March 13, 2007

Narcotic Syntax - Provocative Percussion

I’d always thought that Narcotic Syntax was nothing more than Marcus Nikolai’s “silly side”—the kind of tracks that might have resulted when the dentist/label owner reached for his sampler not a moment after taking his snout out of the gas mask. I mean, “Reptile Sweat Accelerator”? “Muff Diver?” Whose madness is this? Punning Germans? Really?! Well, as it turns out, Narcotic Syntax is actually Yapacc and James Dean Brown, with the ribald puns being the work of the latter. Narcotic Syntax have been popping up on the Superlongevity compilations since the word go, and their Latinized, percussive microhouse jumped a zany inch out at you after the sometimes flatlining funk of other überminimal trackmakers.

“Provocative Percussion” takes you from this context to where the title would suggest, with four drum swamped tracks that would work wonderfully well as tools, provide the raw materials for a whole batteria of loops, or carve things up on their own. “Blast Excavation” sets the agenda, with a slow building heave of hits which add, conjugate, and multiply as the track unfolds. A background listen lends the impression of a straight-ahead barrage, but closer ears expose endlessly proliferating layers of grooves, breaking down, breaking apart, reforming, but always marching onward.

“Descarca Narcotica” is a re-presentation of their track “Ping Pong Voodoo” from Superlongevity 3 which introduces the old versions groove to the melodic equivalent of a leopard-skin couch in a mondo cocktail lounge. While somehow not as directly satisfying as their work incorporating vocals (check the hilarious “Raptor’s Delight”), this is an engaging and useful EP for anyone who wants to add more than a pinch more drums to their box.

Wir / WIR 005
[Peter Chambers]

February 9, 2007

Audio Werner - Flatfunk

If samples were cats, then Audio Werner’s would definitely be among the pigeons. Like his popular Just Darr It EP on Trapez Ltd, this release is full of exuberant micro house with one eyebrow raised, but it’s less “hyper” than the Akufen-esque sound of yore or its even more manic French cousins on Circus Company. Anywhere you find it, these are likeable and useable tracks that easily fit between the cracks in your tiny wee house. It’s all about the drum samples, boys and girls, and Audio Werner’s predilection is for hits, taps, and toms that seem more likely to be drawn from an anthropologist’s field recordings, rather than some 909 drum sample CD-ROM. The title track lives up to its name, bubbling for a full ten minute workout, and sounds somewhere between Betrieb’s more accessible moments on Klang and some of the less schizo bits on Lump’s color series vinyl. “DBA” sounds like early Musik Krause, and funks along without a hiccup or a highlight. “Moved,” the B2, is filled with cool xylophone sounds and oddball percussion samples, bells, and spooky reverb. With a touch of Latin madness, it could easily be a Narcotic Syntax production. I have a feeling this one would layer really well in the mix, and can imagine it +8 betwixt two other rolling, shaking percussion monsters under the mixer of Villalobos or Luciano.

Circus Company / CCS 017
[Peter Chambers]