Resonance EXTRA 26/1/16

After six months off the air Dig That Treasure! returned reinvigorated, this time on Peter Lanceley's newly launched Resonance EXTRA. The new show is four times as long as the Dig That Treasure! of old (clocking in at two hours) allowing for more focus on curatorial direction and segues. In short: it is better than before.

Dig That Treasure EXTRA (26/1/16)
Kaba Blon - Moribiyassa
"Blue" Gene Tyranny - The CBCD Intro
Mort Garson - Rhapsody in Green
GKR - Morgunmatur
Maria Minerva - The Sound
Mahmoud Ahmed - Abay Mado
Mahmoud Ahmed - Imbwa Belew
Moose Hill - Little Hawaii
Floyd Tillman - I Love You So Much It Hurts Me
Daniel Age 9 - Lonely Shoe
Brigadier General R. Pirngadie - Bahtera Ladju
Brigadier General R. Pirngadie - Pilu
The Evolutionary Jass Band - Lost in the Stars
DJ Warlord - Warlord Loves You
DJ Paypal - Whisper Zone
Nokwazi - Thula Mphikeni
Hosono, Suzuki, Yamashita - Nostalgia of Island
Arto Lindsay - Mulata Fuzarqueira
The Evolutionary Jass Band - 1968
Benoit Widemann - Tsunami
Haruomi Hosono - Sportsmen
Sporting Life - Badd
Graham Kartna - Null 2
David Darling & Wulu Bunun - Pis Lai
James Blackshaw & Lubomyr Melnyk - Tascheter
SF - Endlos

Popol Vuh - Take The Tension High

Blue sky on an extremely cold January afternoon.

Serenity versus study.

Label: Base Record
Year: 1985
Genre: New Age

Graham Kartna - Null 2

"you know how in happy feet they sing songs to each other to find their soul mate? this is my song."
"Its so weird, there is always some music that you havent heard of before that is weird like this"
"I love you so much"
"what you hear when you die"
"I'm about to break the replay button. Sorry peeps... =l"
"What type of music is this?"

Label: self-released
Year: 2015
Genre: Glitch, Experimental, Electronica

MilkCan - Keep Your Head Up

Late last night I somehow found myself browsing through Playstation One soundtracks online. Things got a little weird and I became obsessed with this: a song from a game I've never played (nor even heard of). The game is UmJammer Lammy, a rhythm adventure in which you play along to music by a fictional band called MilkCan. This tune, 'Keep Your Head Up', is completely out-there. It starts off like a pop-punk showtune before spiralling into a psychedelic whirl that sounds like something Van Dyke Parks would have done had he sold-out. It then transitions into a ska tune, all the while our protagonist Lammy wails in a theatrical, out-of-tune kinda way. But it's all so good. Imagine Frank Zappa doing the music for a musical about Reel Big Fish with the witch from Wicked playing lead.

Label: Sony Records
Year: 1999
Genre: Pop-Punk, J-Pop, Psychedelia, Showtune

Review of 2015 pt.2 - Label focus

Label focus

The nature of the 'netlabel' extinguishes the anxiety of financial concern and soulless advertisement from which physical labels suffer. A netlabel can release music as it pleases and, because the label's music and online presence are inextricable, an emphasis is placed on the aesthetic value of the label. Rather than merely being a means for a release to see the light of day, a netlabel's image is a part of its sound, an vice versa. But the act of releasing music freely doesn't signal a lack of quality control. If anything, records are more likely to be released because of their quality, not because they are expected to make money.

Tasty Morsels

Its design is minimal (as is, sometimes, its music) and its releases are free. Tasty Morsels has a beautifully distinctive identity made up of pastel colours, low-key media presence and understated, somewhat spiritual music.

Eleven minute mini-album trees etc. is a divine and peaceful minimalist work. This morsel's ingredients are clarinet, keyboard, and some perfectly placed field recordings. The record progresses seamlessly, more of a continuous piece of music than individual songs.

There is something very vulnerable sounding about 'The Past Tense'; its gentle vocals (bent in pitch on the word 'strong') and understated melody kept from collapse by a keyboard ostinato.

Activia Benz

In contrast with Tasty Morsels' soft spirituality is Activia Benz, a label that is bold and loud. Its Soundcloud page is seemingly infinite library of distorted dance music, ranging from bubblegum pop to trap. The label's graphic design is consistently stunning: each release has its own visual 'set' consisting of perfectly composed and electrically-coloured objects.

Late Ride's 'Swear' centres on a sample from Pink-E-Swear's kinda-mainstream criminally overlooked pop failure 'Swear'. Its bouncy synths and kick drums pitch it in the middle ground between bubblegum pop and juke.

This track is a boy-girl duet about finding love in a fairground. It is almost sickeningly cute but there is something so appealing about it. The lyrics are wordy and sung in a breathless manner, vocalising a hugely catchy, theatrical melody.

PC Music

The much talked about and seemingly confusing, given the misconceptions about it, label PC Music was far and away the greatest musical success of last year for me. Since this time last year the label has evolved massively, signing a deal with Columbia Records in the Autumn of 2015. With its success has come a great influence on underground pop (see Activia Benz, just above!), unsurpirisng considering the label/collective's incredibly distinctive sound (high-pitched vocals, restless synths, big melodies). Still, its releases vary greatly - some are abstract experiments, others are straightforward chart bangers.

Hannah Diamond is PC Music's popstar, the past and future combine. A throwback to the commercial of the 1990s and early 00s but equally so forward-thinking and revolutionary. Her song 'Hi' is to me, like 'Laplander', sad - a song about loneliness! The song's strength lays in its chord progression (there is one particular chord in the chorus that melts me) and in Diamond's non-linear, acrobatic vocals.

Probably my favourite song of the year, easyFun's 'Laplander' is totally deceptive. Journalists and Soundcloud commenters alike label it as happy or fun, but I hear things differently. To me it is crushingly sad. The lyrics read like an argument ("baby if your life's just a love affair count me out", "don't say I didn't warn you in advance") and the song reaches this absolutely breathtaking cathartic climax where it descends and ascends and descends and ascends. The melody is awesome but the emotion takes it to another level.

Review of 2015 pt.1 - Dig That Treasure!

2015 was Dig That Treasure!'s second full year in existence and although things were a little quiet a lot of the time, there was still a lot of excitement... Here's a round-up.

Dig That Treasure!

Following the sell-out success of DTT's first gig promotion in December 2014, I set to work on putting together a couple more shows... First up was Dig That Treasure!'s second birthday celebration on the 19th August, marked by an amazing show at London's Courtyard Theatre. Heading the bill were gleeful Ethiopian group Krar Collective, supported by the awesome Kiran Leonard and Jerkcurb. A few weeks later was an intimate show in the basement of Brighton pub The Globe, where Stephen Steinbrink and Julie Byrne played beautifully to a small - but full - room.

DTT in radio form came to a temporary end in July, but it went down with a bang. The final show was a 'best of', spinning some of my absolute favourites. But the real success of Dig That Treasure! on Resonance in 2015 took place in March with the broadcast of a special thirty minute interview with Ian Parton of my all-time favourite group The Go! Team. We chatted about imagery, sampling and obsessive record collecting, and I span a couple of tracks from their brand new record The Scene Between.

While I published fewer posts on this blog than in both 2013 and '14, a good few posts still found their way into the open. Highlights included Ted Chippington's deadpan 'Feel Like Buddy Holly', Ho Mei Fan's 'China Night' and the saccharine brilliance of Diveo's 'Ferris Wheel' among many many others...

2016 is going to be a big year. Except a return to the airwaves, more blog posts, and a very exciting resurrection of Dig That Treasure! Records.