August 7, 2007

B12 - Practopia / Slope

UK duo B12 (Mike Golding and Steve Rutter) were a prime mover in Warp’s Artificial Intelligence movement in the early ’90s alongside acts like Richard James’ Polygon Window, Black Dog Productions, and Autechre. 1993’s Electro-Soma was their definitive statement. Fusing lush European sounds with Detroit-derived rhythms to great effect, it was fathoms deep and foot-tapping all at once. The five-track Practopia dates from 1996 and is just now getting a proper release (the original only made it to white label at the time), but still sounds like it sprung from some sleek Blade Runner-like futuristic society. Much like Kraftwerk’s timeless style, the classic melodic lines, Derrick May-inspired rhythms and sense of…space…place it firmly in the retrofuturist mold. The infamous cover of the original Artificial Intelligence comp features a robot chilling out in an easy chair with headphones on. This could easily have been what it was listening to.

The newly recorded Slope three-tracker, cut from the same template of sounds, is an altogether more bouncing and aggresive affair, built more on layered percussive elements than drifting keys and ambient washes. It’s good stuff and still distinctive, but lands closer to the Plus 8 sound than the original B12 recipe. The robot just might leave its chair for this one.

B12 / B1215 / B1216
[Listen]
[Listen]
[Todd Hutlock]


June 5, 2007

Oto Gelb / Daniel Wang - Magical Yellow Sound From Germania / Look Ma, No Drum Machine!

20071990s12"HouseDisco

It’s likely that over the past year or so, “disco edits” have been clogging up the new releases page on your favorite vinyl retailer’s website. Now that any chimp (let alone human) can freely acquire an editing programming like Audacity within a few mouse clicks, we are all that much closer to being exposed to Rising Disco-Tech Producer #56 extending the introduction to a favorite or obscure disco/new wave track by four minutes, and paying for the privilege to hear it. All together now: “And then I was discouraged by YOU!”

At their best, disco edits reveal hidden potential in otherwise imperfect tracks, and/or turn you on to a new set of tracks to dig for. The Idjuts Boys’ series of re-edit CDs on Noid takes this one step further by adding in new material, overdubbed effects, and wilder arrangements to the original source material. But it’s negligible how many edits actually need to be released on vinyl, especially when the original artists/tracks are rarely credited.

Daniel Wang seem frustrated at this state of edits too, and seemingly in a response to raise the level of re-arranging discourse, has reactivated his Balihu label with two edit-friendly releases of his own. The first is a new release of disco edits under the name Oto Gelb, with a press release that justifies itself by saying “[this is] music you just can’t make on a laptop, and that’s why it’s so good.” I hate to be an equally bitter pill, but there is not much to get excited about here, unless the idea of disco versions of Bach and Debussy tick your novelty sensors. This version of Bach’s “Air On A G-String” does give me a suave and sentimental feeling though, as if I was visiting Dimitri from Paris in an old folks home twenty years from now.

The second release is a reissue of Wang’s debut EP from 1993, Look Ma, No Drum Machine, which is one of his most highly regarded works, thanks to “Like Some Dream (I Can’t Stop Dreaming)” being a long time staple of disco and house DJs. And the track still works a treat, pasting an emotionally tense vocal snippet from Sleeque’s “One For The Money” onto a blank disco drums canvas, effectively flattening the tension into some kind of detached wonder. Actually, the entire EP is made up of sampled disco records, and while it was a common practice at the time for deep house records to work off a disco sample, Wang’s material here has more of a raw and homemade feel to it. On the b-side, “Gotta Get Up” is as fine a disco-house number as you can get without using a bassline, “Warped” falls a little flat if you’ve heard “Time Warp” from Disco Not Disco 2, and “Get Up, Get Up” locks into a more soulish loop a la Theo Parrish’s Ugly Edits.

While both of these records feels more “angsty” than necessary, Look Ma is still worthy of your time, and should put Daniel back in the public eye with both DJs and MP3 bloggers, just in time for his upcoming full-length album.

Balihu / BAL 016
[Listen]
Balihu / BAL 001
[Listen]
[Michael F. Gill]


May 20, 2007

The Week In Review: 2007, Week 20

Battles - Atlas (Warp Records)
Genre: Leftfield

Peter Chambers: The two tracks seem to wind into each other, not so much remixes as silent halves of the other that mutually intimate, stroke, and ground. The diehard math-rockers will hate it, and its too weird for the functionally-obsessed dancefloors of the world, but thats (also) why its one of the more interesting EPs of the year so far.

Water Lilly - Invisible Ink (Mental Groove)
Genre: Electro-House, Minimal/Deep

Minilogue - Elephant Parade (Wagon Repair)
Genre: Minimal/Tech

Nate DeYoung: Ive been told that Elephant Parade is a snorefest, and while Im sure thats the case for most people, I sleep on my belly.

Solomun & Stimming - Feuer & Eis (Diynamic)
Genre: House, Minimal/Deep

Escort - All Through The Night (Escort)
Genre: Disco

John Daly - Sky Dive (Plak Records)
Genre: Techno, Detroit

Skatebard - Vuelo (Radius)
Genre: Neo-Disco

Nick Sylvester: Makes me wonder whether I would have liked that Sally Shapiro album more if there was, cough, less Sally Shapiro.

Selway and Vincenzo - Dream Stealer (CSM)
Genre: Minimal/Deep

Weekly Staff Charts

Beatzcast #33: Crambe Repetita


May 18, 2007

Charts: May 18 2007

Peter Lansky

The Black Ghosts - Anyway You Choose To Give It (Extended Version) [Southern Fried Records]
Passions - Emergency [Kitsune Music]
Para One - Midnight Swim (Surkin Drowning Mix) [Institubes]
!!! - Must Be The Moon (Hot Chip Remix) [Warp]
Black Devil Disco Club - The Devil In Us (Dub Version) [Lo Recordings]
Herbert - Moving Like A Train (Smith & Hack Remix) [Studio !K7]
Booka Shade - Tickle [Get Physical]
Bjrk - Earth Intruders (Spank Rock Remix) [One Little Indian]
Lindstrm & Solale - Let’s Practise [Feedelity]
Simian Mobile Disco - I Believe (Prins Thomas Diskomiks) [White]

Michael F. Gill

Andre Crom - Reiner Wahnsinn [Sender Records]
Shyza Minelli - Haunting Me [Tuning Spork]
Pablo Bolivar - The King Of My System (Phage & Daniel Dreier’s Whisper Mix) [MIS]
Ark & Mossa - Homme Sweat Homme [Complot]
Skream feat. Warrior Queen - Check It [Tempa]
Dee Scott - Irresistible [Electric Ice Records]
Scientist - Rids The World of the Evil Curse of the Vampires [Greensleeves]
Can - Soon Over Babaluma [Spoon/Mute]
Stephanie Mills - Sweet Sensation [20th Century Records]
Husky Rescue - Summertime Cowboy (Serge Santiago Version) [Catskills]


May 14, 2007

Battles - Atlas

Perhaps the greatest irony of all was indeed that Alanis song in its praise was not ironic. An arguably lesser but still significant irony is that math rock, as a genre, a sound, a stance dedicated to remorseless intensity and rhythmic, timbral, and harmonic experimentation, has become, twelve years later, one of the most conservative and unchanging of all musical scenes (which of course they would disavow being on both counts). In a parallel to the drumnbass scene, perhaps anything with such a particular sound and intensity is bound to attract two groups of people: those keen for the new, and those mad for the sound. Where the former engorge themselves on the signifiers and grow full and tired before sleeping it off and moving on, the latter seem to have an almost inexhaustible desire for that sound and nothing but that soundforever.

So I suggested to two (still) math-rocking friends that Battles’ new single marked an exciting new direction for a genre that had gone from being merely stagnant to somehow embodying the very essence of stagnation. But they both hate Battles, ever since they “turned electronic”. Nothing, apparently, will ever equal the heights of Don Caballero. To them, What Burns Never Returns is not a title but the site of worship, of mourning and of an unquenchable repetition-compulsion.

So Atlas is a kind of a betrayal and promise by a group who seem to want to actually enact the originally progressive spirit of Touch-and-Go. What is it? It riffs like a Thorogood beast, howls like The Knife, but schaffels with a vengeance. Its a fantastic rock epic and a great track. But thank God for the Koze mix on the flip. Its more than a matter of 1 + 1 = two good sides. Like all good EPs, theres a quality-multiplying factor lent by the proximities of creative differences-in-common. Kozes mix presents his typical “touch” based approach to sound, with twee melodies not unlike recent International Pony work but a structure and mood that conjures Aphex Twin. The two tracks seem to wind into each other, not so much remixes as silent halves of the other that mutually intimate, stroke, and ground. The diehard math-rockers will hate it, and its too weird for the functionally-obsessed dancefloors of the world, but thats (also) why its one of the more interesting EPs of the year so far.

Warp Records / WAP219
[Listen]
[Peter Chambers]


April 27, 2007

Charts: April 27 2007

Mallory ODonnell
Simple Minds - Theme From Great Cities [Virgin]
Stevie B - Party Your Body (Dub Mix) [Midtown]
Pet Shop Boys - A Red Letter Day [EMI]
Boundzound - Louder (All Mighty Club Mix) [Universal Island]
Lopazz - Share My Rhythm [Get Physical Music]
Baby Oliver - Hypochondriac [Environ]
Mock & Toof - Black Jub [Tiny Sticks]
Kathy Diamond - The Moment [Permanent Vacation]
Hot Chip - Over & Over (Remixes) [Astralwerks]
Black Devil Disco Club - Black Sunshine [LoEB]
Plone - Plone EP [Warp]
Meat Glove - Meat Glove EP [Hardwood Floor]
Mysterymen - Everything But An Answer [Disko B]

Michael F. Gill
Kevin Reynolds Afrik [Todhchai Records]
Djosos Krost Earthball [Music For Dreams]
Bassed On Kyoto - Flower [Jet Set Records]
Kocky - Remone [Windsong]
Jasper Van’t Hof - Hoomba Hoomba [Virgin Schallplatten]
Voom:Voom - Best Friend / Sao Verought Remixes [G-Stone Recordings]
Akabu - Im Not Afraid of the Future (DJ Fudge Remix)
Chaim - Popsky / Under My Skin [Hifreaks]
Rene Breitbarth - Graveyard Swing One [Neopren Recordings]
Kraftwerk - Tour De France Soundtracks [Astralwerks]


November 3, 2006

Bruno Pronsato - All Night Blahblah

So many of this guy’s twelves are totally interesting but way too busy, as if the Canadian micro-clicker is worried about getting called lazy or something. I’ve worked in slow restaurants and know the feeling; you just want to do *something* so the boss knows he’s getting his money’s worth. But dude, the boss is out of town! Relax! You’re not going to get fired! Re-released from 2004, “Blah Blah” isn’t too glitched out but there’s something groove-averse about it, very little space explored dynamically. The best things the track has going for it are these warped deep-dub basstones that slurp under the fracas, and the lyrics, which seem to moralize coke use: “talking all night,” “blah blah blah.” “wasting our time,” “do ya wanna grind [teeth?]?”, etc. Jackmate’s remix actually literalizes said dental grind at the track’s end, though the remix never pops, and maybe I’m reading into things.

Philpot / PHP 019
[Listen]
[Nick Sylvester]


November 3, 2006

Charts: November 3 2006

Todd Hutlock
Isole - Willy Skipper [Playhouse]
Shakir - Sequence 10 [Virgin]
Thomas Brinkmann - 128 Rua Villalobos [CMYK Musik]
Andy Stott - Nervous [Modern Love]
Ricardo Villalobos - Heike (Mood Mix) [Lofi Stereo]
Trentemller - Le Champagne [Naked Music]
Domink Eulberg - Blueten Sind Dem Grossem Schillerfalter Fremd (Renato Figoli Remix) [Traum Schallplatten]
Anders Ilar - A Day Ago [Narita]
Jeff Mills - Fists of Fury [Axis]
Plaid - Scoobs in Colombia [Warp]

Michael F. Gill
Yabby You - Run Come Rally [Prophet]
Sparkle - Disco Madness [Jam Sessions Records]
The Brides Of Funkenstein - War Ship Touchante [Atlantic]
Night Moves - Transdance (NY Disco Mix) [GC Recordings]
T. Life - Somethin’ That You Do To Me (Keeps Turning Me On) [Arista]
Octogen - Save Your Saviour [Soma]
Cant - Camels [Tic Tac Toe Records]
Stereo Mutants feat. Emelia Dabrowski - I Wonder (Stereo Mutants Afro Rmx) [Diamondhouse]
James Flavour - Eternity [Players Paradise]
Laurent Garnier - Controlling The House (Frederic De Carvalho Remix) [Absolut Freak Records]


October 20, 2006

Isole - Hermelin

Peter Chambers: Recently, Warp artist Clark has commented that four bars is a long time. In the artisan world of Isoles music, it seems equally true to say five years isnt much time. One listen to the bespoke animals of his imagination on We Are Monster was enough to explain where a decade or two could have been spent. While genre artists scribble, tinker and produce, Isoles music is a careful creation of storytelling and illustration better compared with master childrens illustrators like Maurice Sendak, Tomi Ungerer, or Bruno Munari. The title track Hermelin sounds for all the world like Rest or transitional period Isole, with its straight, open structure and oddly tuned and effected synths. Its unusually linear by the standards of his usually tangential arrangements, and doesnt ever really blossom or rupture like my expectations wanted it to. The B1, Willy Skipper contains strong elements of Niun Niggung-era Mouse on Mars, even if it retains Isolees trademark melodic overstuffing. From the B1 to the Sleazy Bee (B2): this ones a bumbler, clap-waddling along with a deranged hip-hop groove. These arent tracks, or even songs, but precious treasures, and yearn to be kept and cared for, and passed on.

Nick Sylvester: Busy as hell but no beat outta place, “Hermelin” reps the detailwork of 2005’s fantastic We Are Monster, and its sense of surprise: kicks come in a beat before expected, melodies compete and combine and deflate, sonics mutate, creating impossible space. Typical of Isolee, the composition grows up and out pretty logically, so it never feels overwhelming. The track darts out of the box with like this bluesy, slightly paranoid subway-car rattle, balanced out perfectly a minute or so later by these pillowy horn stabs that float like juggled handkerchiefs. Rhythm becomes tone, tone becomes rhythm, and it’s all so facile, like when that crisp laserlight melody snakes around the low-end like a laser in a labyrinth of mirrors, or how the held flute tones at the end torment each other by moving in and out of each other’s harmony. I haven’t even gotten to the other two tracksI’m sure they’re great toobut, holy shit, is this guy in his own league or what?

Playhouse / PLAY130
[Listen]


September 15, 2006

Charts: September 15 2006

Guest Chart: Troy Pierce

JPLS - Program [Minus]
Marcel Dettman Radio [MDR 1]
Dapyak - Uma [Mo’s Ferry]
Andre Chrome - Bodenturen [Leftroom]
The Knife - Like a Pen (Heartthrob remix) [Rabid Records]
Audion - Mouth to Mouth [Spectral]
Heartthrob - Baby Kate (Konrad Black remix) [Minus]
Frankie - Hunt [Frankie Rec]
Acid Circus - Minimal Junk (Jason Emsley Remix) [Droid]
Reagen - Dirt [Unreleased]

Todd Hutlock
iO - Claire [Cheap]
Michael Ho - Frisky [Tuning Spork]
Sleeper Thief - Chasing Rainbow [Mobilee]
Octave One - DayStar Rising [430 West]
Los Hermanos - Freedom Dancer [Los Hermanos]
Donnacha Costello - 6.1 [Minimise]
M.I.A. - Schoolcraft Bump [Underground Resistance]
Marc Houle - Bay of Figs [Minus]
Miss Fitz - Plak Du Jour (Mossa Remix) [Archipel]
Dominik Eulberg - Bionik [Cocoon]

Cameron Octigan
Misc. - Among Thieves [Sender]
Silicon Teens - State of Shock [Mute]
Partly Clouded [Fucked]
Extrawelt - Doch Doch [Traum]
Heartthrob - Baby Kate [M_nus]
Dominion - The Light of Day [KK Records]
Heroin - Meaning Less [Gravity]
Coil - The Snow [Wax Trax!]
Martin Buttrich - Full Clip [Planet E]
Troy Pierce (feat. Gibby Miller) - The Day After Yesterday [Items & Things]

Michael F. Gill
The Creatures - Believe In Yourself [Teldec]
Kasso Walkmen [Rams Horn Records]
Evelyn Champagne King - Love Come Down [RCA]
Mystic Merlin - Just Can’t Give You Up [Capitol]
M.I.A. - Safe Night [Sub Static]
Max Berlin - Elle Et Moi (Joakim Remix) [Eighttrack Recordings]
Likwid Biskit - Sound Orgy [Dynamite Joint / People]
Baby Ford & Mark Broom - Bubble Bath [Pure Plastic]
Plaid Squance [Warp]
Craig David - Whats Your Flava? (Akufen Remixes) [Wildstar/Atlantic]


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