Thursday, May 28, 2009

Mick Chillage - "Pure Blue" [Dave Anderson remix]

After a bit of quiet on the music front for a couple months, I've a new remix out today...

Mick Chillage - "Pure Blue" [Dave Anderson remix] (Nice & Nasty)

This is a remix I completed a couple months ago. The original track by Dublin man about town Mick Chillage is a gorgeous piece of chilled out bluesy electronics, whereas my remix is a 10 minute walking pace thudding deep house reworking with jazzy overtones. Or something like that. As I added a big breezy jazzy melody, I had actually labelled it my "Pure Blues" remix (Pure Blue, Pure Blues, you see what I did there?) - but the title got lost somewhere in the process of releasing.

The label (Nice & Nasty) says this about the release:

2009 has witnessed the rise of Mick Chillage. After two decades of purveying the finest ambient techno and abstract dance across the airwaves of Ireland and in various clubs, his star as a producer has finally risen due to the Departure EP and its' subsequent remixes.

The third remix pack from the Departure EP is Pure Blue and features the talents of Finland's Lackluster, Anglo-Irish star Dave Anderson (Ferox records); and Andrew Duke of Canada.

Lackluster goes deep into abstraction with scattered sounds and anti-rhythmic beats full of fx and weirdness whilst Dave Anderson delivers the finest Detroit style techno and one of the most club friendly Chillage trax to date.

I'm really pleased with how it turned out anyway - you can download it, now, from here:

(for contrast - the original of Mick's "Pure Blue" is here)

Enjoy :)

Friday, May 22, 2009

Stars and stuff

This is pretty amazing - the milky way rising above the horizon at night, shot in time lapse with a Canon EOS-5D...

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Max Mobley - "Riot Gear!" (Crawdaddy)

Here's a column that's worth a look - my ex-colleague Max Mobley is writing for the online reincarnation of legendary US rock magazine, Crawdaddy.

The column is called Riot Gear!, and offers humerous occasional musings on music, technology, humanity, and the places they meet in the middle.

There's some pretty good stuff on there - for instance, Max's recent review of a Beatles based show, or his hilarious (and all too familiar) take on how recording sessions become consumed by technical difficulties.

It's great stuff, and definitely worth a look if you like a bit of music and a bit of techy stuff.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

BBC 2 - South Pacific

Here's a great bit of new footage of a surfer riding in a pretty big barrel in the South Pacific.

Great thing about it is, it was shot with a super high-speed camera, and in HD. The surfing is alright, but for some reason I find it even more addictive watching the death-sentence lip of the wave coming cracking down the reef like a guillotine, blowing huge whitewater explosions into the air (must be quite a shallow reef I guess), and forcing foam back in to the barrel.


Saturday, May 16, 2009

Tariq Ali - "The Clash of Fundamentalisms"

I've read "The Clash of Fundamentalisms" by Tariq Ali over and over, and it really is (so far) the best single book I've found for anyone who wants the non-rocket-science overview of what is really going on in the Middle East.

It covers the origins of Islam and its spread, Jerusalem and the crusades, the Ottoman empire, the schism between Sunni and Shia Islam and the place of women within the religion, Saudi Arabia and Wahhabism, the formation of Israel, Zionism, Palestine, Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Indonesia, Bali, and 9/11.

I cannot recommend this highly enough - it sounds like a lot of heavy subjects, but it's split into neat chapters on each one, well written, easy to read, and a good balance of little historic titbits, quotes and stories.

It's utterly illuminating, and a very honest and straightforward picture of the situation in all of these countries. Fascinating stuff.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Powers of Three

More surf stuff - a new film out with the latest Carve magazine. Looks incredible from the trailers - I can't wait to see it.

Also finally a film of heavy surf (and heavy Irish surf) which is soundtracked by the kind of epic widescreen stadium sound that I think these monsterous scenes deserve, rather than the heavy rock that seems to be the backing in every other surf film.

(I have no idea how to get this little behind-the-scenes film to go to the correct width, so if you want the full size version, get it on the film site here.)

Update - the clip that I had embedded here seems to have cropped out the transport controls, and just plays uncontrollably on the blog even if you're not looking at this post - so I've deleted it. Click on the little italic link above if you fancy it...!


Friday, May 08, 2009

Alison Limerick - "Time of our Lives"

Time for another oldie - well - I'm not sure how old it is, but it must be early to mid 90s at least, which in dance music, is forever. Could I get any more commas in a sentence? Stay tuned.

Where was I? Oh yes, an oldie, and one with vocals at that. I typically shy away from vocals in dance music (but sometimes towards them in other types of music). It's something to do with imagination versus explicit statement - sometimes I prefer the ambiguity that allows my imagination to figure things out. Also, so many dance music vocal tracks sound twee or weak or something.

Well here's a track that is very vocal. It's by Alison Limerick, and the original (a horrible weak poppy thing) is here. I think the original is a David Morales effort - the drums have that early 90s New York sound about them - in fact, there's a much more dancefloor version by Morales here, which has a bit of the wild pitch NY feel going on, and is a lot better than the original for it.

But - the killer remix is the "Lifetime Vocal Mix", which according to Discogs is (and I just found this out myself) by The Beloved. Thinking about it now, that's not too difficult to believe, as it's got emotional qualities that aren't so far removed from what The Beloved were up to back in the day (who remembers Sweet Harmony? Damn that was a great track)

Anyway - The Beloved took "Time of our Lives" by Limerick, and completely reconfigured it. Centered on a loping drumbeat, it's hugely understated with the deep thud of the kick, off beat hats, a ricochet double-snare and a couple bongos. The bass is just a rumbling wobble under the kick, but it's interesting in that it seems to be constantly playing the 5th - which as vocals and chords come in means the entire track hangs over a harmonic suspension.

Then there's the vocals. The vocals were always great, but they were neutered by the original pop mix. But here, they float free and easy over the rumbling bassline all the way through the first verse - walking pace soul that would shoot light and smiles straight through a club. And then at the first chorus, it changes from ordinary to extraordinary. From somewhere up above, the simplest 2-note chords fall down on the track, and in a short second it's transformed from a decent vocal track, into the rarest communal moment of catharsis. It's the sort of thing that if you were dancing, it might actually make you stop and stand still.

I heard this on the radio years ago, was blown away then, and it was a good while before I found it on vinyl. I've never got the opportunity to play it out (it's a long way from the sets I normally do, and the clubs I normally play), but I've always refused to throw it out or move it on, despite numerous clearouts of vinyl for space reasons.

Somewhere in the future, there is a dancefloor that will have been built up at the right pace, and held at the right pitch all night, and come 4am, it will be time to unleash this emotional bomb.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Richie Hawtin, Traktor and Twitter

An interesting development in the world of music technology seems (to me) to have happened.

Infamous DJ/producer Richie Hawtin has done something quite interesting – hooking up his Traktor DJ setup to his Twitter account. The result? You get a non-stop live stream on twitter of every track he’s playing on Traktor. As a lot of the stuff he plays is downloads and digital obscurities, this is a pretty amazing way to trawl through what he’s playing and find out odd bits and pieces.

As usual with all things Hawtin, it’s ignited fierce debate across the blogosphere. Some people think it’s the worst thing ever – that he is purely publicising himself without offering anything useful musically. Others think it’s a genuine leap forward.

I’m no big fan of Mr Hawtin’s current direction – it seems to be more and more of the same sub-Berlin minimal plodathon that is flavour of the month at the moment – records full of suspense and mid-paced tension, but without the set phrasing that suggests that it actually ever goes anywhere, or delivers anything at the end. That’s what I get from the ‘minimal’ scene anyway – it seems to me to be lacking dynamics to say the least.

But one thing that the ex-Plastikman does that is to be highly commended is that he seems to put much more stock in a sense of ambition, rather than acting with what some would see as authenticity. While others are revering the original techno formulas and the first wave of Detroit artists (and these guys deserve their due, but music is a living thing not a museum piece), Richie is out bending the formulas and pushing the technological boundaries.

Granted, sometimes he seems more interested in pushing the technical boundaries than actually progressing the music – but technical progression and new techniques tend to give birth to new types of music (Karl Steinberg didn’t invent house music, but he certainly helped), so he doesn’t have to write it himself to have a profound effect on what is happening artistically.

I think this is a great new example of someone putting collaborative web tools and new digital music technology together in an interesting (and highly accessible) way. The fact that I hate digital Djing, and dislike Twitter does not take away from the fact that this is a really interesting development, and anyone that values mutation and experimentation should applaud anyone that is out there trying new stuff.