April 1, 2007

From The Archives #1

From The Archive is a selection of dance related articles and reviews from the archives of Stylus Magazine.

Frank Martiniq - Little Fluffy Crowds (Boxer Recordings, 2005)

Todd Burns: Frank Martiniq hardly has an identifiable “sound,” as you can tell from the above descriptions, but his compositions are united by one thing: a consistent quality, no matter the spin that Martiniq is putting on it. While you’ll probably never actively go out and seek Little Fluffy Crowds, if it somehow ends up finding you, you won’t be disappointed.

Losoul - Getting Even (Playhouse, 2004)

Ron Schepper: Peter Kremeier understands that a random gathering of dance tracks does not an album make, and so gives weighty consideration to Getting Even’s sequencing and its contrasts to ensure it’s heard as a listening experience beyond all else.

Shuttle 358 - Chessa (12k Records, 2004)

Michael Heumann: Chessa continues to deliver emotion-laden atmospherics. The eleven songs here are replete with the same spinning sine waves, sputtering bleeps and clicks, and (especially) lilting synthesizer melodies that effectively comprise the “Shuttle358″ sound.

Mokira - Album (Type, 2004)

Francis Henville:
+++++++++++long pasted water tones, clouds ++++++++++
+++++++four colors of air++++++++repressed anger++____
________nostalgia++++++++=======irrelevance, the sound
of muffled crying from next door (+) (+) (+) ++++++++++++
+++++++short moving tones++++++something sung_______
+++++++++++++++++++++it was once a guitar**********
+then the evening+++++++++ and the longer night+++++++

May 5, 2006

Sparks - Tryouts for the Human Race (Kafka Re-Edit)

Currently available as a free download from DJ Kafka’s website, this re-edit of a track from Sparks Moroder-produced No. 1 In Heaven proves that buoyant, beefy Italo knows no national boundaries. Homing in on the classic oscillators and the “let us outta here” chorus, Kafka diverts the slightly clunky post-disco feel of the original into a sleeker and more (dare I say it) modern beast. Sparks and Italo both deserve a Renaissance, but it’s the lost art of the re-edit that really needs re-investigation. Taking nothing more than the original released version of a track, one can easily, as Kafka’s done here, take a workable or decent track and cut and paste it’s prime moments (or those of a number of versions of the track) into something that rocks out whatever kink your particular dancefloor gets off on. Considering the ready availability of track-editing software, what once took hours of laborious tape-splicing is now just a click or two away. Get on it people!

[Mallory O’Donnell]

February 24, 2006

D-Saw / Euphorhythm - Track 10:30 / Patrik (Dr. Motte’s 1997 Mix)

Given that it was initiated under the pretense that it would explore “unconditional love to timeless music,” and given that each track on Immer is a personal favorite of Mr. Michael Mayer, this Kompakt off-shoot is basically a chance for those of us who aren’t fortunate enough to know the man to still take a peek into his bag of tricks. D-Saw’s “Track 10:30″ begins with an aural illusion that morphs back and forth across time signatures, and just when it seems to enter an endless lock groove, a sky-sized drum falls out of the sky and smashes the entire track. The product of this union is a celestial piece of German rave, and, yes, trance. With a bass line that brings to mind Kraftwerk’s “Aero Dynamik,” Mayer drops another trance bomb on us for the b-side, Euphorhythm’s “Patrik (Dr. Motte’s 1997 Mix).” It feels good, dirty, and frankly, makes those of us who never actually owned a glow stick a bit jealous.

Immer / 002
[Cameron Octigan]

February 10, 2006

Receptor - A Pie In The Sky

Yet another impressive South American producer, Receptor’s “A Pie In The Sky” is like a person stubbornly walking though a maze in only one direction, refusing to give up their horizontal path even though they are surrounded by tempting turns and options. It’s numbing and tiring, and staring at the constant evenness of the path ahead can become disorienting after awhile. While closer to a gyratory push on the old clicks-n-cuts template than an emaciated version of ketamine house, Receptor offers up a unique set of nerves to ride along with.

Winsome / 004
[Michael F. Gill]

February 10, 2006

Munk - Disco Clown Remixes

Munk: I love ‘em. Their 2004 opus Aperitivo still gets dap, as does their even earlier work as Leroy Hanghofer. I would go so far as to say that no collective represents the enormous possibility of shockingly fun and unpretentious dance music quite so much as these boys, mindful as they are of the potentials of pop and rock production welded to techno-smarts. The original version of “Disco Clown” is a great one-two punch of chilly and silly, but seems a strange candidate for remixing, given its radio-ready nature. The Digitalism Mix is a fairly standard exercise in stripping down and reassembling a track for danceability, nice enough but depriving the song of its pop sparkle. Midnight Mike does much better by upping the disco quotient of “Disco Clown,” bringing out the bassline and slapping some meaty 1977-era percussion on top.

Gomma / 058
[Mallory O’Donnell]

February 10, 2006

Defender - Defender


Known mostly for their excellent remix work for Annie, DFA 1979 (their take on “Black History Month” was one of the defining mixes of last year), Royksopp, and Goldfrapp, the duo of Alan Braxe and Fred Falke make their debut as Defender with this stellar two-track single. The self-titled A-side is a bouncy, aggro romp that strongly recalls Human After All era Daft Punk (muted metal guitars, robotic backbeat,) but with an added kick in the pants courtesy of a monstrous hard-house thump. The flipside, “Bliss” is refreshingly different, a slice of pure disco heaven dripping with FX-daubed strings and gorgeous synth runs atop a smooth-yet-funky backbeat. Two tracks, two winners, and with a perfect run so far in the remix department, we could be looking at another great year for the duo.

Vulture Music / 013
[Mallory O’Donnell]

January 27, 2006

Jacek Sienkiewicz - Double Secret Life

After last year’s excellent Six Feet Above 12”, this intriguing Polish producer hits the bullseye again with two long tracks that gel the loose fluidity of Latin microhouse with glances of Motor City introspection. Beyond that, Sienkiewicz’s tracks are low-key and unassuming, with a rare capacity for a gentleness that nests inside density and digital craftsmanship. These tracks end abruptly because it would be too self-conscious for them to announce that they are ending. Life can be so nervous: a resolution or cadence to any of our thoughts and actions may or may not ever come. In Sienkiewicz’s shy machines we find his uncertainty; in his tenderness, his humanity.

Recognition / 015
[Michael F. Gill]

January 27, 2006

Lindstrom vs. Riton - Monsteer / Young Girl

The French Battle label used to take the novel approach of having two artists produce a track and then remix one another. Although they’ve seemed to put this format on hold, there is no cause for tears as Lindstrom’s “Monsteer” is very much the sequel to “I Feel Space,” merging mid-tempo Italo-house with his love for trippy Kosmische synths. Although it isn’t as urgent as its predecessor, it would definitely add some levitation to an average electro-house set. On the flipside, Riton falls into his default mode of dirty electro with “Young Girl,” albeit with highly pitched down “stalker” vocals. It’s very similar to remixes that Justice and the Ed Banger label are releasing at the moment, although it lacks most of the momentum.

Battle / 008
[Michael F. Gill]

January 27, 2006

The Shock - Manhattan

The Shock teams up Ben Camp & George Bissen, an American and German ex-pat known mostly know for progressive house, for a guitar-heavy helping of electro-house that seems tailor-made for Ewan Pearson to play out during peak time. If you’ve heard Pearson’s Sci-Fi Hi-Fi mix cd, you have an idea what I’m talking about. If not, just note that I have a setting in my brain that triggers the word “Ewan Pearson� when I hear anthemic electro-house with big snares on 2 and 4. “Manhattan� is a bit of a shoddy rehash of Pearson’s own remix of “The Poisoner’s Diary� by Silicone Soul, but is redeemed by a great Einmusik remix on the b-side, which frames some guitar moans around a rhythm that easily moves back and forth from four-on-the-floor to schaffel.

Boxer / 035
[Michael F. Gill]

January 27, 2006

Omar-S - In Side My Head


Alex “Omar-S” Smith was extremely prolific in 2005, whether it was with his numerous releases on his own Fxhe label, or the two albums released by Oasis, his collaboration with Shadow Ray. “In Side My Head” is a one-sided release of dirty Detroit house that teases you with a distantly funky bassline and Rhodes-esque keyboards. While similar to the dusty sampling style of Theo Parrish or Moodymann, Smith is more of a punk in his juxtaposition, letting the beats over-dominate the track, never letting you get the full warmth of the melodies. Recommended for those who don’t get annoyed easily.

Fxhe / 010
[Michael F. Gill]

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