I Prefer The Obscure Remix Blog

Wolfgang Flur, he was a robot

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Dublin hosts a new night in the Tivoli Theatre called Fabrik, and it just might be worth sticking Feb 14th in your diary – especially if you’re a fan of all things electro and pop. Ex-Kraftwerk member, Wolfgang Flur is headlining a bill that contains local electropop maestro’s Neosupervital (live set), and dj sets from Anni Hogan and Dave Ball (Soft Cell/The Grid). Flur was instrumental in many classic Kraftwerk recordings, and contributed significantly to the creation of their legendary studio, Kling Klang. Flur now records under the Yamo moniker, and was also the author of the contentious Kraftwerk autobiography, I Was A Robot.

Tickets are €12 in advance, from www.tivoli.ie or www.tickets.ie

I’ve never forgiven myself for missing those Kraftwerk shows in The Olympia, but I did make up for it by catching them at the Electric Picnic a few years ago. I completely lost my mind at the gig, it was amazing. I’m a little bit sketchy on the exact details, but I lost my voice for two days so it’s safe to say I played a blinder! I do recall this being a particular favourite on the night though – Radioactivity, taken from the Kraftwerk DVD, Minimum-Maximum.

Current mood: Superbowl Sunday!!

Current listening: British Sea Power – Do You Like Rock Music?

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February 4, 2008 Posted by | Dave Ball, Kraftwerk, Music, Neosupervital, Wolfgang Flur | 3 Comments

Islands return with details of a new album, and an Irish date

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Return to the Sea – the debut album from Montreal band Islands – still receives heavy rotation on the stereo over at IPTOR HQ. So it delights and excites me no end to announce that Islands return with their sophomore release Arm’s Way, via Rough Trade Records on April 18th. Rising from the ashes of 3 piece indie band The Unicorns, Messrs Thorburn and Thompson reconvened to release one of the finest avant-pop records of 2006. However, history repeated itself once more, and Jamie Thompson announced his departure from the band later that same year. So it’s left to Nicholas ‘Nick Diamonds’ Thorburn to return under the Islands moniker, with a host of new faces in tow. You can have a sneak preview of new song The Arm, from the forthcoming album here. If you’re new to Islands have a listen to Swans, also contained on their myspace. Glorious leftfield pop, with more twists and turns than a Hitchcock thriller. The video below is for Rough Gem, also taken from their debut album.

Convinced? Well you won’t have too long to wait to see them live. Forever Presents – the independent promoters that put on the incredible Explosions in the Sky gig last Saturday in Tripod – bring Islands to Dublin for a show in February, Monday the 18th in Whelan’s. See you down the front!

January 31, 2008 Posted by | Forever Presents, Islands, Music, Whelan's | Leave a comment

Tindersticks return with a new album, and a myspace!

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As talk turns to the imminent release of Nick Cave’s new album, it’s worth noting he’ll have some stiff competition come April 25th. After 5 years in the wilderness, Stuart Staples and Co. return with studio album number 7. Rumours of a split have lingered for years, as Staples pursued a solo career, releasing 2 very fine albums. Now it seems Tindersticks will return with ‘The Hungry Saw’ on Beggars Banquet, stripping the lineup down to original core members Staples, David Boulter, and Neil Fraser. To show they mean business, they’ve even gone and set up one of those new-fangled myspace pages. A brand new song went up today – The Flicker Of A Little Girl – you can be one of the first to hear it, here.

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Their self-titled debut album above – not to be confused with their self-titled second album! – remains an absolute classic, the cover of which was immortalised by Vera Duckworth RIP, who had a framed picture of the image hanging on her sitting room wall for as long as I can remember. I wonder who got there in first, Stuart or Vera. I know, it’s hardly the chicken or the egg debate, but this is a music blog.

January 30, 2008 Posted by | Music, The Hungry Saw, Tindersticks | 2 Comments

This week I will be mostly listening to….

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the new Billy Lyons Podcast!

Finally, The Silent Radio Show hits the virtual airwaves, and not a minute too soon. Only now he’s gonna have to teach me how to make one! Matt Vinyl, you’re off the hook, I was about to harass you into showing me – following the excellent advice I received last month on turntables and transferring vinyl to mp3’s.

Here’s one for Billy, I’m sure he’ll appreciate it. It’s Justus Kohncke’s cover version of Feuerland – from his Doppelleben album – the 1974 Michael Rother tune. Rumour has it that Rother (Kraftwerk, Neu!) is putting his old band Harmonia back together for a few shows. Let’s hope somebody brings them in for a Dublin gig. A long time ago when I worked out in Bray, I would spent my lunchbreak harassing Barry from Atom Records, offering him obscene amounts of money for his Harmonia album on vinyl. Nae luck!

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Kohncke returns in February with a brand new album for Kompakt called Safe And Sound. I’ll have some mp3’s soon. The one above is courtesy of this great little blog i just discovered. You should check it out, it’s called Pitchfork.

According to Pitchfork, the lineup for this year’s Coachella does NOT contain My Bloody Valentine. Interesting.

Anybody thinking of making the long journey will be graced with the presence of Kraftwerk, the Verve, Portishead, the Breeders, Death Cab for Cutie, Jens Lekman, My Morning Jacket, M.I.A., the Raconteurs, Rilo Kiley, Spiritualized, Love and Rockets, Battles, Dan Deacon, Justice, Kid Sister, Crystal Castles, UNKLE, Chromeo, Autolux, Louis XIV, Cold War Kids, Junkie XL, VHS or Beta, Cafe Tacuba, Fatboy Slim, Midnight Juggernauts, Akron/Family, Does It Offend You, Yeah?, and the Cinematic Orchestra.

January 22, 2008 Posted by | Billy Lyons, Coachella, Harmonia, Justus Kohncke, Music, Pitchfork, The Silent Radio Show | 15 Comments

Our Brother The Native – Make Amends For We Are Merely Vessels

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It’s not every day that you’re stopped dead in your tracks by an album or band, but Our Brother The Native are starting to make a habit of it. Their debut album – Tooth And Claw – confounded all expectation and polarized opinion. Like Animal Collective, OBTN possess a unique talent and ability – to excite and infuriate in equal measure. But it’s important to remember that these guys were merely kids when they released their debut. In fact, two of them hadn’t even met! The album was conceived and created via music files swapped back and forth over the internet. Kids ‘eh? And like those teenagers in Larry Clark’s movie Kids, OBTN spit in the face of all that is conventional, disrespect the rules, and hold scant regard for their elders or peers. With a stubborn cockiness and swagger, they administer a brutal lesson in originality for all to hear. That is, if they even care whether or not we’re listening. Their songs are still devoid of structure – sweeping wildly between quiet, chaotic, delicate, and abrasive. But like all teenagers, they grow up, mellow, and mature. Make Amends…is the sound of a band endeavouring to harness the raw talent and originality so evident since day one in a more cohesive manner. The multitude of instruments utilised has been curbed – in favour of a more balanced and consistent sound. It is only the vocals that remain somewhat inaccessible, due to the anarchistic delivery and unconventional melodies. Although the songs vary wildly in style, mood, and length, OBTN now share more in common with bands from the post-rock era such as Mogwai, Explosions in the Sky, Godspeed You! Black Emperor, and most notably Sigur Ros, rather than Animal Collective and Coco Rosie. While they still display a raw, dare I say it, teenage angst, there is also a majestic beauty and emotional profundity prevalent throughout MAFWAMV, making it one of the first truly original, great albums of 2008. Mere mortals they ain’t!

See also: Sigur Ros – Agaetis Byrjun (Fatcat Records), Animal Collective – Sung Tongs (Fatcat Records), Mogwai – Come on Die Young (Chemikal Underground).

Release date – February 15th

 

January 21, 2008 Posted by | Music, Our Brother The Native | 5 Comments

Ungdomsku-who?

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It’s time to throw all those half-baked New Year resolutions out the window, and get back out on the town. Enough of the no smoking, no drinking rule for January, I need a gig! And what better than a night of prog, noise, math, rock, hardcore, post punk, and lots more. You name it, they do it. I’m talking about one of Norway’s finest exports, Ungdomskulen. Sinead has an excellent piece in her Musical Rooms section. Their myspace will also give you an idea of what to expect on the night.

Ungdomskulen are signed to the eclectic and intriguing Ever Records – home to Amiina, Cyann & Ben, Adjagas, Cortney Tidwell, and Howie Beck. Their debut album – Cry Baby – was released in October of last year. Their sound is incredibly difficult to pin down, but to these ears it’s a sprawling, ambitious mix of influences ranging from Sonic Youth to Black Sabbath, and Mars Volta to Battles. In short, it rocks!

I’ll be taking a trip along to Whelan’s on Friday night to check them out. The night is put on by a new independent promoter, Forever Presents. They have kindly given us a pair of tickets to give away for the show. All you have to do is mail us at iprefertheobscureremix@gmail.com with the answer to this simple question.

Forever Presents are putting on another great show in Whelan’s on February 18th, name the band.

First correct answer wins the tickets.

January 10, 2008 Posted by | Music, Ungdomskulen | 2 Comments

And the winner is…..

So, these 12 judges – Brian Boyd (The Irish Times), Alan Corr (The RTE Guide), Michael Carr (Cork 96FM), Ronan Casey (Westmeath Examiner), Dan Hegarty (2FM), Anne Marie Kelly (Today FM), Sheena McGinley (Entertainment.ie), Una Mullally (Sunday Tribune), Paul McClean (BBC NI), Leagues O’Toole (Foggy Notions),Nadine O’Regan (Sunday Business Post and Phantom 105.2) and Jon Richards (Galway Bay FM)….

…think these are the 10 best Irish albums of 2007

1. Adrian Crowley Long Distance Swimmer
2. Cathy Davey – Tales of Silversleeve
3. Delorentos – In Love with Detail
4. Dry County – Unexpected Falls
5. The Flaws- Achieving Vagueness
6. Dave Geraghty- Kill Your Darlings
7. Kila – Gambler’s Ballet
8. Roisin Murphy – Overpowered
9. Stanley Super 800 – Louder and Clearer
10. Super Extra Bonus Party – Super Extra Bonus Party LP

And who am I to disagree?

All I can say is I’m over the moon! The Adrian Crowley album is very near and dear to my heart, for personal and professional reasons. In my opinion it’s a 3 horse race – see if you can guess who – but you never know do you? Nobody gave Julie Feeney or Neil Hannon the slightest chance when they were shortlisted, but they had the last laugh on all of us.

I’m off down to Paddy Power tomorrow to pop a score on Adrian before his odds shorten, I suggest you all do the same. Or a safer bet would be to invest in the album, it’s exceptional.

January 9, 2008 Posted by | Adrian Crowley, Choice Music Prize, Music | 1 Comment

Silje Nes – Ames Room

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The new Totally Dublin is finally out, so I can post my Silje Nes album review here. It’s a gorgeous record and well worth purchasing. Hopefully someone will book her to play Dublin very soon. You can listen to some of the tracks here.

Silje Nes – Ames Room (Fatcat Records)

Fatcat Records have an extraordinary knack for unearthing prodigious talent from the far regions of the globe. Diverse acts such as Sigur Ros, Hauschka, Mum, Our Brother The Native, Xinlisupreme, and Grindverk, have all passed through their doors at some point, with varying degrees of success. So step up to the podium Silje Nes, your time has come. Hailing originally from the remote town of Leikanger, on the Sogne fjord of Norway, Nes has pottered away for several years, honing and sharpening her song writing and production skills in Bergen. Ames Room is the result – a warm, delicate debut album from a precocious new talent. The edges are frayed but beautiful, like loose threads on a favourite old jacket. This merely contributes to the overall charm of the record, further enhancing the listening experience. Her vocal delivery is innocence personified, yet restrained enough to avoid the dangerous terrain of twee. All instruments are tackled competently by Nes, interweaving loosely and at times haphazardly, but in a gentle and refreshing manner. Although Nes is a multi-instrumentalist, she is no virtuoso (however, this is by no means a condemnation). She has developed a very individual, absorbing approach to instrumentation and production. Guitar and vocal still provide the foundation for many songs, but the real strength of Ames Room lies in the atmospheric undertones, or clicks and bleeps – the inherent idiosyncrasies. Tracks such as Shapes Electric possess a wonderful ambiguity, where vocals merge seamlessly with the rich orchestration, creating an overall mood rather than distinct parts. Giant Disguise could easily pass as a long lost PJ Harvey remix or cover version. Dizzy Street is upbeat pop with a retro feel reminiscent of Broadcast. In fact, the vocal style of Nes resembles that of Trish Keenan at times, and her drumming style tends to mimic Moe Tucker’s, but in a good way. Yet again Fatcat delivers, and in Ames Room we are treated to fourteen meticulously constructed unorthodox pop songs only crying out for a larger audience.

See Also: Amiina – Kurr (Ever Records), Broadcast – Work And Non Work (Warp Records), Mum – Finally We Are No One (Fatcat Records).

January 8, 2008 Posted by | Album Review, Ames Room, Fatcat Records, Music, Silje Nes | Leave a comment

Don’t look back in anger

Having spent way too much time perusing end of year charts/lists/polls, there’s one thing I’m still not sure about. Well, there’s plenty, but too many to go into. My primary concern is, where are all the electronic albums? Was it a really bad year for techno/electro/electronica/etc in terms of output or standard, or both? The same few names keep cropping up again and again. I was a big fan of Matthew Dear, Pantha Du Prince, Gui Boratto, The Field, Apparat, and Modeselektor. It seems so were alot of people. But I expected to come across a few hidden gems, or some albums I totally forgot to check out. I’m struggling with the Burial album, and can’t see the big deal with it. I just can’t relate to it in any way. Somebody posted a question on Drowned in Sound recently asking to recommend some good electronic records, and all the replies mentioned the artists above, but little else. So I’m wondering, is that all there was out there last year to really excite, or have I turned into one of those people that likes indie music, but only delves into the electronic scene sporadically to pick up a few of the big name albums? I didn’t think I was, and Sinead definitely doesn’t, as she still accuses me of only listening to plinky-plonky music. 🙂

So, ladies and gentlemen, all suggestions and recommendations are greatly appreciated. Please leave a comment.

And on the subject of electronic music, Karlheinz Stockhausen – one of the godfathers of the genre – passed away on December 5th. Widely regarded as one of the most important and innovative composers of the 20th century, his work is regularly cited as a major influence by artists as diverse as Frank Zappa, Miles Davis, Bjork, Kraftwerk, Sonic Youth, Can, Aphex Twin, and Herbie Hancock. The Beatles even included his face on the cover of Sgt Peppers…

I still remember the day – about 12 years ago – I was working in Freebird Records. Some guy came in and sold a bunch of Stockhausen albums on vinyl, second hand. At the time I knew nothing about Stockhausen, so I flogged them to Alan from Decal about an hour later. I learnt a valuable lesson that day. Enjoy Boyler!

A few years ago a friend of mine bought me a book called Star Culture. It is a rather fine collection of interviews from Dazed & Confused. Here is a link to the transcript of Bjork’s interview with Stockhausen, it’s worth a read.

Below is a brief overview of his career and a rare interview. It’s worth watching just for Stockhausen’s answer to the very first question, about 2 minutes in. Stunning!

Karlheinz Stockhausen: August 22nd, 1928 – December 5th, 2007, RIP.

January 8, 2008 Posted by | Bjork, Electronic Music, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Music | 5 Comments

MES – We salute you!

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With regard to the previous post, I’ve just been informed that the legendary Mark E Smith once had a clause put into his contract before appearing on Later with Jools Holland. The clause stated that at no time was Jools allowed to play boogie-woogie piano over any of The Fall songs performed that night. Brilliant! Yet another reason to love the man.

And here is one of the finest, most bizarre MES moments. It’s just a shame that Oxford United lost that day.

January 3, 2008 Posted by | Jools Holland, Mark E Smith, Music, The Fall | Leave a comment