Dreamer

Four Tet has been slipping new tracks out semi- regularly recently and has an new e.p. out now (Anna Painting, three new songs to accompany an exhibition of the paintings of his friend Anna Liber Lewis). Back in mid- July this one came out and I almost missed it.

If that doesn’t put a smile on your face for the cost of one measly quid I don’t know what will*. Following April’s Teenage Birdsong, Dreamer is lighter than air and hypnotic, the little riffs and melodies dancing around in circles while the drums skip about.

* The photo of the French electricity substation I give you for nothing. While reversing to photograph it I drove over a bollard which collapsed and then popped up in front of the car which caused me to laugh for some time.

 

Island Earth Is A Happening Place

In the early 90s Sandals, a four piece from South London, signed to Acid Jazz and put out a series of 12″ singles and an album called Rite To Silence. They came up in conversation in a social media post a few days ago and I thought it was time to put some of their music back up here (the last time they featured was back in 2012).

Sandals came together from the club scene and various record stalls and clothes shops, eventually rehearsing in the storage room of a book/record/clothing shop they ran in London’s Trocadero. They mashed together a heady stew of beatnik spoken word poetry, soul, funk and jazz, lots of percussion and bongos, some heavy grooves and early 90s clubland sounds.

Debut single Nothing, from 1992, was produced by Leftfield and predates the trip hop sound by a year or two. Samples of voices, boom- boom- bap drums and whispered/stoned street poetry.

Nothing (Extended Version)

In the same year they put out a second 12″ single, produced this time by Gary Burns and Jagz Kooner of Sabres Of Paradise, with a more progressive house sound. It was remixed by DSS (David Holmes and Ashley Beedle). It opens with Country Joe’s Woodstock crowd participation exercise, ‘Give me an F! Give me a U! Give me a C! Give me a K! What’s that spell? What;s that spell?’ The techno drums come in and Derek Delves begins singing/chanting about the mess we’re in, war, the environment, general madness and bad times. It couldn’t be more relevant today, the best part of three decades later, if it tried. This being a 1992 progressive house remix it goes on for twelve minutes, never really letting up. Exhilarating stuff.

We Wanna Live (DSS Remix)

Also from 1992 was this one, A Profound Gas, which I played loads at the time and still sounds great today. Flutes, guitars, pan pipes, chunky drums, production from Leftfield and more beatnik poetry with some memorable lines and imagery.

A Profound Gas (Vocal Mix)

The group disbanded in 1996 having had a second album rejected by London Records. It was eventually released in 2009 in Japan. A copy came my way recently and when I’ve fully had a chance to listen to it, more Sandals will be coming this way.

Hollow Earth

Long Meg and Her Daughters is a stone circle near Penrith, a megalith constructed somewhere between five and three thousand years ago, pictured here on Sunday afternoon when we visited in the Cumbrian drizzle. Long Meg herself is twelve feet high, lying outside the circle and decorated with some Neolithic carvings. Her daughters number fifty nine stones, some upright and some toppled. Legend has it that if you count the stones twice and get the same number bad luck will befall you. So we didn’t count them.
Ghost Box Records have been releasing albums since 2004, drawing on parts of British culture familiar to people born between the 1950s and 1970s- eerie public information films (where children often died in terrible and unexpected ways such as drowning in slurry pits on farms or playing in fields near pylons), library music, weird synth soundtracks from Open University programmes broadcast in the middle of the night, British sci-fi programmes and strange folk stories. As such some of their output is right up my street. Earlier this year one of Ghost Box’s key artists, Pye Corner Audio, released an album called Hollow Earth, an album that forms a soundtrack to a descent into the earth, through caves and chambers. The synths sound like they date from Cold War East Germany (or early 60s Derbyshire). The individual tracks all work well but Hollow Earth is best taken as an album with the record forming a narrative, hints of rave and disco and house evident. It takes you down into the depths and then up again, finally drawing breath.

Black Acid

After Monday’s Balearica and Tuesday’s chugg we dive further down the electronic rabbit hole today with some premium grade acid. This track- Black Acid by Future Beat Alliance- came out last year but I only found it last weekend. Needless to say it has been getting played a lot since then. Driving from Penrith to Newcastle on Sunday afternoon, close to the line of Hadrian’s Wall, it sounded immense.

The drums clatter away while the squiggly acid part lodges itself into the front part of the brain. Whooshing sounds come and go. The synths provide some emotive background wash. The whole thing circles around itself, breaking down occasionally to just the bassline before the drums and the acid return. Eventually, after tickling the nervous system and giving the synapses six minutes of joy it all dissolves into static and white noise. A 2018 take on Detroit acid by an English producer via Berlin.

Much Much Worse Where Clock Goes

This pair of chuggy, leftfield dancefloor monsters could have been posted on any given Monday in the Long Song slot, both being towards the ten minute mark. Both are from Duncan Gray with some sonic tweaking from Rich Lane in the mastering process. Both are getting frequent plays round here.

Much Much Worse is a stomper with  a massive hoover bass sound, a little clipped and funky guitar part and a flipped out synth topline that dances about all over the place, growing increasingly intense.

Where Clock Goes (long version) is a slow burning, dark disco number with wobbly bass, tsk tsk tsk hi-hats, and synth riffs that builds more and more and more, the whole thing then shifting several times during it’s nine minutes thirty seconds running time. This could be twice as long and it wouldn’t get boring.

A pound each at Bandcamp.

Monday’s Long Song

I don’t know if we are in the midst of a Balearic revival or if it’s just that I’m just finding a lot of it at the moment. This new track from Fjordfunk is a Balearic beauty, a slow motion eight minute epic with ripples of warm synth sounds, descending keyboard parts, a funky bassline and a guitar solo that stays just the right side of going over the top.

There is also a Hardway Bros remix that strips things back and heads into slightly darker territory although the twinkling synth and strings definitely keep things centred around the Mediterranean. Fjordfunk is producer Jann Marius Dahle from Norway.

 

August’s Not For Everyone

It’s been nearly a month since Andrew Weatherall graced these pages and helpfully so that I can plug that gap he’s just recorded another of his monthly radio shows for NTS, Music’s Not For Everyone. I know I say this every month but the sheer quality and variety of the tracks selected for these seems to get better and better as each month passes. August’s edition is no exception, it is stuffed full of magic- electronic magic, dubby magic, psychedelic magic, hypnotic chuggy magic. There’s a tracklist here. There’s no talk in this one, just two hours of sequenced, back- to- back tunes with the Weatherall remix of the recently posted here Meatraffle song one of many highlights. Dig in.