April 30, 2008

Heat Index: January-April 2008

With a third of the year down, Michael F. Gill lists and rates his favorite and not-so-favorite releases of 2008.


Key
Bold Text: CD/LP
Italic Text: Single/EP
Regular Text: Single Track

kiki.jpg

Fire

Ellen Allien – SOOL

Some thoughts over here.

Hot

Albums

V/A – Clone Classic Cuts

Besides being a predictably awesome collection of early Italo & Chicago House classics, there are couple of revelatory moments (as on The Elect’s “I’m House”) where you can actually hear both styles feeding off each other at the same time.

V/A – Funky Nassau: The Compass Point Story 1980-1986

Considering Compass Point are responsible for Lizzy Mercier Descloux’s Mambo Nassau, an all-time top ten record of mine, loving an compilation of such similar music (new wave/disco mashed with Afro, Carribbean, and Reggae sounds) is not much of a stretch for me.

Singles/EPs

Dream Disco – Take Me Home / In Your Eyes
The Hasbeens – Keep Fooling Yourself
Hercules & Love Affair – Blind Remixes
Prosumer & Murat Tepeli – Turn Around (Mixes)
Starcluster – Starcluster
Sun Electric – Toninas Remixes
Williams – Love On A Real Train

Tracks

Das Pop – “Fool For Love (Aeroplane Remix)”
D1 – “I’m Loving”
Mock & Toof – “Big Hands For A Lady”
Zomby – “Spliff Dub (Rustie Rmx)”

Warm

Albums

The Glimmers – Gee Gee Fazzi
Justus Köhncke – Safe & Sound
Miss Kitten – Batbox

Love Is All – Love Is All Mixed Up

The remix album nobody really asked for turns out to be rather entertaining, albeit in a very twee way. This preciousness is likely why big names like Optimo, Studio, and Chicken Lips sort of feel out of place among Hot Chip, Metronomy, and Fryars – how cute and upbeat can they really be?

Robert Owens – Night Time Stories

Having Owens, probably the best house vocalist ever, in full-fledged song mode along with a dozen dedicated producers is a joy in itself. Even better is how solid Night Time Stories is, with the back half being consistently great.

Prosumer & Murat Tepli – Serenity

It’s kind of frustrating that they dumped all the instrumentals on the second half of the record, but the vocal tracks more than make up for it.

Robots In Disguise – We’re In the Music Biz

Sort of a Chicks On Speed style electro-punk, but with dualing female vocals (one exuberant/girly, the other dry/deadpan) singing each line at the same time. Very enthusiastic pop songs that go from comfortable to generic back to comfortable again.

Sebastien Tellier – Sexuality

Although the music is a perfect successor to Daft Punk’s “Electroma”, the backdrops here are a bit too stillborn to be the main attraction. These songs becomes more pleasurable when you focus on their vocal melodies, otherwise they’d all be just as stale as the album’s sole misfire, the 8-minute/1-idea instrumental “Sexual Sportswear”.

Singles/EPs

Chicks On Speed – Art Rules
Cobra Dukes – Airtight (Remixes)
Dennis Ferrer & K.T. Brooks – How Do I Let Go (Charles Webster Remixes)
Raiders of the Lost Arp – Beyond The Dark
Franck Roger – Blind Way
Syclops – Where’s Jason K / Monkeypuss

Tawiah – In Jodi’s Bedroom

Wonderful electro-soul/boogie from the UK that has me fantasizing about a Spacek-produced full-length.

Tracks

00genesis – “Dream Catcher”
Cicada – “Same Old Scene (Henrik B Remix)”
Alex Cortex – “Prism”
Dan Electro – “I’ve Got That Feeling”
Dark Angel – “Two Faces (Instrumental)”
Deadbeat – “Mecca Drum Jack”
The Doubtful Guest – “Electrobotz (T-Toe Remix)”
Fanga feat. Tony Allen – “Crache la Douleur”
Richard Gateaux – “Dune (Phoreski Afro Rave Mix)”
Hot Chocolate – “Night Ride (Skinny Joey/Mindless Boogie Edit)”
The Human League – “Things That Dreams Are Made Of (Justus Kohncke Dub Mix)”
Jackhigh – “Arachnid Eyes”
Jamie Lloyd – “May I (Quarion Remix)”
Omar-S – “Psychotic Photosynthesis”
Sally Shapiro – “Jackie Jackie (Dyylan’s Subzero Nocturne)”
Siriusmo – “Wow (Modeselektor Edit)”
Skream – “2D”
Telespazio – “Galileo (Rodion Remix)”
Upperground Orchestra – “Solaris Eremit”
Ricardo Villalobos – “Enfants Chants”

Room Temperature

Albums

Kelley Polar – I Need You To Hold On While The Sky Is Falling

Great production, good melodies and arrangements, but it sounds like Kelley’s stretching himself a bit too much vocally. This is no more apparent than on the three beatless tracks where the singing takes front stage, and my ears start to curl.

DJ Shadow & Cut Chemist – The Hard Sell (Encore)
Duffy – Rockferry
The Fall – Imperial Wax Solvent
Sasche Funke – Mango
M.A.N.D.Y – Fabric 38
Orgue Electronique – Three Days In May (CD-R, December 2007)
Gilles Peterson – In The House
Private – My Secret Lover
Smith & Mudd – Blue River (December 2007)

Singles/EPs

Apparat – Arcadia Remixes
Appleblim & Peverelist – Circling / Over Here
Blackbelt Andersen – Sirup
Flemming Dalum – Italo Edits Vol. 1 & 2
Dominique Leone – Dominique Leone
Tayo meets Baobinga feat. MC Spyda – Style & Trend
V/A – Stuff (Zero G Records)

Tracks

Gel Abril – “Your Face Is A Mess (Itamar Sagi Remix)”
Acid Circus – “Reduxtion (Agaric Remix)”
Alphabeat – “Fascination (Linus Loves Dub)”
Autechre – “Altibzz”
Boys Noize – “Shine Shine (Apparat Remix)”
The Cinematic Orchestra – “Breathe (Susumu Yokota Remix)”
Clark – “For Wolves Crew”
Eyeone – “L’elephant Rouge”
Fred Falke – “Last Wave”
Holmar Filipsson & Sasse “Lilly Louisa”
Juju & Jordash – “El Silencio Parte 1”
Le K – “Johnny Rotten Disco Balls”
Bruce Lenkei – “Moonlight Zombie Dance”
Letroset – “Arcade Hater”
Lexis – “U Beg I Do”
Mighty Dub Katz – “Just Another Groove (Ashley Beedle’s Amalgamation Disco Edit)”
The Mythical Beasts – “Magical Creature (Q Burns Abstract Message Remix)”
Ghislain Poirier – “One Hand Can’t Clap”
Tony Remy & Bluey – “See No Evil”
Mihalis Safras – “Pigs Around (Mark Broom Remix)”
Shackleton feat. Vengeance Tenford – “Death Is Not Final”
Sally Shapiro – “Jackie Junior (Junior Boys Dub)”
Shur-i-kan vs Milton Jackson – “Swap Shop”
Skream – “Oskilatah”
Don Williams – “Beyond The Means (14 Floor)”
Windsurf – “Future Warriors” & “Pocket Check”

A Bit Chilly

Albums

Diskjokke – Staying In
Gummihz – Mobille Back to Back Vol. 2

Hercules & Love Affair – Hercules & Love Affair

At its heart, this is a decent indie-dance record dressed up in a lot of disco and house clothing. I’m not sure if that was the intent, or if that’s what people want this record to be, but it sure beats listening to !!!.

Junior Boys – Body Language 6

I am bemused at how mechanical the mixing is, it’s as if I’m getting a sneak peak into a future version of Winamp where the crossfader comes with an automatic beatmatcher. And what, no Ultravox?

The Million Dollar Orchestra – Better Days

While I am certainly a big fan of the “live band” disco of Escort, this is perhaps taking things a bit too earnestly. While sporting a couple good tunes, most of Better Days is too air-conditioned, too polite to capture any of the majesty of vintage disco. Even when a song like “Canal Street Bus Stop” drops into a schmaltzy psuedo-classical section, it tries to come across as incredibly sincere rather than fabulously silly. No thanks.

Triple R – Selection 6
V/A – Disco Not Disco 3

Singles/EPs

Arcade Lover – Fantasy Lines
James Pants – Rhythm Trax Vol. 1
James T. Cotton – Like No One
Quantec – Moonstruck
Marc Romboy Feat. Tyree Cooper – Lost

Tracks

Broke ‘n’ English – “Take It Low (Domu Instrumental Remix)”
EOL Band – “One Dream (Louie Vega Mix)”
Few Nolder – “Brenn”
Kraak & Smaak – “Cornered”
Martyn – “Twenty Four”
Namito – “Zizou (Mitja Prinz Remix)”
Quest – “Deep Inside”

Cold

Albums

Trus’me – Working Nights

There’s actually some talent here, but it has been greatly exaggerated (as usual) by those over in the UK. Trus’me does better-than-average disco edits, but he isn’t nearly as skillful in rearranging/recontextualizing moods as KDJ, Theo, or the Idjuts are.

Singles/EPs

3 Channels & Reynold – Macho Lato
Gui Boratto & Martin Eyerer – The Island
Cosmo Vitelli – Le Radiateur / Converted
Adam Kroll – Cael / Chiwawa
Jaxson – Smokemachine Remixes
Michal Ho – Screw The Coffeemaker Remixes
Motor City Drum Ensemble – Raw Cuts
Mugwump – Boutade
Peter Visti – Heaven Is A Disco

Frozen

Albums

The Field – Sound Of Light / Nordic Track Hotel

More opiate for his masses of fans, but I find myself even more annoyed at Axel Willner’s complete lack of ability in sound design and drum programming. With his dogmatic linearity and repetition now stretched to 15 minutes per track, things become unbearable on Sound of Light in a hurry. This is all the more frustrating since Willner obviously has a talent for finding such immediately warm, pleasing, and enveloping atmospheres, but he shows no interest in following through with them.

Singles/EPs

Dan Berkson & James What – Reflections
Scott Ferguson – Walden Ponds

Just Darn Silly

Cousin Cole & Pocketknife – Tambourine Dream

[Michael F. Gill]


8 Comments »

  1. Ellen Allien’s SOOL could be the most indifferent record of the year, but it really says a lot of things among its silent parts. As an old raver would have said “Rave off!”

    Comment by jose lopes — July 8, 2008 @ 5:16 am
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