September 9, 2007

The Week In Review: 2007, Weeks 33, 34, & 35

Beatzcast: Freestyle Essentials 01
Beatzcast: Freestyle Essentials 02
Beatzcast: Freestyle Essentials 03

Pikaya - Cambrium (Cadenza)
Genre: Minimal/Tech

Peter Chambers: This is not house so much as the ivy that clings to it.

Will Saul & Lee Jones - Hug the Scary
(Aus Music)
Genre: Minimal/Tech, Electro-House

Charts: August 23 2007

Gavin Mueller’s guide to Ghettotech

Future Loop Foundation - The Sea and the Sky (Louisiana Recordings)
Genre: House, Neo-Disco

Osborne - Outta Sight (Spectral Sound)
Genre: Acid, House

Nate DeYoung: If we’re heading into the last days of summer, then by all means let it be soundtracked by shimmering piano-house.

Brendon Moeller - Jazz Space (Third Ear)
Genre: Techno, Dub

False - False (M_nus)
Genre: Minimal/Deep

Andy Stott - Fear of Heights
(Modern Love)
Genre: Dub, Minimal/Deep

Peter Chambers: As a child, I used to build my Lego castles as per the instructions, but only the first time. The subsequent re-builds would slowly deviate, riffing around the structures of the original but adding, subtracting and supplementing elements, to the point where my later creations were unrecognisable as mutants of the original.

Tobias Thomas - Please Please Please (Kompakt)
Kaito - Contact to the Spirits (Kompakt)

Nina Phillips: Thomas is too busy crafting to see the dancers looking back at him from the floor. No wonder this was mixed live—in an empty dance club in Cologne.

V/A - Grand Cru 2007 (Connaisseur)
V/A - Rekids One (Rekids)

Nina Phillips: If you build bangers, they will come.


Wiley - Playtime Is Over
(Big Dada)

Chris Gaerig: Playtime Is Over proves that Wiley truly does run the grime game. Hell, he’s the only one left.

Arsenal - The Coming (Idjut Boys Mixes) (Play Out!)
Genre: Downtempo, Balearic

Beatzcast #47: Crambe Repetita

Deepchord Presents Echospace - The Coldest Season (Modern Love)
Genre: Dub, Techno

Todd Hutlock: Basic Channel effectively invented the wheel of this genre, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t admire the latest models to roll off the modern assembly line.


August 29, 2007

Osborne - Outta Sight

200712"HouseAcidSpectral Sound

For a guy who has done slice-n-dice jungle under the name Soundmurderer, Todd Osborn doesn’t seem to be possessed by much rage on “Outta Sight.” In fact, this single shows he’s more likely to be throwing down some loved-up house vibes than fragmented epics. I’m all for it though - if we’re heading into the last days of summer, then by all means let it be soundtracked by shimmering piano-house.

The individual ingredients on “Outta Sight” aren’t the most innovative - you could dine on the flirting piano melodies, Latin rhythms, over-enthusiastic bassline, and sampled vocal quiver for your next assembly-line meal. But Osborne teases each out, making such potentially hackneyed elements sound current for 2007. Along with Sly Mongoose’s “Snakes and Ladders” and the forthcoming single from Still Going, “Outta Sight” makes a great case that there’s a piano-house revival afoot. On the flip, “L8″ (produced with Tadd Mullinix) provides the necessary jacking foil - 303s, cowbells, and 909s need not apply, as there’s more than enough to go around.

Spectral / SPC-45
[Listen]
[Nate DeYoung]


August 19, 2007

The Week In Review: 2007, Week 31 & 32

G-Man - Quo Vadis (Styrax Leaves)
Genre: Techno, Dub

Peter Chambers: These tracks lumber forward, only allowing the slow revelation of a timbro-melodic theme to happen “in the fullness of time.” It’s a strategy that gave rise to a lot of exceedingly dull records, but Varley knows exactly which tone-pots to touch, and how.

Adam Craft / Grindvik - Catch Me / NAND-Grind (Stockholm LTD)
Genre: Minimal/Tech, Techno

B12 - Practopia / Slope (B12 Records)
Genre: Techno, IDM/Experimental

Todd Hutlock: The infamous cover of the original Artificial Intelligence comp features a robot chilling out in an easy chair with headphones on. This could easily have been what it was listening to.

Various Artists - Death Is Nothing To Fear Vol. 2 (Spectral Sound)
Genre: Minimal/Tech, Techno

Argenis Brito - Micro Mundo (Cadenza)
Genre: Minimal/Tech

Nate DeYoung: With Micro Mundo’s highs never too far away from its lows, the Chilean techno drug is no longer as potent as it used to be.

Henrik B feat. Terri B - Soul Heaven (Boss)
Genre: House, Electro-House

Michael F. Gill: Let’s act like this review never happened.

Beatzcast #45: Crambe Repetita

Michael F. Gill’s featured article on Stylus: The Bluffer’s Guide To Freestyle

The Chemical Brothers - Do it Again (Remixes) (Virgin / Astralwerks)
Genre: Minimal/Tech, Electro-House

Beatzcast #46: Crambe Repetita

Album Reviews:

Lindstrom & Prins Thomas - Reinterpretations - reviewed by Mike Powell

Prins Thomas - Cosmo Galactic Prism - reviewed by Tal Rosenberg

Dixon - Body Language Vol. 4 - reviewed by Nina Phillips

V/A - Kompakt Total 8 - reviewed by Peter Chambers

V/A - Soundboy Punishments - reviewed by Nina Phillips

The Chemical Brothers - We Are The Night - reviewed by Dan Weiss

White Noise - An Electric Storm - reviewed by Mike Powell


August 8, 2007

Various Artists - Death Is Nothing To Fear Vol. 2

Whereas the first volume of Spectral Sound’s latest compilation series featured a side-long groover from the label’s biggest star, Matthew “Audion” Dear, the follow-up isn’t dominated by one act at all. The four tracks here are uniformly excellent and of enough variety to keep even the most OCD listener satisfied, driven as they seem to be by genuinely, um, “spectral” sounds (or perhaps “ghostly” is a better description).

Spectral mainstay James T. Cotton’s “2 Keys” leads things off with more of his familiar funky-acid-by-numbers action, but hey, acid isn’t exactly built on the idea of diverse sounds, so you can hardly be surprised. Jonas Kopp remixes Plan Tec into a building, percussive nightmare with inspired (and masterfully restrained) use of some very cool horrorshow effects and knob-tweaking, and you might swear that Geoff White’s minimal popper “Apartmental” is a long lost Daniel Bell cut, bugged out and bouncing along.

The cream of this particular crop, however, is Mikael Stavöstrand’s “Can You See Through My Eyes,” a clattering, spooked-out ride full of inspired textures and percussive tricks that rumble over the track’s spine like a skeleton being dragged on a bumper. The Cotton track may be a little samey, but three out of four winners these days is a mighty fine ratio. Oh, and bonus points for the cute skull-&-hearts cover motif.

Spectral Sound / SPC-043
[Listen]
[Todd Hutlock]


June 17, 2007

The Week In Review: 2007, Week 24

DeepChord - Vantage Isle (echospace [detroit])
Genre: Techno, Dub

Todd Hutlock: Vantage Isle is perfection for anyone looking for the logical successors to the Basic Channel throne, or just looking for something mellow for those steamy late summer nights.

Ame - Balandine (Innervisions)
Genre: Techno, Progressive/Trance

Gudrun Gut - In Pieces (Monika Enterprises)
Genre: Downtempo, Minimal/Deep

Peter Chambers: If you’ve ever seen Michael Mayer do his dance behind the decks, the Burger/Voigt remix is, well…this is what the dance “sounds” like.

Audion - Noiser / Fred’s Bells (Spectral Sound)
Genre: Minimal/Tech, Techno

Nate DeYoung: Dear’s previous all-excess all-acid diet lead to the dreadful and desperate cul-de-sac of “how can I add even more?” With “Bells” and his recent string of songs, it sounds like he realized the question should’ve been “How can I make it sound like I’m adding even more?”

DJ Koze - All The Time (Philpot)
Genre: Minimal/Tech

Argy - 1985 (Liebe Detail Spezial)
Genre: Minimal/Deep, House

Motorcitysoul - Kazan (Exit Cube) (Aus Music)
Genre: Electro-House, Minimal/Deep

Peter Chambers: Classy gear for warming up cool-hearted floors.

Beatzcast #37: Crambe Repetita

Mike Powell talks to Gui Boratto

Thomas Inskeep’s bluffer’s guide to ’80s R&B

Mike Orme reviews Justice’s

Fergal O’Reilly takes on Burn Your Own Church by Black Strobe


June 13, 2007

Audion - Noiser / Fred’s Bells

Since Beatz isn’t afraid of repeating itself, it’s worth pointing out that we really do think Audion is running neck to neck with sliced bread for what we prefer to gush over. We would feel totally justified doodling New Yorker comics where Matthew Dear (AKA Audion) gets to use the punchline “…but I wrote Mouth to Mouth, bitch” in various settings – in front of a Rothko, on top of the Sear’s Tower, or meticulously peed onto a wall in R. Kelly’s mansion. Dear’s recent releases and remixes have all but shown that he can turn water into wine, leap tall buildings in a single bound and even make the Chemical Brothers sound relevant again.

His latest two-sider will no doubt satisfy such high expectations. “Fred’s Bells” mumbles, slithers, and ties the bow with any narco-minimal heart in sight. The track’s boomerang effect, which generally defies the law of conservation, is as much about the competing basslines as the song’s loss of depth perception. “Noiser” returns to the dry-heaving and dry-humping jack that culminated in Suckfish. Set next to “Fred’s Bells,” though, it shows how Dear’s previous all-excess all-acid diet lead to the dreadful and desperate cul-de-sac of “how can I add even more?” Both with “Bells” and his recent string of songs, it sounds like he realized the question should’ve been “how can I make it sound like I’m adding even more?” It’s subtle, but important.

Spectral Sound / SPL-44
[Listen]
[Nate DeYoung]


April 22, 2007

The Week In Review: 2007, Week 16

Theo Parrish - Children of the Drums (Sound Signature)
Genre: Detroit

Peter Chambers: “Children of the Drum” contains all those elements that make Parrish’s music tick—a descending mesmer-melody that’s used as backdrop for rolling percussion (beautifully played by Jerry the Cat), a vocal very high in the mix, and these crazy drum machine patterns in the distant background somewhere—bongos going quietly bonkers.

Lovebirds - Modern Stalking (Winding Road Records)
Genre: House, Neo-disco

Audion - Mouth To Mouth Remixes (Spectral Sound)
Genre: Minimal/Tech

Cortney Tidwell - Don’t Let the Stars Keep Us Tangled Up (Ever Records)
Genre: Electro-House

Sly Mongoose - Bad Pulse (Mule Musiq)
Genre: House, Neo-Disco

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.

Digitaline - Anticlockwise (Cadenza)
Genre: Minimal-Tech

Tiny Sticks vs. Mental Groove - Killing Your Ghost (Mental Groove/Tiny Sticks)
Genre: Neo-Disco, Electro-House

Jürgen Paape - Speicher 47 (Kompakt Extra)
Genre: Minimal/Deep, Techno

Convextion - Miranda Remixes (Matrix)
Genre: Techno, Dub

Todd Hutlock: The original mix is a damn fine piece of second-wave Detroit techno, all jumping rhythms, dubbed-out keyboard stabs, and ring-modulated riffage, but fuck, this ain’t the second coming of “Strings of Life” or something.

Weekly Staff Charts
Beatzcast #28: Crambe Repetita


April 17, 2007

Audion - Mouth To Mouth Remixes

Whenever I see a remix single of an absolutely amazing, individualistic record—like this is, one of 2006’s biggest and best tracks—I have to wonder why in the hell anyone would want to remake it. It just seems to be a losing proposition to try to put your own work up next to a classic in the making, especially less than a year after the original release.

The brave souls here are M_nus man Heartthrob (who takes it on twice, no less!) and Wagon Repair vet Konrad Black, both of whom should be commended for not only having the balls to take on a record bigger than the both of them put together, but also to do a fine job with it, all told. Heartthrob takes two similar routes, both maintaining the original’s singular sense of menace and stalking ability, and on the “Mantap Mix” he takes the swelling analog noise from the original that made you scream your balls off last summer. Beyond that, it’s pretty much par for the course: a tight, funky, minimal, throbbing analog steam. Konrad keeps it more on the lowdown, working the bottom end and the atmospherics into a thick, sticky froth, only to let in some light just in time to keep it from getting suicidal. Disaster averted.

Online exclusives are here, too, from Matthew “Audion” Dear himself and Ryan Elliott. Dear’s “Mund zu Mund” version rearranges some runs and kicks a bit more Latin-esque funk into the mix while still managing to turn those noises in for more thrills than they should be worth. Elliott strips it down for spare parts, working the perc into a frenzy and dropping a few of those big swells, too, just to keep it interesting. It’s a damn shame the online tracks aren’t available on wax, they are worth the trouble for fans.

Spectral Sound / SPC-42
[Listen]
[Todd Hutlock]


March 30, 2007

Charts: March 30 2007

Todd Hutlock
Audion - Mouth To Mouth (Heartthrob’s Hot Breath Treatment) [Spectral Sound]
Pole - Jungs [~scape]
Creation Rebel - Starship Africa (Parts 1-5) [On U Sound]
DJ T - Lucky Bastard [Get Physical]
Mad Mike - Lo-Tech Reality [Underground Resistance]
Riton - Hammer of Thor (Roman Flügel Remix) [Souvenir]
Dominik Eulberg - Die Grunschenkel Im Blauen Priel [Traum Schallplatten]
Faze Action - In The Trees (Carl Craig C2 Remix 1) [Juno]
Adultnapper - Betty Crocker Moves To Berlin [Superfreq]
Audio Werner – Flatfunk [Circus Company]

Michael F. Gill
Jacek Sienkiewicz - Good Night & Good Luck [Cocoon]
Porter Ricks – Porter Ricks [Mille Plateaux]
Motorcitysoul – Aura (Jimpster Remix) [STIR15 Recordings]
Glimpse – Julia [Hypercolour]
Jay Pauli – Hamburger Spritzer [Ware]
DJ E Tones – Soul Detergent [Sounds]
Blue Vision – Visions [EMI Electrola]
Secession - Touch (Parts 3 & 4) [Beggars Banquet]
Rick James – Glow [Gordy/Motown]
Cheri – Murphy’s Law [Venture]


March 24, 2007

The Spectral Social @ the Clinton Hotel (WMC, Night Two)

Friday night seemed the perfect night to stay confined to Miami Beach, so we went back across the causeway, refreshed and re-upped and spent the rest of the night walking up and down the strip (strips, really). The beach is a monster with mythic aspirations, crawling with every form of beauty and degeneracy staking out its own space from which to confront the mundane. It’s also the perfect place for Winter Music Conference to really sprawl out into the street as well - adding its own mix of nasty and nice to the cauldron.

When it comes to WMC on the beach, there seem to be two basic types of party- free / cheap ones that take over hotel lobbies and exclusive ones at the trendy-ass velvet-rope clubs (Nikki Beach, the Pearl, the Opium Garden, Cameo). When it comes to these latter parties, we quickly realized that a press pass or badge is more a hindrance than an advantage - after all, if we let you in, we can’t get away with insisting on a two-bottle charge (where a bottle costs $200).

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At any rate, our first target was the Spectral Social @ the Clinton Hotel, featuring Matthew Dear, Ryan Elliot and Seth Troxler alternating, tag-teaming, corroborating and confounding each other to create an astonishingly seamless mix. I can’t think of a time I’ve ever seen more fun up in the DJ booth - the party seemed to emanate from the outrageous antics of the party-throwers, rather than the party-goers. The tracks thrown down by this six-limbed DJ defied the narrow view of Spectral as monochromatic minimalists with a bass fixation. The bass-heavy frenzy was there, all right, but there was plenty going on all across the (forgive me) spectrum. Extra points awarded for the girls who made up their own special dance, the Spectral Shimmy - cyclic rotations of the posterior to soak up extra bass and hand motions inspired by the rattling procession of the high end.

bullshit.jpg

From gutter to glitter - the low-key fun of Spectral gave way to our misguided attempt to go to Opium Garden for the Tony Humphries / Todd Terry / Blaze event. After a few minutes of standing around behind the velvet rope and observing the ratio of exchange (2 girls : 1 guy in a group to gain admittance, plus the usual necessary fabulosities), plus hearing the complaints of non badge-holders, plus hearing one badge-holder complain that they’d been there for hours, we decided to skip out on the Studio 54-wannabee bullshit and head further down. The same policy (with less interesting potential rewards) seemed to be offered by Nikki Beach & the Pearl, so we did what sensible human beings do. We went back to the gutter.

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Ocean, Collins and Washington offer a number of hotels with open-lounge, free-admission parties that rock until dawn (or close enough). One has to wonder what the actual tenants think of a bunch of freaks dancing on the stairway and in the lobby until 5 a.m.- or perhaps these rooms are only advertised amongst those for whom heavy, throbbing bass during their sleeping hours is something of a tonic. We did witness one middle-American family leaving their hotel room amidst typical beach insanity in the wee hours, tempting the headline : ‘4:15 A.M., South Beach : Wife Will Put Up With Bass No Longer’

The Chesterfield, Chelsea and Marlin Hotels all had parties with varying sounds and degrees of success, with a bit of patio and sidewalk overflow (well, except the Chelsea, which was dead). And while it wasn’t quite the dancing in the streets promised by Berlin’s Love Parade, there was definitely enough action to encourage me to think of coming back to the beach after today’s Ultra action. Plus, there is promise of Spank Rock & the Rub later tonight…

[Mallory O’Donnell]


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