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…

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December 15, 2006

Locodice - Harissa

Peter Chambers: Maybe it’s the bodginess of my radar, but from a distant observer’s perspective, the rise and rise of Loco Dice seems as sudden as it is phenomenal: this guy has appeared to come from the margins as a DJ and producer to emerge as one of the key sculptors of the mnml microverse in eighteen months. Little wonder, given the material here. Hardwax’s oft-caned expression “long tripping” has found its true home with these four monstrously long shimmying and shimmering drumathons. It’s all percussion here, tuned percussion. Despite the emphasis on mesmeric melodies, every element in Dice’s tracks serves the groove. “Raindrops on my Window” and “A Chico A Rhytmico” (the standout) remind this listener of Guido Schneider’s productions, but purged of all their tricks and trapdoors. Here it’s all a slow evolution - a long road to nowhere, but one that should also work well in the mix and serve the inchoate philosophical statement that Cadenza seems to be stating again and again, with endless drums in their grooves and pretty flowers on their sleeves.

Nick Sylvester: This one seems a classic case of producer X having no clue what producers Y and Z (and A and B) are putting into their tracks, what structures they’re envisioning, what nutmeat is at the tracks’ cores, and then doing his best to approximate. Yeah, all four tracks here sorta sound like variations on the hollowed out “lots of peripheral percussion clouding around one barely-there synth-riff kinda-melody” that Villalobos and Luciano et al. were doing to acclaim the last two years, with all the slurps and ghostly flute flutters and clicks and squeaks and clatters, but none of these LD tracks have the right melody for the job. It’s either too bright and comfortable (”Raindrops On My Window”), too ethereal (”Vamos”) or too middling, too have-it-both-ways (”Paradiso”). The best wriggly tech-house (do we still say k-house?) has melodies that are either barely there or just so completely bizarre, so unpredictable, that they just work (e.g. Melchior’s “Different Places”). In fairness “Paradiso” isn’t half-bad, since the arpeggiating melody has this stringy timbre to it, and as the percussion grooves more obviously as the track progresses, LD also adds in a few extra sub-bass wrinkles to speed along the melody. Either way, there’s a cautionary tale aspect to this release, which is (a) the Compositional Stuff That Matters still actually matters, and (b) detailwork only takes one so far.

Cadenza / CADENZA 13
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October 20, 2006

Beatzcast #8

Mixes2006

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01: Azzido Da Bass - Lonely By Your Side
02: And Again - Thirty-One Times
03: John Tejada - The End of it All
04: Dirt Crew - Domino
05: Jay Haze - Soul in a Bottle
06: Melchior Productions - Different Places


October 20, 2006

Melchior Productions - Different Places

Melchiors got the sneaky freaky deeky goin on. Nothin to see / Hear, folks, well, no gimmicks at least. These are tracks, not tricks. Either by accident or through some deep, machinic symbiosis, the shuffle function on my pod selected two tracks after listening to this that contextualise it nicely, Luomos Synkro and Portables Liquid Crystal Displayand just as with those tracks theres the sense that both of Melchiors extensive workouts need their enormous palette to work out and work through the combinations of grooves. Both Different Places and The Phantom are extended excursions, and they take their time leading the willing through the fullness of their landscapes before returning to where they began. The A starts with a moody, looped melody that blues the vocal refrain I get lonely in different places, but then the track seems to leave the thought, rambling into twinkle-toed terrain characterized by a nice descending bassline, squiggling/malfunctioning noises and a whole lotta repetitions. You get so lost in listening that by the time the lonely returns, you wonder where youve been. To the unattenuated ear, this is the quintessence of the dreaded minimal, uneventful music that goes nowhere. But theres no muddling, or even meandering involved. Tell your ears to shut up and listen, and maybe theyll hear.

Perlon / PERL 58
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[Peter Chambers]