- Mon, 2013-03-18 13:13
I'm very grateful to the people at I Like Music for getting me to Guest Edit their site. When I was first asked I thought about it for a bit then realised... hey, I like music too... surely I'm the best person to do this... and you know what? Judge for yourself.
I'm about to release my third proper album These Spirits. Some say writing your third album is difficult, much like the famously troublesome "Third Reich".
If you've not heard my music before I'd describe it as electronic pop songs with a hint of acoustic guitar. If I was describing it using non-wanky terminology I'd say sing-a-longable dance... no wait, that still sounds... never mind.
Enjoy these tracks I have compiled for you.
Click the play button below to launch the pop-out player and stream James Yuill's playlist, then scroll down to read his recommended Track, Album and Video and find out more about his music...
1. Floex - Ursa Major
2. Anoraak - Midnight Sunset
3. Kuedo - Whisper Fate
4. Africa Hitech - Our Luv
5. Prefuse 73 - The End Of Biters-International
6. Ital Tek - Glokk
7. AbJo - Omnism
8. Krazy Baldhead - 2nd Movement Part. 4
9. Xperiment - Catch 22 feat. Othello
10. Apparat - Candil de la Calle
11. Luke Abbott - Brazil
12. Nathan Fake - Paean
13. Raadsel - Sminkeleffect
14. Post War Years - Nova
15. NZCA/LINES - Okinawa Channels
16. Siriusmo - Idiologie
17. Teenage Bad Girl - Fast Blood Delivery
18. Supersystem - Miracle
19. Thomas Dolby - Flying North
20. Philip Glass - Japura River - Aguas Da Amazonia
Nick Drake - Road
Released: February 1972 Label: Island
I'd discovered Nick Drake's music at University and subsequently bought everything he'd ever done, including rare recordings of him talking into his reel to reel when 'one' had got back late from a Cambridge dinner party a bit worse for wear (yes, he really does refer to himself as 'one').
Although this is taken from a rather bleak minimal record, the journey his music took was very unique and distilled. From his hopeful beginnings on Five Leaves Left, through his commercial Bryter Layter and onto his final masterpiece the bitter, resentful Pink Moon.
It's interesting to note how his style of writing changes on all three records. Five Leaves Left is very much the folk format. Write the melody for one verse, then repeat for a few times. Bryter Layter is not my favourite, as it feels like he was trying everything to make it succeed. Backing singers, co-writing and using pop song formats all make it feel a little desperate (in my opinion). Then the final straw, the given-up exhale, Pink Moon. Based on a simple chorus/riff/final chorus structure it is the embodiment of his exasperation. Please don't think I dislike any of these, I'm probably the biggest fan ever, but you will always have a favourite!
And Pink moon is my favourite. Anyway, enough about the album...this is about the track!
The track that I tried to teach myself, over and over again. The track, in 'that' tuning. The one that I now use in pretty much all my songs. Everything I do stems from Nick Drake's Road.
Jackson & His Computer Band - Smash
Released: September 2005 Label: Warp Records
This is one of the albums that impacted hugely on my life and subsequent musical tastes. I'd already been listening to electronic music for years, but since Discovery (Daft Punk, another classic game changer) the sounds and techniques on electronic records became all too similar. Not like I'm exempt from imitating Daft Punk, but things became a little repetitive. Then Smash came along and ripped a hole in the tonal landscape.
The first reason is, it sounded like nothing I'd ever heard. Built from micro-samples, intricate programming, oddly classical sensibilities and operatic vocals there was a real depth of emotion in what had become an emotionless genre.
Not to mention the work that must have gone into every bar. It's a pleasure to listen to music and think "wow...I have no idea how he did that" or "that must have taken ages". An example of this is Jackson's use of the humble arpeggiator. Not only automating the Rate, Gate and multiple other parameters, he's recorded sections off, reversed them, sampled the reverb, reversed that, side-chained god knows what with it, all in the space of a bar. Simply staggering.
I'm sure it's not just me that pictures all this, as you imagine the timeline cursor scroll through the imaginary DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) in your head.
Modeselektor - Evil Twin
Released: August 2011 Label: Monkey Town
If you don't think this is the best music video ever, there's something wrong with you.
Yeah, it's probably not done for real, but the idea is so original that it trumps any questions about the validity. An amazing video for an amazing producing duo.
James Yuill has been busy since the 2010 release of his second album Movement in a Storm. He's dabbled in production (Trophy Wife and Cymbals), programming (Chinese superstar folk songstress Sa Dingding), mixing (Post war Years), supported Hot Chip and Royksopp and is now set to embrace his first film scoring project.
First though, James releases his third album These Spirits. Fan funded through Pledge Music, the record comes out on his own label The Happy Biscuit Club on March 25th before a headline show at London's Corsica Studios on 16th May 2013.
Known for lacing idiosyncratic folk with subtle electronics, These Spirits sees an emboldened James Yuill. Bright melodies are channeled alongside deeper club musings, bursting with Chicago House, Hot Chip and New Order influence.