Friday, August 29, 2008

Talk About: Pop Music

I thought it was about time to post the odd pop record. So what makes a great Pop record? A catchy hook, a stylish vocal refrain, Innovative production? It's a very difficult thing to pin down. Well I believe to make a truly great pop record you need all three and then something extra. Quite often a remix can lift a good song and transcend it to the level of greatness.

Santogold's debut album is easily my favourite record this year. This mix of L.E.S. Artistes by XXXChange (part of Spank Rock) takes the fast paced Indie Pop of the original and transforms it into an Electro monster with raging synths and massive drops. Sweet. Buy

Santogold - L.E.S. Artistes (XXXChange Mix) // Downtown Music

Another sweet little pop record by Lykke Li has been given a beautiful overhall by DFA genius Tim Goldsworthy. His Loving Hand has added his trademark disco funk beats mixed together with lush Detroit Techno strings. The result - a gorgeous laid back pop masterpiece. Buy

Lykke Li - Little Bit (Loving Hand Remix) // LL Recordings

And finally a bit of cheese to end proceedings. (well I couldn't do a pop post without adding a bit of gorgonzola). This track by Metronomy will leave some divided. Is it 80's retro pop genius or total trash? The jury is still out for me, but I will say that it is surprisingly infectious so give it a few listens and then try and make your mind up.

Metronomy - Thing For Me (Breakbot's B-Live Miami Mix) // B-Live

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Thursday, August 28, 2008

Radikal Beats

Whilst on my annual snowboarding pilgrimage earlier this year I got chatting to a fellow boarder and as we chewed the fat on the chairlift it transpired that we also shared a passion for electronic music and dabbling at producing our own. Contact details were duly swapped and when I received a mail with a link to a bunch of tracks this guy had produced, I was more than a little impressed with the results.

ST8 (as this young man's chosen production moniker is known) makes luscious electronica in a similar vein to the likes of Boards of Canada and Ulrich Schnauss. He has a tidy pile of tracks available for download via his website and I've posted some of my favourites below. ST8 clearly makes good use of the blueprints set out by those that have trodden the electronica path before him and in my opinion his production quality is right up there with some of the scene's heavyweights. All of these tracks are currently unreleased so if anyone out there is interested in including some ST8 goodness on their label then drop him a line at st8(AT)

ST8 - Beneath The Surface
ST8 - Caustic Winter //unreleased
ST8 - Reflex Action //unreleased

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Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Secretsundaze Competition

The August Bank Holiday is nearly upon us which means that once again a wealth of quality electronic music will be gracing the capital. Sadly, there's no TDK festival this year but there's plenty of other options on offer and for those hankering after some open-air action, Secretsundaze is putting on a bash on Sunday afternoon / evening over near London Bridge.

Top of their bill is Detroit techno legend Carl Craig and they've kindly provided us with a pair of tickets to give away. All you have to do to be in with a chance to win them is mail us your answer to this rather easy question.

Q) Name the two founders of Secretsundaze

Send your answer to by 5pm on Friday.

You can check out the full lineup for Sunday's party here and get yourself in the mood for the weekend's festivities with this tasty slice of techno from their label.

Giles Smith presents Two Armadillos - Warriors //Secretsundaze

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A Little Night Music

A new Krautrock inspired project has come from an unlikely source in the form of Newcastle born Henry Smithson, aka Riton (pronounced Ree-ton). Riton now resides in London and is part of Gucci Soundsystem with Ben Rymer. Known for his Electro House stylings on such labels as Grand Central and Get Physical this project is a departure from that style with the very Krautrock inspired opening track 'Ertrinken' however normal service is resumed with the second track 'Feverprobe' with ultilising fat analogue synths with live drums for a very DFA style dancefloor stormer. The rest of the album has a very nice downtempo feel with the live instrumentation coming to the fore on tracks such as 'Finster' and Indian sitars on 'Die Fontaine' and 'Berdolator'.

Overall Eine Kleine Nacht Musik is a very mixed bag of different styles and influences that doesn't stray into obvious territory and is a very interesting listen.

Eine Kleine Nacht Musik - Ertrinken // Modular

Buy it at Juno

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Monday, August 11, 2008

The Sun Is Shining

OK, so if you live in the UK this title of the post isn't exactly holding true this summer although the other week I think I counted a whole 6 days of decent weather! Round about the same time I also obtained a copy of Greg Wilson's 2020 Vision.

Now, if you play me disco-tinged house on a harsh winter's day you're likely to get a reception as cold as the weather but there's something about the sunshine that suppresses my appetite for sharp clinical techno and mellows my temperament to more uplifting sounds.

Many of you will know Greg Wilson for his 'Credit to the Edit' series and for this compilation he again throws a couple of his own re-edits into the mix alongside other tracks from 2020's back catalogue. A couple of the tracks from the album are posted below but for me it's really the whole package that makes this an essential summer purchase and reminds me of those happy times dancing in a field as the sun comes up.

Spirit Catcher - Sweet Deal //2020Vision
Random factor - Second Principles //2020Vision

Buy the album direct from 2020Vision.

For those of you that don't do such soulful sounds, regardless of the circumstances, here's some dark downtempo electronica. It's from the new Twine LP, Violets which is definitely one for the head rather than the limbs. Although I'd not heard of these guys ahead of this release, a quick scan on Discogs suggests that they've been mixing up the answerphone messages with the static and guitars for a while now in order to deliver their particular brand of atmospheric ambience.

Twine - In Through The Devices // Ghostly International

Buy Violets at Juno.

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Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Bring The Noise

The use of White Noise in music fascinates me and has a deep effect on my psyche. Maybe because it is the background sound of the universe, static hiss left over from the big bang where we all come from. Its utilisation in Rock and Electronic music is the sound of feedback and the static 'fuzz in the mixer' of crackles and pops to create layer upon layer of textured sounds.

There are a number of artists that utilise this feedback fuzz in their creations, My Bloody Valentine and M83 are a couple of the most well known, but I have been discovering a few more tracks along the way by lesser known producers such as Ricardo Tobar that I posted back in November last year and the opus below by Jesse Somfay, which I was turned on to by a post by Random Circuits.
Fricative White (From a whisper to a scream) by Jesse Somfay is quite simply a masterpiece of fuzzy Techno which subtly rises and falls with different elements over a staggering 27 mins.

Jesse Somfay - Fricative White (From a whisper to a scream) // Serendip - Arch 036

Another great track is from a new compilation on Moodgadget Records. The Synchronicity Suite is a compilation ranging from Electropop to instrumental Post Rock and glitchy Electronica that is a great mix of styles to suit all tastes. 'Cavedweller' by The Reflecting Skin is another slice of fuzzy Tech House which peaks with layers of white noise to lose your senses to.

The Reflecting Skin - Cavedweller (Instrumental Version)
// Moodgadget

Buy the compilation at Beatport

I couldn't leave without giving you a rare instumental outing from the master Kevin Shields and MBV.

My Bloody Valentine - Instrumental B
// Creation 1988

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