Four Tet - Unspoken (original version)
Unspoken originally contained a sample of Tori Amos. But because Four Tet could not get the sample cleared, he had to change the original version so it could be released on his sophmore LP Rounds.
Today (ten years after Rounds was released) he tweeted a link to the original 9 minute version along with a download link. What a champ!
Download - Unspoken (original version)
Bonobo - Sapphire
Finding a song to feature from Bonobo’s new album proved to be difficult. The entire LP is a cohesive unit with different textures and cultures like an organic plant growing more luscious with every listen.
I have however, settled on Sapphire for no other reason, other than it was playing when I began writing this. The song features just before the halfway mark and it is nothing less than you would expect from Britain’s elite DJ/producer. It is the kind of song you could play to your mother in law, your teenage hipster nephew, or your neighbour’s ant colony. In other words, I think few people would find Bonobo’s new album difficult to refuse or dispute.
I highly recommend The North Borders to lovers of all music. Released last month, Bonobo’s fifth album is all killer no filler and a definite venture into downtempo bliss.
James Devane - Rhubarb (Aphex Twin Cover)
I have no agenda.
I have no endorsements, no sponsors, no product placement on this website. I have never studied marketing or advertising. I have no interest in hype, in trending, in staying up to date with the most recent major label artist campaign push.
I have never sugarcoated or given my opinion of music lightly without careful contemplation and consideration on different elements and textures of the soundscape.
I don’t listen to radio, I don’t watch television and I have started falling out of the habit of attending social events for the sake of engaging in shallow conversations consisting of the same polite but generic questions and answers.
I don’t listen to music to be social or antisocial, nor do I do it to develop a false sense of superiority or alienation from those around me. I do listen to music to stimulate my brain, to engage areas of my psyche that are both primitive and highly developed. I write about music not for any personal gain, but in the hope that I can share some amazing creative works with other appreciative listeners. I don’t believe in altruism, or selflessness because I love sharing music with others and I vicariously feel a sense of joy in the process.
I often feel forced to talk a lot during the day, and far too often these spoken exchanges are dwarfed in terms of meaning, emotion, expression and understanding compared to the awesome communicative powers that music can have - which brings me to the end of my ramblings. At the end of the day, you can complain about the state of music today, or you can use your initiative and seek a world of undiscovered talent and a crowd of like-minded people to share your appreciation with, rather than your own disappointments.
RJD2 - Since ‘76
I might just be speculating here - but I’m a little bit confident that RJD2 has taken samba and South American music on this track and chopped them up to make Since ‘76.
The track was a single on RJD2’s second album Since We Last Spoke and it has definitely retained playback value for me after all these years. Hopefully it will do the same for you. Enjoy.
You Can't Go Home Again
DJ Shadow - You Can’t Go Home Again
The king of sampling DJ Shadow is often known for his standout debut album Endtroducing which obliterated the arguments of anyone still seriously contesting the legitimacy of sampling as an art form. But his second full length studio effort The Private Press tends to be brushed aside from public consciousness despite it being equally as strong as Endtroducing.
What The Private Press lacks in breaking new ground it makes up for in innovation and further experimentation. It is hard to pinpoint what it is that makes the album so incredible; perhaps it is the experience of being transformed to an unpredictable and exciting new soundscape with each track. This is definitely not 3 minute pop song territory, and DJ Shadow challenges the listener’s expectations by shifting focus and pushing boundaries with every new sample he uses.
Photo of DJ Shadow and fellow Quannum artist Chief Xcel in 1995.
Download - You Can’t Go Home Again (control-click, save as)
Emancipator - Minor Cause
Elegance and exotic soundscapes lather Emancipator’s new album Dusk to Dawn.
Nowhere is this more true than on the stunning opener Minor Cause. The music begins slowly and builds before blossoming into a fully recognised orchestral, electronic masterpiece. The strings alone make this song worthy of a listen, but Emancipator’s technological prowess transforms Minor Cause into a piece to be reckoned with. Highly recommended.
Download - Minor Cause
Vivace From Concerto In C Minor
Jacques Loussier Trio
Jacques Loussier Trio - Vivace From Concerto In C Minor
Take one percussionist, one bassist, and one pianist with an impressive aquiline nose. Add classical training, and juxtapose with the desire to break rules. Combine, and the result is the Jacques Loussier Trio.
The Trio (originally comprising bassist Pierre Michelot, percussionist Christian Garros, and Loussier leading on piano) began recording during the 1950’s, transposing compositions by Johann Sebastian Bach - taking them from former lives as strictly classical pieces, and transforming them into fresh jazz numbers.
During the mid-1970’s, Loussier disbanded the trio, in order to develop some original compositions. However, the Trio re-formed (with a new lineup) in 1985, still focusing on Loussier’s love of Bach, but also branching out to include pieces by Handel, Mozart, and Satie (among others) in their repertoire.
Of the Trio’s Bach interpretations, Vivace From Concerto In C Minor is a personal favourite. While the ear is drawn to the elegant piano, the percussive and bass work is impossible to ignore, gifting the listener with the best of not one, but three worlds. This recording is taken from the Trio’s 50th Anniversary release, and features the post-reformation lineup of Vincent Charbonnier and André Arpino (handling bass and percussion, respectively).
Despite octogenarianism calling, Louisser still has a lot of Bach to work with. Here’s hoping for a few more recordings of the man with the masterful hands.
A Beautiful Mine (With RJD2)
Aceyalone with RJD2 - A Beautiful Mine
Picture this - the crisp silhouette of a gentleman in his 30’s, dressed in a sharp business suit, falling gracefully into oblivion between the towering high-rises of Madison Avenue.
Fans of AMC’s Mad Men should have little trouble conjuring up such imagery, which goes hand-in-hand with this string-sampling composition by Eddie Hayes and Ramble John Krohn (Aceyalone and RJD2 to you and I).
Hailing from opposite sides of the States (California and Ohio, respectively), the artists collaborated and released Magnificent City in 2006, of which this is the closing track.
The piece is built on a bed of drums and crashing cymbals, but who can forget that hook? For those of you who enjoy following a tune down the rabbit-hole, Enoch Light’s rendition of Autumn Leaves is responsible for those delightful strings. Light himself was also born in Ohio, which nicely brings A Beautiful Mine’s tale full-circle.
This is a wonderful track to wrap yourself in. Do as Don Draper would, and fix yourself a Manhattan while you’re at it.