Wednesday, 10 October 2012

The Lowest Common Denominator

Note: I’m sorry if I have taken something you’ve said to me out of context but I’m talking generally about this phrase. Please don’t take this as a personal attack, it is an exploration of my blurted-out opinions, nothing more.

Lowest common denominator.

I want it said here and now that I utterly despise this phrase. I will not use it. Saying something which appeals to the masses is “lowest common denominator trash” or implying that it is somehow beneath your level of evolutionary progress makes you elitist. Whether you're describing music, art, literature, entertainment or sport (or indeed anything else) it makes me disregard what you say about popular culture, about society, about everything. I am going to explain why.

Class is not something I talk about with any level of sincerity at any given moment. I joke about being working class and how this makes me different from others from time to time but in a lighthearted way. I truly believe that no matter your background, in this day and age you can rise above whatever box you were brought up in and chase your dreams. I do also admit fairly frequently that I am naïve, gullible and starry-eyed, so perhaps that clouds my judgement.

I get upset when people who I class as my peers; who’s opinions I respect; who I often will look to for clarity, guidance and debate, when these people waste their well-processed arguments in one fell swoop by their use of lazy snobbery.

By forcing, in your mind, a certain group of people into a group of lower intelligence, morals and values you are oppressing them. I can see we are moving into cloudy and frankly unsavoury territory here but please do bear with me. I want you to understand how I see it for a second.
Because a person enjoys entertainment that isn’t wholly educational does not make them a lesser being. I see it more and more every day, the geeks (like myself) ganging up on people whose only crimes are to be slightly ignorant or incorrect or interested in other things. Are you really the sort of person who still looks to separate people into groups ranked from highest to lowest? Whether through wealth or intelligence, pushing people apart like this is, in my humble opinion, wrong and I won’t stand with you while you do it.

Separating ourselves from “them” whoever “they” might be makes us weak. In times like this where even the most tolerant of citizens (aka. Me) are beginning to feel a daily dose of rage against the current injustices in our society, surely we should be looking to work together? I don’t want to start preaching about politics as it’s not my place and I certainly don’t know enough about the subject, but what I do know is that squabbling amongst ourselves makes us easier to control.
You may not agree with your fellow people, you might even think they are morons quite a lot of the time. That’s your prerogative. Quite honestly a lot of the time I do believe that I’m the best person and everyone else is an idiot, as I’m sure you do too. I think what I’m trying to say is that if you truly believe there is a class of people below you who only deserve to be loathed and ignored; you’re as bad as Cameron.

Take a look at the people you’re sneering at and admit that every once in a while, you are one of them. Unless you live in a state-funded townhouse you are part of the general populous which gives you the same perceived flaws as the rest. Doesn’t feel nice to be despised, does it?

Thursday, 9 August 2012


A book series I used to love as a teenager involved growing up, being a girl, dealing with boobs and g-thongs and boys and dancing and cats and baby sisters. It described terrible dates, horrific first-snog scenarios and unhappily-pregnant Siamese cats.

There were mid-life crisis-ridden parents, bad Frenglish euphemisms and silly walks. There was spying, stalking and prostitution (well, male prositution. For snogs.) There was beer and nights out and cool bands; dressing up like a French person, dressing up like a Stick Insect, dressing up as an olive...there was all of that usual teenage girl stuff.

In case you are beyond the Valley of the Confused and treading lightly in the Universe of the Huge Red Bottom, firstly, you should probably wash your hands, but secondly, I am talking about Louise Rennison's seminal book series featuring the heroine of every slightly odd teenager's dreams, Georgia Nicolson.

Georgia Nicholson explains in no small detail exactly what it's like to be a teenage girl. Like, right down to the cat dressed as tinkerbell and the baby sister pooing in your wardrobe. She's pretty good at school but she prefers messing about and being hilarious with moustaches and berets and is perpetually cught in a love triangle from book two onwards with a fellow called Dave the Laugh and a chap called The Sex God (or "Robbie" to his mother).

I was just doing "down dog" when Libby burst in and started playing the drums on my bottom, singing her latest favorite, "Baa, Baa, Bag Sheet," that well-known nursery rhyme. About a bag sheet that baas. "Baa, Baa, Bag Sheet" has replaced "Mary Had a Little Lard, Its Teats Was White Azno," which she used to love best.

Perhaps you're wondering why anybody would want to read such cringeworthy books. What about Judy Bloom? Surely she covered all this earlier in the 90s?

No. Judy Blume sucks.

And despite the odds, they AREN'T cringeworthy. Teenage girls like me (okay, like who I used to be about 8 years ago) don't want to read about awkward sex and periods. We want to hear about ace exchange students with silver trousers, mum's with doctor crushes, wild cats wearing curlers and eyelash extension mishaps. We/they want to hear about hockey violence and wearing black clothes so you have to pay more to get on the bus. Most importantly, we/they want to be laughing so hard it actually hurts, even when it's just a passage about a school assembly.

I'm not kidding, they are that funny. I re-read "It's Okay, I'm wearing really big knickers" recently and I cried laughing. I'm 24.

“I couldn't believe it. It was unbelievable, that's why. My face was like a frozen fish finger. All rigid and pale. (But obviously not with breadcrumbs on it.)” 

The thing about Georgia was she had in-jokes with you. You knew what she thought, but not in a conspirational way. You were mates. You hung around with Radio Jas and Rosie and that lot and felt like you knew each other. That's important in young fiction. Jaqueline Wilson used to be able to do that too before she started recycling her other characters to fit Modern Issues.

The reason for this post is this: I want Louise Rennison to create some more Georgia Nicholson books but based now. I want to read about Georgia as a twenty-something. I want to know what she did at Uni and where she works and what's going on in her life now.

Make it happen, please.

Monday, 25 June 2012

SP4M: The Amazingness of Electronic Explorations

I'm not really sure if my love for EE has endured for so many years because of its importance in the growth of my musical knowledge and consumption, or that as a ground breaking musical podcast it has managed to remain relatively satisfyingly unheard of. Not in that shit trendy way, but in a "we're so nerdy everyone left the party an hour ago and we didn't notice cuz we were playing with the Moog I got from a car boot sale out in the hallway?" sort of way. There's also the fact that it's linked (in my head, forever) with one of my most favourite places in the world, Ambleside. The Lake District + techno? I'm 100% in.

The Electronic Explorations compilation is out on the 1st of July and you can pre-order it here:

You definitely should. If you like dance music at all and you're thinking that you might not bother, quite frankly, you're a fool. Pay more than £5 for it if you can. Why? Well I'm about to show you seven reasons. So shuuuuuut uurrrrrp.

The following are my top seven favourite Electronic Exploration podcast shows of all time. Why seven? I was going to do five but I couldn't cut it down enough. I listen to all of them at least once a month each, and they have taught me more about what I think electronic music is and should be than anything else I've encountered.

Do you know what else? They are all free. FREE! Fucking hell, mate. You can go on the site right now and get hundreds of amazing mixes and record recommendations for absolutely zip-fucking-all. Rob Booth is providing a public service. I said last year I owed him a cake for how many times EE has helped me out of a particularly terrifying hangover, I think by now I owe him an entire cake factory. A world made entirely of carrot cake. Hm.

Anyway. Here they are. The best seven EE shows that have ever happened in my opinion, ever. Please, by all means, feel free to leave a comment adding your own favourite :)

7. The Black Dog

Slick, "intelligent" bloody wonderfully intricate techno. Is that a thing? Well, I think so. At least, that's what I could hear when I gave it a listen. Please give this a go even if you don't think you like techno. I think you'll be pleasantly surprised.

6. King Cannibal

It took a while for Dylan to go and do an EE show and it was jolly well worth it. I'm not going to say how great he is because he'll probably read it and that's really embarrassing when that happens. Just download it now, exxxxxxpecially if you like techy bits and filthy bits and just generally thinking "this is dark, so why is it fun?"

5. Loops Haunt

I don't think I could possibly say how much I love this entire show, and Loops Haunt's mix is just nuts. He quite literally doesn't care what he uses, he just likes making a noise. I love it. Thanks to this show I discovered Emika, Al Tourettes and Cloaks.

4. Akkord

An absurdly secretive episode for Akkord, a group that definitely doesn't include Synkro. So good though, worth overcoming that feeling that maybe you just can't be bothered with it if they don't want to tell you. That's totally how I felt. I was wrong.

3. Bop & Ghosting Season

I've been following Ghosting Season on twitter for ages now, and they are just great. I mean, really. You know to trust me now, just go and find out some more about them. Bop, as you probably already know, is Med School's crowning glory, and this mix he did for EE is just so amazingly beautiful I couldn't really believe it, to be honest with you.

2. Author

No tracklist - Set recorded live from DMZ / Exodus (Leeds) in November 2011.
So fucking amazing I said "woah" until I went into a coma. True story. According to my Winamp I have listened to it 47 times, but that's not accounting for all MP3 renditions. Quite honestly, I believe it's a perfect mix, and I want everyone to listen to it to hear how beautiful dubstep can be.

1. iTAL tEK

Friday, 22 June 2012

Gary Barlow Is A Twat (Probably)

Gary Barlow is in the news for tax avoidance. Bloody everyone is in the papers or having snarky web designers make comments about them on Twitter for tax evasion at the moment, because people don't like it when rich folk don't pay their taxes. Why should they? We all have to pay them, it's unfair.

Gary Barlow is a good one though, because he's the sort of toff you want to dislike. My feelings for him have fluctuated over the years - at first I loathed him (as a 7 year old I used to make puke noises every time a Take That song came on the radio), then I decided as a pretentious teen that his songwriting was far superior to that of the usual pop balladeer. Then I forgot all about him; years later he showed up out of the blue on a talent show looking like an angular Nord with the steely, quietly violent eyes of a vengeance killer and subsequently I fancied him quite a lot (and even had a dream where we did it on the royal train out of Bollywood preposto-action romp Dhoom 2). Then I read loads about him being a massive Tory and went off him loads and now here we are.

"Oh come on, I said you *looked* fat, not that you *are* fat. You're being ridiculous you stupid pig." - Gary Barlow did not say this.

This morning, "Back For Good" came on the radio and I realised what an entitled bastard he truly is. Here is my analysis of one of the most popular 90s ballads ever, and what some people use (totally inapropriately) as their main wedding song.

I think what pisses me off the most is how he simply assumes they'll care about how sad he is. Note how he's not totally heartbroken, he's just a bit mopy. He hasn't done the washing up. He's clinging to the fact that deep down, he still thanks whatever happened is his ex-partner's fault.

The last line really gets me.

"I guess now it's time, that you came back for good".

Which in other words means: "Yes yes, you've made your point and I'm very sorry (for whatever it is I was supposed to have done that clearly you took totally out of context and made into a big deal for no reason), now why don't you take your silly head back to my place and I'll make it up to you with a Sharwoods Thai Green Curry and a £6.50 bottle of wine? Hm? Come on. I forgive you for being mad at me you little cutie." *moves remote control from beside him and pats sofa*

Am I projecting? Probably. Still, you see what I mean, eh? Eh? He's been a cunt all along, we were just blind to it because of the nice harmonies!

How many more popstars are actually horrific dickwads? Stay tuned.

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

How Evil is Fast Food? Oh...I dunno.

I have a love/love relationship with junk food. I love eating it, and that's about it. I don't hate it, because it's not the food's fault that it makes me get thunderthighs or clogs my arteries. That's my fault for eating it. That's like saying it's the dog's fault when a kid gets mauled by a pit bull - its only doing its job. It's the owners and the breeder's fault. Do you see? I take responsibility for my health in the same way that I take responsibility for my work; if I don't act responsibly the only loser is going to be me. As a result, yeah, I eat far too much junk food, but I also do a helluva lot of exercise, drink ridiculous amounts of water and eat green veg every day. I'm not a fatty, though not through lack of enthusiasm. My mum says one day I'll realise just how disgusting MacDonald's is. I doubt it - I'm 24 now for goodness sake, and I still haven't learned.

Alright, so I think that the cheapness of junk frozen food is an absolute disgrace (given the low income and long working hours of the majority of the people living in the UK today, it's often the only real option for families) and that there should be an age limit on buying fast food (ie. if you're under 12, you should be with an adult - I see so many kids walking home from school eating fried chicken every day and it makes me worry) it is still a viable food option, and I can't deny that. I've been extremely poor for the past few months now, and what I've learned is that although yes, in theory you could grow your own veg, head down to the farmer's market, buy straight from the producers and create healthy cheap meals for pennies, in-between working two jobs and living in the city without my own transport has meant it's bloody HARD WORK and often I just straight can't be bothered. Does this make me lazy? Hugh F-W (my hero) would probably say so.

The thing is though, three pieces of chicken and chips, and a can of juice (and sometimes a bread roll, if the guy at Maxin's is feeling generous/particularly sorry for me) is £1.99. How? I don't know. I often wonder if they are a money laundering operation, but on days where my tips have been scarce, this has been a bit of a lifesaver. Now multiply this by the amount of people living under or on the official poverty line in the UK, and you can see how this poses a problem.

Scrumptious or Shameful? DECIDE, GO ON

Again, I'd like to stress that this is not the fault of fast food shops - they are providing a service people are willing to pay for. The problem here lies with low wages/unemployment and the high cost of healthier foods in supermarkets. In an ideal world, everyone would skip gaily to their local Saturday market to pick up root vegetables still rustically smattered with dirt and pop them into their wicker bicycle baskets, but this is not Trumpton, ladies and gents. Knackered and skint, it is far more likely that  the breadwinner's hunt for food will be done begrudgingly on a Saturday morning in Morrissons (or Tesco, or wherever you usually go for convenience rather than quality) where the striplights and queues dispel any lingering notions of food excitement that were dreamed up on the bus on the way there. You can buy 24 chicken nuggets for £1, because it's buy one get one free on a bag of 12. You can get a head of broccoli for £1. How many meals can you make from each? It really is as simple as that.

I don't have a family to provide for, so a lot of the time I (admittedly foolishly) sacrifice quantity for quality. In layman's terms, I often eat less in order to eat better, which makes me hungry, but makes me feel less guilty. Is this a healthy way to live? Probably not. (By the way, this guilt is often totally nutritionally unfounded, and has a lot to do with my own snobbery - chorizo is ridiculously unhealthy, yet I'll happily choose that over processed low-fat ham.) Our relationships with food are twisted and formed by how we eat as children, what we learn as we grow, what we like, and what we can afford. It's dangerous to tell people what they can and can't eat, because it makes food out to be evil when it isn't. It's irresponsible for the government to push the 5 a Day campaign when there's no real ramifications if you "only" eat two or three portions of fruit and veg each day. Do we need to feel guilty about eating food? Can't we just eat the right amount of whatever we want and do exercise, and not have to sit and listen to thousands of people telling us that fast food should be banned? Doesn't that make you feel patronised? Don't you feel like you know what you're doing by now when it comes to eating your dinner?

I've finished ranting now, but as a sort of side note I'd like to point you towards this experiment that got me to write this blog post. It's about the 12 year old Big Mac and how demonising junk food isn't really doing anything apart from making well-meaning healthy eating campaigners look a bit mental.

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

SP4M 15/04/12

I have a long term career goal to make the rewind acceptable at techno parties - DJG
It's slowly becoming summer. Okay, so it started snowing at the weekend, and today it's a brisk 3 degrees in South London (yeah, are you gonna go to the effort of checking?) but in everybody's minds at least, the season of barbecues and sunburn is upon us. The British summertime is an odd thing. People start enjoying cinematic music that they can raise their arms to in festival fields. They also like doing a lot of outdoor daytime drinking. In celebration of this (the arms thing, not the boozing) let's kick things off with some beautifully bracing tracks from LSB and chums.
This first track is actually around about two years old, but the folks over at Liquid Drum & Bass 
reminded me of it this week and I thought it had to be re-shared.

This little wonder by Technicolour (who if you don't know about, you should look up as his mixes are pretty much sublime) Komatic and LSB is worth all of your time. Listen to that build up! What a stunner.

You all know how I feel about S.P.Y, yes? Well, his "Love & Hate" EP is due out on the 7th May and I think it goes without saying that it's a must-buy.

BTW, full disclosure, "Clouds" is the best track and it is ace and I love it.

On Easter Sunday I went to A Bunch Of Cuts features Exit. It was ace. Skeptical did a promo mix for the night before it happened - this is it and if you like deep, dark DnB, I suggest you grab it. Even though the event is over, the mix is you say? Fiyah? Get it here.
I've been listening to a lot of Joy Division lately.

Right, if you've not already bought this single yet, don't worry, you're not a total right-off, just head over to wherever you get your music from and add it to your collection as soon as you can. Spectrasoul's latest release on Shogun Audio has re-affirmed my love for the label (I was starting to get a bit weirded out over some of their recent choices) but aside from that, it's just INCREDIBLE. Remember how good I said Remeniscence was? This is just as good. A-side "Light in the Dark" is an epic string section moody bastard, wheras the flip "Shackles" features sick jungly vibes (eugh) and vocals from the brilliant Fox. Can't recommend it enough, get it bought.

Hot things from Hotflush - the forthcoming EP "Never Love Me" from Beaumont is a shimmering, synthy, glamorously messy affair and I really rather like it.

Juk Juk is quickly becoming a name I immediately link to serious quality. Weird and slightly unnerving chilled beats, one thing he's not is boring. Ever. This warmly dawdles along for a minute or so, and then swells into a crashy, garagey April shower. I like that.

Wreckless' forthcoming release on Peer Pressure might be something I'm working on (I like to be honest with you all) but I do honestly think it's wicked. Current fave off the EP - Smoke Signal. Deep and dark, but with soulful intermissions (and the occasional heavy freakout), have a listen to the whole thing and tell me what you think - I'd like that.

Dance music makers, if you feel like your song is missing something, it's probably claps. Get some claps on the go. - Daft Limmy
A slightly insane Ruckspin mix for you all. A bit of a faff to download if you've not got a D&BA account, but well worth it (you could probably find it on D&B Share if you looked, but I'm not condoning that) Ruckspin - D&BA Mix


Philth (of Flexout Audio and Peer Pressure) had his excellent EP come out last week, and to mark this he did a totally bodacious hour-long mix for Dogs On Acid. Radical! Find it here along with an interview and a picture that proves how ginger he is.

Another great podcast from Intelligent Recordings. Gosh guys, stop showing off.

I'm sure you don't me to tell you just how good any mix by Owen Brown is, so here, just listen to this and shut up. Clarity mix for Organic.

I've learned my lesson about ranting on about Ital Tek. This is me not ranting on about Ital Tek. He did a mix for Urb Magazine, here it is.
Tempted to give up being vegetarian just so I stop doing farts so potent they wake me up in the night - Stenchman
Eastcolors is a name you need to re-acquaint yourself with. He's been busy over the past year or so collaborating with Enei and Nuage, however he's got a SWEET 12" coming out on Demand very soon, and to be honest, I reckon it'll be very difficult for any other release to beat it for me this year. In the mean time, have a listen to this mix he's done for EMToday.

I also wanted to show you the live mix he recorded last year and allowed d/ls on - however he's taken it down, which I think is a massive shame. I don't want to put it on here as he must have taken it down for a reason and I don't want to spread stuff around artists aren't happy with. Saying that, I really want people to hear it, so if ou want it, drop me a DM or something and I'll see what I can do.

Do you want some heavy bastard snares and a bit of nasty bass? Course you do. Have a listen to this forthcoming release by Mikal and get a bit lairy. For what it's worth, I like "The Chant" the best, it's been a tune to look out for (for me anyway) since Break dropped it on't Symmetry podcast. Big.

Ah, you might as well have the Symmetry podcast too, eh?

You know how I hate the word "vibes"? Well...I can't really think of an alternative description for this:

There's not really much Nuage could do to ruin this glowing opinion I have of him. Perhaps if he stole my cat or ran me over in a tractor I might have to have a rethink. Until then however, he can carry on making tracks like this with the likes of Gerwin, and I'll be a very happy Katie indeed.

More ace old-style soulfulness from Mars, with another release from uber-prolific duo dRamatic & dbAudio. Both sides feature smoothily smooth vocals from the one and only Grimm.

I love this and it came out yesterday. Nuff said.

Last but certainly not least by any measurement known to mankind, I'd like you all to know that Lung's debut EP "Why Does Anyone Ever Do Anything?" is out now, and if you like chilled, hopeful dubstep with glints of soul and a smattering of glitchy blips, you should get it. In fact, just get it anyway. If you don't I won't be your friend anymore and I won't invite you to my birthday party, and my mum said there's going to be a bouncy castle and everything.

They're not real people, not until they've lost their shoes at a Radio One Roadshow crowd surfing to Pato Banton - LurpackShakur

Friday, 9 March 2012

SP4M - 08/03/12

I used to think that if Tupac's California Love came on while listening to Now 34, he'd come and kill me if I skipped it - joelcrookes
Busy busy busy. That's what I am. There is a helluva lot of impossibly good music around at the moment (it always strikes me as odd that sometimes there is seemingly more music than usual) and as a result I have not really left my computer or phone in a worryingly long time. I've also not had an awful lot of time for things like eating, sleeping or blogging...but not to worry - I've noted down some things for you to listen to, it's not as much as usual but I hope it'll do :)

Firstly, let's talk about Mortem. Upcoming "Life Forms" EP looks to be an absolute fucking belter, and if you're sick of me talking about this guy, then you're in the wrong place - Mortem will own DnB one day. So get to KNOW.

Now more stuff from Intelligent Recs. I seem to do a mini spotlight on a label every week by accident - well this week it's on Intelligent because I just think they are brill. Based in Kiev they are putting out consistently high-quality DnB by artists who send me running to Soundcloud to find out who the hell they are. Definitely get involved.

If you like your vocals, this is a bit of a peach. I love this one, pure liquid goodness -

For more Intelligent Recs insight, check out their podcast.

Mosca shared his top 5 garage jams with Dazed and they are all pretty awesome so you should check the feature out.

John Rolodex and Rene LaVice - no, they aren't a law firm from 1986, they are in fact heavy as fuck and it's time you got all those notions of sharp-suited cheeseballs out of your head.

Do I even need to tell you what this is? Time Carrier has been doing the round for a while now, but it's an absolute hurter. I want to hear this out, and I want to hear it LOUD.

Spinline's D&BA Podcast from last month - amazing.

The Ulterior Motive remix of Klute's "We R The Ones" is out on Monday. I strongly suggest you get it.

Philth has got a pretty sick EP coming out on Flexout Audio at the end of the month. While you wait for Future Dreams" though, have  listen to my favourite track from it:


The sun is starting to come out!

A really, really, really good podcast by Heavy1 for movement Music. Tracklist includes folks like Halogenix, Kodo, Clarity and J. Robinson, and besides that it's well worth checking out if you like dark, minimal and all that jazz.

I may have mentioned before that Z Grab by Enei definitely has the lyrics "Drop...chips" in it. Well this little soulful number is actually called "Drop The Chips". It amused me. Aside from that it's got a lovely Marky-esque summer feel about it. Summmmeeerrrrrrrrrrr!!! (Side-note: Is "Drop the Chips" actually trying to get people to diet ready for their bikini bodies? Who knows.)

This is ace. Garagey splicey happiness from DJ Q.

Lung did a mix specially for Fabric and the Blood Pressure release. It's really rather good. Click here for download link.

I've decided I love Presk. his forthcoming 12" Hesitate / Chook is the cheekiest bass-house (I'm still calling it that, I don't know why) I've heard, and that's why I love it.

Drugged-up garage about drugs. Yaaaay!

Somebody thought I was the woman talking on the intro to The Agony & the Ecstacy. To be fair I do sound like this, however I have not as of yet, been asked to talk in a Leeds accent all over any DnB legend's work yet.

Wisp - In A Blue Face is one of my favourite albums, and "Daffodils" from it never fails to cheer me up when I'm having a rough day. I thought I'd share this because I'm not sure how many people know about Wisp, and we could all do with a pick-me-up from time to time. If you like this, definitely also look into buying his album NTHNDR because it is also beautiful (especially the track "Negions Fail"). Somehow it feels like sketches and ideas but never feels like any more could be added to it to make it better, which is why I like it.

Every time I see S.P.Y play I end up saying something cringeworthy like "he's just *so* amazing". he is pretty good though, you know? This track was on the Sun and Bass Winter in Sardinia album from 2011 and it is 'just *so* amazing...*sigh*'

I forgot how good this track is. Turn it right up and remember!

Was also re-acquainted with my love for Interpol, in particular this absolute beaut of a song. Listen to that big elastic bass. Amazing.

"Weiner" is the funniest word. That's just a fact.

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

SP4M 22/02/12

I don't know about you, but I think Pancake Day is too commercial these days. All those big flour and egg companies taking advantage of us.
As befitting a music blog that's only purpose is to put all my favourite songs in a list in the hope that at least one person will hear them and go "WOW I MUST BUY ALL OF THESE RIGHT NOW", I'm going to be totally selfish, and start off with two songs from my favourite band of all time, Million Dead. Now, I know there are guitars and live drums - I know, take a deep breath - and there is even a large percentage of shouting, but it's my blog, and I really have been listening to them a lot this week. I want you to imagine that for once you're allowed to listen to non-electronic music, and that nobody is going to judge you. This is a safe place. Just be thankful I'm not asking you to listen to Thursday (I might do that next week).

Right, let's crack on now. This week I was stunned by the news that Sub Zero - Protection was finally going to be released on Playaz. [You can pre-order it here on his "Bi Polar" EP, I know I am] I don't know what stunned me more - that after so long I would finally be able to own it, or the fact that it was on UKF. Some of the recent uploads on there make me think they're trying to shrug off their 'reputation' doesn't matter, the more people that hear this tune, the better. I spent most of last summer listening to a bad quality clip of Protection taken from the Hype show (I think) on YouTube with a picture of armed police on segways as the video, and as a result, it sounds fresh, airy, bright and reminds of very happy times, but I can't shake that weird precarious image of a wobbly gunman as it rolls along. I'm not sure what you'll do with that information exactly, but now you know.

I awoke to the news a couple of days ago that Synkro - Progression was finally (FINALLY!) released two weeks ago, and I completely missed it. Sorry. Brilliant, gorgeous track, definitely worth adding to your ever-expanding Synkro collection.

Also, you should grab his brilliant new RA podcast. Any mix with a tracklist including Indigo, GoldFFinch, Frederic Robinson, Stickman and Akkord is worth your time.

Speaking of Akkord (or "Δkkord" as they prefer to be known) their recent Electronic Explorations appearance was incredible. I said at the time that every once in a while there's an entire episode of EE that blows me away - this was one of them. Apparently they were brought together by their "love of mathematics...and sacred geometry". I'm not entirely sure what it means, but in my head 'sacred geometry' means making sense of rigid, angular lines and seeing something more spiritual there. Not to get all Pitchfork about it, but that's what they sound like. Definitely, definitely give them a go.

Blu Mar Ten have been running a remix competition for their laaavly track "All Or Nothing". There have been entries inspired by the entire spectrum of dance music, but so far one of my favourites has been Bulb's "re-think" - atmopheric, euphoric, all of those words. In a word, it's Bulb, and that's good enough for me.

Here's something else that's completely beautiful - last week I showed you the Synkro remix of Sabre, Stray & Halogenix - Oblique. The official video for the single is now available on YouTube and I have to say the original is no less beautiful. The current hype about this track is deserved, it's an unmistakeable piece of genuinely beautiful music.

Hey! You know how I love Beastie Respond? About a month ago he did a mix for Organic. It's really good.

The amount of times I've mentioned this you should already know by now, but The Jackal was finally released on Monday and you should go and immediately buy it because so help me, if any tune deserves to sell out, it's this one. The flipside "Behmoth" is awesome too.

This A-U-X Events podcast by Total Science is incredible.

Another excellent thing from Intelligent. Murky and dark but with a slightly techy, metallic edge, I really love this tune. Keeping a close eye on this label.

Can you die from finding a bunch of poetry you wrote when you were sixteen? - ARealLifeGhost
I incorrectly stated on my twitter feed this week that the Shades of Grey Data Transmission podcast was by Duct - it isn't, it was by all of them, I just got confused and only named the dude who lives in my house who's got a better cat than me who's part of SoG. SORRY EVERYONE ELSE aka. Owen Howells, Fybe:one and Trinomic. Anyway, you lot, the people I'm not apologising to, go away and listen to it. It's far too trendy for me to tell you about the tracklist without pretending I've heard most of the tunes before, but I really like it, and that's all that matters. Right? Riiiiight? Get it here.

Really exciting news - There's a new Ital Tek EP coming out soon. March 19th to be exact. Oh gosh. OH GOSH.

To tide you (me) over until then, there's a free download of "Up" to listen to and giggle about.

I discovered a couple of bands and artists this week. The first is Eleven Tigers, you can listen to clips of his album "111" on their soundcloud or here:

However I'd also recommend you check out ET's earlier album "Clouds Are Mountains" as it's quite frankly astonishing and the track "Stableface" from it is a) incredible b) something that you may recognise.

This is BRILLIANT. Garagey, splicey, slightly wonky awesomeness that's about as fun to listen to as it it is to dance to. I know, I've been dancing to it all week with the cat. Kastle - Could U Want Me

Also brilliant, and also from Belgian label Silverback is this little glimmering, techy, synthy beauty. Much, much love for this remix, the original is good but JTRP have smashed it.

Yep, Scuba - Personality is amazing. It's due out next week, but you can stream the whole thing here. Honestly, I can't praise it enough without my eyes glazing over and waving my arms around. The best part about it for me is the huge amounts of variation throughout it, how some tracks are deeply introverted and others are Vice City-esque cruising tunes. Choice tracks:

A new job has introduced me to Granholme. Wiping the Eye EP came out last October and I love it.

Another band I was introduced to this week were The Antlers. Although not particularly my cup of tea on the face of it (Bon Iver-isms got a bit dull for me a few years ago, I'm afraid) their album Hospice is one of the best pieces of musical storytelling and general heartbreak I've heard. I was warned by the person who recommended it to me (who, despite what you're thinking, is not a gangly crybaby with fake horn-rimmed glasses and an antique book of Baudelaire verses) that I would cry at least once listening to it - oh yes. I did. Don't let that put you off though - it's one of those recommendations you wonder how you'll ever repay. Oh yeah, and if you're hugely judgemental like I am, please bypass the fact that it's yet another song to do (however vaguely) with Sylvia Plath and just get on with it.


Despite myself, this tune is absolutely ace. I want to hear it EVERYWHERE. EEEVERYYYWHEERREEEE!

There's a new Crystal Castles album due out this summer and you can hear the HEALTH remix of Suffication here on Pitchfork.

Somebody posted this up on twitter a day or two ago. I thought it sounded really fresh and was totally gobsmacked to learn that it is in fact from 1991. Deep and tribal, it really wouldn't sound out of place played out anywhere at the moment.

Some cool, ambient sounds from Fill, a side project from Bulb.

IM:Ltd play another blinder with Mono - Warcry. Just the right combination of ethnic percussion and a stressy claustrophobic undercurrent with a tight, malevolent bassline.

fuck tech house - Objekt

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

SP4M 14/02/12

What will become of Music when DJs discover you can drop the treble too? - Exmaswar
Hello. This week has been a busy week of playing catchup with albums, podcasts and tracks I have long neglected (and I mean loooong neglected - I'm still finding un-listened to Electronic Explorations from 2009). It's not all been old timey stuff though, because there are some really exciting releases coming out round about now...some I've been waiting for for quite a considerable length of time.

Kodo - a name that you should have heard at least once a week if you follow me on any social networking outlet you care to choose from - is FINALLY releasing The Jackal next week. I am very excited. In the mean time, why don't you pop along and buy his Rough Trade EP part 1, which is, as you'd expect, sterling work, and features this little beauty.

STOMACH-CRAMPINGLY EXITING NEWS, EVERYONE! Burial's Kindred "EP" is out (it's in scare quotes because it's about half an hour long, and that's the closest to any criticism you'll get from me regarding ar'Burial. The man's a wonderful, marvellous being and we are all lucky to live on the same plane of existence as him. Or something.) Ashtray Wasp is probably my favourite, but again, making me choose would mean that the others were somehow 'worse' and that just isn't true.

Get it on DD from Hyperdub now.
Get it pre-ordered on 180gm vinyl so you can stroke and hug it.

Guess what else is coming out soon? Only another bloody Med School compilation! Now if New Blood 010 and New Blood 011 got you as loved up as they did me, just you wait until you get your filthy little mitts on Blood Pressure. I've been lucky enough to hear the whole shaboodle and I've already picked some favourites. They're releasing previews of the tracks on their site, but you can also look at the Blood Pressure set on Soundcloud which gets updated with the new tracks every week too. My two cents: Look out for Clarity & Bulb's track, it's phenomenal. Also this new kid called Barefoot has seriously underlined what I thought to be the Med School sound. There are other highlights, such as gorgeous tracks from Submerse, Synkro and Blu Mar Ten, but I'll leave waxing lyrical about them until the week of release so you can actually hear what I'm on about.

Slight Kanye break:

Indigo - Snowfall. What a gorgeous tune. Heard it on the ROKO Electronic Explorations mix and had to share it.  For once I prefer the original to the Synkro remix.

I've been avoiding Duct because I actually live with one of them, but to be honest, they're really good and you should definitely give them some of your time because this track in particular is lovely.

This week I have mostly been rinsing (amongst other things - Why? aren't going anywhere tbh) Lapalux's very long, very delicious EP. Is it an EP? Is it an album? Who knows. Maybe I should ask their press people. Anyway, it's brilliant, you'll love it, and I'm really excited to get my vinyl copy in the post - however I was stupid enough to pre-order it along with some other stuff that isn't coming out til the end of the month so I've still got to wait ages for my bulk order to get delivered. OH WELL.

Now isn't this BEAUTIFUL? Synkro has yet again taken an amazing track and turned it into something other-worldly and wonderful and good. I wonder if he turned his attentions to water...could he could turn it into brandy?

A dolphin in a triangle coming out the water is the sickest brand logo yet to be born if you make that you will be smoking diamonds - Zomby

New Beastie Respond. Oh lord! New Beastie respond on my Soundcloud timeline! What a day that was. Syncopy got me hooked last year - Blawan's Trecther Mechanica remix on the other side was just. Massive. This time they've brought me/everyone else who cares a lot more minimal, techno-infused drum and bass. It's so mechanical it's basically dripping in engine oil. Uff, in 'Be Quiet' listen to THOSE CLAPS. I love it.

 bit of a change of pace for me and this blog if I'm honest, but I've been approaching the upcoming High Contrast album with a mixture of curiosity and trepidation. 'Father, Can't You See I'm Burning?" came out yesterday (Mon 13th) and it brought a relieved smile to my face, but have a listen for yourself - can't you already hear the sick S.P.Y remix bursting to get out?

What I don't know about Hathor, or indeed Totaal Rez, the label they're assigned to, could probably fill the British Library. You don't need to know much though, to know they are something I'd definitely be into. Listen to Bewitched - it's the sonic equivalent of when the girl from The Ring zips right through the telly.  Dark, deep and creepy as all fuck with the erratic sampling of a mad scientist's assistant pulling all the switches during a thunderstorm, I think Hathor might be edging into my ever-lengthening favourites list.

My weekly Spinline - Contrast EP update. Lastest: It's still on it's way. Release date 27th Feb. Get to KNOW.

Sad that M.I.A is fast becoming a guilty pleasure instead of one of my favourite artists.

That Strategy fella is a bit good at that rapping business, isn't he? Also a revelation: apparently Dub Phizix has an Aussie accent. You learn something new every day...

Some awesome tracks on this mix by Bringa, including Closer by ARP XP (and you all know how I feel about him), Mortem - The Touch (again, I don't need to go into that emotional rant), Trex and Anile & Dakosa. It's a bit odd, but I kinda like that. Plus, isn't it weird that Enei's Stonehead EP came out SIX MONTHS AGO? No wonder hearing it makes me feel all summery.

Melé for Mixmag - frankly nuts if you ask me. So much old skool and general party time vibes (ugh, there I go again with that word) it's just a massive grin in mix format.

Roots Manuva's rider = "cheese on toast, ten pints of bitter". (via@popbitch)
Objekt - Porcupine/Cactus. GET IT (or get it on Surus if you want DD). So much love for Objekt right now.

Lovely lovely lovely lovely lovely etc etc etc

Rene LaVice does a Panda DnB mix show. It's rather good. You should get it. (via Beats for the planet)

You may all be aware Skrillex won three Grammy awards this week, and in doing so beat Photek's remix of Daft Punk's "End Of Line". I was not very happy about this. I've decided to make myself feel better by putting "End Of Line" in this blog post so you can all see for yourselves just how superior it is.

As a result of Skrillex winning three Grammys (yes, three) I have decided that now is the time for my samurai revenge mission against him. To accompany me I have chosen some lovely vengeance-inducing Ennio Morricone. Sorry, you can't come with me. It's a lone mission.

I spent a lot of time listening to Pelican this week. Oh yeah, I like emotive sludge metal. Maybe I should have put that in my bio.

Bop and Ghosting Season's Electronic Explorations mix from last July (I told you I was really far behind) is astonishing. That is all.

Finally, let's have a nice long Burial mix by a pal 'o' mine why not:

Basically it's the natural progression of digeridoo dub bass. It feels how dance music would be in three years if the world ended now.

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