Pawel / Jorge Gebauhr / Frank Martiniq / Markus Müller / Copacabannark
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.
Dial’s further move away from the microhouse scene into a weird melodic IDM-microhouse mix is evident on this, their newest 12” from Pawel. Of course, Pawel is just a Turner pseudonym, so it shouldn’t be that surprising—his relation to microhouse has always been filtered through an agenda that privileges pop first. That’s why “Grab It” seems destined to be one of those brilliant set-opening or set-ending tracks that heaps on the melancholy and “Muscles” seems just as suited to a hip-hop leaning club than anything else. Less a revelation and more a push towards an aesthetic I’m not entirely comfortable with, Pawel at the very least seems to skirt the line better than Sten’s recent effort.
Are You Talking To Me?
My eyes lit up at the first few measures of “Are You Talking To Me? (3000 Break Mix)”, which features an absolutely stunning rotating DNA double helix of a synth loop. I came back to Earth a few moments later when its accompanying synth line came in, offering up little but a confusing presence next to it. The track sorts itself out over time and proves to be a possible electro DJ’s dream, but all I can think about is the wasted moment of brilliance. The B-side done by Maik Loewen? A very subtle tech-house track that lays out the melody calmly, yet forcefully. That being said, neither improves upon the original “Are You Talking To Me?” with its Scarface sample and moody dub-house backing.
It’s hard not to laugh when “Boita Musiq” starts up, what with its self-deflating “pffft” vocal sample setting the mood. But when you get past that, this 12” offers up a number of exciting moments that often belie Martiniq’s trackier tendencies. Sure, these tracks hit hard and don’t move much past their opening conceptions, but they’re of a quality that doesn’t allow them to become faceless entities. “Microbot” rocks a hard-edged bassline and an effected xylophone melody, while “Roadrunner” uses static to distinguish its backing track, amid a thunderous dubby melody.
Markus Müller ain’t much different. Every beat here is made to punish and the melodies are built to subsume themselves within the hard-hitting 4/4, not to eclipse it. “Prise”, “Spritzer” and “Pfund (Re Prise)” all act as proper tracks that could slip right into the middle of any more track-oriented DJs set. “Spritzer” especially, with its Pop Up Video bubbles, “Uh Yeah”’s and stuttering synth providing the minimal content outside that which is meant to move you.
To Beach Or Not To Beach
Perlon is like a box of choc-. Never mind. On “Hip Hop” we get a slowed-down, simmering-in-its-own-juices hip-hop track that could’ve easily found itself on, say, the next Madvillain album if it got a chorus, while “Caliemba” turns up the BPM and provides the harder more cut-based form of minimal techno that the label has come to be identified with. “Garden Parade” is nothing to write home about, a bit too satisfied with itself for my tastes, but the 12”’s finale, Dandy Jack’s interpretation of the same track reclaims its elements and fashions it into glorious, swirling mess of a track.