October 26, 2007

Beatzcast #54: Crambe Repetita

2007Mixes

Stylus editor Todd Burns presents a mix of electronic music…

Tracklist
01: Dennis Ferrer – Son of Raw (Loco Dice’s Brooklyn Roll) [buy]
02: Martin Buttrich – Hunter [buy]
03: Tiger Stripes – Survivor [buy]
04: Claude Von Stroke – Seven Deadly Strokes (Patrick Chardronnet Remix) [buy]
05: Roland Appel – Dark Soldier [buy]

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October 17, 2007

Ewan Pearson – Piece Work

The case of Ewan Pearson poses an interesting conundrum. He has never released any original music to the public under his own name, yet there are enough remixes available to compile this double CD set, all billed to him. So when do we consider a remixer to be an artist in his or her own right? Does Pearson do enough with these remixes to forge something that should be considered his own “work” despite the fact that he didn’t technically compose any of the music on it, at least in the traditional (and the music publishing) sense? Does the identity on the front of the label affect the way we react to the music inside? Are we at the point where we can consider remixers to be artists in the traditional sense of the word?

Well, while the voices may sound familiar in spots – the Flaming Lips (with the Chemical Brothers), Goldfrapp, Franz Ferdinand, Pet Shop Boys, and Depeche Mode among others – Pearson does lovingly make each track his own. His trademarks – beats that propel rather than overpower, deep beds of spaced-out keys and echoing effects, a strong sense of melody – are all here in spades. Every track buzzes with energy to spare, and each individual piece goes towards forging the larger whole of the ARTISTIC STATEMENT. Except, it’s a remix collection. See the rub?

Whatever brings you to Piece Work, there’s plenty here to keep you coming back, from the sinister S&M sax frenzy of Playgroup’s “Make It Happen” and the New Orderisms of Franz Ferdinand’s “Outsiders,” to the utterly sublime flotation of Cortney Tidwell’s “Don’t Let the Stars Keep Us Tangled Up” and the epic disco journey of Goldfrapp’s “Ride a White Horse.” But the overall feel and the sound and the real music here is Pearson’s and Pearson’s alone. Over the course of these 21 tracks, Pearson’s musical identity unfolds before your ears, and as a remixer and as an artist, there is no higher compliment to be paid.

I would argue yes, we can and we should consider the remixer the “artist” here, and I think most dance music enthusiasts have come to a similar conclusion over the years. However, to the vast majority of listeners, the name in lights is the only one that matters. Pearson’s work here can stand as Exhibit A in the court of public opinion on the matter, and thanks to the big names here, maybe this collection will make a dent in the public at large. Pearson’s particular brand of mutant tech house-cum-space-disco is easily identifiable on a four-track remix 12-inch – hearing it all together just reinforces the quality and consistency.

K7 / 221
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[Todd Hutlock]


October 16, 2007

Beatzcast #53: Crambe Repetita

2007Mixes

Stylus editor Todd Burns presents a mix of electronic music…

Tracklist
01: Kylie Minogue – 2 Hearts (Studio Mix) [buy]
02: Farah – Law of Life (Midnite Remix) [buy]
03: Nick Sole – Children (Crambe Repetita Deep Mix) [buy]
04: Daniele Baldelli – Cosmic Parsley [buy]
05: Fuckpony – Lady Judy (Crambe Repetita Screw Mix) [buy]

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October 15, 2007

Trentemøller – The Trentemøller Chronicles

Anders Trentemøller’s second full-length release follows in the footsteps of his first (The Last Resort on Poker Flat) in that it too is released as a double CD set. As the name suggests, however, this is mainly previously released material: one disc is a mix of Trentemøller’s tracks (and one remix of a track by Klovn), including some new and exclusive songs, and the second is a collection of key remixes of other artists, including The Knife, Robyn, Moby, and Mathias Schaffhäuser. While longtime followers may be frustrated by the lack of new material, the convenience factor of the CD format and general quality of the tracks seems to be a pretty even trade.

Trentemøller may be treading water with this release, but at least he can’t be accused of offering up the dregs; his mix ebbs and throbs with his organic fusion style, melding live instruments with clanging electronic sounds, beats, and lots of ambience for a spacious, yet danceable experience that works equally well in the big room/cabinets and the easy chair/headphones. Moving from the chilly to the frenetic and back again, this mix is perhaps the most accurate large-scale musical statement Trentemøller has made to date, moreso even than Last Resort, which for all its appeal still got lost in the trees on occasion.

In the relatively propulsive format of the mix CD, however, Trentemøller keeps things moving and shaking with enough inertia so as to not encourage fast-forwarding, yet still provides enough tempo and stylistic changes to maintain interest. Bouncing effortlessly from the funeral-paced, Cure-esque “Blood in the Streets,” to the sultry, pulsating “Moan,” to the purist techno of “Killer Kat” and “Rykketid,” Trentemøller clearly knows how to weave his own catalog into an appealing package, as well he should. Maybe he should mix all his albums from here on out.

As expected, the remix CD doesn’t hang together nearly so well, but the tracks are unified by Trentemøller’s hand at the production wheel. He selected well, choosing tracks that represent the different sides of his style well – Schaffhäuser’s “Coincidance” is a sleek, steely beast; the Knife’s “We Share Our Mother’s Health” is twisted industrial disco; Filur’s “You and I” is Basic Channel fronted by a house diva; Robyn’s “Konichiwa Bitches” is a girl-group electro beatdown. Trentemøller doesn’t shy away from vocals either, retaining a lot more of the original songs’ feel and identity – another example of his collaborative mindset that led to his trademarked sound. The result is more like a well-chosen compilation than a cookie-cuttered vanity project.

For as wonderful as much of the material on Chronicles is, it is rather frustrating to be made to purchase an entire two-disc set just to get the few new cuts and a (admittedly rather nice) mix; the option of a separate vinyl EP with the new cuts would have been nice for fans and collectors, but this is a minor complaint. Those looking for living, breathing dance music with some real depth and genuine tunes will undoubtedly be charmed by much of what’s on offer across this set.

Audiomatique / AMCD 02
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[Todd Hutlock]


October 12, 2007

Beatzcast #52: Crambe Repetita

2007Mixes

Stylus editor Todd Burns presents a mix of electronic music…

Tracklist
01: Anja Schneider – Gimley [buy]
02: Radio Slave – Dedication, Part Three [buy]
03: Adultnapper – Tewa (Matt Tolfrey and Inxec Remix) [buy]
04: Sven UK and Andomat 3000 – Tribute [buy]
05: Stefan Goldmann – Lunatic Fringe [buy]
06: LCD Soundsystem – Sound of Silver (C2 Remix) [buy]
07: Jan Driver – Kardamoon [buy]

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October 8, 2007

Cobblestone Jazz – 23 Seconds

Techno and jazz. On the face of it, it’s two genres of music that have little to do with one another. But ever since techno emerged out of Detroit in the late ’70s and early ’80s, artists have been trying to combine the two. Carl Craig’s Innerzone Orchestra project featured Francisco Mora, Craig Taborn, and Rodney Whitaker to name but a few, while Underground Resistance has proffered the idea of Hi-tech Jazz as their update on the form. To these ears, however, it’s always been hit and miss (with the focus on the latter). There’s something inherently awkward about grafting genres onto one another – and when it’s done properly it usually ends up being called something else entirely.

So leave it to three white Canadians to do it right, eh? Mathew Jonson, Danuel Tate, and Tyger Dhula are childhood friends from Vancouver, who have seemingly figured out what’s eluded producers for years – how to mix improvisatory live elements with a booming four-to-the-floor beat. It’s simple, apparently. Take filtered synth basslines, a few mutable elements that work within an easy harmonic framework, and a steady drum to wrap it all around.Those mutable elements are usually what each track lives and dies on: for “W” the trio works with a vocoder and a percolating synth line, while “Lime in Da Coconut” utilizes a rapidly evolving melody that sounds like the aural equivalent of a “Stars” Windows 3.1 screensaver. “Slap the Back” and “23 Seconds,” however, repeat past success to diminishing effect near the album’s end. It’s a tightrope: the frequently employed vocoder that makes “Peace Offering” sing weighs down “Change Your Apesuit” and the indelible groove of “Saturday Night” is almost entirely absent from “Hired Touch.”

As a long-time fan, it’s hard not to count 23 Seconds as a bit of a disappointment. The trio’s singles on Wagon Repair have been of such high quality that anything less than excellence seems unthinkable. When the trio find an uninspiring theme to work around for seven or eight (very long) minutes or so, it’s a taste issue, rather than a talent one. Cobblestone, as you might expect from the lengthy songs and minimal amount of elements to each, are a powerful live experience and that’s still the way they’re best heard. 23 Seconds is just a reminder – and a handy collection for those who still fear vinyl and mp3s.

K7 / 223
[Listen]
[Nina Phillips]


October 5, 2007

Beatzcast #51: Crambe Repetita

2007Mixes

Stylus editor Todd Burns presents a mix of electronic music…

Tracklist
01: Underground Resistance – Kill My Radio Station (Acapella) [buy]
02: Einzelkind vs. Meat – Hear the Man [buy]
03: Red Robin & Jakob Hilden – Lazy Jack [buy]
04: Kollektiv Turmstrasse – Eskapade [buy]
05: Underworld – Glam Bucket [buy]
06: Sennh – I Am With You [buy]
06: Baby Oliver – Feelings 2 [buy]

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October 4, 2007

Soul Capsule – Waiting 4 A Way

For their first single as Soul Capsule in six years, Thomas Melchior and Peter “Baby Ford” Adshead deliver not so much a set of DJ tools but something similar to an “open source code” of minimal techno. It’s wonderful to hear an EP that builds out of its own heritage, bringing the warm waves straight out of the depths of the circuits they’ve been coursing through for almost fifteen years.

Like a lot of his recent solo tracks, Baby Ford’s voice comperes the whole event ? he’s a quiet master of ceremonies who murmurs, whispers, and coaxes you through the auroral atmosphere like some kind of positively charged Leonard Cohen. As evidenced on the long and winding title cut, Ford’s influence on Melchior’s style is akin to the flattening of a wiggling arc – he basically gets Tommy to turn the brightness of his space-dusted melodies inwards. B-Side “Beauty and the Beat” brings the sound closer to the epic, deep minimal techno explored at length on Ford’s Sacred Machine – a machine that wills the eternal return of a perfectly pitched and filtered kick drum. A repetition without gravity. Welcome back, guys.

Perlon / PERL 63
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[Peter Chambers]