Kero / Yoko Solo
Kerologistics / The Beeps
Neo Ouija / Quaketrap
2005 / 2005
B- / B
ristine electro jams and exuberantly schizophrenic grooves are the name of the game on two North American records that just made it to my mailbox despite 2005 release dates. I blame Australia Post. Both producers claim links to British beat science, but although each produced intricate, first class records, neither have particularly advanced their musical templates.
Kero’s Detroit Underground label has released music from Modeselektor and Richard Devine, while the man himself has graced labels such as Bpitch Control, Ghostly, and Shitkatapult. If names are your keys to credibility, then the veteran Canadian producer has it in spades.
A regular at the border between Windsor and Detroit, he claims it was Sheffield rather than the motor city that influenced his sound. It’s a statement I find hard to square with the music (although the Designers Republic orchestrated website might give you pause). While there is certainly classic electro piled high with effects and CPU-draining plug-ins here (which might suggest links to the Rephlex crew), to my ears it’s more likely to be Drexciya’s records rather than Richard James’.
In fact, the eerie synth pads and the rumbling basslines, the clapping beats that switch from sharp electro to skittery breakbeat without betraying the classic sound are more Red Planet than the iconic label itself these days. And while turning this music up loud brings a whole other dimension of sound sculpture, ultimately, Logistics is less about the adventurous broad swathe rewiring of sound and more about fine resolution finessing.
Brendan LaSan’s approach is more catholic. Throwing everything in the basket, the San Francisco beat maker trading as Yoko Solo owes a lot to the UK dance music scene. But although the Warp crowd were undoubtedly influential, the evidence of The Beeps suggests it’s a whole other music scene that influenced this album.
The backdrop shifts constantly like a school play with a psychopath for a stage manager who wants to make sure everyone’s quite aware how much control they have over the rope that lifts and drops in the new sets. Bam. Brutal industrial noise. Bam. Schizophrenic big beat.
That’s right, there are beats (and sirens) that are Chemical Brothers/Renegade Soundwave big and block-rocking, snippets of hip-hop vocals, one note bass lines descended from speed garage, and loops of guitar riffs, with a touch of Merck’s 8 bit obsession, say on “Infinite Collapse Pt. One – Three.”
The “Infinite Collapse“ triptych’s drum programming and minor chords, the cut and swathe and even the name suggest DJ Shadow, though rarely with his sense of lyricism. The heavy acid beats veer towards Omar “Oh Oh” Santana, especially on “Infinite Collapse Pt. Three: Bang U Up Dummy.”
At times the noise and effects threaten to overwhelm, but although the exuberant beat production of “No Party, Wind/Vomit” might be indebted to Front 242, it has none of the aggression: Jack Dangers without the danger, if you will. It’s not subtle, but like Japanese beat maker Com.A, the sophisticated array of reference points and general joy de vivre are infectious.
Reviewed by: Matthew Levinson
Reviewed on: 2006-04-13