‘Spillin’ The Beans – “Divination” by Emerald Suspension.

Emerald Suspension are definitely not going to be to everyone’s taste, but what they do is definitely going to appeal to people who like their music from somewhere Out There.

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Balearic sound – Discuss

I’m away this weekend.  This post comes to you via the mystery that is “scheduled posting”.   As it goes live I should have a beer in my hand at the end of my first ride of the weekend on one of the Balearic islands.  I’m not on the club loving island, but I am sufficiently close to inspire this week’s topic.

The Balearic sound is difficult to pin down as Ibiza has a long history of drawing clubbing crowds.  Even before super-DJs like Carl Cox started endless residencies at the island’s bigger clubs, there were DJs laying the foundation for sounds that would morph into what we all think of as classic Balearic – lyrically emotional, blissed out, sunset, piano and strings.   These foundations came in the form of Carly Simon, Roxy Music and Fleetwood Mac – anything with a danceable beat and groove.  Just listen to Big Love enough and you can hear the basis of later club tracks; up-tempo beat, breathy loved-up noises and soaring vocals.

To me the Balearic sound is about blissful club classics and chill out tunes – but you don’t have to be heading to the club at 1am or coming down at 5am to enjoy these tunes; I love tracks like Sebastian Tellier’s La Ritournelle, I find it calming to have on when driving home after a difficult day at work.  That one is relatively recent.  Other favs are these:

Richie Havens – Going Back to My Roots.  An older funk track rediscovered by the Ibiza massive and played everywhere in clubs favouring the Balearic sound.  Oh those pianos!

I have Sweet Harmony somewhere (not to be confused with the great house track by Liquid), however The Sun is Rising is a lovely end of the night/start of the morning chill out track.

I rediscovered Antena’s Camino del Sol only the other week when I was listening to stuff out at around the same time as Young Marble Giants.  This is such a sweet track with a samba sound to it.  Lovely.

Then there’s the Andrew Weatherall mix of The Grid – Flotation.  Perfect mix of heady chill-out room vibe and club favourite.

I realise I’ve gone for the tamer end of the scale with my choices here.  With summer fast approaching I thought it would be a nice idea to find some new tunes and get a Balearic playlist together.  I’m looking for songs that defined the roots of Balearic Beat, classic Ibiza club tunes and Cafe del Mar style chill out tracks. I won’t be around to read your discussion or comment until Monday, but trust you to get the night going and the chill out room relaxed.

Yet again ‘Spillers I come to you to fill in the gaps in my musical knowledge. What can you tell me about all this and who else should I be tracking down?

 

Anna Meredith – Discuss

Anna Meredith’s first full length album has been championed by DJ Mary-Anne Hobbs for a long time.  MAH was playing tracks from Varmints on BBC 6 Music back when it was first released last year.  I’d heard none of Meredith’s previous work – if it was ever played on national radio, I never heard it.  She is well known in hipper classical circles though: first and foremost she is a composer.

I’m not really sure how to categorise Varmints; I guess it’s electronica, but at the meaty end of the scale.  It’s energetic and almost demented in places.  She uses horns and synth drums to great affect, creating soaring atmospherics racing along at light speed.  Listen to the repetitive beat of  the track R-Type and imagine careering along at pace on a train.  Some of the tracks on the album have vocals and provide a calm respite to the manic feel of the tracks surrounding them.  I particularly like Nautilus and The Vapours on the Varmints album, although all of it is good.  Anna’s earlier releases are also captivating; there’s an interesting cover of an Erasure track on one of her EPs.

The other week Shane mentioned Emily Wells in the comments of another post – she is a pretty awesome new find.  They are sort of comparable and yet not similar at all – Emily sings on many of her tracks.  It got me wondering about who else is out there pushing the boundaries of classical music and electronica.  I know plenty already, but it would be good to hear of more.

I am also drawn to this album because “varmints” is a word my sister loves and has used it to describe all the children in the family at some point or other.

Yet again ‘Spillers I come to you to fill in the gaps in my musical knowledge. What can you tell me about all this and who else should I be tracking down?

Mathematics Instrumentals A List

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I found the mathematics topic hard going this week.  I didn’t fall in love with much of the music and I had too much to do over the weekend to give the topic enough attention and love.  There were some last minute panic messages to a friend about how shit this was going to be and the much appreciated responses calmed me down and focused my attention again.  I can’t lie though, the advice of trying not to give so much of a f**k about this silly game didn’t quite stick.  I give a f**k about too many things; giving a f**k => to worry => lack of confidence in my ability to do the thing I give a f**k about.  It’s funny that he gave me that advice.  It’s the second time in a week someone has suggested such a course of action.  Only the other day a conversation with a colleague veered into similar territory.  They told me about a book they are currently reading to help them with their “giving too much of a f**k” issues.  It’s predictably called  The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F**k and it does exactly what it says on the tin.  They told me I need it in my life.  My mini meltdown while putting the RR playlist and write up together tells me I do.

I digress.  What I really wanted to do with the RR playlist about mathematics was to create a set of instrumental tracks from the nominations – I bottled it.  I lack the knowledge about maths in music to pull off something that.  Bastard confidence thing again.  So I thought I’d stick it here instead for you all the enjoy.  I think it’s much better than the one I put up in The Guardian, but I have no accompanying words; the music does the talking.

 

Young Marble Giants and The XX – Discuss

I remember the exact moment I first heard Young Marble Giants.  I was listening to Marc Riley (one of the many former members of The Fall) on his BBC 6 Music radio show back in 2014.  He played this track called Brand New Life.  My ears pricked and I marvelled at it, thinking how fresh and modern it sounded – who could this new beat combo be?  Was I about to stumble upon the next big thing?  I was totally gobsmacked when I looked them up and found they have only ever released one album called Colossal Youth in 1980.  1980!!!!  Colossal Youth is a minimal masterpiece.  It’s so pared back yet Alison’s sweet vocals seem to lift it.  The music itself feels quite fresh, there are plenty of bands now working with that kind of under-production feel where less seems to be more (think; Sleaford Mods), so it was no wonder I thought it was a new release.

The other week, I stumbled across a comment somewhere comparing Young Marble Giants to The XX and I was like “YOU WHAT??! ARE YOU KIDDING ME??”  I don’t mind The XX, in fact I sort of quite like them, but really?  They are not even on the same level in my opinion, despite their Mercury Prize win.

It did get me thinking though.  Who can you compare Young Marble Giants to?  Maybe Bauhaus?  Possibly Joy Division to a certain extent.  Perhaps those suggestions are too obvious and tells you everything about the lack of depth to my musical knowledge.  And what do we really think of this Young Marble Giants/The XX comparison?  Is it fair?

Yet again ‘Spillers I come to you to fill in the gaps in my musical knowledge.  What can you tell me about all this and who else should I be tracking down?