Posted by: Thomas on Aug 1, 2011
We're pleased to announce that Machinedrum's much anticipated album 'Room(s)' will finally be out this Monday, 25th July. Also, last week Machinedrum performed an excellent mix on Mary Anne Hobbs' brand new Saturday evening XFM show, so check it out HERE'
For those of you who wish to represent us on your chests, we've just taken delivery of some more T-Shirts. We have reprinted the black 'Bubbling Logo' T-Shirts and also decided to do some limited white versions for the summer. Check out the Clothes section for more T-Shirts and Hooded tops.
Since we have a few of the older Star logo T's left for a limited time we will be giving them away with all web orders on our site of over £50. To get your free T-Shirt, after you have ordered e-mail your order number and size of shirt (Small, Medium or Large) to firstname.lastname@example.org.
This week saw the release of the new Tropics single Mouves.
The intense summery shimmer that has been a feature of Tropics' work so far is still present, with a wavering grace that combines dubby New Order-esque bass, lush jazzy rhodes, shoegazey stretched vocals and droney synths, the song is an unusual but almost overwhelmingly beautiful and woozy combination that floors the listener with its humid atmosphere.
The hotly tipped Keep Shelly In Athens have remixed 'Mouves' by trimming down the track to it's minimal parts, cooling down the atmosphere and adding a heavy Boards-Of-Canada-like synth melody and chords that sound like they’re borrowed from an early 90’s ambient trance track. This is all held together with heavy, cracking grime-like snare.
FaltyDL showcases his first new material since the ‘You Stand Uncertain' LP here, with this 'Mouves' remix which breaks the parts down into micro-samples and then re-edits and twists them through a subtle bumping beat and bass: it feels like he’s just taken a microcosm from the original’s wild, tropical macrocosm and studied it in detail.
Original track ‘Celebrate’ finishes the EP, and it feels like an early, utterly joyful Madonna track, slowed down and extended to it’s limits to capture every second of feeling in rapturous, dusty slow motion.
We are also pleased to take this opportunity to announce the full details of Tropics' debut album 'Parodia Flare'.
‘Tropics’ is just one person Chris Ward, a British producer, singer and multi-instrumentalist in his early 20s who came to our attention last year. During the time we signed and released his first single ‘Soft Vision’, his early unreleased tracks and remixes were being given attention from the likes of Pitchfork and others, so we knew we were onto something special.
Since that time things have moved on. He’s released two singles and the synth-pop of his early tracks has evolved into a more substantial and personal sound on this, his debut album. ‘Parodia Flare’ features Chris as a multi-instrumental auteur, playing drums, guitar, and a range of synths and electronic boxes, as well as singing on these songs.
Coming from a family where music was always played, it made sense as a musician for Chris to act almost as a conduit by wiring those vintage sounds into his new music. The Rhodes keyboard (an instrument associated with Jazz fusion sits central to the songs on this album), alongside banks of old synths, software and guitars, live drums and electric bass. Tropics is a suitable description of the feeling for Chris’s music, and even though the album was made in a walk in wardrobe in a student house, each song is like a warm analogue jungle, drawn into focus by Chris’ naive singing voice and his knack for a lush melody.
The opening short 'Navajo' sets the scene with atmospheric clouds of reverbed chords and electric guitar, quickly followed by recent single ‘Mouves’ with its gently sung verses disappearing into clouds of echoey Rhodes chords and floating synths with low-slung New Order-like bass and soft drums keeping the track in shape.
Next up ‘Parodia Flare’ majestically stretches shimmering keyboard tones and a light guitar over a tight bass and drums, gently teasing out the serene atmosphere. ‘Going Back’ features a keyboard refrain borrowed from a 70’s jazz fusion track, with a low bass and Chris snowy voice cutting through the middle of phased guitars.
‘Wear Out’ is the morning after, sounding like an exhausted take on late period Beatles, with a lolloping drum beat and horns that sound as if they’re drunk, interrupted by shimmering marimbas while cold keys screech in the background.
‘Celebrate’, revised for the album, is a vortex of aerial dub, with echoes and reverbs layering and looping over a very minimal drum and sub-bass, the whole track moving in glorious slow motion.
'Figures', meanwhile, delicately projects Chris's whispered vocals onto a chord borrowed from late 80s Detroit techno, inside a chilly electronic atmosphere that gradually breaks into an 80’s electro funk bass-line.
‘Telassar’ is a soft focus 80s synth epic, while 'Playgrounds' is more upbeat, with lyrics remembering the past. ‘After Visiting’ is made out of a strange airy atmosphere, full of tiny dropped-in details and smudged synths stretched over minimal drum pads borrowed from dubstep, while 'Sapphire' is based around a repeating piano refrain, guitar, sax and vocals.
Final track 'On The Move' sounds like prime Chicago post rock but with the Mizell brothers on production, it’s musical mixture that tidily bookends the album.
- Sep 8, 2015: MU-20 20th Anniversary Deluxe Boxset
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