weekly look into the world of electronic musics...
[Crosstown Rebels, 2005]
As a critic, sometime you’re left gasping in the search for those half-hearted reservations that will make you feel like you’ve done your job adequately. Besides, no album can be perfect, right? So, gee, I’ll tell you: the fact that Pier Bucci decided to make his debut album for Crosstown Rebels one long extended track may be a turn-off to some. The time he sometimes spends tying the pieces together near the end of each track could be used for far greater purposes. Cough.
If you have to know: Familia, the first single artist record from Crosstown Rebels, is my second-favorite release of the year and I can’t imagine it being displaced anytime soon. Bucci outdoes himself here, removing the “problem” of Blind Behaviour, his collaboration with Luciano, by using all types of synthesizer to create his latin/microhouse hybrid that splits the difference between the dancefloor and headphones perfectly. It helps that Armelle Pioline comes in to offer her ethereal services on album highlights “Tita” and “L’ Nuit,” which come early on, but this album is anything but top-loaded. The four song denouement that begins with “Cosmic” makes Familia more than just a collection of dance tracks, it makes it an album. And one of the best of the year at that. Don’t walk…
[Sub Static, 2005]
I always tend to ignore Sub Static when M.I.A. hasn’t released anything in a while, coming back to the label when she pops in for a release to catch up on what I’ve missed. I took a chance and ignored that idiotic way of listening to the label’s output with Bolcher’s latest and I can safely say I’m glad that I did. “Arden” is a filter stomp cut right through with a huge swath of melody that lightens its intensely heavy beat, while “Bur” is straight Windowlicker-era IDM. “Lem” takes the crown, though, because it seems to split the difference between the two, its deep house beat roiling in all sorts of static.
Dispositivos De Mi Granja
The second single artist CD release on Trapez sees Triple R tapping little known talent Alex Under, who has only two 12” releases previously on Trapez. Under has risen to prominence lately on the strength of his work on the Spanish minimal label Cmyk and Dispositivos De Mi Granja feels like a culmination of sorts. Glossy synths play out their ever-busy patterns amid up-tempo house rhythms that congeal and expand at a moment’s notice. It’s a fascinating release, one that sneaks up on you a bit, sounding far simpler than it actually is. Much like Oliver Hacke’s Trapez full-length, this is one’ll yield a lot on repeated listens.
Matias Aguayo / DJ Koze
Are You Really Lost / Kosi Comes Around
It’s somewhat fascinating to see Kompakt “explained” in large-scale magazines. The label seems to pride itself on its schizophrenia. Case in point, it’s two latest releases: Are You Really Lost and Kosi Comes Around.
Are You Really Lost is the debut full-length from one-half of the now defunct Closer Musik, Matias Aguayo and that’s the reference point of choice here. The album seems to take that group’s bulbous basslines and stretch them to their breaking point, allowing Aguayo to freestyle over them. It works to great effect on something like the single “De Papel,” but when the bassline is broken up into discrete notes it serves as weak echo to something like the far superior forthcoming Kelley Polar album. When Aguayo keeps it simple and lets the song creep, rather than forcing the issue, he hits upon something uncomfortably good.
Unlike Aguayo, one hardly knew what to expect from a DJ Koze full-length. Under a variety of monikers, Stefan Kozalla has offered up hip-hop, ambient, and straight-up house of wildly varying quality. He picks and chooses from all of these genres and more here and somehow it all comes together. The first portion of the disc is house: “Estrella” is a melancholic track that evokes a stronger-willed Superpitcher, while highlight “Don’t Feed The Cat” is straight and tuff Chicago at its finest. Things take a left-turn from there with the middle of the record indulging in both ambient and hip-hop inflected strangeness, until Koze settles back into the groove for both the climax, “Brutalga Square” and its patient guitar-led come-down “Chiminea.” One of the finer albums that Kompakt has put out recently.
[Spectral Sound, 2005]
Matthew Dear’s Audion moniker makes it full-length debut in the guise of Suckfish on his Spectral Sound home with a collection of tracks revolving around sexual themes. The problem, however, is that Dear has already released his cum shots: “Kisses,” “Just Fucking,” “The Pong” and “Titty Fuck” absolutely tower over everything else on here. As a vinyl buyer, this certainly presents a problem. Luckily, most people aren’t and will be happy to have these rubber-necked jams available for the first-time in a format that’s easily portable/usable. For those playing at home, other choice tracks include “Taut” and “Your Place Or Mine,” but don’t get too excited if you’ve already been keeping up with this major talent, he’s not quite the master of the domain of full-lengths yet.
En Short EP
Philly’s Foundsound label is quickly making a name for itself in the world of cut-up electronics. For their fourth release, the French duo Ultrakurt has taken time out from their new label minibar to bestow some science on us with En Short. Composed of three tracks, the EP is sort of a how-to primer for those of us who find Akufen a tad too messy. The main rhythmic basis for “Carnadada” is a breathy, unintelligible male voice that oftentimes seems to want to go further with his dialogue, while “Yves Baustin” uses that same basis for a more bass-driven enterprise that trades subtlety for a hip-shaking good time. Fusiphorm turns up for a remix of the latter, adding a dash of melody to the whole thing, flipping the coin on a group far more concerned with the body than the mind.