24 October 2007


So, solo album number two from Roisin Murphy has arrived, with a much different outlook than her first. Where Ruby Blue was positioned as a lavish collection of music and art, Overpowered is brash, bold and very much pop. Like all pop albums theres a multitude of producers (Seiji, Mark De Clive-Lowe, Andy Cato, Richard X) and thus a diverse selection of styles. The disco-diva approach fits best and is well represented, but the toe-tipping into broken beat with 'Footprints', the Timbaland-esq bow-bow-digga 'Checkin' On Me' and the electro of 'Cry Baby' hint at potential future directions.

Current single 'Let Me Know' is pure 80's disco groove and borrows heavily from 1981's 'Sure Shot' by Tracy Weber.

Tracy Weber - Sure Shot (Alt.Link)

The fall-out of projects such as this, is the number of tracks that didn't make the album. The unreleased Calvin Harris track 'Off and On' seems to be quite an omission. As is Mark De Clive-Lowe produced 'Unlovable', which is relegated to a b-side on a maxi-cd single (and who buys cd singles?!)

Róisín Murphy -Unlovable (Alt.Link)

Popjustice has the whole album available for streaming, so go have a listen, and vote with your wallet. Available to buy everywhere. Amazon, Play... even Woolworths.

21 October 2007

The Alan Parsons Project

Alan Parsons started work in an EMI tape duplication facility in the 60s and later become a recording engineer, working with artists such as The Beatles, The Hollies and Cockney Rebel. His engineering work on Pink Floyd's "Dark Side Of The Moon" earned him a Grammy nomination in 1973. The Alan Parsons Project was a partnership between himself and songwriter Eric Woolfson, with each album using a variety of additional musicians and studio men.

Pyramid is probably the best album I've ever bought on a whim without knowing anything about it. Released back in 1978, it was the bands third album and was influenced by the then current fad of Pyramidology. The album itself is excellently produced (by Alan) and including a variety of musical styles and instruments. Also worth noting is the way the album works so well as a cohesive whole, with tracks linking nicely into and out of each other.

The opening pairing of "Voyager" and "What Goes Up..." (elements of both were used for the Quiet Village track "Pillow Talk") start the album wonderfully, flowing seamlessly as one. The remainder of the A side contains 3 nice pop/rock tracks; reminiscent of the Steely Dan sound of the period, but more edgy. The B side begins with the grandiose instrumental "In The Lap Of The Gods" - an epic (in style rather than length) and moody track with its choral and orchestral accompaniment. The production quality is really shown off here with the excellent balance of the many different parts playing at once. Hyper-Gamma-Spaces is another instrumental, this time very upbeat, with some excellent synthesizer and electric piano work taking a strong lead. The LP closes with the beautiful ballad "Shadow Of A Lonely Man", again featuring some wonderful orchestration. Although I find the vocalist to be a little weak in places, it really is an excellent song and a great way to close the album.

The Alan Parsons Project - In The Lap Of The Gods.mp3 (Zshare)

The Alan Parsons Project - Hyper-Gamma-Spaces.mp3 (Zshare)

Fileden alternative links:
In The Lap Of The Gods | Hyper-Gamma-Spaces

15 October 2007

Who's Zoomin' Who?

I picked up this 1985 Aretha Franklin 12" from the Notting Hill Soul & Dance Exchange bargain basement by chance on a recent trip to London. Each time I've listened to it I've grown to like it more and more; it's a classic example of that electronic soul sound that was so popular during the 80's. Certain sections of the vocal track were used in an old Rave track and for days it was bugging me that I couldn't quite place it. Eventually, I discovered that it was Shock the Beats by Electric Choc - a piano led, breakbeat fuelled Italian house record from 1991. The music from this era is one of my favourites for Dance music. Although I was far too young to be out there dancing to any of it, it seemed to be devoid of any genres and bastard sub-genres, with DJ's like Slipmatt playing any music they could find to just make you feel good and dance. If these two tracks don't put a smile on your face, you're probably dead inside.

Aretha - Who's Zoomin' Who? (Dance Mix).mp3

Electric Choc - Shock the Beats (Piano Mix).mp3

Yourfilehost alternative links: Zoom | Shock

08 October 2007

Ugly Edits

I've been picking a couple of these Theo Parrish Ugly Edits up from various places recently and it's all good stuff. Released as a series of 10 in ridiculously small quantities a few years back (good luck finding an original, hand-sprayed vinyl!), these are Theo's re-edits of disco, soul and house tracks.

This re-edit from Volume 4 extends and repeats beyond all reasonable thinking, but as it's such a unstoppable monster of a groove, works so well. The 11 minutes fly by.

The Dells - Get On Down (Theo Parrish Re-Edit).mp3 (Alt. Link)

Hear more stuff like this as well as soul, funk, disco, hiphop and whatever else tickles my fancy, on my weekly shows on internet radio station RllmukFM, tune in (by clicking the link) 9.30 to 11pm UK Time [/plug]. All my fellow posters here have regular slots too, but I'll let them pimp those themselves ;)

03 October 2007

Slight Return

Wow, it's been rather quiet around here lately. Sorry for the lack of updates to anybody who reads regularly. Six weeks though(!), time flies and all that. Anyway, I've been busy with work (dull), trying my hand on a new online radio station, as well as working with some great artists over at 24:Hours to promote their new music. I hope you've been keeping up with the latest stuff from Smith n Hack, Ultracity, Roland Sebastian Faber and Komarken. If not, head on over there and catch up.

As well as discovering the new, I've also been researching the old. A few trips here and there and a little extra disposable income have meant my record collection has expanded quicker than usual and I really should start posting some of the better stuff up here. I'll start with this little gem from prog rock come popsters Barclay James Harvest. Taken from their 1979 LP "Eyes of the Universe", I bought it based purely on the bands rather pretentious sounding name and the cool cover art (plus it was only 50p). Not a particularly good album for the most part, but the opening track below has a nice little groove to it. A mixture of pop melodies, guitar chords and some good synthesizer work. The arpeggios and steady 4/4 beat mean that one of those cheeky re-edit's will probably pop up at some point in the not too distant future. Get there first!

Barclay James Harvest - Love On The Line.mp3