Snakeskin ∞ Has-Been – Leon Vynehall

It is fair to say that Leon is becoming increasingly experimental. To give you a feel for it, here is the copy accompanying his latest release Snakeskin ∞ Has-Been:

over and over in a snake’s life it will molt and shed it’s old, outgrown skin. it does not grow with the size of the snake itself, and soon hinders its advancement, leaving the skin behind like a memory. an artefact of where it once was. I believe good artists do this too. it’s what I try to do with every record. SNAKESKIN ∞ HAS-BEEN is my recognition of that.

I SHOULD. I COULD. I WOULD.

  🐍

The music itself does pick up where Nothing is Still left off, with introspective, moody soundscapes. They swing and build and fizzle in a pattern that is mesmerising, if not exactly approachable. His style fills you with a huge sense of anticipation, while never quite unscrambling into something that’s easy to ingest. If you like your music challenging, then you’ll find Snakeskin ∞ Has-Been pretty rewarding – if you prefer your Leon more banger-centric scale (and there’s no shame in that) head back into his dicography.

I almost forgot, he is playing at Heaven on 24th November. You can get presale tickets here

Cercle

I’m sorry, I’m not writing a Daft Punk post.*

Now that I’ve got that off my chest I want to draw your attention to Youtube channel Cercle. They take DJs to beautiful locations, and let them do their thing. The result is a magical combination of sound and visuals. Until we can get back to the real thing, this will have to do.

*I like Daft Punk, I really do, but I just don’t know if I have anything interesting to add to the avalanche of media that has been created about them this week. Here’s some reading if you want it.

WITH – Sylvan Esso

Over much of Europe lockdown may be easing (for now) but there is one thing that we are all still missing: live music.

This is a beautiful recording filmed in Sylvan Esso’s homestate of North Carolina in November of last year, with behind the scenes content that ramps up the intimacy. Live music at its tip-top, spine-tingling, goosebump-raising best. I honestly can’t recommend this enough.

Their third full album, Free Love, drops on the 25th. Two singles, Rooftop Dancing and Ferris Wheel are already out – check them out now.

Mall Grab – Boiler Room

Right, so obviously one half of what makes Boiler Room videos great is the randos losing their nut next to the DJ. I get that. But obviously that setup ain’t the most socially responsible right now. So we have to make do with the other half – stonking sets delivered to your screen.

Boiler Room have lined up some of their favourite producers for quarantine sets. My favourite so far is from Mall Grab. Worth it just for that track 8 minutes in. If anyone can ID it I’ll be eternally grateful.

More Mall Grab picks here.

Melt Away – Jadu Heart

*NEW SOUNDS FOR YOUR BORED QUARANTINED EARS*

Jadu Heart’s first full length album is excellent. The masked duo are growing with every release – tightening their grip on their screwed-up electro-pop style, and casting a spell over the listener. The interplay between their voices (his rough and raw, hers sweet and tender) is perfectly measured; and the switches between moody and playful are perfectly executed. Even the album’s more straightforward rougher edges serve to increase its charm.

You can probably tell I like it. And it I like it more each time I put it on. Oh and boy you should see them live.

Most of the tracks have already been released so it might feel quite familiar. My star picks are Wanderlife and Harry Brompton’s Ice Tea, but in truth I could list half of the tracks on there.

More of my thoughts on Jadu Heart here.

Come Together – Primal Scream

Last week the music world mourned the loss of Andrew Weatherall. The tributes have come raining in – he was clearly an amazing man, as well as being a uniquely talented artist and producer. For a full piece on him read his The Times obit here, or JD Twitch’s ode on RA here.

I was due to see him alongside his long-time friend and collaborator Sean Johnston (as A Love From Outer Space) last week, and the night went ahead as a tribute to the big man. The club (and the floor) was full from 10pm until close at 4am, and the atmosphere was special – the crowd felt filled with his friends and family.

Andrew produced Primal Scream’s Screamadelica, and Sean closed the night with a blissed out, full volume cut of Come Together. Goosebump-raising stuff. Enjoy the original here.

More from me on ALFOS here and here. Finally, if you are a Weatherall super-fan, you can browse and download around 900 hours of his mixes here, on a fan-built Google Drive. Big props.

Transition 2 – Joy Orbison & Ben Vince

A couple of weeks ago I made my first trip to FOLD. It is another club in the city that has been called “London’s answer to Berghain” again and again – basically because it has a 24 hour license and a very stripped down, back to the basics ethos. Aesthetically I would describe it as extremely unassuming, which is kind of cool – in a concrete multi-story car park kind of way. The music is front and centre, so make sure you pick a night with a lineup you like. Since I went, it has been shut down; the council revoked its license due to allegations that “fraudulent funds” were involved in the purchase of “approximately £200,000 worth of high-value DJ equipment”. And then they reinstated the license, pending the trial of two people involved. What fun!

Anyway, I chose to go when Leon Vynehall had an all night set on. As usual, he was pretty great. This was my highlight from the set: it is house meets The Great American Railroad. Atmospheric beyond belief.

Bonus track: Leon himself released a new one last week as well. Here it is:

Life Signs Vol.1 – Dusky

First up, I can’t describe this new 3-track release by Dusky without loving on the name of the first track; Boris Borisson’s Trip To Morissons. I mean, what are they thinking? And why? I love it.

Anyway, to the music – it is another consistent (read, massive) release from the lads from London. It delivers just what you’d expect – some ethereal cords, some tasty nostalgic vocal samples, and some even more tasty breaks. Sharp.

A line paraphrased from the review on RA: Dusky deliver the “general feeling of roofs being raised”. And if you want to do just that, you’re in luck – join in for their 5th in a series of 8 hour sets at Mick’s Garage this Saturday. I can’t recommend them highly enough.

More Dusky loving by me here.

Strange Pleasures – Still Corners

Everyone has a dream-pop mood right?

Still Corners are a British/American duo that make the kind of indie that transports you through time and space – embracing you, picking you up and taking you on a journey. Here is my favourite album (their second) from 2013.

They have a lovely back-story too – the duo (Greg Hughes and Tessa Murray) met by accident on a random train platform in London. If its possible, I think you can kind of hear it in their music…

Like what you hear? They are on tour right now.

Photo credit: Bernard Bur