I’ve been thinking lately about what would happen if no-one ever wrote any more music. Whilst that would, in some ways, be terrible, I’m always discovering music I hadn’t heard before, and it’s often not brand new, so I don’t think it would be all that bad. More music already exists than any one person could ever listen to in a lifetime, you just have to dig for it…
Anyway, with that in mind, I make no apologies for all the old music on this month’s episode. A lot of it’s actually pretty new to me….
Vince Watson should need no introduction – he’s appeared several times on this podcast – in fact, he debuted on episode 1, with his track Rendezvous, which is simply one of the best records I’ve ever stumbled across. He’s a titan of techno music, and his work has a unique mood that I really enjoy.
Eduard Artemiev’s work is new to me, however the work itself is very old – he scored music for the Russian director Andrei Tarkovsky, famous for films such as Mirror, Solaris, and, as featured here, Stalker. It’s very futuristic, given it was written around 1980. I’m not sure what to make of the films themselves, but they definitely look and sound amazing.
The FSOL track is from a CD single I stole from my brother, Tim. Sorry Tim, you’re never getting that back. The whole single is absolutely fantastic – it’s made up of five parts, and it’s basically an album. It’s incredible to listen to, and I’m ashamed to say I’m still not as familiar with the back catalogue of FSOL as I should – although I’ve enjoyed some of that Environments series they put out a couple of years ago. Cascade is taken from the album Lifeforms, but the album didn’t do it for me, last time I tried it. Maybe I’ll give it another go soon…
The B12 track, Phett, is old, but entirely new to me. As I think I’ve mentioned before, in the 90s I was an avid collector of drum & bass, so I didn’t buy as much techno as I should have done. I’m not particularly familiar with the Warp back catalogue but, if this is anything to go by, I need to go through it.
Ok so here’s the first podcast of the year; as usual, I have been busy both buying records, and writing new music, so have taken my time in compiling this next episode. As per usual, it’s a fairly eclectic mix of obscure drum & bass singles, some early experimental synth work, some funky grooves, and a little bit of ambient music; something for everyone, I like to think!
There’s a story behind most of the songs selected in the podcast, so, for those that are interested…..Steve Alexander is a drummer who previous toured with Duran Duran. Back in the late 90s, a number of musicians from outside of the drum & bass scene took an interest in the music, often with some success; Steve’s two 12″ singles for Reinforced are full of soaring melodies and lovely guitar lines. This one’s a lovely track I’ve never forgotten…
Fast forward 17 years and we have Akuratyde, a US-based artist, with a similar, highly musical take on the genre, with lush guitars and keyboards. His debut album, Past Lives, has recently been released on the BMTM album.
The Julianna Barwick album seems to originate from a similar place to the fantastic Grouper album Ruins, that’s graced this podcast many many times. However, JB also has some pretty extraordinary synth work across the wider album; it’s well worth checking out in full.
PFM’s How Do You Do comes from LTJ Bukem’s Good Looking Records, one of the finest drum & bass labels ever. These Earth compilations pushed the label beyond drum & bass, and PFM’s efforts here have resulted in a very classy track which mirrors his d&b tracks, but at a more funky tempo.
The Detroit Experiment is a Carl Craig side project – a little like the Innerzone Orchestra album for Talkin’ Loud, Craig again assembles some of the finest musicians, for an album project that covers funk, soul, jazz and all kinds of things in-between. This album is now notoriously difficult to find, but good luck!
Hot Pants is without doubt my favourite breakbeat. Originally released in 1971, this “Bonus Beats” edit didn’t hit the shops until 1988. Drum & bass would not be the same without it.
Thought Gang is a bizarre jazz experiment from director David Lynch and musician Angelo Badalamenti. A TG album has been rumoured since the early 90s, when two tracks ended up on the Fire Walk With Me soundtrack…I’m sure he listed the album for sale on his davidlynch.com website, maybe 15 years ago? Anyway, it has finally been released, and it’s an absolutely mental record. Beyond words, really. Well worth checking out.
Thomas Ragsdale is one half of worriedaboutsatan, who I understand have a new album out. They appeared on this podcast only last month. I shall be checking out the new album imminently.
Code Blue, also known as Slipmaster J, is a producer from the very early days of drum & bass. The production on this record, in particular, always blows me away – amazing reverbs and delays, excellent percussion, panning effects – it’s got everything. I think this is a highly under-rated drum & bass record.
The oriental theme continues with a record produced 12 years later, for the now legendary Darkestral Recordings. This is like a latter-day Ni Ten Ichi Ryu, and is pretty staggering. A tense and cinematic piece of music.
Bibio is one of my favourite electronic musicians – It’s probably unfair to describe him as that, as he can clearly make pretty much any kind of music, from wonky acoustic tracks, to funky electro pop like this very track. I always found the female spoken words in this track pretty spellbinding.
Suzanne Ciani is an American musician, composer, and record label executive who found early success in the 1970s with her innovative electronic music and sound effects for films and television commercials. Paris is taken from a compilation of early works. She’s a true innovator of electronic music.
I’ve been sitting on this compilation of Gigi Masin for a while now; he’s an ambient musician from Venice. His piano and synth work is pretty outstanding – you can hear influences of his work in much modern music today.
Leon Vinehall had a series of pretty straight up house music 12″s before he embarked upon a much more experimental modern classical project, with lots of synths and samples. The album is pretty groundbreaking stuff, and well worth checking out in full. Another excellent signing for the highly influential Ninja Tune label.
The label Naked Music, Run by Jay Denes & David Boonshoft. had a great run of soulful deep house records. However, their artist albums were always a bit more pop focussed, and this Gaelle album (her one and only LP) is almost certainly my favourite. I’m not sure if the label is still operating today, but it’s well worth seeking out the various compilations released by the label, if you can find them.
The podcast ends with Thom Yorke – from the first album to be released via a Bit Torrent. I can’t recall if that’s how I personally received the album, but I think it might have been. Maybe Thom thought it would catch on, but I think it’s still the one and only album I bought in this manner. The album itself is maybe not as satisfying as the Eraser, but I particularly like this track – it’s very lively and builds to a massive crescendo.
When I first started collecting records, it was because of an interest in early hardcore stuff from around 1991 / 1992.
Not long after that, I switched to jungle / drum & bass, which was pretty ground-breaking around the mid-nineties. This mix is dedicated to the more ethereal, atmospheric sound championed by DJs like LTJ Bukem; however, I’ve tried to avoid the Good Looking back catalogue here, as it’s a well trodden path; there were plenty of other labels and artists with their own take on that sound – so here’s a mix to celebrate those unsung heroes of atmospheric drum & bass…
01 David Bowie – Subterraneans – Taken from the album Low – RCA – Buy
02 Steve Reich – Variations For Vibes, Piano & Strings: Fast – Taken from the album Daniel Variations – Nonesuch – Buy
03 Worriedaboutsatan – Nice To Meet You – Taken from the album Blank Tape – This Is It Forever – Buy
04 Deep Blue & Blame – De-transitions – Moving Shadow Records – Buy
05 Kazumasa Hashimoto – Shissou – Taken from the Tokyo Sonata Soundtrack – Midi Creative – Buy
06 Leon Vinehall – Envelopes (Chapter VI) – Taken from the album Nothing Is Still – Ninja Tune – Buy
07 King Creosote & Jon Hopkins – Bats In The Attic – Taken from the album Diamond Mine – Domino – Buy
08 Seba & Manos – Etherall – Paradox Music – Buy
09 Blocks & Escher – Gulls – Taken from the album Something Blue – Metalheadz – Buy
10 Atoms For Peace – Reverse Running – Taken from the album Amok – XL – Buy
11 Djrum – Waters Rising – Taken from the album Portrait With Firewood – R&S Records – Buy
12 Xor Gate – Minor Axis – Taken from the album Conic Sections – Tresor – Buy
13 Instra:Mental – When I Dip – Nonplus Records – Buy
Ok, so here is another hour of top quality music; quite a broad range this month – some modern classical, some house, some techno, a little ambient music, and a light sprinkling of jazz (as always!). Something for everyone, I think.
1. Kiasmos – Held – Taken from the album Kiasmos – Erased Tapes – Buy
Kiasmos is a collaboration between Janus Rasmussen and Ólafur Arnalds. Their debut album appeared in 2014 and I’ve been meaning to include this for some time, but only just got around to it. It’s a lovely blend of modern classical music and techno – they’ve been touring this album, and I’m hoping I’ll get to see it some time soon.
2. Hans Zimmer & Benjamin Wallfisch -Joi – Taken from the Bladerunner 2049: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack – Buy
Given that most musicians I can think of rate Vangelis’ 1982 Bladerunner soundtrack as an influence, writing a soundtrack for the sequel must have been the most daunting task that any musician could be tasked with. I gather that the personnel on this soundtrack did switch up throughout the project, but I personally think Zimmer & Wallfisch did a great job with it. I like it.
3. Pye Corner Audio – The Mirror Ball Cracked – Taken from the album Sleep Games – Ghost Box – Buy
This is a piece I heard via an Adam Curtis documentary which appeared on the BBC a couple of years ago. It’s a pretty spooky synth piece, and right up my street, musically speaking.
4. Radiohead – Spectre – Taken from the single Burn The Witch – XL – Buy
For reasons which shall remain unknown forever, Radiohead’s submitted score for the Bond movie Spectre was rejected, in favour for Sam Smith. Nevertheless, the band decided to release their title track anyway, firstly via soundcloud, and then, later, as the AA side to the opening single from A Moon Shaped Pool. It’s pretty epic and would have sounded great in the movie.
5. Anna Calvi – Papi Pacify – Taken from the Strange Weather EP – Domino – Buy
Strange Weather is a nice little collection of covers and new material, and features a great collaboration with David Byrne (not this one). This one is a cover of an FKA Twigs track, but you probably wouldn’t recognise it as that, as Anna has completely reworked it from top to bottom, and transformed it into a mysterious lynchian nightmare, full of atmosphere and intrigue….highly underrated, I think.
6. En – Secret Samba – Taken from the album City Of Brides – Students Of Decay – Buy
En is a collaboration between Maxwell August Croy and James Devane, who cropped up on many of the early episodes of this podcast. James and Maxwell create ambient soundscapes by apparently bowing guitars and feeding the signal through various pedals and effects.
To be honest, I don’t really care how it’s made, only that it’s really beautiful music. I recommend getting as much of the JD and En back catalogue as you can possibly find, as it’s all utterly wonderful.
7. Pharoah Sanders – Greeting to Saud (Brother McCoy Tyner) – Taken from the album Elevation – Universal Sound – Buy
A lovely little jazz interlude. This is just crying out to be sampled and turned into a summery drum & bass workout – I would put a small wager on the possibility that someone like Calibre may have already done so.
8. Gacha Bakradze – Knowledge – Taken from the We Must Be Woods EP – Apollo – Buy
A great example of emotive electronic music. This has a kind of Bonobo vibe about it, and I like it a lot. Another great release from the excellent Apollo label, which I understand is part of the legendary R&S label.
9. Theory Of Movement – Far Reach – Taken from the album Theory Of Movement – Dukes Distribution – Buy
Contrary to popular belief, I am not paid to include tracks by the mysterious Grant on this podcast, but his material only appears on vinyl, and sells out so fast that I tend to snap it all up as soon as it comes out. This LP is a collaboration between Grant and Dan Piu, and it’s a great old school deep house record. Very enjoyable.
10. Four Tet – SW9 9SL – Taken from the album New Energy – Text – Buy
Four Tet has been in the game for quite some time, and he’s had incredible success as an electronic music artist, without having to sell out in any way, I think. He’s had some major label releases through Domino, but has opted to release this LP, at the tail end of last year, through his own label, Text. New Energy is a great album, his best release since There Is Love In You, many tracks of which appeared on this podcast, many years ago. It’s great to have Four Tet back on the Sessions Podcast!
11. Shedbug – Recovery – Taken from the Afterglow EP – Flux – Buy
Another vinyl only release here, from Shedbug, who I’m afraid to say, I know nothing about, other than he produces very melodic techno which ticks all the right boxes for me. This is a very mellow track that closes off the Afterglow EP. I can imagine that Shedbug will be featuring many more times on this podcast, if this is a taste of things to come.
12. Sandwell District – Falling The Same Way – Taken from the digital edition of Feed Forward – Buy
Sometimes you don’t forget a record, especially if you don’t own it. The Feed Forward vinyl album was released in 2010, on vinyl only. I don’t know how, but I stumbled across it, and liked it, but I hesitated to buy it. It has since vanished in it’s physical format.
It made me laugh when I read that ASC had exactly the same experience as me. So you’re probably wondering how this has ended up here if I don’t own it – Well, there’s a digital version of the album, but it’s totally different to the LP. There’s also a CD version which is different again.
I gather that Sandwell District toured the album a bit, so created some alternative mixes to the LP, and this is from that set, but the vinyl is still very much on my wishlist.
I have been kicking myself ever since about this. Hopefully, at some point, they’ll re-master and reissue the vinyl version of the album, because it’s truly excellent.
Kiyoko is a collaboration between Synkro and Bering Strait. This is a fantastic, synth-heavy, slow paced electronic piece which I stumbled across accidentally a few weeks ago. The Samurai Music Group release a lot of very interesting music across various genres, and it looks like I have a lot of catching up to do.
14. Telefon Tel Aviv – Introductory Nomenclature – Taken from the album Fahrenheit Fair Enough – Ghostly International – Buy
Telefon Tel Aviv appeared on a much earlier podcast with their terrific Depeche Mode-esque track The Birds, and also, more recently, the loud and brooding Something Akin To Lust, which appeared on Episode 049.
So I’m going back through their back catalogue, and this one really stood out to me – it has a slight Steve Reich Electric Counterpoint vibe to it, but with excellent drum machine rhythms. The whole album (their debut), which originally appeared in 2001, is fantastic.
15. Synkro – Vanishing Point – Taken from the Hand In Hand EP – Apollo – Buy
….and so we finish with Synkro, a regular artist for this podcast. Synkro just always seems to deliver musically in anything he writes, and this one has a really nice, vintage Boards Of Canada vibe to it, but with much more punchy drums than you’d normally get from a BoC release. Another sublime piece, from an excellent EP.
Almost ten years ago, I started a regular podcast series. Typically a one hour mixtape featuring any and all styles of music.
Initially it was about getting my favourite records and CDs into a place where I could listen to them online and in some kind of mixed format; however, as time went on, it’s spurred me into a perpetually rewarding routine of tracking down new and old music that I can include in each mix.
1. Brian Eno – Becalmed – Taken from the album “Another Green World” – Buy
Everyone I know who’s enthusiastic about music loves Brian Eno. Eno has had an epic career from the days of Roxy Music, working with Bowie through his Berlin trilogy, U2, Coldplay, right up to the current day. I was always aware of him, but it was my mate Geoff, who featured as a guest in earlier episodes of this podcast, who leant me a huge handful of Eno’s back catalogue, and I’ve been hooked from that point forward.
I’ve overdubbed an interview with Eno himself, taken from a highly dubious bootleg called Ghosts, which contains early mixes from the “My Life In The Bush Of Ghosts” sessions.
When I first heard the album, I was so obsessed with In Dark Trees that I didn’t give the rest of the album enough of my attention, but the album as a whole is absolutely terrific; It’s cited by many as his best and I’m inclined to agree.
2. Hammock – In The Shape Of Longing – Taken from the compilation Disquiet Volume 1 – Unseen Music – Buy
Hammock are a duo from Nashville, US. I hadn’t heard their music before this compilation came out on Keith Kenniff’s Unseen label; It’s simply dreamy, epic stuff.
I caught this one through Mary Anne Hobbs’ fantastic weekend 6Music radio show. Mary Anne & I seem to have very similar tastes. Erland Cooper is an award winning, multi-instrumentalist and producer who was born and raised on the archipelago of Orkney, Scotland.
4. Stars Of The Lid – Even (Out) – Taken from the album And Their Refinement of the Decline – Kranky – Buy
Kranky are one of my favourite record labels, and this is very film-score esque, and reminds me of the incredible Upstream Color soundtrack which, if you check this blog, you’ll know I am fairly obsessed with.
5. Mr YT – Morning – Taken from the compilation Brand New Day – Apollo / R&S – Buy
During the 90s, I bought more drum & bass records than anything else. Frustratingly, in hindsight, I think I should have been buying more techno records, because it was clearly an amazing scene that I still know very little about.
The Apollo (R&S) label re-issued Yuji Takenouchi’s various EPs as a compilation late last year, and it is a fantastic snapshot of the ingenuity of that era.
A lot of my favourite records don’t necessarily have much of a following, and it’s clear that i’m often on my own in some cases. This is not the case with “2 Deep”; I first heard it via a Somerset-based pirate radio station, Shockwave, who had a weekly jungle show hosted by the Chaos & Julia Set, also known as Warp Records artist Mark Pritchard and fellow cohort Dom Fripp.
Unlike a lot of records from the same era, I feel this one still stands the test of time, and is probably the most treasured item in my collection. This is confirmed by the absolutely staggering price that this record now demands on the 2nd hand market. I’m very lucky to own a copy.
7. Kate Bush – Snowflake – Taken from the album 50 Words For Snow – Fish People – Buy
50 Words For Snow is the tenth Kate Bush album, first released 21 November 2011. Her piano playing throughout is incredible, and the production is first class.
8. Julie Murphy – Lips No Longer Wet With Wine – Taken from the Lips No Longer Wet With Wine EP – Bandcamp – Buy
Julie Murphy is a singer songwriter and member of Welsh folk innovators Fernhill. She writes songs at the piano at home in the Welsh countryside.
9. Cliff Martinez – Rubber Head – Taken from the Drive Soundtrack – Buy
The Solaris soundtrack is one of my all time favourite albums; I lose count of the times I’ve listened to it, as it’s totally perfect headphone music. I’m ashamed to say that I slept on the Drive soundtrack, mainly, I think, because I really didn’t enjoy the film. However, it cropped up in an Adam Curtis documentary for the BBC, and really caught my attention. It’s an incredible album of music.
10. Christopher Tignor – The Blue Road – Taken from the compilation Disquiet Volume 2 – Unseen Music – Buy
Christopher Tignor is a composer, violinist, lecturer, and software engineer. His emotionally charged scores and unique focus on live, performance-based electroacoustic practice has won acclaim within both the classical and experimental communities across 8 x LPs on the Western Vinyl and New Albion record labels.
11. King Moot – Mustard – Taken from the album It Just Fell – Moot Point – Buy
King Moot is a Dorset-based duo who reside in my home town. The album was released on 1st January and is available as a free download. You can watch a mini-video with an edited version of Mustard via this link.
12. Cliff Martinez – Where’s The Deluxe Version? – Taken from the Drive Soundtrack – Buy
Another piece from the breathtaking Drive soundtrack by Cliff Martinez.
13. Composite – Coherence – Taken from the New Mind EP – Context Audio – Buy
I love any drum & bass that adopts unusual time signatures. This 7/8 piece has a complete disregard for current styles and dance floor viability. This tiny side of the scene is the only reason I still follow it. A fantastic piece of music.
Darkestral was the label that brought us Instra:Mental’s groundbreaking drum & bass singles around 2008. This is taken from what appears to be, at present, the final release from the label. Transportation AAD is a pseudonym of Alex Green, who was one half of Instra:Mental.
15. Blu Mar Ten feat. Kite – Forest Fire (Feat. Kite) – taken from the album Empire State – Buy
Empire State is the 6th LP from London-based Blu Mar Ten, who have been part of the drum& bass scene since 1996. It’s without doubt their strongest d&b album yet.
A collection of remixes of the Empire State album is due to drop imminently, and can be pre-ordered here.
<Coney Island field recording interval>
16. John Cage & Margaret Leng Tan – In a Landscape – taken from the album Daughters Of The Lonesome Isle – Buy
Photek – Aura (Overdubbed) – taken from the album Solaris – Science – Buy
I’ve always been of the opinion that there is no good music that pre-dates the early 1970s. However, this piano piece from 1948 has proven me wrong.
I’ve overdubbed it with the track Aura, by Photek, one of my favourite ever producers. The track Aura is taken from the album Solaris, which I now own three copies of. A vinyl copy that I bought when it came out in 2000, a signed vinyl copy which appears to have been won through a Radio 1 competition, and a CD copy. It’s an incredible album of electronic, atmospheric music.