March 2, 2007

Heartthrob - Baby Kate Remixes

Heartthrob’s “Baby Kate” was something of a summer anthem last year after its pole-position appearance on the min2MAX compilation, and while it wasn’t really all that memorable in and of itself—some routine minimal beats, a deep, bending, two-note analog riff, a few stuttering noises and little else—it worked well in everyone’s sets and that sense of space is also what likely gives it such appeal as a remix. There’s so much room to roam here, so much that can be done with a track that is essentially nothing more than a half-dressed mannequin waiting for someone to come along and drape it in their own fashion. Which is exactly what happens here across seven remixes (including some of those pesky “download only” versions, which are really starting to boil the blood of we vinyl purists), as the remixers take turns making the cut sound like their own work.

Deep breath and we’re off. Magda plays it straight by simply rearranging and tweaking the riffs and noises a bit while keeping the same general pulse and tempo of the original in what could easily be mistaken for an alternate take by Heartthrob himself. M_nus newcomer Konrad Black adds some more noises (the ones Magda left out, perhaps?) and a bit more rhythmic percolation to the pot, while Troy Pierce dispenses with the main riff altogether in favor of the sort of noises that come out of a fax machine when you’ve accidentally dialed one on the phone. Even M_nus boss Richie Hawtin takes a crack here—twice. Hawtin’s Plastikman mix is a refreshing trip down memory lane to the days of “Spastik” and “Krakpot” that keeps things low, thumping, and repetitive, with a few tweaked stabs of the original riff to break the hypnosis. Hawtin’s other mix is under his long-dormant Robotman guise (remember “Doo Da Doo”? Aw, yeah!) which follows the same rhythmic template as the Plastikman version, but with a bit more funk to it, not to mention a hi-hat and other bits of sorta housey perc. Good to hear the old boy remixing again, even if the tracks sound nearly exactly like things he did a decade ago.

As for the non-M_nus guests, they provide the more interesting and original work here. Sasha Funke gives the rhythm track a much-needed seeing to while clipping the riff into an altogether more sprightly sounding thing, while Adam Beyer and Jesper Dahlbäck up the tempo a bit and work the riff into a big, bouncy dancefloor monster with more energy than the other remixers combined. See what happens when your beat is more than a simple minimal thump in 4/4, kids?

Everything here is good if not great, but I definitely walked away wishing that more remixers with different styles had been invited to contribute, as a few of these versions tread pretty similar territory. What might, say, Audio Werner have done with these elements? Or Alan Braxe and Fred Falke? Or Radio Slave? Or, hell, the DFA? Even if they had failed miserably, the whole package would have been better served by a few more truly “different” takes. If you’re gonna bother with seven mixes, you might as well mix things up a bit more than this.

M_nus / MINUS48
[Listen]
[Todd Hutlock]


December 22, 2006

2006 Year In Review: Individual Writer Lists

As a companion piece to our 2006 year in review, here are the individual lists/charts from each of our contributors. Happy reading…

(more…)


September 8, 2006

Charts: September 8 2006

Todd Hutlock
Shinedoe - Seek And You Will Find [100% Pure]
Ican - A Quien [Planet E]
Audion - Mouth to Mouth [Spectral Sound]
Daniel Stefanik - Move Me (Guido Schneider’s Dark Side of the Moon Mix) [Moon Harbour]
Musical Science - Musical Science (Squelch Mix) [Sabres of Paradise]
Two Lone Swordsmen - Felt Under Pressure [Firewire]
Galaxy 2 Galaxy - Afros, Arps, and Minimoogs [Underground Resistance]
Spektrum - May Day (DJ T. Remix) [Spektrum]
Pier Bucci - Junk [Cocoon]
Dominik Eulberg - Der Buchdrucker [Traum Schallplatten]

Mallory O’Donnelll
Daso - Sam N Max [Conaisseur]
Booka Shade - In White Rooms (Mexico Mix) [Get Physical]
Kerrier District - Sho U Rite [Rephlex]
Kelis - Bossy (Alan Braxe & Fred Falke Remix) [Virgin]
Arthur Russell - Springfield (DFA Remix) [Audika]
Justin Timberlake - Future Sex / Love Sounds [Jive]
Beyonce - Get Me Bodied (Remix) [Columbia]

Michael F. Gill
Lee Douglas – Same Changes [Rong]
Lindsay J & Sneak Thief – Open The Door (Imatran Voima Remix) [Mighty Robot]
Spice Girls – Holler (Masters At Work Remixes) [Virgin]
P’taah – Staring At The Sun (Atjazz Remix) [Ubiquity]
Demon vs Heartbreaker - You are My High [20000st]
Pete Shelley – Witness The Change (Dub) [Arista]
P. Lightfoot – The Drive [Recycled Records]
Patti Jo – Make me Believe In You [Scepter / Souljazz]
Alden Tyrell feat. Fred Ventura – Love Explosion ‘05 [Clone]
Carlton & The Shoes – Love Me Forever [Trojan]


June 30, 2006

Kris Menace - Jupiter

200612"Neo-Disco

Although he is perhaps known best for last year’s “Discopolis,” a collaboration with Lifelike, Kris Menace maintains a particularly low profile. Contemporaries like Francisco and Lindstrom, who privilege breaks over breakdowns, seem to be at the peak of their careers while he seems determined to keep the music just a bit more leftfield and even more low-key. “Jupiter” begins with a steady 4/4 beat just before a strong space dub cuts in and takes the track out of the disco lights and into surround-sound theatre speakers. On a second listen, the influence of early 80’s Italo becomes increasingly clearer. Side two of the record presents “Micropacer,” a track that brings to mind the more electro efforts of Mtume or Cashmere, perhaps even Prince. However, throughout the record, the emphasis is on the feel rather than feeling it. Whereas his friends Alan Braxe and Fred Falke amplify the latent fun in ironic compositions, Kris Menace seems determined to prove a deeper truth to the listener. While his instrumental, narrative efforts are to be admired, sometimes a great plot can be enhanced by a few well-placed special effects. Sometimes is has to be.

Compuphonic / COMPU 02
[Cameron Octigan]


May 19, 2006

Live: Alan Braxe at ISSST, The Key, London, May 2006

Alan Braxe has sold over two million records that are aimed straight for the heart of the dancefloor, most of them copies of “Music Sounds Better with You,” one of the best ever tracks about dancing and a giant crossover record that even the people I know who despise dance music grudgingly admit to liking (it was #2 in the UK back in August 1998.) Almost unbelievably, before the beginning of this month Alan Braxe had never played a DJ set in public, apparently preferring to be known for his production work.

His doing so deserves an in-depth report. Unfortunately this ain’t it, but I’ll endeavour to get as many details down as possible. It’s not that I wasn’t paying attention, but more that I was paying attention in the wrong way (with every sinew and fibre of my body—but not many brain cells). Also, I was drunk. If I could just write “I danced and had a lot of fun,” I would.

The Key, in Kings Cross, is a club that I’d had an awful experience with previously when it, along with other clubs in the same complex, was part of a hellishly overcrowded, incompetently organized, and hateful in all ways Soulwax “warehouse party.” Tonight, though, it was fine: friendly bar staff, a honeycomb dance floor that made me worry when the giant bees would be returning, and so much dry ice that I felt I was in a dream sequence from Manhunter or Risky Business. The sound was crisp and clear and bumping, but not so loud that I had no voice the next day from YELLING.

Here’s how things end up being in London—Justice and the Ed Banger Records crew along with Mr. Oizo were playing on the same night. In the club next door! And they got a bigger turnout, which is a shame but to be expected in the real or imagined constant NOW of dance music. On the plus side (for me, if not Braxe), it meant that there weren’t any boggly-eyed pill casualties except for one mullethead who’d travelled all the way from Scotland to get mashed and forget everything by the next day. Even he was friendly enough in a I-am-gonna-give-you-a-high-five kind of way.

What made Braxe decide that now was the time to play out (and in London rather than his homebase of Paris), I don’t know. Maybe it was the chance to DJ with Vulture label mate Kris Menace, who did the heavy lifting, manning the decks for most of the evening whilst Braxe cued up re-edits on his laptop. Not that division of labour mattered. As a force, they were hands in the air exciting all night, starting as they meant to go on—hi-impact—with a pitched up “LFO,” “Body Language” and some Chicken Lips before moving into filter-disco. There was surprisingly little I knew except for Lifelike and Kris Menace’s “Discopolis” and a vocal-less, re-cut and stripped-to-the-bone “Music Sounds Better with You” that removed the anthemic whilst keeping the disco propulsion. It was like a suite of variations on the first three seconds of the track, ever spawning and replicating. Near the end, three hours later, there was a baffling mindwarp of an edit of “O Superman” by Laurie Anderson (was it chosen because it also reached a highest chart position of #2 in the UK?) I emailed my brother to find out what I’d forgotten but all he could add was that Braxe “looks like a typical man from the Tricolour French textbooks from school… (i.e. like a sex criminal).”

Then Cagedbaby stepped up and killed the vibe as easily as Braxe had killed EQs with a set of ‘roided-out Bloc Party remixes and tracks that instruct you to have fun just a little too emphatically. It didn’t really matter, though. The best was over with and I managed to get chucked out by the bouncers anyway. I stood in the cool morning light, ears still ringing, loose limbed, and sweaty because I hadn’t stopped moving all night.[Patrick McNally]


May 19, 2006

Beatzcast #2

Mixes2006

Download

01: The Deacon - Multi-Dimensional Drama
02: Cabanne - Dirtymove
03: Britney Spears - Me Against the Music (Justice Remix)
04: Tim Paris - Standing Up
05: Codec and Flexor - Broke Free
06: The Knife - We Share Our Mother’s Health (Trentemoller Remix)
07: Van She - Kelly (Alan Braxe & Fred Falke Remix)
08: Hervé Ak - My Favourite Smile
09: Manual - Bajamar


February 10, 2006

Defender - Defender

200512"Neo-Disco

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]


February 10, 2006

Charts: February 10 2006

Guest Chart
Patrice Baumel, Trapez

Baxendale - I Built This City
Carl Craig - Darkness
Fairmont - Gazebo
Jesse Somfay - Traum 65
Ame - Rej
Hard-Fi - Stars of CCTV
Phonique - For The Time Being
Gabriel Ananda - Ihre Persoenliche Gluecksmelodie
Alex Under - Dispositivos De Mi Granja
Daso - Daybreak

Mallory O’Donnell
Royksopp - What Else Is There? (Trentemoller Remix)
Ellen Allien & Apparat - Do Not Break
Tiga - Far From Home
Flatpack - Sweet Child O’ Mine (Mylo Remix)
Justice Vs. Simian - Never Be Alone
Transformer di Roboters - Hi End (Metro B & Maslope Remix)
Annie - The Wedding (Lindstrom & Prins Thomas Remix)
Depeche Mode - Precious (Michael Mayer’s Balearic Mix)
The Knife - Neverland
Dead Disco - The Treatment (Metronomy Remix)
Chromeo - Needy Girl (Phillipe Zdar Dub)
Linus Loves - VH1
Alan Braxe & Fred Falke - Bliss

Cameron Octigan
Zimt - U.O.A.A. (Jurgen Paape Remix)
Yoshimoto - Do What U Du (Trentemoller Remix)
Unlimited Touch - I Hear Music in the Streets
Uffie - Pop the Glock
Transformer der Roboters - Hi End (Metro B & Maslope Remix)
New Young Pony Club - Ice Cream
MSTRKRFT - Easy Love
Michael Mayer & Reinhard Voigt - Sky Dumont
The Knife - Like a Pen
Crystal Castles - Tuesday
Black Strobe - Me & Madonna
Benjamin Theves - Texas

Todd Hutlock
Suburban Knight - Predator’s Language
Theo Parrish - Falling Up (Carl Craig Remix)
Renegade Soundwave - The Phantom (Subsonic Legacy)
Gaiser - And Answer
Fumiya Tanaka - Unknown Possibility Vol 1.
Akufen - Psychometry 1.1-3.2 (Thomas Brinkmann Remix)
Battant - Jump Up EP
KLF Vs. Ricardo Villalobos - What Time Is Love? (Veto Retro Mix #1)
Plastikman - Afrika
Talking Heads - Making Flippy Floppy (David Byrne/John “Jellybean” Benitez Remix)

Michael F. Gill
Kalabrese - Hühnerfest
Isolee - Rockers
Frequency - Loosen Up
Fred Gianelli - Distant Gratification
Jean-Luc Ponty - Cosmic Messenger
DJ Shadow - Building Steam With A Grain Of Salt
Sa-Fire - Boy, I’ve Been Told (Rascal/Two In A Room Dub)
Doris D. and The Pins - Shine Up
A Guy Called Gerald - Finley’s Rainbow (Slow Motion Mix)
Regina - Baby Love


October 27, 2005

Annie - DJ Kicks

It’s an apt metaphor: on the !K7 website, the label is hawking a promotional scarf to accompany the release of Annie’s newest DJ Kicks album. Problem is: it’s made out of cotton, and looks for the world like it’d keep you warm only in the confines of, say, Misshapes on a Friday night. Annie’s “DJ mix” will similarly make you look fashionable in a club full of people that enjoy nu-pop and its comfortable version of pleasure, but it’ll never get you close to sweat. Save that for the professionals. Buy Alan Braxe & Friends’ The Upper Cuts instead and get the only track worth hearing (released since 2000), plus a whole lot more.

!K7 / !K7190CD
[Todd Burns]


January 27, 2005

In the Mix: Michael F. Gill - “Romance Drones”

The inspirations for this mix were the recent singles “Cosmic Sandwich” and “Odyssey” by Steve Barnes, which showcase a new and interesting tangent on the basic micro/electro-house template. It was an epic, sprawling sound that combined the romantic melancholy of Michael Mayer’s “Immer” with a heavy psychedelic bent that engulfs you through a series of visceral repetition, trippy vocals, and wandering stratospheric synths. I’ve picked tracks here that complement this sound, and sequenced them in such a fashion that the music becomes more open and extroverted as time passes. Hence, things begin with the misty noir-ish glimmers of Anders ilar, move through the brisk druggy bliss of Ewan Pearson’s Closer Musik remix, and end up with some Italo/Metro Area influenced tracks by Jersey Devil Social Club and Justus Kohncke. This being the internet and not the club, I’ve taken the time to do some re-edits of the tracks in order to emphasize the themes of the mix. I hope you enjoy it.

01. Anders ilar - Treasure Gardens (Echocord)
02. Lucien-N-Luciano - Lilou Swan (Klang Elektronik)
03. Lawrence - Live At 37 (Dial)
04. M.I.A. - Ballad II (Substatic)
05. Nathan Fake - The Sky Was Pink [James Holden Remix] (Border Community)
06. John Foxx - Mr. No (New Religion)
07. Steve Barnes & Riley Reinhold - Odyssey (My Best Friend Limited)
08. Closer Musik - One Two Three (No Gravity) [Ewan Pearson Mix] (Out of the Loop)
09. Steve Barnes & Riley Reinhold - Memories (My Best Friend Limited)
10. Steve Barnes - Cosmic Sandwich [Extended Version] (My Best Friend Limited)
11. Geiger - Standing In A Line (Firm)
12. Kaos featuring Captain Comatose - Bang The Box (K7)
13.George Thomson - Laid Back Snack Attack [Ellen Allien Via Mix] (Crosstown Rebels)
14. Jersey Devil Social Club – Magnifique [Health Club Dub] (Environ)
15. Justus Kohncke - Elan (Kompakt)
16. Annie - Heartbeat [Alan Braxe Remix] (679)

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