"An arbitrary succession of more or less irritating sounds"

Friday, 24 October 2008

Still inextricably linked

Final instalment of our BreakThru Radio week comes in the form of two recent hacks from contrasting electronica mixes (both freely available): first - & for absolutely & definitely the last time (until November 5, anyway) - this awesome splicing of fairly minimal techno pulses & swirls with soaring Obama rhetoric. We Cannot Turn Back is an LMYE-curated extract from Francois K Minitek earlier this year. 

Apologies for the somewhat abrupt ending, & the remorseless re-upping.

Any guidance on the underlying tracks most welcome...

Hope/Progress image by Shepard Fairey.

Second,  from a Blu Mar Ten mix that kicks off in the same brainy ambient territory as the Aphex/Eno mash-up re-upped this week, this lovely thing: To Do Something To Me

It splices Eno talking (about dissolving personality, the revival of interest in acoustic instruments, & cultural history & tradition informing performance) with the burbling intro to an Aquasky remix of Omni Trio's Who Are You? (from The Haunted Science; hear both the original & the Eno-free remix at OT's MySpace). 

Thursday, 23 October 2008

Anatomy atomised

LMYE's comically unnatural & dour 'The Anatomy of a Blogger' interview show is broadcasting now & for the next week on BreakThru Radio. Transcript covering our origin & future, favourite artists & blogs, & the internet's impact on music, below...


The Anatomy of a Blogger
DJ DoseU
October 23, 2008

00:00 DJ DoseU (Hands - Four Tet)
00:23 Julian (Lend Me Your Ears) (Hands - Four Tet) The Beginnings
01:37 Music Is Math - Boards Of Canada
06:59 Endless Soul - Josef K
09:25 Nothing Is Worth Losing That - Telfon Tel Aviv
14:33 Julian (Lend Me Your Ears) (Hands - Four Tet) & Four Tet
15:37 Our Time - Kieran Hebden And Steve Reid
20:42 Safer - Animal Collective
29:49 Alberto Balsam - Aphex Twin
35:01 Julian (Lend Me Your Ears) (Hands - Four Tet) & The Best Blogs
35:48 Ribbons - Four Tet
41:09 Applebush - Josef K
43:33 Julian (Lend Me Your Ears) (Hands - Four Tet) & Music on the Internet
45:55 Sorry For Laughing - Josef K
48:54 Oh My Lover - Adem
52:03 Water Curses - Animal Collective
55:25 Julian (Lend Me Your Ears) & The Future
55:56 DJ DoseU
56:13 Street Flash - Animal Collective

Not to be ungrateful, but LMYE isn't responsible for that feast of Animal Collective nor the Josef K orgy - we just wanted the Pantha du Prince remix of Peacebone (buy here or here) & the Scots' It's Kinda Funny (which, it's kinda funny to note, didn't make it...): listen via widget below.

Anyway, in case anyone's interested, here's the interview:

1) Could you say a bit about how Lend Me Your Ears came about (name, decision to start a blog and anything else you'd like to mention)?

At its heart, Lend Me Your Ears is a conversation about music between two very old friends who haven’t lived in the same country for 20 years, unfortunately, & are still hugely into new sounds from across the very broad spectrum of what we’ve called ‘less obvious music’. The fact that people in more than 100 countries have visited the blog this year alone & in that way joined this conversation, which by definition is not a mainstream one, is a massive endorsement of which we’re quite proud.

The name Lend Me Your Ears always seemed an ideal one for a music blog. It’s what we want you to do!

Brian Eno once said that his inspiration was the idea of fusing the music of Steve Reich and Tony Allen. Notwithstanding how little Tony Allen is there is in almost all of Eno’s stuff, this is a good description of where we’re coming from – though I’d also add Allen’s partner Fela Kuti, plus John Coltrane, Joy Division & Basic Channel. & Eno himself, obviously.

2) Could you say a bit about some of your favorite groups on the list you've given? Maybe how you first encountered them or a memorable experience you've had with them?

For me at least (we haven’t discussed this), Four Tet is arguably the definitive Lend Me Your Ears artist – in his various guises, he’s drawing on a host of influences (both acoustic & electronic, from fairly minimal to jazz via countless points in between) that matter to us. In fact, Kieran may be as close to Eno’s Reich plus Tony Allen recipe as anyone has yet come.

Launch Yourself by Adem (who’s in the post-rock group Fridge with Kieran) was the appropriately-named first track ever on Lend Me Your Ears, about 16 months ago.

Josef K were my first gig, with Orange Juice & Aztec Camera at the long-closed Venue by Victoria Station in London back in 1981 (documented on this album, by the way...). To my lasting shame, I may have worn leg-warmers! I certainly had my top shirt button done up in the official post-punk style.

3) Do you have any other music sites or have favorite music sites or blogs you read?

So many blogs & sites: our Google Readers are never empty!

We admire Motel de Moka a lot, particularly their commitment to the art of the mix. Also Beat Electric, Comfort Music, Dilated Choonz, the ill-ec-tro-nic, Just Press Play, mapsadaisical, Palms Out Sounds & Undomondo. & we really miss Good Vibrato!

The Hype Machine & elbo.ws, of course. & Last FM, in a slightly different vein.

Boomkat’s incredible enthusiasm isn’t for everyone, but I like it (including their very cool 14 tracks service). We like bleep too. & eMusic’s pretty decent for less obvious music.

4) How do you think the internet and other music technologies regarding promotion or creation have found their effect in the quality of music? (I realize this is somewhat of a limitless question, but feel free to keep it short or as simple as you'd like, just a way of jogging ideas).

Not sure that it’s had as much impact on the quality of music as on the quality of the experience around music – in theory, much faster feedback could contribute to making better music. But great artists make great music in any conditions. The pre-digital My Life in the Bush of Ghosts is still the best sample record of all time.

Certainly, though, the way that technology has democratised the experience of music has countless benefits - more contact between artists & fans, & among fans, the sort of self-publishing exemplified by In Rainbows or Everything Happens, the remix competitions & online mixes that flush out huge non-public talents, the power of software to see patterns & give recommendations based on what you listen to.

One really interesting use of the internet is the approach of The Bays (bays.com). They are arguably the most modern band in the world – they play completely unrehearsed, improvised music that is all about the moment of live performance & they sell no records so that what they do isn’t compromised by having to market a product: on the contrary, they use the internet to give their music away. That’s a very unusual model that couldn’t have existed before the digital era, though obviously in some ways it’s a continuation of a sort of troubador approach you find in more marginal musics like jazz.

Lend Me Your Ears also has an unusual policy of posting no music without permission from the artist/label. Bloggers are enthusiasts who want to champion great music. But they’re also competitive & everybody wanting to put up their own exclusive or somehow different track can lead to wholesale rape of some artists who are never going to be big sellers. Look at how much Gang Gang Dance you can scoop up for free currently.

At the risk of being old & boring about this, we recognise some responsibility in what we post. We love this music & want to do nothing that hurts the artists who make it – on the contrary, we want to support them. Read what The Books have to say on their web site about struggling to sustain themselves financially.

5) Anything else you'd like to add, maybe what you're doing in the future, site developments, upcoming events you're attending?

Just keeping posting with any regularity is quite a challenge for guys with kids!

But lately we’ve posted a couple of remixes by Prince Charming, an Australian guy, & hacked a few chunks out of other people’s mixes. So one logical further step would be to try & get some primitive remixes together. But that’s a long-term aspiration, not anything imminent.

Continuing the inter-generational conversation

BreakThru Radio re-up: on paper, the Kieran Hebden/Steve Reid collaborations could have been commissioned for a pair of Four Tet fiends & jazz-loving chin-strokers like LMYE. In practice, the ensemble stuff often plays it safe (even when getting pretty free) by leaving Kieran to squiggle electronically in the background. But the duos are particularly rich, subtle, fascinating conversations between two generations of musician & any number of genres.

To these ears, the pair's highlight so far is the timeless yet fantastically modern Our Time from Tongues. Their We Dream from The Exchange Sessions Vol. 2 is less obviously beautiful, but still spurts & pounds to massive effect (NB: version here is a giveaway edit...).

One peak from the ensemble is the intense Which One? from Spirit Walk; the storming Lions of Juda, especially, & Lugano are deep workouts too. 

Jiggy Jiggy
 from the more recent Daxaar starts fairly lame, but gets rather more rewarding as it builds (NB: giveaway version to comply with LMYE's hair-shirt policy on music under a year old...); the title track is fiercer, by the way.

To finish, here's a couple of other collisions of jazz heavy-ish weights with more contemporary-ish sounds: Pharoah Sanders with the underrated 23 Skidoo - Hendang (from 23 Skidoo) - & Courtney Pine with Attica Blues - Trying Times (from Another Story; there's a bone-crunching version from an old Talkin' Loud promo, Year on Year).

Official Hebden/Reid video:

Wednesday, 22 October 2008

Flat-topped inflorescence

Resplendent with remixes by Boards of CanadaFour Tet & MogwaiBoom Bip's Corymb is almost ludicrously star-studded ('star' used in a pretty relative sense, obviously...); even its lesser names are luminaries like Lali Puna & Venetian Snares

All the same, some of its best tracks are by Bip himself: the brooding, epic build of Pulse All Over, for example, or the Four Tet-style moody post-jazz of In the Tree Top - check out the full album via widget:  

Bonus: Ghostly-style bouncy poptronica giveaway The Move (from Blue Eyed In The Red Room).  

Tuesday, 21 October 2008

The Whole History of Piano Music

A tip of the LMYE hat to daniel: he chided us for the Aphex/Eno mash-up re-upped yesterday as part of our BreakThru Radio week - to these ears it's still incredibly moving, so we have to agree to disagree - but also directed us to a Blu Mar Ten mix that kicks off in the same brainy ambient territory. 

This splices Eno talking (about dissolving personality, the revival of interest in acoustic instruments, & cultural history & tradition informing performance) over the burbling intro to an Aquasky remix of Omni Trio's Who Are You? (from The Haunted Science; hear both the original & the Eno-free remix at OT's MySpace). It's a lovely thing

Princely charm

Two LMYE exclusives revisited: first, an inspired reimagining of one of the better tracks on 
In Rainbows - Australia's Prince Charming (plus a sample cast that includes Martin Luther King, Harry Truman, Richard Nixon &, less obviously, Whittaker Chambers) wrings yearning, menace & uplift out ofVideotape with his poignant Videotrip (Tragedy of History).

NB: current version at Charming's MySpace sounds updated...

Hear a sanctioned Nude remix here & others here (NB: LMYE's 'nothing unsanctioned under 1 year' policy waived for Videotrip in view of IR's original distribution...).

A second Charming remix again reimagines UK indie angst-rock into something more spacious, fractured & moving via a perhaps predictable, but still incredibly resonant, public voiceCompliments (Prince Charming's Admiration).

Photo by Nils Tober.

Monday, 20 October 2008

BTR 'Blogger of the Week'

Improbably enough, Lend Me Your Ears is 'Blogger of the Week' on BreakThru Radio this week: have a listen & check out some new & refreshed posts. 

Plus in Thursday's 'The Anatomy of a Blogger': a Domino-dominated LMYE playlist, with some Hefty & Warp goodies too, & - in keeping with LMYE's 'an arbitrary succession of more or less irritating sounds' tag - an interview with me...

BTR is the World's Source for the Best Independent Music on the Internet. Our motto, "Music for music lovers," perfectly reflects our eclectic playlists with music ranging from death metal to dance party mixes and everything in between. All the music we play is from independent and unsigned artists; music you could never dream of finding on commercial radio. 

BTR offers listeners instant, on-demand access to exclusive content from all over the world. Thanks to the Internet, BTR has gained strong listenership in over a dozen countries. With our unique on-demand musical programming and focus on the best in new independent music, it's no surprise BTR has garnered over 1,000,000 listeners daily, the majority of which are 18-24 years old. 

Unlike other radio stations, BTR offers on-demand programming; a first in Internet radio. Listeners can cater to their specific musical preferences, and at the same time discover the best independent and unsigned artists from across the world. 

Sunday, 19 October 2008

Can I tell a short story, again?

Updated repost: Eno versus Aphex Twin - an ambient dream-team pairing brought together in a masterful mash-up (sometimes called Rhubarb & Villages): Eno considers the sociology & human engineering of the Hutterites over an exquisite Aphex vamp with exactly the right reflective, melancholy, ultimately uplifting tone...

Found originally via Art Decade. Image above by 100dbs.

"Randomness, generative situations...you let the thing grow: there's a lot to learn from artists." In classic Eno style, the domed one riffs on from the drama of building & populating a daughter colony into Rawlsian notions of civil society into the use of generative tools & frameworks; allegedly, a longer version is out there somewhere.

Haven't tracked that down yet, but here's a Long Now-sponsored conversation with Will Wright (summary & all Long Now seminars, including Eno on his own back in 2003 - the final one in the list).

Love the description of Eno as a landed Victorian gentleman boffin (by Jim Rossignol, who also links to this 2002 interview).

Friday, 17 October 2008

Remove red from white light

An effortlessly pulsing, cleverly smeared working of the rich seam of dubby post-techno, Pattern 4 by cyan341 on Uncharted Audio is respectfully in the Basic Channel lineage - to the extent of having its own decimal-placed version (4.1: buy here). 

If its imminent vinyl release in the perfect format (10", obviously...) weren't persuasion enough, cyan gets further kudos for citing this great 1990 compilation as a key inspiration (previously blogged by LMYE here). 

Moreover, it has a fine remix by the relentlessly interesting LJ Kruzer - both skipping and melancholy. 

To arouse your appetite further, an LMYE-hacked hors d'oeuvre from this summer's STFU gathering: Heidelberg Heat - feast on those lovely, mad synth stabs & vamps... 

cyan's deliciously spacey set in its hour-plus entirety is here, while for completists everything from the event is here under Creative Commons.

Pic by filarion

Bonus: Kruzer giveaways - Koi Carp, Mowzer Pitville Park

Thursday, 16 October 2008

Altering ego

Here's a clanking & whirring - & deeply satisfying - chunk of Matthew Dear's potty-mouthed Audion persona. It's hacked out of approximately the right part of XLR8R's new Dear/Audion mix by Derek Plaslaiko, but whether it's one of the two unreleased tracks (OWT & Bees Please) cited only a more Spectrally-inclined pair of ears would know...

Anyway, sorry about the ham-fisted fades & title: Dear Hunting Audion (full mix is here). 

Hope/Progress image by Shepard Fairey.

Wednesday, 15 October 2008

Boats don't leak

Lusciously shimmering, acidly throbbing - detecting a welcome hint of the late, lamented Ultramarine in this delightful showdown between Kelpe & The Boats: Colours Don't Leak (Remix) [from the new remix set Extraquarium - a £5 steal direct from DC, more elsewhere...].

Courtesy of our completist anorak department, a re-up of the chunkier original: Colours Don't Leak [from Ex-Aquarium, & previously posted here].

Still hoping to track down Kelpe's preceding-the-compliment remix of Beppu (a Boat): might surface next year, the man says...

Tuesday, 14 October 2008

Seven days of Doris

Not exactly post-jazz, post-pop or post-rock but some rich & often intensely satisfying, deeply jazz-infused brew of all three, E.S.T. ended with abrupt tragedy this summer

The earlier albums (like Strange Place for Snow, Winter in Venice, Good Morning Susie Soho From Gagarin's Point of View) usually seem the best. But today's 45-minute freebie retrospective shows that the trio's intensity, rhythmic inventiveness & playful ear were all still intact later (though some lightness of touch seems to have fallen away) - as was their unfailing talent for the clunking, trying-too-hard title...

Shame that, despite their reputation for broadening the boundaries of the jazz trio with the occasional squeal of feedback (most of it as clumsy, if well intentioned, as their titling), they never put their music in radically different hands. A Triosk-style collaboration with someone like Jelinek would have genuinely challenged & updated their sound. It still could...

Image by Jim Rakete, from Natural Selections

Monday, 6 October 2008

Sweet forget-me-not

Allegedly an exemplary piece of schaffel, Michael Mayer's Amabile (from Touch on Kompakt) is anyway a brilliantly syncopated, exquisitely taut, twinkling - &, yes, in a way, time-shuffling - bleep-fest... 

Note to self: will have to find room for MM [perhaps his almost equally awesome track X] in a new instalment of LMYE's recent-ish fantasy remix series (here, here & here so far). 

Friday, 3 October 2008

Water treatment

Maybe not quite as mesmerisingly fluid & subtley slippery as in his current incarnation (his performance with Jan Bang &, er, DJ Strangefruit at Wired to Sound is my live highlight of the year so far), but Water [from ER, & also An American Compilation] still shows off what I'm coming to appreciate in Nils Petter Molvaer: his muted, melancholy tone & the densely layered post-jazztronica it floats over, his acute sense of pace & drama, his willingness to throw found voices & sound into the brew...

Wednesday, 1 October 2008

Urgent bubbling

There's much to love about this minimal version of Pockets, the Kieran Hebden/Four Tet lure to bring ears to his 2006 DJ-Kicks compilation - its urgency, the richness of its bubbling palette, its stabs & rough swathes, its pauses for breath, that sawmill in the background... 

Oh, & it's a giveaway (these days, anyway).

Right Herbert

On the road & revving up the Herbert post-o-meter: playful...organic...intricacy...Dogme-type rules...compositional mastery...witty...glitchy...micro-house...sampletronica. 

Well, it may not be the LHC, but this thing more or less works - though perhaps it doesn't quite express the warmth & sheer joy of early Herb (& the intense satisfyingness of it).

Anyway, try Back to the Start & Freeze - both giveaways with some kind of connection to last year's extras-festooned rerelease of the landmark 100 lbs (or via k7.com), though I don't see the latter in any track listing... 

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