Tag Archives: Fabric

Claude VonStroke interview

Ahead of his show at Night Flight in Dublin this Friday, I got the chance to talk to the dirty bird himself, Mr Barclay Crenshaw, aka Claude VonStroke…

Where did the bird thing come from? Dirtybird, Beware of The Bird, Bird Brain
The label had been named Dirtybird by chance based on a drawing i used to do when i was a kid. Then I had an idea to call my album Beware of the Bird. Then as soon as i thought of that title I got the idea to buy this giant bird mascot costume. It was just like a set of dominoes… one bird leads to another right down the line.

You’ve done a lot to make techno more “fun” – since ice cool minimal seems to be on the way out, what do you think is coming next?
I don’t really care because i don’t ride the trends. I play whatever I think is the best music being made. The next thing coming is probably more crap, more posers, more critics fawning over so-so stuff… and then there will of course be one or two genuine pearls in that bucket of clams somewhere.
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obligatory year-end list part two

and now for me second entry of the songs that spoke to me most in 2009.

Animal Collective – My Girls

time for original hour… i remember the first time i heard my girls. i had recently been talking to a friend about how much i had, belatedly i might add, grown to love the fleet foxes album. he was not as impressed as i was – being a big fan of the beach boys he felt this particular band’s attempts at harmony and lightness was contrived and derivative. we agreed to disagree. in mid-january, as i walked towards dundrum town centre to get my eyes tested, i was listening to a leak of merriweather post pavilion and i was so stunned by the album’s second track that i actually couldn’t listen any further. my first instinct was to text my friend, telling him that whatever about fleet foxes, animal collective were the natural, 21st century successors to brian wilson and co. unlike many reviewers/ bloggers/commentators, i don’t care much for the song’s lyrics. it’s not that i don’t appreciate or understand them, rather that the sheer sonic assault is so overwhelming that they could be singing incoherent nonsense (not that they’d ever do that) and the overall effect would be the same. given the difficulty i’ve had listening to animal collective over the years, this was like a breath of fresh air. an unashamed ‘pop’ song with a realistic tangible lyrical theme, especially given the timing of the release, it almost seems to stand outside of their entire oeuvre to date. but hey, they’ve earned that. in some sort of cyclical conclusion, i bought the album on the same day that i picked up my glasses. go figure.

Michel Cleis – La Mezcla

i was put on to this one by my man bushy – he’s a dude from philly who’s had a more exciting life than everyone i know put together, he reps for hip-hop and the eagles but then he djs at pop bars and is obsessed with eric prydz – despite this seemingly disparate palate of interest and influence, he always manages to know what’s what before anyone else. wish dude was making music too. anyway, he alerted me to this beautiful track, 12 beautiful minutes of latin percussion, flute and tribal-esque wailing. it’s a weird one to pin down, i’ve no idea how i could ever categorise it, but that hardly matters. this michel cleis dude is no one-trick pony either – the bould radio slave included not just la mezcla but also cleis’ remixes of baeka and spencer parker on his deep’n’trippy fabric mix – and if it’s good enough for radio slave, well, that says a lot.

Sebastien Tellier – Kilometer (Aeroplane ‘Italo 84’ Remix)

i didn’t really know what to make of this at first. at the start of the year i was enamoured with a-trak‘s take on this song, with his strings and around the world-esque bassline. over the months that followed i found myself drifting towards this slower, darker, more sensuous remix by those belgian proponents of nu-disco (eugh) gave us their own stellar remixes of the shortwave set, friendly fires and grace jones in 2008. this one, well it starts off with this weird sound that makes me think of pipes and engines, over some crackling hi-hats. then comes the bassline, and all of a sudden we hear this flashes of beautifully textured swooshes that hit you in your solar plexus. after that it’s just a dirty, sweaty, swarthy collection of synths, sex noises, and beautiful sonic textures. i have to thank my friend kate aka masonic boom for that phrase – the tweets and forum messages about that song made my summer a hell of a lot more amusing than it would have been otherwise, and when i met her at field day, during aeroplane’s set no less, it was a delight to see this as a work in progress.

UNKLE – Heavy Drug (Surrender Sounds Mix)

it’s kind of bad when a remix package reminds you of how great the original track is. i was first introduced to unkle‘s heavy drug on james lavelle‘s 2009 entry to the global underground series. the first thing i thought was that it reminded me of deep dish‘s mammoth remix of sven väth‘s my name is barbarella. droning and repetitive yet at the same time starkly beautiful, both tracks feature the briefest amount of chordal variation yet in no way suffer because of this. they also both feature stunning breakdowns laden with unuttered vocal expressions – a series of melancholic sounds that call to mind some sort of joyous wailing or anguish-ridden mourning. tonight i purchased the heavy drug remix package and, alas, none of the tracks come close to beating the original, but if nothing else, listening to them reminded me of how much i loved this track, and how much it deserved to be in this ever-so exclusive list 😉

Phoenix – Lisztomania (Classixx Remix)/
Holy Ghost – I Will Come Back (Classixx Acapulco Nights Remix)

this is just too hard to call. i’ve never been as wowed by phoenix in the way that some people have. i don’t really know why, i guess i just haven’t given them the time they no doubt deserve. but this remix, wow. classixx took what was an energetic pop song alluding, i gather, to orgies and fandom and all that malarkey and created a blissed-out slice of disco that is so cool i haven’t ever been able to play it out. believe me, i’ve tried, but it’s just a tad too slow, and it’s one of those few tracks that really deserves to be left alone at its original speed. the reason i mention another song is that i’m not even sure that lisztomania is their best remix. i adore holy ghost!, as is clear i’m sure from my previous list, but something about i will come back left me a little cold. i could never quite put my finger on it, but i just felt that the song was a little flat, that it was missing something. when classixx put their hands on it i found that i didn’t listen to the original for a good four months. it was just too perfect. again with the blissed-out feel, just at a higher bpm, this track is so perfectly titled that, when i made a mix for my girl for her birthday, i played it just after club tropicana. what makes it even better is that when i eventually went back to the original i found that all of my favourite parts of the remix were just elements of the original that classixx had isolated and moved around – much like in that beautiful trio of remixes done by erol alkan in late 2006. if classixx can follow up their 2009 output with something even half as good, we are in for some truly beautiful music.

cobrasnaked

murphybranson

i’m a big fan of james murphy and all things dfa and lcd. he makes great music. he gives great interview. proof can be found at resident advisor right now. he dissects the cultural significance of various different kinds of party and social gathering, as well as examining different styles of dj set:

My favorite DJ sets are often filled with music I don’t know and then suddenly one song I know and love, that’s been earned. That’s as good as it gets. When you’re out dancing, and somebody’s been playing music you just don’t know at all, and then all the sudden something comes in that you know and love, right at a good moment, that’s a little more open or energetic than the previous nine things…I prefer that.

i remember seeing murphy dj at dublin’s antics, a wednesday club night frequented by teens who like to get indie kicks and cheap drinks across three rooms (i’m not knocking it). almost without fail, a bizarre look crossed the face of every kid who wandered into the room murphy was playing in, and they soon wandered off. so when murphy says that “pat mahoney and i started playing disco as a way to make people more uncomfortable,” i can say that i’ve seen the results of this discomfort. it’s hilarious. murphy and mahoney bring their special disco version to electric picnic next month. in the meantime check out their contribution to the fabriclive series.

claude von stroke – fabric 46

i had my first nctj exam today – newswriting – and i think it went well. i can’t really call it, i think i got everything in on the news pieces, and i answered the online questions word for word what they asked for in all the marking schemes i saw. so that much is assured. as for the rest, well, we’ll see. public admin tomorrow and law on thursday, and then it’s all done. i think shorthand is the only thing i really have down, everything else is a bit iffy. oo-er.

cvsfabric46

anyway after the exam finished i put on claude von stroke’s new mix, fabric 46. i’ve always enjoyed what i’ve heard from cvs, like the ubiquitous who’s afraid of detroit? and the whistler, which of course featured in that t-mobile ad, but i’ve never had the chance to see him, bar a few minutes in pod when i took a break from the tag team assault of djs mehdi and a-trak. generally the fabriclive mixes tend to be upbeat, frantic party mixes (spinbad, diplo, craze etc) while the fabric mixes are much more techy and minimal (andrew weatherall, ewan pearson). this one is definitely on the right side of the fence, but it’s the kind of mix that has a smile on its face and a glint in its eye. from claude’s yabadabadooza with bootsy collins and the sexually charged robag whrume remix of peter lauer’s free entry for girls, it’s got drippings of twisted vocals throughout, and the dirty bird layers completely disparate tracks together, lending melody and personality to otherwise bleepy minimal. the best example of this is the pairing of dinamoe‘s maceo and clara moto‘s silently, as alone each track sounds bare and almost simplistic, while this collision gives both a sense of warmth and excitement.

while most fabric releases are of a solid standard without being stellar, it looks like this one will be buzzing in my ears for months to come. it’s even sent me digging for more tracks by the artists on the mix, and it has me keen to hear cvs next time he plays anywhere near me. you can’t really ask for more than that.