Archive for the ‘Techno’ Category

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.

The Sky Was Pink

Nathan Fake – The Sky Was Pink

Credit where it’s due, until reminded of its brilliance by my brother-in-law Graeme a few weeks back, I’d not listened to Nathan Fake’s stunning debut album for ages and ages, prefering to consult with Boards Of Canada, Plaid, Four Tet and even click techno maestro James Holden when I was looking for a fix of pastoral electronica.

Of course, as soon as I heard the opening bars of The Sky Was Pink, I realised the error of my ways, not least in so much as it is one of the easiest tunes to fit an image to for this site! Especially as about a fortnight ago I bought myself a Cokin filter system that included a red ‘sunset’ graduated filter. The sky might not have been pink, but it bloody well looks like it was! And yes, of all the pink hued skies I could have chosen, using the one of a lovely looking sea was conscious!

Released in 2006, Drowning In A Sea Of Love was huge at the time, and featured highly in lots of critic’s best ofs for the year, but aside from a few remixes, non of which had quite the same impact as tracks like the one above and Grandfathered, not to mention his huge remix of Isst by Tiefschwarz, Fake had a pretty low profile until at the back end of last summer he released sophomore effort Hard Islands.

Less shimmering and more shuddering than the melodic chimes of his debut, the techno factor is definitely notched up on Hard Islands, I think somewhat to the detriment of what Fake does best – the soft stuff.

Two other Fake facts – along with Stewart Price (Les Rythmes Digital) he’s my joint favourite musician from Reading – which sounds like damning with faint praise but really isn’t. He’s also I think the only person of any level of fame to have ever been in a club in which I was DJing.

You can buy both albums from Amazon or download them from Nathan Fake

Little Drummer Boy

Little Drummer Boy

Lindstrøm – Little Drummer Boy (Short Edit)

Christmas in London – the South Bank’s German Christmas market in full, colourful, hypnotic flow. You may have by now read about, or even heard, Lindstrøm’s 42 minute version of Little Drummer Boy, or it’s more radio friendly, 5-minute companion version, but if not, prepare to have you mind blown. It’s a pulsating, swirling carousel of electronica – melodic and familiar, yet sparse, cold and alien as well. It’s a late contender for dance record of the year, although on my stereo Fuck Buttons will probably win out, or Fever Ray if that counts. Nevertheless, have a listen to the above, and then find 40 minutes to immerse yourself in the electronic music experience of the year.

From Lindstrøm - Little Drummer Boy the full version will cost you about £7 – but you can get it for two credits from eMusic here, or for a mere £1.45 for download from Play here

Merry Christmas, peace and good will unto each and every one of you!

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

In A Beautiful Place Out In The Country

In A Beautiful Place Out On The CountryIn a Beautiful Place Out In the Country

Still trying to stick with Techno Fridays – but I suspect as I am mining the bottom of the barrell in referring to Boards Of Canada’s lush, verdant electronica as techno at all this could well be the last in the series.

There is clearly at least linguistic link from the title of In A Beautiful Place Out In The Country alone to the image above – it was shot in Cornwall near Padstow. But as well as that I think the fragile nature of the song, the half heard glimpses of found sound samples and laughter all fit the mood of the photograph too. Fragile flowers shaped brightly against a dark and ominous sky, just as the genteel melody of the song is aurally silhouetted by the bass line.

The song (way too long a name to keep typing out!) is the title track of the four track EP that Boards released after the Music Has The Right To Children album but before Geogaddi. The EP is essentially a concept series about the countryside and nature – if I was the type to put entire releases up I could have a very nice four image collage (nearly mimicking it’s cover) for all four tracks.

It was originally released as a 12″ vinyl on sky blue vinyl – which sells for about £30 new but can be picked up quite cheaply second hand – but it is more accessibly now available on CD too.

Both it and the two albums are worth checking out if you enjoy mellow, ambient-influenced electronica.

Get the EP from Amazon: here

Get the EP from iTunes: Boards of Canada - In a Beautiful Place Out In the Country - EP

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.

I Don’t Know

I Don't Know

Plastikman – I Don’t Know

I don’t know…
what you’re looking at…
what you’re listening to…
what you’re thinking about…

Richie Hawtin, either under his own name or by one of his many pseudonyms (Plastikman, FUSE and Concept 1 amongst others) has been making abstract, minimal techno almost as long as I’ve been alive. From early days tripping over the river from his hometown of Windsor in Ontario to witness the first wave of Detroit techno, then being one of the fundamental parts of the second wave in the early 90s, to cementing his record label m-nus as the home of 21st century minimal techno in Berlin, he has been central to techno for many years.

For me his music has always been at its best when it’s like the soundtrack to a rave on a desolate planet somewhere on the other side of the solar system. Schizoid rhythms coupled with distorted vocals and throbbing, industrial bass became the Plastikman trademark, and while his work as FUSE and under his own name seem to come from the future, Plastikman’s best tracks are nothing less than alien.

This is taken to the extreme across the Closer album, which is less repetitive than his other work and relies more on vocals, particularly with I Don’t Know. To accompany it I wanted a similarly ambiguous image, that seem somehow unearthly, but also abstract and cold. The photo is actually originally of rocks on the beach, but to make it a little more alien, I have added various textures and played with it in photoshop a little: I was really trying to create an image that looks like a postcard found in the sands around Roswell, while I Don’t Know played on a loop via a hangar’s PA system in the background.

Strangely there is not much of Plastikman’s music on iTunes – but you can get the album itself from Amazon here:

Image of Closer

And you should also check out his website here purely for the phenomenal Flash design, particularly for both Closer and Nostalgik: www.plastikman.com

Tha

TraAphex Twin – Tha

Long exposure times after dark, and a row of slow moving cars. One of the oldest tricks in the book to convey futurism and movement in photography, but kinda neat nonetheless. I wouldn’t have made this the first shot I put up here, but I wanted something to accompany a bit of ambient / nascent IDM and this seems like the best type of image for it to me.

 You’ll notice if you notice these things the cars are on the ‘wrong’ side of the road – it is another Spanish shot, but from Barcelona this time not Madrid… On one of the huge, terrifying boulevards that track north of Las Ramblas along which Spanish drivers flash at fearful speeds.

 Tra too has a huge sense of movement, if not evolution, within its beats and it sounds to me like a direct descendent of the Kraftwerk track Autobahn, coming as it did almost before Richard D James had a hugely unique voice of his own… Leading to his genre defining (and as with so many genre defining albums, genre killing too) album Drugks.

Tra though sounds to me like a late night / early morning drive around a smooth, modern city in a fast, new car with a great sub and the stereo turned way up. So seeing as I will be doing that this evening, and taking Selected Ambient Works along for the ride, I figured I would post this today.

 Download it on Aphex Twin - Selected Ambient Works 85-92 - Tha

 Get the album (Selected Ambient Works Volume II) on Amazon:

Image of Selected Ambient Works 85-92

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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.