July 22, 2007

The Week In Review: 2007, Week 29

Deetron feat. DJ Bone - Life Soundtrack (Music Man)
Genre: House, Techno

Simon Baker - Plastik / Jitters (Playhouse)
Genre: House, Minimal/Deep

Peter Chambers: Just like some people’s nudity is more naked than others, some repetitions are somehow more repetitive than others, while others are seemingly less repetitive, more transformative.

Lee Douglas - New York Story (Rong)
Genre: Neo-Disco

Nate DeYoung: It’s wide-eyed and effortless as a wind-up toy, but packs 500-lb chimes straight out of Blondie’s “Rapture”.

Len Faki - Rainbow Delta/Mekong Delta Remixes (Ostgut Ton)
Genre: Techno, Minimal/Deep

Various Artists - Sasomo EP (BAR25)
Genre: Minimal/Tech

Michael F. Gill: With the world remaining indifferent to my personal peaks and valleys, why not have my music be the same way?

Avus - Furry Hat / Spnkr (Border Community)
Genre: Progressive/Trance

Brother From Another Planet / .Xtrak - 7th City Classics Vol. 1 (7th City)
Genre: Techno, Acid

The Beatz staff pick their favorite dance releases of 2007, so far

Beatzcast #42: Crambe Repetita

Nina Phillips reviews Efdemin self-titled album on Dial Records.

July 19, 2007

Avus - Furry Hat / Spnkr

A pleasant surprise is rarely a bad thing, being both enjoyable and unexpected. Cynicism is just as bored of itself as it is the world. A dash of cynicism can save you from later shames, but even a dash too much makes the sweetest puss sour. Going record digging, the strange vicissitudes of wet/dry and gush/clench really influence your obsessions. How many of you have had a “buy on sight” label that, based on a string of disappointments, you’ve written off totally? I confess I was just about to put Border Community into the ignore and disparage basket, but then along comes Avus to right my wrong-headed skull.

“Furry Hat” is warm, with a da-dudding bassline that’s nicely trancey, grounding the whole thing in BC’s fargone past at a summer field, way back in some psilocybin dreamtime. A little like some of Jesse Somfay’s work, Avus here manages a nice contrast between the lighter, granular elements written over the top and the deep, warm presence of the lower frequencies. The “Feedbackapella” stands on its own as an ambient track, and is just long enough to highlight the composition’s glassy high tone crescendo before the boredoms arrive. “Spnkr” continues with the “da-ga-da” bassline sound, but this time pairs it with some sandpaper-dry snares and a fairly tight, high-pitched kick which is then doubled as the track goes on, giving you twice the bass for your face. Like all the Border Community releases (and in homage to their prog/trance roots) the EP is totally modular, full of tools ready to be looped, cut, re-edited and arranged a la carte. It’s on this tip that the “Acid Paddle Tool” version of “Spnkr” comes into its own. Loopy, useful and kicking, it oddly ends up as my favourite track of the EP.

Border Community / 16 BC
[Peter Chambers]

June 18, 2007

Chymera - Satura / Arabesque

While it’s A-side evokes shades of Claro’s neo-Detroit classic “Peace of Mind,” “Arabesque” is the one that sticks in your head. It’s nearly twice the length of “Satura,” but it needs the room to stretch out - how else to revel in the neo-prog essentials? (Deep Connaisseur chords and a lithe melody line cutting over top, natch.) The title is kinda despicable in the way that “Orientalesque” might be, but it helps in defining what mental images might pop up along the way so we’ll let it slide this time. As an opening salvo in his 2007 campaign to take over dancefloors (this 12″ was released in January, three others have since followed), Chymera has laid down the gauntlet. It won’t be long before Border Community comes a-calling.

Tishomingo Music / TM007
[Nina Phillips]

March 25, 2007

The Week In Review: 2007, Week 12

DJ Koze vs. Sid le Rock - Naked (Cereal/Killers)

Peter Chambers: “Both Sid (Pan/Tone) le Rock and DJ (Adolf Noise) Koze take a ‘one eyebrow and a brimming glass raised’ approach to productionif their methods of mayhem intersect, its at a point where irreverence meets festivity to do the wild thang on your mixer.”

Misstress Barbara Barcelona (Border Community)

Motiivi:Tuntematon - Speicher 46 (Kompakt Extra)

Jacopo Carreras - Olanto (Lan Muzic)

Move D - Anne Will (Remixes) (Liebe Detail Spezial)

Tomboy - Serios DJ Album Sampler (Gomma)

Rhythm Plate - Music From Our Souls EP (Winding Road Records)

Mallory O’Donnell: “…those wanting a taste of classic, warm and spacious house would do well to check this EP out.”

Sideshow - Philly Soundworks (Aus Music)

Live coverage of the 2007 Winter Music Conference in Miami: Day One, Night One, Day Two, Night Two.

Weekly Staff Charts
Latest Beatzcast (#24)

March 20, 2007

Misstress Barbara Barcelona

It could be said that minimal is the continuation of techno by other means, at least in the case of labels like M_nus. For other camps, substitute trance for techno. For Border Community well, what was so wonderful about the label was that, initially at least, you didnt have to choose sides. As the label name promised, you could be a nomads lad, living in the lawless provinces where a bit of creative banditry could nab you a few hits against the stuffy village people below. Theres a double irony then, in Misstress Barbaras Barcelona arrival on the label. Barbara, formerly an exponent of hard as nails club-tech, has produced a tech-trance record that seems to be retreating back into Tranceland, with all of the implications that name gives.

If techno bores the shit out of a lot of people for its lack of melodic variation, the problem with Barcelona in its original version is that by focusing so much on the inter-relation of melodies, the mistress takes her eyes off the rhythmic ball, producing a track that sounds like three big wedges of melody thrust through each other, while a dull thud simply marks time in the background. Holdens tool mixes seem to be a tacit recognition of this, and overcompensatetheyre four minutes of constantly tweaked, prodded, torn out, and kicked drum patterns. Theres something interesting about the constantly mutating inter-relationships, but it sounds like Holdens managed to mic up the brain of some poor sap whose overdosed on caffeine. But then, the tool appellation is a get-out-of-jail free card on this tip, isnt it? Music thats not designed for listening hmmm.

Jamais moi sans toi sounds like a study piece of sortsas if Barbara was intentionally trying to mimic the labels previous releases. As when an attack dog bares its teeth gradually over five minutes, its difficult to stay scared, or even attentiveand likewise here too little takes too long to happen, and its an unexciting knock-off of Nathan Fakes sigh-trance when it does.

Border Community / 15BC
[Peter Chambers]

October 6, 2006

Lazy Fat People - Shinjuku/T.V. 20

Ronan Fitzgerald: The hotly anticipated Shinjuku is finally here, and the rise of psych-house continues. As you expect from Ripperton and anyone whos been on Border Community really, the melody on Shinjuku is vast and expansive, feeling like it could fill any space, with one note bleeding into another. One of the winters biggest records is surely upon us, this may lead the way for the new generation of big crossover minimal records. T.V. 20 meanwhile is a darker club track, with less melody but never losing the eerie air of melancholy.

Peter Chambers: Heres the latest in a long line of minimal releases following the tacit maxim of what I call Lucianos bastards: as little as possible, for as long as possible. If you like to keep your mixes wide open for as long as nine minutes, there could conceivably be a reason to buy into a musical philosophy that thinks its okay to write a track that goes for as long as six Little Richard tracks without ever squealing Lucille, if you dig. Its either a test of your patience, or the presentation of a different timescale that presumes another way of listening to music. To these ears, this Richards too big and too long. After six minutes of farnarkling around, the Lazy Fat People finally menace their audience with the promise of drama. Wow, somethings gonna happen. But unfortunately, whats true of T.V.20 is true of Gertrude Steins famous impression of Oakland: when you get there, there isnt any there there. Shinjuku is a place, and is much better, but wastes its head of trancelectro steam on a lazy, boring breakdown, after which the riff runs out of puff, failing to convert its one good idea into anything memorable. This track could easily find a second wind with a sympathetic mix-out or a remix that efficiently channelled its confused energies into something focused and finished, but as it stands this is flabby stuff indeed.

Wagon Repair / WAG 017

September 15, 2006

Label Profile: Elettronica Romana


There have been more than a couple reviews of Elettronica Romana releases that describe the labels sound as intelligent techno. As much as my knee-jerk response is to shun, shudder and/or scream at such terminology, the tag might still be at the very least pointing in the right direction. Whats missing, though, is the velocity. The one consistency of the label through the high-end of Giorgio Giglis trance inflections to the low-end of Maurizio Cascella & Joe Casagrandes dub marches, is how each single becomes utterly cerebral. But as far as descriptions, cerebral is definitely not precise enough. Founded under foundations of arpeggiated analog synths, Elettronica Romanas discography reveals a roster of artists willing to hypnotically bridge the divide between a caress and a shove.

Although the labels blurb of a biography pinpoints its origins to Remix, a famous record store in Rome, it also leaves out just enough for a little free-form techno bollocks mythology to maneuver. Sure, Donato Dozzy has bounced around with Berlin labels like Lan Muzik and Orange Groove, but hes an exception to the rule. Both Modern Heads and Giorgio Gigli have blossomed primarily on Elettronica Romana. Their contributions have given the label a novel spaced-out form of trance thats alien to current cinematic stabs found on the Border Community label or other under-currents that are polyrhythmically bouncing around Berlin. With eight releases in the past two years and three currently in tow, Elettronica Romana has culled together a very strong base to a sound thats bound to go further into the black hole of more deep/space/trance.

Key Releases

Giorgio Gigli - Geometrik Forms EP [e.r. 002]
From the first kick-drum, its apparent that the Geometrik Forms EP chugs along with a complete disregard of pit stops. Giglis endurance is fuelled by a healthy dose of Kraut- the EPs two sides take all the vibrant atmospheric arpeggios of trance, discard the anthemic traps, and then coast into a hypnotic stretch of motorik rhythm.

Donato Dozzy & Brando Lupi - Destination: Eskimo EP [e.r. 003]
Hypothesizing a mash-up of Monoton and your favorite Italo-disco track, the first part of this single (done solo by Dozzy) could birth a new bastard genre: claustro-disco. Following the famous German groups predilection for huge analog synthesizers, Dozzy might want to consider renaming his instrument the Seekrank synth; the tracks arpeggiated line wobbles in disorienting extremes, leaving many hunched over the side as the ship presses onward.

Modern Heads - Paper Toys EP [e.r. 008]
Paper Toys’ final track, “Puzzle” might find the group sculpting the airy expanse usually reserved to DJ jet setters like the Wighnomy Brothers, but the rest of the EP’s path is far more grounded. Perhaps even underground, as “Cartoon” burrows into the paradox of being equally antiseptic and damp, and “Toy” applies both vantages, using and leaving micro-house in the dust.

[Nate DeYoung]

September 1, 2006

Ripperton & She DJ Masaya - Long Distance

After the barely audible splash of his fine release as Lazy Fat People on Border Community, Ripperton takes his hazy smacked out sounds to Switzerlands Num, and this vital and important 12 inch. Long Distance is 12 minutes of soaring epic house music. Airport noises fade into a perfect kick drum, buzzing hazy synths swarm higher and higher: is this really minimal? The heavy MBV-ish drones may be from the past but this song feels like an early morning in a way that is timeless and familiar to any dance music fan who has clubbed all night. Why is minimal taking over, huge in Ibiza, and on the cover of Mixmag? Because week in week out this scene continues to produce tracks like this; the greatest soundtracks to the greatest nights of peoples lives, worldwide.

Num Ltd / NUMLTD02
[Ronan Fitzgerald]

August 11, 2006

In the Mix: Todd Burns

01. Goldfrapp - Fly Me Away [Mute]
02. Northern Lite - Cocaine [ARMUT24]
03. Cassius - Jack Rock [Virgin]
04. Maderfotor - Scissor [Ware]
05. Basteroid - Meteorchester [Areal]
06. Petter - Some Polyphony [Border Community]
07. Stephan Bodzin - Kerosene [Herzblut]
08. Jesse Somfay - Tonight’s Frail Desire [Budenzauber Recordings]
09. Tigercity - Are You Sensation? (Crambe Repetita Mix) [Igottarun]

July 28, 2006

Petter - Some Polyphony

Is the majestic Some Polyphony this summers Mandarine Girl? Perhaps a more fitting tag would be this months In White Rooms. Nonetheless its yet another massive Border Community record, after the excellent, but anonymous Big City/Dark Water 12 which hit the water without a ripple. You should know the drill by now, youre going to get the tight suction noises where the beats should be, the trance Pink Panther bassline, and the huge melancholy synth washes. Minimal and Mixmag have never made more sense together!

Border Community / 12BC

[Ronan Fitzgerald]

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