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The Rubber Room
February, Volume Three
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.
Lucien N. Luciano / Pier Bucci
Stone Age / Amael
Luciano started the Cadenza label last year, adding a number of 12” to the spate of full-length releases he unleashed on other labels. I kept that sentence rather boring because I don’t want to betray how absolutely stunning I think nearly every single release has been. But, then again, I’m a self-avowed sucker for 12-minute latin-tinged micro-house tracks that meld dubby bass and bulbous synths.
OK, the label isn’t all BEST 12” EVAR material. Take NSI, a duo consisting of Pink Elln & Max Loderbauer that mixes piano loops as well as can be expected with tech-house beats. Luckily, the piano is more improvised than not on “Max Binski,” but it still has the effect of making it more interesting than bangin’, which wasn’t necessarily the case on previous releases. “Clara Ghavami” does its best to rectify this, but it doesn’t quite come off like it should.
Late Check Out
The 12” that did have me, and others, going BEST 12” EVAR last year was DJ Koze’s Speicher contribution, “Brutalga Square.” This one…not so much. Call it the Villalobos virus: Koze seems too enamoured of his own production skills to ever really get into anything approaching a groove here. The opening track sees fit to take its leisurely time in bringing off a rather exciting melodic counterpoint, but it’s too little and too late to get me much interested. “Kushelrock,” though, is prime Pop Ambient 2006 material being a curiously muted Slowdive B-side from the Souvlaki sessions.
Heib’s latest cures listeners of any doubts that Kompakt was going off the avant deep-end with this furiously hammering 12” that could be just as well suited for the Extra sub-label. “Stripped” is an much-needed ode to Daft Punk’s “Rollin’ & Scratchin’,” “Phonix” keeps the dance party alive in the same manner, distorting a different sound to chilling effect, while the title track is much the same, sans an overdriven element that threatens to destroy the stereo field. Maybe Heib is getting soft too.
Followed By Angels
Always soft and better off for it is Matthew 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.
By: Todd Burns
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