'm not going to lie, parts of this album could drive a fragile mind into a helpless spiral of depression and self harm, but for those of a sunnier disposition this is a masterful combination of stark, brooding electronics and subtly affecting spoken word. Mitchell's delivery swings from eye gouging misery to a playful almost singsong delivery, belieing the morbid undercurrent of the subject matter. Accordingly the production echoes the tone of each poem, at times overwhelming the grumbling, shambolic verse with blurred synths and undulating static, at others beautifully complimenting the lilting Scottish cadences with typical VP pinpoint accuracy. Unfortunately there never seems to be the right time to listen to it, I tried to pop it on in the car with the missus the other day but she was having none of it, probably best left to headphones on an evening train ride through a bleak industrial cityscape

Right, there's more but frankly fuck this, I'm off to a secret bush rave. No time for grendelcaking, I'll post again when I'm not climbing trees and singing like a squirell.


Broken Ted News

I've been a little removed from the musical world recently, due in part to various upheavals in life but also to excessive drinking and tearful goodbyes. Needless to say the first re-immersion in sound drew a whole plethora of new and exciting prospects, largely thanks to some friends of mine who have been keeping a weather eye on the usual channels whilst I've been out of action. Notably the Broken Ted, who's been exploring the various avenues of glitch and ephemera to recommend:

Shlohmo, who's E.P.s, Shlohofi and Schlomoshun are dancing around the periphery of my mind like esoteric pixies hellbent on stealing my thoughts. The former is a delicate arrangement of ethereal glitched out beats, definitely best listened to on a very lazy Sunday afternoon or in a state of entranced reflection. The latter is more easily reconcilable, slipping in somewhere between Ras G, Nosaj Thing and Eskmo; sort of slumped Hip Hop with skipping drum patterns and a warm afterglow of softly diffused bass.

Tokimonsta, who is coming on leaps and bounds with every mixtape. Her latest offering which takes the form of a promo for Donkey Pitch and Sonic Router can be found
here, and I suggest everyone with a modicum of interest should read her interview with Sonic Router and make every effort to catch her at Donkey Pitch in Brighton on the 26/11/09.

And another
Slugabed Mix (for Dummy this time around), which ticks all the disgusting boxes you could ever dream of. I've started to wonder whether my new found admiration for his music is merely a personal rebellion against the derivative, hyper processed, auto-tuned world of Pop dross, but then I listen to it again and it blows such thoughts clean out of my mind with the force of a sonic jackhammer.

All this said I haven't been completely idle, I stumbled across this new
Blank Blue set on Dublab the other day and I was pleasantly surprised. They've taken on a couple of new band members and stiffened up their sound somewhat, it's basically what Blank blue would sound like if they were a blasting desert Rock ensemble instead of a psychedelic west coast Folk-Hop two piece. Not sure whether that's progress exactly but my dog likes it and that's good enough for me.

Speaking of which I put some dubstep on earlier and Facie (the dog), started growling along to the music every time the sub kicked in. In the past she's howled along to the blues and barked/whined to anything else with rhythmic guitars and keys. This latest approach is new to me and if anything is a seal of approval I'd say that this would be it. I'm tempted to contact Kryptic Minds with the news but I doubt they'd be as excited as I was when I heard her rendition of Six Degrees. It is entirely possible that staying at my parents house is driving me insane.

Finally I have a recommendation straight out of the left field for anyone that enjoys atmospheric soundscapes in the vein of Boards of Canada or Access to Arasaka. Oneohtrix Point Never produce the sort of music that evokes Alien Skies, Dystopian Cityscapes and the very limits of the known universe. It doesn't do a whole lot but then again it doesn't really have to. Go buy it here and close your eyes of a couple of hours, it's probably worth it.


New Slugabed and Dr Strangeloop Sets

Today is my last day at work so I'm doing as little as possible, which, whilst counter-productive for my employers, is an unexpected bonus for both you and me. In lieu of data logging emails I have already unearthed a new Dr Strangeloop mix and a new Slugabed mix and it's only midday.

If you heard Slugabed's Electronic Explorations mix then I'm sure you'll be salivating profusely by now. With good reason, this set is disgusting, I can actually feel it taking years off my life, like smoking irradiated cigars or swimming in the river Trent.

Anyway the mix is at the tail end of Subeena's Outland SubFM show, following mixes from DJ Planet Mu and Bok Bok, which are probably quite sound as well. The Slugabed set starts at around 1:20:00, in case, like me, you lack the patience to sit through the rest of the show.

Grab it here (right click and save as to download).

For those of you not quite so accustomed to Slugabed's brand of ugly, electro perversion I suggest you check this dead lovely set produced for Xolair by the fascinating Dr Strangeloop. It's took forever to download but it's so beautiful that it's worth the wait. It sounds similar to this podcast that he did for Brainfeeder a while ago, but this one features a whole plethora of unreleased material from a range of artists, including Shlohmo, Flying Lotus and Strangeloop himself.

Grab it here (right click and save as to download). Mix starts at 43 mins or so.

One final word on the matter, I know I have a tendency to bang on about Brainfeeder, but the praise is well deserved. New signing and piano virtuoso Austin Peralta is due to drop his debut LP on Flying Lotus's impeccable label sometime early next year. The early samples sound utterly sublime, but whilst you wait for this momentous occasion here's a Strangeloop remix & Video of his forthcoming track Cecilia for you all to enjoy.


Keysound News

I can't really do this any more justice than Blackdown has already in his own blog...

Margins Music: Greivous Angel redux

All that reamains is for me to gush unashamedly about what will be one of the musical highlights of this year.

The original, lovingly crafted by Dusk and Blackdown from all things London, was utterly brilliant. I could harp on about the cultural significance and the tastefully interwoven samples but others have already said more than I ever could (and it might sound incredibly pretentious), instead I'll just say that it's fucking banging and well worth your hard earned pennies (only 699 pence from boomkat if you were wondering). This redux has been hinted at for some time and I'd almost given up hope, but after hearing this little teaser I'm counting down the days until it's released. Which will be less than a month from now. Rejoice!

Anyway the original album can be purchased here (CD, Mp3 or FLAC)

Dusk and Blackdown's BBC Experimental show mix can be found here (Right click & save as)

And if you have the time read Blackdown aka Martin Clark's blog here (it's much better than mine)



Yeah, buying stuff isn't always feasible hey? So to stop you all going and stealing those bits of lovely from some disreputable rapidshare account (underground musicians got to eat too), here are a couple of free things for you to enjoy instead.

I know I've banged on about Brainfeeder artists a lot already, but this mix from Alex B is a little bit special... Brain Food

Elsewhere the ever brilliant Electronic Explorations is showcasing Point B and Scan One this week, which is great. But as ever Rob Booth has picked some exclusive bangers to compliment his guests' music...Slugabed remixing "Simon Says" by Pharoah Monche? Loops Haunt's Rubber Sun Grenade? New tunes from Falty DL, Burial, iTAL tEK and Access to Arasaka? Shitting hell!

Electronic Explorations 85: Point B & Scan One

Dead Lovely

Do you want some pretty things?

Yeah? Three things for you today, none of them are particularly new and you'll have to buy all of them. Still interested? You should be, pretty things are all that's stopping this awful world from turning on itself and tearing pieces out of it's already ravaged flanks. Actually maybe it'll just chase it's tail for a bit, or try cutting itself with blunt aeroplane cutlery. Regardless if you don't start listening to these immediately, terrible things will probably befall you.

First up we have Lone's album Lemurian, I know nothing about this other than the fact that it sounds like taking a fishing trip in a paddle boat off the Cornish coast with Bibio, Flying Lotus and Ras G for company. It also sounds a bit like Boards of Canada, but lots of things do and it wouldn't have been nearly as much fun to describe it like that.

Anyway go here...http://www.boomkat.com/item.cfm?id=190639 and buy it, it'll only cost you a few quid, you miserly bastard.

Next up is Talkdemonic, two people from Portland who make incredibly beautiful music with drums and strings.

Lisa Molinaro caresses the Viola and Cello, spilling achingly beautiful melodies over tight beats, provided by her counterpart Kevin O'Connor who drums like a schizophrenic genius; seamlessly switching from incredibly technical, staccato breakdowns to backing beats so tranquil that you hardly realise they are there.

In the interest of giving you a taster, I found this free track on Dublab http://www.dublab.com/mp3blog?id=1634 , but I strongly recommend you go buy the album it from here. Never mind the shipping charges, when this arrives in the post it will make you dead happy, otherwise just go check them out on Last Fm or Spotify if you are so inclined.

Finally, this isn't really lovely but I'm listening to it now and I'd forgotten just how damn good it is; Ras G makes the sort of hip hop that Sun Ra would produce if he was starting out in music right now, provided he wasn't reimagining the way of the universe and communicating with off-world deities. Accordingly you could listen to this mix off the Brainfeeder site http://www.brainfeedersite.com/2009/06/28/ras_g-presents-cosmic-tones-4-mental-therapy/, but I would recommend buying his debut LP...Brotha From Anotha Planet as well

Got any money left? No? Good, you'd only spend it on booze and disposable tat otherwise.

Lone and Ras G albums can doubtless be found at the following places too, I'm just not arsed to look for them on your behalf...






Birthday Celebrations

Far be it from me to get all excited about two Californian birthday celebrants, but in the case of Flying Lotus and Dublab there are musical presents for all of us to enjoy so my excitement is justifiable.

At 26, Flying Lotus is one of the most highly regarded and influential figures in the West Coast Beat Music movement, continuing to release groundbreaking music whilst touring the world and fronting the incomparably brilliant Brainfeeder collective. Earlier this year, at Brainfeeder's London event, I was fortunate enough to witness an impromptu live jam featuring Flying Lotus on a Drum Machine, Dorian Concept on his Micro Korg, Gas Lamp Killer on the Turntables and Alex Bonfanti on the Bass Guitar,
http://vimeo.com/5278409. Needless to say, this was an incredible experience that served as the icing on the cake for a mind blowing night out.

And so this morning, when I saw this posted on the brainfeeder site, I might have actually squealed like a little girl....

I haven't even listened to this yet but in light of this list of participating artists it will undoubtedly be one of the most inspirational jam sessions you'll hear for a very long time...

Flying Lotus, Exile, Shafiq Husayn, Stephen Thundercat Bruner, Miguel Atwood-Ferguson, Computer Jay, Isaac Smith, Jim Lang, Alla Koi, Andres Renteria, Matthew David & The Gaslamp Killer" Utter madness.

Not that this should overshadow the fact that Dublab have just celebrated 10 years of non-profit promotion and awe inspiring music production with a week of unique special events. After a range of innovative exhibitions, including a screening of sad films backed with morose music and an exclusive evening of folksy loveliness with Linda Perhacs, their final party on the 10th (
http://www.dublab.com/?id=2219) featured none other than Flying Lotus, Gas Lamp Killer and Daedalus to name a few. Although we can only lament the fact that we missed out on this one off event, we do get to enjoy an awesome set from Daedalus, which can be found here, http://music.vtechphones.com/2009/10/daedelus-live-from-a-labrat-matinee-vii-the-dublab-10th-anniversary-special/#fbid:j7wXpOJyDzf

It's rare to hear such a beautifully fractured arrangement of so many wicked tunes and I'm still struggling to comprehend the brilliance required to put it all together. Just check it out for yourself get ready to enjoy the same state of tongue-tied astonishment that I'm in at the moment.

Finally, as a special extra treat for those who might have missed this first time round, here is a Flying Lotus KPFK/Dublab set from earlier this year...http://dublab.com/content/?p=1976

A lovely way to unite the aforementioned topics, as well as showcasing more work from these inspirational mainstays of future roots music.


Dr Strangeloop

It isn't that often that I hear a single track from an artist and become instantly obsessed, in the case of Dr Strangeloop however, this is exactly what happened. The track in question is his first release on the Brainfeeder label, and as far as I can tell, his first commercial release altogether.

Weighing in at an epic 17 mins 43 seconds, Are we Lost Mammals of an Approaching Transcendental Epoch, is a sprawling, mesmerising opus combining post rock aesthetics with incredibly sophisticated electronic production. I can't stress enough how badly you need this in your life, not only is it minblowingly intricate and sonically devastating, but it's also an invaluable time killer (that 20 minute train/bus journey will fly by).

The piece can be split into three distinct stanzas but it is best appreciated as a whole; tensions rise and fall, drums suddenly appear from nowhere before skittering away
just as quickly into nonexistence, and the whole track is imbued with a lo-fi distortion that only adds to it's sense of drama. Anyone who has been to a Brainfeeder night in the last few years might already be acquainted with Dr Strangeloop's work; his VJ'ing performances for the likes of Flying Lotus and The Gaslamp Killer have been utterly astonishing and, if you have been lucky enough to catch one, I'm sure you'll be more than happy to lend an ear to his audio tinkerings as well.

Thankfully there is a wealth of material demonstrating his considerable talents here... http://www.nuopsys.com/nmrl/home.html and as a gesture of incredible goodwill, Dr Strangeloop (aka Nuopsys aka David Wexler) has made his entire back catologue of work prior to "Are we lost mammals..."free to download; particular highlights being Collected Works Vol.1 and the Datafunk E.P (a ten minute face melter constructed from a scratchy copy of a Bollywood classic). If you were also so fortunate as to hear his Mary Anne Hobbs mix, with it's Ennio Morricone samples and insane, brain crushing drums, I'm sure there'll be no stopping you.
Whilst you're there check his visual work and his deviant art page, http://naturalmediaresearch.deviantart.com/ .

And that's not all, according to his posts on the Brainfeeder website (http://www.brainfeedersite.com/ ), he's got more in the pipeline with the Balance E.P
arriving January 2010, Are We Lost Mammals... Remix Compilation (remixed by friends of Brainfeeder no less) coming soon and Easy Listening for our Future Children (http://www.brainfeedersite.com/2009/09/20/easy-listening/ ) an audio visual LP dropping in 2010.

Look, just go here and watch this http://www.vimeo.com/5102477 , that should give you some idea of just how incredible this guy is.

Are We Lost Mammals of an Approaching Transcendental Epoch is available on Boomkat, Beatport, Bleep and itunes.



Loops Haunt

In anticipation of his debut on Black Acre Records I’d like to call your attention to an artist named Loops Haunt (http://www.myspace.com/loopshaunt), a Dundee based Hip Hop/Glitch producer who makes the sort of music that your brain might generate on the periphery of a fever dream.

Despite some incredibly innovative production and a sound pallete that could make your hair fall out, Loops Haunt doesn’t appear to have received much exposure so far; the exceptions being a few tracks included in Slugabed, Rustie and Ebola’s recent mixes, and Huarache (which sounds like a giant foretelling the Apocalypse through the medium of a sky scraper high, steel stringed, double bass) being picked by Eprom for the heads up track on Mary Anne Hobbs’ experimental show.

Suffice to say I expect he’ll be making lots of noise over the next couple of months with Team Acre 002: Impact OmniHammer/Joplin (http://www.myspace.com/blackacrerecords) surfacing towards the end of October and an E.P on Fortified Audio following shortly after.

In the meantime here are three sets to whet your appetite:

Two mixes for Ballers Social Club:

Ballers Mix 1: http://www.divshare.com/download/7335741-e0e

Ballers Mix 2: http://www.megaupload.com/?d=LGNCR86L

And an Exclusive Rhythm Incursions Mix, which can be found here: http://www.rhythm-incursions.com/2009/08/04/loops-haunt-mini-mix/


Before we start...

This blog will provide you with links to various things that you might not be aware of yet or may have missed first time around; the majority of which will probably be music.

I'll try not to inflict my opinions on you although I might be prone to ranting from time to time. Rest assured you won't be subjected to any angst ridden insecurity or righteous indignation about things you care nothing about.

All recommendations will be accompanied by a link to an appropriate live set, free track or, in the case of albums and E.Ps, a site you can purchase it from.