Wednesday 4 April 2018

Thursday 21 December 2017

Altered States : A Fractured Mix

Fractured presents ‘Altered States’, a sonic journey into the bowels of extreme Irish underground music.

Mix by: Spartak Mixtapes [ ]

Artwork: “Luna” by Sarah Sheil [ ]


Brian Conniffe- The Heart Of Tiphareth
Coscradh –  Disappeared [Of Death and Delirium]
Unyielding Love – The Pregnant Hurt [The Sweat of Augury]
Onkalo – Murmer [s/t]
From The Bogs Of Aughiska – Aughiska Mor [Roots Of This Earth Within My Blood]
GOURD – Gaunt [EP]
Wreck Of The Hesperus – Erosion (Death’s White Lustre) [Sediment]
MALTHUSIAN – Wraith///Plague Spore [MMXIII]
Ruairi O’Baoighill – Veil [The Faceless One]
EORÐESLAJYR – The Old Horned One [HÄXAN]
Woven Skull – Cracking of the Limbs [The Cracking of the Limbs]
Naddred – The Four Crowned Prince of Hell [Naddred]
Abaddon Incarnate – Fear [Pessimist]
Destriers – Redeemers [Cynosure]
Zealot Cult – Karmenian Crypt [Karmenian Crypt]
Vircolac – Lascivious Cruelty [The Cursed Travails of the Demeter]
From The Bogs Of Aughiska – The Great Sea Stack at the Cliffs of Moher [From The Bogs Of Aughiska]
SOOTHSAYER – Of Locust and Moths [At This Great Depth]
Okus – Abandon Sun [Scourge]
Owlcrusher – Owlcrusher [Owlcrusher]
Brian Conniffe – Liber Cheth

Tuesday 11 July 2017

Tuesday 11 April 2017

Friday 21 October 2016

Monday 9 May 2016

Four Four 2

A second selection of four to the floor with a leaning towards the deeper, funkier and weirder side of  recent house music.

Direct Download - Four Four 2

Thursday 7 April 2016

The Network

New regular mix series, check out the 3 shows to get an idea of what's going on.


Sunday 21 February 2016

Spartak Mixtapes - Radio Spartak Vol. 2

An eclectic mix of interesting tunes...

Direct Download link - Radio Spartak Vol. 2

Tracklist -
Anthony Naples - Pale [Body Pill ]
Moderat - Bad Kingdom [II] 
Hunee - Rare Happiness [Hunch Music] 
Khotin - Hello World [Hello World] 
Patrick Cowley - Somebody to Love Tonight [Muscle Up] 
Willy DeVille - Heat of the Moment [Cruising: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack] 
Little Sister - You're The One [I'm Just Like You: Sly Stone's Flower 1969-1970] 
The Focus Group - The Kool Kranium [Elektrik Karousel] 
Aphex Twin - 14 floating8 [Soundcloud]
The FLK - Bedlam [Mummers] 
Nu Guinea - Bougainvilles Live [World EP]
Karl Hector & The Malcouns - Kaifa Part 1&2 [Unstraight Ahead]
Guy Warren With the Red Saunders Orchestra - Eyi Wala Dong (My Thanks to God)[Africa Speaks America Answers] 
Japan Blues - Stoned Bird [Stoned Bird] 
Karl Hector & The Malcouns - Dege Dub [Can't Stand the Pressure]
Grachan Moncur III and The Jazz Composers Orchestra - Angela's Angel [Black Fire! New Spirits! Radical and Revolutionary Jazz In The USA 1957 - 1982 ] 
Sun Ra and His Arkestra - Bassism [The Futuristic Sounds of Sun Ra] 
Black Josh - Mark Dice ft. Lee Scott & Danny Lover [The Blosh]
Memory Man - PSA (What Does It All Mean?) (ft. Edan) [Broadcast One] 
MC Paul Barman - Back On A White Horse [Thought Balloon Mushroom Cloud] 
Lilacs & Champagne - Made Flesh [Midnight Features Volume 2: Made Flesh] 
Joe Meek and the Blue Men - Love Dance of the Sarooes [I Hear a New World] 
Feingold - Night of Scorpio [Nuff Zang] 
Moon Wiring Club - Tall, Black Cat-Faced Keeper [Why Does My House Make Creaking Noises]
Porn Sword Tobacco + SVN - Untitled (3) [Feels Good] 
Demdike Stare - Eulogy [Testpressing 003]
Filter Dread - Loop Hole [Tribal Realm]
Special Request - Peak Dub [Modern Warfare (EPs 1-3)] 
Akkord - Monolith [Obelisk] 
Powell - Acid [11-14] 
Oneohtrix Point Never - Mutant Standard [Garden of Delete] 
Shapednoise - Dream Within a Dream [Different Selves] 
The Body - Shrouded [Christs, Redeemers] 
Sunn O))) - Kannon 1 [Kannon]
Opium Lord - Challenger [Eye of Earth] 
Goatsnake - House of the Moon [Black Age Blues] 
LNRDCROY - Sphere Of Influence [Much Less Normal] 
g h o s t i n g - Nostromo [The Eternal Dream System] 
Professor Genius - The Wise Old Man [Hassan] 
The Supreme Jubilees - It'll All Be Over [It'll All Be Over] 
The Band - The Weight [The Last Waltz] 
Lewis - My Whole Life [L'Amour] 
Van Morrison - Listen To The Lion [Saint Dominic's Preview]

Friday 23 October 2015

Halloween 2015 - I Fell In Love With A Video Nasty

Welcome to the Halloween Disco mixtape of your worst nightmares. The cream of video nasties & exploitation hit the dancefloor in a frenzied mass of blood and bass. Lurching from the sublime to the ridiculous (Freddy's Greatest Hits???), full of beloved classics and some more obscure funk and primed for gorehounds & disco boys alike.

I Fell In Love With A Video Nasty - Download

Lalo Schifrin - The Amityville Horror - Soundtrack Music Suite
Goblin - Profondo Rosso - Mad Puppet
John Carpenter - Halloween 3 - Chariots Of Pumpkins
Claudio Simonetti - Demons
Goblin - Alien Contamination - Connexion 
Buddy Maglione - Cannibal Ferox
Carlo Maria Cordio - Absurd - In fondo
Alessandro Blonksteiner - Apocalypse Domani - Station Service (Edit)
Fabio Frizzi - Zombi 2
Mark Lindsay & W. Michael Lewis - Shogun Assassin - Lone Wolf's Theme 
Goblin - Tenebre
Harry Manfredini - Friday the 13th part III theme Extended Version
Buddy Maglione - Cannibal Ferox Opening Theme
Marcello Giombini - Anthropophagus - The Hunt &Trapped at the Cemetary
Rick Wakeman - The Burning - Track 11
Nico Fidenco - Porno Holocaust - Sequence 1 (Main Theme)
L' Ectrique ?– Don't Go in the House - Struck By Boogie Lightning
Captain Zorro - Phantasm
Paul Zaza and Carl Zittrer - Prom Night - Main Theme
Barry De Vorzon - The Warriors 
The Damned - Nasty
Jonathan Newton - Unhinged - Excerpt
Alessandro Blonksteiner - Apocalypse Domani - Apocalypse (Edit)
Francesco De Masi - The New York Ripper -  New York One More Day (vers II)
Stelvio Cipriani - Tentacoli
Paul Zaza and Carl Zittrer - Prom Night - Changes
G.Sorgini - Living Dead At Manchester Morgue
Nico Fidenco - Zombie Holocaust aka Dr. Butcher M.D.
Freddy's Greatest Hits - Dance Or Else
Riz Ortolani - The House on the Edge of the Park - Much More
Goblin - Buio Omega
Rob - Maniac - Juno
Chuck Cirino - Chopping Mall - Track 3
Fabio Frizzi - The Beyond - Voci Dal Nulla
Frankie Vinci - Sleepaway Camp  - Angela's Theme
Riz Ortolani - Cannibal Holocaust

Thursday 1 October 2015

Nu Bass 2015

A loving tribute to the Mumdance Rinse FM show. A mix of heavy bass pressure & intricate, shuddering rhythms interspersed with blasts of avant noise & weightless.
Mixed to snap necks & remove heads.
Complete with comedown section at the end & added Brrrrrrrrrrap.

Nu Bass Download 

Tuesday 14 July 2015

Spartak Mixtapes - Ambience Works

A new mix!
Of old tunes!
Yep, I've been away for a long while but I'm back with something good, this right here is a bunch of ambient techno/house from the early to mid 90's, every one a classic. Most of the big names of the era are there and its great even if I say so myself.

The KLF - What Time Is Love (1988 Pure Trance Original)
Biosphere - Baby Satellite
Lemon Interrupt - Dirty
Future Sound Of London - Omnipresence
Aphex Twin - Delphium
Global Communication - 8-07
Black Dog Productions - Merck
Autechre - Garbagemx36
The Orb - Blue Room
The KLF - Last Train To Trancentral (1989 Pure Trance Original)
Orbital  - Fahrenheit 303
Aphex Twin - Analogue Bubblebath
The Irresistible Force - Sky High
The Orb - Majestic
Barbarella - Barbarella (The Irresistible Force Mix)

Ambience Works - Right Click & Saveas

Tuesday 20 August 2013


Welcome back!
90 minutes of screaming guitar racket from the US of A, released between 1978 & 2013. 
Play it loud.

Or to download an mp3 click on the link here - AMERICAN NOISE

Saturday 20 April 2013

Radio Spartak 1.0

Hiya, long time no see! Sorry for the extended break, anyone who's still checking up here, I've got something  extended for you to make up for the gap. 2 & a half hours of eclectic beats starting up slow then speeding up then slowing down again then speeding up again (you get the idea) 
Check out Mixcloud for the tracklist -

Or go right click & save as here - Radio Spartak 1.0

Thursday 12 July 2012

Amen Andrews

Vol 01 - 05 is a series of 12" vinyl recordings by UK-based electronic music artist Luke Vibert released under the alias Amen Andrews. It is considered interesting by many electronic music fans, as the series features music reminiscent of early 1990s hardcore/jungle music, yet with much more modern and complex production techniques used in the construction of the tracks  -
Luke Viberts Amen Andrews series owns, and owns hard. If you like your drum n bass more 'ardcore then this is the mix for you. Volumes 1-5 smashed together in 51 mins of furiously cut up amen breaks, rubbery basslines and ridiculous samples. Mentals.

Amen Andrews - Right Click & saveas

Sunday 6 May 2012

Beastie Boys - MP3s & 1DJ

RIP Adam Yauch. The Beasties have been one of my favourite bands for the best part of 20 years. Pauls Boutique is still my favourite record, I know it inside out, every lyric, every sample, every goofy pop culture reference. Its hard to believe that this true icon of not just hip hop, but music & culture in general has left us. I did this mix 4 or 5 years ago and track 3 was the first thing I blogged. As my little tribute to the legend that is MCA I am uploading all 3 tracks, Its a mix of Beastie tracks & accapellas with other instrumentals and tracks from the likes of MF Doom, Kanye West, Talking Heads, Dr Dre, Aphex Twin & many more. Hope you enjoy it. Peace.

Track 03 - Right Click & Saveas

Tuesday 13 March 2012


Every music bore reckons that dance music was better when they were a kid and I am absolutely no different. As far as i'm concerened Tom's Diner is definitive proof. I bought this cheeky dance chart compo circa 1990 last year from a ThatsEntertainment shop for 99p and its mint. How good do The KLF still sound? I've been slightly obsessed with Mr Drummond & Mr Cauty since I first heard What Time Is Love when I was 11, buying smash hits to read interviews with them. The rest of the CD is really good but maybe a touch dated(??) yeah whatever, Tricky Disco & Naked In the Rain would still destroy a good dancefloor and anyone who says they don't like I'm Free is just lying to themselves.
I've mixed it all together on the laptop and although its a little rough and ready at times its still pretty banging.
Or crucial or something.

Slammin - Right click & Saveas

Tracklist -
DNA – Tom's Diner
Young MC – I Come Off (Southern Comfort Edit)
A Tribe Called Quest – Bonita Applebum (7" Why? Edit)
Soup Dragons, The – I'm Free
Maureen* – Thinking Of You
Primal Scream – Come Together
Bocca Juniors – Raise (63 Steps To Heaven) - Redskin Rock
Sting – Englishman In New York
Dream Warriors – Wash Your Face In My Sink (Radio Mix)
The KLF – What Time Is Love? (Live At Trancentral)
Awesome 3 – Hard Up (Willy Nilly Mix)
Technotronic – Rockin' Over The Beat
49ers – Touch Me (Sexual Version)
Tricky Disco – Tricky Disco
Jazzi P – Feel The Rhythm
DNA – La Serenissima
Yazz – Treat Me Good
Blue Pearl – Naked In The Rain (Radio Mix)

Monday 30 January 2012

House Revival 2012

After a big 2011, 2012 is the year of house. All over clubland and the broadsheets, even your favourite dubstep producers are dropping the tempo below 130 BPMs and going four to the floor crazy. The focus is back on big tunes primed for the floor with hooks to get the girls dancing. This mix is a sort of best of 2011 with some other notable additions. After 3 attempts to live mix this and messing up the recordings I decided to smash it out old school. Hope you enjoy, I've included a tracklist cos I'm a nice guy.

House Revival 2012 - Right click & saveas

Spiritualized - I Think I'm in Love: A Cappella
Boards Of Canada - Olson (Midland Edit)
Space Dimension Controller - Transatlantic Landing Bay
Crazy P - Smoovin' Groovin' (Ray Mang Dumpy Re-Rub)
Azari & III - Into The Night
6th Borough Project - Iznae
Homework - I'm Into This
Miguel Campbell - Something Special (Original Mix)
The 2 Bears - Be Strong
A Made Up Sound - Wire
Guti - We Shall Overcome
Maya Jane Coles - Little One
Julio Bashmore - Battle For Middle You
Boddika - Soul What
Pierre's Fantasy Club - Mystery Girl (Set Me Free) (Seiji's Bassrub Mix)
Blawan - Peaches (Freestone)
Benoit & Sergio - Walk And Talk
Crookers - Dushi
Joe Goddard - Gabriel (Seiji Remix)
Boddika & Joy Orbison - Swims
Untold - Little Things Like That
West Norwood Cassette Library - Get Lifted
Modeselektor - Evil Twin feat. Otto von Schirach
FaltyDL - Jack Your Job
Scuba - Adrenalin
Maurice Donovan - Call My Name
Pariah - Safehouses
Peaking Lights - Tiger Eyes (Laid Back)
Julia Holter - Tragedy Finale

Tuesday 29 November 2011


A little bit more of the dark stuff. Exploring the crossover point between rumbling industrial style techno and ultra spare, expansive post dubstep. The second part is a selection of classic post punk that mines a seam of heavy funk bass and scratchy guitars with some brainmelting electronics.
Dark sounds for long nights.

POST - Right Click & Save As

Andy Stott - Dark Details
Regis - Blood Witness (M.J. Harris / Karl O'Connor Live Version, 8.2.11)
Vessel - Wax Dance
Raime - This Foundry (Regis Version)
Louderbach - One Hundred Reasons
Silent Servant - Sampler 2
G.H. - Earth
Frozen Border - Untitled
Dettmann - Motive
Anstam - In The Bull Run
Miles - Primer
Raime - Retread
The Normal - Warm Leatherette
This Heat - 24 Track Loop
The Fall - New Puritan (Peel Session)
Cabaret Voltaire - Nag Nag Nag ('79 original)
The Pop Group - We Are All Prostitutes
Public Image Ltd. - Poptones
Throbbing Gristle - Walkabout
A Certain Ratio - Knife Slits Water

Monday 31 October 2011

Halloween Mix - Danse Macabre

To celebrate Halloween here's a 2 hour descent into hellish dark ambient, modern classical & OST, screaming noise, & deathly droning metal. Not for the squeemish! Best listened to alone in an abandoned mental asylum at 4 in the morning. Tracklist on request.

Danse Macabre - Right Click & Save As

Thursday 20 October 2011

Blawan Mix

I've had another mix removed thanks to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act so I'm going to have to go back to (that's a lot of to's) tracklists on request which is hella annoying if i'm perfectly honest. I'm fully understanding of the reasoning behind pulling links down and fair play to them, but when there's blogs by the dozen that give away entire records in their hundreds then its frustrating that my little corner of the internet is getting hit.
So just to be extra awkward i'm putting up a mix of tracks by UK producer Blawan because he doesn't have an album out. Blawan is ace by the way, got that proper fresh UK post dubstep/funky/techno/house sound down to perfection and added a drizzle of classic acid. So anyways bollocks to the DMCA and whichever record company lackey thoughtlessly crushed my blogosphere dream, download this fucker, stick the volume up to 11 and get your goddamn bogle on.

BLAWAN MIX - Right Click & Saveas

Tuesday 11 October 2011

Spartak Mixtapes Presents Dr Dre & Eminem Vs Blawan - Forgot About Vee


In an unwelcome first for the Blog I've had a mix removed due to copyright infringement. I presume the infringement in question was Lone's Radiohead remix (as it appears they are hammering any links to the RMX CD) but because the notice was sent to Google and the service they send their notices to is not up to date I can't confirm that its defo them. Its a shame really because the mix was fair solid and I would have thought that it was exactly the type of context that the song worked well in, but due to the way record companies try to keep records offline its been caught in a blanket attack on all leaks of the RMX stuff. Once again I'm presuming its the Radiohead track that has caused the problem as the rest of the mix is by producers/on labels that I have used before with no issues.

Never mind, I'm going to redo the mix without the offending track (maybe live mix it for a change) and Re-up ASAP, we'll see if it stays up this time.
More stuff to follow as well so keep em peeled.
Peace out

Monday 11 July 2011

I See A Darkness

Pace change ahoy, this right here is a mix of sadcore songs from the likes of Bonnie Prince Billy & Smog, some post rock & modern classical all mixed together with drones and dark ambient. I've tried to keep an Americana feel running throughout, its the perfect soundtrack for a long midnight drive down route 66.
This has been RE-UPLOADED as of the 12/07/11 due to a botched mix, Its no longer botched!!!

I See A Darkness - Right Click & Saveas

Tracklist -
Thomas Köner - [La Barca #03] 45° 26' N 12° 20' E Hour Three
Low - [The Curtain Hits The Cast #12] Dark
Papa M - [Live From A Shark Cage #11] Arundel
On - [Your Naked Ghost Comes Back at Night #02] Erotique
Smog - [Supper #01] Feather By Feather
Stephan Mathieu - [Radioland #05] Auf der Gasse
Ennio Morricone - [Il Grande Silenzio #03] E L'Amore Verra
Labradford - [Mi Media Naranja #01] S
William Fowler Collins - [Perdition Hill Radio #05] Slow Motion Prayer Circle
Godspeed You Black Emperor! - [F# A# (Infinity) #01] The Dead Flag Blues (Intro)
James Stephen Finn - [Homecoming #09] Subterranean Passages
Bonnie 'Prince' Billy - [I See A Darkness CD1 #03] I See A Darkness
Pawn - [A Hum Of The Library #03] The Creak Of The Chair
Mogwai - [EP+6 #07] stanley kubrick
Thomas Köner - [Permafrost #04] Permafrost
Lambchop - [Is A Woman #03] My Blue Wave
On - [Your Naked Ghost Comes Back at Night #04] Oh Run Slowly
Low - [The Curtain Hits The Cast #03] Over The Ocean
Jóhann Jóhannsson - [And in the Endless Pause There Came the Sound of Bees #01] Theme
Hybernation - [E2 & E8 #01] Lock 7
The Kills - [Keep On Your Mean Side #11] Monkey 23
Thomas Köner - [Teimo #05] Nieve Penitentes 2
Earth - [The Bees Made Honey In The Lions Skull #06] Hung From The Moon
Papa M - [Hole Of Burning Alms #03] Vol De Nuit
Mountains - [Choral CD1 #06] Sheets Two
E and I - [An Inch Of Air #07] balloonman
Zelienople - [Give It Up #07] Flurry
Thomas Köner - [La Barca #06] 33° 31' N 36° 19' E Hour Six
Slint - [Spiderland #06] Good Morning Captain
Thomas Köner - [Permafrost #06] ...
Smog - [Supper #05] Vessel in Vain.
Ø - [Metri #13] Kentta

Monday 27 June 2011

Disco Sucks

Disco most definitely does not suck. This is some cheeky disco style house, with loads of stuff from the new king of the disco edit, The Revenge, who rules. Loving his stuff and the new Tiger & Woods record as well. Download the mix, stick on your white suit & strut your stuff on down to the ground!!

Disco Sucks - Right Click & Saveas

6th Borough Project - Deep C
1000 Names - Before sunrise
Kassem Mosse - 2d
De La Soul - Keepin' The Faith (12" UK Mix)
Boards Of Canada - Nlogax
Q-Tip - Breath & Stop (The Revenge Redd Version)
Mark E - Quatro
Isley Brothers - Between The Sheets (The Revenge Rework)
Chicken Lips - Right On Up For Love
White Light Circus - Rocket Ride
Fudge Fingas - Gettin' Together
Tiger & Woods - Curb My Heart (Radio Edit)
Sister Sledge - Lost In Music (The Revenge Rework)
Hackney Colliery Band - Africa
The 2 Bears - Church (Midlands Sunday Service Dub)
Double Hill - Wanna Get
6th Borough Project - B.U.R.T. (The Journey)
Hot Natured - Leectric Feel
Tiger & Woods - Don't Hesitate
Chicken Lips - Move Groove (Album Edit)
Crazy P - Omega Man (Yam Who Edit)
Matthew Dear - Elementary Lover (DJ Koze Rmx)
Crazy P - Drop Your Weapon (Faze Action Edit)
Tiger & Woods - Time
Mark E - Deny This
Matias Aguayo - Minimal (DJ Koze Radio Edit)
6th Borough Project - If The Feelings Right
Roman Fluegel - Pianopiano

Friday 6 May 2011

Spartak Mixtapes - Moombahcore

Moombahton rocks. Its the sound of the Summer, get involved before it gets ruined. Did I mention it rocks? I'll add a tracklist ASAP.

Go Moombah crazy.

Big shout out to Big T for putting me onto the Moombah bandwagon.

Moombahcore - Right Click & Saveas

Wednesday 13 April 2011


Speaks for itself, check the tracklist in the comments bit, if you like classic dance music you should find something to enjoy. Lots of layering going on, a song playing by itself is rare, 80 odd tracks in just over an hour. Hope you like it! DANCE DANCE DANCE - Right Click & Saveas

Wednesday 30 March 2011

Spartak Mixtapes Presents - Panda Bear - Panda-tape

Panda Bear (Noah Lennox to his mother) is great. He makes classy pop music. His tracks are always wildly experimental recalling a swathe of influences from 60's pop to minimal techno, but they're always catchy and his voice, reminiscent of Brian & Carl Wilson on the harmonies, always adds to any song he applies it to. He's own tracks are where it truly shines though.
In celebration of the imminent release of the new Panda Bear album here's a mix of old and new Panda tracks (nothing pre Person Pitch though) some Animal Collective tracks and some notable guest appearances.

Panda-tape Right Click & Saveas

Panda Bear - Comfy In Nautica

Atlas Sound - Walkabout

Ducktails - Killin the Vibe

Animal Collective - My Girls

Panda Bear - Take Pills

Panda Bear - Slow Motion

Pantha Du Prince - Stick To My Side

Animal Collective - Also Frightened

Panda Bear - I'm Not

Panda Bear - You Can Count On Me

Panda Bear - Surfers Hymn (Actress Remix)

Animal Collective - Derek

Panda Bear - Last Night At The Jetty

Panda Bear - Ponytail

Spartak Mixtapes Present Usher Vs Mr Oizo - OMG Flat Beat!

Tuesday 22 February 2011

Radiohead - The King Of Limbs review

Everyone else seemed to go Radiohead mad at the weekend so I thought I'd put my oar in.

Disclaimer - the whole review is IN MY OPINION, please add those 3 words before every sentence to save me the bother of writing them. Also there is a reference to geeky fans. This isn’t meant to be disparaging, I am a geeky fan too, just not a geeky Radiohead fan.

First off the packaging and release of the album seems highly exploitative. To position themselves as against/outside the profit driven nature of the major labels is fine, to then make the 1st physical release of the record (the normal CD edition won't be available till March) £30 in a package they must know their quite geeky fans will buy in droves is slightly hypocritical. They know their fan base are the box set generation, a mate of mine bought the In Rainbows "discbox" edition containing the CD & double vinyl despite not having a record player. Is this a ploy to cover costs or a sincere attempt to create a memorable package? My slightly cynical guess is that it covers both bases, Thom having his cake and eating it (or throwing it against the wall and sampling the splat sounds for a drum break).

Also The King Of Limbs website claims the physical release is (perhaps) the world’s first 'Newspaper Album' which suggests none of the band are very familiar with the work of progressive rock titans Jethro Tull whose classic 1972 concept album 'Thick As A Brick' came wrapped in a full scale 12 page newspaper, complete with written articles with allusions to the music contained within (I've got my dad's original copy of 'Thick...' and it's great, although he has filled in the dot to dot, which, it transpires, is a picture of duck salivating at the sight of a topless lady!).

Phil Selway - Missing, if anyone has seen Phil please contact the band.

Onto the music!! First question to ask is has Phil Selway been sacked? Has he died and been replaced with a lookalike, McCartney style?? If you play 'Feral' backwards does it say "Phil is dead, and his replacement can't play drums" All of the drums sound programmed or quantized, leaving none of the space or feeling of live drums. It’s obvious from the first track 'Bloom' that Flying Lotus, whose record 'Cosmogramma' Thom guested on in 2010, is a massive influence on the rhythm of the record. But where Flylo's J-Dilla influenced beats have a messy swing, the beats on TKOL sound too intricate and clean, programmed to within an inch of their life, particularly on 'Morning Mr Magpie' a jazzy loop groping for a tune. The first 5 tracks all follow the same basic template to varying degrees of success, 'Little By Little' with its looser funkier percussion and intertwining guitars probably being the pick of the bunch, even if it appears to be a riff on 'While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks'!

The record starts to step forward and open up during the last third, 'Codex' with its plaintive piano and simple unfussy arrangement harks back to 'How To Disappear Completely' or even 'The Tourist' for atmosphere and feel. 'Give Up The Ghost' opens with field recorded birdsong (which I admit I am a sucker for) with multitracked vocals and a lovely folky guitar line, building stealthily before Thom's lead vocal soars above the tune for a moment. Often when the band do this type of track they can sound quite whiney, 'Give Up...' manages to avoid this, sounding resigned and melancholic rather than morose. Final track 'Separator' is back to sound of the first half of the record, but midway through a cheeky soul lick is introduced to save the day, the whole track raises from that point and could almost be called funky (almost).

Oh happy Thom.

Overall though, the record is a disappointment, and feels like part of a holding pattern. I can't help but compare it to 'OK Computer' and, like everything else they've done since, it comes up short. The range of experimentation aligned with beautifully written, catchy and exciting music on 'OK...' is staggering and I sympathise with anyone trying to follow it. 'Kid A' was an interesting side step but I can't help but feel it diverted the band into a narrow alley approaching a dead end. Following 'OK...' in 1999 its reported that Ed O'Brian wanted to strip the band’s sound back and do an album of 3 minute guitar pop songs, maybe this is still a direction the band could take. I for one would love to hear that record and I doubt I’m alone in that sentiment. They could release it in tasteful, minimal packaging and price it as cheaply as possible, make a killing without selling out and really stick two fingers up at the major labels. If they want they could get a bunch of top name underground producers to remix it and you'll have the best of both worlds. If only life was so simple!