The Epic 2017 Project #357: 171223
Yello – Stella (1985)
Stella is the fourth studio album by the Swiss electronic band Yello, first released in Germany, Switzerland and Austria on 29 January 1985, and in the UK and US in March 1985. It was the first album made by the band without founder member Carlos Perón, and with his departure the remaining duo of Boris Blank and Dieter Meier began to move away from experimental electronic sounds towards a more commercial synthpop and cinematic soundtrack style.
As well as becoming the first album ever by a Swiss group to top the Swiss album chart, it was the band’s breakthrough album internationally, helped by the success of the song “Oh Yeah”, which gained the band worldwide attention the following year after it was prominently featured in the 1986 film Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and then a year later in The Secret of My Success.
It’s also renowned for being the song that my two eldest children rode their tricycles round the kitchen table to in the late 80’s. So this one’s dedicated to them.
The Epic 2017 Project #340: 171206
Underworld – Oblivion with bells (2007)
Oblivion with Bells is the seventh studio album from Underworld, released on 3 October 2007 in Japan, 15 October 2007 in the EU and 16 October 2007 in the US. Due to the success of lead single “Crocodile” and the use of “To Heal” as a central theme in the film Sunshine, it had sold over 93,000 copies worldwide within 6 months.
The album received positive reviews from most music critics. Allmusic gave it 3 out of 5 stars saying
The acid techno is firmly in place, with little or no regard for developments in the form after the ’80s. Still, unlike other electronica mainstays who have occasionally revealed a little weariness — either from trying to change or trying to stay the same — Underworld never sound particularly tired on Oblivion with Bells.
In 2009 Beach Bateria sampled the kick line five minutes 10 seconds into ‘Beautiful Burnout’, the time signature of which never fails to mess with your head. It certainly did mine. Still mastered it though.
The Epic 2017 Project #339: 171205
Underworld – Beaucoup Fish (1999)
Following the huge success of the single “Born Slippy .NUXX” from its use in the film Trainspotting, Beaucoup Fish was Underworld’s most anticipated release. It spawned several successful singles, including “Push Upstairs”, “Jumbo” and “Moaner”, which was previously used in the film Batman & Robin.
It is the last studio album to feature Darren Emerson, who departed in 2001, and the third album by the techno/house orientated version of Underworld which became active in about 1991/1992 (tracks were being released around this time under the name of Lemon Interrupt).
In 2001 the Beach Bateria Samba band I played bottom surdo for in Sussex sampled ‘King of Snake’, using its opening drum sequence and pulsating bass line as inspiration for what became its most popular and most requested live performance piece.
The Epic 2017 Project #338: 171204
Underworld – Second toughest in the infants (1996)
Underworld’s fourth studio album and the second in their “MK2” line-up with Darren Emerson was released in March 1996 on the Junior Boys Own label. With ‘Second Toughest in the Infants’, Underworld expanded on their progressive palette, while developing their signature sound of abrasive beats and anthemic melodies.
The album’s name derives from a comment made by member Rick Smith’s six-year-old nephew, Simon Prosser, when asked on his progress at infant school:
Yeah, don’t worry about me, I’m second toughest in the infants now.
The album featured the single “Pearl’s Girl”. The re-issue also included the band’s best known single, “Born Slippy .NUXX”.
The Epic 2017 Project #189: 170708
November 17 – Defy Everything (1999)
N17 (sometimes known as November 17) were an Industrial metal band from Phoenix, Arizona, United States. Formed in 1993, they were one of the original crossover electronic/metal They released two albums and were signed to Slipdisc Records (a division of Mercury Records) until the label closed in late 1999. They were also signed to Spitfire Records until the band’s split in 2001.
The band took its name from the November 17, 1973, student uprising at Athens Polytechnic University. Twenty students were killed when Greek army tanks suppressed the protests, and the group was formed in part to retaliate against the ruling military junta.
The Epic 2017 Project #179: 170628
Moby – Play (1999)
Play is the fifth studio album by American electronica musician Moby. It was first released on May 17, 1999 by Mute and V2. Recording of the album began in 1998, following the release of his fourth album, Animal Rights in 1996, which deviated from Moby’s electronica style; his goal for Play was to return to this style of music. Originally intended to be his final record, the recording of the album took place at Moby’s home studio in Manhattan, New York.
While some of Moby’s earlier work garnered critical and commercial success within the electronic dance music scene, Play was both a critical success and a commercial phenomenon. The album introduced Moby to a worldwide mainstream audience, not only through a large number of hit singles that helped the album to dominate worldwide charts for two years, but also through unprecedented licensing of his music in films, television, and commercial advertisements. It eventually became the biggest-selling electronica album of all-time, with over 12 million copies sold worldwide.
In 2003 and 2012, the album was ranked number 341 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 500 greatest albums of all time. It was nominated for both a Grammy Award and Brit Award, was the UK’s biggest-selling independent album of 2000, and certified platinum status in more than 20 countries.
The Epic 2017 Project #172: 170621
Massive Attack – Protection (1994)
So, for mid-summer’s day 2017 we have Massive Attack’s second studio album, released in 1994 and the last to feature Tricky as a member after going solo with his album Maxinquaye in 1995.
Protection was featured in the top ten of Rolling Stone magazine’s ‘Coolest Albums of All Time List’, calling it “great music for when you’re driving around a city at 4 am,” due to the ‘chill out’ nature of the album. Like most of Massive Attack’s albums, the music often defies categorisation, ranging from R&B to hip hop/rap (like Karmacoma) to reggae-tinged synthpop to classical-influenced electronica instrumentals like ‘Weatherstorm’.
The album follows Blue Lines structurally, to the point that the font used on the cover of the album is the same, Helvetica Heavy Italic.Now there’s a useless bit of information to weave into conversation!