August 6, 2007

G-Man - Quo Vadis


Like Baby Ford and Mark Broom, Gez Varley is one of the few British producers from the dawn of the era who has continued to make interesting, relevant minimal music that still adds something to the original template he helped formulate. I first heard “Quo Vadis” on Richie Hawtin’s 1995 Mixmag compilation, a mix that has aged remarkably well and is still definitely worth a rinse, especially in light of recent directions in house-influenced minimal techno. Given the survival of the track in this context (or, more generally, the fact that it’s never really stopped being played), who better to re-release the classic than Styrax Leaves, a label who are (thankfully, actually) stuck in the best bits of ’90s techno, a place of patchy perfections at the best of times.

The drum sounds themselves are as dated as you’d expect, but it’s the subtle seductions of their patterning that help this release retain the breath of life. Stripped, deep, and long, the themes rise out of a flat gas of beats, repeating and slowly mutating through the addition, reduction, or substitution of one simple element. With nothing more than plodding, dogged repetitions, 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. Listen to these puppies and dream of candyflips in a sweaty bunker, consoled only by the natural warmth emanating from the rhythm machines. It’s enough to make you slowly bug out.

Styrax Leaves / strx leaves 005
[Peter Chambers]

May 25, 2007

Beatzcast #34: Crambe Repetita


Stylus editor Todd Burns presents a mix of electronic music…

01: Shemale - Untitled [buy]
02: Lindstrom and Solale - Let’s Practise [buy]
03: Trusme - Nards [buy]
04: Miguel Migs - So Far [buy]
05: Voom Voom - Sao Verought (Marcus Worgull Mix) [buy]
06: Booka Shade - Karma Car [buy]
07: Baby Ford and Zip - Morning Sir [buy]
08: Minilogue - Inca [buy]
09: Crowdpleaser and St. Plomb - Zukunft (Dachshund Remix) [buy]
10: Tiesto feat. Julie Thompson - Do You Feel Me [buy]
11: Nid and Sancy - Give It Up for Sound [buy]

Subscribe to the Stycast.
Subscribe to Beatz By The Pound.

April 10, 2007

Kavinsky - 1986

1986? I’ll say. Kavinsky shuffles together sounds straight from the blueprint electro/new-wave records of the era, but updated with forceful, modern production and propelled by an aggro agenda more akin to big beat than Hi-NRG. “Wayfarer” is a punchy little wanderer indeed, with a rollicking and insistent synth figure undercut by dirty grunge growls and scalpel-clean licks, followed by “Dead Cruiser,” the track sounding most like a recently-unearthed relic on the spookier / noodlier side of Belgian EBM.

SebastiAn’s mix of “Testarossa Overdrive” is the sleekest monster here, recalling Daft Punk a bit with its shiny robot disco breaks. “Flashback” provides an interesting sidetrip, little more than a news report about a crashed Ferrari with some Miami Vice synths and sound effects tickling through it, while “Grand Canyon” continues the soundtrack vibe with icy arpeggios and beefy nouveau-vintage beats. A strong and not completely unimaginative pastiche, recommended for those who enjoy the poppier end of the Clone and Bunker labels.

Record Makers / REC 37
[Mallory ODonnell]

February 9, 2007

DJ Technician - My Beat Is a Monster


You don’t need to be a dance music historian to read the devotion of the Bunker crew to old school electro and bass music - it’s written all over their collective face. DJ Technician has brought it to another level, though, with this EP chock-full of old-as-new frosty booty jams that are equal parts Jonzun Crew, Magic Mike, and Jive Rhythm Tracks. Technician is an apt moniker - these are clinical, perfectly crafted genre exercises, complete with a “Bonus Beats” track, no less. What makes My Beat Is a Monster more than just a pastiche is the sense of goofy fun that bubbles out of the whole package. Dance music, especially of the Northern European school, often gets a bit stodgy in its minimalist beauty, and this is a well-placed combat boot in the ass of anybody who forgot that dance music is silly, sweaty fun, and all the more glorious for it. Retro? Ah, who the fuck cares! From the absurd Newcleus-esque title track whose “beat is a monster / with bass in your face” to the more icy Italo soundscapes of “Basslines” to the spacy video game effects of “One Credit Left,” there’s a little something here for everybody who came late to the party in ‘84.

Bunker Records / Bunker 3060
[Mallory O’Donnell]

February 9, 2007

Charts: February 9 2007

Todd Hutlock
Can - Mother Sky (Pilooski Edit) [D*I*R*T*Y Edits]
Tony Allen - Ole (A Remix by Moritz Von Oswald) [Honest Jons]
Riley Reinhold - Point Zero [Trapez]
Damero - Mope [BPitch Control]
Claude VonStroke - Whos Afraid of Detroit? (Tanner Ross Remix) [Dirty Bird]
Thomas Melchior & Luciano - Solomons Prayer [Cadenza]
Villalobos Ioda [Playhouse]
Mikkel Metal - Untitled (Vainquer Remix) [Echocord]
Dub Syndicate - Pounding System [On-U Sound]
Ron Trent & Chez Damier - Hip To Be Disillusioned [Prescription]

Mallory ODonnell
Wendy Carlos - Sonic Seasonings [Columbia]
Morton Subotnick - Silver Apples of the Moon [Nonesuch]
V/A - Sub Rosa Anthology of Noise & Electronic Music, Volume 4 [Sub Rosa]
i-F - Mixed Up In the Hague, Volume 2 [No Label]
Kraftwerk - Ralf & Florian [Vertigo]
Drei Farben House - Any Kind of Feeling [Force Tracks]
Nathan Fake - Outhouse Remixes [Recycled Loops]
Legowelt - The Land of Lonzo [Bunker]
nofloatoutput - the sound of systems failing [Greystate]

Michael F. Gill
Mash Somebody’s Property [Glasgow Underground]
The Work Just Talk (Skatebaard Remix) [Powerblytt]
Sam K Doesnt Matter (Ripperton Remix) [Perspectiv]
Los Angeles T.F. Everliving Fever [Proxima Centauri]
Fake Donna Rouge [Did Records]
Mouzon’s Electric Band Everybody Get Down [Vanguard]
Ritchie Family I’ll Do My Best (For You Baby) [RCA]
Julia & Company Breakin Down (Sugar Samba) [London]
Modeselektor Hello Mom! [Bpitch Control]
MAT101 - Goodbye Mum! [Balance Records]

December 8, 2006

Rude 66 - Strings of Death


Rude 66 (aka Ruud Lekx) has made a name for himself over the last decade producing dark acid and vintage machine electro for the Dutch label Bunker. “Strings of Death,” his latest single, sharpens his pop edge a bit, with two vocoder tracks that play heavily into the mystique of sci-fi italo and disco. The sickly sweet “Break the Silence” could probably only be made in such a conscious era of revivalism, but taken as is, it’s the best Daft Punk/Data 80 hybrid I’ve heard all year, with a transparent sheen that rivals the best production work by either of those two artists. Balancing things out is “A Message from Heaven,” where an industrial-like gloom enclose a speech by a preacher in South Carolina warning everyone to repent and prepare for the second coming of God. What’s peculiar is this preacher naturally speaks in very even segments, rarely altering the tone of his voice, and tells his message in such a methodical way you’d think he was just reading it out of a book. How appropriate though, for an EP focused on robots and machines.

Vynalogica / Vynalogica 09
[Michael F. Gill]