Human-centred decisions

Content types: Jam

  • Lovefingers — Silver Apples

    Silver Apples synth pioneer Simeon Coxe dies aged 82 It’s probably a bit inaccurate to describe Simeon Coxe as a synth pioneer. A pioneer he was, but his musical inventions predated the widespread use of synthesisers. They in fact involved a set-up known as the simeon machine, consisting of “more than a dozen” oscillators. When […]

    Silver Apples album cover
  • Race for the Prize — The Flaming Lips

    The Flaming Lips demonstrating how to perform live in a socially distanced fashion, while somehow being the most on-brand they have ever been.

    Race for the Prize cover
  • Europe Endless — Kraftwerk

    Kraftwerk founder Florian Schneider dies at 73 — BBC News I happened to be listening to Trans-Europe Express — the first Kraftwerk album I bought — earlier today.

    Trans-Europe Express cover
  • Sun — Caribou

    A few weeks ago, in the early stages of lockdown, Caribou’s album Swim played on shuffle. “This is a recent album,” I thought, “but it reminds me of happier times. It turns out this album is in fact ten years old today. Time flies, I guess. It was a time before covid-19. A time before […]

    Swim cover
  • Autechre live in Glasgow, 15 April 2005

    Autechre have recently released long-anticipated official recordings from their 2016 and 2018 tours, which I am currently (slowly) working my way through. But on this day 15 years ago in Glasgow, Autechre performed perhaps their mightiest live set ever. I love this almost as much as any of their albums. A lot of IDM-heads celebrate […]

  • Treefingers (Extended Version) — Radiohead

    Radiohead there, just casually adding an extra minute to a legendary 20-year-old track. They may have declared that they are taking a “year away” from music, but they still manage to find ways of keeping fans going. The recent launch of the Radiohead Public Library generously provides free access to a vast amount of archive […]

    Treefingers (Extended Version) cover
  • Pricks — Gescom

    In 1998, Gescom released MiniDisc, said to be the first ever MiniDisc-only release. (I believe the CD artwork, shown here, is a photo of a Sony bigwig showing it off at an event.) A mere eight years later, MiniDisc was already obsolete, at least in the home. The music was given a CD release, and […]

    MiniDisc artwork (CD version)
  • Squarepusher — Vortrack [Fracture Remix]

    This tune has disturbed me. Since I heard it, a distressing sentence has floated around in my head: “This is the best Squarepusher track in 14 years.” 14 years. Count it up. I think I was 15 years old when I first discovered Squarepusher. To the young Squarepusher fan I was, it’s been almost a […]

    Vortrack cover
  • Running the World — Jarvis Cocker

    A timely moment for a topical Christmas number one? I actually remember hearing this once while I was working in Woolworths. I didn’t raise the alarm.

    Running the world cover (a close-up of Jarvis Cocker's face)
  • Love Without Sound — White Noise

    It’s Delia Derbyshire Day, which this year celebrates the 50th anniversary of An Electric Storm by White Noise. Delia Derbyshire may be best known for her part in the realisation of the Doctor Who theme tune — and her wider work with the BBC Radiophonic Workshop. But her involvement with the White Noise project saw […]

    An Electric Storm cover
  • French Disko — Stereolab

    For the past couple of years Stereolab have been reissuing most of their back catalogue. It’s been a great opportunity for me to fill the gaps in my collection (which, shamefully, was more gap than collection). My first exposure to this song was in 2005, when I was watching late night Channel 4 and saw […]

  • 134 32iii — Bogdan Raczynski


    Rave ’Till You Cry cover
  • Seefeel — Spangle (2019 expanded live version)

    A reworking of Seefeel’s classic 1994 track Spangle, promoting the group’s upcoming tour of North America. It’s great to have Seefeel back in action again. Their music was a little before my time, but I relished discovering it a few years later. It seems cutting-edge for the period — clearly influenced by shoegaze, but with […]

    Spangle (2019 expanded live version) cover
  • Rent Responsibly — VHS Head

    Ten years ago today, the first VHS Head EP was released. I remember it seemed to come as a bit of a bolt from the blue. For a while it was my favourite new electronic music. Video Club is a delightful slice of retro electronic music. Subsequent releases, though relatively scant, have explored a parallel […]

    VHS Head logo
  • Ágætis byrjun — Sigur Rós

    Music was one of the jobs I was put in charge of for our wedding. Alex isn’t particularly interested in music. We don’t have any shared musical memories. We don’t have “our song”. So that made some aspects of the wedding planning tricky. For instance, there were no obvious candidates — or, indeed, any candidates […]

    Ágætis byrjun cover
  • The Thinnest Place — Justin Hopper & Sharron Kraus with the Belbury Poly

    Chanctonbury Rings combines the folk music of Sharron Kraus and retro electronics of the Belbury Poly with spoken word from Justin Hopper. It’s a perhaps unlikely combination. This is made all the more unlikely by the fact that, despite Justin Hopper’s American accent, the music is unmistakably English. It immediately reminded me of the Seasons […]

    Chanctonbury Rings cover
  • Jogging — Richard Dawson

    A song I heard on the radio this week that made my ears prick up. I wasn’t previously aware of Richard Dawson. But this is a brilliant song — dark, funny, meaningful, relatable, of our time. Once again I’m beginning to think that the most interesting music is actually coming from rock music for a […]

    2020 cover
  • Rainbow — Battles

    Their single Atlas may have got the most attention, but for me it was Rainbow that was the centrepiece of Battles’ extraordinary 2007 album Mirrored. It mixed cartoonish melodies with prog rock hardness. I first came across Battles on the release of EP C/B EP, a compilation of their early EPs. Hearing SZ2 for the […]

    Mirrored cover
  • Vexations — Erik Satie

    Erik Satie’s Vexations is shrouded in mystery. It was not published during Satie’s lifetime. It’s thought it was composed in 1893. But it went undiscovered until 1963, when John Cage first performed it publicly. It is just three lines long, but is accompanied by this ambiguous instruction (translated from French): In order to play the […]

    Erik Satie portrait
  • The Rapanthem — Modeselektor

    In retrospect, this tune (from 2005) sounds a little dated. A little bit too heavy on the post-Boards of Canada glitchy hip-hop influence. Bbbbutttt… it’s still pretty good. I remember listening to this album a lot when I was studying at the University of Edinburgh, taking lunchtime walks round the Meadows. 14 years on I […]

    Hello Mom! cover
  • I’m 49 — Prefab Sprout

    I’ve been aware of Paddy McAloon’s 2003 album I Trawl the Megahertz for a while. While I’d always meant to pick it up, I never got round to it. In a sense it’s just as well, as this year it was re-released, remastered, and repackaged as a Prefab Sprout album. Suffering with health problems, Paddy […]

    I Trawl The Megahertz cover
  • Divine — Sébastien Tellier

    I woke up this morning to BBC Radio 6 Music playing a remix of Kilometer by Sébastien Tellier. It is quite some way to be introduced to the day. But with the Eurovision Song Contest this weekend, it put me in mind of the fact that Sébastien Tellier is in fact responsible for my favourite […]

    Sexuality album cover
  • Sybil´s Dream — Beautify Junkyards

    A recent slice of hauntology from the collectable Ghost Box Records. I have to admit this album, The Invisible World of Beautify Junkyards, has taken a while to grow on me. But my, has it grown. As much as I love it, some Ghost Box material can get a bit samey. Perhaps it’s inevitable (or […]

    The Invisible World of Beautify Junkyards cover
  • Recall — Plaid

    A surprising* new dimension to Plaid’s sound — glitchy and hard-hitting. The publicity surrounding their forthcoming album, Polymer, says: The problems and benefits of Polymers felt like good themes for this album, their repetitious strength, endurance and troubling persistence, the natural versus the synthetic, silk and silicone, the significant effect they have on our lives. […]

    Polymer cover
  • People in the City — Air

    A great song, really effectively set to footage from Koyaanisqatsi by someone on YouTube. 10 000 Hz Legend is not as well-regarded as Air’s first album, Moon Safari. But I personally prefer it. Moon Safari opened the floodgates to a host of cliched chillout albums by sub-par artists. 10 000 Hz Legend shook it all […]

    10 000 Hz Legend cover
  • Close to the Edge — Yes

    Prog rock has a bad name. Prog rock by Yes perhaps has a particularly bad name. But sometimes, a 19 minute long wig out is what you need. It accompanied a lunchtime for me last week, and my afternoon felt better than my morning. What a song.

    Close to the Edge cover
  • Halogen — Kelly Moran

    I was introduced to Kelly Moran by her first album on Warp Records, Ultraviolet, released a few months ago. For some reason (OK, maybe the Warp thing) I had assumed it was electronic music. So I was astonished to learn from this video that it’s actually a live prepared piano. Stunning stuff. From that, I […]

    Ultraviolet cover
  • High Lights — Charlotte Adigéry

    A fun and weird new song being released on Soulwax’s record label, Deewee.

    Zandoli cover
  • rightclick — Mira Calix

    It’s more than ten years since Mira Calix last released music, with her career having taken her in a more multidisciplinary artistic direction. I’ve found her music in the past to be a bit hit-and-miss. But when I heard rightclick I ended up being quite excited for the release of her new EP, utopia.

    utopia cover
  • Samaritans — Idles

    I’ve become obsessed with this song. It contains an important message that is beginning to be heard, but still needs to be heard more widely. This is a song for now. Discovering Idles has felt a bit like discovering Pulp when they released Common People. Although 9-year-old me didn’t really understand what appealed to me […]

  • Windowlicker — Aphex Twin

    The other day we heard Windowlicker by Aphex Twin being played on BBC Radio 6 Music in the morning. On the one hand, this is very excellent. On the other, it has made it less likely that Alex will let me set the radio alarm to wake us up with 6 Music in the new […]

    Windowlicker cover
  • Solstice – Light Out — Anna Meredith ft. Scottish Ensemble

    I’m really taken with Anno: Four Seasons. It weaves new compositions by Anna Meredith into Antonio Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, performed by the Scottish Ensemble. This track is the final on the album, finishing Winter — and apt for this moment.

    Anno: Four Seasons cover
  • Aus – Ein — Jon Brooks

    Gary Hustwit’s new documentary Rams, about the designer Dieter Rams, is released digitally today. It’s bound to be good — not least because it features original music by Brian Eno. But perhaps it would have been more apt to include music from the Jon Brooks album Music for Dieter Rams. Every sound on this record, […]

    Music for Dieter Rams cover
  • Open Again — Thom Yorke

    I was very surprised by how good Thom Yorke’s Suspiria soundtrack is. Thom Yorke says he was pushed out of his comfort zone making this album. It worked. It’s a joy to hear him exploring genuinely new territory instead of just making bad dubstep like his last solo album.

    Suspiria cover
  • Vitamin C — Can

    Somewhat required while I’ve been ill.

    Ege Bamyasi cover
  • The Professor — Hanne Hukkelberg

    I’m a big fan of Hanne Hukkelberg’s music, particularly her earlier albums. Her distinctive voice, engaging songwriting, quirky instrumentations and use of found sounds are a uniquely enchanting combination. This 2007 performance (which appears to have been filmed on a windy balcony in Hamburg) is a bit more stripped back than her typical album track […]

  • The Visitation — White Noise

    White Noise was formed by David Vorhaus, Delia Derbyshire and Brian Hodgson. The latter two were pioneers of the BBC Radiophonic Workshop, the facilities of which were covertly used for a couple of the tracks on their album An Electric Storm. (For the uninitiated, Delia Derbyshire is best known for the original realisation of the […]

    An Electric Storm cover
  • The Spell of a Vanishing Loveliness — Cornelius

    New Cornelius albums are few and far between. In fact, he has released just four albums in the past 21 years. But when one comes, it is always one of the highlights of the year. He is one of the most distinctive and innovative artists going. I have just listened to his latest album, Mellow […]

  • Wow and Flutter — Stereolab

    I’ve recently been digging this old Stereolab song. By chance, this Peel session was recorded 25 years ago today. Promo video

  • His ’n’ Hers — Pulp

    Happy 55th birthday to Jarvis Cocker. Here are Pulp at the height of their powers, and with a classic moment of audience participation — which was recreated 18 years later. What makes you frightened?

  • Phylactery — John Callaghan

    This wonderful reinterpretation of Tilapia by Autechre appeared on Warp20, a box set celebrating the 20th anniversary of Warp Records. (Rather scarily, that occasion was itself almost 10 years ago.) There were two CDs of Warp artists covering classic Warp tracks, and a lot of them are really good. But John Callaghan’s effort towers above […]

  • Cousin Chris — The Fiery Furnaces

    It was a delight to listen to Adam Buxton’s recent podcast interview with Eleanor Friedberger, half of the Fiery Furnaces (with her brother Matthew) and now a solo artist. The Fiery Furnaces are one of my favourite bands. Their quirky and decidedly different music was actually quite important to me as I struggled my way […]

  • The Rip — Portishead

    They say a song is like a fart — if you have to force it out, it’s probably shit. So when a band leaves a gap of 11 years between albums, it means one of two things: Option 1 — They have been enduring the worst form of musical constipation, and the album will be […]

  • An Eagle in Your Mind — Boards of Canada

    It is 20 years to the day since Boards of Canada released Music Has the Right to Children. Seminal is a word that is bandied around easily when talking about music. But it may be genuinely applicable in this case. Simon Reynolds in Pitchfork notes how the album seemed to kick-start a transformation in electronic […]

    Music Has the Right to Children (cover detail)
  • Rock On — Tortoise

    Tortoise’s most recent original music may not be as good as their material from the 1990s. But they have developed a knack for producing some excellent cover versions. This cover of Rock On is the highlight of their most recent album, The Catastrophist.

  • NTS Residency — Autechre

    This appears to be two hours of new Autechre, streaming for free on a loop on the NTS website. Autechre’s residency continues on Thursdays 12, 19 and 26 April. Which presumably means there are six more hours to come. æ

  • Every Recording of Gymnopedie 1 — Hey Exit

    Today is Piano Day. I am in favour of this. The piano is the best instrument. 🎹 The clip above is of every recording of Erik Satie’s Gymnopédie № 1, put together by an artist called Hey Exit. Each recording is timestretched to the length of the longest one, and they are placed on top […]

  • 1/1 — Brian Eno

    Ambient 1 / Music for Airports is 40 years old this month. It is spurious to claim that Brian Eno invented ambient music. Erik Satie’s furniture music deserves mention. Eno himself recognised the role of Muzak. Music for Airports is not even Eno’s first ambient album, despite its Ambient 1 moniker. But it certainly is […]

  • OK — Micachu and the Shapes

    I have been shamefully late to discover Mica Levi, and Micachu and the Shapes. This is a track from the band’s 2012 album Never. It contains a lyric that made me laugh out loud, which doesn’t happen very often.