June 22, 2007

Charts: June 22 2007

Mallory O’Donnell

The Nick Straker Band - The Nick Straker Band [Prelude]
William Strickland - An Electronic Visit to the Zoo and Sound Hypnosis [Spectrum]
Tiefschwarz - Black Music [Souvenir]
Ack By Panel - Base Filmtab EP [Greystate]
Bonde Do Role - Office Boy [Mad Decent]
Grand National - By The Time I Get Home… [Domino]
Third World - One More Time [Columbia]
Ricardo Villalobos - 1ş Encuentro Latinoamericano de la Soledad [White]
Justice - D.A.N.C.E. [Ed Banger]
Bohemia - All The Way [Discos de Tinga]

Michael F. Gill

Alton Miller - Souls Like Mine (R2)
Canvas - The Cat (Rebelone)
Keith Worthy - shelovesmenot [Mental Deepstrumental] (Aesthetic Audio)
Syncom Data - Beyond The Stars (Legowelt Remix) (SD Records)
Paul Birken - Numbskull (Communique Records)
Studio - Radio Edit [Information]
Alicia Myers - I Want To Thank You [MCA]
Marek Bilinski - Po Drugiej Stronie Swiata [Polton/Digiton)
Wish feat. La-Rita Gaskin - Nice and Soft (Downtown Version) [Perspective Records]
Kat Mandu - Super Lady (Manhattan Formula)

March 28, 2007

ULTRA Festival, Day Two (WMC, Day Three)

Our trip to Ultra for Day 2 was fraught with difficulty from the start- Ross was hanging some of his paintings for a show Sunday at Flavour in Coconut Grove, which is the kickoff for a new weekly party hosted by Miami’s G-Unit/Shadyville DJ Epps, who rocks on The Beat 103.5. At any rate, the hanging of the show on Saturday morning took a great deal longer than anticipated, so we headed off to ULTRA @ around 5, after stormclouds began a-brewing. Walking to the event from about twelve blocks away (and through a pile of people queuing for the Miami Heat game), we had to seek refuge from the onslaught of pounding rain. The sky looked to be clearing, though, so we kept on through it and made it to Bicentennial Park with high hopes and slightly damp clothing.

We had no freaking idea. The downpour began almost immediately. I was keen on seeing DJ Hell and then Tiefschwarz, who were scheduled to rock the Amnesia Electro/Techno stage starting about that time (we’d already missed Tiga, at least according to the schedule), so we headed right over there after skating through the V.I.P. (L.O.L.) entrance. Right as we got there, we felt the rain pick up and then saw everyone running away. That’s funny, we were thinking - where could they be running to in an open-air event? ANYWHERE, that’s where. The intensity of the storm was unendurable, buckets of water pounding down on the masses until everyone had to seek some form of cover. Someone out there will be able to appreciate the irony in our source of refuge - the Carl Cox & friends tent. If everything was going according to schedule, Danny Tenaglia was playing. Whoever it was, for the twenty minutes or so that we could endure the oppressive, stifling atmosphere of thousands of bodies completely pressed against each other, the music was like a hard-house version of Nazi marching band tunes. I like feeling compelled to dance, but my hackles get raised when its seems like I’m being ordered to. It looked something like this, although it really only approximates the painful crush of flesh:

Luckily, the rain slowed down, and though it took a long time to really go away (and even then, one couldn’t be sure), the worst was over. Only a couple of the stages were covered, so most of them had some delay in their schedules to work out. With tarps covering the stage and equipment (including the massive speakers), the DJs at the Electro-Techno stage finally got cracking - the DnB and House stages quickly picked up ravers as well. In fact, the House stage seemed the most attended of the evening apart from the Main Stage - at least during David Guetta and DJ Dan’s sets.

A long stroll around the whole site left us both in awe - the attendees of Ultra, despite a million other parties going on in closed spaces with no danger of getting drenched, really stuck it out to wait for their favorites get behind the wheels of steel. Whether they were holding out for Paul Van Dyk, BT, Cox, Richie Hawtin or whoever, they raved and raved and raved. Some raved a bit too hard - the night turned ghastly for us when we saw a woman who was dancing next to the fence at the Amnesia event suddenly collapse. Her boyfriend attempted to revive her and not really getting anywhere, so we contacted the nearest staff person. By the time we returned, she was obviously shaken but had motor control, so we stepped back and hoped for the best. Luckily, amongst the thousands of people there, this was the only incident that gave us fright - most everyone else seemed to be at least nominally in control of the situation.

Still, as the approach to midnight began in earnest, we left, somewhat shaken but thankfully not bruised. The Heat were losing as we walked past the arena, watching with some amusement as traffic was diverted around the massive congestion of the game and festival area. Not to say we walked blithely past, knowing we’d be dealing with it soon enough, but it felt good to come out of such intensity and see people who had absolutely no clue about the madness happening just a few hundred feet away. So we drove back to the beach in high hopes, looking forward to the party with Spank Rock and the Rub.

[Mallory O’Donnell]

February 16, 2007

Tracey Thorn - It’s All True (Remixes)

Tracey Thorn has always been the “Thin White Duchess” of the dance diva landscape—her rich, sweet voice has graced countless dance EPs, from Deep Dish to Tiefschwarz. But this is one of her better efforts, first of all because (thank God) she’s not singing about an abusive relationship. In fact, even after eight or nine listens, I still haven’t paid any attention to the lyrics, and don’t feel the need to. It’s all true.

The really interesting thing here is how it’s managed to condense several threads or tendencies within recent dance music production into one artifact. In the first instance—how many people had even heard of Martin Buttrich a year ago? And yet now, based on the strength of no more than three EPs, Buttrich has become an in-demand remixer in the league of Matt Edwards or Ewan Pearson, who gets co-production credits on this track, along with Darshan Jesrani of Metro Area. Having Darshan, Martin and Ewan all in the room also brings three highly developed and particular production sensibilities into the same frame also shows not just a rapprochement, but an affection for and between dub-disco, electro inflected tech-house, and muscular minimal—a love that might not have spoken its name even a few years ago.

The original is hard to go past—it manages to showcase Thorn’s sweet throat and give itself a sparkling electro disco massage all in a radio friendly four minutes, easily referencing synth pop (a la Eurythmics), disco, and house along the way. Buttrich’s mixes are meaty, nine minute affairs. They start off all “Pokerflat” (dry, strumming minimal house) and gradually build with a melodic refrain that threatens to break into Ame’s “Rej” at any moment, until Thorn’s vocal reminds you where you are. The dub version adds space for a “bubbling up” feeling. Kris Menace’s version is a real stinker—unimaginative and unengaging, it adds cold pads and attempts to create drama with a break based around pitch shifting poor Tracey’s voice. Meh. Both the Escort extended mix and the DSE dub head for the dub disco, with the former opting for a more openly retro take and the latter taking things in a very Metro Area electro-disco vein (unsurprising, as it’s a Darshan production). They’re both great, but I couldn’t help but wish that M. Fulton had been brought on board to lend a pound more fruit and funk to proceedings.

Virgin / VST 1932 00946 3 83897 1 2
[Peter Chambers]

December 8, 2006

Various Artists / Various Artists - Vintage Future [Mixed by Serge] / ReCloned


Two handy state-of-the-union addresses from the Clone family, Vintage Future is a mix of recent releases and reissues, while ReCloned offers the best remixes from the label. Serge does a nice job of showing how easily the old (Marshall Jefferson, Mike Dunn, Egyptian Lover) mixes with the new (Alden Tyrell, Lindstrom, Dexter), blurring the lines of electro-funk, italo, and acid house with a fast-paced mix. The best rediscovery is the recently reissued “Every Sunday” by Crazy Gang, an electro-vocoder romp with lyrics about overbearing parents that make their child go to church every Sunday. ReCloned is unmixed, but shares the same family of artists and range of sound. Standouts include recent releases like Charles Webster’s spacey deep house version of Delgui’s “Highlights,” and Elitechnique’s mix of Alden Tyrell’s “La Voix,” as well as established classics like the Carl Craig remix of “Hand to Phone” and Tiefschwarz’s remix of Unit 4’s “Body Dub.” You might have to deal with a lot of “I Feel Love” style arrangements, but both mixes are great palette cleansers in a market currently cluttered with minimal and electro-house mixes.

Clone / Clone# cd8 / Clone# cd9
[Michael F Gill]

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]

October 13, 2006

The Knife - Like a Pen

Ronan Fitzgerald: There are few mainstream album producing artists whose remix packages are as fun as those of the Knife, but here the real surprise is that the best mix is their own “club mix.” By adding more jacking Carl Craig-styled drums, they extend “Like a Pen” into a fine piece of haunting techno. Thomas Schumacher’s remix is a growling bass-heavy piece of electro-minimal, proving that although the Bodzin production factory which makes his tracks may have overkilled things a bit, if they did more remixes instead of so many original productions some great feats could still be possible.

Peter Chambers: Silent Shout is shaping up to be one of the year’s best albums, and the remix project has given us an impressive group of producers so far (Shinedoe, Troy Pierce, Trentemoller, Radioslave). Now it’s the turn of Pierce’s M_nus label mate Heartthrob and reinvented “big room mnml” floordestroyer Thomas Schumacher to cut their slice—and boy, has the knife come out dirty. Heartthrob is given two look-ins here—the first “remix” version is a lump-looped wonkathon that sounds like an auralization of Quasimodo “avin it,” but doesn’t really take proper account of either the original’s vocal or its wonderful melody. The “Heartthrob dub” is more successful, but like Troy Pierce’s wigglin’ & noodlin’ version of “Silent Shout,” the end result sounds very little like the Knife and a helluva lot like each of the artist’s latest scribblings of their sound signature. In comparison, Schumacher’s contribution is clean-shaved and well behaved, very much keeping the adjectives “dark” and “ominous” caged in parentheses. Judging from the selections on their recent humourless Fabric mix, I can imagine Tiefschwarz will be all over this version, and hey, it’s bound to keep the big room kidz gurning and grooving. To these ears at least, the Dreijer’s own versions show up the experts here—theirs is the more satisfying, carefully written and musical remix that is still 100% floor-functional.

Rabid / RABID 034

August 25, 2006

Sweet ‘n Candy - Tacky Wakeup Remixes

Sweet ‘n Candy have been consistently hitting the mark in recent times for fans of the Smagghe/Tiefschwarz approach to minimal, so it’s no surprise Raum have pulled in two big-name remixers here, in Dominik Eulberg and Marek Hemann. Eulberg’s epic mix takes a melodic trance route, not quite as erratic as usual and keeping more of the jacking feel of the original than you’d expect. Hemann, on the other hand, goes for the dubbier Berlin sound, with neat, pristine melodies and everything sounding gloriously submerged.

Raum…musik / musik055
[Ronan Fitzgerald]

July 14, 2006

The Kreeps - All I Wanna Do Is Break Some Hearts

The most instant fix here is the Boyz Noize remix, providing quality electro-house with sawing bass noises, like Tiefschwarz with any house influence removed. The only problem with another great Boyz Noize release is trying to find equally good electro-house records by new producers who are not Digitalism. On the other side, Mungolian Jet Set’s “Exit To The Ja-Ja” mix is quite a curious piece of schaffel which morphs into psychedelic disco halfway through its eight minute journey, then goes a little Happy Mondays at the end; interesting.

Output / OPR 93
[Ronan Fitzgerald]

May 5, 2006

Tiefschwarz feat. Tracey Thorn - Damage

Mallory O’Donnell: When their mix-n-remixes comp Misch Masch came out last year, I was hugely pumped for a Tiefschwarz full-length. But Eat Books was a vastly underwhelming affair, and how we’ve gotten four singles deep into it is simply beyond me. The sub-Sarah McLachlanisms of “Damage” certainly provide no answer. Having mastered their variations on both deep and acid house, a new direction is clearly needed for the mighty brothers Schwarz. However, a combination of tepid elements from both styles and a rote Tracey Thorn vocal does not constitute breaking any new ground. The “Dub Mix” brings in some more interesting sonics, clattering drums and sinister echoes livening up the track, but then those accursed vocals drop back in and we’re back in the acid-house Starbucks. M.A.N.D.Y. bring both a vocal and dub mix to the plate, and guess which one I prefer? Sounding a bit horror for the disco and a bit dancey for the bug-out, we at last have something that twists the track into some interesting shapes, but not yet enough to entice the listener (if they’ve made it this far) to fork over their hard-earned Euros.

However: whoever or whatever the Mogg Man Band is, they have (besides a horrible name) redeemed this one from the trashpile. Concocting a live band backdrop, they take us from the coffee shop to the dancefloor—a warm, two-minute buildup, some plinky guitar and enough swaddling draped ’round the vocal to keep it from intruding. Then the beat drops and we focus on the one non-throwaway line—”music is a lonely place”—before heading into jam land. If I could get it on a single piece of black plastic with the “Buick Project Remix,” we’d have something. The last version here, it’s not really that radically different from the original—but Buick Project seemed to have understood the brothers’ intent better than they did—scuzzing up and tweaking out the mix a bit, they deliver a combination of diva house and spastic funk that actually sounds proper rather than forced.

Ronan Fitzgerald: So what do you do when you’re stuck in the little gap between electrohouse and minimal? You hire other people who are more gracefully skipping through said gap to remix your single! Enter M.A.N.D.Y. with a typical M.A.N.D.Y. remix; that is to say, rather low key but decent quality deep electronic house, with a nice Garnier/Sanderson bassline. The truth is Tiefschwarz’s own gothy, metallic dub outdoes M.A.N.D.Y, but sadly it’s only a little evocative of the days when Tiefschwarz outdid everybody. Elsewhere Buick Project and the Mogg Man Band continue the overly polite theme for this 12. You had one nice but overly retro deep houser; now have 5!

Fine. / FOR 82876835471
Fine. / FOR 82876835861

April 24, 2006

Headman / Tomboy - Rong Hands Dub / 3 EP

A fresh German 12″ in an American store arriving months after its initial release? $9.49. Two new Gomma joints on the same Tuesday? Priceless. First up, Headman brings us the “Rong Hands (Dub),” previously aired on the Gomma Gang 3 compilation, a fine old belt of the acid-house your daddy kept hidden in the cabinet above the stove. But if legendary rock producer Bruce Dickinson heard the flipside, “Upstart,” he might have to acknowledge the presence of not more but most cowbell. Add that to what sounds suspiciously like a Corey Hart sample and you’ve got bonehead roller-disco heaven. Tomboy brought some sick-ass bootyfunk dubplates to bear on the aforementioned Gomma Gang 3, and his / her / its new 12″ is naught but more grist for the naughty mill. Opening with “I/U,” which revolves clappity-clap drums around a ridiculous blurty bassline, it only gets better on “Finale,” a more overtly “micro” number that answers that age-old question, “What would the Tom Tom Club do if they were locked in an Argentine jail with nothing but two fingers, an aging Casio, and an echobox?” On the flipside, things get even (is it possible?) hotter with “Itchi Feet” and its ‘extra beats’ corollary “Itchi Beat” - the bastard child of someone’s sick mating of 2005’s Tiefschwarz remixes with 1985’s Chicago House. Thank you sir, may I have another?

Gomma / 062 / 063
[Mallory O’Donnell]

— Next Page »