December 8, 2006

20:20 Soundsystem - Tape Remixes

20:20 Soundsystem made electro/disco/house for years before Get Physical made it hot. Their pristine, squeaky clean sounds and lines belie a dancefloor muscularity that only seems to come to the fore when the floor is dark and the moon is high in the sky. Likewise, Ralph Lawson’s label 20:20 Vision has always sat easily between its sometimes-brilliant electro-leaning output by Carl Finlow and its housier offerings like Fred Everything’s fruity “Light of Day.” This massive remix project is another well-considered move, pairing the original with Dirt Crew and Prins Thomas. Dirt Crew’s sound sits perfectly here as the “filthy other” to 2020’s sparkles, while Prins Thomas takes a pinch of the same grime and flings it into hyperspace disco mode. To tell the truth, the original is no masterpiece—it’s one of those tracks which stays in your box for its qualities as a “gear changer,” the B-side between A and C, useful for moving a house set into electro mode or vice versa. Dirt Crew’s mix smears a little disco mud on the original licks, but ends up underwhelming—it’s the Prins Thomas you want. All three versions, even the seemingly throwaway “bogus bonus version” prove yet again why this Norwegian is justly touted as one of the most creative productive forces in current dance music.

20:20 Vision / VIS137 / VIS137-A
[Peter Chambers]

February 24, 2006

Francisco - Hero / Venti Venti


Francesco De Belis (one half of Italy’s Jollymusic) serves up an excellent two-tracker here on England’s 20:20 Vision label. “Hero” is a Moroder-indebted piece of Italo-house; “Venti Venti” a more electro cut with crystalline Kraftwerk synth runs. They surprise as much as they follow their modus operandi thoughgh, with the A-side featuring psychedelic echoboxed female vocals and laughter in the background while the B-side contains a nearly inaudible sound akin to the dripping of water that is nevertheless present enough that I thought there was something wrong with my car’s AC while driving to it. Both tracks succeed by striking a balance between a dense layering of sounds and upfront disco-house beats.

20:20 Vision / 127
[Mallory O’Donnell]

February 24, 2006

Paul Woolford presents Bobby Peru - Erotic Discourse

Why this is currently one of the biggest minimal anthems of the moment, being hailed by everyone from Francois Kevorkian to Ivan Smagghe to Richie Hawtin, is sort of lost on me at the moment. There is no hook, build up, or even a sense of dynamics throughout Woolford’s “Erotic Discourse,” it’s basically a flimsy sounding drum track with some dry clanging sounds and steady set of mildly wet toms that alternate from the left to the right speaker. Who needs an art-house version of Rotterdam Termination Source’s “Poing” without any of the poings? Next.

20:20 Vision / 128
[Michael F. Gill]