Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Africa Hitech - Hitecherous

01 - How Does It Make U Feel
02 - Said Speed
03 - Lash Out
04 - Boingy
05 - One Two
06 - One Two (Instrumental)
07 - How Does It Make U Feel Alt Intro
08 - Too Late
09 - Too Late Instrumental
10 - Too Late Dub
11 - Too Late Dub Instrumental

Mark Pritchard and Steve Spacek don their pressurised dashikis on a trip to unimagined African futures. We were given three recon images of their mission on the brilliant 'Blen' 12", and the seven-track 'Hitecherous' gives a detailed status report until the full album lands in early 2011. The eight-minue odyssey 'How Does It Make You Feel' grabs the groove with two hands full of dusty acid sequences, salty bleeps and scuffed post-garage syncopations mellowed out by Spacek's soul vox, while 'Said Speed' runs out spiky digital rhythms and speed garage bass like SND versus Mr V. 'Lash Out' goes wild with staggered synthlines and clacking Grime snares, and 'Boingy' lurches like zebedee on two zoots and half a bottle of Moet. The best has gotta be the dynamic dancehall minimalism of 'One Two', launching the kind of subs liable to buckle your speaker cones under insectoid bleep scuttles and a heavily JA flavoured vocal from Mista Spacek. For all digital heads, there's also the dub-sculpted 'Too Late' featuring a mellifluous vocal and syrupy horns to balance the concrete digital weight of the bass and icy shards of percussion. Pedigree wares!...www.boomkat.com

To My Boy - The Habitable Zone

01. Underneath The Pylons
02. Hello Horizon
03. Antarctica
04. Us + The Wind
05. When I Was a Cloud
06. Looking For a New Way
07. Delightful Beams
08. Overload
09. The Generators
10. We Are Your Ancestors

To start with at least To My Boy on their second album ‘The Habitable Zone’, they come across like a fat free version of Scissor Sisters. So they’re definitely for people who have an aversion to Scissor Sisters. Although there is still an unbridled joy to be found in their new album, albeit tinged with sadness, so for people who enjoyed the Scissor Sisters first hit laden album, then they to can embrace To My Boy’s charming electronica.

Although in To My Boy’s case a huge hug is in need particularly for singer Sam who has a sorrowfully beautiful voice, which pierces the duo’s brand of sad-sophistopop which bounds with a saddened yet gladdened heart on opening track ‘Underneath The Pylons’, before touching on the glacial synths of ‘Hello Horizons.’

They touch upon The Raptures introspective and futuristic angst, on ‘Us + The Wind’, which includes the worrying line of ‘Drink, drink, drag me down’, and ‘we have let you down’, with Sam’s vocals turning into something of a one man choir during the track.

Before turning into a long lost The Stone Roses track on the fluffy fly away electronic wiz of ‘When I was A Cloud’, its like a cousin of ‘Fools Gold’ if it was done by The Orb. It’s possibly the most cheerful track on here, so at least you get chance to dry your tears for a while. Although they get dizzy again on ‘Delightful Beams’, informing us about ‘Pornographic, flat nothingness’ – whatever that is. This is followed by the sharp electro teeth of ‘Overload.’ Which touches on the 80’s giants, Erasure – when they were good, Tears For Fears, and err Spandau Ballet, possibly a bit too much. Before the electro epic duo of ‘The Generators’, and ‘We Are Your Ancestors.’...www.subba-cultcha.com

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Benga - Stop Watching / Little Bits

A. Stop Watching
B. Little Bits

Steppin' out of his Magnetic Man suit, Benga drops two high-impact rave slayers for Digital Soundboy. The sparse syncopations of 'Stop Watching' on the A-side is like some evil dubstep cousin to Roska's 'Squawk', using maximised stabs and skeletal - yet big boned - rhythm structure to stand as a wicked DJ tool. 'Little Bits' however chucks everything in with mad reverse edits, stella'd-up riffage and a bucking kick/snare pattern for the wile-out skankers. Upfront white label copies, Rude...www.boomkat.com

Monday, June 21, 2010

Taz Buckfaster - Recovery / Headlock

01 Recovery
02 Headlock

Tearing-balls-out dubstep rave from Glasgow's Taz Buckfaster. The refined sugar rush of 'Recovery' is an intense blast of rave powah for anyone who enjoys the frolicks of Rusko and Caspa, while 'Headlock' is a brostep anthem in the making, conjuring imagery of letterman jacketed dubstep goons flushing lesser steppers down the loo. Madness...www.boomkat.com

Komonazmuk - Dance Too

1. Dance Too
2. Dance Too (Lee Jones Remix)

Rock 'ard dubstep charger from Komanazmuk contrasted with a tidy tech-house mix from Lee Jones. 'Dance Too' has featured prominently in Appleblim's sets of late, mowing crowds down with a darkside D'n'B-debted bassline and techno-esque linear charge. On the flip Aus Music and My My's Lee Jones cools the pace with a wide open and atmospheric tech-houser...www.boomkat.com

Altered Natives - The Bitch / Crop Duster

A. The Bitch
B. Crop Duster

Chunky bruk-house rollers from Danny Native! 'The Bitch' bounces a cheeky square bassline into play with old-skool ruff-house vibes to match. 'Crop Duster' takes it down low with crouching subs and skittering percussion to lock into. Fans of Cooly G or Kode 9 should check!...www.boomkat.com

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Berghain 04 by Ben Klock

01. 154 - Apricot
02. DVS1 – Pressure
03. Junior Boys - Work(Marcel Dettmann Remix)
04. Martyn – Miniluv
05. STL - Loop 04
06. Levon Vincent - The Long Life
07. Jonas Kopp - Michigan Lake
08. ACT – RoHd
09. Mikhail Breen – Veracity
10. DVS1 – Confused
11. Rolando - De Cago
12. Kevin Gorman - 7am Stepper
13. Ben Klock - Compression Session 1
14. Roman Lindau – Keppra
15. Tyree - Nuthin Wrong
16. The Echologist - Dirt (Ben Klock Edit)
17. James Ruskin – Graphic
18. Ben Klock feat. Elif Biçer - Elfin Flight
19. Rolando – Junie

Berlin techno icon Ben Klock has mixed Berghain 04, the next installment in
Ostgut Ton's mix series.

Much like his sets at the notorious Berlin nightspot, the new mix rides a throbbing techno groove, interspersed with jacking house and hints of dubstep. About two thirds of the tracks are previously unreleased, including selections by DVS1, Martyn, Levon Vincent and Marcel Dettmann's remix of Junior Boys. The compilation also features two exclusive tracks by Klock: "Compression Session 1" and "Elfin Flight," a collaboration with Elif Bicer.

As with previous editions in the Berghain and Panorama Bar series, the new mix will be accompanied by two 12-inches, plus a digital-only EP. Slated for release in June and July, Berghain 04's vinyl extractions will feature new tunes by Martyn, Roman Lindau, James Ruskin and Kevin Gorman, while the digital EP boasts a track by Jonas Kopp and Ben Klock's edit of The Echologist...www.residentadvisor.net

Calibre - Tenopause/Discreet Dub

A. Tenopause
B. Discreet Dub

The liquid D'n'B legend turns his hand to dubstep again for a second 12" 'pon Mala's Deep Medi label. 'Tenopause' is the sweeter of the two tracks, using deftly spaced percussion and plummeting subbass depths arranged with the level of sophistication you'd expect. 'Discreet Dub' is a darker effort, using mystical pipes, dread bass and Fabio Frizzi-esque synth flourishes to cinematic effect. Spielberg-step!...www.boomkat.com

Monday, June 14, 2010

dBridge - Producer 2 Remix EP

01 ZX81 (Shed Remix)
02 ZX81 (Ramadanman Refix)

Serious remix session from Shed and Ramadanman tackling dBridge's killer 'ZX81' from the 'Producer #2' compilation! No joke, Shed's remix is quite possibly the best track we've heard from him since the album a few years back. With a bulbous, slow-motion Reese bass, scissoring hi-hats and the kind of bumpy bass swing that made 'Another Wedged Chicken' so addictive, the Berlin maverick has crafted a lethal tune that's guaranteed to be in our boxes for years to come. For his mix, the prolific Ramadanman works with dance-weirding pitch bends and the kind of future-tribalist syncopations that made his Pearson Sound tracks and the recent 'Glut' 12" for Hemlock so bloody crucial. In this case, he's overshadowed by the towering mix on the flip, but who the f**k is complaining?! Essential dancefloor weight for all crew!!!...www.boomkat.com

Jayson Brothers - The Game EP

01.The Game
02.Keep On Dancin'

First release by Danilo Plessow of Motor City Drum Ensemble on Drumpoet under his Jayson Brothers pseudonym. The Game features the essence of raw unpolished house music that results in max floor euphoria.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Berghain 04 Part I

01. Martyn - Miniluv
02. Roman Lindau - Keppra

Coinciding with their inclusion on Ben Klock's Berghain 04 mix, Martyn and Roman Lindau drop a pair of prime technoid permutations for OstGut Ton. Martyn's 'Miniluv' pivots around a proper techno skippers pattern, nudging in his influences from Broken Beat, Dubstep and - most prominently - deepest house music to warm the cockles of yer heart and the soles of your feet. It's another matter entirely with Roman Lindau however, as he surges forward with a cavernous shifter driven by submerged bass swoops and a thrilling metallic synth motif that slices through the cut like a jet of cold air on sweat soaked skin. Two crucial cuts for the DJs and the dancers...www.boomkat.com

Fantastic Mr Fox & Rich Reason - Fall

A Fall
B Lo-Fi-Ve

Moulding the thing into their own style, Fantastic Mr Fox and his chum Rich Reason sign up for the latest from Black Acre. Working at a slower tempo 'Fall' mixes elements of proggy house and LFO driven dubstep wobble into a constantly morphing riddim while 'Lo-Fi-Ve' on the flip steps up to the 138bpm tempo mixing clipped 2-step patterns with breezy synthlines and writhing subbass drops to dreamy effect. Good twelve...www.boomkat.com

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Moody - Ol Dirty Vinyl

A1 Ol' Dirty Vinyl (U Used To Know)
A2 We Don't Care
A3 No Feedback
B1 It's 2 Late 4 U And Me
B2 The Hacker

Detroit's wiliest house master presents a collection of wide ranging grooves recorded between late 90s and 2009. We get to witness the breadth and depth of KDJ's oeuvre over five tracks, ranging from the crackly disco of 'Ol' Dirty Vinyl' through to outré synth experiments and one deadly club jam in 'It's 2 Late 4 U And Me'. That title track is a cheeky killer, apparently recorded in just 3 hours in Vienna using worn-out vinyl loops to arrange a gritty soul stunner, while 'We Don't Care' features a faux jazz workout in typically greezy style. He links with long term collaborator Mick Collins on a crazy garage rockin' number 'No Feedback', and leaves the DJs salivating over that extended club jam on the flip. These limited copies come housed in gorgeous textured outer sleeve and colour printed inners = an indispensable purchase for the KDJ fiends! Killer...www.boomkat.com

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Scuba - Triangulation

1 Descent
2 Latch
3 Three Sided Shape
4 Minerals
5 On Deck
6 Before
7 Tracers
8 You Got Me
9 So You Think You're Special
10 Heavy Machinery
11 Glance
12 Lights Out

The advantage of being the younger sibling isn't just having someone to look up to, but also being able to learn from their mistakes. So it is with dubstep producers, who might have started out borrowing the attitude of their predecessors in drum & bass, but subsequently seem to have avoided many of the pitfalls that befell the junglists. This is particularly true when it comes to albums. Or, more specifically, following them up.

Drum & bass threw up awe-inspiring debuts like Goldie's Timeless and Roni Size's New Forms, only to provide crushing disappointment on the sequels. One thing that's been surprising about dubstep isn't just that it works so well in the long-player format, but that second albums have often been better than the first. Burial both refined and widened the palette of his debut, the imminent Ear Drums and Black Holes from Starkey has a scope his 2008 debut Ephemeral Exhibits only hinted at and Triangulation—the new album from Paul Rose, AKA Scuba—takes all the elements of 2008's A Mutual Antipathy and more to the next level as well.

Or should that be deeper down instead? As his moniker suggests, Scuba has always had a somewhat aquatic sound. Indeed, "Minerals" even begins with the noise of dripping water and sonar bleeps. But what really makes Scuba feel so submerged is the feeling of pressure here, bending the different styles into strange new mutations like alien-looking fish who feed at the bottom of the oceans. "Heavy Machinery" has a house beat anchored by a grinding dubstep bassline, while "Three Sided Shape"'s two-step rhythms are awash with electronic flotsam and drowned vocals.

It can definitely get dark down there, but Triangulation never sinks in misery, the closing "Lights Out" has the same warm house undercurrents and rhythmic invention as Joy Orbison. He also remembers to come up for air—"Before" and "So You Think You're Special" both boast the kind of soulful phased vocal effects Instra:mental have made their trademark, an influence Rose might well have developed working with them and D-Bridge for Autonomic recently. That elder drum & bass heads like Instra:mental and D-Bridge are actively looking to the younger dubsteppers for inspiration confirms that dubstep has come of age, a fact that an album as mature and well-rounded as Triangulation makes even clearer...www.residentadvisor.net

Monday, June 7, 2010

The Panamax Project - Maximum Height / Maximum Width

a. Maximum Height
b. Maximum Width

Tourists. We all hate them. But they often bring fresh perspectives to tired landmarks. Last time a friend visited me in New York City, he said he wanted to go to Empire State Building. I laughed, but it ended up being one of the best days out in a long time. There's an easy parallel within music as well. With plenty of cross-pollination between genres and tempos currently taking place, once familiar views are getting reflected through wildly different eyes. Ikonika, for instance, brings a hardcore (punk, not UK) past to the table. Shed, heard here under the name The Panamax Project, takes inspiration from his love of techno and dub.

On "Maximum Height," though, it's hip-hop that seems to carry the most weight. Its detuned in the same way as a Joker tune, but all dried out with none of the electrifying purple stuff that the Bristol-based producer adds to the mix. That's no trouble, however, as you gradually begin to hear the coiled anaconda of a melody unfurl itself over the course of its length. Light synths provide minor uplift, but it's these grainy bits that star (along with the hearty bassline) and keep your ears wondering where they'll go next.

"Maximum Width" perhaps unsurprisingly recalls the previous Sub Solo's Panamax remix of "10001B." That same cutting snare pops up again, but this time its in service of a wobbly 140 BPM groove that seems almost seasick. The little gurgles of static caught between the drum hits do little to make you comfortable, but that's the point: It's a little bit like seeing something you thought you knew pretty well for the first time...www.residentadvisor.net

Wax - No 3003

A1 30003A
B1 30003B

Raw DJ tool oldschool-not-oldschool techno bombs - TIP!

Distance - No Warning / Jungle Fears

A. No Warning
B. Jungle Fears

Distance brings the ruffage on latest Chestplate rattler. 'No Warning' comes from the most orthodox skool of Distance tracks with subtly shifting bass riff progression alloyed with crushing halfstep beats. However 'Jungle Fear' on the flip is an altogether more unsavoury beast, using grotty snare gnashes an a slow moving but extremely powerful sub sweep to twyst out ten tonnes of junglist torque for the strongback skankers. Fans of Goth Trad, Pinch or Coki should fear this...www.boomkat.com

Steve Bug - Collaboratory Remixes (Volume 2)

1. Steve Bug & Cle - Month Of Sip (Ben Klock Remix)
2. Steve Bug - Trees Canґt Dance (Deetron Remix)
3. Steve Bug featuring Virginia - Trust In Me (John Daly Remix)
4. Steve Bug featuring Virginia - Trust In Me (John Daly Remix Extra Dub Mix)
5. Steve Bug & Cle - Month Of Sip (Ben Klock Bonus Mix)

Squeezing the very last drops of juice from his Collaboratory project, Steve Bug invites Ben Klock, John Daly and Deetron to provide a varied bundle of remixes. Klock's mix of the Bug & Clé cut 'Month Of Sip' is the most impressive, shifting his sound into a big-room ready style with steady builds and slipping in some house-wise percussion to balance out the subtly insistent techno styles. Meanwhile on the flip rising star, John Daly, drops the tempo of Bug's 'Trust In Me' feat. Virginia to a sultry 110 pulse, making for a wickedly druggy late night version and Deetron revises 'Trees Can't Dance' as a Detroit-via-Berlin techno mix...www.boomkat.com

Steve Bug - Collaboratory Remixes (Volume 1)

1. Steve Bug featuring Gigi - Like It Should Be (Ribn's Translucent Vox Remix)
2. Steve Bug & Donnacha Costello - Still Music (Motor City Drum Ensemble Remix)
3. Steve Bug & Simon Flower - Passing Clouds (Sven Tasnadi Remix)
4. Steve Bug featuring Gigi - Like It Should Be (Ribn's Waisting Time Dub)
5. Steve Bug & Simon Flower - Passing Clouds (Sven Tasnadi Remix Long Edit)

Following his hookups with a group of like-minded producers, Steve Bug invites Stryax's Ribn (aka Manuel Tur & Langenberg), default remixer Motor City Drum Ensemble and Sven Tasnadi to remix the results. Ribn's 'Translucent Vox' remix of 'Like It Should Be' is given priority on the A-side to spread out a dub-chord driven piece of deeper tech-house with a mammoth bassline and big vocals from Gigi. On the other side, MCDE slow down to a Detroit acid groove on a mix of the Donnacha Costello collab 'Still Music', leaving Sven Tasnadi to do a latin-ified version of the Simon Flower & Bug cut 'Passing Clouds'...www.boomkat.com

Motor City Drum Ensemble - Lonely One

A Lonely One
B1 Frontin'
B2 Keep Up

Danilo Plessow may be best known for the Raw Cuts sound he has pursued on his own MCDE imprint, but his deeper work under the Motor City Drum Ensemble name is just as worthy of consideration. It's a scrubbed-up version of the gritty Underground Quality vibe popularized by Jus-Ed and others, a slowed-down house sound that revels in analogue synths in the same way that Lawrence and Efdemin have done for years now.

It's been mighty popular over the past few months and the early adopters outside of the core scene are just now swooping in to grab up the mightiest of its talents, Plessow included. That's why you'll see unlikely labels like 20:20 Vision—home to Crazy P, The Youngsters and Mark Broom to name a few—offering up 12-inches. Plessow's first for the label leads off with "Lonely One," a patient plodder that features a wordless moaning of the titular lonely man. Like all of Plessow's slo-mo house work, it builds smoothly as though every element was simply waiting in the wings to make its appearance at the proper moment, and—after it finishes up—descends silently into the ether.

"Frontin'" arrives with more purpose, a charming four-note riff in tow, that pulses as much as it delivers melody. A soul sample repeats for much of the track, an echo of Plessow's Raw Cuts EPs, but the focus here is on warmth, not "spontaneous" loops. "Keep Up" feels the same way, with an organ riff cutting across to offer up some variety. But it's not quite as smooth as its predecessors and suffers in comparison, a mediocre ending to an otherwise strong outing on a new label...www.residentadvisor.net

Untold - Stop What You're Doing / I Can't Stop This Feeling (Remixes)

A. Stop What You're Doing (James Blake Remix)
B. I Cant Stop This Feeling (Pangaea Remix)

Anthem time! After teasing us all with inclusions on various mixes, Untold's Hemlock imprint finally drops the massive remixes of 'I Can't Stop This Feeling' from Pangaea and "Stop what you're doing" from James Blake. While both mixes are outstanding in their own right, it's Blake's version that's getting the biggest response, both in the blogosphere and in the dance. He's turned the track into an electro-acoustic animal, sounding something like Joker jamming with Florian Hecker, coaxing out every last bit of visceral synthline bite to fill the groove with technologically enhanced excitement. Meanwhile, by no means letting his side down, Pangaea sends off a pneumatic future garage version with pistoning hi-hats and wriggling subbass made to smack the dance silly. These are two of the most sought-after tracks right now, and should be considered as a buy-on-sight purchase! Killer...www.boomkat.com

Untold - I Can't Stop This Feeling / Anaconda

A I Can't Stop This Feeling
B Anaconda

Jack Dunning has officially arrived. As Untold he's returning to Hessle Audio for his second release on the label; he's also put music out on Hotflush, remixed Toasty Boy's "The Knowledge," runs his own label Hemlock Recordings from his North London base and he seems to be on the lips of everybody coerced into conversation about the future of dubstep. Over his first five or so releases, he's carved a trademark style that fuses the skittering drums of garage, techno and UK funky with intoxicating percussion, those all important animal noises and the kind of bass stabs that would make El-B jealous.

"I Cant Stop This Feeling" is a prime example of his production aesthetic. Initially he deploys a synthesizer that constantly builds and builds, increasing its pitch as it goes until you are fully expectant of a Prodigy-sized drop, and then he drops the track out to simply some mumbled bass notes and a woodblock snare. His arrangement nonchalance is well-founded though, as the rest of the track somehow ties together every last line or riff running throughout into a singular twisted vision.

"Anaconda," however, is why you, dear reader, should purchase this platter. It sounds like three different tracks in one. After a "Clunk Clip Every Trip"-style bongo workout, Dunning drops in some bleeps and drones that make up the ultra-fun-and-gloopily-recognisable off-kilter melody before rolling out marching band snares for the breakdown. Oh. And he adds some Jurassic Park atmospherics for effect too. Upon first listen it really does sound like he's joking; but when you hear it wielded by a competent DJ, the drop into the "funtown" segment truly is one of the best you'll hear...www.residentadvisor.net

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Joe - Claptrap / Level Crossing

1. Claptrap
2. Level Crossing

Since dropping one of 2009s biggest dubstep anthems in 'Grimelight' Joe has been busy hammering out some of the tidiest syncopations we've heard on a dubstep tune. 'Claptrap' makes a heavy nod to Spanish flamenco on an intensely clipped and arranged rhythm track, using not much more than claps, sub hits and field recorded atmospherics to get us itching like a good 'un. Crafty DJs will be able to do some serious sh*t with this baby. Meanwhile 'Level Crossing' slices up rattling hi-hats and swinging kicks with kooky railroad sounds for an experimental but no-less enjoyable jaunt sounding like James Blake gone a lickle bit loopy. Aces!...www.boomkat.com

Pearson Sound- Down With You / Higher

A. Down With You
B. Higher


Saturday, June 5, 2010

Holy Ghost – Static On The Wire

1. Static On The Wire
2. Say My Name
3. I Will Come Back
4. I Know I Hear

‘Static on the Wire’ is a nice collection of four original songs, altogether over 25 minutes of music. Remember, this is a DJ duo that until 2 weeks ago had never played with a live band. So of course their songs are going to be longer than the stuff you hear on radio. We’ve been programmed by mainstream radio format to only accept songs in the 2- to 3-minute range, but this EP is a good reason to forget old habits. Just give yourself over to the rhythm and dance. Frankel and Millhiser have been in the DJ business long enough to recognise what gets bodies moving. For the most part, the beats on these tracks are so ace, you cannot use the excuse of ‘oh, I can’t make it to a club’ – no, do yourself a favour and use them on your next workout.

The best of the bunch is ‘I Will Come Back’; on this one in particular, you can see why they and Friendly Fires are mates. Stunning piece of work. The title track, ‘Static on the Wire’, is another earworm for you to boogie to. Don’t confuse ‘Say My Name’ with the Destiny’s Child song of the same name; it comes with sparse instrumentation and tentative beats and lyrics. It’s the only disappointment on the EP, sounding otherworldly and maybe that’s why I find it the least warm of the four selections. The last track of the EP, ‘I Know, I Hear’, has lyrics sung in a vibe similar to Gorillaz’s ‘Stylo’, which I find very interesting (purely coincidental?). Let me know if you agree.

There is a definite nod to the ‘80s, the golden age of synthesisers, pervading the entire EP. That to me is an excellent thing; the best dance music has wicked beats and singalong lyrics to make you forget what’s outside that club. Getting people onto a dancefloor is all about creating atmosphere, and Holy Ghost! have done that with this debut EP. If the beats don’t get you up on your feet and into the club mindset, there is definitely something wrong with you...www.theregoesthefear.com

Uffie - Sex Dreams And Denim Jeans

01. Pop The Glock
02. Art Of Uff (Feat. Pharrell)
03. Add Suv
04. Give It Away
05. MC's Can Kiss
06. Difficult
07. First Love
08. Sex Dreams & Denim Jeans
09. Our Song
10. Illusion Of Love (Feat. Mattie Safer)
11. Neuneu
12. Brand New Car
13. Hong Kong Garden
14. Ricky

The young vibrant and totally promiscuous sound of sassy rap star Uffie returns to the shelves as she touts her newest release, Uffie – Sex, Dreams & Denim Jeans.

She exploded onto the scene in 2006 with provocative single, Pop the Glock, which caught the attention of the listening public and many of the coolest artists and producers at the time. Cue the involvement of ex-partner and Ed Banger DJ and Producer, Feadz. His experience and contacts also lead to the involvement of Mr. Oizo and SebastiAn on the new release, their teeth firmly sunk into the sexed up loins of the American born, Hong Kong raised and Paris based MC. Their distinct Parisian-electro vibes and tweaked sampling techniques give the album the edge that no other female pop release possesses.
Sex, Dreams & Denim Jeans contains 14 tracks, each one staggeringly diverse in its production. We would expect nothing less from the figures in charge of the mixing desk.

Uffie has also been under the careful guidance of Mirwais, the ex-guitarist of French punk group Taxi Girl and long-term collaborator with the one and only Madonna. He has managed to nurture the inner pop in Uffie and coax it out for the benefit of the mainstream audience.

Her hiatus has caused her to return thoroughly reinvented and equipped with that essential slice of maturity. The sass is still there, as is the filthy flow and industry support.

Check out track 3, ADD SUV, which features a rap from N.E.R.D frontman and Producer to the stars, Pharrell Williams. It’s packed with grinding basslines, warped vocals and a quirky synth chorus. Track 6, Difficult, has that French influenced electro edge as does track 7, First Love, which pays homage to her releationship with partner and Producer, Feadz (they split in 2008). Track 13, Hong Kong Garden, could be mistaken for a remixed Kim WIlde track. The guitar sample has been lifted straight off a Blondie L.P. and the mix of effects is 80’s perfect...www.subba-cultcha.com

Friday, June 4, 2010

iTAL tEK - Midnight Colour

01. Neon Arc
02. Talis
03. Moonbow
04. Babel
05. Satellite
06. Subgiant
07. Black And White
08. Strangelove V.I.P.
09. Moment In Blue
10. Heliopause
11. Midnight Colour
12. Infinite
13. Restless Tundra (feat. Anneka)

iTAL tEK follows his warmly received 'cYCLiCAL' album with another clutch of techy IDM-driven post-dubstep forms. 'Midnight Colour' expands his rhythm palette of 2-step and lurching halfstep to include slower hiphop vibes similar to label mate Kuedo's crushed patterns or well measured electronic R'n'B swing vibes like on 'Babel' or the zappy 'Subgiant'. His florid and highly melodic take on this style should be lapped up by anyone into Boxcutter, Kuedo or Von D...www.boomkat.com

Trentemøller - Into The Great Wide Yonder

1. The Mash And The Fury
2. Sycamore Feeling
3. Past The Beginning Of The End
4. Shades Of Marble
5. ... Even Though You're With Another Girl
6. Häxan
7. Metamorphis
8. Silver Surfer, Ghost Rider Go!!!
9. Neverglade
10. Tide

Into The Great Wide Yonder continues the soundtrack-y feel of The Last Resort, but plays down the bleeps in favour of more guitar, much of which has that familiar Lynchian twang. (Think Twin Peaks in particular.) Opener 'The Mash and The Fury' is as grand a track as you'll hear this year, its massive refrain suggestive of both the brutality of nature and heroic, conquering spirit. You can bet your last tenner that it'll soon be ubiquitous TV incidental music, accompanying images of people striking out into the wilderness or climbing mountains.

The other major difference this time round is the inclusion of vocals on a number of tracks. Those looking forward to hearing his collaboration with Fyfe Dangerfield will be disappointed; it's too wispy to leave much of an impression. Single 'Sycamore Feeling' sits better here than it does alone and, along with 'Tide', is where he's channelled his love for husky-to-the-point-of-unintelligible female vocals and gothy backing. However, the best shot at songwriting is '...Even Though You're With Another Girl'. The longing 50s feel of the title subtly colours the track - and, with its xylophone and odd lurching beat, you could quite imagine a red and blue bathed gal singing it on a stage in a Lynch film.

The main problem with Into The Great Wide Yonder is many of the instrumental tracks are underwhelming given the often stark beauty achieved without words on The Last Resort; aside from 'The Mash and the Fury', only really the pounding 'Silver Surfer, Ghost Rider Go!!!' (imagine DJ Shadow remixing Dick Dale) stands out. Into The Great Wide Yonder is certainly a comedown from Trentemøller's stunning debut, but, as suggested in an interview elsewhere on the web, this is an autumnal record which may sound better later in the year...www.themusicfix.co.uk

Solvent - Subject to Shift

01. Elevator Up (Intro)
02. Loss for Words
03. Formulate
04. A Product of the Process
05. Unknown Caller
06. Don't Forget to Phone
07. No One Should Be Living Here
08. Life-Size Image
09. Take Me Home
10. Caught a Glimpse
11. Panoramic
12. Echo on Your Voice
13. Red and Metal

Throughout his musical career as Solvent, man-behind-the-moniker Jason Amm has always worn his heart on his synthesizer keys, crafting delicately nostalgic synth pop with just a touch of dance floor groove. His latest full-length release, Subject to Shift, is his first in nearly six years.

As the title makes plain, Shift indicates a change in sound for Solvent. The emotive yearning in "Loss For Words," the first single, hearkens back to previous melancholic favorites like "Wish," but adds more of a human touch, with his sentimental vocals left relatively untouched. And then there's the unexpected acidic touch that weaves into 133 charged BPMs in "Formulate," as Amm's familiar robotic voice again returns.

Perhaps it's just a coincidence that the beautiful "A Product of the Process" shares a similar melody to Simple Minds' "The American." But layered with bowel-shaking bass drops and surgical handclaps, there's an increased complexity at work here, updating the backwards-leaning sounds. The unabashed synth pop of "Don't Forget to Phone" is as much homage to the '80s as we've seen from Solvent, while the harsh hissing menace of "Take Me Home" and sinister minor key freakout "No One Should Be Living Here" prominently displays Amm's industrial side more clearly than ever before.

Perhaps all of these differing directions best explain the album. While there's plenty of the expected on Subject to Shift, Solvent traverses more beauty and more noise, more melody and more menace. Maybe there were more shifts planned among the tracks that ultimately didn't make the album cut—like his collaboration with Adam Killing from Kill Memory Crash. But ultimately, Subject to Shift's strength isn't in what it does. There's nothing incredibly new or inventive here. It's in how he does it, dissolving caustic elements and creating a new solution of beauty and warmth from the coldest of sounds...www.residentadvisor.net

Efdemin - Chicago

01. Cowbell
02. Shoeshine
03. Night Train
04. Oh My God
05. There Will Be Singing
06. Le Grand Voyage
07. Nothing Is Everything
08. Round Here
09. Wonderland (The Race for Space)
10. Oh My God (Reprise)

Perhaps it's only fitting that Efdemin's second record, Chicago, arrives several months after Pantha du Prince's latest, Black Noise. Though working within distinctly different presentations of Dial's brand of buoyant dance music—Efdemin has always seemed the more classically inclined—the two were entwined by circumstance in 2007. They released the year's benchmark albums for the famed Hamburg label, the former with the pixilated house of his eponymous debut and the latter with his chiming, starry-night masterpiece, This Bliss. Though Pantha du Prince has jumped to the wider berth offered by Rough Trade, Efdemin—Berliner Phillip Sollmann—returns to Dial for his follow-up.

Though still composing the kind of breathy, open vista deep house associated with the city that lends the record its name, Chicago functions on a slightly wider narrative arc than Sollman's debut, further incorporating elements of minimalism, jazz and even, yes, prime mid-'00s microhouse into his textured sound. The result is an intimate and meticulous work that's sometimes slow to reveal its charms. Instruments like zither, organ, vocal shards, cello, flutes, pipes, both live and machine drums emerge in shady, half-formed patterns only to slip beneath the surface again, a quick poke of sound or melody in Sollmann's articulate whole.

In fact, if Efdemin was one of 2007's most artfully crafted LPs, it's hard not to hear Chicago as even more carefully structured and considered. It's a work of almost symphonic presence, and one, quite frankly, from which it might be hard to tease an effective standalone single. Each track's a minor phase or movement intimately linked with those around it. The twilight ease of the beautiful "Night Train"—with its slow, revolving shimmer—softening "Shoeshine"'s midnight clatter. The spacious, waltzing organ melody of "Oh My God" bleeding into the pattering hand drums and muffled vocal sample of "There Will Be Singing"'s soulful house. The cozy jazz of "Nothing Is Everything"—which sounds like Alice Coltrane crafting in house time—giving in to the heady throb and mesmerizing synth swirl of "Round Here." The slippery, hypnotic chimes of "Wonderland (The Race for Space)" leave a downy space for the dim ambient hush of closer "Oh My God (Reprise)."

But a fair word of warning: that patience—the sense of a work offered in sum instead of the accumulation of its parts—can also lead Chicago to feel impenetrable. Those seeking immediacy may struggle to find points of entry against Sollmann's tapestry approach. I've spent eight weeks now in its company, and I still find strange pockets of sound or rhythmic sidesteps that I'd failed to appreciate before: What sounds like a gasp of wind sampled within "Oh My God," the slight industrial groan beneath "Wonderland (The Race for Space)" or the jazzy organ peals sewn into "Cowbell"'s seams. Of course, these discoveries are precisely what makes Chicago such a headphone-lover's delight. It's full of sly corners, half-turns, sidewhows and, shit, even Bart Simpson samples. Perhaps Efdemin and Pantha du Prince are now doubly paired, both atop 2010...www.residentadvisor.net

Emeralds – Does It Look Like I'm Here?

01. Candy Shoppe
02. The Cycle of Abuse
03. Double Helix
04. Science Center
05. Genetic
06. Goes By
07. Does It Look Like I'm Here?
08. Summerdata
09. Shade
10. It Doesn't Arrive
11. Now You See Me
12. Access Granted

Since 2006, experimental Cleveland trio Emeralds have been massaging their analog synthesizer creations—the earliest efforts at which the band themselves lampooned via title with that year's Bullshit Boring Drone Band—into the kind of drifty, contemplative compositions that have made them one of new cosmic music's most consistently compelling acts. Within that ungraspable clash of luck, circumstance, hype and bona fide talent, they seemed like one of the numberless retro-inclined groups that might actually crossover into the indie blogosphere.

Across releases via limited vinyl pressings, rare CD-Rs, and tapes, the group's often been poorly lumped in with the noise or, more perplexingly, the "hypnagogic pop" (groan) scene. But for their fourth proper full-length—we could probably argue about this, but by my count, they're Solar Bridge on Hanson, What Happened on No Fun and the self-titled on Wagon and Gneiss Things—the band has served up another reminder that they're far more interested in the pastoral daydreams of kosmische, brainy New Age and light-Krautrock acts like Ash Ra Tempel, Tangerine Dream, Cluster or Jean-Michel Jarre. This time around, though, Emeralds have landed on Peter Rehberg's experimental giant Editions Mego, and perhaps expectations have been raised beyond the realm of the tape-traders and Cleveland catalogue hawks. In return, the band has offered arguably their sharpest and most short form, pop-inclined record to date.

Much of the credit for this concision belongs to Mark McGuire, whose clean, emotive guitar work serves to center much of the band's sonic escapism. Opener "Candy Shoppe" is slow, wistful bliss, McGuire's gentle lines setting a warm landscape for its entwined synthesizer melodies. "The Cycle of Abuse" allows him more wiggle room, his guitar soon losing space to the track's cloudy drones and hushed vocal moans. Both "Double Helix" and the title track are more Argento-inspired, their shadowy arpeggiated synths almost grinding into energetic guitar parts which sound almost like a car chase (the chaser, not the chased). "Summerdate," meanwhile, owes its coarse beauty more to the drone/noise atmospheres with which the band was formerly aligned, a snowy blast of static like bits of data forging sound.

For those who've always liked Emeralds best when they've allowed their ideas to unravel beyond the ten-minute mark though, there's album centerpiece "Genetic." It opens with a pulsating analog synth melody and ascendant vocals that sound like the closing hymn from a much distant church—resounding, rejoicing and mourning all at once—before McGuire's slippery, Gottsching-indebted guitar anchors its psychedelic swirl. And yet, even as it pushes into the dense wanderlusts of their past, there's a distinct concern for melody.

Consider it a fitting recombination of the band's pensive, somewhat academic epics and Does It Look Like I'm Here?'s commitment to more digestible nuggetry. Whether their fourth is the album that finally propels Emeralds beyond the small insular circles fed by noise and vintage analog gear fans is yet to be seen. But it's their best to date in an already impressive catalogue, and my God that oughta add up to something, right?...www.residentadvisor.net

Todd Terje - Remaster of the Universe

CD1 (unmixed)
01. Reverso 68 - Piece Together (Todd Terje Remix #2)
02. M - Pop Muzik (Todd Terje Remix)
03. Chuck Norris - All That She Wants
04. Simon Baker - Plastik (Todd Terje Turkatech Remix)
05. Chaz Jankel - Glad To Know You (Todd Terje Edit)
06. Duliatten Disco Dandia - Surat Surfin
07. Jose Gonzalez - Killing For Love (Todd Terje Acoustic Remix)
08. Felix Laband - Whistling in Tongues (Todd Terje Remix #2)
09. Percussion Break / Shit Robot - Simple Things (Work It Out)(Todd Terje Remix #2)
10. Mungolian Jetset - Moon Jocks n Prog Rocks (Todd Terje's Schlong Tong Vocal Version)
11. Fox N'Wolf - Claws Against Knives (Todd Terje Night Version)
12. Dolle Jolle- Balearic Incarnation (Todd Terje Variation)
13. Gichy Dan - On A Day Like This (Todd Terje Edit)
14. Rogue Cat - Magic Journey (Todd Terje Remix #2)
15. Kacic Kullmann's Five - Terjelator
16. New Mjondalen Disco Swingers - Eurodans

CD2 (mixed)
01. Antena - Camino Del Sol (Todd Terje Remix)
02. Jose Gonzalez - Killing For Love (Todd Terje Brokeback Mix)
03. Dolle Jolle - Balearic Incarnation (Todd Terje's Extra Dolle Mix)
04. M - Pop Muzik (Todd Terje Remix)
05. Lindstrom - Another Station (Todd Terje Remix)
06. Studio - Life's a Beach! (Todd Terje Beach House Mix)
07. Shit Robot - Simple Things (Todd Terje Version)
08. Mungolian Jetset - Moon Jocks n Prog Rocks (Todd Terje's Even Stiv-En Dub Version)
09. Rogue Cat - Magic Journey (Todd Terje Remix)

The remix is by no means a particularly modern phenomenon. In fact its roots can be traced all the way back to the Baroque era in which the great J.S. Bach offered listeners arguably the most bumper remix package of all time with his Goldberg Variations—30 different mash-ups of a repeated 16-bar chord progression. One shudders to think of the pressing costs had Bach been around during the vinyl heyday when disco pioneers Tom Moulton and Walter Gibbons were busy cutting tape and looping beats in order to create the "dance remix" as we know it today. Those early efforts of the late 1970s were intended simply as a way of extending popular tracks by honing in on more hypnotic rhythm sections (or "the breakdown," as that practice would eventually become known) to feed the insatiably heady appetite of New York's burgeoning club scene. In the 30 years that have followed, the discipline of the remix has evolved into a broad school where artists are invited freely to reinterpret the work of others, often laying the cornerstone of a record's success; and in 2010, if ever there were a pretender to the throne of Remaster of the Universe, Todd Terje would most certainly stake a claim.

Alongside compatriots Prins Thomas and Hans-Peter Lindstrom, he has spearheaded the Norwegian-nuanced disco sound (dub-pop, nu-Balearic, cosmic-Kraut—whatever you want to call it) that proved so popular towards the end of the last decade; yet the versatility and repeated success of his remix output alone evince that, as the brouhaha surrounding that particular scene begins to wane, Todd Terje looks set to maintain his ubiquity. Though if the press-release is to be believed, it won't be as a remixer: this compilation-cum-retrospective of his work, released by Permanent Vacation (who else?), supposedly marks "the end of the easy days of remixing, now Terje is gonna heal the world with proper self-composed music!"

If healing the world is indeed Terje's raison d'etre, he has certainly been making a fairly decent stab at it so far, as illustrated by the impressive CV that forms the basis of this two-disc compilation. Remixes for Jose Gonzalez, Antena and the now almost-canonical rework of Dolle Jolle's "Balearic Incarnation" have provided some of dance music's most blissed-out, loved-up moments in recent years, and are frankly so well known by now that any further discussion of their musical merit here seems like a waste of time. It's space, it's beach, it's cosmic, man. But moreover, it's good.

Resisting the temptation to rest entirely on his laurels, Terje manages to pack enough unheard curios into disc one's continuous mix to keep interest levels sufficiently buoyed. A cheeky cover of Ace of Base's trashy classic "All That She Wants" and a barbershop/swing-band version of his own anthem "Eurodans" are cute additions to a set which offers several alternative reworkings of the remixes we all know and love. This fondness for tailoring tracks not necessarily for release, but rather for playing purposes is a signature of the Norwegian's—his Tangoterje re-edits of acts as diverse as Wham! Chris Rea and Guns 'n' Roses, for instance, have earned him enviable notoriety—and this mix provides a decent account of Todd Terje, the DJ.

The nine stand-alone tracks, however, featured on disc two are arguably his finest efforts: the aforementioned "Balearic Incarnation," last year's crack shot at Shit Robot's "Simple Things" and his seemingly evergreen, pumped-up version of Lindstrom's "Another Station" are undoubtedly the highlights. An unreleased rework of a forthcoming Mungolian Jet Set track also keeps the carrot dangled in typically madcap fashion and shows why many an artist will be sad to learn that Terje has, at least for now, decided to hang up his remix boots.

Much as the suggestibly fickle and rapidly transient taste of the dance music world is to be decried, one cannot help but feel that the space-cadet sound from the North is past its peak and as such this compilation can at times feel like treading already well-trodden ground. Though these feelings can be readily countered with the assured knowledge that, of everything the Balearic breeze washed up on our shores over the last few years, Todd Terje's oeuvre is among (if not) the very best, and I can take as much pleasure counting this record as part of my collection as I can looking forward to the fulfilment of that press-release promise...www.residentadvisor.net

Thursday, June 3, 2010

T++ - Wireless

A Cropped
B Anyi
C Voices No Bodies
D Dig

Throughout the '90s, Torsten Profrock utilised an array of different pseudonyms to showcase his dubby techno stylings and other more abstract experiments, but recently the producer has focused his efforts solely on developing the T++ sound, conjuring up a catalogue of music that owes as much to the breakbeats of classic jungle as it does Teutonic techno.

The arrival of Wireless, however, signals the end of Profrock's work under the T++ name. It's a fitting send-off. The four tracks that feature on this double pack again serve to highlight Profrock's penchant for rolling grooves that envelop the listener in a murky hyper-kinetic atmosphere. This time around the material has a slightly different aesthetic due to the samples of East African vocals and ndingidi—a single-stringed fiddle-esque instrument—which were taken from EMI's vast historical archive of international music that Honest Jon's have access to, and are using to compile various themed collections. Whereas previous T++ tracks reveled in their mechanized maelstrom, this gives the Wireless material more of a human touch—albeit a detached and rather spooky one.

"Cropped" bursts straight out of the tracks with 2-steppy snap-claps and a cyclical junglist bassline, with bursts of uneasy chanting and smothering sub-bass percolating through the relentless rhythm, while "Anwi" goes for a more awkward—but just as satisfying—undulating groove, with downright nasty bass tones and manipulated ndingidi providing the necessary tension. "Voices No Bodies" relies more on reverberated and delayed effects to colour its stepping technoid percussion, providing a slow moving melodic counterpoint to the frenetic drums and looped ndingidi, and closing cut "Dig" provides what is probably Wireless' most dubstep-compatible selection, its shuffling tribalism bringing to mind the more tribal work of Ramadanman.

It may be sad to see the latest chapter in Torsten Profrock's production career come to an end, but it's safe to say that he's retired T++ on a high, leaving behind a body of work that should be revisited by electronic music aficionados for decades to come. When that moment comes, it's likely that Wireless will be hailed as the finest of his T++ releases: a culmination of his junglist techno experimentation that was hinted at on his Dynamo releases and continued throughout the 21st century. The only question that remains is what he's going to get up to next. I, for one, can't wait to find out...www.residentadvisor.net

Andrea - You Still Got Me / Got To Forget

A. You Still Got Me
B. Got To Forget

The fifth transmission from Daphne finds Andrea heading out on her own for the first time after a trio of twelves as one half of Millie and Andrea. ‘You Still Got Me’ plays on Andrea’s love of classic rave structures, squaring off with rugged hardcore edits and low-end rumbles offset by that big House vocal and blue strings that somehow imbue the whole thing with a reflective colour. Got To Forget- on the flip is a more haunted affair, unravelling around a ghostly vocal and dismembered percussive sequence that eventually open up to display a whole array of twilight keys and the warmest, most padded bassline imaginable. Check!!...www.clone.nl

Sigha - Shake

01 Shake
02 Shapes
03 Light Swells (In A Distant Space)

Hot Flush's London techno agent drops a mixed bag of subs heavy tech-house and garage-spiked techno. 'Shake' is the pick of the bunch, pin-pointing a warm and well-rounded dry tech-house swing somewhere between Ben Klock and Scuba's respective styles. On the other hand, the flipside 'Shapes' is a more awkward customer, seeming too fast for modern techno standards, but too rigid for the future garage posse, i guess it's a case of suck it and see for yerself? 'Light Swells (In A Distant Place)' completes the package with a Detroit/Berlin inspired ambient electronic construction...www.boomkat.com

A Made Up Sound - Alarm / Crisis

01 Alarm
02 Crisis

Funky, post-Detroit rhythm trips from man like Dave Huismans aka 2562. He's reserved these cuts for his own AMUS imprint and with good reason. The clipped dip 'n swing effect of 'Alarm' is given a curiously off-key melody making for one of his oddest but most intriguing DJ tools for those times when you need to take it loose and fonky. 'Crisis' on the flip finds a tighter groove, driven by uniquely timed acid bass refluxes and spun out with cottony synthlines to keep your head balanced. Dutty house for the rudest players. Solid...www.boomkat.com

Blawan - Fram / Iddy

A. Fram
B. Iddy

No fussing, Hessle Audio command the dance with two deadly cuts from Blawan. So, who is Blawan? We haven't got a clue! We've heard rumours that it could be the recording alter-ego of the notoriously production shy Ben UFO, but as we say, they're rumours and completely unfounded! Either way, these are seriously hot tracks. 'Fram' on the A-side flicks out a proper dancer's spesh with cold, post-garage drums twisted into swerving junglist syncopations while warped techno synths add a quasi-speed hyperglide tension. On the flip 'Iddy' bats out a whole other set of percussion; tungsten-tipped, pointillist rimshots, hollow toms and insectoid hi's to give your limbs multiple options on the flex. If Untold, Scuba, Burial, Ramadanman or T++ make you dance like you're the only person in the room, this is a must!...www.boomkat.com

Southside Dubstars Greatest Hits Vol.1

Disc 1:
01: Benga - One
02: Mundo - Menace
03: Kromestar - Headtwiss
04: Mr Keys - SS Exclusive Track 1
05: Nevamis - Overdose
06: F-One - Omenz
07: Kromestar & F-One - License To Step
08: Hatcha - Never Sleep
09: MRK1 - SS Exclusive Track 2
10: Slaughter Mob - Heamophilia
11: Skream - Rollin
12: Droid - Scotty
13: N-Type - Square Off
14: Plastician - Zulu Remix
15: Wiley - SS Exclusive track 3
16: Hatcha - White Noise

Disc 2:
01: 16 Bit - Cobra
02: Nevamis - Asylum
03: Hatcha - Roast
04: Kromestar - Badman VIP
05: Benga - Two
06: Bad Influence - Chat Bout
07: Skream - Korma
08: Cyrus - Grot Bags
09: Droid - SS Exclusive Track 4
10: Droid - Dubbyrock
11: MRK1 - Loungin
12: Plastician - Cars
13: Soul Sinners - Dibble
14: Skream - Tippa
15: N-Type - Rastafari
16: Wiley - SS Exclusive Track 5

Southside Dubstars round up their crew for a double disc 'Greatest Hits' compilation. In comparison to say, Deep Medi, who've been running for approxiamtely the same length of time and just released their first comp, we can come to the conclusion that Southside Dubstars have always picked the grimiest, rudest and blatantly raving joints for release. Their roster includes everyone from Wiley to Hatcha to Skream and Benga, who all contribute their underground classics for the first time on CD. Skream appears under his Mr Keys alias with a rude 8-bar cut on 'SS Exclusive Trk 1', plus there's Kromestar's anthemic 'Scott' under his Droid alias, 16Bit's unhinged 'Cobra' and a slew of exclusives from Wiley, Cyrus, MRK1 and more. Ruud!...www.boomkat.com

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Alex O. Smith - Ultra Fine

A1. Ultra Fine One
A2. Ultra Fine Two
B1. Mid 90's

Alexander Omar Smith comes hard with three tracks of rugged acid for FXHE. These are essentially three variations on a tracky and hypnotic vibe ellicited from what sounds like a 606, 303 and some of that cryptic lo-fi magic he keeps in the top drawer. It's not really Chicago acid either, these tracks sound more like 'Sheet One' era Plastikman than owt from DJ Pierre and co, eschewing warm and groovy feelings for a tough driving Detroit style salted with Omar's processing methods for that dry rasping snap. Heavy and robust tackle from the master...www.boomkat.com

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

James Blake - CMYK EP

02 Footnotes
03 I'll Stay
04 Postpone

CMYK is only the third release from London electronic producer James Blake, who is only 21-- and the reason I keep saying "only" is because I get a little dumb thinking about how much ground he's covered in so few steps. His style is already recognizable: progressions of thick soul and jazz chords (a product of years of piano lessons), pitched-down and mangled vocals (often his own), and mid-tempo beats that balance synthesized sub-bass with handclaps, snaps, and other humanizing soundlets. But each of his releases-- last year's "Air & Lack Thereof" / "Sparing the Horses" single, February's The Bells Sketch EP, and now, CMYK EP-- also sounds like its own project, filled with private rules and concepts. He's writing his theme and his variations at the same time.

Blake isn't peerless, exactly. He's got collaborators and associates. (Untold and Mount Kimbie-- two artists he's done remixes for-- come to mind.) But Blake's peers are better known for the boundaries they're breaking down than the ones they're reinforcing, which is to say that Blake-- who appears to have a brain full of uncategorizable ideas-- is in a good position to do whatever tickles him. (The BBC DJ Gilles Peterson had him as a guest on his show last week, where he talked about his plans for a vocal-and-piano EP, and how he'd just had his mind pried open by seeing Joanna Newsom live. From any other contemporary electronic producer, I'd be surprised.)

CMYK is built from samples primarily from 90s R&B. Sometimes, they're incredibly obvious-- obvious like "I hope James Blake doesn't end up with legal fees" obvious. Other times, he crushes them beyond recognition. (We know from a Rising interview last month that Brandy is on there somewhere, and R. Kelly, too.)

The title track draws on both Kelis' "Caught Out There" and Aaliyah's "Are You That Somebody"-- songs that helped define the years they came out in by sounding two steps ahead of everything around them. This is canny for plenty of reasons, I think, but I'll be brief: Blake takes two R&B archetypes-- the Spurned Woman and the Secret Lover-- and imagines them in a back and forth. It's modern homage to old ideas. But if you know the songs already, it's also an exercise in warming up your cultural memory-- both tracks are over 10 years old but under 15, a kind of dead zone for nostalgia, not yet retro-ready but no longer current. He's not reminding us of something we've forgotten or telling us about something we never knew about, he's reanimating songs that are probably just at the edge of peoples' thoughts. (It's also a statement of allegiances: though Blake-- as Harmonimix-- has worked with Lil' Wayne's voice, he doesn't seem to be as interested in current American hip-hop and R&B as much as he is in picking up where Timbaland and the Neptunes left off at the end of the 1990s.)

But what makes the track isn't its samples, its the way Blake integrates them. Everything on CMYK is remarkably balanced: throwback sounds (a soul singer) next to contemporary ones (filtered synthesizer sweeps); deeply processed sounds (a vocoder) next to clean ones; moments of dissonance and digital noise next to a consonant progression of organ chords. One minute it's naked, the next it's obscure. Blake's songs-- three- and four-minute long pieces of electronic pop-- have no real space or time. They're not dance tracks. They're deeply retro and slightly futuristic-- which is to say they're contemporary. They're made on a home computer, but sound like the work of an animatronic band.

I keep thinking of the Wong Kar-wai movie 2046, ostensibly a love story with parallel narratives, one set in the 1950s, one set in 2046. The superficial surroundings of the past are different from the future, but at one point, two characters say the same exact thing: "Leave with me." The context, though, is different, and changing the context changes the meaning. And when the meaning is changed, communication breaks down. In both cases, the characters are somehow misunderstood, and the misunderstanding leads to heartbreak. James Blake plays in these gaps-- these modern gaps-- in ways that are both clever and sympathetic. "Do androids dream of electric sheep?" is an old question. Blake's trying to figure out how convincingly they sing gospel...www.pitchfork.com

Shetland - Excess

01 Nothing Succeeds Like Excesss
02 Moderation Is Fatal
03 Nothing Succeeds Like Excesss (Beat Pharmacy's Restrained Excess)
04 Moderation Is Fatal (Brendon Moeller's Moderately Excessive Dub)

Exploring the quicksand areas around minimal house and techno, Ramadanman and Brendon Moeller meet minds on the 'Excess' EP for Apnea. Most noticably it's would seem that Ramadanman has altered his style the most for this project, dipping the bpms down into mid-paced house and techno grooves with some subbass embellishment and delicately fluttering dub vibes. 'Nothing Succeeds Like Excess' is the mantra for the lush opener, rolling with sweetened Detroit harmonics and spherical bass rubs while the slightly drier pitch of 'Moderation Is Fatal' revolves about offset snares and deep house arrangements. Brendon Moeller follows these with two typically opulent motions, dispersing layers of dub pressure with is deft touch...www.boomkat.com

DJ Koze - Rue Burnout EP

A Blume Der Nacht
B Rue Burnout

Set up as an outlet for DJ Koze and behind-the-scenes Get Physical man Marcus Fink to release the records that don't quite fit anywhere else, Pampa Music has lived up to its remit with its first two 12-inches. Die Vogel's Blaue Moschee was the Cadenza-house-on-steroids, the repulsive and captivating logical conclusion of the house scene's fascination with horn samples. Jackmate & The Missing Linkx's Discodisco2, meanwhile, was too strange for the sort of maximum dance floor effectiveness demanded by DJs in a hyper-competitive scene. Needless to say, they're both pretty fucking wonderful.

Somehow, though, DJ Koze's own offering for the imprint fails to reach the deranged heights of its previous releases. You understand why few would be willing to take on the rising angelic choir, lilting piano loop and relatively straightahead beat—if Koze even bothered to send it around to other labels for consideration. It's Koze as DJ tool, which means it's mighty nice to listen to, but doesn't really go anywhere. That's no bad thing. As "Rue Burnout" illustrates, Koze tools can be devastating. Soulful hollers, slightly out-of-tune piano lines bashed out with demented glee, a gradually intensifying beat. There are clearly worse things than listening to Koze straightening up (a bit) and giving the dance floor something to hang on to...www.residentadvisor.net

Ribn – Light Black EP

A. Light Black
B1. Sin & FIgs
B2. Stonedrum

This latest release sees Manuel Tur & Langenberg teaming up once again, to produce under the ever more familiar guise of ‘Ribn‘. Along with managing to find out just what kind of a super hero Manual Tur aspires to be, Soundcanvas has managed to wrangle a cheeky review advance on This latest offering and our findings are as follows . . .
A/ Light Black
This is a seriously atmospheric, progressive groove of a track, with a nice techno percussion twinge. With its bulbous Basssline grinding away throughout, the track fills the space between your ears with some lovely panning, reverb etc, in short the production here is slick. Though the overall vibe of Light black is pretty soft and palatable on your senses, you can rest assured that hearing this dropped into a set in a club should be a sure confirmation you are you will not be leaving til you’ve had a quiet word with yourself in the corner around 6am. . .
B1/ Sin & Figs
Having passed the tracks between us here at Soundcanvas, our over all the favorite from this installment is the ‘Sin & Figs’ track which our very own Hennessy summed up beautifully. . . “A bit of me that, I’m all over it like a smoked bacon and fried egg sandwich with white crusty uncut bread and a mug of rosie with one sugar. This track lulls me into a real relaxed zone and I could happily listen to it all day, day dreaming. The deep beat, coupled with the earthy and techy percussion, rolls along beautifully and the various chord, key and sound arrangements have me sold. This tune is definitely going to make it onto my next mix.” the ever graciously descriptive Hennesy there . . and I quite agree with him, light skippy high-hats and an almost acoustic guitar sounding riff let this 8 minute ride vibe you out to the max.
B2/ Stonedrum
Crackle crackle of the vinyl . . . introduces this great retro tinged down tempo number which has me got me seriously nodding in my chair right now. This track would sit perfectly in the middle of a ‘Disco/Down Tempo’ set or well. . . as a ‘closer’ at the end of any respectable set actually, but again, this is, at its core a brilliantly produced chugging deep house bump. You know what . . . I think this could be my favorite actually . . .www.minimalistica.org

Kyle Hall - Must See EP

01. Must See
02. Ghosten
03. osc_2
04. Body Of Water

He's Kyle Motherfucking Hall, girl. And he can be as promiscuous as he wants. The young Detroit producer makes his fourth debut appearance on a label of 2010 with Must See. You can hear exactly why he might feel the need to do so. His Hyperdub release, Kaychunk, was Hyperdub, fast-paced, shock-of-the-new stuff. (However that's defined.) And this Third Ear release fits snugly into the Third Ear canon: Easy-going, lush, considered. The Motor City's boy wonder isn't here to wow you, he's here to seduce you. Girl.

The fastest he gets is on the B2, "Body of Water," but he leavens the 127 BPM by layering the dreamiest backing of all four tunes over top. It's got tons of moving parts, but they're so primed toward beauty that you almost don't notice. Indeed, that's the big takeaway from Must See: Everything sounds exceptionally easy, but listen a little bit closer and you become floored by its complexity. The scratching groove of "Osc 2," the melancholic "Ghosten," "Must See"'s offbeat wonky house. There's a level of sophistication behind these tunes that is almost frightening in a producer so young, leading you to wonder not only what he will produce next, but also where...www.residentadvisor.net

Tama Sumo & Prosumer - Rarified EP

1. Rarified
2. Rarified (The Oliverwho Factory Remix)
3. Flow Figure

Panorama Bar's most respected residents go toe-to-toe on two tracky new cuts for Ostgut, backed with a rare remix from Oliverwho Factory! We should say that we've got a real soft spot for Oliverwho Factory and their remix of 'Rarified' neatly satisfies our craving for off-kilter narcotic Detroit house with that late-in-the-day feeling. Meanwhile, Tama Sumo & Prosumer's original mix takes a more refined and slinky route to the centre of the floor and the fantastic 'Flow Figure' summons the ghosts of old Boo Williams with odd metalic sound sphere and a ruff-but-sexy rhythm snag. Dope!...www.boomkat.com