Track By Track: Timothy J. Fairplay – Where Is The Champion?
One half of The Asphodells, one half of Crimes Of The Future, one whole Timothy J. Fairplay is finally releasing his own debut album on Pinkman Records offshoot Charlois.
With a trio of cassette only mini albums over the past few years, and a haul of 12"s on quality labels including Astro Lab, Emotional Response, Magic Feet, and Höga Nord, the album sees Tim present twelve "shifting, shuffling and shimmering tracks", covering dark and sardonic genres such as proto-techno, horror disco and forlorn wave.
He gives us an insight into each of the tracks below.
Night Strike On Fish Island
Colour – Search light yellow. Season – Winter.
The albums opener, an example of what I refer to as Stasi Disco, kinda a mix of electro, Nu Beat, italo & theres a future dystopia feeling about it. Pretty crunchy & distorted, with these sort of tracks its all about the tension. When I made this I was watching a lot of those Italian rip off films like ‘Exterminators Of The Year 3000’ and ‘The New Barbarians’, those films are never as good as you wish they were, but still are good mood generators for these sort of tracks.
Gang Colours – Purple. Season – Spring.
Chi town gang movie house vibes, deeper than the opener.
Where Is The Champion?
Colour – Arcade Blue. Season – Summer.
The title track, named from a line out of a short film by Jon Rafman about an ex competitive computer game player recounting his career. Moody siege movie proto Techno for playing Alien Breed to.
Colour – Tyre rubber black. Season – Mid Summer
Probably the centre piece of the LP. The whole album is styled around a driving themed post apocalyptic table top role play game. Autoduel samples a reading of ‘Why Johnny Can’t Speed’ by Alan Dean Foster, which is a short story set in the near future where cut backs to highway patrols lead to the Supreme court ruling that drivers can settle their own disputes, soon the highways have become battle zones, people arm their vehicles, fighting to the death on the interstate for their ‘right’ of way. This short story went on to be hugely influential on Death Race 2000, Mad Max etc but also spawned the role play game Car Wars – which kinda became the aesthetic for the whole LP.
Messengers Of Deception.
Colour – Glowing Orb White. Season – Early Summer.
Produced entirely on a Casio CT-510. Last year I bought a box full of copies of ‘Flying Saucer Review’ in a junk shop in Hastings. Which for a while became the go to track title generator. All the articles are called things like ‘Glowing Orbs Over Rochdale’ or ‘Conversation With Entities At Livingstone’, has all these amazing illustrations of ‘Aliens’ done by the people who claim to have seen them. Pretty sure this one came from that period.
Deeds Not Words
Colour – Grey. Season – Autumn.
Deep house in a rare gloom style. Rainy day listening for sure. Romanthony kick drum knockyness.
Lake Of The Sun
Colour – Shimmering Orange. Season – Summer.
I guess if this was a movie this is the desert scene. Starts off as a slamjak house track with squelches & 8 bit bloops before new age sounding strings appear mirage like at the break.
A Whisper In The Darkness
Colour – Dead Of Night Black. Season – Spring.
Techno should have baselines and melodies, I hate all that shit which is just kick drums and whooshes. Its too functional. Its like theres this stigma in Techno though that if you have musicality you’re not Techno, such bullshit. Anyway I hate grumbling, I guess I see my sound as being more akin to Cybotron and that era when Techno was forming out of italo/electropop/prog etc. But I don’t mean I necessarily only work with sounds from that era, I’ve been making all this weird medieval Trance the last few weeks. I suppose its about keeping music in a state of flux, genres are cool but loads of the best stuff happens in-between them. Also approximations are important, where you are trying to do a particular sound and you kinda get it a bit wrong. I never trust people who know exactly what they are doing, it usually means they just aren’t pushing themselves.
Colour – Giallo. Season – Autumn.
This is a bit of a homage to Tommy Wright III (though obviously instrumental), but maybe if he worked with Fabio Frizzi. The whole album was recorded to my Teac 144, I only mention it on this track cos of the smudgy southern 808 vibes.
Colour – Lumo Red Blood. Season – The Fall.
Full throttle horror movie italo with Tron Choirs and organ vamps. The whole LP was recorded at the now defunct ‘Fish Island School Of Synthesis’, and this was the last one I did for the album. Most of my tracks usually have a quite defined aesthetic behind them, either I chose a genre or genres I want to play with or I come up with a back story or an idea of a film its a soundtrack for.
The Bronx Stasi
Colour – Stasi Brown. Season – NY Winter.
When I composed this I wrote a little ‘Plot’ synopsis to go with it –
‘In 2045 the Federal Reserve System is hacked by an unknown group believed to be based somewhere in the United States. Not stealing the money the hackers zero the bank accounts of every individual, corporation and institution in the country. Emergency measures fail and in days looting and civil unrest overtake all 50 states, overwhelming the police and army. Five years later New York, as most major cities, is in ruins, a deeply corrupt communist mayor rules the city, without a police force she pays the the cities largest gang known as the ’Stasi’ to keep her in power, and maintain some form of law and order.’
Not sounding so ridiculous now is it!
FM Pirate Cemetery Mystery
Colour – Gold. Season – Caribbean Summer.
Part of the soundtrack to an unfinished Video Role-play/FM Synthesis training tool produced by the Nova Group in conjunction with The Fish Island School Of Synthesis. Alone on Cutlass Island you are led through 8 levels by the ghost of Captain Crow, answering puzzles to eventually solve the FM Pirate Cemetery Mystery. The puzzles are solved via the completion of tasks on a DX100/27/7 and acts as an educational tool for young players. The project was never finished because the backers pulled out when they realised the expense of producing the PAL/Midi interface needed to play the game. Whether you believe that or not, part C64 game soundtrack part inspired by Emerald Web.
Timothy J. Fairplay – Where Is The Champion? is released by Charlois on 20th Febriary 2017 and can be pre-ordered HERE. Follow him on Facebook.
Photographs courtesy of Javier Gonzalez.