Seven Plays VI

For Seven Plays, each week one of our contributors will keep a personal music diary for seven days, then hands the feature over to another Truant at the end of the week. The idea is to keep sharing great music with our readers, but with a more individual touch than our more objective posts and reviews. Our latest instalment comes courtesy of Aidan Hanratty, who bounces from ambient drone into rap, from techno to Zayn without a second thought.

Thursday

I know I listen to a lot of music but I didn’t realise quite how much that was until I undertook writing this piece. I decided to take note of everything I listened to each day, to give an accurate representation of my listening habits. I started the day listening to some Bandcamp material, specifically yullippe’s Retouch and Art & The Ego by Nuances, the wonderful ambient side project of Manni Dee. Next up I dipped into The Life of Pablo, chiefly to hear the new versions of “Ultralight Beam”, “Famous” and “Feedback”. Let’s be honest, that’s the reason behind a huge bulk of those 250 million plays. On the train to work I listened to Bwana’s Capsule’s Pride, his Akira retread. I still haven’t seen the movie (despite owning it for more than half a decade) so part of the project was lost on me. That said, it’s a riotous ball of fun context free.

By the time I got off the train, my walk to the office was soundtracked by Hank Jackson and Anthony Naples’ split release on the latter’s Proibito. Both are serviceable rhythm tracks, with AN’s edging it for me. Gage’s Mercury got several plays throughout the week. It’s a thrilling release, covering all bases between sonic discord and nightmare clubbing. On a lighter tip was Preston Field Audio’s Rhythm Tree Fell, the excellent first release from the label of the same name, based in the north-west of England. I lived there for nine months a few years ago and found little to love there, but this release suggests further explorations could have led to happier times.

While I wouldn’t go so far to say that Galcher Lustwerk and Alvin Aronson’s Scenes (2012-2015) is patchy, it doesn’t quite hit some of the highs that Galcher has hit in the past. That said, there are some beautiful moments on this collection. Similarly, Red Axes don’t match the joyous irreverence of last year’s “Pil Sagol” with Sun My Sweet Sun, but “Way To Neptune” is a banger nonetheless. Bokeh Versions filled my ears for some time, first of all with the manic Glacial Dancehall from Jay Glass Dubs, then the unreleased Gr◯un土 + Kabamix – MIZUNOKUNI, billed as “ambient housey goodness” by the label man. It’s that and more, believe me. In between these two trips I listened to a heavy track from Lumigraph (now deleted) and a gnarly mix from CMD, a warm-up set at Avant Mutek. Next I played the second mix in the DISCWOMAN series, from San Fransisco’s Dhra, before dipping into the really quite excellent Kassem Mosse remix of Machine Woman’s “I Can Mend Your Broken Heart”

Lots of music on Bandcamp followed: Bobby Draino & D. Tiffany’s delightful Arctic Travel on Normals Welcome, the crushing BERLIN by Cubop on Urban Arts Berlin, another listen to yullippe and the wildly interesting Speculative Realism from Druuna Jaguar + Phantasm Nocturnes. On the way home, I listened to Chloe Frieda’s mix for Mitamine Lab before dipping into D∆WN’s “Not Above That” and playing Gage’s Mercury again. All that in one day.

Friday

No April Fool here, I played Zayn’s Mind of Mine while I got ready for the day (though I skipped “Pillow Talk”, which I’d heard plenty of times already). It’s not bad! It is what it is (a slick, polished pop album from a pro), that intro is stunning, and the Kehlani collab is a gem. Next up were some old Super Furry Animals tunes, both originals and remixed by DJ Guy under his Force Unknown guise. After that it was a first play of Tim Hecker’s new album Love Streams. It’s simply gorgeous, and the track entitled “Up Red Bull Creek” is too real for me. “Bijie Dream”, meanwhile, is a sumptuous stand-out. This morning I also ripped the first side of a tape I received, V I S C 0 1 by Christoph De Babalon and Nina. Christoph’s side is heavy with dread, just how I like it.

The concept may be a bit much to take, but Battle of the CBDemons by Angelboyz Choir is a vicious trip. Similarly heavy and intriguing is Low Jack’s Lighthouse Stories, deservedly named one of the albums of the year so far by Fact Mag. I played Rhythm Tree Fell and Scenes (2012-2015) again before digging into Bake’s Rinse show, where he was joined by PLO Man. Cheers for the shout, pal. To finish out the week I played Body-san’s gloriously enjoyable Shining the Money Ball on 1080p, and Call Super’s mix for Benji B literally took me home. The transition from Spoop’s “Nervous Sex Traffic” (forthcoming on Dekmantel) into Beatrice Dillon’s “Face B” is utterly sublime – my jaw was dropping on the train platform.

Saturday & Sunday

At weekends I don’t have much time to listen to music – feeding or playing with my son happens to the soundtrack of whatever’s on TV (be it Narcos, Arrested Development or Star Trek TNG repeats). Making up bottles, sorting out clothes or preparing dinner is the main time I can listen to music, albeit through my tinny iPhone speakers. On Saturday I listened to “Pool Organism 3”, the latest jam from Different Fountains (inexplicably tagged as News & Politics), and this marvellous set of rap refixes from Norway’s Svani. After that it was a few tracks from Gazelle Twin before full releases from Peggy Gou and Midland. “Blush” is fantastic, but that whole record is worth your time. Just you wait.

Just before Call Super’s guest mix, Benji B dropped a new track from Chaos in the CBD called “Background Explorer”. It sounds superb though, and it’s forthcoming on the newly formed Peckham label YAM, an offshoot from the record store of the same name. A world away from Peckham, Lake Mary and M. Sage’s “Down Home” is due out soon on Patient Sounds, and that made for a delightful preview. As I made dinner I blizted through a few tracks from Mule Musiq’s I’m Starting To Feel OK Vol. 7 compilation. As soon as the extractor fan went on I switched from house to rap, playing Kanye’s “Famous” (again) and allowing Tidal to take me through some tracks from G Eazy (“Order More”), PartyNextDoor (“Come And See Me”) and Kendrick (“Levitate”). On Sunday I listened to Front De Cadeaux’s The Gift EP, forthcoming on Mugwump’s Subfield, which features a low-slung banger called “Ouvre Ta Bouche” (peep in the mix here). And that was it.

Monday

I started the week by catching up with the latest edition of Tristan Bath’s Spool’s Out Radio show, which featured a guest performance by TALsounds, a solo artist who’s also a member of Good Willsmith. I also found the time to rip, and listen to Nina’s side of that VIS tape on the way to work. I tweeted that it was astonishingly good, and I can’t really think of a better way of putting it here. Other radio shows popped up on my radar today, as I played a recent show from Truancy Volume contributor DEBONAIR, which featured an excellent guest spot from Ophelia. I also blazed through Mumdance’s monthly Rinse show, all killer as usual. It featured a tantalising 30 seconds of new Yamaneko, but “technicals” got in the way of hearing any more. Sort it out Jack. I found time for some weirdness from Best Available Technology on his Working Nights label, as well as the latest tape from the buy-on-sight .meds label. It’s astounding, a crunchy mess of noise that I would happily listen to in exclusivity forever. I also gave repeated plays to Tim Hecker and that Front de Cadeaux release.

Tuesday

This day was kick-started to life by a thoroughly rousing mix by Smokey and Solid Blake of the Apeiron Crew. I haven’t yet found time for the group’s RBMA mix, but I imagine it’s also a cracker. Next up was a rip of a record I copped in Dublin’s All City. Wah Wah Wino is a collective of Irish producers who have just dropped three records in one go. Each has its charms, but I was particularly taken by Chartered/Unchartered. I wasn’t the only one, as Juno Plus named it as one of their records of the week. I tried to listen to as much as I could, and that included the September Songs EP by Rukhsana Merrise. It’s somewhere between pop, folk and soul, and while the whole thing wasn’t for me, her voice is outstanding. A few things Trilogy Tapes soothed my ears today. First was the sublime collaboration from Carl Gari and Abdullah Miniawy, which came out last month, followed by a strange release Will Bankhead shared on SoundCloud this week. It’s an album of Swedish folk music from 1966, named Locklåtar Och Musik På Horn Och Pipa or Ancient Swedish Pastoral Music (A/B). One side is largely pipe based, and it’s really quite stunning.  A conversation about this release with a friend led to a discussion about Sacred Harp Music from the American south, and I was given the example of this number from the Cold Mountain soundtrack. It’s definitely something I’ll investigate further. On an entirely different tip, Hel Audio just released Uptake Fear, the soundtrack to a Brazilian horror film. Produced by Θ & Mitsumidai, the former having appeared on Hel a few months back, it’s a suitably dark affair, one that functions just as wonderfully as a chilling electronic release.

Wilted Woman has quietly been releasing offbeat dancefloor music for the past while, and the few playable tracks from this new tape on Private Archive are wonky as hell. “Pound” is particularly bouncy. After that I enjoyed the glitchy hip-hop of Melting’s Dust on Crow Cersus Crow before jumping aboard a raft of promos (sorry to be that guy, but this diary is nothing if not transparent). Keita Sano (who’s just done an RA podcast) has a terrific workload, and he’s got a release due next month on Sheik ‘N’ Beik called Error, but sadly it doesn’t match the quality of some of his other work. Much more impressive was Justin Cudmore’s forthcoming release on Honey Soundsystem, called Crystal. There’s an absolutely sick remix from Gunnar Haslam to boot. Veteran Claudio Coccoluto’s release on long-standing Italian label The Dub features three tracks laden with flamboyant tribal drums, pixellated synth melodies and raucous jazz flute. Tip. I’m So Happy I Could Kill Myself by Tight Pants is a painfully forced title, and the artwork is terrible, but the record’s B-side, “Nature To Nearby Soon” is a wonderufl slice of long-form ambient. MGUN’s Gentium is out now, the first full-length LP on Don’t Be Afraid (Mr Beatnick’s Synthetes Trilogy was a retrospective really, and came out on CD, not vinyl). In a way this is also a retrospective release, as it features tracks made between 2007 and 2010. I believe it important to quote Grouper here, however. “Aren’t everyone’s releases from an earlier time by the time they’ve been mixed, mastered and pressed?” Anyway, Gentium is full of jams. Another jam is Happa’s “Blackberreh!”, which I followed with Deep Florida, the recent album by Inhalants on L.I.E.S.. The quality is high, and “Humid Window” particularly stood out. I finished the day with a lil’ bop to Tensnake’s forthcoming two-tracker, Desire, on his own True Romance label.

Wednesday

On my last day of this project, I started with Drake’s new track “Pop Style”, featuring The Throne, the official name given to a Jay+Ye collab appearance. I rolled my eyes at Jay’s essential no-show and laughed at Kanye bringing back “I’mma let you finish” (again). Next was the meandering beauty of Currents from Sound Out Lights, a cassette on Lillerne Tapes. On the way to work I returned to “Nervous Sex Traffic” from Call Super’s Benji B guest mix, which I hope will be out by the time this is published. It’s absolutely beautiful, a real heartbreaker of a track. The melancholy continued with Odeko’s beautiful A History With Samus on Gobstopper, and then deepened further with this strangely beautiful blend of Britney Spears’s “Everytime” with the theme from Twin Peaks. For a complete shift in direction I tried out Bes, an album from The Dwarfs of East Agouza. Alan Bishop, Maurice Louca, and Sam Shalabi make up this Cairo-based trio, and the album is a truly exuberant sounds, lengthy jams inspired by global sounds. It’s not my area of expertise at all, so forgive my rudimentary description. A discussion about blog house with a friend meant I gave this MSTRKRFT remix a play, but then I hopped back on trend with Project Pablo’s Priorities for Lone’s Magicwire label. Marlo Eggplant is an inspiration, a globe-hopping experimental noise performer. This 15-minute live cut with Mel Ó Dubhshláine of Ashtray Navigations from Easter just gone is a great insight to her current work. Leading up to lunchtime I was enlivened by a banging mix from Antenes for the Phormix Podcast series.

I saw that the Silent Hill soundtrack is to be released on vinyl, so I immediately shared this news with Yamaneko. He said he would cop “for this masterpiece alone”, and I spent a mournful quarter-hour wandering Dublin’s streets with it in my ears. I ramped things back up with Divided’s jerky Black Swallower/Interzone, a thrilling pair of tracks due soon on Project 13. Mumdance has been hammering “Black Swallower”, with good reason. Utter banger. I went back to Happa’s banger too, before listening to this curious project. In short, Ali Jamieson sought to emulate and recreate “Xtal”, a track by Aphex Twin that features on Selected Ambient Works 85-92. He’s done that pretty well, but I can’t help but feel like it was a pointless exercise, showing that he knows his way around Ableton but is otherwise seemingly starved for ideas. I enjoyed the gorgeous “Forest” by Midori Hirano, but it’s since been deleted. After that I let SoundCloud play away, and Ken Ikeda + Chihei Hatakeyama’s “Na” was the perfect accompaniment as I checked in on Neko Atsume.

Next up, a fascinating release from Broken 20, a label that continues to impress me with every new release. TVO’s Installation Pieces kicks off the label’s new li_series, a set of collaborations marrying audio to the written word. Pairs of artists will contribute sound and text, each inspired by an object that will be documented and presented with the release. His work is a moving series of amusical experiments, one of which features strange vocals about light and dark, alternately muted and mutilated. A fascinating project, which augurs well for the series. The latest release from Alien Jams is a split release from Beatrice Dillon and Karen Gwyer, two more past TV contributors, both of whose work is never less than essential. We’ve only got a preview and the odd radio appearance to go by for now, but I’m very excited about this one. Also in preview territory, I checked out the first available track from Pano EP by TRP on Lobster Theremin (as far as I know, no relation to the Toronto radio station). It’s a chunky, no-nonsense dance-floor jam – standard LT fare really. Adrift in Floating World by Larks is a gorgeous piece of what one might term ambient electronica, hazy synth music by a talented Glasgow producer who switches names with every other release. The monthly-ish Cooking With Palms Trax is always a fun affair, and this month he had a guest mix from another Glasgow artist, Cleoslaptra, who lived up to the show’s breezily entertaining reputation. Tonight’s dinner-making was accompanied by the vibrant house of Do // Love by Books, forthcoming on XVI Records, and the break-neck stomp of Shield’s Straight Forward EP, due next month on 20/20 LDN. “100 Bandz” by Flexx Mobb featuring SD and Johnny May Cash popped up in a friend’s SoundCloud feed so I gave that a whirl, and before turning in for bed I listened to Deadboy’s stunning remix of D∆WN twice in a row.

So in total I listened to some 87 artists, more than 90 releases/mixes/tracks/shows, but I don’t really think I know anything more about my habits than that I get through a whole lot of music every week – except on Sundays.

Read our previous instalments of Seven Plays here and make sure to catch the next edition coming from Tayyab Amin.

Aidan Hanratty
Aidan Hanratty

Dublin ... @adnhnrt | @Bandcloud

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