As the sun finally beats down on England and the days reach their longest of the year it’s high time we had some music to go with the weather and Damien Beebe, or Day as he is better known, delivers with one of the freshest and summeriest records of the year.
Land of 1000 Chances is a wonderful collection of instrumentals crammed with catchy melodies and soulful vocal samples effortlessly blending jazz and downtempo grooves to give that classic hip-hop vibe. It’s cut and paste nature moves it along at a steady pace, shifting continuously but never out of character, diverse yes but also tastefully mixed.
The idea for all of this was to go back to my roots and encapsulate the last few years of what was going on in my life. I needed to get away from the clean, over-produced music I was making that had slowly put me in a creative corner cover the last 5 years. I was stuck. It’s not in me to make electronic music (I suck at it to be honest) and I didn’t want to re-hash the cut and paste stuff I had done before, so what the fuck do I do now? I go back. Back to the first album I ever made in a bedroom in Palm Springs with an EPS, my cousins drum kit and some records. I had to get back to where I came from in order to harness where I was now. Fuck layering and smothering songs to oblivion. These needed to breathe. Keep it intentionally sparse and simple. It had to be about creating a vibe and sticking to it. Not throwing in a random dance cut or having it cluttered with guests. It had to be honest and real. Somewhere along the way, I ended up drinking way too much, traveling and hanging out way too much and on the precipice of divorce. They say write what you know, so I did. – Day
It may not be that adventurous, nor entirely unique, but it’s undoubtedly well crafted and that’s all we ask for in a record like this. Suitable for driving with the windows down soaking up those summer vibes, or laying on a warm beach with a beer this record suits the sunny season no end.
Grab Land of 1000 Chances over on Day’s bandcamp page.
It doesn’t feel too long ago now that Black Sands (March 2010) released to a wonderful reception from fans and critics alike and pushed Bonobo even further to success supported by a truly brilliant live set and extensive touring. Now just three years later Simon Green returns with another step forward for his sound and what will in all likelihood be one of the best releases in downtempo electronic music this year. Continue reading
Often a bands name is a statement of how they see themselves, sometimes it’s simply to grab the attention or to make a statement. Rarely a bands name is so synonymous with the music; a wonderful embodiment of what you hear and what you read on the page (or web browser in this case). Of course that’s all very subjective, and a sweeping statement of sorts, but take a look at that name, Slowly Rolling Camera, before you hit play and take a few seconds to imagine what you are about to hear. Continue reading
Like Nightwalks before it, Archipelago is a triumphant body of work with rich and detailed production, soaring instrumentation and a staunch visual identity complimenting it’s predecessor and reaffirming Joe Acheson as a master of his craft. Straddling jazz, electronic, ambient, hip-hop and classical as before, It’s also a considerably more varied effort with tracks that shake off the darker claustrophobic atmosphere of Nightwalks and open up to a wider, reenergised and genuinely further refined record.
Overture confidently opens the album with cuts from the rest of the record making fleeting appearances and building into a full track before debut single Spoken brings it down and starts all over again. It is an incredibly evocative piece with field recordings from the Outer Hebrides complimenting the record sleeves beautiful etched visuals. It’s this level of thoughtfulness that separate the Hidden Orchestra from their peers. The tracks run like the tides, building up and receding gracefully with layer upon layer being introduced and creating a bold tension; the dual drum kits playing off each other, teasing and coaxing the music forward. It’s brilliantly clever stuff and a pleasure to listen to, this isn’t a record to be relegated to background music but one to take the time to learn its nuances and be utterly absorbed by.
It’s varied throughout with other double AA single Vorka being positively playful and contrasting with tracks such as Reminder which have distinctly darker tones before straying close to a sound reminiscent of ex label mate Bonobo on Seven Hunters. It’s also worth mentioning Archipelago is overflowing with guest talent. Czech musician/composer Floex joins cellist Su-a Lee, Mary MacMaster and Phil Cardwell who accompany core members Joe Acheson, Poppy Graham, Tim Lane and Jamie Graham. Each bring their own element to Archipelago and sound perfectly suited.
On its own Archipelago is an absolutely fantastic record. Executed with both skillful musicianship and talented song writing it is without a doubt one of the more beautiful, poetic and downright cinematic albums you will hear this year; however taken as a companion to Nightwalks it really shines as one of the most focused and exciting records on the UK music scene. You could accuse the Hidden Orchestra of staying a little too true to their template but think of the considered evolution of their sound combined with Joe Achesons overall vision for Hidden Orchestra and it brings the tantalising imagery of the greatest trilogies of our culture to mind. Let’s hope this is the Hidden Orchestras Empire Strikes Back and not the Godfather Part II (we all know where that trilogy went after that).
Over the past year or so Kieran Hebden AKA Four Tet has been releasing a number of 12” singles via his own Text record label. For the benefit of those without a turntable he has decided to bring these tracks together in album form. This new collection of tracks is called Pink (artwork above). It has been released digitally via Hebden’s Text label today, and is available from all the usual places. There will be a CD release of the album too, although this is restricted to Japan only. You can listen to two of the tracks from the album below.
Four Tet – Pink
5. 128 Harps
7. Peace For Earth
Four Tet – 128 Harps
Four Tet – Jupiters
I Used To Be, Chris Stolz’s second album under the TiredEyes monicker, was one of my favourite and most played records of last year. Its jazzy beats and laid back feel made for fantastic summer listening with some infectious melodies that really stuck. Dusty analogue vibes, warm production and an unhurried pace set a bar that any musician would be hardpressed to top. And so, just over one year on, Constellations arrives in time for the last month or two of warm weather (here in the UK anyway).
Where I Used To Be arrived with a shot of energy on title track I Used To Be, Constellations takes a subtler route and opts to build slowly with the smokey Cosmic Echoes. It’s lazy, considered, and thoroughly cinematic. And this is what sets Constellations apart from debut There in the Shade and last years I Used To Be. It’s that experience from three albums under one project. A confidence and swagger that can only become apparent after the foundations have been laid and then tested.
Tracks build, vocal samples tease, beats reverberate; crackles, hissing and pops layer onto a wide selection of instruments. It’s a pleasure to listen to and if stuck with, will reveal a surprising level of detail that a quick listen might mask. The latter half of the album really shines with tracks like Nylon Trees and Stay Inside being stunning examples of what Stolz can do, the latter containing a great sample from Peggy Lees Johnny Guitar. It’s moody, sweeping and cinematic.
So how does Constellations stack up to I Used To Be? It effectively continues right where its predecessor left off, in fact it wouldn’t sound out of place if it were a side two – just a slower and more confident side two. That’s not to it’s detriment though, Constellations is still a superb record through and through and familiarity is as much as a good thing as a bad thing. Change for changes sake is not always a good thing and this is a perfect example when you’ve hit a great formula not to mess with it too much. As above, what is there however is a far more polished experience; further refined, cinematic and confident. Stolz’s beats sound just as organic, his sampling tighter and the details finer. This is what makes TiredEyes stand out from a large number of the other beatmakers at the moment, fine detailing. It’s exciting to put a pair of headphones and come out so rewarded and Constellations does not disappoint.
Constellations is available for download from TiredEyes bandcamp page for $10 (USD)
Tracklisting is as follows,
- Blast Off (00:51)
- Cosmic Echoes (03:26)
- Orbital (03:10)
- Golden (02:09)
- Pain (03:01)
- Imagery (01:48)
- Maydrum (01:53)
- Move Like This (02:41)
- Run Free (02:32)
- Such A Sky (01:36)
- Lean Back (02:27)
- Sit By The Door (02:56)
- Empty Chamber (01:15)
- We’re Not Home (01:49)
- Mellow Breeze (02:08)
- Space Bass (03:53)
- Nylon Trees (02:51)
- Stay Inside (03:31)
- Obedient Workers (01:54)
Update: The debut single from Archipelago has since been debuted on www.thelineofbestfit.com. It’s an upbeat and slightly more playful sound for the Hidden Orchestra yet retains the sweeping cinematic feel of their debut and live shows. The single is officially out in September, in the mean time have a listen on Soundcloud.
Sadly there are no audio samples as yet. In the mean time check out Footsteps from the debut Nightwalks. Hidden Orchestra’s sound can be described as a sweeping,emotional and incredibly cinematic experience with strong jazz and classical influences layer with organic sampling.
On a side note, I’m particularly fond of the continuity between artwork which comes courtesy of Norman Ackroyd.
Sorry for the hiatus the last 10 days, we’re back, and so is Benn Jordan with his new release Opus At The End Of Everything under The Flashbulb pseudonym. It’s really more of the same sound heard on the previous Flashbulb albums and that of course is no bad thing. If anything it has a little more of a mellow vibe and as ever Jordan’s production is superb throughout, warm yet crisp and full of depth. I wasn’t expecting this one so it’s been a nice surprise for a snowy Friday morning. Listen to some highlights below and check out the album teaser, which I totally missed last October!
Grab the album over at The Flashbulb bandcamp page.
Joe Acheson of Hidden Orchestra has thrown out this rather wonderful mixtape to celebrate the release of the new Flight EP on Tru Thoughts. It’s an extensive collection and expertly woven with some of my favourite artists cropping up through it’s 86 minute run time. It’s also FREE courtesy of Paris DJs (which, by the way, is well worth a regular visit!).
Head here to Paris Djs to download the mix in it’s entirety. Tracklisting is as follows;
[00:00] 01. Hidden Orchestra – Flight
[00:01] 02. Shake Keane – One a Week with Water (excerpt from poetry recital)
[02:44] 03. Hamalais-Osakunnan Laulajat – Prelude – Kesa (by Matthew Whittall)
[02:48] 04. Origamibiro – Dissect Ephemeral
[02:51] 05. (interview) – Marke’s favourite sound pt.1
[05:19] 06. Hidden Orchestra – The Windfall (Drums-Only version)
[05:42] 07. Hidden Orchestra – Out of Nowhere (No-Drums version)
[06:01] 08. Björk – Hidden Place (acapella)
[07:03] 09. Hidden Orchestra – Stammer (Drums-Only version)
[08:06] 10. Hidden Orchestra feat. Julia Biel – Footsteps (Lost Twin Remix)
[11:40] 11. Nils Frahm & Anne Muller – Long Enough
[11:53] 12. Jeru the Damaja – War (acapella)
[13:51] 13. Origamibiro – Womb Duvet
[14:20] 14. Phuong Dung – Do Ai (Riddles)
[15:36] 15. Joe Acheson – Riddles
[16:59] 16. Long Arm – After 4am
[18:13] 17. The Pharcyde – Runnin’ (acapella)
[19:20] 18. DJ Cam – Free Your Turntable And Your Scratch Will Follow
[20:41] 19. Lewis Parker – Shadows of Autumn (acapella)
[23:40] 20. Guru – The Revolutionist (acapella)
[23:41] 21. Madlib – Distant Land
[27:34] 22. Linton Kwesi Johnson – Reggae fi Dada (live poetry recital)
[27:37] 23. Boards of Canada – Everything you do is a Balloon
[27:38] 24. Gorodisch – Omaha
[30:08] 25. Madlib – Episode VI
[31:16] 26. Billie Holiday – One, Two Buckle my Shoe
[31:25] 27. Madlib – Slim’s Return
[31:31] 28. Björk – 107 steps (acapella)
[34:02] 29. Madlib – Episode XI
[34:40] 30. Ol’ Dirty Bastard – Shimmy (acapella)
[35:03] 31. Quasimoto – Put a Curse on You (acapella)
[35:04] 32. Controller 7 – Untitled Demo 2
[35:44] 33. Mu-ziq – Hasty Boom Alert
[37:16] 34. Hidden Orchestra – Dust (Drums-Only version)
[37:28] 35. M.O.P. – Pounds Up (acapella)
[40:13] 36. Hidden Orchestra – Dust (Floex Remix)
[43:08] 37. Street Smartz feat. O.C. and Pharoahe Monch – Metal Thangz (acapella)
[45:51] 38. Jaga Jazzist – Real Racecars have Doors
[47:42] 39. Chali 2na – Comin Thru (acapella)
[49:54] 40. Madlib – Static Invazion
[50:22] 41. Talib Kweli – Some Kind of Wonderful (acapella)
[50:39] 42. Controller 7 – Untitled Demo 1
[51:10] 43. Thelonius Monk – Caravan
[52:21] 44. Radiohead – Paperbag Writer
[52:21] 45. Four Tet – Cload
[55:00] 46. Wu-Tang Clan – Chessboxin’ (acapella)
[56:25] 47. Peruvian Marching Band – Memphis Soul Stewed
[56:42] 48. Elvis Presley – Suspicious Minds (acapella)
[58:22] 49. Madlib – Funky Blue Note
[59:52] 50. Kuljit Bhamra & Orlando Consort – Tabla Talum
[62:38] 51. Origamibiro – Remnants
[62:48] 52. (interview) – Marke’s favourite sound pt.2
[63:39] 53. Xploding Plastix – Kissed by a Kisser
[66:11] 54. Dizzy Gillespie – Jambo
[68:36] 55. Radiohead – These Are My Twisted Words
[70:03] 56. Shake Keane – Poetry and Jazz (excerpt from interview)
[72:04] 57. Amon Tobin – The Killer’s Vanilla
[73:03] 58. DJ Shadow – Going Nowhere
[74:39] 59. Shankles – Branches
[75:00] 60. Nils Frahm & Anne Muller – Reminds to Teeth
[75:16] 61. Shake Keane – Soufriere (poetry recital and flugal horn solo)
[78:32] 62. (radio documentary excerpt) – Angel Horn – produced by Matt Thompson
[78:44] 63. Hidden Orchestra – Flight (Drums-Only Version)
[78:58] 64. Igor Boxx – Last Party in Breslau
[80:26] 65. Nils Frahm & Anne Muller – 7fingers
[80:57] 66. Profisee – Welcome (acapella)
[83:56] 67. Four Tet – The Butterfly Effect
[86:12] 68. Hidden Orchestra – Flight (No-Drums Version)
I spend quite a bit of time on bandcamp trawling through the countless albums and eps picking out the artwork that displays some excellent design or something with a creative name and then checking out the music that follows. It’s a fantastic way to find artists if you’re willing to put the time in and listen to some questionable music along the way. This will be a series of posts for 2012 I’ll be writing most weeks of the year, essentially when something interesting crops up. So, for the first of 52 I present you with this weeks find, Question.
What drew me to Question was actually bandcamps Gallery page which is a selection of artists whose design is worth you looking at essentially. He’s got a superb header on there and nice set of album artworks and that’s reason enough to have a closer look in my book.
So what’s the music like? Well, Question’s bandcamp bio goes like this “This Southern California beatsmith has been spinning hiphop since the early 90’s. His production style is a mixture of obscure jazz samples, heavy beats, and live orchestration. Question’s music can be defined as an interpretation of a timeless era, purely fueled by Jazz & Soul.” and this is exactly what you get, only it’s incredibly well made.
I started with the free downloads of Interludes & Interpretations and Re-Deux before purchasing the full length Standard Translation. All follow the same template, great straight up beats combined with a wide collection of obscure jazz. This plays to it’s benefit and where the music really excels is in this collection of the samples, all interesting and consistant throughout. It’s got the dusty analogue feel down to a tee complimented with warm production and speaking of consistency that’s pretty much where Question is elevated above his peers. His work flows incredibly well and is all of a superb standard, there’s no throwaway tracks or gimicky moments and for this I thoroughly recommend the above collections. There’s no frills here, it’s just straight up, well made, jazzy instrumental hip hop and that’s a good thing. It’ll be in my playlist for a while to come.