Sunday, 27 March 2011

Faithless - To All New Arrivals (2006) Review

The release of the fifth Faithless album came during my final year as an undergraduate student, and the first time I heard the lead single, "Bombs", I was in a polishing and cutting workshop, and the stereo was a crappy old boom box.  I actually asked my lab partner what the song was before I heard Maxi Jazz and realised that it was my favourite band! His response to my realisation was: "This is Faithless? But.. it's a bit crap, isn't it?" I agreed with him, "Bombs" is not that good a song and by their standards a bit of a misfire. It was unusual for them to release a slower song as the first single, with previous albums heralded by the uptempo tracks, and I wondered why this was different.


Unexpected finds Part Three : Protagonist Records

Right, I'll begin this one with a huge load of praise for protagonistrecords.net.  If you like electronica, supporting Indie artists AND getting stuff for free, you need to check them out. This label is owned and run by SGX, who I first heard of because of his version on OCReMix of part of the Beyond Good and Evil soundtrack, which was absolutely top-notch. Protagonist hosts his own work amongst several others, including one album by zircon, who is a bit of a legend in the video game music community and now actually has game soundtracks under his belt himself.  Most of the albums are available for a pretty small price, and some of them, including one version of SGX's own recent album Wonderful Bite, are available for absolutely nothing.  Go and take a listen!

So after remembering that this website existed, I decided to go and take a look at an artist called Pollicer and his album Songs for Those Who Yearn. I was not disappointed, expect a full review of this soon.

Friday, 18 March 2011

Artist Retrospective : Faithless

So it ends. After over sixteen years together, Faithless, my favourite band, have decided to bring their collaboration to a close. Originally never intended to last so long, the partnership of rapper Maxi Jazz, producers Rollo and Sister Bliss and, early on, singer Jamie Catto proved to be a formula made in heaven.  They are a band mostly known for their more uptempo house tracks with a strong melody, most of which are absolutely classic, particularly "Insomnia" and "Salva Mea" from the Reverence album.  Yet their work is much more than that.

Their albums have for the most part balanced their housey moments with what for lack of a better term is usually called "trip-hop", either upbeat and funky or slower and more contemplative.  Usually these tracks are where their strongest moments are, and the albums in which these tracks lack impact are the albums which are less memorable.  The house tracks are always good, but it's the trip-hop that stands out as giving Faithless their unique personality, with Maxi Jazz providing the showmanship and Rollo and Bliss the extremely tight soundtrack.

Over the next few weeks I will review Faithless' six full albums in honour of their career, mark where they achieved greatness and where they fell short of their best.  I hope that Maxi and Bliss in particular keep making music, whatever direction they take.