August 25, 2005

Donnacha Costello – No Matter What I Do / Bear Bounces Back

One man who is no stranger to melody is Minimse label head Donnacha Costello whose new 12” “No Matter What I Do” is a strong entrant into an already deep catalogue. Fresh from his color series, Costello seems almost buoyant here, playing two competing melodic runs against one another throughout the song’s length, gently shifting and transforming them both to keep things interesting. “Bear Bounces Back,” the B-side seems to be a remix of the A-side, bringing a vocal sample, a choir, and a deeper beat to the proceedings. Needless to say, it kills. Recommended.

Minimise / MIN019
[Todd Burns]


August 25, 2005

Various Artists – 2Rabimmel 2Rabammel 2Rabum 2Bum Bum

On his way back home, little Todd saw Michael, still holding his hand lantern before him. The lantern, while very beautiful was of a different, much bigger style from the previous year. Todd couldn’t understand why Michael would merely add on things on top of the lantern, with the only changes being disappointing add-ons that served no real purpose. The loud music was still buzzing in his years, but he wanted it gone. Todd hated getting nostalgic, but this had been done much better, long ago. There must be a way out of this dilemma!

Areal / Areal031 / Arealcd4
[Todd Burns]


August 25, 2005

Jesse Somfay – Between Heartbeats

That same synthesizer is used to deadening effect on Jesse Somfay’s debut album, Between Heartbeats. Don’t get me wrong: it’s creates a lovely, wispy, and rapid-fire sound when used in isolation, but Somfay sees fit to use on what seems like more than forty of the album’s seventy minute running time. All that being said, the track’s here are gorgeous in isolation, falling somewhere between the lengthy diversions of Ricardo Villalobos and the sumptuous melodies of Boards of Canada (albeit only one per song, it seems). I hesitate to theorize here, but it seems to me with both Somfay and labels like Border Community bringing melody and micro together rather effortlessly, that there maybe a wing of romanticism firmly establishing itself not a moment too soon. Top stuff.

Archipel / archipelcd002
[Todd Burns]


August 25, 2005

Oliver Hacke – Subject Carrier (Remixes)

Going along on that remix tip, Oliver Hacke gets two of his Subject Carrier tunes reworked here by micro luminaries, John Tejada and Alex Under. Tejada’s mix benefits from more immediate source material and he doesn’t disappoint, coloring the stunning melody of “6:04” in only slightly different, but no less beautiful, ways. Alex Under has a harder job ahead of him, but he turns in a rather refreshing take on “7:03,” which doesn’t skimp on the deep house beats or the lithe synthesized melody.

Trapez / Trapez 054
[Todd Burns]


August 25, 2005

The KLF – Justified and Ancient

12"2005HouseIndie-Dance

This 12” sees the series of KLF remixes continue in fine style. Deichkind, a German three piece “electronic superdanceband” takes the A-side and turns the title track into a perfectly competent jangly rock tune, while the B-side sees (underrated-for-a-reason) producer Mathias Schaffhäuser compile a piece that is just as unremarkable and forgettable. Done in differing styles, this 12” proves that the KLF were working from a textbook on how to write hit songs—all of the elements are here. What that textbook never told us, though, is that it takes a bit of personality to push them over the top, something these versions undoubtedly don’t.

Blaou Sounds / Blaou 037
[Todd Burns]


August 18, 2005

Jacek Sienkiewicz – Six Feet Above

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

Recognition / r-ep011
[Todd Burns]


August 18, 2005

Lotterboys – Heroine

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

Eskimo / 541416 501351
[Todd Burns]


August 18, 2005

Poni Hoax – Budapest

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

Tigersushi / TSR 017
[Todd Burns]


August 18, 2005

Artificial Latvamäki – Mänty

Why they’re making far less of these 12″s than Swat Squad is a mystery to me. Sure, both “Manety” and “Frotee” follow the same sort of Artificial Intelligence vibe of SS, but “Konstaapelin Ajan Juoksu Yoell” is a straight eight-minute burner that sounds like a mutating helix of DNA throughout its length shot right through with a burst of harrowing vocodals. It’s not quite Steve Barnes territory, but it feels like it may get there with time.

Trapez Ltd. / Trapez LTD 034
[Todd Burns]


August 18, 2005

Swat Squad – Gecko

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

Trapez / Trapez 053
[Todd Burns]


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