December 21, 2007

Year End Thoughts: Peter Chambers

2007 (and the long glide into the deep)

The end of the year, the need to sum up and contain. Lists, lists, and lists, but all I can think of is the long / glide / into / the deep.


December 19, 2007

2007: Year In Review, Part Two: Individual Writer Lists

As a companion piece to our 2007 year in review, here are the individual lists/charts from each of our contributors. Happy reading!


December 18, 2007

2007: Year In Review, Part One

Welcome to part one of Beatz By The Pound’s year-end roundup for 2007, containing the staff’s favorite dance singles, albums, mixes, producers, and labels of the year.


December 17, 2007

Beatzcast #59: Crambe Repetita


Todd Burns presents a mix of electronic music…


01: Till Von Sein – Herr Bert [buy]
02: Elektrochemie – No. 19 [buy]
03: Sian – Wear Your Scars Like Medals (Roland Appel Remix) [buy]
04: Maxime Dangles – I Need Sun [buy]
05: Raz Ohara and the Odd Orchestra – Where He At [buy]

December 16, 2007

Armando – Don’t Do It


Phonica are sometimes prone to softcore boosterism – well, I guess they are trying to sell you the record, so “duh” – but in their description of Armando’s recently rescued and re-released “Don’t Take It” they actually nail it: “This is up there as one of the hottest (and best) records of 2007 even though this track was produced almost 20 years ago. Now that’s just insane. Did you expect anything less from Chicago legend Armando?” To be honest, I did expect something less, given the trendency of the past few years for re-releasing “undiscovered gems” from the vaults to cashed-up, retro-hungry record collectors, their needles and ears famished for the so-called glory days.

Along with Trax Records, Chicago label Let’s Pet Puppies have been on the better end of this rescue mission, first with two Marcus Mixx’ tracks, and now with a lost Armando classic, apparently recorded in one take after an all-nighter, with vocals recorded from the toilet. Like the Marcus Mixx tracks, “Don’t Take it” has been “Resurrected by Thomos and Re-animated by the amazing Johnny Fiasco”. If you were enamoured with the minimalist acid tracks out in 2004 like John Tejada’s “Sweat on the Walls”, you’re going to lose your shit when you hear this. With little more than a gulping, descending acid bassline, some spare Roland percussion and Sharvette’s “sisters are doin’ it for themselves” monologue, this track slowly, relentlessly becomes more and more deranged, unhinging itself around the unchanging bassline. Damned if this doesn’t send the whole dancefloor down the rabbit hole.

Fiasco’s edit streamlines and boomptifies proceedings, shedding Sharvette and altering the bass melody so that it wiggles in and out, rather than down. This one’s got a whole lot less personality than the vocal cut, but holds its own as a neat and useful transition track with some nice percussive tricks which would make it fun to play with on a big system. Hear this single and remember what it’s all about. But let’s hope that it doesn’t turn you into a cashed-up, retro-hungry record collector. Nothing is more suspicious than “the good old days”.

Let’s Pet Puppies / LPP 003
[Peter Chambers]

December 15, 2007

Karlheinz Stockhausen

Beatz would be remiss without offering a small tribute to Karlheinz Stockhausen, the prolific and heavily influential avant-garde composer who died in Germany on December 5th. Also included in this post is a short primer to his electronic work in the 1950s and 1960s.


December 10, 2007

Beatzcast #58: Crambe Repetita


Todd Burns presents a mix of electronic music…


01: Orlando Voorn – Take Me Away [buy]
02: Prosumer & Murat Tepeli feat. Elif Bicer – Butterfly [buy]
03: Guillaume and The Coutu Dumonts – Sous L’Arbe [buy]
04: Italoboyz – Viktor Casanova [buy]
05: Chymera – Hundulu [buy]
06: Tangerine Dream – Love on a Real Train [buy]

December 7, 2007

Bruno Pronsato – At Home I’m a Tourist

It started as a curiosity – something you might or might not hear if you squinted your ears just right at the speakers. Steven Ford (aka Bruno Pronsato) once played drums for a punk-rock/speed-metal band. Against the steady rate of singles for minimal labels like Orac, Philpot and Telegraph, that fact might have stayed a footnote in the producer’s biography. But Bruno’s latest work for Hello?Repeat has seen the musician ebb back wholeheartedly into the groove. His debut for Hello?Repeat, “Wade in the Water, Children,” was a track blown apart and left to see how sparse minimal techno could go, held together by the barest drawl of a bassline. And there’s little hyperbole to that description – try dancing to it.

With “At Home I’m a Tourist,” the first single from Bruno Pronsato’s upcoming album Why Can’t We Be Like Us, he takes the opposite approach: the drums are front & center, percussion is cascading from every corner, and there’s a drone not too far from the one you hear out of movie-theater speakers over-cranked during a horror film. There are handclaps too, but they’re all gauzed and disoriented, and as far away from the DFA snap as you could get.

It’d be tempting to describe the track as funky or loose – and neither adjective would be technically wrong – but they’d still be entirely wrong in spirit. Instead, “At Home I’m a Tourist” is full of blemishes – little creases, tics and wear in a genre that is all too willing to erase traces of humanity. It might be littered with the abject sigh of reversed strings but what’s actually eerie is how easy it nuzzles into your head without a proper melody in sight.

Hello? Repeat / HELLO 009LTD
[Nate DeYoung]

A brief interview with Steven Ford about “At Home I’m a Tourist” follows. (more…)

December 5, 2007

Dave Aju & The Invisible Art Trio – Love Always


Being part of the Circus Company is necessarily a bumpy, zany affair, but few wear the clown’s nose and elephant’s makeup with quite as much aplomb as Dave Aju. Most of my Circus Company EPs date from around ’02-’03, when I started collecting the label after my first “WTF?!” collision with Ark’s fiendishly cutup hatchet-house and other loose-hinged jackfests. More recently, the label has definitely come off my “buy on sight” setting, exhausted and exhausting by its own exuberance. But Dave Aju’s The Unorthodoctor was a notable exception that has proven its superlongevity, being both an extremely inventive, quirky and (decisively) useful EP that always finds itself as the DSP’d glue in the crack between my channels.

Love Always likewise conducts these strengths of invention, peculiarity, and utility to come up with what is for me a latecomer shortlist shoo-in for one of the top EPs of the year. In a year (this is still 2007, right?) redolent with bland beats bleatened to death during prolonged bouts of Abletonitis (not to mention the all-too-common outbreaks of “lame hooks disease” and digitally diffuse wackness), ANYTHING with personality stands out a mile.

But Love Always isn’t just inspired by contrast ­– it also finds poetry through homage to jazz greats (James Brown, Alice Coltrane, and others) channelled through filters in circuits (and vice versa). And all this with an irresistible house-groove with one foot in ’90s US deep and the other in the 21C microworld. Dig the preach-a-pella praising the sun on “Be Like the Sun”, groove to the mantralike “Timing is Everything” (Aju here seems to be following Cassy’s moves chantwise), vibe to the beautifully snatched and smeared flute on “Love Always”. The result is something between the aggressively retro sublimations of Hieroglyphic Being and the silicone-flattened sound-design of contemporary microhouse. And this is a fine thing.

Circus Company / CCS 021
[Peter Chambers]

November 27, 2007

Beatzcast #57: Crambe Repetita


Todd Burns presents a mix of electronic music…


01: Ricardo Villalobos – Primer Encuentro Latino-Americano [buy]
02: Par Grindvik – Continue in My Words [buy]
03: Matt John – Olga Dancekowski (Audion Paradise Cafe Mix) [buy]
04: Dusty Kid – Luna (Tadeo Mix) [buy]
05: Paul Brtschitsch – Hook Up [buy]
06: Prosumer & Murat Tepeli feat. Elif Bicer – Turn Around (Cassy Smooth Mix) [buy]

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