A bunch of new and not so new mixes I've come across in the last few weeks.
Blogariddims is no more, which is shame but a good move on the whole I think - there's now a round 50 to check out. In some senses they are a mess, but a noble and infinitely interesting mess - typified by no.50 - Terminus: mixed by series progenitor Droid, and featuring a selection of the series' stalwarts, it has a garbled, twitchy feel to it; but as it moves from skronky avant-classical stuff through incidental music and dubstep it always feels vital and relevant.
The Dubstep Forum was three years old a few weeks back and temporarily disappeared showing only a thank you screen and a link to this mix - yet more evidence that the scene is starting to close itself off, raw and twitchy under the searchlights of rockist scum such as ourselves...The mix, put together by BunZer0, is well worth a listen (the tracklist is here. The forum is back too, but for how long?
Then there's Grievous Angel's latest mix (for FACT Magazine: there's a whole bunch of other stuff to download too) - much smoother than I'd been expecting (it blends a good deal of Jill Scott into its weave) but no less engaging.
And, this Future Mix from Mary Anne Hobbs.
Lastly - make of this what you will. A cover of 'Archangel' by Banjo or Freakout.
With the Knives gig fresh in my mind I was excited to be returning to the Koko. It occurred to me later how splendid a venue it is. If you are fond of the glitter-ball, then you are in for a treat. If like me, you’re not partial to large balls ornamented with glitter, it’s still cool. And it was agreed that we would return again for a club night. It’s that kind of place. But I am back again for a good old-fashioned gig.
I last saw dEUS at (whisper it) a V festival around the turn of the century. They blew me away. Raw intensity from a band like I had seldom experienced, coupled with my memory of there being only a few of us in the crowd. The electric shock Tom Barman (guitarist & singer) gained that day cemented it. Rock ‘n’ Roll.
They are far from a favourite band of mine, having always contented myself with what for me are their two classic songs, “Suds & Soda” & “Instant Street”. And these really are classics. The remainder of their canon fail to scale these heights. On the night I was not disappointed with their performance. And clearly the crowd was neither. Though it kind of fell to me to get the mosh-pit moving as & when required which was a little disappointing, but then I suppose someone has to. Anyway, another cool night was had at the Koko.
My thanks are to Lester for this one. Cheers!
Download: dEUS - Instant Street
Download: dEUS - Suds & Soda
We Were Promised Jetpacks (photo by thomas hermoso)
I noticed today that the very fine We Were Promised Jetpacks have been signed by the also very fine Fat Cat Records. There has been a buzz about the band for a good few months now and having seen them live it was obvious that someone was going to snap them up. I look forward to finally hearing them on record. Below are a couple of rough demo tracks that have been doing the rounds for a while, and a couple of videos of a recent session that did for bandstandbusking.
Download: We Were Promised Jetpacks - Moving Clocks Run Slow
Listen: We Were Promised Jetpacks - Moving Clocks Run Slow
Download: We Were Promised Jetpacks - Quiet Little Voices
Listen: We Were Promised Jetpacks - Quiet Little Voices
Artist: John Baker
Album: The John Baker Tapes Vol.1
This has been a beserk listening experience - I know these sounds intimately already, they ping about in some closed off corner of my unconscious, in all our unconsciousness I suspect. These unearthly scrapings and enhanced blocks of musique concrete are the production of John Baker who was part of the pioneering Radiophonic Workshop, set up by the BBC in the 1950s to create music, jingles and incidental sound for its burgeoning media network. The inevitable thing to mention here is Delia Derbyshire's astonishing Doctor Who soundtrack, which came out of the workshop in 1963, but that was but one piece among many thousands (there are reportedly 4,000 hours of archived tape at Maida Vale) and the workshop was precisely that - a foundry of produced sound, with pieces created to meet demand as and when it came. So in some sense this is experimentation bridled by convention - an unsual working arrangment which probably accounts for the hit and miss nature of some of the pieces. But that isn't to detract from the sheer sonic invention on display here, and the almost uncanny way obvious everyday sounds are distorted and refracted to fit a purpose. It's no wonder that this at times expressionless 'music' has been such an influence on our received sonic palette. Just check the Dial M For Murder track below. I think Richard D James may have been listening...
Artist: John Baker
Album: The John Baker Tapes Vol.2
There are two discs to this set and it can become slightly cloying after a while, but as an artefact it does expand beyond the boundaries of mere nostalgia - not always, certainly - the second disc particularly has some teeth-curling light jazz moments, but there are sequence when this tips into something more than just time-capsule whimsy, indeed when it feels as if this is created from some anterior present, some other place removed from the usual grasping of our critical faculties. We should be thankful to the mighty Trunk for putting it together.
Download: John Baker - Dial M For Murder
I will say that there are many infinitely better qualified people than me to expound on this stuff and a good deal of excellent pieces around. Below are a few well worth reading.
Woebot on the Radiophonic Workshop
A piece on the same by Robin Carmody
And Simon Reynold's recent piece from The Guardian
Two excellent reviews of this release.
And finally the press release from Trunk which includes a poignant biography of John Baker by his brother Richard Anthony Baker. If any music ever resisted biography it must be this, yet strangely this piece adds an unusual, unsettling texture to the work.
I saw Frightened Rabbit recently, in the oddest of venues in Southampton. The Orange Roomsis the archetypal Southampton place - nondescript and bland but with a GNVQ in marketing and an ill-thought out evocative name, like it might hold mysteries. The only mystery is how every fucker in there has the same hair, and how the bar staff manage to be so surly and incompetent all at once. I'd actually booked tickets for the gig but on entering was met with confusion, as if they'd barely expected anyone to show up at all. Which unfortunately wasn't far from the truth.
There was a tiny stage in one corner of the venue, 5 yards in front of which was the mixing desk, and behind that was a small space from which people were craning either side of two stacks of amps. Directly in front of the stage were 3 armchairs. Fucking armchairs! No one saw fit to move them so they stayed throughout the gig. So did the lights. No wonder the bands looked so awkward. We Were Promised Jetpacks supported and we're an odd mix of the magnificent and the messy - plus an odd kind of schoolboy fear. Maybe it was the lights. Maybe it was us lot, forced to stand like a milk marketing board in limp judgement. Either way they're surely going to be huge. Name as destiny.
The Rabbit were immense too. With some bands, inexplicably, the emotional hit just keeps coming; and there's a raw force pouring out of Scott Hutchinson that drags something up out of you - even under the tacky glow of Southampton striplights. I'd go see them again tomorrow.
All of which is to say there's a live acoustic album of The Midnight Organ Fight on the way - called Liver! Lung! FR! it's out on October 21st. You can hear the version of Old Fashioned from it here.
Also, the band did a Daytrotter Session recently which you can also download. The version of Poke is beautiful.
See also this recent tour diary entry from Scott Hutchinson that appeared on The Guardian site.
WOXY.com presents: Frightened Rabbit from WOXY on Vimeo.
The first part of a joint interview over at LOBF, with The Twilight Sad