Hot Chip: Late Night Tales
Late Night Tales
We make our own playlists and compilations and mixtapes and many people have long given up caring about the curated mix-album…but I’m still a fan. And I love the Late Night Tales series – for a start it’s still going after nearly 20 years (it started in 2001 as Another Late Night and was competition for the famous Back To Mine series; since 2003 it’s gone under the Late Night Tales moniker).
The shape of each Late Night entry is roughly the same – a few rules adhered to – but each end-result is rather different. There’s always a cover version by the curating artist (sometimes an unreleased original as well). And there’s usually a spoken-word piece by an actor or friend of the band. Where the rest of the mix goes is up to the artist that’s boss of the session. But it’s always about that Late Night/Back To Mine feel – this is after-gig music, this is late night, shoes off, nightcap music. You drift off to it/with it. Your sentences slur and your feet curl up, your thoughts drift and the perfect soundtrack for the perfect moment is lined up and the weekend suddenly stretches forever.
I love these Late Night sessions – some are better than others, all are worth hearing. And Hot Chip’s take is fun and sustains a nice mood and is largely very, very chilled.
I am a Hot Chip fan too. But perhaps unlike most of their fans I loved their eclectic debut the most. Since that album they’ve moved into upbeat indie-pop/dance-fun. And I like a lot of it but there was something special and properly weird about the material that made up Coming On Strong.
As much as this is in one groove – laid back and late night – it is the closest thing to the debut if it was to be compared to any one Hot Chip album. Tracks like Charlotte Adigery’s 1,618 have that nice, free-flowing mood to them. Even Chrisinta Vantzou’s synthscape opener, At Dawn, could have been an intro for the early Hot Chip work.
Elsewhere there’s more upbeat fare that better matches the mid-2010s work by the band, like Fever Ray’s spiritually connected To The Moon And Back, or the esoteric Matthew Bourne light-sprawler, Somewhere I Have Never Travelled. Which sounds like the world’s longest intro (seven minutes).
Chuck in a bit of comedown Nils Frahm (Ode) and the 11-minute industrial-jazz pulse of About Group’s The Long Miles and you have no rushing whatsoever. This is the first Lockdown-assembled Late Night. And it sounds like it.
Neil Taylor, father to frontman Alexis, provides this issue’s story – a reading from the impenetrable Finnegan’s Wake. Perfect final drift-off stuff. And there’s a small handful of Hot Chip exclusive tracks in and around all this fun.
Another gem in the series.
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