June 12, 2007

Gudrun Gut - In Pieces

Nobody has old-school West Berliner coolsie cred like Gudrun Gut. The ex-Einstürzende Neubauten/Malaria member and current Monika label boss has finally released her debut solo album I Put A Record On, a gauzy/wonky/smoky fug of beats, breaths, and sweet nothings. It’s a treat, but it pales in comparison to this EP of remixes. In fact, for me the past while has nodded to 2007 being the “Year of the Remix EP”. Hmm. It’s a measure of how connected Gudrun is that she’s got not just one, or two, but three luminaries to remix her work. For the price of one piece of wax you get a Voigt/Burger remix, a Pole remix, and a Dntel remix.

Voigt and Burger straighten things out in inimitable Köln style, sticking a one-note piano sample from the original in between some dubby soundplanes, and then placing the vocal in the middle of the whole she-bang. It’s a dead-simple track, but punches above the weight of its elements with direct, emotive force. If you’ve ever seen Michael Mayer do his dance behind the decks (youtube it if you haven’t), this is…well, this is what the dance “sounds” like. Pole’s mix stays with the groove and feel of the original, but adds a farty bumble-bee synth note and some of that Polescape magic. But as accomplished as both of these mixes are, it’s the Dntel one that’s the heartwinner. Layering lots of found/field sounds in the background, Tamborello brings Gudrun out of the haze and into the sunshine for something like an electronically rendered Breeders tune. Tender anthems, tracks, and insect vibrations – it’s all here volks. Get it while the getting’s gut.

Monika Enterprises / MONIKA 54
[Peter Chambers]

April 12, 2007

Vulva String Quartett - Cranberry Song

Vulva String Quartett is actually just one man, with nary a bowed instrument in sight. Hanno Leichtmann, the Austrian behind the moniker, is a man whose musical proclivities extend in several directions between jazz, house, and electronica. He’s released albums for Karaoke Kalk (as himself) and City Centre Offices (as Static) as well as recording EPs with Compost-affiliated sweet-toned honey Clara Hill.

But this EP shows the multi-directional artist exploring the beautones of strands between and beyond Farben, AM/PM, Betreib, and the like. “Cranberry Song” nods along with the swinging insistence of several malfunctioning layers of droning loops that give way to a funky, yapping synth line. “Roundabout” harks back to the some-called “Immer house” sound of the turn of the millennium, using a string loop as a neatly textured drone which moves the track into proximities with early Lawrence and the deep-blue-house excursions of Combination records labelmate Norken. But, to me at least, the pick of the bunch is “Cloudseeding,” which has something of the “shy anthem” quality to it, underwritten by an indie-tronic (a la Dntel) sensibility guaranteed by the placement of electro-acoustic instrument samples and a guitar line into the mix. Neat.

Combination / CORE 051-1
[Peter Chambers]

September 8, 2006

Dntel - Jukebox Series #10


Precious little jewels! In two tracks and less than eight minutes, Dntel and Mia Doi Todd re-affirm their reputation as two of the most interesting talents working in the strange, difficult gaps between indie and electronica. Like a lot of the work on Life Is Full of Possibilities, both “Rock My Boat” and “Everything’s Tricks” require close, repeated listening to surrender a portion of the quality crafted into them. They’re both much larger than their run-time, and require repetition to unpack fully. The reward for your efforts is a beautiful pop song and a wonderful instrumental, both of which blend found sounds, samples, synths, beats, and instruments together into a delicately balanced mélange that’s only shy of giving itself up for knowing it’s got so much to offer. If you enjoyed Dntel’s earlier work, this is (as they say) a “must have.”

Aim Records / 100-10
[Peter Chambers]

June 30, 2006

James Figurine - Forgive Your Friends

James Figurine is the fictional name taken by Jimmy Tamborello (DNTEL, Postal Service) for his band Figurine, and his debut 12” on Monika offers up three remixes of tracks from his upcoming Mistake Mistake Mistake Mistake album. The remix of “Apologies” by his bandmate David Figurine isn’t too far from the type of twee electro-pop you’d hear on any of Figurine’s previous albums, although it is a bit surprising to find John Tejada’s stripped down rework following in the same vein. Led by bright, cheery analog synths, this could be the only time you’d ever call a Tejada remix “precious.” But it’s the remix of “55566688833” by Axel Willner’s The Field that really impresses, showing once again why he’s one of Kompakt’s brightest stars at the moment, finding a sound that’s somewhere between the living room and the club. Willner’s mix feels loosely shaped upon a morning commute to work; its gentle dynamic build-up mimics the rising sun and the wakening body, while the lushly static keyboards are similar to the constant ebb and flow of people, cars, and buses filling the streets.

Monika Enterprise / monika 48
[Michael F. Gill]

January 27, 2006

Charts: January 27 2006

Guest Chart
Axel Willner, [The Field / Kompakt]

Sleeparchive - Image Photometer
Mathew Jonson - Gemini
Jesse Somfay - This Fragile Addiction
Matias Aguayo - De Papel [Chantal C Remix]
Mike Ink - Live Evil
Kate Bush - Hounds of Love
Gas - Track #3 from Zauberberg
Ulf Lohmann - Burning Bright
Charlie - Spacer Woman
Split Inc. - How Deep Is Your Love

Mallory O’Donnell
Kelley Polar - The Rooms in My House Have Many Parties
The Next Movement - Let’s Work it Out (Instrumental)
Farley Jackmaster Funk - As Always (Full Vocal Version)
Stacy Kidd ft. Matthew Yates - I Wanted You
Alexander O’Neal - Criticize
Captain Rapp - Bad Times (Pt.2)
The Juan Maclean - Give Me Every Little Thing (Putsch ‘79 Remix)
Mylo - Otto’s Journey
Who Made Who - Space For Rent
Morane - Where’s the Beach (Fall Out Version)
Lindstrom - I Feel Space
First Choice - Let No Man Put Asunder (Danny Krivit Re-edit)

Cameron Octigan
Dandy Jack and the Junction - Video Taceo
Lucien-N-Luciano - Alain Brito
Monne Automne - Mago
Konrad Black - Medusa Smile (Don’t Look Back)
Hum - Why I Like The Robins
Can - Sing Swan Song
Daft Punk - Oh Yeah
Dntel - Anywhere Anyone
Lindstrom and Prins Thomas - Turkish Delight
Wighnomy Bros. - Wurz & Blosse
Busy P - Chop Suey
Crystal Castles – Caring

Michael F. Gill
Salif Keita – Yamore (Luciano Remix)
Todd Edwards – Like A Fire
Dub Kult – Chick
Sterling Void – It’s All Right
East West Connection – More I Get (Surgical Soul Mix)
Klaus Schulze – Floating
The S.O.S Band – Take Your Time (Do It Right)
Freeez – I.Dub.U
Doc Martin – Fabric 10
Armando – Venture Oui