September 11, 2007

Tussle - Alphabet Series R

Tussle have indie cred: Kit Clayton mastered their album, Rong music released their early EPs, and now Tomlab (home of Deerhoof & the Books) have offered a spot in their “Alphabet Series” of seven-inch EPs to the creative kraut/rock/frotting quartet. On the A, things start in a vein familiar to Trans-Am’s cosmically-inclined moments (like the opening to “Futureworld”), with a motorik jamathon that gathers steam and gradually gets ahead of itself.

It’s nice, but not as cute/irritating as the Yacht remix of “Second Guessing” on the flip, which takes a dosed-up kids choir and subjects them to a raucous attack of cut, paste, and loop. This being a 7″, both sides are pretty short, but Tussle have followed the injunction of Robert Plant and made it “every inch of their love”. To the metric among us, that’s 35.6cm of musical pleasure at stake here.

Tomlab / tom 89R
[Listen]
[Peter Chambers]


August 5, 2007

The Week In Review: 2007, Week 31

Burial - Ghost Hardware (Hyperdub)
Genre: Dubstep

Nick Sylvester: If you can imagine yourself cooking bacon in a forest somewhere at night, and every so often just shouting a bit from “Genie in a Bottle” because you thought you heard a motorcycle engine in the distance, you’re halfway there.

DJ Naughty - World EP (Moodmusic)
Genre: Electro-House, Neo-Disco

Italoboyz - Viktor Casanova (Mothership)
Genre: Minimal/Tech

Nate DeYoung: I’ll enjoy the sights of “fucked up girls trying to imitate the opera singer” as much as hearing the minimal percussion which delicately avoids overshadowing or under-lighting the track’s main attraction.

Ilya Santana - Quasar (Disciple of Groove)
Genre: Neo-Disco

Jupiter Black feat. Fred Ventura - Hold Me (Clone)
Genre: Italo

Michael F. Gill: Needless to say, if you found stuff like Ryan Paris, P. Lion, Ken Laszlo, and Eddy Huntington to be pure parmesan, you probably won’t be into this.

Beatzcast #44: Nate Deyoung

Nick Southall is feeling balearic while reviewing West Coast by Studio, and Future Rock by Strategy.

Nina Phillips is feeling trancey while reviewing Guy Gerber’s Late Bloomers and Stephan Bodzin’s Liebe Ist

Charles Merwin is hanging out in NYC, dancing with Tigercity

Todd Burns looks into the Outhud-ness of Delorean’s Transatlantic KK


July 30, 2007

Burial - Ghost Hardware

200712"Dubstep

Why the urge - I ask guilty of it myself - to contextualize the songs we hear, to categorize them right away, to do anything beyond talk in terms of the surprises we encounter in songs, the moods they put us in, and the reasons these might be so? The dialogue between rhythm and sound is so simple, yet we consistently overthink it and insist on making things more difficult for ourselves, whether to make stupid word counts (but never words count) or to obscure music’s basic sensuality with histories to be understood, discographies to be devoured. Anybody that tells you this gig is like dancing about architecture is a worthless writer and an absolute fool.

This 12″ is the follow-up to Burial’s self-titled “dubstep” LP from last year. These three songs feature unsteady rhythms that roll like banged-up wheels of hip-hop steel. It’s infuriating to listen to this metallic syncopation at first, because it’s so averse to headnods, and the accents are hard to pinpoint. The beat in “Shutta” is somewhere between 8/8 and 17/8 - I can’t tell - and there’s a series of three soft snare cracks in “Ghost Hardware” that seem to come out of nowhere again and again, just a split-second off from where they seem like they want to be. It’s not violent but it’s uncomfortable.

You don’t get a vocal hook anywhere either, or at least a complete one, so there’s not much of an anchor in this mess of rhythm. Instead Burial cuts up vocal tracks into short snippets (an Aguilera-like “Love you” and a Whitney-like “Yeah”) and orphans them in a fog filled with crackles, sizzles, and interminable echo. If you can imagine yourself cooking bacon in a forest somewhere at night, and every so often just shouting a bit from “Genie in a Bottle” because you thought you heard a motorcycle engine in the distance, you’re halfway there: alone but not yet lonely, fearful but not entirely hopeless.

The “love you” snippet stuff seems like such a self-imposed challenge for Burial too, i.e. How can I not make this sound too saccharine or cloying. I don’t know why it doesn’t bother me more, but I’m guessing Burial’s mixing has a lot to do with it: his kicks are never too pronounced, and the occasional turbo-skids of bass are always faint, hinting at something greater but never winding up front and center. Some sounds refuse to bring attention to themselves, others don’t have the energy to do so anymore, but try in vain regardless. Bleak stuff. Is it possible to mourn a sound?

Hyperdub / HDB 004
[Listen]
[Nick Sylvester]


July 10, 2007

DJ 3000 / Gerald Mitchell / Ellen Allien - Alia / Geloshai 1862 / Retina

200712"TechnoDetroit

The fetish releases from the Motor City continue as DJ 3000’s (aka Frankie Juncaj) Motech label releases two limited-edition (at a mere 100 copies each) one-sided singles, capping the relative flurry of activity from the label in the last couple of months after a long layoff. Juncaj’s style fuses the sounds of his ancestral and birth homes: soulful keys and string sounds of classic Detroit mixed with tribal percussion inspired by the native music of Albania. It’s a rather unique mix, but on the first release here, the signature sounds are washed over a bit by Juncaj’s collaborators.

Gerald Mitchell (a fellow member of the UR/Los Hermanos family) adds a bit more techno thump than is necessary to the remix of the pair’s recent Alia single, effectively smothering its flavor; the addition of Diametric’s spoken word bits on “Geloshai 1862″ add some color, but not enough to make things memorable. Thankfully, Juncaj’s own remix of Ellen Allien’s “Retina” is full of the elements that make his best work so memorable. Led by a dramatic looped violin sample and laid over with his signature layered percussive elements, Juncaj makes the tune his own and then some. Anthemic, kinetic, and percolating in all the right ways, its a fantastic remix deserving of a much, much wider audience. Best of luck finding a copy, but if you do, clutch it with two hands.

Motech Limited / MT-LIMITED-1 / MT-LIMITED-2
[Listen]
[Todd Hutlock]


June 17, 2007

The Week In Review: 2007, Week 24

DeepChord - Vantage Isle (echospace [detroit])
Genre: Techno, Dub

Todd Hutlock: Vantage Isle is perfection for anyone looking for the logical successors to the Basic Channel throne, or just looking for something mellow for those steamy late summer nights.

Ame - Balandine (Innervisions)
Genre: Techno, Progressive/Trance

Gudrun Gut - In Pieces (Monika Enterprises)
Genre: Downtempo, Minimal/Deep

Peter Chambers: If you’ve ever seen Michael Mayer do his dance behind the decks, the Burger/Voigt remix is, well…this is what the dance “sounds” like.

Audion - Noiser / Fred�s Bells (Spectral Sound)
Genre: Minimal/Tech, Techno

Nate DeYoung: Dear�s previous all-excess all-acid diet lead to the dreadful and desperate cul-de-sac of “how can I add even more?” 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?”

DJ Koze - All The Time (Philpot)
Genre: Minimal/Tech

Argy - 1985 (Liebe Detail Spezial)
Genre: Minimal/Deep, House

Motorcitysoul - Kazan (Exit Cube) (Aus Music)
Genre: Electro-House, Minimal/Deep

Peter Chambers: Classy gear for warming up cool-hearted floors.

Beatzcast #37: Crambe Repetita

Mike Powell talks to Gui Boratto

Thomas Inskeep’s bluffer’s guide to ’80s R&B

Mike Orme reviews Justice’s

Fergal O�Reilly takes on Burn Your Own Church by Black Strobe


June 14, 2007

Motorcitysoul - Kazan (Exit Cube)

Peter Chambers: Somewhere between the buzzswept soundplanes of Playmade and the introspective headroom of 240 Volts lies Aus, a label dedicated to the clean percussive lines and deep-sunk washes of dub-tech-house. It’s all a matter of “taste, not waste” (to purloin a phrase from Losoul), and it’s on full display here, polished smooth and flowing forward in full effect. Like Estroe’s recent hit “Driven” or older gear on Poker Flat, Motorcitysoul’s “Kazan” glides forward on the soft push of its lush melody, which blossoms over four minutes into a long, slow, lean break which holds just enough back. Classy gear for warming up cool-hearted floors.

The My My remix on the flip does little for the overall effect of the long, linear build which makes the sheen shiny in the original. It’s the musical equivalent of cubism, breaking the planes of the original into diamond-shaped shards � then re-fitting the split facets together in the frame with lots of clever-clever edits that amp up the complications but detract from the overall effect.

Colin James Nagy: The original is a Detroit-inspired big room tune that tastefully touches on classic influences while embracing modern tones and production qualities for a near-perfect hybrid of old and new. A heavy heeled kick drum anchors layered synths, dropping into a nice, soft ambient lull before building back up again. The track doesn’t try to do too much, or get bogged down in unnecessary complexities. It just works.

Just about anything My My lay their hands on lately warrants a listen, and their remix on the flip is no different. They inject slightly more funk and swing to the track, also altering the structure and breakdown slightly. It’s not a major overhaul given the strength of the original, and speaks to their increasing talent as remixers - knowing when to leave well enough alone, while still leaving their own mark on a cut.

Aus Music / AUS0706
[Listen]


May 9, 2007

Shed - Remixes In Four Parts 2

200712"TechnoDetroit

Detroit is dead. Long live Detroit. So seems to be the case with the new generation of producers gathering around the signifiers of Motor City�s glorious, melancholy high-tech funk. In hindsight, Cassy�s Panoramabar mix of last year gave the best gloss on this new (not new) trendency within groove music. Cassy�s mix deftly revealed the sometimes overt, sometimes covert, sometimes inchoate connections between the neo-minimal soundworlds of Mathias Kaden and Liebe est Cool, the old classics of Rick Wade and DBX, and the neo-classic techno of Redshape and Shed, whose glorious �Well Done my Son� brings her mix to a wonderful, glorious crescendo.

Shed (whoever (s)he may be) and his/her label Soloaction has been one of the vital producer-connectors in this new constellation of affinities, and this remix EP offers the best of the progeny back to the forefathers of the funk for a re-blessing. Hearing the first bars of Echoplex�s remix of �Cityslicker� was like remembering something. �Ah, this is how it was,� my brain says. Classic, but not retro, the mix freshens the link with the past to suggest a fresh examination of deep space. Old hand Shawn Rudiman likewise provides some of that classic feel�but here�s where this interesting new exploration is in danger of becoming a retro/revivalist trend. The track ticks all the boxes, but is not nearly as compelling as Echoplex�s mix.

Netherlands newbie (in relative terms) MBC opts for a high-pressure, galloping percussive loop to push the sounds towards you, coming across as something not unlike Stephen Brown�s work on Transmat, although never quite reaching those ecstatic heights. (Un)surprisingly, Brown crops up on Shed�s next remix EP. If you�re new to the Shed sound, I�d suggest checking out some of his/her own releases first, but if you�re already digging the vibe, then this EP is worth it, just for the Echoplex mix.

Soloaction / SOA1210/2
[Listen]
[Peter Chambers]


April 5, 2007

David Garcet - Redemption

Similar to his first single on Belgium’s Dirty Dancing, “Redemption” sees Garcet working a heavy motorik beat with a consistent bassline on every 8th note, finding a common ground between Tussle’s minimal lockgrooves and early My Best Friend records like Toro’s “Phantom Drive.” With some soft-focus guitar melodies and snips of aching falsetto, Garcet is able to keep thing interesting while never diverting from the initial metronomic groove.

Fans of neo-italo duo the Revolving Eyes will find no stylistic surprises on their remix: they shift the monophonic chug into an arpeggiated hi-nrg rush, heightening the tension and creating a bit more heat for the dancefloor. Mister J, the other remixer here, could have had an electro-house hit on his hands if his production chops were more up to snuff. As it stands, he’s a little more than one well-programmed kick drum away from greatness.

Dirty Dancing / DDR 015
[Listen]
[Michael F. Gill]


March 30, 2007

Charts: March 30 2007

Todd Hutlock
Audion - Mouth To Mouth (Heartthrob’s Hot Breath Treatment) [Spectral Sound]
Pole - Jungs [~scape]
Creation Rebel - Starship Africa (Parts 1-5) [On U Sound]
DJ T - Lucky Bastard [Get Physical]
Mad Mike - Lo-Tech Reality [Underground Resistance]
Riton - Hammer of Thor (Roman Fl�gel Remix) [Souvenir]
Dominik Eulberg - Die Grunschenkel Im Blauen Priel [Traum Schallplatten]
Faze Action - In The Trees (Carl Craig C2 Remix 1) [Juno]
Adultnapper - Betty Crocker Moves To Berlin [Superfreq]
Audio Werner � Flatfunk [Circus Company]

Michael F. Gill
Jacek Sienkiewicz - Good Night & Good Luck [Cocoon]
Porter Ricks � Porter Ricks [Mille Plateaux]
Motorcitysoul � Aura (Jimpster Remix) [STIR15 Recordings]
Glimpse � Julia [Hypercolour]
Jay Pauli � Hamburger Spritzer [Ware]
DJ E Tones � Soul Detergent [Sounds]
Blue Vision � Visions [EMI Electrola]
Secession - Touch (Parts 3 & 4) [Beggars Banquet]
Rick James � Glow [Gordy/Motown]
Cheri � Murphy�s Law [Venture]


March 28, 2007

ULTRA Festival, Day Two (WMC, Day Three)

Our trip to Ultra for Day 2 was fraught with difficulty from the start- Ross was hanging some of his paintings for a show Sunday at Flavour in Coconut Grove, which is the kickoff for a new weekly party hosted by Miami�s G-Unit/Shadyville DJ Epps, who rocks on The Beat 103.5. At any rate, the hanging of the show on Saturday morning took a great deal longer than anticipated, so we headed off to ULTRA @ around 5, after stormclouds began a-brewing. Walking to the event from about twelve blocks away (and through a pile of people queuing for the Miami Heat game), we had to seek refuge from the onslaught of pounding rain. The sky looked to be clearing, though, so we kept on through it and made it to Bicentennial Park with high hopes and slightly damp clothing.

We had no freaking idea. The downpour began almost immediately. I was keen on seeing DJ Hell and then Tiefschwarz, who were scheduled to rock the Amnesia Electro/Techno stage starting about that time (we�d already missed Tiga, at least according to the schedule), so we headed right over there after skating through the V.I.P. (L.O.L.) entrance. Right as we got there, we felt the rain pick up and then saw everyone running away. That�s funny, we were thinking - where could they be running to in an open-air event? ANYWHERE, that�s where. The intensity of the storm was unendurable, buckets of water pounding down on the masses until everyone had to seek some form of cover. Someone out there will be able to appreciate the irony in our source of refuge - the Carl Cox & friends tent. If everything was going according to schedule, Danny Tenaglia was playing. Whoever it was, for the twenty minutes or so that we could endure the oppressive, stifling atmosphere of thousands of bodies completely pressed against each other, the music was like a hard-house version of Nazi marching band tunes. I like feeling compelled to dance, but my hackles get raised when its seems like I�m being ordered to. It looked something like this, although it really only approximates the painful crush of flesh:

Luckily, the rain slowed down, and though it took a long time to really go away (and even then, one couldn�t be sure), the worst was over. Only a couple of the stages were covered, so most of them had some delay in their schedules to work out. With tarps covering the stage and equipment (including the massive speakers), the DJs at the Electro-Techno stage finally got cracking - the DnB and House stages quickly picked up ravers as well. In fact, the House stage seemed the most attended of the evening apart from the Main Stage - at least during David Guetta and DJ Dan�s sets.

A long stroll around the whole site left us both in awe - the attendees of Ultra, despite a million other parties going on in closed spaces with no danger of getting drenched, really stuck it out to wait for their favorites get behind the wheels of steel. Whether they were holding out for Paul Van Dyk, BT, Cox, Richie Hawtin or whoever, they raved and raved and raved. Some raved a bit too hard - the night turned ghastly for us when we saw a woman who was dancing next to the fence at the Amnesia event suddenly collapse. Her boyfriend attempted to revive her and not really getting anywhere, so we contacted the nearest staff person. By the time we returned, she was obviously shaken but had motor control, so we stepped back and hoped for the best. Luckily, amongst the thousands of people there, this was the only incident that gave us fright - most everyone else seemed to be at least nominally in control of the situation.

Still, as the approach to midnight began in earnest, we left, somewhat shaken but thankfully not bruised. The Heat were losing as we walked past the arena, watching with some amusement as traffic was diverted around the massive congestion of the game and festival area. Not to say we walked blithely past, knowing we�d be dealing with it soon enough, but it felt good to come out of such intensity and see people who had absolutely no clue about the madness happening just a few hundred feet away. So we drove back to the beach in high hopes, looking forward to the party with Spank Rock and the Rub.

[Mallory O’Donnell]


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