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The Wizard
November 26, 2008, 2:31 am
Filed under: Erol Alkan | Tags: , ,

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Erol Alkan emerged from the underground with a sound that was innovative, arresting, and charmingly psychedelic. He is fast approaching premier league status and is one of the closest watched producer’s & DJ’s of the decade.

With his roots firmly locked in all that was amazing in alternative culture, Erol Alkan pretty much stands for everything I love about dance music. He takes all the sounds, artists, songs and genre’s which have captured hearts in history and smashes everything together into the wonderful idea of dancing.

A few years back before all the blogs were swarming with our favourite artists and we had no idea what the hell ‘Bloc Party’or ‘Klaxons’ meant, these very musicians were down in London chillin’ at Erol Alkan’s little club Trash. I’m talking LCD Soundsystem, Peaches, Yeah Yeah Yeah’s. Not to mention some killer DJ sets by the likes of Tiga, Mylo, 2manydjs and yeah you got it… anyone that mattered.

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To think that I was in London not long ago when Trash was in full swing and was completely oblivious to its existence (or to anything related to the obsessions I now possess) is extremely frustrating.

Allegedly in the last 5 years of the club the last two tracks that were always played were ‘There Is a Light That Never Goes Out’ (the Smiths) & Bowie’s ‘Rock ‘n’ Roll Suicide’.

Erol stated in an interview “they are the two songs that best reflect the club culture, it’s people and places, highs and lows and bring people together”
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In case you were wondering Erol has been up to since (R.I.P Trash) …well it once again makes me feel like I should smash my laptop and go actively pursue something. The guy has been producing albums for some of our favourite indie bands (Mystery Jets), getting unknown artists onto our radar (The Long Blondes), and pushing out more top-notch remixes (I really don’t have time for this).

And by now you should have heard of his side project Beyond The Wizards Sleeve with Richard Norris (not to be confused with the Richard Norris that produces albums for Five and Robbie Williams)

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Anyway, if you love Erol Alkan’s productions just listen to some of the stuff by Beyond the Wizards Sleeve. His collaborations with Norris result in the most magical creations.

The Midlake remix is my favourite from Beyond the Wizard Sleeve. I can’t really listen to it without a heavy heart but its so god damn beautiful and painfully infectious.

You can download Erol Alkan podcasts from his website which I HIGHLY recommend. You can also waste your time in the forums if you are a super music nerd like me.

http://www.erolalkan.co.uk/music/podcasts.rss

I was actually winding down today post-weekend with Beyond the Wizard’s Sleeve Live At The G Mex July2007 (feat. Pink Floyd, the Beatles, Peter Bjorn & John

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I have to say one of my best purchase decisions of all time was picking up the “A Bugged Out Mix by Erol Alkan/ A Bugged In Selection with Erol Alkan” which is composed of two discs… the first disc is an absolutely immaculate mix by Erol and the second makes for the most pleasurable home listening you could ever imagine.

Here are two tracks from A Bugged In Selection which I spontaneously selected to upload as I really think the album is best listened to as a whole.



I’m In Retrograde

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Bloc Party saved my life one day. I was going through a chaotic quarter-life crisis type thing and then came Silent Alarm, like a breath of fresh air.
What Bloc Party managed to create was a cauldron of conflicting desires and moods, slapping me in the face with my own humanity. Every single track on the album exploded with fresh ideas, romantic notions, beauty and intelligence. Not to mention Kele’s voice of sincere desperation.

I was quite disappointed with A Weekend In the City whilst simultaneously understanding that any band trying to recreate a masterpiece was faced with a curse. The guys tried to incorporate more experimental, electronic sounds but the album still felt as though it somehow lacked creativity.
To me “We Were Lovers” from A Weeked In the City B-Sides was way better than most of the album tracks combined.

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Well Bloc Party have just a released a new single. It’s called MERCURY! My feelings are pretty mixed. It’s not a failure but it’s definitely no ‘Banquet’. I’m not sure if I will still be listening to it in a few months time but the lyrics are intriguing and it’s definitely hell captivating compared to anything from album numero 2!
You can buy the single from their website & you will get this beautiful zip file:
1. Mercury
2. Mercury (12″ Version)
3. Idea For A Story
4. Mercury (Herve Is In Disarray Remix)
5. Mercury (Flosstradamus Remix)
6. Mercury (12″ Instrumental)

Here is an “Unofficial” remix of Mercury I also kinda dig. The Herve one is still my favourite.
Bloc Party- Mercury (Telemitry Remix)
Hervé has actually already done a remix for Bloc Party under the alias ‘Speaker Junk’ which went down quite smoothly with me last year (how I love chopped vocals). I also have to throw in the SebastiAn remix which still blows me away. It’s intense. Probably one of the most solid works by SebastiAn .
Bloc Party- I Still Remember (SebastiAn Remix)
Bloc Party- I Still Remember (Speaker Junk Remix)

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‘Pioneers’ – what an amazing song… both lyrically and sonically. The Tunng cover gives a little more fragility to the already heart melting lyrics. And I absolutely love love love this M83 remix. Anthony Gonzales would never let me down. The strings just kill me. I just want to throw myself on the floor and stare at the ceiling in agony (in the best way possible)
Tunng- Pioneers (Bloc Party Cover)
Bloc Party- Pioneers (M83 Remix)

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Hunting for Witches…. I didn’t know what to think when I first heard it. So incongruous and a somewhat confusing listen. I am, however, very thankful to the original for being the catalyst for these two remixes.
Bloc Party- Hunting for Witches (Villains Electro-Banger Remix)
Bloc Party- Hunting for Witches (Crystal Castles Remix)

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Weird Science kind of dropped off my radar. What happened guys!? Your remix of Helicopter was so deliciously brilliant. I’ve been listening to it for about 2 years now and I just cant stop coming back to the thing. Despite the fact that is has long ceased blog circulation It still sounds super fresh to me. And it is more than deserving of a second wave.
Bloc Party- Helicopter (Weird Science Remix)
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Last off nothing is really complete without Erol Alkan‘s touch
Bloc Party- She’s Hearing Voices (Erol Alkan’s Calling You Dub)
And how can I not throw a ‘Banquet’ related track in here?? This one we all know inside out by Phones (a.k.a Paul Epworth who actually happens to be producing Bloc Party’s third album)
Bloc Party- Banquet (Phones Remix)
I have such high hopes for this album. Please don’t let me down boys.



Aeroplane
November 15, 2008, 2:10 am
Filed under: Aeroplane | Tags:

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One day Stephen Fasano & Vito De Luca were producing a song called “Aeroplane” and decided it would be a more suitable band name. From that point on most articles about the Belgian duo begin with a steady comparison of their name & music. Actually most of the articles you will read equate them to ‘flying’ or ‘clouds’. Writers are really intuitive that way.

I downloaded some stuff by the guys and sat back expecting to be transported to some cloud-filled paradise like most bloggers promised I would be. Instead I remained firmly grounded. I definitely didn’t find their music to be ‘airy’ or ‘dreamy’… especially when you compare tracks like “whispers” to the romantic pastel colours embodying most Valerie productions.

Nevertheless I was quite enchanted with the delightfully catchy disco beats and their remixes strike up a nice symphony of bright colours. 



Boys Noize
November 8, 2008, 3:30 pm
Filed under: Boys Noize | Tags: ,

I remember when I briefly maintained this strong belief that Boys Noize (slash Alex Ridha) was severely overhyped. I was never an intense fan of “& Down” and the Feist remix didn’t really do it for me. Upon finally acquiring Oi Oi Oi I had the most drastic change of heart. Masterpiece. So so so so much better than I ever expected throughout my wildest electro-urges.

However, I still had my doubts about Alex being able to steer away from attacking his productions and remixes with that intense paroxysmal glitchiness. When I found out about the existence of this remix I was totally expecting to hear Alex ripping into the smooth Tellier creation with his signature brutal chainsaw.

Anyway, Alex has completely shattered all my expectations and gained my utmost respect and love forever. This is like, the most beautiful remix I’ve heard all year. So much emotion and anxiety distilled into one track. This is even better than the monstrous Oh! (which is still his best original, hands down).

I should also mention that Rolling Stone gave Oi Oi Oi 4.5 stars which confirms most music critics ‘rock and roll is dead and electro is taking over the world’ theory.

Also this picture makes me feel like I have accomplished absolutely nothing in life.

 



Your Heart Feels
November 1, 2008, 3:12 am
Filed under: Thieves Like Us | Tags:

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When I first heard the name “Thieves like Us‘ floating around music blogs I was like “hold on a second… isn’t that a New Order song!” and got a little excited about the potential influences and hastily went to download that ‘Drugs in your body’ track everyone was posting & (for some reason) remixing to death

I didn’t get it at first. But then what do you do when you are signed to Kitsune and you produce a mediocre track?
Well naturally you start a remix competition and shake whatever you can out of thing.

Anyway the remixes weren’t bad at all but the original was a little amateur. Nothing really encouraged me to keep listening and it’s definitely not a track I would bother writing about

I did, however, download “Your Heart Feels” a few weeks ago which turned out to be absolutely astounding.I couldn’t believe that I was listening to some electro blog duo with the music that was hitting my ears!

And yes… to my extreme happiness it was saturated with those worshiped sound elements you would expect to hear in your Joy Division/New Order-esque listening session. Also the lyrics are incredibly adorable.

love love love at first listen

Album set to release October-ish

 

 



Ladyhawke
October 24, 2008, 2:00 am
Filed under: Cut Copy, Ladyhawke, Van She, Van She Tech | Tags: , , ,

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I’ve been temporarily seduced by Ladyhawke’s new album

Let’s be honest here… it doesn’t have a lot of depth and she’s not the best lyricist in the world… but sometimes I just want to shrug off my stupid pretentious music elitism and fall victim to her cute simple melodies and that charming voice.

Track listing looks something like this

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My Delerium” is one of the best tracks I’ve heard in forever. Honestly, I had to cut myself off because I was just wandering around aimlessly listening to it for like 6 hours in a row. It’s imaginative, exhilarating, a whirl of passion,

I never really liked ‘Paris is Burning’ but the Cut Copy remix makes it so much better. It might have been the first Cut Copy remix that didn’t instantly grab me but just give it a few listens. It’s definitely a grower. And a million times better than the original.

 

The Van She Tech remix of ‘Back of the Van’ is still Vaone of my favourite remixes to date. Van She intensifies all the right parts of the song and preserves the best elements of the original. I was actually really hoping more of the album would follow that Back of the Van/Stevie Nicks vibe but they sound way less retro. More like contemporary songs made to be remixed for the dance floor.


I guess I rate ‘Love Don’t Live Here’ & ‘Better Than Sunday’ slightly above the rest.

‘Magic‘ is pretty catchy also… well its perfectly produced (thanks Modular) but the cheesy lyrics make me cringe a little… how about we get some good remixes going to solve this problem?

I am completely against ‘My Delerium’ remixes/covers/reworks/mashups/bootlets though. The track is perfect as it is. If I could I would impose some sort of ban. And I will be really really really angry at the producer that ruins this song for me.

Overall though, the album is accessible, easy to listen to and enjoyable. Actually it’s extremely enjoyable. And I’m sure she will have mainstream success in the future.



Hercules & Love Affair
October 17, 2008, 5:40 am
Filed under: Hercules and Love Affair | Tags:

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Ahhh… Hercules & Love Affair

I’m sorry this is a belated post about the group but I’ve been spinnin ‘Blind’ quite religiously today (to the point of eardrum reverberation insanity) and thought that the internet could never have enough blogposts about groundbreakingly fresh and slightly haunting disco!

The amazingly named group actually remained under my radar amongst all the hype back in the first half of the year. Well yeah… I had heard of them but I just assumed they were the same or sounded the same as Heartsrev/Hail Social/Hold Steady and H-etc artists I’m not oblivious to anymore… promise!

Anyway, shamed belatedness aside- HERCULES & LOVE AFFAIR ARE INCREDIBLE. ‘Blind’ is one of the freshest songs I’ve heard all year.
In fact, If I was working for an elitist music publication I’d be giving them a well deserved 9 out of 10.

Antony’s voice is so captivating! I’m not sure any other vocalist could really do this song justice or give it such a powerful edge. He really will turn this track into a timeless one.

Together with the first-class vintage melodic backdrop we have one of the finest songs of the year!