Double negative by James Kelleher

No Disco is back. The show that shaped my musical education like no other, an unhurried hour of airtime given over to the sort of music that TV, particularly Irish TV, didn't otherwise bother with. There was nothing to touch it when it was on RTÉ; there's nothing to touch it now.

Watch the new incarnation above, more performance-heavy, and beautifully shot by Miles O'Reilly, and keep an eye on This Ain't No Disco for more episodes.

Blue Monday by James Kelleher

Last month, Spotify hit 1 billion tracks streamed from their Discover Weekly playlists. The real genius of the feature isn't that it throws out at least a couple of bangers every week – although it does – or that it has a better handle on your tastes than you do, but that it's tied to a specific day of the week, and that each playlist only lasts for seven days. Spotify have contrived to artificially create a sense of scarcity and urgency in the face of as-good-as-infinite choice. 

There are a few things I'd like to know about other people's Discover Weekly experiences. What's it like for a new user, with no previous listening history? How does it work for people who aren't particularly interested in listening to new music and just want to hear what they're familiar with? As anyone who's ever DJ'ed a wedding will tell you: there are a lot of these people walking among us. Also, exactly how creepy is it? If your Spotify account is tied to your Facebook account, is The All-Seeing Algorithm making musical inferences based on stuff you post there? 

A word on recommendation engines. They're remarkably difficult to get right. It's been seven years since Netflix awarded $1m to a team called 'BellKor's Pragmatic Chaos' (which makes them sound like a crew from the late eighties Amiga demo scene) for improving the accuracy of its internal system by a shade over 10%. Netflix never used the winning entry. The Netflix recommendation engine is still, in 2015, utterly terrible. They're at a considerable disadvantage because they'll always have less data points than a music streaming service and – to be generous – a lower quality library. Still, even given that, it's dogshit.


I should finish this post with a few gems that DW has offered up over the past few months, so here goes. It would probably make more sense as a Spotify playlist but I haven't been bothered to find out how to embed one. So you'll have to make do with some YouTube videos, like some kind of medieval cave-ape.

Kings of the Low Frequencies by James Kelleher

The best thing about this otherwise ho-hum Bill Drummond piece for The Guardian was that it pointed me to this, a mix/documentary hybrid that tells the story of The KLF (1987-1995), Britain's favourite genius-art-pop-chancers. It's Bristol-based United States of Audio's tribute to “the first single [he] ever bought” and it's a fascinating labour of love. 

Sample sources for Jamie XX's ‘In Colour’ by James Kelleher

“There comes a moment in many artists’ careers when they stumble on the secret weapon that is the past.” Hua Hsu wrote One Last Rave for the New Yorker last month, offering up Mark Leckey's short film Fiorucci Made Me Hardcore (which you can watch below) as a useful decoder for Jamie Smith's most recent work. Digging out the source material for In Colour is giving me as much joy as the album itself. Here are some of the bits and pieces I've found so far:

Idris Muhammad, Could Heaven Ever Be Like This, from the 1977 album Turn This Mutha Out. Sampled on Loud Places. 

The Persuasions, Good Times, from the 1972 album Street Corner Symphony. 
Sampled on I Know There's Gonna Be (Good Times). ⬇

Fiorucci Made Me HardcoreMark Leckey's love letter to British nightclub culture. Sampled on All Under One Roof Raving. 

One In The Jungle Unbroadcast Pilot, DJ Ron & MC Strings.
Sampled on Gosh. EASY EASY! 

Listen to Hot Chip's new album Why Make Sense? by James Kelleher


My torrid public love affair with Hot Chip continues with the news that Why Make Sense? – their sixth album – is now streaming in full on iTunes. The official release date is set for 18th May.

They've got something special planned for the physical release too:

Due to a unique and bespoke printing technique, new album “Why Make Sense?” will come in one of 501 different colours. Combined with subtle variations of the design, this means every copy of the album, on both CD and LP, will feature completely unique artwork.

Great lads altogether.

Here are the two Why Make Sense? promo videos they've released so far, for Need You Now and Huarache Lights. If anybody has a definitive answer for what huarache lights actually are, now is the time to use that comment box below.