Plaid’s new album Polymers is proving that experimental electronic music can be reflective of the early- to- mid 90s while also utterly modern, techno rhythms adorned with machine melodies- accessible, repetitious, hypnotic and at places liable to take your breath away. Orbital’s remix of Maru proves that they haven’t lost their touch either. A dancer.

Maru means circle in Japanese and is associated with goodness- a circle is used to mark correct answers on tests and exams (rather than a tick as we’d use). Maru is also a cat, a cat who lives in japan, and is apparently the most watched animal in the world with over 325 million views on Youtube. Here he is relaxing in a box.


This came out back in April, a lovely piece of electronic music from Plaid. The album is out now. Back in the 90s this sort of ting became called IDM- intelligent dance music- a label which always seemed ridiculous to me, snobbery in dance music epitomised. Plaid and their parent project The Black Dog, their numerous other side projects plus various other acts who put records out through Warp, became the embodiment of IDM and the label still irritates me when I see it today. But this track is sublime, whatever labels get stuck to it.

At the album’s website you can play with the sounds that make up the new album- deconstruct it is probably the correct way to put it- but essentially you can muck about with them. If you play the song on Youtube and start to mess around with the sounds on the website at the same time you can remix it yourself live.


I’m a tea drinker. I drink multiple cups of tea a day- since giving up the cigs I think it’s only the tea that keeps me going sometimes. But there aren’t any songs about tea on my hard drive. Coffee on the other hand is well represented. Coffee is cooler than tea, more sophisticated- to us Brits coffee is the continent, pavement cafes, and frothy milk. Now the high street is littered with coffee shops selling a bewildering array of coffees all served by your expert barista who’s happy to stamp your loyalty card. Our first cup is served by Lalo Shifrin, an unsettling instrumental from the film Bullitt (hence the picture of Steve McQueen at the top).

Just Coffee

The caffeine is kicking in now. The Bullitt soundtrack can be a bit jittery even without a shot of the black stuff. In 1994 James Lavelle put out a double vinyl ep called The Time Has Come, a bunch of remixes from Howie B, Portishead and Plaid. Plaid did this, breakbeat- jazz- trip hop that isn’t a million miles from Lalo Shifrin..

Coffeehouse Conversation (Plaid Remix)

In 1989 Edwyn Collins released his Hope And Despair album, a lovely collection of songs. This one, drum machine led and with a lovely circular guitar riff, builds for nearly five minutes as Edwyn croons. Gorgeous.

Coffee Table Song

Blur’s 1999 album 13 was a reaction to the Britpop thing. Graham Coxon sings and wrote it, describing his battle with alcohol over a chirpy indie-pop tune with a sqwarky, string-bending guitar solo. A bit of an ear worm.

Coffee And TV

To finish before the barista chucks us out for nursing one cup for an hour, here’s Wild Billy Childish And The Musicians Of The British Empire, from the magnificent Thatcher’s Children album, and a three chord rush tirade sung by Nurse Julie…

Coffee Date

Plaid ‘Scoobs in Columbia’

This utterly wonderful and still fresh sounding, funky, and latin-esque (as in Latin America not the dead Roman language) record was released all the way back in 1992, and hasn’t dated a jot. Plaid were Andy Turner and Ed Handley, previously known as The Black Dog, and were Warp Records mainstays, still contributing to it as late as last year, when Warp did that very expensive box set. This record is a joy. It cropped up on that David Holmes Essential mix, and I’ve got a feeling it was on an advert too- was it that Brazil Nike one at one of the World Cup’s? Or did I imagine that? – music and mp3 sharing – download 09 Scoobs in Columbia.wma