22 February 2008

Vangelis - Soil Festivities

I grabbed this in a charity shop last year but I've only recently given it some time. I'm glad I have though, as it's a beautiful album. Released in 1984, the album is split into five Movements. It all begins with the sound of thunder and rainfall. Synthesized strings keep a steady pulse, accompanied by some dreamy keys and trills from what sounds like a recorder. Following this are lots of synth washes and lovely chord progressions, then some nice Blade Runner-esque lead. There are also occasional flourishes of oriental percussion. The mood is sombre and conjours up icey scenes in my head (I am reminded of the 'ice area' music from classic videogames like Final Fantasy VII and Secret of Mana). I did write some more about the other movements, but it sounded like a pompous Pitchfork review. Just take a listen to the long extract from Movement 1 and track down the full LP if you like what you hear. There is a nice review on the Vangelis Movements website if you do want to read more about it.

Vangelis - Soil Festivities Extract: Zshare | YSI

19 February 2008

Lite Me Up!

I know we had some Herbie Hancock here recently, but I don't think you can have too much. I put Motor Mouth on by chance last week and can't stop listening to it. I love the way that from the first bar - just four beats - you know it's going to be an awesome track. The effortless shuffle that starts after the opening drum roll, the bassline made of pure funk, the little synth lines, those great disco string stabs and the wonderfully loose guitar hooks; it all fits together perfectly. The lyrics are quite nice too, with Herbie bemoaning some gossip queen or another in the verse. He is joined in the chorus by some female vocals and the vocoder is wheeled out again in the bridge. As the track progresses, flute flourishes compliment the groove, brass stabs join the strings and there is a short synth solo.

Herbie Hancock - Motor Mouth Zshare | YSI

Released on CBS in 1982, Lite Me Up is a very solid LP of smooth disco-funk. Gettin' To The Good Part is particularly notable, with its sweet chord progressions and sexy mood. Also look out for the big and bold Can't Hide Your Love. With the exception of 2 tracks, it was produced by Herbie himself. A large part of the song-writing (including Motor Mouth) was done by Rod Temperton, probably most famous for his contributions to the early Michael Jackson albums. So if you like the style of Off The Wall then you could do far worse than grabbing a copy of this. Should be cheap too!

13 February 2008


Post-Christmas I afforded myself some time to catch-up on music I left behind in 2007. Top of the list was to buy a bunch of compilations from some of my favourite labels. The Black Label series is a showcase for Compost to release songs for the dance floor and thus Compost Black Label Series Vol. 2 brings together a bunch of 12" released within the last year.

So given what I've heard from Compost in the past, I expected something prehaps minimal with a jazzier edge - I didn't really expect it to be full of groovy techno joints, deep NY-disco vibes and just damn funky, house!

‘The Clap’ opens with the cheesy, tongue-in-cheek cries of “Everybody got the clap!” setting the scene for a bunch of similarly knowing tracks. 'Chicago' carries on the retro feeling with squelchly bassline and funky guitar coda:

Shahrokh Sound of K - Chicago (Alt. Link)

The track that really caught my imagination is Phreek Plus One's 'Lazer Rock' – snythy distorted basslines propelled along by a chugging rhythm, resulting in a deep and foreboding techno tip:

Phreek Plus One - Lazer Rock (Alt. Link)

Elsewhere there are a couple of corking Zwicker tracks that keep the minimal, but light, techno vibe going, 'Lazise' which wouldn't sound of place on a Wipeout soundtrack, 'A&R' brings a little hip-hop mixed with Justice-esq. grandiose, and 'Your Rolling Hills' which brings that little bit of jazz I expected.

Highly recommended. Now to go and purchase the first volume...

Buy at Amazon or Juno.
Buy individual tracks at Juno Download or Bleep.

08 February 2008

The Blandford Superfly

There is some debate over at Innersounds (who recently featured a nice little piece about us, thanks Jez) as to which version of The Blandford Superfly by House of 909 is best. The choices are simple, on the A-side is DJ Q's Smoke-Filled Room Dub and on the flip is Trevor Loveys' original. They really couldn't be more different; the original being a jazz-funk monster, whilst DJ Q does his trippy tech-house thing. Now as much as I like the dub and its relentless deep pulsating bassline and dreamy key loops, it just doesn't stand out enough from a lot of other house tracks from the time. The original though, is in a world of its own. For starters, there's those lovely crisp beats. There's also some nice live bass and guitar work featured. Add to that an abundance of rhodes and synth noodling over the funky groove and we're well on our way. It really doesn't sound like much else I've heard, certainly not in recent years. Check it out, then head over to Innersounds to listen to the dub and decide for yourself.

House of 909 - The Blandford Superfly.mp3

03 February 2008

The Sound Of Light

The Field's debut album "From Here We Go To Sublime" managed to appeal to a variety of listeners from the electronic music world and beyond. Some felt is was too simple, too repetitive; others found these things to be the very reason it was so good. Axel Willner's use of tiny looped samples and multiple layers of rhythmic and melodic sounds has defined his style and although the new EP doesn't stray far from his previous work, it still feels like a development. Currently an iTunes exclusive EP, "The Sound of Light"contains an hour of new material spread over 4 tracks. Morning feels instantly familar with its melodic piano and vocal hooks tweaked in a typical way. Day has an almost Italo Disco bounce to it at first, although it builds to become almost Progressive House (done in The Field style of course). Evening is probably the best track on the EP, with plenty going on throughout (listen on Myspace). It's warm and melodic, working its way up from a micro-house beat to swirling peak-time track. The samples are annoyingly familiar to me so if anybody can put me out of my misery, please do! Final track Night has no real beat to it at all. Instead it relies on the pulsating Trance like chord sequences to push the track forward. You keep expecting it to evolve into a monster, but subtlety manages to hold out and the tracks beauty and euphoric melody are a great way to close the EP.

Extract from The Field - Night: Zshare | YSI

Buy "The Sound of Light EP" from iTunes
Buy "From Here We Go To Sublime" from Amazon
The Field on Myspace