October 5, 2007

Beatzcast #51: Crambe Repetita


Stylus editor Todd Burns presents a mix of electronic music…

01: Underground Resistance - Kill My Radio Station (Acapella) [buy]
02: Einzelkind vs. Meat - Hear the Man [buy]
03: Red Robin & Jakob Hilden - Lazy Jack [buy]
04: Kollektiv Turmstrasse - Eskapade [buy]
05: Underworld - Glam Bucket [buy]
06: Sennh - I Am With You [buy]
06: Baby Oliver - Feelings 2 [buy]

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August 31, 2007

False - False

There comes a time when a musician is capable of shitting gold and Matthew Dear has released an album titled 2007 to mark his. It takes a certain grace to make defecating metal sound like a talent, but it’s the same grace that makes Dear’s missteps sound just as captivating as full-strides. Thankfully, 2007 is full-stride, especially when placed next to the scattershot Asa Breed. Working under his minimal moniker, False, must be a liberating change of pace for Dear2007 has none of the gratingly earnest pop-impulses (found under his birth name) or earnestly abrasive big-room techno (as Audion). Instead, 2007 is all burned-out ambiencethe sound of a post-metropolis slowly ebbing away.

2007 is not just an album. It’s not just a mix. Somehow it gets to be bothit’s made up of all new material from Dear and fashioned into one giant smorgasbord. There’s none of the pomp you’d expect from an actual album and none of the tastefulness that you get from a mix. 2007 is a sleight of hand. A magic trick that begins off in the horizon with the rumble of distant cars (”Indy 3000″) and ends with a way-out-of-body blur of voices (”Forgetting”). To describe how 2007 travels between those points should include an important tangentDear sees his music under the False moniker as “clinical and mysterious.”

Which are an evocative pair of words and ones that describe a chunk of 2007’s label, M_nus. With their finely-honed textures and considered slabs of minimal techno, “clinical” could be as succinct of mission statement as M_nus deserves. Although 2007’s drizzle of percussion has been quantized good and proper with M_nus’ weapon of choice, Ableton, Dear’s compositions still find a way to drift, wallow, and entropy. It makes sense that 2007 is the result of a spring cleaning of Dear’s hard drive. Songs are an accumulation of forgotten tidbits and 2007 is an unwillingness to let dust lie.

And there’s little dust left in the nooks of the album mixfrom Dear’s swallowed gulps of “shout!” on “Dollar Down” to the fidgeting synth that bridges “Timing” to “Alright Liar,” Dear isn’t able to stay still for long. Which is a welcome surprise from Dear’s last mix for Fabricsomething that could charitably be described as static. Dear freely ditches rhythms for swaths of fuzz on “Disease/George Washington” and peaks with a swarm of bees on the single “Fed on Youth.” With each of album’s sixty minutes, there’s a compulsion that drives the mix with no hint of a resolution around any corner. For an album as porous as 2007, each track sounds opaque, calcified.

With those shards, Dear captures the sound of a city worn down not by time, but by disuse. Recurring throughout 2007 is the Doppler effect of cars racing past and sandpaper kick drums. Both sculpt an uncompromising environment of main drags and barren lots. But as willfully dark as Dear makes 2007, there are glimpses, like the low-lit chimes of “Face the Rain,” that make the album live-able if not understandable. And for an album as obtuse as 2007, the fact that it can be loved instead of just respected is reason enough to follow Matthew Dear like a gold claim.

M_nus / MINUS 55 CD
[Nate Deyoung]

August 3, 2007

Beatzcast #44: Nate Deyoung


Stylus contributor Nate Deyoung presents a mix of recent dance tracks…

01: Otterman Empire - Private Land [buy]
02: Black Leotard Front - Casual Friday [buy]
03: Studio - Life’s a Beach (Todd Terje Remix) [buy]
04: Kelly Polar Quartet - Rhythm Touch [buy]
05: Phantom Slasher - Lasagna for 10 [buy]
06: Runaway - Ain’t Afraid to Beg [buy]
07: Map of Africa - Black Skin Blue Eyed Boys [buy]
08: Harry Nilsson - Jump Into the Fire [buy]
09: Etta James - In the Basement (Theo Parrish Re-Edit) [buy]
10: Lq - Lies (Theo Parrish Re-Edit) [buy]
11: Lee Douglas - Our Song 99 [buy]
12: Giorgio Gigli - Circle [buy]

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June 3, 2007

The Week In Review: 2007, Week 22

Various Artists - Shut Up And Dance! Updated (Ostgut Tontrger)
Genre: Techno, Minimal/Deep

Richard Carnes: At a time of the year where everyones looking to individual artists for 2007s top electronic album, this release definitely shouldnt be swept under the carpet.

Crowdpleaser & St Plomb - 2006 Remixes 1 (Mental Groove)
Genre: Electro-House

Marco Resmann - Watercolour (Mobilee)
Genre: Minimal/Deep

Peter Chambers: In this case, its easy to visualise a blue wash like an Yves Klein canvas on an overcast afternoon right before dusk.

Booka Shade - Tickle (Get Physical Music)
Genre: Electro-House

Maximilian Skiba - Beginning (Eva)
Genre: Electro-House

Prinzhorn Dance School - Up! Up! Up! (DFA)
Genre: Indie-Dance

The Skull - Enter The Skull
Genre: House, Minimal/Deep

Peter Chambers: “Sensuella” continues the run of apt track titles by paring things back a few notches, with a lonely lady being serenading by sine tones who appear to be telling us that the undead are holding her captive. Or she wants to be held. Or something.

Weekly Staff Charts
Beatzcast #35: Crambe Repetita

Mike Powell interviews Environ’s Kelley Polar
Todd Hutlock reviews Hot Chip’s DJ Kicks mix CD.
Peter Parrish reviews Colleen’s Les Ondes Silencieuses

May 11, 2007

Charts: May 11 2007

Mallory O’Donnell
Soft Cell - This Last Night in Sodom [Some Bizarre]
Mysterymen - Everything But an Answer [Disko B]
Brian Eno - Ali Click [Warner]
Meat Glove - Meat Glove EP [Hardwood Floor]
Sneak Thief - G-String Orchestra EP [Klakson]
Ilya Santana - Discotized [Permanent Vacation]
John Cale - All My Friends [EMI]
Move D - AC1D [Modern Love]
Doug Lazy - H.O.U.S.E. [Atlantic]
Junior Boys - In the Morning (Hot Chip Remix) [Domino]

Michael F. Gill
Voice Farm - Elevate [Systematic Records]
Asha Puthli - Right Down Here [Columbia]
Willow Band - Willowman [Epic]
Company B - Fascinated [Atlantic]
Tumblack - Caraiba [Island]
Marlow & Delhia - Movin’ (Marlow’s Movin Bassline Mix) [Moon Harbour Recordings]
Kelley Polar - Rosenband (Instrumental) [Environ]
John Daly - Sky Dive [Plak Records]
Burial - Unite [Soul Jazz]
Solomun & Stimming - Eiszauberv [Diynamic]

May 4, 2007

Charts: May 4, 2007

Nate DeYoung
Baby Oliver - Uptown Express [Environ]
Lindstrom - Let’s Practice [Feedelity]
Force of Nature - Afroshock [Mule]
Juergen Paape - Speicher 47 [Kompakt]
Andomat3000 & Jan - L Delay [Cadenza]
Sebbo - Beirut Boogie [Liebe Detail]
V/A - Shut Up and Dance! [Ostgut]
Kathy Diamond - Miss Diamond to You [Permanent Vacation]
Matthew Dear - Asa Breed [Ghostly]
Efdemin - Efdemin [Dial]

Michael F. Gill
Marlow - So Mellow So Sweet [Moon Harbour Recordings]
DJ /Rupture - Secret Google Cheat Codes [Violent Turd]
David Keno and Francesco Passantino - Monosynth [Keno Records]
Acid OG’s - Good Good Feeling [Chicago Housing Commission]
Chris Rea - Josephine [Magnet]
Electribe 101 - Talking With Myself (Deep Dream Mix) [Club]
Lo Verde - Die Hard Lover [Moby Dick]
Bronski Beat - Smalltown Boy [MCA]
Prism - The White Shadow [Univer Records Production]
Blaze - I Think Of You (Restless Soul Inspiration Information Remix) [Slip ‘n’ Slide]

April 29, 2007

The Week In Review: 2007, Week 17

Baby Oliver - Primetime (Uptown Express) (Environ)
Genre: Neo-Disco

Mallory O’Donnell: From the Disco Train to the Last Train to Lhasa, the railway serves nicely as a metaphor of convenience for electronic dance music and its slowly-chugging agenda. Baby Oliver, newly signed to Jerseys finest label Environ, maps out their program of disco-derived deviance with Primetime, an ode to the A & C trains of the NYC subway system.

Reverso 68 Especial (Eskimo)
Genre: Neo-Disco, Balearic

Boundzound - Louder (Warner / Island)
Genre: House

Lopazz - Share My Rhythm (Get Physical)
Genre: Electro-House

Black Devil Disco Club - Black Sunshine (LoEB)
Genre: Neo-Disco, Italo

Joel Mull - The End Has Begun EP (Railyard Recordings)
Genre: Progressive/Trance, Minimal/Deep

Nick Sylvester: I find myself rewinding back to the beginning just so I can hear the beat drop at minute two, which is saying something.

Dominik Eulberg Limikolen (Traum)
Genre: Minimal/Deep

Todd Hutlock: The breathtaking moment comes at about 6:45 or so, when the bottom drops out, as the bird simply glides over everything, peering down at the busy world below heard in the percussion distant in the mix.

Mock & Toof - Black Jub (Tiny Sticks)
Genre: Neo-Disco

Para One - Midnight Swim (Naive France / Institubes)
Genre: Indie-Dance, Leftfield

Weekly Staff Charts

Beatzcast #29 and Beatzcast #30: Michael F. Gill presents some of the Beatz by the Pound crews favorite dance tracks, both old and new.

Michaelangelo Matos interviews house/garage/2-step producer Todd Edwards

Mallory O’Donnell interviews Kompakt artist The Field

April 27, 2007

Charts: April 27 2007

Mallory ODonnell
Simple Minds - Theme From Great Cities [Virgin]
Stevie B - Party Your Body (Dub Mix) [Midtown]
Pet Shop Boys - A Red Letter Day [EMI]
Boundzound - Louder (All Mighty Club Mix) [Universal Island]
Lopazz - Share My Rhythm [Get Physical Music]
Baby Oliver - Hypochondriac [Environ]
Mock & Toof - Black Jub [Tiny Sticks]
Kathy Diamond - The Moment [Permanent Vacation]
Hot Chip - Over & Over (Remixes) [Astralwerks]
Black Devil Disco Club - Black Sunshine [LoEB]
Plone - Plone EP [Warp]
Meat Glove - Meat Glove EP [Hardwood Floor]
Mysterymen - Everything But An Answer [Disko B]

Michael F. Gill
Kevin Reynolds Afrik [Todhchai Records]
Djosos Krost Earthball [Music For Dreams]
Bassed On Kyoto - Flower [Jet Set Records]
Kocky - Remone [Windsong]
Jasper Van’t Hof - Hoomba Hoomba [Virgin Schallplatten]
Voom:Voom - Best Friend / Sao Verought Remixes [G-Stone Recordings]
Akabu - Im Not Afraid of the Future (DJ Fudge Remix)
Chaim - Popsky / Under My Skin [Hifreaks]
Rene Breitbarth - Graveyard Swing One [Neopren Recordings]
Kraftwerk - Tour De France Soundtracks [Astralwerks]

April 23, 2007

Baby Oliver - Primetime (Uptown Express)


Ever since the T.E.E. departed from Dusseldorf in ‘77 (final destination Tokyo, making all local and trans-galactic stops), hymns in praise of rail-based transport have been all the rage for techno artists. From the “Disco Train” to the Last Train to Lhasa, the railway serves nicely as a metaphor of convenience for electronic dance music and its slowly-chugging agenda. Baby Oliver, newly signed to Jersey’s finest label Environ, maps out their program of disco-derived deviance with “Primetime,” an ode to the A & C trains of the NYC subway system. Crisp, mm-bopping synths cycle around a chunky bassline and we’re told we “will never feel pain again.” Clubkids familiar with the sweaty, ecstatic comedown on an empty early-morning plastic bench will recognize. Flip “Hypochondriac” is peak-time crack though, offering its cheeky lovers’ rebuttal (”You think you’re sick of me / But you’re a hypochondriac”) over a thick-ass kick drum and sharp, high-pitched stabs before breaking out the fuzzy electro football pads in the second half. And it ain’t no powder puff game, lemme tell ya.

Environ / ENV 027
[Listen / Buy]
[Mallory ODonnell]

November 10, 2006

From the Sex Drive to Beyond the Death Drive (via the Hard Drive)

The link between nightclubbing and music has always been tenuous at best. Classical music fans go out to listen to Mozart, Stones fans (still) go to see Jagger pout and strut. What do clubbers do? Clubbers go out to get wasted. Oh, and pull. Pilling and pulling (in that order) with music the distant, impoverished third linkfunctional for some, ornamental for most. The music is necessary, but its more of a soundtrack to a shared abuse trajectory than anything that people are passionate about. Its noticeable only by its absence, like the saloon piano falling silent in a Western. The fact is that, qualitatively and quantitatively, were talking about a drug culture that uses music, not a music culture that uses drugs. Mikey, the drummer from Spinal Tap, really had his finger on this pulse, when he said, Well like, personally, I like to think about sex and drugs and rocknroll, you know, thats my life But as long as there is, you know, sex and drugs, I can do without the rocknroll.

Mikey, like the blissful majority of clubbers, is under no illusions. But then theres those others you know, those silly people who think that groove-based electronic music is, well, an artform n stuff. Absurd people. Fools. Me, for example. What do you do if you want to go out, want to listen to some techno, want to have a dance? Whats a guy gotta do? Well, first of all, youre going to have to wait until its late, until the wee-smalls cave in on themselves, until time becomes a wounded snail and youre already well on the wrong side of Sunday morning. What is it with you electronic music people?! a photographer who covered the Red Bull Music Academy asked me recently. I get asked, Can you make sure you get down and get some pics of DJ Blah-di-Blahs set tonight? Sure, I ask, What times he playing? Five in the morning! For Gods sake, whose hours are those? I tried to explain to him that five AM is a respectable lunch time in Spain, but my dig couldnt evade the truth his question laid bare: whose hours are those?

Well, I hate to be the fella that says, Dude, why is there an elephant in the room? But, the truth is that those are the hours of four groups of people: bakers, religious ascetics, insomniacs, and amphetamine users. A real hardcore beer user might get all bendy and make it til five, but its the exception, not the rule. Only when large numbers of people are on amphetamines can there be a room full of munters who are not only awake, but who feel like having a good ol boogie at 8 AM. Maybe thats your idea of fun. If Im not wasted, its a grim foretaste of eternity.

So you reach this untenable situation thats either intensely pleasurable, darkly humorous, or tantamount to torture, depending on how youre getting on with your pleasure and reality principles. Clubbings fine if you wanna tie one on, but what if you dont want to get munted? What if you dont smoke, or dont even drink? What if you have to concentrate on Sunday, or its your only day off, or its your only chance to shop for groceries, develop your own musical interest, or fill those pesky potholes in your lawn? Even if it is a whole lotta fun, in the long term, its just not compatible with human flourishing. And then theres the cruel irony when you realize the status quo aint gonna go changing, no siree. Not when the very things that make listening to music in clubs unbearable are the same conditions that ensure its profitable sustainability. So whats it gonna take to change? Or how much?

Well, the rise of methamphetamines has solved this problem, at least temporarily. You can out-dance the death-drive, then come home, mount your partner for four hours, and still find time to polish off a literary masterpiece and two bottles of whiskey before collapsing into the loving arms of oblivion. But what about Monday? And Tuesday? And your teeth? But apart from that, its just great. If a bright idea is represented by a light-bulb, what does it mean that you smoke Tina out of the broken end of one? So my biographical solution to this systemic problem has been simple: I dont go out anymore. Its not ideal, but something had to give, and the nightlife was all take-take-take.

In certain ways, it doesnt really matter. The internet has meant that I now have access to more incredible music than I have time to listen to, and in between downloading last nights incredible set from Berlin and listening to it with a portable hard-drive and high-quality headphones, I stumble blissfully (and rhythmically) through the cityscape with two cans full of heaven. Last year I nearly lost it listening to Roman Flugel playing in Frankfurt, while I was in a freakin second-hand bookstore in the Australian suburbs. In some strange way, information technology has made everyone a DJ. As one real DJ said to me, the difference between a person with an iPod and a real DJ is that the real DJ plays out. Thats it. It seemed trite at first, but the truth of it has stuck. If I can get all the latest tracks for free online, Ableton can beat-match them for me and I can listen to them in an environment thats cheap, convenient, and allows me to hear the music in the order I prefer, at a quality far above and beyond whats presented in most clubs, why the hell would I go out anyway?

Online information networks have enabled diffuse communities of like-minded people to create a common space of critical appreciation and sharing. Its great, but if its Jack, then its Jack the bodiless. It makes something like a dividual disco, this strange, paradoxical shared/private space that manages to be at once the promise of a universal language and the very thing that makes going out to dance to music with other real people less and less probable. You might be sitting opposite the girl who you were chatting with last night onlineand she may be the only sexy girl in the world who likes sleeparchive. But how would you know? And if you did, would you even feel comfortable talking to her in the flesh?

Clubbings done the full fling with meIve gone from the sex drive to beyond the death drive, via the hard-drive. My new musical communitys got everything but anybodyand I want Jack back. House nation, anyone?

[Peter Chambers]

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