The Weekly LP & Singles Platter, Please!

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!

I’d like to dedicate this week’s “Platter” to all the folks in Japan, whom, I hope find comfort sooner than later. As I watched this week at all of the visuals, it was many of these tracks that provided me with the reflection I needed to digest what had unfolded right before my very eyes.

1.Barbara Morgenstern & Robert Lippok-Tesri
I had to wait a few weeks to get this album in the mail. It’s a common occurrence. One that you sort of get used to. Yes, I could have scoured the Internet for a torrent or file, but some things are just worth waiting for. There is a little bit of everything here for you electronic fiends out there. Whether it’s the kickin drums on the opener, the piano chords on Sommer, the Soul type vocals, or even the 8 bit sound on Kaitusuri, the output here is diverse. Collaborations are always either hit or miss. So what category does this fall in? I think it’s an underground hit. Not in a stand in front of a mirror and dance sort of way or, “hey let me play you this new album…” sort of way. If there were wallpaper music, then this would be the red kind. The one you might find in a Russian restaurant or that favorite college pub. My favorite track on here so far is White Rise Rabbit. Although it’s an instrumental, it moves you along quite nicely and never pushes too far. Come to think of it, that about sums up this album. And for those of you that know me, sometimes that is all I really need.

2.Diamond Rings-Special Affections
I saw Diamond Rings perform on Friday night at the Biltmore Cabaret, which has easily become one of my favorite places to watch a show. But, would someone please raise that stage a few inches? Good friends of mine got me a ticket. They new I would like it. I think they might know me well. I was also given the album and was quite impressed with this album. I was very excited to see him perform. I didn’t know much about him then. Actually, I still don’t know much about this artist. Except that I would highly recommend you get to a club, bar or festival where he is playing and check him out. His set features a MIDI controller, Mac laptop running Ableton Live, a Roland drum pad and his guitar. Doesn’t sound like much, but even with all his silly Hipster regalia and makeup, I was floored. I was impressed at the screaming women. I was inspired by the vibe at the Biltmore that night. The fine folks at Speakerboxxx.com mentioned something about the mixed crowd as evidence that he is making a deep impact across many genres, and I couldn’t agree more. Thanks Jenny for the ticket and thank you Jake for this album. Very good stuff, friends. Have fun in Portland.

3.Atticus Ross-The Book of Eli
He is an Academy Award winner. He is a member of the legendary band, 12 Rounds. He is a long time collaborator of Trent Reznor. He is a person of high interest around here and not just because of what he has done lately either. So, don’t get any bright ideas, alright? The Book of Eli is another great score for him in my estimation. This movie is a funny one for me. It’s one of those movies I tried watching 2 times on a plane. There are several movies like that, but this one kept me wondering what the heck really happens at the end. Each time I watched it on a plane, I would be interrupted by something or other. I finally got to watch it around the holidays and so the score that accompanied it was obviously on my list. The Dystopian nature of the movie owes quite a bit to the Ross score and I’m quite happy I got my hands on it. Make sure you give this a listen if you want to hear one of his many contributions to films.

4.Ministry-Same Old Madness(Industrial Legacy Vol 6.)
It’s hard to imagine that the person who gave us such hard industrialized sounds like those on The Land Of Rape & Honey, Filth Pig, and albums like Dark Side of the Spoon could quite possibly have given us such iconic synth-pop. Nonetheless, it is a reality and it did freakin happen. I still remember walking into clubs and hearing many tracks off of With Sympathy, the era Same Old Madness is from. It was this record, at least to an American like me, that was so inspiring and greatly influential. Of course those weren’t the only Ministry tracks played in clubs. I still have my 12 inch records for Everyday Is Halloween and Cold Life to name but a few. As the electronic sounds got harder, so too did Al Jourgenson’s output. Just give his album Twitch a listen and you can see that it wasn’t just Trent Reznor and his Nine Inch Nails that influenced Industrial music. Of course there are obvious others too and you cannot say the word “Insdustrial” without mentioning Throbbing Gristle, who had single-handidly industrialized the sound of music a decade before. Maybe Al Jourgenson did With Sympathy because he needed to fix that hole on his roof. Maybe he just needed the money. Maybe he would rather forget this era of music altogether. Nonetheless, my Cuban compadre, you and your collaborators like Revolting Cocks were an immense influence on me.

5.G.D. Luxxe-Vendetta EP
The snare on the first track, Reasons, is just poppin. On this EP, there are lots of synthesizers, from the FM bell type to analog washes throughout. One of the things that is evident is right from go, G.D. Luxxe, aka Gerhard Potuznik, is into his drum machines and their sounds. One of my favorite tracks on this EP is Metawelt which has a very Depeche Mode type of bassline throughout. The drums throughout are super crispy tight. Potuznik’s vocals work and compliment the tracks on this EP very well. Also on Vendetta is a red hot track called Quiet Life, that features none other than Solvent himself. Thanks to Jason Amm. This is very good, indeed. I’d like to learn a little more about this Vienna native.

6.To Rococo Rot-Speculation
I always talk about the To Rococo Rot guys. Robert Lippok is a Synthesizer Book favorite. You have to know this. This album features quite a bit of free-form jamming from the Lippok brothers and bass player Stefan Schneider. Check out other posts herein to learn more about this group. These Berliners have created a very tasteful collection of tracks here. There is not much mechanical going on, but rather something that would’ve come after rock. I kept feeling I was in the studio listening to a jam after a couple of glasses of wine. The fact that they created this in rural Germany makes perfect sense. Overall, the recordings are loose, live sounding and they definitely provide an atmospheric experience. This album was released on Domino Records in 2010.

7.The Mitgang Audio-The View From Your New Home (suction019)
There are always good things that come from Brooklyn. Over the past few years I could swear that 5 out of the 10 albums I buy feature a Brooklynite. What’s in the water? I wonder. Maybe all those experimental schools have really paid off. This album was originally released in November 2003 on Suction Records. It has quite a lot of synth-pop elements throughout and overall this collection of tracks works.

8.John Foxx-The Noise (from Modern Art – the Very Best of John Foxx)
To all the regular readers, you obviously know I am a big John Foxx fan and, come to think of it, so is my family. I am counting down the days for my copy of Interplay to arrive so, in typical junkie form, I’ve been playing just about anything John Foxx I could get my hands on. It’s a simple track about noise. It features a nice drum part, a square wave bass pulse, and it even has a little blippy synth to make synth fiends all around smile and remind themselves that the origins of synth-pop are still intact. Boy am I glad I’m not talking about Hip-Hop!

9.Owen Pallett-Heartland
Alright, I’m a little late to the table with this release. Over a year to be precise…but better late than never, right? I’ve been hearing and reading rave reviews about this artist for a long time. I even had the audacity to pass up a couple of chances to see him live. So, I figured I’d better check him out. I got my hands on this and have played it several times. It’s good. It’s got that Indie feel throughout. The sound is meticulous with detail. The dreamy nature created by the synthesizers and percussion remind me in part of Broadcast, Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds or maybe something all together different or unique on its own. I’ve only played this a few times, but I know it’s going to be a favorite. Violins, horns, Nord Wave synthesizers? I don’t think I’ve been this excited since Beirut dropped his Gulag Orkestar LP. My favorite so far is Oh Heartland, Up Yours! for its melody, quarter note bassline and of course Pallett’s great vocal. There is much more to this LP, and this review and my exploration could easily continue. I don’t quite know what people associate the synth with anymore, but if for the next few years it includes albums like this, then bring it on. I’m ready.

10. Bon Iver & St. Vincent-Rosyln(Twilight Motion Picture Soundtrack)
Like the Twilight movies or not, this is one great song. It’s one of my favorites, with Thom Yorke’s, Hearing Damage winning the top slot. Makes me wish I was slow dancing with a beautiful Vampire or maybe just a woman wearing a corset and dark lipstick! This track gets played often. I played it on the way home earlier and so here it is. If you haven’t heard this yet or experienced it in the movie, make sure you check it out. Not everything we play features the synthesizer and when it sounds this good, it doesn’t need to.

The Weekly LP & Singles Platter, Please!

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.Hot Panda-Volcano…Bloody Volcano
I stayed at home with my 3 year old earlier this week. He was running a fever and looking rather sad most of the morning. As a parent, you start to worry. Late that morning the doorbell rang and it was the mailman with my Hot Panda album. A few seconds later I hear “was dat?” and I replied that it was a record. He asked if he could have it. I obliged. He made his way down to the studio, turned on the turntable, asked for some help and hit the start button. From that moment on it was as if he had breathed new life. Let me be honest, I don’t know if it was entirely the music that cheered him up. It could have been a bunch of things really, but when you’re worrying about their well being and something, anything, cheers them up, you take note. I saw this band last week and have been really interested to learn more about them. You know I’m going to tell you it’s a good album. Whether they intend to make rock and roll is still not immediately obvious, but the mixture of tracks here is a reminder that this band will do well in the coming years and I wish them well and will say it again, keep your eye on this band.

2.Solvent-Apples & Synthesizers
This is a good album that I am glad I got back into again. This originally came out on Ghostly International. It got some much deserved press in several magazines I read back then. Using step sequencers, vocoders and his vast collection of analog synthesizers, he put this album together. I haven’t asked him yet, but I wonder if the Apples title has anything to do with Morton Subotnick’s Silver Apples of the Moon. I’ve always liked Solvent records and this is the one that set it all off for me. One thing that makes Jason Amm aka Solvent so appealing to folks like me is, he’s not afraid to show us all what he uses on his albums. Just read his record sleeves or go to his website here, and you will get the 411 on what is good. Stay tuned as we will be interviewing Solvent and some of the other artists on Suction Records very soon. We will be asking him about lots of synthesizer goodness.

3.Solvent-Loss For Words
For some reason I just love the intensity of the kick drum on this track. The intro has a filtered drum machine sound…as if someone squeezed out all of the low end. However, all of a sudden the kick drum just booms right in your face and I like that very much. It is followed by some good analog string sounds and Solvent’s vocals. Subject To Shift has been on my turntable for most of the week, but this track is one of my favorites and I can see why it was released as a single as well. If you’re wondering where to start with his latest LP, I would suggest to check here first. It’s a good indication about just how far he has come over the last few years. We’re fans. That’s our story and that’s what we’re sticking to.

4.Apparat-DJ Kicks
The track list on this album reads like an all-star list. In all there are 24 tracks on offer. Some of the artists include, Burial, Four Tet, Thom Yorke, Joy Orbison, Tim Hecker and lots, lots more. My favorite though, is still the one done by Joshua Eustis of Telefon Tel Aviv. You can read more about it here if you so desire.

5.John Foxx-Ghost On Water & Like A Miracle
These 2 tracks are off of an album called The Golden Section. The LP was originally released in 1983. I picked this record up in a local record shop last Fall. It was in the bargain bin. “It’s John Foxx,” is what I thought when I first purchased it. I think John Foxx was right to go back to the electronic sound with his upcoming album, Interplay. It’s where I think he sounds best… singing over analog beats and lots of synthesizers. Of all the tracks on The Golden Section it is Ghost On Water and Like A Miracle that sound closest to that Metamatic sound. Gareth Jones is credited as engineer on these tracks and on a few others too, but I was left wondering if his involvement had something to do with the sound that is the completed product. Either way, I played this LP quite a bit, but it was these 2 that stuck out for me. They have those echo filled signature John Foxx vocals and there is a bit more synthesizer on these than some of the other tracks on the album. This came out around the time when everyone quit calling them synthesizers and went with the mass accepted keyword “Keyboard”. On this record too, JJ Jeczalik is credited as Fairlight programmer, but I don’t hear much after the first few bars that sound programmed on Someone. Twilight’s Last Gleaming, the albums closer, also is worth a few spins too.

6.David Byrne & Brian Eno-Everything That Happens Will Happen Today
With Brian Eno you can always expect some artsy name to be associated to his work. Whether its an album, song or art installation. So, if everything that happens will happen today, Mr. Eno, what can we expect? Or has most of it happened today and I’m just catching up. This was released in 2008 and since David Byrne has been on my mind for a while, I thought I’d give it a spin. I also saw Brian Eno give one of his talks a couple of months back. I like these artists and this is a good album with some good tracks. Of course nothing will beat the work they did together on the Talking Heads albums, or even My Life In The Bush With Ghost, but this is good and I recommend it. There are some synthesizers sprinkled throughout, but these guys are legends and this is a good album too. I’ve reviewed this before, but I played it a few times and so, here it is again.

7.Erceus Exit-Compensation For The Sound of Silence
Richard Duggan is behind this recording and responsible for most all of the output contained within this album. The whole time while I was listening to this album, I just kept thinking about when electronic music had developed into a much harder sound. Like at the start of the 1990’s to be a bit more specific. Synth-pop had reached its saturation point and top 40 charts had exploited the formulas of the previous years and left anyone with a non-conformist attitude seeking to find something else. To me it seemed like no one wanted the softness of synthesizers mixed in with pop anymore. Bands like Nine Inch Nails, Skinny Puppy, Front 242 and even Ministry were using synthesizers and electronics to produce harder and much darker music. I gotta say, this isn’t a bad thing in this present time or looking back on it retrospectively. Richard was also my Logic instructor. We had some good conversations about dynamic range which seems to be missing from much of what is out there right now. That said, there are lots of artists not cranking up the compression and overwhelming us with side-chaining walls of noise too. Some are presenting another side to the aural assault. Duggan is one them. There are 12 tracks on the this album and there is another CD with different remixes of the tracks. I like this album’s intensity, vocals and the nod back to a time when electronic tracks were getting harder and darker. To learn more about this artist go here.

8.The Chemical Brothers-Container Park(Hanna Motion Picture Soundtrack)
I’m surprised at all the recent electronic soundtracks. Actually, maybe not surprised, but rather extremely happy that some of the artists I admire are making scores for movies. I guess you can’t be a touring and club musician your entire life. If you could, why would you!? The makers of this movie are saying the The Chemical Brothers score will rival the ones for Social Network and Tron Legacy. Yes, they went there and I appreciate the bravado. My only question is when are they going to make an album that sounds like this? Although I’ve only heard bits a pieces of the score done by Tom Rowlands and Ed Simons, already I’m looking forward to its release in a couple of weeks.

9.Discodeine-Discodeine
French producers Pilooski and Pentile have produced one very good synthesizer filled album. The French have really been leading the way over the past decade with electronic music, in my opinion. It’s not that they’re making revolutionizing electronic music, it’s just they’ve taken the best elements of the past and mix it well with the present, and I like that. There are some good dark moments mixed in throughout this album. There is even a little bit of what sounds like Calypso on Falkenberg. There are some minimal Disco elements, but what I like most is that it’s not that contrived or overdone as has been the recent trend. There are some robust synthesizer textures throughout . As you would expect, there are some great drums throughout too. It’s become a necessity, right? Antiphonie starts out with what sounds like a plucked stringed instrument. It sounds kind of like some eastern koto or something. Then it builds into a dark masse of sound. Right in the middle of the album is when I think they start sounding really good, especially with Ring Mutilation, Depression Skit and Grace. Homo Compatible sounds like the intro to a suspense or even a horror movie. In a previous platter I reviewed Synchronize. This is the track that features the former Pulp frontman, Jarvis Cocker. What you need to know is that this album has a little bit of everything and please, for the love what is good, do not pigeonhole this album. It’s electronic, it’s got lots of synthesizers and it sounds damn good.

10.Billie Ray Martin-Sweet Suburban Disco (Vince Clarke Remix)
I was checking out some Chris Carter favorites on Soundcloud and stumbled onto this track. I like what Vince Clarke has been up to in his Cabin studio lately and this is no exception. It’s a club track that I am quite certain is getting some spins. I wouldn’t know, but I’d be willing to bet. It’s a tasty track featuring the very wonderful voice of Billie Ray Martin. It’s got a stomping 4 on the floor kick too and some good synthesizer swells throughout and those electronic high pitched toms made me smile. Great stuff. Give it a listen right now.


The Weekly LP & Singles Platter, Please!

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.Hot Panda-How Come I’m Dead
The album starts out with what sounds like a harmonium and quickly the discordant vocals kick in. I had the good fortune of checking out this band last Thursday at the Biltmore Cabaret. Opening for them was The Albertans and Analog Bell Service. I’m going to say this was a great show to catch. I’m still confused why many people decided to leave before the headline act. I mean, you waited that long. It’s Thursday night, folks. Where you gotta be? I’m really enjoying this album. There are several good tracks here and overall, this deserves some critical acclaim and a spot in your collection. Among the tracks I’m enjoying are Membership Fees (Intro), Pools, Shoot Your Horse, F**k S**t Up / Hell Hey Hex, and with names like Poor Little Ambulance and Clever Fox and Mindlessnesslessness,… er did I get that right?, it’s clear this band has a sense of humor. Also, with a rhythm section of 2 girls, plus one that also happens to be a singing drummer, how could you possibly go wrong?

2.John Foxx & Robin Guthrie-Mirrorball
I talked about this album before. It reminds me a little of the Cocteau Twins, but why should that be a surprise, right? It’s got Robin Guthrie for a large portion of the output. This is a great duo featuring plenty of angelic type textures, the beautiful voice of John Foxx and the guitar virtuosity of Robin Guthrie. I played this on the way to a show and it put me in such a mellow state that my friends thought I had been sleeping. What a great album to wind down to. Simply awesome and it felt like it almost put a spell on me.

3.Solvent-Subject To Shift
Earlier I posted a video of Jason Amm aka Solvent and his Roland CR-78 drum machine. I got some of the facts wrong and he let me know it! I dig this album. I dig his gear fetishism, but most of all, thanks for reading, Jason. For all you synthesizer fetishists, get your hands on this. Read the previous post and check out the video here.

4.12 Rounds-My Big Hero
I forgot my iPod the other day. I had to resort to the CD changer. This came up in rotation and it was interesting because just this week, a certain Atticus Ross, just so happens to have won an Academy Award with his collaborator Trent Reznor. That this CD was in there was just a coincidence really. The CD has been in there for over a year. Still, it’s a great album featuring, as said, Atticus Ross and his wife and partner Claudia Sarne on vocals and bass. This album would wind up being released on Trent Reznor’s Nothing label.

The standouts for me on this LP are Sunshine and Where Fools Go. Those tracks just make you wanna move. You can’t discount the title track, My Big Hero either. To learn more about 12 Rounds go here. I also just found out that Atticus Ross did the score for Book of Eli. Good stuff, indeed.

5.Eurythmics-In The Garden
Conny Plank co-produced this with the Eurythmics. They would pack up their minimal gear and go to Cologne to record this with Plank. I also remember reading in Keyboard magazine in a 1984 issue that they had used a Roland SH-09 and Korg MS-20 for some of the synthesizer parts. If I remember correctly, there was an EDP Wasp synthesizer used on that LP too. This was to be their debut album as the Eurythmics. The album was originally released in Europe in 1981. It wouldn’t be released in the States until many, many years later, but it’s a good album and I’m glad it made its way into my library. The album features the vocals of Annie Lennox and the great guitar work of Dave Stewart as well as various synthesizers of which he would become quite a fan of around this period. Every time I hear the intro of Belinda I am reminded of the Edge of U2. Then again, I’m sure lots of people were going for that delayed guitar effect too. If you like the Eurythmics, you have to have this album in your collection. Trust me.

The Weekly LP & Singles Platter, Please!

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.Radiohead-The King of Limbs
I was going through my Facebook news feed one morning this week and was notified that Radiohead had pre-released their new album, The King of Limbs. Attached to the feed was the video for Lotus Flower, featuring a gyrating Thom Yorke sporting a derby hat with his hipster looking oxford shirt. There is no band… just Thom Yorke in all his panache. The following night a few of my friends and I attended the Yo La Tengo show at the Rickshaw. Before the event, as we walked over to a friend’s house to meet up, we thought we’d introduce them to the new Radiohead album. Well, to our surprise or not, they were already listening to it. How’s that for viral marketing, huh? Not even out for 48 hours, and already in the hands of 4 out of 5 of my friends I was out with that night. This album is fantastic. The drums, the bass, the arpeggio type guitars, Thom Yorke… you know I’m going to tell you that it works. It sounds brilliant even. So, don’t take it from me, go get yourself a copy here.

2.Matt and Kim-Sidewalks
I was told by a friend that radio stations are playing the skylights out Cameras right now. I don’t listen to much radio so I didn’t know! I still like the track. I’m enjoying this album and can’t wait to give it some focused attention. Their LP Grand was a welcome surprise upon its release and a good background to all the shows the hits appeared on. The only reason why this didn’t get much more spins this week was that I purchased it on the same week Radiohead released their LP, and what else am I supposed to do people? That said, this is a good album overall. There are 10 tracks that offer pop style vocals, tight drums and lots of synthesizer goodness throughout.

3.Cut Copy-Zonoscope
Some people borrow the worst elements of decades past and some are inspired by the best parts of the early 80’s synth-pop. On Zonoscope, Cut Copy do a fantastic job of creating pop songs that seem like they could easily fit neatly on the A-list of pop radio stations all over the world. Yet without a doubt, they still maintain an appeal that seems relevant right now to more than just the top 40 listener. Upon first hearing Need You Now, I heard elements of OMD. I hear New Order on some other tracks too. I hear Cause & Effect. I can’t help myself really, these are my childhood idols. Still, everything on offer on this album works as a whole. Take Me Over has me bobbing my head in time and wishing one of the guitarists I collaborate with could play the jangly type of guitars found here. This album could easily be their breakthrough into pop stardom and the more I think about it really,… why the heck not? I don’t think they compromised and I’m going to get angry if I read a review that says so. What Cut Copy have done is create one really good pop-inspired creation. They’re on tour with Holy Ghost! and my only question is, why are you guys not playing in Vancouver? Come on now!

4.Hype Williams-Businessline
There was a comment on xlr8r, where the person said something like,…”I really wanna like this band, but just can’t.” Until then I couldn’t quite figure out how I felt about them either. I had my doubts too and for a brief second I even wondered why I kept wanting to listen more. The person mentioned that their tracks sound like unfinished tracks which they have opted to release. Is that the reason why I have an attraction? Is my desire to seek unpolished music behind it all? I don’t know if that’s it, really. This track sounds like something you could find on a sci-fi b-movie or a late night teen angst film rerun. There is definitely something alluring in all of their tracks. The synth swells, the cheap drum machine loops and the out of tune synth at the end here… it keeps piquing my interest somehow. I still wonder if they deserve all of the hype they’ve been getting. I won’t lie about that. Some of that hype can even be found here. However, for now I think I’ll keep listening until I’ve made up my mind. One Nation is their forthcoming album.

From xlr8r.com:
…Like on “Businessline” from their forthcoming LP for Hippos in Tanks, One Nation (pictured above), Hype Williams lets a simple hip-hop beat carry a few precious synth melodies that simultaneously sound lifted from the love scene in a late-’70s sci-fi B movie and like two kids just jamming in their basement on a rainy day.

You can get the single from xlr8r.com here.

5.John Foxx & The Maths-Catwalk & Evergreen
It’s been 30 years since John Foxx has released an all analog synthesizer album. Who knew? This was also really good news that I received this week. I didn’t wait long and went right over to Townsend Records and purchased Interplay. I checked out the video for Catwalk and was instantly smiling at the sound and that synthesizer candy found onstage. With the pre-order you get one download track. Evergreen was the download and upon first hearing it, I came to one conclusion. Retro sounding synth-pop albums sound best when they are made by the few select artists from decades past that did it first. I mean, how many of us have cited Metamatic as an influence? There is a certain kind of sincerity in these tracks that shouldn’t be denied. It doesn’t sound contrived. It sounds so very right to my ears. John Foxx has called his new partner Benge, the Conny Plank of today and I am really looking forward to hearing more output from these guys. I’ve got my hands on the stems for Shatterproof from Interplay LP and I can’t wait to remix those. If the remix works out, I’ll post it here first. Check out the previous post here.

From Townsend Records:
If you have pre-ordered already or if you pre-order now you will receive this one-off package to mark the release of Foxx’s first all-analogue synthesizer album in 30 years. You’ll also receive a download of an exclusive edit of the track, ‘Evergreen’. Once the initial 1500 copies have sold out, Interplay will be available in a more conventional jewel case.

You can pre-order a copy of Interplay here.

6.Chris & Cosey-Cowboys in Cuba (1982)
I don’t know what this video has to with Cuba, Cowboys or Chris and Cosey except that it features their track from the album Trance and I like it. The video features a sped up train journey from London Paddington to Birmingham via Leamington Spa in 1962. Chris and Cosey are another act from the decades past that could probably get away with producing another synth-pop album. Again, if you want to know what something should sound like, why not go right to the source. This band was there too just a hop skip and jump away from John Foxx.

7.Martin Solveig & Dragonette-Hello
My wife loves this song and I want to put one in for her. She’s made me listen to it a few times now! It features the husband and wife duo aka Dragonette. It’s catchy too. She’s grooving to it and why not. Love the Peter Hook type bass guitar on the breakdown. I’ll dedicate this one to you, gorgeous!

The Weekly LP & Singles Platter, Please!

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!

This week’s platter is inspired by my visit to the beautiful city of San Diego. I’ve always loved visiting San Diego. It’s been several years since I’ve been there. We went there to do the family thing! On the agenda was Legoland, the San Diego Zoo and lots of good old fashioned family time.

We rented a car and while driving out to Carlsbad, I stumbled on 94.9-It’s About The Music. Within several minutes, I heard Jeff Buckley, M83, Cocteau Twins, Zero 7, The Decemberists, Morrissey and many more great tracks. I have to admit that I am a little jealous. There are no good radio stations in Vancouver. Go on, name one!

1.M83-We Own The Sky
The first time I saw M83 perform live was in a tiny Vancouver club called Richards On Richards. In my opinion it was one of the best venues to watch a live show in Vancouver. Sadly, the venue doesn’t exist anymore. It’s now a giant hole in the ground where condos will be very soon. I saw countless shows there. Among them, Franz Ferdinand, Air, Zero 7, School of Seven Bells, and many others.
Anthony Gonzalez used a Roland JX-305 synthesizer quite a bit for his first few albums and on this track it adds a very lush beauty. This is is one of my favorite M83 tracks and it’s become an anthem of sorts every time I hear it.

2.The Clash-Clampdown
Like the DJ on the radio said, “…The Clash on Saturday night,…it just makes sense.” I think it does too. I really like The Clash as some of my previous platters will show. This track definitely worked when it played on the radio on our way to dinner. I found this video and liked the visuals and seeing my sons in the backseat of the car bobbing their heads was fantastic.


A music video I made for the song “Clampdown” by the Clash. Other than the opening footage of the band at the beginning, all footage is old Universal Newsreels which are now in the public domain and can be found at http://archive.org

3.Stone Temple Pilots-Sex Type Thing (Swing Type Version)
This particular track is off of the “Plush” single by Stone Temple Pilots. The original version got quite a bit of airplay when it was released and when it got played on 94.9 I remembered the Swing Type Version. I also remember buying this CD single at a Virgin Records store close to Newport Beach during one very great summer when we switched between Huntington Beach and Newport Beach. We attempted to learn how to surf that summer. As I recall we were quite unsuccessful with that endeavor, but we sure did enjoy all the many great pubs around the boardwalk and had some great times with the beach crawlers. Get ready to snap your fingers and if doesn’t make you think about Twin Peaks, then I don’t know what could. The melody on this version is played on xylophone and Scott Weiland’s lounge inspired vocals add to the track’s elegance.

4.James Blake-Self Titled
James Blake has been getting some much deserved attention lately. The anticipation for this album has been building and although there is no telling exactly where all of this will end up, I think it’s safe to say, this album will do really well. Make sure you check out some of his live performances with his Dave Smith Instruments Prophet 08 synthesizer. I love his sparse use of synthesizers, drum machines, and overall there is some very good songwriting on this LP. A good friend of mine got me onto James Blake by introducing me to his single, Limit To Your Love. Since then I’ve been wanting to hear much more and this album was quite welcomed.

5.Hype Williams-Untitled
Hype Williams is a video director. This Hype Williams though is Inga Copeland and Dean Blunt. I actually purchased Find Out What Happens When People Stop Being Polite, and Start Gettin Reel first. I liked it and I thought it deserved some of its acclaim. However, it is their first LP entitled Untitled that I think deserves a re-press and much more consideration. The experimental nature of the album with its thick layers of synthesizers and tin can/8 bit sounding Casio drum machines make it the better option for me. Dean Blunt says he doesn’t relate to American comedy. However, I can totally relate to this album.

6.Cake-I Will Survive
I never noticed the bass on this track before. I always dug its cheekiness, but for some reason, the bass just stuck out this time around. Cake has recently released their new album entitled, Showroom of Compassion. It is an album they recorded in their very modest solar powered studio. This version of I Will Survive is a very good one. However, contrary to the belief out there, it is not better than the original Gloria Gaynor version. It is a good track and I enjoyed hearing this driving down the I-5. Check out this interview on Electronic Musician regarding their new album here. They used a surprisingly minimal approach to record their new album

7.Matt & Kim-Cameras
From the moment the synthesized horns against the percussive drum machines kicks in with its carnival type feel, I knew I was going to like it. I purchased the the LP-Sidewalks, but haven’t played it all the way through. It’s this track that I wanted to write about as it will surely be a major hit in no time. Check out this video. It features the band in a punch up, like you would find on some Jason Statham film. I really hope they didn’t destroy that Korg Poly 800 synthesizer.

8.Broadcast-Future Crayon
You know the drill! I’m enamored with Broadcast and I miss Trish Keenan. I played this and all I could think about was her walking down the sunset of her life. The Future Crayon is a rarities and b-sides compilation released on August 21, 2006. Check it out.

9.Ladytron-The Harmonium Sessions
The Harmonium Sessions is an unplugged/minimal EP album by the British electro-pop band Ladytron. It contains remixed versions of four songs from Ladytron’s 2005 album, the Witching Hour. The minimal instrumentation on this is a good contrast to their electro-clash inspired sound and that’s exactly what I like about it. As the title suggests, it features the harmonium. Which reminds me, I’d love to get my hands one. The standout tracks for me are the reworkings of their hits Destroy Everything You Touch and the western styled, The Last One Standing.

10.Four Brothers-Soundtrack
Four Brothers was on Movie Central last week. I am a fan of John Singleton movies. This all-star ensemble cast worked really well. The setting is Detroit in the dead of winter. This 2005 action crime film was directed by John Singleton. Did I mention I like his movies?! The all-star ensemble cast features: Mark Wahlberg, Tyrese Gibson, Andre Benjamin and Garrett Hedlund (Tron Legacy). The film was shot in Detroit, Michigan and Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. It’s a classic American shoot em up. The soundtrack provides a perfect background for the film. It features several artists from Motown. If you’re feeling cold this winter, play this and it’s guaranteed to give you some warmness. You get The Temptations, Marvin Gaye and many more.

The Weekly LP & Singles Platter, Please! (Featuring Nym with Warm Blooded Lizard)

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.Nym-Warm Blooded Lizard
Concept albums are rare today. We simply have 1000’s of single tracks right in the palm of our hand all vying for our attention. If you didn’t suffer from Attention Deficit Disorder before, you might today. So when a concept album comes out, I take notice. Warm Blooded Lizard is not just any concept album to be sure. It takes its influence and inspiration from the music and emotions of the spaghetti western film genre, contrasted with the presence and attitude of instrumental hip hop. Think RJD2’s-Deadringer, if I were to make a quick comparison for you.

With affluence comes abundance and how many middle class bedroom studios come chock full of gear now?! So, it should be encouraging to find out that Nym used very little to create his latest opus. Having recorded the 16 tracks on offer over a span of 5 years, he now makes his home the beautiful city of San Francisco, where the album was completed.

When I asked him to tell me about what he used to make this album, he said the following:

“I just used my MPC1000jjos2xl, a partially broken midi keyboard, a homemade mini mixer midi controller, an entry level mackie mixer, a used technics1200, a ton of freeware vsts and programs, and a couple not free vsts (most notably POISE drumsampler). I used REAPER as DAW and effects host because it’s really customizable.”

You know what I’m going to say next right!?…You don’t need a ton of gear to make a good album. Listen to this and tell me otherwise, folks!

The Akai MPC1000 has always been central to his output. I remember his Edge City LP which featured nothing more than the MPC. He has been a big proponent of the MPC on the MPC Forums, where I have known him now for several years and seen his development as an independent artist.

Also featured on Warm Blooded Lizard is his friend Emancipator. Nym said he considered him an extremely talented instrumentalist. Emancipator was responsible for guitar on a couple of tracks. His friend Kathleen and Nym himself did vocals on a couple tracks as well. They used a low-end condenser mic powered by the Mackie to record.

Now lets get to the LP. As mentioned, there are 16 tracks on offer here. Each track is accompanied with its own cover art. That should help keep your visual attention, right? Right around the middle of the album is when I believe things really start to heat up. The guitar, vocals, beats and composition throughout the album are top notch. The melodies bring me back to those Sunday afternoons when my older brother and parents would take us to the local cinema to watch westerns. This was before people really worried about the Rated PG and Rated R ratings. Don’t judge!

Ennio Morricone and Sergio Leone would be proud of this nod in their direction. I would give Clint Eastwood a call and see if he might do a cameo on a video, Nym. He just might! Some of the standout tracks for me are Gunfire In The Sky, Rats!, Bandida, Prelude and Forlorn Hope. I could easily see Hanging become a pop hit. However, don’t just take my word for it. Go check it out for yourself. What else are you doing at work anyway?

For more about the album go to his website here. You can preview all of the tracks and support this independent artist. The album is on sale for $5 in whatever format you would like. And all for the low, low price of a double tall latte. Go Now!

Time to find my Fist Full of Dollars DVD. Maybe I will put it on silent and spin this album in the background.

2.Duran Duran-All You Need Is Now LP
I recently came in contact with a very old friend of mine on Facebook. She called Facebook a time machine. Was she ever right. We haven’t talked in 20 years. We performed together in plays, musicals and performance groups. We’ve been exchanging several emails these past couple of weeks and getting reacquainted. She is a screenwriter, designer and uses her spare time singing in a big band in Los Angeles. We discussed music. We always had that in common. She told me that Duran Duran had remained a constant for her. Duran Duran has been a constant for me too.

Duran Duran first 2 LP’s, the self titled Duran Duran and Rio, which were recorded and produced by the late Colin Thurston, feature some of my favorite tracks of all time. Although it was Giorgio Moroder, Kraftwerk and even Japan’s, Quiet Life that highlighted the arpeggiated sequence first, it was Duran Duran that made it the much sought after household effect of the synthesizer. The effect inspiring bedroom musicians of the 1980’s and even a whole new flock of young musicians to do the same.

I have purchased every album they have ever released. There is always something I have liked in each. Whether I adored every track on all their albums is another story. Nonetheless, they are like an old friend that I support by buying their albums. They always put on a great live show too.

My friend recommended I purchase their new LP. All You Need Is Now is scheduled to come out in physical form in March. You can get in on iTunes now. I was curious to see how the Mark Ronson formula panned out. It manages to work out quite well actually. There will be comparisons to some of their earlier LP’s. It’s only natural. The arpeggiators of Roland synthesizers is here. The signature Crumar Performer string synth is here too.

Duran Duran is a pop band. A pop band that has given us catchy hooks for over 30 years. Planet Earth celebrated its 30th year anniversary this week. Check out the post here. They have had several members come and go throughout the years; however, it’s the original lineup, minus Andy Taylor on this one, that build a collective magic pop formula. How I do wish Andy Taylor was back in the lineup though.

If you don’t like Hollywood endings at all, perhaps this is not the LP for you. If you accept it for what it is and can look past it, then this recording will no doubt provide you with some enjoyment. Besides, I can’t force my family to listen to my experimental albums. They just don’t get it. They like this album and so do I, for what it is.

Standout Tracks: Being Followed, Leave A Light On, Girl Panic, Before The Rain

Check out a video interview with Nick on Dazed Digital here. In the video Nick Rhodes talks about Mark Ronson and the arsenal of synthesizers they used to create All You Need Is Now.

3.Akira Yamasaki-Yamaha Tenori-On #02 (at the Yoshino Temple)
Akira is a Japanese musician. In my world, it’s been all things Tenori-On. I like what he does with the Tenori-On in his videos. He’s got several videos on Vimeo for you to watch. You can see Yamasaki performing with the instrument on the beach, by sunset and even a temple.

I liked this video in particular because in the true essence of live, he gets stopped by a groundskeeper at the Yoshino Temple. It happens just as the track starts to take off too. Good stuff.

To learn more about this video and see some others on Vimeo click here.

4.Chris & Cosey-Sweet Surprise
Chris & Cosey are performing today at the Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA) to a Sold Out audience. Oh, how I wish I was there to watch this historic event. I’m wishing them all the best and hope we get some good pictures of the gear used from Chris and maybe even some uploaded video by dinner time (fingers crossed).

Cover: Kevin Thorne / CTI

Sweet Surprise is a Chris and Cosey track. The track features Eurythmics singer Annie Lennox and Dave Stewart. Singer Annie Lennox provides the vocals, of course. The track was recorded in the mid 1980’s and features some good synthesizers, drum machines and some memorable hooks and bluesy type guitars. You know how fond I am of Chris Carter and his many creative partnerships. You know these musicians, but this could be a track that you may not have heard of. If you haven’t, I hope you enjoy it.


Roland SH monophonic synthesizer and Space Echo in forefront

Notes:
12” single made in collaboration with The Eurythmics. Recorded on 8 track and 24 track at Eurythmics Studio, DEC Camden Town, London, The Church, Hornsey, London and S47, Norfolk.

The Weekly LP & Singles Platter, Please!

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.Benoit Pioulard & Rafael Anton Irisarri-Until Then (Broadcast Cover)
Tribute tracks can go either way. They’re either really good or just something you want to throw in the garbage can. Though I guess one shouldn’t complain when it’s a free download. You can find it here at xlr8r.com.
Pioulard and Irisarri are ambient artists who have produced a good ambient track here. I like the slow crescendo that builds toward the end of track and I also like the piano melody motif found throughout the track. I’ve been playing lots of Broadcast, as you know, and this was a very nice tribute to listen to. You can find the original and far more eerie version on the LP, The Noise Made By People, released on Warp Records.

2.Robert Lippok-Little Collector (Yamaha Tenori On Demo)
I finally got my hands on a Yamaha Tenori On. The temptation finally took over me and I took the plunge and purchased this instrument. Before the purchase, I was researching all things Tenori-On and really liked this demo track. Being such a huge To Rococo Rot fan, I had to download it. You can find the demo here. It’s a great demo illustrating some of the possibilities of the instrument which has revolutionized, in part, the way a whole new breed of people are making music. Over the past several years, maybe taking some inspiration from Don Buchla, musicians are now relying on other controllers besides the black and white keys of the keyboard to produce music. The Yamaha Tenori-On is one of these new types of instruments. It’s part sequencer, part instrument, part visual art, it’s a refreshing new approach to generating sound.

3.Thomas Dolby-Amerikana EP
We live in a society where magazines and TV’s play a role in influencing us. Depending on who you ask, this can either be a good thing or a bad thing. For me it always serves as something positive, although I’d still rather do away with all that excess advertising, but writers gotta eat and editors need to make a living. So, I understand. Magazines have served me well in highlighting artists I may have not heard before. They also serve as reminders that artists I admire have come out with new releases. Twitter and Facebook probably do a better job of getting that information to me quicker, though. If you are too hip to read magazines and prefer to find your music in more obscure places, then good for you! Drop me a line and let me know if I missed something out there. Until then, I will continue to refer to magazines as another resource for information. This EP is not a very synthesizer heavy recording, but Thomas Dolby never fancied himself a synthesizer icon anyway. It’s a good EP with some hints of Cajun, ragtime pianos, steel guitar and as always, good melodies and vocals by Thomas Dolby. I’ve always liked his more somber, darker tracks. That is why my favorite track on this EP is 17 Hills. This EP was made available to members of his forum and some of these tracks will make it onto his forthcoming album. Also, check out my previous post on Thomas Dolby here.

4.DAT Politics-Freak Me Out
I was listening to some tracks from their 1999 LP, Trackto Flirt. When I went to their site I found Freak Me Out. It was a free download and you should never look a gift horse in the mouth. DAT Politics have always had a very raw almost punkish approach to their tracks and it continues on this track and the rest of Mad Kit, their new LP. Go download this track for free here and preview the rest of their new LP. Mad Kit is out now on the Chicks On Speed record label.

5.DJ Muggs vs. GZA (The Genius)-Grandmasters
This is a Hip-Hop album featuring 2 great icons from 2 great bands. DJ Muggs, as you must know, was a member of the legendary Cypress Hill, and GZA, was one of the MC’s from Wu-Tang Clan. This album is dark, and it features some great beats and some really good samples throughout, not to mention the rapping of GZA. I believe they used an Ensoniq ASR-10 amongst some other samplers. I remember buying this right after reading an interview with these guys in Scratch magazine. Yet another good magazine that didn’t survive the test of time. The first year and a half of this magazine was much better than its subsequent years. The magazine would change its content in order to appeal to advertisers and major record labels. Its first editor going back to his roots at Wax Poetics, which is in my opinion, still one of the better magazines for the record enthusiast. That reminds me, I should renew my subscription soon.

6.Barbara Morgenstern & Robert Lippok-Please Wake Me For Meals
I just ordered their album, Tesri from Amazon. I like the minimalist beat here. The bassline, synth lines and lead line just work on this track. Although I don’t know too much about Barbara Morgenstern, I do know quite a bit about Robert Lippok and am looking forward to hearing this album when it arrives. This came out around 2005. Nonetheless, it has struck a chord with me and so I had to purchase it. On previewing the tracks, looks like there are some vocals throughout the LP too. I think the theme this week is vocals!

7.To Rococo Rot-Hotel Morgen
I was going through my old issues of Grooves magazines earlier in the week. Remember that great magazine? I really miss it. In issue #14 was a To Rococo Rot article. This was done around the time they had just released Hotel Morgen. This is an instrumental affair like most of the TRR LP’s. Most of the drums, according to that interview, were created by Robert Lippok on drum machines. More than likely it was his Akai MPC’s that he used. The recording of this album was at a point where they had to compromise as they were at different points in their respective creative careers. I’ve been listening to this band since their breakthrough album, The Amateur View. These Berliners have always appealed to me in a big way and this is a great recording, filled with electronics, beats and electric bass.

8.Tron Legacy Soundtrack-Rinzler
This has been the most requested song in our car. Both my 6 and 3 year old like this one. I am amazed about how much my older son remembers from the movie. He remembers the music and even many of the lines. How do they do it? This is a great track for a great villain.

9.White Lies-Ritual
There is a lot of buzz going around for this band. When I was listening to this, I was thinking about a time when it was almost taboo to have vocals on electronic based albums. Something happened with the electronic musicians from the mid to late 1990’s to reject the use of vocals. Maybe it was because they could now use the sampler to take ad lib spoken words from records or maybe because they were falling in love with all of their soul records. Who knows, but it happened. Today, I am encouraged by the fact that vocals have now found their place back into electronic music. This album was produced at Assault & Battery Studios in London with legendary producers, Alan Moulder and Max Dingel. There is plenty of guitar here, drums and electric bass. Nonetheless, this is still quite an electronic affair with synthesizer found throughout the entire recording. What really strikes me with this album though are the vocals of singer/guitarist Harry McVeigh. He is no doubt taking some cues from some of the great vocalist of the post-punk and new wave pioneers from decades before. I like this sound regardless of where it happens to draw inspiration from. I hope you will too.

The Weekly LP & Singles Platter, Please! (The Brief Case For Record Shops)

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!

Last Tuesday I took a day trip to Seattle. It’s become a tradition of mine to visit some of my favorite record shops whenever I do. While the women in my life visit Macy’s or Nordstrom’s, I find solace in the many record shops you can find in Seattle.

Maybe Napster, Justin Timberlake and Pier 2 Pier/Torrent sites have crippled the record industry. Maybe the record industry deserved it! Its arrogance and ability to not change with technology advancements have definitely caused some of its demise.

I think it’s the record shops that have paid the biggest price though. Much like the local gas stations have paid the price for the high price of oil.

In recent years there has been a huge shift from the pricing of digital copies vs. the physical copy of an album. That motivation is the subject of several books you can find on Amazon.com. The cost of downloads still don’t seem to add up for me for what you get in the grand scheme of things.

Let me be clear, I am not against the digital download. I am not against iTunes, Beatport or any of those mediums. In fact, nothing beats the instant gratification of being able to download most any album from these type of sites. One of the purchases I made this week was from iTunes and it was nice to download it and play it while I was on the go.

So, what follows is a brief case for the record, the CD and the record shops that sell them. Maybe it’s nostalgia in part. I have dozens of friends that own hardly a single physical copy of any music anymore. Their music now resides on their macs and mobile devices. They would argue that it’s about the music and ultimately I would too. Though, most of what they get is downloaded for free, lets be real.

I purchased 8 albums between Easy Street Records and Silver Platters. I had some interactions with the staff and was even tempted to purchase half a dozen more just based on impulse and interest. The experience of walking into a record shop alone is worth consideration. This is a habit I still refuse to give up!

We will assume the obvious. Nothing beats the liner-notes found in record sleeves or CD’s yet. That argument has been used by everyone from record companies to the artist themselves. Therefore, I will not focus on that entirely, although it is still a very important point to consider. With some focus, in terms of pricing below, it’s about only few differentiators.

The experience surrounding my recent purchases is the important outcome I wish to convey herein. The price comparison to be found next to the album titles.

For Christmas I received a brand new Macbook Pro. I was perfectly content with my 4 year old Macbook, but my wife took it upon herself to give me this wonderful gift. I am not complaining about that. Over the past few weeks I noticed something that was quite irritating. Never mind the software licensing and updates, etc I needed. iTunes allows for 5 devices for your purchases. Sounds like a lot when you first think about it. However, what I discovered has become a gripe I encounter every time a new generation of Apple devices makes its way into our home.

My son has a broken iPod. The home button stopped working (a design flaw). So, any downloads made on that device count as one. The purchases I made on my Macbook are another. My iPod, family iPad, my old Powerbook,..yep, counted as one more toward that total.

One day this week I was talking to a friend about Adem and his album Homesongs. I tried playing it on my new Macbook Pro and was annoyed to find out I had exceeded my limit of devices I could play it on. I paid for a purchase and no longer have the convenience of listening to it on my new laptop. I authorized a few devices, and now I can’t play it. There are workarounds, its true. Still, why must I go through this annoyance for a digital download? Had I purchased the CD, I wouldn’t have this issue. Now I am left with extra time to get my purchased content on new devices. The Mac is starting to feel like a PC!

Don’t get me started on the fiascoes that are design flaws on the Macbook and iPod Touch. Things that I now have to pay for or boycott the products altogether.

For the sake of this though, lets focus on the limitations of a download and see if the headaches of “workarounds” are worth their weight in gold. In some cases it was economics. In some, it was bang for the buck. Overall though, its the idea that when I buy that CD, it’s mine to do with it what I want. I won’t have someone telling me I can’t play it on my new device. This is perhaps the greatest irritant, I believe.

Easy Street Records

1.Belle And Sebastian-Tigermilk Record Shop Price: $8.99 | iTunes Price:$9.99

I purchased this back in 1999 or 2000. I think my original purchase was a bootleg, come to think of it. It went missing either way. People were still talking about indie pop like the Hipster today talks about a Korg MicroKorg synthesizer and the local community coffee shop that uses recycled paper cups.

It’s a great recording. That this was done for a school project makes it even more appealing a decade later. The State I Am In, She’s Losing It, Electronic Renaissance, Expectations, and We Rule The School are clear standouts. iTunes has some good notes on the album. However, with the CD you get lyrics, and that clever little anecdote about how Sebastian met Isabelle outside the Hillhead Underground Station in Glasgow. Also, who wouldn’t want to hold a copy of that cover of woman and Tiger?!

2.Bauhaus-Mask Record Shop Price: $7.99 | iTunes Price:$9.99

The Bauhaus brought us Love & Rockets, Peter Murphy and the great fretless bass playing of Daniel Ash. This is one of the few Bauhas LP’s I have not owned. For no reason really. I’ve listened to it so many times. I just never owned it. This is the sound of post punk that I adore. The pulsing tom-tom drums and the gated snare just make me smile. There is even a little bit of a Ska influence throughout this and even a little bit of drum machine. Peter Murphy has that unmistakable voice that brings me back to a period of time I hold in high regard still. The sleeve notes say Daniel Ash did the cover art for this. Fantastic.

3.Trent Reznor And Atticus Ross-The Social Network (Soundtrack) Record Shop Price: $7.99 | iTunes Price:$7.99

I saw this movie a couple of weeks ago. I didn’t know Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross did the soundtrack. I enjoyed the movie. I thought the soundtrack was perfect for the movie and that motif that opens the film is exactly what the film needed to set the mood. I know that Trent and Atticus are working on the upcoming LP for How To Destroy Angels. I can’t wait to hear that. Check out my profile of their in studio tour here. They earned a Golden Globe for this soundtrack. Don’t miss it and at that price, you can’t go wrong.

4.Morrissey-Viva Hate Record Shop Price: $8.99 | iTunes Price:$9.99

According to the liner notes, this was recorded in the Winter of 1987. I played this album endlessly. The Smiths, as I’ve mentioned before, were a significant part of my teenage years. I remember this got played quite a bit. It was produced by the famous Stephen Street. It features none other than Vini Reilly aka Durutti Column on guitar and keyboards and that’s why it got me thinking about it again. I’ve been playing a bunch of Durutti Column and this album was on the list. I saw it in the store and wanted to own a copy again.

5.The Clash-The Clash(US) Record Shop Price: $8.99 | iTunes Price:$9.99

The pricing is about the same. This happens to be their first US release. You can probably download it in seconds for free, from somewhere. I had this on vinyl once and I wanted to own it again. In the liner notes it says that this album featured 2 drummers. Tory Crimes and Nicky Headon handled the beats. I never knew this. I won’t tell you how significant of an album this was for many. It was and you know it. Sadly, I haven’t owned this for a long time and now I do…and all for the low, low price of $8.99.

6.Broadcast and The Focus Group Investigate Witch Cults of the Radio Age Record Shop Price: $11.99 | iTunes Price:$7.99

I’ve been writing about Trish Keenan and James Cargill. Her sudden death was surprising and like most people do, you start to listen to music of people who you know will no longer be around to make new music. I was actually listening to this on my iPod while I drove down to Seattle. I downloaded it a day before. I had read a good track by track review in The Wire and was inpsired for this purchase. It looks like it’s a better deal on iTunes. One thing that struck me was the conversation I had with the clerk at the counter. He brought up her passing and commented that he had e-mailed Warp Records to release a complete box set of all Trish Keenan’s recordings and Broadcast. I agreed and hope they add a video with some Trish Keenan footage as she will be greatly missed.

7.Alison Moyet-Singles Record Shop Price: $5.99 | iTunes Price:$9.99

I like all things Yaz – Vince Clarke, Erasure, Mute Records and most of all, Alison Moyet. I loved the cover of this singles compilation. She looks magnificent. Before this the only solo album of hers that I owned was Hoodoo. Although she will more than likely always be remembered for her work with Yaz (rightfully so!) she is also a soul and a voice not to be overlooked. It was a great price and it also has my favorite track from Hoodoo-This House. This track could rival some of the soul and passion of Nina Simone.

8.The Velvet Underground-The Velvet Underground & Nico Record Shop Price: $8.99 | iTunes Price:$5.99

I haven’t listened to this LP since a girlfriend of mine threw it out the window back in the early 1990’s in a rage. The record was shattered and so was the brief relationship between us. This record is often called the banana album. I call it the one with Nico & Andy Warhol as producer. Either way it’s a must for any record collection and if I can find a Mono copy of the original, I will do so again.

9.Little Boots-Hands

Look, I think she is sexy. She has a great voice. She likes and plays synthesizers. Her bedroom versions of Stuck On Repeat and Meddle are a definite “Must See TV.” She has become synonymous with the Yamaha Tenori-On. Look out for a write-up in the Girl With Synthesizers section, coming soon. Hands is a good pop album and I hope I get to see her perform soon.

10.Hype Williams-Find Out What Happens When People Stop Being Polite And Start Gettin’ Reel| iTunes Price: $9.90

Critics have been talking about this album for a while. I put off buying it because sometimes the hype doesn’t live up to the expectation. This was that download I purchased from iTunes. I listened to this a few times. It reminds me of MTV’s Real World (like the title) on a hazy REM cycle gone good, bad or something like that. Or Neo’s dreaming in The Matrix right before he finds out the truth about his life. It’s got some good elements throughout. I enjoyed Blue Dream, The Throning and overall, this is a good album. If you’re going to use some elements of pop songs past, then at least twist it and make us scratch our heads in wonder. That’s what Hype Williams have done. I’d recommend this album for the more left-field minded listeners out there.

The truth about all of this is that the pricing is not always the most important contrast between download and physical copies. Still, the experience of going to the record shop, browsing through the racks, and interacting with other audiophiles won’t compare to a download. Maybe blogs like this will take its place in part, but somehow it’s just not the same. Record shops must be kept open. We must continue to support our local record shops. I will continue to frequent them for as long as they remain in business. So should you. That’s right,…do as I say! If you’ve read this far, thank you.

Silver Platters (Queen Anne)

The Weekly LP & Singles Platter, Please!

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.

3.New Order-Brotherhood
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.

4.Delphic-Acolyte
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.

From Youtube:
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.