30 April 2007

Surfbeat Behind The Iron Curtain

There are times when, having hours to spare, you just wander into your local vinyl stockists and just browse through everything in the racks. Then suddenly, something so unusual, unexpected and surprising pops out, and you JUST HAVE TO HAVE IT!

Such was the case with the record above. Let me take you back to the days of the Cold War - the Berlin War, the Eastern Bloc, mutually assured destruction, some fantastic spy novels and films etc. Behind the Iron Curtain the Soviet authorities controlled everything. In this case, this includes which bands could form, what music they could play, and what instruments they could play. That so many surf-beat bands could have been permitted seems incredible, that they made such far-out music is unbelievable.

Lucifer In Coelis by The Slava Kunst Orchestra is the stand out track from this album. A bizarre twist number, featuring many of the contemporary acts from the local scene, including what sounds like an astounding enormous, steam powered distortion fuelled Hammond organ (seemingly called a "Thermus"!)

29 April 2007

Alter Ego & Ghost Writers Feat. Lil Keke

I came across this the other day on a blog. I can't remember now whether it was headphone sex or hometapin' or one of those more dancey based blogs, but I remember thinking on the first listen that this was a crackin' tune.

There have been a quite a few good hiphop / electro crossover tracks over the last four or five years. Felix da Housecat's collaboration with P Diddy back in 2003 springs to mind. And of course the marriage of these two styles goes right back to the beginnings of Hip Hop in the mid 1980's. Grand Master Flash, Ultramagnetic MCs, early Drexiya. But as a White European it's been tough for me to really get into Hip Hop as dance genre. For me it's always been cerebral music on a par with folk music - interesting, often challenging, foottapping - yes, but rarely dance-able.

I don't really feel like being an apologist for being white, middleclass and lame. But I am sorry I wish I was black I wish I was cool I wish I could dance to hiphop tracks. but I can't, not with out looking stupid.

What am I getting at? Well this track is an exception. Right from the off it's lurching groove dirty gets the party started - or something.

I can dance to this one - although I still look stupid.

Alter Ego & Ghost Writers Feat. Lil Keke - "Ghost Musick" (Baltimoroder Remix)

18 April 2007

Eduardo Bort

Spanish Progressive Psychedelia never really got better than this piece from Eduardo Bort. The album this track was taken from is a fantastically intimate affair, with some superb musicianship from his band and some killer guitar and vocals from Eduardo himself.

Everything sounds loose without falling apart, the instrumentation is very free-flowing and the overall sound is one of a band at the top of it's game.
The track I've chosen here contains a little bit of everything and is totally representative of the whole album.

The album is available on CD, so try and find a copy. It's worth it.

Eduardo Bort - Thoughts Part 2

16 April 2007

El Senor Ciuf Ciuf

El Senor Ciuf Ciuf (Italian for a child's name for a steam train - chuff chuff) presents an intriguing proposition. The music is equal parts house music and Beach Boys style harmonies, all mixed up into a intriguing brew that brings Jamie Liddell, early Aphex Twin and the Flaming Lips in minds.

I Think I Saw A Dead Person Walking Yesterday is the best track from his debut EP, and much like Good Vibrations, it creates a series of mood-scenes, loosely connected with a common theme. It's stupendous.

You can download the entire EP, As Seen From Above released free over the intertubes by those pleasant people at 12rec.

I thought the EP was spoiled by the interminably long track The Unspeakable Chant Of A Collapsing Universe, which is nine-minutes of monotonous industrial techno-noise that sits at odds with the rest of the album. But that may be the entire point.