Lush track and video from Tim Paris, known for his collaboration with Ivan Smagghe as one half of It's a Fine Line. Check it out, Rain came out last week on My Favorite Robot.
my favorite robot records
Flowers & Sea Creatures have previously released on both Compost and Buzzin' Fly but Afternoon & Afterhours is their debut release on My Favorite Robot.
It is a release that boasts the kind of sophistication you would expect from alumni of such labels. The EP opens with The Very Next Day, which features Wrong Jeremy, and combines them with a throbbing, cinematic groove. The track packs plenty of menace - an alienated soundtrack that lets those vocals provide an additional lens of humanity, but it is the low rumble of the bass and percussion that provide much of the atmosphere. So Far The Star is similarly threatening, with cold and metallic music combined with a sparse vocal and some dark, distorted bass.
Alternate Endings is less busy and represents the start of the stronger half of this release - an ambient, beat-free piece that makes much of gently strummed guitars and vocals enveloped in echo. The EP's closing track, Citadel is a nine-and-a-half-minute long epic piece that takes the maudlin feel of much of that which it follows but expands into epic proportions. It is somewhere between the beat-led sound of the opening half of this EP and the minimal sound of Alternate Endings - shuffling rhythms provide a momentum that sees the introduction of rough synthetic melodies and ultimately some Latin guitar. It's an epic conclusion to a heartfelt EP.
Afternoon & Afterhours is out through My Favorite Robot on 24 February. Preview via Soundcloud below:
Fairmont is Jake Fairley and whilst I'm not consciously aware of having come across his work before he's apparently been in the electronic music world for more than a decade now. This EP follows on from his My Favorite Robot released album from last year, his third album in total.
This release is a remix EP featuring re-imaginings from four of the tracks from that album. The first of these is Last Dance, which receives a remix from Ewan Pearson. Positioned at the beginning of the EP and with an instrumental version of the same remix closing the release out it feels like this is what the label view as the tent pole of the set.
And that is not without reason. Pearson has a proven history of quality remix and production work and he doesn't disappoint here. Last Dance takes the form of a dark, melancholic house record. There is a cinematic, night-driving-down-the-autobahn aesthetic to the record that conjures up visions, aided by the lyrics. "The hardest part is moving on / who knew this song would be our swan / I never meant to cause you harm / but it don't matter who's right or wrong" sings Fairley. It's hard not to question just how final that Last Dance is. The Spanish flamenco guitar that flickers in the background adds a further element of sophisticated, downbeat emotion. It's a quality mix no doubt assisted by terrific source material.
Whilst nothing else quite reaches the same heights the other remixes are good nonetheless. Ryan Crosson (of Merveille & fame) remixes Alkaline, turning it into flowing techno track that applies some touches to give the track an impressive range and melodic depth. It may not have the emotional punch of Last Dance but it certainly shines as a deep track for dark discos.
The Undo remix of Fate is slow and moody, a dark electro piece full of out of step timing and barely whispered vocals. The heavy synths roll over the track, giving it a building, immovable feel.
Tiny Diamonds is the last track bar that instrumental and it gets a treatment from Arthur Oskan. Oskan uses arpeggiated synths to create another dark, sleek remix full of menacing melodies.
Off of the back of this EP I'll certainly be checking out the album, and it's another quality release from My Favorite Robot.
Automaton Remixes is released through My Favorite Robot Records on 25 February.
This new split EP from the My Favorite Robot label features just two tracks but there is enough here to make it an interesting listen. The label have been fairly successful in pairing up artists in the past, whether on their 'Stimulus Package' series of their previous split EPs.
Up first is Tiger Stripes - real name Mikael Nodgren - who hails from Stokholm and has already released material on My Favourite Robot Records earlier this year in the form of his Crossroads EP.
Here Nodgren delivers a twisted piece of electronic soul. Both the vocals from Pete Fij and the overall production style recall eighties synth pop but the track is dark even given the sounds it references - Soft Cell and Depeche Mode. The track features a fluid sounding bass line and ghostly synths that provide a contrast to the largely mechanical rhythms and together it's an emotional track that still manages to work in a club setting.
My Favorite Robot is the trio of James Teej, Jared Simms and Voytek Koran and here they team up with London's Silky to create a new take on Tears For Fears' 'Shout'. It's difficult to assess such a record without an emotional response based on the original record. For me, that connection probably makes this track seem both better and worse than it actually is.
In my view Tears For Fears are probably one of the finest bands on the eighties, all three of their original albums as a duo demonstrating a fantastic combination of songwriting and stellar production work across a range of classic tracks. Of these 'Shout' is clearly one of the best known, Roland Orzabel's vocal instantly recognisable against the drum-heavy track.
Remixing something so iconic is either bold, foolish or perhaps both. Whilst this track remains enjoyable it ultimately loses more than it gains as it comes under My Favorite Robot's surgeon's scalpel. The original version's giant drum sound is replaced with an appropriately large alternative but it lacks the same bite. The punchy bell-chimes that feature in the original are dropped so low in the mix as to render them impotent, meaning a key distinctive part of the track (and one that would survive remixing well) gets lost. On the plus side the acid-heavy extended bridge and outro is where the value is, chunky drum-sets and some vicious bass ensuring it will sound ferocious on the dance floor.
Out Of Phase / Shout is out on Monday through My Favorite Robot Records.
Canada's My Favorite Robot seem to be having a bit of a run at the moment with a series of strong releases over recent months. This one just might be my favourite.
The hot humid summer sun seems to have finally descended on London as I write this and perversely the dubby electro of 'Holiday's Over' feels very appropriate. This release sees producer Tom Demac team up with Manchester band Silverclub to create something loose feeling electronic record.
And you can tell this is a band rather than just a producer, the two original tracks here sounding much more like songs than you get from the usual dance releases on twelves. 'Holiday's Over' has layers of bass and synth that create a heavy, tangible feel whilst Silverclub vocalist Duncan Edward Jones' vocal croons his way to a broken heart. 'Throat Trip' takes things up a notch, a melange of massive Prince-style drums and the vocals of a sexual-aggressor.
Both tracks have a slightly oppressive muggy feel to them that isn't entirely inappropriate given the weather. The synth heavy funk feel combines with the dark lyrical tone to great effect too - like early Nine Inch Nails but without the obviousness of the guitars and the screaming angst.
Two remixes are on offer alongside the originals. Buzzin Fly's Flowers & Sea take 'Holiday's Over' to an even more dubby place that retains the vocals but focuses more on the spooky ambient atmospherics and drums. The Tiger Stripes mix of 'Throat Trip' shuffles to a slightly tighter, more minimal groove that makes it the most dance floor friendly track here - it isn't quite as catchy as the original but it creates a nice tight twist on it all the same.
Holiday's Over is released on My Favourite Robot Records on 28 May on 12" and 4 June digitally.