Nature abhors a vacuum
Hello. I do hope you're well. It's a been a while since my last post (relatively speaking), and I must say: as I sit down here, tea brewing and fag poised between my lips, I realize how much I've missed you. Yes, you - the unknown, the good, the bad, the tasteful, the alien and extraordinary. I've had, as you may have gathered, both a shit day and a fair amount to drink. Forgive me, therefore, both my sentimentality and my syntax being even more convoluted than usual (yep). Like some sort of techno Santa Claus returning from 364 days in snowy exile, with Yousendit as my trusty reindeer, I intend to shower you wih mp3-shaped gifts to make up for my prolonged and unnecessary absence. As always, I sincerely hope you enjoy.
Before I launch into anything, let me first point you in the direction of Twenty Four Hours. This fantastic blog is a TAPE favourite, and is currently hosting a live Todd Terje mix (entitled 'Ironkuru') that's almost offensively good. I was a bit late to turn onto Terje; it was only when everyone started raving about 'Eurodans' that the microscopic hairs which line my ears (and, I'm told, are responsible for conducting sound brainward) stood to attention. I mean, there's so much shit, hippified disco being peddled by all and sundry these days, that you can perhaps understand my caution - it's becoming our generation's trip hop; and for every Portishead there's a million Crustations (who remembers them? Exactly). The more I hear of this Terje fella, though, the more I want; for me, he totally hits the mark which Lindstrom narrowly, but consistently, misses (except, obviously, with 'I Feel Space', which I get tired of praising but never of hearing), and although I'm not so hot on the unabashed vocal re-edits by Tangoterje, I was overwhelmed by Todd's emphatic ripping up of spacey disco, leftfield funk, psych-rock and stripped-down electro on the 'Ironkuru' mix in question. I strongly advise you to download it; it sounds like a natural sequel to The Glimmers' utterly classic and madly underrated 'Mixed, Re-Edited & Fucked-Up' on Eskimo, another mix which seems to bend disparate styles/eras of music at will to fit its trippy, beat-heavy blueprint. The defiantly oddball tracklisting of Terje's selection is as follows:
1.Giorgio Farina - Discocross
2.Disco Very - Get It On (edit)
3.Lindstrom - Another Station (Todd Terje remix)
4.Nazareth - Morning Dew
5.Ray Mang - Toffee Crisp
6.The Broads - Sing Sing Sing
7.Fleetwood Mac - World Turning
8.Kc - Boogie Man edit
9.Kebekelektrik - Mirage
10.Lindstrom & Isabelle - Boks
11.Arbeid Adelt - Death Disco(edit)
12.Q Base - The Rain
13.Rita Jean Bodine - That's The Kind Of Love
14.Felix Laband - Whistling In Tongues remix
15.Pat Metheny - Spring Ain't Here
16.Chris Rea - Josephine
Thanks to Tooli for that tracklisting, good spotting.
The Nazareth track, believe it or not, is particularly tasty.
Treibstoff was something of an unstoppable force in my musical life last year; I failed to pick up on their earlier releases, but the most recent wave of minimal/disco/electrohouse action to carry the Treib name has been unwaveringly quality stuff. Robert Babicz (variously known as Rob Acid and, I imagine, Robert), who's fast becoming one of my favourite producers, dropped the astounding 'Organic Boogie' for the label around September time - post-Metro Area, techy disco for dancefloor and armchair alike; elegant and complex, but with enough bass oomph and drum crunch to wobble stomach and shake ass. On a more minimal tip, the eerily consistent Swat Squad teamed up with Alecs Marta for the canny, Martinez-esque 'Marciano Homeless' - spot-on production and an absolutely SICK breakdown, this was fantastic as much for what it held back as what it laid out. Anyway, after that teasing backstory I'm now forced to admit that I don't own either of those tracks in digital form (though 'Organic Boogie' features on Carnage's 'Tape Me Out' mix - see the post below for a link). I do, however, have the new Treibstoff twelve by Gabriel Ananda (pictured above left), which has just hit the racks. It's a markedly restrained affair, but with enough dubby friction going on beneath the surface to suggest it'll sound rude as fuck on a proper system (that seems to be the rub with Treibstoff's stuff - it takes you in off-beat directions while also delivering dancefloor power as a matter of course). Is it just me or is a previously unthinkable tribal influence entering our post-electro culture through the proverbial back door? It's no bad thing; it's just that everywhere, from recent Luciano/Bucci gubbins to DFA's afrikan disco armadas, I'm detecting that whole tracky bongo sound which has politely absented itself from electro aesthetics up till now. I mean, I embrace it fully, but let's not start getting too spiritual or anything. It took a profound re-adjustment of my 4X4 values for me to bask guitlessly in the (gasp) 'world' vibes of Luciano's mix of 'Yamore'; but re-adjust I did, and since then I feel I've opened a veritable Pandora's Box - leaving me grossly fearful of a future spent dancing contendedly at the fringes of festivals, frothing at the mouth, talking utter nonsense about spiritual enlightenment, whilst selling drugs to kids and my ugly, toothless girlfriend. I must be careful.
Gabriel Ananda - Bassmaschinchen // Treibstoff
I'm loving Louderbach at the moment. I know fuck-all about him/her/them/it, except that they (that's the democratic choice) turn out smooth minimal with plenty going on, and which does away with wanton clickery in favour of ballsy, expansively melodic synth lines that wouldn't sound out of place on a Wagon Repair release, laid over slick, Poker Flat-style low end business: a formidable combination. Most importantly, it's bursting with the one quality that's crucial to all the most effective dancefloor minimal - suspense. Check out this one:
Louderbach - Vacuum Packed // Underline
I'll spare you the drooling, textbook account of just how good the Mobilee stable is (if you haven't checked out their so-far small catalogue, get on it). Anja Schneider, the label's founder, and partner-in-crime Sebo K, have just put out a 12" featuring remixes by MIA (obviously not to be confused with the UK dancehall-electro-pop heroine/irritant/pioneer/idiot savant [delete as appropriate] of the same name) and Jennifer Cardini & Shonky.
MIA tackles 'Side Leaps' and does a great job - making a track that sounds sufficiently cold and dystopian to really stand out - high praise in a climate where cold and dystopian sounds are produced in staggering quantities every single day. Cardini, whose production work (especially with the curiously, unremittingly awful Dirt Crew*) has never really taken me by the bollocks, teams up with Shonky to renovate 'Rancho Relaxo'. The result is entirely - er - satisfactory, and the detailing of the production is attentive and interesting (I love the mechanical rimshots - you've got to love percussion that actually sounds serious), but the overall mood of the piece is so similar to the flawless original that, well, I just end up pining for the flawless original. As any sane man would.
Anja Schneider & Sebo K - Side Leaps (MIA Remix) // Mobilee
Anja Schneider & Sebo K - Rancho Relaxo (Jennifer Cardini & Shonky Remix) // Mobilee
*There I am, hating on Dirt Crew, forgetting their stupendous, masterful and imaginative rework of 'Soul Sounds' by Sasse on Mood Music. Phonica's Simon Rigg played it at TAPE's Birthday Party in November and, having never heard it previously, I half-swallowed my tongue in addled appreciation (Thankfully, I managed to puke it up with all sorts of other stuff when the track had finished). In an electro/techno set that, like the scene at large, stays well away from the ebony and ivory, the call and response between the doomy synths and ravey pianos which forms the track's hook sounded truly otherworldly. SERIOUSLY, THIS IS THE ABSOLUTE SHIT. I just don't get it though...How can the people who came out with this classic (fuck, it even makes my left hand compulsively do that smoking gun appreciation gesture beloved of Italian ravers and teenage, middle-class grime aficianodos) - churn out such shit the rest of the time? OK, it's not shit, but it's sure as hell AVERAGE. And with kids pressing up electronic wonderment by the lorry-load every single day across the world, life's too short for average. Break 3000, one half of Dirt Crew, did collaborate with Adam Kroll on a track which Puffin and I would consider a TAPE set text - that is, 'Discotronic' on MBF. More like that, please, more like 'Soul Sounds' and less of the boorish, undemanding electro-house offal embodied in the recent 'Domino', please. We only want you to succeed. Anyway, here's the Sasse tune which I've prolly made sound just a little bit better than it is:
Sasse - Soul Sounds (Dirt Crew Solid Diamond Mix) // Mood Music
Now, if there's any label likely to head toiletward in the coming months, it's Get Physical. Believe me, the Berlin-based collective was, for me like everyone else, a source of infinite pleasure in AD2005. However, not to be unduly negative, I think things went a little too well for GP in those twelve heady months. OK, enough has been written/said/heard about 'Mandarine Girl' and 'Body Language' (true modern day rave classics), but let's not forget DJ T's album (and its singles), as well as 'Jah', 'Piccadilly Circuits' and a fair few other heart-ticklers whose names escape me right now. They've started strongly so far this year, I'll readily admit - with an upfront, if uninspiring, release from standard-bearer T ('Ambush/Stalker'), (quality) business-as-usual from Chelonis, and a cracker from new signing Jona - a swirling tech-houser which feels like an exact synthesis of 'Body Language' and 'Mandarine Girl'. But not as good as that lazy description might suggest. What else is to come? Booka Shade's next self-titled release is going to be accompanied by no small amount of pressure and expectation; the problem is, however good it happens to be, it's simply not going to beat the BS twin peaks of last summer. Anyway...The reason I've embarked on my usual Physical rant is to introduce two of the label's classics: 'Panoramic' by Booka Shade, and 'Starlit' by DJ T. Appearing on the flip of one of Booka's Memento remix 12"s last year, and re-edited to seismic effect on M.A.N.D.Y.'s Body Language mix CD, 'Panoramic' is a tracky, minimal funk monster with a bass drop which will have any self-respecting dancefloor grinning like a bunch of Spaniards at a Richie Hawtin gig. No probs. In a more electro-italo vein is 'Starlit' - chunky, mid-paced and, like all DJ T's stuff, ridiculously spacious. Always sounds a little vacuous at home, then you play it out and it's general fatness blows everyone, particularly you, away.
Booka Shade - Panoramic // Get Physical
DJ T - Starlit // Get Physical
Lastly, we have 'Demo 54' by Gus Gus. They've got form, Gus Gus, but I'm a little too tired to go into it. Enjoying something of a renaissance among the European dance cognoscenti, they're now releasing stuff which is deep, dubby and retro-modern (I know I say that about everything) in the best possible way...This track, appearing in its demo form (I'm not aware of any subsequent elaboration/update) has such an infectious melody and is so gloriously subtle that it makes me silently scream, and were Booka Shade to work it over and add some high-end lines to compliment the ineffable bassy chug, I'd probably die happy. But they won't, will they?
Gus Gus - Demo 54 // Pineapple