August 5, 2007

The Week In Review: 2007, Week 31

Burial - Ghost Hardware (Hyperdub)
Genre: Dubstep

Nick Sylvester: If you can imagine yourself cooking bacon in a forest somewhere at night, and every so often just shouting a bit from “Genie in a Bottle” because you thought you heard a motorcycle engine in the distance, you’re halfway there.

DJ Naughty - World EP (Moodmusic)
Genre: Electro-House, Neo-Disco

Italoboyz - Viktor Casanova (Mothership)
Genre: Minimal/Tech

Nate DeYoung: I’ll enjoy the sights of “fucked up girls trying to imitate the opera singer” as much as hearing the minimal percussion which delicately avoids overshadowing or under-lighting the track’s main attraction.

Ilya Santana - Quasar (Disciple of Groove)
Genre: Neo-Disco

Jupiter Black feat. Fred Ventura - Hold Me (Clone)
Genre: Italo

Michael F. Gill: Needless to say, if you found stuff like Ryan Paris, P. Lion, Ken Laszlo, and Eddy Huntington to be pure parmesan, you probably won’t be into this.

Beatzcast #44: Nate Deyoung

Nick Southall is feeling balearic while reviewing West Coast by Studio, and Future Rock by Strategy.

Nina Phillips is feeling trancey while reviewing Guy Gerber’s Late Bloomers and Stephan Bodzin’s Liebe Ist

Charles Merwin is hanging out in NYC, dancing with Tigercity

Todd Burns looks into the Outhud-ness of Delorean’s Transatlantic KK


August 2, 2007

Jupiter Black feat. Fred Ventura - Hold Me

200712"Italo

Kudos to the people over at Clone and Viewlexx for bringing ’80s Italo vocalist Fred Ventura out of retirement. He re-appeared last year on a new version of Alden Tyrell’s “Love Explosion”, and then recorded a bunch of his old hits live with Tyrell and I-F for a limited edition 12″ on Viewlexx. Like those releases, “Hold Me”, his latest single with Jupiter Black, is not going to raise any eyebrows outside the italo community, but it’s a quality synth-pop number, not too different from your average mid-to-late ’80s italo record. Needless to say, if you found stuff like Ryan Paris, P. Lion, Ken Laszlo, and Eddy Huntington to be pure parmesan, you probably won’t be into this. And even if there’s an instrumental version included, it’s not really tracky enough to have the kind of hipster cache DJs want from their italo these days. Still, this is an authentic and enjoyable sounding throwback, hopefully bound for a mixtape somewhere.

Clone / CLONE# 49
[Listen]
[Michael F. Gill]


June 29, 2007

Charts: June 29 2007

Nate DeYoung

Tiger Stripes / Solomun - Hooked / Jungle River Cruise [Liebe*Detail]
Half Hawaii - Mir Nichts / Dir Nichts [Hello?Repeat]
Brendon Moeller - Jazz Space [Third Ear]
The Mountain People - Mountain People 003 [Mountain]
Argenis Brito - Micro Mundo [Cadenza]
Henrik Schwarz - Walk Music [Innervisions]
Blackstrobe - I’m A Man (Audion Donation Mix) [Playlouderecordings]
Mock & Toof - Zomby [Mule]
Sorcerer - Surfing At Midnight (Prins Thomas Miks) [Tirk]
Eddie Kendricks - Thanks For The Memories (Lee Douglas Edit) [White]

Michael F. Gill

Peter Horrevorts - You Look But You Don’t See [Kanzleramt]
Brando Lupi - The Attitude [Dozzy Records]
The Dining Rooms - Thank You (Skwerl Dub) [Schema]
Roland Appel - Dark Soldier [Sonar Kollektiv]
Dredl Kibosh - I Found You [Fenou]
Jupiter Black feat. Fred Ventura - Hold Me [Clone]
Salome De Bahia - Outro Lugar [Yellow Productions]
Billy Griffin - Hold Me Tighter In The Rain [CBS]
Earth, Wind, and Fire - Let’s Groove [CBS]
Cappuccino - Tomorrow [Black Sun]


June 24, 2007

The Week In Review: 2007, Week 25

Chymera - Satura / Arabesque (Tishomingo)
Genre: Progressive/Trance, Minimal/Deep

Nina Phillips: How else to revel in the neo-prog essentials? Deep Connaisseur chords and a lithe melody line cutting over top, natch.

Baldelli / Dionogi - Cosmicdiba 2007 (Gomma)
Genre: Neo-Disco, New Wave/Synth

Dopplereffekt / Los Angeles TF / Mike Dunn - Gesamtkunstwerk / Magical Body / So Let It Be House (Clone Classic Cuts)
Genre: Chicago, Electro, Italo

From The Archives #2

Skatebard - Marimba (Supersoul Recordings)
Genre: Neo-Disco, Minimal/Deep

Nick Sylvester: Something like “Feed The Mood” after two decades of looped disintegration, or really any children’s toy on its last five or six seconds of battery life, “Marimba” pines for early Detroit through a fog of tired synths and last-legged drum machine clatter, and yes there are marimbas.

Cassy / A Guy Called Gerald - Somelightuntothenight / Bodecka (Beatstreet Berlin)
Genre: House

Peter Chambers: The whole EP here is old-school, or the classic house sound just the basics, no faffing around. These tracks dont have to unfold, theyre already laid out.

INFLUX #004: CHELONIS R. JONES

Stylus editor Todd Burns talked to Jones about his upcoming album Chatterton, the cover art to Dislocated Genius, and whats it like to be the “Franz Kafka of electro-pop”

Beatzcast #38: Crambe Repetita

Weekly Staff Charts


June 19, 2007

Dopplereffekt / Los Angeles TF / Mike Dunn - Gesamtkunstwerk / Magical Body / So Let It Be House

20071990s1980s12"CD/AlbumChicagoElectroItalo

Three more italo, electro, and house nuggets from Clone’s reliable Classic Cuts imprint, and the hits just keep on coming. First up is Dopplereffekt, the well-known Detroit electro collective featuring Gerald Donald of Drexciya. Gesamtkunstwerk is a reissue of a compilation that Gigolo put out in 1999, made up of all the vinyl sides from the group’s own Dataphysix Engineering label. It’s got all the hallmarks you’d expect to find on an electro record (sci-fi/technology themes, bleakly monophonic synths, precise/robotic beats) but with a consistency and a pop sensibility that the genre often lacks. The sleazy female vocals deadpanning on tracks like “Pornovision” and “Pornoactress” also predict what Adult’s Nicola Kuperus (and in turn, many electroclashers) would be doing years down the road. Great stuff.

Second up is a reissue of Los Angeles TF’s electro-italo smash “Magical Body” from 1983, sounding amazingly pristine here in a new remaster by Alden Tyrell. I wasn’t originally sold on the vocal version, where singer Taffy (of “I Love My Radio” fame) seems to over-emphasize the end of each phrase (”Magical! Magical! Is your bod-EE!”), but the tracky instrumental on the B provides immediate gratification, and shows why so many nu-italo producers were inspired to do what they do.

For the third helping, we get another EP of vintage acid house from Mike Dunn. Clone boss Serge was so scared to damage his vinyl copy of Dunn’s “So Let It Be House” he’s gone out and secured this reissue of it, along with two superior b-sides. While the press releases gushes about the title cut’s rareness, and frames 1980s Chicago as this exotic, magical place, to these ears it’s an overly sparse acid track with another “Birth of House Music” speech. It may be the weakest of this trio of releases, but I sort of get the cross-continental appeal. I’m never going to be a intimidating black man from the streets either.

Clone Classic Cuts / C#CC 004/005/006
[Listen]
[Listen]
[Listen]
[Michael F. Gill]


May 23, 2007

Robag Wruhme Als Rolf Oksen - Bart Eins

Since I fashion myself as Beatz’s token hack, I spend my fair share of time poring over press releases to find out what music means when it doesn’t have lyrics to spell out those things we all like to obsess over - love handles, the “are two prunes too few or three prunes too many” debate and so on. Robag Wruhme might have cloned himself with the same sci-fi ether as Areal’s finest blurbs, but his alter-ego, Rolf Oksen, has an uncanny knack for self awareness that Areal might have missed when they described themselves as “advanced tech-electronic minimalism.” Rolf, as we’ve been introduced by the press release, “is so drunk, as drunk as a skunk! He has lost all control, and now his alter-ego Robag has to take control” (italics added for those keeping score on the sideline - we’re talking about an alter-ego’s alter-ego here).

Aside from the charming text, there’s something missing musically in this vodka-drenched haze. Blame it on the alter-ego, doppelganger, or your friendly neighborhood schizophrenic, but the shimmy drums of “Dopamin” are totally lost on the song’s threadbare hook. I can’t put my finger on it, but its too slow, too meandering, and its excessive glimmers makes the narrow scope of “Hakkatzen” feel like a virtue. There’s no reason to give “Hakkatzen” a backhanded compliment, though; its the highlight here, nuzzling like a sweater - prickling in all the right places as it expands and contracts. Rounding things off are three tracks of ambient found-sound which are more interesting in theory than practice. I spend enough time hearing the same cellphone buzz from telemarketers, so no thank you very much. Listening to “Rolf Auf Seinem Ausgukk,” the best of the ambient trio, I can only picture alter-ego Rolf, passed out on a train with his live recorder running, using the piece as his aural breadcrumbs back home.

Freude Am Tanzen / FAT 030
[Listen]
[Nate DeYoung]


May 2, 2007

Moodymann - technologystolemyvinyle

200712"HouseDetroit

Maybe its wrong to say that theres been a stirring of the Detroit house old-guardafter all, both moody bastards Mann and Theo have been releasing consistently throughout the 2000s. But at the same time, there does seem to be an awareness on their part of their growing esteem and re-appraisal within the Continental community as part of this whole resurgence in deep house.

Whats offered here is a one-sided EP titled (topically for a reviewer listening to an MP3) technologystolemyvinyl. For the price of admission, you get a very Moody outing, fusing jazz drums, keys, and trumpet with Dixon Jrs deep, driving house grooves. As with a lot of his old material, the track is mixed like a sound collage or DJ mix that crossfades between the jazz track and its house other, while adding field recordings of an audience of dancers whooping, clapping, and generally carrying on.

Its an old formula, but is it an old dogor just old hat? Is novelty your bag? Any question of judgment in this case would have to weigh the relative values of novelty and innovation with the pleasing presentation of a tried-and-true method. And that depends on your sympathies, I guess. But to me, neither the jazz arrangement nor the housey parts are spectacular enough to warrant re-visiting this old ground without an alibi.

If youre new to Moodymann, skip this and get your ears around A Silent Introduction and Forevernevermore. And if youre not ? The irony might be that this is worth downloading, but not buying. Oh dear.

KDJ / KDJ 35
[Listen]
[Peter Chambers]


May 1, 2007

Unit Black Flight - Where Is Carlos

200712"Neo-DiscoItalo

Those familiar with the oeuvre of Legowelt and his Clone cronies will immediately recognize this five-tracker as yet another reliable slab of beatbox-n-analog zombie brain-eater soundtrack techno-blues. This time our cover star is apparently an Indianapolis-based producer, but I wouldn’t discount the possibility that it’s just Legowelt, under another one of his Scheherazade-like veils, especially considering that the two remixes here are by him and Franz Falckenhaus (also him). The three original compositions all lurk rather evilly in that dark wood where John Carpenter barely dares to intrude, but the strongest is probably the last cut, “The Art of Survival,” which shakes off a few moldy old leaves to let a little light into the undergrowth. It would be perfect for the will-they-make-it wind-up to an Argento finale.

The Legowelt remix of “No Turning Back” gets murkily cosmic, losing a bit of the punch of the original but adding a bit more texture. Likewise his remix (as Franz Falckenhouse) of “Masking,” which might be the best moment on the record, is a kind of downtempo version of Black Devil that’s complex enough to rise above the horror-soundtrack genre tag. A decent enough release all around, but one showing more promise than tangible results.

Strange Life / SLR 010
[Listen]
[Mallory ODonnell]


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
[Listen]
[Mallory ODonnell]


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


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