Monday, 8 October 2012

Foundcloud #2

The second edition of 'Foundcloud' is upon us, and all bodes well as all three tracks I've looked at this time are still all available on Soundcloud (though I'm all too aware that, as I'm typing this, Soundcloud could be suddenly brought down by hackers or an ancient curse or something).

Also, welcome to October -- throughout this month, I plan to sporadically post with regards to music and films and stuff to soundtrack Halloween (as well as possibly some stuff about the new Flying Lotus, and Radiohead's incredible show in Manchester two days ago), as it's pretty much one of the best times for music-listening and film-watching due in part to needing something to do while hiding from the children / teenagers / thirty-something management types who'll be 'trick-or-treating' this October's 31st.

But, back to the point...

Tennis - Guiding Light (Television cover)

When trawling Soundcloud in search of things to write about for this second Foundcloud, I was delighted to come across this cover of one of my favourite tracks from Marquee Moon, the famed debut of proto-punk / punk / post-punk icons Television, by Tennis, the band who were behind two of my favourite songs of this year (Petition and Deep in the Woods

In many ways, Tennis keep their interpretation of the song relatively close to the original material (and do a good job of it, I should add) – with the only real alterations made being, in keeping with the band’s aesthetic, a heightened focus on the ‘60s pop influences that are present, yet less overt, in Television’s original, which – along with the addition of some carefree flutes towards the end – leave us with a great, wonderfully summery reinterpretation of a classic song.

Twigs & Yarn - Marigold Ride

In my YouTube Recommendation of Tricot’s ‘G.N.S.’ video, I made a brief allusion to my recent interest in Flau Records. I’m happy to say that their Soundcloud page has offered up another treat this week in the form of this – a track by Texan artists, Twigs & Yarn.

In a way not dissimilar to the work of other Flau artists like Cokiyu and Cuushe, as well as veterans of this style of folk-inflected electronic music like Boards of Canada and Múm, Twigs & Yarn can be seen in Marigold Ride to have crafted a song that can be described as pastoral and nostalgic, yet somewhat mysterious. This is accomplished not only through aesthetic details such as degraded synth textures, rickety percussion, and field recordings, but also through Lauren McMurray’s lo-fi, distorted, vocals – as lyrics like “We’re going round the merry-go-round” imply the freedom and innocence of childhood in a way that contrasts with the sadness of McMurray’s delivery of them, and that thus bears a multitude of interpretations. In this one line, you can hear a melancholic lamenting of the lost past, or perhaps even of remembering a past that is in itself characterised by darkness and melancholy.

The Holocene - Ahwahwee, pt. 2: Miocene

On his Soundcloud page, the Holecene describes his music as an attempt to “channel John Coltrane listening to Godspeed You! Black Emperor through Merzbow’s machines chopped up by DJ Shadow... whilst watching nature programmes... in space”. As if that description wasn’t impressive enough, The Holocene continues to impress with music that does actually fit it quite well.

In Ahwahwee, pt. 2: Miocene, we can hear – as implied in that description – the improvisational nature of jazz combined with the sonic adventurousness of post-rock and the modern developments of digital noise and sampling. What this track brought to my mind instantly, though, was the short-lived ‘90s experimental rock band Disco Inferno; as a dub-esque bassline rolls on beneath layers of processed noise, field recordings of strong wind, and swirling detuned electronics, I couldn’t help but think of that band’s uniquely rock and hip-hop influenced reinterpretation of musique concrete. The track ends brilliantly, too, as its second half consists of two minutes of blissed-out noise that kind of brings to mind Odd Nosdam remixing the classic “THX” sound.

I realise that much of this little review has consisted of comparing the track to the work of other artists, but that’s quite relevant given that the track itself feels like a well-made audio collage: both in its cut-up and fragmentary style, and, more interestingly, in how it brings together a diverse array of influences and uses them to make something that sounds futuristic, unique and refreshingly chaotic.

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