M.I.A. / Michael Mayer / M of M / Hieroglyphic Being / The Field / Jesse Somfay
The Rubber Room column is a weekly look at recent and notable releases that don’t fall into the rubric of traditional reviewed material—namely 7”’s, 12”’s, 3” CDs, EPs, cassette-only, DVDs and MP3-only releases.
The Temple Of The Moon
Went to Germany last week and while what follows will mostly be Kompakt-related gushing, at the Hardwax store they were playing this little gem of a 7” on the stereo and even my friend who doesn’t like techno at all had to admit that it was something special. What it comes down as is tribal techno of an abstract bent. African and Caribbean drum sounds make up the base, while hazy off-kilter synths weave in and out of the two tracks. Strong stuff to scare off the uninitiated or, in the case of my friend, draw them in.
If I actually cared about M.I.A., I’d give her a piece of advice: take it from M.I.A., if you want to get your record into the hands of people it’s a whole lot easier if you just do it yourself. But the only M.I.A. I care about is putting out records and on this, her newest 12”, she gets more full-bodied than previous efforts, but no less melodic. The beats are, typically, are bit more simple than her contemporaries attention to sonic minutiae, but the substitute is a more careful attention to emotional timbres. This is the case on “Sweet November,” which revives the same synth that launched a thousand ships on “River,” making it a perfect mid-set comedown track. “Change” and “Morning Frost” both have deeper bass hits than you might expect, but offset with a healthy dose of three- and four-note melodies, the latter secretly getting in some C3PO samples underneath the radar.
[Kompakt Pop, 2004]
Michael Mayer makes “Lovefood” worth listening to again with this new 12” on the under-used (but-fine-with-me-when-the-quality-is-this-good) pop arm of Kompakt. I admit that I had written the song off completely after being paired to questionable effect with the snooze-a-thon “Slowfood.” Divorced, though, it’s a rather lush down-tempo thing that deservedly gets release here. It’s the B-side that’ll be of more interest, though, featuring a Matias Aguayo mix of “Lovefood,” which utilizes an enormous bassline that is again used in the Mayer/Aguayo cover of Kylie Minogue’s “Slow.” There are a lot of things to recommend about it, not least of all the fact that Mayer’s put his best dress on for us, but I’ll leave you to uncover the rest. Highly recommended.
M of M
[Kompakt Extra, 2005]
Wow. Members of Mayday edge Kompakt ever so slowly towards the Get Physical camp with this electro-tinged 12” for the Speicher series. Luckily, they actually get physical with it (it is a Speicher, after all) and the results are nothing short of spectacular. Essentially different mixes of the same song, the production team uses about five samples and a whole host of EQ to produce what sounds simultaneously incredibly clean, but also barely controlled at key moments. A must-have for DJs.
Things Keep Falling Down
Philip Sherburne’s friends are calling it nano-trance and I couldn’t agree more (or, rather, I’m secretly relieved to have a name for the trance that I like besides DJ Sammy). , and continues the burgeoning tradition of Kompakt’s importation of all of its trance artists from other countries (this time: Sweden). Both “Love vs. Distance” and “Thought vs. Action” are true to their name and feature two distinct portions to their songs. As such, the best analogy is that of an oyster: intriguing hard casing, beautiful rewards in the end.
The Nectar of my Love
The first non-mp3 release by Somfay sees the producer reined in a bit and all the better for it. Where his recent “Love Affair with the Moon ,” the producer did seem to get a bit too in love with himself at times. The 12”’s A-side corrects that problem nicely, clocking in at a standard six-minute clip. It’s a fiercely melodic piece that interlocks synth parts rather effortlessly. The B-side’s two tracks aren’t nearly as strong, working both electro-pop and a ponderous track that recalls perhaps a house-y version of a track from Autechre’s Amber.