Sunday, 23 September 2012
Hi, readers. Welcome to the first post on this blog, which is also the first edition of a semi-regular segment in which I basically just write casually about music that I've recently found on Soundcloud*.
For this first edition, I’m going to talk about three tracks from my ever-growing ‘Favourites’ folder that have significantly struck a chord (pun semi-intended, due in part to being borderline unavoidable) with me.
Sam Willis – Winterval
From his upcoming album of the same name, this track is a brilliant exercise in layering and repetition. Driven by a strong rhythmic pulse characteristic not only of the dancefloor-centric nature of house, but also of the bass-driven grooves of dub and the more cerebral and atmospheric sounds of minimalism and ambient music, Willis adds layers of reverb-drenched, shoegazey guitars, liquid synths, and sparingly-used vocal samples to create a track that’s just as suitable for the solitude of headphones as it is for the collective experience of a rave or club environment.
Jimmy Otis Carter - Lost
Little disclaimer: I came across this on Soundcloud a long while ago but, unfortunately, Jimmy seems to have removed all his tracks from his Soundcloud page (http://soundcloud.com/jimmy-otiz-carter), which is a shame... but this track’s on YouTube, which is handy!
Anyway, what really grabs me about this track is the production – it’s brilliantly understated, yet effective, in its use of somewhat indistinct, dreamy sampling – and this understated production fits perfectly with Carter’s vocals, to which there’s a real sense of stripped-down melancholy, especially as the track closes with a sad pining of “love don’t last forever”.
Fragile X – Bipolaroids (Panoramic)
If you’ve read some of my reviews on BeardRock.com for the likes of Fieldhead and Mirrorring, you’ll no doubt be aware that I’m a real sucker for music that creates beauty from brokenness, and that can raise atmosphere from the most modest and lo-fi of recording set-ups. This track by Glasgow-based bedroom artist Fragile X was always going to appeal to me, in that case.
It’s a minimalistic piece of introverted, echo-laden acoustic folk in the vein of Flying Saucer Attack, Hood, and early Bibio – composed simply of acoustic guitar, ambient noise, and vocals, with occasional moments where the track breaks apart leaving only hushed vocals and disintegrated snippets of acoustic guitar and noise. Bipolaroids (Panoramic) is a great track: ‘rural psychedelia’ that manages to sound simultaneously small, in terms of its composition and production, and massive, in terms of how such minimalistic compositional and production techniques are actually applied.
* Thus the unimaginative name – alternative titles included “Head in the Soundcloud”, and “I Wandered Lonely as a Soundcloud”