Tin King – Ultraista

You know when a song comes onto your shuffle and you realise how much you need it?

Tin King is the work of electro-pop three-piece Ultraista (one of whom is Nigel Godrich, long-time Radiohead producer).

It has a feverish energy. No chorus/verse structure. Instead they go for continuous drumming, walls of sound and stream of consciousness lyrics depicting a disorientating high speed city life. It’s as bold as it is pretty.

Promises – Floating Points, Pharoah Sanders & The London Symphony Orchestra

If you are any kind of music fan, this has to be the sort of artist combination that will pique your interest. Floating Points is respected as one of the most talented and original electronic music producers out there. Add in Pharoah Sanders, an all-time legend from the world of jazz, with experience that stretches back to the sixties. Top it off with The London Symphony Orchestra. Et voila.

So, does Promises live up to the big-name billing? Yes, probably in ways you wouldn’t imagine. Think of the album as your companion on a spiritual journey, or a meditative splurge. Either way, let it surround you. Let the atmospheric synths, and the mastery and artistry of the players cast a spell.

It took five years to create and you can see why. It is the kind of album that does not come around very often.

Bonus track: this Tape Notes podcast episode is a deep dive into Floating Points aka Sam Shepherd’s production process for his last album Crush. I found his process pretty mind-blowing – I didn’t realise the extent to which an electronic music producer’s craft can be in the actual creation of instruments. He goes into detail on how he has built and tweaked his setup. A lot of it will go will probably go over your head (as it did mine), but the dedication is plain to see.

Love Or (I Heard You Like Heartbreak) – Prequel

Prequel’s debut album sits somewhere between Laurence Guy, Leon Vynehall and Romare. Not a bad place to sit.

As you would expect from a long-time Rhythm Section producer, the style is heavily influenced by jazz, and draws from a number of ‘world’ influences – he is described as having a ‘keen crate-digger’s ear’. Love Or (I Heard You Like Heartbreak) is a really engaging listen, and the execution is classy as hell. Enjoy.

The Difference (Feat. Toro y Moi) – Flume

Flume was right at the forefront of the golden days of Future Classic – the Aussie label burst onto the scene with a new sound that bridged dance, electronic and pop and had a lot of success with it. Since then, their popularity has only increased, but I haven’t heard anything for a while that has felt as original as the early days.

The Difference isn’t the track that is going to change my mind about that, but sometimes a generic, feel-good electronic song hits just right – and this is one of those. Good times are ahead people. ❤️

More Toro y Moi here.

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

RAW – KiNK

Okay, a little preface before I get to describing RAW. I’m a big fan of KiNK. He is super creative; capable of making original, inventive house music that is also super listenable. You can find some of my favourite tracks of his, here and here.

Anyway, this isn’t one of those tracks. This just has a short and simple vocal sample (“RAW”) and a piano chord progression that is about as straightforward as they come. Each drop is telegraphed. All things told, there’s nothing creative about this at all. B-side fodder.

BUT, catch you in the right mood, and it bangs.

Together – DJ Falcon & Thomas Bangalter

The opening sample begs the question;

A time has come to make a decision. Are we in this thing alone, or are we in it together?

And the rest of the track leaves the answer in no doubt.

This is the kind of track that stares straight into your eyes, grins and tells you it loves you. It grabs you by the shoulders and shakes you about until you giggle. It’ll dance down the street by your side. Yes, I needed this.

Bonus podcast: Together was Erol Alkan’s peak time pick, at his fictional last ever gig. That is the premise of Tiga’s podcast Tiga Presents: First/Last Party On Earth – he interviews big-name DJs about their craft, and what they would play during their last ever set. Think Desert Island Discs for DJs. Worth a listen.