April 10, 2006

Sweet ‘n Candy - Unbreakable Remixes

Sweet ‘n Candy, aka Berlin’s Rico Henschel, emerged last year as one of the better producers of brittle, bass-heavy minimal techno, and his “Unbreakable” from last year’s Dead Behind The Ears EP is remixed here in wonderfully claustrophobic fashion by Justin Maxwell and Lan Muzic’s Exercise One. While there are dozens of similarly minded records, both mixes don’t at all sound like they’re being minimal for minimal’s sake. Maxwell’s mix in particular translates the idea of minimal as the notion of trapping energy in a compressed space, and then watching it trying to get out. The prickly tweaked synths respond to bouncing off the walls with a small but noticeable pitch-bending after every release, resulting in a very inorganic bubbling sound. Exercise One’s mix is more typical of the overall Dumb Unit sound, with gritty low-slung basslines and thick bristly hats, and snare. Give me this any day over the recent crop of M_nus, Contexterrior, and Tuning Spork 12 inches.

Dumb Unit / 027
[Michael F. Gill]

July 7, 2005

Jake Fairley - Animal Love

For those who pay attention to things like ratings on reviews (I don’t, which could explain the ranting in comments boxes sometimes), the mark given to Jake Fairley’s recent album might seem a little low, considering the words bestowed upon it. Sometimes praise is faint. While I admire Fairley’s work, it’s simply not usually for me. Things don’t really change much with Animal Love. Huge and gritty analog basses rule the day, amid crunchy drum patterns drawn from the diagram that most electro hews closely to. I’m more than willing to admit that it’s a “me” thing (cf. this review) preventing enjoyment here, but this plods way too much for me to ever get with, although that breakdown in “Raccoondog” is getting close to something I can appreciate and love at the same time.

Dumb Unit / DU 019
[Todd Burns]

July 7, 2005

Jeremy P. Caulfield - Scar City / Detached [05]

Scar City, coupled, with Caulfield’s Calvacade EP from late last year signals a run of great productions from this Canadian producer. The feel here is much the same. Deeply tech-y house music, pierced by glistening shards of broken-glass melody. Obviously and lovingly structured, you know exactly what you’re going to get when you pop on both “Flipper Kicker” and “Wreckroom,” the former being the sharper-edged of the duo. Recommended.

Also recommended is Caulfield’s recent mix CD: Detached [05], which sees the producer taking to the decks and crafting an incredibly smooth ride between the Wighnomy Brothers, Alex Smoke, Rocco Branco, Jeff Samuel, Metope, and assorted other artists. Impeccably mixed, the disc is a nice mix between young and old minimal music.

Dumb Unit / DU 022 / DU 020
[Todd Burns]