Its been a while, My new EP ‘Jacobs Ladder’ Is finally out. You can here it on all streaming services and buy it on bandcamp now! Link below:
It’s been some time since my last post, what was going to be a brief hiatus from my track of the week segment has turned into several years. As life responsibilities have gotten more complicated my free time has greatly reduced and I needed to decide what I wanted to prioritise.
The priority is my own music, and the first result of this work is this new EP Jacob’s Ladder.
The EP is focused on a collection of breakbeats I made and blends them with synthesis and Brass instrumentation to create something more rhythm focused and will be out on the 1st of December. On Bandcamp and for the first time streaming through all available music streaming services. I’ll post more as it comes up to its release on social media so follow my Instagram and Tiktok for more:
For over a decade I have been writing an Album of The Year list for the site, highlighting my favourite 5 albums and crowning one my overall favourite.
To feel like I could give a valued opinion on the music of each year took hours of research, listening to hundreds of albums (many several times) to get to a place where I believed I could fairly select my favourites. Unfortunately, this year I have not had the time to dedicate to the selection process and therefore don’t believe that I can give a fair opinion of music from this year.
Those who read the site will know its posts have dwindled over the past few months, Having a child has greatly reduced my time, and I’ve had to make decisions about how I spend my limited available free time. As music goes, I’ve been far more interested in using that time to create, rather than write about music. In the future, the site is going to continue to reflect this, with fewer posts and a focus on my own music.
That being said, there are a few albums this year that I wanted to mention as well worth a listen, so I thought I would spend a little bit of time writing about them here. This is in no way a definitive list, but it is a reflection of my life this year.
One of the first albums I head this year and yet its stayed with me throughout. Isles manages to contine what I love most in electronic music with its focus on sound design.
The albums instrumental focus allows for the records adaptability to different scenrios. It’s as comfortable bubbling quietly in the background of daily chores as it is being cranked up and your main focus. This works in most part because of the quality of the sound design that focuses on rich and complicated textures, both in its sampling and its sythpatches/layering.
This attention to detail continues throughout the record, creating a solid and unified album. With lots to love about the record, it should appeal to more than just the avid electronic music listener.
Although this album fits into my favourite genre, many records of its ilk have fallen to the wayside after several listens, Isles has stuck with me though throughout the entire year and become a musical higlight of it.
Floating Points, Pharoah Sanders & The London Symphony Orchestra- Promises
If there had to be an album of the year for me it would be this. A contemplative single composition that over its 46minute play time weaves jazz, electronic and neo classical into a unified, attractive reccord.
On first listen, I wasn’t blown away with the albums subtleties. It’s more minimal approach and focus on a single theme for most of the record left me wanting. However after several listens, and within the right frame of mind, Promises revealed itself to be a masterfull piece of work for all involved.
It has become a staple in my musical diet for many months now. A retreat into something delicate and nuanced that focuses on the intricate sounds of each instrument with exquisite detail. Whether or not the piece was recorded live, it has a feeling of that.
The album builds to movement 6, where the strings swell into full force and lead to one of the most uplifting and powerful pieces of romanticism in modern music. It is worth the price of admission alone.
It is only enhanced by the slow build of the opening movements. These are far more delicate, focusing on the motif and a single other instrument (often Pharoah Sanders voice or horn), which has the exemplarary smokyness acheived from only years of musicianship.
If there was one record I would recommend anyone listen to this year it would be Promises. I guarantee it will continue to be played in my collection for many years to come.
Well that’s it for now. I hope to post again in the not to distant future with some more of my own music. Until then I hope you have a wonderfull year.
Over the Next Few weeks I’m going to take a Break from Writing Track Of The Week for the first time in over a Decade.
I have just had a baby boy with my wife and finding the time at the moment to listen to music, let alone write about it is limited.
So for the next month I’m going to take a break from writing, then see where I’m at and If i have the time to write again I will.
Thanks for your patience at this time and I hope to get back on it with a fresh perceptive in the near future.
At The River by Groove Armada was probably one of the first tracks that got me into “Electronic” music.
Up until that time, apart from the music I grew up on, I had got into ska punk. This was due to playing the trombone, and therefore having something to relate to in the music.
Obviously the iconic trombone solo from “At The River” was a key reason I latched onto it from first listen, but repeat listens introduced me to electronic techniques that would then overtake my interest in trombone.
The sampled drum beat, synth bass and vocal melody were techniques that I may have heard before. However, in this slow tempo song, and with my undivided attention, I finally started to hone in on them from an analytical perspective.
It was a stepping stone into the ideas of electronic music production, years before I even knew what sampling or synthesis was. Looking back at this track though, it was hugely influential in getting me to understand, accept and finally use these tools in my own work.
At The River is not just a great track but an essential one for me. Introducing me into the world of electronic music that has become my main interest for many years. It’s melody still holds up as iconic for the time, but is also instantly memorable for new listeners:
I’ve been listening to the excellent Sonic Talk Podcast for several years now. In the show, a rotating panel of guests who work in the production side of the music industry give opinions about the latest news regarding music technology. They also throw in the occasional story and insight into production.
As a fan of music production I would have always been attracted to this kind of podcast, and I have listened to many in my time. However, Sonic Talk manages to stay in my feed when many have fallen by the wayside. This is due to both the presenting of the podcast by Nick Batt and the guests, who remain effective, genial and relatable.
In June, collaborators of both the Sonic Talk Podcast and its website, Sonic State, released a compilation album on Bandcamp, showcasing their work. It’s a great collection of varied music that is well worth a listen.
Although there are several highlights on the record, Hanka by MATTHS really resonated with me. Its cavernous rasping synth lines tear away at your speakers and are reined in with tight, angular percussion. This creates an aggressive, brooding dance track that realy suits being played loud:
I’m running a little late with my track of the week and don’t have much time so I thought I’d quickly recommend this track.
In Nicolas Jaar’s Alter Ego Against All Logic he oftern pushes the production in his music into the experimental. Deeeeeeefers is produced in a way that pushes its sound as aggressive and harsh as possible adding to its energy but also making it quite a tiring repeat listen but its still defiantly worth your time:
I heard of Broken Atoms through the excellent “Electronic Music Open Mic.” Started by Martin Christie as a collection of nights for electronic musicians to perform, it has grown into a community outside of the events. Across the world, whatsapp and facebook groups of likeminded people express ideas, music and work together.
I try to listen to everything that gets put up by fellow EMOM performers and thats how I came across “Journey;” an EP by Broken Atoms. I really enjoyed it. The opening track “Koganoya Adventurer” blends synths with guitars in a way that instantly reminded me of one of my favourite bands “65DaysOfStatic.”
Those regular readers of my Track Of The Week will know that this style of music is definitely a favourite of mine. The warbling synth/e-piano melody that provides the foundatons and opens the track is a texture that I instantly appreciated. By its conclusion, I was impressed by the tracks maturity in its production and arrangment. For an artist that only has a handful of records on bandcamp, its impressive to see such high quality output that deserves your attention.
The Opening to M83’s 2008 album “Saturdays=Youth” is a slow burn. You appearing focuses on a collection of repeating melodyies, vocals and drones that slowly fade in and out of the track.
The track reminds me of the Shoegaze Gnere, Especially on the guitar pad/drones which are reversed to create these wide sweithes of sonic ambience I just love.
It’s an interesting start to the album, almost working as an amuse bouche before the main, more energetic corurse of the rest of the album.
As someone who likes some of my music to be a little more trippy and dreamy, “you appearing” is a supportive album track that holds up in its own right. With a sonic landscape and use of FX that really make this track shine.
Over the past couple of weeks I’ve been working on the Tokyo Olympic Games at work. It’s been a fun challenge that brought back visiting Japan, and my facination with the country over the years.
The first Japanese band I really got into were Plus-Tech Squeeze Box. A band who could have only come out of Japan.
Plus-Tech Squeeze Box are musically very hard to define. They wear their influences on their sleeves, often replicating them to perfection. What makes them so different is how scattershot those influences are, and how they’re plastered over their records in such a shotgun blast of frenetic energy that listening to one of their albums sounds close to someone with a low attention span flicking through channels on a television.
It’s an abrasive and frenetic style that could very easily be distracting if it weren’t for their charm. The two albums they have released (fakevox & cartoom!) are done with such an irreverent joy that you can’t help but smile. If I were to expand the fitting analogy of flicking through television channels, all of those channels would be of kids TV; bright vibrant colours of joyful and open innocence.
It’s a shame that they’ve only released two albums. Their last, “cartoom!” was released over fifteen years ago, yet they are so distinctly unique they sound as fresh and exiting now as they did when I first heard their track “Early Riser” all those years ago.
Listening to a full album from Plus-Tech Squeeze Box is where the real joy lies as its their crazed development that makes them so compelling, which isn’t transferred to the listener with a single track. However “☆” from their first album “fakevox” is a great place to start as it captures them at their most rambunctious, with big Simmons drums and brass pad sounds that just bring joy to any listener with a soul.
“☆” also works well as it features the same kind of themes as their track “starship.6” from their second album “cartooom!,” which I have talked about previously in an earlier Track Of The Week post. At that time, Plus-Tech Squeeze Box weren’t available on spotify. Now that they are, I will posthumously add that track below, as well as to my TOTW-playlist for your enjoyment: