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.
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.
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.
Every time Laurence releases another track, the state of my soul improves just a little bit. Mutual Excitement is a Wonderful Thing is the next up on his string of hopefully-titled, glowing, low-fi releases on Shall Not Fade. Happy to report that it is every bit as good as the last. Enjoy.
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. ❤️
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
On paper, GoGo Penguin and Machinedrum feels like a good combination. And it doesn’t disappoint. GoGo Penguin’s melancholy, emotional jazz is energised and twisted by Machinedrum in a way that respects the soul of the original version. Enjoy.
Bonus track: the original is pretty beautiful and a much more relaxed listen. Listen to more similar stuff on Gondwana here.
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.
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.