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Each week on the FACT Singles Club, a selection of our writers work their way through the new music of the week gone by.

With the way individual tracks are now consumed, the idea of what constitutes a single has shifted dramatically in the last half a decade, and its for this reason that the songs reviewed across the next pages are a combination of 12″ vinyl releases, mixtape cuts, Soundcloud uploads and more. Up this week, The Prodigy, Giorgio Moroder, Björk and more.

Use your keyboard’s arrow keys or hit the prev / next arrows on your screen to turn pages (page 1/7)

Helena Hauff – ‘C45P’

William Skar: 
Juddering War Games electro. Hauff’s better at texture and mood than pacing (‘C45P’ runs out of puff halfway through and, like a bloody-minded triathlete, just keeps on running) but style goes a long way, and this has plenty. (6)

Son Raw: Hardwired resistance music on antiquated equipment to fight against an interconnected digital world where everyone is watching? Yes please. This makes me want to book a ticket to the Golden Pudel and snort experimental substances with a bearded guy with piercings in places I didn’t think possible. Bonus points for that broken electro drum pattern, death to four on the floor. (8)

Scott Wilson: This kind of throwback wave-influenced music is starting to become a bit too prevalent in the post Minimal Wave days, but I’ve always got time for Helena Hauff’s take on it. Her solo material can be inconsistent, but this is one of her stronger moments, sounding as satisfyingly rough as an old Das Ding track. (7)

Tayyab Amin: There’s enough tonal dread here to avert my gaze, some attitude in the percussion to rock and sway me side to side and a decent amount of down-the-rabbit-hole keys hypnotism to coax out the air piano in me. Nice one Hauff, I dig. (7)

Mikey IQ Jones: This is a perfectly efficient track – the beat’s tight and kinetically persuasive, while the malnourished chiming keyboard melody gets under your skin like an allergic reaction. The main beef I have with this is that while Hauff’s skills as a DJ are absolutely devastating, her productions haven’t quite reached those same heights; this just sounds too much like contempo coldwave by numbers to me. I’m not gonna hate it when it’s on, but I’m also not going to remember its name later. (6)

Brad Stabler: Hauff continues to pepper her productions with more and more embellishments while maintaining a tighter control over space and pacing. This is probably my favorite of hers so far: it’s delightfully subtle, using a plethora of pads and synth stabs in a way that’s much more alive than her previous tunes (not that making cold, dead worlds has been a bad thing so far). I’m sure there’s gonna be reservations here about her record being called A Tape, and every time I see a C60 over the horizon I brace myself for just a little bit of filler, but this a winner. (9)

Claire Lobenfeld: I’ll admit that I bristled at the name A Tape for the release, but I’m pretty pleased with what Helena Hauff has delivered here. It’s pretty much the sonic embodiment of why you stay up late to go to the midnight movies: it’s scruffy enough for something with bootleg monsters, subpar fake blood and poorly acted terror. Cult films are usually especially great for their soundtracks, and Helena would make a stellar slasher flick score. (7) 


Preditah – ‘Selecta’

Claire Lobenfeld:
 If you need me for rave-nostalgia, I’ll be over here listening to the new Burial – still miserable. Send this back to Birmingham! (Sorry Twells.) (1)

Son Raw: As a Hardcore continuum train spotter, I’ve been waiting for London to twist deep tech into something interesting for a few years now, and this is a healthy step forward. The Artful Dodger sample is a little on the nose but when that bass line drops, it’s pure heaviness. If the crowds push for more broken rhythms in this stuff, mainstream clubbing just might be alright. Also, can we get a Perch MC vocal? (7)

Tayyab Amin: Mainstream radio raving crew always need a tune of the moment, and someone’s gotta produce it. And that’s cool, I see the appeal but it’s not for me, which is lucky because it’s mad boring to me – if it was made with me and mine in mind and we didn’t like it, that’d just be awkward for everyone involved innit. Play it louder and it sounds better though. (4)

William Skar: Preditah’s done a lot of wonderful work over the last half-decade, and I’m not going to begrudge him his pension bid, but, my, this is a drab flub, isn’t it? ’Selecta’ is, in its own sleek and anonymous way, as cynical a chart grab as anything Tinchy or Dizzee ever mustered. Less a track than a double-sided business card. (2)

Scott Wilson: If you’re going to have the audacity to sample something as seminal as ‘Re-Rewind’, then you better make damn sure you’re bringing something the table. This doesn’t. The bassline is lazy, the beat is rigid, and the neo-trance breakdown leaves a bad aftertaste. The only thing it’s going for it is the Craig David sample, and that’s overused to point of becoming meaningless. (2)

Brad Stabler: I’m still longing for the spooky magic of big tunes like ‘Gully’, but I’m also positive that if this came on while on the floor with the squad I would lose my shit in a spectacular fashion. That’s not going to get it additional plays on my own time, but as far as potential crossover hits go, there’s enough of the Preditah I like here to give it a pass. (7)

Mikey IQ Jones: No. No no no no no. The last thing the world needs right now is a fucking song that opens up with that ‘this one goes out to all the DJs’ sample, and if you are a DJ caning this then the joke’s on you, because this is probably the track least deserving of a rewind I’ve heard this year. The sheer laziness of this just makes me sigh. Here, just watch Predator 2 instead; it’s both more pop and more “street” than this polished turd of a track. (3)




Björk – ‘Black Lake’

Scott Wilson: 
I’ve never really been much of a Björk fan, so it says a lot that I really can’t find the words to even attempt to do this song justice. Not many artists can put you in the midst of such personal heartbreak anywhere near as viscerally as this. (9)

Son Raw: 15 years removed from peak-Björk, this is a welcome return to the sound she perfected on Homogenic. The string arrangements still tease every possible drop of emotions out of the notes, the beats are still processed to a cold digital sheen, and Björk at her most devastated remains her generation’s most under-appreciated vocalist. It’ll take a few months for the full scope of Vulnicura to sink in, and it’s true that this doesn’t carry the same “shock of the new” that it did two decades ago, but I’m just glad it exists. (8)

Tayyab AminFeeling for what Björk was going through is visceral and invasive even at this level of proxy – her analogies vivid and absolute, her words sung with finality and clarity as she comprehends herself just as she conveys it to listeners. There are so many great things about this song that it’s hard to start anywhere, although tying them all up into something greater than the sum of its parts is significant. The pacing and the structure of this sprawling ride, tumultuous in its delicacy, might say everything that lyrics couldn’t. (9)

Mikey IQ Jones: The biggest disappointment for me this week past has been my complete and total lack of feeling for Björk’s new album. It frustrates me as to why and how I seem to be so dispassionate toward it; as a longtime fan with little to no real expectations after a series of diminishing album returns, I really hoped that this would be the one. ‘Black Lake’ just sounds like a Livejournal entry open for the public, where the suffering simply becomes insufferable. That’s a very harsh, insensitive thing to say, but it’s just not something that I want to hear for 10 minutes.

The saddest thing about this song, though, is that she’s done it considerably better elsewhere: the epic, yearning orchestra ache of ‘Joga,’ the sensitive, tender attempts to make the best of an awful situation in ‘It’s Not Up To You’, the direct expression of tether’s-end frustration with a loved one on ‘Where Is The Line’ – and for an artist who’s had a 30-year career overflowing with truly innovative and brilliant ideas that she saw to fruition herself, this just isn’t enough. I’m glad that people are supporting her through this, but I’m just going to have to hold a silent vigil. (5)

Claire Lobenfeld: Goddamn, goddamn. We had ‘Wrecking Ball’ and then we had ‘No Rest For the Wicked’ and then ‘Unfucktheworld’ came along and kicked both of them to the curb. But this is the most emotionally revealing breakup song, perhaps, in the history of people splitting up. I understand why Björk says she is embarrassed by it, but it is poetry that would be unutterable to almost anyone. Her transparency is brave and beautiful. The work she and Arca did to back it up, as well. (8)

William Skar: Even jimmied out of the context of the album, this piece of saturnine melodrama is brilliantly affecting – but it’s prohibitively overlong. Score out of 10 / number of minutes it should have been: (7)

Brad Stabler: I’m genuinely jealous of anyone who’s going to catch this album because of Arca. It’s often easy to forget that the majority of music appreciation and findings come from frames of reference, and for a lot of newcomers or those on the fence (yep, they’re still out there) having one with Björk is almost mandatory. We can talk her up about how she’s a master of delicate pacing, translucently arranged collaboration, and sounding like she’s going to float away and vanish before our very eyes despite how upfront and visceral her wordplay and vocal acrobatics are. We could talk about how all of that leads to incredibly dense, experimental music that’s tailor made for a heartbroken, nostalgic, and rewarding experience.

Vulnicura is all of that. The record gets its legs from how easily it jumps off the back of two of her best records – Homogenic and Vespertine – and more readily plays to the comfort zone of longtime fans. ‘Black Lake’, despite its lofty 10 minute length, is all too easy to fall into; it’s as confident an album centerpiece that’s been made by her before, chugging along in percussive fits (courtesy of Arca, who seemed to make the drums in another room), and lush stops, buoyed by some of the most up-close lyrics Björk’s penned to date. Just hope anyone new here gets just as gobsmacked. (10)


Giorgio Moroder feat. Kylie Minogue – ‘Right Here, Right Now’

Scott Wilson: 
I haven’t been able to say anything good about Moroder’s comeback so far, but this really isn’t bad at all. Even if the overbearing production does sound a little like a blog house Daft Punk rip-off it’s certainly nowhere near the EDM excess we could have been saddled with, and while it’s not vintage Kylie, it’s still one of the catchiest things she’s done in ages. (7)

Son Raw: After that first Moroder comeback track, I really can’t be mad at this. If his re-emergence is going to be a self-contented victory lap instead of real purple patch, he can do far worse than teaming up with Kylie on a disco pop number. I’d throw my hands up to this. (5)

Claire Lobenfeld: Glad Moroder’s getting money in the wake of Random Access Memories and this is exactly what I would expect from a collaboration between these two. I’m looking way more forward to what he is doing with Britney Spears and Sia though. And maybe, just maybe, this will get the young rap youth back into Scarface. That’s a revivalist movement I would get down with. (6)

Mikey IQ Jones: This should be an indestructible towering pop beast that simply crushes everything foolish enough to tread into its path. Both Moroder and Minogue are masters at their popular craft, but this song is essentially both bringing their C-game, with Moroder sadly just giving a wink and a nod back to Daft Punk for the Random Access Memories respect (and royalties). Kylie doesn’t sound much better: her contribution sounds like it was generated by some kind of AutoMinogue algorithm. Why are all of these great performers delivering such garbage tunes this week?! (4)

Brad Stabler: Between ’74 is the new 24′ and this I have no idea what Moroder is going for. I have an inkling that Minogue knows, since she sounds much more elevated and confident than he does. Moroder, sadly, seems to be going around and grabbing whatever the kids were into two years ago and trying to make a stab at relevancy when he should be just letting his pedigree speak for itself. That’s not to say this is terrible. It isn’t. But it’s so plastic and inoffensive and forgettable that I immediately forgot I was listening to it when I got up to make a sandwich. (4)

William Skar: Glitzy carnage, like two limos colliding head-on. Yes, it’s violently shrill, and Kylie sounds like she’s singing from the strappado, but there’s a kind of horrid vigour to this, making it the least of this week’s three evils. (4)

Tayyab Amin: This is unnecessary universe filler that solely exists to balance out some astrophysical equation about the balance of matter somewhere. Scratch that, balance of some chequebook somewhere. “Check out Daft Punk’s new single ‘Get Lucky’ if you get the chance. Sound of the summer.” (2)


Toro y Moi – ‘Empty Nesters’

Brad Stabler: 
Since chillwave died an early death, Chaz Bundick has been a captain without a ship. Which is a shame: Causers of This has been one of the few records from that, uh, wave of producers to make it out and stand up to repeated listens, and 2011’s Underneath the Pine sounds like a record that would’ve been stripped to death for samples had it come out in the 1970s. Ever since, the Toro Y Moi stamp hasn’t had weight, or meaning. ‘Empty Nesters’ (appropriate title) is just mediocre indie rock all around, sounding like a sugar addict in bad need of Ritalin. The song never stays put, and while that was a strength of Bundick before, here the switch ups don’t work, the instrumentation is a mess, and even though I’m sure a lot of people are going to eat it up, this just comes off as hollow and empty. At least things pick up for a second towards the outro. (4)

William Skar: I’ve a soft spot for sun-dazzled jangle, and, although Bundick’s not exactly pushing himself here, his talent for evoking place (California highways) and space (battered Chevy, passenger seat) is still alive and well. (6)

Tayyab Amin: No chill, all wave ayyy! Bundick looks really happy on the album artwork and he sounds like he would have loved being a part of Britpop, and that’s all quite adorable to me. (5)

Mikey IQ Jones: Why are Teenage Fanclub calling themselves Toro Y Moi now? (4)

Claire Lobenfeld: I’ve been ready for ’90s nostalgia to die, but that was before I was confronted with something that made me want to dig up my Tahiti 80 and Cardigans albums. The musical mélange Chaz Bundick has cooked up here is super cohesive, like some relic a Soul Jazz curator would have found and caked off of. I’m with it. (7)

Son Raw: The ’90s called, they want their ’60s back. As uncool as it is to admit in 2015, I’ve always had a soft-spot for Elephant 6 style psych-pastiches so I sort of like this, but by the same token, it’s time to let this style go to rest before it reaches contemporary swing levels of ridiculousness. (5)

Scott Wilson: What on earth would possess anyone to write a song that sounds like a worse version of Semisonic’s ‘Chemistry’? (2)


The Prodigy – ‘Nasty’

Brad Stabler:
 If The Matrix Revolutions had this as its soundtrack, it would’ve somehow made the film even worse. (2)

Mikey IQ Jones: I refuse. (0)

Scott Wilson: I was going to make a glib comment about this sounding like a bargain basement D&B act remixing Chumbawamba, but that would be doing a disservice to Chumbawamba, whose politics had at least advanced beyond the primary school level. (0)

Tayyab Amin: As they shout about a stifled underground they’re completely out of touch with, we can hardly be surprised by Prodigy’s stubbornness. This got me wondering, what’s Leeroy Thornhill up to these days? Oh, he’s on Twitter and SoundCloud. Oh, he posted a new track not two weeks ago. Oh, it’s some corny edit of Phil Collins’ ‘In The Air Tonight’. Is this the underground The Prodigy were on about? (2). And a (2) for that Thornhill edit too.

Claire Lobenfeld: ‘Nasty’ is a pretty unfortunate title for this because that’s is precisely what it is: foul. (2)

Son Raw: The opposite of ‘Black Lake’: a bunch of ridiculous old men making angsty noise with no sense of how time passed them by. Hardcore will never die, but this monstrosity sure as hell will. (1)

William Skar: As samizdat blowie anthems go, this isn’t ‘Me & U’, but the 50% that sounds like something from Madlib’s Medicine Show series is great fun. Okay, that’s actually a Singles Club blurb from May 2014 – but if Prodigy are allowed to get away with crass recycle jobs, surely I can too? (1)


Final scores:

Björk – ‘Black Lake’ (8)
Helena Hauff – ‘C45P’ (7.1)
Toro Y Moi – ‘Empty Nesters’ (4.7)
Giorgio Moroder feat. Kylie Minogue – ‘Right Here, Right Now’ (4.6)
Preditah – ‘Selecta’ (3.7)
The Prodigy – ‘Nasty’ (1.1)

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