Friday, 31 December 2021

The First Day And Another Ending

My last selection for 2021. It's been a really good year for music, which is at least some distraction and relief from what has been anything but in the outside world. I had a rare sleep in today - a day off work and a long weekend ahead - so this latest mix was thrown together in a rush, fueled by toast and tea. If there are any duplicates from previous 2021 selections, it was because they were so good and not because I was so bleary-eyed, I missed it...

Dot Allison, LoneLady and Martina Topley-Bird were missed off of previous selections, I belatedly got the Saint Etienne and A Certain Ratio remix albums and there are repeat visits from Coyote, Dan Wainwright and the deservedly ubiquitous Jesse Fahnestock. As with 2020, one of my highlights for this year was The Affectionate Punch, featuring a certain legend of the blogging community. To close, Keith Tenniswood's epic remix of Ian Weatherall and Duncan's Gray's cover of New Order, followed by the final track from Brian Dougans and Garry Cobains excellent 2021 'calendar', again as The Future Sound Of London. 

21 From 21
1) The First Day: Villagers
2) The Universal Energy Within (Mytron Remix By Jacek Janiszewski): Dan Wainwright
3) (There Is) No Logic: LoneLady
4) The Forest Of Black (10:40's Paisley Black Edit By Jesse Fahnestock): The Dirty Filthy Mud
5) let all the poisons that lurk in the mud seep out (Live @ Stephen Colbert's #PLAYATHOME): Kelsey Lu ft. Kelly Moran
6) Hope Is The Last Thing To Die (Extended Mix): David Holmes ft. Raven Violet
7) Swanky Modes (Dennis Bovell Mix) (Extended Intro Edit By Khayem): JARV IS...
8) Late Night Sauchiehall Street: The Affectionate Punch ft. The Vinyl Villain
9) Can You Hear Nature Sing?: Dot Allison
10) Blood: Martina Topley-Bird
11) Eyes Open (Original Version): Pye Corner Audio
12) Leaving Town Was Wise (Ed Mahon Remix): Go Satta
13) Electric Blue Visions: Electric Blue Vision
14) Stay Here (Coyote Remix): Super FU
15) Deep Fields Of Liars (DJ Nature Remix): Krust
16) Berlin (Cosmodelica Remix): A Certain Ratio ft. Denise Johnson
17) Paris From Above (Coyote Remix): Tonarunur
18) Penlop: Saint Etienne
19) The Machine Against Me (BillyJay Remix): Two R
20) In A Lonely Place (Keith Tenniswood Remix) (Cover of New Order): IWDG
21) Another Ending: The Future Sound Of London

 
A big thank you to everyone that has visited the blog in the past year. I hope you've found something to enjoy and delight and an additional thanks to those of you that have left comments along the way, I really appreciate it. December's actually proved to be the 3rd busiest month for visitors in 2021, after July and August, which has had a significant impact on the year's most popular pages. For many months, my post on The B-52's debut album was far and away at #1, but over the course of the last few weeks, it's dropped to #13 as December's posts benefited from the increased traffic. My 101st post from July is also hanging in there and my Creation Records, Goth and The The samplers have settled at #12, #19 and #20 respectively. Just about making it at #21 was my Gary Clail/On-U Sound post, which proved to be surprisingly popular. A few posts celebrated those who passed on, much loved and greatly missed. 
 
I'll raise a glass to you all tonight as 2022 arrives and wish you all the best for the coming year.

21 Most Popular Posts From 21
1) In A Discotheque At Dawn Is When It Came To Me (6th December)
2) Isaac (17th December)
3) Preacher Beats (11th December)
4) I've Lost All The Fears That Appeared In The Dark (19th December)
5) I Dream In Colours And My Dreams Are Only Shades Of You (14th December)
6) See The Light In The Shade Of The Morning Sun (1st December)
7) Bass, The Final Frontier (9th December)
8) Bad Santa IV (2021)  (18th December)
9) Let Us Get Closer To This Beautiful Kindness (3rd December)
10) Get Thee Behind Me Santa (24th December)
11) There's Beauty And Truth Between The Broken Moments (4th December)
12) Creation Myths (13th November)
13) Can You Name, Name, Name, Name Them Today? (6th July)
14) It Smells Like Something Set Apart From Time (20th December)
15) It Feels So Good To Be Free (16th December)
16) She's My Groovy Good Luck Friend (27th December)
17) 101 (22nd July)
18) Your Consciousness Is The Only Censorship (8th September)
19) Floorshow (25th July)
20) Testament To Reality (15th August)
21) Watching How The Other Half Lives (3rd July)

Thursday, 30 December 2021

The Machine Against Me

This single was released on 13th December and has only just filtered through to me in the post-Christmas fog. Two R are a Greek duo - Stergios Tsilios aka Sigma Pr and Alexandros Thomadis aka Alexander Tomas - who are completely new to me and appear to have released their first remixes and music in 2020. 
 
The Machine Against Me is a persistent dancefloor chugger and the remix by fellow Greek DJ BillyJay aka Βασίλης Τζανής satisfyingly ups the ante. One for the NYE playlist with my party of two (three if you include the cat, and four if my daughter stays up). Nice work, everyone.

 
Buy The Machine Against Me on Juno Download
The Machine Against Me on YouTube
Dust To Dust: BillyJay (2021) free download on Soundcloud

Wednesday, 29 December 2021

Why Should I Worry?

Martina Topley-Bird's 4th album, Forever I Want, came out in September but I won't have a physical (CD) copy until January 2022. A default contender then for next year's 'best of', though Martina's music is arguably a winner in any year. 

Today's selection dips into Martina's musical history, including her solo albums, frequent collaborations with Tricky and guest spots with Massive Attack and Leila. It goes without saying that it's all wonderful.

Side One
1) Sandpaper Kisses (Acoustic Version By Martina Topley-Bird & Damon Albarn): Martina Topley-Bird (2010)
2) Carnies (Album Version By Danger Mouse & Kennie Takahashi): Martina Topley-Bird (2008) 
3) Suffocated Love (Album Version By Tricky & Mark Saunders): TrIcky ft. Martina Topley-Bird (1995)
4) Why Should I?: Leila ft. Terry Hall & Martina Topley-Bird (2008)
5) Hours Away: Martina Topley-Bird (2003)
 
Side Two
1) Makes Me Wanna Die (Single Version By Tricky & Ian Caple): Tricky ft. Martina Topley-Bird (1997)
2) Babel: Massive Attack ft. Martina Topley-Bird (2010)
3) When We Die: TrIcky ft. Martina Topley-Bird (2017)
4) Abbaon Fat Tracks (Album Version): Tricky ft. Martina Topley-Bird (1995)
5) Black Coffee: Nearly God ft. Martina Topley-Bird (1996)
 
1995: Maxinquaye: A3, B4
1996: Nearly God: B5
1997: Makes Me Wanna Die EP: B1
2003: Need One EP: A5
2008: The Blue God: A2
2008: Blood, Looms & Blooms: A4
2010: Some Place Simple: A1 
2010: Heligoland: B2
2017: ununiform: B3
 

Tuesday, 28 December 2021

There Could Never Be A Time More Vital To This Earth

I had no idea who Steve Hillage was before System 7. I had very little interest in prog rock or it's subsequent pretenders to the crown. The closest I came being my school friend Phil, who lent me his Marillion albums and singles. I don't think I ever need to listen to 18 minute B-side Grendel ever again...
 
But I digress. Steve Hillage and Miquette Giraudy formed System 7 as a response to the late 1980s emerging dance music movement, collaborating with Alex Paterson/The Orb on 1990 debut single Sunburst. Collaboration was key from the start and other fellow travellers in those early recordings included Youth (Killing Joke), Paul Oakenfold, Thrash (aka Kris Weston), Derrick May, Steve Waddington (The Beloved), Nigel Butler (subsequently of Hysterix & theaudience) and vocal performers Aniff Cousins (Chapter + The Verse), Monday Michiru and Zoë, to name a few.
 
My brother had been buying loads of 12" singles whilst I'd been away travelling during 1990/91 and had Habibi and Freedom Fighters, which were my entry point to System 7. I've followed them intermittently since and they're still going strong. Hillage was entering his 40s when System 7 formed and turned 70 this August. Proof if needed that you're never too old to create music for the head and the feet, even if my body audibly creaks a lot more when I move...
 
I was going through some boxes in the attic last week and came across this C90 cassette that I recorded in September 1992, compiling my brother's 12" singles on one side and a cut-down version of The Shamen's En-Tact CD on the other. We'd found ourselves both living back at home with our parents: he'd just finished a degree; I'd gone back to college to do A-Levels, after dropping out six months in the first time around. I guess we were both looking for some kind of escape.
 
1) Habibi (Another World Mix By Robin Hancock & Hein Hoven) (ft. Olu Rowe)
2) Mia (Ultraworld Colony Mix By Steve Hillage, Nigel Butler & Alex Paterson)
3) Freedom Fighters (Praying By The Sea Mix By Robin Hancock) (ft. Aniff Cousins, Monday Michiru & Zoë)
4) Miracle (Orb Remix By Alex Paterson & Thrash) (Full Length)
5) Habibi (The Camel Mix By Miquette Giraudy & Andy Falconer) 
6) Depth Disco (Extended Mix By Steve Hillage & Tyrrell)
 
1991: MIracle EP: 2, 4
1991: Habibi EP: 1
1991: Freedom Fighters EP: 3, 6 
1993: Feed Your Head: 5
 
Note: 
Track 4 was originally the 5:35 edit found on the 12" of Habibi. The full length version here is from the Miracle CD single and also on the USA version of System 7's debut album, confusingly titled 777 by 777.
 
Track 5 was originally the Tex Mix, found on the limited edition clear vinyl 12" of Habibi. I don't have my own copy of this so I've swapped it for a completely different mix, which also more or less retains the running time of my original cassette.

Monday, 27 December 2021

She's My Groovy Good Luck Friend

Celebrating Janice Long, 5th April 1955 to 25th December 2021.
 
This is a later-than-usual post, for obvious reasons. I had something else lined up for today but after reading the sad news last night of Janice's passing on Christmas Day, I wanted to pay tribute instead.
 
I probably listened to Janice Long more than John Peel on Radio 1 as a teen, mainly because her evening show slot usually coincided with doing homework or otherwise avoiding my family in my bedroom. The sessions on her show were every bit as essential to my discovering new bands and artists, who have stuck with me for a lifetime. I haven't got as many Janice Long sessions in my collection as I thought, so there are some glaring anomalies (Primal Scream's Velocity Girl, for one) and this is another of those selections that doesn't begin to do justice to the breadth of Janice's shows and her passion for music.

Instead, this is quite alternative/indie-heavy and mainly focuses on 1984 to 1988, the period when I was a regular listener to her Radio 1 show. I've acquired a quite few songs retrospectively over the years, including quite a few that I didn't hear when originally broadcast (e.g. the Gold Blade track from the 1990s). I didn't follow Janice's move from Radio 1 and I've rarely listened to the radio from 2000 onwards, but it's clear from the tributes that her joy and enthusiasm for music remained undimmed. A genuine trailblazing DJ and presenter. Thank you, Janice.
 
1) Feminine Gender: Ranking Ann (4th August 1985)
2) Turkish Song Of The Damned: The Pogues (22nd October 1986)
3) Groovy Good Luck Friend: BMX Bandits (8th June 1986)
4) Christmas Mourning: Julian Cope (12th December 1984)
5) Home Is Where The Heart Is: The Chameleons (13th March 1985)
6) Ballad Of The Band: Felt (12th February 1986)
7) Winter Coat: The Bible (5th November 1986)
8) The Whole World Is Turning: Toots & The Maytals (19th August 1987)
9) Gave You My Love: Aswad (13th September 1984)
10) Ruthless: Cabaret Voltaire (10th October 1984)
11) Piece Of You: Soho (8th November 1987)
12) America: Communards (13th October 1985)
13) Independence Day (Cover of Comsat Angels): Voice Of The Beehive (7th March 1988)
14) What Do You Mean?: The Blue Aeroplanes (15th February 1987)
15) Frenz: The Fall (13th May 1987)
16) Traumas Traumas Traumas: Marc Almond (16th January 1985)
17) Is This The Life: Cardiacs (29th November 1987)
18) The Word Around Town: David Westlake & The Go-Betweens (14th January 1987)
19) Ostrich: Danielle Dax (1st December 1985)
20) Football Hooligan: Tippa Irie (26th June 1985)
21) 5 True Believers: Gold Blade (17th March 1997)
22) Take Me To The Girl: Associates (8th September 1985)

Sunday, 26 December 2021

Boxing Day

Too obvious?
 
1) Boxes: The Naturals (2007)
2) Call Box (1-2-3): Wall Of Voodoo (1981)
3) Heart-Shaped Box: Nirvana (1993)
4) Beast Box: Luxuria (1990)
5) Boxing Day: AFX (2006)
6) Hasj Box: Olav Brekke Mathisen (2003)
7) Glory Box / Toy Box (Remix): Portishead (1994)
8) Lanhydrock, Cornwall / The Old Music Box Playing In The Nursery (Produced by Jarvis Cocker): National Trust (2010)
9) The Box (Part Four): Orbital ft. Grant Fulton & Alison Goldfrapp (1996)
10) Pillar Box Red (Album Version By Clive Langer & Alan Winstanley): The The (2002)
 

Friday, 24 December 2021

Get Thee Behind Me Santa

Pye Corner Audio have released another festive freebie, Get Thee Behind Me Santa, via Bandcamp. When I first saw the cover art, I was reminded of the Bladerunner movie promo posters - yeah, it might just be me, but there's a definite Vangelis vibe to this song as well. Excellent work from Martin Jenkins and a great way to sign off for a few days. If all goes well, there should be some prepared posts over the Christmas period before I'm back, live and direct, early next week.
 
However you're spending your time, very best wishes from me. Thanks for dropping by and I hope to see you again soon.
 
 
Oh, and I've finally added expanded notes and comments to Tuesday's post on 10 of my favourite albums of this year.

Thursday, 23 December 2021

Now These Winter Skies Turn Blue And Bright

Again eschewing a 'best of' list, today's selection is a drop in the ocean of artists, songs and albums that I've discovered, found again after a very long gap or just replaced with a CD or digital version during 2021. Most of the 'new' discoveries are thanks to the brilliant blogs that have proved a lifeline for my musical and mental health, some of which are listed to the right. At the time of writing, my favourite reissue this year is the beautiful 5CD New Age Steppers collection, Stepping Into A New Age 1980-2012, followed very closely by the 2CD expanded reissue of The Beloved's Happiness. A belated purchase of SAULT's back catalogue at the same time as this year's 'NINE' has been a gift that keeps on giving. My bank balance hates me but, aurally speaking, it's been an embarrassment of riches this year.

1) We Persuade Ourselves We Are Immortal (Album Version): The Amorphous Androgynous & Peter Hammill (2020)
2) What It Is (Album Version): Angel Olsen (2019)
3) December Sunlight (Remixed 2020) (Cover of The The): Anna Domino (2020)
4) Men Like You (Album Version): Archive (2002)
5) The Sun Rising (Evening Session Remix): The Beloved (1989)
6) Touch (Album Version By Trevor Morais): Benjamin Zephaniah (2005)
7) Insomniacs Tonight (Extended Mix By Blancmange & Benge): Blancmange (2020)
8) She's A Mystery: Dot Allison ft. Keith Tenniswood (2012)
9) Hi-Fi Gets A Pounding (Pts. 1 & 2): Dub Syndicate (1982)
10) Heartbreak House: Hifi Sean ft. Maggie De Monde (2016)
11) Train Is Coming: Iklan ft. Law Holt (2020)
12) Charles XII Of Sweden (Tamworth Session): Julian Cope & The Teardrop Explodes (1989)
13) Wounded Animal: New Age Steppers (2012)
14) Positive Force Dub (Remix By Prince Fatty): Nostalgia 77 (2014)
15) Homage To A Memory (EKAC Demo): The Porch Song Anthology (2006)
16) J.J.'s: Port Sulphur (2020)
17) Tonight: Prince Fatty ft. Big Youth & Earl Sixteen (2019)
18) Andalucia: Psychemagik (2012)
19) Get Up (Live @ Orlando Arena, Florida, 29-30 April 1989): R.E.M. (1989)
20) Fearless: SAULT (2020)
21) Danger (Edit): Smith & Mighty ft. Kelz & Rudy Lee) (2002)

2002: You All Look The Same To Me: 4
2005: Naked: 6
2011: Songs For A Green World: The Classic 1989 Broadcast: 19
2012: Pioneers 01: 8
2014: Prince Fatty Meets Nostalgia 77 In The Kingdom Of Dub: 14
2016: Ft.: 10 
2016: Spell Of The Trembling Earth (Grande Edition): 15
2017: Ambience In Dub 1982-1985: 9
2017: Psychemagik Archive 2009-2017: 18
2019: In The Viper's Shadow: 17
2020: Album Number 1 Featuring Law Holt: 11
2020: Compendium: 16
2020: Connected Sequences: 21
2020: East And West/North And South (Collaborations 1984-2020) (Deluxe Edition): 3 
2020: Expanded Mindset: 7
2020: Happiness/Wolf Studios 1988-1990 (Special Edition): 5
2020: UNTITLED (Rise): 20
2020: We Persuade Ourselves We Are Immortal: 1
2021: Cold War Psychedelia: 12
2021: Song Of The Lark And Other Far Memories: 2 
2021: Stepping Into A New Age 1980-2012: 13
 

Wednesday, 22 December 2021

Don't Get Stuck In The Past

Today's 2021 retrospective highlights some great remixes from various singles and albums. The post title is the opening line of track 1, but also slightly tongue-in-cheek: a quick glance at the track listing and it's like an old school reunion, with Soulwax, Darren Emerson, Mark Ronson, UNKLE, Groove Armada and - bloody hell! - Kris Needs. My other challenge was avoiding making this a Hardway Bros. 'best of 2021'. Sean Johnston has delivered so many fantastic remixes, several of which have featured in previous posts; for this selection, I managed to whittle it down to two. Also making two appearances is Jesse Fahnestock: remixing Spacemen 3 as 10:40 in April, which led me to many more subsequent Bandcamp purchases, and November's single Thrill Me, as Jezebell (Fahnestock & Darren Bell), which includes a suitably whacko retro sample. This is barely scratching the surface, and I've a long list of this year's music that I still want to get, as 2022 and even more new sounds approach.
 
1) A Hero's Death (Soulwax Remix): Fontaines D.C.
2) That Time Of Night (Darren Emerson Remix): GLOK ft. Shiarra
3) Sail We Must (Hardway Bros Remix): Wet Signals
4) Thrill Me (Darren Darko Mix): Jezebell
5) Flying Tiger (The Mole's Slower Remix By Colin De La Plante): Dreems
6) New Love Cassette (Mark Ronson Remix): Angel Olsen
7) Hegel Dialect (UNKLE Reconstruction): Krust
8) They're In Our Head (Kampong Glam Mix): Rude Audio
9) First Class Bitch (Groove Armada's Confidence Trick Remix): Confidence Man
10) Point And Kill / Fear No Man (mindtrix music Remix): Little Simz ft. Obongjayar
11) Walking In The Sun (James Bright Remix): Andres Y Xavi ft. Rolo McGinty
12) Obey (Hardway Bros Stereo Odyssey Mix): Rheinzand
13) Love Comes In Waves (Pye Corner Audio Remix): Andy Bell
14) Weekend (The Judas Triangle) (Dom Beken & Kris Needs Remix): The Orb
15) How Does it Feel? (10:40's Terrace Moonshine Dub) (Remix By Jesse Fahnestock): Spacemen 3

 
A note on yesterday's post: track-by-track comments still to come. Early visitors may have noticed that I dropped Show Your Face by The Anchoress into the mix for a second consecutive day. Oops! That was a mistake: much as I love the song, it was supposed to be Let It Hurt instead, but in my half-awake state I pulled the wrong track. After a shower and a strong coffee, I've corrected and replaced the selection and link. Slipshod DJ licence currently under review and may be revoked.

Tuesday, 21 December 2021

Fear No Evil, Fear No Person, Fear No Spirit, Fear Nobody

Today's selection highlights 10 of my favourite albums from 2021. They're not ranked or scored, simply listed by the order that I sequenced the tracks for this playlist. This was initially a 'draft' post: due to life and stuff, I ran out of time to add comments on why I like these albums so much, but in a Christmas Eve update, here are my 10:

All Of Us: 10:40
My entry point was in Bagging Area in April, via the re-edit of Spacemen 3's How Does It Feel?, which inevitably led to Bandcamp, both the excellent Paisley Dark label and 10:40's debut album. The latter is almost an hour of dub-influenced beats and ambient washes, with hints of vocals threaded throughout. It was just the beginning of what has been a prolific year for Jesse Fahnestock, not only with 10:40 but with Emilia Harmony as Electric Blue Vision and Darren Bell as Jezebell. I'm looking forward to what comes next in 2022.
 
Catastrophe Hits: Broken Chanter
A pre-release recommendation by The Vinyl Villain in October, I bought the CD on spec and I wasn't disappointed. JC writes far more eloquently about the album than I can and closes his review with the comment that Catastrophe Hits "could well be the musical equivalent of the vaccination programme. Overdue, much needed, and a real shot in the arm." I won't argue with that.
 
I had a few songs here and there, but Flock was the first full album purchase I made. From what I can gather this is Jane's most overtly pop-oriented album to date and yes, it's choc-full of hooks, but with characteristic psych/prog/motorik undertones. Heartlow sets the tone and it flows seamlessly from there, 10 songs in 44 minutes. It's hard to pick a favourite, even from the singles, but Sunset Dreams deserves a special mention.
 
'NINE': SAULT
I'm often late to the party and, whilst I'd read about the mysterious collective led by Dean Josiah Cover aka Inflo, it was their drop of 'NINE' as a limited, 99-day release that prompted me to buy this and their entire album back catalogue in one fell swoop. SAULT's first album, 5, came out in May 2019; by June 2021, they were on album number 5, including two doubles. What's incredible is that this is definitely not a case of quantity over quality. Whether played as full albums or random shuffle playlists, SAULT's music is astonishing.
 
Sometimes I Might Be Introvert: Little Simz
Inflo was at the controls for what has turned out to be one of the year's highlights, also the fifth offering from Simbiatu Ajikawo aka Little Simz. I was aware of her and quite liked what I'd heard, but it was The Robster's post on Is This The Life? as part of his 50th birthday celebration in July that hooked me, with the stunning Introvert. I pre-ordered the album and it's one of those rare new releases that exceeds the hype and expectation. It's best listened to as a whole, the received pronunciation of guest narrator Emma Corrin can sometimes be a bit grating in isolation, but makes perfect sense as a full work. The breadth of influences and styles is breath-taking and the overarching personal narrative sets Little Simz as a unique and compelling voice.
 
Boy From Michigan: John Grant
I'm biased: I have loved every album that John Grant has released since Queen Of Denmark; I've probably said this before each time too, but this is arguably his best album to date. I guess a lot will rest on whether you have shared Grant's love of and commitment to electronica or wish he would return more fully to the Midlake-supported  70s sounds of his solo debut - I'm firmly in the former camp. Collaborating with Cate Le Bon on production was an inspired move. The Only Baby was an acutely well-timed lead single back in January and the quality of the album doesn't falter. It's a long album - 12 songs in 75 minutes - but never overstays it's welcome.
 
Animal: LUMP
Laura Marling and Mike Lindsay's second collaboration as LUMP wasn't something I'd assumed would happen, so it was a pleasant surprise to discover the lead single and title track back in May. I predicted back then that the forthcoming album would be a personal favourite of this year and here it is. Marling's lyrics are as sharp as ever: first track Bloom At Night opens with  

I heard a word that they paint mirrors on their face
And soon forget that they reflect but don’t create
 
and final song Phantom Limb closes with Marling reciting the album's production credits. She maintains a slightly distanced, emotionless tone throughout the album, juxtaposed with earthy, organic sounds, which provides a compelling tension.
 
The Art Of Losing: The Anchoress
Catherine Anne Davies' collaboration with Bernard Butler, In Memory Of My Feelings, was a 2020 highlight, which prompted me to purchase her 2nd album as The Anchoress in March, and her debut album a month or so later. It's a classic album in the sense of it's song structures, full of melodic and lyrical hooks. I had hoped to see The Anchoress supporting Manic Street Preachers live in concert in October. Unfortunately, Catherine had to withdraw from live commitments on health grounds due to the pandemic. In the end, I also had to pull out of going to the Manics gig (although that had a happier ending, with the ticket going to a good home). Pandemic permitting, The Anchoress will be on a solo tour in 2022 and I hope to experience these songs performed on stage. I think it'll be awesome.
 
When putting together posts for this blog, I'll often pick up on a song randomly or one that's perhaps languishing in my "haven't played for years" list and this can often lead me down a rabbit hole, discovering other music by the same artist. And so it was with Xan Tyler. Twenty years on from a previous collaboration with Mad Professor, July saw a new album Clarion Call, which I discovered in October as part of my research for the aforementioned post. It's been on repeated plays since and it's a wonderful mix of emotionally charged lyrics and uplifting dub sounds. I frequently listen to opener Why Do You Lie and think it's a comment on the current government, particularly the lumpen oaf in charge.
 
De Película: The Limiñanas / Laurent Garnier
An obvious choice perhaps, but the music and video for Que Calor ! reach out and grab you by the shoulders, shaking off the malaise and compel you to groove (warning: less advisable if working at height and in charge of heavy machinery). The album itself is a wild, hour-long ride and, whilst it may be less ground-breaking than some of the other albums on this list, it's one that cried out for the repeat button as soon as the final track ends. Another album that I pre-ordered following a Bagging Area recommendation in May and was it worth the wait.

Here's one selection from each album, apart from the Little Simz two-hander, which deserves not to be separated:

1) The Forever Yes (Album Version): 10:40
2) Allow Yourself: Broken Chanter
3) Heartlow: Jane Weaver
4) Trap Life: SAULT
5) Point And Kill / Fear No Man (Album Version): Little Simz ft. Obongjayar
6) Your Portfolio: John Grant
7) Animal: LUMP
8) Let It Hurt: The Anchoress
9) Why Do You Lie: Xan Tyler & Mad Professor
10) Que Calor ! (Album Version): The Limiñanas / Laurent Garnier ft. Edi Pistolas
 

Monday, 20 December 2021

It Smells Like Something Set Apart From Time

After yesterday's preemptive start to my favourites of 2021, here is a selection of my most played songs of 2021 so far. Anything released post-September will be at a disadvantage simply because they've been available for repeated listens for relatively less time. Even so, it was still hard to whittle down to an even dozen. 
 
Opening with Andy Bell, the preview/pre-release from the Another View remix album and arguably the standout track. Brian Dougans & Garry Cobain have delighted with another subscription-only 'Calendar' album this year, with an exclusive new or archive track each month; May's FSOL offering was a particular highlight. The Limiñanas collaborative album with Laurent Garnier was excellent and I especially love this penultimate track featuring Bertrand Belin. Hifi Sean's re-remix of Fire Island's 1998 cover of The Style Council's Shout To The Top is arguably the new definitive version of the song. 
 
Kelsey Lu has been an enduring favourite of the past couple of years and their collaboration with Boys Noize was accompanied by a stunning animated video. Jane Weaver released one of the best albums of the year with Flock, as did The Anchoress with The Art Of Losing. I first heard of Dan Wainwright this year via his Hope & Deliverance EP and Feel was a winner, as was Joe Muggs' mash-up of Lorde's Solar Power & Primal Scream's Loaded with the appropriately named Lorded. Long-time fave Ladyhawke made a mighty comeback with Guilty Love featuring Broods and yet another great video
 
The Orb had dropped off my radar for some years but Adam @ Bagging Area pulled them front and centre with a brilliant remix by Gaudi, as a taster for their excellent remix album. Rounding things off, my favourite song from probably my favourite album of the year by John Grant, who I managed to miss live on stage this year, making for a record four times. 2021 was a great year for music, but on this basis 2022 will surely be even better.

1) Indica (Pye Corner Audio Remix – GLOK Re-Edit): Andy Bell
2) Ride Or Die (Single Version): Boys Noize ft. Kelsey Lu & Chilly Gonzales
3) Fledgling Sun: The Future Sound Of London
4) Au Début C'était Le Début: The Limiñanas / Laurent Garnier ft. Bertrand Belin
5) Sunset Dreams: Jane Weaver
6) Shout To The Top (Hifi Sean Mix): Fire Island ft. Loleatta Holloway
7) Feel: Dan Wainwright
8) Lorded (Lorde v. Primal Scream): Joe Muggs
9) Show Your Face: The Anchoress
10) Guilty Love: Ladyhawke & Broods
11) Ital Orb (Gaudi Remix (Iron Chair) By Daniele Gaudi): The Orb
12) The Rusty Bull (Album Version): John Grant

Sunday, 19 December 2021

I've Lost All The Fears That Appeared In The Dark

I hadn't planned on posting any "best of 2021" lists just yet. Today's selection started off as a slightly downtempo, chilled mix as a reaction of sorts to yesterday's more frenetic festive fun. There's been so much good music this year that it ended up as a kind of alternative selection of some of my favourite albums, singles and remixes from the last 12 months. I've enthused about Andy Bell, Pye Corner Audio, Jane Weaver, Kelsey Lu, Dennis Bovell, Xan Tyler & Mad Professor, Richard Norris and SAULT previously, and this isn't the first selection to end with a remix of Walking In The Sun by Andres Y Xavi, but for a done-in-one-take sequence, I'm pretty happy with the end result. 
 
The world outside is still shrouded in fog and morning dew, but the sunshine is imbuing the haze with a golden glow that feels somewhat magical. I'll take that.

1) Pervitin (The Saw Torture) (Violeta Vicci Remix): The Orb
2) Ever New (Kelsey Lu's Transportation): Beverly Glenn-Copeland
3) Golden Ratio: Chez De Milo
4) For Alice: The Affectionate Punch
5) Lux: Jane Weaver
6) I Was Alone (Pye Corner Audio Remix): Andy Bell
7) Swanky Modes (Dennis Bovell DubMix Instrumental): JARV IS...
8) Left Dub: Xan Tyler & Mad Professor
9) Meet Me At Midnight (Justin Robertson's Temple Of Wonders Remix): D: Ream
10) Never Make Promises (Interlude): Little Simz
11) All Shall Be Well: The Anchoress
12) Alcohol: SAULT
13) Stay Here (Coyote Remix): Super FU
14) Water (Pulselovers Remix): Richard Norris ft. Bishi Bhattacharya
15) It's Kinda Funny (Cover of Josef K): Douglas MacIntyre
16) Quaquaversal: James Bright
17) Walking In The Sun (Xavi's Pianopella): Andres Y Xavi ft. Rolo McGinty