April 25, 2007

Lopazz - Share My Rhythm

Peter Chambers: Lopazz has always positioned himself (or been positioned) between the airbrush-smooth electro-house that Get Physical mastered (and transcended) and its others: Trevor Jackson’s cool-hunting Output inprint, and the spectre of Playhouse, first with the Villalobos remix of “Migracion,” and now the inclusion of an Isolée remix.

There’s always a danger to having a gifted freak remix your work, even if you are one yourself (witness Villalobos’ showing Beck up on the stellar “Information” remixes). “Share My Rhythm” is a case in point. The original version is a lovely, sparkling electro-disco-house number with that “greet the sunshine” vibe that Metro Area or Danny Wang managed to infuse their tracks with. You listen to it, you don’t think you’re missing out on much: “This will do nicely,” I thought. Then I heard the Isolée remix… It’s just like the original, but all the frequencies are stuffed full of that magical squawk, fuzz, and grit that he seems to have an inexhaustible supply of. Every sound has been lovingly treated in such a way as to bring out both its personality and Isolée’s (sigh). I’m gushing, I know. It’s unbecoming. “Gimme Gimme,” the B, is another serviceable track in the same sound-vein. Again, it’s tidily produced and sounds nice, but after hearing the Isolée mix, it sounds like a thin approximation of something far richer, deeper and more interesting.

Mallory O’Donnell: While it might be tough to pin down the Lopazz sound, it’s oh-so-easy to enjoy. “Share My Rhythm” is no exception to this, boasting a starry, sparkling melody coupled with a stiff tech-house beat and warm, swirling pads. It plays a perfect middleman to introspective and deep-house styles, having a bit of the best of both worlds to offer, with none of the genre-inclusive traits that tend to drag. Isolée turns in a typically fine remix, drawing out the bassline and dubbing up the accents blacker than dread. It’s definitely a chilly take, but one that’s refreshing, like a skinny dip in Autumn waters, rather than the numbed-senses bath of the minimal icebox. B-side “Gimme Gimme” ups the thunkability quotient considerably yet retains the sensuous elan of the title track. A complex, well-rounded EP from an artist who we’ll continue to expect big things from.

Get Physical / GPM 064

March 2, 2007

Charts: March 2 2007

Mallory O’Donnell
Trippy Disco - Frankfurt in Fifteen [Radius]
Maximilian Skiba - Apple of Disco EP [Terranova]
Chris Rea - On the Beach (Tangoterje Edit) [Balearic Biscuits]
Tackhead - The Game [4th & Broadway]
Ladytron - Destroy Everything You Touch (Hot Chip Remix) [Island]
Galen - Playing Games [Utensil]
Evelyn “Champagne” King - Shame / Nobody Knows [RCA]
Shades of Love - Keep In Touch [Body to Body] (Instrumental Version) [Venture]
V/A - Music of Quality & Distinction, Volume One [Virgin]
V/A - Dirty Edits 2-5 [Dirty Edits]

Todd Hutlock
Andy Stott - Handle With Care [Modern Love]
Håkan Lidbo - This Looks Infected, Doesn’t It? [Musick]
Porter Ricks - Scuba Lounge [Mille Plateaux]
Beck - Cellphone’s Dead (Villalobos Entlebuch Remix) [Geffen]
Luciano - Keridos [Cadenza Split Composition]
Rod Modell – Avionics [Echocord]
Cortney Tidwell - Don’t Let The Stars Keep Us Tangled Up (Ewan Pearson Long Vox) – [Ever]
JTC – Trancender [Crème Organization]
tobias. – Dial [Logistic]
Ace Frehley - New York Groove [Casablanca]

Michael F. Gill
San Proper & Tom Trago – Catterpillar Butter Plus (Proper’s Mixdown) [Rush Hour Recordings]
Mark Broom – Upside Down [Pure Plastic]
John Thomas – Magic [Logistic]
Oaysis – Incredible Bass (Slipmatt remix) [Vicious Vinyl]
Lopazz – I Need Ya [Output]
George Demure – Sister Valhalla [Tirk]
Keith Hudson – Nuh Skin Up [Greensleaves]
Shackleton – Blood On My Hands [Skull Disco]
Shed – Well Done [Soloaction]
Steve Doesn’t Drive – Woman & Car [Did Records]

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]

January 19, 2007

Martinez - Restructured Layers

Cophenhagen-based Martinez is behind the mix on his Out of Orbit label’s first CD release, and he’s chosen to use the imprint’s back catalog as his template, including Lowtek Sounsystem, Robert Babicz, Trentemøller, and many tracks by Martinez himself. But rather than simply mixing things up in a traditional style, Martinez goes the DE9 route and cuts the tracks into loops and bites, sewing them together to make a new whole, playing as many as eight tracks at one time. If you’ve heard Hawtin’s work in this vein, you can guess that the results don’t sound much like the original tracks—how could they?—but still retain the flavor and tone of the label’s general output, making this an ideal entry point for new listeners, as well as a new experience for those who already know and love the label. This mixing style may be a bit too clinical and emotionless for some, but it’s a well-executed project and the label’s clean tech-house style lends itself to the process.

Out Of Orbit Recordings / ORB CD001

[Todd Hutlock]

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…


December 8, 2006

20:20 Soundsystem - Tape Remixes

20:20 Soundsystem made electro/disco/house for years before Get Physical made it hot. Their pristine, squeaky clean sounds and lines belie a dancefloor muscularity that only seems to come to the fore when the floor is dark and the moon is high in the sky. Likewise, Ralph Lawson’s label 20:20 Vision has always sat easily between its sometimes-brilliant electro-leaning output by Carl Finlow and its housier offerings like Fred Everything’s fruity “Light of Day.” This massive remix project is another well-considered move, pairing the original with Dirt Crew and Prins Thomas. Dirt Crew’s sound sits perfectly here as the “filthy other” to 2020’s sparkles, while Prins Thomas takes a pinch of the same grime and flings it into hyperspace disco mode. To tell the truth, the original is no masterpiece—it’s one of those tracks which stays in your box for its qualities as a “gear changer,” the B-side between A and C, useful for moving a house set into electro mode or vice versa. Dirt Crew’s mix smears a little disco mud on the original licks, but ends up underwhelming—it’s the Prins Thomas you want. All three versions, even the seemingly throwaway “bogus bonus version” prove yet again why this Norwegian is justly touted as one of the most creative productive forces in current dance music.

20:20 Vision / VIS137 / VIS137-A
[Peter Chambers]

November 17, 2006

Tantra - The Double LP

A release scooping up most, but not all, of the Italo group Tantra’s output, The Double LP revolves around two side-length epics—the A-side “Hills of Katmandu,” and the D-side “Wishbone.” I first heard the former (in truncated form) on the Idjut Boys classic Saturday Night Live, Vol. 2 mix, and if it blew me away then, it’s even more potent in its full 16-minute-plus glory. Exotica and “orientalist” touches were always a feature of Italo, and “Hills of Katmandu” deftly weaves such fare into a monster of rumbling percussion, weaving analogs, and swaying female vocals. The sweet little nugget of disco fantasia that interrupts at the 6:30 mark is both unexpected and cheesily delightful. “Wishbone,” on the other hand, is funkier and more mesmerizing—the odd female vocals are paired with echoed tribal percussion to a mystical and almost eerie effect, with a sitar-like lead making the odd appearance. It’s the mirror of “Katmandu,” but an unsettlingly purist one—making absolutely no concessions towards any but the most tripped-out of dancefloors. If I could find the crowd that would happily vibe along with me to all of its 15 glorious minutes I would never bloody leave.

Normally this would constitute a full and rewarding album, but in between these two leviathans is sandwiched another two full sides of goodness that interweaves primal and futurist elements. The B-side unveils two strong Eurodisco stompers: “Get Ready to Go,” which could’ve soundtracked any number of early 80’s prime-time buddy-cop TV shows, and “Top Shot,” a track that pushes all the gay disco buttons it can find and then digs around for some more. The C-side, on the other hand, starts with “Su-ku-leu,” a traditional African-flavored number that still kicks out on its disco heels, combining the chants and ethnic percussives with synth pops and sweeps, which blends right into “Mother Africa,” a T-Connection-esque stomper with a delicious percussion break that sets the stage for the most stereotypically “disco” of their tracks, “Hallelujah.” Side closer “Get Happy” points an arrow towards boogie, and could be a Chic b-side, with its warm syn-strings and chimes. It’s the very spirit of disco’s unabashed joyfulness, and a fine place to rest.

The Double LP is that great disco rarity—not just a classic album, but a classic double, and as such it demands a proper remix and CD release. Until then… keep those needles fresh!

Importe/12 / MP-310
[Mallory O’Donnell]

September 1, 2006

Louderbach - Enemy Love Remix EP 1

Cameron Octigan: With a burning red trident in hand, Troy Pierce has birthed a monster. In one fell swoop, he both exemplifies and brings into question the relationship between techno’s more minimal aesthetic and the presentation of those sounds. Well, at least the remixes are interesting. Vivianne Project picks “Grace” and ditches Miami Bass for tech, which works better with the original vocals anyway. “Vital” is turned into a dull tech-electro by Donnacha Costello, while Marc Houle’s Rosaire Argyle moniker makes “Dior Compound” slightly more abrasive, but does little else. Osvaldo’s remix of “Vacuum Packed” is probably the most interesting thing here: organic sounds like blood sucking and indiscernible vocal samples are garnish to the two-steps-from-dub backing. And Konrad? Pierce is the new Black.

Peter Chambers: Louderbach is more than just “Troy Pierce with black lipstick.” As with a lot of the recent M_nus output, you get the impression that you’re hearing the beginning of an exploration, not its ends and after-effects. M_nus’ spine is the bassline—foregoing techno’s obsession with frantic, abrasive, stabbing atmospheres in the 90s, all four of the remixes here build on neo-techno’s tendency to meander through percussive tropes which kick and click around the ever-present groove. Rosaire Argyle’s remix of “Dior Compound” takes “spooky chimes” (as much a theme of this year’s techno as the cowbell was to disco-not-disco a while back) and hangs them like a mobile above a bed of menace, removing the original version’s Green Velvet-y push. Vivianne Project’s remix of “Grace (Anxiety)” puts the vocal in the back seat and adds lots of percussive trapdoors and alleyways, but can’t top the impact of the album version. Osvaldo takes “Vacuum Packed,” the most Sähkö-ish track on the LP, and slaps it into a micro-goth funkup. Donnacha Costello’s remix of ‘Vital’ is the only real let-down here—it’s two minutes too long and the bassline is left in the mix in a way that makes me run squealing for the skip button.

Underl_ne / UND/009

August 11, 2006

Giorgos Gatzigristos - Skip Tutorial

“Wherefore art thou Kompakt bangers?” To thread: “Skip Tutorial” bends and breaks over a phantasmic pulse. Heavy reverb and disintegrating beats run throughout along a synthesized Rhodes. On the other side, “Sloensje” brings the listener back closer to the K2’s usual output, if only a little. Gatzigristos privileges melody and sound over movement, an approach perhaps more admirable on headphones. But with the mix trend towards Hawtin and Magda’s liquidating of contemporary techno’s most valuable assets into 30 second clips, someone can easily find that much peak time here.

K2 / K2/13
[Cameron Octigan]

July 28, 2006

Padded Cell - Are You Anywhere?

The latest output from the Padded Cell duo of Richard Sen and Neil Beatnik builds outward from an angular, punk-funk bass line with live-sounding disco drums. As the title cut progresses, swaths of dark, sci-fi sounding tones that sound better suited to a 1999 drum ‘n’ bass track lurk and pan in the background before it explodes into an unlikely strain of jubilant jazz sax and tinny, 80’s slap bass. Disparate elements, to be sure, but they congeal nicely into a hefty track that will work wonders for the leftfield disco massive. The flip, “Konkorde Lafayette,” is built from largely the same formula of thick, live bass and drums, but opts instead for dubbed-out horn stabs, swirling funk guitar, and some epic Moog noodling for good measure.

DC Recordings / DCR 67

[Colin James Nagy]

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