June 19, 2007

Dopplereffekt / Los Angeles TF / Mike Dunn - Gesamtkunstwerk / Magical Body / So Let It Be House

20071990s1980s12"CD/AlbumChicagoElectroItalo

Three more italo, electro, and house nuggets from Clone’s reliable Classic Cuts imprint, and the hits just keep on coming. First up is Dopplereffekt, the well-known Detroit electro collective featuring Gerald Donald of Drexciya. Gesamtkunstwerk is a reissue of a compilation that Gigolo put out in 1999, made up of all the vinyl sides from the group’s own Dataphysix Engineering label. It’s got all the hallmarks you’d expect to find on an electro record (sci-fi/technology themes, bleakly monophonic synths, precise/robotic beats) but with a consistency and a pop sensibility that the genre often lacks. The sleazy female vocals deadpanning on tracks like “Pornovision” and “Pornoactress” also predict what Adult’s Nicola Kuperus (and in turn, many electroclashers) would be doing years down the road. Great stuff.

Second up is a reissue of Los Angeles TF’s electro-italo smash “Magical Body” from 1983, sounding amazingly pristine here in a new remaster by Alden Tyrell. I wasn’t originally sold on the vocal version, where singer Taffy (of “I Love My Radio” fame) seems to over-emphasize the end of each phrase (”Magical! Magical! Is your bod-EE!”), but the tracky instrumental on the B provides immediate gratification, and shows why so many nu-italo producers were inspired to do what they do.

For the third helping, we get another EP of vintage acid house from Mike Dunn. Clone boss Serge was so scared to damage his vinyl copy of Dunn’s “So Let It Be House” he’s gone out and secured this reissue of it, along with two superior b-sides. While the press releases gushes about the title cut’s rareness, and frames 1980s Chicago as this exotic, magical place, to these ears it’s an overly sparse acid track with another “Birth of House Music” speech. It may be the weakest of this trio of releases, but I sort of get the cross-continental appeal. I’m never going to be a intimidating black man from the streets either.

Clone Classic Cuts / C#CC 004/005/006
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[Listen]
[Listen]
[Michael F. Gill]


February 9, 2007

DJ Technician - My Beat Is a Monster

200612"Electro

You don’t need to be a dance music historian to read the devotion of the Bunker crew to old school electro and bass music - it’s written all over their collective face. DJ Technician has brought it to another level, though, with this EP chock-full of old-as-new frosty booty jams that are equal parts Jonzun Crew, Magic Mike, and Jive Rhythm Tracks. Technician is an apt moniker - these are clinical, perfectly crafted genre exercises, complete with a “Bonus Beats” track, no less. What makes My Beat Is a Monster more than just a pastiche is the sense of goofy fun that bubbles out of the whole package. Dance music, especially of the Northern European school, often gets a bit stodgy in its minimalist beauty, and this is a well-placed combat boot in the ass of anybody who forgot that dance music is silly, sweaty fun, and all the more glorious for it. Retro? Ah, who the fuck cares! From the absurd Newcleus-esque title track whose “beat is a monster / with bass in your face” to the more icy Italo soundscapes of “Basslines” to the spacy video game effects of “One Credit Left,” there’s a little something here for everybody who came late to the party in ‘84.

Bunker Records / Bunker 3060
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[Mallory O’Donnell]


December 22, 2006

2006: The Year In Review

Welcome to the Beatz By The Pound year-end roundup for 2006, a veritable smorgasbord of lists, thoughts, and reflections about the current state of dance music. And while all of our writers handed in very diverse ballots, we were able to come to a consensus on a couple of key releases, producers, and labels. Let the madness begin

(more…)


December 8, 2006

Rude 66 - Strings of Death

200612"ElectroItalo

Rude 66 (aka Ruud Lekx) has made a name for himself over the last decade producing dark acid and vintage machine electro for the Dutch label Bunker. “Strings of Death,” his latest single, sharpens his pop edge a bit, with two vocoder tracks that play heavily into the mystique of sci-fi italo and disco. The sickly sweet “Break the Silence” could probably only be made in such a conscious era of revivalism, but taken as is, it’s the best Daft Punk/Data 80 hybrid I’ve heard all year, with a transparent sheen that rivals the best production work by either of those two artists. Balancing things out is “A Message from Heaven,” where an industrial-like gloom enclose a speech by a preacher in South Carolina warning everyone to repent and prepare for the second coming of God. What’s peculiar is this preacher naturally speaks in very even segments, rarely altering the tone of his voice, and tells his message in such a methodical way you’d think he was just reading it out of a book. How appropriate though, for an EP focused on robots and machines.

Vynalogica / Vynalogica 09
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[Michael F. Gill]


December 8, 2006

Various Artists / Various Artists - Vintage Future [Mixed by Serge] / ReCloned

2006CD/AlbumElectroItalo

Two handy state-of-the-union addresses from the Clone family, Vintage Future is a mix of recent releases and reissues, while ReCloned offers the best remixes from the label. Serge does a nice job of showing how easily the old (Marshall Jefferson, Mike Dunn, Egyptian Lover) mixes with the new (Alden Tyrell, Lindstrom, Dexter), blurring the lines of electro-funk, italo, and acid house with a fast-paced mix. The best rediscovery is the recently reissued “Every Sunday” by Crazy Gang, an electro-vocoder romp with lyrics about overbearing parents that make their child go to church every Sunday. ReCloned is unmixed, but shares the same family of artists and range of sound. Standouts include recent releases like Charles Webster’s spacey deep house version of Delguis “Highlights,” and Elitechnique’s mix of Alden Tyrells “La Voix,” as well as established classics like the Carl Craig remix of “Hand to Phone” and Tiefschwarz’s remix of Unit 4’s “Body Dub.” You might have to deal with a lot of “I Feel Love” style arrangements, but both mixes are great palette cleansers in a market currently cluttered with minimal and electro-house mixes.

Clone / Clone# cd8 / Clone# cd9
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[Listen]
[Michael F Gill]


November 3, 2006

Maarten Van Der Vleuten - Kremahitz

200612"ElectroItalo

Four sinister, slithering slabs of techno come our way from Holland with the Kremahitz EP on the Scotlands new-ish electro/disco label Mighty Robot. Caught somewhere between soundtrack-y menace (check the murder mystery strings on “M&M2″) and thick, heavy textures (the spacey thunk of “Eltec” and crystal meth thrills of “4barloop2″), Van Der Vleuten finds time to bust out some pure electro via Rude 66s Gortex Remix of “Eltec.” A well-rounded EP covering multiple angles of the noir dancefloor.

Mighty Robot / MRR 00000003
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[Mallory ODonnell]


November 3, 2006

MAS 2008 - Alles Klar?!

2007 Prediction: EBM is the new old shit. Industrial’s chrome-scented revival may take a bit longer, though cuts like “Waters of Nazareth” imply that it will arrive hotly-tipped when it does. For now we’ll have to satisfy ourselves with New Beat-flirtations and genre exercises like those of MAS 2008. These boys have spent their studio hours well, whittling away at that perfect ‘82 drum sound, and emerged with Alles Klarsix wickedly good excuses to strap on paratrooper boots and shave your head like Travis Bickle. “Blicke” crunches and churns like Legowelt, “Memories” brings the synthpop flavor ala Soviet, and “Beatin’ Faster” could easily soundtrack your next experiment with leather restraints. What else you need to know?

Electronic Corporation / ELCO 14.0
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[Mallory ODonnell]


October 6, 2006

Dexter Vs. Cosmic Force - Noordhollandsche Ghetto Tracks

200612"Electro

If the Clone family doesn’t stop releasing such consistent, almost puritanically-correct electro, I may be forced to make my way to the Netherlands and plead my case in person. Either that or slowly become bankrupt. This cleverly-titled EP (you do the math) carries the manifesto almost to a faultbut stops short of self-parody, thanks to the swimmingly murky waveforms of “Baslijn In Opstand” and the refreshingly crisp percussives of “Drum Techniek.” Sure, there are moments when one cries out for something unexpected to happen, but I’ve learned to silence such voices with the proper combination of methamphetamines, leather restraints, and the judicious use of a riding crop. This is solid stuff.

Marguerita Recordings / Marguerita 0033

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[Mallory ODonnell]


September 22, 2006

Richard Hinge - Audiopath EP

200612"TechnoElectro

Active since the late 80s but not having released anything for a fair bit, Conrail Records boss Richard Hinge returns with a three-track EP of electro-tinged techno that sounds a bit like a lost EBM record, right down to the sorta cheesy nude model on the cover and the unfortunately titled lead track, Be My Bitch. All thats missing is an angry Germanic vocalist shouting over the top, but once Bitch hits its groove, it works fairly well. On the flip, Time Continuum adds a bit more techno and tempo to the mix, but still keeps the retro fires burning, while Electrostatic is more rhythmically interesting, but no less dated sounding. Nothing here to make you forget Nitzer Ebb, and nothing to really make you remember Richard Hinge, either.

Path / Path-007
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[Todd Hutlock]


July 28, 2006

Jean Jacques Perrey and Luke Vibert - Moog Acid

200612"ElectroAcid

Never mind those voyages to the planets of rainbows and winged amazons that countless prog-bands heard from their Moog synthesizers. It is an instrument of dork camp, and synth-pop icon Jean Jacques Perrey will back me up on that. Perrey and IDM maven Luke Vibert previously made excellent comrades in “You Moog Me,” where their vintage 60s lounge-pop vacationed under a Martian sky lit with star showers and criss-crossing flying saucers. Their new excursions in acid techno sadly lacks some of the same spark. “Moog Acid 138″ is a decent, acid-techno treatment of carousel melodies that get overwhelmed by a blaring traffic jam of irritating synth yowls. The snappier “Moog Acid 133″ gets larded by too many abrupt synth wonks, garbled vocoder mutterings, and erratic turntable scratching. The remix by Jackson and His Computer Band thankfully gets the blood flowing: he slaps together an erratic, noisecore-meets-Billy Joel’s “Pressure” groove. Plastician’s remix strips everything down to a steady rhythm that slaps both cheeks of the face, while traces of the original Moog track buzzes like a mosquito caught in the ear. Now that’s a fitting tribute to the legend of Perrey.

LoEB / LOEB 001
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[Cameron Macdonald]


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