Then & Now – Fancy Mike.

Categorised as MIXTAPES., MUSIC.

Fancy Mike is from the Midwest of the ol’ U.S of A. I didn’t know there was much beat music coming out of those ends, but Mike’s been jamming slick as rick hip-hop beats, and juicy trip hop numbers for the past few years. Check Ramachandran below for proof. That tune and a whole heap of others are available on his new album ‘Madison Square Gardner.’ When I asked him to compile a then & now for us he spoke unto me; “Five years ago I was sixteen, and things were different. I played the guitar and just wanted to go to art school. I was more interested in, well, you’ll see.”

Ramachandran by fancymike

THEN

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Eat the Day – Beeblicowcarapis

Eat the Day is Wes Borland and his brother, Scott. Say what you have to say about Limp Bizkit and Fred Durst, it’s all irrelevant to this track. Released as a demo track, Beeblicowcarapis is a track unlike anything I have ever heard, even to this day. It begins rather calmly and then at just 20 seconds, turns into this frenzied guitar riffage. Then, at 2:44 precisely, it again, becomes docile and transforms into a Danny Elfman-like ambient dreamscape. The sheer length and virtuosic range of this track is a true testament to the scope and variety of Borland’s influences as it all manages to go from very hard rock to classical-sounding to finally, prog rock in just under 4 minutes. It’s a shame none of this ever did, and probably never will, see the light of day.

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Enya – Boadicea

I remember first hearing this track in the 1992 film Sleepwalkers. Coupled with the haunting guitar wail of Santo & Johnny’s Sleepwalk as part of the complete soundtrack, the film had quite an impact on the way I have viewed film soundtracks since. True, the film may not be on anybody’s top ten lists and it may have not won many awards but Mick Garris was able to captivate my mind/ears with his unique blend of music and imagery. That, in my opinion, truly merits recognition.

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Lucio Fulci – Zombi 2 (Main Theme)

Yeah, I watched a lot of films. Whenever I hear this track, I immediately think, “OMG, I love Italian music!” This is the main theme to the 1979 cult classic Zombi 2. People will get confused because over here in the United States it was released as Zombie, when really it’s Zombi 2. I remember my father renting the VHS when I was just seven years old and bringing it back home one night. I kept telling him I wanted to see a “real” zombie film so he gave me this and I will never forget the final scene (fast forward to 7:54). The first time I heard the music I didn’t pay attention to how it sounded, and it wasn’t until just five years ago, when I first heard it again, that it instantly took me back to when I was just seven years old, back to when horror movies still scared me. I listen to this about a dozen times a year now, if I can help it; this and Riz Ortolani’s Cannibal Holocaust.

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Rob Dougan – Clubbed to Death 1 & 2

The Matrix OST was released back in 1999 and I remember it was the first film soundtrack I had ever purchased, and since I had also spent my own money on it, I was determined to love it. Back then artists like Propellerheads, Ministry and Meat Beat manifesto were all new to me. What attracted me the most, really, was Marilyn Manson’s name on the back cover. Oddly enough, I was not a Marilyn Manson fan nor was I interested in his music at all, I just recognized his name and thought it was interesting that his name was tied to such a big film. My friends were really into his sound so I thought why not check it out? It’s also because of this soundtrack that I was able to discover artists like Rob Zombie and Rammstein, which is really great. A nice blend of rock and techno/electronic music at this point was good for me. The highlight though, for me, was Rob Dougan’s Clubbed to Death [Kurayamino Mix], because of its unique sound. It was, at the same time, a beautifully composed score, but also, a masterfully-crafted trip-hop/electronic track. I had never heard anything like it before and so, for the next two years, I was an orchestral/electronic/trip-hop junkie. Thanks Rob.

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The Black Keys – Thickfreakness

Some bands are just THE BEST live and the Black Keys are just THAT. The name of the track itself is both an enigma and an odd attraction. This is essentially the White Stripes ‘cept you take away the girl, add a guy, cut some of the bullshit and inject it with a massive dose of blues. Sprinkle some distortion on top and you’ve pretty much got Thickfreakness and just about any other track composed by the Black Keys. Go ahead and squint a little and make that “stink face” while listening to this track, it’s quite necessary.

NOW

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Ben Frost – Killshot

This is the type of music the academics make, except this has a bit more noise and distortion to it. Though many will label Killshot as an electronic track, it is much more than that! As Grayson Currin put it, Frost manages to blend “musique concrète sampled with exorbitant electronic production” and that’s all just on this track! The entire record borrows from drone, ambient, heavy metal and several elements of classical. Do yourself a service and let this track kick your ass, it’ll do you some good. And don’t cover your ears either.

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The Great Shark Hunt by BlankSpaces

Blank Spaces – Magic/The Great Shark Hunt

To prove a point, I have to include two tracks for this one. There’s a lot of that 80s revival thing going on right now and I’m not sure if it’s going to stop anytime soon. Regrettably, hipster-cred still means something to a few artists so it’s still necessary to have to wade through a few shitty tracks to get to the good stuff. In the end though, I think it’s somewhat beneficial to have so much shit because when you discover sounds that come from artists like Blank Spaces, you just want to give yourself a pat on the back. Really, Blank Spaces is all about the music, he (/she?) doesn’t even show us his face, ever (and it’s a he, trust me.) With almost a dozen tracks available, Blank Spaces is doing it all right. The music does sound like it came straight outta the 80s, but really it’s just 2010/1 music disguised as vintage lo-fi cassette music. Some people still like that stuff. I know I do.

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Jamie Vex’d – In System Travel

Everything about In System Travel sounds and feels like molasses. It’s also just one giant build-up track if you think about it. Several moments make you think the beat is about to get louder (which it is) but then, as soon as it gets loud, it returns to its tranquil state and resumes the whole build-up-process thing. It’s a simple trick really, gradually raise the levels of each instrument until you almost reach the apex and then, quickly/suddenly, return to the gradual build-up stage. Brilliant, keeps making me come back.

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Jóhann Jóhannsson – City Building

And In The Endless Pause There Came the Sound of Bees… That’s the name of the album and Jóhann Jóhannsson is one of the many reasons why I listen to modern classical. Jóhannsson recorded this track for the 24-minute short film Varmints but his no-bullshit approach to classical music allowed him to then release it under its own name. I mean, imagine if the score to Jurassic Park was called ‘And in the Meantime, I Will Kill’ instead of just Jurassic Park OST? That makes me love Jóhannsson even more. Much like Philip Glass’ Koyaanisqatsi, you don’t need to have seen the film to enjoy the music. This album made its way to several top ten lists in 2009 on its own, and even two years later I still think it shines.

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Virtual Boy – Mass

If you were to go back say, ten or maybe even fifteen years ago and apply the term “beat music” to a particular track, you could only be referring to either a small and very selective variety of electronic dance music or UK rock music from the 60s. Now, in 2011, with artists like Actress, Jamie xx, Nosaj Thing, Flying Lotus, Zomby and others, beat/electronic music has evolved into a genre that is virtually free of restrictions and capable of infinite possibilities. Virtual Boy’s Mass has glockenspiels, its own string section, an organ, woozy synths, deep basslines, buttery stutters and beats, beats, beats. This track alone borrows from almost every genre of music I have come to love and yeah, it’s also named after that shitty piece of Nintendo hardware… That’s great!

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  • Hot Fucking Babe

    Fancy Mike makes tracks that make me want to just fucking sit on his face!

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