Tuesday, 21 December 2010

End of year dance/electronic charts for 2010

Well, it's been a quiet year for this blog due to many reasons such as becoming a student again and going freelance but thankfully the world of electronic music has been as lively and creative as ever. So, without further ado, here are my charts for 2010 as compiled recently for Mixmag and musicOMH.

  1. Chemical Brothers Further [Virgin]
  2. Posthuman Syn Emergence [Balkan Vinyl]
  3. Jaga Jazzist One Armed Bandit [Ninja Tune] 
  4. Applescal A Mishmash Of Changing Moods [Traum Schallplatten]
  5. Teebs Ardour [Brainfeeder]
  6. Diskjokke En Fin Tid [Smalltown Supersound]
  7. Ost & Kjex Cajun Lunch [Diynamic Music]
  8. Funki Porcini On [Ninja Tune]
  9. Pacific! Narcissus [Vulture]
  10. The Orb feat. Dave GilmourMetallic Spheres [Columbia]

  1. DJ Food The Shape Of Things That Hum [Ninja Tune]
  2. Chemical Brothers Swoon [Freestyle Dust]
  3. Jaga Jazzist Bananfluer Overalt [Ninja Tune]
  4. Fatboy Slim vs Hervé Machines Can Do The Work (Action Man aka Hervé Acid Flash Mix) [Skint]
  5. Flying Lotus MmmHmm [Warp]
  6. Doctor P Sweet Shop [Circus]
  7. Moby Study War (Savage Skulls Remix) [Little Idiot]
  8. Jon Hopkins Vessel (Four Tet Remix) [Double Six]
  9. Nero Electron [More Than Alot]
  10. Burns & Fred Falke YSLM [Deconstruction]
  11. Duck Sauce Barbara Streisand [3 Beat/AATW]
  12. Mr Blink Gecko (Burns’ Stop Start Remix) [Fly Eye]
  13. Four Tet Angel Echoes [Domino]
  14. Tinie Tempah Pass Out [Parlophone]
  15. Cee Lo Green Fuck You [Warner Bros]
  16. Pryda Emos [Pryda]
  17. Sidney Samson Riverside [Data]
  18. Japanese Popstars feat. Green Velvet Let Go [Virgin/EMI]
  19. Yolanda Be Cool & DCUP We No Speak Americano [AATW/Sweat It Out]
  20. Robyn Dancing On My Own [Konichiwa]
Originally posted on http://blog.ianroullier.com on 21 December 2010.

Thursday, 26 August 2010

An evening with the Eurythmics

So finally, the Eurythmics interview explained! Apologies yet again for the delay - so much going on, more of which another time.

The deal was that Dave Stewart and Annie Lennox were holding a viewing to mark the opening of an exhibition of Eurythmics artwork from throughout their career together. Both of them were set to attend and so they did.

Entering the art gallery revealed the duo sitting stock still on chairs with their eyes shut as TV screens flashed up images behind them, a kind of living piece of art in itself. This continued for some time until the duo freed themselves up to mingle with the assembled media, friends and other guest list blaggers.

My brief was to attend and try and get an interview with them about their latest reformation and collaboration together, 'I've Got A Life', which marked their latest hits compilation 'Ultimate Collection'. Now, I was just starting out, very inexperienced and feeling a bit nervous. How could I just go up and ask one of the biggest selling artists of the 80s (75 million units sold globally to date) for an unbooked interview on the spot? That's when my duty to do the job in hand overrode my fear however, something that has always stood me in good stead since thankfully - though the free champagne that was flowing may have also given me a handy shove in the right direction!

Dave Stewart had always struck me as an aloof character so I thought I'd be better off approaching Annie Lennox first. I explained who I was and asked for a short interview with her and also dropped in that I was just starting out as a journalist so a bit nervous, no harm in being honest eh?

Her eyes were open but seemingly shut as she replied, if the eyes are the windows to the soul then she had the shutters down and I could read no emotion in them, perhaps indicative of speaking to the press for most of her life. What she said to me was really kind though, "I'm sorry but I've got a lot of friends here that I haven't seen for a long time and want to catch up with. Good luck with your career though."

So I was left with the even more daunting prospect of asking the 'unapproachable one' (to my preconceiving mind at least) for an unplanned, unbooked interview instead. I waited for a suitable time then approached Dave Stewart in the same way I had Annie Lennox - the whole 'nervous, just starting out' thing included.

I was suprised when he told me, in the friendliest way possible, that he could spare some time and would meet me over by the door in a few minutes time when he had worked his way through the crowd as nothing would meet be picked up on a dictaphone in such a noisy room. And even having withstood the embarrassment of me approaching and double checking a few minutes later that it was still OK (damn nerves/champagne!) Dave Stewart did indeed give me some of his time for an interview just outside the front door of the gallery.

He was amiable, friendly and while clearly a star with his mid-Atlantic twang, was completely genuine and unpretentious. Cool and easy, kind of the way I would expect Ringo Starr to be (but that's another preconceived idea yet to be challenged)! He only spoke to me for about seven minutes but, indicative of dealing with the press most of his life, gave me enough to work into a feature. You can read the results here.

So, a baptism of fire perhaps but also a hugely important confidence boost and a vital step towards actually believing I was a music journalist!

Useless music fact #13: Annie Lennox was born on Christmas Day.

Originally posted on http://blog.ianroullier.com on 26 August 2010.

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Starting out - interviews

It's been a while. My day job as an editor has been taking over far too much lately meaning that any music related writing has had to be put on the back burner.

Looking back at the most recent set of posts on here, I realise there's been a lot of negativity flying around. Have I finally lapsed into being a jaded hack? Tales of problematic interviewees and scathing album reviews may point towards this. I do however remain relatively chipper thank you very much so feel it's time to put some more positive tales out there.

Which brings me on to good interviewees. As I said before, I take musicians as I do everyone else, as human beings. And you are bound to encounter human beings you get on with and those that you don't. I am happy to report that I have had far more of the former as interviewees than the latter (the latter being almost wholly covered in previous posts).

My first few phone interviews since I started writing about music again about six years ago were with million unit album sellers, Röyksopp, an unknown act called Dear Eskiimo, who have now gone on to become the Ting Tings, and Dave Stewart of the hugely successful Eurythmics. Each was massively different but taught me valuable lessons.

The interview with Torbjörn Brundtland of Röyksopp was a strange start. Every time I asked a question he gave me a witty, surreal answer but because in my head I felt I had to get serious answers, I kept pressing him, asking him the same questions till he gave in and gave a serious answer. Which not only must have been quite frustrating for him but meant the interview went on for the best part of 90 minutes! He even asked at one point, "Is this interview for radio?"

So not a great start but I learned that it's best to take interviewees as they are rather than trying to force the desired answers out of them. More importantly I learned that it's invariably better to put across any humour and personality that comes across.

Dear Eskiimo was different altogether as they were in the same boat as me - nervous because it was one of their first interviews. That common ground allowed everyone to relax a bit and the interview flowed well. The Eurythmics interview was by far the most daunting though. More of which on my my next blog post...

Useless music fact #12: The Chemical Brothers were one of the few people not to be grounded by the Icelandic volcano as they had a private jet chartered. Brothers gonna work it out!

Originally posted on http://blog.ianroullier.com on 20 April 2010.

Saturday, 30 January 2010

Shouting spite or spouting shite?

"Lame-arsed, flat productions with all the bollocks of a eunuch..."

I've just written my most negative and scathing review ever (click here to read the full review).

While there have been other occasions in the past when I've been critical I've never been this angry, vitriolic and downright negative. Why? Because most music is average, not genre shatteringly brilliant or so awful you want to pour molten lead into your ears. And as a 'critic' its surely my job to write a fair portrayal of an album, single or gig or whatever it is? If it's average, it's down to me to weigh up the pros and cons and sum them up, in as entertaining and colourful a way as possible of course (bland music should NOT result in bland writing!).

Some reviewers/critics clearly beg to differ though. In a vain (i.e. narcissistic) attempt to add 'edge' or 'personality' to an article, some hacks feel the need to write a black or white review about something which is decidedly grey. The end results vary from scathing acidic streams of swear-word crammed spite or arse-licking sugar coated statements of sickening, undying love.

There's nothing wrong with loving or hating something but if you have to bend the truth to pretend you actually give a toss either way, surely that results in distorted, unfair reviewing?

The worst cases are when a journalist is so desperate for their review to scream 'look at me' that they actually forget to mention what they are reviewing or offer any insight into it, instead opting for shouting and screaming and swearing at the the top of their voices in an attempt to get themselves a job or at least appear they're as spiky and off the scale as their high maintenance haircuts.

For examples of ranting reviews that don't actually review a thing, look no further than The Fly magazine, which seems to specialise in the art.

So I may have written a hugely negative album review but it genuinely was that shit! In my opinion anyway...

Useless music fact #11: Liam Gallagher's solo effort is set for release by July 2010. So Oasis minus the brains equals what exactly? The man who owes Ian Brown and Tim Burgess thousands in image rights payments has never been known for being 'the creative one has he? This is a useless music fact as all signs seem to point to the fact that the music will indeed be useless. Prove us wrong our kid!

Originally posted on http://blog.ianroullier.com on 30 January 2010.

Friday, 8 January 2010

End of year dance/electronic charts for 2009

After yesterday's Top 10 albums of the decade, here are my Top 10 dance/electronic albums and Top 20 dance/electronic tracks of 2009 as compiled for Mixmag and included in their end of year charts:


1. The ProdigyInvaders Must Die [Take Me To The Hospital]
2. Deadmau5 For Lack Of A Better Name [Virgin]
3. Kris MenaceIdiosyncrasies [New State/Compuphonic]
4. Mr OizoLamb’s Anger [Because]
5. King RocChapters [Music Response]
6. Harmonic 313When Machines Exceed Human Intelligence [Warp]
7. Echaskech Shatterproof [Just Music]
8. The QemistsJoin The Q [Ninja Tune]
9. Fever RayFever Ray [Rabid/V2]
10. The OrbBaghdad Batteries [Malicious Damage]


1. The ProdigyWarriors Dance [Take Me To The Hospital]
2. DJ FoodOne Man’s Weird Is Another Man’s World [Ninja Tune]
3. Mr Oizo Positif [Ed Banger]
4. La RouxIn For The Kill (Skream's Let's Get Ravey Mix) [Polydor]
5. Moodymanc Seedz [Tsuba]
6. The GossipLove Long Distance (Fake Blood Remix) [Columbia]
7. Deadmau5 I Remember [Virgin]
8. diskJokke Rosenrod [Moshi Moshi Singles Club]
9. Lindstrøm The Magnificent [Smalltown Supersound]
10. Skream Burning Up [Digital Soundboy Recording]
11. Buraka Som SistemaSound Of Kuduro [Fabric]
12. Röyksopp Happy Up Here [Wall Of Sound]
13. Calvin HarrisReady For The Weekend (High Contrast Mix) [Columbia]
14. Moby Shot In The Back Of The Head [Little Idiot]
15. The ProdigyOmen [Take Me To The Hospital]
16. Sei AChinese Whispers [International Deejay Gigolo]
17. Dizzee RascalBonkers [Dirtee Stank]
18. Smoove & TurrellBeggarman [Jalapeno]
19. Deadmau5 Ghosts ‘N’ Stuff [Virgin]
20. Calvin HarrisI’m Not Alone [Columbia]

Originally posted on http://blog.ianroullier.com on 8 January 2010.

Thursday, 7 January 2010

Top 10 albums of the decade

A brief break from the talk of dodgy interviewees for a moment for an 'everyone's doing it and, well, so am I actually' end of decade chart. I came up with this list for a website I write for (musicOMH.com pop pickers) and only The Strokes made it through to the final top 21 (see here for that) so here is my two penneth for the best albums from 2000-2009:


   1. Chemical BrothersWe Are The Night
   2. Klaxons Myths Of The Near Future
   3. Royksopp Melody AM
   4. Justice Cross
   5. Tim Story & Hans Joachim RoedeliusLunz
   6. Saint GermainTourist
   7. Badly Drawn BoyThe Hour Of Bewilderbeast
   8. Black Devil Disco ClubIn Dub
   9. Boards Of CanadaGeogaddi
  10. The StrokesIs This It?

The problem with things like this is you always remember other albums after you've sent the list off. I would add to this, Daedelus' 'Love To Make Music To' which would come in at around number six, meaning The Strokes wouldn't even have made it! It's a funny old game.

Useless music fact #10:
The best selling single of the decade was 'Anything Is Possible'/'Evergreen' by Will Young and the best selling album of the decade was James 'yes my name is cockney rhyming slang' Blunt's 'Back To Bedlam'. Thus proving once again that the record buying public do tend to like a load of old cock.

Originally posted on http://blog.ianroullier.com on 7 January 2010.

Friday, 1 January 2010

You're not worthy!

Firstly, a Happy New Year to you all, I hope 2010 treats you well and your hangovers aren't hanging too heavy on your heads today. As promised, here is the continuation on the topic of difficult interviewees I've encountered along the way...

Another tricky interview was with a certain 'King Of The Breaks' who frankly I'd never heard of before interviewing him. Whether he was just particular or had been bitten one too many times by the media I’m not sure, but he refused to do any phone interviews and any questions had to be run past his manager and vetted.

After some emailing, back and forth and amending of questions, they were then deemed acceptable enough to pass on to the great man himself (whose music had incidentally gone from innovative and original to self indulgent and noodly over the years). Barring one question that wasn’t answered due to its unworthiness, the interview was a success. Job done.

At the time I had a great sense of achievement that I had managed to tread carefully enough to get a decent interview and quotes with someone so difficult/disenchanted with the media and his manager even emailed me to say, “This is the best interview conducted with him." As time has passed though and I’ve spoken to so many amiable, positive, open, helpful and downright friendly artists out there, I’ve gradually come to realise that there is really no need to make communication with another person such a long, protracted struggle. It reeks of self-importance and egotism.

So, yes, it was a challenge, but not one I’d relish again. Anyone out there who wants to be spiky, difficult or ’challenging’ would do well to realise that you are just human beings that happen to make music, however great it may or may not be. You are no greater or less great than the next man or woman, whatever it is you do in life, so get over yourselves!

Useless music fact #9: The Ting Tings were once in a band called Dear Eskiimo. They were influenced by musicals and their output was patchy but enjoyable enough. I interviewed them for a magazine but the article was pulled at the last minute as the editor realised their music wasn't quite up to scratch to feature in the mag or on the cover CD. If you'd care to read the results of the interview however, just have a look here. Incidentally, Ting Ting is a Chinese name that means 'slim and graceful' but is also a slang term for penis!

Originally posted on http://blog.ianroullier.com on 1 January 2010.