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Wednesday 9 September 2020

My Etherealrealness

This 2016 Timothy J. Fairplay track, My Etherealrealness, is a masterpiece of modern house/ new beat/ synthwave. It came out on Rotterdam label Charlois and there is something very Dutch about this track, very early 90s rave. It starts instantly, in on the beat almost taking you by surprise, then there's monster juddering bassline and the first of the synth toplines comes in. At one minute nineteen there's a second topline melody, a descending one, contrasting with the first. It's exhilarating, hair raising stuff even at less than ninety seconds in. Synapses popping, head nodding, fingers tracing lines in the air or tapping on imaginary percussion.

Then it happens- at two minutes seven seconds the hi- hats arrive. These aren't any old hi- hats, these aren't even Marks and Spencer hi- hats, these are my favourite hi- hats on any record ever.

They are right there at the top of the mix, sharp and with a bite, an attack most hi- hats just don't have. TSK TSK TSK TSK TSK TSK TSK TSK. They drop out at three minutes eleven. There's a bassline breakdown and a thrilling topline re- entry. The descending synthline comes back. It all builds in inensity and then at three fifty- nine a stop, a pause and... those fucking hi- hats come back in, unleashed, right back into my field of hearing, TSK TSK TSK TSK, opening and closing at the front of my brain. Fucking magic.

It may seem a bit odd, obsessive even, to have favourite hi- hats. If you mention this to your nearest and dearest you'll possibly see their eyes glaze over a little. You might actually see a thought bubble appear above their head with the words, 'what? Hi- hats? Favourite hi- hats? What's he on about?', inside it. But these are really, really exciting sounding hi- hats. They get a good ten seconds at the end almost on their own as well before the synth belch brings My Etherealrealness to a sudden halt. 


Rickyotter said...

Fine post as always Adam. I don't see anything out of the ordinary by having a favourite hi-hat record - I was always a bit partial to the ones on Glitterball by FC Kahuna, but as you say, those closest to you often don't see the thrill

C said...

Can I just say that your impassioned breakdown of this track added a whole new perspective to my listening of it (thank you) - and never before have I been so aware of hi-hats!

Swiss Adam said...

Thanks both. The hi- hats have been tsk-ing away in my ears for 3 or 4 years, the post has been percolating for a few months. In the end I wrote it in about 10 minutes. Funny how things work.

drew said...

I love everything about this post

I was once part of a because discussion with another person on favourite Fall drummers because of their use or not of cymbals

Rickyotter said...

Edit - After a lost weekend spinning Leftism,I have to add that the high hats at the start of Space Shanty are in my top five. Look what you've started Adam

Swiss Adam said...

I'll have to go back to Space Shanty Rickyotter and remind myself. In my head/ memory they sound plausible as being top 5 material