Review : Foals - Tapes
Pitchfork"Most consumers gave up on cassette tapes years ago, and the Oxford English Dictionary says it is removing the word 'cassette player' from its dictionary." This news report opens Foals' entry in German label !K7's Tapes series, indicating some desolation at the demise of the rectangular plastic medium. It's too literal an introduction to the Oxford band's wide-reaching addition to the series (which was compiled by the band's keyboardist, Edwin Congreave), clunkily and inadvertently embracing the world of fey frippery from which you imagine Foals would rather distinguish themselves.
In the UK, indie nights are more commonly referred to as "indie discos," that antiquated, mumsy terminology indicating the cozy safeness of a zone where you're never going to get frotted, daggered, subjected to a David Guetta track, or persuaded to take your clothes off and dance in a cage. Jerky, shrieky songs like Foals' "Cassius" are staples on the dancefloors of these places, where hand-wringing and shuffling are the moves of choice. (I may sound disparaging; let it be known that I spent my university nights going to an indie disco on a boat, and that I've cried at a Foals gig more than once.) The misfire of including wan royalty Blood Orange here aside, there's little on Foals' Tapes to suggest that they'd ever set foot in such a bloodless establishment by choice.
Although the compilation's second half (it's supposed to be two sides of a tape) is theoretically the more muscular, South African artist Condry Ziqubu's "Confusion (Ma Afrika)" on side one marks the start of one of the mix's more invigorating arcs. The story goes that Foals singer Yannis Philippakis ripped the song-- cheap keyboards, socially conscious lyrics, and stirring choruses-- off a tape that his mum used to play in the 80s. Congreave pushes that sense of personality through the two subsequent songs, the Invisible's deliciously louche "London Girl" (which appears to nick half the bass line from the Sugarhill Gang's "Rapper's Delight"), and the Gatto Fritto remix of JR Seaton's "Way Savvy", a dizzying, silken scramble that grips the tails of bottle rockets and hangs on for dear life....full text
NmeGerman record label !K7 have been running their DJ-Kicks series since 1995, giving artists, producers and DJs (DUH!) the chance to showcase the music they love. Four Tet did one. Kode9 did one. Gold Panda did one. They were ace. Then, in 2008, !K7 decided to let guitar bands in on it, so they invented the ‘Tapes’ collection, a name presumably chosen to conjure the romance of putting together an actual mixtape on an actual cassette in your actual bedroom and drawing your own artwork in felt tip.
The Rapture went first, in 2008, and relayed their love of Ghostface Killah and Cajmere. Then The Big Pink followed in 2010, focusing on obscure witch house. And now Foals, a quintet who’ve already gone from soundtracking Skins with the hyperactive noodling of ‘Hummer’, to making something that sounds like “the dream of an eagle dying” (their words) on 2010’s ‘Total Life Forever’. So it’s not totally surprising to find they’re into new house, old disco, vintage finds and strange instrumental jams.
On Side A (OK, OK, the effect of sides is kinda lost on a CD), the posterboy for clevertronica Nicholas Jaar kicks things off with a cut from his recent ‘Space Is Only Noise’. But the best of Side A is the deep-grooved emotional dance track ‘Confusion (Ma Afrika)’ by Condry Ziqubu that Foals singer Yannis Philippakis ripped from a tape that belonged to his mum in the ’80s. At the other end of the spectrum, if you’ve been near a club in the past two years it’s likely you’ll have shared a moment to Teengirl Fantasy’s euphoric ‘Cheaters’, improved here by Barcelonian producer and all round-dance hero John Talabot. See him next time he’s in town or die a miserable, Balearic dance-less death....full text
ClashmusicCompiled to reflect the sound of the entire band, Edwin – ‘I want to be more daring than to throw some random music together and call it a DJ mix’ – Congreave, has selected with more ambition than his curatorial ‘Tapes’ predecessors. Yet, is it humanly possible to withstand more ‘curated albums’? Yes; Ed has nous. Included here is a world exclusive… the first 1980s South African pop to appear on a compilation. ‘Confusion’ is an intriguing cornerstone for a well-considered concoction....full text
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