Isn’t time a wonderful thing? It hasn’t changed you at all.

Eddie Halliday – Dust

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There’s a tendency for music to be populist. By that I don’t mean popular music, but pandering to what people instantly want – although much popular music does fall into this category. Populist music is usually upfront emotionally, either overly euphoric or heart-wrenchingly sad. Whilst I love Coldplay, they are very guilty of misuse of emotion in their music. They leave nothing to the imagination. They’re like the Kony 2012 of pop music. The other side of populist music is the ‘hook’. Something that’s repetitive enough that it will stick in your head. I unwittingly sat down to Britain’s Got Talent this Sunday with my house-mates and was bashed around the head with the catchy and profoundly named ‘Where me keys, where me phone’ (warning, link contains spoilers).

Unfortunately most pop music is cynically populist, giving the people what they are told that they want so they can make top dollar. How patronising.

Hilldrop Records (HDR) is a tiny label from Bristol with more acts on its roster than releases. It seems more like a living room with an internet cable than a label. They release their second mix-tape today, An Upward Artful Scarp, featuring the transatlantic Nicholas Stevenson, whose song Ernest I blogged about a while back. But it’s Dust by Eddie Halliday which I’d like to share. The crackle and pop of looped vinyl adds a subtlety and a faux nostalgia to the song, like dust in a strobe light, or summer home videos shot on Super8s. Eddie’s voice softly invites you to partake in his tale, and that’s the essence of Hilldrop, storytelling. Songs slowly drift along like that hazy summer day, but you’re not dragged. There is no brash populism here. Just chilled out summer vibzzz, blud.

Much love,

Tom xx

Drop it and Tell Me


Dance music has become a swirling mess of genres nowadays. James Blake and other ‘oLd sKooL’ dubstep DJs and producers have been pretty vocal in their disdain of their American counterparts aggressive mid-range drop-heavy dubstep. Post-dubstep and future-garage and future-bass music are all terms thrown around almost too readily in a desperate attempt to inform the listener of what they’re about to hear. It sometimes feels like the aesthetic has overtaken the importance of the music, style over substance.

I’ll get this out of the way first: Cube Face is a shit name. Even worse than Radical Face (I hope this ‘Face’ thing isn’t a trend that’s going start like the ‘Crystal (insert noun)’ or ‘Verb-the-Noun’ band name fiascos of the mid noughties). He features on a Brighton based mixtape, the Cadence Sampler and stands out a mile. And that’s not to say that the others are bad.
Tell Me is an echoing masterpiece. The rain in the background reminiscent of a certain Guardian-friendly purveyor of down tempo garage – although these comparisons too often made when referring to an up and coming 2-step producer. The bouncing bass perfectly complements the skipping drums and the arrangement slides itself together effortlessly.

Drop is Tell Me’s quieter, post-club brother. I’m going to say it now, this really does remind you of Burial. But only at first. The magic of this song, what makes my hairs stand on end, is its self-restraint. The bass keeps on gently building, the drums keep on looping, the vocals become more and more enveloping, and finally two minutes into the song, a release. Not like the vomit-y explosion you’ll hear on Dr P’s or Mt. Eden’s new record, but a warm embrace of sonic beauty. It’s a world in a song, where for the four minutes and thirty-five seconds you can escape and let the track lead you wherever it chooses.
Anhow. This guy’s got potential.