06
Dec
11

Overlords of the Soundcloud – Owsey

Welcome to part 1 of what will perhaps be 1, of my (non)series of Overlords of Soundcloud. Alright, that sounds shite, but I have had fuck all sleep and am trying my best to avoid other more pressing issues in my day to day, so Overlords it is. Though a disgustingly pomp filled title, nothing could be further from the truth for the artistes that I have in mind for this searing insight into the wonderful world of Soundcloud.

As freemusic has been dominating my ears of late, I feel that it is time I doffed my virtual cap to those that have kept me entertained and spread my thanks to whomever shall listen. First on this wagon of funty, cometh the might of Owsey. Again I say might, but really this is conceptual might, for in the traditional sense of the word, there is none apparent in their music. Here’s a wee sample to listen while I witter.

My first introduction to the Oswey creature was on a dark night as I let my ears wander through some dubstep type mix business. There was an intriguing remix of Birdy’s cover of Skinny Love, a gentle and lovely mix where Owsey takes the spacious dreaminess of the cover and seems to somehow pump it full of much more space. There is of course some perfectly understated defibrilating bass to add to this gentle pool of sound, which hooked me right in. This led me to jump onto Soundcloud and check out what else there may be on offer from this Owsey character. The answer was simply, fucking hundreds.

From here I was whapped into a sepia world of mixes and original tracks, a staggering amount of free music with comments lavished upon them so thickly that there is barely room to post a wee ‘well done’ and people piggy backing each others comments just to get a look in. It was like beatle-mania on a small, electronic and generally quite polite, scale. The rate at which Owsey posts new material is amazingly rapid. You are looking at a couple of tracks a week generally and from when I started tuning in, the quality of the tracks is improving upload by upload as if they are learning a small tweak or aspect of the software that just makes the next track that little bit more lovely.

Ah, the ramble, not yet a mention of the music. What kind of stuff is it? Well, I am afraid I am going to ramble this too. What Owsey is putting out goes from the heartfelt breeze of You Gave Me a Letter in a Field of Stars to house so subterranean that the even the mole people cant quite fathom it like Give me Truth. There is a backbone of dubstep in there, but by no means every track and by no means anything like straightforward dubstep. I have about 15 tracks on my mp3 player thusfar and listening to them all is like entering a beautiful trance, only realising what you have been listening to when it comes to an end and you snap back to reality. Thus, the ultimate in commuting music. A joyful exercise in cinematic haze, one to shut down the thinky bit of the brain and access the feely bit for a while.

I am still pretty unclear what Owsey does, how the music is made, where the root lies? Is he a pianist, electronica meister, sample wizard? Well essentially none of that matters so much and to me he seems more like some musical Siren, sitting on a tree stump beckoning me into the foggy land beyond with his enchanting wiggly fingers. And I am in. Ensnared.

With all this output though, I was happy to see the simple phrase on Facebook ‘Owsey album coming soon’ as I look forward to seeing how it will be structured, where it will take me, and if my fingers are still working by that point I will doubtlessly let you know.

28
Nov
11

Mix Tape Action

Hello all. Yes it is true, I am slowly fading into nothingness, my blogging potential is being drained from my very being by outside forces. New music has been coming to me drip fed, with a backup of must buys sitting in my little black book, but Winter is coming and dark nights staring through condensation filled bus windows always makes for perfect musical listening experiences, so hopefully things will pick up.

In the meantime I have crafted this gift for you all. It is badly wrapped in my messy, hurried and uncaring mixing skills, but once you open the present you will find it rammed full of precious jewels, items of dark wonder and glowing potions for the soul.
Go ahead. Open it. And should you wish to make it portable, which I would highly recommend, you can do so by clicking here.

And now, while you either click on another page or listen and read, I shall witter on brimming with witless gorm about the tracks I have chosen. Well Basically its because they are what I have been listening to on and off over the last wee while.

1. Fabrizio Paterlini – The Stars That Fell Over That Night
Something still and beautiful from the master of evocative piano. Fabrizio’s music has been a real inspiration to me this year and recently, while I suffer the new music drought, he has been providing me the soundtrack to my days with his free downloadable Autumn Stories, which I suggest you fire over to his website and check out immediately.
2. Caught in the Wake Forever – Fragments Turn to Dust
I was always wondering why countries like Iceland could knock out music that clung to my headspace by the ton, yet there was nothing happening here in my back garden. The answer is really just because I wasnt looking hard enough. This is bus-window simplicity in all its joy, from a wee record label in Edinburgh, Mini 50 which I would again suggest you check out.
3. Bon Iver – Holocene
Aye, bit dissapointed in the old Bon Iver album after tumbling over myself through the love/hate/dispair cycle of the first on a great many occasions. It was all going ok until the U2ness kicked in, then I lost the will to adopt it into my heart. However, Holocene is fantastic, and shows that still as a writer, he is a great talent.
4. Chris Tenz – Another Glass
Another Mini50 artiste and a cracking track. Its flow, going from frantic and engaging, seamlessly through to ambient and adding mental colour to your surroundings, is a work of extreme craftsmanship, one to be commended and has had a spot in my ears for many a month.
5. Jonsi & Alex – Happiness (Irrelevant Mix)
Yes, still going on about Jonsi and Alex after all this time. Still deeply in love with the original, but this Irrelevant Mix adds a beat so subteranean that it blends incredibly well with the original tune. A combination of moods which works very well.
6. Dustin O’Halloran – We Move Lightly (Pataphysical Mix)
Again, a wonderful track to start off with, but there is something nice and spacey about the remix. Strangely, the first song that my new child ever heard (another reason for the long hiatus in posting) as it started playing in my pocket in the hospital by accident. For this it will aye have a place in my heart, but romanticism aside, it adds a sort of bleak sadness to this powerful track.
7. M.J Cole – Be Sincere (Nero Mix)
A classic track and no mistake. Remixed by a bunch of chart topping goons who are adding to the pile of generic facelessness that is sadly the Prodigy’s leagacy. However, they done a good job on this and when the bass comes in, you know all about it.
8. Rival Consoles – I Left the Party
Wrote about it before, deserves another mention. Though its roots may be in another track, it still excels and shines as a work of emotive electronica loveliness. Again, the album review has been lost in the mire of my life, but suffice to say I enjoyed it thoroughly.
9. French Tragedies in Color – Ganik
God knows where I found this, but I am very glad to have done so. A lot of free downloads on Soundcloud and this is the pick of the bunch. Makes me think of vintage colours and lens flares. Makes me think of Manitoba (not the place, the Caribou before Caribou business) and for someone who just fires up the occasional tune it is a lovely bit of kit.
10. Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs – Household Goods
Aye, well. I just love it. I dont know how you couldnt. Full of mad energy, great use of space vs someone hoovering your brain and a narrative with enough vagueness to make it fit in with any form of self induced melodrama. Love it.

- – - – - – - –

I wrote all that gubbins in September. Meant to flesh it out more and click publish, but I never did until today. I do have more plans for writing, but I have said such before and it has not come to pass. we shall see!

05
Aug
11

Clive Onion Flies Low Cost Airwaves

How. Again, my faltering writing skills have been lost in the jungle of obsequiousness, dominated by my desire to do other things, which include nothing, amongst others. Showing solidarity for many other sufferers of the current tyranny of Britain, it has come to pass that my album funding has dried up in the last couple of months and I am now surviving on basic rations, I am a musical beggar, but what joy it is bringing. I have been surviving on the drip feed from soundcloud and mixcloud, happy that the internet can provide for those who must have music.

Rather than the usual album review type nonsense, I have plucked my favourite listenings from the mighty Soundcloud and present them here for your delight, with a few of my oh so choice words scrawled digitally below. I hope that this enables you to tune in, do some ‘favouriting’ and helping to make Soundcloud what My_ could only dream of being.

First Up

ENGINEERS WHAT PUSHED US TOGETHER RICARDO TOBAR MIX

It has been a while since I heard anything from Ricardo Tobar so it was a pleasant day when I reacquainted myself with his emotive Chilean electronica. The swooshing, dizzy haze of this remix took to my brain instantly and I wait with eagerness swimming in my belly with what he hits out with next. For more info on Senor Tobar, see earlier posts and get your hands on some of his e.p’s.

A Winged Victory For The Sullen – Steep Hills Of Vicodin Tears

A magical combination. Dustin O’Halloran collaborating with Adam Bryanbaum Wiltzie from Stars of the Lid. My love of O’Halloran can be found here, but Stars of the Lid provided me with a couple of magical winter moments this year. I lay in deep snow, away from everything and let my mind wander into ..and Their Refinement of the Decline. It was probably the most meditative I have been in my life and it looks like A Winged Victory for the Sullen may provide similar.

Adding the compositional genius of O’Halloran to this style provides a work of pristine, fragile art. Defragmentation of the brain as provided by music.

– old unfinished untitled track – electrolyte

Again, with the theme developing that this is me revisiting past loves, comes this thrownaway unfinished track from Electrolyte. The passing of Duo Infernale was a massive loss to my drum n bass intake and hooking up with Electrolyte, one half of the duo, began to fill a gap. I think they might be back making music together though, so we shall see what time brings to the table.

This track is a subtle, low down affair, with a bass that slowly pours into you. The sway of the beat is massively evocative and for an unfinished track is a sublime affair indeed.

Efterklang – Raincoats (Trentemøller Remix)

The story for several, quite mental, films revolve around my mind when this tune is making itself known to my ears. Such a beautiful pulsating drive to the remix of a song which I already have had the pleasure of mainlining. Trentemøller’s album had not been complete enough for me to witter about on these pages, but there were moments of incredible mood altering music on there. Efterklang’s last two albums were two of my favourite albums of all time, so a pretty good combination for me. Check more words on Efterklang here.

– Nils Familiar teaser.

Nils Frahm. Wrote loads about him in the last couple of years and justly so. A phenomenal talent and with these two teasers from his forthcoming album, he has pushed himself into a microscopic dimension filled with motes of dust. These tracks are beautiful and particularly Familiar, which I am pretty much addicted to at the moment. I am trying not to listen and wait for the full album, but alas I cannot. The ambience he has added to the tracks filling them full of the minutiae of life that his work so handsomely reflects.

– Hiatus and Shura: River

Shura was brought to my attention by Hiatus a good few months ago and then shazam, suddenly they are a musical item. I gone done a video for the original version of this song, such is my love for it, but the mix adds light to what was a very earthy and subdued track. When the (insert potentially Iranian instrument) wanders in during the last third of the song, it lifts it to a place of pure joy. With an ep on the way and a tour to compliment it, watch the skies for this combination.

Enjoy these treasures mes amis and next I shall gift you with a wee mix, once I have figured out how such things work.

10
Jul
11

Shameless Self Promotion

River by Shura from Clive Onion on Vimeo.

Here is something what I made with my flip camera. I hope you like it.

06
Jul
11

Erased Tapes Collection III

When I saw that Erased Tapes had a new sampler out, I was a little non-plussed. Normally this would have brought an excited pang to my breast, however I have kind of OD’d on Erased Tapes for the last couple of years and a quick scan of the track list for this new collection made me think that I had most of the tracks or I had heard them enough. My life, however, is a constant bid to prove myself wrong and as I age I find that my first instinct is never to be trusted. As I sat down to write my masterpiece that will soon have publishing houses wage open war on the street, I thought, why not just stick Erased Tapes Collection III on.

erased tapes collection 3, olafur arnalds, nils frahm, anne muhler, rival consoles, peter broderick

It became apparent within minutes that this generous free download was not something that I should turn my back on. The fact that I had many of the tracks slowly faded away, for it was the structure of the collection that turned out to be as great a hook as the opulence of talent involved.

It kicks off with a voyage into the madness of World’s Ends Girlfriend’s Teen Age Ziggy. A frantic construction of choppy guitar, broken beats and unexpected turns. It sounds like what I imagined the future of music to be as I sat dreaming in the 80s. Everyone would listen to this in the future and I sincerely hope that everyone does. It plays like a heart operation performed by a cartoon character and gets into your head quicker than you think it will on first listen.

Then the structure of the album begins. We are dropped straight out of the synapse popping madness and into Unter by Nils Frahm. A short, delicate piece of weightless genius. It feels like a small gooseberry sorbet between courses, cleansing the aural pallet before the rest of the feast progresses.

Another side of Frahm’s skills come into play next with 7 fingers by Frahm and Anne Muller from their album by the same name. Not doing the ‘I got something right about music before most’ thing, simply explaining, but I got this album ages ago and it became a firm and secret favourite. I never wrote about it here, clutching it to me as something so special I didn’t want to share it with the interverse. The track is haunting, discordant electronica. Music for travelling on trains. It is not what you would expect from a track by a pianist and a cellist, being that there is not much of either during the track, but it is a lovely lovely track. The drop and build in the song is subtle, but electrifying.

And almost too perfectly to notice, I Left the Party by Rival Consoles comes in. This homage to Chilean House performs one of the greatest rolling hook to buildup sequences that I have experienced in a song. It is a wonderful bit of house, but it is utterly captivating, giving it the emotional tie that can make a song one to keep for life. The house generation get to be wafted with unwritten nostalgia while keeping a firm grip on where music is right now. I don’t want to keep on about Erased Tapes, I feel a bit embarrassed that they almost form a backbone to this blog, but I can’t wait to get my hands on the Rival Consoles album and I have no doubt that you shall be forced to read about it here after I have done so.

Then come Codes in the Clouds and Olafur Arnalds, two artists who have been mainstays on my mp3 for a long time. These songs are so familiar to me that I could draw them, but here on this collection they are given a different space, the aural art gallery has moved them into a spot where they shine with renewed beauty. The rest of the collection follows suit, with the Kate Bush with her Sex on, of British Expeditionary Force followed by the shoegaze blown full of cold air that is Iambics mix of Distant Street Lights. This makes way for Said and Done, probably the soundtrack to my last couple of years. You will never hear a solitary note used to such a full potential as you will on this track. Mastery of a craft apparent in just one note. It also beggars the question, how the fuck does he play the rest of the track if he is still playing that one key?

Peter Broderick plays us out, allowing us to enter one of his dreams and drift along with its hazy magic. This is a song made of mist and strengthened by its lack of substance and is a perfect way to close out another masterpiece of musical construction. I know I am not alone in thinking that Erased Tapes was made for me and I hope that when it comes time for me to enjoy nowt but pipe and slippers, that I am enjoying it to the sounds of Erased Tapes Collection CIII.

13
Jun
11

Explosions in the Sky – Take Care, Take Care, Take Care

In the time it has taken for me to write more on this blog, I have travelled to far flung places, sampled goods that never before had touched my lips and allowed my brain to open to a plethora of musical delights. I have a list of music as vast as the Milky Way to write about, yet the spare time of a fun size milky way, so most will languish, unwritten. I have bored myself to death of the Post Rock genre, tired of the format, made sullen by the lack of enterprise, the lack of definition and evolution. Then the new Codes in the Clouds album came and I thought that at least someone had progressed, but that it was perhaps the full stop in the genre as far as my ears were concerned. Alas no, have I ever been known to be right? Into my ear housings came Explosions in the Sky with Take Care, Take Care, Take Care.

explosions in the sky take care

Yeah, so Post Rock eh. The thing about Take Care, Take Care, Take Care is that there is only drifting flecks of shoegaze potential on this record. The emotional register that this trite and overused phrase was trying to convey, well it still has elements of this, but this is a stare at the sky album, a soak in the wonder of life type affair. Gone is the post rock formula, the whisper whisper talk talk shout shout, and in comes a beautifully light array of slow motion bursts of musical wonder, layered up exquisitely. The songs knit together like feathers on a bird’s wing and produce a flowing work that is by far best listened to in full album format.

Like I said in my Codes in the Clouds review, it is Post-Post-Rock, it is the awakening after years of battling with the haze to realise that the day is as beautiful as the night, that uplifting music can be done without sounding like Phil Collins or step1-step2 pop music. This is the real joy for me, as most music that I get lost in emotionally is generally on the melancholic side, thinking music, but Explosions in the Sky have produced the same emotional effects but on a totally positive note.

The opener, Last Known Surroundings, is the perfect start to an album of this calibre. For the commuting listener, which I firmly am (despite playing old Police records and dancing with my daughter earlier tonight) this could not be a better way to start your day. There is the ambient bumbling period where you are getting your shit together and you can close the door and raise your face to the sky, just as the crash explodes and the drums kick in. The structure of the album is cleverly done, the two guitars complimenting each other massively, neither taking standard lead and rhythm format, but circling each other, watching and waiting until they are needed to add an extra layer to the song. It is simple guitar work, but written in a complex way, something for the brain to get into as you delve deeper into the 30th listen.

It is an empty soundtrack, a blank canvas and while it has the moments of ethereal stare, where nothing can mean everything, it has drive and thrust. It makes adventures in the mind, inspires me and awakens my brain, removing it from the thoughts of daily dullness and allowing it to run free. Though this is about the 50th album by Explosions in the Sky, it is my first and regular readers will know that not only am I a lazy writer, with only vague concepts of how the English language works, but that I also do not do any research other than with my ears. When I listened to this at first and closed my eyes it evoked wide open spaces, vast and empty landscapes and it was only 2 minutes before starting to write this that I found out that Explosions in the Sky were from Texas. Now they may well dispute this fact and perhaps they don’t even leave the city, but it almost feels like this album is a product of its natural environment, like the real terroir sense you get from Sigur Ros albums about Iceland.

Go do this album, I beseech thee. It is definitely working for me with the long nights and smell of summer. Click on the pic above if you fancy a wee purchase. Cheers.

15
May
11

Dustin O’Halloran – Lumiere

Now that I have found a slight urgency in my blog posting I am going to carry on with another piece of classical magnificence. I have heard snippets of this gents music over the last year, on much better blog sites that this, such as Headphone Commute and Fluid Radio, so it was with great anticipation that I gazed into the looming future release that was Lumiere, by Dustin O’Halloran
dustin o'halloran lumiere

Everything that I had heard of Dustin O’Halloran previous to Lumiere, was solo piano business and once again I expected the same, nay I totally looked forward to the same for what I had heard before was so far up my street that it was standing in my kitchen making a cup of tea. Lumiere opens with A Great Divide, which instantly brings some comforting ambient noise, some tinkling and lost in space and time key pressing before deep, rich strings come in to form the pillow of this soft bed of music. So, not a solo piano number then! It took me about 30 seconds to get over this fact and fall face first in love with this record.

The fragile beauty of this album is staggering, if you listen to hard you will break it and it is not listening to it that is key, letting it be absorbed by your brain, letting it in is the order of the day. Again, the cinema of life is much in play here. During the tracks on the album, I have fallen in love, watched a clock whilst smoking cigarettes (in black and white,) watched a car disappear down a rain soaked street knowing I will never see those in it again and held the person I love close while I watch the sun come up. The spectrum of emotion and idea that this album evokes is incredible and saves money on books for commuting, instead letting your imagination create the story.

We Move Lightly is the greatest example of the simplicity that I keep talking about in this genre of music. There are so many people making great music that is ‘simple,’ though not easy, not by a long shot. I have access to a piano at my parents house and I also have the piano skills of a nine year old boy who found Starwars more interesting that music (something which I have lived to regret, due to both harbouring a great desire to play, but also for Bearded Tit ruining my childhood memories with his bastard child prequels) Both I, and my niece, who is supremely gifted, but not trained in any way, figured out the notes for We Move Lightly in a couple of minutes. This should give you the indication that this is not a difficult thing to do, however we knew the notes, but could we get it to sound anything like the recorded version? Not a chance. It took this tinkering to really understand just how much emphasis there is on the actual physical playing of the piano, not just the composition of notes and melody. The gentleness of touch, the use of pedal in a hundred different ways makes this track the incredible, moving piece one of my favourites. Even just by listening you can tell that the music is simple, but that there is subtlety layered upon fragility that makes for music of wonder.

The piano is the star of the album, understandably, but this does not underplay the use of the strings. They are very necessary to the warmth and cadence of the tracks, used sparingly, but very well and there is a certain way of thinking that strings provoke that a piano on its own cannot. They awaken certain parts of the brain that add to the emotional palette of the album. Quintette N. 1 is a brilliant example. Kicking off with lovely warm strings, stripped back to a throaty, rasping solo before they all come back together in one of the most delightful phrases on the album. All this precedes the piano, with its gentle, raindrop patterns before the strings come back to join it, gelling everything together, bringing a somewhat disjointed sounding piece together in back arching grace which gives you an understanding of the whole track. I am going to refrain from further literary bullshit, like musical poetry or whatever, but the undeniable fact of the matter is that this album does it for me on several levels. Even when you are tuning out a little, you are always brought back in by something new and fresh which makes for very happy repeat listening.

Do yourself one and click on the picture above to get a bit of Dustin O’Halloran into your ears.




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