July 19, 2007

Brother From Another Planet / .Xtrak - 7th City Classics Vol. 1


Daniel Bell’s fabled 7th City imprint was working the whole minimal techno vibe long before there was even a name for it, and early sides on the label are treasured by that community not just because of their rarity, but for their enduring quality. While reissued tracks from Bell himself (or hell, new music!) would likely be the most welcome to collectors (he didn’t record much for 7th City himself), the two tracks chosen for the first of the three-volume 7th City Classics series are certainly worth additions to anyone’s crate.

Claude Young’s Brother From Another Planet alias contributes the mighty “Acid Wash Conflict,” which, naturally, sounds exactly like the title would lead you to believe, but its Todd Sines’ .Xtrak entry that really should open some ears here. “Multiplexor” is a stomping stealthmode workout in the mold of DBX himself, with a popping riff and acid-style knob-tweaking that moves insistently as much as it jogs in place. If the 7th City sound was before your time, the Classics series are essential. Now, if DBX would get to reissuing those classic Accelarate sides…

7th City / SCD 022
[Todd Hutlock]

February 16, 2007

Todd Sines - Broad Band


Todd Sines has released records on Carl Craigs Planet E and Dan Bells 7th City imprints among others, so you know hes learned from the best. But after five years in hibernation, will Sines still remember those lessons? The answer is yes, and the four-track Broad Band EP shows that the time off hasnt dried up his creative well.

Opener Rive Gauche actually sounds a bit like a hybrid of Craig and Bell, with the formers layered percussion and analog synth buzzes and the latters clipped sounds and choppy rhythms, as well as some vocal snippets from who I assume is Sines longtime partner in crime Natacha Labelle. Elsewhere, Sines strips down the percussion and makes with some seriously twisted organ riffage on In_Come, and comes over a bit Akufen-like on Elastic. A well-rounded and diverse return to form, then. I would think that if Sines could ever get a full-length together, it would be a glorious thing indeed.

Frankie Rec / FRANKIE REC 17
[Todd Hutlock]

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-Tugs Proton Saga) [Virgin]
Dominik Eulberg & Gabriel Ananda - Harzer Roller [Traum Schallplatten]
Pr Grindvik - Casio [Spectral Sound]
Heartthrob - Baby Kate (Robotman Remix) [M_nus]
Ripperton - Tainted Words [Connaisseur]
Audio Werner - Flat Funk [Circus Company]
Tracey Thorn - Its All True (Martin Buttrich Dub) [Virgin]
Marcellus Pittman - A Mix [Unirhythm]

Michael F. Gill
Goat Dance Goat Dance (Version) [Bear Entertainment]
Blackjoy Untitled (Kerri Chandlers Bigga Mix) [Freerange]
Tony Allen One Tree (Terrence Parkers Spirit of Unity Instrumental Mix) [Honest Jons]
PM Dawn A Watcher Point of View [Dont Cha Think] (Todd Terrys 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]

December 1, 2006

Charts: December 1 2006

Todd Hutlock
Substance & Vainqueur - Surface [Scion]
Ricardo Villalobos - Africolaps [Perlon]
Robert Hood - Still Hear (Los Hermanos Rmx) [Music Man]
Tractile - Silent Movie [Minus]
Depeche Mode - Everything Counts (Absolut Mix) [Mute]
Dominik Eulberg - Bionik (Guy Gerber Red Light Rmx) [Cocoon]
Todd Sines & Natacha Labelle - Cum Closer (C Mix) [Planet E]
Super Flu - Lady In Pink [KarateKlub]
Thunderground - Canz [Infonet]
Altern 8 vs Evelyn King - Shame (Hardcore Mix) [Network]

Michael F. Gill
Sierra Sam Perfume (Quenum Remix) [Surprise Records]
Luna City Express Mars Attacks [Moon Harbour Recordings]
Melon Spring [ratio?music]
Ken Ishii Extra [R & S]
Kevin Blechdom Me Saw Me Momma [Chicks on Speed Records]
Bobby Konders A Lost Era In NYC 87-92 [Gigolo]
Raze Break 4 Love [Champion/Grove Street]
David Howard feat. Jhay Palmer U & I [Locked On]
Strikers Body Music [Special Instrumental Version] [Prelude]
Elijah John Group Keep A Little Love For Yourself [Keylock]

August 11, 2006

Interview: Amy Grill / Speaking In Code

Stylus and Beatz By the Pound are very excited to bring you an interview with sQuare Productions Amy Grill, director and producer of the upcoming techno documentary Speaking in Code.

So, Amy, youre making a movie about electronic music. Why?

Speaking in Code is a techno movie thats not really about techno. Its about people. It is a feature length character driven documentary that follows a global cast of underground electronic music writers, DJs, producers, and label heads as they survive and thrive in the digital age.

Within the indie electronic music community there are many compelling characters. By tracking these characters Speaking in Code discovers some very human truths about subculture, independence, DIY determination, risk, obsession, and eccentricity.

The music (and the minimal scene) is a colorful, captivating backdrop and binding force for several intersecting character driven storiesthe film has a narrative arc to it based on the life changes and exciting, even funny moments that happen over the course of the year and a half that we will have spent making the film and following these people.

There are a lot of electronic music documentaries out there that have attempted to do one of a few things: capture the spirit of rave culture, survey a specific genre of electronic music, engage the viewer in DJ worship and/or crazy laser light fascination, or make some kind of grand statement about the significance of electronic music, but this film is nothing like any of that.

We are interested in exploring personality, motivation, and getting beyond the surface-y, questions and answers. The film invites the viewer in to experience being thereat the club, in the studio, in a forest, climbing a hill on the way to see chalk mines, visiting moms in the suburbs, driving through a white-out snow storm, performing at a huge festival, entering the secret underground club or illegal party, and on and on. We have unprecedented access and we get very close with the main characters in the film.

We want to surprise people and perhaps change their minds about electronic music or at least open their minds and show them something they didnt expect. This movie isnt just for the techno heads, its for the hip old ladies who love character-driven art house documentaries too.

What about 2005/2006 strikes you as the right time for this sort of film?

A film like this could have been made 10 or 20 years ago and although some of the themes and characters would have a different tone and purposemany similarities would still exist.

There is something special about right now thoughfrom a big picture historical perspective we are seeing the effects of the digital age that make advanced communication and sound technology very accessible. This has strengthened the possibilities for independent music and subculture and our main characters are living proof.

From a more localized perspective on the minimal scene and our charactersover the last year or two minimal techno has arguably become the dominant sub-genre in techno and it has been fun to explore the personalities in the minimal scene and experience the musics rise in popularity vicariously through our characters. Of course, its difficult to even know what minimal really is: is it a sound, an aesthetic, a lifestyle, a hairstyle, a look, or all those things combined perhaps? Some of the characters cant even be described as minimal at all, but they are somehow minimal by association or connection to the minimal scene. Musings aside, I have to emphasize this is not the what is minimal techno? film. Im sure there is a DVD project like that on the way soon, but we arent the ones making it.

Where all have you traveled to get footage for the film?

Weve been all over: Montreal, San Francisco, New York, Boston (I live in Boston), Barcelona, Berlin, Hamburg, Cologne, Jena, Amsterdam, Miami

Most of the film has been shotwhat techno celebs can we expect in the final cut?

Well, weve shot 217 hours of footage since we began production in May of 2005 and we hope to cull all of that into a feature-length film, so I hesitate to list everyone at this point, but certainly you can expect to see a lot from these people:

Robert Henke aka Monolake (co-creator Ableton Live)
Modeselektor, Bpitch Control
Ellen Allien, Bpitch Control
Wighnomy Brothers, Freude-Am-Tanzen
Bryan Kasenic (minimal techno promoter in NY)
Jimmy Johnson (owner of Forced Exposure)
Philip Sherburne (writer, DJ)
David Day (Label Manager and Marketing Director at Forced Exposure, DJ, writer, promoter)
Mike Uzzi aka Smartypants, Unlocked Groove
Dan Paluska aka Six Million Dollar Dan, Unlocked Groove
Tobias Thomas, Kompakt
David Prince, M3 Summit

Interviews / Appearances (it remains to be seen whether or not all of these people will make the final cut and we have interviewed many more people not included in this list to help us round out the story):/p>

Wolfgang Voigt
Michael Mayer
Reinhard Voigt
James Holden
Anja Schnieder
Richie Hawtin
The Juan Maclean

Any surprising anecdotes that you can share with us (Vitalic actually is a robot, etc.)?

Too many stories to even tell. The whole film is like one big surprising anecdote, but a surprising anecdote with a point. ;)

What kind of role has Philip Sherburne played?

Philip is a character in the movie, and as a co-producer he has been part tour guide, advisor, consultant, and friend throughout the entire process.

Tell me about financing something like thiswhat sources are you relying on to keep it going?

Plastic, lots of plastic (as in credit cards) and a handful of small private investors and a community of online supportersalthough we are nearing the end of our credit limits and this last Europe trip tapped most of the small investments. So we are now really relying on grassroots fundraising online and also an upcoming benefit/screening/art party/happening here in Boston on August 26 at the sQuareone studio space in Fort Point / South Boston (New Englands oldest and largest artist community). We want to stay away from corporate sponsorship, so we are hoping that people who want to see the film made will help us make it. Anyone can donate any amount on our websitewe are offering screen credit in the film for any donation of $50 or more. The grassroots efforts are to make the film mirror the DIY attitudes youll see in the documentary.

We are also seeking a film producer to help us cultivate prospective investors and help manage the business end of the filmand most importantly we are looking for investorsbig and small.

We need another 25K in the very immediate future to finish production in the fall (Camera and equipment rentals, bus/train/plane tickets, gas, tape stock, the Director of Photographys day rate) and also to purchase a G5 and enough drive storage (several terabytes) to be able to cut the film. We are currently hobbling along with my laptop and a few Lacie Hard Drives. We also need to be able to pay an assistant editor to log the tapes.

It isnt cheap making a filmespecially when the locations are all over the world even if we eat on the cheap and stay with friends when we can. And, now Scott (our Director of Photography) is paidhe volunteered for a full year, but it is important to start paying him. Fortunately the most expensive part of the production is out of the waywe can see the light at the end of the tunnelwe just need a little more funding to get through the last few months of production and post production.

By May 2007. Then begins the festival circuit and search for distribution. We would like to see the film get international and domestic theatrical distribution, some broadcast play abroad, and a DVD release toowith lots of extras for the collector type.

Related Links
sQuare Productions
Speaking in Code @ MySpace
Photos from Speaking in Codes Production
Contribute to sQuare Productions [Todd Burns]

March 10, 2006

Scorchio - En Fuego

The Unlocked Groove label is in the unfortunate (so Ive heard) business of trying to make it as a tech-house label in Boston. Its certainly not for lack of bringing the goods musically. Scorchios first solo release for the label features a slickly melodic cut-up (Hate Me Not,) the attendant deep(er) rework (by Fred Giannelli), a minimal funk B-side that you forget upon hearing (Inverted Burning People), and the shuffle-in-the-style-of-Orb (Nervous.) In fact, its like they took a page right out of Kompakts playbook. Which is to say, grab the A-side and the shuffle. Lose the rest.

Unlocked Groove / 002
[Todd Burns]

October 27, 2005

Frank Martiniq - Extrashark

Extrasharks a deep tune seemingly built for the big room, with shades of shimmering trance chords that blast into the song mid-way through, only to be overtaken by huge swathes of white-noise that slide onto the sound field like waves. Its a mildly queasy track, but one that works beautifully. Dumb De Luxe rides in the same car of unfortunate and random noisiness, but is far too uncompromising in its backbeat to really grab. That is, until the whole thing gets interrupted by an analog bassline that leads to the crucial swing that itd been missing. Recommended.

Boxer Recordings / Boxer 033
[Todd Burns]

September 22, 2005

Lawrence - The Night Will Last Forever

Lawrence’s second single from his latest album gets the remix treatment here by John Tejada and L’usine bookending the original mix with a B-side thrown in for good measure. L’usine’s mix is the preferred, working some micro cuts and putting a slamming bass underneath. In fact, it might even trump the original. “Happy Sometimes” is the aforementioned B-side, and its business as usual for Kersten, riding a morse code backing to guide its two-pronged melodic attack. Sublime romanticism as always.

Ladomat2000 / LADO 2175-0
[Todd Burns]

September 15, 2005

In Flagranti feat. G Rizo - Bang Bang

If all this is leading up to a debut full-length, then color me psyched. When we last caught up with In Flagranti, “Melodymaker” was in high rotation and “Striking Ejaculation” was acting as a great song title/disappointing song. This time around, the boys get down to business and create something that you might like if you’re into the hot and heavy disco of the 70s, while the B-side has Halt Maul’s mix, a version that would make Jason Forrest wet his pants. The capper is the Italo-tinged version-or as Codek lets us know: a great soundtrack for a haircut video. Recommended.

Codek / CRE007
[Todd Burns]

May 5, 2005

Patrice Baumel - Mutant Pop

Traum Schallplatten has been taking care of business recently, with stellar releases on nearly each of their dizzying array of sub-labels. This is the Trapez platter worth it, if just to mix straight from Jeff Samuels Endpoint, much like Triple R did, to great effect on his recent visit to the States. Mutant Pop, said mixing tool, starts slow, eventually building up a bank of moans and softened yelps that leads straight into the restrained rolling synth line that carries the song along its merry way. Shower of Ice uses nearly the same beat, clipped vocal samples, and one of those bulbous emotional basslines that gets you near tears on the dancefloor if employed judiciously. Recommended.

Trapez / Trapez 050
[Todd Burns]