August 23, 2007

Pikaya - Cambrium

I recently rediscovered my CD copy of Gescom’s Minidisc. To those who are unfamiliar with the album, it’s comprised of eighty-something short tracks: rhythmic loops; spooky atmospheres; crunchbeats the building blocks of an Autechre album laid bare, and a view onto the unarranged organs of a functional set. It was originally designed to be played on shuffle with a minidisk player, which meant that the album never played the same way twice, producing thousands of combinations of mixes. iTunes has given this album a new lease on life, because not only does it randomise the tracks and mix them gaplessly, it can also fade them into each other, resulting in both amazing and awful mixes. The only problem is the arrhythmic flam that you get when one beat crosses another out of phase…but once Apple releases a version of iTunes that can beat match, it’s bye-bye DJ.

I’ve done a similar thing with my collection of Cadenza EPs, which I play in a similar fashion, leaving the 4.6 hours worth of material on at low volume in the background and letting them randomise and waft into each other. The open structures and aleatory nature of Cadenza’s tracks (avowedly so in the case of Digitaline) mean that the music seems to take pleasure in its own meandering. Needing no intervention, it scribbles and squiggles away the afternoon in its own way. It’s my very own automatic etch-a-sketch, and it draws monochrome flowers.

The playlist is evolving with every Cadenza release, and with the addition of this new Pikaya EP, it’s grown in dub and daub, adding ornamental flourishes and deep-thrown effects to the labels’ prototypical boom-click/plip-plop skeleton. Pikaya’s debut on Cadenza came with “Grne Raufaser” the b-side on the split they shared with Andomat 3000 and Jan’s more boisterous and successful “Entr’acte Music”. It was a track that always hinted at introducing a major theme, but never really delivered on this tease. Both “Fango” and “Jedi” offer the similar sense of imminent drama (which never quite materialises, it’s stuck teetering on the verge), and at high volumes they provide useful tension as foregrounding tracks to be mixed in before “Mr Big Hooks”. At low volumes (when the tracks return to being my living room wallpaper) this also works as part of the overall Cadenza strategy. This is not house so much as the ivy that clings to it.

Cadenza / CADENZA 17
[Peter Chambers]

August 3, 2007

Beatzcast #44: Nate Deyoung


Stylus contributor Nate Deyoung presents a mix of recent dance tracks…

01: Otterman Empire - Private Land [buy]
02: Black Leotard Front - Casual Friday [buy]
03: Studio - Life’s a Beach (Todd Terje Remix) [buy]
04: Kelly Polar Quartet - Rhythm Touch [buy]
05: Phantom Slasher - Lasagna for 10 [buy]
06: Runaway - Ain’t Afraid to Beg [buy]
07: Map of Africa - Black Skin Blue Eyed Boys [buy]
08: Harry Nilsson - Jump Into the Fire [buy]
09: Etta James - In the Basement (Theo Parrish Re-Edit) [buy]
10: Lq - Lies (Theo Parrish Re-Edit) [buy]
11: Lee Douglas - Our Song 99 [buy]
12: Giorgio Gigli - Circle [buy]

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July 10, 2007

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


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
[Todd Hutlock]

July 8, 2007

The Week In Review: 2007, Week 27

Prosumer / Murat Tepeli - What Makes You Go For It? (Ostgut Tontrager)
Genre: House, Minimal/Deep

Peter Chambers: 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.

Zander VT - Dig Your Own Rave (Memo)
Genre: Techno, Electro-House

Tolga Fidan - Venice / Tambulistan (Vakant)
Genre: Minimal/Tech

Peter Chambers: Once something sufficiently menacing is found (black horns, icy strings, something scaly and slithering), a two-note minor interval or an arabesque/creepy/ancient-sounding melody is mixed in, and there’s your track.

Theo Parrish - Sound Sculptures Volume 1 (Sound Signature)
Genre: Detroit, House

Michael F. Gill: To me, there is still enough of a distinctive “soulful” (for lack of a better word) quality to this music that comes across as tangible, even when motifs are being heavily repeated.

Syncom Data - Beyond the Stars Remixes (Syncom Data Records)
Genre: Techno, Dub

Beatzcast #40: Crambe Repetita

Nick Southall reviews Two Lone Swordsmen’s Wrong Meeting II

Nate DeYoung takes on the Scandanavian Disco of Bjorn Torske

May 25, 2007

Thinking Out Loud: Physical vs. Digital

Thinking Out Loud developed from a series of open-ended email conversations and ruminations between Beatz staff members. In this article, Michael F. Gill and Peter Chambers discuss the merits of dance music on vinyl and MP3.


May 24, 2007

Trentemoller feat. DJ Tom and Vildtand - An Evening With Bobi Bros


The word antipodes was recurred in descriptions justifying the quality of Trentemollers productions after the hype generated by Polar Shift. Hype that appeared to come to dust here, in the Antipodes (Australia), after a notoriously bad live show that showed beyond all reasonable doubt that minimal was totally at odds with itself, generating a hype-based following who neither understood nor liked the music they nonetheless deigned to dance to. Why? In Melbourne, its hard to discount the pervasive effects of five years of progressive dishwater on spongy young minds here was a producer that re-packaged the antipodes of prog in a crispy, beautifully designed form. But its still dishwater if you ask me the much loved Last Resort album is conspicuous both for its polished hi-fi sound design and its lack of taste. Its not bad taste, no, just tasteless, inert but for the light taint of detergent. Offensively inoffensive. Okay, so now you get both the truth of Trentemoller and this reviewers own prejudices (or at least one of the two). What of the music?

Well, I do concede this is a nice EP, actually. Again, maybe I only think so because of my bias in favour of all things deep and dubby, but both these tracks represent two ways into the groove via thoughtful, interesting arrangements filled with emotion and even antipodes!

The A-side (with DJ T.O.M) opens on a keyboard line with something of the atmospherics of The Doors Riders on the Storm, adding a scratch-textured loop for a momentary nod to Jan Jelinek before the signature crispy compressed kick-snare sets to work. The main melodic refrain from the keyboard part goes solo in the third minute, unfolding as the groove marks time and breaking apart with occasional outbursts of delay. I wonder if I can still pick up the remnants of the washing up? No, not here. Trentemollers collaboration seems to have moderated and mellowed the fellow, in a good way.

The B harks back to early MRI and the halcyon days of Force Tracks, which cant be a bad thing theres even a very white female vocal on hand to lend curves to the sound planes. (Are we due for a dub-house revival?) But then theres those lyrics honestly, as a DJ, I couldnt stand behind the decks with my best serious DJ mien while You are ecstasy/you are sex came oohing and ahhing out of an otherwise well put together track. Ah, my tainted palette. Argh, bubbles, bitterness dishwater! How could you? Why did you? CD-users and edit-freaks offer themselves the possibility of truncating this taste lapse, but for me and others who play the track as it lays, this renders a whole side un-usableunless you like the lyrics? Given that I was almost alone in my assessment of Last Resort, youll probably find a lot to love here.

Kickin Records / KICK 154
[Peter Chambers]

May 13, 2007

The Week In Review: 2007, Week 19

Pepe Bradock - Rhapsody in Pain (Atavisme)
Genre: Leftfield

Peter Chambers: Youre not going to have a lukewarm reaction to this compositionI love it, but that might be a reflection of my overdeveloped sense of the ridiculous. Im so happy people are making fearlessly individual, expressive music like this, experimenting with the idiom of groove to make something perverted, pervertingyet still funky.

Ilya Santana - Discotized (Permanent Vacation)
Genre: Neo-Disco

Force of Nature - Sequencer / Afroshock (Mule Musiq / Headinghome Records)
Genre: Neo-Disco

Nate DeYoung: It takes a grown man to acknowledge when he goes out of his way to find dishwashing music and this timelike alwaysForce of Natures Afroshock (Broken Rule Mix) just fell on my lap.

Toby Tobias - Daves Sex Bits (Rekids)
Genre: Neo-Disco, Balearic

Shed - Remixes In Four Parts 2 (Soloaction)
Genre: Techno, Detroit

Oliver $ - Hotflash Vol 2 (Grand Petrol)
Genre: Electro-House

Nick Sylvester: When [Oliver] grooves for a few seconds on a hiccup of filterhouse, I suddenly remember how infuriating glitch can get. I want that hiccup to last forever, a hiccup that comprises the best moment on the whole twelve-inch, but Olivers already moved on.

Baby Ford / Benno Blome - Smoke Machine (Sender)
Genre: Minimal/Tech

Passions - Emergency (Kitsune)
Genre: Indie-Dance

Move D - Ac1D (Modern Love)
Genre: Minimal/Tech, Techno

Weekly Staff Charts
Beatzcast #32: Crambe Repetita

Nina Phillips reviews MIA’s Bittersss

Michael F. Gill talks about the process of a creating a DJ mix on Modyfier

May 9, 2007

Oliver $ - Hotflash Vol 2

Another day, another glitch-house track. I remember hearing “Hotflash!” on that Jesse Rose mix for Get Physical last year and wondering, for the first time maybe ever: Whatever happened to Akufen? I really used to like glitch, in no small part because I needed something like “the sampladelic nature of glitch-house” to combat my intense worry that dance was stupid and vain, that I was just wasting my time. Ironies abound but here we are: Berlin’s Oliver $ (pronounced, I think, “Oliver Dollar”) know well enough to keep the beat relatively steady and let the crazy microsamples flutter in and out unintrusively, but when he grooves for a few seconds on a hiccup of filterhouse, I suddenly remember how infuriating glitch can get. I want that hiccup to last forever, a hiccup that comprises the best moment on the whole twelve-inch, but Oliver’s already moved on. I got glitched!

Grand Petrol / GP 016
[Nick Sylvester]

May 8, 2007

Force of Nature - Sequencer / Afroshock


I’ve hit the tipping point with Force of Nature. Black Moon, the duo’s debut for Mule Musiq, might have been my first belated exposure last year, but hell if I was willing to accept the feat of tracking down the rest of their stuffdudes at ritzy boutiques were charging 30 bucks for just a CD. So for the sake of my wallet, I chalked it up as an anomaly and moved on. But now, after both Sequencer and Afroshock have hit, and hit me hard, that gnawing feeling of inevitabilitythe opposite of consumer bliss?has started to creep in.

And the strangest part of this feeling is that I’m not even sure if “Sequencer” works. From the very beginning, the waves of a foreboding arpeggiator set against a gentle bobbing wheeze epitomize the track’s confused tone. It isn’t really helped out by the ghostly machine sighs or the hopscotch synths. Instead, each part uncomfortably hangs together, in a way that draws me into the structure and pulls me away from the actual sound of the track. Rekid fixes and vamps it. Built around billowing delay, his remix feels like the best cross-pollination with his Quiet Village remixes: he teases out and slowly builds a heavy pulse that goes for the gut. The single’s standout, though, is the b-side “Transmute.” Built around a slo-mo melody, defanged electro backbeat, and drizzle of massaging acid, the song is light and ephemeral in the best possible way.

It takes a grown man to acknowledge when he goes out of his way to find dishwashing music and this timelike alwaysForce of Nature’s “Afroshock (Broken Rule Mix)” just fell on my lap. The song’s original giant toms might have been muddled under the wipes, scrubs, and splashes of Broken Rule’s rework of the percussion, but the spy-film bassline sneaks through enough to add well-needed intrigue to my domestic life. It’s this Afroshock single in particular that has me totally seduced by Force of Natureboth sides are perfect for mid-set, mid-run, or pushing past the midnight doldrums. Be warnedit could end up costing you more than for just one vinyl.

Mule Musiq / MULEMUSIQ 11
Headinghome Records / HHR-016
[Nate DeYoung]

May 4, 2007

Charts: May 4, 2007

Nate DeYoung
Baby Oliver - Uptown Express [Environ]
Lindstrom - Let’s Practice [Feedelity]
Force of Nature - Afroshock [Mule]
Juergen Paape - Speicher 47 [Kompakt]
Andomat3000 & Jan - L Delay [Cadenza]
Sebbo - Beirut Boogie [Liebe Detail]
V/A - Shut Up and Dance! [Ostgut]
Kathy Diamond - Miss Diamond to You [Permanent Vacation]
Matthew Dear - Asa Breed [Ghostly]
Efdemin - Efdemin [Dial]

Michael F. Gill
Marlow - So Mellow So Sweet [Moon Harbour Recordings]
DJ /Rupture - Secret Google Cheat Codes [Violent Turd]
David Keno and Francesco Passantino - Monosynth [Keno Records]
Acid OG’s - Good Good Feeling [Chicago Housing Commission]
Chris Rea - Josephine [Magnet]
Electribe 101 - Talking With Myself (Deep Dream Mix) [Club]
Lo Verde - Die Hard Lover [Moby Dick]
Bronski Beat - Smalltown Boy [MCA]
Prism - The White Shadow [Univer Records Production]
Blaze - I Think Of You (Restless Soul Inspiration Information Remix) [Slip ‘n’ Slide]

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