Plaid - C/D S/D

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Found a really old mixtape with Ladyburst on it and listened to it three times today.... might be the nostalgia bias but I thought it still sounded amazing after all these years.

Can't really digest their whole catalog and I'm constantly annoyed by the sharp, cluttered production but they knew how to craft some really fun oddball pop every now and then. What you say ILM?

Moka, Friday, 16 April 2010 05:48 (ten years ago) link

Seriously, there's never been a Plaid thread?

Search: Trainer, Not For Threes, the song "Scoobs in Columbia"

sassy boy, throwin' shade (Stevie D), Friday, 16 April 2010 06:55 (ten years ago) link

There've have been Plaid/Black Dog threads before, I think. Black Dog's Temple of Transparent Balls and Spanners were really important to me when I was a teen, but I never much cared for Plaid, it sounded too soulless and cold to me. On the other hand, a while ago I listened to those Black Dog albums for the first time in years, and most of ToTB and half of Spanners sounded abstract and soulless too. "Chase the Manhattan" is still a classic though. But my favourite stuff by Black Dog are the remixes found here and here.

Tuomas, Friday, 16 April 2010 07:57 (ten years ago) link

Here's an old Plaid/Black Dog catch-all thread, doesn't seem to have too many answers though:

OOP Plaid Dog Productions

Tuomas, Friday, 16 April 2010 08:03 (ten years ago) link

For a fleeting moment in their career (Restproof Clockwork through to the first four tracks on Double Figure) they were my favourite band ever. Quality did drop soon after, although I've come round to Spokes a bit and the Heaven's Door soundtrack has some cool moments. New album out soon.

village idiot (dog latin), Friday, 16 April 2010 08:52 (ten years ago) link

I never really rated Black Dog - I had Spanners on CD and found it frustrating because almost every track would build up and build up but never quite get to where it was going before it ended. "Soulless and cold" is the last way I would describe Plaid's output though.

village idiot (dog latin), Friday, 16 April 2010 08:55 (ten years ago) link

Oh yeah, forgot to mention that Plaid's production on this album is really good, especially on "No Government". Maybe working with vocalists is what brought out the best in them?

Tuomas, Friday, 16 April 2010 11:13 (ten years ago) link

Bytes and spanners to a lesser extent are prob my fav electionic albums

X-101, Friday, 16 April 2010 11:15 (ten years ago) link

If that's the version of No Government on Parts In The Post (Plaid remix compilation), I wasn't too keen on it. Although I'd agree they're one of the few "IDM" acts who use vocalists to their advantage. I loved that track Manyme with the gospel choir and the secret track (WHY A SECRET TRACK?!) at the end of Restproof Clockwork. Oh and that Bjork tune on Not For Threes was pretty ace too. I don't think they necessarily have to have vocals to sound good.

village idiot (dog latin), Friday, 16 April 2010 11:18 (ten years ago) link

If that's the version of No Government on Parts In The Post (Plaid remix compilation), I wasn't too keen on it.

There are a few Plaid remixes of "No Government", but the original was produced by them as well. The remix that's on the Nicolette album is inferior to the original, and I think that same remix is also on the Plaid remix comp. So you should check out the original, it's better. Though of course Nicolette's vocals are of acquired taste, if you don't like her singing, the production probably won't save the tune for you.

Tuomas, Friday, 16 April 2010 11:30 (ten years ago) link


Turangalila, Friday, 16 April 2010 11:38 (ten years ago) link

This one was produced by Plaid too, it's almost as good as "No Goverment".

Tuomas, Friday, 16 April 2010 11:45 (ten years ago) link

Hmm, "Lilith" sounds pretty good, I'm not sure if I've ever heard it before. Are there any other Plaid tunes like that?

Tuomas, Friday, 16 April 2010 11:46 (ten years ago) link

Because the stuff I remember hearing back in the 90s was way more IDMesque, but that one actually is quite good.

Tuomas, Friday, 16 April 2010 11:47 (ten years ago) link

Yeah I heard a Nicolette vocal on another track (forget who produced it now) and I find that her singing tends to have a habit of only just about fitting over the music. I love "Sly" though - favourite Massive Attack tune I think.

Lillith is from the first Plaid album "Not For Threes" aka "333" that came out in 1997. It's not my favourite, but a lot of people like it. Otherwise there's "Face Me" (a secret track at the end of Restproof Clockwork, which is a brilliant album in its own right), the lead track from Spokes, and also "Manyme" from Double Figure. One of my very favourites (and I've banged on about it before) is their remix of Coba's "After Dinner" which uses waltz-time Amelie-style accordion to great effect.

village idiot (dog latin), Friday, 16 April 2010 11:50 (ten years ago) link

I wouldn't call Plaid very very IDM-esque in the traditional sense - they tend to work with a lot more warmer, catchier sounds than Autechre/Aphex et al.

village idiot (dog latin), Friday, 16 April 2010 11:51 (ten years ago) link

Maybe so, but there are a lot of warm sounds on Spanners too, and yet the way they handle it somehow makes it all sound kinda lifeless (except on "Chase the Manhattan"). I gotta check out the things you recommend though, looks like at least the vocal stuff is something I might enjoy.

Tuomas, Friday, 16 April 2010 11:54 (ten years ago) link

I *loved* Not For Threes at the time - Rakimou is absolutely gorgeous and there's a real playfulness to it.

Matt DC, Friday, 16 April 2010 11:58 (ten years ago) link

yeah Rakimou is great - Myopia is a nice one too. It's a really good album but I felt they followed it up even better.

village idiot (dog latin), Friday, 16 April 2010 11:59 (ten years ago) link

I like Manyme. Mara Carlyle sings on that one :D

Turangalila, Friday, 16 April 2010 12:09 (ten years ago) link

This is one of my favourite downtempo tracks ever:

groovypanda, Friday, 16 April 2010 13:12 (ten years ago) link

got a big soft spot for

jerk orbison (another al3x), Friday, 16 April 2010 13:39 (ten years ago) link

For me, any plaid I've heard outside of the Trainer stuff (the first disc is great, but the second is really fantastic) hasn't been worth bothering with. Same with post- Bytes Black Dog Productions, except their more contemporary stuff is looking fairly good, I should look into more of that.

Tonight I Dine on Turtle Soup (EDB), Friday, 16 April 2010 13:48 (ten years ago) link

I love love love Radio Scarecrow and Further Vexations. Anyone heard Music For Real Airports (lol title) yet?

willem, Friday, 16 April 2010 14:47 (ten years ago) link

wait... what are these things willem?

village idiot (dog latin), Friday, 16 April 2010 14:48 (ten years ago) link

2008, 2009 and 2010 albums by The Black Dog, respectively.

willem, Friday, 16 April 2010 15:20 (ten years ago) link

a more accurate update to Eno's work
lol blurb

willem, Friday, 16 April 2010 15:22 (ten years ago) link

I have only ever heard "Eyen" and I love it. Is it representative?

Spencer Chow, Friday, 16 April 2010 17:56 (ten years ago) link

new Black Dog FACT mix:

koogs, Monday, 26 April 2010 14:45 (ten years ago) link

yes Eyen is your typical mid-period Plaid. If you like it you'll love Double Figure and Restproof Clockwork.

It took me a while, but sometimes Spokes is a really great album. A lot of the tracks sound very physical, mechanical even, like a giant clock framework with hundreds of moving parts.

village idiot (dog latin), Monday, 26 April 2010 14:49 (ten years ago) link

Dunno, Eyen is a lot more widescreen than some of their other stuff, less playful. That said their first three albums are pretty diverse and I reckon you'd like them a lot Spencer.

Matt DC, Monday, 26 April 2010 15:06 (ten years ago) link

of the first four tracks on Double Figure it's my least favourite for the reasons you mentioned Matt (i like my Plaid a bit slapstick and cartoonish - there are some abstract moments, particularly on Double Figure and most of Greedy Baby, which just don't gel well with me).

village idiot (dog latin), Monday, 26 April 2010 15:33 (ten years ago) link

five months pass...

Anyone seen Plaid with the gamelan orchestra?

djh, Monday, 27 September 2010 20:23 (nine years ago) link

ten months pass...

Anyone getting excited about Scintilli in September? The new track is kind of everything I hoped for:

Why'd You Wanna Tweet Me So Bad? (dog latin), Thursday, 25 August 2011 12:10 (eight years ago) link

three weeks pass...

Hmmm... Been listening to the new album a bit. It's pleasant enough, but not exactly ground breaking considering it's been years since Spokes came out.

Yo wait a minute man, you better think about the world (dog latin), Friday, 16 September 2011 10:45 (eight years ago) link

new album is really incredible. maybe their best one.

ciderpress, Sunday, 25 September 2011 19:20 (eight years ago) link

i think "pleasant enough, but not exactly ground breaking" sorta epitomizes their whole career

Hullo, I'm Jon Moss (kelpolaris), Sunday, 25 September 2011 20:11 (eight years ago) link

one month passes...


Parker Posey as herself dancing to house music in NYC in 1995 (Stevie D(eux)), Tuesday, 8 November 2011 16:43 (eight years ago) link

Don't know if I ever linked to this review I wrote about Scintilli. Actually it's a bit of a ramble about IDM in general but w/e.

Glo-Vember (dog latin), Tuesday, 8 November 2011 16:57 (eight years ago) link

one year passes...

Do we have a good Black Dog thread around here? Because I've been hooked on Bytes a lot lately; it reminds me quite a bit of something like SAW 85-92 but to my ears it's actually a bit more enjoyable since they have a real melodic gift that shows on pretty much every track. What else is good?

frogbs, Tuesday, 26 February 2013 16:39 (seven years ago) link

frogbs your post mirrors the posts at the top of this thread.

dog latin, Tuesday, 26 February 2013 16:44 (seven years ago) link

for some reason i thought this thread was 10 years old! I have Balls but not Spanners yet - the 79.999 minute length puts me off a bit, but I'm starting to "trust" the Dog to deliver the goods, since I did grab Book of Dogma and I'm surprised by how often I've listened to it.

frogbs, Tuesday, 26 February 2013 16:56 (seven years ago) link

Spanners i the only one I've heard, but I always found it unsatisfying. Has Bytes aged well?

dog latin, Tuesday, 26 February 2013 16:57 (seven years ago) link

yes and no? I mean you don't really hear those kind of analog synths anymore and it was recorded on pretty cheap equipment (you can hear some defects in the recording, similar to SAW 85-92, but maybe a bit better), but the melodies still sound good. The early singles are the ones that have aged not so well; like Plaid's first album back in 91 it just sort of points the way toward something more interesting. Bytes would be like their Orbital 2 moment - very much an early 90's thing but it does a great job of showing off what was so great about those times.

frogbs, Tuesday, 26 February 2013 17:11 (seven years ago) link

I still like Spanners! Especially the first handful of tracks, which are quite lovely, "Psil-Cosyin" of course but also "Chase the Manhattan." Haven't listened to Bytes in a VERY long time, though.

Liz Phair Dinkum (Leee), Wednesday, 27 February 2013 05:42 (seven years ago) link

three weeks pass...

I'm getting into Spanners now and even though I kinda wish they trimmed 10 or so minutes off it here and there it really is a neat album.

frogbs, Friday, 22 March 2013 15:18 (seven years ago) link

two months pass...

Can't remember starting this thread. Big love for Ladyburst and Eyen.

Moka, Friday, 14 June 2013 07:32 (seven years ago) link

Double Figure and Jackson and the Computer band in heavy rotation this week. I'm going through some warp(ed) nostalgia trip.

Moka, Friday, 14 June 2013 07:33 (seven years ago) link

Byte's is great one of my favs better than spanners overall infact i had to buy it on CD cos i wore the vinyl out

X-101, Friday, 14 June 2013 07:44 (seven years ago) link

"Squance" is one of my favorite songs evar

Dan I., Friday, 14 June 2013 08:49 (seven years ago) link

Also one of the plaid guys partner is Mara Carlyle who is so good. They remixed one of her tracks too

tinnitus the night (Ross), Wednesday, 28 March 2018 19:35 (two years ago) link

I really love the one track that starts as sort of an ambient cut-up collage and then suddenly transforms into hyperspeed Sonic the Hedgehod music

"Dang Spot" I think it's called

frogbs, Wednesday, 28 March 2018 19:36 (two years ago) link

two weeks pass...

I've been on a real Plaid tip lately. Kind of felt like their last few albums were pale retreads of their previous stuff - same sound, fewer ideas - but I've had a large jumbled-up playlist going on in the background and it's still phenomenal stuff with plenty of character.

brand new universal harvester (dog latin), Friday, 13 April 2018 09:55 (two years ago) link

Would be great to do a Plaid poll, although it would throw into question whether to include Black Dog stuff too.

brand new universal harvester (dog latin), Friday, 13 April 2018 10:03 (two years ago) link

dont have much of plaid, just spokes.
i need to get more.
ordered the 2 new black dog albums this week.
one is ambient, the other is beats.
really looking forward to hearing them.

mark e, Friday, 13 April 2018 10:17 (two years ago) link

Spokes is where their sound started to consolidate a bit. It's a fun album but I'd say their peak was on Restproof Clockwork and parts of Double Figure.

loud horn beeping jazzsplaining arse (dog latin), Friday, 13 April 2018 10:32 (two years ago) link

yea Spokes strikes me as the "if you can only get one Plaid album, don't get this one" album

have to say I dig the new Plaid albums quite a bit. I get what DL is saying but I don't really mind a 'retread' of a style which no one else is really able to replicate. plus the new albums are short. which I think is a good thing. even their classic 90s stuff has chunks of filler on it.

frogbs, Friday, 13 April 2018 12:44 (two years ago) link

definitely filler. the earlier Black Dog and Plaid albums all had short interludes (but they were good interludes). Restproof Clockwork is the all-killer front-to-back best album, but the first four songs on Double Figure beat pretty much everything on it before the album dwindles into some slightly thin, noodly nonsense

brand new universal harvester (dog latin), Friday, 13 April 2018 13:30 (two years ago) link

Dog Latin otm - spokes is the least essential plaid release and a fitting name - sounds like they’re treading in the mud.

The last two are underrated tho (particularly the latest). Very few electronic artists have as divine melodies as plaid or as much commitment to making abstract ideas tangible.

P brane EP remains essential as well

after party for the apocalypse (Ross), Friday, 13 April 2018 14:50 (two years ago) link

one month passes...

Reachy Prints has Wallet and Matin Lunaire

I saw them play Wallet in a forest in California once. it was good.

Uhura Mazda (lukas), Thursday, 17 May 2018 23:30 (two years ago) link

Wallet is so good

Incline/decline (Ross), Friday, 18 May 2018 18:38 (two years ago) link

omg I just had a big epiphany regarding the title Not For Threes... It's a reference to their split from Black Dog, when they were "three". The subsequent release then was "For Twos"

octobeard, Monday, 21 May 2018 20:40 (two years ago) link

Would be great to do a Plaid poll, although it would throw into question whether to include Black Dog stuff too.

You should do this! It'd be the excuse I'd need to listen to their post-Spokes output.

Regreta Garbo (Leee), Monday, 21 May 2018 20:55 (two years ago) link

Yes please do. Plaid are underrated these days

Music is confidence (Ross), Monday, 21 May 2018 23:15 (two years ago) link

five months pass...

I wish Plaid would do more vocal collabs. One of the rare mostly-instrumental electronic acts who are actually good at playing to their collaborators' strengths. Might invigorate their sound a bit more too.

Scritti Vanilli - The Word Girl You Know It's True (dog latin), Friday, 16 November 2018 11:35 (one year ago) link

yeah I still have no idea what to make of their 3 recent albums. they are very pleasant and actually a bit more consistent than their 'classic' stuff but they also feel like they were written by AI

frogbs, Friday, 16 November 2018 15:07 (one year ago) link

totally. that's the best summarisation I've heard of their recent stuff. it's not bad, it just doesn't fill me with the same sense of joy or fun as before.

Scritti Vanilli - The Word Girl You Know It's True (dog latin), Friday, 16 November 2018 15:12 (one year ago) link

i still think scintilli is great, the more recent 2 are just okay

ciderpress, Friday, 16 November 2018 15:49 (one year ago) link

Scintilli sounds like a greatest hits rather than a new album - it's a great listen but a bit disappointing as their first proper studio album for several years after Spokes. Reachy Prints is too slight but has Hawkmoth. Digging Remedy has a bit more meat on it but there's nothing truly memorable on it - I just like it chiming away in the background

Scritti Vanilli - The Word Girl You Know It's True (dog latin), Friday, 16 November 2018 15:51 (one year ago) link

Ya'll are mad if Wallet and Matin Lunaire do nothing for you

Uhura Mazda (lukas), Friday, 16 November 2018 16:20 (one year ago) link

wallet is excellent yes

ciderpress, Friday, 16 November 2018 16:28 (one year ago) link

Matin Lunaire and Hawkmoth I'm a big fan of. Need to relisten to Wallet

Scritti Vanilli - The Word Girl You Know It's True (dog latin), Friday, 16 November 2018 16:38 (one year ago) link

idk the best part of the new Plaid stuff is listening to how the background elements interact with the foreground. they really do a great job of with whole "sync up every 4 measures" thing

frogbs, Tuesday, 20 November 2018 20:06 (one year ago) link

four months pass...

a couple of new tracks today

a bit harsher and more abrasive than the stuff they've been doing lately. second half of "Maru" is wonderful. "Recall" almost sounds like they're going for a Gantz Graf-type sound.

frogbs, Thursday, 18 April 2019 15:15 (one year ago) link


the late great, Thursday, 18 April 2019 17:25 (one year ago) link

one month passes...

heres another one. album is due out in a couple days. anyone who's into the band has heard this sort of track many times before, but it's still pretty good. and the visual component is nice

frogbs, Wednesday, 5 June 2019 14:58 (one year ago) link

I know the guy who did the video, really excited that he got to do that.

I like the track a lot more than I expected to, but also idk, it seems like it would work best as video game music.

change display name (Jordan), Wednesday, 5 June 2019 16:11 (one year ago) link

Maru is so fucking good, best thing I've heard from them in years.

Matt DC, Wednesday, 5 June 2019 16:14 (one year ago) link

New one is simply one of their best albums. It isn’t just good or great. They really delivered.

afriendlypioneer, Saturday, 8 June 2019 16:28 (one year ago) link

Ach... I dunno. It's about as good as the last one. I really don't know what's been going on with this band in recent times. Their music is ambiently enjoyable to me; unobjectionable, but I listen to each new release a total of about 2-3 times and there's rarely more than 3 moments that really stand out beyond the usual Plaid-by-numbers sound. This one's supposed to be a concept album about our relationship to plastic, but it doesn't sound any different to the last one.

I do like it. I am enjoying Crown Shy and The Pale Moth because they seem to include instruments that are a bit different, but the diversity and sheer fun isn't there any more. Get some guest singers in please!

frame casual (dog latin), Tuesday, 11 June 2019 14:00 (one year ago) link

Nah, they need to retire and just repress their classics. Having guest vocalists is the strongest “jumping the shark” indicator for electronic producers.

brotherlovesdub, Tuesday, 11 June 2019 14:10 (one year ago) link

Yes but it used to work lovely when they got Mara Carlyle or Bjork to do the odd bit. Gave the albums a nice bit of anchoring. Plus they were good at it. I dunno, they just need to do something new or at least a bit different.

frame casual (dog latin), Tuesday, 11 June 2019 14:15 (one year ago) link

Like the last song, Praze, I'm sure I've heard this tune at least three times before on previous albums

frame casual (dog latin), Tuesday, 11 June 2019 14:18 (one year ago) link

you're definitely right about that, there are a few moments on each new one where I wonder "haven't they used this exact chord progression before?", which does their music a big disservice, since their stuff is still intriguing & hits a pretty unique zone. I think of their new music as being the aural equivalent of the 'spinning dancer' optical illusion, the beats & melodies kinda shift & invert themselves based on how you listen to them. only Autechre comes to mind as a group that does something similar. at the same time these new albums add pretty much nothing to their legacy. but I haven't heard the new one yet.

frogbs, Tuesday, 11 June 2019 14:24 (one year ago) link

Plaid are like certain IDM acts such as µ-Ziq and Squarepusher (and even Boards of Canada to an extent) where there's some pretty obvious melodic motifs that have now become stylistic identifiers. I've always felt they've lacked the textural or timbrel uniqueness that goes along with it for those other artists, which is why they often get the "video game soundtrack music" label and sound a bit more generic.

This album seems to offer up some new sounds and more acoustic instrumentation but also couples this with their tightest, most focused arrangements in years. Very little noodling here, and more than a few unique song and sound ideas. Really stoked with this new one and feel it's their best since Spokes, and I've dutifully been following them the entire time. Definitely something special here.

octobeard, Tuesday, 11 June 2019 14:52 (one year ago) link

When Scintilli came out, I wrote a fairly long and boring review in the Quietus comparing them to Autechre and how each band's trajectory has followed parallel but entirely different timelines.

BTW, feeling that they do have an album of remarkable work in them, I started making a playlist of Plaid's best stuff from the last ten years. I can't say I've listened to the later albums enough to really be able to discern what the true highlights are though. Any glaring omissions, or tracks I should simply leave off? I'd rather make it under 70 minutes (i.e. album length) if possible

frame casual (dog latin), Tuesday, 11 June 2019 14:56 (one year ago) link

So I dug this out again this morning and it sounds really good in the car. I might have been quick to judge too harshly. It's not a million miles away from what's gone before but it's certainly a software upgrade.

frame casual (dog latin), Wednesday, 12 June 2019 14:26 (one year ago) link

Opening track has a bit of an MBV vibe to it

frame casual (dog latin), Wednesday, 12 June 2019 14:28 (one year ago) link

Maru reminds me of LP5-era Autechre in a nice way

frame casual (dog latin), Wednesday, 12 June 2019 14:52 (one year ago) link

Loving this discussion and it's been a while since I've been on a Plaid kick so I went back and listened to a couple anthologies, Parts in the Post and Trainer. The former, the remix collection, is a goddamn classic. So many bangers and memorable bits and a ton of variety. For those stumbling into this band fresh, it's a fantastic starting point. Trainer was great too, and has a nice rawness to it that's missing from anything newer. Forgot how good these guys were for the better part of a damn decade. Nit picking the last 10 years feels like playing with house money. These dudes have been around

octobeard, Wednesday, 12 June 2019 17:17 (one year ago) link

one month passes...

60 minute mix for freak zone

koogs, Tuesday, 30 July 2019 10:09 (one year ago) link

I need to spend more time with it but Polymer may well be my favourite Plaid album, period.

pomenitul, Sunday, 4 August 2019 10:25 (one year ago) link

…when I'm listening to it, at least.

pomenitul, Sunday, 4 August 2019 10:42 (one year ago) link

two weeks pass...

Resident Advisor on Dancers and Nurula: "the melodies are unconvincing, the arrangements toothless"

Nurula is only good, but Dancers?????

but everybody calls me, (lukas), Wednesday, 21 August 2019 20:40 (eleven months ago) link

well, i came round to this album in the end and that's the opinion i had at first. it's far from toothless - I prefer Nurula to Dancers I think. The best song is Crown Shy

frame casual (dog latin), Wednesday, 21 August 2019 21:09 (eleven months ago) link

I think it's a great album, but I've realized my taste is far from fashionable. I don't keep up with electronic trends. Thought it'd resonate a bit more than it did.

afriendlypioneer, Wednesday, 21 August 2019 21:13 (eleven months ago) link

resonate with the wider public/critical sphere you mean? I guess they're a band who've large been seen to have been spinning their wheels for te best part of 15 years, spinning out variations on a sound that was perfected c2001 and not doing much outside of it. Polymers is far from daring, but they've really nailed it on this album. It's not going to win many new fans but it definitely helped me appreciate them again. By far their best since Double Figure

frame casual (dog latin), Wednesday, 21 August 2019 21:23 (eleven months ago) link

The Orbital remix of Maru is so damn good, I've been playing it every day

frogbs, Tuesday, 3 September 2019 13:59 (eleven months ago) link

The Skee Mask remix of Maru is sick as well

octobeard, Wednesday, 4 September 2019 00:26 (eleven months ago) link

two months pass...

has anybody been to recent shows? seeing them in seattle and wonder what to expect.

scanner darkly, Saturday, 30 November 2019 19:46 (eight months ago) link

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