Tuesday, April 27, 2010

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Friday, April 23, 2010

Peace, I'm outta here...

All good things must come to an end and the good people at Blogger's decision to stop supporting ftp websites means that I am bringing the curtain down on The White Noise Revisited. I could have moved it somewhere else and carried on but it seems like the right time to call it a day. I started this blog back in August 2006 and in that time I have had two lovely daughters and my job requires me to expend all of my (limited) creative juices on a daily basis. These two factors have resulted in the gradual decline of TWNR. It ain't what it used to be (back in the day it got props in The Guardian) and that was really rammed home to me when I went back and compiled the roll call of featured artists below. I've loved doing this though, and I still want to keep an outlet for my sporadic musical musings - so anyone who is still interested will be able to find me at -

Ecstasy in Slow Motion

I am hoping to sort it out so that The White Noise Revisited remains alive as an archive but, as of May 1st, there's a chance that it may cease to exist.

*blubs*

But hey, it will live on in our hearts and minds, right?

Bye bye.

x

Those we have loved...

The Boo Radleys/Hijack/Working for a Nuclear Free City/Northstation/Spitfire/The Ecstasy of Saint Theresa/East Flatbush Project/Hardfloor/Ice T & the Time/Penfold Plum/The Sonics/Field Music/Blur/Phuture Assassins/The Flaming Stars/Arab Strap/Aphex Twin/Caustic Window/Add N to X/Regular Fries/Two Lone Swordsmen/Clark/The Hitsville House Band/Four Tet/LB/Colder/Skream/Revolver/The Black Angels/New Order/bravecaptain/Soul Brothers Six/Squarepusher/Dean Parrish/Freelance Hellraiser/Underworld/Hellfire Sermons/Laura Groves/Milieu/T La Rock/James/Mogwai/R.E.M./Low/fIREHOSE/Kid Frost/Z-3 MC's/Public Enemy/Adam & the Ants/Sonovac/Scientist/Bronnt Industries Kapital/Jadell/Immense/Boards of Canada/The Scientist/Don Loves You/Ride/CJ Bolland/The Ruby Suns/Magazine/The Third Eye Foundation/Kool G Rap & DJ Polo/Reigns/Talk Talk/"Little" Johny Taylor/David Holmes/Spiritualized/Lupine Howl/Ram Trilogy/Kraftwerk/Chet Baker/Eminem/The Telescopes/Lisa Lisa & Cult Jam/Just-Ice/Reload/Maps/Outputmessage/Matmos/2 Bad Mice/Happy Mondays/Mark Gardener/The Ronettes/Bournemouth Symphony Chorus/Half Man Half Biscuit/Wisp/The Longcut/AFX/Matinee Orchestra/King Biscuit Time/Beirut/Psapp/Emmy the Great/Sunset Rubdown/L.Pierre/Flowered Up/Papoose/The Fall/The Black Serpent Choir/Tuff Crew/Quickspace/The Beatnuts/The Nightjars/Freestyle/Campag Velocet/Radicalfashion/DJ Mink/The Aliens/The Beta Band/Jake Slazenger/KAOS/Fairport Convention/The Tambourines/Slowdive/Amusement Parks on Fire/Windmill/Primal Scream/Coldcut/D.O.P./React 2 Rhythm/Dr Atomic/The Electric Prunes/U.N.K.L.E/Autokat/The Bluetones/Super Furry Animals/My Bloody Valentine/Caribou/Casino vs Japan/The Art of Noise/Feedle/The Knights of the Turntables/The Irresistible Force/Autechre/Chapterhouse/Bubbah's Tum/Hey-O-Hansen/Spiral Tribe/PFM/The Chameleon/Demon Boyz/Speedy J/New Fast Automatic Daffodils/Cable/Bronze Age Fox/Wooden Spoon/Azalea City Penis Club/Steady B/The Tuss/The Loungs/The Sabres of Paradise/Penthouse/ABBA/Aleksi Perälä/S.K.A.W./Twin Hype/Roxanne Shante/J.V.C. Force/Jungle Brothers/EPMD/Morton Valance/Imperial Brothers/The Flaming Lips/David Devant & His Spirit Wife/Higher Intelligence Agency/Herrmann & Kleine/Gravenhurst/Blitzen Trapper/Max Tundra/Public Image Limited/Chris 'The Glove' Taylor, Dave Storrs & Ice-T/Wayne Smith/Sister Nancy/The Cimarons/Breantford All-Stars/Horace Andy/Mosca/Joy Division/Salt Tank/Blue States/Aleem/Ultramagnetic MCs/Aaliyah/Ivor Cutler Trio/Depeche Mode/M.I.A./Principal Participant/808 State/Spacemen 3/Black Dog Productions/Manitoba/Afrika Bambaataa & The Soul Sonic Force/Schoolly D/Eric B & Rakim/MC Shan/Boogie Down Productions/Big Daddy Kane/Toddy Tee/Eazy-E/Kissy Sell Out vs The Human League/Glasvegas/Ringo Deathstarr/Human Resource/National Lampoon/My Jealous God/Friendly Fires/Nic Nell/Spirea X/F.U.S.E./Luke Slater/Hardfloor/Hashim/The Earlies/Montag/Neil Burrell/Gramme/The Boy Lucas/Life Without Buildings/Duran Duran/Ghetto Brothers/Electralane/Amiina/Marnie Stern/Avey Tare & Kria Brekkan/Battles/Dizzee Rascal/Black Affair/Burial/Sennen/Soulsavers/Lady Sovereign/7 Hurtz/Reubens/The Good, the Bad & the Queen/Miranda Lee Richards/Panda Bear/Motorbass/Holland Buffalo/Zephyr Nova/Beak/School of Language/Polygon Window/3rd Bass/Fuck Buttons/The Heliocentrics/Holy Fuck/The Charlatans/Cine City/69/Six By Seven/Fizzarum/Boom Bip/Jega/The Marcia Blaine School for Girls/Factory Floor/Atlas Sound/Deerhunter/Autolux/Pan Sonic/Flying Saucer Attack/Sand/Stetsasonic/Shut Up & Dance feat. Ragga Twins/Fatboy Slim/Pedro/Adventure/Warp 9/The Russell Brothers/C-Jam & Kid Frost/Whodini/Captain Rock/Man Parrish/The L.A. Dream Team/The Latin Rascals/Newcleus/Daniel Land & the Modern Painters/Chris Moss Acid/Gang Gang Dance/Portishead/Televise/Lesser Gonzales Alvarez/The Travelling Band/M83/Mandy Smith/Koushik/Banjo Or Freakout/Ergo Phizmiz & His Orchestra/Kaotic Chemistry/Blame/Eugenius/The Vaselines/Dan Deacon/Papercuts/The Early Years/Mike & Rich/Squarepusher & AFX/Laurent Garnier/LFO/Nathan Fake/Black Moth Super Rainbow/Johnny Boy/Big Two Hundred/Eddy Current Suppression Ring/Tusken Raiders/Andrea/The Micronawtz/Xena/Debbie Deb/World Class Wreckin' Cru/Jamie Jupitor/Egyptian Lover/19th Fleet/Cli-N-Tel/MC Craig G/The Classical II/True Mathematics/Three Times Dope/Marley Marl Allstars/Echoboy/Scott 4/Walter Pico/Scaffolding/The Ruling Class/Gang Starr/2 Live Crew/Alex Reece/Starkey/William Orbit...

Thanks to Spoilt Victorian Child (imitation is the sincerest form of flattery and I have shamelessly pilfered everything from you), GS (techy shizzle & wordz of wizdom), Feedle (musique incredible), Dave B (ace scribbler), Domino Jones (contributor/genius) and everyone who took the time to leave a comment or send me some music. x

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Just Dropping It Onto My Tongue



William Orbit - Water From a Vine Leaf (Spooky's Xylem Flow Mix)

When the Balearic Classics Panel* meet later on this month to decide the next batch of records to be inducted into its hall of fame, I have a suggestion for them. The Xylem Flow Mix of the Madonna and Blur producer William Orbit's Water from a Vine Leaf by progressive house legends Spooky. I'm not sure what the exact criteria is for a Balearic classic - it's an eclectic, freeform genre that takes in a diverse range of artists and music including The Blow Monkeys, Talk Talk, Nitzer Ebb, The Woodentops, The Beloved, The Grid and erm, Mandy Smith and the theme tune from Hill Street Blues - but I'd imagine any song that can provide the soundtrack to chilling as the sun sets at Café del Mar and larging it on the terrace at Space fits the bill. Spooky absolutely nail that brief with this one, transforming Orbit's slight piece of whimsical chill-out (from the third instalment of his Strange Cargo series) with vocals from Beth Orton, into a euphoric dancefloor destroyer - still retaining the delicate melodies of the original. When the exquisite acid droplets rain down at about the 4-minute mark the only people without their hands in the air are those wearing straitjackets. Prog-house heads in the audience might recognise the tune from its inclusion on the seminal 1996 Sasha and Digweed mix album Northern Exposure.

* This only exists in my imagination - Alfredo chairs the meeting, and DJ Harvey and Danny Rampling are on the panel.

Search eBay for Water From a Vine Leaf
William Orbit website
Spooky website - still going strong!
DJ Alfredo's 25 All-Time Balearic Classics here
Search eBay for Balearic classics

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Intergalactic Bass Transmissions



2 Live Crew - Ghetto Bass

There's a book out there waiting to be written (hopefully by Simon Reynolds), entitled The Evolution of the Bass in Dance Music. I'm not nearly knowledgeable enough to know where to begin (or end or what to write in the middle), but my first experience of bass as something that wasn't a four-stringed instrument wielded by Mark King was through the 2 Live Crew back in the mid-Eighties. Before they went all cartoon porno they used to be part of the Miami bass scene releasing records like Ghetto Bass (posted above), which had (for the time) sub-bass that the speakers on my crappy ghettoblaster definitely weren't equipped to deal with.



If I had the time or the inclination I'd trace my bassline journey from here in infinite detail, but instead we'll pick up the trail in 1991 as the rave scene exploded and producers made their basslines more and more ridiculous in order to mess with raver's addled minds. I'm talking about Beltram's Energy Flash, the Hypnotist's Death by Dub (above), Radio Babylon by Meat Beat Manifesto, LFO by LFO, ... I could go on and on and on and on.



Alex Reece - Pulp Fiction

Brief detour down memory lane.... I went to a rave somewhere in Dorset in 1995, and the main action was taking place in a large cattle shed where the DJ was spinning banging techno - normally my bag, but I got a bit bored and wandered off. I stumbled (literally) upon a small shed, which seemed to be crammed full of pretty smiling girls all swaying hypnotically in time to a sparse, minimal track with the sickest, window-rattling bassline I'd ever heard (turned out to be Pulp Fiction by Alex Reece). It got a couple of rewinds and I needed scraping off the ceiling before I went home that night. Couldn't hear properly for a week. And if you're talking about sexy dnb basslines (I was), then I can't not mention PFM's One and Only - but I already waxed on that one at length here. And if you're talking about sick dnb b-lines (we are) try these three belters -



DJ Trace - Mutant Revisited



Bad Company - The Nine.



Ed Rush & Optical - Pacman (Ram Trilogy Remix)



Starkey - Fidelio

But wait! There is a point to this disjointed bass-related musing and here it is - Starkey's got a new album out (Ear Drums and Black Holes, Planet Mu, April 19, 2010) and he's absolutely fckng NAILED it. He calls the music he makes "Street Bass" but "Space Bass" might be more appropriate as he is taking low-end rumblings into another galaxy. I'm sure it's no coincidence that Starkey shares his chosen moniker with "a global supplier of technologically advanced hearing products that assist with hearing loss". Too many nights with your head in the bins listening to this and you'll need them.

Unlike a lot of the dark, minimal dubstep out there, the Philadelphia-based wunderkid is blending his gnarly space bass emissions with gorgeous, warm synths - check Fidelio. It starts off sounding like the incidental music from 2001: A Space Odyssey , before Starkey drops the bass along with a terse, military beat. Then, mid-flow, it breaks off into a melodic interlude that Boards of Canada would be proud of. Elsewhere on Ear Drums... are collaborations with grime artist P-Money and the Texan MC Cerebral Vortex that aren't a million miles away from the prototype booty bass of the 2 Live Crew. And we've come full circle...

Pre-order Ear Drums and Black Holes from Boomkat
Starkey website
Starkey at Planet Mu
Starkey MySpace

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Fakesch's Electronic Swap Shop



Scaffolding - D-Tron (Fakesch Remix)

One of my favourite things in the whole wide world is pint-sized-yet-perfectly-formed itchy lil' acid-electro bangers, so this Michael Fakesch remix of Scaffolding is so far up my street that it's disappeared round the corner. You might remember Fakesch from his tour of duty with the brilliant electronikglitchheadz Funkstörung - they did amazing things to Björk and Wu Tang Clan and were just a nail's width away from being better than Autechre, but sadly divorced in 2006 due to "musical, personal and practical differences".

Anyway, I'm getting sidetracked - Fakesch is still doing ace things to other people's songs (he also did the music for the Aygo by Toyota ads that fans of T4 will be familiar with) but under his own name these days and Exchange, a collection of Fakesch reworkings of tracks by artists including Von Sudenfed, Mr Oizo, Bomb the Bass, Herbert and the Notwist to name but five, is due out on April 5, 2010 on Musik Aus Strom. Most of the remixes have never been released before. As mentioned above, the highlight is Fakesch's remix of Scaffolding's D-Tron, which sounds to these ears like a techno cocktail mixed by Hardfloor, consisting of two parts Mr Oizo's Flat Beat to one part Windowlicker by Aphex Twin, and a swizzlestick made of laser beams. I'd never heard of Scaffolding before, but they're from Denver and do a nice line in minimal techy electronica.

Buy Michael Fakesch from Boomkat
Michael Fakesch website
Michael Fakesch discography
Michael Fakesch MySpace
Buy Narratives by Scaffolding from Plastic Sound Supply
Funkstörung website

Friday, March 05, 2010

They Wanna Be Adored



The Ruling Class - Sleeping Beauty

There is a part of me that will forever be stuck in 1990, stood in the back room of 1 Arbutus Close wigging out to the latest baggy/shoegaze twelve that I'd procured from Big Brian (without whom etc etc). A halcyon era (if viewed through the ol' rose-tinted bifocals) when the only things I really cared about was music, music, music and getting strawberry-eye butted. Oh, and mooning over seemingly unobtainable girls. There was lots of mooning. And a bit of acid. That was then and this is now...

But here come The Ruling Class, sounding more "then" than anything did at the time. The perfect combination of Madchester and shoegaze - Some Friendly-era Charlatans (minus the swirling Hammond), the Roses and just a smidgen of Slowdive's sonic cathedral guitars. They've got the hair (bowl cut, fringe in the eyes) and that sense of wide-eyed, psychedelic wonder that permeated all the best music of that era. Back in 1990 I would have creamed in my pants but the first time I heard Sleeping Beauty I thought it was a low-rent pastiche. A piss-take. You might as well go and watch a Stone Roses tribute band or just buy the albums by the bands The Ruling Class are so obviously in thrall of, I thought. Every bone in my body was telling me it was derivative nonsense but I still couldn't stop playing it. And the more you listen, the more you realise the reverence the band have for the era. They have expertly recreated the sound to such a level where you wonder if (with the right producer and label on board) they could go on to supercede their influences. Or at the very least, make a half-decent album. The Ruling Class, take a bow. If I had a time machine, you'd be my new favourite band.

Buy Sleeping Beauty/Marian Shine 7" on eBay
The Ruling Class website
The Ruling Class at MySpace

Monday, March 01, 2010

Stop, think for a moment ok?



Gang Starr - Manifest

Spare a though for Keithy-E aka the Guru who, as I type these words, is in a coma following a heart attack. There were rumours circulating last night that he had passed away but these have been dismissed by DJ Premier, his former partner in beats'n' rhymes in Gang Starr. Guru would definitely make my Top 10 Hip-Hop MCs of All-Time list - with his laidback flows and lyrical dexterity he's up there with Kool Keith, Rakim, Kool G Rap and KRS-One. My most played cassette of 1989 was a C90 that had De La Soul's 3 Feet High and Rising on one side, with No More Mr Nice Guy, Gang Starr's awesome debut album, on the other. Here's hoping he makes a full recovery...

***UPDATE***

From the man himself: "I am doing fine and I am recovering! I'm weak though. I appreciate your well wishes and all the love!"

Buy Full Clip: A Decade of Gang Starr from Amazon
Gang Starr discography
Gang Starr at MySpace

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

No rabbit in a hat tricks...



Walter Pico - My Alter Ego (Remix)
Walter Pico -Bad Guys
Walter Pico - Don't Ask
Walter Pico - Flash in the Pan

If I had an ounce of musical talent in my bones I think I would have ended up making music like Walter Pico. We've been leading parallel lives. As a kid, he saved up the money from two paper rounds to feed his desire to acquire hip-hop classics on wax. Me too! Then he became obsessed with gangsta rap - "If an album didn't feature a Parental Advisory sticker it wasn't worth the time of play," he says in his biography. Yep, I went through that phase too - the ultimate teen wigga, wandering the mean streets of Dorchy in my bomber jacket with the rest of the DTP (Dorchester Town Posse), NWA lyrics running through our brains every time a cop car cruised by. Me and Walter even became disillusioned with hip-hop at the same time, when it "started to resemble one of those scandalous, but colourful, glossy gossip magazines. Peeps recording in the booth were talking about whose necklace is the biggest and sparkles the most, who gets to date the 'model chicks' and who has the most cars parked up in front of mum's house." Couldn't have put it better myself. Plus we both rock a fat beatbox... So, yeah, we got a lot in common, me and Mr Pico. But the BIG BIG BIG difference is that he channeled his disillusionment into producing beats and rhymes of his very own. I got into techno and lost it in the bass bins...

With these impeccable credentials and bonafide old school influences, it's not surprising that Walter Pico makes brilliant music. He's a bit like Money Mark, playing wicked little keyboard riffs with awesome beats, snatches of vocal samples and the odd dose of old school "wiggy wiggy scratching". You can tell he's into Jurassic 5, and it's not just the fact that he's sporting one of their tees in the photo above. His music is a throw back to the good ol' days of hip-hop: "Original beats and real live MCs"... And he's a funny guy - occasionally I've found myself giggling away on public transport at some of his two-liners. Imagine Kid Acne if he came from the Home Counties. There's also a bit of the Flight of the Conchords in there. Sometimes you know he's taking the piss - it can almost verge on a pastiche of old school hip-hop - but he's doing it with intelligence and the quality never drops.

They obviously work better in context (ie wit da music), but here's a few examples of his lyrical flows. Little bit of politics + nifty wordplay = the win...

I dreamed of me, possibly, as an MC, but then thought just how nice it might be,
With life being high-speed and expensive, to change the ‘C’ to a ‘P’ and claim expenses.


Emcees with beef I eat like Black Eyed Peas, I used to slurp a lot until I caught Brain Freeze, now I wear a Parker with a pocket on the sleeve, with luminescent markers in the dark to write ideas.



Available to purchase now is My Alter Ego - an 11-track concept EP that introduces Walter Pico to the record buying public. It's the precursor to his first full-length LP, which should be out later on this year. And Mr Pico very kindly hooked me up with some exclusives that don't feature on the EP. There are four tracks up there for your downloading pleasure that actually make up a quality EP in their own right. When the outtakes are this good, you know you need to hook yourself up with some of the real shit. Link to buy below.

The talented Mr P even makes his own videos. Check this one for early single, Let's Get It Together - a crude but charming take on Aardman's stop-motion plasticine shizzle -



Buy My Alter Ego by Walter Pico from Norman Records
Walter Pico MySpace
Walter Pico at Crazy Worm Records- loads of good content here - tunes, videos and the like...

Friday, January 29, 2010

You're a Piece of Shit...



Scott 4 - Aspirins

Recorded in State LP, the debut album from Scott 4, is another one to file under "lost classics"... Along with the Beta Band, Scott Blixen's merry trio of electronic cowpunks soundtracked the end of Nineties for me. They were slightly different to the Betas - a bit more country, a bit more krauty - but they had a similar schtick, blending lo-fi country rock with hip-hop beats. If I was being lazy, I'd say they sound a bit like Beck. But Beck if he was into Neu!

Aspirins is probably a weird choice for posting. I should have gone for something a bit more upbeat but this lovely, anguished slice of the blues is as bittersweet as chewing a handful of the titular analgesic and Maltesers at the same time. And I like pictures of pills. It has played in the background during many an angst-ridden moment in my life. What a beauty.

They ended up signing to V2 for half a million squids, recorded one more album and then disappeared. The flip side of their first single for V2 was 23 minutes and 15 seconds long so they were never really cut out for mainstream success. Still much missed in this neck of the woods.

Note to new bands: naming yourself after a seminal album by Scott Walker doesn't help much with the web searches.

Buy Scott 4 Recorded in State LP from Soul Jazz
Scott 4 discography
Search eBay for Scott 4

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The Freddy Adu of Music



Echoboy - Broken Hearts

I read a brilliant feature on goal.com about the Top 10 Lost Talents of the Decade in the world of football and it got me thinking about who were the great lost musical talents of the decade? Who was the Freddy Adu of music in the Noughties? I kept coming back to one person - Rich Warren. Now that's not to say that he didn't make some absolutely incredible music throughout the decade, but in terms of the size of his talent and potential, you'd have to say that his story is one of no hits and near misses.

Rich Warren was a prodigy; a fantastically talented songwriter and guitarist who had been in various bands since he was a teenager. He signed his first deal with Heavenly as one-third of the Hybirds in 1996, when Britpop was at its peak. Like most bands at that time there was a huge buzz of anticipation surrounding the Hybirds - retro-rockers carved in the image of the Jam and the Who, with Rich's inspired riffing elevating it above the dross - but they only released one album in 1997, and split at the end of the decade.

Following this false start, Rich holed up with an 8-track and a Casio and set about creating new worlds from above his mum's hair salon in Nottingham under the Echoboy moniker. He signed to Mute at the start of the Noughties and his debut album (Volume 1) was critically acclaimed and adored by me. I've posted Broken Hearts above - the point at which a supergroup featuring members of Neu!, Kraftwerk and Spiritualized come together to make some of the most affecting instrumental music you are ever likely to hear. The whole album is a belter. He made two more albums for Mute, including the brilliant Giraffe, which was produced by Flood. His last outing as Echoboy was Elektrik Soul Psymphonie in 2006.

In 2003, Noel Gallagher asked Rich to join Oasis. He declined, leading to The Sun headline: "He's not mad for it - he's just mad!" (Andy Bell eventually got the nod but it's a decision Rich doesn't regret). He played bass for Spiritualized for a while and also played guitar for Starsailor and Soulsavers, co-writing two songs on the latter's acclaimed 2009 album Broken. All extremely noteworthy achievements for any jobbing guitarist but a man of Rich's talents should be centre stage - the midfield playmaker, not in the holding role. Zidane, not Makelele. But unlike footballers, the careers of musicians don't necessarily fade with age so there's still hope that Rich's talent will be truly realised - and appreciated. In 2010, he's releasing an album under his own name for the first time - step forward mate, the spotlight awaits...

Buy Echoboy from Norman Records - Volume 1 is availble for the ludicrously cheap price of £4.99!
Echoboy website
Echoboy MySpace

[PS Haloscan have started charging for their comments service and I can't import the old comments into Blogger (or work out how to switch it back to Blogger's basic comment service. So until I work this out (any help much appreciated), all feedback or requests can be directed to me at joeclay23 [at] hotmail.com. Ta!]