Tag Archives: James Lavelle

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 vĂ€th‘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.

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one louder

i was in town one afternoon in early july 2003. i had to drop something to the department of education for my brother. in the evening i met my friend to go to a play written by a friend of ours. in the interim, i picked up muzik magazine – it had p diddy on the cover! his much-lauded let’s get ill was, apparently, about to reshape the dance music universe. well, with the benefit of hindsight, we all know that never happened…

more important was the free cd that came with the magazine. i think i’d heard of the dj, erol alkan, a few months previously in the sunday times magazine, as one to watch. those profiles are all well and good, but mean nothing if you can’t hear what he’s about. this cd changed all that. the section of my diary entry (yes, i keep a diary) concerning the magazine read as follows: “Got Muzik with cool electro stylee cd.” if you forgive me for using the word stylee, you’ll understand what the relevance was. up to this point, i had moved from euphoria-style trance in the late 90s, to global underground and renaissance in the early 00s. a little of funky house had entered my sphere but not so much that i’d ever be tempted to enter that world permanently. this erol alkan chap helped redefine the sounds i was listening to. i must mention james lavelle, whose gu022 had ventured outside the prog-house mould and belatedly introduced me to the likes of dj shadow, as well as the solo work of thomas bangalter. i also got to know the beast that is unkle – but that’s a story for another day. this is about erol.

unfortunately i wouldn’t see erol in the flesh until 2006, but that wasn’t for lack of trying. once i was sick. once he played the trinity ball and i couldn’t find him. once he was playing just hours before i flew to prague. once i was in america. and so on. when i finally did see him, i wrote this.

you’ve read a lot to get this point. now you can just enjoy the mix.

Erol Alkan presents One Louder

01 Playgroup – Make It Happen (Zongamin Mix) (Edit)
02 Mitsu – Hush
03 Duran Duran – Girls On Film (Night Version)
04 The Faint – The Conductor (Thin White Duke Remix) (Edit)
05 Codec & Flexor – Crazy Girls Make My Heart Go Boom Boom
06 Headman – It Rough (Chicken Lips Mix)
07.a Goldfrapp/Benny Benassi – Train (Ewan Pearson Dub Mix)/Satisfaction (Acappella)
08 Grand Popo Football Club – Men Are Not Nice Guys (Goldrun Remix)
09 Tom Gillieron and Ravi McArthur – Now It’s Dark
10 Kiko/Alex Gopher – Italomatic (Kiko & The Hacker Remix)/Party People (Acappella)
11 Ferenc – Yes Sir I Can Hardcore
12 Archigram – Doggystyle
13 Uminski – Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger

now put your hands on your waistline

dd

another great dj who’s coming to stradbally next week (next week!) is duke dumont. he’s been making big noise for a few years now, with two epic releases on great labels (the regality ep on turbo and the dominion dubs ep on dubsided), as well as melting the collective consciousness of the blogosphere with simply mind-blowing remixes. lily allen, bat for lashes, late of the pier and mystery jets have all been transformed at his hands, and his work has made that of many a dj that much easier (the latter even made if onto james lavelle’s recent global underground mix, a seal of approval it hardly needed yet thoroughly deserves). he’s no one trick pony either. as a dj he’s pretty darned impressive too. case in point is this live mix from fabric, which surfaced on bodytonic last year.

BodytonicLive 05 : Duke Dumont

what’s the opposite of dramatic irony?

tartan_cover

after years of hearing about it, i finally watched irrĂ©versible last night. i’ve had 24 hours to think about it and i still don’t know what to say. it’s such a horrific piece of work, that mere description neither does the film nor the subject matter justice. what is baffling is how the film moves from a case of senseless violence in a pit of depravity to a beautiful picture of happiness and expectation. i imagine, since that’s all i can do, that this drastic shift in mood, tempo and everything other emotion, is even more realistic than the awful rape scene that is the film’s centrepiece.

on a lighter note, the music in the film is is provided by one thomas bangalter, better known to the rest of the world as half of daft punk. the party scene, soundtracked by famous tracks of his like spinal scratch and outrun, is imbued with a sense of horror as the viewer is painfully aware of what will follow, at least chronologically. i first came across the dark and angry night beats on james lavelle‘s first contribution to the global underground series, long before i had any idea where it originated. even more terrifying is rectum, which accompanies the frantic search through the club of the same name. it’s haunting, nauseating, and brilliant.

Thomas Bangalter – Night Beats
Thomas Bangalter – Rectum

i’m also just about to finish season two of the wire, and i love the way the greek keeps on keeping himself off the radar. at the same time, i hate the way spiros’ accent changes, becomes more greek, throughout the season. it bugs me. anyway continuing with the film score theme (sorry), have a listen to the short instrumental piece that closes every episode. it’s heartbreaking.

Blake Leyh – The Fall

fanboy alert

unkle_noskull_reversed2

i’m a huge unkle fan. it’s ridiculous really, but unkle as a brand is just something that i’ve really tapped into – from the albums to the singles to the not even that great romania gu mix. james lavelle is that dude. following their most recent offering, last year’s beautiful end titles… redux, he and the band have even more in store for their loyal fans.

and just as this scribe has abandoned blogger for wordpress, james has taken up residence on google’s cms. james lavelle. blogging. it’s almost too good to be true. wonder if he’ll keep at it.