Monday, 27 January 2014

Music - Part 165 - The Riz Records Story

Various – ‘Rise Up’ The Riz Records Story (Reggae Archive Records)
27 January 2013

Reggae Archive Records release a compilation of the best of UK roots and dub from the 90s. 

Riz Records was a major force in keeping UK reggae alive and kicking back in the day, and is still as popular (if not more so) today.  Sister company to Sugar Shack and Bristol Archive, Reggae Archive have lovingly compiled a collection of fifteen of Riz’s finest tunes featuring some exclusive mixes and unreleased tracks.

Member of the Rootikal crew, David Hill, superbly re-works six tracks into ‘discomixes’ which are bizarrely as close to disco as One Direction are to grunge metal but, do add loads of dubbed out synth effects to make them nothing short of enthralling.  Opener, Rise Up by Johnny Osbourne is one such example where its eight minutes pass by seemingly very quickly. 

Previously unreleased tracks by the one and only Armagideon Man, Willie Williams, and Dreadzone vocalist Earl Sixteen compliment inclusions from Orville Smith and Admiral Tibet whose Permission is one of the album highlights.

The sound quality is superb, with the tracks being lifted directly from the original masters, and the track listing reads like a selection made in reggae heaven.  Fight Fight by Orville Smith has a superb closing dub which sounds amazing in headphones.  Deep deep bass and clear polished brass section.  Smiths version of Builders Temple is sheer class.

Bob Skeng’s Education is brilliant in its simplicity, and Absentee Dub by Manasseh Meets The Equalizer is completely dreamy.  The later appear again on the final track to the album with Souljah and, is more gliding soul than reggae making its inclusion slightly odd.  That said, it’s a killer track in its own right and this is logic alone to add to a fine fine collection.

With some very detailed sleeve notes containing great photos, this is a collection well worth giving a listen to.



Published on Louder Than War 25 January 2014 - here

Friday, 24 January 2014

Music - Part 164 - disrupt

Disrupt – Dub Matrix With Stereo Sound (Jahtari)
Out Now

Jahtari main man and digital laptop reggae originator, Jan Gleichmar, releases a new album.  

This album is one step away from genius.  The label famous for producing dub and reggae on laptops and digital machines forge ahead with their very unique take on the genre and almost create a new one on the journey.

Dub Matrix is fascinating.  Essentially created from the sounds of a Nintendo Gameboy, the album somehow manages to provide cracking bass rhythms and superb dubs to leave something that would have left Kraftwerk werking themselves up into a lather when they released Pocket Calculator.  This isn’t s novelty album, it’s deadly serious – described as ‘extra-terrestrial 8-bit dub’ – it has some very serious beats and was years in the making fine-tuning the console-based construction using Jan’s favoured Gamebwoy.

You might recognise Zelda along the way too.  Bits From The Bong has a reggae stomp beat with added vocal sound bytes.  If you’re dubious, forget the origins of the sounds and think of it as futuristic dub-pop-reggae if you will, a new sound with the tried and tested formula.  Break Out gives us a slowed down style before Pueblo Riddim lifts the pace again.

There’s even time for a trip-hop beat on The Future Is Ours, a title which probably sums up the album.  Ending with Toploader, the album leaves you aghast and asking – what was that?!  Its nine tracks pass in little over sixteen minutes.  A shame in one respect but a bonus that you still have time to play again. 

It’s all Old Skool microchips and real voltage being fed through music gear that disrupt is now building himself.  Dub and reggae taking a step back whilst taking another one forward.

You can listen to Dub Matrix With Stereo Sound here.


The Jahtari website is here.

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

News - Goldfrapp To Release 'Tales Of Us' Movie

Tales Of Us has the promise of being 'an unique cinema event marking the return of one of music's most breathtaking and critically acclaimed artists'.  Whilst the statement may seem a little over the top, the latest effort from Alison and Will was certainly a vast improvement on anything since the fabulous Supernature album.

A never before seen film inspired by the Tales Of Us followed by an intimate live performance exclusive for the cinema audience with state of the art audio and visual experiences for one night only.

Monday, 20 January 2014

They Wear It Well! - Nemesis UK

The latest in the growing line of hiapop badge wearers is fellow Twitteree @NemesisUK.

Rich has been a long term supporter of hiapop Blog, even sharing his knowledge of geek-tech with a few PC problems in the past!

Seen here (almost) wearing said attire whilst no doubt downloading some new super-dooper app for his phone.

Follow him.

Nemesis UK on Twitter

Music - Part 163 - A Thank You From Snippet

It's always nice when artists take time to thank you for a nice review.  Some of them go beyond that and cement good relationships as I have found out by the power of Twitter.

One such nice chappie is Johnno Casson (aka Snippet) whose D.I.Y. album from last year was an absolute cracker.  He's now added accolades from none other than Tom Robinson and Louder Than War to his promo gear for the album - rubbing shoulders with those is hiapop Blog quoting it as 'an album of the year'.

This pleases me.

Snippet on hiapop Blog
Snippet website
Snippet on Twitter
Louder Than War

Music - Part 162 - Gyratory System

Gyratory System – Utility Music (Soft Bodies Records)
Out Now

Experimental electronica outfit, Gyratory System, return with their third album.  

On the face of it, Gyratory System are a strange sounding (sic) proposition.  A three-piece led by producer and trumpeteer Andrew Blick seem to cover several genres from krautrock to trip-hop to semi-classical with the trumpet being enhanced to give the sound of Miles Davies on amphetamines.  Previously described as "the UK's only acid-fried, horn-led electronic marching band" and comparisons to Manchester legends A Certain Ratio, gives you some idea of what to expect.

Imagine the BBC Radiophonic Workshop meets early OMD meets Sesame Street and you won’t be far wrong with this lovely little thing.  Utility Music is an absolute delight.  Its warped electronic sound is jam packed with layer upon layer of bounce and the melodies are beautifully crafted.

The PR blurb quotes influences from Talk Talk and Afrobeat, and whilst they're pretty hard to justify there are definite nods in the direction of Harmonia and possibly even Herbie Hancock.

Recent single Harmonograph blends Kraftwerk with Lemon Jelly and features vocals of a sort provided by Katharine Blake.  It’s wonderfully constructed and flows along beautifully with an accompanying video which turns from bright and cuddly to dark and macabre in less than four minutes.

This is an album which isn’t just another synth instrumental affair.  It’s intelligent pop for intelligent minds and it’s very very clever.  Live woodwind combines with unique electronic sounds on The Spectrum with dazzling effect, making a spiralling hypnotic cacophony of sound.

AAA starts with a Middle Eastern sounding voice before travelling further on to the Oriental.   The well placed Lackland is laid back and sleepy and gives a well-timed break after an energetic start to the album and Thorney Island is nothing short of majestic with its squeaks, crunches and post jazz interludes.

Ending with the marathon ten minute This Could Be Your Party, Utility Music is a delightful album which will grow and grow on you.



Published on Louder Than War 19 January 2014 - here

Friday, 17 January 2014

Music - Part 161 - Feral Five Top 10


I make no secrets about my fondness of Feral Five - my newest favourite group.

Lovely that they are, Kat and Drew were only too pleased to give me an exclusive article featuring their all-time Top 10 albums.  They deliberated cogitated and digested, and came up with a list so eclectic and interesting that I'd like to call it my own.


Bjork – Debut
We are big fans of Bjork and always come back to this album. Love the beats, love the samples, love the vibe. There are no musical boundaries with Bjork “and a compass wouldn't help at all”. Inspirational.

The Clash – London Calling
We love this album. Its scope is brilliant and appeals to the anti-fascist, global warning, jazz, punk, reggae, in us. It was great to see Mick Jones play recently at a Rotten Hill Gang TV special.

Crass – Penis Envy
Joy De Vivre and Eve Libertine telling it like it is with libretto by Rimbaud, that's Penny, not Arthur!

Goldfrapp – Supernature
Love it. Alison Goldfrapp and Will Gregory set the 'gold' standard for electro-sass (yes we invented that term). Still looking for a place to “park our winnebago” without getting a ticket!

Killing Joke – Killing Joke
A classic. Primitive. War Dance. Keen eared baby Ferals emerge from behind some rock or should that be dance punk!

PiL – Flowers Of Romance
Lydon, Atkins and Levene produced a brilliant album. We love the image we have in our heads, of Lydon playing his Stroh violin on this one.

Public Service Broadcasting – Inform, Educate, Entertain
“Out of the past and into your future comes this news”, intelligently sampled news archive and stirring compositions really got to us in 2013.

Siouxsie and the Banshees – Juju
We like this album for its dark, double-edged punk/art-rock. Saw Siouxsie perform at Yoko Ono’s Meltdown last year, kicking it up big time, with Viv Albertine supporting.

Tricky – Maxinquaye
Highlights for us include a cover of Public Enemy's 'Black Steel' (possibly better than the original), use of Smashing Pumpkins samples, quoting David Sylvian. the brilliant Martina Topley-Bird and incomparable Alison Goldfrapp on vox.

White Stripes – Get Behind Me Satan
Okay, Jack shows us how it’s done, but it's Megan we'd really love to have play drums for us.


Published on Louder Than War 29 January 2014 - here

Music - Part 160 - Tim Held

Tim Held – Alb(L)um
February 2014

Seattle based electronic musician and producer Tim Held releases his new album. 

Somewhere on the route between the fictitious Cities of Dan Friel and Modified Toy Orchestra, there are deserted Townships called Cabaret Voltaire, Kraftwerk and VCMG.  They were once vibrant trading locations that people stopped off at to listen to Portion Control or an Erasure instrumental b-side, but now they only hold the echoes of those tones.

The sounds have now morphed into something else.  The mutation that shall henceforth be called Tim Held has randomly taken various melodies and spewed them into synthesizers hooked to guitar pedals via a Black Pus sound wall.  Over four dozen sequenced tracks were transformed and snippets of each one were then removed from the huge collection and stored in the Grandmaster Gareth velvet bag.

These little pieces have now grown.  Grown into something far more interesting and superseding the sounds of whistling tumbleweeds in the barren desert of twenty-first century synth music.  The crunching, moon stomp and post ambient delights are now being shepherded by Held in a fashion that only today’s most inventive musicians can dream of.

There are now echoes of the future being built with the blueprints of Grumbling Fur and sometimes even Public Image Limited, and the lost Townships can now dream of a vibrant new era. With additional sound bytes from trans-Atlantic podcasts, a shiny new monument will be built for the disciples to worship.  It shall be called Alb(L)um and we will bow at its foot in awe and delight. 

Don’t just take my word for it.  Listen to the album with its Blip and its Hyperloop Hareem and its Dharma Dan and tell me that you’re unaffected.  Tell me that you hear something like this every day of your life.  Tell me that this isn’t intelligent, accomplished experimental synth pop.

2014 is a happier place now that Tim Held is here.



Published on Louder Than War 16/01/14 - here