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.Broadcast-Haha Sound & other LP’s
The Internet has made it so that any information we seek can be found out almost instantly. We are almost always just a few short keystrokes from the answer we seek. You can learn about a scandal in seconds of it happening. You can find out, almost immediately, when a record was released. You no longer have to wait for Rolling Stone to hit the shelves or even trade magazines. This is the positive stuff that has taken place with the innovation of the Internet. It has also made it so that you learn about sad news immediately too. Earlier this week a very dear and close friend posted on Facebook that he had lost his son a few hours after he was born. He had sent me a direct message before, but in just minutes dozens of his friends were sharing their condolences. I quickly thought about an interview Chris Carter did in a book called Tape Delay back in 1987. In it, he mentioned that he couldn’t understand the process in America whereby we grieve and then move on almost instantly. I wondered if it was just us Americans anymore. I mean, with so much information to consume, has this not become a commonplace throughout the world now? When learning of my friend’s loss, I felt a pain in my chest that hasn’t gone away in almost a week. I will be in Seattle tomorrow to offer my condolences in person.
Just a day later I learned from ASMO that Trish Keenan (lead singer) of the band Broadcast had lost her battle with pneumonia. The news of losses has almost been too much for me these past few months. First, with Sleazy Christopherson, Mick Karn and now these recent losses. All of these people I admired greatly. Mortality is a reality that faces us all, it’s true. However, accepting it is sometimes the hard part. Especially when you wonder if you have achieved what you were destined to.
Naturally, I played several Broadcast recordings this week. Haha Sound is a great pop record. I think they may have been going after that Brian Wilson/Pet Sounds type of sound for this. They succeeded too. They also went through a few producers during this recording, none of them understanding what they were going after. It would take Tom Jenkinson of Squarepusher to be the inspiration they needed to complete the project. He recorded with them one weekend and got the inspiration moving forward. The drums provided by Neil Bullock are intense. This gives the album a very solid backbeat to contrast the beautiful Trish Keenan vocals and the electronics provided by James Cargill and company. I love this recording very much. Trish, you will be missed. Check out this album for a great place to start on the Broadcast discography.
2.The Black Keys-Brothers
This band is playing at Coachella this year. Before this week, I didn’t know anything about them. A friend of mine put me onto this. I’m glad he did. From the moment Everlasting Light kicks in with its thumping drums and rhythmic guitar, I knew I was going to be in for a very nice treat. This is a rockier affair than I was expecting, but it seems to work well for my taste. There are even some hints of synthesizers for texture or they could be just processed guitars. Who knows! Standouts for me are the first track, Next Girl and Howlin’ For You had me bobbing my head repeatedly.
Peter “Hooky” Hook once said this is among his favorite New Order albums. It does feature a little less electronics than most No albums. There is lots of his signature bass playing too. That’s probably why I imagine he likes it so much! Nonetheless, there are several great tracks on this LP. I remember buying this at Odyssey Records on Las Vegas Boulevard-the only record store I knew that was open 24 hours a day. We were lucky to have that. Sadly, that place is long gone.
When we built the house we live in now, this was my soundtrack for a week. I was alone every night. The house was completely empty, except for an Internet connection, some speakers and this album. It filled up the entire house with sound. I remember it echoing on every level. I felt a little lonely too, but this provided me some much needed company. Paradise, Weirdo, Bizzare Love Triangle and even the comical Every Little Counts make this an album worth listening to time and again. If you haven’t given this album much listening to or have simply ignored it, pick it up. You wont regret it.
This is here because I left it off my year end list of top albums. I couldn’t believe I did that, as I must have played this album for a month straight. They hail from the Greater Manchester, England area. I have a soft-spot for all things from this general geography. I love the vocals, lyrics and even those mild hints of a Peter Hook type bass that lingers throughout the album. They are signed to the great Modular label. This album was such a surprise for me last summer. It’s one of those albums that will put you in a great mood from the very first moment it starts.
5.Discodeine-Synchronize ft.Jarvis Cocker
I purchased this earlier in the week just because Jarvis Cocker (Pulp fame) was singing on it. It’s a pop diddy, but I have to recommend it. It’s got a great melody, piano riff and even some nice beats and synthesizers. The EP on iTunes offers up some good remixes and even an instrumental version for those of you that want to mix that into your DJ set.
6.Brian Eno-Music For Airports
I went to the Vogue Theater last Monday to see Brian Eno do his An Illustrated Talk presentation. He talked about science, film, and other topics, but it was his candid anecdotes about music that I enjoyed the most. Our seats were in the second row of the theater. It was a great place to use my Fire field recorder app. The partly improvised presentation was about 2 hours long in length and rather enjoyable. Before and after the show I enjoyed some good conversations with friends. Before the show, we met up with some friends who were watching the Auburn vs Oregon BCS Championship game. It was kind of an interesting contrast for me that evening. We shifted from testosterone driven chit chat to the more scholarly type of mindset that Eno puts you in after the event. There was some great conversations to be had that night on many levels.
So, why Music For Airports? I played this just because it was the first Eno recording I ever purchased many years ago. I purchased Roxy Music records before that, but this was the first recording of his I purchased. It brought back some good memories and I really believe it is a good recording. This sound has almost become a cliche for him now. I mean, you can find presets by name Instant Eno on lots of romplers out there now. Still, it is a recording worth listening to today. I still haven’t heard The Black Dog’s answer to this record-Music For Real Airports. I will have to get to that this year.
6.Shit Robot-I Got A Feeling(From The Cradle To The Rave)
I know this is getting played to death in clubs. Still, it’s a nice track that keeps you waiting for several minutes before the anthem type vocals kick in. I like it and all it’s 8 minutes of music. BTW, I don’t really have the time to go to clubs anymore. I’d rather sit in a pub and wax philosophical anyway, but this is a nice track for you club minded folks out there.
7.Only Fools And Horses-Spectacle Wins(Holy Ghost! Remix)
As my friends will tell you, I am a huge Holy Ghost! fan. I don’t really care about the genre types people give them. I just like their remixing skills. They always manage to do something a little different with their use of guitars, bass and synthesizers. If I had an album out, I’d want to get the Holy Ghost! treatment. One of my favorite new acts over the past few years. They’ve done several remixes that I adore, including the Mark Ronson-Somebody To Love Me, but this one made its way onto my iPod and I liked it.
8.James Blake – The Wilhelm Scream (live at BBC Maida Vale Studios)
I tweeted about this earlier in the week. I’m really enjoying the tracks I’ve heard so far by this artist, including, Limit to Your Love, which I mentioned last week. This was one was recorded live with it’s sparse electronics, guitar and drums. I also like the way it builds up into a sparse echo frenzy toward the end and fades back into the track’s beautiful minimalism.
This is James performing live at the legendary BBC Maida Vale Studios. James was one of the shortlisted acts in the BBC’s Sound of 2011 list – you can get more info about the list here.