September 9, 2007

The Week In Review: 2007, Weeks 33, 34, & 35

Beatzcast: Freestyle Essentials 01
Beatzcast: Freestyle Essentials 02
Beatzcast: Freestyle Essentials 03

Pikaya - Cambrium (Cadenza)
Genre: Minimal/Tech

Peter Chambers: This is not house so much as the ivy that clings to it.

Will Saul & Lee Jones - Hug the Scary
(Aus Music)
Genre: Minimal/Tech, Electro-House

Charts: August 23 2007

Gavin Mueller’s guide to Ghettotech

Future Loop Foundation - The Sea and the Sky (Louisiana Recordings)
Genre: House, Neo-Disco

Osborne - Outta Sight (Spectral Sound)
Genre: Acid, House

Nate DeYoung: If we’re heading into the last days of summer, then by all means let it be soundtracked by shimmering piano-house.

Brendon Moeller - Jazz Space (Third Ear)
Genre: Techno, Dub

False - False (M_nus)
Genre: Minimal/Deep

Andy Stott - Fear of Heights
(Modern Love)
Genre: Dub, Minimal/Deep

Peter Chambers: As a child, I used to build my Lego castles as per the instructions, but only the first time. The subsequent re-builds would slowly deviate, riffing around the structures of the original but adding, subtracting and supplementing elements, to the point where my later creations were unrecognisable as mutants of the original.

Tobias Thomas - Please Please Please (Kompakt)
Kaito - Contact to the Spirits (Kompakt)

Nina Phillips: Thomas is too busy crafting to see the dancers looking back at him from the floor. No wonder this was mixed live—in an empty dance club in Cologne.

V/A - Grand Cru 2007 (Connaisseur)
V/A - Rekids One (Rekids)

Nina Phillips: If you build bangers, they will come.


Wiley - Playtime Is Over
(Big Dada)

Chris Gaerig: Playtime Is Over proves that Wiley truly does run the grime game. Hell, he’s the only one left.

Arsenal - The Coming (Idjut Boys Mixes) (Play Out!)
Genre: Downtempo, Balearic

Beatzcast #47: Crambe Repetita

Deepchord Presents Echospace - The Coldest Season (Modern Love)
Genre: Dub, Techno

Todd Hutlock: Basic Channel effectively invented the wheel of this genre, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t admire the latest models to roll off the modern assembly line.


August 24, 2007

Charts: August 23 2007

Michael F. Gill

Kettel - Marliesje [Marguerita Recordings]
San Serac - Fairlight [Frogman Jake]
The Replicants - Club Para (Matzak Instrumental Remix) [Gobatcha]
Paul Murphy - Withnail & I [Routine Records]
DMX Krew - Snow Cub [Breakin’ Records]
Rideout - Someone Special [Enterprises]
Cellophane - Music Colours (Parts 1-3) [Did Records]
Jones Girls - You Gonna Make Me Love Somebody Else [Philadelphia International]
Phortune - String Free [Hot Mix 5]
Fly Guy - Fly Guy Rap [P&P Records]


July 19, 2007

Avus - Furry Hat / Spnkr

A pleasant surprise is rarely a bad thing, being both enjoyable and unexpected. Cynicism is just as bored of itself as it is the world. A dash of cynicism can save you from later shames, but even a dash too much makes the sweetest puss sour. Going record digging, the strange vicissitudes of wet/dry and gush/clench really influence your obsessions. How many of you have had a “buy on sight” label that, based on a string of disappointments, you’ve written off totally? I confess I was just about to put Border Community into the ignore and disparage basket, but then along comes Avus to right my wrong-headed skull.

“Furry Hat” is warm, with a da-dudding bassline that’s nicely trancey, grounding the whole thing in BC’s fargone past at a summer field, way back in some psilocybin dreamtime. A little like some of Jesse Somfay’s work, Avus here manages a nice contrast between the lighter, granular elements written over the top and the deep, warm presence of the lower frequencies. The “Feedbackapella” stands on its own as an ambient track, and is just long enough to highlight the composition’s glassy high tone crescendo before the boredoms arrive. “Spnkr” continues with the “da-ga-da” bassline sound, but this time pairs it with some sandpaper-dry snares and a fairly tight, high-pitched kick which is then doubled as the track goes on, giving you twice the bass for your face. Like all the Border Community releases (and in homage to their prog/trance roots) the EP is totally modular, full of tools ready to be looped, cut, re-edited and arranged a la carte. It’s on this tip that the “Acid Paddle Tool” version of “Spnkr” comes into its own. Loopy, useful and kicking, it oddly ends up as my favourite track of the EP.

Border Community / 16 BC
[Listen]
[Peter Chambers]


July 3, 2007

Syncom Data - Beyond the Stars Remixes

200712"TechnoDub

It seems wrong to call Speedy J a stalwart, because that suggests the guy’s still making average records, despite being “hard at it” for more than a decade. If at times his production (however brilliant) goes a little bit off the hard/deep end for my delicate ears (I spook easily) - with an incredible live show and a few seminal albums behind him, you’d have to say the guy’s an innovator. And an undermentioned one. Maybe the problem with him, the reason why he never became a Craig or a Hawtin, was just that he’s singular - there’s something inimitable about his style that has deterred disciples, and his deep, textured, powerful music has remained a cul-de-sac or an appendix, albeit a beautiful one.

But when he pulls one out, he really pulls one out: this remix of Syncom Data is one of the most powerful, expressive, deep, and interesting tracks I’ve heard all year. Like some of the contributions on the Shut Up and Dance compilation as well as some of Monolake and T++’s more epic workouts, this is more freestyle/deepscape than techno pure and proper; their cylinders are too large, and there’s two much gas in them for this to be a bog-standard four-pot burner. Damn, it’s is just…fantastic (gush alert).

Oh yeah, and there’s two other remixes here too, which are both great in their own way, although not nearly as grand as the A. SD’s remix is much more digi-dub (similar to the Burialmix & ~scape sound), taking a melodica into delayed terrain with some heavy beats which move all the textures around. Meanwhile, Legowelt comes out with one of his best tracks of late, opting for something which (as always) is both steeped in his ‘85-’95 passions/influences and is in possession of an eccentric expressivity that’s solely his own. This one also goes bang around the two and a half minute mark, with a massive kick that puts the whole kaboodle into peaktime orbit.

Syncom Data Records / SD05
[Listen]
[Peter Chambers]


June 19, 2007

Dopplereffekt / Los Angeles TF / Mike Dunn - Gesamtkunstwerk / Magical Body / So Let It Be House

20071990s1980s12"CD/AlbumChicagoElectroItalo

Three more italo, electro, and house nuggets from Clone’s reliable Classic Cuts imprint, and the hits just keep on coming. First up is Dopplereffekt, the well-known Detroit electro collective featuring Gerald Donald of Drexciya. Gesamtkunstwerk is a reissue of a compilation that Gigolo put out in 1999, made up of all the vinyl sides from the group’s own Dataphysix Engineering label. It’s got all the hallmarks you’d expect to find on an electro record (sci-fi/technology themes, bleakly monophonic synths, precise/robotic beats) but with a consistency and a pop sensibility that the genre often lacks. The sleazy female vocals deadpanning on tracks like “Pornovision” and “Pornoactress” also predict what Adult’s Nicola Kuperus (and in turn, many electroclashers) would be doing years down the road. Great stuff.

Second up is a reissue of Los Angeles TF’s electro-italo smash “Magical Body” from 1983, sounding amazingly pristine here in a new remaster by Alden Tyrell. I wasn’t originally sold on the vocal version, where singer Taffy (of “I Love My Radio” fame) seems to over-emphasize the end of each phrase (”Magical! Magical! Is your bod-EE!”), but the tracky instrumental on the B provides immediate gratification, and shows why so many nu-italo producers were inspired to do what they do.

For the third helping, we get another EP of vintage acid house from Mike Dunn. Clone boss Serge was so scared to damage his vinyl copy of Dunn’s “So Let It Be House” he’s gone out and secured this reissue of it, along with two superior b-sides. While the press releases gushes about the title cut’s rareness, and frames 1980s Chicago as this exotic, magical place, to these ears it’s an overly sparse acid track with another “Birth of House Music” speech. It may be the weakest of this trio of releases, but I sort of get the cross-continental appeal. I’m never going to be a intimidating black man from the streets either.

Clone Classic Cuts / C#CC 004/005/006
[Listen]
[Listen]
[Listen]
[Michael F. Gill]


June 13, 2007

Audion - Noiser / Fred’s Bells

Since Beatz isn’t afraid of repeating itself, it’s worth pointing out that we really do think Audion is running neck to neck with sliced bread for what we prefer to gush over. We would feel totally justified doodling New Yorker comics where Matthew Dear (AKA Audion) gets to use the punchline “…but I wrote Mouth to Mouth, bitch” in various settings – in front of a Rothko, on top of the Sear’s Tower, or meticulously peed onto a wall in R. Kelly’s mansion. Dear’s recent releases and remixes have all but shown that he can turn water into wine, leap tall buildings in a single bound and even make the Chemical Brothers sound relevant again.

His latest two-sider will no doubt satisfy such high expectations. “Fred’s Bells” mumbles, slithers, and ties the bow with any narco-minimal heart in sight. The track’s boomerang effect, which generally defies the law of conservation, is as much about the competing basslines as the song’s loss of depth perception. “Noiser” returns to the dry-heaving and dry-humping jack that culminated in Suckfish. Set next to “Fred’s Bells,” though, it shows how Dear’s previous all-excess all-acid diet lead to the dreadful and desperate cul-de-sac of “how can I add even more?” Both with “Bells” and his recent string of songs, it sounds like he realized the question should’ve been “how can I make it sound like I’m adding even more?” It’s subtle, but important.

Spectral Sound / SPL-44
[Listen]
[Nate DeYoung]


May 22, 2007

Trusme - Brown’s

200712"HouseDisco

Please don’t tell me I’m the only motherfucker on the internet who saw Maynard Ferguson’s play “The Fly” at North Penn High School ten plus years ago. The a-side moves exactly like KDJ’s “I Can’t Kick This Feelin’ When It Hits”: from the long opening tease to the impatient female crooner to the massive release when the funk finally kicks in, it’s wound tight enough to keep it away from the “funky house” bins and smooth jazz radio. The keyboard sustains are great but the horns midway… if there’s one regret for me it’s that I’ve heard them before. It’s possibly better than “I Can’t Kick This Feelin’,” which is saying something.

The title track is a fine enough beardo downtempo cut made from unrecognizable guitar jazz-funk, but “Good God” brings the tempo back up. Trusme uses the same formula as the a-side but this time with Harold Melvin and the Blue Note’s “Bad Luck” as the source material. Yep, that’s Teddy Pendergrass you’re hearing, and so the lines between jazz and funk and disco and house continue to be blurred into one gloriously incriminating mess.

Still Love Music / Stilove4music07
[Listen]
[Nick Sylvester]


May 22, 2007

Lindstrom & Solale - Let’s Practise

200712"Neo-Disco

There’s going to be plenty of words spilled on how Let’s Practise reactivates the Donna Summer/Giorgio Moroder legacy and probably most of them will be splattered over “I Feel Love.” But if we’re going to spill and splatter, let’s not overlook Let’s Practise’s vocalist, Solale (aka Isabelle H. Sandoo). Rather than just nabbing the Moroder pulse, Lindstrom pulls a performance from Solale that gives an intimacy and sensuousness that was all but glossed over on their earlier collaboration, “Music (In My Mind).” Like the mythological recording session for the extended mix of “Love to Love You Baby”, “Let’s Practise” radiates like the soft light of candles in a darkened studio. And with that, I’ll save you the pleasure of hearing me spew adjectives to express my gush and squirm over Solale’s coos, meandering emotions, and bare yearn. Instead, I’ll lodge my one complaint – why’s the dub shorter than the actual song? There’s only one Moroder maxim for something so blissful: from here to eternity, people.

Feedelity / Feed 09
[Listen]
[Nate DeYoung]


May 10, 2007

Move D - Ac1D

Being both a sucker for Modern Love’s polished, neo-classical “adult contemporary” listening techno AND Move D’s deep, lovely jazz influenced, IDM-inflected deep/minimal/tech/house vibrations, I was doubly determined to give “Ac1d” as unsympathetic a listening as possible. If we are to spurt praise, let us at least align and aim the gush cannon, as it were. Yet spurt I must, or squirt at least—once again David Moufang has dug deep and offered up two subtle, satisfying pieces of dubbed-out tech-house.

“Ac1d,” the A, moves through a repeating, decaying “padded acid” groove, whilst rich, textural elements (bleeps, vocal snatches, snipped squelch effects) are flung by. We’re close by the Luomo of Vocalcity here, where straight beats belie hidden depths that surge out at large volumes, or intimate strange feelings if left in the background. “Sheffield Dance” is a little more retro and less effective, beginning from a waddling bassline and building toward an emotional release that curves too slowly and releases too little—but works well as an ebbing, fading track, slowly dying away like five AM.

Modern Love / Modern Love 028
[Listen]
[Peter Chambers]


May 8, 2007

Ilya Santana - Discotized

200712"Neo-Disco

Ilya Santana’s soundworld is like some gloriously sunny, pre-scrambled version of Isolée’s—but where the latter filters every pet sound through the mangling monstrosities of stomp boxes, old tape players, and junk equipment, Santana has channeled his own idiosyncrasies into a vision of sound like the strange refraction of the memories of mid-‘80s disco. On his magnificent Walking on a Crystal Sea EP from a few years back, Santana laid out the program, which Danny Wang describes on the back with typically rhapsodic eloquence: “Without frantic congas or tiresome solos, its structure makes perfect sense from the very first measure. It is so unhurried, yet delicate and memorable, like a Satie theme on a disco beat. Every time the filter on the bass goes down, I get a shiver around my head. I just want that sound to go on and on forever!” Let’s dam the gush-flood for a moment—it wasn’t that good. But there was the suggestion of something unique, and here, the promise of Ilya’s personality returns re-pressed and ready to discotize you.

You could locate this record somewhere between the Emperor Machine, Daniel Wang and Norwegian space disco, but what escapes that is the sedate, comforting groove here—no big “whoosh” noises, no “frantic congas or tiresome solos”—“Holding You” is seven minutes long, but contains nothing superfluous. “Discotized” is much closer to Walking on a Crystal Sea and nudges toward neo-italo filtrations of house a la Justus Köhncke, but with its more elaborate structures and interesting, digressive parts; there’s something far more musical here than Kompakt’s queeniest producer’s works. Great stuff.

Permanent Vacation / PERMVAC 009-1
[Listen]
[Peter Chambers]


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