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The Rubber Room
March, Volume Five
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.
Last fall, three nerdy Brooklyn natives made thousands of Blonde Redhead fans forget that the Liars were supposed to be the opening act, as they wooed audiences with their machine drum beats, digital delaying guitar, Peter Hook bass lines, and lead singer Colin Ruffino’s icy crooning. The Citizen EP captures Home Video’s shimmering, head bob-inducing music for the intelligent through five songs that prelude a very bright for the young artists. Heavily processed and 100% digitally executed, humanity still lies throughout the EP as Ruffino’s subdued deliveries and the bands self-created musical figures reveal there is warmth behind the electronic snow.
Analord 01 & Analord 02
Stylus writers have remained curiously silent on the newest offerings from Richard D. James and it's easy to see why, based on the first two entries into the Analord series. Anyone who wants to bother taking 800 words to review the thing better be spending 700 recounting AFX's historical impact or something equally as boring. Which reminds me: Analord 1's aceeeid revivalism is inconsequential to most who came to him after his Twin alias came to be regarded as his "important" work. For those who get off on it, you know what to expect: a bit more melodically complex than most acid and a whole lot harder to mix into and out of.
[Ghostly International, 2004]
This Environ vet does little to change his sound on this, his Ghostly debut. It wouldn't be such a heinous crime if this was his finest work, but "Berlin Sunrise (Die Nacht)," only comes to mean stuff in a mid-song breakdown worthy of the Neptunes, in which everything drops out except the glistening synth, the Italo tempo drums, and a yearning string line. When things get normal again, just pick the needle up and go back or wait for it all to come together in the finale. "Berlin Sunrise (Die Daemmerung)" is a less effective, more compact beast that pumps up everything at the expense of length and subtlety. On the flipside, the highlight is "Das ist Kein Techno!," which is decidedly not techno! What it is is top-notch acid house.
War Es Nicht
The gloom-house of most Dial releases is in full-effect, with a healthy dose of click thrown in on the newest release from Denis Karimani. Karimani is a player in the Cologne scene, although he rarely seems to get his records out in bulk--one 12" on Areal, Trapez, Dial, and Italic each. It's hard to believe, as "War Es Nicht" is an incredibly self-assured slab of wax that moves from some abstract beginnings into a full-fledged banger by its end, all the while remaining defiantly catchy. The B-side opener "Pedestrian" is just that, but "Wahrheit" finishes up the 12" nicely with a blossoming hook that never changes except in volume, eventually making its way to the forefront of the song.
Ware has always struck me as the summer to Dial's winter, and Ziggy Kinder's newest 12" works well in this formulation. Tiny specks of synth get loosely coalesced into hooks, while the beat remains incredibly buoyant at all times. Apparently this is Kinder's debut 12" and, in that respect, you have to be taken aback in some ways. The title is apt: every micro-detail is managed to within an inch of its life. But, you know, the production being impeccable is nothing without the tunes to carry it along (which Kinder is obviously trying to craft here in some way), and he doesn't quite have that together just yet.
Nid and Sancy
Be Yourself Tonight
You can't expect much from a name like that, which makes this track an even more pleasant surprise than it might have been. The tension is built from the beginning moment of the track, until the roiling bass and guitar build to a climactic peak in which an honest-to-god guitar riff sample comes barreling in to knock you off your feet. It does its job, mainly because it's so unexpected, but once you get used to it, it makes perfect sense. But then you're knocked off your feet again with the false ending! This, my friends, is dance-punk done right. Take note.
[Bpitch Control, 2005]
A lot of people seem to love themselves some BPitch Control. I'm not exactly in that camp. I like them. But I find them to be way too inconsistent for me to ever get the hype. Of course every so often they just hit it so hard, it hurts. Festivities is one of those times: "Happy Happy" is wet-yr-pants God-like electo-house, "The Birthday Party" is its slightly lesser cousin, and "Congratulations" will rock dancefloors, no questions asked. Only complaint? Running times. The latter two are begging for extended mixes of their combined ten-minute running time. Cop this.
By: Stylus Staff
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