March 20, 2007

Misstress Barbara – Barcelona

It could be said that minimal is “the continuation of techno by other means,” at least in the case of labels like M_nus. For other camps, substitute trance for techno. For Border Community… well, what was so wonderful about the label was that, initially at least, you didn’t have to choose sides. As the label name promised, you could be a nomad’s lad, living in the lawless provinces where a bit of creative banditry could nab you a few hits against the stuffy “village people” below. There’s a double irony then, in Misstress Barbara’s “Barcelona” arrival on the label. Barbara, formerly an exponent of “hard as nails” club-tech, has produced a tech-trance record that seems to be retreating back into Tranceland, with all of the implications that name gives.

If techno bores the shit out of a lot of people for its lack of melodic variation, the problem with “Barcelona” in its original version is that by focusing so much on the inter-relation of melodies, the mistress takes her eyes off the rhythmic ball, producing a track that sounds like three big wedges of melody thrust through each other, while a dull thud simply marks time in the background. Holden’s “tool” mixes seem to be a tacit recognition of this, and overcompensate—they’re four minutes of constantly tweaked, prodded, torn out, and kicked drum patterns. There’s something interesting about the constantly mutating inter-relationships, but it sounds like Holden’s managed to mic up the brain of some poor sap whose overdosed on caffeine. But then, the “tool” appellation is a get-out-of-jail free card on this tip, isn’t it? Music that’s not designed for listening… hmmm.

“Jamais moi sans toi” sounds like a study piece of sorts—as if Barbara was intentionally trying to mimic the label’s previous releases. As when an attack dog bares its teeth gradually over five minutes, it’s difficult to stay scared, or even attentive—and likewise here too little takes too long to “happen,” and it’s an unexciting knock-off of Nathan Fake’s sigh-trance when it does.

Border Community / 15BC
[Peter Chambers]

February 9, 2007

Charts: February 9 2007

Todd Hutlock
Can - Mother Sky (Pilooski Edit) [D*I*R*T*Y Edits]
Tony Allen - Ole (A Remix by Moritz Von Oswald) [Honest Jon’s]
Riley Reinhold - Point Zero [Trapez]
Damero - Mope [BPitch Control]
Claude VonStroke - Who’s Afraid of Detroit? (Tanner Ross Remix) [Dirty Bird]
Thomas Melchior & Luciano - Solomon’s Prayer [Cadenza]
Villalobos – Ioda [Playhouse]
Mikkel Metal - Untitled (Vainquer Remix) [Echocord]
Dub Syndicate - Pounding System [On-U Sound]
Ron Trent & Chez Damier - Hip To Be Disillusioned [Prescription]

Mallory O’Donnell
Wendy Carlos - Sonic Seasonings [Columbia]
Morton Subotnick - Silver Apples of the Moon [Nonesuch]
V/A - Sub Rosa Anthology of Noise & Electronic Music, Volume 4 [Sub Rosa]
i-F - Mixed Up In the Hague, Volume 2 [No Label]
Kraftwerk - Ralf & Florian [Vertigo]
Drei Farben House - Any Kind of Feeling [Force Tracks]
Nathan Fake - Outhouse Remixes [Recycled Loops]
Legowelt - The Land of Lonzo [Bunker]
nofloatoutput - the sound of systems failing [Greystate]

Michael F. Gill
Mash – Somebody’s Property [Glasgow Underground]
The Work – Just Talk (Skatebaard Remix) [Powerblytt]
Sam K – Doesn’t Matter (Ripperton Remix) [Perspectiv]
Los Angeles T.F. – Everliving Fever [Proxima Centauri]
Fake – Donna Rouge [Did Records]
Mouzon’s Electric Band – Everybody Get Down [Vanguard]
Ritchie Family – I’ll Do My Best (For You Baby) [RCA]
Julia & Company – Breakin’ Down (Sugar Samba) [London]
Modeselektor – Hello Mom! [Bpitch Control]
MAT101 - Goodbye Mum! [Balance Records]

May 5, 2006

Lazy Fat People - Big City

Border Community’s latest 12” offerings from Fairmont and, now, Lazy Fat People seem to be veering closer to the ambient side of the spectrum, allowing tracks to glide far longer than shoulda-been three minute running times to near-interminable six- and seven-minute bores. So you might say, if you only heard the A-side of Lazy Fat People’s debut entry into the label’s catalogue. But then comes the spellbinding “Dark Water,” which has received play in all corners of the techno world (including even John Digweed’s KISS FM show). That track never quite reaches the heights of Nathan Fake’s world-beating “The Sky Was Pink,” but the molasses-stretched static, pound-turns-into-plod house beat, and Knife-esque congo melody-drums turn into a whole ‘nother beast entirely, with the Sleeparchive-esque sonar meltdown providing the cherry on top. The Community does it again.

Border Community / 11BC
[Todd Burns]

March 24, 2006

Minilogue - The Girl from Botany Bay

A spiritual heir to Nathan Fake’s “The Sky Was Pink,” without all the DJ versions and help afforded by James Holden, Minilogue’s “The Girl from Botany Bay” is a self-assured progressive house behemoth, set to annihilate any dancefloor that it comes across. The first release from Treibstoff sub-label Wir, the Swedish duo Minilogue, best known in the tech-house world for their Radiohead sampling 12” for Traum, mine the sort of giddy pop music that their country has been known for and compress the results into a gem of melodic yearning. Utilizing the loudest kick drum ever recorded, rosy fingertip synths, and a girl in a bathtub, the track hums along in its first seven minutes towards a climax never reached in Fake’s original or Holden’s remix of the same that obliterates. Apparently there’s a B-side. I’d actually never seen the words supertip before, but this release demands it.

Wir / 001
[Todd Burns]

March 24, 2006

Nathan Fake - Drowning in a Sea of Remixes

Nathan Fake must be busy trying to get Jesus, Buddha, or Shiva to remix for the next 12”, because it seems like every other big name is quickly finding itself attached to his work. But as evidenced by the Watlington Street EP, and his recent full-length, he doesn’t really need them. Still, there are some seriously noteworthy mixes on this short EP, and none of them sound much at all like the originals. Apparat’s take on “Charlie’s House” was an attempt, in his words, “to just try and make a rave song.” I nod my head as if I understand, and think to myself that it’s maybe the most beautiful remix to have been graced by such a stomping electro beat. It’s like a cleaner German take on Sebastian, and just using Nathan Fake as a starting point. It is clearly the standout track.

Nathan’s friend and visual artist Vincent Oliver takes a stab at “Long Sunny,” in an attempt that brings to mind the work of Textual and Arab Strap, vocals and sloppy guitar jabs present. In a hot Border Community-on-Border Community action sequence, Fairmont, of “Gazebo” fame, takes a completely different approach to “Long Sunny” by keeping things fairly micro and melodic. There’s no doubt that it’s well done, although probably a bit too downtempo for most dance floors. The Fortdax remix of “You Are Here” is a good track, but on an EP this strong it takes more to stand out. Also, at times Fortdax’s mix comes off like the triumphant theme song of an anime cartoon, with strings. When all is said and done, it’s best that James Holden isn’t on this, if for no other reason than to prove that there is so much in Fake’s music and that other artists deserve a fair chance. Run, don’t walk, to Beatport, or Itunes, or whatever, because you’re going to need this.

Border Community / 010
[Cameron Octigan]

March 10, 2006

Charts: March 10 2006

Mallory O’Donnell
Soft Cell - Seedy Films
Gaznevada - IC Love Affair (Chinese Version)
Kano - Baby Not Tonight
Erasure - Love to Hate You
Gwen Guthrie - Seventh Heaven (Larry Levan Remix)
Don Ray - Standing in the Rain
Telex - Moskow Diskow
Machine - There But For the Grace of God Go I (Remix)
Underworld - Dirty Epic
New Order - Video 5.8.6

Cameron Octigan
Alexander Robotnik - Problemes D’amour
Claro Intelecto – Peace of Mind
Claude Von Stroke - Chimps
Joakim - Wish You Were Gone (Dub)
Konrad Black - Medusa Smile (Don\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\’t Look Back)
Lifelike & Kris Menace - Discopolis
Mathew Jonson - Decompression
Mikkel Metal - Victimizer
Nathan Fake - Charlie’s House (Apparat Remix)
Scsi-9 - On The Edge
Sebastian - Smoking Lills

Nate DeYoung
Sleeparchive - Radio Transmission
Mobius Band The Loving Sounds of Static (Junior Boys Remix)
Peter Grummich - The Roll
Mark Broom - From London with Love…
Pantytec - Maybe
Break 3000 - Lights
Delon + Dalcan - La Migale Infernale
Daso - Go Upstairs
Jonas Bering - Behind this Silence
Nhar - Adrenochrome EP

Michael F. Gill
DJ Goon & DJ Koyote - Diamond Grills
Marcellus Pittman - M. Pittman EP #2
Fuckpony – Dave Brubeck
Fela Kuti – Ako
Quentin Harris - Let’s Be Young
Sutekh – Fire Weather
Virgo – Mechanically Replayed
Barbara Mason – Yes, I’m Ready
Kid – You Don’t Like My Music (Hupendi Muzikil Wangu)
E.G. Daily – Say It Say It

February 10, 2006

In The Mix: Todd Burns

Maybe it’s just been a while, but this mix came surprisingly quickly and easily, whereas most attempts take four months of planning and three months of retooling. But, like anything, it’s all in the source material. Thomas Schumacher’s “Brut Royal” is the opener and sort of sets the template for what will follow: brutal bangers that nonetheless revel in a heaping of melodic marinade.

3 Channels’ Robag Wruhme imitation flows nicely into Lee Van Dowski’s newest record for the Num label, which is rapidly becoming as Boomkat rightly describes “the stripped-down dancefloor-ready cousin to Cadenza,” while the sonar bleeps of Chardronnet’s mixes nestles itself perfectly against the electro-disco-house stomp of Afrilounge’s undeniable “Discoheadz.”

I’ve been more interested in anthems than anything else lately, which should explain the next two tracks: “La Migale” and “Lazy,” which don’t exactly mix perfectly but are both too good on their own not to give their place here. And besides, “Lazy” offers a nice mix into the deep and bitter finale, “Tribute to Solitude,” which meets anything that Nathan Fake’s new album has to offer head-on.

1. Thomas Schumacher - Brut Royal [Spiel-Zeug Schallplatten]
2. 3 Channels – 2 Dancing Rabbits [Crosstown Rebels]
3. Lee Van Dowski – The Darkened Component [Num]
4. Goldfish und der Dulz – Ding Dong (Chardronnet Mix) [Kickboxer]
5. Afrilounge – Discoheadz (Rough Demo Cut) [Get Physical]
6. Delon & Dalcan – La Migale [Boxer]
7. Spare Time – Lazy (Original Mix) [Factor City]
8. Pelle Buys – Tribute to Solitude [Italic]


December 22, 2005

2005: The Year In Review

A look into the year that was in electronic musics…

Top 10 Albums

Matthew Herbert – Plat du Jour
Audion – Suckfish
Vitalic – OK Cowboy
Ark – Caliente
Dandy Jack & Junction SM – Los Siete Castigos
Marc Leclair – Musique Pour 3 Femmes Enceintes
Pier Bucci – Familia
Who Made Who – Who Made Who
Lindstrom & Prins Thomas – Lindstrom & Prins Thomas
Alex Smoke – Incommunicado

This young Glaswegian producer’s debut came on like a shock: marrying a heady combination of electro, old school techno, minimal, and an innate pop sense. A collection of tracks that were just as liable to make you stop dancing in wonder, as it was to get you on the floor…

Top 10 Singles

Booka Shade – Mandarine Girl
Spare Time - Lazy
Luciano – Bomberos
Donato Dozzy & Exercise One - Skarciofen
Common Factor – That Was Then
Unai – Oh You and I
Royskpp feat. Karin Dreijer – What Else Is There?
Daso – Daybreak
Patrice Baumel – Mutant Pop
Stefan Goldmann – Blood

After previously appearing on the smaller Classic and Ovum labels, Goldmann steps up to the plate for Perlon’s 51st release—three enormous monster tracks of clicks and bass that start out with the most modest of intentions…

Top 5 DJ Mixes

Dominik Eulberg – Kreucht and Fluecht
Ewan Pearson – Sci.Fi.Hi.Fi, Vol 1
Annie – DJ Kicks
DJ Clever – Breakbeat Science 5
DJ Naughty – One Naughty Night in Berlin

Showcasing the vocal-end of electro-house, while throwing in classic disco and Italo to boot, DJ Naughty further pushed the dirty disco sound to its limits on this mix from the Eskimo label…

Top 5 Producers

Jesse Somfay
LCD Soundsystem
Putsch 79
Nathan Fake

Finding himself on seemingly every single DJ mix released this year, Fake had a massive year on the residual effects of the classic “The Sky Was Pink,” Traum’s 2005 crown jewel, “Dinamo,” and the white label of “Silent Night”…

Top 5 Remixers

Ricardo Villalobos
Abe Duque
Switch / YES Productions
Robag Wruhme
Stuart Price

Almost made the Killers listenable. No mean feat.

Top 5 Labels

Get Physical

Located strategically across the road from Kompakt HQ, the Traum family had its best year yet with strong entries from known quantities (Steve Barnes, Dominik Eulberg, Jeff Samuel) and a whole host of new producers (Alex Under, Jesse Somfay, Noze, Patrice Baumel)…

Top 5 Reissues

Keith Hudson – The Hudson Affair: Keith Hudson and Friends
DJ Shadow – Endtroducing
Luomo – Vocalcity
Prince Douglas – Dub Roots
AFX – Hangable Auto Bulb

Richard D. James’ formerly ultra-rare drill ‘n bass template sounds as fresh as ever, showing why betting on jungle in 1995 was the best decision he ever made…

Top 5 Compilations

Cybotron – Motor City Machine Music
V/A – Spectral Sound, Vol. 1
Senor Coconut – Coconut FM
Robag Wruhme & Wighnomy Brothers – Remikks Potpourri
Greg Wilson – Credit to the Edit

The first time that this dance music pioneer’s work has been collected. If you were going to clubs in the 1980s, Greg Wilson was your soundtrack—extending and tightening the tracks that you liked and turning them into the epics that you loved…

Words: Todd Burns
Voting Contributors: Todd Burns, Nate Deyoung, Michael F. Gill, Cameron Macdonald, Derek Miller, Mike Powell, Will Simmons

July 28, 2005

Nathan Fake - Dinamo / Coheed Remixes

There’s something about Nathan Fake right now that’s caught the hearts of most minimal listeners. It probably has something to do with his innate sense of melody, but it’s hard to say for sure. Coming off the highly caned “The Sky Was Pink” 12″ for Border Community and the best 12″ from Traum this year, Fake has gotten two remix 12″’s released under his name featuring the talents of Dominik Eulberg, Michael Mayer, and Steve Barnes. While the ambient mixes that Barnes turned in on his more recent release don’t do much to excite, Eulberg’s mix of “Dinamo” does a great job of marrying the original’s ping-pong sonar blips to a propulsive beat. Mayer’s mix of “Coheed” is, if anything, better than Eulberg’s by making it just as epic in four less minutes. Featuring his now-typical move of taking everything out of the track, only to build it back up again, Mayer turns the track into a pop-house gem.

Traum / TRAUM V60
[Todd Burns]

April 28, 2005

Undo and Vicknoise - Sonambula

Regulars here know how this one is going to turn out, so we’ll just say it straight out: awesome. Aside from Nathan Fake and Alex Smoke, this duo has to be the brightest young stars on the house scene. Unlike those youngins, though, U+V have always had a bit more of the electro-trance in them and it comes out in full force on “Sonambula,” which by track’s end will have both wrecked you and been nice enough to put you to bed. Turn it over, though, and get even further towards dreamland with “Orca.” Yes, there are whale sounds.

Factor City / FC 010
[Todd Burns]

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