Thursday 25 December 2014


It's Christmastime! Christmas! CHRISTMAS! CHRRRIIISSSTTTMMMAAASSSSSS!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It's Christmas. Again! It's cool. I like Christmas a lot. It's a lovely time of year. Just wish I got to see more snow when it rolled around but oh well. It's ok!

And because it is Christmas, Christmas Day in fact, here is a Christmas song. I've been awake since 5:30am playing Smash Bros., Nintendoland & Mario Kart 8 with my brothers after like 2 hours' sleep O_O. Now almost 3pm. I've had a nap now. And a shower. It was a good start to the day.

Arriving courtesy of Virgin Babylon Records (who are also responsible for releases by a load of interesting Japanese artists, inlcuding N-Qia, amongst others) it's a track by World's End Girlfriend, a musicmaking project by Katsuhiko Maeda, simply called 'Xmas Song 2014'. What more do you want in a title?

And it's totally fitting; the whole song is basically a huge variation on a theme, a nutty electronic virtuoso re-doing of 'Jingle Bells', which moves from cute, glitchy subtleties, through beat-heavy repetitions via distorted synth stylings and explorations of pushing synthesised sounds past what they're normally supposed to do, arriving at the end panting and breathless after a manic almost-7-minutes of hyperactive electronic symphony-crafting. In some ways, it's the perfect soundtrack to the manic energy, zany (yes zany) fun and excitement of Christmas – if you're not devoid of a heart, that is.

All the while, samples from 'Jingle Bells' are cut-up and patterned to varying degrees of legibility, making this one heck of a remix (if you can call it that) and one heck of a Christmas song. There are no words involved really, but if you want an utterly unique song to add to your catalogue of Christmas classics, this is the one. THIS IS THE ONE.

And the video. That's the other thing: it's just as crazy. Filled with the chaotic, magical fun of Christmas, how it should be, what every good Christmas film should effuse and be imbued with.

Merry Christmas everybody, MERRY CHRISTMAS!

World's End Girlfriend Social Media Presence ☟


My bias towards things named after things from videogames continues with this one right here from a Yokohama-based DJ and musicmaker called Carpainter (real name Taimei Kawai, he also heads up label Trekkie Trax). If you know Earthbound (a game for SNES that was last year re-released on the Wii U eShop) you'll know that this is a reference to Mr. Carpainter, the leader of "the Happy Happyist" cult that appears at one point in the game. It's not my first encounter with Carpainter, but every time I re-encounter him and his music I can't help but feel warm and fuzzy thanks to the reference.

If indeed it is a reference. If it isn't and I'm just being stupid then I dunno, I might cry. Hey, it's Christmas Eve. I'll give myself the benefit of the doubt.

I don't know if it was released earlier in the year or it was just an unreleased gem that was kicking about in the ether – either way I'm just glad it's here. Kind of moving on from the footwork that seems to have characterised his music in previous months and years, Carpainter's sound moves onto one more inspired or at least influenced by UKG.

The skiffly beat in this track 'Summer Letter' is nothing but garage, with its kinetic hi-hats and pulsing kick, as are the the chipmunked pitch-shifted vocals, singing out with unintelligible yet catchy energy – and the occasional chops of these vocals seem tiny, but this is garage through and through.

Add to this a constant background bustle of summer insects chirruping, misty synth chords that add a kind of dreaminess to it all, heavenly synthetic harp noises, and you have a unique, subtly-dance-oriented foray by Carpainter into a genre that previously soundtracked the oft melodramatic lives of British teenagers 10 years or more ago, one that is joyful and wholly refreshing.

Carpainter Social Media Presence ☟

Tuesday 23 December 2014


Have I written about anybody from PC Music here on YES/NO yet? Hmm. Not sure. Not that I remember. So that probably means no. But that is by no means a statement against them. I am quite strapped for time most of the time so I'm not able to write about everything that I like. It's often just what I'm in the mood for on that day; for instance, from the last 3 days I have a list of 30 or so songs, some of which I may never write about.

I sometimes wish I were multiple people – it'd be easier to do things that way. Especially if I could have one avatar for doing particularly boring things like… no actually, every experience should be experienced by me. It's my life, after all.

Anyway, A. G. Cook, London-based producer and the final boss of PC Music, has shared some music with us via Annie Mac's Free Music Mondays (meaning this is a free download too – back of the net). Mr. Cook and his label have gained a ridonkulous amount of attention this year, mainly from withholding information and generally making quite groundbreaking music; the sonic equivalent of shock-and-awe tactics; shocking audiences with "unlistenable" (to some) but expertly produced tracks before awing them with ones that are more legible, more conventional – something that might be like an exclusivity clause to 'weed out' people without open minds.

Maybe? Hmm. This is just a crackpot theory by me, however, and must not be paid attention to.

A. G. Cook's latest offering is called 'What I Mean' and it puts me in mind of a roaring fire inside a warm homely room as winter blusters outside in the cold – an oasis of heat in a frozen world – joyful vocal samples skilfully chopped and placed on a patterned paper-chain of melody, ornamentations above the diamond-clusters of synth, flickering above the neo-groove of the squelchy bass and robust, simple beat. It's also laden with vocal samples, a female ooo-ing and some male, I dunno, words and stuff, all serving to decorate this lightly lilting plasma surge of squeaky clean French-Touch-esque music. It doesn't exactly sound anything like any of his other tracks, and why should it?

A. G. Cook Social Media Presence ☟
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Monday 22 December 2014


To be totally honest with you I was first attracted to Celadon City because of the name. Any Pokémon fan will tell you that Celadon City is the 'big' city in the Gen 1 games (Pokémon Red/Blue – plus later gens set in the same area), the big apple of Kanto, which has skyscrapers, a mall and a casino. A pretty happening place.

If you know all this already, I hope you didn't mind me saying it. If you didn't, go play a Pokémon game or like, go read about it on Bulbapedia.

With all that said I'd like to introduce Celadon City. Well, not really "introduce" because he's not here or anything. Rather, I'd like to introduce a new song of his called 'Every Night'.

In keeping with the VGM theme we started on, it kind of sounds a little bit like something that could soundtrack the gentle, sleepy atmosphere of night in Animal Crossing – at least at the beginning; soft guitar arpeggios and delicate piano twinkles ripple alongside nocturnal breezes and sampled insectoid chirruping.

But then there are claps, percussive ticking sounds, ghostly javelins of icy synth, muted strings, a more robust exploration of those piano sounds growing richer and more fulsome. And towards the end, after a tease of a beat, it arrives with crashing intensity, cymbals exploding like fireworks and frenetic clockwork hi-hats taking up the higher end of a swaying beat, an ear-satisfying crescendo of sound.

Celadon City Social Media Presence ☟

Sunday 21 December 2014


Man I don't know a lot about baseball or anything like that but this track by Jonah Baseball sure is really cool. It's called 'World Series' and it I guess effuses the same final boss / colosseum tournament at Dressrosa in One Piece that the World Series must have. Actually it's more of a journey of sound that I suppose is inspired by the World Series, the romance and the history of it all, the uninterrupted majesty of legacies made and broken.

See, I don't know anything about it but I got a bit of borrowed nostalgia for something I've never experienced from this track. It must be a good track. An electronic symphony to baseball in like five parts, it begins with the ominous mystery and nervous tension that stepping up to the plate must produce. Wiggly chords and synth vox make misty atmospheres over a snappy, jangling beat, with each snare hit like a baseball being hit out the park.

Then the track rears up on its hind legs and goes nuts, destructed almost brassy bass swaggering like a giant, descending into super-crunch distortion after a sweeping, almost cosmic breakdown. Then we talk a relaxed walk to the rhythm of a beautifully skittering beat with accented hi-hats, emerging from the previous crunchy madness into a refreshing world of soft, jazzy chords, joined by thin mists of synth and a playful squelchy lead melody, a reminder that it's not all drama in sport but it's fun and romantic, too. A many-tens-of-thousand-strong crowd cheers at the end.

Jonah Baseball, who is from America and basically makes music + loves baseball, has worked some real magic with his music, leaping into conceptual storytelling and producing a mini symphony with distinct movements containing their own energies and moods.

Jonah Baseball Social Media Presence ☟

Saturday 20 December 2014


This guy called cut from the team。 tweeted me a new track the other day, well a few weeks ago it feels like now – I dunno, it was a while ago. That song, which I liked and stuck on a one-day-will-write-about list, got taken down (snooze ya lose I guess), however I found another more recent song that is a real good showcase of the beats that emanate from this enigmatic SoundCloud page.

I'm presuming that their name comes from that Taking Back Sunday song, but then again it's bad to make presumptions so I'll just say that it's a theory. It's a theory. And allegedly they are from Japan but then again they say they're from Lawtown so it's quite difficult to ascertain exactly which one is the truth. Who knows. That's the internet for u.

Anyway, the track in question is 'Pocket Toys' and, described by cut from the team。 as "broken beats around december afternoon," it's a chilly number that summons the crunchy cold of traversing wintry cityscapes, whilst at the same time itself being quite warm in tone – like sitting toasty inside watching the frozen world outside. Reverbing marimba sounds glisten softly like slow-dripping icicles in afternoon sun, joined by subtle whisps of boinging noises, cosmic sounds that summon the sometimes alien feel to a city covered with fresh snowfall; crunchy noises invade, like walking through thick snow.

The final part of the song brings a watery dimension to the crunch – an intense rainstick of slapdash, random percussion, or maybe it's a delayed sample of somebody screwing up an empty foil packet of crisps – with more high-pitched chimes evoke the strange delicacy that the freezing air and naked trees of winter seem to lay bare for us every year. And that's not to mention the beat at all, the substantial noodle of this flavoursome broth of music, a fragmented slow-flutter of thudding kicks and clacking snare hits.

A refreshing, chilled out exercise in textural, atmospheric beatmaking, even the slow lassitude of afternoon feelings — an ode to December.

cut from the team。 Social Media Presence ☟

Wednesday 17 December 2014


When I was thinking about this track earlier I came up with the idea that it sounded exactly the same as the music for the first stage of Captain Falcon's Twister Race on Nintendoland. Now, as I listen to this bit of soundtrack afresh, I can hear that, really, they don't sound all that similar. Where did I get that from?

I think it is the motion, the urgent, hyperactive kineticism of Mat Playford's house track 'ISON' that made me automatically associate with the speedy vibes that traditionally go with anything F-Zero related. I first heard 'ISON' one night on the radio (think it was an Annie Mac show?) and couldn't help but love it. That was months ago. Since then I've been waiting patiently for a real upload that wasn't a 2-minute teaser on Black Rock Records and HERE IT IS.

It's an odyssey of squidgy bass and a gloriously cyclical set of piano chords that gradually come into focus in the first minute of the track, where cymbals and hi-hats invade the beat – pulsing kicks and understated handclaps with the occasional snare stutter – to give it more energy. Soon, the main event: virtuoso piano. Tinkling and 7th-chording all the over the place, a kind of jazz-flavoured mania of cascading notes that should cement Mat Playford as a very decent piano player, too. Please note: 3:11, the low-note pause; the muted breakdown at about 4:08; the gradually deconstructed, bleepy outro from 5:35-ish. Dynamics are strong 'n' subtle here.

It's like, yeah, like something that might play in one of the clubs post-race on F-Zero, hanging in a slick Mute City bar and watching the future of lounge piano playing unfold before your very ears.

Mat Playford Social Media Presence ☟
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Mushiba means "tooth decay" in Japanese. Now that we've got that out of the way, I'd like to introduce mus.hiba. He is a producer from Hachioji, Tokyo, and when I asked, What do you do? he answered "I'm an office worker." It's a very modest way of looking at things and his music, subtly dynamic and often creeping up you with gradual intensity, reflects this. Recently, he released his first album on Tokyo-based Noble Label called White Girl – a beautiful exploration of wintry themes and the fragility of using artificial vocalist Yufu Sekka (from vocal database, UTAU) and her almost-alive, delicate whispery tones.

The list of inspirations behind his own music, when I asked him, feels very introspective, the hallmark I would guess of a bedroom producer, which is (I think, at least) how he started making music. mus.hiba is inspired by "Spending time alone, escapism, internet, the cultural climate of Japan, and music that gives a new stimulus to me."

A moderate loneliness and a positive mind.

MUS.HIBA, on what this mix says about him

Moving on from cultural climates, we get to the actual climate itself: yes, it's winter. And to celebrate this, mus.hiba has created a wonderful mix for YES/NO. Called his Winter Chill Mix, he explains the connection between the artists in the mix as "feeling winter and chilly vibes." — "I listened to these songs many times, they are my favorites." And that is as good a reason as any.

Beginning with the gloriously snowflakey and disorienting left-and-right panning in Blum's 'for love', we soon find ourselves at the mercy of multiple synth-gasms in the form of the high-octane, ear-tickling pleasure-waves of $aturn's remix of Diversa's track 'xxxXXX' and in mus.hiba's first appearance on the mix with his remix of 'Because of my eyes' by Tokyo band LLLL.

Mr. mus.hiba sews seemingly disparate elements together, too: we move by way of Irish producer Harmful Logic's lo-pitch hypnotism in 'Kitsune Mask (狐のマスク)' into the bustling mellowness in 'It's All Around You' by American band Tortoise, then back into the aching electronica in the clattering chill of 'Let Go' by London producer Bearcubs. Finally, Argentinian musicmaker Sobrenadar with 'Junio' and its understated icy chill leads into mus.hiba's own 'Moonlight', an intense end to a collection of songs that certainly deserves the title Winter Chill Mix.

• T R A C K L I S T •

  • I urge you wholeheartedly to check out mus.hiba's debut album White Girl – not only is it great on its own, but it's perfect for this time of year. Just look out the window on a frosty morning whilst it's playing~

mus.hiba Social Media Presence ☟

Tuesday 16 December 2014


It's sometimes like really difficult to describe where things actually come from, who made them, what the point of such and such a release is, blah blah blah, it's just tricky. Gotta research things if you wanna properly know but sometimes the answers just aren't there.

Luckily they [the answers] are um kinda here with this track from Atlanta-based beatmaker Catt Moop (love the name – what does it mean? idk – the word "moop" just sounds great). Seemingly created for a newish SoundCloud page called FOODFIGHT, it has no name and arrives in a series presumably under FOODFIGHT's bio: "beat battles for fun!"

I like the idea behind it. Just nice and innocent food fights, I mean beat battles.

'Catt Moop #1' is a cool track. It is sunk with vibrating sub-bass, a moody mire upon which synth bleeps do their thing, pockmarked with nifty little dynamics, like a complete cut out of the volume or a gradual slow-down with the synth gradually reverbing more and more and imploding in on itself. And at the beginning there's a brilliant muted shout of FOOOD FIIIGHT! Yeah! LET'S GET MESSY!

It reminds me of a few things, which I will list now. It reminds me of Mr. Oizo-style French touch kinda stuff, with a cheeky melody that belies a certain idgaf swagger, pointy and electronic and sometimes decaying with squeaky distortion. It also reminds me of the minimal beats of London grime – a repetitive (and cheeky but we don't have to say it cause I already said so) melody against slow swaying beats. Then again, the actual rhythm is more trap than anything. So there you go – a cocktail of attitudinal flavours.

Catt Moop Social Media Presence ☟

Monday 8 December 2014


Spazzkid basically never fails to disappoint and in this instance the same is true in his brand new track 'Daytime Disco'. Here he becomes a super talented producer for the vocal talents of Korean singer-songwriter Neon Bunny, whose voice sings a gorgeously plaintive song over the super palatable flavours of Spazzkid's squelchy dynamic synth patterns.

These bounce on a jelly bouncy castle of sound in the form of bloopsome sub bass globules, which are the footwork kicks underpinning the wildly frenetic beat, skittering with exhilarating hi-hat-cymbal-combination gunning out with amicable-uzi rattlings. As ever his ear for dynamic is spot on; the beat loses its shit where it needs to, the synth grows fainter in some parts for Yoojin Lim's (Neon Bunny's irl name) voice to drop its beautiful mist upon your ears more purely, a break in the music makes room for the sample of what sounds like the cheerful chatter of a restaurant. It's lovely.

Little accoutrements finish it off as sonic ornaments in the form of bleeping little popcorn wiggles from left to right, and also featuring some dreamy guitar twinkling from Hiro Makino aka There Is A Fox (and it's not the first time he's collaborated either, having made a track back in spring with Spazzkid called 'At Fault'). I'm so happy to hear that Spazzkid, Mr Mark Redito, is continuing to attract attention from all the right places – this time from ultracool London / NY label Cascine – and that he's doing this with his group of international friends, too.

Spazzkid Social Media Presence ☟
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Neon Bunny Social Media Presence ☟ FacebookSoundCloudBandcampTwitter

Hiro Makino/There Is A Fox Social Media Presence ☟ FacebookSoundcloudTumblroto sound (another alias of Hiro) on Myspace

Sunday 7 December 2014


One day I will get better at creating the cover art for these guest mixes. For now, I will stick with making stuff on Paintbrush, a buggy port of Paint for Mac. If anybody has any suggestions, or can make art for free (some of the artists have done this themselves) please contact me. Thank you.

For now though, allow me to introduce Clas Tuuth. Well not so much introduce as meet him once more, as I did write about one of the tracks from his recent-ish 003 EP the other month. He's from London and he makes lovely organic-sounding electronic music, as if these electronics were plant matter or animal matter, and lived their own lives, living and breathing within the compositions with naturalistic ease. At the same time, they're filled with urban grit and a decidedly cold sense of loneliness – an almost melancholic feeling, yet content with itself, the soundtracks to solitary journeys and pensive moods.

But as for this mix itself. From the introspective ambience of Clas Tuuth's own intro in the form of his track 'Legion', it is a predominantly '90s-flavoured affair, a voyage through rave-inspired beats and heavenly dub. There's the cascade of beats in 'Hooligan 69' by Ragga Twins, containing within it a sample of Prince's 'Let's Go Crazy', the twisted synth fantasia in the Alley Cat remix of 'Charly' by The Prodigy, the dance-rap of Rebel MC's 'The Wickedest Sound' (featuring, I have discovered, the origin of the eponymous sample in DJ Fresh's 'Dibby Dibby Sound'), ending as it began with the beautiful life-of-its-own vinyl crackle.

It's real nice to hear some music that I didn't really grow up with, but that has inspired a whole generation of musicmakers with its unrelenting beats and simplistic approach to music. I hope you enjoy or at least appreciate :~)

• T R A C K L I S T •

Clas Tuuth Social Media Presence ☟