Category Archives: Future Islands

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)

20JFG snippets – like tears in a bayou


An ascending melody ripped from the unseen Rekall infomercial on transdimensional holidays to worlds made entirely of laser edged vectors.

A synth line like a long smooth shard of neon-flecked cyberpunk unease ripped straight from your favourite Reagan-era escapist dystopia.

The filtered hand-clap electro drumbeat that was to be so abused during its teenage years in the eighties it could do nothing but toughen up and emerge lean and vicious as techno.

All these things, like teardrops in the rain.

Pagan Future – Ancient Ritual

Pagan Future is Stephen Breaux from New Orleans and he, if you chose to believe, had a hand in the Jonas Brothers and Katy Perry’s glittering careers.  The notion of strange things happening around the bayou remains then, undiminished.  WT Records are putting out his 12″ and you can buy it here.


A 20JFVid for your weekend delectation from Future Island’s show at New Hero in Brighton a few weeks back.  Fist pumping sincerity from Baltimore.  Good times.

[vimeo width=”500″ height=”281″][/vimeo]

If you’re in and around London this weekend 20JFG will once again be playing to bemused Shoreditch tourists at the Old Blue Last on Saturday 9pm-1:30am.  To the guy from Soweto who went crazy when we played some Shangaan Elctro last time: we love you, come again!

Run, reader, the old world is behind you!

Under a blue moon almost imperceptibly hanging in a brilliant blue sky, on a patch or golden grass we find the listener seated in contemplation. Stretched out before them they casually observe the vast network of intertwining roads that lattice the valleys and hills that stretch towards the screaming black horizon. Each road, holding a stream of endless possibility. The choice seems impossible, the journey through that vast matrix of options infinitely terrifying. And so the listener rests back into their position on top and between the blades of sun bleached grass, overwhelmed and not a little tired.

The sun descends, abandoning the sky to the omnipresent moon and bathing the land in an amber glow not unlike backlit 70s Horror Films – but alas this is a world that has never seen a reel of 16mm. This is a world of monumental architecture and deserted plains. Tiny figures dwarfed by the elemental forces that play out under the gentle hand of cosmological physics. A world being readied for the coming of the night.

The listener commands their body to rise and forces their legs down the third path to the left as the last rays of sunlight pick out the bell tower up ahead. As the sun drops lower the sky fades away into a pulsating disco of stars (the preferred collective noun in these parts). Footsteps counting out time as bells ring in the distant towers. Water from seas beyond the mountains lapping in echo off the purple sheets of rock. From out of the last golden flecks of the clouds a cyclopean suit emerges for a faceless instant from the point the sky meets the land. And it is gone.

The journey continues. This path seems marked by a procession of totems worshipping Teutonic gods. The path a few hundred meters to the right is lined with ancient oaks. The path on the left is measured in feet and glistens as the moonlight glances off the steel and brushes the Detroit concrete. Yet this path draws the wayward listener back with its chanting sirens, for it is they that command the bells. They that form the nucleus of the arpegiators. They that draw the listener onwards and inwards.

Thee Four Horsemen bring their exquisite remixing skills to bear on another member of the XXJFG extended family. Allez-Allez’s Hideous Racket gets transported to the shores of Brighton Hove (actually) to be re-recorded as a vast diagram, accurately describing the inner workings of the metronymic machines that powered our 70s overlords. A song so sprawling, so eager to flirt with ascension, that only four paragraphs of sub-Borges metaphor could even attempt to describe it.

This is big.

Allez-Allez – Hideous Racket (Thee Four Horsemen Remix)

This remix appears on Allez-Allez‘s forthcoming remix EP on RVNG. Check it out along with the video for Weird Science below.

Inch of Air begins in a helicopter, clacking wooden rotors holding it aloft, skimming over a midnight Michael Mann cityscape where a well enunciated narrator ripped from Severed Heads’ Dead Eyes Opened guides us through end-of-movie waves of synth chords.

Attention held in a vice by the growl of Sam Herring’s steadfast invitation to call on him. For when he says he’ll be there always it’s a monolithic promise not a threat. A rock of a persona, shooting up like a skyscraper between the delicate percussion and rolling organ waves.   Synth stabs skipping like stones across the sky, spotlights struggling to reveal the depth of sincerity burning behind the glorious, glorious reprise.

This, too, is big.

Future Islands – Inch Of Dust

Inch of Dust is taken from Future Islands‘ In Evening Air out on Thrill Jockey right now.

20JFG once again journey to the big city to occupy The Old Blue Last between the hours of 8-1:30 on Saturday (13th). Your two Brighton scribes will be joined by our beloved brother from Berlin, Genuine Guy.  It’s free.  Come and say “hi”.

Pretty obvious full disclosure: one of the founder members of XXJFG is also a founder member of Thee Four Horsemen and we love him and them dearly.

Totally Upset Trip

Chris sent us a parcel, and we opened the parcel and in the parcel there was a shovel and with the shovel we made a hole and through the hole we found a passage and past the passage we found a world and in the world there was a party and in the party there was a DJ and in his records there was a hole and past the hole we got back to the place where we began, it was night and the stars were shining in the sky and our heads were full of sweet sounds, a red squirrel with lazer eyes stared at us curious, we felt happy and thanked the maker for record labels such as Upset the Rhythm.


Future Islands operate in those same uncharted waters where unsuspecting sonic adventurers have in the past beheld the funereal profile of John Maus’ colossal Flying Dutchman slicing past the thick mist creaking and ululating. A livelier tempo in this jaunt perhaps, but the same je ne sais quoi, a feverish deja vu of beautiful detritus floating in inky & turbulent waters after a musical shipwreck of damaged grandeur, synth drones which are the good cop in Suicide’s double act, and rotund epic torch-balladry which make us think of that legend Bruce via the rather missed melancholic post-punk of the Constantines. Plain nice, get Wave Like Home kids.

Future Islands- Beach Foam


Death Sentence: Panda! dwell in a mystery valley with paths tread by ceremonious foxes, a Kurosawa dream throwback or the most haunted scene ever to drop on the pixie dust sprinkled floor of Studio Ghibli’s editing cabin, lure you in the zone with the mystery chimes of a tribal stomp prelude to an onslaught of Crass style no wave terror with enough bass to make Drop the Lime go whoah, now you know what it feels like to be chased by the Chinese version of the Evil Dead, Oni styles and a flute & drums finale that get down prog like this was the 1974. Space flexes it disturbing muscles, you never knew you could go to so many places in such little time.

Death Sentence: Panda!- Hidden Track

You can find this sharp-toothed wonder hidden at the very end of Insects Awaken.