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BEATTOPIA

by William Hancock.

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bands

Spektrum – Last Inhabited Place On Earth

“London tech/house act returns with fresh release on Auckland dance label”

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Auckland-based dance label Beat & Path are spearheading their 2017 debut single release roster with a trio of tracks from London electronic band Spektrum.

Laying low since their 2007 EP on Data Records with Kinda New (We All Live & Die), Spektrum have returned with a classy, deep vocal-tech track with hints of electro and minimal. Two remixes add to the release with Dave Keno delivering a ‘peak-time monster’ and Beat & Path’s own Out Of Sorts reworking into a  ‘tripped out low slung disco groove’.

After the 2007 success of the Kinda New remix EP with mixes from Tiefschwarz and Dirty South (hitting NUMBER ONE on the UK Dance Charts) Spektrum are set to go the distance once again, this time with a fresh label, new angle and deep inspiration. Who knows what the future may hold?  A solid dance number blending deep tech-house beats with epic vocals.

Due out 25th of January, 2017.

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Fulton Street – Young People/Problems and Pain. (45)

“Melbourne Soul/Funk/R&B label going global”.

Ivan Katchoyan you little ripper.

Remember songs? That tell stories? With style? This guy. 

Prominent Melbourne funk and soul drummer of Cookin’ On Three Burners fame (check out Kungs remix of their track This Girl) has taken matters into his own hands and started releasing old school vinyl 45’s on his label Choi Records

It’s good solid gritty old school funk and soul you can get your teeth into. In an age of electronica and developmental songwriting it’s so very refreshing to head back to the roots where it all began.

Third cab off the rank is Fulton Street, a Melbourne based funk/soul outfit with beefy rhythmn and dynamic horn sections. Blending the essential elements of R&B and Soul into cohesive and original catchy tunes, these guys don’t miss a thing in the interpretation of that original sound from years ago we all know and love. The blistering A side Young People is followed by a slightly mellower yet equally inspiring Problems and Pain on the B.

From little things big things grow. Go Melbourne. 

Available now at www.fultonstreet.bandcamp.com of if the gods are smiling, on an old school vinyl 45 from Northside Records. A men.

Sunmonx – In The Trees

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“Neo Funk and Soul Duo Find Balance in the Melody”.

Following the success of their debut album Power Salad, international glitch-hop extrordinaire Opiuo and downbeat guitar maestro Austero have teamed up again as Sunmonx to let another one fly with a short, sweet EP titled In The Trees.

After headlining slots and running entire shows in the USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand the two obviously decided to use their downtime wisely. The result is a catchy 20 mins of funky, glitched out electronica from Oscar, blended with a soulful guitar-sound from Albino. The tasteful balance of the hard-edged funky glitched-out electronica and sweet, well-arranged guitar riffs are no more prevalent than in the Rotney Stem Cell. The track almost smacks of a chance integration between the two that has since paved the way for a deeper musical connection. Wether the two are trading riffs one-on-one, or harmonising together with melodic interaction, it’s the last track that shows us a window into the world of what may be on the way. Run is just under two minutes of magic. With an introduction from Austero, Opiuo’s electronic element tempers nicely to bring the two into a unison greater than the sum of its parts. In the trees hits the dub-reggae vibe both are at home with.

The Sunmonx team are both successful producers in their own right. Austero’s remix of Sufi Dub for Monkey Mark was the most downloaded track from Addictech.com in 2014, and Opiuo took best electronica album at the New Zealand Music Awards for Meraki the same year.

With some stunning cover art by Jewels Stephens, the record is available through Interchill.

Another Fine Day – A Good Place To Be.

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“Another Cult-Classic From Solo Downtempo Producer Finds It’s Place”.

21 years after Another Fine Days’ Tom Green released the ambient-dub, cult-classic Life Before Land, he returns with a fresh basting of ambient-jazz styling in their latest release A Good Place To Be, out now on Interchill.

Fusing natural soundscapes with jazz, percussion and a smattering of instrumental electronica, the ambient and downtempo styles embraced in A Good Place To Be provide the listener with a captivating journey into the realms of natural music and sound. Birds and insects blend with jazz infused keyboards, ambient percussive punctuations, atmospheric synth pads and halting time signatures. Covering a spectrum of musical styles and genres this album doesn’t fit into any narrow slots, with synthetic and natural sounds and music creating a collage of sonic artwork across the board.

Greens’ colourful and varied past is apparent in the composition of this album. Rising from a post-punk outfit in the late seventies, blending with outfits including Baka Beyond, The Orb and Natacha Atlas and writing screen music for the likes of the BBC through his music production company Apollo Music, he contributes regularly to quality music libraries for Universal Music, EMI Production Music and Accorder Music. Tom also dabbles in various unique side projects including an ambient commission released in 2012 called Music For Tai Chi and a composition designed for installation in a new MRI scanner complex at the Royal Infirmary in Bristol, UK; Music For MRI Scanners.

Track 2 on the album A Good Place To Be, called And Dream of Seals blends affected bird calls with melodic keyboards and mallet percussion to create atmospherics that sit delicately over a bed of subtle beats, set back in the mix. Rising to an excited cacophony of oscillators supplying the playful seals in a wash of percussive waters, this downtempo creation is topped by an icing of electronic synthesis.

Enfolded is an ambient piece, wrapping the listener in temperate washes of electronic waves created using progressively arranged atmospheric synth pads, punctuated quietly yet powerfully with almost a hint of angelic brass in the wind.

From Tiny Acorns embraces Eastern-influenced strings and mallets in a percussive melody lifted by a bed of progressive, oscillator-effected beats. Atmospheric pads complete the palette as the track rises to the rhythmically melodic crescendo of a string-infused summit, all while the beats track nicely through the piece.

The influence of World Music on A Good Place To Be should not be overlooked. Subtle yet distinct, the instrument selection and devices used in the composition reflect a global connection transcending cultural boundaries and merging into a cohesively international blend of sound. Greens background producing with the likes of Abdul Tee Jay and his side project Newanderthal clearly influence this albums creation and its Remixes.

Even at these early stages of release, Another Fine Days’ new album A Good Place To Be obviously has the heavyweight staying power to become another cult classic in the lighter and more delicate styles of the ambient and downtempo music genres.

by William S. Hancock.

Pink Floyd – The Endless River (Deluxe Edition).

“The Last Studio Album and the First Holiday”.

Dave is tired. Dead tired. He’s had it. He’s tried a few times to tell the general public he’s over it. But they won’t listen, won’t take no for an answer. More they scream, more. Like spoilt brats they care not for the well being of the master musician. They care to have their own desires sated. And the well being of those administering the pleasure matters not. He’s over it. Their over it. And fair enough too. Quite an innings from the Masters. Definitely cracked the ton. Give the guys a well earned rest. Out to pasture. But perhaps they’ll squeeze out a couple more. Maybe not. I could be wrong. It’s just a feeling I get from the album. Its time for this band to be allowed to relax.

It’s got that classic Floyd sound. Subtle, delicate and powerful electric guitars over well arranged drums, bass grooving away. The keys and synths creating the meat in the classic progressive rock sandwich. I love it. Always have, always will. Best band in the world. But that still doesn’t stop me from wanting to let them out of their cage. I love their music that much.

Check out the lyrics from Louder Than Words, the only track with lyrics on the album. Perhaps the title is a subtle but distinct hint in its own right? “With world weary grace, we’ve taken our places. We could curse it or nurse it and give it a name. Or stay home by the fire, filled with desire. Stoking the flame. But we’re here for the ride”. Pretty obvious really isn’t it? World weary. Home by the fire. But we’re here for the ride. Or should it read… dragged along for the ride, well overdue for a holiday, wanting to get on with other things and basically just begin to relax in the sun a bit during the day, by the fire at night in the golden years of life after getting pulled mercilessly through the sanctimonious meat-grinder of money making. Sure it would have been okay for a while. Tolerable for a couple of decades tops. Re-enforcing this hypothesis is the fact it is the only track on the (double) album with lyrics.

David Gilmour was born on 6th of March, 1946 in Cambridge. At the age of 11 he started at the Perse School in the same area. He didn’t enjoy it. It was at this time he met Syd Barrett and Roger Waters who were at the toffee-nosed school up the road. So that puts him in 1957, starting Pink Floyd wether he knew about it or not. March 1967 and they were signed to EMI, recording sessions for Piper at the Gates of Dawn and released their debut single Arnold Layne. It reached number 20 on the album charts. Incidentally it was banned by the BBC due to objectionable lyrics about a transvestite underwear thief. Prudes. Anyway back to the story. That means that they’ve been in the machine for about 40 years. 4 decades!!

So here’s what I reckon went down. After a solid career in their youth rocking out (perhaps a decade or two over the projected time-frame), and humbly expressing their creative soul in a opportunity path afforded to a privileged few. After making bags of cash. After getting smashed and enjoying the strongly amorous advances of women going out of their brains by the thought of social status and money all wrapped up in the same package as a dick, they went to ground. Probably about late 1987 after the release of Momentary Lapse of Reason. Well done they said to each other. Pat on the back for us all. Good stuff. Lets go home and get on with our lives. But they were sorely mistaken. “No you don’t” said the general public. “No way” said the music business. “Get your ass back here” said the devil himself. These guys aren’t dumb. “Okay” they said, pulled Delicate Sound of Thunder out of their back-pockets with a wink, dropped it a year later and thought “Done”. No such luck. “More” screamed their music lovers “more”. Just under a decade later they let another one-two punch fly. The Division Bell (1994) and Pulse (1995). “That should get rid of ‘em” they might have thought in their hope, but unfortunately for them this wasn’t the case. The general public keep baying, the business keeps playing and the boys had to trudge along looking for the ‘Out’ door. Oh wait. Didn’t they use that to come in? There’s the problem. Trapped. Not the only ones either I’m sure. Since then there’s been a steady stream of money-making albums. A Greatest Hits. A Best Of. Another Greatest Hits. Other bits and pieces. Old sessions. Studio time. Live recordings. But nothing of substance. No ‘songwriting’ that jumps out and slaps you in the face. No songs that blow you away like the peak of their career. No timelessness like the old school. Not a peep.

Here’s my point. The album is awesome. It has all the ‘off-the-shelf’ Floyd stuff we love. Can’t get enough. But it doesn’t have any songs. The sound of Floyd is as present as ever. It’s the passion that’s lacking. The songwriting. The SONGS.

Check it out… The Deluxe album is purchased from some shameless internet digital music site currently reconstructing the economic landscape of our dear music industry. The industry these guys epitomised, bless them. 27 tracks. Between 1 and 6 minutes. The last 6 are the pick of the bunch. Really solid, uplifting Floyd. Instrumental. And lovingly supported by classy, black and white HD video clips of old , rare footage of the band that conveniently play through the music-player interface kindly provided by the same said multi-national conglomerate slowly strangling the last of the free world to death. A digital music booklet consisting of 16 DL sized shiny, high-resolution photos of the boys and their interesting photographic layouts. Uneditable. Can’t even get the album cover for the article shot. I’ve been robbed of the joy of record shopping, stripped of the fun that comes with buying a cd and heading home to pop it in the player with a cold beer in hand. Now I can’t even get a hard copy of the album cover I bought. But all of this pales to insignificance when we look at the music in the said album. It’s old sessions. Screen grabs. A few bits and bobs here. A piece or two there. In a very stylish digital package. There’s some classic Floyd here, don’t get me wrong, but the boys are getting tired. They need their pipe and slippers by the fire. It can be heard. It can be seen. It’s almost like the Marketing Department said jump. They said… “Aw, Do we have to?”. One track stops half way through. We hear an EQ request to the engineer for less bass. Jam resumes.

Notables include Anisina with a bearded, older Mr. Gilmore on a Concert Grand backed by strings that bring tears to the eyes and synths that make ones balls curl up in their sack. Classic Floyd. Sheer brilliance. With a lovely montage of video in black and white. Instrumental. Evrika A. Amazing. This time our black and white montage is of younger Mr. Gilmour sessioning away on his trademark Stratocaster, filling in the overdubs on his headphones. Evrika B is much of the same. Instrumental. Black and white montage video. Large studio room this time. Obviously an old piece of footage and music, from the age of the players. It should be noted here the band are doing as well as they’ve always done… for the early 90’s. An interesting one called Nervana, again with a montage (behind the scenes) and this time Gilmour on a Les Paul. Shredding away. Probably the heaviest riffing on the album. A bit of beef for the sandwich. Here’s the relish: Allons-y. Great Track. Classic Floyd. Best-On-Ground. A great performance by some ripping oscillators screaming away into a peak like a diesel engine before dropping us back into the delicate, ethereal guitar, strings and reverb-drenched drums we know so well. Awesome. Get-naked-and-run-around-the-block type awesome. Jeez I love Pink Floyd. And the intro to the whole album. Things Left Unsaid. (Perhaps it’s a their last chance to get out anything they forgot to put in there? Anything they forgot to say?) Progressive. Delicate. Voiced and arranged in a way only the big fella can. A great start to a journey for the album I’ve been hanging for since late last year when it first popped up on the horizon. Well produced. Smashing tunes.

Pink Floyd I salute you. Thank you for making my life better. The music has become a part of my journey. Inspiration and company. Love and life. May you live out the rest of your days in blissful comfort, surrounded by your family and friends with perfect health and the time to indulge your every whim. Of course if you ever feel like knocking out another cracking album then by all means. Go right ahead. Don’t let me stop you.

Happy holidays after your amazing innings lads. Farewell.

Rest In Peace Richard Wright and Syd Barrett.

 

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Photo Credit: Image Accessed 22nd November 2014. <http://www.cultnoise.com/&gt;

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