Monthly Marathons

Each Monthly Marathon Mix will be something in the region of 30 minutes at 320 kbs mp3 quality, and we will remove tracks if requested.  We encourage you to buy the releases you love, just as we do. You can stream and download the most recent 3 mixes from our Monthly Marathon Soundcloud.

RUNNERS have been friends for 10 years. In that time, we couldn’t even begin to count how many cassettes, cd’s, records, cd-r’s and mp3’s have exchanged hands. The Monthly Marathon is an extension of what we’ve been doing for a decade amongst ourselves; sharing and talking about the music we can’t get off our stereos or out of our ears. Music that makes us beam and dance and brings about all manner of other excitable, curious habits. It goes without saying that we couldn’t buy everything we hear, but between us we certianly spend a lot of money on the many, many records we like, love and enthuse about. Naturally, we encourage you to do the same. Perhaps somewhere like Norman Records is a good place to start your search!?

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DUSTIN WONG – Infinite Love 8 (Infinite Love)
MIST – Dead Occasion / Ovary Stunts (House)
MONOTRACT – There Are Hard Days I Can’t Forget (Xprmntl Lvrs)
BLANCK MASS – Chernobyl (Self Titled album)
SHIPPING NEWS – Antebellum (One Less Heartless To Fear)
ETIENNE JAUMET – Entropy (Entropy EP)
DEBRUIT – Nigeria What (Spatio-Temporal EP)
WARSAWWASRAW – A Cat Only Has Nine Lives (Chaajoth)
CASSINI-HUYGENS – Mission to Saturn (vimeo link)

Monthly Marathon #12 was put together by Toby.

I had heard nothing of Dustin Wong‘s solo output prior to RUNNERS playing with him in leeds earlier this year.  However, his rep from Ponytail suggested that the show was going to be something special.  Surrounded by an arc of loop and effects pedals, Wong came across as a genuinely friendly figure whose character complemented his series of precisely looped, densely layered and uplifting compositions. The material he played is apparently a soon-to-be-released album, and whilst Infinite Love is great, I reckon the newer material is even better! A+

Mist is a collaboration between Jon Elliot of Emeralds and Sam Goldberg who, amongst other projects, records as Radio People. Given how much I enjoy Emeralds’ most recent album, I was pretty excited to hear this and surprised by the fact I actually prefer it to Emeralds’ output. The more focused and aggressive approach on this album helps prevent the sort of mid-record lack-of-drive slump that makes me look to change the disc.

Back in the early second half of the first decade of the second millennium, Load Records seemed to be doing a lot more than they are now. They put out Monotract‘s Trueno Oscuro record, which introduced me to the band and made me hunt out their previous outing which this song is lifted from. Monotract are one of the few bands alongside contemporaries Sightings and Air Conditioning that I still find myself revisiting due to the well weighed out ingredients of static wash, actual riffs and excellent vocal delivery. There are hard days indeed.

Benjamin John Power is one half of Fuck Buttons and all of Blanck Mass. His new solo album kinda makes me think he is the one who does most of the leg work in Fuck Buttons. The album is brimming with drone filtered Vangelis / Jarre space adventures and is probably my favourite album of the year thus far as I’m a sucker for journeys through the space void.

Shipping News are the unfuckwithable champions of this genre and could probably get away with suing an awful lot of early-era LS6 bands for plagiarism. Ok, sure they have had some low points, but last year’s album which slipped by me until now is excellent. Probably because its all recorded live, which is when the band seem to be at their ultra-tight, concise, aggressive best.
One half of Zombie Zombie and probable John Carpenter obsessive. We were lucky to see Etienne Jaumet play in Marseille on our recent jaunt there recently, and I think his solo output suits his sound a lot more than the collaborative effort of Zombie Zombie. Great spacious, lush, kosmische techno.
I don’t know why I have forgotten to put Xavier Thomas’ Debruit in my Marathons previously as his geographically-themed dubstep records have been a regular feature in my listening habits since last summer. The latest Turkish inspired Sis-Surprise is good, but hasn’t caught my attention as much as the previous records that that had a more North African feel to them. The concept of geographical/cultural inspiration appeals to my obsessive compulsive facets as a good way to focus your thinking and sample bank, whilst lending a cohesive theme to a record too.
Warsawwasraw – shit name, good band. Previously a five piece, releasing the Chaajoth album from which this song is taken, but now a three piece and about to release a 7 inch on ThreeOneG. French sorta powerviolence that brings to mind bands like Trencher, in so much as they are more inventive than the majority of their genre contemporaries and prepared to experiment. The new material with the slimmed down line up seems a little more tech, but fortunately not enough for it to become lifeless.

Cassini Mission

Something of a departure for the Marathon, but in the month that the magnificent white elephant that is the space shuttle is retired, it seemed appropriate. Despite its brevity, this is a beautiful collection of some of the film footage sent back from the Cassini-Huygens mission to Saturn. The footage was filmed almost 900 million miles from Earth by an object about the size of a Sprinter tour van and weighing about 2.5 metric tonnes. Think about that for a second, properly. We built that thing and hurled it out there, on the back of pretty shitty odds that it would actually make it, just to go and have look. Whilst it returns not only valuable scientific data but also incredibly beautiful images, people at the bottom of the gravity-well still argue against spaceflight and curiosity driven research. Fucking morons. The shuttle might be dead, but long live the space race…

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RUNNERS – Monthly Marathon 11

THE WEEKND – High For This
KATY B – Katy On A Mission
JANELLE MONÁE – Tightrope ft. Sir Lucious Left Foot
TUNE-YARDS – Bizness
DMX KREW – I Can’t Control The Feeling
BIG BOI – Turns Me On ft. Sleepy Brown & Joi
HOW TO DRESS WELL – Decisions ft. Yuksel Arslan

Monthly Marathon # 11 was compiled by Leon Carey, June 2011.

To begin with, take heed to the title of the first track. You’ve got to get ‘High For This’The Weeknd is Abel Tesfaye from Toronto, Canada. I only recently found out about this whilst pilfering the net for good sounds. It isn’t pretentious and defies slick production skills. It’s a guy with some beats, sub, soft pads and a voice with no auto tune; hopefully a sign of things to come in the R&B world.  Get the album here: The Weeknd

Saul Williams is a poet, writer, actor and musician. Saul Williams is amazing. This is the first track from his new album ‘Volcanic Sunlight’. My good friend Bruno put me on to him about 7 years ago and I’ve kept an ear out for everything he’s done. His albums can be hit and miss, but there are always gems like this on them. ‘Volcanic Sunlight’ is a great album and you should definitely seek it out. For more go here: Saul Williams

I may surprise some with this choice. After all it’s a song the kids today are listening to. It’s been in the pop charts. I do like my guilty pleasures and this track is high on that list for this year. Do you remember Ms. Dynamite? Do you remember that song? Now listen to this. The ‘Tee, eee’ has been replaced with ‘Ooo, oom’ to ‘Uuu, une’ and the bass has gotten damn filthy. Katy B is young, gifted and her voice is liquid gold to this sound. She’s some drama school graduate, which is a must these days for any young thing to “break through”, but you can’t judge on that. Ms. Dynamite makes an appearance on the album and I must say, bar a couple of flops, it’s a belting British dance off. You want more, clicky: Katy B

If this track doesn’t make you want to grab the closest person to you and swing, you my dear friend are dead to me. Janelle Monáe has a voice to die for and a mind I would like to spend time with. Her debut album ‘The ArchAndroid’ is a sequel to her critically acclaimed EP ‘Metropolis’ and yes indeed, it has a *whispers* concept. Click video to watch some tasty moves and get an idea of said concept. Learn more about the lady herself: Janelle Monae

Next up we have tUnE-yArDs (that’s how the lady spells it) who is Merrill Garbus from New England, USA and this here track is taken from her ‘w h o k i l l’ album, which was released this year. I love this song. There’s an uplifting quality that can’t be bottled and the vocal hook is so catchy, I’ve been singing/humming it for weeks on end. Get the album in your lives and look out for her in a town near you, but be quick I hear tickets are selling fast. More info and tour dates are on her Facebook page and links to other media are here: tUnE-yArDs

‘Wave Funk’, the album which this DMX Krew song is taken from, is a perfect example of how good electronic music should be produced. I nearly sacked off the mix and was going to tell you to go away and listen to the entire album and get back to me, but I realised I’d already copped out on the last mix and you deserve better. Instead whet your appetite then seek out the album. You won’t be sorry. Learn more: DMX Krew

He’s already featured in the mix; so in theory this is a bit of a cheat, but I don’t care. The lads will tell you I have a lot of admiration for Big Boi and his partner in sweet soulful tunes, Andre 3000, and this track is typical of their Atlantan style. It’s smooth and silky, with great vocal hooks and that southern drawl that you’ve just got to love. ‘Sir Lucious Left Foot…’ is Big Boi all the way (with a little help from his friends) and as timeless as any of his past output. Find more: Big Boi

My last track will soak you in reverb and leave you moist. How To Dress Well is Tom Krell from Brooklyn, NYC. He is prolific in his output and most of the music he makes he gives away online. Seven EP’s in a year. He deserves all the props. This track is taken from his debut album ‘Love Remains’, which sounds like it’s been recorded in a large hall on a 1980’s boombox. This is lush, thought provoking stuff. Right now you should be closing your eyes, sitting back and allowing this song under your skin and into your dreams. For more: How To Dress Well.

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Download mp3

FORD & LOPATIN – Emergency Room
STAR SLINGER Vs TEAMS – Punch Drunk Love
ZOMBI – Escape Velocity
TAPE – Gone Gone

Monthly Marathon # 10 was compiled by Jon Nash, May 2011.

Each Monthly Marathon Mix will be something in the region of 30 minutes at 320 kbs mp3 quality, and we will remove tracks if requested.  We encourage you to buy the releases you love, just as we do. The downloads should take approximately 3 or 4 minutes at 70 kB/sec. You can also stream the mixes from our Facebook page and from Soundcloud.

This Ford & Lopatin (formally GAMES) track has been doing the rounds on the net for a while so you may have heard it already. These childhood friends and MIDI obsessed bros make astoundingly good music. The GAMES 7″ and 12″ EP’s were pretty awesome, but from what I’ve heard so far their debut LP ‘Channel Pressure‘ has gone 100% next level. ‘Emergency Room‘ channels the spirit of Scritti Politti‘s 80’s pop output and sprinkles it with wild Adrian Belew style guitar theatrics. It’s the crispiest tune I’ve heard since way back and If they don’t make it as artists they’ll sure be legendary producers. ‘Channel Pressure‘ is out later in the year on the duo’s own Mexican Summer imprint, Software.

This is another Mexican Summer related track. Star Slinger (a.k.a the king of Beat Repeat) is a remix artist/glorified DJ whose mixes are the thing of legend. Just type his name into Youtube and you’ll be bombarded by a host of awesome tracks he’s had a hand in remixing. I find it hard to believe instrumental hip-hop this sweet has been crafted by a lad from Manchester! Gotta love that shit. Don’t know much about Teams so I’ve no idea who is doing what, but who gives fuck, this tune is a beauty. Classic soul meets DMX style beats, what more can you ask for. Their S/T EP is still available from Mexican Summer if you wanna hear the rest.

Love the fact that these dudes are on Relapse. You all know Zombi so I won’t bang on, but this opener track from their new LP ‘Escape Velocity‘ is a killer example of why they are kings of the whole Georgio Moroder / John Carpenter / Italian Disco aping crew. It’s so good it makes me want to give up playing forever. They’ll always be one step ahead of the lads.

This one I’ve included purely because I love the the fact that it exists at all. ‘Fright Night‘ was the highlight of Ariel Pink’s ‘Before now’ LP and the fact that future funk revivalist and all round good guy DAM_FUNK has got his hands on it brings a little tear to my eye. Not the greatest remix of all time but certainly a tastefully funkified LA re-jig of the original mix. Love that Claptrap business. Gotta get myself one of them babies at some point. Can’t remember where I found this but it might be on the Stones Throw website.

More new goodies. I assume this beauty will rear it’s head on the next Real Estate LP but for now it’s a lone soldier. From the opening bars it’s apparent that this is pure Fleetwood Mac, especially the bass line and Daniel Lopatin’s (Oneohtrix Point Never, Ford & Lopatin) guest synth contributions. Absolute country pop gold. I bet their parents love it.

This is taken from Tape‘s recent LP ‘Revelationes‘ which I heard kinda by accident whilst fulfilling my review duties at Norman Records. Very spacious, laid back playing. Reminds me of Tortoise and a whole bunch of other Chicago types. Incredibly tasteful stuff and a rare treat to hear a band perform so well together on record or otherwise. Still haven’t got around to listening to their back catalogue but it’s on the list.

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HIZATRON – Telescope Dope
MONOLITH – Syphonic Flash
KLAUS PINTER – Bewussseinweiterung
JOHAN TIMMAN – The Blood Cells & The Antibodies (Look Out For The Killer)
RED SHAPE – Future Shock
PHOTONZ – Aquarian Ball

Monthly Marathon 9 was mixed by Dom – failed to keep it under 40 minutes for the first time, so crank it while it lasts! Honourable mention: this mix would have featured a track by Andy Blake a.k.a. Cave Paintings, but since he operates a no mp3 policy it seemed respectful to leave it off – the two 12″s out so far are incredible, get them if you can!

The start of this Hizatron track makes me think of synthesised kalimbas – I’m in! That’s totally misleading though, seeing as it’s a fresh slice of tastefully rude tech-house. This is the title track from one of his two 12″s on Wigflex, which appears to have been released in January 2011, though I most definitely got it from a store back in November last year.  Hizatron is from Nottingham, and he may (or may not) make beats from cats and eggs. He also likes to sport blingers on his feet, which will no doubt please Nash.

I’m sorry to say that it wasn’t a conscious effort to forge a theme between the first track and the second – I’ve only just noticed it now, but Tron is totally sweet so it’s all good! The special effects in Tron were made by a company called Monolith. This Monolith track was released on 12″ by Rephlex last year, and there’s a track called F-Tron on the a-side. Yeaaaaaaaaaah, it’s all starting to make sense.

Right, bear with me here… Endless House Foundation was the brainchild of “wealthy audiophile/maniac” Jiri Kantor, who curated a 6 week project in the Bialowieska Forest, Czechoslovakia in spring 1973. The album is a compilation featuring the likes of Felix Uran, Walter Schnaffs, Klaus Pinter and Rasmus Folk, and it’s just been released on CD (in a velcro-sealed envelope with artefact postcards and photographs) by Dramatic, who are known for releasing records with long-winded fictional histories… which means none of the above is true, i.e. cue for a shit-ton of blog hype yo!

Trip Into The Body was released by Johan Timman in 1981. The Amsterdam born synthesist was (maybe still is) known as the ball-breaking epitome of a perfectionist. Trip Into The Body was his only album, and I sure as hell can’t fault it… not even the way this track abruptly cuts at what should be a really wrong moment (look out for the killer – it’s in the title).

Broken Chains by Composite Profuse appears on last year’s L.I.K.E. collaborative 12″, released by two top Italian labels Truckstop 76th and Minimal Rome. Quick paced anxious synth paranoia driven by a floor-filling jumping beat, giving way to disaffected  vocoder vocals detailing ‘the power of control… don’t let the people become slaves…’

Dropping into an untitled Jodey Kendrick track from last year’s Plus Ten 12″ on Rephlex… confusingly, there also appears to be an album entitled Plus Ten, which this track doesn’t appear on. A little further out of his usual vein of RDJ in Analord mode, moving into perpetual minimal techno loaded heavy with dark, tense momentum.

Future Shock came out at the trail end of 2010 on Delsin Records, Red Shape‘s fifth EP on the label. The full version is about 4 minutes longer than this edit, but this mix is already stretching the self-imposed 30 minute target we set ourselves. The fried 80’s electro funk of Manhattan on the flip side is  also worth your cash, straying away from the bleak minimal acid techno Red Shape (aka Sebastian Kramer) is known for.

Photonz are a duo from Portugal, and following releases on the likes of Dissident and Dirty, they’ve taken the decision to start up their own label, One Eyed Jacks. In their words, “the place where the WRONG stuff happens… we want to take that risk ourselves this time, whether it means success or disaster.” Aquarian Ball is the first One Eyed Jacks release, summed up nicely by Boomkat – “Nutty jacking killer… filtering centrifugal breakbeat edits in a properly dynamic Anthony Shakir style. Guaranteed floor movers. Heavy.”

I was tempted to leave this month’s marathon as a link to the Odd Future tumblr where you can just get it ALL right here, right now – a whole fucking heap of free stuff from various OF members (Earl Sweatshirt, Hodgy Beats, Domo Genesis, etc). There’s too much to explain, but the icing on the cake is that there’ll be a Tyler The Creator LP on XL this year… get on it.

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 Monthly Marathon Mix 8 has been assembled by Toby.

NATION OF ULYSSES – Maniac Dragstrip
– Hyperdawn
– I Luv The Valley OH
– Psycho 75
– Lovers Start
-Magnetic Fields (Part IV)
– Spirit Burner
– Theychx
– Ready To Spit

No matter how cool Weird War were, Nation of Ulysses were cooler.  This track was out on their second album, by which point they seemed to have figured out how to play their instruments near enough to properly without losing their manic edge or pop gang mentality.

Everyone in recent memory seems to have been all over Oneohtrix Point Never like a fat kid on a cupcake, but the beatless arpeggiated synth gem ‘Hyperdawn’ demonstrates why.  Serious space adventures.  Could do without the seagulls though.

Everyone in RUNNERS likes to laugh at me as I have a pretty similar hair cut to the guy from Xiu Xiu; guess I get the last laugh as I’m putting them in my marathon.  It’s on a fine line, but I rate some of this bands output due to it’s manic, desperate, somewhat seasick tone.

Remember when Three One G still put out good records? Remember when you could go to a show in a black t shirt and not get shit from some long hair with a Prince fetish for it? Crimson Curse remembers.

‘Lovers Start’ by How To Dress Well sounds like some overly delayed pop song ebbing out of an open window on a summer evening – the entirety of the ‘Love Remains’ album is making me yearn for the seasons change.

When I was a kid my folks played Jean-Michel Jarre records near continuously, hence I’m blind to a lot of his faults (any record after and possibly including “Waiting for Cousteau”). However, I will stand by the assertion that if Kraftwerk were from France this is how they would have sounded.  Bit of a guilty pleasure, but he sure knows how to shred a keytar solo live. Bet JMJ is way more fun to hang out with than Kraftwerk too.

I never got my cycle to the coast to listen to Washed Out in the surf that I mentioned in marathon 4, but this summer I’m going to get my shit together and do it. Boy Friend‘s ‘Spirit Burner’ will also be on the playlist for the ride. More delay soaked synth coupled with a lush, simple vocal line.

The minimal ambient techno of F.U.S.E. is what the bong kids were listening to in 1993, in place of Ducktails and Sun Araw for the wastiods of today… possibly.

Remember when I cussed Three One G for not putting out good records anymore?  Well they don’t, but the new Retox EP harks back to the days when they did. Members of some of the best bands from 31G’s heyday (The Locust, The Festival Of Dead Deer and The Crimson Curse, as well as Struggle, Swing Kids, Holy Molar, etc). The Retox EP is available for free download from their website.

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Leon has truly gone to town with his second mix – a cinematic cocktail featuring no less than 16 tracks in 30 minutes and 6 seconds.

DOWNLOAD – RUNNERS – Monthly Marathon Mix VII (mp3)

PHIL YOUNG – Science & Industry
PETER HOWELL – Merry-Go-Round
JOHN CARPENTER – Assault on Precinct 13 – Julie’s Theme
JOHN BAKER – Good Morning Wales
PLONE – Be Rude To Your School
BELBURY POLY – The Hidden Door
STEVE MARSHALL – Kingdom of the Thunder Dragon
JACK AREL & PIERRE DUTOUR – Bumblebees Dance
JONATHAN GIBBS – Computers in the Real World

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A little later in the moon cycle than usual, but still keeping us within the boundaries of this being a monthly thing, here’s Nash’s second mix:

DOWNLOAD – RUNNERS – Monthly Marathon Mix Six (mp3)

DAM_FUNK – Fantasy
MF DOOM – Deep Fried Frenz
HIPNOSIS – Space Crusaders
ONRA – Sitting Back
WOMEN – Heat Distraction
DMX KREW – Party Up (Up In Here)

This is obviously the best way that I could begin our latest mix. The new Hype Williams single begins in style. Take the opening vocal line from Drake’s ‘Over’, slow that shit waaay down, drop some lo-fi G synths and you got a killer tune on your hands. Loved the original tune but I like this better. Want some background on Hype Williams? It’s myths and talk but I can confirm that they are a duo whose names may or may not be Father Ronnie Krayola and Denna Frances Glass. They are from London. They pick things up and make them better and, much like Nate Dogg, they’re ‘high like everyday’. Head over to YouTube and check out some of the vids they’ve made to accompany these tracks, should explain everything. Buy ‘Do Roids and Kill E’ryting’ before it runs out. It’s on De Stijl Records. They also have an awesome untitled L.P on Carnival.

Los Angeles “Ambassador Of Boogie”, DAM_FUNK is doing a fine job of reigniting the flame of funk with his synth driven take on the genre single-headedly resurrecting Boogie-Funk, Modern Soul and Electro-Funk in one deftly manoeuvre, utilizing only the finest vintage analogue synths and drum machines. You gotta be loving this guys jams! ‘Fantasy’ is one of the more upbeat tunes on the ‘Toeachizown’ CD/LP boxset on Stones Throw. I prefer the super long instrumental B-sides on the 12”s (compiled together on the second CD), but I thought I’d try and keep upbeat for the kids. Peanut Butter Wolf, I salute you for bringing DAM_FUNK to my attention – you are a good man.

This is an oldish track that everyone should be aware of by now. Taken from M (etal) F (ace) DOOM’s ‘MM Food’ LP, also on Stones Throw. He’s over in the UK playing a few shows at the moment and I’m a fool for not attending. The man is genius. Great style, great production (as with all his albums) and a consist output. Some might say consistent, but slow? Not me… I can wait.

Hipnosis (occasionally known as Hypnosis) were a short lived 80’s Italian disco outfit based in Parma and founded by Stefano Cundari. The line-up included Ugo Solenghi and Pauls Sears with Kirlian Camera joining later. Known primarily for their reworking of Vangelis’ ‘Pulstar‘, they also craft a pretty nifty composition in their own right… ‘Space Crusader’ being the best. Love the swing on the drum beat. Still can’t decide if it’s programmed or live playing. I’m probably tripping, but it’s just too good to be programmed?!

Don’t know much about Onra (he’s French, he loves modernsoul, electro, R&B and boogie…that’s about it), but I’m digging his new LP ‘Long Distance’ on Dublin’s All City Records. Super slick production, excellent use of synths, great guest vocalists (T3 of Slum Village, Olivier DaySoul, Reggie B) and amazing use of samples make for an outstanding listen. This Parisian super producer is a true crate-digger with an outstanding knack (much like the Hype Williams duo) for taking something great and making it even better. This is his 5th LP. There’s loads more to in get involved with. Check him out.

I’m pretty sure this is the work of Sam Meringue (Matrix Metals, Flashback Repository, Explorers), but I don’t know for sure. Described as an “esoteric glam-damaged concept record about Berlin nightclubs and foxy ladies”, which I hope is true… I’ve not spent a huge amount of time (if any) hanging out in Berlin clubs so it’s hard to say, but the album is mental; full of truly outrageous compositions that plays on the ideas presented by Ariel Pink, twisting them into strange and exciting new forms. Taken from the LP ‘Foxy Baby’, ‘Berghiem Cruety’ is a synth driven late night wig-out of epic proportions – a hypnotic beast.

One of the interworld’s most blogged out indie-rock bands, Women really came good on their second LP ‘Public Strain’, with ‘Heat Distraction’ being a personal hightlight. You’ve most likely heard this already… but if not, you should take a listen! Beneath the blissful forcefield of reverberance lurks pure craftsmanship and an ear for powerful melodies. I can hear all the champs in here… Velvet Underground, Gang Of Four, Pavement, Deerhoof… you name it, you got it. LP is out on Jagjaguar if you wanna get yourself a copy.

You know DMX! You must know this track?! Never was a big fan of this sort of stuff as a kid (too busy listening to Beck, Folk Implosion, Blues Explosion…), but it’s growing on me as an older man. I blame Paper Rad. Anyway, get Lifepipe’d and enjoy. DMX; much love to you sir.

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All four of us have now contributed one Monthly Marathon each, and so the cycle starts over with Dom’s second mix…

DOWNLOAD – RUNNERS – Monthly Marathon #5.mp3

JOHN CAMERON – Action Replay
TALIBAM! – Rambo’s Passeggiata

It was tempting to up the length because I was struggling to contain everything into 30 minutes, even though I’ve been a true gentleman and left 2 artists for Nash to include on his next Marathon.  This one’s 10 tracks in 34 minutes so hopefully you’ll find enough chomp here to get your spaceface around…

Automa‘ is the sound of wonked synth and stuttering, cone-blown drums, creating dark eclipses of shady mechanical uprisings and bleak industrial meltdown. Piero Umiliani was one of the original Italian composers who helped shape the sound of Spaghetti Westerns, European spy flicks and B-movie soft-core horror fiction alongside the more well known names of Ennio Moriconne, Riz Ortolani or Piero Piccioni.

Vance‘ is a haunting brief encounter of a distant, droning space catastrophe, forefronted with deep surround-sound hi-hats. At first glimpse, Hingross seem to be radical Italian black-power funk who only appear on themed compilations, though they did release one full-length entitled ‘Suggestions’ sometime I guess in the mid 70’s. However, like many of the musicians and composers involved in library music, Hingross is actually an alias – that of Giorgio Ingrosso. This is why I love library music – exploring the winding wrong paths, the mystery and puzzle of searching through the liner notes for the subtle clue that leads you on to the next discovery.

George Thompson and Kyle Martin first came to my attention a few years ago when I heard some online mixes they put together that I grabbed from a blog that I have since forgotten the name of (agggg, should’ve bookmarked). Spectral Empire have three 12”s out on This Is Not An Exit (‘Black Shark‘ is the second of the three, released in 2009), all of which are worth hard cash and repeated loud listening, as are any of their remixes. ‘Black Shark‘ is an immersive, dark pulse of minimal disco, washed with a creeping, sweeping visual-stimulant melody. I’m going to assume you’re already at a computer, so you should watch the video featuring the crew of a nuclear submarine. Immense.

Decerf recorded for the highly collectible Auvidis, amongst other labels. He’s one of the early European synth explorers who utterly mastered the art, comfortably skirting between the avant-garde, cosmic psychedelia, jingle-ditties, proto-type hip-hop, and just about anything else he fancied bending or inventing. Pioneering and relatively prolific, yet incredibly difficult to find any accurate information about – let alone getting hold of actual vinyl of his work (£££). You should keep an eye out though – it’s all gems! As for Myriam Chaddar, I have absolutely no idea – the closest I can find are a few badly spelled entries involving a quote from a TV comedy involving a character called Myriam and some Smoked Hickory Cheese, Miriam Cross being found dead in Cheddar Gorge, a novel about a Pakistani Bride, and a recipe for Chicken Cheddar Spirals.

Joël Fajerman was given the nickname ‘The Flangerman’ by the French musicians he met as co-owner of the first French synth-shop in Paris – he used the effect heavily on a lot of his recordings. You can only imagine my excited little grin as I read that whilst reading about Jean Michelle Jarre, which immediately sent me on the hunt for Fajerman’s records. ‘Cargo‘ is taken from his 1983 album, ‘Turbulences‘, and if this song hasn’t been used for a life-affirming, slow-mo-montage scene in a film, then something has gone wrong. Fajerman was also involved in a short-lived but brilliant cosmic disco group called Contact… the album ‘Just U.V.‘ from 1979 is also highly recommended.

There are any number of Cleckhuddersfax songs I could have included in this mix, but ‘The Numismatist‘ is the banger I’ve gone for… bouncing synths and brilliantly executed effected vocals (which I believe tell a tale about an Israeli collector of coins, though I could be mistaken) ride above the progressive glam-stomp of a 5-string bass and a sharp drum beat. I’ve had the complete pleasure of good-humoured antics touring with these dudes around Europe on a number of occasions, and it’s a real inspiration to be amongst a friendly group of intelligent, adventurous, high-skilled consummate-anti-professionals. Bias admitted (in that our old record label released their first album), their new record recently released by Upset The Rhythm is a certified winner – buy it!

Gyratory System is Andrew Blick (production, trumpet, sound treatments) who is fairly well known as a trumpeter and producer in the realm of the experimental, his son, Robin Blick (reeds, brass) and James Weaver (bass, synthesiser). ‘Splurge Gun‘ is an impossible to resist bonkers fanfare of pure jubilation, marching-drum rolls and heavily manipulated FX. Gyratory System have a few different versions of their Yowser Yowser Yowser single available, and an album called ‘The Sound Board Breathes‘. They replicate this danceable madness live too – get down!

A second helping from a band we’re friends with… though perhaps it’s fair to say more than friends, considering Leon and I played in CHOPS with Moz from Two Minute Noodles (also of Quack Quack, as featured on Monthly Marathon #2), and Nash lived with him for a few years. Friendship aside, there’s no denying the velocity of ‘Angle Blind with its jazz-bonced beat and melody driven kitsch organ that suits a good studio production workout… a sneak peak at their forthcoming album recorded by Ross Halden at Ghost Town, who is the good-guy responsible for the Runners songs we’ve recorded so far.

John Cameron is an English composer whose credits include writing a bundle of hits for Donovan and Hot Chocolate, scoring the themes to Kes and Crimewatch UK, and contributing to the brilliant KPM and Bruton Music Library. He was also a member of the early 70’s prog band CSS (Collective Consciousness Society), whose version of ‘Whole Lotta Love‘ was used on Top Of The Pops. This track is from the 1985 album ‘Hot Doughnuts‘ on Bruton Music Library, and like many great library tracks, you can’t provide any better description than the track title itself.

Accidentally completing a trio of bands who I consider friends (I didn’t intend it to work out like that), here’s Kevin Shea and Matt Mottell; New York residents responsible for maybe something close to a thousand top-grade musical (mis?)adventures… seriously, I’d love nothing better than to list them all here, but it’d just be ridiculous – search for yourselves (first ports of call – Kevin’s drumming with Moppa Elliott’s Mostly Other People Do The Killing or with trumpeter Peter Evans). Tactically improvised sonic overload taken from their album Ordination of the Globetrotting Conscripts – Talibam! have a lot of cool shit out!

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Here’s the 4th of our Runners Monthly Marathon mixes of other musics… Toby put this one together before we  found out we were playing at Field Day, so it is something of a coincidence that some of the artists in this mix were also there.

DOWNLOAD – Runners – Monthly Marathon IV.mp3

– Which Way To Go
– Hold Out
– The Kettle Men
– Es Schneit
– Circassian
– Phantom Itch

Fake Blood is producer Theo Keating.  A man with a significant remix talent, capable of making dross like The Kills or Little Boots listen-able, but of limited original output. My exposure to and knowledge of electro house is limited and I was only introduced to this track as summer broke hot early this year, despite it originally appearring in 2008.  I love the simplicity and manic edge to music like this; shame I couldn’t calm down enough to enjoy his set at Field Day.

Sometimes I get this odd feeling that I’m super-saturated by synth based music.  There are certain bands that are the antidote to this feeling… The Festival of Dead Deer, Arab on Radar or Lake of Dracula maybe. Eddy Current Supression Ring fit the bill too.  ‘Which Way To Go’ is from the Primary Colours album, which  is start-to-finish an uncomplicated joy  of garage riffs and drums.  This year’s Rush To Relax album is also excellent.

Much internet bedwetting talk has been made regarding Ernest Greene’s methods of generating music and, as ever, the quest for authenticity in music is made irrelevant due to the tracks from the Life Of Leisure EP being great. Delayed drenched vocals and hazy synths abound, contributing to a perfect lazy but cohesive sound.  One day this summer, I will cycle a century to the coast to stand in the surf and drink an ice cold beverage. Washed Out will be the perfect accompaniment to this excellent thirst quenching moment.

As good as the majority of the new Actress album (Splazsh) is, I stand by the assertion that Darren Cunningham is at his best when he  becomes the digital incarnation of John Carpenter, such as on tracks like Mazes or The Kettle Men.  Sparse and focussed. Ace.

Pantha Du Prince is one of two acts in this mix who played at Field Day. Whilst I was to over-stimulated to listen to more than 5 minutes of Fake Blood, I managed to keep my ADHD in check long enough to watch the majority of German producer Hendrik Weber’s set.  I was pretty excited when I realised he was playing his most recent album, Black Noise, which has been heavily relied on since I picked it up earlier this year.  Excellent, propulsive, minimal techno. Wasn’t so minimal through a 4 million watt PA mind.

Fennesz has put out three of my favourite albums;  Endless Summer, Venice and Black Sea.  All with differing overall tones to each other, but totally recognisable.  The combination of music and artwork in these records conjures their titles perfectly.  From the lazy, hot and thick glitch of Endless Summer to the wide, lush expanses of Venice and the stark coldness of Black Sea, these three records are pretty much perfect from beginning to end. ‘Circassian is from Venice, and  is the soundtrack to some crazy bleak sci-fi film – a remake of Silent Running perhaps.  This track could run over Freeman Lowell blowing himself up to save the forest.  Yeah, that’d do.

Members of Kogumaza have featured in some of my favourite UK bands of the last decade, like Wolves (of Greece!) and Lords, and tend to be a good indicator of quality.  Kogumaza bring images of heat, dust and relentless sunlight in my head.  Maybe they are desert rock for people who aren’t down with bongs?  I don’t know, but they are excellent humans, and kindly provided me with an mp3 of this song on request – thanks very much!

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The third Runners Monthly Marathon mp3 mix has been made by Leon. Enjoy…

DOWNLOAD – Runners – Monthly Marathon III.mp3

MAGMA – Liriïk Necronomicus Kanht

CEEPHAX ACID CREW – Cedric’s Sonnet
APHEX TWIN – Windowlicker
MARK MOTHERSBAUGH – Ping Island Lightning Strike Rescue

GOBLIN – Suspiria

Magma is French.  Is space rock.  Is fucking awesome.  This track is taken from their seventh studio album Attahk, and is one of those tracks that make your arse shake whilst your hand strokes your chin pondering the tricky beats and arrangement until that falsetto kicks in and melts your mind.  Dom put me on to this band a few months back (cheers fella, why’d you wait so long?), and I’ve been blasting their music into my ears ever since.  They were formed by drummer Christian Vander in 1969 as a “vision of humanity’s spiritual and ecological future“.  Now that’s a plan!  The genius is, Vander invented a “constructed language” that he called Kobaïan.  Listen to this track and try and figure it out for yourself.

After something that is new to me, I’m going straight to the music I love and that never leaves my ears.  Acid house, electro, techno…  It has a load of names and a load of great artists that for the last twelve years or more have made me smile, dance and think. Clark’s Turning Dragon album is one of those albums that will need a few listens, but it creeps under your skin and by the time Beg kicks in, you’ve either fallen in love or you’re running for the hills.  This track is brutal. The sound of being kicked in the dick repeatedly by a champion stallion.  I don’t recommend you go out and try that, but you should definitely seek out Clark and his fantastic musical mind.  It all sounds familiar, whilst being new and fresh.  Get this tune in your headphones on your way to work.  It works a treat.

Ceephax Acid Crew is Andy Jenkinson.  He has a famous brother.  If you don’t know who that is, I suggest you look it up yourself.  I chose this brother because he’s drops more acid.  Cedric’s Sonnet is the first track off his latest album, United Acid Emirates (you see what he’s done there).  This is definitely his most accessible and most consistent album and this track is a great opener.  Get your dancing shoes on!

I had to put a track by this guy on here.  He was the first for me and is probably the first for most folk.  He is the Godfather of the British techno scene.  He has two hits that everybody talks about, and in my humble opinion Windowlicker is the best.  This is pop music with a sense of humour, and a J-Lo dance routine she must wish her choreographer had come up with.  If you’ve not seen the video, check it out.  Fantastic work by Chris Cunningham, who is perhaps one of the most under-rated directors Britain has produced. Aphex Twin people…

Now to end, I bring you my next love – film, and more specifically,  the soundtracks which really make the films and television shows. Mark Mothersbaugh’s work with Wes Anderson is some of his finest (sorry DevoThe Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou is fun, fun, fun.  Set to a scene that ends quite traumatically and is a huge turning point in the film, I love the way he hasn’t lost any of that special inventiveness and excitement at finding new sounds , or old sounds too manipulate.  The extra on the DVD where Mark is interviewed is brilliant and a must see if you’re a bit of a geek and love synths. fans, they are really good too) and this track taken from

The last track is a nod to Dario Argento’s beautiful, mesmerising and somewhat scary Suspiria.  I love horror films.  This is the title track from the film by the aptly named Italians, Goblin, who have recently been sampled and name checked by pretty much every modern dance troupe.  This track is typical of Goblin and it sounds like you’re watching the film.  It’s haunting and rocking.  I love it.  If you want to hear or know more about them you can find it on t’internet.  For now just sit back and listen to this haunting masterpiece.

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Here we are as promised, the second Runners Monthly Marathon mp3 mix of sounds which are hot to trot on our home stereo systems. This one was put together by Nash.

DOWNLOAD – RUNNERS – Monthly Marathon II.mp3

MATRIX METALS – Ray Ban Meltdown Pt. 1
RANGERS – Deerfield Village
JAMES FERRARO – F-150 Night Eros At The Highway’s End
BEARDS – Bricks By Boulder

I first picked up on this Orchestra Poly-Ritmo De Contonu Dahomey tune thanks to Luaka Pop‘s compilation LP ‘World Psychedelic Classics 3 – Love’s A Real Thing… The Funky Sounds of West Africa‘. Don’t know much about the band, but the track pays homage to their hometown, Minsato-Le, now known as Benin. Wiry, fuzzed out guitars and repeat doses of soul-power make for an infectious listen. Note the off-kilter groove and peculiar rhythm shift between the two main passages… you can tell the drummer was on a right problem solving mission when trying to seamlessly lock the two opposing grooves together.

Conceived as a fresh creative outlet for Bilge Pump drummer Neil ‘Ghost Sticks’ Turpin, it was apparent the first time he hit the stage with Stuart Bannister (bass) and keyboardist/second drummer Richard Morris aka Moz (CHOPS, Two Minute Noodles) that he had stumbled upon another fantastic combination. Drawing primarily on Krautrock, jazz and prog influences, Quack Quack twist these chin-strokin’ influences into vibrant and exciting new forms that can’t help but put a smile on your face and a tap in your toe. Check the gangster lean on ‘Toc H’, one of the highlights on their new album ‘Slow As An Eyeball’ available on CD from Cuckundoo, which I believe is some kind of Leaf Records off-shoot or affiliate.

Matrix Metals is the work of Sam Meringue, a part man, part unstoppable idea-generating machine. Of all the projects he is known to be associated with (Explorers/Yoga/Flashback Repository to name but a few), Matrix Metals is the one that sticks with me. Described as ‘alien lounge music’ by it’s maker, ‘Ray ban Meltdown Pt. 1’ is a the sound of a an over stimulated krautrock Party-Jam stuck on infinite, cosmic repeat. Note the Ferraro-like way sounds and loops are added to the mix…bumpy. S/T debut available from Olde English Spelling Bee is a vinyl re-issue of a tape previously available on Not Not Fun.

Rangers is the work of Joe Knight. His debut LP proper (he’s also made a bunch of crazy tapes that I’ve not heard), ‘Surburban Tours’ is a disorientating blend of 80’s synth-popisms and progged out psych-rock drenched in lashing of tape fuzz. A rare pop visionary and a damn fine bass player too. ‘Surburban Tours’ is available on LP from Olde English Spelling Bee Records.

This is the tune that I believe merits the hype that surrounds James Ferraro. He may have written a tastier jam than ‘F-150 Night Eros at the Highways End’ but I’ve not heard it…yet. So…what can I say about Ferraro?…. a pizza eating space freak if ever there was one, the man is an entity unto himself, with more pseudonyms and side projects than Jack White, Neil Young and Mike Patton put together. ‘F-150 Night Eros at the Highways End’ is basically the soundtrack to Ferraro’s pseudo-futurist, warrior road movie that doesn’t exist yet. Taken from ‘Last American Hero’ available on LP from Olde English Spelling Bee (again, I know). Originally released on Dreamtime Taped Sounds.

Beards are from Leeds. Some people say they are better than Bilge Pump!!! Now that’s an endorsement! Here’s what Rough Trade have to say about their fantastic new LP: “Channelling unnatural punk forces from beyond, Leeds’ Beards are the outsider-pop twin of a bastard daughter of Units and Kleenex. A girl-boy-girl synth-guitar sandwich, the group have built on Minutemen-esque virtuoso playing and injected a pop disease into the choruses. The result is a fierce record with lashings of hooks and propulsion. The title track, for example, is a synth-punk knee bleeder, while ‘Drive Time‘ is the sound of AM radio if you were on a rocket to the planet wtf? Taken from LP ‘Brick By Boulder’ on homespun weirdo label, Ouse.

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DOWNLOAD – RUNNERS – Monthly Marathon 1 .mp3

BERTO PISANO – Tema di OscarSissignore, 1968
AQSAK MABOUL – A Modern LessonUn Peu de l’Âme des Bandits, 1979
SUN RA – Calling Planet EarthWhen Sun Comes Out, 1960
CYBOTRON – ClearEnter, 1983
GEORGES TEPERINO – CleopatraStriclty Rhythmical / Rhythmical Melodies, L’Illistration Musicale 20
NINO NARDINI – Icebreaker
MAHJONGG – Whoop [feat Tom Tom Boy & Cooper Crane] – The Long Shadow Of The Paper Tiger, 2010
BABLICON – 2 Birds (1 wing)In A Different City, 1999

Do I need to explain my choices? Not really. Do I like to waffle and nerd-off? Well, yes, actually… I do. Thanks!

Berto Pisano is an Italian composer, mostly of film soundtracks in the 60’s and 70’s. He’s got a sublime sense of color, tone, space and style, and I’m totally down with the orchestral scores – full of sparkling light and life. This song reminds me of Ski Sunday, and I listened to it about 4 times on the drive from Donostia to Gijon in Basque/Spain on tour with Beards and Please. I don’t ski, but for whatever reason, I see the powder spraying off from a silky curve down a glorious mountain when that brass kicks in.

Aqsak Maboul are a Belgian group from the late 70’s and early 80’s, associated with Henry Cow’s Rock In Opposition movement. This song is one of my most favourite ever! It stands out from the rest of their albums, which isn’t to say they’re not great albums, more that this particular track has a bit more kick to it with all the tape-samples crashing and flying about over the absolutely unfathomable vocal gymnastics!

It’s pretty hard to choose a song from Sun Ra’s huge catalogue, and maybe this is one of the more obvious choices, but it’s definitely a good ‘un. Driving Marshall Allen and the rest of the current Arkestra on tour around the UK in 2009 was completely the most amazing experience of my life – each of them so full of energy and pure desire to play, warm and welcoming, insightful and playful. For the majority of the tour, they played a few classics, a selection of Ellington-esque early Sun Ra pieces, and some of the newer compositions with Marshall spiralling off the cosmos with his Electronic Wind Instrument (which I have wanted for a long time!). Seeing them rip it up in Bristol at The Croft for the first hour of their set was the most intense musicianship I have witnessed.

Cybotron are one of the classics of early 80’s Detroit techno, the first musical output of the brilliant Juan Atkins (Model 500, Metroplex Records, etc). Whilst we’re on it, there’s another Cybotron from Australia; their record Colossus (1977) is the one to look out for.

Georges Teperino and Nino Nardini are the same person – both pesudonyms for Georges Teperin (1912-1994), a French electronic pioneer, visionary, genious (etc) who recorded for the likes of Chappell Music Library and L’Illustration Musicale. Sat aside Roger Roger (also alias Eric Swan, Cecil Leuter and Roger Davy), Georges is right at the peak of the Library records I’ve collected so far. Most of them are ridiculously expenisve and out of my price range (I don’t know anyone who would spend their entire month’s wages on one slab of vinyl!), but there’s still treats to pick up along the way if you’re lucky.

Mahjongg are from Chicago. We arranged a couple of gigs for them in Leeds last year and they were blinding hot!  A lot of bands have started to get into the whole afro-beat inspired ting, but Mahjongg have been at it a while now, and they got it securely nailed into tight, infectious grooves surrounded by a fine balance of experimentation and fairly varied pop sensibility. Whoop is taken from their new album, which should be out sometime soon on K Records. Hunter tells me there should also be a 7″ of even newer material to land this year.

To wrap it up, a continuation of the Chicago connection, with Bablicon. Featuring top-dudes from Neutral Milk Hotel, The Gerbils, Icy Demons, A Hawk And A Hacksaw (who featured our friend Chris Hladowski on recent tours), and also a few Need New Body collaborators. Sprawling, audacious jazz, Stravinsky classicisms, enthusiastic Zappa twists and turns and all sorts of other mutations, always bound together with playful precision and deft touch. Mavellous.


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