Music has the right to broadcast: Boards of Canada cuts loose on Paris radio

Boards of Canaduh
Thirty years on from the emergence of Chicago house and Detroit techno, electronic dance music has been pretty well integrated into the mainstream entertainment industry. Now we don’t just have superstar types like Skrillex and Steve Aoki, but also a whole tier of underground stars DJing and playing live regularly to massive club and festival crowds. For many who’ve been involved in aspects of the genre for a while, both the star system and the lack of innovation in the consumed canon can get a bit distressing. 

Thankfully, some EDM artists have managed to scrupulously avoid the limelight—eschewing most live opportunities and even interviews—and let their music speak for themselves. Along with Burial, Warp label duo Boards of Canada—comprising Edinburgh musicians and siblings Michael Sandison and Marcus Eoin—has worked almost facelessly in a scene filled with fame-hungry clowns. BoC’s blend of substantive synth sounds, emotive ambience, and electro- and hip-hop-referencing beats has enchanted a fan-base that’s only grown since they released their debut EP Twoism in 1995.

Now their new album Tomorrow’s Harvest—their fourth studio set and first release in eight years—has become one of the more anticipated album releases of the year. So it’s as good a time as any to note the recent posting on Mixcloud of this 2002 mix that BoC did for the Helter Skelter radio show on Paris-based community station Aligre FM. Broadcast just as the band released their claustrophobic second album Geogaddi, the mix features lots of rare bits from their early-‘90s era, along with remixes of electronica peers like Meat Beat Manifesto, and R&B stalwarts Colonel Abrams and Midnight Star. Although it’s been dispersed via MP3 amongst BoC fanatics, it’s good to see this excellent broadcast finally on stream.

Here’s the tracklist:

01:20 - 05:30 - “1969” (Geogaddi)
05:30 - 09:30 - “Chinook” [Extended] (Aquarius) [WITH CHAT]
09:30 - 13:11 - “M9” (Boc Maxima)
13:11 - 18:45 - “Korona” (Mask100)
18:53 - 21:55 - “Smokes Quantity” (Twoism / MHTRTC)
21:55 - 24:59 - “Soylent Night” [Hell Interface] (Whine & Missingtoe)
24:45 - 29:28 - Colonel Abrams “Trapped” [Hell Interface Remix] (Mask200)
29:25 - 32:50 - “Music Is Math” (Geogaddi) [WITH CHAT]

32:46 - 37:52 - “Turquoise Hexagon Sun” (Hi Scores / MHTRTC)
37:52 - 44:28 - “Chinook” [Extended] (Aquarius)
44:28 - 49:45 - “Sixtyten” (MHTRTC)
49:45 - 54:22 - “Orange Romeda” (WAP100 - We Are Reasonable People)
54:22 - 58:00 - “Music Is Math” (Geogaddi) [WITH CHAT]

57:58 - 65:00 - “XYZ” (Peel Session - not on CD)
64:42 - 69:18 - Midnight Star “Midas Touch” [Hell Interface Remix] (Mask500)
69:18 - 70:22 - “A is to B as B is to C” (Geogaddi)
70:22 - 74:20 - Bubbah’s Tum “Dirty Great Mable” [BOC MIX] (Dirty Great Mable) [WITH CHAT]
74:20 - 76:13 - “Music Is Math” (Geogaddi) [WITH CHAT]
76:36 - 82:25 - Michael Fakesch “Surfaise” (Trade Winds Mix by BOC) [PLAYED TOO SLOWLY]
82:15 - 85:43 - Meat Beat Manifesto “Prime Audio Soup” [Vegetarian Soup by BOC] (Prime Audio Soup) [PLAYED TOO SLOWLY]
85:13 - 86:41 - “From One Source All Things Depend” (Geogaddi - Japanese Bonus Track)
86:40 - END - “Poppy Seed” [BOC Remix] (Slag Boom Van Loon - So Soon) [WITH CHAT]

Boards of Canada the legendary Helter Skelter Radio Show 2002 by Abstractmovies on Mixcloud


Posted by Ron Nachmann | Leave a comment
Notes From The Niallist: That’s so CVNT, a ‘Future-House’ voguing mix
12:30 pm


house music

I have a new house music project, and it’s renewing my faith in this whole “making music” malarkey.

It’s called CVNT TR4XXX, or if you don’t mind bad language, CUNT TRAXXX. If you;re wondering why I chose that name, the c-word has been used in drag and gay circles for quite a while as a compliment, and CVNT (for short) is dedicated to VOGUING and the culture that surrounds it, which is heavily gay, trans and femme. 

As the picture I use as a logo states:

CUNT: (adj) a term used in gay slang to describe someone who is impressive, original or fantastic in regards to style or demeanour.

This week the London-based fashion label Long Clothing have uploaded a CVNT mix I put together showcasing some of my sounds, and a lot of others who operate in roughly the same ballpark.

For too long, house music has been perceived as a European-dominated scene (which it is to an extent) but it’s important to remember the roots of this music, and that it was born in the ghettos of Chicago, produced mostly by black and queer kids messing around with drum machines and boxed-up synth modules.

Not to mention house music’s spiritual home of New York City, the town that gave birth to voguing, and that, in the early 90s at least, spearheaded an assault of queer/black/latino/drag culture on the popular consciousness. Madonna didn’t start that shit, you know.

For those of you who don;t know, voguing was not just a fad, it was and still is a unique and complex culture in its own right, and it lives on, stronger than ever. That’s the real inspiration for starting CVNT, watching clips of various new way vogue dancers competing on YouTube and dreaming up a soundtrack to make them go wild to.

There’s some other kinds of house on this mix too, most notably “Jersey Club”, which features a distinctive 5-kicks-to-the-bar rhythm, a little bit of a “B-More”/Baltimore influence (similar to Jersey Club but with breakbeats) and “ballroom”, which is essentially house music for new way voguers and combines elements of B-More and Jersey Club with a heavy dose of 90s diva realness.

I call all this stuff “future house” because these genres are taking house music in a different direction, but one that is still very much connected to the black/gay undergrounds where they started. This music has got very little to do with dub, or spending hours tweaking a synth patch to sound good in a k-hole. This is defiantly DANCE music, designed to make you MOVE. Most of it is based around the rhythm, cutting up tiny samples of speech and music and arranging it around quick-fire patterns. This is music from the MPC generation, where you don’t get money for anything, but the synths are free.

Besides, I’m SICK of boring bloody minimal, ploddy bro-step and electro-house! As “EDM” takes more and more of a foothold in the American consciousness it’s worth reminding people that YOU GUYS INVENTED IT. You still have PLENTY of homegrown talent pushing these genres forward right on your own doorstep, but possibly not in the places you’d expect to find them. 

If I can point anyone in that direction, then it’s a start.

Here’s the mix for Long Clothing, which you can download from their website. The tracklist is here.


Here’s a couple more tracks for good measure, from the Death Drops EP:


You can hear more productions on the CVNT TR4XXX SoundCloud page.


Posted by Niall O'Conghaile | Leave a comment
‘All Hail The Beat’: a short history of the Roland Tr-808

Don’t you love it when those murky, endless swamps of internet spam throw up something that you really enjoy? I’m sure it’s all a co-incidence, as it’s unlikely that Google knows from the number of times I have typed the numbers “808” that I’m a bit obsessed with that machine, is it?

All Hail The Beat is a three minute film by author and journalist Nelson George that’s a great introduction to (and summary of) the history of the Roland TR-808 drum machine. It’s also a neat little follow up to the Bang The Box mix I posted earlier today, which features lots and lots (and lots and lots) of banging’ 808s.

Roland’s Tr-808 Rhythm Composer was first produced in 1980, and has gone on to become one of the most influential machines in modern music. Its sonorous booms and claps are heard everywhere from Afrika Bambaataa and Egyptian Lover to Beck, Lil Wayne, Aphex Twin, Missy Elliot, Talking Heads, Marvin Gaye, Rihanna and far beyond. It’s all over hip-hop, electro, R&B, house and techno, and is the basis of underground dance genres like crunk, booty bass and New Orleans bounce. Kanye West named an album after it and even Madonna can be heard warbling about the wildness of its drum sounds on her latest single (whose production, funnilly enough, featured no actual 808s.)

Nelson George, whose face you’ll recognise from many other music documentaries, here speaks to veterans like Arthur Baker and Juan Atkins about the machine. He sums All Hail The Beat, and the 808, up thusly:

The Roland TR-808 drum machine inspires musicians around the world, even though the device hasn’t been made since 1984 — and most of its avid users have never actually seen one.

Oh how I long to get a real one of these some day…


Posted by Niall O'Conghaile | Leave a comment
Real Gangstas Don’t Rap, They Boogie: Snoop Dogg’s surprising ‘Tekno Euro’  mixtape

Snoop portrait by Rodney Pike
Now here’s a turn up for the books: last weekend Snoop Dogg dropped a new mixtape via his Soundcloud page called “01 Tekno Euro Mixx”. That Snoop would put together a mix of European techno is in itself surprising—if he did actually mix it himself, and the lackadaisical style makes it seem plausible—but the real surprise here is, in fact, that the mix contains no European techno at all.

What we get instead is a mix of deep house, nu-disco and boogie/disco edits. Artists and remixers featured include Todd Terje, Prins Thomas, Guy Monk, Miguel Migs, 6th Borough Project, Tensake, Crazy P and Michael Jackson (there is no official tracklisting yet.) None of which have much in common with the likes of Benni Benassi or David Guetta, and even less with Dr Dre or Timbaland.

While I wouldn’t have pegged Snoop as a Body & Soul-head, there is a common theme. Back in the late 90s and early 00s, when I was playing a lot of this kind of stuff (hit me up for some mixes, Snoop!), me and my dj friends liked to refer to this type of music as “stoner house”. That did away with slightly tired prefixes “deep” and “disco” while encapsulating the music in simple, understandable terms. This is house music at its most horizontal, yet it remains functional and deeply funky. Snoop gets it, and actually this mix ain’t half bad. Light one up, lie back and boogie:

  01 TEKNO EURO MIXX by Snoop Dogg
Thanks to Soundcloud commenter Alex Constantin for the title.

Posted by Niall O'Conghaile | Leave a comment
The return of real House with Azari & III
05:57 am


house music
Azari & III

House music has gotten a bit of a bad rep over the last ten to fifteen years, and it’s not difficult to hear why. Between the overbearing repetitiveness of trance, the none-more-overdriven sound homogenisation of French “electro” and the simply boring minimalism of, yes, minimal, it’s very easy to forget that house was once a marginal art form that dripped pure funk.

The new album by Azari & III looks set to dress that balance, taking the sound back to its underground roots in the black, gay dance scenes of Chicago. Back in the mid 80s the original house-heads would congregate and wig out at Frankie Knuckles’ Warehouse club and Ron Hardy’s Music Box, to a soundtrack of European disco and proto-techno mixed up with American funk and electro and augmented by drum machine loops. Some of those kids went on to release seminal records on the legendary Trax imprint, among them Marshall Jefferson, Larry Heard, Jamie Principle and even Knuckles himself.

Azari & III are the next logical progression of House music, as it inevitably gives up the gloss and returns to its rawer starting points. The synths and drum machines are raw and dirty, the vocals are ambiguous and androgynous but full to the brim with soul, and the songs are druggy, sleazy, and catchy as hell. The Toronto based four piece have just released their self-titled debut album, and the buzz built by their earlier singles is beginning to pay off with glowing critical reviews and a growing cult status. If you’re a fan of Hercules & Love Affair, then I can’t recommend this band and album highly enough. This is music designed to make you sweat, to jack your body, to vogue.
This is the video for Azari & III’s debut single, the highly catchy “Hungry For The Power”, featuring coke snorting yuppies, S&M vixens, murder and cannibal voguing zombies (NSFW):

Azari & III - “Manic”

You can buy Azari & III’s debut album here.
More Azari & III videos after the jump.

Posted by Niall O'Conghaile | Leave a comment