December 8, 2006

Charts: December 8 2006

Todd Hutlock
Pier Bucci - Instinct [Crosstown Rebels]
Radioactive Man - Itisanditisnt [Rotters Golf Club]
Vince Watson - Renaissance [Planet E]
Baby Ford - Beach Bump (Wildflower Mix) [Rhythm King]
Point Blank - Frug [Phono]
Loco Dice - Vamos a Cali [Cadenza]
Thomas P. Heckmann - Strobe [Bpitch Control]
False - .Wav Pool [Plus 8]
Hecker - Untitled (KIT 001) [Rephlex]
Compass - Gliding [Cabinet]

Mallory O’Donnell
Tomboy – 4 [Gomma]
Ost & Kjex - How Not to Be a Biscuit [Crosstown Rebels]
Thomas P. Heckmann – Medusa [BPitch Control]
Bangkok Impact - Aus Birgittes Tagebuch [Crème Organization]
Kudu - Playing House [Nublu]
Escort – Karawane [Escort]
Luciano - For Disco Only [For Disco Only]
Smackos - Waiting For the Red Bear [Strange Life]

Michael F. Gill
Daniele Baldelli - Cosmic Sound [Mediane]
Ricardo Villalobos – Africolaps [Perlon]
Dirty Minds – I Want U (Dub) [Eskimo]
John Dahlback – Our Song [Pickadoll]
Rude 66 – Break The Silence [Vynalogica]
Bertine Zetlitz – Girl Like You [EMI]
DJ Assault – Crank This Mutha [Booty Wax]
Jimmy Ross – Fall Into a Trance [Quality / RFC]
Walter Gibbons – Mixed With Love [Salsoul]
Philip Glass – Prophecies [Nonesuch]

August 25, 2006

Telex - Do Worry Remixes


Perhaps the world at large has yet to embrace Telex, returned from an indefinable hiatus to plague us with delicious synthpop ditties, but one gets the feeling it doesn’t really matter to these Belgian pranksters. Lacing their “Do Worry” with typical analog swoops and absurdist sub-Kraftwerk vocalising, they’re hardly a revolutionary outfit - especially in these recycling-conscious times - but luckily they’ve added a stupid-clever “woops” line to their Star Wars synth-stabbing and motorik churning. Spanned across four remixes, it’s a bit too much of a good thing, but their space-disco lineage is made apparent in the jazz-on-phasers Lindstrom rework and the quite-ready-for-prime-time Bangkok Impact (it’s called album #2, Sami, album fucking #2) remix. On the less-essential side, Kid Alex would love to be Mylo but he’s a day late and a dollar short, and the “Dirty Dancing Remix” is all dirty and precious little dancing.

Virgin / 370430
[Mallory O’Donnell]

May 19, 2006

Serials: The Disco-tech of…

This time: The Disco-tech of… series from France’s Yellow Productions; home and launching pad for Kid Loco, Dimitri From Paris, and Bob Sinclair.

The Disco-tech of…Julien Jabre (2003)
Still the only CD with Julien’s name on it, it is also the most diverse entry in the series so far, ranging from jazzy fusion, to disco and deep house, with little emphasis on the “tech.” To be honest, Jabre dangerously flirts with samba-ish cocktail jazz and velvety vocal house throughout, but through excellent mixing and sequencing, he does manage to hold interest way longer than, say, Thievery Corporation. Besides bookending the mix with a snippet of Philippe Sarde’s tumultuous score to “Les Choses De La Vie,” and including the extended version of Carl Craig’s epochal “Domina,” there’s little to interrupt the lush keyboards, round edges, and accomplished arrangements of each track here. And while it’s surprising to hear anonymity coming from tracks by such heavyweights as Herbie Hancock and Marvin Gaye, it’s good to see a mix that gives the smoother, classier side of jazz, disco, and house music a more respectable (if completely un-hip) name.

The Disco-tech of…DJ Cosmo (2003)
Veteran NYC/London resident Collen Murphy (aka DJ Cosmo) isn’t as well-known as Jabre or Robotnick, so here’s a short resume: she runs the label Bitches Brew, is a member of that forgotten Playhouse supergroup Light Fantastic, and is one of the few people allowed to fill in for David Mancuso during one of his famous loft parties. Right. Murphy’s mix is probably the one in the series that fits conceptions of what one would think “disco-tech” would sound like. Chicken Lips, Metro Area, Robotnick, Gino Soccio, and other synth-heavy artists fill out the tracklisting, including a slaying instrumental version of Rafael Cameron’s Salsoul hit “Boogie’s Gonna Get Ya” that is practically worth the price of admittance. There’s also a couple of great detours: namely the Isaac Hayes-baiting funk of Los Chicharbons and the old-school disco rapping by Fertile Ground. The only problem I have with this mix is that it feels more like a collection of good/excellent tracks that stand up by themselves, rather than a solid blended mix. Pickiness aside, Murphy holds her own against Jabre and Robotnick.

The Disco-tech of…Alexander Robotnick (2004)
Definitely the most popular in the series, Mr. Robotnick’s mix lays down the links between electro-clash, new wave, and italo disco while still being defiantly populist. It’s likely that since Maurizio Dami never DJed throughout the 80s, he hasn’t worn out all of the obvious genre touchstones and headed towards white-label obscurity. So, you get such familiar new wave staples like “Bizarre Love Triangle,” “Wordy Rappinghood,” and “Enola Gay” rubbing up against nu-school tracks from Miss Kitten, Bangkok Impact, and Dopplereffekt (with a half-dozen italo classics splitting the hipster difference.) It may not have as much value to dance music nerds, but it does show a neat musical continuity over the past three decades: all the canonical tracks of each era have a similar idea of what defined radiant, romantic, and melodic dance music.

[Michael F. Gill]

March 24, 2006

Alexander Robotnick – The Dark Side Of The Spoon (Remixes)


Todd Burns: Maurizio Dami is nothing if not a legend, working since 1981 in a variety of guises. His 2003 return to the realm of electro has heralded a spate of new releases that continue to feature some of the genres highest-profile purveyors. Case in point: Bangkok Impact and Lindstrøm and Prins Thomas contribute remixes on Robotnick’s newest 12” for the Dutch Crème label. While the original version of the track is all sweetness and light, Bangkok gives it a darker air with a throbbing bassline and a distorted version of the main melodic theme. Disorientingly complex at times, Bangkok comes out the other end in six minutes with a well-constructed version that sounds more like reworking than it does remix. Lindstrøm and Prins Thomas, on the other hand, discofy the original by livening up the drums and highlighting the guitar and cowbell. The ecstatic sound of that cowbell emphatically closes the track, gone off beat by a person clearly sweating, tired, and glad to be ringing it.

Mallory O’Donnell: God bless Alexander Robotnick, and God bless this crazy world for producing an Italian pretending to be a German pretending to be from outerspace. Though he’s still producing tracks, this one is from 1982, part of a compilation of unreleased material put together by the good folks at Creme, who just happen to be Italo-influenced Dutch who actually are from outerspace. This track is nothing off-the-wall for Robotnick, but it certainly sounds stunningly modern and beats the crap out of 95% of the electro currently being put out by anybody else. Fittingly, Bangkok Impact (representing that other 5%) whips the track up into thicker, chunkier electro-funk, then drizzles gooey analog synths on top like chocolate sauce. Lindstrom & Prins Thomas flip the script for their remix, arranging the original’s already tight drum patterns, echoes, swirls and stabs into even stricter military formation, marching them across the parade ground while waves of fuzzed-out psychedelic guitar crash in the distance.

Michael F. Gill: Is the child now father to the man? Three generations of disco and italo come together for a family reunion of sorts, and to see what they can learn from each other. Robotnick, the elder statesman, prays at the holy sepulchre of the synthesizer, feeling ageless at the disco while a stately, yet serious stare comes across his face. The Detroit posse take notice. Bangkok Impact, wild child from the dawn of Y2K, fattens up the sacrificial lamb with a luminous flash and some luster extracted from his mechanical skin. Lindstrom & Prins-Thomas, the current celebrities du jour, are subverting the religion by sculpting disco as a long, sweaty orgy that looks all pastoral and honey-sweet from the outside. Sex, gluttony, and spirituality, what more could you want?

Crème Organization / 022

March 24, 2006

Bangkok Impact / Savas Pascalidis - 111 / Boccaccio Life


As the old saying goes, you wait a year for a new Bangkok Impact track and all of a sudden here come two. OK, maybe only this and the Robotnick remix but I’m thankful all the same. Like most of his tracks, “111″ takes a minute to build, then flogs the Hell out of the dancefloor with a combo of boot-shaking disco junkyard percussion and fast, bass-heavy electro beats. Savas Pascalidis plays to form on a typically cold Teutonic number that pleases but fails to satisfy, sounding like an excerpt from his genre-constrained last album.

Lektro Luv / 001
[Mallory O’Donnell]