May 22, 2017

Night Grows Pale: Flying Lotus has a new killer Queen track


Take a sweeping musical score, drain it of all its blood, throw in some weedy guitars and what have you got?

Queen. That's what you've got.

I've never had much time for the prancing operatic rockers Queen. Yeah, I had moments of liking them when Wayne's World and Shaun Of The Dead came out. I'm also quite taken with the Freddie Mercury doll action shots by Toyko tweeter @suekichiii.

And okay, yes, the new Flying Lotus track Night Grows Pale features a killer Queen sample from the 1974 single White Queen (As It Began). Despite my protestations in my previous blog post about Burial rejigging an old dance track, this rework is great. Nicely done, FlyLo (pictured above).

But those are the only Queen things I like. The bit in Wayne's World where they rock out in the car, the snooker cue assault in Shaun Of The Dead, that Twitter account, and the new Flying Lotus release.

And the sample in Utah Saints' What Can You Do For Me.

And the Under Pressure riff.

But that's it. That's all the Queen I like. Honest. Have a listen to the new short but sweet FlyLo below, and beneath that get a load of his Twin Peaks theme.





Further Fats: Tim & Daisy make Jay & Bob look like ****ing Bert & Ernie (2008)

Further Fats: Chosen Words: Q is for Queen (2010)

May 20, 2017

What's Burial's Subtemple EP all about, then?


If you weren't convinced we were living in bleak times, have a listen to the sinister new sound of Burial's new Subtemple EP (below).

Throw away all that is good. Bin your belongings, tear your clothing to shreds and sell your children, Down in the Subtemple, with two tracks of extended dark ambience, there is no hope.

Subtemple itself is seven minutes of vocal shards scattered across a beatless wasteland, micro mechanics clicking at us amid the static. Meanwhile the breathy synths of the ten-minute Beachfires slow things down even further as we succumb to a kind of slow-motion armageddon.

Burial's recent work could be seen as a bit patchy: his breakbeat remix of Goldie's Inner City Life for Record Store Day saved all the best stuff to the last couple of minutes, while his ravey white label Temple Sleeper was a direct lift of Solar Quest's 1994 acid gabba track Into The Machine.

When he removes the drums, he sounds much better. The distant rhythms of November's Young Death / Nightmarket EP were gloriously sparse, and were a brilliant precursor to Subtemple - no apparent audio relation to Temple Sleeper - which really does cast us out into the neverending vacuum of space.

A beatless Burial shouldn't work. The joy of Will Bevan's work is the glitchiness of his loops because of his refusal to quantize his drums (i.e. he won't use the audio equivalent of spellcheck). But this is a sound of an artist developing something new. No drums? No problem.

It's approaching a decade since Burial's last studio album. Can you imagine if he dropped a long-player of static-scrubbed minimalist ambience; a devastated Eno for a new generation?

We would all instantly die as everything good crumbled around us, but at least we'd die happy.



Further Fats: Elbow nudge ahead for Mercury Music Prize win - my cat is disappointed (2008)

Further Fats: Listen: Zomby and Burial's Sweetz (2016)

May 18, 2017

Story: Elizabeth Gaskell sits at a table


Later today I'm hosting a Manchester After Hours event with Bad Language at Elizabeth Gaskell's house.

This is a venue dedicated to the Manchester writer Gaskell, the author of Cranford, and her minister husband William.

If I get time, I'm going to read a story. As a sneak preview, and because I haven't got time to blog about anything else today, here is that story.

Elizabeth Gaskell sits at a table

Elizabeth Gaskell sits at a table. On the table is a piece of paper. Elizabeth Gaskell writes a word on the paper.

“William Gaskell,” says Elizabeth Gaskell. “William Gaskell, look what I done.”

William Gaskell walks across the room including across the rug that is on the floor of the room and he looks at the word that Elizabeth Gaskell wrote on the paper.

THE

“You did done gone write a word,” says William Gaskell.

“I did done gone write a word,” says Elizabeth Gaskell, “And a good word what I done gone and writ good too.”

They both look at the word. They both look at the word for long time. Elizabeth Gaskell and William Gaskell stand next to the word and look at the word on the piece of paper on the table.

William Gaskell shakes Elizabeth Gaskell's hand and says “well done”.

“Thanks,” says Elizabeth Gaskell. “Thanks very much.”

“Will you write another one again now?” says William Gaskell.

“Another what?” says Elizabeth Gaskell.

“Another word,” says William Gaskell, pointing at the THE on the paper as if to demonstrate his point.

“Yes,” says Elizabeth Gaskell, “yes, I think I will but first I will go to sleep for a bit.”

“Good idea,” says William Gaskell, who also nods his head.

“I think the stairs in our home are that way,” says Elizabeth Gaskell, pointing out of the room.

“Yes, I think the stairs in our home are that way too,” says William Gaskell, “so you had better go that way to get to the stairs in our home to get some sleep for a bit.”

Elizabeth Gaskell crosses the room including the rug that is on the floor of the room, and goes to the bottom of the stairs.

Elizabeth Gaskell uses her feet to step up onto the first stair.

“William Gaskell,” says Elizabeth Gaskell. “William Gaskell, look what I done.”

“Coming, Elizabeth Gaskell,” says William Gaskell, who is looking at the THE in the room where the stairs aren’t.

May 16, 2017

Will you put a cross in Jeremy's, er, circle for #Grime4Corbyn?


Jeremy Corbyn is now a grime artist.

The #Grime4Corbyn campaign is a website offering tickets to a London gig if you register to vote. It's got plenty of glitch going on and even has Corbyn phat beats auto-streaming like it's back in the old days of web 1.0.

Of course what will actually happen is that the Tories will win a landslide and, with mandibles waving all over the place, eat all the country's orphans. Corbyn will quit politics and next be seen appearing as Tom in Channel 5's remake of the 1970s sitcom The Good Life.

But still, it's a nicely done initiative, so more please, Mr and Mrs Internets.

As I write this, an election van is loud-hailing it past my window. It sounds like Charlie Brown's teacher. Or it might just be the scrap metal man. I'm not going to vote for a piece of metal: I'm not stupid.

To misquote Wiley, Jeremy Corbyn is a ninja turtle, you can't step into his circle, and in a soundclash, he will hurt you. So, y'know, whatever colour of turtle you prefer, put an X in the box on polling day.

Boy Better Know photo by Ashley Verse.

May 14, 2017

Jlin's Black Origami: drums and drums and more drums


Have you ever crawled inside a drum? Actually stripped down to your undercrunkies, split the skin of a snare and climbed inside?

I have. It's flipping amazing.

Oh no wait, I'm not inside a drum. I'm just listening to Jlin's second album Black Origami. SEE WHAT I DID THERE? I thank you.

She takes the basis of footwork, that stuttering dancing music so in fashion a few years ago, and maps that into something quite new. Her percussive world is so overwhelming that it's easy to go a long time before you realise you've not heard a chord for twenty minutes. Or a synth line. Just drums and drums and vocal snippets and more drums.

Have a listen to Nandi, three and a half minutes of machine-drilled opera,



Further Fats: Chosen Words - B Is For Boss Drum (2010)

May 12, 2017

Blade Runner 2049, Jóhann Jóhannsson and an origami cow


Considering they decided to go easy on the set-build CGI, Blade Runner 2049 looks pretty smart. But what about the soundtrack?

Icelandic composer Jóhann Jóhannsson is the guy who has the trouser-soiling task of living up to Vangelis's epic score for the original film. Rather him than me. Have a listen to it in the trailer below.

I never like people who worry sacred cows, and indeed there's a skeleton yard of failed sequels throughout movie history. This project has sacred cow molestation written all over it. Yeesh. I just got shivers from Matrix Revomited, or whatever it was called.

But a good soundtrack can make a serious difference, and if we end up with a shaky film but an amazing soundtrack - like Tron Legacy - I'd be happy enough

Another potential downside? I'm an Older Harrison Ford sceptic. I even cheered a little when that thing happened in a certain big film not so long ago.

Overall, I think this particular origami cow should lead a happy and untroubled life. Jóhannsson worked with director Denis Villeneuve on Sicario and Arrival. That's some CV.

See what I did there? I referenced origami. I'm dead clever, me.

Stop reading this and instead read Electronic Sound's interview with Jóhann Jóhannsson where he maps out some of his musical influences.

May 10, 2017

Ikonika shows her chops with Manual Decapitation


It's nice to have Ikonika back. Listen to Manual Decapitation below, the first cut from forthcoming album Distractions. Wubby synth lines, chiming bells, proper moody.

Speaking of manual decapitations, I had to kill off the new design of this blog. Shame. The template had more bugs than an NSA storage locker. It also killed my clicks, making this website more unpopular than a Robson and Jerome and Crazy Frog comeback tour.

So now it's back to looking like a crappy Blogger blog, all mouldy and dripping with melted cheese. Wait. I think that might just be my computer screen,

*licks*

Yeah, it's my computer screen. Sorry about that



Further Fats: 68 million light years into inky space: Hyperdub is five (2009)

May 8, 2017

Delia Derbyshire: put a donk on it


It's official. You can use Delia Derbyshire to put a donk on it.

The Deliaphonica Game is a little web gizmo where you can manipulate loops using the restrictions Delia would have had back in her day. Y'know. Back when this was all sine waves. And yes, depending on which one-shot sample it picks, there's a donk button. You can also submit your own sounds (see the video below) using pots, pans, draining boards, spleens and whatnot.

I farted a load of waffle about Delia Derbyshire a couple of days ago, and I'm really getting the Delia fever. There's a Delia Derbyshire Day on June 10th at Band On The Wall, with workshops and talks and bleepy performances. Delia's old work colleagues will be there, and there's some interesting sound collage stuff going on.

They're also bringing some Derbyshire magic to Cheshire's Bluedot Festival, which is proper good because Orbital are headlining and those chaps know a thing or two about sampling real-world noise like Delia.

Check the events here, Come hang out on DD Day in June and we can put a donk on it together.


May 6, 2017

Which one of these Delia Derbyshire facts is a lie?


Delia Derbyshire would have been 80 yesterday. Here are half a dozen facts about Delia. Which one isn't true?

1. Like the Beatles, Delia Derbyshire was turned down by Decca Records. It seems back in those days, they didn't employ women in their recording studios.

2. Delia Derbyshire had a phenomenal analytical ear. There's a rumour that she could listen to a record and tell you exactly where any instrument was located during the recording.

3. Delia Derbyshire composed music and sounds for over 200 shows, often building "real" world sounds from sine waves because samplers weren't really a thing.

4. Delia Derbyshire once took part in an electronic music concert which also featured electronic works by a certain Paul McCartney, whoever the heck he is.

5. Delia Derbyshire never got credits for her creations because the BBC had a policy of veiling the Radiophonic Workshop workers in anonymity.

6. Delia Derbyshire invented space aliens, and even now there is a race of amphibious robot mannequins who have stored her brain in a jar in the hope that one day Mecha Delia Derbyshire will rise up against humankind and, with laser eyes shooting and bazooka knees firing, rampage across a devastated earth to explode the innards of every single person who has ever (a) used, (b) heard or (c) thought about the musical production technique commonly known as "autotune". As Delia noted in her book from the distant future How I Destroyed The Universe (she also invented time travel), gilled android dummies really hate autotune. In an ironic twist, Delia Derbyshire teamed up with Davros to co-create the Daleks. These trundling pedal bins became famous for their war cry "exterminate, exterminate" using voices which were, of course, electronically autotuned. Oh Delia.

May 4, 2017

Why did the Fat Roland cross the road?


Here's a thing that happened on a Lake District street the other day.

I'm in Kendal and I need to cross a road. It's a busy road next to a complicated mini roundabout. I'm laden with bags. I see a gap in the traffic and I begin to step into the road.

A man holding a cup of tea interrupts me.

"You've got to be quick to cross this road," he says, smugly.

I stop.

"Quicker than that. You just missed a gap. And another one."

I want to say I missed the gap because he started talking. But I can't because he's still talking to me. At me. But I can't because I'm slightly stunned and he's still talking.

"See, like this!" says the man who then, tea in hand, crosses the road. He looks at me proudly from the other side.

By now, I am agog.

I want to tell him I'm from Manchester, I'm okay with busy roads, mate. But I'm too busy trying to weigh up what's happening, which is:

A smug man has stopped me crossing the road to tell me how to cross the road. 

Oh my crap. Oh my actual crap.

But that's not the end of the story. Oh no. Mr Crossy Tea Nob hasn't finished with me.

He then says "And now, backwards!" and proceeds to CROSS THE ROAD BACKWARDS.

He looks so proud of himself.

To be fair, he didn't spill a drop of tea. And I did cross the road safely... but only once he'd walked out of sight.

THANKS, Mr Crossy Tea Nob.

May 2, 2017

Man at work: Clark begins with a Catastrophe


It's nice to watch someone going about their work day. Plumbers and their pipes, butchers and their sausages, that kind of thing.

Let's watch a techno legend do their work, shall we? Here's Clark with a live remix of his new album Death Peak (below). Look how deft he is with, er, knobs and stuff.

I like the way he begins with the sinister children of Catastrophe Anthem, a track that is as close to a modern masterpiece as Clark gets. That's like a plumber bring out the big wrench right at the start.

Or a butcher bringing our their biggest sausage.

Enjoy these sausages. It's tasty stuff.


Apr 28, 2017

The Electronic Music Symposium knows its onions (and/or turnips)


You know that allotment sitcom where Richard Briers and Felicity Kendal live next to Margot and Prime Minister Jim Hacker and all they talk about is carrots and looms?

I felt a bit like that at the Electronic Music Symposium panel discussion at Factory the other day. There was me with my home-woven dungarees and turnips made from old wood. And sat next to me were far superior neighbours next door, including 808 State's Graham Massey and Twisted Nerve's Andy Votel. I'm not sure which one's Jerry and which one's Margot in that analogy.

Also on the panel were Tom Autobot, DJ Euphonique (who took the above photo), Aaron from the Lost Village Festival and, from his pad in Ibiza, DJ Doorly. We talked about the ubiquity of music technology and how good mini-Moogs were. Inevitably for a male-dominated panel, we were challenged about opportunities for women. I brought a bunch of Electronic Sound magazines with me, which were devoured by Manchester MIDI School students.

The Music Symposium Series is run by former Ministry of Sound Operations Director, Tony Rigg, who hosted the discussion brilliantly. It was a sold-out gig and it was great to be in the company of so many fellow bleep-heads. Loads of them were young and bright-eyed and starting their first big music projects. They were so like me at that age: optimism mixed with energetic impatience and a need to make their voice heard. Actually, I've never lost that, and I hope they don't too.

Thanks to the organisers for putting me on an interesting panel, and choosing a great venue. And to Scan Pro Audio for bringing some great kit. (They're good: I described a set of headphones I once owned and, without hesitation, they told me the exact make.)

Great turnips all round, I reckon.

Apr 26, 2017

A list of acceptable sounds



Here is a list of acceptable sounds. The list is definitive.

Bleep
Thwum
Chack
Dunk
Issssh
Tssscht
Bap
Bwoink
Gyoooowww
Whoosh
Donkerdonkdonk
Pip
Wub
Screech
Yap
Yap
Yap
Hey

If someone can invent a keyboard that only does these sounds, that would be great. Thanks.

Apr 24, 2017

Aphex Twin is *the* look of summer 2017


I made a joke on Twitter, but now I've started taking it seriously. I can't think about anything else.

Here's my, er, "joke".


Oh how funny, Fats. Oh how you've got us rolling down the aisles. But I really want to dress like those Aphex Twin characters now.

The green teddy bear suit looks so fluffy. It looks like it smells of lime and you'd be able to hide in a bucket of frogs without anyone noticing.

The bearded bikini Aphex looks so liberating. Imagine letting it all hang out, my ridiculously large boobs wafting in the wind, my beautiful unshaven face rustling like a bad tree. I'd be adored by millions.

Who hasn't wanted to shave their head, smear themselves in clay and scream at a little old lady? Not just old ladies. Old blokes. Old dogs. Old babies. Just scream, scream, screaming all day long.

And what's wrong with dressing as Jive Bunny?

Oh. Wait.

Why did I choose that? That would be awful. Everyone hated Jive Bunny. Flipping heck. That's taken the sheen off this whole thing, to be honest.

IT'S NOT EVEN APHEX TWIN'S BEST CHARACTER.

I wish I'd never tweeted anything. Harrumph.

Apr 22, 2017

Giving Link's Arcadian its due


Have I raved about Link's Arcadian recently? Probably not. It's well overdue a raving.

Arcadian first appeared on an EP back in 1992. I discovered it on Warp Record's brain-meltingly brilliant Artificial Intelligence compilations a couple of years later. Everyone was producing instrumental ambient techno: I should know - that scene was my world back then. This Link track stood out: it was gentle yet hard as nails, much of its power coming from that rattling snare hit.

Of course it stood out. Link was Mark Pritchard, of Under The Sun and Global Communication fame. He's seventeen shades of genius; a musical Midas. Mark Pritchard could jam his head into a wood-chipper and still produce the most beautiful sounds. "Aaaargh my face," screams Pritchard. "Ten out of ten!" declares Pitchfork.

It's not a friendly track, not like his other ambient stuff. It's metronomic and a little pinched. But that's why it's cool: it would have been tempting to take a gloopier, more leisurely path like, for example, another stand-out from that time, Spooky's Orange Coloured Liquid.

Take ten minutes out of trolling Theresa May on Twitter and listen to Arcadian here.



Further Fats: My Warp top ten: it's not all Warp and there aren't ten of them (2009)

Further Fats: New York, London, Paris, Munich, everybody talk about complicated electronica with difficult time signatures and a limited listening demographic (2009)

Apr 20, 2017

You want to read about music? Here's some politics


I'm not going to bore you with a political post. This is a music blog. You want to read about music, right? Right.

That said, what the hecking flip is going on in my country?

Firstly, we have a Brexit fuelled by phone-hacking hacks and the kind of chin-drooping chump who pronounces "Eng-er-land" with its syllables three miles apart.

Secondly, Lady Voldemort calls a snap election because she's panicking about the waning fires she's stoking in the portal to hell that is our economic future.

Yeesh. Bring back the simplicity of poll tax riots, silent Criminal Justice Bill remixes and MPs defiling themselves with fruit in their gobs.

The UK political landscape is a fire in a dumpster truck. Or whatever the British version of that is. A kerfuffle in a wheelie bin. A dust-up in a dustbin. A situation a skip.

At least we're going to get some interesting music. Whether it's the angst of Holly Herndon (pictured), the dystopia of Gorillaz or the hashtag-problems of Stormzy, our soundtrack has never sounded better as we hurtle screaming into oblivion.

See. This was about music. Pfffrt.

Apr 18, 2017

Nightwave knocks the fluff from your brain


Here's a track that should knock the fluff from your brain. It's called Wavejumper by Nightwave, and it sits somewhere between street-corner grime and teeth-gnashing techno.

You're not reading this, are you? You're either scrolling Trump's stream-of-consciousness poem, otherwise known as his Twitter feed, or preparing yourself for the most intensive six-week bunfight in history as Britain goes the polls. Sigh.

You should pay attention. Nightwave is, as the young people say, da bomb. She's a Glasgow producer who's run all-female production workshops in Glasgow. I first came across her when she released G41 under her previous pseudonym 8bitch. She's way more interested than politicians, right?

Apr 16, 2017

What can Harry Styles' back teach us?


I was going to blog about new music tonight, but my PC seems to be staging some kind of protest. It keeps switching itself off.

It's probably because I listened to the new Harry Styles single. You know the one. He's trying to sound a bit like Bowie and it goes on for ages. I want to like it but it sounds like it's been made for dads. And, as we all know, all dads have terrible taste in music. All of them.

The cover of Harry Styles' new album is a picture of his damp back. It's a nice picture of a damp back, and it reminded me that all people who have freckles are better than non-freckled people. That might sound extreme, but it's true. Everyone with freckles is better.

If your damp back isn't as good as Harry's damp back, then you are a bad person. This sounds like an opinion, but it's fact.

Although I think my computer should be on, it has decided to be off. I would prefer my computer to be on so I can write stuff on my blog. But my PC really wants to be off. There is no middle ground: my computer and I have polarised views on its ideal state. If only we could reach a compromise: perhaps it could be half-on / half-off. Some kind of digital grey area, so my computer can get some shut-eye while I get some writing done.

So I won't be able to publish a blog post tonight. I won't be able to mention any new music, nor give my delicately considered opinions on things. All because no-one's interested in grey areas, in the beauty of nuance.

All computers have ugly backs, full of warts and gangrene. Worse than dad backs.

Apr 14, 2017

The definitive top ten Aphex Twin facts


To celebrate April 14th, named by many as Aphex Twin day because of his classic 2001 track Avril 14th, here is the definitive top ten facts about everyone's favourite windowlicker.

1. Aphex Twin's real name is Richard D James. The D stands for 'down south' which is where he lives.

2. The '26 Mixes For Cash' scandal nearly ruined his career. Since then, it has been illegal for members of the House of Lords to procure drill 'n' bass remixes without declaring them.

3. Aphex Twin once owned a tank. His favourite trick was to put a goldfish on the passenger seat and ask it "how do you drive this thing".

4. His comeback album Syro used, at some point in the recording process, every instrument ever created. Apart from the five-string banjo. And the tuba.

5. The old woman who gets screamed at in the Come To Daddy video was played by Aphex Twin after a particularly long day in the studio.

6. Aphex Twin made tracks while lucid dreaming. He installed a full studio inside his head, enabling him to work while asleep. This is why he has a USB port in the side of his head.

7. He once uploaded so many tracks to Soundcloud, Ed Sheeran has been number one ever since.

8. His first album was Selected Ambient Works 85-92, which incidentally are also the measurements of his bust and hips.

9. His pseudonyms have included: Nasty Window, Twinny McTwinface, Billy Skinhole, Polygon Idiot, Tssk Tssk, Hello Brian, Susan Boyle, Caustic Postman and AFC BOURNEMOUTH.

10. Aphex Twin has wonderfully soft hair. He puts this down to never playing the tuba. No-one likes tuba.



Futher Fats: 26 Mixes For Cats: gratuitous twits and puns (2011)

Further Fats: Top ten ways to write a top ten music list (2012)

Further Fats: All things Aphex Twin

Apr 12, 2017

Special Request's Bunker will bend your ear


Back in the day, when all this were just atoms, I DJed quite a bit of drum 'n' bass. However, like with a lot of things in life, I moved on. I discarded drum 'n' bass like I discarded my old jumpers / friends / spaceships / legs (delete as appropriate).

Thank goodness then for Paul 'Special Request' Woolford, the genius behind the new Stairfoot Lane Bunker EP. Listen to the title track's Minor Science remix below - it's beautiful, devastating, ear-bending and all kinds of wonderful. Most of the EP's tracks have already appeared on a Fabric compilation, but it's nice to have it all packaged together here, all proper and that.

To tell you the truth, I still have all my old jumpers. And all my old friends and old spaceships and old legs. They're all under my desk right now. Can you hear them? They're probably eating each other for survival. I don't go under my desk. Not anymore.

Ahem. Sorry. Went to a dark place there. Where were we? Oh yes. Listening to drum 'n' bass.

Apr 10, 2017

Talking bleeps at the Electronic Music Symposium


I'm going to be on a discussion panel talking all things bleepy at the Electronic Music Symposium.

At the old Factory offices, now Fac-251, a whole bunch of music-heads will come together with other industry bods to talk about electronic music. Graham Massey from 808 State will be there, as will Twisted Nerve's Andy Votel. There'll be some fancy gear to play with too.

I'll be flying the Electronic Sound flag. If bleepy music is your thing, or bleepy machines, or if you like poking things to see if they go bleep, this is probably the event for you. It's at 7pm on 25th April and you can get tickets here.

To see what else I'm up to, pop over to my event page why dontcha.


Apr 8, 2017

Seven curious facts about Warp Records veteran Clark


Here are seven facts about Warp stalwart Clark, whose ridiculously fun new album Death Peak was released this week.

1. The drum lie

The "linn" in Clark's Winter Linn is a reference to a snare sound he didn't use on the track. The joker. Source? This Vice article. Listen to Winter Linn here.

2. The loop

The first track on Clark's first album is only 100 seconds long but someone's looped it for 927 seconds. You can listen to that track on YouTube.

3. The doppelganger

Clark and Jeff Winger were separated at birth. (If you don't know Community, I can't help you.)


4. Cruelty to animals

Part of Growls Garden's bassline is made from a Kitten. (Don't worry - it's the name of a synth.) Source? This XLR8R piece.

5. Bad education

If Clark's music teachers had been better, his electronic music career might not exist. I've lost the original source for this, but it's well documented that he was discouraged to use a drum machine,

6. No sitting down

One of Clark's albums opens with the (processed) sound of a chair being scraped across the floor. Source? Dummy Mag.

7. The movie star

This is the big one. Clark has very clear thoughts about what kind of synthesiser George Clooney would be. Source? This Reddit AMA.


Them's all my facts, which I first spewed on the Twitter tag #ClarkDay. I hope we've all learned something here today - mainly, feed as many kittens into your music as possible, and don't listen to your teachers.

Further Fats: "No. No. You've still lost me. Could you rewrite it with just the facts and about 50% less nonsense." (2008)

Further Fats: Ten absolutely fascinating facts about Rephlex Records (2009)

Apr 6, 2017

2017 can't carry on without me posting this trippy video


Stop 2017. I've forgotten something. Or rather, I was so busy banging on about this in Electronic Sound, I forgot to mention it here.

Watch the Bonobo No Reason video below. When you have finished watching the video, please fetch a pair of sharp scissors and cut out the video from your screen. Blue-tac the video onto your wall. Ensure you leave enough space on the wall to write a message. The message should be written in green marker pen, and it should say the following:

"This video was posted onto the world wide web in January 2017. Several months have passed and Fat Roland hasn't yet included that amazing Bonobo video on his website. Fat Roland is an idiot. This is one of Bonobo's best tracks, and even better, the video is weird and trippy. Repeat, Fat Roland is an idiot."

Okay 2017, you can carry on now.



Further Fats: Watch the video for Oneohtrix Point Never's Animals (2016)


Apr 4, 2017

Want some new electro? Oddhoody's your dog


Here's a moody little electro number that snarls and snaps at your ankles like a little doggie, but a doggie made of music and not fur.

Stream Delusionengine below. It comes from Oddhoody, an electronic music twiddler called James Baker who also records as the colourfully-named Implosion Quintet. I have absolutely no idea why Oddhoody is called Oddhoody. I can only presume he fashions his clothing from non-standard materials such as beer mats, wallpaper, iron filings and rivers.

This is from the new EP The Deep, out on Electronic Tapes. That label's 2016 output is worth checking out, which you can see on this web page right here. In that link, you'll find noises that will make your ears fall off, but also some nice sounds that sellotape them back on again.

Oddhoody is a nice little snarly doggie. Five stars. Would pet again.



Further Fats: Some dogs are better than others (2012)

Apr 2, 2017

A very Roland-y night out


I invented some new dance moves last night. This is a list of those dance moves.

The Hip Destroyer
Surprise Jerk
The Mancunian Twitch
Polygon Windowing
The Tragic Octopus
Jackhammer Backflop
The Seven-Fingered Fly Swat
Reverse Moonwalk
The Slow Bez

Why the dancing? I went to the tenth anniversary of the I Love Acid club night. The venue was Hidden, a no-frills warehouse tucked along the banks of the River Irwell. It was a great space with a nicely uncommercial feel. They had triangular speakers (pictured). Star of the night for me was joyful acid-twiddler Ceephax, But Luke Vibert was pretty flipping acid-tastic too.


The strangest moment of the night came when I read about the death of Ikutaro Kakehashi. He's the chap who founded the synthesiser company Roland, whose TB-303 unit makes the acid sound techno-heads like me adore. As I read the news on my phone, 303 squelches burst from the speakers and there was a guy next to me wearing a Roland TB-303 brand t-shirt. RIP Ikutaro Kakehashi - without you, I'd just be Fat.

All this came after a trip to the brilliant ARC in Stockton-on-Tees at which I performed a set of cartoon idiocy. Some people on the line-up did proper dancing. There were a load of theatre and venue professionals in the audience - they even gave feedback, which is a pretty flipping rare thing to receive. Thanks to Arcade Platform for letting me be part of that.


What a day. I'm off to perfect my Mancunian Twitch. Hopefully this time I won't have someone's eye out.

Further Fats: Manchester International Festival: hot, sweaty, dramatic fun (2013)

Further Fats: Fats goes to Herbal Tea Party - a Storify slideshow (2016)

Mar 31, 2017

Mar 29, 2017

I'm too techno to be Brexit


I'm too mired in Belgian techno, German house and Liechtensteinian glitchstep to be anti-Europe. The stars of the European flag are my disco lights.

I grew up surrounded by people whose parents may well have been fairly new to the UK. And even then, my non-BME friends were geeks and weirdos who never quite fitted in. 'The other' was, in some way, the default of everyone I knew.

So I don't get any of this. People talk about taking back control, but that's hogwash. I've no doubt the Brexit wrecking ball was swung for nefarious reasons, whether it be blatant racism or a niggling distrust of 'the other'. The politics of pressure led to a terminal state of crapage.

That last sentence was constructed from Front 242 titles. They're from Aarschot in Flanders and they make music about the destruction of all that is good.

Yes, the European mainland gave us Aqua, DJ Otzi and Basshunter. And they will pay for this in the Great Pop Putsch of 2019. Dammit, I've said too much. But Europe also gave us... us. If we're not in union with ourselves, then we're little more than post-Zayn One Direction.

Today, little Britain got a little littler.



Further Fats: In the belly of the beast: a week in Tory politics (2009)

Further Fats: This is not an analysis of the EU Referendum (2016)

Mar 27, 2017

Nathan Fake's creative block has made something beautiful


It's funny how creativity ebbs and flows. Sometimes it doesn't even do that. It flubbles, all blobby and heavy, and leaves your heart all sunken and no good.

Nathan Fake's recent track HoursDaysMonthsSeasons, taken from his new album Providence, was inspired by a creative block, apparently. It certainly has a nagging melancholy that comes to some kind of resolution later in the track.

Says Nathan: “HoursDaysMonthsSeasons is a reference to the amount of time that kept passing that I hadn’t made music, or addressed problems and thoughts that I’d been having.”

I feel like I've had a bit of a creative resurgence recently. Blogging more, making a bit of music, thinking better and dafter about things I'd like to do. I've even chucked this blog into a fresh new template, which I may or may not keep depending on how it affects my traffic.

In fact, the end of HoursDaysMonthsSeasons reminds me of those these glimpses of light (tempered by occasional moments of dull blog stat logic); those moments when the air sparkles with possibility.

Beautiful. Nothing flubbling or blobby about this at all.



Further Fats: My Harder Better Blog Writing Tour Faster Process Monday Fats (2014) 

Further Fats: Kraftwerk Badger Spacehip - an Edinburgh Fringe diary (2015)

Hire me to write for you (2016)

Mar 25, 2017

How does Spotify work? I'm glad you asked


I've made a Spotify playlist of this website. What's Spotify, you ask? Don't worry, old codger, I'll explain.

When you press the play button on Spotify, the internet triggers a signal. That signal falls down the internet drain until it reaches the artist you want to play. They receive a notification in the form of a massive electrical shock. The artist then starts to perform the track you selected, which is how the music appears in your ears.

And because it's electricity, it happens almost instantly.

Every time an artist gets a piece of music played on Spotify, they receive thirty-seven hundred dollars. That's per stream, which is why streaming is seen as such a lucrative business model that offers no threat to the music industry. Unlike, of course, physical sales in which the acts only get a button and a chewed ballpoint pen for every CD sold.

The Victorians used Spotify a lot because it was the easiest way to distribute those bicycles with the huge front wheels. Its usage tailed off after the Great Hat Dispute of 1875: the Victorian's early experiments with wearable technology resulted in a large number of mass casualties. The person who brought Spotify back into public popularity was Howard Donald from Take That, although I can't explain why for legal reasons.

So make the music world a better place by launching the Fat Roland Spotify playlist here. It comprises most of the tracks I've waffled on about on Fat Roland.co.uk in 2017 - and do follow the list because there'll be more to come.

Further Fats: If you ask me, people on the internet should talk about the internet more (2008)

Further Fats: Do you pay for your record collection? (2009)

Further Fats: Best of 2013: a Spotify playlist (2013)

Mar 23, 2017

Stand back because Lone's in a Crush Mood


Following his hyper-jungle twelfth best album of 2016, Lone is returning to the safety of a 4/4 beat.

Nottingham's biggest dance act since, er, KWS is about to drop four Ambivert Tools EPs directly focussed at the dancefloor. Listen to Crush Mood taken from volume one below. "Free your mind, free your mind..."

This series is coming out on the legendary R&S label who, at one point in the 1990s, released every good thing ever to have existed (Selected Ambient Works, CJ Bolland, Sun Electric, Biosphere, Seabrook crisps, Dave Angel, System 7) (I lied about the crisps).



Further Fats: Anski updateski onski myski campaignski (2005)

Further Fats: CJ Bolland's Spring Yard scared the pants off me (2016)

Mar 21, 2017

Luke Vibert just made me do a poetry


Acid house legend Luke Vibert has revealed plans for a new album called Luke Vibert Presents UK Garave Vol 1. Yep. Rave and garage. Garave.  You can listen to a bit of it below.

He calls the album, out in May on London's Hypercolour Records, an "ode to the era of M25 convoys, mobile phone hotlines and raving amongst dogs on strings in British aerodrome fields.”

That, my disco-brained friend, sounds like a challenge.

ODE TO AN ERA

The flyer
The tobacco-burned flyer
Says this way to the rave
So you can dance and
Dance and
Dance and
Look at dogs and
Go for a fly if you have the appropriate licence
The flyer
Has a number written on it
It gives directions to the rave
So you get a van and
Drive and
Drive and
Look at the rain as
You sit in a traffic jam for the rest of your life
The flyer
Says this way to the rave
And yes
We should have flown

Fat Roland



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

Further Fats: Electronic Sound magazine: the future is buttocks (2013)

Mar 19, 2017

You too can hire Fat Roland's chewed vegetables-- er, I mean-- words


I'm keen to get more work as a freelance journalist. But before I talk about that, let me get something off my chest.

Reviewing music is not a natural thing to do. Who forces albums down their ears, swishes the music round their head, then vomits it out as words? You don't see that in nature. do you. You don't see bunny rabbits chewing up lettuce then snotting out an essay on vegetable distribution.


Music reviewers are the scum of the earth. They drain all that is good in the mystery when discovering new stuff. Anyone who reviews music should be reviewed themselves. "Uses the word 'soundscape' too much: one star." See how you like it THEN, music reviewers.


I'm lying, of course. People who write about music all deserve sainthoods. Although this is not a blog of music reviews because I only mention stuff I enjoy, I like reviewing stuff. It's something I've done on and off for...

*gets calculator*

...92,000 years.

I've spent a day finalising a handful of album reviews for Electronic Sound. The albums I've been writing about today are, respectively: accomplished, epic, astonishing, pointless. disgusting and banging. One of those is Clark's new album.

Back to my original point. My writing is for hire. If you would like me to write for you, get in touch. I know many words such as, um, 'soundscape'. I also do interviews and stupid rants (see also: my column for Electronic Sound).

Let me be your unnatural yet talented lettuce-chewing bunny rabbit. Click here to start writing an email to me right away.

Mar 17, 2017

Orbital get a keyboard fixed


The Orbital brothers push five pounds across the counter. The grey-faced man pockets the money and hands them a Casio keyboard.

“So it’s fixed?” says one of the Orbital brothers (can’t remember which one). “You mended the problem with our synthesiser?”

“All fixed,” says the man. He picks a piece of fluff off his jacket.

The Orbital brothers look down at the Casio keyboard on the repair shop counter. Its buttons are missing. They have been replaced by small blobs of blue-tack. And the black keys are clearly sticks of liquorice stuck down with chewing gum.

“Where are the...”

“Best I could do,” says the man. “All your sounds are lost. And it’ll last about six minutes of moderate usage. But, you know, it’s fixed.”

“What about all the noises we made for Chime?” says one of the Orbital brothers (can’t remember which one).

“What about the Goldfrapp vocals? Or the new Satan edits for the Wonky album?” says the other Orbital brother (can’t remember which one).

“The stuff we did for the Olympic ceremony? Is it all gone?” says the other Orbital brother (can’t remember how many there are).

The man’s brow furrows. He bristles a hand over his stubble. He looks at all the Orbital brothers, directly into their numerous faces.

“That’s why,” he says, “you should always back up.”

That, faithful blog reader, was a little story I just wrote about how, when my computer broke the other day, I lost my entire digital music collection. Call it an allegory, if you will. A bitter, painful allegory. 

*launches Spotify*



Further Fats: Orbital, Manchester 2009: please miss, can I go to the toilet? (2009)

Further Fats: Bleep Years day fourteen: Orbital's Planet Of The Shapes, 1993 (2012)

(Picture: Ken Eakin)

Mar 15, 2017

Moiré's London techno looks to the sky


Moiré calls his music "London techno". It's about time London started releasing techno. Y'know, instead of that "knees up Mother Brown" Chas 'n' Dave stuff.

Hard industry underpins everything about Moiré's new album No Future, out on Ghostly International. You can feel the steel of the city. But it's a work that looks to the sky too: track titles like Magma Dream and Jupiter are clues to its Philip K Dick influence.

Here is a stream to chuck your ears at (below). On Lost You, featuring the vocals of LTJ Bukem's mate DRS, there are swear words. It's how they talk in that London.

(Fat Roland would like to apologise to everyone in London for this blog post. Next time, he will choose a better target such as Wales or France or Pluto or basically anywhere that is not Manchester.)



Further Fats: Bleep Years day nineteen: LTJ Bukem's Horizons, 1995 (2012)

Further Fats: My first time performing in London was-- oh hold on, I just need to pop in here for Rizlas (2016)

Mar 13, 2017

Ed Sheeran is here to destroy us all


Every song is Ed Sheeran.

Or at least it feels that way. This week, Ed Sheeran shifted so many albums, he outsold the next 771 bestsellers combined. Not the next 71. The next 771.

He has so many songs in the top 20 singles chart right now, I had to produce this graphic (below). These are rough screenshots I took of this week's chart. You can tell which tracks are not Ed Sheeran: I have struck them out with a cross.

Click the graphic for a bigger view.




Everything is Ed Sheeran right now.

So much so, I have added a Sheeranizer to this website which will filter out any blog posts that don't mention Ed Sheeran. You can see the Sheeranizer in the top right corner of this website if you're viewing it on a desktop.

If you can't see the Sheeranizer, you're either reading this on a mobile phone, or it's several months later and everyone has forgotten who this guy is. Ted Shearings? Edge Earring? Bed Sharon? No sorry, can't quite remember the name.

This is like the real life version of that autumn leaves picture.

Which leads me to one question. What is Ed Sheeran up to? Why does Ed Sheeran need to be everywhere so much all of the time?

Because it's a grab for power. We were all fixated on Justin Biebpipe and yet here comes the Suffolk scamp taking over everything.

Ed Sheeran is in charge now. Ed Sheeran will not be held back. If you try and stop Ed Sheeran, he will tear you to pieces. Ed Sheeran will bite your face off.

ED SHEERAN WILL DESTROY US ALL.

Either that or people quite like listening to his music. One or the other.

Mar 11, 2017

Too slow slow, hush hush, three oh three*


Why do I keep missing 303 Day?

For those not up on their music technology, '303' refers to a music-making box called the Roland TB-303 Bass Line which was made by the Roland corporation back when everyone was into Kajagoogoo and Toto.

The silver box had a built-in sequencer. Party kids high on emulsion and terps quickly worked out you could get a biting acidic sound in the higher registers of this bass unit. And electronic music's longest-lasting underground genre was born.





Two acid tracks three decades apart, there.

And yet, I keep missing the most important day of the year. The one date in which we can all come together by tweeting alone from our respective bedrooms about how great acid house music is. That date is, of course, 3/03.


Nope. Completely missed it. I should blog on March 3rd every year about the wonders of acid house and acid techno and all things acid but I don't. Tsssch. Bad blogger.

I fear that, back in the 1980s, instead of buying that magical silver box I would have been bopping to Kajagoogoo. That, blogchums, is the real horror of me missing 303 Day.

*I'm hoping this is a reference to a Kajagoogoo lyric. I may be getting my bands mixed up.

Further Fats: Syntheme's winsome shit, Kompakt's ambient 'shosts' and Circlesquare's dullness (2009)

Further Fats: Painting 2010 beige: Eno, Orb, Hardfloor and Seefeel (2010)

Mar 9, 2017

What's in the Unbox? Techno remixes and new Future Sound of London



You know that film where there's a couple of cops and a bad guy and they're near some telegraph poles and there's something in a box and they're all like "what's in the box, what's in the box" and it turns out to be Chris Martin's head or something?

You'll be pleased to know that has nothing to do with the latest in the Unboxed Brain series of remixed records that span off from last year's Brainbox album from De:tuned. Listen to samples below.

This seventh remix EP has techno heavyweights Kirk Degiorgio, Mark Broom and The Black Dog producing reworks of techno heavyweights B12 and Scanner, while there is a new track from techno heavyweights Future Sound of London.

No wonder its unboxed - it's too heavy to lift.



Further Fats: Saturday night, I feel my brain is getting hot (2012)

Mar 7, 2017

Thousand

This is it. This must be the end.

Welcome to my 1,000th blog post. It has taken 12 years, two months and 22 days to get to this point. When I posted "watch this stain" in 2004, I was in black and white, and all I wore was a petticoat. These days it's all skateboards, telephones and haircuts.

There have been huge musical milestones while this blog has been online. Band Aid 20. Downloads. Ed Sheeran. YouTube. Band Aid 20. Smart phones. Biebermania. Band Aid 20.

But it's the world of electronic music that has been most turbulent. This website has survived Burial dubstep, Skrillex dubstep, witch house, chillcore, the 80s revival, the 90s revival, autotuning, sidechaining, two Orbital splits, the Harlem Shake, the Technics relaunch, and Mr Aphex Twin opening the nozzle and then some.

Because of the millennium bug, there is no way a blog can continue beyond a thousand posts. So this is the last ever-- wait, hold on, the phone's ringing.

Hello?
...Yes, this is he.
...It can? That's not what the blog authorities told me.
...What do you mean I have to continue? On whose authority?
...Oh I see. Yes, they ARE a very important person.
...I am a bit annoyed, yes. I'd planned a retirement.
...What? Yes of course bloggers retire. I'll have you know, I earned money.
...Huh? Well, about 75 quid, I think.
...No, not per year. Since 2004. Why are you laughing?
...Now you're just being rude. I'm putting the phone down. Twazmuppet.
...
...Yes, I'm still here-- Hey! You just hung up on me. Dammit.

So I suppose I'd better continue, typing into the void, my keyboard spinning through the deadness of space. Thank you for reading any one of the previous 999 posts. If you want a more serious take on blogging, firstly WHY, secondly have a look at my blogging tips from 2011. Or read my decade nonsense from 2014.

And thank you to Blogger for remaining pretty much consistent all this time, even though your spellcheck still doesn't recognise "bloggers".

Take it away, Moby. I've been waiting YEARS to post this.

Mar 5, 2017

Death of a computer: what I discovered while nozzling out the dust


My computer died. Again. It was inevitable - I'd been "downloading" spray cheese into its portals for eight years.

Before I took it to the PC place to get it either cremated or resurrected as some kind of blue-screen zombie, I opened it up to hoover out the inside. This is what I found.

> Dust.

> Rust.

> Musk.

> Clippings, various types.

> A skellington (not pictured).

> Steve Brookstein (pictured), despite the restraining order.

> A small commune of reasonably successful dog walkers.

> The momentary tension between smugness and embarrassment when a friend spots you browsing creative writing books in the local library.

> Sixteen black holes, one of which may just be a big spider.

> The A56.

> Spray cheese. To be honest, this one wasn't a surprise.

Mar 3, 2017

Listen to Batu's noisy woodpecker


I don't go on about woodpecker techno enough.

That's a thing now. Did you not get the memo? A couple of distressed squirrels should have dropped it off before scuttling back into the forest.

I'm not sure when woodpeckers started making techno. I know in the mid-2000s you had all those peacock prog-metal bands. All that preening and overwrought guitar solos. Give me a break.

And there was that time a sparrow barbershop quartet won X Factor. They were pretty awful and the rapping albatross should have won.

Don't get me started on pigeon funk.

Anyway, this new Murmur EP by Bristol's Batu, on his own Timedance label, is gloriously awkward (samples below). It is indeed the kind of sound I'd expect if woodpeckers made techno. Which they don't. The squirrels lied.



Further Fats: 13 bird related facts about Merzbow's Masami Akita (2009)

Further Fats: Finding healthy pop wheat amid the pop forest fire of, um, doom (2014)

Mar 1, 2017

Miaow miaow Ceephax miaow Acid miaow miaow miaow Crew


I start March with a very important message. This is for the musicians and producers that read this blog. Or for anyone friends with people that make music. Print out this blog post. Read it to them.

This is the message: Music makers, you must tweet about cats more.


Cats stuck in trees. Cats falling off walls. Cats accidentally driving tractors. Cats elected to prominent positions in civic societies. Cats writing electronic music blogs.

Oh and cats no longer stuck in trees.


I know what you're going to ask. You're right - this doesn't mean you can't include dogs in your music.

For example, listen to Murray Mint below, a track taken from Ceephax Acid Crew's soundtrack for the Troma comedy Essex Spacebin (pictured). Seriously, have a listen. Those are dogs in that track.

Or cats trying to deceive us. Woah, where did that thought come from? What if all dog samples are cats doing impressions of dogs? There are no dogs in music: just faking felines. That would be underha-- er-- underpaw.

I'm confused now. Ignore what I said before. Never trust cats because they might not be cats. And certainly don't tweet about cats, I mean, what are you, crazy?!

Glad I cleared that one up. Phew.