Beatz By The Pound
Disorienting Oscillators

a weekly look into the world of electronic musics...

Richie Hawtin
DE9: Transitions
[Mute, 2005]

Few DJs are taking full advantage of the sound possibilities afforded by the advances in technology. Luckily, Richie Hawtin is—and he’s doing it, crucially without losing sight of the big picture. Of course, even fewer DJs probably have the clout, money, and time to undertake a project in which nearly 110 tracks are combined over a 75 minute mix, but…well…you know. Music-wise, the mix rarely has the highs or lows associated with many of the most famous recorded collections of our time, but that’s never been Hawtin’s job or aim (think of him as Saul Bellow to Fatboy Slim’s John Grisham). What we have instead is a calm, calibrated, and incisively minimal mix that showcases a tasteful selector who has the uncanny ability to unlock the hidden interlocking elements of modern techno.

Dandy Jack and the Junction SM
Los Siete Castigos
[Perlon, 2005]

Call me a spoilsport, but doesn’t “Chuleta For You” just sound like a slightly more talkative Plaid? After you get past that initial salvo, the going gets much better. Dandy bears down for the three-song swing of “Video Taceo,” “Arabs in the Desert,” and album highlight “Samba Lübeck” in which pounding minimalism keeps pushing back the “gotta get up” refrain. The closer, “Casper House” is a marvel as well, featuring a disorientingly oscillating synth that sounds as though its moving on a boomerang’s trajectory. Give this one a few spins, with a little practice it’ll come right back to you.

Benjamin Diamond / Connective Zone
Inner Cycle / Function
[Kompakt, 2005]

People (never) ask me, “Todd, what’s a good song to gently ease myself into dance music?” I now have my 12” to hand them and send them on their way. Divided seamlessly into two emotionally-over-the-top parts, the seventeen-minute opus “Inner Cycle” is probably one of the best things (re-)released via Kompakt ever. It’s an acid-pop-house gem that moves from great to astounding along its length, until it gets to a coda that reaffirms why I listen to dance music. And, yes, he’s still the guy that sang on “Music Sounds Better With You.” You could probably spin “Function” till the end of time, too, and be rather content.

Pleasure Seeker
[Get Physical, 2005]

Just when I was ready to stop frothing at the mouth, Elektrochemie comes along with a fantastic A-side to their new 12”. Riding on a warbly bassline that weaves in and out of another bass-led melody, “Pleasure Seeker” is not minimal, but it sure feels like there’s not much else going on aside from a beat, a vocal, and two synth-players staring each other down from across the stage. I was not however, “Star Struck” or “Vexed” by what else the 12” had to offer, which lost the tense excellence and added a disconcerting funkiness.

Gui Boratto
[K2, 2005]

It’s been two weeks, so I’m focusing on the good stuff today. “Arquipélago” is minimal music at its finest. No real adornments, just a simple bassline, some drum programming, and one of those melodies that doesn’t seem much more than an ascending scale of four notes. The key is the pacing. The stops and the starts. The addition and the subtraction. All of which Gui seems to be particularly adept at. B-side “Symmetria” is a much funkier proposition, but the appeal is the same. A master of propulsion, this guy.

By: Todd Burns
Published on: 2005-12-02
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