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).


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.


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.


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]

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

Michael F. Gill
Goat Dance – Goat Dance (Version) [Bear Entertainment]
Blackjoy – Untitled (Kerri Chandler’s Bigga Mix) [Freerange]
Tony Allen – One Tree (Terrence Parker’s Spirit of Unity Instrumental Mix) [Honest Jon’s]
PM Dawn – A Watcher Point of View [Don’t Cha Think] (Todd Terry’s 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]

January 27, 2006

Todd Terry - The Todd Terry Trilogy: Past, Present, Future

A very welcome three-cd retrospective of this seminal New York house producer, Trilogy not only includes an armful of late 80’s house classics, but 14 unreleased tracks and mixes that will be probably be of interest to any Todd Terry devotee. As the saying goes, you can’t really walk into a used record shop in New York City without tripping over a crate of Todd Terry records. Tim Lawrence’s liner notes nicely exclaim (which are conveniently reprinted here on Tim’s website,) how Terry became the primary producer who reinvigorated the NYC club scene during the gap after disco/electro-funk, and before established house labels like NuGroove and Strictly Rhythm began.

Instead of the raw programming, sequencers, and drum machines prevalent in techno/Chicago House, or the crafted songwriting of vocal-based garage house, Terry built his pieces nearly entirely from modified samples of current dance tracks. His basic template would be to take a simple hook—say the synth line from Maurice’s “This Is Acid”—as well as some drum snippets from producers like Arthur Russell and Marshall Jefferson, and then beef if it up as pure, aggressive party music. It was chopped up disco set to the street attitude of hip-hop, and while listening to the first mixed cd of this collection, it’s a deliriously exciting sound, one that rarely pauses to ponder if there is anything else to dance music than fun.

The unmixed second and third cds can grow a bit tiring and one-dimensional if listened through in one sitting, but barring a couple of ill-advised vocal tracks from the ‘90s, are still enjoyable. The unreleased tracks don’t deter too much from the hits, they actually blend in nicely thanks to a handful of them being alternate or unreleased remixes of Terry classics like “Bango” or “Can you Feel It.” There could’ve been some more information on where and when each track originated from, and it’s missing his definitive remix of Everything But The Girl’s “Missing,” but the fact remains that this is the most comprehensive Terry collection yet, and a suitable summation of what house sounded like in New York at the end of the ‘80s.

Ink / CD020
[Michael F. Gill]

February 17, 2005

Mathew Jonson - Followed By Angels

Always soft and better off for it is Mathew Jonson. After what seemed like an unfair hiatus after some brilliant debut productions, Jonson has released enough 12”’s in the past few months to hopefully pay for some new gear. That’s right, the sound is much the same, but despite the snarkiness, I can’t help but think that this sound (especially in 12” form) will never really get old. That’s because Jonson has a unique ear for the way that melodies interlock and an obvious penchant for terrycloth house beats. Two things that make me very happy, apparently.

Itiswhatitis / IIWII010
[Todd Burns]