May 26, 2005

Nid and Sancy – Talk To The Machine

Electroclash always seemed like a silly name to me. What exactly was it clashing with? Passion? You probably wouldn’t ever have reason to call Nid and Sancy electroclash, if the unfortunate genre tag hadn’t sprung up, but if we must, we must. Luckily, the duo infuse their songs with a healthy does of attitude missing from the New York spawned movement. Maybe it’s the fact that they’re from Belgium. Either way, songs like “No Fuck All” and “So Where’s Your Acid Brother” roil with a fierceness that mixes the best of electro and digital hardcore’s ridiculous sloganeering—a genre slowly taking form under the gaze of artists like T. Raumschmiere. Highly recommended.

Surprise / Surprise 026 LP
[Todd Burns]


May 26, 2005

Metro Area – Metro Area 6

12"2005Neo-Disco

“Honey Circuit” doesn’t so much blow your mind as much as it rearranges it. Yes, it’s Metro Area. But it’s Metro Area getting out of their comfort zone just enough to make you realize that they’re hardly a one-trick pony. The sonic elements are much the same: hand-claps, flute, glistening upward-reaching synth fills, wordless vocal oohs, etc. etc. But there’s more going on this time and, at times, the structure seems almost too busy (like they’ve gone prog or something), but it’s probable that you’ll be jacking too hard to care. “Rhythm Reel #6” corrects the failings of “Honey Circuit” by taking everything unnecessary out and leaving what is essentially a DJ tool—albeit a wholly hypnotic one. “Things Fall” gets back to basics for the group, featuring a popping horn line and those R&B synths making love to the woodblock and funky guitar line that plays underneath.

Environ / ENV 022
[Todd Burns]


May 26, 2005

Donnacha Costello – Mustard

Despite the shocking resemblance to piss yellow, Costello’s latest entrant to the color series is surprisingly not a stale rehash of the ultra-minimalism that has typified, uh, Minimise’s previous 12″s. Instead, both sides here actually seem to be the most potent melodic products of the bunch thus far, rearing back to unleash furious sequenced oscillations and syncopated muted snares. It may be the series’ first move towards producing tracks for the highlights of sets, rather than enjoyable segues to more recognizable fare.

Minimise / MIN012
[Todd Burns]


May 26, 2005

Sistema – Colores En Cápsulas EP

After only appearing on the label for a remix of an early Vicknoise track, Sistema (aka Manel Ruiz Lens) emerges for his first proper release for Factor City. The four tracks contained within hew closely to the label’s trance-italo-house aesthetic. While none of the offerings here tend to knock you down, there is a level of quality present that’s very comforting for fans interested to see new face’s on the label. “Costa Azul” works moody synth pads against one another, crafting an extremely melodic and low-key rejoined to its ebullient partner on the A-side, “Magenta.” On the flip, “Blanco” turns to electro for its main inspiration, featuring a dizzying array of melodic patterns—the aural equivalent of a strobe light going on for much of its length, while the EP closer, “Black Session ‘94” revels in sonar pings and empty spaces.

Factor City / FC 011
[Todd Burns]


May 12, 2005

Fax – Bilateral EP

One thing Level is doing very right is in their graphic design. Each 12” thus far has been a stunning piece of art. The third release is the gem, thus far, depicting on its front cover what seems to be a confluence of electrical wires, a street lamp, and an unidentified solar flare. The music within is a sort of digital dub house—the music Pole might have made if he was more interested in dancefloors than hookahs. The melodies are slightly warmer than that comparison might imply, but the music is exactly as innocuous. You might be able to salvage something here for a mid-set track, but nothing here is singularly fascinating.

Level / LVL-03
[Todd Burns]


May 12, 2005

Daniel Fritschi – Intonation EP

Considering the major rivalry between Cologne and Düsseldorf, it’s nice to see that each city can co-exist easily in the world of techno. Kompakt has picked up distribution for the newly minted Level label, whose first release we covered a while back. This second offering, a solo entry by label head Daniel Fritschi is headphone-house at its most pleasant. Easy-going synth pads layer on top of another as a soft billowing beat marks time underneath each track here and, while at times it feels like ambient music, it’s busy enough to rise above that genre trough. For home listening.

Level / LVL-02
[Todd Burns]


May 12, 2005

Wighnomy Brothers – 3 Fachmisch EP

I’ve always looked at Wighnomy-related 12”’s as experiments: certainly Robag’s work on Musik Krause has always been a mixed-bag, the much-loved Wuzzellbudd LP notwithstanding. This newest EP by the Sasha and Digweed of microhouse is no exception, featuring two non-musical interludes of no apparent consequence. It’s the three burners here, though, that make this worth a buy: “Pele Bloss” being the rightful A-side. It’s reminiscent in feel to the stunning “Wurz and Blosse,” but is easily the more banging of the two. The two B-sides pale in comparison, but offer up some nice surprises: “Nunca,” particularly, ends in a haze of uncharacteristic horns and piano.

Freude am Tanzen / FAT 019
[Todd Burns]


May 5, 2005

Luciano – Bombero’s / Octogonal

The last time we looked at Cadenza, the praise mostly centered around the unique ability of artists on the label to create tracks well over ten minutes long that captured a Latin feel within the confines of a microhouse framework. I made much of the fact that, yes, home listening-wise this may not make a lot of sense, but heard inside of mixes and out on the dancefloor that this sort of stuff is minimalism at its finest. Owing a lot to the sound of Villalobos, but never coming near the sheer complexity and obfuscation, Luciano and friends have created a safe haven and a sure bet for this stuff’s continued prevalence. Same goes for this one too.

Cadenza / CADENZA 06
[Todd Burns]


May 5, 2005

M.A.N.D.Y. – Jah

Ever since DJ Koze used those immortal spoon-man bells on “Brutalga Square,” I’ve been waiting for the trend to catch on. You can’t call it a trend, but you can call it a help—M.A.N.D.Y’s newest 12” indulges in the sound, weaving it into the manic electro haze of “Jah.” Much like Koze’s joint, the track wanders around, building steam until it explodes (in the final minute here). “Say A Little Prayer For Me” is a tad pedestrian (too much electro, not enough house), but again flowers in the final half to bring out ideas that had only been bubbling up for the previous five-and-a-half minutes.

Get Physical / GPM 024
[Todd Burns]


May 5, 2005

Patrice Baumel – Mutant Pop

Traum Schallplatten has been taking care of business recently, with stellar releases on nearly each of their dizzying array of sub-labels. This is the Trapez platter worth it, if just to mix straight from Jeff Samuel’s “Endpoint,” much like Triple R did, to great effect on his recent visit to the States. “Mutant Pop,” said mixing tool, starts slow, eventually building up a bank of moans and softened yelps that leads straight into the restrained rolling synth line that carries the song along its merry way. “Shower of Ice” uses nearly the same beat, clipped vocal samples, and one of those bulbous emotional basslines that gets you near tears on the dancefloor if employed judiciously. Recommended.

Trapez / Trapez 050
[Todd Burns]


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