Archive for the ‘Electro’ Category

Eclipse

Magnetic Man – Eclipse

The debut album from dubstep trio Skream, Benga and Artwork, in the guise of Magnetic Man, came out this week and as I love it so much, and their previous work together, I’ve decided to have a rare SWS post without an image to accompany it to mark the occasion. Yes that’s right, I’m once again flexing my rules for the blog a little bit. That’s not to say that there isn’t a really obvious image to accompany the above, it’s just that I unfortunately, have not yet taken it – and eclipses are actually pretty rare here in the UK.

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Watercolour

Pendulum – Watercolour (DeadMau5 Remix)

After they released their second album a few years ago, I wasn’t really 100% convinced about Pendulum… I wasn’t really sure what they were supposed to be for, and I’m not sure they did either. I basically felt that despite having one of the most promising debut albums in dance music for the past decade with Hold Your Colour, since then they hadn’t built on the variety and magnificence of ideas they displayed in those 14 songs.

Their second album In Silico did contain some orginal stuff that developed Hold Your Colour, a little, but relied far to much (in my view!) on the ‘what would it sound like if a drum and bass act sang rock songs’ gimmick that frankly, Pitchshifter were doing better a decade ago.

So following the announcement of their third album, Immersion, I’ve been kind of hopeful that it will fully realise their potential and surprise with some new departures. The signs on the back of the debut single Watercolour are at least partially positive: yes they are still sticking to the rock and bass thing, but I think they’ve got a lot better at it. And even if you say nothing more, they pick a wicked pair of remixers: dubstepper Emalkay and the artist behind the version above, electro producer du jour (and hopefully du many more jours) Deamau5.

Looking at the image above, you might think, how cheap, he’s just punning the fact that the song’s called Watercolour, and his picture of a harbour has some colours in it. True, but I think the slick harbour waters, the twinkling lights and the futuristic sense of movement in the panorama all work really well with this particular version of the song, with it’s slow builds and pulsing breakdown.

The track is out now and available to download from Pendulum - Watercolour - EP

Both the original and the spacier, dubbier effort produced by Emalkay are worth checking out, especially for the sub £2 price tag.

The album itself is out on May 24th and can be pre-ordered from Amazon here. Despite my initial reservations, on the strength of this single, I’ll certainly be picking it up.

Surf Solar

Fuck Buttons – Surf Solar

A slowly swelling, psychedelically swirling, weirdly washing, wave of sound, that gathers from somewhere in the mid-tempo, or somewhere in the outer cosmos, until the churn is defined, refined and designed by a heavy beat, pounding like surf against the shore of your mind.

Metaphors may be mixed like martinis and similies shaken like a Singapore Slings but for me, blogging after midnight is rare, and blogging about trance inducing, proggy psy techno is rarer still. I usually don’t care to much for outer reaches of indulgence achieved by producers exploring sonic and chemical boundaries – when I want beats, I usually want them hard, minimal, and, um, squelchy. But for the appallingly, abysmally named Fuck Buttons I’ll make an exception.

The whole of Tarot Sport, their Andrew Weatherall produced second album sounds like the exploration of outer space on mescaline, and it kicks off from the creeping trip that is Surf Solar, and it’s gradually rising tide of music… All ten and a half minutes of it. Building to a peak then falling gradually away again, the song neatly encapsulates the album that succeeds it, like the chorus surmising a play before the action commenses.

The image above was taken using two Cokin filters shifted in line with the horizon (clue, and blue and a red one) then had the levels pushed in Photoshop to bring out the tones and emphasise the other wordliness of it all.

You can purchase Tarot Sport from Amazon here or download it from Fuck Buttons - Tarot Sport to apreciate the journey (um, trip?) yourself.

A cursory (what other type is there for bloggers) at Wikipedia (what other source of info is there for bloggers?!) tells me they also remixed Fever Ray’s If I Had A Heart, must look that out.

Happy Violentine

Miss Kitten – Happy Violentine

Just a short post today with a favourite anti-Valentine’s day tune to celebrate… it’s not that I’m unromantic, but really come on, ice cold rhymes and killer beats beats loved up whining any day, right!

From Miss Kittin’s debut I Com, and produced by minimal techno legend Tobi Neumann, the track’s fairly far away from a mushy Valentine, hence the cheesy photo to bring the love back!

Have a great Valentine’s day, hope you get lots of cards from lots of folk… and if you get the chance, you can buy I Com from Amazon here, or download it from Miss Kittin - I Com

Colouring Of Pigeons

The Knife, featuring Mt Sims & Planningtorock – Colouring Of Pigeons

Two good things happened last week: it continually snowed buckets all across the UK and in particular in London and its surroundings; and the Knife announced more details of the opera they are jointly scoring and released a teaser track that is nine minutes of unadulterated electronic brilliance.

The opera is called Tomorrow, In A Year, and is based on Charles Darwin writing his Origin Of Species – The Knife worked on the score alongside Mt Sims and Planningtorock, both Berlin-based solo artists who there or thereabouts make electro. It is not due out until March, with the double album soundtrack set to be issued on the 1st. The good news is that as you can hear from the song above, it should be worth the wait.

The track is more fragile, and sparse than anything produced by the Knife in their three studio albums, and has clearly been influenced by the work that singer Karin did with her stunning solo(ish) album in the guise of Fever Ray. In fact, it is her voice that makes the track stand out here – as it did on Fever Ray and the Knife’s last album, Silent Shout. Here, her yelps and squawks sound exactly how you would expect the vocals to sound if someone told you she was signing the arias to an opera – unique, demented and brilliant.

It is track more filled with space and more delicately arranged than anything I can imagine any of their peers producing – although the more the produce, the more unsure I am that the Knife actually have any peers. The photo above was taken during my own recent experiences of space and silence, of delicate arrangement and daylight fading. It was captured in woods deep within the countryside close to my home as the sun began to set and the chill night laid claim to the land, the low wind causing occasional flurries of snow to loose themselves from the leaves and disturb the wildlife.

Unusually for shotwithsound I am not making the MP3 above available for download as it is available to download for free from www.theknife.net if you sign up to their mailing list. You can also find out more about the opera and the album here.

One final thing is that I changed the audio plugin I use on here as WP Audio stopped working – the MP3s still stream in post, but you now need to click the link to start the player.

You can hear more of the Knife’s beautiful music on The Knife

Into The Trees

Into The Trees

Trentemøller – Into the Trees (Live At Roskilde 2007)

Intrepid and eagle-eyed readers of shotwithsound may remember that about a fortnight ago I posted in advance of a foolhardy scheme to scale Snowdon.

The good news is I made it the top in the midst of gale force winds, driving rain and sleet. The better news is I made it back down again with a few passable images taken in the briefest periods as the clouds broke – or half broke as in the image above.

This isn’t the first time that the work of Anders Trentemøller has featured on here (actually he wins the award for being the first repeat, although the first use was a remix not an original composition) but seeing as the last post to feature him (Go) was about speed and the city, I feel it’s justified to have one more about gradual motion and organic evolution.

I’ve long though that his music captures better than most the organic desolation present in lots of techno music since the work of Robert Hood, Richie Hawtin and Derrick May, redefined it as minimal in the early nineties… And although at times it fits the dance floor, more often – alongside artists like Nathan Fake, Plaid and Boards of Canada – his work is perfect for soundscaping a dark and dangerous countryside.

I chose Into The Trees specifically for its very gradual introduction and tendancy throughout to hint at reaching a climax with false summit after false summit of mini crescendos before finally culminating in a brutal bass and bleeps extraveganza and gently letting you back down to earth… A long slog before a brilliant denoument in other words – or just like the mountain! See what I did there?

The version above is from the Live In Roskilde 2007 EP which you can download here: Trentemøller - Live In Concert: Roskilde Festival, 2007

The original was on the Last Resort album which you can get from Amazon here.

Or again download from Trentemøller - The Last Resort

Frankie Teardrop

Howl

Suicide – Frankie Teardrop

So for this All Saints’ Eve a disturbing image to accompany possibly the most disturbing band ever singing what is to me the single most creepy, freaky, scary and down right fucked up piece of music ever recorded.

Suicide’s Frankie Teardrop concerns the exploits of a family slaying factory worker and his subsequent descent to Hell. To me Frankie represents the absolute antithesis of the blue denim rock of Bruce Springsteen or worse Bon Jovi… Even though ostensibly they frequently deal with the same themes.

The image is of a statue the Sistine Chapel and didn’t need too much Photoshopping to make the odd, desperate looking chap you see above… Typically I snapped the pic without much consideration of my stony subject so can’t tell you much about him – except he doesn’t look any happier than poor old Frankie Teardrop and the hammer he’s bashing himself with made me think of Suicide’s relentless industrial rhythyms.

Even though it is knocking on for being 35 years old, Frankie still just as raw, demented and horrifying as the day it was recorded.

Turn this all the way up and I defy you not to jump out of your skin when Alan Vega screams for the first time… And every other time too.

The double disc re-issues version of Suicide’s eponymous debut has some more listenable tracks, for instance ‘hit single’ Cheree and Ghost Rider, as covered by REM. You can buy it from Amazon here or download it from Suicide - Suicide

Go

Go (Trentmoller remix)Moby – Go (Trentemøller remix)

‘Techno Friday’ on shotwithsound contnues for another week with Anders Trentemøller’s frenetic, kinetic mix of the Moby classic, Go from what seems about six months ago but was actually first issued in 2006.

The track featured on both the second (remix) disc of the Moby’s Greatest Hits album and on Trentemøller’s own Chronicles second disc and combines the uplifting trancey hook of the original with Trentemøller’s trademark shuffling, squelchy beats and bleeps.

For a slightly warped version of a classic track, I choose a slightly warped photo of a train track to accompany it.

I took the photo above earlier this week without a real plan until I was at East Acton Tube station with time to kill waiting for my train. I knew there was one other train going by first so decided to try a really distorted, long exposure fisheye lens shot that would emphasise the speed of movement and the circular shape of the train.

This photo is actually my train arriving after I messed up my first two attempts with the other train, and it was only after I had a look at it and realises it came out even weirder than I expected (check out the front lights bleeding forward into the dark space – no idea what caused it!) that I decided to use it with Go on here, I think it has a similar drive and spark to the track, while being that bit abnormal to work with Trentemøller’s input…

For some reason the iTunes version of The Trentemøller Chronicles doesn’t have the same track list on it’s second disc as the physical release, so doesn’t feature Go, but does have several other classic Trentemøller tracks (real standouts are his versions of Djuma Soundsystem’s Les Dijinns and The Knife’s We Share Our Mother’s Health, and his own Moan). You can get it here:Trentemøller - Trentemøller - The Digital Chronicles

Get the Moby Greatest Hits remix version: Moby - Go - The Very Best of Moby (Remixed)

The full track listing is on the double CD version, you can get it from Amazon here.

Transeurope

Transeurope| Kraftwerk – Trans-Europe Express |

For my second shotwithsound post it took me a long time to choose the image but then the song to accompany it was almost too easy. The photo was taken recently at the Eurostar terminal in Kings Cross St Pancras station, and attempts to balance a long exposure time with the light of an extremely sunny day by London standards. The blue filter was added later and gives the whole thing a futuristic sheen which only made the track choice easier.

Trans-Europe Express was the title track from Kraftwerk’s 1977 album, and built on their earlier celebration of the car, Autobahn, as an entire record devoted to the railway. The album was conceived in Paris’s Gare DueLyon station, the sister of the Eurostar’s Parisian terminus, Gare Du Nord.

The album’s clean minimal sound was achieved using new sequencing equipment and is widely considered to be the forefather of both electro and techno, so I think the futuristic tone of the image, the sense of a world in motion, transiting populations on modern railways all fit the crisp, neutral, timeless beauty of the song.

Get the album from Amazon:

Image of Trans-Europe Express [IMPORT]

Get it from Kraftwerk - Minimum-Maximum

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shotwithsound

shotwithsound is a blog about the music I love, with occasional forays into my photography, and other things that catch my eye.

You can see more of my photography on my website www.nicstevenson.com.