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Music Moment: Kelela, “A Message”

apropos to my previous Björk post, here is an example of the new rockin’ FKA/Arca/#Feelings digi-baroque sensibility in effect. Production naturally or course comes from Arca, who seems to be bloody everywhere right now (probably created several digital clones all jacked up to hyper-fast liquid-meth broadband so he can work on all those projects he’s currently doing). but while he can sometimes blow hot and cold, but on this one he completely nails it.

but of course it’s the sensuous visuals that do it for me. The use of lighting at first monochrome, then with cool UV blue, renders her skin first as bronzed stature, then with a metallic finish. The jerky, but smooth body movements and distorted backwards cinematography give her body that whole complementary “cool” media sensate cyborg dimension.

And the comes the animated sequence where everything become fluid and bubbling with hints of Akria at the erupting and dividing flesh. Both the video and song is music that is pretty much of the now. i like!

Goodnight

 
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Posted by on March 23, 2015 in Video

 

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Music Moment: Richard and Linda Thompson, “I want to see the bright lights tonight”

yabber….

I’ve a small confession to make. It seems that for quite a while now I’ve been on a bit of a folk music bender. no, wait don’t run away! come back!

Anyway as I was saying, this happens every so often. i do listen to my favourite albums and my banging electronic music, but then I find myself getting drawn towards the open sounds and wide pastures of yore, etc.

It probably started off slowly when i reviewed that Benni Hemm Hemm album at the end of last year. Damn thing is still great and definitely the hallmark of a musician who has matured and now making music for adults to be listen to by adults. Since then there’s been a gradual but sudden surge in the albums I’ve been listening to that have been of the definitely folky variety. Alasdair Robert’s latest albums collaboration, The Hirta Songs, which had a true calling of home I have to admit I haven’t felt in a while. Then there was that debut EP from local artist ADDA, one of the few Icelandic pieces of music I’ve actually played on a repeat basis on my CD player in 2014.

And then over the last month or so I’ve inadvertently found myself checking out some of the people I’ve known from way back in the old country (Shetland). People like Inge Thompson and Kevin Henderson, whose performance at this year’s live streaming of Shetland Folk Festival as part of the Nordic Fiddlers Bloc I checked out on the internet. I was actually taken aback a little with how good the fiddling was in terms of melodies, rhythms and textures. It was rather stirring stuff.Probably will need to send him a line to tell him that.

I do admit that in my younger years I was definitely a little turned off a bit by what they call the heuchter cheuchter old-time reel-based folk stuff. I mean, why would you want to listen to that when you have indie music groove and rave music to dance to? But perhaps it’s the maturing and advancing of my years that have caused me to look back and realise that even back then, folk music left its indelible mark inside me. Like a cultural sleeper cell waiting to explode in your mind once you were ready to take on its liminal qualities, as well as the wonders of a good eightsome reel

I mean take this album, I Want to See the Bright Lights Tonight, the second album from folk legends, RICHARD AND LINDA THOMPSON. I first heard this album, what, only a couple of years ago. But even though the fact that it’s forty fucking years old, it still manages to sound more vital than a lot of the modern folk music that I hear these days. You hear a lot of what is classed as folk music today, and it’s all clean and well to do and proper, but it seems to have this “lack,” as if it they are merely taking the components of what people would call a “folk” sound without it being connected to anything really tangible in terms of placing it to what made the music folky in the first place. People. Places. Events. that sort of thing. I do admit I have some fairly stringent ideas about what folk music should be about and i find that this lack of connect to the world around us turns me off a lot of what I do hear these days.

People have always fought over the idea and soul of folk music through the ages, whether it was Cecil Sharp and his notions of the rural Arcadia, or the purist dogma of Ewan MacColl et al versus the expansive aesthetics of the folk movement of the late ’60s. These days, the quest for purity has led to a lot of really bad stuff, such as the putrid neo-folk movement. a bunch of wannable nationalists harking over a false romantic utopia of history that never existed, or the truly conservative sound and boundaries of the new folk movement of Mumford, etc, and whatever they’re playing over in Williamsburg these days.

But then you look at Richard and Linda with this album and you can see just how good folk was, is, and can still be. What you have to remember is that at this time, they were blazing a similar path made by the like of the incredible String Band and mixing Celtic, North African, and Indian raga sounds with their own English singing sounds. It had one foot in the past and a foot in more than one world in the present. The fact that they ended up the end of the decade as practitioners of the Islamic sufi faith (apparently Richard is still a practicing Muslim), flies in the face of the cheesy, UKIP poisoned, ruddy-faced nationalism that you see in so much of today societal discourse.

All of the songs are so spare, rough and ready, but everything is there in its place and is used for full effect, whether it´s a celtic accordion, a dulcimer, or Richard’s scratchy electric guitar. but it’s Linda’s voice that is the winner here. Songs such as “Withered and Died” and. “I Want to See the Bright Lights Tonight” and “Has He Got a Friend for Me” have that sheer simplicity in their execution that sometimes makes you do a slight aural double take. Especially with their country sound where today people often insist of using an Americana twang, even if they come from somewhere, like Lincoln for instance. The album is just pure class, one of the great folk albums of it´s time. Ohhhh yeah. I’m off to have several beers….

Goodnight

 
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Posted by on May 16, 2014 in music, Video

 

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Music moment: Ekoplekz, Dat der “Unfidelity” Album

Very busy and distracted right now.

I mean, between ripping off scribd so I can get hold of two books about Czech cinema so I can scrape several needed essays and spending the last 3 hours trying to juggle 4 or 5 different things in the air, then you’re lucky that I’m actually devoting the 30 minutes that’s needed to get these words down to inform you of something that I think that you really need to hear.

You’ve gotta hand it to Nick “Ekoplekz” Edwards. The man is like the neo-industrial energizer bunny in how me conducts his music making endeavors today. He could have been like my good self and just settled with writing about music under his Gutterbreakz name (I’m currently working my way through his archives. the fucker is so right about Paul McCartney!), But instead he’s gone back to the dark side and has been carving out urban inflected beats made from the broken flotsam of lo-fi hardware, unsettling hauntological memories of misspent youth, and shattered acid dub dreamz of our post-rave society. Like contemporaries such as Shackleton and regular collaborator Baron Mordant, he’s managed to find and carve out his own negative zone where despite the constant digital deluge of music occurring these days, hardly anyone is doing what he’s doing. It’s actually very refreshing in its uniqueness.

The first I heard of his music was back a few year ago when I heard his “Pro Rebus” track on you tube. Can’t remember where from though, probably on Simon Reynolds’ blog most likely. But since then I’ve been keeping a fairly close tab on his stuff and thee’s been a fair slew of tapes, mixes, CDrs and downloads over the last few years. Some of CDr albums I’ve heard such as tended to be more abstract in structure, coming close to corrosive noise. I personally found myself warming more to the stream of EPs that he’s done with Mordant Music, Public information and Perc Trax, where he mixes fractured and splintered melodic lines and loops with some heavy modern dub leanings (check here, here and here for further listening). But what’s been really interesting is his collaborations with Bass Clef (Ekoclef) and with Mordant Music (eMMplekz). eMMplekz in particular last year produced the amazing “Nothing In Here Of Any Value / No Show” 12″, and the seething misanthropic “Your Crate Has Changed,” which were both essential 2013 listens up here at chez Sex Farm.

And now 2014 seems him inching slowly but surely into the big time with “Unfidelity,” on Planet Mu records. You can tell right away that his sound is now much more refined, with a lot more work going into the production and mastering, But despite the glistening oscillating waveforms, it’s still undeniably an Ekoplekz record to the core. in some points he’s tapping into that plasmic, tactile aspect of early Aphex Twin in how the both seem to be informed by their SW England environs, Aphex Twin with Cornwall, Nick with the Bristol area. “Severn Beach” captures the ambiance of post industrial semi-urban life next to the sea, echoing the smells and flashbacks to my own homesteads back in shetland and The Wirral. Meanwhile you’ve got punning titles like “Sleng Zen” that warps and pays homage to the Bristol dub legacy.

Since I bought the album last month,  I’ve found myself wallowing in its mossy analogue trenches and always end up coming out at the end smelling of roses. And from seeing the positive response to “Unfidelity” across the board (Even from th sad sack dad rock magazines), It´s so good to see Nick finally getting some form of reward and recognition for his efforts. Just listening to his music is giving me scheming ideas… lots of them

Do him a favour and get his album from Planet Mu, HERE, right??

goodnight…

 
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Posted by on April 1, 2014 in music

 

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Music Moment: Nine Inch Nails, “Recoiled [Full Album]”

Well I’m putting in the order for this album, even if it is being released on the slightly dodgy, olde-English-wyrd-musicks-as-front-for-BNP-tendencies label Cold Spring.

So a NIN/Posthumous Coil remix EP. Now here’s something that does interest me a fair bit. Been listening to the tracks over the weekend. Compared to some of the bombast you get with some of NIN (even the remixes), here everything comes across as more sombre and degraded, it’s soul weakened by the ravages of the world. The entire EP just sounds sick, both in sonic and metaphysical terms.

Of course that remix of “Gave Up Open My eyes” does contain souped-up drum breaks/edits along with some decidedly sharp, punky guitars. All you need to do is imagine The Prodigy in their “using real instruments live” phase.  But then things seems to get all hazy, everything a Gaussian blur. Both “Closer Unrecalled” definitely has that whole spatial, pondering Post Punk doom that the likes of Fra Lippo Lippi used to do, while “The Downward Spiral (A Gilded Sickness)”  sounds more like something that could have come from former neo-industrialists Young Hunting. Trent’s no longer giving his pained rock howls, instead being reduced to a haunted crackled whisper. No bombastic rock guitars, just looped bleeps and signals. “Eraser (Reduction)” is simply the sound of civilisation going down the plughole to be honest.

The “Recoiled EP,” hints at alternative artistic paths and futures that could have been – Either that of a Grandstanding industrial rock band losing itself to a morass of smeared drone and noise experimentation, or possibly a couple of filthy recidivists using mainstream electro rock as a front to infect the young with all sorts of nasty chaos magick viruses!

 
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Posted by on March 17, 2014 in music, Video

 

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Music moment: The Shamen, “En-Tact (Full Album)”

Evening everyone!

That was a bit of a busy weekend now wasn’t it? I got roped into covering SONAR Reykjavik for the grapevine over the last several days, and I will try to get a post done about it tomorrow where I’ll link some of the lovely words that were birthed (With spelling and syntax errors) along with some overall thoughts on the festival itself.

But over the last couple of days, I’ve realised that I’ve been so busy doing that and my course that it’s cause some time/management problems when it comes to the old posting on this ‘ere blog about certain music issues. Well we’ll see what we can do about that over the next week or so, OK?

So for tonight’s music moment, we have a bit of nostalgic return to the past, possibly caused by the attempts by one of the acts at SONAR to invoke a full on old skool “rave.” That got me into one of those YouTube wormholes of old rave and house hits from the early ’90s that took me 2 hours to climb out of. Now while it would be great to tel you the dear reader that I was a cool rave monkey with stories about getting blitzed out of my head on mole hills of ecstasy and attending warehouse raves in 1990, the reality was I was 14 years old and living in the Shetland Isles. The nearest we got to rave culture and the Summer Of Love was seeing the likes of Top Of The Pops and programmes such as “Dance Energy” (“yo yo yo!! It’s Normski he-yah!!” but luckily there were lots of hits that were coming through the top 40, including the single “Move any mountain”  by THE SHAMEN. It was a big hit and along with The KLF, it the first time I really took notice of this “dance music” that was going on in the UK properly (“Theme from S.Express” and “Pump Up the Volume” don’t count). The thing I remember was that there were loads of remixes but to this day I’m still utterly convinced that there was a version of the single without that “rap” from new member Mr C. Never really liked that guy’s style to be honest.

But on the strength of “Move Any Mountain,” I went and bought what was the first ever electronic music album I owned – ‘En-Tact.’ Hearing it again brings back memories, all those subtle acid gurglings, proto techno rhythms, strong ecstasy laced bouts of peace & love synth psychedelia, and those “tikka-tikka-tikka” drum patterns, Also remember playing some of the tracks till the tape nearly snapped, tracks such as “Possible worlds,” “Hyperreal Orbit,” and “Oxygen Restriction.” Hearing this again, I’m wondering if this album was a big hit in Iceland because I can hear some of the same themes and synth sounds appearing in the likes of the “Egg 94” compilations and very early Gus Gus material. Can anyone of you local bods out there can answer this for me?

Of course by the time the next album ‘Boss Drum’ came out in ’92, they had turned into a full-blown mainstream dance pop  act, complete with some dodgy lyrics (“Love sex intelligence/ Ooh comin’ on like a 7th sense!”), but for me this is their definitive statement. Keepin’ it old skool!

And i promise to try to get more posts done in the future

Goodnight…

 
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Posted by on February 19, 2014 in music

 

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Music Moment: Broadcast, “Man Is Not A Bird”

It was 3 years go when a pure bright light was snuffed out in the cruelest of circumstances.

So many future possibilities, journeys, and hopes left unfulfilled.

Damn…

RIP Trish Keenan. We all still miss you

Goodnight…

 
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Posted by on January 14, 2014 in music

 

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Music Moment: Machinedrum, “Rise N Fall”

Evening all….

Goddamn things just feel busy right now. Of course they’re not, not in the literal you-have–a-million-deadlines-that-have-to-be-done-yesterday sort of thing. But the last week has seen my spare time spent ripping some very creaky old Icelandic vinyl records so they can be converted to MP3 files. I thought my mate Sævar was only going to give me a couple of records, but naturally he gave me more than a dozen LPs and nearly a dozen 7″ records. It’s taken me a week just to rip them and that’s even before i get to cleaning/tagging/converting the files. I’ll tell you all bout it sometime…

And to top it all off, I only went and spilt kjötsúpa over my keyboard at the weekend, so mow everything is gunky and stick, even after a clean up. Sigh… another new keyboard is required by the end of this month it seems. I can barely type the letter “a” as it is!

Oh, if you have the time, then go over the Grapevine’s airwaves site, as Haukur gets stuck into the colface wheb he speaks to Högni from the band Hjaltalín. Apparently it was a very intense experience, calling each other between the USA and Siberia. But the results make for compelling reading…

As for tonight’s listening – well I’m not one to make rash judgments (It´s a mug’s game apparently), but once in  while you get an album and you think in your heart of hearts that it should be given a lofty title and prediction towards its implied greatness. And for me this should go to ‘Vapor City,’ the latest album from MACHINEDRUM. It´s only received middling reviews from the likes of the Guardian and the NME, but as they usually know fuck all about dance and electronic music in general, then they can safely be disregarded. For me though I do truly believe that this is an album that could (and should) be this generation’s version of LTJ Bukem’s ‘Logical Progression.’

Why do I say this? well firstly the way he meshes and weaves DnB and footwork styles into a propulsive skittery frame that allows his sounds to hang off them so easily. His grooves are smoooooth as cream. The second is the ambient sounds he makes. With an obvious debt to Burial in the specifically placed vinyl cracks and rustles, the ambient sounds he produces are full of snippets of deep emotive vocal sighs and murmurs, stretched till they provide a glistening skin of aural desire. This album may have been released on Ninja Tune, but really its spiritual home is that of Tri Angle Records, home of numerous melted, hypnotic sounds and electronic/vocal mutations.

The track “Rise N Fall” is for me the best example of the albums style. Starting off with a vocal cry that’s submerged running underneath a clean simple bassline and a tightly wound junglist breakbeat, it slowly raises above the surface as the vocal sound multiplies and builds on itself, until it takes on a slightly devout,, almost divine aspect, all the while contrasted by the slipped, repeated vocal sample that pushed the track to its final place.

This track is just so luxurious and thick in sound, you can just hear it numerous times and not get bored with it. It´s an album that contains many slow burn floor movers, as well as head tunes that allow you  to disconnect from your daily grind. Essential.

Goodnight….

 
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Posted by on October 16, 2013 in music, Video

 

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