Alternative Versions – #10

Turtle Turtle Up (Extended Version) – Four Tet (2005, Domino Records, Taken from ‘Everything Ecstatic Part 2’)

Turtle Turtle Up – Four Tet (2005, Domino Records, Taken from ‘Everything Ecstatic’)

The original version of ‘Turtle Turtle Up’ is just over two minutes long.  It is a collection of bleeps and computer generated noises rather like the sounds from the game ‘Defender’ with drums added to it.  It is rather cool in a mismatched kind of way.  That kind of sums up most of Four Tet’s fourth album ‘Everything Ecstatic’.  When that is good it is brilliant and when it isn’t it is a bit all over the place – which being Four Tet, was probably the point anyway, and therefore its brilliant regardless.

When ‘Everything Ecstatic’ was released back in 2005, Kieran Hebden being the unbridled genius that he is released a DVD version of the album which came with a bonus additional CD.  That was called ‘Everything Ecstatic Part 2’ and that opened with an extended version of ‘Turtle Turtle Up’.  Now with the original being just over two minutes long you would expect an extended version to include perhaps a few extras minutes of beats and squiggles to perhaps take it to 3 or 4 minutes, but this is Four Tet remember.

The extended version of ‘Turtle Turtle Up’ clocks in at just over sixteen minutes.  It is EIGHT times longer than the original and for what it is worth – it is infinitesimally better than the original version.  It’s full of squeaks, noises, breaks, beats, drums, keyboards, crashes, whirls, swirls, twirls and that’s just the first eight minutes.  Its pretty much what Four Tet would sound like if they ever got invited to an Aphex Twin themed fancy dress party.  Its incredible and makes it 5 – 4 to the alternative versions, with nine to play.

Also included on that bonus CD was part 2 of ‘Sun Drums and Soil’, which is probably the most well known track on ‘Everything Ecstatic’.  The part 2 version starts with a bunch of noises that sound like the sort of noises that cheap seventies sci -fi films used in order to make them sound futuristic.  All that the fades away and what is left is some wonky sounding synths, a shimmering snare, jazzy drums, scratchy beats and stop start breaks and then suddenly just stops in a way that makes you think that you headphones have stopped working.  Personally I think it’s great in its own disjointed messy way.

Sun Drums and Soil (Part 2) – Four Tet (2005, Domino Records, Taken from ‘Everything Ecstatic Part 2’)

Here’s your original part one, which is pretty much an entirely different track, full of relentless drums, faint organs, whirling horns, tinkering keyboards and stuttering beats – it’s marvellous just in case you needed telling.

Sun Drums and Soil (Album Version) – Four Tet (2005, Domino Records, Taken from ‘Everything Ecstatic’)

On Monday – The Manic Street Preachers give us an example of why demo’s sometimes don’t need to be released.

The Future is No Words….#1

And They All Look Broken Hearted – Four Tet (2003, Domino Records, Taken from ‘Rounds’)

You know what I think about words.  Over rated.

So here is the first in a series which celebrates tracks which don’t have any. It is inspired by a Sunday morning run I did the other week where the iPod chose at random four consecutive songs that had no words in them at all.

First, we had Four Tet and when the gentle breakbeats of that faded away I was met by the wild west meets Krautrock musings of Quickspace

Precious Mountain – Quickspace (1997, Kitty Kitty Corporation Records, Taken from ‘Precious Falling’) and yes I know that there is an odd “Ooh” and “Aha” running through this, but that doesn’t count

That eventually segued into something completely different as Richard D James and his brilliantly bonkers brand of electronica burst into my ears.

Peek 82454201 – Aphex Twin (1996, Warp Records, Taken from ‘Richard D James Album’)

And when that had finished whirring and clanking away it was followed by this big beated blast from the past.

Whoosh – Bentley Rhythm Ace (1997, Parlophone Records, Taken from ‘BRA’) – and yes I know there is a kind of vocalised sample in this but that also doesn’t count.

So Sundays from now until I can actually think of a better idea for a series will feature tracks that have no words and as words are over rated and the future is clearly no words, each post will be mercifully short.

Counting Up from Two – #6 – Seven

7 Like That – Quickspace (1998, Kitty Kitty Corporation Records, Taken from ‘Precious Falling’)

When I was seven years old we moved house.  It was an exciting time.  I remember reading all the information about my new school, proudly stating that I was going to join the football club, and various other after school clubs that the school appeared to run.  The house we were moving was a bit smaller than the old one and my brother and I would have to share a room.  Something we were excited about until about a week after we moved in, and we reverted to lengthy arguments about who could fart the loudest and whether we were cheating at Monopoly (we both were).

On the third day in our new house, our dad sent me and my brother out into the street to play football, so that he could properly unpack.  Slowly a gaggle of boys our own age all turned up and a mass kick about was taking place on the small grass area in front of our house.  After an hour we had learnt all the nicknames of the kids – some of which remain to this day, there was Baldy, Plum, Griff and a few others who I forget.  It was like we had been picked up and dumped in an episode of the Bash Street Kids. 

We all went in for our teas – shouting that we would see them at school tomorrow, which was conveniently located at the end of the road.  Half the kids I’d been playing with would be in my class and I thought I would fit in really well.  I was also better at football than most of them, apart from Plum, who despite only being 8 told me he played for Gillingham (he didn’t he played right back for Wigmore Whippets), and I had already been told by Baldy, captain of the First year team that he would tell Mr James, the ‘manager’ that I should play on the right wing, because I was better that Matty who currently played there.

Monday arrived and we looked forward to going to our new school.  Baldy even knocked for us and said he would walk with us.  Which is when my dad dropped the bombshell that we weren’t going to the school at the end of the road.  

Turns out they didn’t have room for us and so my dad had got us places in the school about two miles away, the one stuck in the middle of a really rough council estate – not that I knew or cared about that back then (or now for that matter) – but they had plenty of room for us and according to my dad, school is school, they all teach the same stuff. 

My new school was pretty rough, on my first day, I got thumped by the school bully, a lad called Michael (who got expelled in the final year for various nasty deeds, including taking a dump on the floor of the staff room).  The reason for the thump is that I got the highest mark in the class for a times table test, and that I was a ‘boffin’. I’m not convinced Michael knew what a boffin was.   In my second week I tried to get in the first year football team and failed miserably.  A tall lad called Wayne, who claimed to be 8 but looked about 19, marked me out of the game completely. 

Jacob Street 7am – Sabres of Paradise (1994, Warp Records, Taken from ‘Haunted Dancehall’)

Parallel 7 – Four Tet (2020, Text Records, Taken from ‘Parallel’)

The Great One Word Title Countdown – The Didn’t Quite Make It List #2

I was going to feature six songs today.  But a strange quirk of fate, one of the songs is due to be posted tomorrow as part of the ‘Nearly Perfect Album’ series and we can’t have the same song two days running, that would make us the blog version of Dave.  It is ‘Miniskirt’ by Canadian trip hoppers Braids in case anyone doesn’t like cliffhangers and won’t sleep tonight due to nervous excitement.

Anyway, lets start today with a rolling bass line, airy chimes and heavy techno synths and another track I expected to do much better than it did.

Pyramid – Four Tet (2011, Text Records, Taken from ‘Pink’)

I said yesterday that most of the songs that bubbled just outside the Top 100 appeared only once in all the returned votes.  That much is true with the exception of this next track.  ‘Depreston’ by Courtney Barnett featured in three Top 30’s, sadly for Courtney it was ranked 25 or under in all of them.  Meaning that despite being in more Top 30’s than most of the records list from 75 – 100 it didn’t score many points, making it the unfortunate winner of the Most Popular Unsuccessful Record in the Countdown Award.  Some of the other awards on offer in this series are  “Most Marmite Record” – for the track that people either seem to love or hate, “Song that Appears in the Most Top 30s” – which is not strangely the record that topped the list at the end of the voting and Most Psychic Jury Member – one of our jury successfully predicted 17 of the Top 20….But not quite in the right order, that would have been just too damn scary.

Depreston – Courtney Barnett (2015, Mom + Pop Records, Taken from ‘Sometimes I Sit and Think Sometimes I Just Sit’)

Anyone out there remember Grand Theft Auto III, the groundbreakingly violent crime game on Playstation 2?  One of the tasks in the second bit of the game was to run around the city reaching various ringing telephones before the timer ran out.  It was clearly inspired pastiche by the classic Clint Eastwood film Dirty Harry, which was of course scored by Lalo Schifrin.  Another game that leaned heavily on a Schifrin scored film was the ‘Driver’ series, which took its inspiration from Bullitt.  The theme of which is just a remarkable piece of work and very early crept into this Top 100

Bullitt (Main Theme) – Lalo Schifrin (1969, Warner Bros Records, Taken from ‘Bullitt Soundtrack’)

Next Up a track I featured a few weeks ago in the Nearly Perfect Album Series, and one that has done so badly its almost feels criminally neglected.  Unbelievably its ‘Demons’ by Super Furry Animals and it’s still a tremendous few minutes of indie brilliance.

Demons – Super Furry Animals (1997, Creation Records, Taken from ‘Radiator’)

Next up Boards of Canada, the first thing that you should all know about them is that they are not from Canada (although they did live there, whilst there dad helped build an ice hockey stadium) and are not boards either.  They are in fact two brothers from the east coast of Scotland, who in the late nineties ripped up the Electronica Rule book when they unleashed their landmark ‘Music Has the Right to Children’ album. 

Roygbiv – Boards of Canada (1998, Warp Records, Taken ‘Music has the Right to Children’)

And that completes the round up of all the tracks of note that didn’t make the Top 100.  On Monday, we start to countdown…

Nearly Perfect Albums – #28

Rounds – Four Tet

According to Neil Young and then St Etienne ‘Only Love Can Break Your Heart’.  I’m prepared to bet a rather large bag of doughnuts that Neil Young has never listened to ‘My Angel Rocks Back and Forth’ by Four Tet.  That folks with break your heart into two very even and symmetrical parts and leave you weeping like a lovesick puppy, on the kitchen floor. 

My Angel Rocks Back and ForthFour Tet (2003, Domino Records)

It is simply one of the most beautiful pieces of music you will ever hear.  It is essentially a ballad with no words, that chimes and tinkles away at your senses.  It is led by that most post rock of instruments, a harp, which is plucked (or in this case I imagine, sampled) away sweetly while a scratchy beat whispers alongside it.  Its marvellous in a “man I must stop chopping onions whilst listening to this track kind of way”.

As marvellous as it is, ‘My Angel Rocks Back and Forth’ isn’t even the best track on this album.  For that you have to look at ‘As Serious as your Life’ which blends Tibetan chimes, strings, acoustic guitars and then mutates them all together until it sounds like nothing on earth.  Its utterly unique and utterly amazing. 

As Serious as your Life – Four Tet (2003, Domino Records)

That’s the thing with ‘Rounds’ it’s unique.  There is simply nothing that sounds anything like it.   Here stands a record that was recorded, mixed and probably produced on a laptop, and it sounds otherworldly, timeless, heartfelt and incredible.  A record that was so hard to pigeonhole that the NME created an entirely new genre for it and then immediately made Four Tet the flagbearers for that scene.  They called it ‘Folktronica’, though it was quickly, like, nearly all of the other scenes that the NME invented, ignored.  ‘Rounds’ is a dance record, simple as that.  It’s just a dance record that you don’t want to dance to, because you want to listen to its intricate beauty, the way harps mix with hip hop beats, or the way that weird noises merge together to make a noise like no instrument on earth should sound like.

She Move She – Four Tet (2003, Domino Records)

I can see why they coined the genre ‘Folktronica’ though, it is an album heavily influenced by folk music. But its also an album influenced by hip hop (‘She Moves She’ clearly has its roots set in hip hop) and R & B.  But ultimately it’s the uniqueness that sets this aside, ‘Spirit Fingers’ for instance, mixes perfectly a violin led jig against what sounds like a house beat, its insane but it makes you giddy with its hypnotising brilliance.

Spirit Fingers – Four Tet (2003, Domino Records)

The Sunday Shuffle – #13

Break My Body – Pixies (1987, 4AD Records, Taken from ‘Surfer Rosa’)

Last Sunday I went for my weekly run.   Every week at the end of the run, my watch downloads a load of stats and stuff into an app that I use to monitor performance, times, distance, and all that.  It also tells me that I should change my running shoes every 400 miles.  Last Sunday’s run clocked up the 395th mile completed in my current trainers.

So for this weeks randomly shuffled song I decide to post the song that was playing on my iPod Nano at the very moment that my watch tells me that I had reached 400 miles in these trainers.  

My main running route can best be described as undulating, I live in Devon and its hilly but over time I have crafted a circular 10km course from my doorstep and on this day I decide to do that run.  The five mile point is roughly the point where I run past my daughters school in the middle of the village that I live in. 

And….it would appear that my iPod has developed a sense of humour, because at the precise point when the trainers had run 400 miles , ‘Break My Body’ by Pixies was playing and at that point I would have looked a lot like a beetroot that had grown legs and run 5 bloody miles.

I plod on regardless, determined to make it to 401 miles in these shoes, sadly it’s uphill most of the way back from middle of the village but slowly I make it, two songs help me on my way the first is almost in complete contrast to ‘Break My Body’ because its by Four Tet and the calm brilliance of Four Tet gives me the energy to trot up the final hill.

128 Harps – Four Tet (2012, Domino Records)

Four Tet are replaced about 500 metres from home by

October Swimmer – JJ72 (2000, Columbia Records, Taken from ‘JJ72’)