April 30, 2007

Phobia - Phobia (DJ Hell / Silence Mix)

It still seems so easy to write off International Deejay Gigolos, even if it’s now a full five years or so since the death of electroclash. Their rampant release schedule and terminally hit-or-miss CD compilations have never done them any favors, and I would actually agree with naysayers who claim that their M.O of sleazy rave, electro-techno, and acid works better in theory than in abundant practice. Yet looking back over the last three years, I’m surprised how many quality tracks they’ve been a part of, from the DJ Hell remixes by Dominik Eulberg and Superpitcher, the Psychonauts “World Keeps Turning,” Abe Duque’s album, and Johnny Dangerous’ fantastic “King of Clubs,” to great recent sides from Terrence Fixmer and Kevin Gorman.

And here we are again, with another massive release: DJ Hell’s perfect update of Phobia’s (aka Pink Elln) self-titled proto-trance cut from 1991. Pretty much all the elements that made the original such a smash are here: an eerie two-note drone acting as a depth charge, a slightly melancholic diva wail, and a spoken voice intoning “let me have silence.” DJ Hell just seems to fill in the blanks in making it sound contemporary, basically giving it a sleeker drum kit and some reserved acid lines; the source material does the rest of the heavy lifting effortlessly. On the flip side is the “Silence Mix,” a co-production between Pink Elln and Atom Heart, which uses the two-note drone as the basis for a frigid piece of ambience that threatens but never quite makes it way into something comfortable (a good thing). It’s actually a little hard to believe “Phobia” is over 15 years old, as this single makes so much sense, and sounds so vital.

International Deejay Gigolos / GIGOLO 213
[Michael F. Gill]

April 29, 2007

The Week In Review: 2007, Week 17

Baby Oliver - Primetime (Uptown Express) (Environ)
Genre: Neo-Disco

Mallory O’Donnell: From the “Disco Train” to the Last Train to Lhasa, the railway serves nicely as a metaphor of convenience for electronic dance music and its slowly-chugging agenda. Baby Oliver, newly signed to Jersey’s finest label Environ, maps out their program of disco-derived deviance with “Primetime,” an ode to the A & C trains of the NYC subway system.

Reverso 68 – Especial (Eskimo)
Genre: Neo-Disco, Balearic

Boundzound - Louder (Warner / Island)
Genre: House

Lopazz - Share My Rhythm (Get Physical)
Genre: Electro-House

Black Devil Disco Club - Black Sunshine (LoEB)
Genre: Neo-Disco, Italo

Joel Mull - The End Has Begun EP (Railyard Recordings)
Genre: Progressive/Trance, Minimal/Deep

Nick Sylvester: I find myself rewinding back to the beginning just so I can hear the beat drop at minute two, which is saying something.

Dominik Eulberg – Limikolen (Traum)
Genre: Minimal/Deep

Todd Hutlock: The breathtaking moment comes at about 6:45 or so, when the bottom drops out, as the bird simply glides over everything, peering down at the busy world below heard in the percussion distant in the mix.

Mock & Toof - Black Jub (Tiny Sticks)
Genre: Neo-Disco

Para One - Midnight Swim (Naive France / Institubes)
Genre: Indie-Dance, Leftfield

Weekly Staff Charts

Beatzcast #29 and Beatzcast #30: Michael F. Gill presents some of the Beatz by the Pound crew’s favorite dance tracks, both old and new.

Michaelangelo Matos interviews house/garage/2-step producer Todd Edwards

Mallory O’Donnell interviews Kompakt artist The Field

April 27, 2007

Beatzcast #30: V/A


The best of the best: Michael F. Gill presents some of the Beatz by the Pound crew’s favorite older dance tracks…

01: Eberhard Schoener feat. Sting - Why Don’t You Answer [buy]
02: Trans-X - Digital World [buy]
03: Moody Boyz - Shango (Pray To The Thunder God) [buy]
04: Simple Minds - Theme for Great Cities [buy]
05: Lee Garrett - You’re My Everything [buy]

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April 27, 2007

Beatzcast #29: V/A


The best of the best: Michael F. Gill presents some of the Beatz by the Pound crew’s favorite new dance tracks…

01: Grandadbob - pictures (DJ Naughty Mix) [buy]
02: Owusu & Hannibal - Lonnie’s Secret [buy]
03: Baby Oliver - Hypochondriac [buy]
04: Adultnapper - Betty Crocker Moves To Berlin [buy]
05: Shackleton - New Dawn [buy]

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Subscribe to Beatz By The Pound.

April 27, 2007

Charts: April 27 2007

Mallory O’Donnell
Simple Minds - Theme From Great Cities [Virgin]
Stevie B - Party Your Body (Dub Mix) [Midtown]
Pet Shop Boys - A Red Letter Day [EMI]
Boundzound - Louder (All Mighty Club Mix) [Universal Island]
Lopazz - Share My Rhythm [Get Physical Music]
Baby Oliver - Hypochondriac [Environ]
Mock & Toof - Black Jub [Tiny Sticks]
Kathy Diamond - The Moment [Permanent Vacation]
Hot Chip - Over & Over (Remixes) [Astralwerks]
Black Devil Disco Club - Black Sunshine [LoEB]
Plone - Plone EP [Warp]
Meat Glove - Meat Glove EP [Hardwood Floor]
Mysterymen - Everything But An Answer [Disko B]

Michael F. Gill
Kevin Reynolds – Afrik [Todhchai Records]
Djosos Krost – Earthball [Music For Dreams]
Bassed On Kyoto - Flower [Jet Set Records]
Kocky - Remone [Windsong]
Jasper Van’t Hof - Hoomba Hoomba [Virgin Schallplatten]
Voom:Voom - Best Friend / Sao Verought Remixes [G-Stone Recordings]
Akabu - I’m Not Afraid of the Future (DJ Fudge Remix)
Chaim - Popsky / Under My Skin [Hifreaks]
Rene Breitbarth - Graveyard Swing One [Neopren Recordings]
Kraftwerk - Tour De France Soundtracks [Astralwerks]

April 26, 2007

Para One - Midnight Swim

Curiouser and curiouser. It never ceases to amaze me how t(r)endencies in dance music collide, mutate, and spawn new monsters. If one of the key refrains of producers (against music journalists) is that we keep on pigeonholing them against their will, then the reply should be a demand for some sympathy—how else are we to get a handle on all this flux? This EP is so thoroughly under the influences that it staggers—there’s crunk, hip-hop, house (bouncy French, disco, micro, electro, whore), plus nods to rave, all packaged with lashings of snappy pop.

First listen reminded me of my mother, telling me that Big Black was “headache music.” I didn’t think Songs About Fucking was, but this EP is colorful like a mouthful of gummies, high like your surging blood sugar, and sickly like your stomach after the binge is over. The original has got the cut, paste, and bounce of Akufen’s old classics like “Deck the House” and “Quebec Nightclub.” The problem with the track (to these ears at least) is the minor-key string sample over the top of the mix, which abrades the party below.

Riton’s mix is the übermanic wedding of the original’s housey parts to full-bore synth-electro madness. Like Alter Ego’s remix of Partial Arts a few months back, if the kids in your club don’t dance to this, they’re dead. That’s not a threat, it’s a medical fact. The “Drowning” mix by Surkin continues with the cut and spazz, but this time is matched with sirens, rave atmospheres and big-room house ass. Headache music! (Dear god, I’m turning into my mother.) Finally, Beckett and Taylor take their hands off the plow long enough to outclass their fellows with a mix that sounds surprisingly adult and sophisticated by comparison, while still keeping things well hectic.

It feels odd to praise an EP I have difficulty listening to from start to finish, but this is exemplary, and if you’re a “working gal” (in the DJ sense) this is a warhorse for the whore-house.

Naive France / Institubes / NV 809166/ INS 12017
[Peter Chambers]

April 26, 2007

Mock & Toof - Black Jub


Yet another faked disco edit loop on the a-, this time a tight keyboard/bass/drum groove, with fat and round DC Recordings-type synths weaving their ways in and out. Transition track for sure; the only flicker of shape you get is towards the middle, when the song thumps halftime not unlike the intro of Erol Alkan’s “Do You Want To?” remix for Franz Ferdinand, then goes back to what you already know. I wish I liked this more but I also know Mock & Toof are capable of much more, e.g. their upcoming twelve-inch for Death From Abroad. B-side “Tomcat (Mock’s Mod Mix)” reminds me of being in the basement bathroom at a club, where all that travels sound-wise is the song’s underbelly: lots of bass, not much mid or high. The extra added clap/waterdrop/drum swipe in pockets of otherwise silence make this cut funkier than the a-side, but otherwise it’s just as one-note.

Tiny Sticks / stick 011
[Nick Sylvester]

April 26, 2007

Dominik Eulberg – Limikolen

Released as a companion to techno-naturalist Dominik Eulberg’s Heimische Gefilde full-length, Limikolen is a two-tracker that deserves to stand on its own merits. The A-side is taken by the non-LP “Die Grunschenkel Im Blauen Priel,” an 11-plus-minute track that builds on a driving rhythm track and a bouncing, repetitive, one-note “riff” that gently phases a bit as it grows more and less intense throughout the track, building to a climax at the 3:30 mark when it finally multiplies to the point where it simply overpowers everything else in the mix into submission. Then the rhythm starts up again and we’re off for another round, albeit with some different counter rhythms this time through. It’s a pretty simple trick, but Eulberg is so deft with his construction and programming that you’ll hardly care.

The other track, “Die Alpenstrandläufer von Spiekeroog,” appears in an edit on the album, but the version here is the essential one, nearly doubled in length and really given room to build into its proper groove. The title refers to the dunlin from Speikeroog (a shorebird, FYI, and yes, I had to look it up) and the track’s melody does evoke a birdsong, just as the percussive noises that hit the mix at about the halfway point sound a bit like great metal flapping wings. The breathtaking moment comes at about 6:45 or so, when the bottom drops out, as the bird simply glides over everything, peering down at the busy world below heard in the percussion distant in the mix. It’s a magic moment that is enjoyed even more when you know what Eulberg is on about.

Traum Schallplatten / TRAUM V84
[Todd Hutlock]

April 25, 2007

Joel Mull - The End Has Begun EP

Stockholm vet. The a-side’s first two minutes make good use of the “alien piano” keyboard preset, horrorflick longtones shimmering over rolls of syncopated drum programming, felt more than heard. When the beat drops finally—this bewildering cluck that’s treated with just enough reverb that it hits the left side of the pan before the right—Mull moves everything into pretty undeniable neu-trance terrain: arena-appropriate crescendos and plenty of growth/decay in the synths themselves. Still though I find myself rewinding back to the beginning just so I can hear the beat drop at minute two, which is saying something. On the flip, Mathew Jonson’s “Tiger Remix” has those pneumatic trainwhistle-type sounds that Superpitcher used in his underrated “Lick the Pipe,” but ambition gets the better of him. The track mixes everything from jungle-like rhythms, bar mitzvah scales and even kosmische synths that moan out like Moby Dick, often all at once, and never ends up popping.

Railyard Recordings / RYR007
[Nick Sylvester]

April 25, 2007

Black Devil Disco Club - Black Sunshine


Black Devil Disco Club, an ancient French one-off project that many thought was a prank played on eager dance completists, resurfaced after many moons with an album in 2006, and now this set of variant takes. Discogs and iTunes seem somewhat at odds as to whether these are remixes or collaborations, but the former feels likeliest. Quiet Village (Matt E. of Rekid and Joel Martin) present the amazingly-titled “I Regret the Flower Power” as an ambient-trance chiller, all about the floss and shimmer. It’s a bit epic and a bit minimal at the same time, if that makes any sense. It doesn’t, so we use it to set the mood while people start filing in and move on to “The Devil in Us” (remixed by Elitechnique), which brings the old acid-laced Italo-cheese fondue to a rapid bubble. Bring a fork, as it’s mighty delicious, a bit like something Kano might have come up with if they’d been produced by Bobby “O.” Last up, “Coach Me” pairs BDDC quite naturally with neo-italicists In Flagranti, for an orthodox performance that could easily have been stuck on the original album release in between “We Never Fly Away Again” and “Follow Me.” A bit lopsided to be sure, but still desirable to Italobscurophiles who’ve turned the original release into a “19 members have this, 127 members want this” type of rarity.

LoEB / LoEB 003
[Mallory O’Donnell]

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