About The Cold Cut...

The musings of a teenage audiophile. Indie, Rock, Hip-Hop, Rap, Dance, Dubstep, Garage, Metal... music crosses all boundaries. The Cold Cut is devoted to giving you a taste of what's going on in music at the moment.

About Me

A 17 year old taking his first tentative steps into the world of blogging. In my first year, its been up and down, from the slow first months to a busy time around the one year anniversary.

What the digital revolution missed...

Ashwin here.

So guys, this week I've been making a mixtape for a friend, and I figured a good way to introduce myself would be by posting it on here for you lovely people.

But first, let me extol the virtues of the cassette mixtape over a CD. I'm sure plenty of people think cassettes are obsolete these days, but in my opinion they serve a vital role.

Practically, in some ways they're more useful. You can only store 80 minutes of music on an audio CD, but 90 on a cassette. They're also more durable, it's hard to snap a tape in half by accident. Tapes are prettier too. Case in point: the first google image result for cassette, vs the first google image result for CD...

which would you rather stick in your stereo?

The most important thing though, and I cannot stress this enough, is this:

sequential access

i.e. to listen to a track you have to have listened to (or fast forwarded past) all of the tracks before it. This is the real magic of a mixtape. With a mixtape, you can tell a story, build up to crescendos, and make the listener expect and receive whatever you want. When you can instantly skip to any track you want, this power is lost. You've gone from a musical novel to simply a group of tracks. You've lost your power over the listener forever without sequential access.

Nevertheless, here is my mixtape in all of its digital, skippable glory. Hope you like electro.

Immuzikation- Fortisphere

Justice vs Daft Punk vs Kanye West vs A-Trak vs Diplo- Fortisphère (Immuzikation Blend) (Link 2)

What happens when you take the songs below, splice them and force them into a shell of 3 minutes? 'Fortisphere'. In a time when many people are talking about the end of the world, this is the song that I would want to go out to.
  • Justice - Planisphère Part 1
  • Daft Punk - Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger
  • Kanye West - Stronger
  • Kanye West - Stronger (A-Trak Remix)
  • Kanye West and Daft Punk - Stronger (Live at the Grammy's)
  • Diplo - Work is Never Over
It's reassuring that some things never change. Even though the stock market is slowly dying, and the world is rumoured to end sometime soon, one thing has never changed. No matter what, I can always rely on a new track from Immuzikation gracing my ears every now and then. And that's why we love him so damn much.

The latest and greatest from Alfredo is 'Fortisphere', a truly epic piece of mash-up magic that combines most of the things I love and somehow manages to not screw it up. This song is destined for a live outing soon- no club, stadium or galaxy is too big for this song.

'Fortisphere' is just another string to Immuzikation's bow- if someone doesn't snap this guy up soon I might have to start my own record label and do the honours.


Introducing... A new face, and Planisphere

Will here, and as promised, a new face. Be warned- with a musical knowledge that spans across galaxies, Ashwin is here, and he takes no prisoners. Enjoy.

Hey guys, I'm the new guy here at The Cold Cut, I'm Ashwin and it's a pleasure to meet you, but I'm no fan of small talk when there's music to be argued over.

So while Bloc Party seem to be moving away from the guitars and onto the synths with their latest surprise release, Justice seem to be doing the opposite.

Their new release was commissioned by Dior Homme for their new fashion show. It shies away from the more lightweight, simple, glitchy hooks of their album, and takes a more Waters of Nazareth approach to things. The tracks are intense, exciting, even involving a massive guitar solo in the final act. A guitar solo, in electro!

You all know why the dance world fell in love with Justice in the first place, that gritty, messy, just downright thrilling grungy sound, and the rock flavour accentuates that no end. It sounds more like Justice than ever, unapologetic electro in the high polished world of fashion. Enter Planisphère.

Now comparisons will always be drawn with Daft Punk when it comes to Justice, and DP themselves did a killer track for Louis Vuitton. This is more some kind of hectic electro opera though, with it's overarching melodies and hooks. Think Intersterlla 5555 kind of thing. I can see Justice doing a feature film if they keep stuff like this up. Man, that has to happen.
Anyway, enjoy the tracks.

Justice - Planisphère, Part 1 [Link 2]

p.s. Will pronounces Justice differently to me. I say Justice, he says Justeece. I think I'm right though, since in the introductions to Ed Bangers compilations, they say Justice. Opinions? [Will: I'm just trying to sound French!]

Myspace [BUY]

Fabrizio Moretti shuns The Strokes with Little Joy

Update: 3 Tracks are now online over at the Myspace. Enjoy a sneak peak:

Little Joy- No One Better's Sake

Another few months pass, and another member of The Strokes announces their own side project.

Obviously feeling that he missed out on the solo-pie, Fabrizio Moretti (aka the drummer) has been brewing his own project, entitled Little Joy. The project itself sounds enticing (anything even remotely connected to The Strokes gets most people going), although Devendra Banhart notably produced the entirety of the LP, coming out November 4th.

Alas, no tunes, as of yet... but if you keep checking Little Joy's Myspace, I'm sure you will eventually be rewarded. Instead, enjoy a Strokes rarity, if you like:

The Strokes- Hawaii Aloha (Live) (Link 2)

LP tracklisting is as follows:
1.The Next Time Around
2.Brand New Start
3. Play the Part
4. No One's Better Sake
5. Unattainable
6. Shoulder to Shoulder
7. With Strangers
8. Keep Me in Mind
9. How to Hang a Warhol

10. Don't Watch Me Dancing
11. Evaporar

The Dark Knight. The ultimate cinematic experience.

I couldn't handle a 'hot out of the screening room' review of The Dark Knight. I'm still unsure how the collected press managed to draft up honest reviews of the film mere minutes after walking out of the press screenings. Maybe I was too wrapped up in all the pre-release hype that surrounded this film, but regardless, that hype was not left unjustified.

The Dark Knight, as a cinematic spectacle, is unmatched by any blockbuster of the last ten years (my movie-going period). It is also the most emotionally draining piece of culture that I have ever being exposed to. I felt like a shell of my former self as we walked out of the cinema, physically exhausted by the ever-changing merry-go-round of emotions that the film conjured in me.

The only place to start is the hype. The buzz surrounding this film has been fever-pitch since Commissioner Gordon handed over the Joker card to our caped crusader as the credits rolled for Batman Begins. In that card, Christopher Nolan sent an obvious signal that whilst he wasn't committed to a sequel, Batman was officially reborn, and ready for a franchise if the world was ready for it. And we were.

Cinema is, by the law of averages, a lonely experience. Sure, we go in pairs, threes or more, but ultimately, sitting in a dark room watching a screen is an anti-social experience. So, why do we do it? For the reaction. And if you are looking for a provoking film, look no further. At my birthday dinner I was quite happy to argue with my parents that as a cinematic experience, this is the pinnacle. For two hours.

The Dark Knight is probably not the best movie ever. It would be hard to argue that it is a complete masterpiece, as there are a few limited flaws. And yet, as a complete package, there is nothing out there that even comes close to this as a piece of cinema. The film itself has obviously connected with audiences the world over, and most average people that you speak to would happily place this film in their top 5 of all time. The $300 million in 10 days (amongst a host of other amazing records) alongside a never-ending series of 5 star reviews mean that The Dark Knight will never be forgotten.

Christopher Nolan has a dilemma to deal with. Where do you go from this? Whilst his previous films have all been brilliant, this huge level of commercial success has never factored into his equation, and yet these kind of figures will have changed that. The Prestige was a commercial hit, debuting at #1 in the US and garnering Academy Award nominations. And yet if you mentioned it, most people wouldn't bat an eyelid. The Dark Knight is not that film.

The film is centered around a host of characters who are all totally inhabited by the actors. Christian Bale will no doubt be under-appreciated as Bruce Wayne, although he is the foundation of this film, holding the meandering plot together. Maggie Gyllenhaal reinvents Rachel Dawes, taking over from Katie Holmes and thankfully erasing her annoying turn in Batman Begins from my memory. Then we have the 'white knight' to Batman's 'dark knight'- Harvey Dent. Aaron Eckhart is another success story, using the talent he has to burn and creating an interesting character arc for Harvey. We care about him, and that is the crucial aspect- that whilst Two Face does appear in this film, we are still aware that he and Harvey are the same person, regardless of whats going on underneath that exterior. Commisioner Gordon has an expanded role in this sequel, and Gary Oldman is once again stellar, with the rest of the cast also providing interesting foils for the leads.

And finally I am brought to Heath Ledger. Heath, Heath, Heath. This performance is far bigger than him. It's far bigger than this film. It's bigger than the hype surrounding it. This film has reinvented the concept of a villain. The Joker is a villain for the modern era, killing and creating havoc purely because he wants to. There are no motives- evidence in the fact that his back story continually changes, and the 'wanna know how I got these scars?' question pops up a few times, each time with a different answer. We have all heard the buzz surrounding Ledger's widely supported Oscar nomination, and it is founded. And yet, most of the buzz suggests a nomination for Best Supporting Actor. In actuality, The Joker is the lead role, carrying this film, his presence never absent.

This last fact is down to the fact that Gotham City plays a much bigger role second time around. The shots of Christian Bale standing alone on some of the city's skyscrapers are truly breathtaking, and although I didn't see the film in IMAX, I am almost certain that these visuals would be even more impressive on the larger screens. And through Gotham's presence and destruction, The Joker is effectively never off screen. He orchestrates the destruction which plagues the city- cause and effect.

There are some places where this film experiences slight mis-steps. Whilst the first film felt relatively (and that is a huge 'relatively') grounded in terms of realistic technology, The Dark Knight moves away from this approach. Whilst the Batpod is one of the coolest pieces of automotive technology to ever grace the screen, the circumstances in which this transition is made are a little far-fetched. And in the closing moments of the film, a certain piece of equipment almost burst the bubble of Gotham's believable world which had been built so well. Finally, Christian Bale over does the gruff voice a little bit. And that's it.

So, The Dark Knight. Finally, a film by Christopher Nolan that saw the public realisation of his talent. A film that features many revelations- Heath Ledger's terrible passing, and outstanding performance. A film which may finally unseat Titanic. A viral phenomena. And most importantly, a brilliant film. A film that deserves to be remembered, in our hearts and in the record books. The Dark Knight. Where next?

Bloc Party- 'Talons', and the infuriating truth of their track distribution.

Bloc Party- Talons (Link 2)

The hype surrounding 'Intimacy' is slowly ebbing away. In retrospect, you gotta say- what a move by Bloc Party. I'll be posting my full verdict on the album soon, but this I'll say: 'Intimacy' definitely has its charms.

Bloc Party are a pretty solid band by my reckoning. I don't buy into this whole 'Kele is a moody bastard' shit- as long as the tunes keep coming, then I'll be happy. Kele is entitled to his privacy, and his mood-swings. I do, however, have a few niggles with the band, all based around their music, and primarily where its going. Firstly, one of my mates astutely pointed out that Bloc Party always release great songs in the aftermath of an album release. It's happened thrice- 'Two More Years' and 'The Marshalls Are Dead' were nigh on perfect, and could have lifted the latter part of 'Silent Alarm'. 'Weekend In The City' suffered badly from top-heavy track listing, and was followed by a host of bonus tracks that were stronger than most of the songs on the album ('Rhododendron', 'Atonement', 'The Once And Future King' and 'Version 2.0' to name a few).

And now, we have 'Intimacy'. The pacing is kind of wrong on this album... it starts loudly, but the first few songs are weak and jarring, excepting 'Biko'. The album slowly builds to a perfect, redeeming second half. Riddle me this- I purchased the mp3 version of the album, and whilst I recieved their new single (I thought single's were meant to come from albums?) 'Talons' free by email, it is not included in the album listing. This is a move beyond comprehension- 'Talons' is one of the stronger singles they've released in recent years, with chiming bells and a dance riff that is definitive of Bloc Party's new direction. Kele said of 'Talons':

“We wanted to keep things fresh and we thought the fans would be more excited to get a new song rather than something off the album. Talons is one of the last songs we recorded during the Intimacy sessions and I always had it in mind to be one of the extra tracks we promised for the CD if it turned out well. It turned out great so we decided to make it the next single. I’m enjoying this way of working, not over-thinking things, just make a decision and get on with it! It’s quite liberating in a way, I’m sure it’s going to be the way things happen more and more in the future."

The person responsible for the ordering of BP's albums really needs to get the boot. All three have been either top or bottom heavy, with unbelievable emissions- think about 'Intimacy', except remove 'Ares' and 'Mercury' and replace them with the one two punch of 'Talons' and 'Flux'. That's a proposition.

Secondly- where do the band see themselves in a few years time? I get the distinct impression that 'Silent Alarm' was just a front- albeit a fantastic, album of the year front. However, Kele has always made it clear that he wants to experiment- I remember one particular interview where he spoke of his long term wish- to mess around with Timbaland beats, basically. I respect this, but why not just start as you wish to continue? Anyway, back to the present- 'Talons' is another triumph for the band. It's just not going to make as big of an impact as it could.

Intimacy can be bought from the Bloc Party website. In doing so, you can collect your free download of 'Talons'.

How does this feel? Like a drink of water after a long walk in the desert.

Kanye West- Love Lockdown (Link 2)

I feel relieved. I feel happy. I feel exhausted. Many emotions. First, the good news. I am now able to get back into the swing of things. I have internet. I have lots of stuff to catch up with. I need to burst the bubble around me. The Cold Cut needs to become relevant again. Most of all, I have a blog to run. And run-it I will.

So how does one burst the bubble that's been enclosing you? With difficulty... I must admit, my lack of contact with the internet, TV and news has been a bit of an eye opener. As in, what the hell would we do without it? Now I appreciate it even more- I feel lucky to be connected again.

Anyway, back to the music. I've missed it ever so much, looking through my emails longingly on my phone. Able to see, but not to listen. Out of all the music that has flooded my inbox (about 250 emails and counting from the last few weeks- keep 'em coming), one track stands out. It's so 'now'. Kanye West's new track 'Love Lockdown', from the upcoming album release, '808's And Heartbreak'. A live debut at the VMA's was incredibly promising (watch it), and yet the recorded version falls annoyingly flat.

Disregarding an over-generous bass track that I could listen to all day long, it's hard to like this song, let alone love it. 'Love Lockdown' starts, peaks, starts, troughs, restarts... and finishes. It goes nowhere... Instead, we are treated to 270 seconds of Kanye living out a T-Pain fantasy. Jittery pianos and a vocoder dominate proceedings. There is no Chris Martin this time, though. And no intelligent sampling.

The VMA's were the perfect platform from which to launch the new album. Kanye performed well, his voice fragile, but hidden away behind Autotune. He sings better than you might expect, but will struggle with the live demands of this song. Still, it was a great performance, with strong images through lighting and his performance. Unfortunately, these fixtures cannot be translated onto the studio version.

This song hurts. Where has the genius of 'The College Dropout' gone? The concept is all wrong- Kanye isn't a singer by nature. It's brave, but a whole song of slow vocals is really pushing it. And in using a vocoder, you immediately take the emotion out of a song. I mean, who would attempt to prove that 'Lollipop' is an emotionally affecting song?

'808's And Heartbreak' drops on December 16th. Pre-order it on Amazon. The chips seem stacked against Kanye at this point in time. I'm not even going to mention the whole arrest fiasco. Still, I would never bet against him. Oh, and good luck Kanye. May you shock us all.