Friday, March 30, 2007

Woefully out of Print Friday

Each Friday I'm going to dig through my cd collection and talk about a cd that really should be available for purchase, but alas and alack is gone daddy gone.

This week is going to be one that was a bit of personal frustration for me. I was getting some music ready for a new downtempo night here in Pittsburgh, and I noticed that this cd was missing. So I hopped over to Emusic. NOPE. iTunes... Same thing. I even tried to find a Torrent of it desperate to get the couple of songs I was thinking about playing. Guess what? NO TORRENT. The only mention of it in the blogosphere was one of my earlier entries! UGH. So with out further adieu I give you Welcome 4000 by For a Space.

I first heard of this little project via a remix of the haujobb track overflow in 2000. I was taken aback by the simplicity of the remix. It didn't try too hard to be something it wasn't. Naturally being the person I was I spent a chunk of time trying to track the band down. They had one album that was self released and was out of print. However, there was something new from the band coming very soon. So I just had to be patient.

My patience paid off. Welcome 4000 was released in 2001 on Daniel Meyer's (of haujobb and NEWT fame) Basic Unit label. The very first few moments of the album is that of a passing subway train, which transformed my environment into an unnamed bustling metropolis in a not too distant future. (this particular track could have easily appeared on the Fifth Element soundtrack.) The subdued click beat is a nice accompaniment to the pads that dominate the track. The simple melody keeps the flow of the song moving along. A lush song that held my interest for all of it's 7 minutes. The rest of the album was the same sort of blissed out ambient that would probably appeal to fans of Microgravity era Biosphere.

For a Space re-released their first album Secrets Behind in 2003 to the delight of fan boys everywhere. The second proper full length Civilian on a Battlefield was released in 2005. While both of these are great records, the magic of Welcome 4000 will always hold a soft spot in my heart. (though that being said... Civilian is quite spectacular, and the addition of female vocals will really appeal to some dream pop fans)

download Overflow (For a Space Remix)
download Mindtrip from the Basic Unit Productions Subunit Four comp/

For a Space home page

Friday, March 23, 2007

Something a little different for Friday

This week there will be no woefully out of print Friday.

Today I would much rather talk about an unsung (to the casual listener) hero who pioneered electronic music production. HER name was Delia Derbyshire. The name may not be familiar, but her work certainly is to any Sci-Fi geek worth their salt.

Delia joined the BBC in 1960. During that time she composed quite a bit of incidental music for radio plays and television shows.

In 1963 she was asked by composer Ron Grainer to produce the theme song for a new show on the BBC called Dr. Who. Delia as a part of the Radiophonic Workshop labored for weeks on the theme song. Her production was such a major component of the success of the theme that Grainer reportedly tried to get her a co-composer credit. Due to BBC red tape (and a slight bias against women working in productions) This was not meant to be.

To listen to the song in modern times it sounds very straight forward. However in 1963 the luxuries of multi-track recorders, and synthesizers did not exist. Each note had to be recorded to tape, and spliced together to form loops which were then syncipated and the output was then recorded into a final mix. Sound complex? Here is a short video clip (which was posted earlier this week on the excellent Create Digital Music blog) that demonstrated the process by none other than Ms. Derbyshire herself

Delia continued working in music production throughout the 60's and 70's. By the mid 70's though she was disillusioned with the future of electronic music and dropped out of the industry all together. Her interest was re-peaked in the 90's but sadly she passed away in 2001 at the age of 64.

Much of the incidental music that she produced IS woefully out of print. Some things can be found on ebay, or through vintage record shops. (several of the Avant Garde recordings she did with various groups have been re-issued ove rth eyears, but can be hard to come by) For the most part though the music is floating out there floating in the ether waiting to be heard again.

DOWNLOAD Dr. Who Extened theme

Delia Derbyshire dot org -featuring interviews, music clips and a discography

Martin's Delia Derbyshire page An audiological chronology. A conscise biography of Delia with a ton of information.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Au Revoir Simone and The Bird of New Music

So you may remember a few months ago when I went seven different kinds of ga ga over a band called Au Revoir Simone. I was kicking myself because it had I listened to a friend of mine's imbedded music on her myspace profile sooner I would have heard this great band.

Fast forward a few months. I go back to said bands myspace profile and lo and behold I find a blog post from JANUARY which tells me that their new album will be out in digital form March 5th.

Seriously. I need to do a little something about this lack of mindfulness.

This new record is a step forward in song-writing, and has a different feel to it. I stick to my original assessment- that it sounds like the LIbson sisters with synthesizers. It's there. It's delicate in it's femininity, like those characters were. However, in this case the Libson girls grew up in a later decade on a steady diet of Wes Anderson films. (that being said I would be quite surprised if we don't see the band show up on a few more soundtracks soon) There is not as much melancholy, but rather a playfulness with their emotions. (that is not to say the last album was melancholy. It's just that this cd is even less so)

It's quite hard to listen to this band with out having a smile on your face. Some people have maintained that they are a little too squeaky clean in their production, and it detracts from the overall sound. I really disagree. In a world where I can spend an afternoon listening to an album that was reconstructed from scratched up and painted cds, I like being able to celebrate a group that takes their instruments and PLAYS them. Nothing more, nothing less.

This band comes and album HIGHLY recommended. It's pop in it's purest, and a great example of the craft of song writing with no gimmicks. Just great songs. The band is probably going to be in your town very soon. (Just not if you live in PIttsburgh) I urge you to check them out. The album is available right now from both itunes and emusic

Download A Violent Yet Flammable World

Au Revoir Simone on myspace

Au Revoir Simone dot com

Monday, March 19, 2007

Wait, don't worry I've not left you again

I know, my first week back and no woefully out of print Friday. Well... right now I'm working on a pretty big post about an electronic music pioneer, and would like to get some high quality rips to share. So if you can be patient I PROMISE that you'll hear some cool stuff soon.

Speaking of cool stuff... anybody hear anything that is really striking their fancy? I'm all about microhouse and glitch (again) but I would like to know what other cats are on about these days.

Maybe in the next few days I'll post some of the tracks that keep ending up in my on the go list.

Later taters.

PS. Look for a post about Alva Noto soon...

Friday, March 09, 2007

The Return of the Revenge of the Woefully out of Print Friday (Strikes Back)

Each Friday I'm going to dig through my cd collection and talk about a cd that really should be available for purchase, but alas and alack is gone daddy gone.

This week I'd like to dig to the early days of techno with a little record called The North Pole by Submarine by Bleep.

1990 was a year of changes in electronic music. Most notably Bel Canto founding member Geir Jenssen wanted to branch off from the band and record something new and fresh. So Bleep was born. In a 2004 email interview with The Milk Factory Geir Describes it as happening accident. In the summer of 1988 I started listening to acid house and techno. The second Bel Canto album, Birds Of Passage, recorded in the summer of 1989, had some elements of this music. While recording Birds Of Passage in Brussels I also worked on my own material in a small 8-track studio nearby. This was the first time I used a sampler. This material became the Bleep album The North Pole By Submarine.

North Pole by Submarine had a club hit A Byte Of AMC but Geir lost interest the project as he wanted to avoid unwanted associations with the UK Bleep techno scene. Thus Bleep was no more. Jenssen released the first Biosphere record Microgravity in 1991. This album however stands as an interesting monument to the early workings of the man who would redefine ambient in the late 90's.

One interesting tidbit that I dug up about the record. According to legend Geir Jenssen signed to R&S the same day as the Richard James. The two met in the label's offices where Aphex admitted to listening to The North Pole By Submarine almost every day!

download A Byte of AMC
download Cycle 92

Biosphere page

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Well, hello new blogger!

So, just a couple of things before I get started up again. I had mostly given up on this blog because I really thought that it had fallen on deaf ears. It wasn't that I needed validation for doing it, but if anybody had said something about the blog I would have known that people were appreciating it and the time I was putting in was totally worth it to everybody.

LIttle did I know that a BUNCH of people were reading it, AND commenting. Blogger failed to let me know that it was going on.

So I wanted to thank EVERYBODY that has taken the time to not only read, but interact with the blog. It really meant the world to me.

So, what better way to thank you than to post something supremely cool?

How about 3 members of Portishead performing a stripped down version of Only You a couple of days ago?

Apparently this gig happened out of nowhere. There was a dj gig going on, and according to this story over at PItchfork "Geoff and...Adrian Utley began to play 'Wandering Star'-- Geoff playing bass. A few bars in Geoff picked up the mike and asked 'Anyone here know how to sing?' At this point Beth walked on stage and started singing."

i've listened to this about 4 times since I found it. If the rumors are true this is going to be the year of PORTISHEAD. I cannot imagine a better way to spend 2007 than looking forward to new material by them.

Between this, the new NIN tracks that have leaked (which will get their own entry this week) AND a new Download record... it's time to dust off my blogging skillz, and get this party started again.