Pulsar

The return of Ride and their position close to my stereo is something I definitely wasn’t expecting this year. I wasn’t too bothered about them back in the early 90s, a couple of songs aside, and their Britpop incarnation was of no interest to me at all. But the 2017 Ride and their Weather Diaries album (a couple of songs too long maybe but a good record and Cali is one of my favourite songs this year) and now a new single- all of these things are pleasing me. This new song, Pulsar, has a lovely throbbing distorted bassline, highlighted by a drop out twice, and some beautifully FX laden guitars. Erol Alkan’s production gives everything a hard shine. Good stuff.

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Cali

I expressed the view on Twitter recently that the new single from Ride is a lovely thing, shot through with an end of summer feel. Opinions were divided: some suggested that the new album is superb, party due to Erol Alkan’s production and the simultaneous crunch and shimmer of the guitars; some could hear The House Of Love in the twin vocals; some suggested that it was alright, fine in a traffic jam on the radio but lacking true greatness; some suggested my mid-range hearing is shot.

I’m still into it several days later. From the opening bass intro, and diving bass runs through the verse, to the twin guitars and slightly out of focus vocals, it shimmers and swoops. The single version is shorter than the album one (which has an extended ending part) and the surfing video seems apt. An online reviewer suggested that hearing men in their forties sing lines like ‘Kissed you on a beach and I was saved’ is a bit embarrassing but I don’t buy that. When payday finally arrives I shall be buying the album.

Beyond

Drew and I agreed on Twitter the other night that Beyond The Wizard’s Sleeve’s own re-animation of their recent single Diagram Girl is a thing of beauty, one of those records that sounds like summer should. Six and a half minutes of wobbly bass, washes of synth, blissed out vox and hazy modern dance-oriented psychedelia. Just wonderful stuff from Richard Norris and Erol Alkan with an album to follow.

If you like that you should go find Richard Norris’ other current project, Circle Sky (a duo with Martin Dubka), and a 12″ called Reveal/Interstellar, two massive sounding cuts recorded live using the Moog System 55 modular- analogue acid house achieving lift off for 2016. Annoyingly there don’t seem to be any full length listens anywhere but these two preview clips give you enough to be going on with.

Diagram Girl

This is shaping up to be a good few weeks for new music- here’s a dreamy new song from Beyond The Wizards’s Sleeve (Misters Richard Norris and Erol Alkan) with an album to follow. A slow and stoned vocal over washes of synths and skittering drums. Woozy, like Spacemen 3 but without the paranoia. Very nice indeed.

New Energy

I’m caught in an electronics groove right now and this is blindingly good. Recent postee Daniel Avery remixed by Beyond The Wizard’s Sleeve team of Norris and Alkan. After a slow, hazy intro everything suddenly snaps into sharp focus- like a beam of white light trained right between the eyes… and then it all becomes very t-r-i-p-p-y indeed. There’s some old school electro in here to, to keep you moving.

Year’s End

Here’s a round up of a few things from 2014 as the year dribbles to its conclusion. I missed this from earlier this year; a Beyond The Wizard’s Sleeve re-imagining of New Energy, in three phases- some 60s backwards psychedelia followed by the more familiar beat driven techno and then the wonderful drone section. There’s loads more Avery stuff, remixes, radio sessions and so on, at his Soundcloud page.

There’s also the trippy Roman Flugel remix of All I Need which has all the right things in all the right places.

Underworld’s dubnobasswithmyheadman was 20 years old and the re-issued box set was 2014’s possibly best bet if you were buying just one big box of music you already own. It cemented in my mind the view that dubnobass… was the best album of the 90s.

The stand out music book of 2014 was Viv Albertine’s autobiography Clothes, Clothes, Clothes, Music, Music, Music, Boys, Boys, Boys. Totally honest, warm and funny, uncomfortable in parts but fascinating and written entirely in the present tense which gave it real immediacy. If you haven’t read it, you should read it.

And I’m just beginning to listen to FKA Twigs. There’s something going on here…