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2008, yum yum

Posted: January 14th, 2009, by Pascal Ansell

– – ALBUMS – –


Flying Lotus – Los Angeles. Real headphone hip hop. Massive beats and dirty samples – it’s rare to call a rap album beautiful but this sets the yardstick. Yum Yum Flying Lotus.

Volcano – Paperwork. Read my review!

Flake Brown – Help the Overdog – ditto. Good old, peculiar folk.

Gang Gang Dance – Saint Dymphna. Wildy danceable – a dizzying 11 tracks. Grime track Princes surprised the hell out of me but is the album’s best.

Not Too Shabby:

Bjork – Volta. Good tunes but where the hell were Chris Corsano or Brian Chippendale ?

Jonquil – Lions

Vampire Weekend – Vampire Weekend

Gushpanka – Gushpanka

– – GIGS – –

Brudenell Social Club = my new home:

Acid Mothers Temple,

Oxes + Bilge Pump,



Dalek + Zach Hill


Charlottefield – Wheatsheaf, Oxford, 12th Jan (last gig??)

Volcano! – The Library, Leeds

DJ Yoda’s Magic Cinema Show – Oxford Academy

– – 3 GOOD THINGS – –



Flying Lotus

– – 3 BAD THINGS – –

Damon Che – Drums,

Gene Doyle – Guitar,

Jason Jouver – Bass

(WHAT are Don Cab doing???!?!)

Desert: Delia Smith’s How to Cook Book 1, singing Dream of Gerontious, Thame Choral Society and the Bernwode Singers, an England-free World Cup = great and unbiased viewing, Sweden, Czech Republic: teaching English + tasty Czech beer, Leeds Uni, interviewing Zach Hill, Leeds Festival Chorus, Oxfam Headingley, Room 237, Scandinavian Soc, North Hill Court, Samba and Reggaeton, Exodus at the West Indian Centre, Leeds University Union Music Library, Reggae Reggae Cookbook, Moscow Philharmonic + sardines at Leeds Town Hall, meeting Judith Bingham (blog here), Viva Cuba’s house band, BBC Manchester, Poulenc: Gloria

FLAKE BROWN – Help the Overdog (Autumn Ferment)

Posted: August 24th, 2008, by Pascal Ansell

The fledgling Scottish label Autumn Ferment have done it again in sharing with the world another fantastically original folk artist. When not singing, Flake Brown is a father named Tony Ramsay, a folk-guitar fiddler fiddling his way around whirs of plucked strings and tastily surreal lyrics. Admittedly the combination of folk + odd voice + humour (albeit a slight, tasteful wit) does not immediately smack you of making an enjoyable listen. But his debut album ‘Help the Overdog’ is a real grower; his distinctive voice turns from strange to charming and you realise you’re in the company of a jolly good album.

Flake has a friendly bass-baritone voice which he shows off with terrific low humming. He’s the owner of what I would have assumed is a West Country croak, but Sussex is where he really hails so I’m a quite a few miles off at least.

There are some classic folk song-titles here: ‘Pilgrim Song’, ‘The Weathercatcher’ and ‘Eddie the Puss’, but nothing in the album suggests trite folk idioms. The latter song is wonderfully perplexing:

I am a mistress of fate,
I wait for you at the gate…
Staple my face to the hours…
Skate on the top of your breath,
Ride on the wings of desire,
Buy a house and then retire.
Be good to mum throughout life,
Go to the shops, buy a knife…

and includes some sinister chuckling and the two longest hums I’ve ever heard. ‘The Angry Courtyard’ hits you in the stomach with its sheer beauty, and is coupled with some spectacular lyrics: “Moon drips into the Angry Courtyard… I watch the life that dangled on your thigh”.

Flake is funny but never facetious and has a witty idiosyncrasy that makes comparison very tricky. Sadly, and this is very sadly, Flake’s guitar playing can be pretty scatty when trying to impress. Most of the album displays an original and reserved take on some very tricky folk fingerpicking, and this is when he performs best. His guitar playing is can be too ambitious towards the end of the album and songs are spoiled, but not ruined, by some pretty shoddy playing. He’s no Django and does at times attempt playing which only a virtuoso could pick, slide, hammer and pull off. This is, however, the only criticism I can (very reluctantly) find in such a fine, fine, grand, wonderful, humorous, comforting album – an album helped me find peace in a rush-hour, oh-shit-I’ve-lost-my-keys London. A must for metropophobes!

Flake Brown Myspace

Pascal Ansell