Monday, 28 February 2011
Thursday, 24 February 2011
Tim Hecker released his fantastic new album Ravedeath, 1972 last week. It was unfortunately, overshadowed by another certain album released last week (even though I’d probably say this was better than said album). Anyway, it’s Hecker’s similar experimental ambient drone but this time around it had a more accessible feel like Emeralds’ Does It Look Like I’m Here? from last year. Here’s the video for the opening track The Piano Drop which features some really cool footage of an old US college tradition of dropping pianos from roofs. The song itself is even better though, two minutes of mesmerizing ambient fuzzy drone. If you like this track then you should really get Ravedeath, 1972, I cannot recommend it enough.
Wednesday, 23 February 2011
Tuesday, 22 February 2011
Might as well post this in case there is anyone on the planet who hasn’t heard it yet. Radiohead’s new album sees them going in the exact direction that I wanted them to, experimenting more with electronic sounds and more use of samples and loops. They’ve also gone in to more experimental territory with hooks and choruses being far less at the forefront than in earlier efforts. The comparison that seems to be being made is that of this and Cosmogramma by Flying Lotus (which was my favourite album of last year) but I’m not sure how far that comparison goes. Here’s Lotus Flower, the first single off of The King of Limbs, which is a pretty great example of the general sound of the album and a pretty great song in general. The video is also pretty noteworthy for obvious reasons.
Monday, 21 February 2011
Frank Ocean is the newest addition to the Odd Future crew and they released his first album, Nostalgia/Ultra, this week. It sees them trying out some pretty different stuff with Frank Ocean making RnB kind of in the vain of The-Dream. Frank Ocean swaps the typical shocking lyrics of OFWGKTA for love, girls and relationships. The guy can really sing as well. While hearing the word RnB seems to be an instant turn-off to most people these days this really isn't to be ignored. Nostalgia/Ultra not only sees Odd Future evolve but also Tyler, The Creator's production. Here he makes a definite RnB sounding record but one that completely sounds Odd Future and like his work. Tyler also branches into sampling some pretty different stuff including MGMT, The Eagles and briefly including a bit of Radiohead. I kinda hope that Odd Future keep evolving in this way and branch out to put their own brand on some other great stuff.
Nostalgia/Ultra is available to download (like all of the Odd Future discography so far) for free so get it here.
Friday, 11 February 2011
Yep, it's Tyler, The Creator time again but the guy just can't do any wrong. Last night (well, this morning here) Tyler released the video for the brand new track Yonkers off his forthcoming album Goblin which, if his last one is anything to go by, is something to get excited for. The track is also something to get us excited about Goblin, extremely excited. The beat here is typical Tyler greatness and the lyrics are, as always, impressively shocking. The video also sees Tyler showing off his talent with a camera again. It's a pretty arty video with a pretty obvious influence from old school horror and shockers. Check it out below.
Thursday, 10 February 2011
The British music press is a bizarre thing. In the second half of every year it seems to latch on to a certain band or artist and create impossibly high standards for their debut. They then, more often than not, seem to turn on them as soon as they don’t reach these targets. Enter James Blake. A twenty two year old musician who for the last few months of 2010 had music journalists, especially here in Britain, eating out of his hand. The hype built and built until ridiculous statements about James Blake being the future of ‘dubstep’ and even ‘pop music’ were being thrown around. Blake finally released his album this week which was met by a mainly lukewarm reception.
One of the main reasons for this reaction to his debut seems to be his change in direction. Blake has cashed in his mainly dubstep oriented sound from his EPs for a more straightforward approach.James Blake consists mainly of Blake showing off his classical music training; singing, doing his own backing vocals and playing a piano with it being manipulated and cut up in a more electronic nature later on in the process. The best way to describe this new sound is a comparison to similar minded musician Bon Iver. They are vocally quite similar, both being quite unorthodox and with a deep sorrow behind them. James Blake, like Justin Vernon of Bon Iver, also has a weird contrast in his voice, sounding both weak and strong. Another similarity Blake has with Bon Iver is a very simple sound with not much going on at once which leaves Blake’s voice to do the talking. However, this is maybe not the massive change that everyone is making out. Blake’s sound since day one has changed with each release so it was to be expected. And yes, while this is much more a singer-songwriter album than it’s predecessors, there are still many characteristics from his earlier work such as sonic walls of sound and glitches.
A great deal has been made about Blake’s use of silence on this album and rightly so. James Blake‘s main success is in holding back. His vocals and lyrics are simple and sparse but this gives them a haunted feel throughout. Blake has a fantastic way with words, as shown in the profoundness in lines as simple as “Crease your pride/Telling lies/That you’re not on your own” and “I don’t know about my dream/I don’t know about my dreaming anymore.” He is spare on the bass as well but this just makes it all the more powerful when it kicks in. There is no better example of this than on the first single, Feist Cover, Limit To Your Love where the bass kicks in in the chorus to dramatic effect. The album is a fairly quiet one from start to finish and this and the silence used creates a fantastic atmosphere. This is an album of build up and moments with these ‘moments’ having massive beauty. There are too many examples of this to list here but to name a few; When the fuzzy wall of sound kicks in on The Wilhelm Scream, the dubstep like breakdown at the end of I Never Learnt to Share, the moment when the piano and the glitchy drum machine meet in I Mind. Unfortunately, occasionally the build ups seem to suffer because of these ‘moments’ with some parts just not living up to the rest of the song.
There was always a fear with James Blake that it came out too early after his success and may sound rushed. This is not what has happened at all though, nothing steps out of line once and Blake knows exactly what he’s doing throughout. That is apart from To Care (Like You), however, which has times where the layers feel quite cluttered. That is just one track though and the album doesn’t feel forced at all, feeling like Blake has let these songs develop naturally and organically.
No, James Blake is not the future of dubstep and it’s not the future of pop music. What it is though, is a fantastic collection of songs by a highly talented musician and producer. On this album, Blake proves himself to be highly proficient in using silence and slow builds to create emotion and atmosphere. While this is not the groundbreaking album the music press seemed to expect, it does suggest that Jame Blake may be capable of it in the near future.
Didn't see this one coming. Here's a remix of Swedish singer Lykke Li's new single I Follow Rivers by Tyler, The Creator. Tyler is one of my absolute favourites at the moment and his album, Bastard, is on constant repeat. He's a rapper and one of the main producers of hyped, slightly controversial hip-hop collective OFWGKTA (Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All). Anyway, he gives this song a slow Odd Future style beat and even adds a couple of verses for good measure. It's pretty great.
Wednesday, 9 February 2011
Even Lil B's biggest fans are the first to admit that his releases are, lets just say, inconsistent. This is hardly a surprise seeing the profile of the guy who supposedly released over a thousand songs last year alone. Anyway, he released a new mixtape called Angels Exodus last month and he seems to have sorted that shit out. Angels Exodus' beats are darker than is typical of Based God and come from some pretty unusual places, he even samples a Washed Out song at one point. The lyrics are deeper than usual as well, especially seeing this is the guy who spat the line "Then I park my guy, then I fuck your bitch" on Wonton Soup. Angels Exodus is basically consistently good throughout and has some brilliant moments. You can hear the mixtape opener Exhibit 6 below and you can download Angels Exodus from here.
Tuesday, 8 February 2011
It has been impossible to escape Gucci Mane's face on the internet since pictures of his, umm, new tattoo surfaced. Gucci's music has, unfortunately, not been getting him half as much attention. This isn't because of any form of inactivity but the pure collective 'meh' that's met each of his releases recently. Enter Free Gucci 2. This is an unofficial mixtape compiled by Sinden. Kind of in the bane of Diplo's fantastic Cold War mixtapes, Free Gucci 2 is a collection of remixes of Gucci songs by an eclectic collection of British musicians. Some of the producers on this mixtape include Hudson Mohawke, Toddla T, Rustie and even These New Puritans. It's safe to say that there are some brilliant tracks on here and that the remixes add a load of oomph to a lot of Gucci's more lukewarm releases. Here's the album cover:
Click the album cover for a link to download. If you want a taster here's Gucci Time remixed by Sinden himself even featuring a verse by Tinchy Stryder:
Monday, 7 February 2011
James Blake, as you are surely aware, releases his self-titled debut today and it is a fantastic record (no matter what everyone else tells you). Blake seems to be getting stick from everyone for this album because of his massive change of direction. His earlier EPs were much more focused on sound manipulation and dubstep production while James Blake has gained, understandable, Bon Iver comparisons. Anyway this is the bonus track, Tep and the Logic, which is great. It is very much in the vain of his Klavierwerke EP that he released last year so it's worth checking out even if you aren't a fan of the new album.
Thursday, 3 February 2011
Das Racist's mixtapes Sit Down, Man and Shut Up, Dude were some of the finest things to come out of Hip-Hop in 2010. This makes the fact that they are working on their debut proper album, under the working title of RELAX, exciting news indeed. Swate is the first track to be released off the upcoming album and has everything that you'd want from a Das Racist track; geniously witty lyrics with obscure references to pop culture and a beat with the swag dial turned up to 11. You can listen below and download the track over at Stereogum here.