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The Rubber Room
Lil Flip featuring Raekwon and Ghostface Killah / Black Strobe / Lawrence / Steve Bug / Mathias Schaffhaeuser / Horror, Inc.

The Rubber Room column is a weekly look at recent and notable releases that don’t fall into the rubric of traditional reviewed material—namely 7”’s, 12”’s, 3” CDs, EPs, cassette-only, DVDs and MP3-only releases.

Lil Flip featuring Raekwon and Ghostface Killah
Bust Ya Pistols
[DJ Kay Slay Presents: Long Live The King , 2004]

If you can just hold on past Flip’s forgettable verse (I hope he’s exaggerating when he claims to be “on top of his game”) there’s a huge treat in store for Wu fans. Raekwon switches up his flow from his usual pace to something much speedier resembling a US version of London Posse’s Mad Dog, a reaction against his lack of effort on Lex Diamond Story? Just as effectively, Ghost comes with a Dipset styled flow lazily rhymed flow that he manages to invest with his usual charisma. Jim Jones and Juelz Santana take note.
[Scott McKeating]

Black Strobe
Chemical Sweet Girl EP
[Output, 2004]

On their latest EP, Parisian duo Black Strobe move away from the glossy sheen of filtered house, and on towards somewhere far darker and dirtier. “Chemical Sweet Girl” opens with an insistent 4/4 beat and stabbing chords, like “Driller Killer” set to music; the remix by Alter Ego is even more storming, sounding like the original being fed through a industrial sander piloted by Andy Weatherall. Elsewhere, “Me and Madonna” sounds like the record that New Order should have made to helm “Movement”, yet the collection triumphs with “The Abwehr Disco”, a rumble in a dark alley between some monumentally fuzzed-up keyboards and a dancing, pile-driving beat. It’s not so much electroclash as electrotribute—some of these tracks could fit quite easily onto a Nitzer Ebb disc—and so, while everything here is fab, I’m waiting for the album to see whether these boys can really deliver the goods.
[Dave McGonigle]

[Ghostly International, 2004]

On the gorgeous The Absence of Blight (Dial, 2003) and now the equally satisfying Spark, Lawrence imbues subtle microhouse rhythms with poignant, autumnal moods and demonstrates a masterful command of song construction. He typically builds tracks incrementally, with layer upon layer accreting until a piece becomes irresistibly hypnotic, yet the resultant sound is never oppressive when the individual components are so clean and minimal. Encapsulating all of Lawrence’s strengths, “Spark” merges an oscillating two-note motif, elegant piano melodies, swaying beats, and lithe bass lines into a blissful microhouse groove that’s sweetened by bell tones pinging at the forefront and synth sparkles floating in the background.
[Ron Schepper]

Steve Bug / Mathias Schaffhaeuser
Speicher 21 12”
[Kompakt, 2004]

While the schaffel has hit full steam this year with Cologne as the epi-center, Steve Bug gives the limp rhythm a work-out on “That Kid (Ha. Te. mix).” Beginning with a couple snares and a respirator pulse, the track unfolds into an interlocking exercise of styles—flowing between a lazy shaffel groove and a nervous anti-shaffel lurch. The b-side sees Mathias Schaffhaeuser’s dirty acid house practically bleeding with fuzzed testosterone. While both tracks are solid, Bug’s “That Kid” shines brighter in his kaleidoscope of off-kilter 4/4 variations.
[Nate De Young]

Horror, Inc.
I Plead Guilty
[Perlon, 2004]

After his work on My Way, I expected Marc Leclair (aka Akufen) would go work past his all-but-patented micro-editing technique. Two years later, we find Leclair expanding less technique and instead the tone of his music under the guise of Horror, Inc. Although both tracks follow after the first Horror, Inc. release, “In My Garden” pushes furthest into new sonic territories with meloncholic piano chords, Villalobos-esque drums and fluorescent buzzes. “The Vanishing” fuses micro-funk with down-tempo giving the song a driving exterior for its collection of warm synths and Eno-sighs.
[Nate De Young]

By: Stylus Staff

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