October 27, 2005

Ricardo Villalobos – Achso

Only Ricardo Villalobos terms a four-track fifty-minute mind-melt an EP. That last hypenation, though, is the key. No mere 12” is going to actually melt minds. Sear it, maybe. Opener “Ichso” comes close—placing a bassline and murky echo pattern underneath two competing flamenco guitar (?) lines. “Duso” takes the beat up for its length, and pushes the melody far below the surface, instead focusing on the infinite possibilities created by miniscule droplets of watery delay. “Erso” reminds of little else besides Autechre’s most recent excursions into complete abstraction while somehow maintaining an eye on the dance floor , while “Sieso” may be as close as he’s come to another “Dexter” since its release. Is there a more fascinatingly dense artist working in dance music today?

Cadenza / CADENZA 08
[Todd Burns]


October 27, 2005

[a]pendics.shuffle – Helicopter Hearts

I haven’t been as big a supporter of Orac as I want to be. The releases have all been good, but nothing’s been knock-yr-socks off great. All that changes with Helicopter Hearts, which is the fully-formed jacking treat that I’ve been waiting for. The opener “My Helicopter Heart” and “Your Words Are Necessary” are two of the funkiest micro-sampled tracks not made by Marc Leclair, while follow-up “Baneful Leather” is a moody and deep house joint that, ahem, lathers you up for the climactic third side of “Dirty Hood” and “Cemento.” Seek this one out, if you’re a My Way fan.

Orac / ORAC17CD
[Todd Burns]


October 27, 2005

Frank Martiniq – Extrashark

“Extrashark”’s a deep tune seemingly built for the big room, with shades of shimmering trance chords that blast into the song mid-way through, only to be overtaken by huge swathes of white-noise that slide onto the sound field like waves. It’s a mildly queasy track, but one that works beautifully. “Dumb De Luxe” rides in the same car of unfortunate and random noisiness, but is far too uncompromising in its backbeat to really grab. That is, until the whole thing gets interrupted by an analog bassline that leads to the crucial swing that it’d been missing. Recommended.

Boxer Recordings / Boxer 033
[Todd Burns]


October 27, 2005

Annie – DJ Kicks

It’s an apt metaphor: on the !K7 website, the label is hawking a promotional scarf to accompany the release of Annie’s newest DJ Kicks album. Problem is: it’s made out of cotton, and looks for the world like it’d keep you warm only in the confines of, say, Misshapes on a Friday night. Annie’s “DJ mix” will similarly make you look fashionable in a club full of people that enjoy nu-pop and its comfortable version of pleasure, but it’ll never get you close to sweat. Save that for the professionals. Buy Alan Braxe & Friends’ The Upper Cuts instead and get the only track worth hearing (released since 2000), plus a whole lot more.

!K7 / !K7190CD
[Todd Burns]


October 27, 2005

Beckett & Taylor – Let’s Smash Up Our Love

If their kitchenware could speak, it would tell you it’s been a long year and change since the last release 12” release from Beckett and Taylor. But despite their mini-disappearance, the duo have not only returned with another gem for their catalog with “Let’s Smash Up Our Love,” but also found an apt home on Matthew Herbert’s concrete-house label, Soundslike. Steering clear of the rigidity of their more academic peers (Herbert and Soft Pink Truth), “Smash Up Our Love” explores the boundaries of recorded space in the most joyously cluttered manner possible. With both “Just Numbers” and “Don’t Fret,” the group plays a game of electro-acoustic pinball that is difficult to enjoy without an 8-year-old’s grin. Sadly, the phoneme driven “Dumb us Down” is the only track that suffers on this 12,” if only for not sounding as entirely different as the other songs. When my only criticism is a compliment in disguise, take this as a hint.

Soundslike / SL 19
[Nate DeYoung]


October 20, 2005

Jesse Somfay – We Breathe The Stars Through Each Other


Yes. Much like “The Sky Is Pink,” “This Fragile Addiction” is a bomb of a track, guaranteed to rearrange your head for its twelve-minute length. It starts off as any addiction might, gently weaving a delayed guitar line and a bassline for a few minutes until the bassline begins to take over and envelopes the track. Soon, the drums and guitar fall away, shunning the out-of-control element, leaving a lone distorted synth to pick up the slack. There is a B-side and it lets you down gently, working a desiccated cathedral organ melody amid its melodic bass—a nice cuddle after a hard fuck.

Traum / TRAUM V65
[Todd Burns]


October 20, 2005

Hystereo – Corporate Crimewave

If you’re looking for the companion piece to last year’s dance-rock sensation, Cut Copy, look no further than Hystereo, whose Corporate Crimewave betters its predecessor in quality, but not in highlights. “Deale,” the album’s first proper song serves as a nice template: coked-out disco beats melt into gleaming synths, which gleefully drive the song towards its inevitable climax. Things are by-the-numbers here, but for those who bemoaned the fact that Stardust never released an album, try this: buy this, put “Music Sounds Better With You” at the end as a bonus track on a CD-R, and then fool your friends at parties.

Soma / SOMA CD 43
[Todd Burns]


October 20, 2005

Dominik Eulberg – Kreucht & Fleucht

Another up-and-coming star of the minimal techno world, Dominik Eulberg graces us with Kreucht & Fleucht, the first release on the Mischwald label. The two disc-set is mixed well, but with nary a surprise in the tracklisting the whole thing comes off as a greatest hits compilation of the previous year in this sector of the house world. Fleucht is the “poppier” mix, mining the trancier Border Community side of things, while Kreucht is a much darker affair that trades in John Tejada’s “Paranoia” and Alex Smoke’s brooding and unpredictable minimal goth.

Mischwald / MWCD001
[Todd Burns]


October 20, 2005

Wighnomy Bros. & Robag Wruhme – Remikks Potpourri

The Wighnomy Brothers (Gabor Schablitzki & Sören Bodner) and Robag Wruhme (just Gabor) rightfully collect their various remixes here on the aptly titled Remikks Potpourri. Rightfully, because the two are one of the few minimal techno dudes that seem completely comfortable in a variety of situations (the string and guitar-led hip-hop of “Elbe 1,” the retooling of Namusouke’s dancehall-inflected “Survive,” and the epic and essential “This World” originally performed by Slam and Tyrone Palmer are the odd ones out here). Take those tracks and garnish it all with a healthy dose of the click/clack of the duo’s normal mode of operation on remixes for Dominik Eulberg, [a]pendics.shuffle, and Alter Ego and you’ve got yourself a compilation worth picking up.

Mute / CD STUMM TT8
[Todd Burns]


October 20, 2005

Onur Özer – Envy

This Turkish producer’s second 12” (the first for Vakant) is an accomplished piece of minimalism that owes a great deal to the sound crafted on records like Wighnomy’s “Wurz + Blosse.” “Envy”’s bassline, in particular, evokes that classic, while “Maze”’s head-down second-half is a dead-ringer for the sort of unyielding funk at play in Wighnomy’s best efforts. Speaking of, “Superfunk,” is easily the most melodic of the trio here, with a whole three note line making its way to the surface every so often. This one isn’t for the fair-weather fans, but it’s a must for anyone interested in keeping the crowd moving mid-set.

Vakant / VA 005
[Todd Burns]


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