Posh Buckinghamshire’s solo musician Nick Bracegirdle, better known as Chicane (or occaisonally either some or all of Disco Citizens) has been releasing chillout, dance, and later electronic hits for two decades now, although you might not have noticed. His first two albums are unmissable; the third one never got released due to some kind of download-related hissy fit; and the latter years yield some great surprises.
Primarily Offshore (1997) and Saltwater (2000), as well as a blistering 2009 comeback in which he rehashed Sigur Rós‘s Hoppiholla as Poppiholla. Also his attempts to aid the careers of Bryan Adams, Peter Cunnah from D:Ream, Espiritu, and Jewel were valiant in the extreme.
Where to start
His Best Of 1996-2009 is very comprehensive, but make sure you get the version with the brilliant Poppiholla on it, rather than the 2008 version which gets another album track in its place.
What to buy
Debut Far from the Maddening Crowds (1997) and follow-up Behind the Sun (2000) are chillout classics. His later albums are less consistent, but Thousand Mile Stare (2012) is probably the best of the bunch.
Don’t bother with
The 2003 illegal-download-only album Easy to Assemble is largely forgettable, so definitely isn’t worth the considerable effort that’s required to track it down.
Giants (2010) includes an excellent track called So Far Out to Sea, and the 1999 mini-album Chilled is worth a listen.
Five highlights coming up in the next month or two…
Remember them? Off of the 1980s? They don’t do synths and all that any more, which probably means they’re not as good as they used to be. With limited dates coming up in Glasgow, Manchester, Birmingham, and London.
Having supported Pet Shop Boys on some of their recent dates, the ambient / chill-out master is back on the road supporting Clark across the USA and Canada this month, followed by some odd dates in Australia and the UK in subsequent months.
There’s something rather exciting about Record Store Day – loads of your favourite bands start throwing out obscure releases on bizarre formats. Not downloads, but real, tangible formats.
There’s also something rather disappointing about the whole thing. Of all of the releases I’ve heard about and wanted on Record Store Day, I’ve never actually seen a single one of them. Partly because I’ve always been out of the country every year so far, but partly also because I have a sneaking suspicion that what happens is that it’s actually a day for private dealers and too-keen collectors to swamp record shops and buy all the good stuff out. Anything worth having will be up on eBay within the day. Which seems to slightly defeat the object to me.
In fact, the only release from previous years that I remember having seen is the cassette version of Goldfrapp‘s last album Head First – which is a brilliant idea, but the knowledge that I’d never actually listen to it was what stopped me from buying it at that point.
Anyway, this year’s Record Store Day is this Saturday, and I’m actually going to be in the UK this time, so we’ll see if I can keep hold of my wallet while it happens. Here are some of the highlights of the releases that I spotted:
Bent – From the Vaults 1998-2007 (unknown format, 500 copies)
Booka Shade – Black Out: White Noise EP (12″)
David Bowie – Drive-In Saturday Night (7″ picture disc, 3000 copies), The Stars Are Out Tonight (7″ white vinyl, 5000 copies) and 1965 (7″)
Calexico – Spiritoso (LP, 2200 copies)
Caribou – Start Breaking My Heart (LP), Up in Flames (LP) and The Milk of Human Kindness (LP)
Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds – Animal X (7″ picture disc, 2500 copies)
Cut Copy – Bright Like Neon Love (12″, 4000 copies)
Duran Duran – Is There Something I Should Know? (7″)
Brian Eno x Nicholas Jaar x Grizzly Bear (10″, 2000 copies)
Frankie Goes to Hollywood – The Eye Has It (7″ shaped picture disc)
Garbage – Because the Night (10″, 5000 copies)
The Human League – Don’t You Want Me (12″)
Inspiral Carpets – Fix Your Smile (7″)
Junior Boys – Even Truer Remix EP (12″, 400 copies, “regional”)
MGMT – Alien Days (cassette single, 2000 copies)
Moby feat. Mark Lanegan – The Lonely Night (7″)
Mike Oldfield – Theme from Tubular Bells (7″)
Pink Floyd – See Emily Play (7″, 5000 copies)
Röyksopp – Ice Machine (10″)
Sigur Rós – Ágætis byrjun (12″, 982 copies, “regional”) and Hvarf / Heim (double LP)
The XX – Jamie XX Edits (12″, 1600 copies)
Various Artists – Astralwerks 20/20 (seven 7″ box set, including rare and unreleased tracks by Kraftwerk, Air, The Chemical Brothers and others, 100 copies, “regional”)
Various Artists – Factory Records – Communications 1978-1992 (10″ or 12″ including tracks by Joy Division, New Order, Durutti Column and Happy Mondays, 1000 copies)
Various Artists – Music from the Motion Picture Drive (LP picture disc of the excellent album with tracks by Kavinsky and Cliff Martinez, 1000 copies, US only)