March 31, 2007

The Week In Review: 2007, Week 13

Faze Action - In The Trees (Juno)

Nick Sylvester: Especially with the crowd that space-disco’s drawing at the moment, you can’t go wrong re-releasing what in retrospect sounds like an accidentally seminal cut. Speaking of accidentally seminal cuts, don’t be surprised to find, as I did, the Carl Craig remix in otherwise aggravating neu-rave Franco-filter-metal sets happening in Lower East Sides near you.

Andy Stott - Handle with Care / See in Me 10” (Modern Love)

Lusine - Podgelism / Podgelism Select Remixes (Ghostly International)

40 Thieves - Point to the Joint (Smash Hit Music)

Tobias - Dial EP (Logistic)

Peter Chambers: In every way the sequel to Street Knowledge, Dial is the second part of a manifesto that lays out the unmistakable patterns of an incurable machine romance.

Mad Mike - Hi-Tech Dreams (Underground Resistance)

Patrice Bäumel - Just Electricty (Trapez)

Justus Köhncke - Justus Köhncke vs Prins Thomas (Kompakt)

Jacek Sienkiewicz - Good Night & Good Luck (Cocoon)

Michael F. Gill: As good as “Six Feet Above” and “Double Secret Life” were, “Goodnight & Good Luck” sounds like a breakout release, straddling high-clarity minimal techno with a set of winding trance-esque melodies a la Orbital.

2007 Winter Music Conference Coverage: Day Three, Night Three

Weekly Staff Charts
Beatzcast #25: Nativespeaker (Peter Chambers) - dysappearance

March 27, 2007

Lusine - Podgelism / Podgelism Select Remixes

200712"CD/AlbumDowntempo • Ghostly International • Minimal/Deep

Seattle’s Jeff McIlwain has been cranking out quirkified electronic fare on Ghostly International since the label’s early days, and now they’ve set some interesting remixers (and Mr. Lusine himself, natch) loose on his back catalog to see what they can make of it, including such luminaries as Lawrence, Apparat, and Deru. That sounds like a great idea, and even if four of the mixes on the CD are from 2004’s Flat Remixes EP, the whole thing still flows pretty well, despite the Frankenstein nature of the remix album.

The three Lusine mixes are spread throughout the running order, adding a unified sound to the proceedings and helping to draw the connection between McIlwain’s lush sound sources and the disparate styles of the remixers. Even the 2004-vintage mixes sound fresh and inspired here, especially the reworks from Matthew Dear (funky, bubbling minimalism) and Dimbiman feat. Cabanne (funky, soulful percussionism). If you already own the Flat Remixes twelve, no problem either, as Ghostly has seen fit to release a “highlights” four-tracker on wax including four of the best new mixes, including Robag Wruhme’s ping-pong-in-orbit take on “The Stop” and John Tejada’s swinging tech-house update of “Make It Easy.” On one format or another, there’s a lot to love about Podgelism.

Ghostly International / GI-68 / GI-67
[Listen / Listen]
[Todd Hutlock]

December 22, 2006

2006 Year In Review: Individual Writer Lists

As a companion piece to our 2006 year in review, here are the individual lists/charts from each of our contributors. Happy reading…


September 29, 2006

Charts: September 29 2006

Guest Chart: Kiki

Mr Gone - Do 4 Love (Radio Slave Remix) [Rebirth]
Henrik Schwarz - Imagination Limitation [K7]
Stefan Goldmann - Sleepy Hollow [Innervisions]
Lazy Fat People - Shinjuku [Wagon Repair]
Jamie Jones - The Capsule [Freak n Chic]
Latex - The Porcupine [Rebelone]
Underworld - Pig Play (Buick Project Mix 2) [White]
Shonky - Closer to Pluton [Resopal]
Kiki - Trust Me [Bpitch Control]
Martin Buttrich - Full Clip [Planet E]

Todd Hutlock
InBetween DJs - Horns in the Attic [Wallshaker Music]
Raudive - Ultraviolet [Klang Elektronik]
Marc Houle - Edamame [Minus]
Andrea Parker - Ballbreaker [Mo’ Wax]
Cobblestone Jazz - India In Me [Wagon Repair]
Metope - I’m So Ready (Sleeparchive Remix) [Areal]
Christian Dittmann - Buena Decision [Echocord]
Paul Kalkbrenner - Queer Fellow (Ellen Allien & Apparat Remix) [Bpitch Control]
Fraktion - This Fever Works [Resopal Red]
Thomas Melchoir & Luciano - Father [Cadenza]

Mallory O’Donnell
Morgan Geist - Crash Tracks EP [Metamorphic]
Daso - Daybreak (Oliver Koletzki Remix) [My Best Friend]
The Rice Twins - Reach for the Flute EP [K2]
Putsch 79 - Doin’ It Remixes [Clone]
Scarlet Smears - Spitfire [Blank Start]
Lindstrom - It’s A Feedelity Affair [Smalltown Supersound]
Scissor Sisters - I Don’t Feel Like Dancin’ (Linus Loves Remixes) [Polydor]

Michael F. Gill
Chris & Cosey - Walking Through Heaven [Rough Trade]
Rammellzee vs. K-Rob - Beat Bop (Instrumental) [Profile]
Ahzz - New York Moving [Land of Hits]
Curtis Mayfield - Superfly Soundtrack [Curtom]
The League Unlimited Orchestra - Love and Dancing [Virgin]
Legowelt - Bonn 1978 (Discodubmix) [Legowelt]
Dilo vs Gurtz - Piedras (Dandy Jack and the Latin Elvis Remix) [Roman,Photo]
Cohen vs Deluxe - Just Kick! (Carl Cox Mix) [Intec]
Kevin McKay - Summer Breeze [Muzik/Glasgow Underground]
V/A - Idol Tryout Two [Ghostly International]

July 14, 2006

Audion / Ellen Allien - Just A Man / Woman


Ghostly International’s Spectral Sound offshoot claims the hot collaboration of the summer with this clash of the minimal techno titans, wherein Audion (Matthew Dear) and Bpitch Control empress Ellen Allien each craft a track, then remix each other’s compositions. Their originals are as you would expect, with Dear using popping percussion, housey keyboard stabs, and some clutch fades and dropouts, while Allien answers with slighty harder beats and a streamlined, more European sound while maintaining the same less-is-more construction. Her take on Dear’s cut is like Nancy N’ Lee in space, with male and female vocal snippets (at the outset, the distorted male voice calls “Ellen,” while she coos “Audion” right back) rubbing each other up on Venus over a Morricone-style synth riff for an atmospheric trip. Meanwhile, Audion’s mix of Allien finds him using her sleek and slightly spooky template of sounds and adding his own snapping drum sounds, making a subtle monster of a track that builds to a noisy hum then dropping it all out in a killer percussion break at about the 5:30 mark. Pick your poison—these tracks are all killers.

Spectral Sound / SPC-36
[Todd Hutlock]

June 16, 2005

Profile: American Microhouse

American microhouse? The essential problem, I think, is that the country is just too big. Whereas parties in Cologne and Berlin perhaps focus the energies of those scenes, the drive to other cities is almost oppressive in allowing sounds in the Midwest and the West to form properly. That’s why the self-run labels Ghostly International (and its dancefloor leaning subsidiary Spectral Sound) and Orac are so important towards the creation of a truly American aesthetic. Just don’t ask me exactly what the hell it is.

Slavery When Wet
Orac / ORAC16

Mossa’s first 12” for the label seems to be as representative as any: “Slavery When Wet” is a cut-up house cut that boasts vocal tics, slivers of dub, and sundry bells and whistles inside of its glitch moments. It’s all laid out by the one-minute mark and, by the time you reach five, it all seems a tad more repetitive than most. Ben Nevile’s mix of the song immediately dispels any qualms, as his faster-paced take runs through all of the possibilities of the song, rarely overdoing any one portion throughout the length of the song, which is incidentally the exact same as the original. The B-side, “Gastrula,” stretches out its arms and moves in the same arena as its predecessor, but does so more confidently. Its counterpart, “Gastrula (Crushed),” hammers the song into nearly half of the original and is a highly abstract joint that only really gets going two minutes in and doesn’t really ever find its step completely. Some mixed feelings on this one, but “Gastrula” is definitely a keeper.

Bruno Pronsato
Silver Cities
Orac / ORAC09CD

You could hardly find anyone with a bad thing to say about Pronsato’s Silver Cities full-length last year, which is why I tried to stay silent on it. That being said, “Wuorinen” reminds me much more of Pronsato’s DJ sets, about which I have nothing but kind things to say (Go see him live, you won’t regret it.). The song is first-rate microsurgery-house, intersplicing elements that only begin to make sense later on, but never take away from the moment. And it’s funky as hell. Jackmate’s remix is stellar—exactly the sort of smooth rejoinder to the semi-schizophrenic original. It’s “Live in Cascadia” that I keep coming back to, though, which takes the best elements of both tracks that come before it for an epic B-side of dubby micro-house that shouldn’t be missed.

The Return of Caro
Orac / ORAC14CD

At the very least, you should get a good look at the cover for Caro’s first album for his own label. It features, presumably the label head himself, atop a pony and looking quite dapper. For a genre increasingly fond of humor, it’s a brilliantly pompous image that can’t help but make you smile. Music-wise, the album veers over and says hello to just about everything imaginable: acieed, Italo, down-tempo, minimal house, and jazz. “Heavy Wheel” does one of these synthesized moments best, working a Keith Jarrett piano into a fascinating duel with acid bass. Of course, the previously released “My Little Pony” is a highlight, but honestly that track’s adherence to the one genre that Orac can be accused of favoring (cut-up house) is the exception and not the rule here. “Can’t Tell Why,” for example, moves straight from dubby techno into a fierce jacking beat, for example, hardly stopping along the way. Caro’s The Return of Caro sounds exactly like what you might expect from the guy that is credited with helping create software called Jitter for Cycling74, but that’s hardly a bad thing—it’ll keep you on your toes throughout.

Geoff White
Spectral Sound / SPC-29

Labeled sketches, intended to show off his incredible production diversity, “Etsche” is White’s second 12” for Spectral in a series started with “Ince.” Unlike that more natural outing, “Etsche” finds White mining the more techno side of his personality, instead of the langorous ambient guitar side best exemplified by Aeroc. The closest he comes is “Guitarjacked,” which is too indebted to Steve Reich and Hurley to make much of an atmospheric impact. But White’s music, especially gem B-side “Scillecta,” never gets too hard That track rides bubbly synth pads and melodies, and a severe lack of low-end, into mid-set bliss.

Brian Aneurysm
Das Element Des Menschen
Spectral Sound / SPC-31

No lack of low-end on this, Brian Aneurysm’s initial entry onto the label. In fact it’s probably the hardest song that the label has ever put out. Ostensibly an ode to water, the A-side crackles with intensity and purpose, throwing out stabs along the way that pierce rather than comfort. Similarly, the B-side “Unwanted” is a single-minded slab of vinyl that doesn’t let up. Otherworldly voices, shifting blocks of rhythm, and a melody built from a simple four-note bed distract but momentarily from the ferocious beat. James T. Cotton’s mix of “Das Element Des Menschen” turns on the acid and throws the vocals through a variety of effects changing the tenor of the song rather drastically, but keeping the high level of quality.

[Todd Burns]

March 31, 2005

Daniel Wang - Berlin Sunrise


This Environ vet does little to change his sound on this, his Ghostly debut. It wouldn’t be such a heinous crime if this was his finest work, but “Berlin Sunrise (Die Nacht),” only comes to mean stuff in a mid-song breakdown worthy of the Neptunes, in which everything drops out except the glistening synth, the Italo tempo drums, and a yearning string line. When things get normal again, just pick the needle up and go back or wait for it all to come together in the finale. “Berlin Sunrise (Die Daemmerung)” is a less effective, more compact beast that pumps up everything at the expense of length and subtlety. On the flipside, the highlight is “Das ist Kein Techno!,” which is decidedly not techno! What it is is top-notch acid house.

Ghostly International / GI-34
[Todd Burns]