May 15, 2007

Minilogue - Elephant Parade

I’ve been told that Elephant Parade is a snorefest, and while I’m sure that’s the case for most people, I sleep on my belly. This means two things - one, I can’t snore as much as I’d like and two, recent studies have shown that my sleep-position (described as “freefall”) reveals that my personality can be bit “nervy.” So give me a little lee-way when I say that the title cut here doesn’t bore me as much as it might bore you – it’s all in the nerves. Sure, dude riffs a bass for ten minutes that goes nowhere and sounds like that fact doesn’t matter a damn to him. But the live-ness of the recording is there, like the song could just fall flat on its face with each iteration of the corkscrewing bassline. And the group walks the line just enough to give the song the urgency it needs. But I’ll admit that I’m giving Minilogue a free pass for throwing a little dirt into their finely tuned and fluffed out epic-minimal compositions.

It might be time for a little reinvention for Minilogue, whose largest claim to fame so far has been changing from prog-house posterboys into prog-house-gone-minimal posterboys. Not to mince broad sides with nit-picks, but both sides of this single find the duo stretching away from the group traditional strengths. “Elephant Parade” has flab of a couple extra minutes that misses the brevity the duo showed when taking Radiohead in bite-sized chunks (ala “Certain Things Around You Part 2″). And “Birdsong,” despite the juicy faint echoes of a monkey house, is never sculpted as sublimely as “Girl From Botany Bay.” Despite the flaws, what sticks out is Minilogue’s insistence to try new directions on a label (Wagon Repair) known for encouraging artists to branch out, and it’s worth each awkward first step.

Wagon Repair / WAG 022
[Nate DeYoung]

April 5, 2007

Claude VonStroke - The Whistler (Remixes)

Like some troubling convergence of Tiga and the most recent Lilly Allen filmclip, my partner’s kid brother spends all day in his room (doing what, exactly?) listening to “the stuff you hear in clubs.” Being twenty, and without a clear idea of the genealogies that led to his preferred musical forms, he started by listening to Van Halen, 2 Live Crew and ended up “losing his shit” a year later in a club listening to the Presets “Are you the One?” For him, the perceptual barriers between rock and booty loose themselves in walls of grinding saw-waves—for a minute, until he skips to the next track (back to his cherished “Ass and Titties”). Vonstroke seems well clued into all this, judging by the choice of remixers for his “Whistler” track (this being a guy who begun his career as a producer by writing a PhD on electronic music). I don’t 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.”

Diplo’s mix is easily the most entertaining of this admittedly enjoyable bunch (but why do I feel nudging tads of guilt admitting that?). It keeps the drums high and dry and builds around a synth roller-coaster that gets wild like an unhanded garden hose. Vonstroke and Agnelli’s remix meanwhile takes dark stabs at a reverb-soaked, rave referencing spook-a-thon, with shades between Audion and Bodzin’s big room sound. DJ Assault’s mix is exactly what you’d expect, which is both the pleasure and the limitation. As with all his tracks, a minute’s worth achieves the desired effect, and after that, meh. Jesse Rose’s mix is (by contrast) too subtle by half, relying on a big kick and a slow braiding sample of the original’s melody, and takes more than two minutes to develop (by which time Diplo’s mix has already chased its listeners around the yard a few times). When I close my eyes, I can see big papa Derrick Carter housing the audience by mixing this one through two other kick-heavy tracks. Am I showing my age? Or does this show that both my partner’s brother and I can find something to love in this EP?

Dirty Bird / db009
[Peter Chambers]

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

20:20 Soundsystem - Tape Remixes

20:20 Soundsystem made electro/disco/house for years before Get Physical made it hot. Their pristine, squeaky clean sounds and lines belie a dancefloor muscularity that only seems to come to the fore when the floor is dark and the moon is high in the sky. Likewise, Ralph Lawson’s label 20:20 Vision has always sat easily between its sometimes-brilliant electro-leaning output by Carl Finlow and its housier offerings like Fred Everything’s fruity “Light of Day.” This massive remix project is another well-considered move, pairing the original with Dirt Crew and Prins Thomas. Dirt Crew’s sound sits perfectly here as the “filthy other” to 2020’s sparkles, while Prins Thomas takes a pinch of the same grime and flings it into hyperspace disco mode. To tell the truth, the original is no masterpiece—it’s one of those tracks which stays in your box for its qualities as a “gear changer,” the B-side between A and C, useful for moving a house set into electro mode or vice versa. Dirt Crew’s mix smears a little disco mud on the original licks, but ends up underwhelming—it’s the Prins Thomas you want. All three versions, even the seemingly throwaway “bogus bonus version” prove yet again why this Norwegian is justly touted as one of the most creative productive forces in current dance music.

20:20 Vision / VIS137 / VIS137-A
[Peter Chambers]

October 20, 2006

Beatzcast #8



01: Azzido Da Bass - Lonely By Your Side
02: And Again - Thirty-One Times
03: John Tejada - The End of it All
04: Dirt Crew - Domino
05: Jay Haze - Soul in a Bottle
06: Melchior Productions - Different Places

October 13, 2006

Charts: October 13 2006

Guest Chart: DJ Barbara Preisinger [~Scape, Berlin]

Alix Alverez & Mr.V - Beat Bodega vol1 [Sound Channel Music]
Shed - Shot Selection [Selection records]
Deadbeat - Version Immersion [~scape]
STL - Purple Saturn Days [Perlon]
Pantha Du Prince - Lichten [Dial]
Ferrer & Sydenham Inc - The Black Door [ibadan]
Nathan Cole - Musik Freak [Funk´d]
Andy Vaz - Remixes [Background]
Herrmann & Kaden - Corroboree [Freude Am Tanzen]
Beckett & Taylor - Hired New Hands [Hand On The Plow]

Michael F. Gill
And One – Sometimes (Instrumental) [Virgin]
Terrence Fixmer – Resistance [Gigolo]
Deepchild – Blackness of the Sea (Luomo Remix) [Future Classic]
Chagrin D’Amour – Chacun Fait (Dub) [Barclay]
Black Gold – C’mon Stop [Prelude]
Kiko – Solar [Notorious Elektro]
Alisha – All Night Passion [Vanguard]
Stephane Signore & Wehbba – Destiny [Bound Records]
Red Lipstique – Drac´s Back (Dub) [Magnet Records Ltd]
Geraldo Pino & The Heartbeats – Let Them Talk [Soundway]

Todd Hutlock
Lawrence - “Deep Summer Hole” [Dial]
Lazy Fat People - “Shinjuku” [Wagon Repair]
Heidi Vs Riton - “Vejer” [Get Physical]
Sense Club - “Tommorrov Cocktail” [Perlon]
John Dahlbaeck - “Wet Summer” [Kompakt Extra]
Trentemøeller - “Always Something Better (Trentemøeller Remix)” [Poker Flat]
Meek - “Glowing Trees” [New Ground]
Andrew Weatherall - “Feathers” [Rotters Golf Club]
John Hassell - “Voiceprint (Blind from the Facts) (808 Mix Two - Latin In It Mix)” [Opal]
Dirt Crew - “Largo” [Dirt Crew Recordings]

Nate DeYoung
My My - Songs for the Gentle [Playhouse]
Tim Hecker - Harmony in Ultraviolet [Kranky]
Rex the Dog - Maximize [Kompakt]
Matthias Kaden / Onur Ozer - Pentaton / Twilight [Vakant R]
Mobilee - Back to Basics [Mobilee]
Pikaya / Andomat 3000 & Jan - Grüne Raufaser / Entr’acte Music [Cadenza]
Bruno Pronsato - Lady Collage [Orac]
The Modernist - Presents “Popular Songs” [Faith]

June 30, 2006

Dirt Crew - Silver

Having done remixes for everyone from Who Made Who to Métrika, and having released on labels from PIAS to Trapez, there’s no way to know exactly what you’re getting into with Dirt Crew’s Peter Gijselaers & Felix Eder. My Best Friend’s latest release by this duo, Silver, is no exception. The record starts out with the titular track, which is fundamentally Chicago House and aesthetically, as far as the sound palette is concerned, a German techno piece. As it deep houses along amidst synth stabs, the vocal sample says it best, “it’s alright.” “Lost” is the second track, and this effort could easily be from two completely different collaborators. Much darker than Putsch 79, but in a similar vein, the song starts out as straight-forward electro developing alongside some clean German rave sounds. But that development doesn’t bother to go anywhere: instead, it seems content to meander through the club until drinks are no longer served.

My Best Friend / MBF 12022
[Cameron Octigan]

March 24, 2006

Charts: March 24 2006

Mallory O’Donnell
Nina Hagen - I Love Paul
Williams - Pinball (Original Mix)
Christiane F – Wunderbar
Dada Life - Big Time (Linus Loves Remix)
Lindstrom - Another Station
Julius Kammerl - Dromedar
Popular Computer - Clone Age
The March Violets - Steam
Jah Division - Dub Disorder
Tone Loc - Locin on the Shaw
2 Live Crew - Dirty Nursery Rhymes

Cameron Octigan
(A)pendics.Shuffle - Saw Saw Soup (Miso Mix)
Daso - T Anders
Dexter - Acid Lullaby
Gabriel Ananda - Ihre Personliche Glucksmelodie
Hashim - Al Naafiysh (The Soul)
Lindstrom and Christabelle - Music (In My Mind)
Liquid - Sweet Harmony
Pier Bucci - L Nuit
Peter Lauer - Free Entry for Girls (Robert Wruhme Drikkibass Remix)
Throbbing Gristle - What a Day

Todd Hutlock
Sleeparchive - Radio Transmission
Matthew Dear as Audion - Fabric 27
Nightmares On Wax - A Case of Funk
Designer Music - Good Girls
Alex Under - De Dos Realidades
Fraktion - Not Back
Shake - NSC Tracker
Gerald Mitchell - Bellydancer
Rubberneck - Pot (Christian Morgenstern Mix)
Bandulu - Phaze In-Version

Michael F. Gill
Manmadescience – Smoke
The Rice Twins – For Penny & Alexis
Italoboyz – The Titty Twister
Jeanie Tracy - Don’t Leave Me This Way (12′’ Mix)
Chaka Khan – Ain’t Nobody (Frankie Knuckles Hallucinogenic Dub)
Edwin Birdsong – Phiss-Phizz (12” Mix)
Jochen Trappe - Technofunk
Jimmy Edgar – LBLB Detroit
Gudrun Gut – Move Me
Krisma – Miami

February 24, 2006

Charts: February 24 2006

Guest Chart
Alex Smoke, Soma

01. Sleepless Crew - Spell House
02. Murmur - Section EP
03. Automat - Preludes
04. Tangible - Game Over
05. The Policy Unit - Arp Egg
06. Sixtoo - Songs From “Next: A Primer On Urban Painting”
07. Claro Intelecto - Warehouse Sessions Vol.1
08. Poke - Poker 11:34
09. Villalobos - Achso
10. Break 3000 - Light

Mallory O’Donnell
Codebreaker - Caller
Colder - To the Music (Engel Remix)
Chromeo - Needy Girl (Phillipe Zdar Dub)
Telex - On the Road Again (Marco Passarani Remix)
The Knife - Silent Shout (Williams Acidic Cicuits Remix)
Francisco - Venti Venti
Shit Robot - Triumph
Alex Smoke - Meany
Prince - Black Sweat
Ellen Allien & Apparat - Leave Me Alone
Lindstrom & Prins Thomas - Mighty Girl (Feel PM)
Kid Frost - La Raza

Todd Hutlock
0733 - Record Bass Story
Jeff Samuel - Endpoint
New Order - Fine Time (Silk Mix)
Villalobos - For Disco Only 2
Jeff Mills - Circus (reworked)
Underground Resistance - Ma Ya Ya
Berg Nixon - Box Escape EP
Osborne - Daylight (Isolee Rmx)
LNR - Work It To The Bone
Pier Bucci - Familia

Michael F. Gill
[a]pendics Shuffle – Dirty Bed
Kirk Degiorgio - EP4
Dominik Eulberg - Blueten Sind Dem Grossen Schillerfalter Fremd
Serafin – Starship Discotheque
Kerri Chandler - Sunshine & Twilight
Wookie – Battle
Mark E – Scared
Tod Foster – Dancin’
The Glass Family – Crazy
Marilyn McCoo & Billy Davis Jr – Shine On Silver Moon