Singles Club: Aphex Twin returns and Fall Out Boy ruin Ghostbusters

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

This week, Dizzee Rascal & Calvin Harris curl out another festival-friendly collaboration, Fall Out Boy and Missy Elliott ruin Ghostbusters and Aphex Twin meets a 12-year-old boy on the internet.

Dizzee Rascal & Calvin Harris – ‘Hype’

Chris Kelly: Every four years, Dizzee and Calvin get together for a Grime Meets Electro single that no one asked for with diminishing returns each time. The last one didn’t even make it out as a single – on an album with eight of them – and this one shouldn’t have made it out of the Logic session. (1)

Daniel Montesinos-Donaghy: It’s not worth it writing about how we’ve lost Our Pal Dizzee to glitz and glam and Robbie, seeing as Skepta worded it so eloquently for us: “Back then you was a real Top Boy / But right now, fam, nobody cares.” He’s our Pitbull, a cultural representative for a hip-hop influenced genre offshoot that saw big bucks (although Pit has 1. a far better bangers-to-bombs ratio and 2. didn’t made that song with Robbie). ‘Hype’ gets by on its own merits of being an inoffensive Calvin Harris thumper, and Dizzee gets by on his own merits by sounding half-engaged, as if he’s woken up to realise he’s in the middle of a workout. Expect this to ring off in PureGyms everywhere. (5)

Tayyab Amin: Who asked for this? Who in big big 2016 phoned up the request line of life and ordered Dizzee’s dear diary bars with an EDMLMFAO drop on the side to usher in some sort of shuffling revival? (4)

Haley Potiker: Ugh, no wonder Taylor Swift dumped this guy. What would you do if you walked in on your boyfriend working on this? I don’t know how anyone listens without having seizures. If this is what the kids are listening to, I’ll be at bingo at 4:30pm, and no, saving seats is against the rules. (1)

Son Raw: This is what happens when you whisper “Blog House Revival” 5 times in front of a mirror and forget that EDM’s synth leads were cribbed off brolectro’s, just bumped up from 128kbps. ‘Hype’ is more than the sum of its parts, but that’s not really difficult when said parts include a jacked triplet flow, lager-soaked festival house and a fake scratch hook. (3)


serpentwithfeet – ‘flickering’

Son Raw: Fair warning: I really can’t fuck with tremolo, so if that becomes a fad I’ll be vexed. That aside however, this is a beautiful song and I’m excited to see how far serpentwithfeet and Haxan Cloak are willing to push the combination of delicateness and darkness they’re working with here. (7)

Tayyab Amin: What a voice! I love the lyrics, but the way they unravel is wonderful. This is introspective, personal gospel that sees serpentwithfeet speak to himself as much as does to God. As deeply vulnerable as it is, it really takes a certain strength to come to terms with the truth and your faith, offering all that you are for as much and as little as that is. As the song progresses, you can really hear the artist begin to find new voices within himself – it’s beautiful (8)

Daniel Montesinos-Donaghy: A striking introduction for the latest Tri Angle signee, at least judging by this outpouring of virtuoso juddering and classical piano flourishes. It goes on a minute too long, but timing issues aside this may be the most impressive stripped-down R&B jam for tearing up and tearing it up since Maxwell did his best Kate Bush squawk. (8)

Haley Potiker: I don’t know what I was expecting of the name serpentwithfeet (well okay, it was a SoundCloud user with Ableton who is also maybe a snake that has grown or was born with legs) but this was not it. The singer, né Josiah Wise, has a compelling voice that dances almost a cappella over a sparse instrumental. (Would a snake with legs just be a lizard?) The song drags a bit over four minutes, and it’s hard for me to imagine where this could be played other than in my headphones in some sort of photography dark room where I’m hiding from creditors. But it’s nice. (6)

Chris Kelly: I’ve had this on repeat and I still can’t wrap my head around it. That vibrato is so powerful yet so vulnerable, his voice standing alone after obliterating what little of a “beat” there is as if he’s illuminated by that ‘flickering’ light. To paraphrase the internet: he has the range. (8)


Fall Out Boy – ‘Ghostbusters (I’m Not Afraid)’ (ft. Missy Elliott)

Daniel Montesinos-Donaghy: First off, it’s good that this isn’t because Ghostbusters-director Paul Feig’s last two movies showcase his inability to work with pop music. He shoehorned ‘212’ into The Heat and almost ruined Melissa McCarthy’s makeover in Spy with whatever this shit is – and those movies ruled so Ghostbusters will probably rule too. Secondly, this isn’t even that bad, guys? If we’re talking about terrible Fall Out Boy covers, listen to Exhibit One, Two and Three then try to tell me a glossed-up ‘Ghostbusters’ cover is an abomination. And finally, this gives me the chance to inform you that Folie à Deux is an essential Noughties pop-rock album and that solo Patrick Stump was an industrial banger machine. (5)

Haley Potiker: The only ‘Ghostbusters’ remake I acknowledge is Mistah F.A.B.’s ‘Yellow Bus Rydah’. That said, I did love Fall Out Boy at one point. To my credit (maybe?) it was a quite a while before you could buy Take This To Your Grave in Hollister stores. In the words of the top commenter on YouTube, “THIS SONG FUCKING KILLED MY DAD, FUCK YOU FALL OUT BOY! FUCK YOU NEW GHOST BUSTERS, I WILL GET MY REVENGE!” (-1)

Chris Kelly: Imagine a men’s rights activist who can’t stand the idea of an all-female Ghostbusters, but also imagine he loves Fall Out Boy. Now imagine his brain leaking out of his ear like so much psychomagnotheric slime. Only redeeming thing about this, unfortunately. (1)

Tayyab Amin: They lost this battle the moment they decided the tone of the song was to be serious. Who’s gonna karaoke to this? This lorem ipsum lyricism doesn’t sound like it was written for Missy at all. All these “I’m not afraid” hooks, they should have just repurposed a 2010 Eminem release and saved themselves whatever effort allegedly went into this, it’s that far gone into straight-faced corniness territory. (3)

Son Raw: Can we finally admit that everything about this new Ghostbusters film looks like a flaming pile of trash, sexist trolls moaning about the casting be damned? We’re living in a timeline where #Brexit happened and an Imagine Dragons/Lil Wayne collab isn’t the worst rap-rock film tie in of the week. I want off this ride. (1)


Aphex Twin – ‘CIRKLON3 [Колхозная mix]’

Haley Potiker: This is wonderful, as most Aphex Twin singles are, but the real winner is Ryan Wyer, the 12-year-old boy from Dublin who directed the video and who is not Ryn Weaver. He’s the kid you see in almost every scene, along with his friends, family, and lots of Aphex Twin merchandise. Legend has it that Aphex Twin reached out to Wyer after finding his YouTube channel. The internet is a beautiful place sometimes. (9)

Daniel Montesinos-Donaghy: To my ears, Aphex Twin’s music has always been undeniably Very Good without really ever wowing me, and ‘CIRKLON3’ continues this trend by nudging into your brain, fidgeting about relentlessly, then passing into vapour (many) minutes later. For some, that approach sticks in the brain residue; for me, it’s some very impressive vapour passing on. (6)

Chris Kelly: Honestly, if it didn’t say Aphex Twin on the tin, could you tell this apart from any other chiptune demoscene track on YouTube? (5)

Tayyab Amin: This is good, but I just find it so conservative and insular. Plateaued, not progressive. Banksy of the bleeps and bloops. Maybe it isn’t fair to demand that all music be radical in some way, or require it break and rebuild itself as better all the time – it’s just that I’m very suspect of people who one day stop looking out their windows in whatever way. That’s what it feels like, and it’s not for me. (6)

Son Raw: I feel like I should be selecting a sweet-ass paint job for my car in a Ridge Racer knockoff. You can’t slate Aphex Twin for doing what he does best, this is effortlessly funky, it’s just not quite as surprising as it was 20 years ago. (6)


Sky H1 – ‘Air’

Haley Potiker: I guess I would describe this as an ambient soundscape on Adderall. It’s too downtempo for the club but not quite peaceful enough meditate to. I might be judging too harshly — especially having just listened to Aphex Twin — but I spent the entire track waiting for something to happen only to realize I was listening to a glorified loop. (5)

Chris Kelly: Pleasantly surprised here: atmosphere’s a little too reminiscent of witch house give way breathless gasps and urgent synth melody lines that seem to be struggling for the song’s titular subject. (7)

Tayyab Amin: With such emotional weight behind synths like these, it’s a perfect fit on Visionist’s (and PAN’s) Codes imprint. I love how the vocals are deployed, staggering gasps, chokes and exhalations to create a respiratory rhythm. There’s a lick of FKA twigs about it, though I think she and SKY H1 utilise space in different ways – this one envelops you with its magnitude, as opposed to the absence thereof. (8)

Son Raw: There’s a vastness to the sound design that serves this one well, even as it pushes out of the club and into the home-listening environment. Codes has gone to great lengths to distance itself from the grime tag since dropping the “Lost” in its name, and has succeeded here, all while flipping that genre’s signifiers to create new possibilities. Also, is that a detuned square wave or an accordion? I might be reading a bit too much into Sky H1 coming from Belgium with that one. (7)

Daniel Montesinos-Donaghy: An intriguing piece from the ascendant Belgian producer, merging new age-y synths with pitched-up vocal samples to create a wondrous little piece: certainly fitting to be presented by avant-esque label PAN, but focused enough on emotion and songcraft to rise above the drone experiments in the field. (7)


Sigur Rós – ‘Óveður’

Haley Potiker: Sigur Rós is back after a three year hiatus. Lo and behold, they still sound exactly like Sigur Rós have always sounded. The video features a dancer dressed as a homeless woman, a bottle of vodka, and a one-eyed Siberian husky who may or may not be photoshopped. The woman finds a party where naked old people make out, get drawn on, and bleed out of their mouths. It’s… artistic. (6)

Tayyab Amin: Sigur Rós are generally not the sort of band I’d ever describe as doing something surprising, even if there sound has tangibly changed over the years. However, I was genuinely surprised when those pneumatic thud wooshes came in – they really started hole-punching their own tune. The track’s whirring ebb and flow move it from delicate to downright disorienting, and for me it’s been a grower. (7)

Son Raw: I didn’t realize just how much I missed this lot singing non-words on top of overly dramatic new age. This summer’s tantric makeup sex soundtrack has arrived! (6)

Daniel Montesinos-Donaghy: It’s amazing to think that Sigur Ros’ global imprint will forever be linked to Hopelandic murbles and () when they continue to make music that is far more interesting – glistening but almost bubonic in the way that ‘Óveður’ is. Unsettling, but in one of the best ways possible: with grace. (7)


Final scores:

serpentwithfeet – ‘flickering’ (7.4)
Sky H1 – ‘Air’ (6.8)
Sigur Rós – ‘Óveður’ (6.5)
Aphex Twin – ‘CIRKLON3 [Колхозная mix]’ (6.4)
Fall Out Boy – ‘Ghostbusters (I’m Not Afraid)’ (ft. Missy Elliott) (3)
Dizzee Rascal & Calvin Harris – ‘Hype’ (2.8)



Share Tweet