Thursday 24 November 2016

Om Unit - Inversion

Om Unit - Inversion

I got this album, again in a HMV closing down sale (you will hear this a lot over the next good few posts!) for €2 I think. The first I had heard of Om Unit was an amazing remix he did of the Joker track Digi Design where he took a 140 BPM track and completely slowed it down to about 100 BPM but kept the feel and signature of the song fully intact, I've linked the song below, if you like it listen to the original to really appreciate the transformation. 
When I heard some follow up tracks by Om Unit I was surprised to see he was on Goldie's famous drum & bass label Metalheadz and he was producing some really good jungle & d&b. 
Threw this album on in the car this morning and it is decent enough, its short though with only 8 tracks with one of those (Layers) basically an interlude. There is a pretty decent song with Jehst (The War) on vocals adding some ragga/rap to things and the album flows nicely enough without actually taking off. To be honest I think this album is a bit to subtle for me, I prefer jump up which is more in your face than this stuff. The peak of the album and my pick is Parallel, the penultimate track before things wind down with Mystic. The first two minutes or so are just your regular drum and bass track with fast beats and a decent bassline, then it breaks down and kicks into a typical Metalheadz frenzy of scattered drums, filtered effects/fills and the bass and distortion on the kick drum turn up a notch for the final flurry before leaving us with the bow out track Mystic.

All in all its a decent album and will definitely get another spin soon

Joker - Digi Design (Om Unit's Pop Lock Remix)

Om Unit - Parallel

Strangely enough this track isn't on Youtube but below is a Soundcloud version, quality isn't great unfortunately

Overall - 6/10

Wednesday 23 November 2016

Sway - Deliverance

Sway - Deliverance

I bought this album in August in a HMV closing down sale for €2, I had seen it previously at full price and had been tempted to buy it but thank GOD I didn't...
I first heard of Sway from watching a comedy show called FM, you should really try to find it, its brilliant, Chris O'Dowd in between his IT Crowd and his Hollywood phases, not that it really matters, fame doesn't seem to have changed him at all, anyway check out the show it's hilarious! Each episode had a different artist/band on it, they had some really good ones like the Charlatans and Ladyhawke, and also a cameo from Tim Westwood which was pretty funny. Each act would usually at some stage of the show do a track and Sway's was pretty good. Kind of half rap half grime track with really bouncy beats and him rapping over them. I'll post the track below (its called Say It Twice) He has also made an appearance on Mike Skinner's proteges, The Mitchell Brothers brilliant track Harvey Nicks.
So Sway was kind of on my radar for decent UK rap/Grime and when I saw this album so cheap it was one I was definitely going to buy. I threw it on it the car the other day and really struggled to pick out a decent track for the blog. For a lot of albums I need to listen to them twice to really get the feel of them so after getting through it once I decided to hold off making my mind up until I gave it another spin. Unfortunately that made no changes to my opinion, it was a horrible UK Rap/pop crossover album and looking through the sleevenotes he drafted in some pretty decent producers for the beats - Flux Pavilion, Amon Tobin & the aforementioned Mike Skinner. Unfortunately the only decent track on the album is Skinner's collaboration Teach Us, in which the Street's rapper only performs a hook in the chorus, but the trademark Street's sound is all over the track.

 Teach Us

 Say It Twice

 Overall - 1/10 - Avoid

Saturday 19 November 2016

Body Language Vol.8 Mixed by Modeselektor

Body Language Vol.8 Mixed by Modeselektor

Bought this on Amazon for 3 or 4 quid last week and its absolutely brilliant! Really showcases what Modeselektor are all about, the mix takes so many twists & turns, never gets boring. There are only a few number of djs/acts who can release a mix with artists as diverse as Missy Elliot, Robert Hood, Major Lazer, Siriusmo, Scuba...I could go on... and keep the flow of the album uninterrupted. Hightlight for me is Nights Off by Siriusmo which would have fit perfectly into my contemporary 80's mix if I had of heard it before I made the mix, its definitely going into the follow up mix!

Overall 8/10

Friday 18 November 2016

This Is Not The 80's...

After listening to the Felix da Housecat album, Devin Dazzle & The Neon Fever I was inspired to pull together loads of tracks that have been recorded relatively recently but all have an 80's sound to them. I dug through my collection and asked for some suggestions from friends and came up with a pretty good tracklisting which covered a lot of styles, ranging from pop from Le Galaxie, right through to full on electro on the Dave Clarke remix of Vicarious Bliss. I have done a good few mixes but none have got the traction this one has. It opens with a remix of Phostograft by Crossover, I was looking for a good quality version of the original and stumbled across this one, which is arguably better than the original.
After listening back there are a few tracks in the middle which get a bit repetitive and sound too similar to play consecutively and the mix kind of lags slightly in my opinion. These tracks all have the Moroder style arpeggiated synths which sound good as individual tracks but power through that 10/12 minutes and it opens out again with more vocal tracks.

1. Crossover - Phostograft
2. Simian Mobile Disco - I Believe (Prins Thomas Remix) 04:33
3. Lovelock - Burning Feeling 08:05
4. Todd Terje - Alfonso Muskedunder (Mungolian Jetset Remix) 13:50
5. FPU - Crocketts Theme 15:38
6. Le Galaxie - Love System 19:11
7. Wolf + Lamb - Real Love 23:21
8. Simian Mobile Disco - I Got This Down 27:40
9. Sirkuz Sirkuz - Aaaah Seid Love 30:37
10. Bangkok Impact - La Musche 33:33
11. Dr Lektroluv - Obsession For the Disco Freaks (David Caretta Remix) 37:40
12. Fischerspooner - The 15th 40:50
13. Felix da Housecat - We All Want to be Prince 44:42
14. Kiko - Monique 47:46
15. FPU - Ocean Drive 50:38
16. Vicarious Bliss - Theme (Dave Clarke Remix) 54:35
17. T Pain - Buy You A Drink (AWE Marty McFly Remix) 59:39

Wednesday 16 November 2016

Change of tack...

Right, I have decided that doing full album reviews isn't really working for me and the commitment it involves. I like to have the album playing while writing about it which isn't always possible. I also don't know if anyone wants to read posts of that length about relatively old albums.
I'm going to get the blog going again but make much shorter entries with the same idea - just a quick, couple of lines of a review and a track or two off the album, which is probably all anyone wants to see anyway!

Saturday 14 May 2016

Underworld - Barbara, Barbara We Face A Shining Future

Underworld - Barbara, Barbara We Face A Shining Future

Right I'm really spoiling you with another album that was released in the last month or so but don't worry I'll be back to listening to older stuff soon enough...
Underworld release their 7th studio album and true to their ethos it's not what you'd expect from the main stage headliners. 
I was a relative newcomer to their album work, I only really knew the handful of "hands in the air" trademark arpeggiated synths which they seem to have one or two per album (listen to their live album Everything, Everything - quite possibly the best live album ever released) and to my unappreciative ear back then, just some oddball album fillers. It was only when I picked up Beaucoup Fish in a charity shop a few months ago that I properly listened to one of their older albums right the way through and got a proper understanding of what they were about. 
Barbara Barbara, We Face A Shining Future (apparently one of the last things Rick Smith's father said to his mother before he died) opens with I Exhale, a simple, moping drum beat which leads into distressed synths and electric guitars followed by Karl Hyde's nonsensical lyrics. The track meanders really nicely over the course of 8 minutes with various distorted synths and samples. 
If Rah picks up with I Exhale left off, with another slower beat with more off the wall vocals. This plods along until around the 3 minute mark when the first sign of the synths Underworld are known for pop into the mix. There's a breakdown which builds up really nicely and kicks back in for the climax of the track - really looking forward to hearing this at Forbidden Fruit this June.
Low Burn then kicks in, this song could have easily finished out the album, its a 4/4 kick and could have been produced by them anytime over the past 15-20 years. It has that epic* end of set feeling that puts you in a trance, you can just imagine closing your eyes and getting lost in it.
Santiago Cuatro is the interlude track, a Spanish Guitar freestyle over some synths - they insist on putting one of these weird tracks on all their albums, at least on Barking they had the decency to make it the final track on the cd so you could just take it out when it came on. 
Motorhome is just a track to ease you back in the room after the snorefest of the previous song.
Ova Nova then picks things up again back into familar Underworld territory while Nylon Strung finishes the album off with 7 minutes of glorious house music.

It's only 7 tracks long but all of them (barring the skippable Santiago Cuatro) are on average 6/7 minutes long and when you're listening to them, don't feel that long at all. 

Standout track - If Rah

Overall 8/10

*I dont mean epic in the 16 year old teenager type of way, I mean it in the true sense of the word!!

Baauer - Aa

Baauer - Aa

I think its kind of fitting that my first review is an album that I've been waiting for since around the time I first started thinking of writing a blog. I watched a video about a year and a half ago following Baauer around recording samples which really got me excited about the album - then I didn't hear anything for about a year!
The album was released at the beginning of May this year and I think the wait was definitely worth it. The weird thing about the album is that when its broken down into its individual parts I seem to have a few negative things to say about it, but listened from start to finish it really delivers.
It opens with Church, a pretty boring soundscape type track which is fine and then blasts straight into GoGo! which really typifies Baauer's sound. A full on trap/bass wall of sound with a trademark off beat "drop" with pitched kick drums and a vicious saw tooth bassline. Probably the best track on the album for me.
The following 2 tracks are Body and Pinku, both decent housey type songs, with real summery vibes. Things get back on track with Sow, similar in style to GoGo!, a heads down trap banger with a strange vocal sample and a simple but effective beat underneath it. 
Day Ones keeps the agression going nicely, this was the debut track promo'd with vocals from 19 year old Lewisham grime newcomer Novelist and New Yorks Leikeli47. Its great to see a nod to how well grime is respected in the States - even though Leikeli gets the lionshare of mic time. Loads of shouty vocals over massive synths.
Next up is a mid way interlude called Good & Bad followed by Way From Me which builds into the second half of the album smoothly.
MIA makes an appearance on Temple, similar to Sow, Baauer doesnt try to hog the limelight here, lets MIA and G Dragon do their thing with a really solid but simple track.
Make It Bang flirts with EDM ideas, a bit of a 4/4 beat with aggressive main stage synths - not a great song at all in my opinion but there are some good ideas in there, it was just executed with a U.S. festival in mind.
Kung Fu is a calling card to all rappers showcasing Baauer's ability to produce really top class hip-hop/trap music for people to rap over - again he keeps it simple and doesn't try to do anything too complicated - he just lets the vocalists get to it.
Church Reprise really is a disappointing number, he drafts in Glasgow's Rustie for this, arguably two of the best bass/trap producers around right now get in a studio together and they come out with this - a nothing song, just some synths and electric guitars for a minute and a half.
It then closes with a near song, it sounds like Baauer started a track, had a pretty decent idea for it and when the record company came knocking for the finished album he just threw this on at the end.

With no tracks longer than 4 minutes (the longest one is 3:32) and 4 songs less than 2 minutes long it would be easy to feel short changed but for some reason it still is a really good album. The good (longer) songs outweigh the couple of non-tracks and hopefully if he gets Rustie in the studio again they will make a track that actually has some beats in it!


Standout track - GoGo!