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.


September 6, 2007

Arsenal - The Coming (Idjut Boys Mixes)

200712"BalearicDowntempo

When Morrisey entitled his album Your Arsenal, he probably wasn’t just talking about football teams and weapons caches. In Venice of the fifteenth century, your arsenal was just a dockyard (arzenale), but less than a hundred years later, the British were already using (and saying) it as a place to store their weapons. This Arsenal is the Belgian kind, and not the ex-Big Black guitarist’s forays into cat-torture-noise rock. “The Coming” was a ploddy low-key track from their Outsides album, and here it finds its way reworked into downtempo dub-outs from the Idjut Boys, who produce three very different vibes in versions that alternately tickle, stroke, and romp some fluid from the original source.

That particular source is a dreamboat Fujiya and Miyagi soundalike, spongbathed into a bluntbeat fug with vocals that wouldn’t have been out of place on a Whale record. I suppose that makes it some kind of trip-hop whimsy. The Idjuts’ “Version 1″ goes the space-disco route, excavating some dancefloor sparkle from a track that previously wanted nothing but to skin up or roll over. “Version 2″ would work as a minimal tool for the groovewise inclined, and is grounded by a lumberous (to coin a word) bassline that sounds just like the one used on Serafin’s “Nidlenoch”. If it weren’t for the giveaway “spacy” handclaps and bass noodlings, you’d think you were right back there in mnml-land. “Version 3″ brings us back into the realm of the original, but adding in a little fruit juice and sunshine for a gauzy afternoon drift. It’s not overwhelming stuff in any sense, but the comforting roll and sway of each of the versions has made it a morning favourite the past few days. Nice and easy does it.

Play Out! / POM 005
[Listen]
[Peter Chambers]


August 3, 2007

Beatzcast #44: Nate Deyoung

Mixes2007

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

Tracklist
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]

Subscribe to Beatz By The Pound.


June 5, 2007

Oto Gelb / Daniel Wang - Magical Yellow Sound From Germania / Look Ma, No Drum Machine!

20071990s12"HouseDisco

It’s likely that over the past year or so, “disco edits” have been clogging up the new releases page on your favorite vinyl retailer’s website. Now that any chimp (let alone human) can freely acquire an editing programming like Audacity within a few mouse clicks, we are all that much closer to being exposed to Rising Disco-Tech Producer #56 extending the introduction to a favorite or obscure disco/new wave track by four minutes, and paying for the privilege to hear it. All together now: “And then I was discouraged by YOU!”

At their best, disco edits reveal hidden potential in otherwise imperfect tracks, and/or turn you on to a new set of tracks to dig for. The Idjuts Boys’ series of re-edit CDs on Noid takes this one step further by adding in new material, overdubbed effects, and wilder arrangements to the original source material. But it’s negligible how many edits actually need to be released on vinyl, especially when the original artists/tracks are rarely credited.

Daniel Wang seem frustrated at this state of edits too, and seemingly in a response to raise the level of re-arranging discourse, has reactivated his Balihu label with two edit-friendly releases of his own. The first is a new release of disco edits under the name Oto Gelb, with a press release that justifies itself by saying “[this is] music you just can’t make on a laptop, and that’s why it’s so good.” I hate to be an equally bitter pill, but there is not much to get excited about here, unless the idea of disco versions of Bach and Debussy tick your novelty sensors. This version of Bach’s “Air On A G-String” does give me a suave and sentimental feeling though, as if I was visiting Dimitri from Paris in an old folks home twenty years from now.

The second release is a reissue of Wang’s debut EP from 1993, Look Ma, No Drum Machine, which is one of his most highly regarded works, thanks to “Like Some Dream (I Can’t Stop Dreaming)” being a long time staple of disco and house DJs. And the track still works a treat, pasting an emotionally tense vocal snippet from Sleeque’s “One For The Money” onto a blank disco drums canvas, effectively flattening the tension into some kind of detached wonder. Actually, the entire EP is made up of sampled disco records, and while it was a common practice at the time for deep house records to work off a disco sample, Wang’s material here has more of a raw and homemade feel to it. On the b-side, “Gotta Get Up” is as fine a disco-house number as you can get without using a bassline, “Warped” falls a little flat if you’ve heard “Time Warp” from Disco Not Disco 2, and “Get Up, Get Up” locks into a more soulish loop a la Theo Parrish’s Ugly Edits.

While both of these records feels more “angsty” than necessary, Look Ma is still worthy of your time, and should put Daniel back in the public eye with both DJs and MP3 bloggers, just in time for his upcoming full-length album.

Balihu / BAL 016
[Listen]
Balihu / BAL 001
[Listen]
[Michael F. Gill]


March 13, 2007

Pony Express aka Idjut Boys - Smoke Me / Barrel Roll

200712"DiscoBalearic

Both these tracks were on the Boys’ Press Play beardo mix, you’ll recall. The topside is a re-edit of “Lowrider,” an uphill battle from the start considering how much high school pep band muck that song’s been dragged through, but it ends up pretty nice here: fuzzed out percussion, horn riffs discombobulated by reverb and modest EQ FX, everything totally goofy-sounding in the way the song was probably intended. “Barrel Roll” is an edit of Haircut 100’s “Evil Smokestacking Baby,” a schmaltzy midtempo “roll the credits”-type power-jangle—I guess—here further overblown.

White Label / COW 3
[Listen]
[Nick Sylvester]


November 17, 2006

Tantra - The Double LP

A release scooping up most, but not all, of the Italo group Tantra’s output, The Double LP revolves around two side-length epics—the A-side “Hills of Katmandu,” and the D-side “Wishbone.” I first heard the former (in truncated form) on the Idjut Boys classic Saturday Night Live, Vol. 2 mix, and if it blew me away then, it’s even more potent in its full 16-minute-plus glory. Exotica and “orientalist” touches were always a feature of Italo, and “Hills of Katmandu” deftly weaves such fare into a monster of rumbling percussion, weaving analogs, and swaying female vocals. The sweet little nugget of disco fantasia that interrupts at the 6:30 mark is both unexpected and cheesily delightful. “Wishbone,” on the other hand, is funkier and more mesmerizing—the odd female vocals are paired with echoed tribal percussion to a mystical and almost eerie effect, with a sitar-like lead making the odd appearance. It’s the mirror of “Katmandu,” but an unsettlingly purist one—making absolutely no concessions towards any but the most tripped-out of dancefloors. If I could find the crowd that would happily vibe along with me to all of its 15 glorious minutes I would never bloody leave.

Normally this would constitute a full and rewarding album, but in between these two leviathans is sandwiched another two full sides of goodness that interweaves primal and futurist elements. The B-side unveils two strong Eurodisco stompers: “Get Ready to Go,” which could’ve soundtracked any number of early 80’s prime-time buddy-cop TV shows, and “Top Shot,” a track that pushes all the gay disco buttons it can find and then digs around for some more. The C-side, on the other hand, starts with “Su-ku-leu,” a traditional African-flavored number that still kicks out on its disco heels, combining the chants and ethnic percussives with synth pops and sweeps, which blends right into “Mother Africa,” a T-Connection-esque stomper with a delicious percussion break that sets the stage for the most stereotypically “disco” of their tracks, “Hallelujah.” Side closer “Get Happy” points an arrow towards boogie, and could be a Chic b-side, with its warm syn-strings and chimes. It’s the very spirit of disco’s unabashed joyfulness, and a fine place to rest.

The Double LP is that great disco rarity—not just a classic album, but a classic double, and as such it demands a proper remix and CD release. Until then… keep those needles fresh!

Importe/12 / MP-310
[Mallory O’Donnell]


June 2, 2006

Idjut Boys feat. Rune Lindbćk - Laisn

200612"HouseDub

Known mostly for their excellent mixes focusing on the dubby, psychedelic end of the dancefloor, as well as their inveterate love of all things residing at the deeper end of disco, Idjut Boys come up with a bit of a surprise on “Laisn.” It’s a far more down-tempo affair than usual—a bit like Dominik Eulberg remixing Kruder/Dorfmeister. Kalabrese’s remix adds a blues sample and extra percussion to great effect, focusing on the warmness and mindbending-ness of the original. Moodmusic’s Sasse checks in with a mix that wields the same elements, but ends up taking too long a ride to Dub Town…anyone still listening by the end winds up left at the station with a pocketful of change and a half-smoked blunt, wondering whether or not they just missed the transfer.

Bear Funk / BFK 018
[Mallory O’Donnell]


April 24, 2006

Stacy Kidd - I Wanted You

Reanimation200112"House

First heard on the Idjut Boys killer “Saturday Night Live, Vol. 2,” and about half of the reason I bought the unmixed vinyl, this has since become one of my favorite house tracks of all time. Let’s just say when I become a world-famous jetsetter DJ and Azuli asks me to make a Choice compilation, this will be on it alongside Eddie Kendricks’ “Girl, You Need a Change of Mind” and Prince’s “Erotic City.” Matthew Yates’ vocals consist of nothing besides “I wanted you, and you wanted me” and a thrilling, tingling bit of vocalese, but over a beat this sweet, that’s all you need. The combination of melancholy, longing, sensuality, and 4 AM hedonism is impossible to resist—a jazz-based, deeply progressive track reveling in tribal drums, near-acapella vox and some sweet George Benson-style guitar. As good as house music gets: all magic and no cliche.

Yellorange / 1019
[Mallory O’Donnell]