This is the weekly installment where we recap what we’ve been spinning at The Synthesizer Book headquarters during the week. If it’s on this list, it got played more than once!
1.Alabama 3 (A3)-Woke Up This Morning
This track popped up randomly. It played at the end of something I was playing in iTunes. I can’t even remember what came before it now. I had no idea these guys were from Brixton, London. Great track. At first I thought it was Shriekback. The singer reminds me of Barry Andrews. I love vocals in the baritone range. Jhonn Balance had that appeal too. Great track to end the week. There are some great remixes of this track too on iTunes.
2.Coil-The Hills Are Alive (Unnatural History II)
I tend to consume myself in topics. I’m either an all in or forget it type of person. I’m not a big believer in sound-bytes, and brief explanations rarely work with me. So, this week, after the very unfortunate passing of Peter ‘Sleazy’ Christopherson, I’ve been thinking, reading, writing and listening to just about everything I can of his. I was reading an obituary on The Quietus and one of the writers mentioned this track. It’s a dance track of sorts, but not just any dance track. The track is filled with slight unexpected twists throughout. That alone easily makes it a standout. Jonny Mugwump mentioned that it stood out for him from a compilation he had purchased. It’s easy to see the how and why. If the experimentalism of Coil is hard for you to digest (why would it!?), seek out some of their more uptempo dance oriented tracks. Christopherson and Balance were raving and making dance type tracks before it would become the cliche it is today. I like my uptempo beats to have a dark bent. Seek this track out if you’re tired of the genre type formulas.
This is another album that gets played a lot in the car. It’s actually my 3 year old that demands this one all the time now. It used to be my older son, but he’s moved onto Stray Cats, Bonobo and Massive Attack’s Heligoland. Yeah, my sons make listening to music fun. Foxx used minimal electronic gear to make this album. His departure from Ultravox couldn’t have come at a better time. In 1980 he and Gareth Jones did a monumental job with an ARP Odyssey synthesizer, a Roland CR-78 drum machine, a string synthesizer, some pedals, Foxx’s voice, and not much else. They created a new sound that would make this a vital album for the synthesizer-pop genre. There is another Hackney duo that should be mentioned, but I’ll let you figure that one out!
4.Coil- The Ape of Naples
This is the last album Coil would make before the passing of Jhonn Balance. It’s become one of my favorite Coil LP’s. Great name and I’d love to hear about the inspiration for that from someone. A great album you should purchase. I had to cut a lot of wood this past weekend and this is what I had on in my headphones. I played it at least 6 times that day.
5.Coil- Musick To Play In The Dark Vol. 1 & 2
See above and throughout the site and you’ll figure it out. From the moment Are You Shivering comes on, we know we’re in for a special treat. It’s instant dread followed by more of Coil’s unexpected. Beautiful riffs, melodies, grooves and the type of lyrics only Coil could do. I ordered these 2 albums earlier in the year on CD. Never got my hands on the limited editions and they fetch a few hundred dollars sometimes. Worth it?…Absofreakinlutely.
6.Group Home-Livin’ Proof
Something happens to me every winter. I tend to gravitate toward my Akai MPC’s. Not contrived, but almost naturally. It’s been Logic world for me this past month and the switch in gears to Akai only was welcome. I tend to listen to Hip-Hop more now than any other part of the year too. I’m not sure why, really. This album reminds me of a few cold winters back. We had a massive snowstorm. I had to go to a very lavish Christmas party at the Vancouver Aquarium. It was a corporate sponsored event. I just remember the Beluga whales and the steam coming off their spouts. I remember lots of snow and some weird (or not!) happenings in the bathrooms and by the shark tanks. You gotta love corporate events from dot-coms! People just let their hair down and cut loose. This album was playing at a pre-party event I had gone to earlier that evening. This got played again this week. Hip-Hop heads might accuse me of being “backpacker-ish.” I don’t care. This is the type of Boom-Bap I dig. Great album for this cold weather.
Check out some iPhone photos from the sold out show this past week. What a great artist and his live band really impressed me. This album is not a new listen for me. My youngest son is a very big fan of Bonobo. He makes me play track 3, 6, & 9 over and over and over again. That’s how he remembers them. Kids love repetition! Black Sands will be on my yearly list of top albums. It’s a fantastic album that deserves repeated listens. Even if it’s at the repeated request of a young boy! He didn’t get to go the concert. He asked if he could. I did get him a 7 inch record, which he really liked.
Earlier in the week I talked about Four Tet. Adem is 1/3 of Fridge. I played this album so much when it was first released back in 2004. Like the minimalism of Nico’s Desertshore, this too comes in handy this week, as I was seeking something to remind me that good songwriting need not always contain step sequencers, massive plug-ins and banks of synthesizers. This was a favorite of Roger O’Donnell (The Cure) too, I remember.
9.Scanner Vs. DJ Spooky-The Quick and the Dead
Robin Rimbaud (Scanner) launched his online shop earlier this week. Check the post below. There is some albums of his that I do not have and will be getting soon. This one is not on there, but one I played this week. This collaboration was again, something unexpected at the time. The New York DJ vs. the London experimentalist. That alone should make you pause, right? It’s a great album filled with beats, turntable-isms, soundscapes, samples, and the standouts for me are Guanxi and Journey. This 1999 release still sounds good to my ears. I’m glad I purchased it and really enjoyed playing this again. I think I had just moved to Seattle when I purchased this.
10.Scanner-Reason By Heart, Sleep By Twilight
Great atmospheric sounding album. I love the cover (see above). I think that was a motivator for purchase. The music is noteworthy as well. Close your eyes, and listen. Mesmerizing. Then go check out his new shop at http://scanner.greedbag.com