“I’ve been exploring the idea of remixing other people’s music recently and I’m really enjoying it. You can be a lot less precious about things. I turned what is a rather sombre ballad into a jacked-up early ‘90s house track”.
When artists remix their own tracks (and I don’t mean in the hip-hop sense, by adding a new verse), I find it quite interesting. There are always compromises made, and often it can be an outlet to see how a band (or particular member, in this case) envisioned the track originally, or simply just acts as a measure of the adaptability the original piece has. Either way, the transformation undergone here is quite surprising: Kele takes a very slow, downbeat song and flips it into a potential dancefloor favourite. If you’re unfamiliar with the original, click above to understand just how it sits at the complete opposite end of the musical spectrum to this remix.
It’s pretty much old school house done well. The progressive, percussion-heavy build and frequent peaks and troughs are hallmarks of the genre, whilst the distorted vocals add just enough connectivity to the original to make it a remix rather than an entirely new track. Realistically, you don’t need to know or like the original- this is a fun dance number that could concievably be a big club favourite if given the chance.
Ratchet really came together whilst we were on tour in 2012. We started slipping it into the sets at the start of this year just to try it out and the reactions were insane. We knew we had something special.
Bloc Party are set to release a new 5-track EP on 13th August, The Nextwave Sessions, before they (supposedly) go on another hiatus following the conclusion of their upcoming tour. And yes, this single is titled after one of hip-hop’s favourite terms in the last 18 months. The instrumentation is upbeat and punk-driven, with a ton of funk in the guitars that takes the edge off their otherwise jagged nature to turn this into a hugely-infectious effort. Kele’s vocals are the key component in adding that addictive vibrancy, combining sarcasm, irony, and general fun into a heavily-inflected, likeably-eccentric style that bounces along that instrumentation well.
It’s a clever video too, paying direct homage to four of their previous visual works (Octopus, Hunting For Witches, Little Thoughts and Helicopter, for those interested), but doing so with progressive levels of distortion that warp the videos into psychedlic, downright weird outcoes. Whether it’s morphing Kele’s face into something rather monstrous or just filling the screen with pure pixellated chaos, it’s both trippy and light-hearted in equal measure, and hence it fits the audio rather well. Look out for that EP on 13th August.
Oddly, I’ve completely forgotten to give this album a listen. I own it and everything, I just seem to have drawn a blank on what I do next.
This track therefore came as a pleasant surprise. It’s much harder than anything I’ve heard from the band before, but in a refined and controlled way, as opposed to the jaggedness of their last album. The guitars and percussion are crashing and packed with attitude, whilst Kele’s at his melodic best to offer a nice contrast to that instrumentation, with that duality represented excellently in the video. The inherent innocence of children is flipped on its head as they seem to become unruly and riotous, capturing the punchy backdrop well, whilst tempering the discomfort of watching anarchy with the mere fact they’re all very young, a possible typification of the surface-level appreciation for the vocal work.
A very good all-round visual which essentially keeps both the audio and video quite simple, and achieves maximum effectiveness. Grab their Four album (and actually listen to it, unlike me) now.
Whenever artists do this, not only is it great for us listeners, but it’s generally a strong sign that they’re confident in their body of work. From a very (very) brief listen to this album, Bloc Party have every right to be.
There seems to have been a meeting in the middle of the iconic melodies and harmonies of the first two albums and the power, drive and tenacity of the third, and the combination is exceptional. You get the sense they’re really at the top of their game here, and the four-year break has only served to evolve the band as performers: the drums are really meaty throughout, the guitar work seems to pierce your headphones and fill the room, whilst Kele’s vocals are as varied as they’ve ever been. Once again, it’s only an early listen but the feeling is very good on this one, and I suspect the Bloc Party fans will be really happy with this. Free stream (with accompanying lyrics) available below.
The latest release from Bloc Party’s Four album, due in exactly 3 weeks on 20th August, and this is one that’s really got me excited for that album.
Stylistically, it’s very close to their work on A Weekend In The City, with a more hushed, almost melancholy approach that puts much more emphasis on melody than instrumentation. There’s still enough about the track to keep it engaging for those requiring more ‘obvious’ entertainment, with the heavy guitar plucks and diverse vocal work combining to add a little intensity and vibrancy to the track, building to a strong finish that increases the energy without veering too far away from the slightly downbeat mood. A great listen, and let’s hope there’s more of this to come on the album.
RAC’s done an interesting job with the production here. Almost entirely stripping out the guitars and swapping the percussion for a softer track, it’s taken much of the sharp, jagged qualities out of the track and replaced it with an accessible sheen that makes for pretty solid listening. The synths and funky melodies that substitute for the guitars on the verse and hook are enough to make this a potential dance favourite, though the excellence here is in the vocal sampling: Kele’s vocals got a little drowned in the crashing instrumentation of the original, and here their catchiness is given much more exposure, with the snippets used blending well with the production’s movements. Good remix that will find some fans in the mainstream audience.
21st August is the due date for the upcoming Bloc Party album, Four, and to set things up for that release they’ve finally let loose of some new music with this enjoyable video.
One thing I didn’t enjoy about Intimacy (though I know many others did) was that it felt like they went a little too far on the jagged, spiky side of things and threw away their undoubted command over solid harmonic work. This new effort feels like a nice marriage between the two worlds, throwing sharp guitar work in with some catchy and diverse vocal work from Kele, who switches between softer deliveries in the verse and a more attitudinal style in the hook to good effect. It’s not an outstanding song by any means, rather its one that is good without being memorably so, but it’s a stylistic improvement over the last album.
The video is fairly simple, heavily utilisation a stuttering style to play off the rapidfire guitar work, whilst the relatively bland settings they’re in are countered by regular infusions of colour and a very charismatic performance from Kele throughout the video. I’m not sure this has hit iTunes yet, but you can pre-order the full album over there now.
Bloc Party made their long-awaited return to the live scene last night, performing at Camden’s Koko in what I’m advised was an excellent comeback show. By all accounts, Kele and the band have really improved their live show, and it seems this video has emerged as a highlight of the night.
Flux is definitely the favourite track of many from Bloc’s back catalogue, and last night they opted to mix it up a little by briefly covering Rihanna’s ubiquitous hit We Found Love for the intro to the track. It actually ends up working pretty well as an intro, helped along by plenty of crowd participation, and the slowed-down cover leads seamlessly into the intense, pulsating production of Flux.
Certainly worth a watch (the audio quality is surprisingly decent), and this will definitely raise anticipation ahead of that Four album, due for release on 20th August.
To take the positives out of the situation, it does mean that the choices for this week’s episode sort of fall into my lap, based on old-school tracks I’ve found myself inexplicably listening to recently. The diversity you’ve come to expect (or at least did 2 months ago) from this series is still there, with 4 tracks in 4 different styles, and a nice mix of genres thrown in.
Four years after their last album, the reunited Bloc Party are gearing up to release their fourth album on 20th August. Whilst I wasn’t hugely keen on their third album, Intimacy, their first two albums were excellent and when on form they’re undoubtedly one of the most listenable acts in the UK indie scene.
There’s only so much you can glean from a trailer that only has brief clips of each song, but it seems as though they’re going for a real mixture of sounds, with a couple of airy, more laidback track clips reminiscent of A Weekend In The City being played alongside much harder, more jagged snippets akin to Intimacy. The trailer is mostly comprised of in-studio footage, offering little indication on the artistic direction any surrounding materials (videos etc.) may adopt, but I’m sure most Bloc Party fans will just be delighted to see them working on new music.
The curiosity that surrounds The Boxer is due largely to Kele’s dynamic musical style, making it difficult to think of exactly what genre his solo work might fit into. The only clue would be to look at the transition of styles through the three existing Bloc Party albums, moving from Silent Alarm‘sraw almost punk-like rock, to the deep electronic beats sometimes characteristic of Dubstep, in Intimacy.
Tenderoni itself is an atmospheric, pacey amalgam of the trance, electronica and indie electro styles, laced with the typically edgy vocals we’re used to from him. The name of the song itself, deceptively not a cut of Italian meat, but urban slang for ‘young pretty thing’, in itself highly indicative the dark urban vista that this awesome artist creates with his eclectic sound. Cast your cursors below to hear the track in its entirety.
Something a little different for you here, but very enjoyable. Fans of Bloc Party will be familiar with Kele, and here we’ve got something pretty decent with him and Tiesto. This actually leaked a little while back, but I’ve only just come across it.
It’s a very Bloc Party-esque production, and hence doesn’t really pull Kele too far out of his comfort zone. It’s a really likeable track, and has similarities to some of Bloc Party’s earlier (and better) material. For someone like Tiesto, it’s not too ‘trancey’ at all, which is something I’m certainly happy about. It’s got that mix between being uptempo and quite sombre at the same time which is hard to pull off, but when done correctly, as it is here, it sounds great.
A very good collaboration here, and definitely worth picking up for fans of any genre.
If, like me, you were not a fan of their most recent album, this post will come as a nice surprise to you. Intimacy was nowhere near the standard of the first two albums in my eyes/ears, and luckily the new track that was revealed a day or two back is a big improvement on Intimacy.