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If Kitchenware Could Speak

a weekly look into the world of electronic musics...

Beckett & Taylor
Let’s Smash Up Our Love [12”]
[Soundslike, 2005]

If their kitchenware could speak, it would tell you it’s been a long year and change since the last release 12” release from Beckett and Taylor. But despite their mini-disappearance, the duo have not only returned with another gem for their catalog with “Let’s Smash Up Our Love,” but also found an apt home on Matthew Herbert’s concrete-house label, Soundslike. Steering clear of the rigidity of their more academic peers (Herbert and Soft Pink Truth), “Smash Up Our Love” explores the boundaries of recorded space in the most joyously cluttered manner possible. With both “Just Numbers” and “Don’t Fret,” the group plays a game of electro-acoustic pinball that is difficult to enjoy without an 8-year-old’s grin. Sadly, the phoneme driven “Dumb us Down” is the only track that suffers on this 12,” if only for not sounding as entirely different as the other songs. When my only criticism is a compliment in disguise, take this as a hint.
[Nate DeYoung]

DJ Kicks [CD]
[!K7, 2005]

It’s an apt metaphor: on the !K7 website, the label is hawking a promotional scarf to accompany the release of Annie’s newest DJ Kicks album. Problem is: it’s made out of cotton, and looks for the world like it’d keep you warm only in the confines of, say, Misshapes on a Friday night. Annie’s “DJ mix” will similarly make you look fashionable in a club full of people that enjoy nu-pop and its comfortable version of pleasure, but it’ll never get you close to sweat. Save that for the professionals. Buy Alan Braxe & Friends’ The Upper Cuts instead and get the only track worth hearing (released since 2000), plus a whole lot more.

Frank Martiniq
Extrashark [12”]
[Boxer, 2005]

“Extrashark”’s a deep tune seemingly built for the big room, with shades of shimmering trance chords that blast into the song mid-way through, only to be overtaken by huge swathes of white-noise that slide onto the sound field like waves. It’s a mildly queasy track, but one that works beautifully. “Dumb De Luxe” rides in the same car of unfortunate and random noisiness, but is far too uncompromising in its backbeat to really grab. That is, until the whole thing gets interrupted by an analog bassline that leads to the crucial swing that it’d been missing. Recommended.

Helicopter Hearts [2x12”]
[Orac, 2005]

I haven’t been as big a supporter of Orac as I want to be. The releases have all been good, but nothing’s been knock-yr-socks off great. All that changes with Helicopter Hearts, which is the fully-formed jacking treat that I’ve been waiting for. The opener “My Helicopter Heart” and “Your Words Are Necessary” are two of the funkiest micro-sampled tracks not made by Marc Leclair, while follow-up “Baneful Leather” is a moody and deep house joint that, ahem, lathers you up for the climactic third side of “Dirty Hood” and “Cemento.” Seek this one out, if you’re a My Way fan.

Ricardo Villalobos
Achso [EP]
[Cadenza, 2005]

Only Ricardo Villalobos terms a four-track fifty-minute mind-melt an EP. That last hypenation, though, is the key. No mere 12” is going to actually melt minds. Sear it, maybe. Opener “Ichso” comes close—placing a bassline and murky echo pattern underneath two competing flamenco guitar (?) lines. “Duso” takes the beat up for its length, and pushes the melody far below the surface, instead focusing on the infinite possibilities created by miniscule droplets of watery delay. “Erso” reminds of little else besides Autechre’s most recent excursions into complete abstraction while somehow maintaining an eye on the dance floor , while “Sieso” may be as close as he’s come to another “Dexter” since its release. Is there a more fascinatingly dense artist working in dance music today?
[Todd Burns]

By: Stylus Staff
Published on: 2005-10-27
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