So I was in the Ostkurve on Friday night. Heaving. Incessant. Fiercely partisan. In fact, the latter doesn’t do it justice. Any set of fans who take an industrial boombox to games in order to orchestrate 100+ minutes of chants are more than simply partisan. They are a heaving mass of one; blue; red-faced, arms braced; mouths in hearts, hearts in mouths. At times, it’s a scary sight; but then it can be uplifting: all these people believe in something, believe it with total conviction, and that something has replaced something missing in their lives.
Rather ironically, what they believe in is some of the worst football I have ever seen at the top level of a European league. After 88 minutes of Hertha doing their best to fluff it from three yards out (one header was an unbelievable miss), and Stuttgart doing their best to miss simple pass and 3-yard pass, one of Hertha’s Brazilians ran through and predictably missed a one-on-one. The ball, however, ricocheted to another attacker - a robust blond chap - who crossed to the far post where a guy literally couldn’t miss. He celebrated like he’d won the world cup, and the Ostkurve went absolutely bananas. Hertha’s first win of the season, and they’ve only lost once in four. Stuttgart could go down. No big, really.
The soundtrack for post-match was shared by the following. First up we have the new release from Toronto-based producer Basic Soul Unit. ‘Soulspeak’, released on Wednesday, is the lead-track, and starts like all good dub techno: with shimmering noises, a subtle drum beat, and a nascent eeriness. It then kicks up, retaining a simple tinny snare, and juxtaposes all kinds of beautiful noises. The best, however, comes later, with Shed’s remix, affixed below. Shed, typically uncompromising, like the Ostkurve, turns this already foreboding track into an absolute tech slammer. Enjoy, and buy!
Soulspeak by Basic Soul Unit
Second up we have Jam City, a guy brought to the carton’s attention by his track ‘Magic Drops’ last year. ‘Aqua Box’ is a typically abrasive release on London’s Nightslugs, with heavy synth-stabs raining down onto your head, and uncomfortable drum pads pounding your stomach. It’s like being beaten up by an ambulance. But fun all the same.
NS011 - Jam City - Waterworx EP - Aqua Box by NightSlugs
Now we have Lorca to calm down our ambulance. Unlike my housemate, who’ll play Mount Kimbie whenever he isn’t listening to Noah and the Whale (which isn’t often), I’m not normally a huge fan of the post-dubstep sound. Although the thrust of post-dubstep is to bring calmer elements of dub into a more creative, ambient space, I often find it more frustratingly self-introspective than outwardly progressive. Kimbie’s full-length, I felt, pertained to that string rather than the more ambitious strengths of Maybes. Few of the many post-dub leaning artists have matched - or even come close to - the initial brilliance of that EP, but Lorca, on a dual release here with Visionist, brings us a really sweet, tonal piece called ‘Hold Back’. It’s cool, calm and definitely ambient. But it’s beautiful, without trying too hard. And the carton likes it.
Visionist and Lorca-hold back by SoigneTesOreilles
Finally, we have one more beautiful piece of ambient electronica, which this time gradually mutates into jutting house. There are few things my flatmate hates more than house, so I play him this in retribution for Noah and the Whale. I unwittingly heard this on Gilles Petersen the other day, and was simply bowled over by the beauty of the opening few minutes. I am not sure such an unashamed house track has e’er emerged from an aural lake, but this is remarkable. The more well-known release has Stee Downes’ vocals - and it’s an easy track to find if you’re interested - but I here bring you the instrumental version. Lie back, and think of Lovebirds.
Lovebirds ft Stee Downes - Want You in My Soul (Instrumental Mix) by sinoox
And here’s the Shed.