Category Archives: Echo Lake

Best of 2011, part I: Now Then, Now Then

Welcome, welcome, to 20JFG’s fantabulous end of year round up.  Once again we’ll be raiding the year’s archives for the tracks that made permanent homes on our digital/analogue devices.  We’ll also be posting a few things that we loved but didn’t cover at the time: music that had already been blogged to death or music that its owner wasn’t happy to give away…until now!

So, over the next couple of weeks we’ll tease out a stream of songs that made us happy to be writing this blog, year in, year out.

At 20JFg we create worlds.  And one of the worlds we like to create is one where we’ve assumed the X-Factor’s fascist control over the pop charts and have installed Chris and Cosey to provide the theme tunes for all the shows.  But I digress.  In this world the idea of the weird, the mutant and the outre is as unfathomable to the populace as karaoke manequins holding up mediocrity as canonical brilliance.  And so, the following songs storm the public consciousness — without dominating it to the point of numbness.  They are 20JFG Top of the Pops and this year would have been poorer without them.

RIP Jimmy

Roberto Cacciapaglia: The Ann Steel Album (Reissue) Through the gaudy chaos of the imaginary toy procession that Roberto Cacciapaglia soundtracks, we visualise an alternative branch of history where the gloom of the synthetic undead was balanced by the exertions of an odd-wave army of glamorous extravagants fighting for the futuristic utopia. It never happened because being fun is hard, and that is also why this album is something to cherish, maybe its rediscovery will jolt contemporary creators from their abstracted numbness and copycat jangle. We can only hope.

Roberto Cacciapaglia – Media

Buy: The Ann Steel Album.

 

Mirror Mirror: Interiors Stop bickering and listen to Mirror Mirror. Look at them as they levitate over the battlefield like Doctor Strange, and deploy the musical equivalent of the Eye of Agamotto to illuminate the edges of the one diamond where all these spiritual faces are bound, the light thus projected is black not because of a malign tendency, but because it is made of all the colours, the album named Interiors because it sweeps us inside, like a storm.

Mirror Mirror – Interiors (Jamstation Exteriors Remix)

Buy: Interiors

 

The Dreams: Morbido The Dreams (no link soz) are to us the sound harbingers of an abstractedly sexual, matter-of-factly violent religion whose commandments are tattooed in skins, tattooed in drums.

The Dreams – Aloha Miami

Buy: Morbido LP

 

Horrid Red: Celestial Joy: Horrid Red’s  rituals and songs pay tribute to the gods of metronomic velocity, kaleidoscopic bloodshed and enlightenment through beautiful strife, and to the enemy, beloved because it helps resolve their violent algebra. If you were to follow their trail of carnage across the vast steppe, reach their leather tent, slide inside and sit with them during a rare moment of calm spent sipping on stolen elixirs, and you asked them what is best in life, this song would be your answer. And Conan would be proud.

Horrid Red – Horrid Life (Burial)

Buy: Celestial Joy

 

Gang Gang Dance: Eye Contact  There was a brief moment in history when it looked like we were on the brink of a proper bottom-up global pop revolution. M.I.A. had a good go at it. Alas, it was not to happen. The window of opportunity is now closed, and all we are left with are the vaudevillian contortions of lab-designed boy outfits, X-factor derivalia and meat-clad Madonna obsessives delivering mangled italo. Sex like projectile vomiting, no seduction. If we were to fit this scenario into a Grant Morrison template, then Gang Gang Dance would be the Invisibles, integrating splendid riddims, psychedelia, baroque hooks, and future (because it is eternal) soul into a cleansing ritual and inclusive gathering occasion for the rebel factions.

Gang Gang Dance – Chinese High

Buy: Eye Contact

 

John Maus: We Must Become the Pitiless Censors of Ourselves  John Maus is a marginalised political platform with a romantic expressionistic agenda. His posters resemble Cartier Bresson snapshots of an intellectual sombrely contemplating the future of society and culture. His campaign videos, shown in local TV stations in the deepest of the night, are Adam Curtis-esque affairs where slogans float half-formed, adrift a turbulent sea agitated by fierce subconscious streams. His anthems are ectoplasmic parcels that can only be holistically de-encrypted, bearing in mind words, their sound context and their interactions. When we do so, we find lots of horror, but also much hope. We’d definitely vote for him.

John Maus – Head For The Country

Buy: We Must Become the Pitiless Censors of Ourselves

 

Peaking Lights: 936  20jazzfunkgreats love to be surprised. If anyone had told us that we were going to have a white-man reggae/borderline chillwave crossover album in our top of the year, we would have said, No Way Jose. Watch our preconceptions scurry like roaches under 936’s mighty tropical light, a light that is born in a weird crucible of good pop vibes and syrupy echobox exhalations.

Peaking Lights – All the Sun that Shines

Buy: 936.

 

Chevalier Avant Garde: A Difficult Whole/Heteropias Chevalier Avant Garde curate an exclusive store with artefacts ransacked from a variety of periods. In each of these converge powerful vectors of context and imagination, defining new possibilities full of weird spin and momentum.  These are not songs but the stuff that songs are made of – the cheeky melody of a Throbbing Gristle lullaby, the poetic cycle of a Kraftwerk automaton, Chicago’s soul machine code.

Chevalier Avant Garde – Canyons

Chevalier Avant Garde – Over the Fountain

Buy: HeteropiasA Difficult Whole

 

Echo Lake – Young Silence  One of 20JFG was asked to make a video for ethereal/Nu-gaze/really nice folks Echo Lake late last year.  This is the result.

If only we could afford to describe every band using points of light.

Wide Shut

Featuring : Echo Lake + Fielded

Fielded‘s Lindsay Powell hangs out on the balconies of a galactic parliament chamber, singing out a monologue over the epic processional music accompanying the opening of a new session of the star chamber.  Hidden behind a Venetian mask and shrouded in a black cloak Broadcast’s shadow looms over the ensuing ritual.

Fielded – Late Come to Stay

Late Come to Stay is taken from a four track 7″ on Sophomore Lounge Records available on March 1st.  Lindsay is also a member of Ga’an whose album 20JFG have been getting rather excited about over the last few weeks.  Yet more reasons to love Chicago.

One particular node of the 20JFG hive mind has been partially distracted of late with his video making activities.  Hopefully many of you have already seen this but if not, here’s the video for the lovely Echo Lake’s Young Silence.  Their début 12″ is released on No Pain in Pop on valentines day and you can pre-order it here.

20jazzfunkgreats best of 2010: Those cracks in time

It was as if, glimpsed from the right angle, all of the attempts at categorisation had but cascaded into one. Moving the three lists back into their proper position temporarily solved this issue but the great list-master remained disturbed. For what could this mean, he thought. What were the semantic implications of this perilous discovery? Were the three lists secretly as one? What would the creators of the lists think of this? A year’s work, carefully separating and categorising reduced, by a tilt of the head, to a universal soup.

Darkstar – North. In the best possible sense, the synth-pop album of the year.

Echo Lake – In Dreams. Metronomic dream-pop for Black Lodge parties.

Echo Lake – In Dreams (posted May 20th)

Future Islands – In Evening Air. The house band for a desert plateau from which you can see only stars.

Future Islands – Inch Of Dust (posted May 13th)

Girl Unit – Wut.  Minimalist mirrorball-Bass. A torch song for the drop.

Girl Unit – Wut (New Post)

Guido – Anidea.  Soundtrack to lone walks through a metropolis you’re falling back in love with.  Until this ends…

Guido – Tantalized (New Post)

Hotel Mexico – Its Twinkle.  Teaching us how to love the guitar overdose once more.  Like falling on psychedelics.

Hotel Mexico- Its Twinkle (posted August 3rd)

James Blackshaw – All is Falling.  An album of serene beauty that performed a feat of alchemy by making travelling back from London at 3AM a pleasurable experience.

James Blackshaw – Part 4 (New Post)

Night Gallery – Constant Struggle.  In a world of (reanimated) Cold-Wave we nuzzle in the warm embrace of an anglo-centric synth-pop…that includes songs about child killers.  What darkness lurks in the heart of synthesisers?

Night Gallery – Real Normal (New Post)

No UFO’s – Soft Coast.  A cascade through the experimental heart of early dance music. A transmission picked up from the desert wastes of a future built on Kaotic Harmonies.

No UFO’s – 00/00/2010 (posted July 1st)

Oneohtrix Point Never – Returnal.  Universally praised culmination of an epic journey of minimal synths into the night desert skies –  criss-crossed by star patterns that resemble a patch-chord diagram.  This is what happens when someone wires that up.

Oneohtrix Point Never – Where Does time Go (posted July 1st)

Solar Bears – She Was Coloured In.  “The metronome of this song swings with the circumference of a horizon beheld from high above, where the clouds glow with a tincture which is both the warmth of the sun, and the deep blue of the space above, it makes me wanna cry for everything we have forgotten”. – Florian

Solar Bears- Neon Colony (posted July 12th)

V/A – Shangaan Electro: New Wave Dance Music From South Africa.  Without a shadow of a doubt the compilation of the year.

Zinja Hlungwani – N’wagezani My Love (New Post)

On one of our many moons

Featuring : Age of Consent + Echo Lake

Sometimes 20JFG sucks us from our beds and transports us over Elysian Fields, oscillating star fields and weird New England landscapes. Sometimes it dwells in the red flickering realm of VU meters on battered tape decks, sometimes in the run-out grooves of The Loft. And sometimes, we yearn for the purity of pop that was quickly (and wrongly) shunned in the face of awkward adolescence. The brevity, the rush of emotion, the glimpse of possibilities passed by too quickly, as if seen from a passing car, headphones on, eyes out the window.

This is pop the form, not pop the content. Pop the idea of completeness, a closed circle of a song. Not something to wallow in, something to be spun round by, something to sing along to, something that enters you and remains impenetrable as it sings of its soul. There may be a time for the twin cousins of ‘album version’ and ’12” mix’ but you know, in your heart, it requires a 7″ to live.

So here are some mp3s.

From the embers of Shitdisco – a band that graced our beloved The Do back in the heady days of NME features on nu-rave – Joe and Darren rise with Age of Consent. Spreading their talons into the soft flesh of 80s electro-soul while managing to co-opt the simple arpeggiated genius of Mr Carpenter, they’ve drawn tight a disarmingly dense stab of epic pop yearning. Ending with an Afrobeat-by-way-of-MIDI-drums coda might have blown their cover though…or might just be perfect.

This is a demo so turn it up.

Ages of Consent – The Beach (Demo)

Echo Lake were featured earlier this week on the ever wonderful No Pain in Pop with their first finished track, Everything is Real. Now it’s the turn of 20JFG to furnish you with a parcel of their reverberating dream-pop.

In Dreams rests atop a relentless metronomic beat reassuringly backed up with a rhythm guitar transported straight from a worn copy of Neu! – bass exorcised by countless years of adoration. The ethereal vocal, more (early) Stereolab than Beach House, drifts among the part-organ, part-ambient-Eno synths. The decade skipping references drawn together, as above, into a compact unit of sub-4-minute sublime pop.

Echo Lake – In Dreams

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Of interest to our London based readers, 20JFG obsession Black Devil Disco Club journey to the dark heart of Kings Cross to play The Big Chill House tonight.

and don’t forget our other dalliance with The Big Chill House next Saturday (with special secret guest)…