July 23, 2007

Jahcoozi - Reworks


Yet even more sweets for 2007’s remix piñata. I’m not too familiar with Jahcoozi’s glitchy dub-pop stylings, but the “name” remixers piqued my interest here, and deliver three eargrabbing pieces of lively and stripped down house music. Leading things off is the nicely titled “Robert Johnson 6AM X-Ray Italo Rework” of “Ali McBillls” by Playhouse boss Ata and Moodmusic’s Sasse. It starts off a bit like an old MRI or Force Tracks record (dubby stabs on 2 and 4), punctuated by a heavily flanged snare at the beginning of each measure. As it progresses, things get slimier, with some disco-dub effects, pulsating eighth-note synths, and posh female vocals (”My Daddy’s rich but I don’t admit it”). There’s a line about Ally McBeal which is a bit cringeworthy, but thankfully it’s not so much a deterrent but a reminder of the fact that there are finger smudges in this chic pudding.

On the b-side, Arto Mwambé’s “Bubbles In The Bathtub Shake” remix of “Shake the Doom” is more straightforwardly housey, with simpler kick patterns and a two-note bassline. Arto maintains the interest level with an ever-shifting arrangement of staccato vocal chunks, colorful cymbal timbres, and a sneaky little chord progression revealed at the end. Cassy, Miss Panoramabar herself, remains in fine form with her own take on “Shake The Doom”. Similar in sound to her recent single with A Guy Called Gerald, this is a cyclic minimal house cut in love with its taut, old skool sounding drum rhythms. Yet it doesn’t feel flat or indulgent to me, as there’s a lot of spring to this remix’s step. Maybe I have a soft spot for drums that sound like they are made of rubber (i.e. they feel very flexible, yet still give a strong attack), but Cassy seems to get endless mileage out of this drum sound with only one vocal and keyboard loop laid on top.

Careless / LESS007
[Michael F. Gill]

July 22, 2007

The Week In Review: 2007, Week 29

Deetron feat. DJ Bone - Life Soundtrack (Music Man)
Genre: House, Techno

Simon Baker - Plastik / Jitters (Playhouse)
Genre: House, Minimal/Deep

Peter Chambers: Just like some people’s nudity is more naked than others, some repetitions are somehow more repetitive than others, while others are seemingly less repetitive, more transformative.

Lee Douglas - New York Story (Rong)
Genre: Neo-Disco

Nate DeYoung: It’s wide-eyed and effortless as a wind-up toy, but packs 500-lb chimes straight out of Blondie’s “Rapture”.

Len Faki - Rainbow Delta/Mekong Delta Remixes (Ostgut Ton)
Genre: Techno, Minimal/Deep

Various Artists - Sasomo EP (BAR25)
Genre: Minimal/Tech

Michael F. Gill: With the world remaining indifferent to my personal peaks and valleys, why not have my music be the same way?

Avus - Furry Hat / Spnkr (Border Community)
Genre: Progressive/Trance

Brother From Another Planet / .Xtrak - 7th City Classics Vol. 1 (7th City)
Genre: Techno, Acid

The Beatz staff pick their favorite dance releases of 2007, so far

Beatzcast #42: Crambe Repetita

Nina Phillips reviews Efdemin self-titled album on Dial Records.

July 17, 2007

Simon Baker - Plastik / Jitters

“Repetition changes nothing in the object repeated, but does change something in the mind which contemplates it.” It may be redundant to apply David Hume’s famous idea to a specific track – this is dance music, after all. But just like some people’s nudity is more naked than others, some repetitions are somehow more repetitive than others, while others are seemingly less repetitive, more transformative. Basic Channel is a case in point – and how many people’s lives (let alone musical universes) have been transformed by those sublime repetitions?

Maybe this is reaching too high for Simon Baker – “Plastik” ain’t that fantastic. But the use of repetition here works wonders somehow. The whole track consists of one repeated riff that attacks, fades, and modulates relentlessly (now a little rougher, now a little flatter, now a little heavier, now a little lighter). Some recent Redshape smashers have tried this same approach, and its also been a staple of many Planet E classics, not least Gemini’s “Crossing Mars”, which turns the act of looping into a type of cosmic transport.

“Jitters” is the tense other to “Plastiks’” unbridled compulsion; on the verge of unleashing the urge, it contemplates intensity again and again with a touch of menace and lots of little microrythmic garnishes around the main groove. Just like the A, it effectively features a short-tempered synth bassline with a penchant for timbral variation (attack, retreat, yell, whisper, repeat). Reaction to this whole caper among my technoid geek friends has been mixed, but what the hell would they know? This is deadly simple, fun, and effective. Or, to put it another way, there’s a joy in repetition.

Playhouse / PLAY 137
[Peter Chambers]

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

April 1, 2007

From The Archives #1

From The Archive is a selection of dance related articles and reviews from the archives of Stylus Magazine.

Frank Martiniq - Little Fluffy Crowds (Boxer Recordings, 2005)

Todd Burns: Frank Martiniq hardly has an identifiable “sound,” as you can tell from the above descriptions, but his compositions are united by one thing: a consistent quality, no matter the spin that Martiniq is putting on it. While you’ll probably never actively go out and seek Little Fluffy Crowds, if it somehow ends up finding you, you won’t be disappointed.

Losoul - Getting Even (Playhouse, 2004)

Ron Schepper: Peter Kremeier understands that a random gathering of dance tracks does not an album make, and so gives weighty consideration to Getting Even’s sequencing and its contrasts to ensure it’s heard as a listening experience beyond all else.

Shuttle 358 - Chessa (12k Records, 2004)

Michael Heumann: Chessa continues to deliver emotion-laden atmospherics. The eleven songs here are replete with the same spinning sine waves, sputtering bleeps and clicks, and (especially) lilting synthesizer melodies that effectively comprise the “Shuttle358″ sound.

Mokira - Album (Type, 2004)

Francis Henville:
+++++++++++long pasted water tones, clouds ++++++++++
+++++++four colors of air++++++++repressed anger++____
________nostalgia++++++++=======irrelevance, the sound
of muffled crying from next door (+) (+) (+) ++++++++++++
+++++++short moving tones++++++something sung_______
+++++++++++++++++++++it was once a guitar**********
+then the evening+++++++++ and the longer night+++++++

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]

February 2, 2007

Charts: February 2 2007

Todd Hutlock
Kiki - Trust Me (Super Dub) [Bpitch Control]
Radio Slave - Weeeze [Rekids]
Pantytec - Micromission (Daniel Bell Remix) [Perlon]
Thomas Brinkmann - Wait A Minute [Max Ernst]
Mikkel Metal - Noff [Echocord]
Sieg Über Die Sonne - You’ll Never Come Back (Tobi Neumann’s Waiting For You Rmx) [Multicolor Recordings]
Villalobos - Tub [Playhouse]
Alan Parsons Project - I Robot (Pilooski Edit) [D*I*R*T*Y Edits]
Depeche Mode - Master And Servant (An ON-U Sound Science Fiction Dance Hall Classic) [Mute]
Convextion - Solum Ferrum [Down Low]

Mallory O’Donnell
Roxy Music - Same Old Scene (Glimmers Remix) [Virgin]
Love Supreme - Pork Chop Express [Tirk]
Kathy Diamond - All Woman [Permanent Vacation]
Flim Flam - Best of Joint Mix [Dum Dum]
Marsha Raven - I Like Plastic [Red Bus]
Pet Shop Boys - One More Chance (Remix) [ARS]
Orgue Electronique - The Garden [Creme Organisation]
Chocolate Milk - Action Speaks Louder Than Words [RCA]
The Field - From Here We Go Sublime [Kompakt]
Gui Borrato - Chromophobia [Kompakt]

Michael F. Gill
Tenderness - Got To Keep On Trying [RCA]
Bob-A-Rela - Why Does It Rain? [Channel]
O’Gar – Playback Fantasy (Instrumental) [Magic Circus Productions]
Quartz – Beyond The Clouds [T.K. Disco]
Omar-S- The Maker [FXHE]
Robert Hood – Hoodmusic 2 [Music Man Records]
Marcellus Pittman – Come See [Unirhythm]
Herbert – The Movers & The Shakers (Green Velvet Remix) [!K7]
Remo feat. Chelonis R. Jones - Empire [Dance Electric]
Home Video - The Penguin (Tim Goldsworthy’s The Loving Hand Remix) [Defend]

January 19, 2007

Ricardo Villalobos - Unflug Mixes


You would think that the label cash-in effort would be limited to the likes of Johnny Cash or Kurt Cobain, but apparently Ricardo Villalobos is a big enough name to warrant Frisbee Tracks latest exploitation of his back catalog. The original “Unflug” was released in October of 1998 and was one of Villalobos’ earliest productions—meaning it wasn’t nearly as accomplished (or lengthy) as his recent work, but was still decent enough, a stomping tech house thing with a nifty analog riff and some drifty background chords and of course those trademark layers of percussion.

The two mixes here by Franklin De Costa and Good Groove & Yapacc (who?) aren’t necessarily bad, but given that the source material isn’t exactly Ricardo’s greatest moment, how great can you expect the remixes to be? The Good Groove & Yapacc remix goes on nearly twice as long as it needs to in true Villalobos fashion, stripping the track down, accentuating the techy end of things and adding a deep bass swoop, but lacking rhythmic invention and that feeling that at any moment, the bottom could drop out and leave nothing but rainforest chants or finger cymbals for the next six minutes. De Costa turns his take into a bubbling percolator, filtering the original’s Latin percussion fills into something interesting and alien and spontaneous and vaguely akin to the sort of work that Villalobos does these days. Not a bad cut by any means, but if you’re looking for “Villalobos,” stick with his recent work on Playhouse or Perlon, not these half-baked releases aimed directly at your wallet.

Frisbee Tracks / FT 069
[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 22, 2006

2006: The Year In Review

Welcome to the Beatz By The Pound year-end roundup for 2006, a veritable smorgasbord of lists, thoughts, and reflections about the current state of dance music. And while all of our writers handed in very diverse ballots, we were able to come to a consensus on a couple of key releases, producers, and labels. Let the madness begin…


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