September 9, 2007

The Week In Review: 2007, Weeks 33, 34, & 35

Beatzcast: Freestyle Essentials 01
Beatzcast: Freestyle Essentials 02
Beatzcast: Freestyle Essentials 03

Pikaya - Cambrium (Cadenza)
Genre: Minimal/Tech

Peter Chambers: This is not house so much as the ivy that clings to it.

Will Saul & Lee Jones - Hug the Scary
(Aus Music)
Genre: Minimal/Tech, Electro-House

Charts: August 23 2007

Gavin Mueller’s guide to Ghettotech

Future Loop Foundation - The Sea and the Sky (Louisiana Recordings)
Genre: House, Neo-Disco

Osborne - Outta Sight (Spectral Sound)
Genre: Acid, House

Nate DeYoung: If we’re heading into the last days of summer, then by all means let it be soundtracked by shimmering piano-house.

Brendon Moeller - Jazz Space (Third Ear)
Genre: Techno, Dub

False - False (M_nus)
Genre: Minimal/Deep

Andy Stott - Fear of Heights
(Modern Love)
Genre: Dub, Minimal/Deep

Peter Chambers: As a child, I used to build my Lego castles as per the instructions, but only the first time. The subsequent re-builds would slowly deviate, riffing around the structures of the original but adding, subtracting and supplementing elements, to the point where my later creations were unrecognisable as mutants of the original.

Tobias Thomas - Please Please Please (Kompakt)
Kaito - Contact to the Spirits (Kompakt)

Nina Phillips: Thomas is too busy crafting to see the dancers looking back at him from the floor. No wonder this was mixed live—in an empty dance club in Cologne.

V/A - Grand Cru 2007 (Connaisseur)
V/A - Rekids One (Rekids)

Nina Phillips: If you build bangers, they will come.


Wiley - Playtime Is Over
(Big Dada)

Chris Gaerig: Playtime Is Over proves that Wiley truly does run the grime game. Hell, he’s the only one left.

Arsenal - The Coming (Idjut Boys Mixes) (Play Out!)
Genre: Downtempo, Balearic

Beatzcast #47: Crambe Repetita

Deepchord Presents Echospace - The Coldest Season (Modern Love)
Genre: Dub, Techno

Todd Hutlock: Basic Channel effectively invented the wheel of this genre, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t admire the latest models to roll off the modern assembly line.


September 5, 2007

Trio of Five

Here’s some recent Beatz-related reviews from the main Stylus site:

Tobias Thomas - Please Please Please (Kompakt)
Kaito - Contact to the Spirits (Kompakt)

Nina Phillips: Thomas is too busy crafting to see the dancers looking back at him from the floor. No wonder this was mixed live—in an empty dance club in Cologne.

V/A - Grand Cru 2007 (Connaisseur)
V/A - Rekids One (Rekids)

Nina Phillips: If you build bangers, they will come.


Wiley - Playtime Is Over
(Big Dada)

Chris Gaerig: Playtime Is Over proves that Wiley truly does run the grime game. Hell, he’s the only one left.


August 19, 2007

The Week In Review: 2007, Week 31 & 32

G-Man - Quo Vadis (Styrax Leaves)
Genre: Techno, Dub

Peter Chambers: These tracks lumber forward, only allowing the slow revelation of a timbro-melodic theme to happen “in the fullness of time.” It’s a strategy that gave rise to a lot of exceedingly dull records, but Varley knows exactly which tone-pots to touch, and how.

Adam Craft / Grindvik - Catch Me / NAND-Grind (Stockholm LTD)
Genre: Minimal/Tech, Techno

B12 - Practopia / Slope (B12 Records)
Genre: Techno, IDM/Experimental

Todd Hutlock: The infamous cover of the original Artificial Intelligence comp features a robot chilling out in an easy chair with headphones on. This could easily have been what it was listening to.

Various Artists - Death Is Nothing To Fear Vol. 2 (Spectral Sound)
Genre: Minimal/Tech, Techno

Argenis Brito - Micro Mundo (Cadenza)
Genre: Minimal/Tech

Nate DeYoung: With Micro Mundo’s highs never too far away from its lows, the Chilean techno drug is no longer as potent as it used to be.

Henrik B feat. Terri B - Soul Heaven (Boss)
Genre: House, Electro-House

Michael F. Gill: Let’s act like this review never happened.

Beatzcast #45: Crambe Repetita

Michael F. Gill’s featured article on Stylus: The Bluffer’s Guide To Freestyle

The Chemical Brothers - Do it Again (Remixes) (Virgin / Astralwerks)
Genre: Minimal/Tech, Electro-House

Beatzcast #46: Crambe Repetita

Album Reviews:

Lindstrom & Prins Thomas - Reinterpretations - reviewed by Mike Powell

Prins Thomas - Cosmo Galactic Prism - reviewed by Tal Rosenberg

Dixon - Body Language Vol. 4 - reviewed by Nina Phillips

V/A - Kompakt Total 8 - reviewed by Peter Chambers

V/A - Soundboy Punishments - reviewed by Nina Phillips

The Chemical Brothers - We Are The Night - reviewed by Dan Weiss

White Noise - An Electric Storm - reviewed by Mike Powell


August 7, 2007

Adam Craft / Grindvik - Catch Me / NAND-Grind

Pär Grindvik’s “Casio” was the underexpected treat of the first Death Is Nothing To Fear comp on Spectral – a bubbling, blunt-grinding house track with the reduced booty feel of a lot of the 7th City material by DBX and his cohort of microboompty rump disciples. Here, on Grindvik’s own label Stockholm Limited, you get the expanded version of the same template.

Both sides by Grindvik and Adam Craft manage to be three things at once: percolating jack tracks, bumpy minimal house, and peaktime techno bruisers. It’s a tough tightrope to wangle wiggling on, but they pull it off. Kraft’s “Catch Me” sits much closer to a M_nus-variant of the theme, and would fit comfortably in one of Magda’s super-loopy sets next to a JPLS track. Grindvik’s meanwhile is bigger, meaner and a touch more old-school, coming closer to pre-raygun Audion or James T. Cotton, with a long series of tearing, filtered percussion loops and a bucking, waving bassline. Solid stuff.

Stockholm LTD / STHLMLTD 9A4C
[Listen]
[Peter Chambers]


July 18, 2007

Len Faki - Rainbow Delta/Mekong Delta Remixes

Like a lot of people, my first sensible reaction to hearing Len Faki’s Rainbow Delta/Mekong Delta was, “Holy shit!” Some tracks grow on you, but Faki’s pounced. But this is no panflash superstar – both sides of the EP still get a regular caning six months down the spiral. I have the same prolonged reaction to both Tobias EPs, and find a need to not only fit them into any mix (regardless of fitness) but even to structure whole mixes around a dramatic presentation of their treasures.

Its just such a dramatic presentation that Adam Beyer’s remix here has attempted, and it’s half successful. The kicks seem over-filled though, too compressed. There are moments here where you could be listening to some dire Mauro Picotto mix, hearing the wriggling tads of some “hard house rubbish” haunting the dark shadows by the bassbin. In another way though, this is a fun piece of hard techno…if I hadn’t heard the original, I might like it more.

Jerome Sydenham’s mix likewise goes for a big, fat kick and a whole lotta balls, but focuses more on getting the whole thing to tunnel into an unstoppable, rushing flow. It sort of works in a way, but it’s a kind of taming, levelling out – Faki piped through Sydenham’s circuits. Faki musak. The great little tear-outs, the microdramas, they’ve all gone missing in a great surging wash of beats. In a way, it might have been better for Faki to get someone totally unexpected to do a remix, or a person who would have guaranteed a complete renovation. I can’t help but think that the Kompakt boys, especially Mayer, Koze, ‘Pitcher, or Wolfgang Voigt, would have done the best job with this material, and would have understood how to handle its delicate, powerful emotions without sapping, scaring or overpowering it.

Ostgut Tonträger / o-ton 08
[Listen]
[Peter Chambers]


July 13, 2007

Charts: July 13 2007

Nate DeYoung

Lee Douglas - New York Story [Rong]
Strategy - Future Rock [Kranky]
Social Being - Free Your Mind [Tuning Spork]
Roisin Murphy - Overpowered [EMI]
Von Sudenfed - Tromatic Reflexxions [Domino]
V/A - This is Rong Music [Rong]
Ada - Hensel & Damsel [Cereal/Killers]
The Martinez Brothers - My Rendition [Objecktivity]
Kocky - Tricks [La Vida Locash]

Michael F. Gill

Asa-Chang & Junray - Jun Ray Song Chang [Leaf]
DeepChord Presents: Echospace – Empyrean [Modern Love]
A Guy Called Gerald - Sweet You [Laboratory Instinct]
Ida Engberg - Disco Volante (Hugg and Pepp Remix) [Pickadoll Records]
D1 - Mind + Soul [Tempa]
Rednose Distrikt Feat. Benny Sings and Die Bend - Maaitiemaai [Kindred Spirits]
For The Floorz - Body Angels [We Rock Music]
Freemasons - Love On My Mind [Loaded Records]
Arnie Love and The Loveletts - We’ve Had Enough [Tap Records]
Fleetwood Mac - You Make Lovin’ Fun (Trailmix Remix) [Synergize Communications]


July 1, 2007

The Week In Review: 2007, Week 26

Portable - Don’t Give Up (Remixes) [Sud Electronic]
Genre: Minimal/Deep

Turzi - Seven Inch Allah (Record Makers)
Genre: Indie-Dance, Leftifeld

Nick Sylvester: Three pretty different tracks from this French act, though they all could have ended up on Optimo’s Psyche Out cosmic/dance/kraut mix from two years ago had they existed then.

Andy Stott - The Massacre (Modern Love)
Genre: Dub, Techno

Underground Resistance - Electronic Warfare 2.0 (Underground Resistance)
Genre: Detroit, Techno

Todd Hutlock: I’m a pretty mild-mannered dude, but this shit made me want to punch some oppressive fucker in the face! Uh!

Andomat 3000 and Jan - L Delay (Cadenza)
Genre: Minimal/Deep, House

Peter Chambers: If you’ve a troublesome vocal to mix out of, this rather plain track could save your fretting DJ ass.

Various Artists - 4 Season Sampler, Volume 1 (Jet Set Records)
Genre: Neo-Disco, Downtempo

Studio - Life’s a Beach! (Remixes) (Information)
Genre: Neo-Disco, Balearic

Peter Chambers: Oddly similar, the two mixes here are sun and moon to each other.

Weekly Staff Charts

Beatzcast #39: Crambe Repetita

Nick Southall reviews Rushup Edge by The Tuss, on Rephlex Records.

Ben Good’s take on Adapt by Milanese, new on Planet Mu.


June 27, 2007

Andomat 3000 and Jan - L Delay

200712"HouseCadenzaMinimal/Deep

About eight months ago, I had this to say about Andomat 3000 and Jan’s “big hit”:

“Entr’acte Music has got a grinding, slightly big-room and (dare I say) ‘tribal’ feel to it. It’s a little staid, but very effective.”

I think I was half right, as usual. Hearing the track dropped in between Deetron’s “Life Soundtrack” and Len Faki’s “Mekong Delta” (see review here) on Radioslave’s recent (and decent) Misch Masch compilation made me “hear” it properly for the first time. Here was a track with ass and teeth whose housed-up signifiers could freshen the deadened beats of any crabby old techno monster.

So here they are again, back to do battle with boompty basslines against the unhoused (homeless?) creatures who inhabit the mnml microverse of Cadenza, a sub-sub-genre that a half-sympathetic DJ friend calls “martini microhouse”. If we’re gonna ride those cocktails, then, to wit, these puppies are in the process of shakin’, with a Cajmere sweater and hot pants toned down a shade for jaded Swiss eyes. There’s a heavily reverberated horn stab and a fulsome kick on “L Delay” that sounds like it’s been sampled from wadaiko drums – it’s nice, it works. “Frost”, the B, takes a wiggly bassline and makes it roll to a clap, getting things rocking enough so when the congas want to get in on the action, the kick drums don’t mind. Toolish over time and sparse within space, “Frost” seems to want to do more, as if it was in search of a nice vocal. Maybe Green Velvet rapping about aliens or porno would do the trick? Anyway, the drums go boom, the kidz go aaah and if you’ve a troublesome vocal to mix out of, this rather plain track could save your fretting DJ ass.

Cadenza / CADENZA 15
[Listen]
[Peter Chambers]


June 25, 2007

Portable - Don’t Give Up (Remixes)

Bodycode’s The Conservation of Electric Charge would have been better titled “Flying under Fanbase Radar”, such was its woefully under-appreciative reception. Along with Jan Jelinek’s Tierbeobachtungen (a very different pleasure admittedly) nobody seemed to get it, to have gotten it, or even to care, despite my squeaky protestations that they should, they really should. Abrahams’ inclusion on the recent Death is Nothing to Fear EP along with rising star Par Grindvik and Matthew “Raygun Audion” Dear seemed to confer a good (dries sticky, sets permanently) bridesmaiding. All this by way of saying, get the album, have a listen, and give Bodycode the listening his subtle creativity deserves.

With that rant out of the way, let’s turn to the music at hand, and another great remix EP, but a remix of what? “Don’t Give Up”, apparently. But discog it however I might, I can’t seem to find the original. Is this proof of some kind of remix primacy, that the original doesn’t even have to be released anymore? Bodycode’s remix is a twelve minute journey through his sound, with all those cool little polyrhythms, that metallic flange, and a slow stabbing synth line. This track is a gem, twelve minutes of rolling, kicking techno plateaus with an overlong fade at the end. Cassy’s version takes her typical mixture of sparse and voice, adds a blues harmonica in the background, makes everything unsettled with a droning sample, and then (suddenly and almost miraculously) introduces a very Tortoise-y bassline, which brings it all back home. The rich bright metal of the strings sounds lovely against the shadowy background.

Meanwhile, somewhere near a bath-house, Lawrence is writing the gayest track he’s ever made (and not in the Cartman sense). I wonder how he saw his monitor with all that sticky steam. In truth though, it’s more like “Frankie goes to the Panorama Bar” with the blue synth washes undercutting the Mardi Gras vocal. Lawrence’s sound-design dead-ended itself on The Night Will Last Forever after a productive three preceding years, but here, as with the inklings on his recent(ish) Liebe Detail release, you get the sense of a new vector. All three tracks here work beautifully on their own, but together it’s an exceptional EP that shows three interesting artists doing some of their better work of the past year.

Sud Electronic / SUED 010
[Listen]
[Peter Chambers]


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
[Listen]
[Peter Chambers]


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