Mogwai – My Father My King

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When we think of Mogwai, at one point the undisputed champions of post-rock, we usually think of their impressive debut, Young Team, or their extensive work on soundtracks (such as Zidane: A 21st Century Portrait and Les Revenants).  However, Mogwai have quite a number of releases under their belt – many of which are tragically underrated.  One of these is the individual track, My Father My King; a twenty minute long belter released on its lonesome in 2001.  Presumably left off any official album for its length and singularity, it’s found a niche for itself as one of those fandom gems that really deserves a little more attention.…   [continue reading]

The Streets – Original Pirate Material

I was really rather young when Original Pirate Material was released; just coming up on teenage life and embroiled in the noisy cacophony of The White Stripes (who I still hold in high regard).  As such, it took some time for the record to click for me, although I could already relate to the grim, working-class picture that Mike Skinner presents – having grown up around the images he conjures.  I simply found the confrontational nature of such tracks as Don’t Mug Yourself and Sharp Darts to be distasteful and a difficult listen.

The power of its themes and the reality behind them was what compelled me to eventually buy it after a few years growth, considering it an essential album despite not being fully behind its musical context.  …   [continue reading]

The Lost Art of Just Making a Banging Tune

It’s 1997, you’re in some shitty seaside venue in Northern England, and the tension’s mounting. Over the dampened roar of the crowd, MC Storm lifts the mic and looks over a sea of hardcore fans.

“RELEASE YOURSELF!” he roars, the filtered beat building, sounding like it’s coming from next door’s flat party. A dampened vocal line from some far-off ’80s hit emerges through the drug-hazed atmosphere, getting clearer by the second. MC Storm’s on the verge now. Screams “THAT’S WHAT WE LIIIIIKE!”, and now the beat’s absolutely pounding, all synths cranked up.

The lads don’t give a shit what it sounds like.…   [continue reading]

Pavement – Brighten the Corners

Pavement are one of those cult bands that you just eventually come across one day, and it may be hard to pin down exactly how they appeared in your life.  For me, I can’t at all remember who introduced me to them, or how I found their work.  Despite the vessel that brought them into my life being clouded in mystery, I can still recall strongly how I felt upon hearing Stereo (Brighten the Corners‘ opening track) for that first time.  I was already a big fan of Pixies, and a few other calling card bands in that alternative-guitar-rock style, yet Pavement backed up their raw and esoteric ditties with an amazing intelligence and wit that I hadn’t heard before.  …   [continue reading]

Kate Bush – Babooshka

Without a word of a lie, I once spent an entire year listening to nothing but Babooshka by Kate Bush, and around three other songs.  I think I can put it down to the fact that I was working on an album of my own throughout that year, and was left really quite sick of music in my free time as a result.  It says something that Babooshka, which I discovered in that period (too late in my life i’m ashamed to say), was such a beautifully composed and powerful piece of passionate pop that it cut right though my musical apathy with ease.…   [continue reading]

Buena Vista Social Club

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Best known for the Wim Wenders film of the same name, which documents the recording of the album spotlighted today, Buena Vista Social Club will always be known as a release that reminded us why heart matters so much in music.  The players consist, on the whole, of extremely experienced, elderly Cuban musicians who each once held a significant reputation at the Havana club which gave them their name.  Painstakingly rounded up by jazz guitar legend, Ry Cooder, it doesn’t even take much dusting off for these long-forgotten virtuosos to once again give music the soul and dedication it deserves.  What they come out with is of such incredible quality that it’s hard to believe their material was on the verge of dying out.  …   [continue reading]

Parliament – Flash Light

I’ve not heard the infectious groove of Bootsy Collins’ “space-bass” ever denied, which has often been a big draw for Parliament and one of the main factors in their lasting appeal.  Odd then that the seemingly oh-so-Bootsy funk of Flash Light is in fact driven along by Bernie Worrell and a handful of Moogs.  But that’s all just opening trivia to one of the more influential nuggets in their back catalogue.  All that influence fizzles into insignificance when placed against the pure greatness of the track itself however; a jagged musical circle jerk that rolls ever gloriously through playful fields of varying bonhomie.…   [continue reading]

Star Wars Headspace — The Only 65 Minutes of Star Wars Samples and Beats That’s Any Good

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Yes, I am literally about to speak with sincerity about a 1 hr 5 minute album made up entirely of Star Wars samples and beats.

Despite how it might come off from the first description, Star Wars Headspace isn’t shallow, a comedy album or a trite shoehorning of samples into the rigid scaffolding of EDM. It’s much deeper than that, and even though it’s a joint effort from 17 different artists, it manages (with one sad exception) to sound extremely cohesive and well curated.

Space landscape-obsessed dreck penman. Appears on TechCrunch, The Next Web, and on Secret Cave in a far less restrained capacity.
…   [continue reading]

Tangerine Dream – Rubycon

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Rubycon by Tangerine Dream was by far the best thing about my experience playing No Man’s Sky.  That’s not just a sly stab at a recent disappointment in my life either.  It’s a fantastic way to introduce the idea of synchronicity and how it might be integral to the work of Tangerine Dream and other similar artists.  Rubycon, like much of their prolific output, is a meandering but constantly evolving work that often sounds far more organic than the dial-laden synthesizers that make up the core of their sound.  The music contained within the record is so inherently alive and richly developed that it mirrors our own existence at every level – from the micro to the macro.…   [continue reading]

Primus – Tommy the Cat

As one of the most relentless ditties in a particularly relentless catalogue, Primus’ “Tommy the Cat” is something that probably every bass player has come across at some point in their experience. Of course, it’s not the finest or even most original bass playing ever committed to tape, but it’s certainly become representative of a style of lead bass that countless fledgling musicians have hoped – in vain – to emulate. Perhaps it makes it all the more impressive that, when played live at least, frontman Les Claypool is able to pull off all that demanding fretwork in tandem with vocals that don’t exactly slip off the tongue themselves.…   [continue reading]