July 26, 2007

Turbo Crystal - French Girl

Jean-Francois Mouliet is Turbo Crystal, a Frenchman armed with only a stiff drum machine, a slap-bass, some really goofy spoken-raps, and a sing-song falsetto reminscent of Chromeo or Mocky. His two short tracks here, self-described as “ghetto rock”, will be hard for any dance fan to take seriously, but to their credit, they’re perverse and sparse enough to at least keep your attention while they are playing.

The real interest here is in the remixes by Escort and Bear Funk’s Fabrizio Mammarella. Considering they have so little to work with, it’s no wonder Escort have “pulled an Aphex Twin” and completely reworked “French Girl” as a tidy piece of keyboard-free Eurodisco. They’ve added in female backing vocals, horns, and a live rhythm section to back up the main vocal. It charms, but they are a bit too generous. Mammarella gives the original the respect it deserves: he phones it in. He simply drops the vocals over a run-of-the-mill disco-tech rhythm, adding just enough reverb shots and synth drones so it could pass for being spaced-out. Being blase never felt so right. I guess.

Tiny Sticks / STICK 12
[Michael F. Gill]

May 22, 2007

Trusme - Brown’s


Please don’t tell me I’m the only motherfucker on the internet who saw Maynard Ferguson’s play “The Fly” at North Penn High School ten plus years ago. The a-side moves exactly like KDJ’s “I Can’t Kick This Feelin’ When It Hits”: from the long opening tease to the impatient female crooner to the massive release when the funk finally kicks in, it’s wound tight enough to keep it away from the “funky house” bins and smooth jazz radio. The keyboard sustains are great but the horns midway… if there’s one regret for me it’s that I’ve heard them before. It’s possibly better than “I Can’t Kick This Feelin’,” which is saying something.

The title track is a fine enough beardo downtempo cut made from unrecognizable guitar jazz-funk, but “Good God” brings the tempo back up. Trusme uses the same formula as the a-side but this time with Harold Melvin and the Blue Note’s “Bad Luck” as the source material. Yep, that’s Teddy Pendergrass you’re hearing, and so the lines between jazz and funk and disco and house continue to be blurred into one gloriously incriminating mess.

Still Love Music / Stilove4music07
[Nick Sylvester]

May 9, 2007

Toby Tobias - Daves Sex Bits


Like his first single for the Rekid label, Toby Tobias still doesn’t settle for anything less than a genre-clusterfuck. “Dave’s Sex Bits” couldve just coined beardo-house and called it a day, but dude won’t let go of every little toy in his crate. With a constant ambient drone, Tobias stuffs in every swell, light-saber crash, and gurgling birdcall that he can touch. Even the funk licks of the bass are squashed in a song that nods to cosmic aspirations but can’t feel any space. On the flip, Quiet Village (comprised of Rekid label owner Matt Edwards and Joel Martin) rebuilds the sex bits from the ground up. Using delay like a tienne-Jules Marey photograph, the Quiet Village remix not only captures momentary glimmers of the original song, it also strobes in and out of the regulars forward progression of time. Thoroughly disorienting and wobbling near the black hole that swallowed Motiivis 1939, Quiet Villages remix might chug along to its own drummer but itll be hard to imagine a more massive sounding remix this year.

[Nate DeYoung]

April 8, 2007

The Week In Review: 2007, Week 14

Knight Action - Single Girl (Clone Classic Cuts)

Nick Sylvester: One of those missing link-type tracks youve heard about or just plain intuited to have existedone of those synthpoppy bridges from Moroder-ripping disco to early houses heavy jack. Its as if this track invented the very sweetspots youre looking for; it probably did and you didnt even know it.

Metope - Braga/Breep (Areal)

Joakim - Lonely Hearts (Versatile)

Kotey Extra Band feat. Chaz Jankel - Sooner Or Later (Bear Funk)

Heartthrob vs. Troy Pierce / Gaiser vs. Heartthrob - MVS1 (M_nus)

DJ T - Lucky Bastard (Get Physical Music)

David Garcet - Redemption (Dirty Dancing)

Lazy Fat People - Pixelgirl EP (Planet E)

Claude VonStroke - The Whistler (Remixes) (Dirtybird)

Peter Chambers: I dont mean to suggest this is a cynical release, but this EP strikes me as being cheekily designed to achieve a certain response from a certain set of ears, to position itself as some of the stuff you hear in clubs.

Weekly Staff Charts
Beatzcast #26: Crambe Repetita

April 4, 2007

Kotey Extra Band feat. Chaz Jankel - Sooner Or Later

Theres a beguiling quality to Giorgio Moroders music that seems to efface its often catastrophic lapses of taste. Even the Cat People soundtrack, which provoked Is this record a pisstake?! from a horrified friend the other week, has a well-deserved place in my collectionnext to the thriftshop copy of Neverending Story, of course. Like a lot of Moroders material, Sooner or Later, a B-side of 1976s soft disco soiree Knights in White Satin bears up remarkably well to the ravages of time. The Kotey Bands version is a nice, fast-paced but relaxed disco trip through the Moroderversea discotheque in which the Moogs place in the VIP area is assured.

But the Chicken Lips remixes outshine their inspirationand for the price of admission, you get two subtly trippy, dub-reggae disco renditions of Koteys cover. The instrumental gives the rhythm section space to wind the groove into a neat nodfest (and not a snooze cruise,) equal parts white satin and spliff smoke. The vocal version brings things back to pop, but only in order to fling the vocals into dubland. All three versions drift by in a pleasing hazeperfect for the early hours or a quiet week in the house with marmalade on toast and the cat.

Bear Funk / BFK 022
[Peter Chambers]

March 2, 2007

Goat Dance - Goat Dance


This is Dean Meredith from Chicken Lips, which is why you might confuse this one for a CL track or even an Emperor Machine track: really rubbery, really spacey, loose-jointed disco-funk. The difference between this and Sizzle, Meredith’s first single as Goat Dance, is this one’s less wobbly and ramshackle. Its all for the better, with a steady kick and a simple bassline melody that doesn’t quite resolve and a groove that’s content gaining momentum while (I think they’re) Juno synths shimmer atop. When it kicks into full-gear there’s no stopping it, a real just-before-peaktime record, which I don’t think you can really say for most of the DC Records axis, most of which falls under the umbrella of just good listening. Dub on the flipside.

Bear Entertainment / BE016
[Nick Sylvester]

February 16, 2007

Charts: February 16 2007

Todd Hutlock
Todd Sines - In_Come [Frankie Rec]
Safety Scissors - Where Is Germany and How Do I Get There? (Ellen Allien Germany Remix) [Bpitch Control]
Roxy Music - The Main Thing (Rub-N-Tugs Proton Saga) [Virgin]
Dominik Eulberg & Gabriel Ananda - Harzer Roller [Traum Schallplatten]
Pr Grindvik - Casio [Spectral Sound]
Heartthrob - Baby Kate (Robotman Remix) [M_nus]
Ripperton - Tainted Words [Connaisseur]
Audio Werner - Flat Funk [Circus Company]
Tracey Thorn - Its All True (Martin Buttrich Dub) [Virgin]
Marcellus Pittman - A Mix [Unirhythm]

Michael F. Gill
Goat Dance Goat Dance (Version) [Bear Entertainment]
Blackjoy Untitled (Kerri Chandlers Bigga Mix) [Freerange]
Tony Allen One Tree (Terrence Parkers Spirit of Unity Instrumental Mix) [Honest Jons]
PM Dawn A Watcher Point of View [Dont Cha Think] (Todd Terrys Hard House Mix) [Gee Street]
Escort - All That She Is [Escort]
Jo Squillo Eletrix Avventurieri [Polydor]
The Voyagers - Distant Planet [Discomagic]
Venus Gang Space Woman [P.B.I. Records]
Two Tons O’ Fun Got The Feeling [Fantasy Honey]
Tribe Koke [Probe]

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…


December 22, 2006

2006: The Year In Review

Welcome to the Beatz By The Pound year-end roundup for 2006, a veritable smorgasbord of lists, thoughts, and reflections about the current state of dance music. And while all of our writers handed in very diverse ballots, we were able to come to a consensus on a couple of key releases, producers, and labels. Let the madness begin


December 8, 2006

Various Artists / Various Artists - Vintage Future [Mixed by Serge] / ReCloned


Two handy state-of-the-union addresses from the Clone family, Vintage Future is a mix of recent releases and reissues, while ReCloned offers the best remixes from the label. Serge does a nice job of showing how easily the old (Marshall Jefferson, Mike Dunn, Egyptian Lover) mixes with the new (Alden Tyrell, Lindstrom, Dexter), blurring the lines of electro-funk, italo, and acid house with a fast-paced mix. The best rediscovery is the recently reissued “Every Sunday” by Crazy Gang, an electro-vocoder romp with lyrics about overbearing parents that make their child go to church every Sunday. ReCloned is unmixed, but shares the same family of artists and range of sound. Standouts include recent releases like Charles Webster’s spacey deep house version of Delguis “Highlights,” and Elitechnique’s mix of Alden Tyrells “La Voix,” as well as established classics like the Carl Craig remix of “Hand to Phone” and Tiefschwarz’s remix of Unit 4’s “Body Dub.” You might have to deal with a lot of “I Feel Love” style arrangements, but both mixes are great palette cleansers in a market currently cluttered with minimal and electro-house mixes.

Clone / Clone# cd8 / Clone# cd9
[Michael F Gill]

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