September 18, 2007

Supermayer - Save The World

Remember the supergroup? It was a big conceptual thing a few decades back, but it still pops up every now and again. Here’s how it usually worked: a bunch of high pedigree rockers would get together, proclaim that they really “dug each other’s music,” book a bunch of studio time, get stoned out of their gourds, and more often than not, release an album of half-baked ideas and poorly executed jams that proceeded to shift millions of units based solely on the reputation of the players. Sometimes the idea actually workedsee Crosby, Stills, Nash, & Young and Derek & The Dominos. Sometimes it wouldn’tsee pretty much everyone else.

Diehard fans of the musicians in question usually lapped this stuff up, but somewhere in the back of their minds, they still felt somewhat let down more often than not. The problem was squarely on themtheir expectations were simply, inevitably too high. No matter how great one of these supergroups sounded on paper, they couldn’t possibly live up to that sort of hype on record. Blaming the musicians, on the other hand, was a futile exercise. After all, they just wanted to hang out with some friends, play some music, and enjoy themselves. Can you really blame them for that?

Which brings us to the case of Supermayer, a supergroup-style collaboration between two of Kompakt’s biggest names: Michael Mayer and Superpitcher. And while the collaboration has more in common with the above than notthis is nothing if not a “fun” recordthis is most certainly not a bad thing. If anything, Save the World is just the kind of project that Kompakt needed, given the (somewhat inexplicable) backlash the label has been taking of late. Too many have complained that Kompakt has taken to making records by numbers; Save the World is anything but your (stereo)typical Kompakt fare.

Just as the grooves of those ’70s albums are laden with artists just trying to have a good time and vibe with each other, so does Save the World exude a palatable sense of smiling, laughing musicians just having some fun and getting down, and most importantly, encouraging the listener to do so as well. Look no further than the first proper track on the album (after the spoken intro “Hey!”), “The Art of Letting Go”the lyric tells the story of the album in a simple idea: over a grooving bass, chunky guitar chords, and some decidedly un-Kompakt sounds (are those horns? Melodica perhaps?), the gauntlet is thrown, “Let’s get to it / Relax / Let me go.” This is a first-class party record, assembled by two of techno’s foremost minds, and if the instruction is followed, you’ll have just as good a time listening as they obviously did making it.

With their mission statement firmly established, Supermayer proceed to circle the universe, capes flying, in search of the magic note, and while they never quite find it, the thrill of discovery is clearly the intent for our heroes (there’s even a comic book insert). There’s atmospheric dancefloor techno, there’s some light techno pop, some swinging indie bouncers, there’s vocals, there’s ambient interludes, there’s horns, there’s even a fucking gong. “The Lonesome King” is Martin Denny in Ralf and Florian’s studio; “Please Sunrise” recalls 808 State and YMO; “Two of Us” is a classic floor-filler laden with peaks and valleys; closer “Cocktails for Two” is a late-night comedown complete with shag carpeting and a disco diva perched on the love seat waiting for an afterhours tumble. It’s a gloriously unorganized mess, but all of it is so lovingly and skillfully done that it sounds far closer to some sort of mad genius.

Save the World is not a work of high art like The Magic Flute and it’s certainly not a pretentious epic like Kid A. It lives in its own skin and its comfortable there. The key to saving the world according to Supermayer is simple: lose the pressure and enjoy things for what they are, not what you expect them to be. There is an art to letting go, and they seem to have mastered it here, at least as much as such a thing can be mastered. They might not have saved the world, but Supermayer might just have saved your next house party.

Kompakt / KOMPAKTCD 61
[Listen]
[Todd Hutlock]


June 13, 2007

DJ Koze - All The Time

In all his work, DJ Koze’s sense of humour tends toward an overdeveloped, lo-fi sense of the ridiculous, and it’s not something limited to the picture you see above: the madness is also in the music. Listen to any of Koze’s tunes, and there’s a sense of willful perversity to the crazy twists, the pleateaus, the digressions, and the timbral sleights-of-hand. Like his often amazing DJ sets, he’s always toying with you as he plays with himself in sound relentlessly, recklessly, joyfully. The recent (brilliant) remix of his own Naked (with Sheldon “Pan/Tone” Thompson) was a case in point.

“All the Time” hits all the familiar sweet spots by defamiliarising idioms of melodic minimalism and house (off the deep end). The A harks back to early Kompakt, with shades of Dettinger and Reinhard Voigt, but again re-fashioned into something utterly Koze. It bleeps, it squawks, and it grooves like hell, taking you into the shadowy parts of the thicket where the creatures only come out at night. But it’s the B, “Cicely”, that makes this EP. Starting off with a long (maybe overlong) intro, the track drops in what sounds like a stretched ‘n’ pulled guitar sample, before lifting things off the ground with a rising attack of gulping drums contrasted by another, higher pitched guitar sample. The track just keeps building and unfolding, introducing a third swirling loop (a la the Superpitcher of yore) and then letting the whole she-bang fall away for a moment, leaving the drums to climb their way out of the darkening ebb. Great stuff.

Philpot / PHP 024
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[Peter Chambers]


April 30, 2007

Phobia - Phobia (DJ Hell / Silence Mix)

It still seems so easy to write off International Deejay Gigolos, even if its now a full five years or so since the death of electroclash. Their rampant release schedule and terminally hit-or-miss CD compilations have never done them any favors, and I would actually agree with naysayers who claim that their M.O of sleazy rave, electro-techno, and acid works better in theory than in abundant practice. Yet looking back over the last three years, Im surprised how many quality tracks theyve been a part of, from the DJ Hell remixes by Dominik Eulberg and Superpitcher, the Psychonauts World Keeps Turning, Abe Duques album, and Johnny Dangerous fantastic King of Clubs, to great recent sides from Terrence Fixmer and Kevin Gorman.

And here we are again, with another massive release: DJ Hells perfect update of Phobias (aka Pink Elln) self-titled proto-trance cut from 1991. Pretty much all the elements that made the original such a smash are here: an eerie two-note drone acting as a depth charge, a slightly melancholic diva wail, and a spoken voice intoning let me have silence. DJ Hell just seems to fill in the blanks in making it sound contemporary, basically giving it a sleeker drum kit and some reserved acid lines; the source material does the rest of the heavy lifting effortlessly. On the flip side is the Silence Mix, a co-production between Pink Elln and Atom Heart, which uses the two-note drone as the basis for a frigid piece of ambience that threatens but never quite makes it way into something comfortable (a good thing). Its actually a little hard to believe Phobia is over 15 years old, as this single makes so much sense, and sounds so vital.

International Deejay Gigolos / GIGOLO 213
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[Michael F. Gill]


April 25, 2007

Joel Mull - The End Has Begun EP

Stockholm vet. The a-side’s first two minutes make good use of the “alien piano” keyboard preset, horrorflick longtones shimmering over rolls of syncopated drum programming, felt more than heard. When the beat drops finallythis bewildering cluck that’s treated with just enough reverb that it hits the left side of the pan before the rightMull moves everything into pretty undeniable neu-trance terrain: arena-appropriate crescendos and plenty of growth/decay in the synths themselves. Still though I find myself rewinding back to the beginning just so I can hear the beat drop at minute two, which is saying something. On the flip, Mathew Jonson’s “Tiger Remix” has those pneumatic trainwhistle-type sounds that Superpitcher used in his underrated “Lick the Pipe,” but ambition gets the better of him. The track mixes everything from jungle-like rhythms, bar mitzvah scales and even kosmische synths that moan out like Moby Dick, often all at once, and never ends up popping.

Railyard Recordings / RYR007
[Listen]
[Nick Sylvester]


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
[Listen]
[Peter Chambers]


November 17, 2006

Beatzcast #11

Mixes2006

Download

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


September 15, 2006

In the Mix: Nativespeaker [Peter Chambers]

36 Degrees Celsius (Possible Thunderstorm)

01. AM/PM No Matter Whether [Dreck]
02. AM/PM The Ends [11] [Dreck]
03. Lawrence Teaser [Kompakt]
04. Carsten Jost Krokus [Superpitcher mix] [Dial]
05. James DinA4 - ??? [Esel 03]
06. Luomo The Right Wing [Force Tracks]
07. Oxtongue Delight [Voight & Voigt mix] [Kompakt Pop]
08. Mark Henning With the Folks [Freude am Tanzen]
09. Guido Schneider Long Distance Runner [Pokerflat]
10. Dublee Eleven [Mule Musiq]
11. Noon(at 780km nach osten [Salo]


September 1, 2006

Charts: September 1 2006

Todd Hutlock
DJ Yellow - Goddess [Ovum]
Pig & Dan - 4 Leaf Clover [Cocoon]
2 AM/FM - Sweat Box [Spectral Sound]
Jeff Mills - Preview [Tomorrow]
Mr. Fingers - Beyond the Clouds [Trax]
Los Hermanos - My Mothers Guitarra [Los Hermanos]
This Heat - 24 Track Loop [These]
Claude VonStroke - Beware of the Bird (Justin Martin Remix) [Dirtybird]
David Wulle & Andy Garcia - A1/DOC 007 [Docile]
Sunglasses Afterdark - The Gaslamp (Crossed Swords Champion Mix by Two Lone Swordsmen) [Cloak & Dagger]

Ronan Fitzgerald
Giresse and Erb - Slapback [Connaisseur Superior]
Anthony Collins - Self Esteem [Session Deluxe]
Ripperton and She DJ Masaya - Long Distance [Num Ltd]
Michael Ho - Econoclast EP [Tuning Spork]
Sweet N Candy - Tacky Wakeup (Dominik Eulberg Mix) [RaumMusik]
Pascal FEOS - Brooklyn Style [Level Non Zero]
Jobims Cousin - Comerte [Cargo Edition]
Extrawelt - Doch Doch [Traum]
Lawrence - Along the Wire (Superpitcher Mix) [Dial]
Pan - The Lizard [Rebel One]

Michael F. Gill
Errol Dunkley - Sit and Cry Over You [T.P. Records]
Starship Orchestra - The Waiting Game [CBS]
Ray Parker Jr & Raydio Until the Morning Comes [Arista]
Didier Lockwood - Aspiring Answer [Inner City]
Shinedoe - Seek and You Will Find [100% Pure]
Lunapark - Lunapark [Sterpete Dischi]
Henrik B - Airwalk [Pryda Friends]
Moritz Piske - Ein Kaenguru I’m Clubraum / Huldigung Den Triolen [Opossum]
Monika Kruse & Patrick Lindsey - Whds [Terminal M]
V/A - Permanent Vacation [Permanent Vacation]


September 1, 2006

Lawrence - Along the Wire

Hector Rodriguez: The idea of a few micro-goth remixes by Superpitcher and Troy Pierce of Lawrences already gloomy music did not initially seem to be my idea of fun summertime listening. Dont get me wrong, when the evenings are longer and a good chill pierces the air, there is nothing I love better than a little melancholic night music, but hey, its August and its hot out. But I may have to re-examine my expectations, as both mixes are winners, Pierces mix uses his dark, prickly palate to mold the image of a darkly tuxedoed gent out for a turn on the techno dance floor, with all sharply pointed lines and insistently smooth rhythms. Superpitchers mix is positively exuberant in its own vaguely trancey way, it could be the sunrise track for a particularly dark and mystical nightno matter what the temperature happens to be.

Nick Sylvester: We’re past the point of protesting the original cut, I guess. When symphony orchestras tune up before the Big Show, and all the horns are blowing long tones with minimal concordance, and the timpani guy is rolling away on the timpanis, sometimes all the notes together blur into this noxious, smoggy-brown cloud of noise, shifting shape but never moving too far from its generative spotthis is the noise Lawrence so generously has given his remixers to work with, not to mention some shitty rhythm tracks and pensive, needlessly nervous high-pitched synth riff. Superpitcher finds a dark loop within the “Wire” cloud he likes, sticks the hard, exploding Superpitcher drum sounds over it as opposed to the soft, baby’s-ass-round Superpitcher drum sounds, and pretty much calls it a day. Exhausting like his M83 remix, Supepitcher’s “Wire” lacks the boundless melancholy, but considering what he had to work with, etc., etc..

Troy Pierce has the b-side, which deals in wriggling, fragmented, bass-grooving mini-hooks not unlike what his Minus labelmates Magda and Heartthrob tend to do. A nice contrast to Superpitcher’s soaring MOR glum, and his Black Boots remix does a fine job tweaking Lawrence’s needling synth line into something of an autumn drizzle. But he’s ultimately an on-the-beat loop guy, pulling the drums in and out on pretty predictable measures, and aside from his incidental flourishes, said drum loops sound pretty plastic.

Ladomat 2000 / LADO 2179-0
[Listen]


August 25, 2006

Djuma Soundsystem - Les Djinns Remixes

Nate De Young: Get Physicals first re-released single is a tribal-house dish from 2003. Thankfully, the three remixers avoid staring too long at the song’s “ethnic” instrumentation to fetishize it. Trentemller’s remix might have the trance crowds looking for cheap tickets to Berlin, but its My My’s remix thatll rock the clubs, distilling three years into a fizzy yelp and a glitchy, ass-swinging good time. Djuma Soundsytem’s own remix (under the Def Jaguar moniker) prove the group have been taking tips directly from label bosses Booka Shade, with an instantly memorable bassline providing the listener with something warm to nuzzle with as the summer nights fade into autumn.

Ronan Fitzgerald: With this reissue/remix package, Get Physical gives some neat exposure to the Scandinavian Balearic scene which has been quietly awesome for some time now. Trentemollers remix is not the banger you might expect, but rather a haunting downtempo effort that focuses on the ear-grabbing hook of the original. Def Jaguar, loosely connected to possibly the worlds greatest down-tempo label, Music For Dreams, comes with a mix thats strongly evocative of Superpitchers Heroin, with a little less rock and a little more disco. Finally, Playhouses My My provide the techno with a sprawling, dub heavy re-work that scores full marks for intricacy.

Get Physical / GPM 049
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