Feb 19, 2017

Clark reaches new heights with Death Peak... just hang back a bit, perhaps

Clark's back with a tune that kind of stumbles into the room all gawky and tangled before arching its back and spreading some pretty beautiful techno wings.

Peak Magnetic is the first single from Clark’s next album Death Peak and you can listen to it below. Apparently the album's full of vocals. Death Peak is also a place - at least, in Clark's brain:
"I would repeat it to myself like a mantra. Death Peak, Death Peak, Death Peak. It starts gently, all meadows and butterflies and ends with you on top of this gnarly fearsome mountain peak, surveying a shattered landscape below."
Mental note. Never go rambling with Clark. I'm sure he's got the right hiking boots, has a laminated map, and wets his finger to test the wind direction, but, I dunno, I'm not sure it's Edale he'll walk us to.

Feb 17, 2017

This is what happened on stage tonight

I knew it would come to this, but I've been far too busy prepping for a gig to write my regular blog post.

Which is fine because gigs pay while I'm lucky to get a bit of pocket fluff from my blogging.

However, since you're kind enough to be reading this, here's an outline of the performance was preparing today. Think of this as free entry to the Fat Roland gig you didn't go to.

I walk on stage 'dressed'  as a psychic fairy. After some inspirational phrase / party popper action, I introduce people to my fairy tale medallions. I promise to perform a mind trick. I show some pictures of myself then photographs I've 'taken' on the way to the event. There's a conversation with Derren Brown. Next, it's the big gay nose song. After the big gay nose song, I read someone's mind (not really) and everyone goes wild. Oh and I have a wand. And a dinosaur and Father Christmas and a toaster and a startled muppet.

All of this involves props made from card, including the wand. Hence no time to write a blog post. Oh, hold on. I've written this, haven't I? As long as schedule this to publish after my gig, I'm sorted for today's blog post.

Blogging, yay!

Feb 15, 2017

Instrumental electronic floof for your creative ears

Here are some old instrumental albums I've been using as a writing soundtrack recently.

They're all pretty much of an era and style, and they're scuzzy YouTube rips, but if you need something for your (un)conscious mind to surfboard on, dive in.

There's one that's not featured below, and that's B12's Electro Soma (band pictured above). It's non-embeddable, but you can click through to it here.

Go listen. Then buy the albums because they're right cracking, they are.


Feb 13, 2017

Come and see me (Mother's) ruin myself

Mother's Ruin is a brilliantly creative performance thingy in which people do stuff on stage and an audience does some clapping.

Stop me if this is getting too technical.

This Friday's event is part of the Queer Contact season. It stars punk cabaret band SlapPer, performance artist Liquorice Black, international housewife Mrs Barbara Nice... and little old me.

Oh and other people too - see the Facebook event for info. It's a great chance for me to flex my standup muscles, so do come and sit in a chair in a room while I stand on a stage and do a thing. Phew, this technical jargon's hard work. Tickets here.

Feb 11, 2017

It's never too early to be Up Too Early

When I went part-freelance at the end of last year, I resolved to use my time well.

Okay, maybe I'm not succeeding. And I do often find myself waking up at strange hours with a head rattling with ideas.

Good job Friends Of Friends put out the excellent Up Too Early compilation, designed for the early hours of the day. Apparently it grew out of a Spotify playlist - and what a playlist. There's Daedelus and Robot Koch and Baths and Prefuse 73 and the Album Leaf.

Use this album as an audio pillow, sleepyheads. It may help channel your more dreamsome ideas. Yes, even you, Piers, with your lilting head and strangely proportioned features. (It's almost as if I had no idea how to draw Piers Moron.)

Feb 9, 2017

Episode ten of my podcast: Bonbon and Bangbang and Beyonce

The latest edition of my podcast is out. Sellotape your ears to the internet for half an hour and listen to it below.

In this episode, the last of the series, I chat to a leather nun and an electronic music artist. I review Beyonce's latest album, and Producer Lee and I talk about an epic journey and a chance meeting in Manchester's Northern Quarter.

Want some links? You can subscribe to Hey Fat Roland on iTunes or get it on Podbean. Otherwise, just plop Hey Fat Roland into your podreader and it should find it.

Feb 7, 2017

Step inside Brian Eno's Reflection

Come in. Pull up an invisible chair. Rest your feet on that anti-matter futon. You are now inside Brian Eno's newest album.

His latest ambient opus Reflection is in the vein of classic Discreet Music Eno. It is slow listening, where the notes stretch out for eternity. What a spacious album. And so many skylights. I like what he's done with the place.

It's well worth a listen - you can catch segments of the whole thing here. May it give you space to stop for a while.

Speaking of Eno, I've been rediscovering Passengers, his much neglected mid-1990s project with U2. An overlooked album for both artists. Which is a shame because Slug and Your Blue Room are great and the Japan edition of the album had a remix of Zoo Station called Bottoms. That's right. Bottoms.

Feb 5, 2017

Music Order Remixed New (see what I did there)

Back in 1993, when Gabrielle rocked an eye patch, I became obsessed with New Order remixes. Even now, the version I remember of Ruined In A Day was a remix, not the original.

There's a new New Order remix project in town. This one is by Fritz von Runte who has already rejiggled Lily Allen and Bowie. The New Order Music Remixed album is a re-imagining of the band's 2015 album Music Complete. It's free. You just need to fire your email into the website and you're ready to go.

Remixes used to be all the rage, when we had a billion versions on each CD single. Some even became huge: Brimful of Asha, Born Slippy Nuxx, Everything But The Girl, all that awful Elvis nonsense. I've only ever done one remix. It was entirely unauthorised and you can find it here.

Heck, the best album of 2016 was a remix. Hey, if Gabrielle can remix her own face, it's good enough for the rest of us.

Feb 3, 2017

You remember Orbital, right?

You remember Orbital, right?

You remember? The lighty headmen? The Glastonbury doyennes? The Satanic majesties?

You remember, surely? Baldy brothers. One of them wore no feet. Or had duck feet. Or something. You remember. Friends with Criminal Justice Bill and a girl with her head in the sun?

You must remember Orbital. The had this theory about Moby where time became a loop. They got beached by Danny Boyle. Did an album of brown things. Caused a jungle on Dr Who. Surely you remember. Tilda Ecclestone. Christopher Swinton. Tubular chimes. A wonky box?

Anyway, they're back. They are flipping back!

Further Fats: Orbital come back around. Well, it seems logical, doesn't it? (2006)

Further Fats: Gorgeous Pauls (2010)

Further Fats: Video: "Orbital sample Stephen Hawking" (2012)

Feb 1, 2017

Fake news: there's a famous faux band in town

Get a load of these tribute band flyers. Korn Again. Guns Or Roses. U2-2. Bon Giovi. And the gloriously intoned Slipknowt. As you may guess, Slipknowt are from that famous Yorkshire town of, er, Newcastle-upon-Tyne.

A casual observer-- no, I found these flyers in a pub, so scratch that-- A tipsy observer may think that was the bona fide U2, until you notice they're playing in Prestwich. I mean, Prestwich is an upstanding place, but I wouldn't think a world tour by the rattly hummers would stop by there.

I respect tribute bands, living in the shadow of a more famous version of themselves. I spend enough time being mistaken for Johnny Vegas. I do wonder if I should heave myself around the comedy circuit with a pottery wheel. Call myself Johnny Fake-Ass. Swap the booze for meth so I don't entirely violate his artistic copyright. I've also been likened to an actor from Human Centipede 2 (no really), although I'm happy to leave that one alone.

These are the tribute bands I'd want to set up in the world of electronic music: Faulty DL, Josh Hoodwink, Afaux Twin, Fake-0-8 State, Norbital and Dupe. That last one refers to mid-90 chart-toppers Doop. Hey, shut up, this isn't easy.

If any record company wants me to tour as a tribute act, let me know. I can make pretend keyboards from cereal boxes. I'm sure I can sellotape some spaghetti together to make some leads so, y'know, sound comes out of the speakers. Which are made from mashed potato. Let's do this. I'll even play Prestwich.

Further Fats: Suspended puppies: an absolutely genuine review of Warp20 Sheffield (2009)

Further Fats: Fake plastic CDs and eating too much cheese before writing a blog post (2010)

Jan 31, 2017

Most-read pieces on FatRoland.co.uk in January 2017

1 - Charts in crisis: here's why there are so few number one singles
"If they do another Top Of The Pops, it will simply be a video of antimatter."

2 - Best electronic albums of 2016: one
"I'm almost longing for World War III, dystopian governance and being ambushed by clowns."

3 - Keeping an eye on Roland-twiddler Lorenzo Senni
"It's full of melodramatic bombast filtered through the smallest Gameboy in the world."

Jan 30, 2017

A final tune for January: let Not Waving's dirty disco pickle your bones

Finish off your January with some electronic acid in the form of Not Waving's Too Many Freaks. Drink it all down. Let this dirty disco pickle your bones.

In my end-of-year list, I omitted this Italian producer's last album Animals, despite not forgetting to list his label boss Powell. I like Too Many Freaks: it's granular and grainy and gnarly in all the right places.

An admission. I noticed this track because of the artwork of its parent Populist EP (pictured above). The low-bitrate contrast must have done something good to my brain. I really am that easily pleased.

Want some more new electronic music? There's loads on this site - click here.

Jan 28, 2017

Is Tales From Fat Tulip's Garden responsible for the rave boom?

No wonder rave happened when you had children's TV programmes like Tales From Fat Tulip's Garden.

I barely remember the programme, broadcast in the 1980s, but I was reminded of its existence in a Richard Herring interview with Sir Tony Robinson. Yeah, he's a Sir now.

Have a listen to the theme tune below, which bubbles up repeatedly throughout each episode as Robinson bounces around the garden. I'd listen to an album of this gloopy, acidic techno. It feels like sonic mulch, all squidgy and satisfying underfoot. The music's producer Kevin Stoney calls it "squelchy" and he's not wrong. I'd like this kind of squelchy life.

It makes me wonder: I'm pretty jealous of 1980s musicians who had all this new gear to play with. There must have been more that went in a techno direction like this. How many other children's programmes in the 80s were infesting the minds of future clubbers?

And if they had gone in a more traditional direction, would we all have been line-dancing in the Hacienda instead?

Jan 26, 2017

What IS the most important thing in Dr Who, Hey Fat Roland?

The latest edition of my podcast raises some important questions. What's the most important thing in Dr Who? What are actors made of? Is space just down the road? How would I cope being on Any Questions? What is Producer Lee's best costume?

If you're hear for electronic music, then you might be disappointed by the knockabout waffle of Hey Fat Roland. Then again, if you're sometimes a total idiot like me, then you'll enjoy it. You can subscribe to Hey Fat Roland on iTunes or get it on Podbean. You can listen to Hey Fat Roland on this site. Or search Hey Fat Roland on your podcast app and binge-listen the lot.

Also because we are living in the future and everyone drives UFOs on magic slides that get wi-fi from rainbows, you can now follow my podcast on social media. Here's the Twitter page, which I'll probably use most, and here's the Facebook page, which will update you with the most important hot pod news.

Jan 24, 2017

Pitchfork's 50 best IDM albums - the Fat Roland edit

Pitchfork's top 50 IDM albums of all time is not too bad a list. I know this because Warp Records said so.

Instead of picking apart the list, bemoaning the lack of Future Sound Of London or Orbital, I shall accept the list as fact. This is now the top 50 forever. Anything else is fake news.

Taking only the albums chosen in that top 50, here is my reordered top ten. I've tried to avoid duplicating artists, although I've given Aphex Twin (pictured) a free pass on Polygon Window.

Pitchfork's 50 best IDM albums boiled down into a Fat Roland top ten...

1 - Aphex Twin - Selected Ambient Works 85-92. Because this is the don. Because it crept into my speakers and never quite oozed clear again. Because of Willy Wonka.

2 - Jon Hopkins - Immunity. Because it's 'played with precision and paced to perfection'.

3 - The Black Dog - Spanners. Because its diagonal beats dislodged something in my brain and I liked it. Because without these guys, much of this list won't exist.

4 - Polygon Window - Surfing on Sine Waves. Because Aphex went organic and shimmery. And then super techno. Because of If It Really Is Me.

5 - Autechre - Amber. Because I didn't think they could better Incunabula and they did: what a pair of albums.

6 - Flying Lotus - Los Angeles. Because oh-my-crap-what-is-this-noise and oh-help-my-ears-are-robots-now.

7 - Boards of Canada - Music Has the Right to Children. Because it's one of the greatest debut albums of all time. Because it changed music. And it sounded sad.

8 - Various Artists - Artificial Intelligence. Because there isn't enough Warp in this list already. Jeez, Warp, if I like you so much, why don't you marry me?!

9 - Plaid - Not for Threes. Because of Kortisin. Because of their rhythm section. Because Plaid have appeared in my best albums of the year lists three times.

10 - µ-Ziq - Lunatic Harness. Just because.

Further Fats: Chosen Words: W is for Warp (Obviously) (2010)

Further Fats: Chosen Words: E is for Ecstacy (2010)