August 28, 2007

Future Loop Foundation - The Sea and the Sky


The introduction of the operatic to the electronic is invariably a mixed moment. For Mark Barrott (aka Future Loop Foundation), this moment may tremble full of horns, strings, and soaring spirits, but it also shivers in the fear of past monsters, which the same arrangements of instruments and intentions often produce. Heaven and hell: think Moby. Think BT – late career BT. Are you inspired, or afraid?

Speaking of inspiration, the writer Paulo Coelho also seems to be a latent influence here, as there is something in Barrott’s music that strives to “overcome adversity”, “discover its true self”, and “become one with the infinite spirit,” all in the space of nine or so overblown minutes of symphonic dance. I remember a co-worker (who happened to be a BT fan) lending me a copy of Coelho’s The Alchemist. He kept badgering me: “What did you think? Didn’t you think it was wonderful?” I found myself at a loss. I thought it was one of the worst novels I’d ever read, but I also understood this as being in no small measure due to my hard kernel of cynicism and atheism, and I could also see just how much the book meant to him. “It was…good,” I said, “I think it taught me something new.”

Likewise with The Sea and the Sky: somebody’s going to get…something from all these swooshing strings and bombastic drum breaks. The original twists and builds to a rousing climax, like a sunburst (in extremely poor taste) that makes you think, “It’s coming, it’s coming!” Ashley Beedle’s remix re-structures matters within an epic house frame, offering patterns and repetitions that would make it the perfect incidental music for one of those highlight montages sports programs show during the Olympics. The Padded Cell remix dries things out a bit with a spare electro-disco re-slap, which, once the choir and the horns comes in, is the manic bearded other to Tolga Fidan’s depressive, clean-shaven horrorcore minimal. It’s actually not bad. Finally, TG’s “Angry Trucker Mix” offers up a very prog/minimal mix, replete with metallic tear-outs and a mids-heavy bass riff.

So, what can I say? Do you like BT? Do you like Paulo Coelho? Do you like your house painted in Wagnerian strings? Well then, maybe this one’s for you.

Louisiana Recordings / TAT 004V
[Peter Chambers]

August 10, 2007

Beatzcast #45: Crambe Repetita


Stylus editor Todd Burns presents a mix of electronic music featuring new tunes from Daso, Shackleton, and Aril Brikha…

01: Future Loop Foundation - The Sea And The Sky (Beedle’s Orchestral Reprise) [buy]
02: Future Loop Foundation - The Sea And The Sky (Padded Cell Remix) [buy]
03: Daso and Pawas - TGV [buy]
04: Aril Brikha - Room 337 [buy]
05: Dennis Ferrer - Touched the Sky [buy]
06: Pikaya - Jedi [buy]
07: Shackleton feat. Jackson del Ray - Next to Nothing [buy]
08: Lucio Aquilina - Feeling Plastik [buy]

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April 18, 2007

Sly Mongoose - Bad Pulse


Mallory O’Donnell: Despite all the brouhaha surrounding disco-not-disco, cosmic disco, and the like kicked up during the past half-decade, very few have actually had the savvy or nerve to suggest that it might be educational or perhaps even fun to create new material that truly tapped that vein, warts and all. Enter Sly Mongoose, of Japan. “Bad Pulse” is the feature track, a refreshingly dirty booty-commanding groove, driven by a tribal tom roll and shiny piano and brass. It might be a bit short, though, but luckily the Padded Cell remix nearly doubles the track length and gussies it up with a bit of shimmer and echo. B-side “Delusion Habit” has a CTI 70’s jazz-funk gloss going for it, with the appropriate throwback proto-disco thing happening in the rhythm section. It sounds like a long-lost staple of Mancuso’s Loft, warm and joyful while retaining a chic elegance. Recommended.

Nick Sylvester: Sped up just 8-10 BPM or so would make this hotly tipped Japanese producer’s latest a-side a primetime player at a disco-edit party, though there’s something special to how the track works at the slightly languorous tempo it ships with: the toms sound deeper and hold out with pitch, the percussive grit of the rhythm guitar scraping hits harder, the piano fills up what space is left. I want to say it has “rock energy” but I’m not sure if that’s just my way of saying the drums sound ‘70s rock huge. The trumpet line doesn’t work for me—reminds me of bad Cake songs—but the aux percussion all over is ace, really well-mixed, in a way I suspect !!! wanted out of their record but didn’t quite get. B-side “Delusion Habit” *must* be some 60s Blue-Note organ jazzblues record done over with minor embellishments, but I can’t place it exactly. It’s totally fine in the same way Madlib’s Shades of Blue LP was totally fine: really pleasant jazz for people who don’t like jazz.

Mule Musiq / MULEMUSIQ 012

April 6, 2007

Beatzcast #26: Crambe Repetita


01: Padded Cell - Moon Menace [buy]
02: Crash Course In Science - Cardboard Lamb (Vitalic Mix) [buy]
03: Etienne Daho - Le Grand Sommeil (Sweetlight Mix) [buy]
04: David Garcet - Redemption (The Revolving Eyes Remix) [buy]
05: Ripperton - 10a [buy]
06: Hanne Hukkelberg - Berlin [buy]

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November 3, 2006

The Glimmers - Time 4 Action Remixes


It’s like I only review releases of mid-tempo or nu-disco around here. Anything with a thick semi-driven bassline, lots of reverb, and the occasional guitar flange—at the very least I’ll listen to it all the way through, forgive bad melodies for good texture, etc. This one tries my patience, though. It’s not Padded Cell’s fault, but that slight chromatic riff they keep from the original really blows, a shame because everything around it is aces, especially the new drum sounds, all programmed with different piston-like pneumatic qualities, like it’s this massive space-disco super-engine. There’s even one towards the end that sounds like a blowdryer; that’s a new one. The flipside is the CJ Bolland/Glimmers remix; sounds like a dubbier disco edit of the Brennan Green “Cerebral Tremolo” remix for Kaos, which is more interesting rhythmically and goes better places.

Diskimo / DISKO 6001
[Nick Sylvester]

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]