#016: Outstandingly Now!
fter fifteen columns, we are proud to announce Beatz by the Pound is moving from bi-weekly into a weekly Friday slot. To kick things off, we’ve got reviews of Lindstrom, Cassy, Justus Köhncke, Gabriel Ananda, and Noze, as well as new releases from Get Physical, Dial, Philpot, and Cocoon. Also, Todd Burns’ gives us an audio profile of Seattle’s Orac label, home to Caro, Bruno Pronsato, and [a]pendics.shuffle.
Cassy / Cassy 001
Following releases for Perlon and Mental Groove, and coinciding with the release of her stellar Panoramabar 01 mix cd, Berlin-based Cassy Britton kicks off her own self-titled label with this fine twelve-inch. No stranger to production, the a-side fuses the refined tones and crisp percussive elements familiar from her minimal Perlon work, but moves in a different direction with slightly off-kilter, open piano chords and soulful female vocals over a more traditional house groove. If the a-side is music for beach sunsets and Balearic raving, the b-side is much more on the haunted haus tip, fusing classic Roland drum tones with a sinister, growling bass line and an absolutely eerie polyphonic vocal samples that make you look over shoulder repeatedly. Personally, I’m not sure how often I’d pull this side out of my bag for fear of instigating really creepy trips, but the cut is nonetheless a very good one.
[Colin James Nagy]
Les Djinns Remixes
Get Physical / GPM 049
Nate De Young: Get Physical’s first re-released single is a tribal-house dish from 2003. Thankfully, the three remixers avoid staring too long at the song's "ethnic" instrumentation to fetishize it. Trentemøller's remix might have the trance crowds looking for cheap tickets to Berlin, but it’s My My's remix that’ll rock the clubs, distilling three years into a fizzy yelp and a glitchy, ass-swinging good time. Djuma Soundsytem's own remix (under the Def Jaguar moniker) prove the group have been taking tips directly from label bosses Booka Shade, with an instantly memorable bassline providing the listener with something warm to nuzzle with as the summer nights fade into autumn.
Ronan Fitzgerald: With this reissue/remix package, Get Physical gives some neat exposure to the Scandinavian Balearic scene which has been quietly awesome for some time now. Trentemoller’s remix is not the banger you might expect, but rather a haunting downtempo effort that focuses on the ear-grabbing hook of the original. Def Jaguar, loosely connected to possibly the world’s greatest down-tempo label, Music For Dreams, comes with a mix that’s strongly evocative of Superpitcher’s “Heroin,” with a little less rock and a little more disco. Finally, Playhouse’s My My provide the techno with a sprawling, dub heavy re-work that scores full marks for intricacy.
Kompakt / KOM 141
Köhncke heads straight for the dancefloor on this disco-minded two-tracker, and enterprising DJs will let him stay there all night long if they know what’s good for them. The title track is a pleasant-enough eight-minute minimal house thing that never quite gets to where it threatens to go, but should work well in a mix with, oh, just about everything. No, the winner here is the flip, “Overhead,” wherein the mirror ball kicks into overdrive and a tasty Four Seasons (yes, those Four Seasons) sample is twisted and tweaked in a series of peaks and valleys and breaks that will have hands in the air and sweat in your eyes. Shame this didn’t hit in May or June, as it could have ruled the summer parties. Better late than never.
Monster Waves Revealed!
Force Inc. Music Works / FIM 248
Two new tracks and two remixes from Max “Paradroid” Wendling that find his brand of popping minimal funk working to fine effect. A-side “Faked Moon Landing” snaps and swerves with panache over some mellow chords, while the remix by Manutchehr Ghassemlou (what a name!) strips things down a bit further but is basically cut from the same cloth. The flipside, “Technology Dream Was Squashed,” treads similar territory, but the Elco Park (aka Wendling and occasional partner-in-crime Tobias Lorsbach) version turns it out and is the highlight here. All four tracks resemble each other a bit too much for comfort, which is a shame as some radical reconstructions of these tracks might have been spectacular, given that the source material is strong and swinging.
Pig & Dan
On to the Beat
Cocoon / COR 12 023
Dan Duncan and Igor Tchkotoua’s second single on Cocoon starts off sounding a bit like classic Plastikman, all thumping beats and phased bass rumbles, before taking off with some trancey synths and treated vocals that walk dangerously close to the cheese line before ending much as it started. As such, “On to the Beat” would have been awesome in 1993, in between tracks by Underworld and Leftfield. The b-side is where it’s at, however, as “4 Leaf Clover” ups the tempo and pounds away in 4/4 with a shuffling hi-hat pattern, rubbery bass bop, and bleeping riff. It’s also a bit retro, but far more effective at it. Is progressive house due for a comeback? If so, Pig & Dan might be leading the way.
Sweet ‘n Candy
Tacky Wakeup Remixes
Raum...musik / musik055
Sweet ‘n Candy have been consistently hitting the mark in recent times for fans of the Smagghe/Tiefschwarz approach to minimal, so it’s no surprise Raum have pulled in two big-name remixers here, in Dominik Eulberg and Marek Hemann. Eulberg’s epic mix takes a melodic trance route, not quite as erratic as usual and keeping more of the jacking feel of the original than you’d expect. Hemann, on the other hand, goes for the dubbier Berlin sound, with neat, pristine melodies and everything sounding gloriously submerged.
Platzhirsch Schallplatten / Platzhirsch 08
Fresh off the snappily titled "Irhe Personliche Glucksmelodie" single, Gabriel Ananda now drops his latest confusingly-named twelve-inch, "Miracel Whop." Luckily, we don't need a spaceman-to-English translator to confirm or confound these grooves: this is minimalism played-out as pop, as delightfully plasticized as anything out of the Kompakt camp, as boot-whippingly (or whoppingly) chunky as any Perlon sides, and as ridiculously revisionist with yr tech-house history as the Poker Flat crew. The two A-sides (the title track and "Leikau") play out two very-different variations on micro-adjustment; the former rubberizes click tracks and puts a soldering iron to the bouncing-tire results, the latter re-imagines a techno world in which fragments of wholly inappropriate pop tracks are just as sample-worthy as 808 kicks and moog rushes, then splices them together to trill and puke all over your trucker-hat house party. On the flipside, the engagingly-titled "Dopplewhipper" re-enacts a rave circa-1988 with Berlin circa-2004 touches and emerges hiding goodies underneath a tucked-in trenchcoat that totally has "2006" emblazoned upon its collar. Outstandingly now!
Do Worry Remixes
Virgin / 370430
Perhaps the world at large has yet to embrace Telex, returned from an indefinable hiatus to plague us with delicious synthpop ditties, but one gets the feeling it doesn't really matter to these Belgian pranksters. Lacing their "Do Worry" with typical analog swoops and absurdist sub-Kraftwerk vocalising, they're hardly a revolutionary outfit - especially in these recycling-conscious times - but luckily they've added a stupid-clever "woops" line to their Star Wars synth-stabbing and motorik churning. Spanned across four remixes, it's a bit too much of a good thing, but their space-disco lineage is made apparent in the jazz-on-phasers Lindstrom rework and the quite-ready-for-prime-time Bangkok Impact (it's called album #2, Sami, album fucking #2) remix. On the less-essential side, Kid Alex would love to be Mylo but he's a day late and a dollar short, and the "Dirty Dancing Remix" is all dirty and precious little dancing.
Pantha du Prince
Dial / dial 29
If Dial have always lived in the dark haze of the northern winter, then, until recently, its artists have been in a double darkness, being in the shadow of Peter Kersten’s exquisite Sten and Lawrence releases. Along with Efdemin and Nike.Bordom, Pantha du Prince have recently stepped into the silvery light with releases that clearly sublimate “the sadness” into their own high-gloss vision. “Lichten” and “Walden” complement each other neatly: the former bounces along on a bassline that wants to keep evaporating into chimes, but never quite makes it there, (anti-) climaxing somewhere between thawing and freezing. “Walden” is the shyer cousin, but like “Lichten,” works on a grand scale, slowly winding and unwinding itself around sounds reminiscent of distant cathedral bells, long lost summer dance-floors and sudden, brief cloudbreaks. Dial, like Anders Ilar, Claro Intelecto, and recent work by Jacek Sienkiewicz, all seem to be drawing us back to that vision of deep, lonely techno that exists far away from the sweat and hedonism of its others.
Feedelity Remixed Vol 1
Feedelity / feed 007
Norway, so hot right now. Piece by piece, Hans-Peter Lindstrøm has quickly built up one of the most compelling bodies of work of any contemporary producer. His music bears comparison with Isolée, not because they sound alike (which they don’t, really) but because both artists share something that is deeply personal, utterly idiosyncratic, and emphatically their own. It’s a parallel trick to the one Raymond Chandler pulled on noir—while lesser writers cranked out genre novels, Chandler pressed the form into service as his very own sublime statement. So Lindstrøm too owns or maybe even is the genre he works in, whatever tag you want to call it (Space Disco, Disco-Tech, Universal Boogie.) For this remix EP, the Mungolian Jet Set mix of the previously unreleased track “A Blast of Loser” is the more obvious piece. Its initial brassiness leads to irritation on repeat listening, and the sweaty vocal hook either makes or (in my opinion) nearly breaks the entire track. On the flip, Brennan Green’s remix of “Pesto Og Kolera” is festooned with shiny hooks and bounces around a brand new rubbery bass line. I’ve had this groove on brain-loop for three days now: this shit gets in there and stays. As with all Lindstrøm releases, there’s a strong sense of the epic; these are two big, complex, progressive (in the true sense) tracks full of many parts, ideas, digressions, and groove.
The Moon Doesn’t Exist
Philpot / PHP 018
If minimal (or mnml) means as little as possible, Luciano’s bastard offspring have by and large offered an interpretation which changed the formula to: “As little as possible, for as long as possible.” That’s fine, provided you’ve got (no) ears. Listen very closely to Luciano’s tracks, or go back the formative works of this sub-genre such as Voigt’s “Studio Eins,” Vainio’s “Sähkö” releases or any of the Basic Channel/Chain Reaction records and listen: it’s music where almost nothing happens, but that little something is everything. It doesn’t seem to be a lesson that Treplec have learned, and to these ears, four ideas over twenty five minutes doesn’t cut the earwax unless they’re far more compelling than those being pimped here. Am I the only one sick of endless soft synths, compressed bass drums and punctuations of squiggly sound FX? Is that really satisfying any of you out there? “Orsi Schreck” begins promisingly with a haunting, Satie-ish piano line, which it begins to warp and fuck up. It’s the best minute of the track, the other fourteen are taken up with a monotonous percussion workout that’s perfectly functional but utterly unexciting. The title track is more interesting, weaving a “spooky” guitar ditty around a drum kick and some more squiggly noises. It’s reminiscent of some of the earliest Areal releases, but without the mentalist sense of invention. All in all, a great example of everything that’s dull and lifeless about B-grade minimal in 2006.
My Best Friend / MBF 12023
Nôze’s Kitchen EP on Trapez was one that really polarised people. Like a lot of earlier releases on Circus Company, it was inspired buffoonery—house as a rumpalicious parodic pastiche—but I can see why it gives people the howling shits. To me, it’s always a relief when artists re-introduce a sense of the ridiculous into what can all-too-often become a very self-serious humour-free zone. On this remix twelve inch, Skat’s mix retains most of the madcap vocal, but foists it into the service of the groove, a swinging, bouncy house number in typical Circus Company/Karat style. Thomas Schäben’s version adds electric-bass-in-space and mentalist skip/schaffel beats to dub the original to the limit of recognition. Like “needle-free acupuncture” or “fat-free butter” it removes those parts of the original people might have found most irksome. That there’s nearly none of the essential humour left seems an (un)fortunate and unavoidable consequence. If trapped in a pantry and forced to listen to a version of “Kitchen” all day, I’d definitely prefer Schäben’s version ad nauseum. But without the ridiculousness of the original, should it still deserved to be called “Kitchen”?
Motor City / Lost
Supersoul Recordings / SSREC001
Motor City being Detroit, the flat, rattling synth riddim that forms the a-side's base should surprise nobody. It could have come off the first Plastikman album or a less neurotic Basic Channel twelve, so God bless Naudascher for his honesty and humility. That said, X.N. goes beyond homage. First are the monstrous 70s cockrock tom solos, not unlike beardo Rub-N-Tug's infatuation with big drum sounds in small places. And while he could have settled there, Naudascher puts the grooves in service of a twerpy, strangled, albeit utterly hypnotic synth melody—what I imagine "Axel F" must have sounded like in 1984—complete with before-the-storm swells, sirens, and other embellishments normally reserved for trance. B-side "Lost" has robot voices and countoffs and wide hi-hat sounds and acid ticks and rocker squelches like any Detroit terror techno track—totally fine, but a tough sell after the wide-reaching topside.
Beatz by the Pound is proud to present its second podcast to the world: Influx. On the first edition, we profile Seattle-based Orac Records, a label specializing in experimental dance music. Todd Burns interviewed co-label head Randy Jones about the origins of Orac, his own music under the alias Caro, and about the future plans for the label.
01: Strategy - Super Vamp
02: Bruno Pronsato – Wuorinen
03: Appendics Shuffle - Cleanse You
04: Caro - My Little Pony
Ladytron - Destroy Everything You Touch [Rykodisc]
Depeche Mode - Precious (Michael Mayer Belearic Mix) [Mute]
Printer - Satisfaction [Unreleased]
Andre Kraml - Get Me Now [MySpace.com]
Gui Boratto - Like You (Supermayer Mix) [K2]
Dødsfald - Vs Sly [Unreleased]
Artful Dodger - Rewind [London Records]
Richard Davis - This Time [Kitty Yo]
Markus Nikolai - Bushes [Perlon]
Liebe Ist Cool - Hymn [Electric Avenue]
Audion - Mouth to Mouth [Spectral Sound]
Battant - Jump Up [Firewire]
Ican - A Quien [Planet E]
Limaçon - Kunk [Intrinsic Design]
Justus Köhncke - Overhead [Kompakt]
Elektrabel - Bing 
Adam Beyer - Stereotypes [Cocoon]
Claude Vonstroke - The Whistler [Dirtybird]
Hieroglyphic Being - Letters from the Edge [Mathematics]
Tortoise - Gamera [Duophonic]
Gus Gus - Mallflowers [Pineapple]
Sweet N Candy - Tacky Wakeup (Dominik Eulberg Mix) [Raum Musik]
Sleeper Thief - Chasing Rainbow [Mobilee]
Hug - Hearki [K2]
Claude Vonstroke - Beware of Bird [Dirtybird]
Michael F. Gill
Daybreak - Everybody Get Off [Prelude]
The Jammers - Be Mine Tonight [Salsoul]
Crazy Gang - Every Sunday [Bubble / Flexx]
Neuro - Mama [R&S;]
Mara Branco, Julian Sandell, & Henry Cullen - Funky [4 X 4 Recordings]
Renato Figoli - Serontonin Smile [Gumption]
Dinky - Home on a Sunday [Horizontal]
Sweet N Candy - Nutty as a Fruitcake [Einmaleins Musik]
Luomo - Really Don’t Mind [Huume]
Akabu - Phuture Bound (Âme Remix) [Z Records]
By: Stylus Staff
Published on: 2006-08-25