Field Music at St Luke’s, Glasgow. 🎼
Field Music at St Luke’s, Glasgow. 🎼
Ambient 1 / Music for Airports is 40 years old this month.
It is spurious to claim that Brian Eno invented ambient music. Erik Satie’s furniture music deserves mention. Eno himself recognised the role of Muzak.
Music for Airports is not even Eno’s first ambient album, despite its Ambient 1 moniker. But it certainly is the most important.
Music for Airports is both experimental and timeless. Bold yet gentle. You can consciously listen to it. But it may also affect your mood without you consciously being aware of it. Or in the words of Eno, “it must be as ignorable as it is interesting.”
It was a genuinely new idea. It introduced the notion of designing music for a specific purpose, yet was still packaged as a pop album. A stunning concept.
But how would we feel if music like this was played in an airport? Would it be a calming influence? Or would it grate like Muzak?
I have been shamefully late to discover Mica Levi, and Micachu and the Shapes. This is a track from the band’s 2012 album Never. It contains a lyric that made me laugh out loud, which doesn’t happen very often.
What happened when one person started up his iPod for the first time in 15 years.
…I also came across music and artists which made me wonder what on earth I was thinking of when I loaded their tracks into iTunes. If I could talk to my 2002 self, I would sit him down and explain that Limp Bizkit’s album Chocolate Starfish and the Hot Dog Flavored Water is an abomination and not at all funny (my London music buddies and I thought it was hilarious at the time)…
…looking back through the playlists on my first and oldest iPod I was struck by the fact that some of the music from 2001 and 2002 seemed far more dated than some of the ’70s, ’80s, and ’90s.
I certainly have a memory of music from 2001/2002. In fact, because of my age, it is precisely when a lot of my favourite music was released. But I do wonder what I would discover if I found my iTunes library from that period, warts and all?
The vinyl resurgence isn't all good news — particularly for independent musicians.
This is the opening track from the 2001 album Claro by Brothomstates. That was a special purchase for me, because it was the first IDM album I bought. I already knew I liked this sort of music because I was exploring what I could with whatever clips of tracks I could find online. But Claro was the first full album of this genre that I had heard. This was opening up a new world of sonic possibility to me, and I never looked back.
Wintry weather brings this album to mind. I have vivid memories of walking around my home town of Kirkcaldy in icy weather while listening to Claro on a Discman.
In particular, this opening track, In, epitomises the chilly vibe. The piercing synthesised staccato whistles may as well be icicles falling from the sky.
When thinking of what jam to feature this week, as the Beast from the East descended on the UK, I could make no other choice.
Shuffle mode has just reminded me of the time Richard D James (best known as Aphex Twin), using the pseudonym DJ Smojphace, opened for Björk at the Hammersmith Apollo in 2003.
From the YouTube video description:
For almost 2 hours Richard played nothing but “noise and feedback” from the backstage, only appearing in stage to cheerily wave goodbye in front of a very, very pissed audience.
Listen to the booing! Delightfully funny.
This song is a little bit too close to Coffee & TV for comfort. But after having left Blur, perhaps Graham Coxon wanted his own version of his own song, which I guess is fair enough.
Looking back, this song almost seems like a last gasp of the Britpop sensibility — an unashamedly, straightforwardly good pop song.
If brutalism was a genre of music, is this what it would sound like?
I’ll be honest; I’ve had better music rounds.
When a band you like releases a new album and it’s really good then count it up.
A delicious slice of minimal techno. Perfect for a chilly night time walk through the city.
The Lightning Seeds were one of the first bands I really liked. They don’t seem to have as much indie-cred as I think they deserve. Maybe that’s what happens when your biggest hit is a football anthem.
Sense is a little bit before my time, but I still think it’s one of their finest songs.
A lot of bands I liked wilted somewhat after Radiohead released Kid A. Not Massive Attack. 100th Window may not be their most admired album. But I thought it was one of the few that successfully met the Kid A challenge.
Gone were the trademark trip-hop beats that made them so successful in the 90s. In came a more clinical, experimental electronica sound. It switched some people off, but I think elements of this album are superb. It was an impressive reinvention, but it was also still unmistakably Massive Attack.
There may be no real science behind the concept of Blue Monday. But there is definitely something strange about mornings in January.
I always go back to work as soon as possible after the new year. On my morning walk to work, the streets are dark unlike any other time of year, and eerily quiet.
It’s now a new year tradition of mine to spend my first morning walk of each week listening to Blue Jam. Chris Morris’s peerless radio programme of the late 1990s mixed dark comedy with downtempo music. It was originally broadcast on BBC Radio 1 in the small hours of the morning, maximising its unsettling vibe.
That vibe seems to suit these weird, dark Mondays in January.
I used to think I got my proggy tendencies from my dad. However, he was recently dismayed to learn that I like Yes, who he says are too noodly. I guess I developed an excellent taste in music all by myself.
Every Friday evening I’m going to post a tune that I’m digging right now. Because why not?
I’d never taken notice of Soulwax before. But after reading a review of their latest album From Deewee in an end-of-year list, I decided to check it out on YouTube.
Wow! The motorik beat grabbed me; the climactic melody hooked me. I have become obsessed with this tune.
The album, supposedly recorded in one take, is also magnificent. This is bold, uncompromising electronic music that
commands attention. It continually surprises without being pretentious.
The 40th anniversary of the launch of Voyager has created renewed interest in the two gold-plated phonograph records that are on board.
A new CD has been recorded in Alex's family's front room -- and it sounds great.
John Bult: Julie’s Sixteenth Birthday The story of one of the worst record covers of all time. “During the photo shoot, Ted kept telling her to look serious, like her dad is talking to her,” Bult said. “But she just kept looking sad to me.” When the final album was pressed, and Bult saw the…
After years of dilly-dallying, I have finally bought myself a new record player. But I'm still not convinced vinyl provides the superior sound quality.
It's always great to hear new music from the Focus Group. Stop-Motion Happening has more wronged-up sound collages of mis-remembered pasts. Here's a clip.
I took the opportunity to see Radiohead when they played at Glasgow Green this summer as part of the Trnsmt festival. Even though they have been one of my favourite bands for over 15 years, I had never actually gone to see them before.
Pleased to have got my hands on the new Autechre EP (for charidee). For some reason my Autechre release detection radar was switched off, and by the time I discovered it, it had sold out. I eventually tracked down some copies on Juno Records. One of 1,000 copies.
Excellent radio with a passion for the unusual: Steve Davis and Stewart Lee discussing their love of experimental music on the BBC, and the triumphant return of Iain Lee to late nights.
Separations is a difficult album to love. But is also contains some of Pulp's biggest breakthroughs.
In a sense, Freaks is Pulp’s most interesting album — probably because it is also the band’s worst album. The original suffered from a rushed production. So could a remastered edition cast a new light on the recordings?
Despite the fact that I am a huge Pulp fan, I have arrived late to last year's reissues of Pulp's first three albums. But the remastered edition puts It in a new light.
A long gestation period between albums can go either way. After the disappointiment of 2005’s The Campfire Headphase, Tomorrow’s Harvest surpasses expectations.
I made the trek through to Edinburgh on a school night for the rare opportunity to see Adam Buxton's Bug show in Scotland. Although I was feeling the effects today, it was well worth it.
A run-down of my favourite five albums of the year.
Some musical highlights of 2012 that I did not include in my top ten.
Joyce Hatto was a revered pianist until her recordings were revealed to be fakes after her death. But was the truth about her recordings staring everyone in the face all along?