June 22, 2007

Beatzcast #38: Crambe Repetita

Mixes2007

Stylus editor Todd Burns presents a mix of electronic music featuring new music from DJ Koze, the Wighnomys, and Glass Candy, as well as new tunes from Mobilee, Cocoon, and Vakant…

Tracklist
01: DJ Koze - Cicely [buy]
02: Portable - Don’t Give Up (Lawrence Remix) [buy]
03: Keytronics Ensemble - Calypso of House (Julien Jabre Remix) [buy]
04: Stephan Bodzin vs. Marc Romboy - Callisto [buy]
05: Glass Candy - Miss Broadway (Belle Epoque) [buy]
06: Wighnomy Brothers - Guppipeitsche [buy]
07: Onur Özer - Halikarnas [buy]
08: Tolga Fidan - Venice [buy]
09: Marcin Czubala - Consigliere [buy]
10: Loco Dice - El Gallo Negro [buy]

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May 27, 2007

The Week In Review: 2007, Week 21

Shackleton - Blood On My Hands [Villalobos Remix] (Skull Disco)
Genre: Minimal/Tech

Peter Chambers: It’s a ridiculous criticism to say that “it’s too long”, or that “it’s not a track” – these are two other undeniable qualities that make this work so exemplary, just as they point out its limitations.

Lindstrom & Solale - Let’s Practise (Feedelity)
Genre: Neo-Disco

Trusme - Brown’s (Still Love Music)
Genre: House, Disco

Nick Sylvester: The lines between jazz and funk and disco and house continue to be blurred into one gloriously incriminating mess.

Sorcerer - Surfing At Midnight (Tirk)
Genre: Neo-Disco, Balearic

Mallory O’Donnell: In the field of down-to-midtempo dreamy instrumentals with beaded fringe, “Surfing at Midnight” is dippy rather than hippy, and (quite happily) just baked rather than psychedelic, dude.

Robag Wruhme Als Rolf Oksen - Bart Eins (Freude Am Tanzen)
Genre: Minimal/Tech

Trentemoller feat. DJ Tom and Vildtand - An Evening With Bobi Bros (Kickin Records)
Genre: Minimal/Deep, Dub

Sneak Thief - G String Orchestra (Klakson)
Genre: Italo, New Wave/Synth

Thinking Out Loud: Physical vs. Digital

Thinking Out Loud developed from a series of open-ended email conversations and ruminations between Beatz staff members. In this article, Michael F. Gill and Peter Chambers discuss the merits of dance music on vinyl and MP3…

Beatzcast #34: Crambe Repetita


May 23, 2007

Robag Wruhme Als Rolf Oksen - Bart Eins

Since I fashion myself as Beatz’s token hack, I spend my fair share of time poring over press releases to find out what music means when it doesn’t have lyrics to spell out those things we all like to obsess over - love handles, the “are two prunes too few or three prunes too many” debate and so on. Robag Wruhme might have cloned himself with the same sci-fi ether as Areal’s finest blurbs, but his alter-ego, Rolf Oksen, has an uncanny knack for self awareness that Areal might have missed when they described themselves as “advanced tech-electronic minimalism.” Rolf, as we’ve been introduced by the press release, “is so drunk, as drunk as a skunk! He has lost all control, and now his alter-ego Robag has to take control” (italics added for those keeping score on the sideline - we’re talking about an alter-ego’s alter-ego here).

Aside from the charming text, there’s something missing musically in this vodka-drenched haze. Blame it on the alter-ego, doppelganger, or your friendly neighborhood schizophrenic, but the shimmy drums of “Dopamin” are totally lost on the song’s threadbare hook. I can’t put my finger on it, but its too slow, too meandering, and its excessive glimmers makes the narrow scope of “Hakkatzen” feel like a virtue. There’s no reason to give “Hakkatzen” a backhanded compliment, though; it’s the highlight here, nuzzling like a sweater - prickling in all the right places as it expands and contracts. Rounding things off are three tracks of ambient found-sound which are more interesting in theory than practice. I spend enough time hearing the same cellphone buzz from telemarketers, so no thank you very much. Listening to “Rolf Auf Seinem Ausgukk,” the best of the ambient trio, I can only picture alter-ego Rolf, passed out on a train with his live recorder running, using the piece as his aural breadcrumbs back home.

Freude Am Tanzen / FAT 030
[Listen]
[Nate DeYoung]


February 2, 2007

Robag Wruhme - Pap-tonnik

Robag Wruhme (or Gabor “Wighnomy” Schlabitzki to his mum) did a fateful thing, the day he bought Ableton Live. Like a lot of other new users, it seems, it wasn’t long before Mr. Wruhme was able to “unlock the secrets of this amazing software” by following the tutorials. I think it’s the third one that must have really grabbed him, because (if memory serves) it’s the one in which you learn how to use stutter. Between Ableton’s stutter, its reverb plugin, and his own talent for whimsical boompty, Robag managed to build an album’s worth of tracks, with a sound signature that was startlingly different to his earlier Herbert-ish workouts on Freude am Tanzen and Musik Krause. The stuff sounded wild, and the album, unsurprisingly, got the big thumbs up from a lot of tech-loving pundits. Three years, a half dozen twelves and umpteen remixes later though, and Robag’s stutter patter is beginning to sound decidedly tired, and his tracks like a parody of themselves. It’s something that plagued Akufen until he (thankfully) ditched the microsampling techniques that made his reputation. Unfortunately, Wruhme has persisted with the same formulas. Don’t get me wrong, they’re great in their own right. Both “Papp-Tonik” and “Ikke’s Schlonze” kick along with the same housey rump, boisterous breakdowns and sudden, rearing echo chambers that made standout EPs like Kopfnikker and Backkatalog so fresh, and “Pontifekks” shows his obvious love for Richard D. James blossoming in new directions. It’s just that, well, there’s only so long that you can whip a one trick pony (even a champion) before it becomes a dead one. And Robag, with a reverb, a stutter, and barely a second thought, is flogging a dead horse. Will someone please buy this guy some new software?

Musik Krause / MK 19
[Listen]
[Peter Chambers]


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]
Trentemřeller - “Always Something Better (Trentemřeller 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]


September 15, 2006

In the Mix: Nativespeaker [Peter Chambers]

36 Degrees Celsius (Possible Thunderstorm)

01. AM/PM – No Matter Whether [Dreck]
02. AM/PM – The Ends [11] [Dreck]
03. Lawrence – Teaser [Kompakt]
04. Carsten Jost – Krokus [Superpitcher mix] [Dial]
05. James DinA4 - ??? [Esel 03]
06. Luomo – The Right Wing [Force Tracks]
07. Oxtongue – Delight [Voight & Voigt mix] [Kompakt Pop]
08. Mark Henning – With the Folks [Freude am Tanzen]
09. Guido Schneider – Long Distance Runner [Pokerflat]
10. Dublee – Eleven [Mule Musiq]
11. Noon(at – 780km nach osten [Salo]


August 11, 2006

Interview: Amy Grill / Speaking In Code

Stylus and Beatz By the Pound are very excited to bring you an interview with sQuare Productions’ Amy Grill, director and producer of the upcoming techno documentary Speaking in Code.

So, Amy, you’re making a movie about electronic music. Why?

Speaking in Code is a techno movie that’s not really about techno. It’s about people. It is a feature length character driven documentary that follows a global cast of underground electronic music writers, DJs, producers, and label heads as they survive and thrive in the digital age.

Within the indie electronic music community there are many compelling characters. By tracking these characters Speaking in Code discovers some very human truths about subculture, independence, DIY determination, risk, obsession, and eccentricity.

The music (and the ‘minimal’ scene) is a colorful, captivating backdrop and binding force for several intersecting character driven stories—the film has a narrative arc to it based on the life changes and exciting, even funny moments that happen over the course of the year and a half that we will have spent making the film and following these people.

There are a lot of electronic music documentaries out there that have attempted to do one of a few things: capture the spirit of rave culture, survey a specific genre of electronic music, engage the viewer in DJ worship and/or crazy laser light fascination, or make some kind of grand statement about the significance of electronic music, but this film is nothing like any of that.

We are interested in exploring personality, motivation, and getting beyond the surface-y, questions and answers. The film invites the viewer in to experience ‘being there’—at the club, in the studio, in a forest, climbing a hill on the way to see chalk mines, visiting moms in the suburbs, driving through a white-out snow storm, performing at a huge festival, entering the secret underground club or illegal party, and on and on. We have unprecedented access and we get very close with the main characters in the film.

We want to surprise people and perhaps change their minds about electronic music or at least open their minds and show them something they didn’t expect. This movie isn’t just for the techno heads, it’s for the hip old ladies who love character-driven art house documentaries too.

What about 2005/2006 strikes you as the right time for this sort of film?

A film like this could have been made 10 or 20 years ago and although some of the themes and characters would have a different tone and purpose—many similarities would still exist.

There is something special about right now though—from a big picture historical perspective we are seeing the effects of the digital age that make advanced communication and sound technology very accessible. This has strengthened the possibilities for independent music and subculture and our main characters are living proof.

From a more localized perspective on the minimal scene and our characters—over the last year or two minimal techno has arguably become the dominant sub-genre in techno and it has been fun to explore the personalities in the minimal scene and experience the music’s rise in popularity vicariously through our characters. Of course, it’s difficult to even know what minimal really is: is it a sound, an aesthetic, a lifestyle, a hairstyle, a look, or all those things combined perhaps? Some of the characters can’t even be described as minimal at all, but they are somehow minimal by association or connection to the minimal scene. Musings aside, I have to emphasize this is not the “what is minimal techno?” film. I’m sure there is a DVD project like that on the way soon, but we aren’t the one’s making it.

Where all have you traveled to get footage for the film?

We’ve been all over: Montreal, San Francisco, New York, Boston (I live in Boston), Barcelona, Berlin, Hamburg, Cologne, Jena, Amsterdam, Miami…

Most of the film has been shot—what techno celebs can we expect in the final cut?

Well, we’ve shot 217 hours of footage since we began production in May of 2005 and we hope to cull all of that into a feature-length film, so I hesitate to list everyone at this point, but certainly you can expect to see a lot from these people:

Robert Henke aka Monolake (co-creator Ableton Live)
Modeselektor, Bpitch Control
Ellen Allien, Bpitch Control
Wighnomy Brothers, Freude-Am-Tanzen
Bryan Kasenic (minimal techno promoter in NY)
Jimmy Johnson (owner of Forced Exposure)
Philip Sherburne (writer, DJ)
David Day (Label Manager and Marketing Director at Forced Exposure, DJ, writer, promoter)
Mike Uzzi aka Smartypants, Unlocked Groove
Dan Paluska aka Six Million Dollar Dan, Unlocked Groove
Tobias Thomas, Kompakt
David Prince, M3 Summit

Interviews / Appearances (it remains to be seen whether or not all of these people will make the final cut and we have interviewed many more people not included in this list to help us round out the story):/p>

Akufen
Deadbeat
Apparat
Wolfgang Voigt
Michael Mayer
Reinhard Voigt
The MFA
James Holden
Superpitcher
Isolee
Luomo
Anja Schnieder
Richie Hawtin
The Juan Maclean

Any surprising anecdotes that you can share with us (Vitalic actually is a robot, etc.)?

Too many stories to even tell. The whole film is like one big surprising anecdote, but a surprising anecdote with a point. ;)

What kind of role has Philip Sherburne played?

Philip is a character in the movie, and as a co-producer he has been part tour guide, advisor, consultant, and friend throughout the entire process.

Tell me about financing something like this—what sources are you relying on to keep it going?

Plastic, lots of plastic (as in credit cards) and a handful of small private investors and a community of online supporters—although we are nearing the end of our credit limits and this last Europe trip tapped most of the small investments. So we are now really relying on grassroots fundraising online and also an upcoming benefit/screening/art party/happening here in Boston on August 26 at the sQuareone studio space in Fort Point / South Boston (New England’s oldest and largest artist community). We want to stay away from corporate sponsorship, so we are hoping that people who want to see the film made will help us make it. Anyone can donate any amount on our website—we are offering screen credit in the film for any donation of $50 or more. The grassroots efforts are to make the film mirror the DIY attitudes you’ll see in the documentary.

We are also seeking a film producer to help us cultivate prospective investors and help manage the business end of the film…and most importantly we are looking for investors—big and small.

We need another 25K in the very immediate future to finish production in the fall (Camera and equipment rentals, bus/train/plane tickets, gas, tape stock, the Director of Photography’s day rate) and also to purchase a G5 and enough drive storage (several terabytes) to be able to cut the film. We are currently hobbling along with my laptop and a few Lacie Hard Drives. We also need to be able to pay an assistant editor to log the tapes.

It isn’t cheap making a film—especially when the locations are all over the world …even if we eat on the cheap and stay with friends when we can. And, now Scott (our Director of Photography) is paid—he volunteered for a full year, but it is important to start paying him. Fortunately the most expensive part of the production is out of the way—we can see the light at the end of the tunnel—we just need a little more funding to get through the last few months of production and post production.

By May 2007. Then begins the festival circuit and search for distribution. We would like to see the film get international and domestic theatrical distribution, some broadcast play abroad, and a DVD release too—with lots of extras for the collector type.

Related Links
sQuare Productions
Speaking in Code @ MySpace
Photos from Speaking in Code’s Production
Contribute to sQuare Productions [Todd Burns]


August 11, 2006

Hemmann & Kaden - Tandem EP

Ronan Fitzgerald: These guys are probably beyond the “one to watch” zone and are revelling in the green pastures of the arrivals field by now, and this 12” is further fuel to the fire of their growing popularity. You can curse the addictive melodies of dub infused emo house all you want, but there’s no denying that it is capturing the imagination of producers and fans quite effortlessly. And, for the moment at least, it remains pretty compelling, as the magical, melancholy “Roll in Moll” will attest. It’s got a bassline that is evocative of “Hand to Phone”-era Adult melting underneath some dreamy chords. Kompakt must wish they still released tunes like this. “Corroboree,” on the flip, is completely different, a good slab of bass heavy minimal house in the Mobilee/Einmaleins style.

Cameron Octigan: Opener “Roll in Moll” slides in a deep, arpeggiated Vitalic style before bringing in an unexpected electric piano that coaxes the track down from late night heights. The momentum and mood somehow remain straight-faced enough to bridge two seemingly different sound palettes; a restrained Pascal Arbez-Nicolas and a ravier Frankie Knuckles. With fewer layers, and greater attention paid to the percussive aspects, “Corroboree” brings the night closer to climax. Losing the heavy push towards harmony and anthemics, Hemmann & Kaden offer a track that is much, much different. By the time the song is over, there have been so many different ideas thrown on the wall that you’ll think Sally Field’s Sybil was behind it. Then again, if Sybil could make this, then I say let her go crazy.

Freude Am Tanzen / FAT 027
[Listen]


August 11, 2006

Charts: August 11 2006

Cameron Octigan
Ada - Living It Up [Areal]
Luca Bacchetti – Out of Breath [Tenax]
Hemmann & Kaden – Roll in Moll [Freude am Tanzen]
Lawrence - Place to Be [Liebe]
Louderbach – Reflected [Underl_ne]
Magda – She’s a Dancing Machine [M_nus]
Misc. – Tanz Der Polymere [Sender]
Reverso 68 - Tokyo Disko [Eskimo]
Various Artists - Cocoon Compilation F [Cocoon]
Wighnomy Bros. - Dukktus [Freude am Tanzen]

Todd Hutlock
Future/Past - Jam Packed [Applied Rhythmic Technology]
Sammy Dee & Guido Schneider - Styleways [Poker Flat]
Kayot - Clear Sky (Main Mix) [Buzzin’ Fly]
Paradroid - Faked Moon Landing (Fym Remix) [Force Inc.]
Justus Köhncke - Advance [Kompakt]
Antonelli Electr. - Snowflake Funk [Level]
Pig & Dan - 4 Leaf Clover [Cocoon]
Carl Craig - Darkness (Max Mix) [Planet E]
Magda - She’s a Dancing Machine [Minus]
The Knife - Silent Shout (Troy Pierce Barado en Locombia Mix) [Rabid/Brille/Mute]

Mallory O’Donnell
Booka Shade - Paper Moon [Get Physical]
Junior Boys - In the Morning [Domino]
CSS - Let’s Make Love & Listen Death from Above (Spank Rock Remix) [Sub Pop]
808 State - San FranCisco [Tommy Boy]
Applegarden - Twentyfive 6 Four (Putsch ‘79 Remix) [Clone]
Toby Tobias - A Close Shave (Prins Thomas Disko-Tek Miks) [REKIDS]
Allez Allez - Allez Allez [Eskimo]
Cassie Vs. Ice-T - Girls LM&UGBNAF (Various Bootlegs) [Aristo-Camille]

Michael F. Gill
Arsenal feat. Jhelisa Anderson - Far Have I Come [Cottage]
Telex - L’amour Toujours [Interdisc]
Sally Shapiro - I’ll Be By Your Side [Diskokaine]
IMS - Dancing Therapy [Ballaphon / Emergency]
Cassy - Alexandra / Toyah [Cassy]
Swat-Squad - Shared [Galaktika]
Paul Johnson - I Need You [Motus Music]
Troy Brown - Feel Allright [Aquarius Recordings]
Sandy Kerr - Thug Rock [High Fashion]
Rene & Angela - I Love You More [Capitol]


April 10, 2006

Onur Özer - Twilight

The daily work-routine can deliver a sense of stress and basic-issue tension that often isn’t as palatable as it is passively numbing. But after listening to a terrifying release like “Twilight,” perhaps it’s for the better that we don’t carry our emotional blood on our hands. The title track on this, the third EP by Onur Özer (after previous releases on Vakant and the Wighnomy’s Freude-Am-Tanzen) is a horror film in itself, the moment when thoughts of hatred refuse to thaw from one’s head, and just lie there unabated. It’s a venom that can never be logically released, an effect mirrored by the high-pitched string drones which are cemented into the background, making the eight minutes of “Twilight” seem like an eternity. The b-sides can’t help being a tiny bit lighter, but they complement the a-side with some of those large fizzling reverb blowouts that Robag Wruhme is so fond of, and a couple of remotely aquatic basslines. The centerpiece is definitely “Twilight” though, a tumultuous predator that should be played sparingly.

Vakant / 008
[Michael F. Gill]


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