I normally break into a cold sweat when listening to a mix without a tracklist. It’s one of those obsessive traits that forces me to shun potentially outstanding sets, the music geek in me cries in despair. But holding back wasn’t an option on this mix, for three reasons: One, the tracklist was coming (just not yet). Two, I’d already witnessed a tasty live set just weeks before. And three, Nick Brennans’s latest album hasn’t left my earphones for the past two weeks.
2005’s Circuit Breaker demonstrated Nick’s psychedelic and ethnic influences alongside his talent with a guitar – the signature piece within many of his productions. ‘Roll Your Own’ featured on Nick Warren’s GU30 compilation and ‘Deer Park’ signified a Tripswitch sound that spanned downtempo, psy-chill, progressive and ambient.
A five year hiatus and Tripswitch’s latest album, ‘Geometry’ finally sees light of day. ‘Strange Parallels’ (perhaps Nick’s most celebrated production to date) gets an official appearance after many years and epitomises the Tripswitch sound, with a gentle piano melody, atmospheric guitar layers and progressive shimmering drums. Subtle, creeping yet beautiful vocals wrap warmth amongst ‘Concentric Circles’ whilst ‘Floating Point’ glimmers with a shoegaze tinged crescendo. The synth laden Stereogram tops off an album where each track can be appreciated for it’s individuality and treasured as a whole for it’s epic escapism.
Nick must have heard my despair at listening to his isolatedmix without a tracklist. I’d already emailed him halfway through the set with pure excitement after the signature piano hook in the Mint remix seamlessly crept in. Maybe, I should listen without a track list more often?! But, sure enough it arrived and revealed unexpectedness in the form of a chilled Deadmau5, classics in the Amorphous Androgynous shape, favourites of the Schnauss kind and an exclusive first hear of Solar Field’s remix of Tripswitch’s ‘Stereogram’ (released soon on Nick’s new label, Section Records).
After 80 awesome minutes, the inspiration behind his two albums is clear to see and just as easy to appreciate.
This is an autumnal mix which indulges the melancholy and contemplative mood which closes in around me around this time of year. Some people seem to react quite strongly to the emotional qualities of my music … this mix charts a path through some of the key inspirational moments which have shaped that emotion over the years. I hope you enjoy the journey…
Tracklist and a few thoughts from Tripswitch:
1 – James Holden – Kearn
My favourite James Holden track … an emotional use of his signature reverb and delay tricks.
2 – Spectre – Overseas
Taken from “The Missing Two Weeks”, an album of sublime and soulful dub from Nick Manasseh.
3 – Tankerville – Entangled
One of those tracks you hear on an advert and then go to the ends of the earth to track down. These days Shazam takes the effort (and the fun) out of the hunt.
4 – Deadmau5 – I Hate Campers
Not known for his chillout, this snippet’s taken from Project 56, a zip of 56 sketches, stems, chip-tunes and other ideas which he offered up a few years ago as a freebie.
5 – Cinematic Orchestra – That Home
Piano, strings and a good vocal … what more do you need?
6 – Deadmau5 – Wish You Were There
Another clip from Project 56. Going through the tracks you realise just what a talented fellow he is.
7 – Vangelis – Ask The Mountains
There’s something about this track … there’s certainly a whiff of cheese there, but it never fails to put a smile on my face. Vocal is Stina Nordenstam, sublime.
8 – Michael Brook and Pieter Nooten – Finally I
A lesser-known release on the amazing and seminal 4AD label. 4AD was so utterly crucial to my musical development as a teenager … truly powerful music to accompany powerful and character-forming experiences. If I ever have a son he’ll be called Ivo (after Ivo Watts-Russell label guvna and This Mortal Coil founder).
9 – Lisa Gerrard and Pieter Bourke – The Unfolding
Lisa Gerrard of course needs no introduction. A bit obscure this one, but unquestionably epic.
10 – Roger Eno – Voices
Although less prolific or celebrated than his brother Brian, Roger’s music can be every bit as beautiful.
11 – Kevin Shields – Goodbye
Taken from the “Lost In Translation” soundtrack. Tender in comparison to the seminal shoegazing of his My Bloody Valentine years.
12 – Amorphous Androgynous – Mountain Goat
Classic from the 1993 album ‘Tales of Ephedrina’.
13 – Alex Stealthy – Once Ambient
The Russians seem to know about bass … I’m working with some guys from Moscow called Koan who have the same touch with enveloping low frequencies.
14 – port-royal – hva (failed revolutions)
port-royal have really nailed the nu gaze thing … For me they’ve got the blend just right. Powerful stuff.
15 – Tripswitch – Stereogram (Solar Fields remix)
Magnus has worked wonders remixing track 8 from my new album “Geometry”. It comes out in a couple of months as a digital single release on Section Records, along with mixes from Adham Shaikh, Luke Chable, Abakus, Aurtas and me – check out sectionrecords.com for more details.
16 – Ulrich Schnauss – Shine (Mint remix)
This is a great mix … Mint’s another one with an uncanny knack for nu gaze.
17 – Freedom Tygerstar – Snow Runner Sun
This track featured on Magnetic Blue, one of the earliest Interchill compilations. When I first heard this track it made my hair stand on end. Definitely one of the sparks that ignited my path to chillout production.
18 – Twisted Air feat. Caroline Thorp – Feels Like Forever
Aah, the morning after the night before … It’s a long time since I did the full party weekend thing, but this track takes me right back to those weekends where sleep didn’t seem necessary and my body didn’t complain so much.