“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.
It’s one of those that’s perfectly suited for summer, but not in a lively, blast out loud in the car sort of way. Rather, it’s suited to laying around relaxing, and with so much of a feelgood vibe that it’s almost romantic- you could easily hear this soundtracking a kiss in a chick flick. It’s wholly infectious, blending together funky bass, slow-moving percussion, faint synths and gentle backing vocals from MNDR for mellow, easygoing verses, and throwing forth more energetic guitars, samples and vibrant vocals for the anchoring choruses- it becomes much livelier, but not to such an extent that the verses become redundant, and hence it’s a good production all-round.
Kele’s vocals in the verses are sure to be a highlight for many, their delicate qualities hovering gently above the soft production, and building enough emotion to allow MNDR’s more urgent hook to offer a climactic release. With a little radio play, this could quite easily become a late mainstream favourite for the summer. And if not, some of you dealing with TV/film music (yeah, we know you read this) should really be grabbing hold of this for your next sync.
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.
Amidst interestingly-timed rumours that he’s been ousted from Bloc Party, Kele Okereke releases new visuals from his upcoming EP, The Hunter.
The production has the electro-dubstep blend that characterised his slightly disappointing debut solo album, though its utilised much more effectively here with atmospheric synths and energetic bass pulses creating a paradoxical style that blends ambience with intensity, and successfully so. The vocals are enjoyable from both artists, as Lucy Taylor dominates proceedings throughout the track with some very smooth deliveries, with Kele confined to sharing the hook. Interesting strategy, but it makes for an enjoyable song that could see some mainstream success by virtue of having a friendly, accessible female vocal lead.
Visuals are simple enough, focusing on one character at a time, with that role played by Kele, Lucy and various dancers throughout. Nothing that particularly enhances the audio at all, but its an easy watch and the simplicity of it helps to soften the relatively complex nature of the audio. The Hunter EP is released on 7th November.
From an upcoming EP by Kele (which I believe is also called On The Lam), this remix is significantly better than the somewhat underwhelming original found on The Boxer.
I wasn’t a big fan of the drum-and-bass/heavy electro style of the original, and it’s been correctly toned down in this remix in favour of clearer, more incisive rhythms that give it a house feel. With the unusual vocal effects employed in the track, this new production feels much more suited to the high-pitched delivery and hence has a rounded and ‘complete’ feel due to the new-found synergy between the production and vocals. A solid all-round dance/house track.
Kele’s hugely anticipated album got off to an awesome start with Tenderoni. Two new streams were recently made available. The first, Rise, has a real Bloc Party feel to it, at least up until 3/4 where it switches up. It’s a decent track all-round, with a nice positive feel.
Walk Tall is much more dub/electro driven, which isn’t really my lane. They’re both very different from Tenderoni, and each other, and should both be checked out as at least one will appeal to your taste.
Minimalistic lighting, captivating choreography and the introduction to ‘The Boxer‘ make for one of the most compelling videos I’ve seen in some time. There’s a richness in its simplicity that makes this incredibly replayable, and enhances the actual song immeasurably.
Really like the effects they’ve used throughout, especially the top-down and close-up camera angles on Kele’s fists/chalk, which are superb creative visuals.
Having checked out the preview I certainly enjoyed the song, but these visuals have got me eagerly anticipating that June 14th release date.
If the latest gig review got you in the mood for seeing some live acts yourself over the summer; we’ve posted a couple of links below to take you to the right place to get tickets to see all of the ‘bands of the moment’ in the alternative music scene.
Tickets for Kele Okereke’s host of upcoming live performances go on sale on the 7th of May, and given the hype surrounding the impending release of The Boxer competition for tickets will be high! Get up early on the 7th (tickets go on sale at 9:00 AM) and be among the first to enjoy Kele’s appearances as a solo artist. Click here to go direct to the booking page.
Also, check out the other upcoming live tours from bands such as, Crystal Castles, We Have band, and Sarah Blasko (currently supporting The Temper Trap) by click on the link.
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.
Seeing as this is my first post on OTU, I believe a look at times ahead for indie is in order! Times of veritable excitement these are too, so exciting in fact that I literally had a crisis when I saw the just who was releasing music in the summertime. In anticipation of this, here are the three albums that I expect to dominate playlists over the coming months…..
October definitely renewed my faith in music, after a September which was heavily reliant on 3 major album releases. Click below for my musings on the month, and as per last month, my favourite albums/songs from the last 31 days.
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.