Tuesday, June 18, 2013

P037: Cabeza de Vaca – 100% Silk special

As for this weeks Cabeza de Vaca and Scanner FM show, all house and a lot more tracks from 100% Silk than we normally get in a special, partly owing to their shorter length and more direct pop approach.

One of the issues we raise in the show is of hype. The sad truth of journalism is that hype and particularly “newness” is somehow more interesting than consistency as a story. Look at 100% Silk. Lauded from the beginning for their fresh and outsider approach to house, but also criticised for dragging the “wrong” people into electronic music, mainly the hipsters. In a weird way, Skrillex may have also done the same with the rock kids. But it is a shame on two fronts: one is that the “hipster house” tag may have put some people off and secondly it is ironic that the media finds it hard to find something to say when a label is not so new, even if the music is just as good (or better). In the case of 100% Silk, it is also better, but there is more of it too. There are certainly plenty of exceptional tracks on the show this week. Special praise must go to Octo Octa who’s album “Between two selves” has some amazing tracks that somehow make the Tri-angle or Burial-esque time stretched vocal bearable again, partly because it is also used sparingly. But the opening track “Who I will become” is beautiful (and one we played on the messy live set at Sonar).

Researching the show, it was curious as well to see that Leech (aka  Brian Foote) was a member of Fontanelle, the ambient/rock group on Kranky.

Rex Ritter and Andy Brown were also members of the legendary space rock group Jessamine who have almost passed into the annals of the lost I would imagine. Here is a track from 1996 from their long, improvised album “The Long Arm of Coincidence” that they used to play at Kosmische the Krautrock club in London.

One artist who does get mixed reviews despite being one of the most recognisable names is Maria Minerva. I am not her biggest fan either I must admit. I liked her show at Sonar last year for about 20 minutes, but then I found my patience wearing a bit thin. Same with her recent EP which, as the review says, just needs a little bit more quality control somewhere in the production line.

Also receiving some bad reviews  was Swedish duo Mr Tophat and Art Alfie for the KVK200 ep which opens the show. A great, but flawed track, like several of their other works. The first EP KVK100 seems to repeat the same rhythm section on each side, for example, only varying the top end of the track. However, a badly placed and aforementioned Burial-esque/Tri-angle vocal really brings down the average a bit. We have seen this with many artists in the past, notably Scuba, that a bad vocal no matter however short can really undermine a good track.

But speaking of good things, I cannot mention enough how much I like the Life Recorder 12” on Aesthetic Audio. All four of the tracks have something special, but “Keep Maintain” is my favourite from the EP. The older material is also good.

Mr. Tophat, Art Alfie
Crab at the Green Hunter (Original Mix)
Rays of Babylon
Rush Hour Recordings
Magic Touch & Sapphire Slows
Just wana feel
100% Silk
Coyote Clean Up
Zebra go seek
100% Silk
100% Silk
100% Silk
Beyon within
100% Silk
Octavo Octava
Bad blood
100% Silk
Life Recorder
Keep mainatin
Aesthetic Audio
Barker & Baumecker
No Body (Machinedrum Remix)
Ostgut ton

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