Category Archives: Electronica

The Chemical Brothers – The Private Psychedelic Reel (1997)

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A story of how music can save. ‘The Private Psychedelic Reel’ is the closing track off The Chemical Brothers’ second album Dig Your Own Hole. It’s a great tune in its own right, but is especially remarkable for what it brought about. Tom Rowlands and Ed Simons contacted Jonathan Donahue to fuse their electronic music with his Mercury Rev brand of  psychedelia. Donahue is credited with “Effects [Dub ‘tetix Wave’]”… whatever. Importantly, the track inspired a disillusioned Donahue to start making creative music again and Rev’s best, Deserter’s Songs, followed shortly afterwards. Thank you Tom and Ed.

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9 of the best – sounds of 1998

A compilation for the weekend. My favourite songs of 1998 in no particular order:

Belle and Sebastian – The Boy With the Arab Strap

Boards Of Canada – Roygbiv

Money Mark – Tomorrow Will Be Like Today

Neutral Milk Hotel – Holland, 1945

Mercury Rev – Holes

Beastie Boys – Intergalactic

Lauryn Hill – Doo-Wop

Refused – New Noise

Silver Jews – People

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Honourable mentions also go to: Air for ‘La Femme D’Argent‘; Elliott Smith for ‘Waltz#2‘; Eels for ‘Last Stop: This Town‘; People Under The Stairs for ‘San Francisco Nights‘: The Beta Band for ‘Dry The Rain‘; and Massive Attack for ‘Teardrop‘.

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Future Islands – Cave (2017)

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“I don’t believe anymore/I don’t grieve anymore.” More nuanced synth pop from Samuel T. Herring and bandmates. ‘Cave’ is one of the standout highlights on this year’s long player The Far Field. Have a great week.

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Connan Mockasin – I’m The Man, That Will Find You (2013)

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We finish the week with something a little weird and wonderful. Connan Mockasin’s ‘I’m the Man, That Will Find You’ mimics and evokes to great effect. Despite the R&B machismo of the chorus, its psychedelic funk production has to be heard to be believed. The song features on his 2013 album Caramel. Have a great weekend.

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The Dust Brothers – Chemical Beats (1994)

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After their first single ‘Song to the Siren’ under the name The Dust Brothers, Tom Rowlands and Ed Simons released their EP Fourteenth Century Sky in 1994. It features ‘Chemical Beats’ and in that moment The Chemical Brothers were born.

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Kyle Dixon & Michael Stein – Kids (Kapka remix) (2016)

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Netflix are currently engendering a renaissance in soundtrack writing. At the head of the queue are Survive’s analogue synthesisers. Kyle Dixon and Michael Stein, two members of the Austin-based band, wrote the score for mini-series Stranger Things. Set in the 1980s of E.T.’s America, the show borrows its look and sound from Stephen Spielberg and John Carpenter movies.

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Air – Playground Love (2000)

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A year or so after their hugely successful album Moon Safari, Air wrote the score for Sofia Coppola’s The Virgin Suicides. The opening track ‘Playground Love’ is the only one with vocals, which emanate from neither Jean-Benoît Dunckel nor Nicolas Godin (nor Beth Hirsch). They bring in Phoenix’s singer Thomas Mars to deliver the low key “I’m a highschool lover/And you’re my favorite flavour”.

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Four Tet – Planet (2017)

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Kieran Hebden is a bit of a national treasure nowadays. His electronic sounds with Four Tet inspire dinner parties and chill out rooms alike. ‘Planet’ is the B-side to his latest single release ‘SW9 9SL’ – otherwise known as the Brixton Academy. Feel the synths.

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MGMT – Electric Feel (2008)

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I’m back with a sound from my summer. It’s a reprise brought about by a remix of a cover. In 2007, MGMT’s Benjamin Goldwasser and Andrew VanWyngarden released their debut album Oracular Spectacular. A year later, after much warranted hype, the duo released ‘Electric Feel’ as a single that included a B-side remix by Justice. This year, the beaches of the Med enjoyed Berlin DJ Nick Talos’ tropical house remix of CRW’s acoustic version, amongst other things. I plump for the original. Have a great weekend, before some more sounds next week.

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9 of the best – sounds of noughties

It would seem that 2004 was peak noughties (to these ears…):

The Avalanches – Since I Left You (2000)

 The Strokes – Modern Age (2001)

The Flaming Lips – Do You Realize? (2002)

Broken Social Scene – Stars And Sons (2003)

The Walkmen – The Rat (2004)

Sébastien Tellier – La Ritournelle (2004)

Sigur Rós – Hoppípolla (2005)

 Midlake – Bandits (2006)

Beirut – Nantes (2007)

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Honourable mentions also go to: Lambchop for ‘Up With The People’ (2000); Outkast for ‘Ms. Jackson’ (2000); Ian Brown for ‘F. E. A. R.’ (2001); The Shins for ‘New Slang‘ (2002); Kings Of Leon for ‘Red Morning Light‘ (2003); Radiohead for ‘A Wolf At The Door’ (2003); Mew for ‘Comforting Sounds’ (2003); Kasabian for ‘Club Foot’ (2004); Danger Mouse for his remix of ‘Public Service Announcement’ (2004); The Good, the Bad and the Queen for ‘Herculean’ (2006); The Hold Steady for ‘The Chillout Tent‘ (2006); The Strokes for ‘You Only Live Once’ (2006); and Jay Electronica for ‘Exhibit C’ (2009).

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Burial – Come Down To Us (2013)

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In 2013, the mysterious and reclusive William Bevan released his EP Rival Dealer. Burial had had already gained a reputation for standing a head above his electronic peers and this release did nothing to dowse the excitement. The 13-minute closer ‘Come Down To Us’ manages to be both funereal, layered, spacious and upbeat.

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Kelly Lee Owens – Anxi (2017)

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Good morning. The Welsh singer-producer Kelly Lee Owens draws on dream pop and ambient house for ‘Anxi’, the title song off her 2017 debut album. The track is a collaboration with a Norwegian musician, singer-songwriter Jenny Hval, who provides the moody vocals, Have a great week.

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Chromatics – Shadow (2015)

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The intense post-punk disco of Chromatics has been celebrated this week through the feature of 2015’s ‘Shadow’ on the new two-hour reboot of Twin Peaks.  In fact, Johnny Jewel and group appear on performing the song in the show’s Bang Bang Club.

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Desire – Under Your Spell (2009)

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In 2009, Chromatics’ Johnny Jewel and Nat Walker teamed up with vocalist Megan Louise to become Desire. Their debut album II was released on Italians Do It Better and explores the synthpop typical of Jewel’s label. The standout song ‘Under Your Spell’ would then appear as a centrepiece sound in the 2011 movie Drive.

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Broadcast – Corporeal (2005)

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Shortly before they released their 2005 album Tender Buttons, Broadcast had reduced to a duo. This change brought about a more stripped-back sound. On ‘Corporeal’, Trish Keenan and James Cargill create a pulsing beat and bass line that reminds me of the work of Yo La Tengo, albeit a touch more sultry. Have a great week.

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