August 6, 2007

G-Man - Quo Vadis


Like Baby Ford and Mark Broom, Gez Varley is one of the few British producers from the dawn of the era who has continued to make interesting, relevant minimal music that still adds something to the original template he helped formulate. I first heard “Quo Vadis” on Richie Hawtin’s 1995 Mixmag compilation, a mix that has aged remarkably well and is still definitely worth a rinse, especially in light of recent directions in house-influenced minimal techno. Given the survival of the track in this context (or, more generally, the fact that it’s never really stopped being played), who better to re-release the classic than Styrax Leaves, a label who are (thankfully, actually) stuck in the best bits of ’90s techno, a place of patchy perfections at the best of times.

The drum sounds themselves are as dated as you’d expect, but it’s the subtle seductions of their patterning that help this release retain the breath of life. Stripped, deep, and long, the themes rise out of a flat gas of beats, repeating and slowly mutating through the addition, reduction, or substitution of one simple element. With nothing more than plodding, dogged repetitions, these tracks lumber forward, only allowing the slow revelation of a timbro-melodic theme to happen “in the fullness of time.” It’s a strategy that gave rise to a lot of exceedingly dull records, but Varley knows exactly which tone-pots to touch, and how. Listen to these puppies and dream of candyflips in a sweaty bunker, consoled only by the natural warmth emanating from the rhythm machines. It’s enough to make you slowly bug out.

Styrax Leaves / strx leaves 005
[Peter Chambers]

March 29, 2007

Justus Khncke - Justus Khncke vs Prins Thomas


Full Pupps blueprint of acid-washed, spacey electro-disco found curious but undeniable elective affinities with Kompakts less schranzy/trancey moments. Its a love that spoke its name by M. Mayers insistence on not only including Terjes mix of Another Station on Immer 2, but mixing it with Justus Khnckes own Advance. What a shame then, that the A-side (Prins Thomas string plucking diskomikks) doesnt really work. Elementally, theres nothing wrong with the arrangement, its just that, well, it doesnt swing. Theres something slightly off about the strings and the bass playing, as if the session was rehearsed and recorded over Skype, with the slight delay that entails. Where Kelley Polars playing lends his tracks a magnificent liquidity, the diskomikks sounds lumpythe bass just doesnt groove with the strings.

Prins version of Advance is far better, but its just what youd expect and nothing morethe original, soaked in spacemaking delay and reverb until the whole thing whooshes and churns itself to a giddy climax. Tilda, in every apparent way the B-side, comes away as the most interesting track on the EP, although it has very little to do with the meeting of the various sound spectrums that the record seems to have been designed for. Its a really pleasant repeatscape, driven by a metallic dulcimer that conceals a strong sense of pop smartssubtly and quintessentially Kompakt, in other words.

Kompakt / KOM 153
[Peter Chambers]

February 23, 2007

Blackbelt Andersen - Alfaz de Pi


Blackbelt Andersen is the scruffier dog on Full Pupp. His workouts, in comparison to Prins Thomas more polished epics, are stripped, raw and grunting, like his wonderful remix of Goettsching from 2005, which added that extra amount of grrrr the original needed. Alfaz de Pi continues in the same vein as his previous tracks, showing (to me at least) an inchoate connection between the Norwegian space-disco sound and Carl Craigs Paperclip People project by combining sampled disco percussion with delayed vocals and mids-heavy acid lines just begging for some further filter abuse from the lad(d)y at the controls.

The title track is propelled into twisted tone-pot territory with a repeated tscha utterance and some congas, and would make a neat way of transitioning into freak time. Snake Eyes sways along on layers of dubbed out drums samples which find their way toward a very Detroit synth melody. Sandoz starts off with a very dry, almost Metro-Area electro-disco feel, and slowly evaporates into a big, spaced out synthscape with a deliciously fluffy, euphoric feel. This is a really nicely put together EP with three congruent yet diverse sounds and grooves for those who love their space disco acidic. Well worth checking.

Full Pupp / FP07
[Peter Chambers]

February 23, 2007

Charts: February 23 2007

Mallory ODonnell
Dorfmeister Vs. MDLA - Boogie No More (Reverson 68 Remix) [G-Stone]
Teena Marie - Fix It (Instrumental) [Epic]
Escort - “Bright New Life” (Morgan Geist Remix) [Escort]
Blackbelt Anderson - Alfaz De Pi [Full Pupp]
Jackson Jones - I Feel Good (Pilooski Edit) [Dirty Edits]
Justin Timberlake - My Love (Linus Loves Remix) [Virgin]
Pet Shop Boys - Was It Worth It? (12″ Version) [EMI]
Tomboy - Seris [Gomma]
Gui Boratto - Chromophobia [Kompakt]
Donna Summer - Love to Love You Baby [Casablanca]

Michael F. Gill
Slg Anymore [Level Records]
The Model Stargate Interlude [Underl_ne]
Kris Menace feat. Fred Falke Fairlight [Compuphonic]
Photocall Silver Clouds (Dexter Remix) [Clone]
Flakes Sugar Frosted Lover [Calibre]
Proton Plus Pay Up [Yew Wood]
Kay-Gees Latican Funk [De-Lite Records]
Airto - Celebration Suite [Warner Bros/WEA Discos Ltda]
James Jack Rabbit Martin - Rabbit Trax I [Yoton]
Keith Tucker Electro Lights [Twilight 76]

November 3, 2006

Prins Thomas - Fehrara


Aside from that fat kick drum sound, I’m not sure what to recommend here. “Fehrara” is by-the-numbers space-disco, not the best look for Lindstrm’s sidekick as he tries to distance himself from that fellowship. The bassline just idles on the chord notes over and over while Prins manipulates the timbre; the percussion sprinkled above and beneath never congeals into hooks, it just remain atomized in their rooms. At eight minutes long, I dunno, I’m just expecting more than, like, a lessonbook etude, even if the build is pretty and patient throughout. If “Fehrara” is practice, “Is It Big Enough?” is performance: a really sparse, spacious bassline, plus those funny mouth-music Seinfeld theme noises. Prins doesn’t pretend that the bassline counts for a melody, that’s a relief, so all the swollen longtones stay soft focus but make sense sequentiallythe melody’s there, in other words, just hidden, elongated, and definitely big enough.

Full Pupp / FP05
[Nick Sylvester]