Free Mix by Is I Cinema

As intelli-poppers Is I Cinema enter Blue Whale Studios to record new tracks, ‘Apocrypha’ and ‘St. Nazaire’, we asked them to provide us with a mix of ten tunes that are currently offering reference points and influence for the band’s sound.

Helen, Tan, Dom, Carl and Olly give us an explanation of why these tunes are floating their collective boats:

1. ‘Drum Courts – Where Corals Lie’ by These New Puritans

These New Puritans by Harley Weir

Olly: ‘A terrifyingly talented lot. We went to see them at The Hare & Hounds and were seriously impressed. Any band that brings monastic chants to King’s Heath should be treasured. People are saying Hidden is a really bleak, almost unlistenable record but I think it’s extremely beautiful. With the brass leitmotifs there’s something undeniably British about it and percussively they are light years ahead of the rest. Dom and I plan to plagiarise all their beats.’

2. ‘Jumpers’ by Sleater-Kinney


Helen: ‘Sleater-Kinney is the second best defunct lesbian rock band in the world. I’ve been listening to a lot of them this winter and this is my favourite song from their last album, “The Woods”. It has a great groove and is really well crafted.’

3. ‘Arc-Lite’ by Loop

Carl: ‘Late 80’s hypnotic drone rock. Driving repetitive riffs, gorgeous stereo, delayed ambient vocals. Honey dripped distortion.’

4. ‘Waiting for You’ by King Midas Sound

Waiting for You by King Midas Sound

Dom: ‘The KMS album was getting played to death (by me at least) when we were writing ‘Apocrypha’. It’s where all the dubby elements of the song were coming from. The lyric from Apocrypha is based on a lesser character from Neil Gaiman’s Sandman. I think that if Sandman were being written now there would definitely be references to dubstep. I could imagine Dream would be a big fan of this kind of dark breezy sound.’

5. ‘Song to the Siren’ by This Mortal Coil

This Mortal Coil

Tan: ‘This has to be one of the greatest covers ever recorded.  This Mortals Coil’s version of Tim Buckley’s ‘Song to the Siren’ features Elizabeth Fraser of Cocteau Twins, as stunningly as ever, on vocals. Liz was the girlfriend of Jeff Buckley before he died (her lyric and vocal on ‘Teardrop’ by Massive Attack is about his death).  Jeff loved Liz before they even met, (he owned all her records), and, infatuated with her voice, an intense relationship ensued.  Liz, as well as being equally enamoured with Jeff’s, was also a huge Tim Buckley fan (hence this cover of Siren).There’s no one quite like Liz Fraser and I defy anyone who hears this song not to be moved by it; it’s as beautiful as it is heartbreaking.  One for the lovelorn.’

6. ‘Dramamine’ by Modest Mouse

Modest Mouse

Dom: ‘There is a moment in ‘St. Nazaire’ that is me trying to emulate the tumbling riff of this song. A bloody great number this, first track, first album, I’m not sure if they have penned a better song than this one. Lyrically similar to ‘St. Nazaire as well thinking about it’ — does travelling vast distances construct or de-construct us?’

7. ‘April’ by PJ Harvey & John Parish

PJ Harvey & John Parish

Tan: ‘PJ Harvey remains one of my all time favourite artists. Inventive, compelling, bold in her approach; creatively, she’s mindful not to tread the same ground twice. Taken from last year’s joint effort with long-time collaborator John Parish, ‘April’ is an adventurous record in which she immerses herself in the characters she writes, both vocally and lyrically. I love her exploration of the word – in one instance referring to April as if a person, inferring the month of April in another.  One thing’s for certain, what she sings of here is loneliness. Set to the stark, sorrowful waltz composed by Parish, this is Polly at her most emotive.’

8. ‘Out Of Sight’ by Spiritualized

Spirtiualized's Jason Pierce

Carl: ‘I could pick one of many Spiritualized tracks. They’re probably the band that has influenced me more than any other. ‘Out Of Sight’ however has beautiful blues / gospel tinged verses coupled with huge, instrumental choruses. Simple melodies / complex arrangements. Horns, strings, guitars, drums, a soaring crescendo and an ambiguous lyric about drugs abuse. There’s a great live version on Jools Holland if you can track it down. And check this out:

9. ‘Washer’ by Slint


Helen: ‘We’re just the latest of a long line of bands that are influenced by Slint. This is a beautiful song, both musically and lyrically. It’s devilishly hypnotic until it comes out and hits you in the face. And it doesn’t feel like it’s nine minutes long.’

10. ‘Just Dance’ by Lady Gaga

Lady Gaga

Olly: ‘Essential postmodern pop. I caught her Glasto performance on New Year’s Eve and was blown away. I love the fact that she’s followed around by an entourage of creatives, The Haus of Gaga. Brilliantly Warholian. You can’t deny the synths on this nor the ‘da da doo doos’, it’s a tune and it would go down in a treat in one of those Ballardian, out-of-town bowling alleys.’

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3 responses to “Free Mix by Is I Cinema

  1. Pingback: Review: Is I Cinema @HareandHounds « The Blue Whale Blog

  2. ‘The Hot Rock’ by Sleater Kinney is the greatest album ever! Never really got into ‘Woods’…But might go back and try it again.

  3. “The Hot Rock” is great, but yeah, give “The Woods” another go! Also good on “The Woods” is “Let’s Call It Love/ Night Light”. If you like your songs to be 14 minutes long that is…

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