July 20, 2007

Beatzcast #42: Crambe Repetita

Mixes2007

Stylus editor Todd Burns presents a mix of electronic music featuring new music from Anja Schneider and the Kindisch label, as well as Dial Records and a remix from the Wighnomy Brothers…

Tracklist
01: Herb LF - Fruchtalarm (Wighnomys Obstkokktailie) [buy]
02: Sten - Undercover [buy]
03: Phonique - Gaga [buy]
04: Einzelkind - Maferefumeco [buy]
05: Anja Schneider - Belize [buy]

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July 12, 2007

Dennis Ferrer - Son of Raw (Locodice Remixes)

The synthetic alliance between smooth rolling NY deep-house and its continental variations is in full effect with the ascendancy of Connaisseur, Mobilee and the like. It’s not a new bridge, strictly speaking - people like Glowing Glisses and Steve Bug have been showing sides of this style for years, or hinting around it. But now it’s explicit. Jerome Sydnenham has appeared on Liebe Detail, remixing ex-Pokerflat-er Argy. And now LocoDice (with Martin Buttrich ghosting him at the controls) is remixing Sydenham on Kerri Chandler and Dennis Ferrer’s Sfere sublabel Objectivity. This is but a condensation point, rather than the whole story, but it gathers the formative planks.

It’s an easy alliance, one that fits like it sounds - like so much of Loco (and Buttrich’s) work, there’s a very low friction aesthetic which allows tracks of “very little, almost nothing” to glide along for minutes on the home system…but then you get to the club and hear the sub-bass written into them, watch the crowd digging it, and say “Now I get it.” For the price of admission (or maybe just a file transfer), you get two totally Loco interpretations, the “Brooklyn Roll” (a mere pop song at 5:54) and the “remix” (a full clip of beats at 10:32). The latter is definitely for the floors, bringing that big drum feel that LocoButtrich do so nicely, then adding lots of stabbing sound events, the odd snippet of the original’s vocal, and a gathering stormfront of atmospheres rolling overhead. At times it verges on Radioslavery, but there’s less of the macho heavyheavy that abounds in Edwards’ big tracks and things are kept moving along - ten minutes doesn’t feel overlong. The samizdat track running through here seems to a very toned down version of DJ Pierre’s “Turn It Up”. Is LocoButtrich the king of mild pitch house? The Brooklyn roll shortens things, for DJs (or crowds) who bore easily. I’m not sure how this will age, but right now this is a neat track that will serve its dancefloor well.

Objektivity / OBJ 004
[Listen]
[Peter Chambers]


July 2, 2007

Prosumer / Murat Tepeli - What Makes You Go For It?

200712"HouseMinimal/Deep

Well, to me this is shaping up as a vintage year for techno (if you still call it that). There seems to be a glut of subtle, surefooted records being made at the moment by producers whose unformed foundational years are behind them. It’s often difficult not to feel you’re drowning in the sea of new releases. For my own part, I gave up trying frantically to cram in a rinse of everything that flickered fancily past. And in a sense, I feel like this might be happening with the music. There’s a period of settlement upon us, and now nearly-veteran people (though this is just my anecdotal impression) seem to be producing fewer and better tracks than three years ago, when the “medicore minimal” glut seemed to peak.

To me, the label that seems to have condensed this idea is Ostgut Tontrger. They don’t release much, but everything is solid gold: from the moment you first see the beautiful sleeves to the final aaah you get on a floor once the dragging needle’s signal drops at full volume. This is proper techno, made by people who love, understand, and care about their music. Listen to Len Faki’s Mekong Delta or Ben Klock’s Czeslawa/Warzsawa EP from earlier this year, and get an Ostgut lesson in how to “do” techno properly. Yet both Faki and Klock’s contributions are full-bore, main-floor, peaktime numbers, delicate though they may be in detail. They’re Berghain. Prosumer and Murat Tepeli’s “What Makes You Go For It” on the other hand is every inch the upstairs/backroom (or even bedroom) incarnation. They’re the Panoramabar.

The title track is somewhere between the blue, raw, and pink beats of the old Trax tracks, but with a vocal trip describing a one night stand that’s equal parts philosophical and carnal, leading to automatic comparisons with Chelonis R Jones. But there’s a definite Ostgut quality at work, too. It bangs, it swings, it’s a great track with a big metallic bell clanging all over it. Prosumer’s vocal sits nicely in the mix he doesn’t overstretch chords or overstate words: she’s got a boyfriend, they’re fucking, where will it end up?

Tepeli’s “Jaws” is much closer to the housey end of Mobilee’s sound, with matte-finish percussion and a sleek, fat bassline whose physicality wiggles widely, in neat contrast to a very chic string synth over the top. Like the lyric on the A, there’s a nice tension between the forward-pushing needs of the body and the inwardly reflective eyes of the mind. But it’s Prosumer’s “Vise” that really puts the icing on this ambivalent cupcake, for me at least. I could swear Prosumer has borrowed My My’s patches to write the melody here the tone, the dynamics, and the break are all redolent of Jones & Hppner, with just a touch of Rest-era Isole. All three tracks here stand on their own, but as a trio they make an outstanding EP.

Ostgut Tontrger / o-ton 07
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[Peter Chambers]


June 22, 2007

Beatzcast #38: Crambe Repetita

Mixes2007

Stylus editor Todd Burns presents a mix of electronic music featuring new music from DJ Koze, the Wighnomys, and Glass Candy, as well as new tunes from Mobilee, Cocoon, and Vakant…

Tracklist
01: DJ Koze - Cicely [buy]
02: Portable - Don’t Give Up (Lawrence Remix) [buy]
03: Keytronics Ensemble - Calypso of House (Julien Jabre Remix) [buy]
04: Stephan Bodzin vs. Marc Romboy - Callisto [buy]
05: Glass Candy - Miss Broadway (Belle Epoque) [buy]
06: Wighnomy Brothers - Guppipeitsche [buy]
07: Onur zer - Halikarnas [buy]
08: Tolga Fidan - Venice [buy]
09: Marcin Czubala - Consigliere [buy]
10: Loco Dice - El Gallo Negro [buy]

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June 8, 2007

Beatzcast #36: Crambe Repetita

Mixes2007

Stylus editor Todd Burns presents a mix of electronic music…

Tracklist
01: Chaim - Same Same feat. James Blonde [buy]
02: Baldelli & Dionigi - Dyprion [buy]
03: Cave Bear Cult - Catch the Worm [buy]
04: STFU - Shut the Fuck Up (Mouth to Mouth Remix) [buy]
05: Sebastian Ingrosso & John Dahlback - Lick My Deck [buy]
06: Lil’ Mama - Lip Gloss (William Russell Stirhouse Remix) [buy]
07: Sleeparchive - Papercup [buy]
08: Pan-Pot - What Is What (Original Mix) [buy]
09: Red Robbin & Jakob Hilden - Dandelion [buy]
10: TG - Cave the Speakers (Konrad Black Remix) [buy]
11: Baldelli & Dionigi - Darkflies [buy]
12: Gudrun Gut - Move Me (Burger & Voigt Remix) [buy]

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June 3, 2007

The Week In Review: 2007, Week 22

Various Artists - Shut Up And Dance! Updated (Ostgut Tontrger)
Genre: Techno, Minimal/Deep

Richard Carnes: At a time of the year where everyones looking to individual artists for 2007s top electronic album, this release definitely shouldnt be swept under the carpet.

Crowdpleaser & St Plomb - 2006 Remixes 1 (Mental Groove)
Genre: Electro-House

Marco Resmann - Watercolour (Mobilee)
Genre: Minimal/Deep

Peter Chambers: In this case, its easy to visualise a blue wash like an Yves Klein canvas on an overcast afternoon right before dusk.

Booka Shade - Tickle (Get Physical Music)
Genre: Electro-House

Maximilian Skiba - Beginning (Eva)
Genre: Electro-House

Prinzhorn Dance School - Up! Up! Up! (DFA)
Genre: Indie-Dance

The Skull - Enter The Skull
Genre: House, Minimal/Deep

Peter Chambers: “Sensuella” continues the run of apt track titles by paring things back a few notches, with a lonely lady being serenading by sine tones who appear to be telling us that the undead are holding her captive. Or she wants to be held. Or something.

Weekly Staff Charts
Beatzcast #35: Crambe Repetita

Mike Powell interviews Environ’s Kelley Polar
Todd Hutlock reviews Hot Chip’s DJ Kicks mix CD.
Peter Parrish reviews Colleen’s Les Ondes Silencieuses


May 30, 2007

Marco Resmann - Watercolour

Watercolour gets a tough rap how many cred artists can you name who use them? Ive always had a weakness for those watery shades youve only got one chance to make it look right (no overpainting kids!). Sounds like an artistic challenge to me. But, to flip it around, what might watercolour sound like? Enter Marco Ressman (one third of Pan-Pot), with this neat EP: two sides, two kinds of paint, and one chance to lay down the strokes without “going out of the lines”, splashing, smudging, or soaking the paper (sorry, I was way back in my childhood for a moment there).

“Gouache” (or bodycolour) according to Wikipedia “differs from watercolor in that the particles are larger, the ratio of pigment to water is much higher. This makes gouache heavier and more opaque, with greater reflective qualities.” Ressmans take on the finicky pigment streamlines things with a mesmerising, metallic soundplane which rises and spins past, under-braided by steady tech-house drum patterns slowly drying into a soft-hued outro. I struggled to visualise the finished image, but was reminded of many previous Mobilee releases, with their low-temperature, high-pressure, single-minded aesthetic. In this case, the end-result is a nice rainy afternoon record.

Proper egg tempera (as opposed to prawn tempura) is not even a watercolour, but a way of bonding pigments to paints. It dries quickly, and has to be applied in thin layers, but unlike other paints, the colours dont shift over time. Ressmans interpretation on this binding agent likewise issues forth in thin layers of synth-pushed grooves, backgrounded by soft chimes and a snatched vocal. The louder you play it, the better it sounds. In this case, its easy to visualise a blue wash like an Yves Klein canvas on an overcast afternoon right before dusk. But maybe thats laying it on a bit thick.

Mobilee / mobilee021
[Listen]
[Peter Chambers]


May 17, 2007

John Daly - Sky Dive

200712"TechnoDetroit

John Dalys Sky Dive EP is probably as good as any release to bring up the fact that 2007 has ushered in a rethinking of the role of minimal labels. The transition from a curator that reworks the boundaries of minimal with each release into a stockbroker whose strength lies in the diversity of its portfolio might be reflected only subtly in the music so far. But its hard to see that staying the case for long. While early 00s stalwarts like Perlon and M_nus have maintained brand identity of their music to this day, marquee upstarts like Mobilee and Get Physical appear to be totally oblivious to genre allegiances. Which brings us back to Daly landing on Plak Records a Swiss label that might talk about themselves as deep and bouncy minimal, but more often sound like they buried their equipment in the garden for a couple weeks to hear what rotted sounds they could dig up.

Sky Dive can run among the best minimal/techno singles of the year so far, but the reason its so good might also be counterintuitive from what youd expect from Plak. Sure, the title cut is built around a squelching hiccup thats par for the Plak course, but the Irishmen Daly is far from the Swiss gardens. Invoking the best of Moodyman with the locked loop of slow chimes, submerged bongos and handclaps, “Sky Dive” is a deep and bouncy revelation for the label. And the b-side “Broken Juno” isnt too far behind. It was enough to encourage me to take a closer look at Dalys earlier records (quick primer search for Freak Out or Get Out and destroy Solaris). The shift to more diverse portfolios may bring scoffs from the purists but it definitely is treating Plak well here.

Plak Records / PLK 14
[Listen]
[Nate DeYoung]


March 21, 2007

Move D - Anne Will (Remixes)

Anne Will saw the return of Move D, an artist who had never gone away, but whose profile had been lost in the proliferation of side-projects, aliases, and creative tangents. The track in its original form was an initially unexciting but subtly impressive minimal tech-house number typical of the finely formed, elegant releases on Hamburgs Liebe Detail. Argys remix exhibits the aridity of his similarly super-dry workouts for Pokerflat. Gone is the bassline and the reeling loop melody over it; retained is the sleazoid yeah baby vocal and some of the incidental noises; added is a one-note piano loop and a whole new vibe. Its not particularly arresting, but might work nicely as a suture track.

Vincenzos mix opts for more giddy-up: a tech-leaning re-arrangement and a new melody which recalls some of the signature tones and tendencies of Mobilee. Its a decent piece in its own right, but loses too much of the original in seeking out the party. Lawrences mix, on the other hand, manages to creatively synthesize the originals melody with typically aching Lawrencian motifs. In this case, it’s the introduction of floating chimes (a little like those that function as a storm approaching signal in Alex Smokes productions), then a big build with an introduced synth line which then dissipates, leaving nothing but the chimes, the kick, and one or two other rhythmic effects. A nice, elegant, and efficient EP for fans of the dry, melodic minimal-tech-house thang.

Liebe Detail Spezial / LDS 002
[Listen]
[Peter Chambers]


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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