Foals - Tapes

Foals are a band perfectly adept to this format with a wide range of musical tastes and breadth of influences.

Label: !K7

Rating: 7

Composing a mixtape is something that everybody has surely done at some point. The one thing that almost everyone finds when doing so, is that it is an incredibly stressful task with an endless amount of tracks and sounds to choose from. The pressure to compile a great collection is even greater when you are one of the UK’s foremost progressive bands. Foals are the latest act to compile a mix for German record label !K7 in their tapes series, following on from the The Rapture and The Big Pink. Fortunately, Foals are a band perfectly adept to this format with a wide range of musical tastes and breadth of influences. ‘Tapes’ is a breathlessly exciting collection of dance music both old and new, weird and very much wonderful.

The mix is compiled by Foals’ keyboard player Edwin Congreave and adheres to the traditional format of two sides, A and B, with two distinct moods. Side A favours the more eclectic side of Foals’ record collection with contemporary inventive electronic from new talents like Nicolas Jaar, whose track ‘Variations’ opens the mix, sitting next to electronic music veterans like Warp luminary Clark. By far the most enjoyable and striking track here is the astonishing Afrobeat euphoria of Condry Ziqubu’s ’Confusion (Ma Afrika)’. It is apparently a track that was sourced by Foals’ singer Yannis Philippakis which belonged to his mother on a compilation entitled ’Sounds Of Soweto’. Recovered from the Philippakis family attic, it now forms an extraordinary centrepiece of Side A.

Side B is a selection of more overtly traditional dance tracks from the past 25 years. If there is an underlying theme then it is the proliferation of house tracks. It is an apposite theme as there has been a renaissance of sorts for intelligent house music in the past few years, spearheaded by Julio Bashmore and Caribou who both feature here. The contemporary house sounds are contrasted with classic cuts from legendary figures Marshall Jefferson with the woozy warped drug ode ‘Mushrooms’ and Frankie Knuckles remix of Cerrone’s classic disco anthem ‘Give Mew Love’.

Perfecting the mixtape is a difficult artform but Foals and Congreave have made a fine effort with a collection that is perfectly pitched between old and new with nothing too challenging. It hangs together very well for both a casual listen or as a soundtrack to a night out. Foals’ edition of ‘Tapes’ is very much a case of mission accomplished.