Short Circuits 6 - By Volume

The kid that went down isn't dead; he just can't find his phone. The Hold Steady - Almost Everything
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Short Circuits 6

Primed for the news cycle as ever, Tayyab reviews Record Store Day! Also: less relevant things. Author: on August 3, 2013
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Tessela – Hackney Parrot (Special Request VIP) (Unreleased, 2013)

There aren’t many producers as in-demand as Paul Woolford right now. Straight off the back of his “Untitled” release on Hotflush and an EP as his Special Request alias on Fabric’s in-house Houndstooth imprint, Woolford continues to explore his Special Request project with a remix of Tessela’s “Hackney Parrot”. The original’s ode to classics by way of drums and bass straight out of the junglist 90s and the Kathy Brown chopped vocals are dialled well into the red on the Special Request VIP. Woolford serves a wider palette old school percussion which tumbles and crashes over a bassline that hits when it hits and leaves you dumbfounded in the moments it disappears. A dizzying array of FX and airhorn samples, plus a Top Cat vocal invade the soundscape, ready to transport you back to packed basements pumped with dry smoke and bursting with that fabled junglist pirate radio spirit. The genius of this Special Request flip is that Woolford works his Midas touch to make this track ready to work as a weapon for rebellious UK techno sets – old school or new school, there’s something to find in Woolford’s creations and if you’re tuned into the UK’s electronic scene throughout this summer, chances are you won’t really have a choice.

Annie – Invisible (Pleasure Masters, 2013)

Annie ended a several-year hiatus with a new single preceding The A&R EP. The Norwegian synthpop songstress’ release comes completely produced by and co-written with Richard X, a familiar collaborator who’s become a specialist of sorts in the area where pop and electronic intertwine, producing Sugababes’ 2002 hit “Freak Like Me” and working with an assortment of artists remembered for mid-00s drivetime radio play. Still, the production on “Invisible” is interesting, pasting pop sheen over relatively dark tech house. The track maintains a poppy formula and despite the occasional developments such as an acidic synth layer, it never really fills in the gaps, ready for the aforementioned radio play. I can’t help but wonder what if Richard X took the red pill instead of the blue – regardless, it’s up to Annie to bring the beat to life. Flirting with all the tricks in the book, she coldly and seductively talks through her verses before pitching down her vocals and playing the part of the other over the next few bars. We’re left outside as Annie sings back and forth with her partner, and as engrossed as she is with her other, it’s impossible not to stay peering through the window.

Forest Swords – The Weight Of Gold (Tri Angle, 2013)

Three years have passed since the release of Forest Swords’ Dagger Paths EP. Three years, with not a whole lot to show in terms of production output. Three years, which looks set to come to fruition as Forest Swords prepares his debut album for ethereal enthusiasts Tri Angle, who’ve championed everyone from Balam Acab and AlunaGeorge to Evian Christ and The Haxan Cloak. It looks like a very fitting home for Forest Swords, who continues the tradition of thriving in melancholy, which he laid down in his breakout EP. “The Weight Of Gold” is another embodiment of beautiful sadness, as voices both haunted and haunting, sporadically cry out over thunderous Far Eastern percussion. The more drawn out chords are weighted with a knowledge of oncoming dread, while each strike of the guitar string becomes a contorted cry out. “The Weight Of Gold” is a still moment of harmony as all feelings and emotions come tumbling down around it, as if everything is not okay, but that’s okay.

Rezzett – Yayla (The Trilogy Tapes, 2013)

Rough and rugged, “Yayla” wanders a little before finding its feet, and it sure takes its sweet time about it. It ponders and prods before settling on a certain progression, all the while spitting radioactive decay in all directions, purposely wrought with missing fractions of frequencies. It ploughs onwards, stumbling over a kick and picking up hi-hats and orbiting synth loops, gaining momentum – less like a snowball, and more like something from a Katamari game. After reaching a level plain, “Yayla” shakes itself free from its bells and whistles, pressing forwards barebones, this time picking and choosing what effects it gathers on its journey, until it peters off in the distance. Rezzett is onto something special with this track, appearing on the self-titled EP. There isn’t a huge amount out there about the producer, but their music does all the talking necessary; The frazzled and fantastic “Yayla” is a suitable entry into The Trilogy Tapes, a leftfield label who’ve hosted artists as distinguished as Blawan and Joy O, and as deranged as Dean Blunt and Madteo.

Grizzly Bear – Sleeping Ute (Nicolas Jaar Remix) (Warp, 2013)

This is me giving live feedback on this Record Store Day release which I bought on the aforementioned day, though did not listen to as I have only just bought a record player. As a huge fan of Nicolas Jaar’s music as well as a Grizzly Bear fan (“Sleeping Ute” was the first track of theirs I heard), I’m eager to here what Jaar creates from this. It starts with the warm yet ominous ambience and occasional chimes that are so very Jaar, before Daniel Rossen dramatically cries, “So I walk out…” Things pause, before Rossen recovers from the false start, with the lead riff from the original stripped of external textures, which Jaar pushes over his typical orchestrated atmospheres filled with space. The sounds seamlessly form into a downtempo beat to set the tone until guitar and piano are given some spotlight in a way that takes the mind to Spanish streets. The way the track deviates from the nature of the original is that instead of unwinding and unravelling, it takes a snapshot and dives into the moment, that unseen and missed dimension. Every time Rossen sings, he finishes with “But I can’t help myself.” I imagine Jaar feels this way, as he turns the Shields opener into something that could easily fit into his sets or even his album. I won’t pretend I don’t feel like that either, as despite the unsurprising turns the tune takes, it’s so easy to lose myself in the quilted comfort of the increasingly bassy slow-burner. It doesn’t matter if it isn’t the greatest song in the world, because it’s sincere, it’s beautiful, and even though my ears are being rinsed with the crackle of the locked groove, “Sleeping Ute” is still there as I close my eyes.

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