The Idjuts and Dimitri From Paris are disco lovers and fans of the ‘Dub’, ie the mix that eschews full vocals in favour of shards, whilst mixing up the music in a manner often more interesting than on the standard vocal mix. Loosely based on the techniques pioneered by Jamaican producers way back when, this Dubbin’ selection focuses on heavily Fxed, echoed and respun grooves of the 80s discoid variety. Winners include the sweet Dub of Sandy Kerr’s Thug Rock, the awesome Special Remix of Serious Intention‘s You Don‘t Know and Wuf Ticket‘s hazy The Key (Dub). The Idjuts bring us a mixed CD of the gems on offer here, whilst Dimitri presents the tracks in their unmixed glory on two more CDs, giving listeners an expansive three disc set.
Tuesday, 31 March 2009
Two naturally follows after One. It took the French duo of Caroline Hervé and Michel Amato nine years to follow up their debut album with this LP, which is dedicated to dark soundscapes and coolly delivered vocals. At times almost technoey, unashamed electro trashy in places and oddly poppy elsewhere, Two puzzles and beguiles in equal measures. 1000 Dreams is synth pop heaven, PPPO is for dark clubs and Electronic City is a journey through a lost urban area. Two is a dark yet rewarding treat.
Monday, 30 March 2009
The title of this compilation series from Denmark’s excellent Music For Dreams stable roughly translates to ‘castles in the sky’ or ‘dreams that will never come true’. This is a misleading name for the series, as Luftkastellet actually makes improbable musical dreams come true. Where else would you find quirky pop efforts rubbing shoulders with off the wall Balkan dance and mindblowing technoid concoctions? Admittedly all the tracks are very immediate in one way or another, and some may induce revulsion as opposed to love, but MFD boss Kenneth Bager must be thanked for putting together such a diverse and dynamic compilation. Luftkastellet 6 does feature some real beauties, such as Aeroplane’s electrifying rejig of Grace Jones’s Williams Blood, Moby’s key dipped I Love To Move In Here and Henrik Schwarz’s own stunning live version of him and Amampondo’s I Exist Because Of You. Best listened to with an open mind!
Despite the Germanic sounding name, Bronnt Industries Kapital is actually an alias of Bristol based UK producer Guy Bartell, with help from Nick Talbot of Gravehurst. Dreamy electronica is the fair that he presents on this, his third album, which also features a side helping of eerie synthetics and psychedelic instrumentation. An Index Of Corporate Art is a lovely opener, with Threnody for the Victims of Lucio Fulci going all fuzzy on us and Objects & Purpose coming on like a warped Fujiya & Miyagi. Bronnt found a home for his first two albums on Static Caravan and whilst his style of music may not be the type of thing you’d immediately associate with Get Physical, he has done the label proud with the fascinating electronic soundscapes on Hard For Justice.
Arecibo is a city in Northern Puerto Rico, but the ‘Arecibo Message’ was a communication from earth to space, related to the Arecibo telescope, launched in the mid 70s. What this has directly to do with Irishman Barry Lynn aka Boxcutter’s LP of the same name on Planet Mu is perhaps not obvious, but naming the album after the telescope shows his desire to explore undiscovered musical terrain. Boxcutter achieves this by creating compositions that borrow and steal from all types of musical creeds in order to create a sound of his own, which references everything from modern electronica and thinking man’s dubstep to rave, hip hop beats and skippy garage. Personal favourites include the jungle step magic of Sidetrak, the pointed Arcadia 202 and the delightful closer, named A Cosmic Parent. ‘Out there’ yet still making musical sense, Boxcutter extols the virtues of being inventive.
AGF aka Antye Greie teams up with Sasu Ripatti, perhaps better known as Vladislav Delay or Luomo, for the couple’s second album as a musical duo. It is a dark yet riotous affair, where clattering machinery meets sour instrumentation and earnest vocals. The ‘song’ element adds an intriguing layer to this album, and on most occasions, the odd shaped grooves and piercing vocal contributions mix together like ingredients in a well prepared cocktail. Highs include the simply gorgeous Connection, a disturbing paean to physical attraction named Most Beautiful and the bassy Second Life. Dark electronic moodiness meets memorable lyricism on this stimulating album from a cool musical couple.
Sunday, 22 March 2009
Appaloosa are a French duo that features the songwriting talents of Anne-Laure Keib with the production skills of Max Krefeld. Together, they make incredibly romantic synth pop and after demoing tracks last year, here Appaloosa debut for the effortlessly chic Kitsuné Music imprint. The Day We Fell In Love begins with a solemn piano and vocal episode, before simple percussion and sweet synths join the party.
Still charging ludicrous prices, but unfortunately making up for it with the musical goodness that lies inside, Whatever We Want bring us a blinding future retro two tracker from Shaheer and Spencer. Rushing To Paradise (Walkin’ These Streets) is a heavenly house opus, with celestial keys, on point percussive work and needy vocals. The Rough Half (Don‘t Stop) is a languid yet rewarding affair, with sleazy bass action, dependable chords and bronzed guitars.
After the magic of You Rock Me and The Sun Can’t Compare, I was ready for another house anthem from Mr. White and living legend Larry Heard, but this is not the case. On this release, they hit home with an awesome electro pop track and the house cuts on the Aeroplane EP from which this track is taken are decidedly lacklustre. Chad White’s dejected vocals sit atop gliding 80s synths and measured percussion on the absolutely magical You Don’t Answer (When I Call).
The Organica Music Labworks label kicks off with a stunning EP of deep techy goodness from Darren Nye. The opener, Destiny’s Way, is a key driven dream, whilst Emotional Process is an explosive winner. New World is all thoughtful bass work and artistic synth patterns and Rotation hits with Detroit keys and stuttered percussion.
‘Live’ house three piece Tortured Soul kick off their own imprint with two instalments of mixes of a loving ditty from the outfit. The first package features the original versions, which draw on the group’s love of purring instrumentation, slick production and proper songs. Arguably, the finest revisions in this sets come from Quentin Harris, who brings two mixes with beautiful key work and scintillating synths. As far as remixes are concerned, the second package wins, with stellar displays from Tom Moulton, Domu and Piranhahead. Moulton’s mix is an understated beauty, Domu supplies a wonderful pointed percussion driven version and Piranhahead goes for a groovy synth trip.
After many musical successes via his tireless work as co-label boss for Society, Sheffield record collector extraordinaire Solid State launches his new musical forum in the shape of All Out War. The highlight of the first EP of discoid edits is If U Love Me, with its committed guitar work, calming keys and pleading vocals. Shortwave Radiation is a spacey quick stepper and America is a reviving string led number.
Originally available on his Full Circle LP, Martin 'Atjazz’ Iverson presents Parallels in an alternative form on this outing, which is the debut for his new self-titled imprint. His ‘Alternative Album Version’ is all kaleidoscope keys, smoky brass and philosophical vocals. Jazzanova boost the beats and bring out the bass on their pair of remixes, whilst Charles Webster beats down the brass with meaty percussion.
French future disco providers Discodeine give Who Made Who the inside information with their mixes of The Plot. Their Dub is the one, with its strutting strings, cool bass and mean percussion workout.
Vienna’s crooning genius joins Parov Stelar for a wonderful EP on Stelar’s own Etage Noir imprint. The title cut is a hilarious ode to a certain darling of the tabloids, where smooth instruments and pointed percussion provide the musical accompaniment. The other track on the EP is a blistering dancefloor effort entitled Flying Away, where cool synths and flashing brass back Austen’s despairing vocals. Both tracks are accompanied by remixes, but it is the original version of My Amy and Club Mix of Flying Away that are the winners.
Dumas has been on fire of late and this outing cements his reputation as a producer to watch in techy circles. Multi Electronics is a gloriously messy effort, with clanking synths and a churning bass, whilst Crossed Roads is a slim line technoid gem. All Magic ladles on the watery keys and submerged vocals, and The End naturally rounds off proceedings with exposed pianos and lost words.
Saturday, 21 March 2009
Freak N Chic trawl the archives of St. Albans based Peacefrog, to bring us a forgotten Robert Hood episode from 2002, which has been remixed by FNC man Shonky. In original form, Who Taught You Math is all poky keys, strobe synths and groovy bass goodness. When remixed by Shonky, the bass becomes a darker prospect and the synthetics take on a more computerised form.
Love truly is a ‘crazy thing', but so is this slice of housey groodness from Gabriel Black. Reliable percussion lulls you into a false sense of normality, before the synthoid mayhem takes hold.
Santé is not a single producer, but the Maier siblings; Philipp, Marius and Mathias. Originally hailing from Ulm, this techy threesome are almost inevitably now living in Berlin, here presenting their debut outing for the Tiefschwarz brothers’ Souvenir imprint. White is a cool technoid effort, with pointed synths and dark bass action, whilst You makes use of lively percussion arrangements and computerised vocals.
Now based in London, Texan Demarkus Lewis has always delved deeper than most and this outing for Artizan shows that his transatlantic flight hasn’t affected his ability to make superb house efforts. Misbelievin’ is a spirit lifting vocal effort, with cute keys and rising synths. Deez’ Late Night Bootycall Rub is a wonderfully filthy retake, whilst Jafar & Touch supply a dancing synth driven revision and Tim Split presents a key kissed mix.
Cologne based Coma put us into a musical trance like state, courtesy of this hypnotic outing on Firm. The title track is a smooth electronic dream, with shapely keys, pert percussion and steamy vocals from Cynthia Scholten. Klingelpuetz is another winner, with wiggling synth lines, key bleeps and ominous percussion.
Sunday, 15 March 2009
Wednesday, 11 March 2009
Juxtaposing ice cool technoid minimalism with sumptuous vocal shards and choice instrumental touches, Doubts & Shouts is a thing of musical beauty. Wholeheartedly rejecting the proposition that ’machine music’ should be opposed all that is ’live’ and ‘organic’, this long player delves into both worlds and emerges with a pulse racing opus. This ten track album from Paris based Anthony Collins is an exploration of textures and feelings as much as grooves, which will reward home and club listeners. Standouts are the fragrant Blossom, infectious Prism and agitated Tango Bizarre. Doubts & Shouts shows how rewarding it can be to conquer the desire to follow the musical pack and instead forge a singular musical path.
Martin Stimming hails from Giessen in Germany and makes intricate techno compositions, which reflect his skill at sound manipulation that was honed during an engineering course in Hamburg. Another reason for Stimming’s talent may be the fact that he is also a talented musician, who mastered the violin, piano and drums at an early age. There are many producers dabbling in similar musical waters, but what sets Stimming apart is his use of only the finest sounds and the way he creates amazing grooves from seemingly nothing. Reflections is his debut album, where winners include the jumpy After Eight, a warbling bass number called Fruits Of Life and The Beauty, which is a startling techy opus. Technically awe inspiring and still fun for home listening and dancing pursuits, this is a great debut from Martin Stimming.
A high school ballroom dancing couple from Santa Monica, California, Mr and Mrs Darlington present an album of soft electronic mush that is sweet on the ears and as graceful as the said dancing. Mr. Darlington is better known as Daedelus and the pair create beautifully melancholic ditties. Mixing understated percussive elements, earnest guitars and all manner of odd sonic statements, the stage is set for the Missus to present her poetic lyrics and the Mr. to occasionally add his own choice vocals. Album highlights include the thoughtful Sibliance, the magical Past Perfect and a sweet number entitled Colour. This is a lovely album from a cute musical couple.
Esteemed London based reggae selector David Rodigan returns to BBE with a second volume of his Authentic Reggae series, which features recent wonderful musical moments alongside dusty classics from the past. The cover art to the compilation depicts Marcus Garvey charting the movement of African Americans from the Americas to Africa, which is significant to the compilation due to Garvey’s Jamaican heritage, the country’s role in the slave trade and the island’s synonymity with reggae. Highlights on this heartening compilation include Johnny Clark’s haunting Do You Love Me, Macka B’s respectful Empress Divine and The Viceroys desolate Heart Made Of Stone. This is another excellent selection of raw and organic reggae from the masterful Rodgian.
London based nocturnal soiree throwers and record purveyors Need2Soul present their second compilation, which explores house, broken and other soulful territory. Known for putting on nights with celebrated disc jockeys, one would expect heavyweight spinners to select the music for this compilation and they appear in the shape of Londoner Benji B of 1Xtra fame and Chicago deep master Glenn Underground. Benji brings the goods in an across the board mix that features classy efforts such as Âme’s cool Hydraulic Dog, Carl Craig’s arresting revision of Cesaria Evora’s Angola and Yew’s understated Where Would You Be? Mr. Underground’s mix is heavy on the jazzy garnishing and features house gems such as YMC’s stargazing Nu Vibration, Nick Holder’s gorgeous Summer Daze and Moodymann’s frightening J.A.N. Need2Soul give a good account of themselves and their musical ideals with this compilation.
Ghetto Bass is a great name for this double CD compilation of bass driven bangers from fidgeting man Hervé. Originally emerging from under the same stone as Dave ’Switch’ Taylor, Trevor Loveys and Jesse Rose, and now a huge artist in his own right, Hervé makes music under a plethora of names and occasionally works with pals such as Sinden. This compilation is a full on bass assault, mixing up everything that fits in with the Count’s enthusiastic music style. Disc one concentrates on huge wah wah basslines, jumping beats and spat lyrics, with winners including Fake Blood’s retro tipped Mars and Jack Beats' wobbling Get Down. Disc two is more about stuttered beats, moody vibes and heavy basslines, with winners such as Zomby’s eerie Rumours & Revolutions and Benga’s nasty Crunked Up. A bass driven delight.
Formerly leader of the divine Mondo Grosso, Japanese bassist and electronic don Shinichi Osawa gives us his take on the whole synth driven dance sound. It is as closer to indie, punk funk and the whole electroclash sound, than it is to anything resembling Osawa’s house and jazzy dalliances with Mondo Grosso. In the main part, the album is an abrasive musical affair, full of jagged synth lines, pump action beats and strong vocals, with the occasional lull. Despite not sounding a million miles away from the hundreds of other synth happy electronic producers, Osawa outsmarts them with his production skills and love of melody. Highlights include lead cut Star Guitar, a chilled number called The Patch and the guitar driven frenzy of Last Days. Full of energy and musical exuberance, this is a powerful album from Osawa.
Tired of the usual compilation concept of mixing upfront gems or solely concentrating on a certain sub genre or musical lifestyle choice, Henrik Schwarz, Âme and Dixon bring us the time travelling inspired Grandfather Paradox. This intriguing mix CD cuts through a range of bpms, genres and dates, bringing us a collection of tracks that eschews solely technoid material one may expect from these German heavyweights for something infinitely more rewarding, which is broadly linked by the concept of musical minimalism. Layering grooves and emotions, this hypnotic ride features wondrous moments such as Steve Reich & Pat Metheny’s beautiful Electric Counterpoint (Fast Movement 3), John Carpenter’s sinister The President Is Dead and Yusef Lateef’s graceful The Three Faces Of Bala. Less is more with The Grandfather Paradox!