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 you’ve heard about or just plain intuited to have existed—one of those synthpoppy bridges from Moroder-ripping disco to early house’s heavy jack. It’s as if this track invented the very sweetspots you’re looking for; it probably did and you didn’t 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 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.”

Weekly Staff Charts
Beatzcast #26: Crambe Repetita

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]

February 9, 2007

Claude Von Stroke - Who’s Afraid of Detroit (Remixes)

Mallory O’Donnell: A thing like this should just arrive on the doorsteps of all techno devotees with a big black stamp on the mailer proclaiming it an “EVENT RELEASE.” Von Stroke’s anthemic non-anthem gets tarted up for the party by Audion, Tanner Ross, and… Kevin Saunderson?! Kev, what up, how you doing, it’s been what… two years? Three years? Afraid of Detroit? No sir! What follows all the fuss and excitement is as best as could be expected, which means it’s quality achieved by playing to the strengths of the remixers, rather than taking any big chances. Starting us off, Matthew Dear / Audion does his thing with the rubberized freakbeat baton for eight minutes of squeaks and creaks. I recommend playing this as loud as possible, preferably while doing something like showering or quietly running in place, but the key is LOUD—just to hear all the little nuances and revolving circular nipple-twisters of sonic nutriment Dear’s installed in his refit. Tanner Ross stays pretty close to the original, which is fitting, because nobody knows who the hell he is. He’s actually done more of a smoothing job than a remixing one—if the original was straight-up double chocolate fudge this is more of a peanut-butter / mocha swirl. Nice enough, but not really needed. Last but surely not least, Kevvy Kev throws down a classy-as-fuck version to show these young whippersnappers how it’s done. The word here is LUSH—it’s basically a big band swing tune masquerading as roots techno, sympathetically warm, grooving and brassy. Naturally, the jaggedness of the original has been lost, but Saunderson’s scorched it away by applying a soulful fire to the canvas—something added, something taken away. Pick it up.

Nick Sylvester: For not being too sold on the original, I’m pretty psyched how these remixes turned out. Audion goes way sleek, way minimal, emptying the track of its middle so he can pingpong and hiccup and squelch the VonStroke’s rubber synth hook until it accrues those trails of clean reverb I can only describe as Audionesque. Sometimes when he does that, it really derails the track’s momentum; not here. The opening puddle-splasher-type vamp on Kevin Saunderson’s sounds more Juan Atkins than KS, but when the beat drops, everything mellows out into that muted mid-heavy funk I get out of E-Dancer and Reese. The other remixer, Tanner Ross, I’d never heard of until now, and he’s by far the most respectful of the three, just making what sound like EQ tweaks here and there, adding an additional squelch in the bottom, etc. But then all the sudden he starts deploying vocal cut-ups as rhythmic accents, then all these really fast-cut swells and Luomo-like swoops. Man to watch maybe?

Dirtybird / db 008

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…


October 6, 2006

Charts: October 6 2006

Guest Chart: Steve Bug, Poker Flat

Extraproduktionen - Subgreen (Arto Mwambe Mix) [Brontosaurus]
Ian O’Brien - Totally Alright (Martin Buttrich Mix) [Virgin]
Ben Westbeech - So Good Today (Yoruba Soul Mix) [Brownswood]
Das Bierbeben - Alles Fällt (Losoul Mix) [Shitkatapult]
Stefan Goldmann - Sleepy Hollow [Innercity Visions]
Cle & Mike Vamp - Maisonette (All Mixes) [Dessous]
Gummihz - Isolate (Sebo K Mix) [Mobile]
Dan Berkson & James What - Mescalincircus [Poker Flat]
Abe Duque - When The Fever Breaks [Abe Duque Records]
Studiogemeinschaft - Employee [Treibstoff]

Todd Hutlock
Afternoon Coffee Boys - Busted Speaker Brew [Clink]
Ricardo Villalobos - Bach to Back [Playhouse]
Markus Nikolai - Bushes (Freaks In Outer Space Dub) [Perlon]
Jay Haze - Change Something (Pier Bucci Remix) [Contexterrior]
Shane Berry - Fillertet 2 (Dominik Eulberg Remix) [Trapez LTD]
Anthony Shakir - Sermon [Sublime]
Justin Martin & Sammy D - Swamp Thang (Claude VonStroke Swamp Rat Mix) [Dirtybird]
Kenny Leaven - Feeling Spicy [Traum]
Alexi Delano & Xpansul - Vegetotherapy [Plus 8]
Davidovitch - Insider [Kompakt]

Ronan Fitzgerald
Gummihz - Isolate (Sebo K Remix) [Mobilee]
Solieb - Isotropy (Lazy Fat People Remix) [Maschine]
Rekorder - 6 – [Rekorder]
Jens Bond - Rocket Queen [Highgrade]
Stefan Goldmann and Ame - Sleepy Hollow Version [Innervisions]
Argenix and Samim - Sabor EP [Tuning Spork Family Affair]
Anja Schneider - Addicted (Gummihz Mix) - [Mobilee]
Juergens - Love It [Room Recordings]
Shonky - Closer To Pluton [Resopal Red]
Kollektiv Turmstrasse - Disconnect EP [Ostwind]

Mallory O’Donnell
Lindstrom - Arp She Said [Smalltown Supersound]
Erasure - Fingers & Thumbs (Cold Summer’s Day) (Fingers In Crumbs) [Mute]
Peru - Oriental – [Red Bullet / Compost]
Tetine - A Historia De Garca [Soul Jazz]
Dexter Vs. Cosmic Force - Drum Techniek [Marguerita ]
Sneak Thief - Body Militia [Voltage Musique]
Underworld – Cowgirl [Junior Boy’s Own]

Michael F. Gill
Pinktronix – Booty Sez (Juho Kahilainen rmx) [Elettrica]
The It - Donnie (Ron Hardy mix) [DJ International]
Public Energy - Three ‘O Three [Probe Records]
Ministry - I Wanted to Tell Her [Arista]
George Clinton - Erotic City [Fox Records]
Contemporary Household – She Said (Toktok remix) [Bomzh]
XR7 – XR7 [Quality Records]
Galaxy – Dancing Tight [Island/Ensign]
Sven Weisemann – Slices [Liebe Detail]
Ginny - Can’t Be Serious [VM Records]

September 8, 2006

Claude VonStroke - Beware of the Bird

The Bay Area’s hottest tech-house wrangler drops two tracks of sublime funkiness on his own Dirtybird label, but those looking for another “Who’s Afraid of Detroit?” or “The Whistler” won’t find the immediacy of those hooks here. The jazzy, bloopy riff just doesn’t stick with me, and the low-key (but up-tempo) rhythm and plucked string-like sounds don’t exactly grab you by the ears like VonStroke’s previous singles have. A fine track, but VonStroke appears content to tread water when he should be walking on it. Justin Martin’s remix on the flip, however, shakes things up a bit more, trading in some of the original smoothness for some glitchy, off-kilter grooves and backwards effects that have a bit more grit and bite. VonStroke’s propulsive version certainly would work better in a set, but Martin’s is far more interesting to the ear.

Dirtybird / db006
[Todd Hutlock]

September 1, 2006

Charts: September 1 2006

Todd Hutlock
DJ Yellow - Goddess [Ovum]
Pig & Dan - 4 Leaf Clover [Cocoon]
2 AM/FM - Sweat Box [Spectral Sound]
Jeff Mills - Preview [Tomorrow]
Mr. Fingers - Beyond the Clouds [Trax]
Los Hermanos - My Mothers Guitarra [Los Hermanos]
This Heat - 24 Track Loop [These]
Claude VonStroke - Beware of the Bird (Justin Martin Remix) [Dirtybird]
David Wulle & Andy Garcia - A1/DOC 007 [Docile]
Sunglasses Afterdark - The Gaslamp (Crossed Swords Champion Mix by Two Lone Swordsmen) [Cloak & Dagger]

Ronan Fitzgerald
Giresse and Erb - Slapback [Connaisseur Superior]
Anthony Collins - Self Esteem [Session Deluxe]
Ripperton and She DJ Masaya - Long Distance [Num Ltd]
Michael Ho - Econoclast EP [Tuning Spork]
Sweet N Candy - Tacky Wakeup (Dominik Eulberg Mix) [Raum…Musik]
Pascal FEOS - Brooklyn Style [Level Non Zero]
Jobim’s Cousin - Comerte [Cargo Edition]
Extrawelt - Doch Doch [Traum]
Lawrence - Along the Wire (Superpitcher Mix) [Dial]
Pan - The Lizard [Rebel One]

Michael F. Gill
Errol Dunkley - Sit and Cry Over You [T.P. Records]
Starship Orchestra - The Waiting Game [CBS]
Ray Parker Jr & Raydio – Until the Morning Comes [Arista]
Didier Lockwood - Aspiring Answer [Inner City]
Shinedoe - Seek and You Will Find [100% Pure]
Lunapark - Lunapark [Sterpete Dischi]
Henrik B - Airwalk [Pryda Friends]
Moritz Piske - Ein Kaenguru I’m Clubraum / Huldigung Den Triolen [Opossum]
Monika Kruse & Patrick Lindsey - Whds [Terminal M]
V/A - Permanent Vacation [Permanent Vacation]

August 25, 2006

Charts: August 25 2006

Guest chart: Pellarin
Ladytron - Destroy Everything You Touch [Rykodisc]
Depeche Mode - Precious (Michael Mayer Belearic Mix) [Mute]
Printer - Satisfaction [Unreleased]
Andre Kraml - Get Me Now [MySpace.com]
Gui Boratto - Like You (Supermayer Mix) [K2]
D?dsfald - Vs Sly [Unreleased]
Artful Dodger - Rewind [London Records]
Richard Davis - This Time [Kitty Yo]
Markus Nikolai - Bushes [Perlon]
Liebe Ist Cool - Hymn [Electric Avenue]

Todd Hutlock
Audion - Mouth to Mouth [Spectral Sound]
Battant - Jump Up [Firewire]
Ican - A Quien [Planet E]
Lima?on - Kunk [Intrinsic Design]
Justus K?hncke - Overhead [Kompakt]
Elektrabel - Bing [6277]
Adam Beyer - Stereotypes [Cocoon]
Claude Vonstroke - The Whistler [Dirtybird]
Hieroglyphic Being - Letters from the Edge [Mathematics]
Tortoise - Gamera [Duophonic]

Ronan Fitzgerald
Gus Gus - Mallflowers [Pineapple]
Sweet N Candy - Tacky Wakeup (Dominik Eulberg Mix) [Raum Musik]
Sleeper Thief - Chasing Rainbow [Mobilee]
Hug - Hearki [K2]
Claude Vonstroke - Beware of Bird [Dirtybird]

Michael F. Gill
Daybreak - Everybody Get Off [Prelude]
The Jammers - Be Mine Tonight [Salsoul]
Crazy Gang - Every Sunday [Bubble / Flexx]
Neuro - Mama [R&S]
Mara Branco, Julian Sandell, & Henry Cullen - Funky [4 X 4 Recordings]
Renato Figoli - Serontonin Smile [Gumption]
Dinky - Home on a Sunday [Horizontal]
Sweet N Candy - Nutty as a Fruitcake [Einmaleins Musik]
Luomo - Really Don?t Mind [Huume]
Akabu - Phuture Bound (?me Remix) [Z Records]

March 24, 2006

Good Life

Last July I moved to “my city by the Bay” from Gainesville, Florida. When I got here, I was desperate for some good dance nights, or shows, or something. So, I wrote my friend Philip to ask his advice, seeing that he had just moved away. Much to my dismay, he tells me that there is really no techno/tech-house/micro-house type scene, and there are even fewer nights. But while I’m at it, I should check out Tweekin’ Records in the Lower Haight. I’m not sure what I was expecting, but it seemed that San Francisco must have more to offer than a small town in Florida. To be fair, America isn’t the first place that comes to mind for that sort of music anyway, and when I go to Amoeba the domestic house section is usually near the end of my list …you know, just in case there are some used Trax classics. But over the months I’ve realized that I was wrong. Very, very wrong.

New Year’s comes and I am disappointed with DJ celebrities, some of the best, and dying for a night with bass that will slug me in the chest. So, I check my email, and there is a message from one Chantilly Bass. She found me somehow, and figured out that we live in the same city. She tells me that I am crazy, and that this city is basically ready to blow up. Apparently I needed to learn about [Kontrol], Dirtybird Records, and, specifically, Claude Von Stroke. You may remember him for his track “Chimps” on the last Get Physical comp, or for the John Tejada remix of “Deep Throat.”

So, the following Wednesday we head to Blur for a night hosted by SF’s own Jeniluv and Cat. The guests of the night were Claude Von Stroke, Alland Byallo, and Justin Martin. Basically, Blur is this little bar on Post Street that has some of the cheapest drinks and best surprises around here. Once I went to see Juan Maclean DJ a house set, another time I went to go see Star Eyes spin an amazing, basically epic, set of Ghetto-Tech and Baltimore Club. So, I walk in and all of my wildest, most ridiculous, tech-head dreams come true. The place is packed with enthusiastic techies bouncing up and down in unison to the San Francisco specific brand of house and minimal.

See, the house here isn’t really house. In a conversation with Mr. Von Stroke last Friday he explained it to me like this, “techno is too serious and house is too gay.” While “Balearic” is probably a better word than “gay,” the relevance of that statement is intuitive. It’s true at times. Minimal house, especially in a city where house music is often equated to OM Records or the RuPaul remixes of the Castro, is a big part of the SF house scene that gets only a little attention. Don’t get me wrong, the first place I heard Madonna’s “Hung Up,” gleefully losing my shit, was in the Castro, and the gay dance culture there means a lot to a lot of people. Without it, San Francisco wouldn’t be the city that it is, and I am glad that things are the way they are. However, tech-house nights have been virtually non-existent. Secondly, it doesn’t even seem necessary to debate whether or not techno gets too serious. Honestly, that’s part of what I love about it, so I’m not going to deny it. In fact, I originally wanted to write this article about technology as a mode of production within techno, and how it is changing the landscape. There has always been a link between techno and technology, techno and abstract thought; it lends itself to that kind of contemplation freely. So, having someone behind the wheels of steel who understands that on a fundamental level is exactly what I want when dancing; the aesthetic of tech, the fun of house, and the humor to appreciate both simultaneously.

Also, Von Stroke runs a label called Dirtybird Records, which has put out records by CVS, Justin Martin, Sammy D, Worthy, and John Tejada. Single-handedly, the Dirtybird team has restored my faith in dancing.

Well, almost single-handedly…there is also a night in town called [Kontrol], which is fantastic. Since I moved here, they have brought Isolee, John Tejada, Pier Bucci, Damian Lazarus, and a handful of others. Now what’s impressive about this monthly is that the residents are often better than the headliners. My friend Chantilly and I spoken about this at length. It’s quite a feeling to leave an Isolee show and know that your local DJs were performing on exactly the same level as someone who has done so much for techno. These guys are really impressive, and they’ve always kept it minimal, dark, and incredibly fun. There aren’t many places you get to hear (a)pendics.shuffle, Pantytec, and Kammerflimmer Kollektief within a few moments.

So, after my first night of Dirtybird and [Kontrol] at Blur, I make it home at 7:30am just in time to have some coffee before I get ready for school and collapse on my bed. At the same time, I’d have it no other way. My body is half dead, but my dancing shoes have found new life.

[Cameron Octigan]