July 11, 2007

cv313 - Dimensional Space

200712"TechnoDub

More mystery mastery from the Detroit underground, as the second release from Rod (Deepchord) Modell and Steve (Soultek) Hitchell’s Echospace [Detroit] imprint isn’t exactly laden with information - no proper names at all, no writing credits, no sleeve notes (or even a sleeve; the grey marbled vinyl comes in a clear plastic envelope), and even the mastering was done by “PCMJR,” (although that one’s not too hard to figure out with a quick visit to Discogs). As soon as the needle hits the groove, however, the mission becomes clear, as these two long cuts continue the recent string of sublime dub techno issued from the Echospace camp, albeit with a bit more bite than most.

If the recent Deepchord double-pack was a monolithic glacier examined from all angles, “Dimensional” is a smoldering, pre-eruption volcano, bubbling with throbbing-bass fire and an insistent drum loop, waiting to explode on some village in the South Pacific. On the flipside, “Space” ups the percussion ante and introduces what just might be a little funk into the mix. I still have no clue exactly who or what cv313 is, but I honestly don’t care at this point. If you thought you’d already heard all the dub techno you need to hear in this lifetime, think again: the Echospace crew are currently reinventing the wheel.

echospace [detroit] / echospace002
[Listen]
[Todd Hutlock]


July 8, 2007

The Week In Review: 2007, Week 27

Prosumer / Murat Tepeli - What Makes You Go For It? (Ostgut Tontrager)
Genre: House, Minimal/Deep

Peter Chambers: The title track is somewhere between the blue, raw, and pink beats of the old Trax tracks, but with a vocal trip describing a one night stand that’s equal parts philosophical and carnal, leading to automatic comparisons with Chelonis R. Jones.

Zander VT - Dig Your Own Rave (Memo)
Genre: Techno, Electro-House

Tolga Fidan - Venice / Tambulistan (Vakant)
Genre: Minimal/Tech

Peter Chambers: Once something sufficiently menacing is found (black horns, icy strings, something scaly and slithering), a two-note minor interval or an arabesque/creepy/ancient-sounding melody is mixed in, and there’s your track.

Theo Parrish - Sound Sculptures Volume 1 (Sound Signature)
Genre: Detroit, House

Michael F. Gill: To me, there is still enough of a distinctive “soulful” (for lack of a better word) quality to this music that comes across as tangible, even when motifs are being heavily repeated.

Syncom Data - Beyond the Stars Remixes (Syncom Data Records)
Genre: Techno, Dub

Beatzcast #40: Crambe Repetita

Nick Southall reviews Two Lone Swordsmen’s Wrong Meeting II

Nate DeYoung takes on the Scandanavian Disco of Bjorn Torske


July 2, 2007

Prosumer / Murat Tepeli - What Makes You Go For It?

200712"HouseMinimal/Deep

Well, to me this is shaping up as a vintage year for techno (if you still call it that). There seems to be a glut of subtle, surefooted records being made at the moment by producers whose unformed foundational years are behind them. It’s often difficult not to feel you’re drowning in the sea of new releases. For my own part, I gave up trying frantically to cram in a rinse of everything that flickered fancily past. And in a sense, I feel like this might be happening with the music. There’s a period of settlement upon us, and now nearly-veteran people (though this is just my anecdotal impression) seem to be producing fewer and better tracks than three years ago, when the “medicore minimal” glut seemed to peak.

To me, the label that seems to have condensed this idea is Ostgut Tontrger. They don’t release much, but everything is solid gold: from the moment you first see the beautiful sleeves to the final aaah you get on a floor once the dragging needle’s signal drops at full volume. This is proper techno, made by people who love, understand, and care about their music. Listen to Len Faki’s Mekong Delta or Ben Klock’s Czeslawa/Warzsawa EP from earlier this year, and get an Ostgut lesson in how to “do” techno properly. Yet both Faki and Klock’s contributions are full-bore, main-floor, peaktime numbers, delicate though they may be in detail. They’re Berghain. Prosumer and Murat Tepeli’s “What Makes You Go For It” on the other hand is every inch the upstairs/backroom (or even bedroom) incarnation. They’re the Panoramabar.

The title track is somewhere between the blue, raw, and pink beats of the old Trax tracks, but with a vocal trip describing a one night stand that’s equal parts philosophical and carnal, leading to automatic comparisons with Chelonis R Jones. But there’s a definite Ostgut quality at work, too. It bangs, it swings, it’s a great track with a big metallic bell clanging all over it. Prosumer’s vocal sits nicely in the mix he doesn’t overstretch chords or overstate words: she’s got a boyfriend, they’re fucking, where will it end up?

Tepeli’s “Jaws” is much closer to the housey end of Mobilee’s sound, with matte-finish percussion and a sleek, fat bassline whose physicality wiggles widely, in neat contrast to a very chic string synth over the top. Like the lyric on the A, there’s a nice tension between the forward-pushing needs of the body and the inwardly reflective eyes of the mind. But it’s Prosumer’s “Vise” that really puts the icing on this ambivalent cupcake, for me at least. I could swear Prosumer has borrowed My My’s patches to write the melody here the tone, the dynamics, and the break are all redolent of Jones & Hppner, with just a touch of Rest-era Isole. All three tracks here stand on their own, but as a trio they make an outstanding EP.

Ostgut Tontrger / o-ton 07
[Listen]
[Peter Chambers]


June 11, 2007

DeepChord - Vantage Isle

200712"7"TechnoDub

Echospace [detroit] is a new label launched by Rod Modell (half of DeepChord, along with partner-in-crime Mike Schommer) and Steven (Soultek) Hitchell, two leading lights of the minimal dub techno scene. And as with anything DeepChord, the entire release has an air of mystery to it. With the minimal packaging, restricted distribution, and the fact that this set of two 12 inches and one colored 7″ is limited to 1,000 copies, everything about Vantage Isle is geared toward the underground, or “those who know.” This isn’t an elitist thing - there’s nothing but love of their craft driving these grooves, certainly not a cash-in effort - but it is a crying shame that more people won’t be able to hear this absolutely brilliant collection of spacial dub wonder. Take that as a warning: go out and find this now while you can, or you’ll be paying through the nose for it later.

That all said, Vantage Isle consists of a whopping 10 takes of the title track, reworked across the three pieces of vinyl by Modell and Hitchell in various guises (DeepChord, Soultek, Echospace, Spacecho), as well as a guest spot (and first ever remix) from Gerald “Convextion” Hanson (more on that one later.) Across their 9 versions, Modell and Hitchell manage to take the DeepChord template (analog synths, deep bass, gently throbbing beats, bursts of static and noise, and of course those deep, deep chords) into a surprising variety of directions, akin to looking at the same giant glacier from a helicopter from every angle possible: some are beatless and undulating, some are pulsing and dynamic, some are looking up from under the ice and some are towering overhead. The aforementioned Convextion version, however, is revelatory. It’s built on cascading and echoing pieces of the original that are layered like shifting sands, for a distinctly dark and shimmery journey to the bottom of the frozen ocean and back. It is literally breathtaking.

It’s remarkable enough to get all these takes on one basic template to sound somewhat different, given that the source material is really just a skeletal array of sound sheets. Consider it a bonus, then, that all of them are masterfully realized and capable of mixing and matching with each other into entirely new shapes and forms by an enterprising sound sculptor with two decks. 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. A stone cold classic of the genre. Dont miss it.

echospace [detroit] / echospace001
[Listen]
[Todd Hutlock]


April 13, 2007

Charts: April 13 2007

Mallory ODonnell
Pet Shop Boys - Back to Mine [EMI]
Hot Chip - DJ Kicks [Astralwerks]
Headman - It Rough [Gomma]
V/A - Trance-Europe Express, Vol. One [Volume]
Kathy Diamond - Over [Permanent Vacation]
George McRae - I Get Lifted (Mischief Brew Re-Edit) [OST]
Kate Bush - Running Up That Hill (12″ Mix) [EMI]
Herbie Hancock - Saturday Night (Beatconductor Disco Mix) [G.A.M.M.]
Inner Life - Make It Last Forever [Salsoul]
Bobby Davenport - Time (Has Come Today) [Flexx]

Michael F. Gill
Redshape - Dog Day [Millions Of Moments]
Kieran Hebden and Steve Reid - People Be Happy / Rhythm Dance (Audion’s Highlight Mix) [Domino]
Ferry Corsten - Beautiful (Original Mix) [Flashover Recordings]
Byron Burke - String Section [Maxi Records]
The Rurals - Mainbreak [Peng]
The KLF - Chill Out [Wax Trax]
Cherrelle - Fragile [Tabu]
Gary Low - You Are A Danger [Il Discotto]
George Aaron - Silly Reason [Full Time]
George LaMond - Where Does That Leave Love [Columbia]


March 23, 2007

Charts: March 23 2007

Peter Chambers
Beck - Cellphones Dead (Villalobos entlebuch remix) [Geffen]
Len Faki - Pearl Delta/Mekong Delta [Ostgut Tontraeger]
Tobias. - Dial EP [Logistic]
Andy Stott - Handle with Care/See in Me [Modern Love]
Carsten Jost/Efdemin - Split EP [Dial]
Lawrence - Fridays Child EP [Mule]
Donnacha Costello - 6.6 [Minimise]
Half Hawaii - Into Me/Out of Me [Perlon]
Move D - Anne Will (Lawrence remix) [Liebe Detail]
Repeat/Repeat Carpark (Second Edition) [Soma]
DJ Koze/Sid le Rock - Naked (Koze remix) [Cereal/Killers]

Michael F. Gill
Jan Leslie Holmes Im Your Superman [Jay Jay Records]
Domina You Got My Soul [Crash]
Automat Automat [EMI/Barclay]
Alloy Orchestra The Man With The Movie Camera [Junk Metal Music]
David Garcet Redemption (The Revolving Eyes Mix) [Dirty Dancing]
Roy Davis Jr Traxx From The Nile [Bombay Records]
Wolfgang Voigt Oktoberfest [Auftrieb]
Mike Uzzi & Ben Recht Reclaiming The 120s [Unfoundsound]
Loco Dice - El Gallo Negro [Ovum]
Nasty & Tresher - The Well Served Event [Terminal M]


March 16, 2007

Charts: March 16 2007

Mallory ODonnell
Propaganda - Duel / Jewel [ZTT]
Silver Convention - Mission to Venus [Midland International]
Visions of Tomorrow - Galaxy (Charles Webster Edit) [Past Due]
Cat Stevens - Was Dog A Doughnut? (Pilooski Edit) [Dirty]
D-Train - Keep On (Dub) [Prelude]
Depeche Mode - Enjoy the Silence (Hands & Feet Mix) [Mute]
40 Thieves - Point to the Joint (Electric Boogie Band Remix) [Smash Hit Music Co.]
Sascha Funke - Auf Aix [BPitch Control]
Junior Boys - Dead Horse EP [Domino]
Juan Atkins - Wax Trax! Mastermix Volume 1 [Wax Trax]

Michael F. Gill
Teena Marie - Youre All The Boogie I Need [Gordy/Motown]
Brass Construction Movin (12 Mix) [United Artists]
Number One Ensemble Back To Heaven [Radio Records]
June Evans If Your Want My Lovin [H & H records]
Roundtree Hit On You (Tony Humphries Dub) [Discfunction]
Afx - VBS.Redlof.B [Rephlex]
Moonbeam Sunshine [Traum]
Each Sunrise (Original Mix) [Out of Orbit Recordings]
Joachim Spieth Connect [Paso Music]
Dub Taylor Schmidts Cat / Schmidt’s Katze (Part 1) [Organic Domain]


March 2, 2007

Lazslo Beckett - Plowtrax Vol 1

I first met Laszlo on the dancefloor, in December. I think I was a bit bored, maybe a little tiredand definitely quite drunk. I felt that sudden urge to find a corner and curl up into a ball. But then this outrageous track faded into the mix. Wowzers. I whooped, gripped my hair, then did what any drunk trainspotting idiot would doI marched right up to the DJ and asked What the fuck is this?

Turns out I was listening to Bleep Me Daddy, the A1 on Laszlo Becketts Plowtrax Volume 1 EP. And what a sound, toosomething of the rambunctious oompah of the old Wishmountain tracks, but with the hypercollage sensibility of Akufen or Ark, and a little something extra. On the phones, the density and diversity of the samples used is conspicuouslive drums, real hand claps, pitched-up tomsand over that, the crazy, malfunctioning synth equivalent of a bad balloon someone just let go of. The long track on the B continues the madness, with a frenzied, shouted vocal over the top of a ridiculously intricate collage of live drums and bass, sounding like nothing much except Beige or Lump. Keep on Counting, the B2, takes things down a few pegs intensity wise, continuing the same sampledelic approach, but in a more atmospheric vein not dissimilar to moments on the recent Audio Werner EP reviewed here a few weeks back.

A lot of cut-up microhouse can suffer through its inherent boisterousness (or cause suffering at least)like a four-year old stuffed full of gummy bears, things can get really annoying really quickly. But this is easily one of the more accomplished EPs in this vein for a while. Fun fun fun til your daddy takes your farming implement away. Keep youre eyes on Laszlo, and just hope he keeps his Hand on the Plow.

Hand on the Plow / HOTP006
[Listen]
[Peter Chambers]


February 23, 2007

Charts: February 23 2007

Mallory ODonnell
Dorfmeister Vs. MDLA - Boogie No More (Reverson 68 Remix) [G-Stone]
Teena Marie - Fix It (Instrumental) [Epic]
Escort - “Bright New Life” (Morgan Geist Remix) [Escort]
Blackbelt Anderson - Alfaz De Pi [Full Pupp]
Jackson Jones - I Feel Good (Pilooski Edit) [Dirty Edits]
Justin Timberlake - My Love (Linus Loves Remix) [Virgin]
Pet Shop Boys - Was It Worth It? (12″ Version) [EMI]
Tomboy - Seris [Gomma]
Gui Boratto - Chromophobia [Kompakt]
Donna Summer - Love to Love You Baby [Casablanca]

Michael F. Gill
Slg Anymore [Level Records]
The Model Stargate Interlude [Underl_ne]
Kris Menace feat. Fred Falke Fairlight [Compuphonic]
Photocall Silver Clouds (Dexter Remix) [Clone]
Flakes Sugar Frosted Lover [Calibre]
Proton Plus Pay Up [Yew Wood]
Kay-Gees Latican Funk [De-Lite Records]
Airto - Celebration Suite [Warner Bros/WEA Discos Ltda]
James Jack Rabbit Martin - Rabbit Trax I [Yoton]
Keith Tucker Electro Lights [Twilight 76]


January 19, 2007

Escort - A Bright New Life

200712"Disco

As with their last two twelves, one of which was Beatzs #1 of 2006, this ones just too well done to deny. On the a-side, Singer Zena Kitt dwells on various personal uncertainties in the verse over a spare synth octave thump and rich, long strings, but when the chorus approaches its like every sound starts getting really cagey, and when it finally does come the empty space is filled with cheeky chicken-scratch guitars, a healthy dose of horn stabs, and (naturally) a bri-yut newww li-i-ife. The songwritings smart, the stylized diction is perfect, the instrumental buildups and breakdowns are taut, no notes out of place, no smirks in sight. Just awesome. For his remix, Morgan Geist subdues everythingeven the volume is lowerand after a new bassline and lots more space and just enough reverb, weve got something of a Metro Area track, the instruments taking turns soloing in the lime.

Escort Recordings / ESCRT-003
[Listen]
[Nick Sylvester]


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