#037: Excitable Bloopery
his time on Beatz we’ve got new stuff from Luciano, Hot Chip, and Richard Dorfmeister, as well the latest from Plus 8, Spectral Sound, and Full Pupp. No time to waste, so let’s get right into it…
V/A / Pilooski
Dark and Lovely Vol. 5
Dirty Edits / DLL005
It seems that the ancient tradition of the re-edit is nowadays as much in vogue as it was during disco's heyday—perhaps even more so. Disco and boogie revivalists and old-schoolers Dimitri, Danny Krivit, and Greg Wilson have been hacking at it for ages, and now it seems everybody's giving the old girl a spin. Just who Pilooski is, I couldn't tell you—according to his discogs profile he eats feathers and is at least somewhat out of his gourd. Either way, these edits are damn well dirty enough for any kind of fetish to be perfectly alright with me. And not dirty in the Princess Superstar sense—these are some scratchy old joints exuding freakdom from their pores.
First up is Jackson Jones' "I Feel Good," which disco-raps its way into your heart with a frenetic slap-happiness, combining wobbly-arse percussion, walking bass and weird string samples, bringing the funk in all three ways. Then things go straight prog on you—"Kismet" is a re-edit of an Amon Duul II track (!) of space-folk-ethnic-jazz-rock meanderings, an invocation that mingles the spacy with the surreal. You could try dancing to it, but I would recommend avoiding the brown acid if you do. I think my brain finally went beyond the pale upon the arrival of "Glastonbury," which is billed as a "Dirty Reissue." Whatever that means, I call it Vertigo Records-style white funk drumming with a chorus of acid-folk casualties singing from the hippie hymnal. By which I mean go out, buy this, and turn on, man.
Richard Dorfmeister vs. Madrid De Los Austrias
"Boogie No More" Remixes
G-Stone Recordings / GSMX2 027
Call me a hater, but I find it really hard to summon words that could dignify anything called the "Kraak & Smaak Boogie Angst Remix." Having said that, it's not horrible, per se. In fact the Marrakesh-cum-gypsy vibe is rather charming, even if it's the type of thing you'd shamefully hide from your friends of the Rotterdam or Cologne mindsets. Next gig I get at a swanky cocktail bar, though...
On the other hand, the Reverso 68 Remix is a beaut that allows the Taste of Honey sample to intrude precisely enough into the track. Which is a lot, but the best house music takes the overly familiar and recasts it in a funky new light. Vocals through delay, BPMs amped up, some ropey synths, live-sounding percussion—yeah, we've heard it all before, but in the wee hours of the morning or at 2 in the afternoon, this is just the thing to have you jumping up and down. The kind of track that you hardly notice while it's on and then later realize was the best thing you heard all night. Highly recommended for all energetic deep-house and neo-disco DJs—it's pliable without being overtly anthemic, and could quite comfortably spend most of the year in your crate without people rolling their eyes when you drop it.
Death Is Nothing to Fear Vol. 1
Spectral Sound / SPC-40
Another year, another universally brilliant various artists release from the Spectral camp. Label poster boy Matthew Dear kicks things off in his Audion guise with the 12-minute “I Gave You Away.” It’s a big, groovy, building-block epic in the mould of last year’s breakout hit “Mouth To Mouth,” laced through with a winding, distorted key riff in place of “Mouth”’s jumbo jet noises. Not as immediately satisfying (or memorable), but hey, it swings like hell and will mix with just about anything, so who’s complaining? Plus, when the rhythm really starts to kick at about the four-minute mark, chills are a-plenty.
The flipside features the wonderful “Casio” by Spectral rookie Pär Grindvik, a funky minimal workout in the DBX vein, complete with cut-up vocal snip. Finally, we get Bodycode, following up his 2006 full-length for the label with “Exciting Ride,” a shimmering filter-freq-out that would be far better off without the cliched diva vocal track and otherwise is a bit flat. Even the dramatic drop-out halfway through isn’t a big thrill, though it should be on paper. You’ll buy this for the Audion (and you should), but those who don’t peep the Grindvik cut are missing the boat.
Plus 8 / PLUS8093
Barcelona DJ Paco Osuna makes his Plus 8 debut with this four tracker (and again, a fifth available if you download it from Beatport—am I the only one who doesn’t like that trend?) and the bouncing, layered minimal tech-house grooves fit the imprint nicely. The title track features a bunch of little ping-ponging analog bleeps and riffs that build in frequency and intensity nicely over the six and a half minutes, but the secret weapon is the sizzling, distorted hi-hat sound that he uses on the breakdowns. “Alsound” and “Joakhim” feature a more standard and more fucked up percussion pattern respectively, with the former being more of a trad banger and the latter being more of a funky workout thang.
Closer “Sechamps” sounds a lot like vintage Plus 8 stuff from the early 90s, but in a good way, and online bonus track “Cretine” is a slightly slower take on the same style. So all in all, another solid Plus 8 release, but what’s really amazing to me is how Richie Hawtin manages to recruit all of these totally diverse artists for his label, then they turn out tracks that fall perfectly in line with the Plus 8 house style, even after more than 15 years. Neat trick, but no one else really does it and we techno fans do tend to be creatures of habit, so I can’t complain. When’s Speedy J coming back?
No Model No Tool
Cadenza Split Composition / CSC001
Lucien “Luciano” Nicolet’s Cadenza label is an exemplar of long-playing minimalism. Like Mathew Jonson’s eternal arpeggios or Ricardo Villalobos’ endlessly bending squiggles, Luciano records can be mixed in and/or left low in the layers for six, seven, even eight minutes, without having to worry about “the chorus” or the rhythm shifting phase. So although they do bear close scrutiny as complete compositions on their own right, much of Luciano’s work is already a “tool” in the hands of a creative DJ. But “No Model No Tool” is three clicks further down the line of least variation. This new release, the first in a planned series of self-confessed tools, is both an artistic statement (“When only the least will do”) and a tacit admission that DJing itself has changed, and that there is an emerging market for nothing more than the individual sounds—the sonic equivalent of selling Lego blocks, I guess.
“No Model… “ consists of two long rhythmic pieces, one metallic, the other rubbery; five “atmospheres” consisting of vocal loops, spooky pads and alien atmospheres; and one long pop ambient-esque piece with KLF-style sheep baas and an orchestra recording a David Lynch soundtrack in the hallway. There’s enormous scope for these tools, especially harnessing the immediate capabilities of more recent CD-J players, so from that perspective, “No Model…” is worth considering. But the funny thing is (and maybe I’ve really been listening to too much “too little”) that this is actually a really satisfying listening experience. Barring “Tonneres,” which sounds like a tweaked-out Arthur Russell track, the tools flow along nicely and work especially well at pasting over the cracks in the silence that threaten to distract you from what you’re concentrating on. Curiouser and Curiouser.
Alfaz de Pi
Full Pupp / FP07
Blackbelt Andersen is the scruffier dog on Full Pupp. His workouts, in comparison to Prins Thomas’ more polished epics, are stripped, raw and grunting, like his wonderful remix of “Goettsching” from 2005, which added that extra amount of “grrrr” the original needed. “Alfaz de Pi” continues in the same vein as his previous tracks, showing (to me at least) an inchoate connection between the Norwegian space-disco sound and Carl Craig’s Paperclip People project by combining sampled disco percussion with delayed vocals and mids-heavy acid lines just begging for some further filter abuse from the lad(d)y at the controls.
The title track is propelled into twisted tone-pot territory with a repeated “tscha” utterance and some congas, and would make a neat way of transitioning into freak time. “Snake Eyes” sways along on layers of dubbed out drums samples which find their way toward a very Detroit synth melody. “Sandoz” starts off with a very dry, almost Metro-Area electro-disco feel, and slowly evaporates into a big, spaced out synthscape with a deliciously fluffy, euphoric feel. This is a really nicely put together EP with three congruent yet diverse sounds and grooves for those who love their space disco acidic. Well worth checking.
No Fit State (Audion remix)
EMI UK / 12EMDJ 715
Peter Chambers: Something must have happened to Matthew Dear’s head a year or two back, or the Audion part of it at least. Where his earlier work under the alias presented a swirling maelstrom of jacking techno that sounded exactly like the album covers’ seasick art suggested, the new “Mouth to Mouth” style tracks are like a wave that never breaks, pitching you further and higher as the “ray gun” noises hit you harder and rougher each time, only to pull back on the brink of each successive “impact”. It’s a fresh approach that’s bound to inspire imitators, but for the moment, Audion seems to have become a genre unto himself, and it’s a state of play that Dear appears to be really enjoying on this record. It’s not quite the smasher that “Mouth to Mouth” proved it to be, but nonetheless, this is one big rollercoasting mo-fo of a track, with a slowly ascending/descending flanged scale that has absolutely nothing to do with the Hot Chip original, but is bound to drive the floor hog wild—and isn’t that the point? As a “remix” it’s a non-event—the vocal is the only snippet to be retained from the band’s version—but as yet another example of Dear’s new accuracy with his ray-spitting bop gun, it’s a bulls-eye.
Mallory O’Donnell: Perhaps I'm too in thrall to the original, but the buzz that this remix is getting in circles bloggy quite baffles me. In terms of creative restructuring and incorporation of select elements from the original, it's technically excellent—Matthew Dear completely reconfigures the song into a neo-tech shuffle with lots of blurting bottom end, crackling hiss and dry percussion. The vocals are a wispy spectre haunting the track at various points throughout, and the cavernous sustained note that drops several times is suggestive of a higher plateau. The only problem is we never get there—it comes in first at the four minute mark, then more often, but it only marks a dip in the energy level when it acts as nothing more than a precursor to slightly more excitable bloopery and drum paddling. I thought the point of architecture was to build something useful and beautiful.
01: Rework - Love Love Love Yeah
02: Goat Dance - Goat Dance
03: Dorfmeister vs. MDLA - Boogie No More (Reverso 68 Remix)
04: Pär Grindvik - Casio
05: Maximilian Skiba - Violet Carnation
06: Popnoname - No Doubt
07: Onur Özer - Allegro Energico
Dorfmeister Vs. MDLA - Boogie No More (Reverson 68 Remix) [G-Stone]
Teena Marie - Fix It (Instrumental) [Epic]
Escort - "Bright New Life" (Morgan Geist Remix) [Escort]
Blackbelt Anderson - Alfaz De Pi [Full Pupp]
Jackson Jones - I Feel Good (Pilooski Edit) [Dirty Edits]
Justin Timberlake - My Love (Linus Loves Remix) [Virgin]
Pet Shop Boys - Was It Worth It? (12" Version) [EMI]
Tomboy - Seriøs [Gomma]
Gui Boratto - Chromophobia [Kompakt]
Donna Summer - Love to Love You Baby [Casablanca]
Michael F. Gill
Slg – Anymore [Level Records]
The Model – Stargate Interlude [Underl_ne]
Kris Menace feat. Fred Falke – Fairlight [Compuphonic]
Photocall – Silver Clouds (Dexter Remix) [Clone]
Flakes – Sugar Frosted Lover [Calibre]
Proton Plus – Pay Up [Yew Wood]
Kay-Gees – Latican Funk [De-Lite Records]
Airto - Celebration Suite [Warner Bros/WEA Discos Ltda]
James “Jack Rabbit” Martin - Rabbit Trax I [Yoton]
Keith Tucker – Electro Lights [Twilight 76]
By: Stylus Staff
Published on: 2007-02-23