Opal Shadow Glitter

This time last year two records were released, one of which I missed out from my end of 2018 list which shocks and appals me as it is a stunning piece of work. It is this one, Four Tet’s remix of Bicep’s Opal, an eight minute beauty built around a stuttering riff, bells and happy-sad synths. There wasn’t much that came out last year that topped this.

I also re-found this, a track from Daniel Avery’s Projector e.p., also out in March last year following his Song For Alpha album. There’s a new album out in April, Song For Alpha 2, that pulls together all the remixes and e.p. tracks plus nine new ones (from the hundred or so he recorded that he then created the original album from). The one which grabbed me again recently is Shadow Mountain, a slow moving late night thing with waves, reverb and a snare but which turns towards the strobe part way through and becomes seriously intense.

One of the remixes included in Song For Alpha 2 is Jon Hopkins rework of Glitter. This is a monster, centred on a massive rattling, brooding kick drum and tension that builds in waves around it. At about three minutes Hopkins starts to drip some repeating melodies in that dance around like moths circling a naked flame. Everything drops away five minutes twenty, the kick resurfaces, and then after a few seconds explodes in a burst of light and colour. Magic.

C O S M

Something cosmic to kick Tuesday off, the return leg of the Daniel Avery-Jon Hopkins remix swap. Here Avery spins Hopkins into different spaces. The part at about 40 seconds where the reverb drenched synth comes in is heartstopping.

Avery put this out recently too, a beatless, ambient piece, fifty minutes, free download.

Glitter

Daniel Avery and Jon Hopkins have made two of this year’s most enthralling electronic albums (Song For Alpha and Singularity respectively) and are about to start a tour of the USA together. As an extra they’ve swapped remixes, taking a track from each other’s albums and reworking it. The first one out in public is Hopkins new version of Avery’s Glitter, a thumping percussive workout with little subliminal melodies, building in intensity for a good seven minutes.

 

Everything Connected

I got the new Jon Hopkins album at the weekend, a beautifully packaged album on two vinyl discs (which are pressed onto a sumptuous deep blue vinyl to match the album cover. Occasionally I buy¬† a new record and am shocked to find when I take it out of the inner sleeve that it has been pressed on black vinyl. I’m happy with black vinyl too- I don’t really need all these colourful discs).

Hopkins suffered from writer’s block after his 2013 album and according to an interview I read recently found his way out of it with a combination of meditation and hallucinogens. The album is a beauty, a record to lose oneself in, expertly paced with a balance of electronic grooves, meditative piano pieces and tracks which are physical, that demand a response from the listener. In places the rhythms and the drums threaten to run away with songs, the synths and instruments having to twist themselves inside out to keep up. The one that keeps me flicking the needle back at the moment is the ten minute techno track Everything Connected, a monster of beats and bass and synths, building and dropping and getting a little bit frazzled. It is, as people like to say, a banger. It fits well with last year’s Bicep album and that recent Four Tet remix of Bicep.

I am now away for a few days. We are taking ourselves off after work tonight to the Lake District for a few days, camping and living under the constellations Hopkins has adorned his record with. See you for more blogging fun early next week.

Buzzing

This is more of a Saturday night post but by Saturday night I shall be on holiday, hundreds of miles away so it’s a Tuesday morning post instead.

This superb hour long mix by Jon Hopkins via the ever reliable Fact has had me skipping about the room recently- there’s a magnificent bit about twenty minutes in where the tsk-tsk-tsk drums starting to be overtaken by a buzz-buzz-buzzing noise, like a swarm of bees have entered the control room and are flying around in time to the music. And that’s just the first twenty five minutes- it keeps getting better and better (and noisier and louder) after that. He worked with Coldplay via Brian Eno a few years back but there’s no need for that fact to worry you here- this is full on electronic dance music of the minimal house-techno variety. Free download too (but annoyingly it won’t embed).