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Swat Squad
Gecko 12”
[Trapez, 2005]

For every stunning 12” that Trapez seems to put out, there’s at least one or two that seem to be built for keeping dancers going at 2:30 in the morning or those meant solely for home listening. Swat Squad’s “Gecko” seems to be a mix of the latter two. “Escoria,” while featuring an interesting clearing-house vacuum cleaner bass as its sole climax rarely raises its head above the dirt, “Monsterism” is the type of melodically inflected techno that might have made it when Black Dog was around, and “Bauhaus” is too cheery to evoke the architecture style or music group’s relative austerity. It, like “Monsterism,” reveals some of the hidden links between the current wave of tech-house and early Warp Records.

Artificial Latvamaeki
Maenty 12”
[Trapez Ltd., 2005]

Why they’re making far less of these12”’s than Swat Squad is a mystery to me. Sure, both “Manety” and “Frotee” follow the same sort of Artificial Intelligence vibe of SS, but “Konstaapelin Ajan Juoksu Yoell” is a straight eight-minute burner that sounds like a mutating helix of DNA throughout its length shot right through with a burst of harrowing vocodals. It’s not quite Steve Barnes territory, but it feels like it may get there with time.

Poni Hoax
Budapest 12”
[Tigersushi, 2005]

Along with a whole host of groups, Poni Hoax are busy rehabilitating electroclash’s image, one great single at a time. The key to Hoax’s success is that it’s a rock group—unafraid of a little scum and dissonance. By the time the original version of the single is over, you have the insistent disco beat all over your face and the clouds of guitar and synthesizer all over your best dress. Instead of cleaning up: put on the B-side, Joakim’s Italo dub and revel in the amped up synth line for six minutes longer. Recommended.

Heroine 12”
[Eskimo, 2005]

Looking for the legitimate heir to Junior Senior and Electric Six? Doesn’t seem like you need to go much further than the Lotterboys who give disco-punk with the lyrics to match a good name. “Heroine,” featuring the couplet “I’m her fantasy / She’s my reality,” is the ultimate love story: both parties are completely enamoured of one another, don’t seem to know why the other one likes them, but still get off anyway. Actually, that’s a pretty good description of why I like a song that features a heavy backbeat, grinding guitars, and a singer that sounds like a glammier Frank Black. Luckily (?), B-side “Superdope” breaks the reverie: superdope being an adjective for a panty-sniffer.

Jacek Sienkiewicz
Six Feet Above 12”
[Recognition, 2005]

“Six Feet Above” picked up solely on the basis of a love for Six Feet Under does little to inspire comparisons to the TV show. Nonetheless, Sienkiwicz brings the goods here. The title track isn’t much to worry about rhythmically, but the hovering synth lines that fly above the subterranean bass are. They rarely make much sense in the beginning moments of the track, but their atonal strains eventually coalesce into a sort of comfortableness after a few minutes before breaking up again into chaos. The B-side “Perpetual Motion” picks up the pace over its length, building to a Detroit-esque bell and stuttering synth laden high-point that’s worth checking into.

By: Todd Burns
Published on: 2005-08-04
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