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Soundtrack

Warning this post contains spoilers. The majority of the spoilers are for the tracks contained in the mixtape, rather than what happens in the excellent Stranger Things, but I can’t promise I won’t let something slip by accident.

 

 

For those of you who might not know Netflix’s series Stranger Things is pretty much the biggest thing going at the moment. The basic premise is in 1983 a twelve year old boy, Will Byers, goes missing on the way home after a mammoth game of Dungeons and Dragons. Everyone thinks he’s just run away, but his mum and friends think differently. In a nut shell its Super 8 meets Pan Labyrinth, with a load Spielberg, John Carpenter and Steven King thrown in for good measure. The soundtrack chocked full of 80’s hits and the original score is cool neon synthwave. Needless to say it lives up to the hype!

 

 

If this wasn’t enough DJ Yoda has now make a mixtape inspired by the series and, basically, all the films it references. Opening with a sample from the series when Jonathon says “We made you a mixtape” then samples of Mike showing Ele his toys, including Yoda. Over the next hour John Carpenter, John Williams, Toto, Dolly Parton, Echo and the Bunnymen, The Smiths, even though the time frame of the series and their releases doesn’t quite match up and of course the Clash. As the mix carries on your transported back to Hawkins and to the hunt for Will.

 

 

What makes Yoda’s Stranger Things Mixtape so enticing, and playable, is how he manages to evoke the sense of the series through using music from the period, snippets of dialogue and make it a lot of fun. Because in essence that is what the show it. Lots of subtle, and some blatantly obvious, pop cultural references that make us as audiences giggle with glee at the thought of the pay off!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Hotei returns with another slice of big dumb fun!

 

 

You probably know Hotei’s music and don’t realise it. If you’ve ever seen Kill Bill then you already know is work. Remember that track with the massive retro beat and incendiary guitar riffs? It was probably played as Uma Thurman cut her way through an unending stream of bad guys before she could get to their boss and another name on her list. Yeah? Cool! That was Hotei. Well since then he’s toured the world, recorded and released seven albums and is has just dropped his latest single, Move It featuring Richard Z. Krupse. You know, him from Rammstein and Emigrate.

 

 

Move It perfectly fills the void for fun massive riffed, big beated rock. Hotei and Kruspe aren’t trying to be subtle, or clever with the juxtaposition of the music/guitars/vocals. It just is what it is. A load of fun. Each riff is are more devastating than the last and by the halfway point you are disoriented and thankful for the slight reprieve that Kruspe’s vocals give. While this doesn’t have the same impact as Hotei’s earlier work, it is just as enjoyable. Do yourself a favour today. Indulge in three minutes of riff rock majestry!

 

 

Move It is out now

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Valeur d’usage Records has teamed up with FTOR for their third release

 

 

In recent years musicians and record labels have had to come up with interesting ways to package their products. Some have gone down the route of limited edition covers designed and created by the musicians themselves. Others have opted for heat sensitive covers. Some have gone down the route of releasing art prints with downloads, and this year Scottish post-rock group Outblinker decided to use broken watches in custom made boxes instead (this mirrors the art work perfectly). One French label, Valeur d’usage Records, has gone one step further.

 

 

For their third release, FTOR’s La T album, Valeur d’usage have packaged the four suite forty five minute CD by the experimental drone artist in a concrete container. Let’s just let that sink in for a minute. A concrete container. The dimensions of this container are unknown, but this what they had to say about it:

 

 

The T pattern is made of three main ratios: height and diameter (15/10), two different widths with spout or handle (22/21), handle and diameter of the central orifice (11/5,5). These three fractions define T-scale intervals. Combining them systematically yields fifteen positive fractions, including six fractions containing two of the six numbers from the three main relations, i.e. seven main intervals (between the root and the six fractions) and seven secondary intervals: a scale with fourteen intervals, i.e. fifteen degrees.

 

 

Valeur d'usage Records

 

 

So reading between the lines, La T is a musical and mathematical interpretation of a teapot that was created last year by the artist FCK. The concrete packaging pays hommage to the inception of this project. The teapot was measured and these proportions were used to set both the pitch intervals as well as the musical events and durations of the four stuites. Given that the sole picture we have of it has nothing be base height or width, it’s unsure whether this is a small item or not. However judging by the picture, this is something that wouldn’t be out of place in your local garden centre or boutique designer.

 

 

The sad thing about this release, is that the most interesting thing about it is the packaging. Throughout the forty five minutes, La T never really does anything. Yes the music is pleasant and the tones are polite and cordial, but it never deviates from the opening note of each track. This is the perfect soundtrack for anything that you need to concentrate on. Essay writing/studying, working with headphones at the office, yoga, preparing and cooking a big meal, reading, self meditation and washing up. The music was originally commissioned for a soundtrack an installation from ceramist’s FCK.

 

 

But there is not enough variation and fluctuation of sound for me personally. If you were walking around the installation and this played it would enhance the experience, but without the art it kind of doesn’t work. A reason for this is there are no gentle valleys and subtle peaks of music/noise, it’s just constant. While I might be missing the point here of skilfully arranged complex nuances, it feels like a slightly missed trick not to change the inflection during each composition. Yes I understand that this is meant to be played as a whole, it’s about the completed journey instead of detours and shortcuts, but after a while it all blurs into one and you have no idea what track you are actually listening to. And edited vinyl release would work better as you’d have the surface noise of record making each listen a singular individual experience.

 

 

La T is available through Valeur d’usage Records now for instant digital downloads, but the physical copies will be shipped mid June.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Serene classical for a lazy Sunday!

 

 

Right, its Sunday night, its late and you’re hangover has just cleared. You’re far too awake for this time of night. There is only one solution, well two depending on if you have a cold. Firstly make some hot chocolate, and if you have some handy add some crème. This should start to make you feel more tired and ready for bed. Then put sit somewhere quietly and put on The Paper Boy EP by Breathing Waters and contemplate all the good stuff that’s happened this weekend. If nothing good has happened, then think about all the positive stuff that will/could happen next week. Once you’ve had your hot chocolate and listened this this EP a few times you should be ready for bed. If you are feeling ill then take a night nurse, as it’ll help you sleep and be fresh for work tomorrow.

 

 

What makes Breaking Waters The Paper Boy EP such a great is their ability to transport you to another place, frame of mind in seconds. After listening to Prelude of the Falling Leave (Main Theme) you could easily be walking through a tree lined boulevard in the autumn as red and amber leaves fall. The delicate piano feels like a soft breeze on your face as you wrap your scarf tighter round your next. Waltz With Me, is a brisk jaunt through moonlit liaisons on patios at parties. We’ve all been there, you go one way to get out of their way, they move same and before you know it you’ve got your own private waltz going on.

 

 

Junelight feature Grace Javier is the standout track on the EP, but its change of pace and genre, jumping form neo-classical or 1960’s lounge if a bit jarring, but the interplay of the vocals and composition makes this totally forgivable!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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∆N†i vØx Aи L†D releases a concept album based on the Blair Witch Project, and like the film it’s a dark brooding masterpiece!

 

 

In the pantheon of music and concept albums one that hasn’t really been touched is the Blair Witch Project. This is a shame as when you think about it, as the Blair Witch Project is fill of emotional energy that could relate perfectly to a musical project. Well now Japanese musician ∆N†i vØx Aи L†D has!

 

 

The Blair Witch Project is a collection of ten tracks that tell the story of the film. The title of each track relates to a moment in the film. It opens with [Octobe20,1994] interviews. Musically it is all white noise, reversed loops, vocal samples and muted beats. It conjures up the eerie, jubilant and slightly sinister nature of the start of the film. [Octobe21,1994] Black Rock Road has more of structure to it, and it follows a more conventional song structure. Hypnotic beats interlock with a driving bass and everything has a slight punk vibe to it. [Octobe22,1994] Valid Rock has a more tribal atmospheric quality to it.

 

 

As the album progresses it jumps around musically from what the first three tracks offered and goes off into more unchartered territories. Lurid soundscapes rub shoulders with full on bass and beats. The album closes with [October16,1995] CP-16 filmcamera. Shards of static are juxtaposed with synth blips and throbs. There is an underlying feeling of malice and confusion. As the music picks up pace it starts to music gets more and more aggressive and like the film the conclusions are all your own.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Tacocat just made shit just get real!

 

 

OK when I first heard that the Powerpuff Girls was getting a re-boot I was against it. When it first came out Powerpuff Girls was a big part of my life. I was at college and after a hard day of learning a few of us would decamp to a friend’s (parents) house, listen to music, watch MTV Up For It, as it was on during the day, play video games, study/brainstorm projects and watch Powerpuff Girls. Hell we even invented a drinking game based around it!

 

 

One of the things that made the original series so good was that it didn’t take itself too seriously, it was laden with adult jokes and the title and credit sequences had badass music! All of us had cut our musical teeth on Britpop and had grown up watching Top of the Pops. For most people their defining moment was that awful Oasis/Blur ‘war’, for me it was watching Bis perform Kandy Pop on TotP. Which leads be nicely back to Powerpuff Girls.

 

 

Bis recorded the music for the credit sequence for the show. For all of you who can’t remember it, SHAME, here it is

 

 

 

 

As you can see it matches the tone of the original show perfectly. So you can imagine my worry about when the re-boot was announced. However it appears that I might have been a little bit premature, as Tacocat have released their title song for the new show.

 

 

Everything about this screams fun and hilarity. It’s short, to the point and incredibly cute. The animation looks almost the same. Granted we haven’t heard their new voices or seen how a full episode is going to play out, but I’m feeling happier about the whole thing now. So It’s all gonna be alright, right….?

 

 

 

 

 

 

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What do 65daysofstatic, Micachu, Yo La Tengo, Nigel Godrich, Air and Nick Cave all have common? Well apart from making glorious music, they’ve all scored at least one film, and now have done one. Well, two thirds of them at least. Bassist Georg Holm and drummer Orri Páll Dýrason along with Kjartan Holm (Georg’s brother) and Sigur Rós touring guitarist and Icelandic composer Hilmar Örn Hilmarsson have joined forces to create an enchanting and challenging seventy one minute score Circe.

 

 

The film in question is a BBC Storyville documentary directed by Benedikt Erlingsson about 100 years of vaudeville, circus and carnival performances made up of archive footage tentatively titled The Show of Shows which will be broadcast next year on BBC Four as part of a Storyville series. If you are expecting Wurlitzers, waltzes, organ grinders or Julius Fucik’s “Entry of the Gladiators” think again.  The music created is a subtle blend of ethereal choirs, swirling vortexes of strings and Post-Rock supremacy.

 

 

Circe is one continuous piece of music where the tracks flow into each other like scenes in a film, and motifs come and go in a beautifully cohesive fashion. ‘Ladies and Gentlemen, Boys and Girls’ is a particularly affective introduction with atmospheric noise swirls around a haunting piano. The back ground noise is conjures up distant pandemonium from echoy crowds enjoying the performances, while the poignant nature of the piano reminds us that behind the glitz and make up, the performers life was brutal and harsh. ‘The Eternal Feminine’ sounds like classic Sigur Rós, but just when you expect Jónsi sto start singing or the song to break, it doesn’t quite and continues along its charmingly poignant path. If you are expecting standard BBC score, this is a less ostentatious affair. ‘Filaphilia (A Tribute to Siggi Armann)’, ‘Liquid Bread & Circuses’, ‘Breakfast in the Himalayas’ are calmer, diaphanous pieces. The music has a fog like quality. It’s all encompassing and engulfing, but there isn’t much to grab hold of. The melodies are strong but the maelstrom of strings immerse us, there is a strange feeling of calm and harmony. Stand out track ‘To Boris With Love’ has a slightly demonic choir, think the Omen theme backed by Godspeed. ‘Epilogue’ closes the album as ‘Ladies and Gentlemen, Boys and Girls’ began. Eddies of strings create a melancholic atmosphere while a back ground choir end the album, and documentary on a slightly uplifting and sentimental note.

 

 

 

Ultimately the album is flawed, as most film scores tend to be. Despite how great and eclectic the music actually is, it ranges from melancholy, to joyous, to plaintive, to demonic and all out Post-Rock majesty throughout its seventy one minute duration. The nature of these songs means that it will always feel out of its intended context. Clearly, it’s at its best when treated as an audio accompaniment to the film, but without the precious images to juxtapose and inspire the music to create that emotional connection, as it is it’s just another, well, Sigur Rós album, but one without Jónsi and Vonlenska lyrics

 

 

 

 

 

 

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