Sunday, 31 January 2010

Chew Lips - Unicorn

After hearing The Plastician's remix of 'Salt Air' I couldn't help but eagerly anticipate Chew Lips' debut album, 'Unicorn'. However, the rest of the LP and the synth-by-numbers approach to production felt like a La Roux b-sides collection.

Featuring vocals that are somewhere between Florence & The Machine and Karen O, the album fails to make any sort of significant impact. The production is another gripe of mine: ripping off everyone from Devo to the Eurythmics and The Legendary Pink Dots, this album would have sounded dated and unoriginal 30 years ago, let alone now.

And that's precisely the problem with this current wave of quirky female singers all trying to exist in the realms of Annie Lennox and Kate Bush: they have none of the flair or originality. In fact, it's becoming increasingly apparent that La Roux, Little Boots, Goldielocks and anyone else of their ilk, are singing pretty good songs but with lazy production because they know that it doesn't really matter, as long as they get an "edgy" or "trendy" producer like Skream or The Plastician to add credibility with a remix that becomes way more popular than the original. Is that good? Is it good that the person who wrote the song couldn't even record the best version? No. No, it is not.

Having said that, their upcoming single 'Solo' (out on Kitsuné very soon) and their debut, 'Salt Air' do offer something in the way of promise (What better than a ballad about drink-driving to get the party started?!), but even then Tigs can't break out of Karen O-lite. And I know, I know they're deliberately trying to sound unoriginal so their sound doesn't date - hang on, how is that better? "Well, we knew it was a waste of time trying to produce anything original so we just smashed a Florence CD into the head of our keyboard player until his ears bled, flicked the Casio to stale and kicked back and watched Hollyoaks." Great. That doesn't make me depressed at all.

Ultimately, underneath all the knowing, ironic references and kitsch eighties productions they're no different to Girls Aloud - formulaic, saccharine, derivative and completely uninteresting. And would you look at them? That's what Andy Warhol would have looked like had he been a T4 presenter.

Sunday, 17 January 2010

New DJ Hidden record!

DJ Hidden
'The Words Below - Limited Edition Vinyl Series Vol. 3'
Ad Noiseam [adn124]
12" / digital

First of all, I'm genuinely excited about this: a new release by DJ Hidden on Ad Noiseam. Continuing his 'Words Below' series, DJ Hidden has dropped the third and final edition of the series with his partner in crime from The Outside Agency, Eye-D, featuring two remixes of tracks from his album of the same name.

His first album, 2007's 'The Later After' was hailed as a masterpiece by critics and fans alike. His sophomore effort would therefore have to be something pretty damned sexual. Fortunately, he hasn't disappointed and continues to fire out some of the darkest, most thoughtful beats and breaks this side of Starkville.

Like Starkey, this album is more than just a collection of songs - the tracks run together with an indeterminate flow that demonstrates a surprising flare for storytelling that is so very lost in today's music. This remix series features great reinterpretations but it's the originals that really shine. There's also a slight feeling that these remixes seem somewhat disjointed from their original setting - like watching Empire Strikes Back on its own. There still worth a listen, it's just that you're left expecting something when it finishes.

These tracks are exclusive to this 12" so grab the crap out of it while you can! Failing that, a digital version is available at Ad Noiseam for a tiny wee amount that you'll barely notice. At the time of writing there were no tracks available for posting, but here's a couple of samples to whet your collective appetite:

DJ Hidden - The Narrators (Eye-D Remix) [Clip]
DJ Hidden - The Devil's Instant (DJ Hidden Remix) [Clip]

New AC Slater mix for Annie Nightingale's Radio 1 Show

AC Slater has recorded a mixtape for Annie Nightingale's Radio 1 show. The mix contains mainly new tracks and remixes by Mr. Slater as well as a couple of old favourites from the Trouble & Bass crew. Judging by the tracklisting and the amount of new stuff, at the very least we can expect a new Trouble & Bass compilation in the near future.

The mix also features a couple of new faces in the form of P-Money and Ladybox, who I'm sure will be bringing out their own releases very soon. I'm a little late of the mark with this one so you won't be able to stream it from BBC iPlayer anymore, but below is the download link for the mp3.

1. Udachi - "P-Funk Skank" [Party Like Us Records]
2. AC Slater - "Take You" feat Ninjasonik [Trouble & Bass]
3. Tonka - "Jack Track" (Black Noise VIP) [Southern Fried]
4. Kill the Noise - "Jokes on You" [Slow Roast]
5. Acid Girls - "Numbers Song" (Jokers of the Scene Remix) [iheartcomix]
6. Drop the Lime - "Thwomp Stomp" [Trouble & Bass]
7. Ladybox - "Hit My Ride" (AC Slater Remix) [Party Like Us Records]
8. Heavyfeet - "I Spy" (AC Slater Remix) [Stamp! Music]
9. AC Slater - "Calm Down Part 2" [Trouble & Bass]
10. P-Money - "Left the Room"
11. DJ Zinc - "Killa Sound" feat No Lay (Skream Remix) [Bingo]
12. AC Slater & Mumdance feat Badness & 77Klash - "Transatlantic Riddim" [Trouble & Bass]
13. Drop the Lime - "Set Me Free" (AC Slater Remix) [Trouble & Bass]
14. MJ Cole - "Sincere" (Mumdance & High Rankin Remix)
15. Starkey - "OK Luv" feat Badness [Planet Mu]
16. Jinder - "Youth Blood" (12th Planet Remix) [Trouble & Bass]

Download: AC Slater - Annie Nightingale Mix (08/01/10)

Sunday, 3 January 2010

New Raffertie 12" on Planet Mu

Raffertie will be releasing a new 12" January 18th on Planet Mu. The single will be a two track jobby comprising the tracks '7th Dimension' and 'String Theory'. As much as I love Raffertie I was pretty surprised to see it released on Planet Mu. I know they try to be as diverse as possible but I never thought I'd see a bassline/midget house release on there.
Anyway, that aside, it turns out the release is more promising than I've made it sound: 'String Theory' will appeal to those fond of Warp and Planet Mu releases, with lots of techy synths and bleeps hither and thither. It's probably not what you'd describe as club fodder, but '7th Dimension' certainly makes up for that and it still makes for a fun listen.
And for anyone who suspected Raffertie had taken wobbly basslines to the Nth degree, then listen to this and reconsider. I was starting to worry about the path his music was taking, but this release marks (hopefully) the beginning of releases with a bit more experimentation and variation to them - a welcome advancement in the world of bassline.
So to tide you over until this release comes out, here's a track he released on Planet Mu a couple of months ago on 'The Mu School' compilation, available on Boomkat:

Download: Raffertie - Wobble Horror!