I have been consumed with the cryptic “Lost- Dharma Initiative” type of game being played by Boards of Canada over the past week and a half. It began on Record Store Day, someone in New York stumbled upon a 2013 record from Warp Records with Boards of Canada on the title, six spaces with dashes but one section with XXXXX. When they played the record, it starts off with an intro similar to BOC’s music with that unmistakable retro-synth sound. However, then a lot of static comes in and behind it you can hear someone reading numbers like from a “secret” numbers station.
That all started a fury of other clues including another record found in London, updates to BOC’s YouTube videos in their playlist with clues in edited descriptions and other static filled videos that have to be played simultaneously to hear any useful information. The header of the Twoism.org (a BOC chat forum) website held a clue, as did a quick hit on BBC radio, and a performance art-like display across the street from Rough Trade Records in London displayed a film and the position of the BBC radio clue. The film featured a desert scene and an abandoned gas station. The hysteria has reached a point where some Redditors even traveled out to the location to search for clues! Last night, Adult Swim aired an ad (below video) which followed up the Record Store film with another one seemingly the same to clarify that fifth number and its position in the sequence.
I’ve been getting a lot of information from Twoism.org, a great blog from RJ Kozain (http://2020k.wordpress.com/), and the BOC sub-reddit. What does this all mean? HOPEFULLY, it means this is the kickoff of a promotional campaign and the Scottish brothers are about to release their first album in eight years. All we can do now is sit back and wait a bit longer for that sixth code.
In the meantime, keep chillin’.
Here’s the latest clue from the Adult Swim ad-
Lusine’s (Todd McIlwain) new album just dropped on the 19th and it is amazing! The title “The Waiting Room” is appropriate as I have been eagerly awaiting this release since it has been four years since his last full-length album.
What you get with “The Waiting Room” is an expansion of Lusine’s amazing use of layered synth sounds, but also some great vocal work performed by Sarah McIlwain. Yep, you guessed it, Mrs. Lusine! Her vocals add another layer to the already complex sonic tapestry Lusine usually paints and makes a welcome addition to his music.
“Panoramic” is the perfect opener. It opens quietly and builds and builds with a few key changes, then eases quietly out to the next track. The massive synth chords were a terrific climax as the track made its way toward the end. Just sublime!
I also enjoyed the hypnotic “On Telegraph” where Lusine is seemingly sending a pulsating telegraph signal out to his audience reminding us that he is back. Don’t worry, we’re still here! Those pulses are combined with a smooth bass beat and then evolves into a mid-tempo dance track towards the end.
“Another Tomorrow” and “Without a Plan” were the first two singles released for “The Waiting Room” and make a back to back appearance in the middle of the album. These tracks seemed more accessible than his more electronic-sounding stuff and the addition of Sarah’s vocals make them even more “poppy.” They both invoke a bright and warm feeling and I really enjoyed the hook on “Another Tomorrow.”
“The Waiting Room” was released on Ghostly Records and is available now. Lusine is also touring this year in support of the new album. Dates can be found here on his website.
Our friend Hashfinger has an awesome new release on Sinoptic Records.
The new album is called “Coriolis Effect” and has a lot in common with lot of “Hash’s” previous works. This includes his tremendous use of trip hop beats and vintage samples.
The wrinkle this time, is the theme of space. This is mostly made evident by a few of the track titles (“Ghost of Jupiter” and “King Neptune” for example) The Coriolis Effect is also a term used in physics to describe ”a deflection of moving objects when they are viewed in a rotating reference frame.” (Thanks Wikipedia!)
In the title track (see embedded track below) as well as in the two planet-titled tracks, he uses some crazy vintage science fiction movie samples. You will still definitely hear a lot of those hard hitting beats which Hash does best, but I think this change of direction is a positive step forward for him as an artist. He had been using a lot of old style music (jazz, lounge, etc) with his beats in the past, so blowing the past away and looking towards the future and space is a great new direction to venture. I’m definitely curious as to what direction of the creative process he will take next.
“Coriolis Effect” was released on October 7th and is available on Hash’s Bandcamp site.
The main single “Brooklyn Nights” is a pretty straight forward house track with a bit of an uptempo feel to it. The synth melody is a lower tone so it doesn’t overpower the rest of the mix. It is really quite smooth, which also is a good word to describe the soulful vocals you hear throughout the track.
I really liked the remixes on this EP. Starting with the very fun intro on the remix by Aussie “Fantastic Man.” It starts off with lots of beeps and boops and then turns into a mellower chill track with strings in the background and some bluesy keys. One could say it is “fantastic!” (Sorry, had to do it.)
Savile’s remix starts out darker with more of a synthy/new age feel. There is an abstract section with but this track settles down nicely towards the end as well providing for another chilled experience.
“Beverly Thrills” (video below) provides many thrills with a very fun driving beat and a funky guitar looped melody. It starts off almost as a rock track but then migrates back to the electronica side after a bit. Since I’m a fan of the use of multiple genres within a track, I loved it. Not quite sure what the title “Beverly Thrills” has to do with “Brooklyn Nights,” but I’ll take the great music any day…or night in this case. It was my favorite track on this EP, so definitely check this one out.
The single is out now on Beatport, iTunes, and other fine locales on the Smoke N’ Mirrors imprint.
I had my doubts after the UK duo’s efforts with “Yeah Ghost” but they certainly deliver on this beautiful track made available today from RCRDLBL.com. The track is part of a “Track Track” double cover album effort featuring well established artists like Arcade Fire, Broken Social Scene, Orbital, Underworld, and others and will be released on September 3rd along with a book about the English synth pop legends.
Since “The Colour of Spring” is a cover song, it can’t stray too far from the original, but Binns and Hardaker strip it down to a simple piano melody and place it alongside the beautiful vocal work of “Only Girl” (Ellen Murphy) to add a sense of urgency at the beginning. There are some additional beautiful spacey synth sounds that wander in and out and a simple, repeating deep bass line (think Massive Attack’s “Protection”). A gradual fade out at the end of the track adds to its mystique. It is really a great emotional piece.
I think what this track has that was missing from “Yeah Ghost” was that mystique of previous efforts as well were the beautiful vocals of Sia who went solo and then hit the charts on David Guetta’s “Titanium.” There just wasn’t that iconic moment like they hit with on tracks like “Destiny” and “Somersault.” Perhaps the closest they came on “Yeah Ghost” was Martha Tilston’s performance on “Pop Art Blue” but that track itself isn’t anything close to those Z7 standbys. Only Girl’s vocals provide that mystique on this awesome cover track. I just hope they can parlay that mystique over to their next full release!
Thanks to the fine folks at Phonosaurus Recordings out of Montreal, I was able to preview an amazing new effort from Raycord. Raycord is from the “Great White North” of Canada and from all of the press I’ve read, I can’t find out where other than “in the countryside” of Quebec. I suppose that is fitting due to the darker tone of the album where it seems one could get a feeling of solace.
From sampling some tracks from his previous album “L’hiver Blanc” on his Soundcloud page, this new album seems to be a more ambitious and experimental. ”Ruban Ruban” which means “Reel to Reel” in French is a fitting title for the album as it took what must have been five painstaking years recording with analog reel to reel tapes with the aid of Steve Cloutier to get this project out.
As mentioned, “Ruban Ruban” seems darker in tone with some great trip hop beats. Raycord uses a lot of abstract sounds and samples, then weaves them in between those trip hop beats making for some very lush soundscapes.
Although the main focus seemed to be those trip hop beats with abstract chords and sounds there is a good variety of musical ideas in this album. ”Morning Rhodes” for example, was one of my favorite tracks but was a shorter interlude that I wish he spent more time on. It has a great hypnotic melody of which I could just not get enough! I also loved the very interesting violin sample on “La Station Secrete” which reminded me a bit of Dust Brothers’ work on the Fight Club soundtrack. It ranged from tough and masculine to very delicate at the end. Just breathtaking!
Finally, the closing track “Flute a Ruban” ends the album on a very dark and eerie note and had more of a new age feel. Perhaps the inspiration for this one was that feeling of solace in the cold Canadian countryside. I’ll have to ask him when I send him some interview questions and will post either here or over at The Couch Sessions.
I could go on and on about the amazing sounds on this album, but you’ll have to pick it up and listen for yourself! ”Ruban Ruban” drops on September 12th at Phonosaurus Records’ online store. In the meantime you can check out this very well done video (an ode to an electric piano) for his track “Wurlitzer a Nu” below.
The venue is a beautiful club with a lounge in the main entrance area and a club downstairs. The upstairs lounge had a bit of a vintage feel to it with the older furniture they had set up. Downstairs was a bit more contemporary. There was a nice VIP area in the corner which was pretty full. It was a very good crowd for a Wednesday night and the place packed by around Midnight. It was a “Gen X” crowd for the most part with some younger folks in attendance, but everyone seemed to be in their late 20′s or early 30′s.
The appropriately named “Colossus” (6’8″ Englishman, now Oakland resident Charlie Tate) played a great warm up set including a lot of Q-tip and Tribe songs, including the very groovy mix of “Got til’ it’s Gone” with Janet Jackson. He also knew what the patrons wanted and mixed in some nice electro jazz to get us all ready for Mark Farina.
Farina came on around just after 11 and started things off with a great set including a diverse set of tracks including his own Mushroom Jazz material. What really got the crowd going early on however, was a mix of Michael McDonald’s “I Keep Forgettin’.” Not sure why people freaked when he played that, but it was enjoyable and he did provide a nice remix of the song.
Through the warm up set and Farina’s, there was a beautiful visual presentation to go along with the music. It was even complete with close ups of mushrooms. How fitting. I’ve included a picture of the scene here, but it’s not the best quality since it was just taken with my phone. I’ll remember to take my good camera along with me on work trips just in case another great show like this comes along. :) I’ve also included a quick video of the show below.
I had to attempt to get some sleep before a 630am flight back home so I was unable to stay for the entire show. Farina is touring this summer so I may get a chance to see him again in the near future. You can too. Check out the tour dates on his website DJMarkFarina.net!
If you’re into Hugo’s trademark retro cinematic sounds, you will definitely like this mix. You’ll even hear an orchestra warming up at the beginning! If you are yet to hear his music, then this mix is a great representation of what he is all about. Hugo uses a lot of tracks with flute parts in the mix which makes sense since it is a big part of his music as well. However, there are many many instruments represented in these tracks so you’ll definitely get what you’re looking for with this mix.
There are a couple of Kant’s own tracks in the mix (“June” and “The Chord Cracker” from his album “I Don’t Want to be an Emperor” One of my favorite additions to the mix was TM Juke & The Jack Baker Trio’s “Yeah The Crab.” The track features a perfect mix of a hip hop beat with big horn stabs and even a little surf guitar to give it that unique retro cinematic feel. I have to say it again, if there’s an artist that tries to get that David Holmes soundtrack feel into music, it’s Hugo Kant. He just “gets” it.
For you chill out fiends out there, there’s the trip-hop sound of “Over the Coals” by Tipper as well as the back beat filled “Tired and Awake” by Hidden Orchestra which has a great deep stand up bass melody and builds into an awesome sweeping orchestral sound.
This mix will definitely tide me over until Hugo’s next project. You can download it for free from his Soundcloud page or just listen below.
Our long time friend, Anji Bee has a new EP out in advance of her soon to be released solo debut. The single is called “Put Some Music On” and it is delightfully chill.
The original track features Anji’s always beautiful vocals which are layered magnificently. It is a sultry and sexy tune, so much so that it will help set the mood for all sorts of nocturnal activities. The other remixes are tremendously done. I really enjoyed the “Intensity of Sound Deep House Excursion” which starts minimally with some synth sounds but then grows into an upbeat dance track even invoking a bit of a disco feel with the addition of some string sounds. Very groovy!
Speaking of grooves, “The Grooveblaster Mix” is also a very chill remix of this track and has my favorite sound in all of music, the muted trumpet. It just always reminds me of film noir and a smoke filled jazz club. It also has a bit of bluesy guitar sound which rounds out that blues/jazz sound nicely.
After checking out this EP, I cannot wait to hear the rest of the new album from the host of “The Chillcast with Anji Bee” and the vocalist/lyricist half of the duo “Lovespirals.” Go to Anji’s Bandcamp site to pick up this great EP. It’s definitely worth the five bucks!
I was SO lucky to finally be able to see the legendary indie group Radiohead in Kansas City last month on March 11th. Since this show and tour are in support of their latest “King of Limbs” album, they played five of the eight songs from that album. However the rest of their discography was well represented with exception of their debut album “Pablo Honey.”
The set contained more laid back tracks, with the stripped-down “Nude” replacing snarling “Airbag” on the setlist from the previous show in St Louis. The great thing about Thom Yorke and crew is even with downtempo songs, they still emote so many beautiful moments you don’t realize there weren’t many “rockers.” The mood of each song was enhanced by the beautiful stage lighting and video art in the background. Simply a stunning visual display.
As you can tell from the photo of Yorke and the videos I took below, I had a pretty good spot on the floor. :) The highlights of the show for me would be the beautiful back to back of “All I Need” and “Pyramid Song” (video below), “The Daily Mail” which was the darkly intense new song dedicated to Rupert Murdoch, and of course the epic “Paranoid Android” that closed the just over two hour performance.
Radiohead will continue to be pretty busy touring throughout the year, with upcoming shows on the west coast starting with a stop in Seattle on the 9th. They also will be headlining Coachella on the 14th, then hit the east coast of the US. After that they will pack up and head back to Europe for July and October and finally finish the year down under in Australia.
- 15 Step
- Morning Mr. Magpie
- Weird Fishes/Arpeggi
- All I Need
- Pyramid Song
- The Daily Mail
- Lotus Flower
- There There
- How to Disappear Completely
- Everything In Its Right Place
- Give Up The Ghost
- Paranoid Android