June 19, 2007

Dopplereffekt / Los Angeles TF / Mike Dunn - Gesamtkunstwerk / Magical Body / So Let It Be House


Three more italo, electro, and house nuggets from Clone’s reliable Classic Cuts imprint, and the hits just keep on coming. First up is Dopplereffekt, the well-known Detroit electro collective featuring Gerald Donald of Drexciya. Gesamtkunstwerk is a reissue of a compilation that Gigolo put out in 1999, made up of all the vinyl sides from the group’s own Dataphysix Engineering label. It’s got all the hallmarks you’d expect to find on an electro record (sci-fi/technology themes, bleakly monophonic synths, precise/robotic beats) but with a consistency and a pop sensibility that the genre often lacks. The sleazy female vocals deadpanning on tracks like “Pornovision” and “Pornoactress” also predict what Adult’s Nicola Kuperus (and in turn, many electroclashers) would be doing years down the road. Great stuff.

Second up is a reissue of Los Angeles TF’s electro-italo smash “Magical Body” from 1983, sounding amazingly pristine here in a new remaster by Alden Tyrell. I wasn’t originally sold on the vocal version, where singer Taffy (of “I Love My Radio” fame) seems to over-emphasize the end of each phrase (”Magical! Magical! Is your bod-EE!”), but the tracky instrumental on the B provides immediate gratification, and shows why so many nu-italo producers were inspired to do what they do.

For the third helping, we get another EP of vintage acid house from Mike Dunn. Clone boss Serge was so scared to damage his vinyl copy of Dunn’s “So Let It Be House” he’s gone out and secured this reissue of it, along with two superior b-sides. While the press releases gushes about the title cut’s rareness, and frames 1980s Chicago as this exotic, magical place, to these ears it’s an overly sparse acid track with another “Birth of House Music” speech. It may be the weakest of this trio of releases, but I sort of get the cross-continental appeal. I’m never going to be a intimidating black man from the streets either.

Clone Classic Cuts / C#CC 004/005/006
[Michael F. Gill]

March 31, 2007

The Week In Review: 2007, Week 13

Faze Action - In The Trees (Juno)

Nick Sylvester: Especially with the crowd that space-discos drawing at the moment, you cant go wrong re-releasing what in retrospect sounds like an accidentally seminal cut. Speaking of accidentally seminal cuts, dont be surprised to find, as I did, the Carl Craig remix in otherwise aggravating neu-rave Franco-filter-metal sets happening in Lower East Sides near you.

Andy Stott - Handle with Care / See in Me 10 (Modern Love)

Lusine - Podgelism / Podgelism Select Remixes (Ghostly International)

40 Thieves - Point to the Joint (Smash Hit Music)

Tobias - Dial EP (Logistic)

Peter Chambers: In every way the sequel to Street Knowledge, Dial is the second part of a manifesto that lays out the unmistakable patterns of an incurable machine romance.

Mad Mike - Hi-Tech Dreams (Underground Resistance)

Patrice Bumel - Just Electricty (Trapez)

Justus Khncke - Justus Khncke vs Prins Thomas (Kompakt)

Jacek Sienkiewicz - Good Night & Good Luck (Cocoon)

Michael F. Gill: As good as Six Feet Above and Double Secret Life were, Goodnight & Good Luck sounds like a breakout release, straddling high-clarity minimal techno with a set of winding trance-esque melodies a la Orbital.

2007 Winter Music Conference Coverage: Day Three, Night Three

Weekly Staff Charts
Beatzcast #25: Nativespeaker (Peter Chambers) - dysappearance

March 27, 2007

40 Thieves - Point to the Joint


I’ve never heard of Dan Hastie before, but I sort of feel embarrassed for him. The press release for this release touts it as having keyboards by the “insanely talented Dan Hastie,” resulting in said phrase being in nearly every blurb written about this release. To the point: there might be some truth to it, as Hastie’s keys lift up “Point to the Joint,” a smooth and laid-back synth-disco number, to an area where it becomes more than just good background music. I can’t say the same about the thin-sounding remix by the Electric Boogie Band, who seem to be more in love with the sound of dubbed out disco than actually creating something memorable. “Ding Dong Moment” on the B is only a couple steps away from being on a 1998 Chill Out compilation, but remains a pleasant listen.

Smash Hit Music / SHMEP 07
[Michael F. Gill]

March 16, 2007

Charts: March 16 2007

Mallory ODonnell
Propaganda - Duel / Jewel [ZTT]
Silver Convention - Mission to Venus [Midland International]
Visions of Tomorrow - Galaxy (Charles Webster Edit) [Past Due]
Cat Stevens - Was Dog A Doughnut? (Pilooski Edit) [Dirty]
D-Train - Keep On (Dub) [Prelude]
Depeche Mode - Enjoy the Silence (Hands & Feet Mix) [Mute]
40 Thieves - Point to the Joint (Electric Boogie Band Remix) [Smash Hit Music Co.]
Sascha Funke - Auf Aix [BPitch Control]
Junior Boys - Dead Horse EP [Domino]
Juan Atkins - Wax Trax! Mastermix Volume 1 [Wax Trax]

Michael F. Gill
Teena Marie - Youre All The Boogie I Need [Gordy/Motown]
Brass Construction Movin (12 Mix) [United Artists]
Number One Ensemble Back To Heaven [Radio Records]
June Evans If Your Want My Lovin [H & H records]
Roundtree Hit On You (Tony Humphries Dub) [Discfunction]
Afx - VBS.Redlof.B [Rephlex]
Moonbeam Sunshine [Traum]
Each Sunrise (Original Mix) [Out of Orbit Recordings]
Joachim Spieth Connect [Paso Music]
Dub Taylor Schmidts Cat / Schmidt’s Katze (Part 1) [Organic Domain]

February 16, 2007

Partial Arts - Trauermusik

Why has Ewan Pearson has emerged as a star remixer? His neatly crafted versions of other peoples music often sound like the original should have in the first place. Its a know-how that he applies here with co-consiprator Alistair Usher to produce a record that sounds like Kompakt records might, but often dont. The duo have managed to key in on the particularly lush, rich, sentimental melodic techno sound thats marked anthems like Magnets KissKissKiss, Superpitchers Mushroom, or Robert Babicz Sonntag and transport it into an emotional landscape of their own creation.

Trauermusik begins with a slight electro-disco inflection, boogying past with a neat bassline, but then piles on the synths and falling drums until theres not a dry eye left in the house. Full release (as they advertise in Japanese massage parlors) in eight minutes, guaranteed. But its nothing compared to its evil, mischief loving Alter Ego mix. From the get go, this is a raucous, rambunctious smasherif the original cries tears, then this version rips them. Very close to Rocker and the other huge tracks off the recent Alter Ego album, the track manages to neck five shots of the hard stuff on its way to total annihilation, and no doubt it will take the whole floor with it. Two very different types of emotional hit, both fully realized. Not all Kompakt EPs are worth buying, but this is one of them.

Kompakt / KOM 149
[Peter Chambers]

May 19, 2006

Snax & Ianeq - Fill Me Up

Mallory O’Donnell: Get Physical and Playhouse in a crossover smash? Get real! But here it is, Snax moonlighting from his Captain Comatose gig and hooking up with Ianeq for two tracks of that Deutscher-boy laptop R&B, each track featured in both longer original form and shorter edit courtesy of M.A.N.D.Y. “Ain’t That Love” brings the heavy clunky-funk vibe and tranceoid atmospheric strings, but it’s “Fill Me Up” that gets the gold star for white-on-white soul cut of the month. Daring enough to rope in some fat-bottom acid squelch along with the classy falsetto, “Fill Me Up” is enough to inspire thoughts of an alternate universe in which the Red Hot Chili Peppers discovered house music and suddenly ceased to suck.

Ronan Fitzgerald: Fans of discarded Kitsune b-sides form an orderly queue! Snax and Ianeq have brought some good old-time Prince booty music to Get Physical! Just in case you don’t like anything the label has done to date, they’ve kindly deviated from their usual style to bring you a sugary slice of fake pop music. Given there’s a radio edit, maybe this is intended to be a chart hit, but even in Germany it’s hard to imagine anyone giving a damn about “Fill Me Up.”? Of course neither the vaguely pervy clunk of the title track nor the Lil Louis meets Chromeo vibe of “It Ain’t Love”? sound irredeemably awful, but at least if they did you’d be less ambivalent about what’s essentially a massive waste of time from a usually efficient label like Get Physical.

Get Physical Music / GPM 043

February 24, 2006

V/A - Disco Dimensions 2 EP


One of my favorite compilations from last year was Smash Hits’ Disco Dimensions, which presented new house and crossover tracks that employed many of the sounds and styles of classic underground disco records. This 12″ brings three new tunes in the same mold, but falls quite short of its mighty predecessor. All of the elements - squishy synths, wiggling basslines and organic-sounding drums - are present in Ray Mang and Foolish Felix’s “Disco Dementia,” but the track itself fails to achieve enough energy for liftoff. A little more dementia, please. Similarly, Stranger’s “Motorboy” has great parts - the bass in particular is filled with giddy energy and the high-pitched guitar sound is a neat twist - but on the whole it fails at whipping up any kind of dance floor frenzy. The best track here is the last one, Seiji’s “Rubbish,” which contains enough funky live percussion sounds to fill a zoo, but little else besides. While all three songs would make fine mixers, or moments of restraint on a longer compilation, I fail to see why they would be chosen to fill both sides of a 12″ single.

Smash Hit Music / 004
[Mallory O’Donnell]