Video: A Leave Taking - Bill Ryder-Jones

File this under spellbinding. I didn't know who Bill Ryder-Jones was but a trip to Wikipedia soon had me informed that he used to play guitar for the Coral but that he quit for 'reasons unknown'. Being a bit of a hater of The Coral I'd like to think that he maybe just realised their twee folk psychedlia was shit. But that's probably just me being unfair.

Anyway, Bill appears to be heading into the realms of contemporary classical music and if this video, directed by Adeline Mai, is anything to go by then that is a good thing. I struggle to understand within the video what is real and what is post-production, but regardless it's pretty special. The combination of filters applied to the swimming couple feels like a brilliant visualisation of the sounds. Just a word of warning - the video is probably slightly NSFW.

You can download Ryder-Jones' EP, A Leave Taking, for free here. He will be releasing his debut album on Domino imprint Double 6 soon.

BP x

Competition: Win tickets for Azari & III album launch at XOYO

Azari & III had my attention back when they collaborated with Friendly Fires on the rather fabulous 'Stay Here'. Since then they've impressed with their lush takes on vintage house, particularly 'Reckless (With Your Love)'.

Their eponymous début album drops next Monday on Loose Lips and to celebrate the band will be playing live at a launch party in London's XOYO on Thursday 11 August.

You can buy tickets here but BlackPlastic are giving away a pair of tickets. To be in with a chance of winning all you need to do is send an email to Competitions@BlackPlastic.co.uk [competition now closed] with the subject line 'I'm too hip to pay, innit'. Please include your full name so I can get you added to the guestlist.

Competition closes at midnight on Thursday 4 August, the winner will be notified by email.

BP x

Album Review: We Love... Portraits 01 - Mat Playford

We Love... has been the tale of Ibiza legend since its inception back in 1999 when it took over the infamous Sunday all day and all night slot at Space. A club night that originally started on a Sunday morning and ran for a full 22 hours, whilst revellers can bask in the outside terrace area: what's not to like?

Except of course times change - Space first received a canopy (blocking out those glorious hands-in-the-air as planes swoosh over moments) and then a full-on roof. The hours have now been reduced to 14 hours, with the action kicking off at 4pm on Sundays. I went back to Ibiza last year for my second time, the first time in seven years. I wasn't there on a clubbing excursion but even so - things have noticeably changed. The warmth of the white isle runs through my veins - it's difficult to resist the lure of gorgeous beaches, sunshine and house music - but things change.

At least they have changed for most of us. Because if you listen to Mat Playford's 'artist profile' you just might find yourself falling down the rabbit hole. This being number '01' it clearly represents the first in a series so I can't conclude that they will all follow the same format but what we have here is basically two albums. The first is an artist effort, with Mat Playford (or his Weirdo Police alter ego) providing original material, whilst the second set is a conventional mix album.

If this sounds like a bad idea, that is because it is. Albums by DJs can be pretty terrible at the best of times, sticking one at the beginning of a mix CD screams 'phoned in'. As such I'm pleasantly stunned to find that Playford's own material here is mostly good and at times excellent. It is truly soaked in Balearic vibes but it still takes in a variety of sounds - opening track 'Evidence' is cosmic and chilled, like Jean Michel Jarrett taking over Café Del Mar. It's easy to bite your thumb at a bit of chill these days but this is surprisingly good and when it is sunny it sounds undeniably good.

The DJ set element kicks in with one of Playford's own compositions, smoothing what could otherwise have been a slightly bumpy transition. Things start fairly laid back and cosmic however, with Ford Inc.'s 'Delirium' little more than some gentle funky keys and Salt City Orchestra's 'Downtime' adding a bit of bass but still playing gently.

Mat Playford's mix of Luca C's Ali Love featuring 'Different Morals' is the first track to raise the pulse a little, but it keeps things classy - funky but minimal, Love's vocal doesn't overpower the mix and the real star here is the reverb, coating the song in deep, lazy sunshine. The dark acid house of Joe Morris' 'Velocity House' is another highlight, vintage house stabs pounding out a melody that emerges from the darkness like the sun cutting through grey.

The set finishes with the epic 'Face The Music' by Tim Deluxe, which combines loose, live sounding percussion with a euphoric techno-inspired synth line. It's all hands-in-the-air until the break drops all but the beat and throws in a piano and some classy brass. Suddenly you really are on the (proper) terrace at Space, listening to a fusion of jazz, house and techno.

It's a fantastic end to the set and the album. Portraits 01 does a great job of recapturing the spirit of 'We Love...' and does a good enough job at demonstrating Playford's DJing and production skill. Now if only I had another trip to Ibiza on the cards...

BP x

Portraits 01 is out now on We Love Recordings, the full set is available from Amazon on CD or MP3 [affiliate links].

Album Review: W - Planningtorock

It's been a while since I've heard an album this good. Planningtorock, or Janine Rostron to her parents, seems to have become something of a sensation over the past few months with her sophomore album creating a bit of a storm. Rostron is the the kind of artist I overhear in a record store and then go to check out only to find I've already downloaded three songs from a selection of blogs. Which isn't to say I'm cool - just that she must have had particularly good write-ups for me to download something without hearing of her first.

Well it turns out that Planningtorock more than deserves those write-ups. W is as a complete an album as you could hope for, drawing the listener in gently and then refusing the let go. The opening tracks come are seductive, at first ballsy and brash ('Doorway', with a full-on, strutting bass line) before becoming isolated and nervy (’The One'). Over the course of the album Rostron gradually winds the screws and it becomes clear just how much she has to offer.

The thing is: W is what people try and pretend good pop music is. Take everything Beyoncé ever released and it wouldn't touch this, simply because Planningtorock actually has the ideas and passion that a multi-million-dollar marketing budget promise but can't deliver. Check 'Manifesto' - if Beyoncé had released it people would be falling at their feet. Built on slices of samba rhythm and boasting a melt-in-the-mouth break in the middle, it challenges and rewards in ways that a Major Lazer sampling hit single only has wet dreams about.

'I'm Yr Man' is a woman being more Mick Jagger than Mick himself, the persistent drum beat hammering into you skull like a nagging naughty thought you just can't put away. Is Janine dreaming of what she wants or what she wishes she was. Or, more likely, just exemplifying the contradictory needy arrogance at the heart of the male ego? Probably all three.

And if 'I'm Yr Man' is a modern twist on cock rock then 'Living It Out' is disco re-imagined - a thunderous statement of intent. As Planningtorock sings about "Living it up, living it down, living it in, living it out" she sounds unstoppable. "My head's on fire", she wails: that familiar feeling of the pursuit of hedonism at the expense of rationality.

W is an album of nooks and crannies, ideas and ideals, promises and revelations. Constantly leaving you guessing what is next, it rewards in a way I haven't experienced all year.

BP x

W is out now on DFA, available from Amazon.co.uk on CD, LP and MP3 [affiliate links].

Video: Pulsator - Synthjunk

Whoever Synthjunk is, this is basically him showing off. This video shows off not just his composition skills but also an immense collection of synthesisers. I'm quite jealous.

The video itself is also really well put together - filmed in low light black & white it really lets all those blinking lights on the equipment do the talking.

Check out Synthjunk's YouTube channel for more.

BP x