May 21, 2007

Shackleton - Blood On My Hands (Villalobos Remix)

Even when I see the towers fall…fall…it’s difficult to see, to breathe, for all the smoke and dust. I have this feeling with Villalobos’ remixes these days: rumours that they’re about to drop induce the mental equivalent of wheezing. It was the same being a latecomer to Reservoir Dogs and Bladerunner, the demand to find genius at play was inversely proportional to the ability to “just enjoy” the works after so much praise had preceded them. It’s the hype, your honour, and this asthmatic boy doth breathily protest.

The personal irony then (or not) was the elemental force of Villalobos’ remix of Beck’s “Cellphone’s Dead”. Unhyped by friends, unanticipated by me, it sighed, kicked, and sung its way right out of my loudspeakers and into the quiet parts of my heart. It might be one of the best house tracks I’ve ever heard. Might be. I set the Beck remix up as a counterpoint against the two “smoke machines” : the hype and the structure. “Cellphone’s Dead” is a beautifully composed track designed to unfold over its long minutes, with every refrain changing its relationship through repetition and emphasis. It’s like a blueprint for how to do groove music, and it feels like it’s composed to do so.

“Blood on my Hands”, like Fizheuer, is nothing like this. Both tracks, similar in scope and sound, play with (as far as I can gather) an effects processor called the Eventide H3000, producing slowly modulating drum sounds that shift timbre and seem to push and pull into each other, creating (especially at high volumes) beguiling tricks of the ear and sending dancefloors into paroxysms of addled ecstasy. They’re tools, likely written by Villalobos solely for himself, to be layered under other tracks and to fade through other mixes in his inimitable DJ style. I imagine him, off his guts after a long weekend of after-after parties, eyes rolling – mental hours spent in the studio with a buzzing whirl of falling drums.

The wonder of these tracks is twofold then: that they’re the audible traces of a private musical process; that they’re unfinished, more like snatches of an almost unending work made from hours of tweaking, of getting deep inside your groove, out of your head. Simply by releasing them as such, Villalobos has innovated – like Andy Warhol’s eight hour long films of people sleeping, “Blood on my Hands” questions the presuppositions and re-frames the possibility of what a piece of music is, how it’s structured, what it does, and what it’s for – at once process, instrument, and product. And there is a unique piece of music in here – it emerges in the plateaus, the retreats and the attacks of the effected drums, it rushes up through Shackleton’s fantastic lyrics (and how many groove-based tracks have even good lyrics), it drops past you with the atmosphere of apocalypse conjured by the image of the falling towers. It’s a ridiculous criticism to say that “it’s too long”, or that “it’s not a track” – these are two other undeniable qualities that make this work so exemplary, just as they point out its limitations. “Blood on my Hands” might not be a beautiful piece of music like “Cellphone’s Dead” is, but it is undiminished as an artistic statement for all that. As Brian Eno once noted, new forms of music necessitate new ways of listening. So it is here.

Skull Disco / Skull 007
[Peter Chambers]

February 16, 2007

Charts: February 16 2007

Todd Hutlock
Todd Sines - In_Come [Frankie Rec]
Safety Scissors - Where Is Germany and How Do I Get There? (Ellen Allien Germany Remix) [Bpitch Control]
Roxy Music - The Main Thing (Rub-N-Tug’s Proton Saga) [Virgin]
Dominik Eulberg & Gabriel Ananda - Harzer Roller [Traum Schallplatten]
Pär Grindvik - Casio [Spectral Sound]
Heartthrob - Baby Kate (Robotman Remix) [M_nus]
Ripperton - Tainted Words [Connaisseur]
Audio Werner - Flat Funk [Circus Company]
Tracey Thorn - It’s All True (Martin Buttrich Dub) [Virgin]
Marcellus Pittman - A Mix [Unirhythm]

Michael F. Gill
Goat Dance – Goat Dance (Version) [Bear Entertainment]
Blackjoy – Untitled (Kerri Chandler’s Bigga Mix) [Freerange]
Tony Allen – One Tree (Terrence Parker’s Spirit of Unity Instrumental Mix) [Honest Jon’s]
PM Dawn – A Watcher Point of View [Don’t Cha Think] (Todd Terry’s Hard House Mix) [Gee Street]
Escort - All That She Is [Escort]
Jo Squillo Eletrix – Avventurieri [Polydor]
The Voyagers - Distant Planet [Discomagic]
Venus Gang – Space Woman [P.B.I. Records]
Two Tons O’ Fun – Got The Feeling [Fantasy Honey]
Tribe – Koke [Probe]

February 2, 2007

Roxy Music - Remixes 02


For all the steam generated by the initial betting pool for the Roxy Music remix project, it’s finally starting to sizzle a bit. After the lumpen first round, the arts n’ crafts neo-disco crowd get their hands on “The Main Thing” and “Same Old Scene” (two of the better cuts from Avalon and Flesh + Blood, respectively). Rub-N-Tug do a really nice turn on “The Main Thing,” seizing on the post-disco lounginess of the original and contorting it, working up a snazzy proto-house groove starring some delicately funky keyboard. The Glimmers walk home with the statue though, squeezing all the sensuality inherent in “Same Old Scene” until it works up a nice lather. The contrast with Ferry’s louche boredom / arousal in response to said scene ought to be enough to stimulate some discrete rubbing by discerning hipsters.

Virgin / VST 1920
[Mallory O’Donnell]

February 2, 2007

Beatzcast #17



01: Roxy Music - Same Old Scene (Glimmers Remix)
02: In Flagranti - Just Gazing
03: Escort – Bright New Life
04: Diskokaines – Rock-A-Boogie (In Flagranti Mix)
05: Heib - Acid Pimp
06: Gui Boratto – Mr. Decay
07: The Field - Everyday
08: Elektrochemie – Mucky Star
09: Remo feat. Chelonis R. Jones – Empire (Spektre Remix)

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]

November 17, 2006

Beatzcast #11



01: T. Raumschmiere - So Leis Wie Noch Nie
02: Mike Dunn - Face the Nation
03: Roxy Music - The Thrill of It All (M.A.N.D.Y. vs. Booka Shade Re-Work)
04: Antena - Camino Del Sol (Joakim Remix)
05: Rex the Dog - Maximize
06: Simian Mobile Disco - Tits & Acid
07: James Figurine - Eleven Numbers (Superpitcher and Thomas RMX)
08: Ozgur Can - On a Whiter Day
09: Claude VonStroke - Beware of the Bird

November 17, 2006

Roxy Music - Remixes 01

Imagine my excitement when I first heard about my beloved Roxy Music being
remixed by the likes of Tiefschwarz, Lindstrom/Prins Thomas, the DFA, Kaos, and The Glimmers! Now imagine I’m listening to not one, but two takes on the insipid “Angel Eyes.” What, couldn’t get their hot little hands on any of Ferry’s Dylan covers? Of course, this is only the first round, but if their best foot is being put forward first, expect the whole project to end ass-up in the gutter. The re-edit is fine from a technical standpoint, but the source material is… still “Angel Eyes.” Kaos does his best to push the song towards the disco floor, highlighting the diva vocals over Ferry’s, but it’s in the name of a lost cause. Far superior is the second 12″, which takes in Tiefschwarz burying “Rain Rain Rain” in their backyard and then unearthing it covered in rust and old bits of tinsel. Far more minimal and elegant than most of their recent outings, it bodes better for the future of Tiefschwarz’ catalog than the past of Roxy’s. Last and best is M.A.N.D.Y. and Booka Shade’s team tackle of “The Thrill of It All,” which sounds rather like one of their tracks with bits of the original filtered in the background. An inauspicious start. More details on the Roxy Remix project can be found here.

Virgin / UK VJSTDJ 1919
[Mallory O’Donnell]