The Oxford quintet's keyboardist, Edwin Congreave, shares the music he and his bandmates love
German 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.
Side B, meanwhile, goes in deep. It begins with the “underground house music, broadcasting live from the underground, we are buried alive” of Art Department’s ‘We Call Love’, one of last year’s biggest house tracks, and drifts into Cerrone’s ‘Give Me Love’, remixed by Frankie Knuckles, which is a HUGE hitter. ‘Battle For Middle You’ by Julio Bashmore (of Jessie Ware’s ‘110%’ fame) follows.
‘Tapes’ begins with a voice saying “most consumers gave up on tapes years ago”, which is true. But as The Horrors and The xx have already shown this year by sharing their favourite tunes via Facebook, there’s something thrilling about a band encouraging us to take a chance and step outside musical comfort zones into
something totally different. Yes, this is a mixtape of other people’s tunes, like you’ve made in your bedroom dozens of times before. But it isn’t nostalgia, it’s very 2012.