I’m not sure how I haven’t talked about Jamie xx before. He’s one third of the xx, in charge of production of the band and, in my opinion, the most talented member of the band. Without him, I don’t think the xx would have been as big as they are, he gives them something else that other bands don’t have. His solo work is where he really differentiates himself. His sound is completely unique, as you will be able to hear from the video, and I can’t wait for a solo album from him. This track is his most recent release and it definitely rivals his other stand out release called Touch Me which features the vocals of Yasmin. Both are incredible creations and well worth a listen.
Jon Hopkins “Open Eye Signal” (Official Music Video) (by pitchforktv)
I got back from Bestival a few days ago and despite the likes of Disclosure, London Grammar and Crystal Fighters performing my favourite set of the entire festival was, without a doubt, Jon Hopkins. It was actually the second time I’ve seen him live with the first one being at The xx’s Night & Day festival. I definitely feel his Bestival performance was better because the venue (in a tent rather than in the open air).
I first found Hopkins when this music video was posted on the Pitchfork Youtube channel. Strangely, what first brought my attention to the track was that it did not feel like a track that should have a music video. It stuck out to me and I thought I’d give it another listen. Soon I was obsessed with it.
It’s a long track that builds slowly, Hopkins’s use of bass and synth means it grows in waves. For some reason I find it’s a track that forces you to think and reflect. Generally I believe that all tracks need vocals; even if they are just very faint, distant vocal samples like the ones Burial uses. But Jon Hopkins is able to make this work
Chrome Sparks is the alias of 22 year old Jeremy Malvin, a producer from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. His music is difficult to categorise as he combines components of chillwave and synthpop.
I first heard him when he was played by Annie Mac on BBC Radio 1 back in December 2012. That track was “Marijuana” and I remember noticing it because of how different it was. It used an unusual vocal sample and was unlike anything I’d heard before. Ingeniously, it turns out he took it from a track by 70s jazz drummer Idris Muhammad.
The reason I’m doing this post is because recently I discovered another song by him. “Send The Pain On” is its name and it has managed to top “Marijuana”. Malvin’s use of vocal samples again singles it out; it starts in a strangely haunting style before you are hit by a tidal wave of synth. In a weird way Chrome Sparks reminds me of Unicorn Kid. Perhaps not in production technique, but more in the sounds he uses, for example at 1.19 in the STPO music video linked below.
"Sparks" is the EP on which both of these tracks appear and it is one I haven’t been able to stop listening to recently. Unbelievably the whole EP is available for free download from his BandCamp page. And finally, you MUST wear headphones while listening to it, just do it.
Chrome Sparks - Send The Pain On (Music Video) (by jeremymalvin)
Chrome Sparks - Marijuana (by Rugiagialia)
Daughter - Youth (Alle Farben Remix) (by majesticcasual)
Recently I have been listening to a lot of tracks from the Majestic and Eton Messy youtube channels and I’m sure I’ll be posting more in the future. Here is my favourite at the moment.
Daughter are an indie folk band from London and the original song, Youth, was released on their 2011 EP entitled The Wild Youth.
However, in my opinion, what makes the track is the work of Alle Farben, a Berlin-based producer named Frans Zimmer, on it. It’s another unusually long one for me at over seven and a half minutes, but in a way this is one of the reasons it’s so good. The track slowly builds up to a crescendo and just as you think it’s ended, it restarts. One of the most replayable songs I’ve heard in a while
It’s A Fine Line are a pair of producers named Ivan Smagghe and Tim Paris who are from London. This track, Edit Service 8, has been released on the I’m A Cliché label. The track is a lot longer than most of the ones I post normally (over 8 minutes) but it doesn’t feel in any way stretched. This is another artist who I’ve had difficulty finding out about but hopefully that will change as they make more music like this and make a name for themselves
It’s A Fine Line - Edit Service 8 [HQ Audio] (by lachainedepeio)
London Grammar are a trio from London, Hannah & Daniel (who met at Nottingham University) and Dot (added later). From what I can find they have only released one song. I heard it on Phil Taggart and Alice Levine’s R1 show last night and haven’t stopped listening since. Definitely hoping for more of the same from them
London Grammar - Hey Now (by LondonGrammar)
Prepare to board the HMS Bestival. First line-up announcement at 19:00 hrs on Wednesday 30th Jan. Bestival 2013.
I’ve been starting to listen to a bit of Garage recently and so far this has been one of the stand-out tracks. The track was released in 1998 and is made by garage production duo Double 99 (real names Tim Deluxe and Omar Adimora). It is believed to be the first ever true speed garage record and one of the best tracks I’ve heard for a while.
Double 99 - RIP Groove (Original) (by SkintRecords)
And now for some classic 80s house! Nightcrawlers are a “house music project” from Glasgow, Scotland assembled by John Reid. “Push The Feeling On” is easily they’re best and most famous song. I found it from its appearance on Stay +’s mix for Rob da Bank BBCR1’s show. The mix is definitely worth having a look at and its available for free download on Stay +’s SoundCloud page
Nightcrawlers - Push The Feeling On (by sewerincho)