Long time…

It’s been a long time coming, but now we’ve got Ben Newman on the case with the artwork, we’ll have some music out soon!

In the meantime, be sure to check out Mr Benn’s new release: Long Time Vinyl, Long Time MP3s (available from 14 July).

Long Time is the latest offering from up-and-coming producer Mr Benn and is the maiden release on the brand new Square One Sound imprint.

A super-heavyweight hip hop/reggae hybrid, Long Time features one of the UK’s finest rappers, Blak Twang alongside dancehall champion Blackout JA.

Built around an infectious vocal hook, a rock solid riddim and a healthy dose of lazy brass action, it’s perfect for those summertime parties we’re all looking forward to.

The vinyl release will feature two different vocal mixes and the instrumental version, plus two killer remixes from South Rakkas Crew and Yes King.

With a first-rate blend of reggae grooves and the chunkiest of hip hop beats, Mr Benn is pushing forward that unmistakable Bristol Sound. Praise has already been flooding in from the likes of Rob Da Bank, Steinski, Daddy G and DJ Yoda, following several successful releases on Leisure Recordings and mash-ups as Mr Blennd on his own Rhythm’n’Booze imprint – www.myspace.com/djmrbenn

A pioneering figure in the UK hip hop scene, Blak Twang is renowned for his food-for-thought lyrics and playful patter. With infectious hip hop beats sitting alongside dub and dancehall sensibilities, he still manages to craft an inherently British sound – www.myspace.com/blaktwang

Jamaican dancehall vocalist Blackout JA has energy, attitude and charisma by the bagful, plus a truly remarkable voice. A prolific performer, he has worked alongside big-time stars such as Sly & Robbie, Freddie McGregor, Big Youth, Sean Paul, Capleton and Sizzla – www.myspace.com/blackoutjamusic

Mad Decent signees, South Rakkas Crew are one of the most innovative productions teams around. Their killer riddims have earned them massive respect from the dancehall world and remix duties for DJ Shadow, Beck, Lily Allen, T.O.K,Mr Vegas and Bounty Killer, to name just a few – www.southrakkascrew.com

Mark Rae and Rhys Adams are a production powerhouse and remixers du jour. Their new Yes King project fuses hip hop, dancehall, rootsy brass and ska rhythms, with vocals from top-drawer talent including Dawn Penn, Prezident Brown, Veba, Sweetie Irie, Kenny Knotts and Mystro – www.yeskingrecords.com

The record also features the sweet sweet sax of Craig Crofton, skanking guitar courtesy of Dub From Atlantis’ Guy, plus label and logo designed by everyone’s favourite owl scribbler 45rpm. nice!


Animation for Morning Falls

I’m feeling excited – we’ve found an artist who’s going to produce an animation to accompany Morning Falls. He’s produced some some touching stuff – check out some of his work here: http://www.youtube.com/profile?user=thesilentpart

Not sure of timescales, but hopefully we’ll have four finished and mastered tracks (three so far) plus animation in the next couple of months. How we go about releasing is another matter!

Princessa hits myspace

Princessa is the next track up on myspace for your perusal… Silky vocals from Nia, Annie Whitehead on trombone, nice dubby bass sound and a touch of vocoder. This one’s taken an age to get mixed but it’s 95% there.

We’re mastering it in a couple of weeks at Optimum Mastering and I dropped in to the studio yesterday to have a chat with the engineer. Their setup is amazing, they’re based in Paintworks in Bristol and they built the studio a couple of years ago when they re-located from London. The sound in there is pretty much perfect – I could listen to mixes on their PMC MB2S XBD monitors all day.

The effort they’ve put into building the place is inspiring, and although we’re yet to use their services, Mr Benn was v happy with the results – I expect we will be too!

Listen to Princessa here

Daft Gnarls Barkley cover on theremin

Create Digital Music linked to this which made me laugh:

It’s funny but it doesn’t fairly represent the theremin or illustrate its true potential. For a virtuoso and moving performance, check out Clara Rockmore:

New Cities of Foam songs on myspace

Finally happy enough with our mixes to upload two new songs to myspace, Morning Falls and Sky High Lee.

Have a listen here

The Bad Plus – jaw droppingly good

The Bad Plus

The Bad Pus have been around for a while, but I only recently discovered them, through using Pandora (personalised online radio). They’re so good that I’m annoyed that I’ve only just found out about them!

They’re a 3-piece from the US, piano, double bass, drums and every player is amazingly talented. Rather than re-writing their biog, here’s what they say:

The Bad Plus is bassist Reid Anderson, pianist Ethan Iverson, and drummer David King. All are from the Midwest and have known each other since their teens. Nonetheless, it is only after spending their formative 20s apart that they reunited in late 2000 to play a weekend club date in Minneapolis.

The chemistry was immediate and obvious. They planned a second gig and a one-day recording session and The Bad Plus was born.

On this same first gig, the nascent group played their first rock cover, Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit.” Thus began The Bad Plus trademark of complementing original repertoire with their takes on mainstream pop “standards” including ABBA, Black Sabbath, the Bee Gees, Queen, Blondie, Aphex Twin, Neil Young, and Bjork.”

Not only are they hugely talented musicians, they also record with Tchad Blake, one of the most innovative engineers of the past 20 years. His recording technique gives their music the perfect platform – you feel the bass and drums in your chest and the piano melodies weave their way into your mind.

Listen to 1979 Semi-Finalist on their album ‘Give’ – it’s about as close to musical perfection as you can get.

Favoring group improvisation over individual solos, eschewing all jazz cliches, The Bad Plus rip into each set with a combination of Swiss-watch precision, the spectrum of dynamics and reckless abandon.”

Their music is accessible and immediate. While sometimes this can a mean short shelf life, where you over-listen to a record for a couple of weeks and then get bored of it, The Bad Plus are so good you’ll want to come back to their music again and again.

Listening to David King’s drumming reminds me how much a live drummer can add to a recording. I’d love to get a drummer to contribute to Cities of Foam but at the moment we do all our own recording, and recording drums well is a craft that I’ve yet to master…

Anyway, enough gushing, here they are are on Jools Holland:

And here they cover Aphex Twin:

Bad Plus website | Bad Plus on mySpace | Bad Plus Blog

Tchad Blake interview

Bad bad bad! Not bad meaning bad but bad meaning good : )

A cover of one of our songs

Amazingly, I’ve just been forwarded a link to a cover of one of our songs on YouTube. Now although this might seem pretty insignificant to you given that there are ten zillion videos up there, we were pretty excited.

It had never even crossed my mind that someone might cover one of our songs – I mean people cover Britney or Dire Straits or Nirvana, but Cities of Foam?

I guess the fact that RachelA77 would want to cover Out of Reach, means she’s pretty keen on it, so our music has connected with someone : )

Hope it’s not just because it’s easy to play!

It’s a funny feeling to know that a song you’ve worked on has taken on a life of its own and actually means something to people you don’t know.

RachelA77 sings ‘Out of Reach’

Our original version is on our mySpace .

I’m off to sign up to YouTube to leave a comment.