Friday, April 07, 2006

Rise of the Mutants

T A P E and VAYGE present

Friday 7th April

The Arc Bar, Broad St
Bristol 9pm-2am

FREE entry before 11pm, £3 after
DJs: Mike Bull, Puffin Jack, Gareth Watkins, Richard Carnage but not, alas, Mr Soft

Yes, that's right, due to a family 'emergency' so banal as to not even be worthy of mention, I, Softie, have been forced to miss tonight's shindigs in Bristol. It seems God has a real aversion to me hitting the decks, what with him throwing such obstacles in my path, but there's no point in bitterness; I'll be cheering on Carnage & Puffin from the proverbial sidelines along with all of you. So, as I'm sat here, in the family seat, at the opposite end of the country, alone but for the copious charms of the internet, it seems a fitting act of solidarity for my Mutant Pop boys to write a massive, mp3-sodden post. I have no doubt that the crew will slay the Arc Bar, even sans Soft. Hopefully Carnage will have a full and favourable report up before the weekend is out. Good luck to you, I'm with you in gurnsome spirit, if nothing else.

Okay, let's not dwell on my enforced absence from the one thing I've been looking forward to for months. That would be a little...masochistic. So, what else? In between torturous thoughts of what I would have played tonight, I've been trying to rid my laptop of a horrendous venereal disease, and in the process keep stumbling across countless tracks that I listened to once, stored away, but never returned to - some of them, especially those of a more minimal persuasion, sound a hell of a lot more satisfying now than they did back then, whenever the hell back then was. So, along with a couple of new cuts, consider today a tidy-up session - minimal schminimal, deviant disco and other such treats that escaped my attention.

Woah. Daniel Wang - what a guy. Dude is behind one of New York's finest new disco labels, Balihu, has produced the goods for Environ (home, of course, to Metro Area, Kelley Polar and, well, not much else. But what a label...) and Ghostly International, making music at once in thrall to, and a million miles from, what he calls "the beautiful music of yesterday", and still finding time to be exceptionally camp. Basically, Wang does that whole rich, analogue boogie thing that we turn to Geist & Jesrani so readily for, but his output is more diverse than we might think...Look Ma No Drum Machine, Wang's first EP for Balihu, included, among other unearthly delights, the acidic electro wonk-fest (yes, wonk-fest) 'Warped' - a tune amyl and energetic enough to find its way onto FC Kahuna's underrated (and, frankly superb) Another Fine Mess comp [which reminds me - does anyone have an instrumental of Headman's 'The Metric System'? The original is unacceptably scarred by vocals from Brian Molko, but the backing track is superb. Yes, Brian Molko of Placebo. Jeeesus...] The tune I have for your delectation today, though, is very much a part of Wang's tasteful disco project. Released on Ghostly back in 2004, 'Berlin Sunrise' is an absolute delight - like Metro Area, Danny uses the full arsenal available to a noughties electronic producer to make a richly-influenced, deep-as-you-like, modern funk masterpiece. Those metronomic italo synth lines that close in every couple of minutes are SWEEEEEEEEET, and though it sounds every bit the tribute to Teutonic break of dawn that its title purports to be, there's something imperceptibly, gloriously New York about the whole affair. Makes me want to learn to skate and hang around with Casper from Kids and smoke blunts but not, as far as I can tell, de-virginize fourteen year olds. It's the best Environ record that never was, and a balm for seasoned ears, so buy the wax if you can find it.

Daniel Wang - Berlin Sunrise (Die Nacht) // Ghostly International

Note: 'Berlin Sunrise' recently appeared on the two-disc Idol Tryouts Vol. 2 which Ghostly just put out; a comp which is well worth your dollar, what with all sortsa electronic finery from Matthew Dear, Dabrye and Lawrence, to name but three, burned into its grooves. Check
Slow Motion Radio Station, a super-fine blog which for some reason I've never given props or linkage to, where you'll find a couple of the more ambient tracks from the CD up for grabs, not to mention a superb Lawrence track from elsewhere.

While we're on the subject, or at least in the proximity, of New York, er, 'undisco' (is that legitimate terminology or the death-knell of my youth?), what about that Kelley Polar (pictured above) fella? Love Songs of The Hanging Gardens was pretty fucking amazing, no? I still haven't bought a hard copy of the album (I got the 'Vocalize' 12"), and I really should, 'cos God knows that for all the adulation that the Croatian string-botherer has received in the last few months, he's prolly barely made a cent. What's the new Simian Mobile Disco track say? Er, "If I had the money to go the record store, I would...". Anyway, Polar's LP found its way into the esteemed company of Piers Martin's albums of 2005, as listed in his Vice column Electric Independence. Excuse me while I digress, but Martin, along with the inimitable Sherburne, must be be the best writer on post-electro/house/disco there is (if you know of a better one, for God's sake let me know...); a new installment of his brilliant and increasingly grumpy column is one of the few things in life I genuinely look forward to. You can check his latest scribblings
here. Anyway, as I was saying, Love Songs of the Hanging Gardens featured in Martin's five (?) end of year besties alongside a record which I keep meaning to check out, but still haven't yet - Smash, the LP by Jackson & His Computer Band. My pitifully slim knowledge of Jackson is so far restricted to the super-glitchy remix of M83 he did (which reminds me, whatever happened to the mooted Nathan Fake mix of M83?), and not a whole lot else; but I hear he kills it live, so maybe I'll catch one of his shows before the year is out (I could really do with seeing some stinky electronic music in performance, you know? Too many DJs, something's got to give, etc, etc, etc... Anyway.) Kelley Polar released a few fine records for Environ before he got kicked out of uni for a riot at his Master's recital (does anyone know what went on?), dropped his Quartet and moved to a farmhouse in New Hampshire to become a recluse (that sounds like the fucking life to me, I mean, imagine the diary entry: "Woke up. Got dressed. Milked the cows, fed the pigs. Made emotionally charged, retrofuturist disco. Ate. Bed early.") One such record was the Audition EP, Polar's debut on Environ, co-produced with Morgan Geist. It's lead track is 'Hammer/Anvil', and here it is. Last time I checked, you could still get hold of this 12" direct from Environ; if you can't, do the decent thing and at the very least buy the veritable modern classic (you know, King Curmudgeon Piers M rated it...) that is Love Songs of the Hanging Gardens, or indeed the 2nd 12" sampler of said album which has just come out. Speaking of shit which has just come out, can you believe Lindstrom's 'Another Station' has only this week got a proper release? That's one thing about this music blogging business; you get a very warped sense of when, how and where records come out. You know, if someone were to ask me "Can I get that at HMV?", and I'd have to be all like,"Um, Phonica did have promos but they sold out ultra-fast, try checking Juno, otherwise the Kompakt mp3 shop might have something, at a push, I'm sure OhMyGosh! had it last year..." Sheesh, what a life.

Kelley Polar Quartet - Hammer/Anvil // Environ

Perlon's a funny label. If I had better taste, more money and, crucially, more time, I'd buy every single record that the German imprint issued. Problem is, Perlonic goings-on are often so tricksy and experimental that my essential Softness gives in, and passes over, in search of the more linear booty out there. Which is a shame, 'cos when I sit down at home, or indeed, get down at a club, to Perlon, it sounds fucking amazing. Perhaps the only record the label released which I got on with immediately was the sparkling avant-pop of Morane's 'Let Me Out' (on The Beach, PERL33), probably one of my favourite tunes of all time (alas, I only own the vinyl, but Carnage has the mp3 so we'll get it up here pronto); by contrast, stuff by Ricardo, Dandy Jack, Steffan Goldmann, Cassy et al took a little longer to warm me, but it got there in the end. Alas, due to economic constraints, when I spend money on vinyl it tends to be for the express purpose of playing out, which can be an awfully restricting modus shoperandi (sorry) - I fucking love minimal, but my DJing style (if you can call it that) is disco and electro, and I frankly lack the skill to incorporate the more freeform minimal stuff into my sets. I'm not alone here, of course, but it annoys me, 'cos sometimes all I want to do is listen to Perlon, Perlon, Perlon, and I find that all I own is, like, four of their 12"s, one CD (the mighty Au Harem D'Archimede) and maybe three mp3s. So imagine my delight when I found this Pantytec B-side (God, let's replay the start of that sentence: "So imagine my delight when I found this Pantytec B-side". Christ, what've I become?) lurking in a dark, unwelcoming alley of my hard drive. Total fucking elation washed over me, I can tell you, when I chucked it on itunes and realized it was actually really good, in that tightly-coiled, hypnotic Perlon way. Pantytec were also responsible for the blinding, glitch-pop reinterpretation of Matthew Dear's seminal 'Dog Days', which appeared on Akufen's brilliant Fabric mix a while back, must have the mp3 somewhere but can't find it right now; they've also got a new 12" on Perlon in the pipeline which'll be worth looking out for. So.

Pantytec - Moriomelo // Perlon

Now I didn't know a hell of a lot about Safari Electronique, only that it was well respected on the minimal scene, so I was pleasantly surprised to find that the label, despite its misleading name, is based in the UK. It's owned by James Warren and Arnaud Le Texier, the latter of whom seems to be behind the majority of the label's productions. His latest release, the Weird Life EP is serious goodness, and the lead track, 'Actified Bass' is exactly the kind of fizzing, body-popping business I like from my dancefloor minimal. Stylistically, this track reminds me of Jeremy P Caulfield, one of my favourite producers (and yet another Canada to Berlin minimal ex-pat), who, as far as I know, hasn't put out any solo material since his topnotch Scar City 12" on his own Dumb-Unit label last year. Come along Jeremy, I'm waiting....Here, any way, is the new Le Texier, nice and heavy on the snares...

Arnaud Le Texier - Actified Bass // Safari Electronique

Softie's New Release Round-Up...

It's been a good fortnight for new releases. Sonar Kollektiv's Innervisions series continues apace with the Where We At EP, a slab of collaborative deepness from Ame, Dixon & Henrik Schwarz. Not quite of the order of Ame's 'Rej' or Marcus Worgull's criminally ignored 'Dragon Loop', but high quality nonetheless (as we've come to expect from this essential sub-label). Which reminds me, you can still get the despicable piece of Rej-lite that is Pastaboys' 'Eightyone' - I mean, it's not particularly bad, but how can anyone hear it and not just want to hear 'Rej' instead? Ripperton, aka Rayon (pictured above), shot to prominence with his white side for RebelOne last year, 'The Panther', which subsequently turned up both on Lazarus's Suck My Deck session and Carl Craig's Fabric mix. I always thought the RebelOne producers were pointedly anonymous; this suggests not, so if anyone knows who was behind the devastating Wax 12" ('The Crocodile') which is probably my favourite electro-house tune of all time (I know I say that a lot), be sure to let me know. Ripperton seems to be on the cusp of big things; he's got a twinkly, tracky new number out on Connaisseur, whose first three releases from Patrick Chardronnet, Afrilounge and Jochen Trappe have been popular sellers and solid records to boot; together with his mate Mirko, R records as Lazy Fat People, and their EP 'Big City/Dark Water' is out very soon on Border Community (I think we may have posted the B-side a while ago...). As if all that weren't enough, Ripperton's website informs us that the man will be doing something on Wagon Repair in the near future, and he's done a remix of Chardronnet's 'Eve By Day', which I'd like to hear (though it seems Oxia beat him to it...). Speaking of interesting mixes, everyone's going crazy for Rekid's 'My Bleep' (can't quite see it myself), but what of this Roman Flugel mix of the track that I've heard about? Now that sounds like it might work, Carnage has got it, so maybe he'll share it with you sometime soon...I never got round to buying that Dell & Flugel LP, but I can testify to its brilliance, so don't be afraid to go for it. What else? Ellen Allien & Apparat's album should be out soon; I was reading about the pair in DJ Magazine, and I felt quite bad hearing of their revising the LP on account of the whole thing being uploaded hundreds of times on Yousendit. Myself, I've only heard a couple of tracks, and on the strength of them, it's an album worth parting with wedge for; the first single's out this week with a blinding Pier Bucci mix on the flip. BPitch Control strike gold again with Smash TV's 'Air/Earth' - a pair of minimal throbbers (what more can you say?), of which the B-side, with its sludgy, jarring groove, is Soft's personal fave. Fujiya & Miyagi seem to be popular fellas; they're certainly a charming duo, and 'Collarbone' is a stone-cold classic, but on their new one ('Ankle Injuries'/'Photocopier', out on Tirk this week) the comedy krautrock thing seems a lil' bit yawnsome. You know, that's just me. There's a new Elektrochemie on Get Physical which is like alright, whatever, that same phased synth sound and dramatic vocal that's on every track Elektrochemie put out. I started the year thinking Schumacher, Bodzin & Huntemann, alone and in collaboration, were going to be my favourite producers by the time summer arrived; a few months later that whole sleak, predatory sound they peddle sounds much more like a tired Tiefschwarz/Get Phiz/Poker Flat hybrid than I first thought.

Far more satisfying treasure this week comes from the studios of techno's two finest Alexes. First up, wee Alex Smoke
(pictured above), whose Paradolia LP is totally mind-blowing. It's amazing that Nathan Fake gets touted as UK techno's great young hope when all he's doing is rehashing Boards of Canada and M83 (I'm sorry, I'm going back on what I said last week - Drowning in a Sea of Love sounds flatter and flatter every time I hear it), while Smoke whistles by unlauded dropping albums as sophisticated, complexly arranged and downright evil as Paradolia and Incommunicado. There really is no justice. The lead-off single from the new LP is 'Meany', available below for your appraising pleasure. Madrid's Alex Under, meanwhile, drops a 12" of retrofuturistic bombs (Collage EP) for Hawtin's Plus8 label - no great surprises here, just smart, rollicking minimal grooves that'll sound phenomenal at high volume. 'Fortuito' is the EP's B1; look out too for Under's new releases on Trapez and Apnea.

Alex Smoke - Meany // Soma

Alex Under - Fortuito // Plus8

Fresh from doing the impossible with Konrad Black (that is, fashioning a remix of 'Mandarine Girl' that wasn't entirely redundant), the Run Stop Restore fella Troy Pierce sets to work on 'Bear Bounces Back', the B-side to a Donnacha Costello (pictured above) 12" on Minimize that came out last year. Promos for this new version (also on Minimize) are pressed on fetching red vinyl, but that's not all there is to be excited out...Pierce taps into Costello's enduring fusion of old and new techno sounds, by adding some thoroughly modern swing to an otherwise monolithic, solidly sci-fi feel; the result is delicious, stripped-down bounciness with sufficient peaks and troughs to keep your more discerning dancefloor very much locked into the groove. Quality stuff, though I still think Donnacha's got a lot more to give as a producer in his own right; 'Ok, That's Great, Start Over' was a dancefloor destroyer and something of a sleeper hit (even finding its way onto Luciano's recent mix CD), while the Colour series of untitled tracks was awkward in terms of its presentation, but included some really spot-on productions - if you buy one of them, I recommend the Mustard 12" (MIN012) for its lush yet skeletal, emotive yet gritty, undeniable champion sound. Bo.

Donnacha Costello - Bear Bounces Back (Too Sad to Bounce Mix by Troy Pierce) // Minimize

New Poker Flat gear comes from Dan Berkson & James What; you may be familiar with the latter of the duo from his work on Treibstoff, while 'Easy' (Mambo Edit?) by Danny B is a right royal electro-house floor-filler which no party jock should be without. The production quality is, of course, high high high - it wouldn't be on Poker Flat, if it wasn't. Unfortunately (correct me if I'm wrong), like every PF release in the last four months that hasn't been by Steve Bug, its completely lacking in melody. In other words another 12" of sticky, stylish minimal grooves that'll sound wicked out but remain eminently disposable. The B2, 'Zig Zag', is probably the best of the lot. Speaking of Poker Flat: 1) Sian (of 'Sei' fame) has a new 12" on Dessous out, just the wholesome tech-house which you'd expect, and 2) what the hell ever happened to Trentemoller? A few months ago he seemed poised for world domination, talking about his live setup in magazine interviews, producing pure dancefloor napalm all the way. Then a few dud but forgiveable tracks and that bolshy remix of Royksopp then....nothing. Where is Trentemoller? Have you heard from him? If so, leave a comment, please...The Optimo mix of Franz Ferdinand is doing the rounds, and with its bombastic punk-funk vibe it's a great deal more pleasant than the Fatboy Slim B-side style of Justice's mix of 'The Fallen' (although at this juncture I should mention that one of the B-side's to Fatboy Slim's 'The Rockafeller Skank' is actually a dynamite slab of pure acid well worth your attention - I think it's called 'Tweaker's Delight' - Al Dare, you've played it out before, leave a comment if you remember what it is...). Electro-tech barnstormer of the week has to be Vicarious Bliss's slightly disagreeable remix of Daisy Daisy on Sunday Best; I don't think I'd ever play it out (and I sure as hell wouldn't listen to it at home), but you might....

Daisy Daisy - Michelle Plays Ping Pong (Vicarious Bliss Remix) // Sunday Best

Lots more soon.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

this was GREAT. just what i needed to be up to date with whats being released there. could you do it every forthnight PLEAZZZEEE. and oh, trentemoller is going to release an album on poker flat soon, so stay tuned :)

5:17 PM  
Blogger RJ said...

im not too fussed with 'My Bleep' either, it was OK but definetly something I wouldnt have expected from Matt. Im looking forward to his latest in the pipline though! its called 'Get The F**k Up' and sounds like some of Dave Taylor's (Switch/Solid Groove) productions, wtih a cool sample (i dont know the original but it was in that old Adam F Pharoah Monch hip hop tune 'Simon Says', thats all i remember it from)
On a side not talking of Switch, im dissapointed to see that his track 'A Bit Patchy' is going for a release on... wait for it Data shocking isnt it... and the worst part is, theyve got the Big Cheese Eric Prydz to remix it! i was vomiting.. absolute terrible peice of shite..

SAMPLE its absolute shite, you have been warned.

6:32 PM  
Blogger Blackest said...

- it's always the way though. 'speechless' the glam electro-disco stonker by mish mash, which came out originally on crosstown rebels, has been licensed for data too. On the one hand, it's sickening, on the other - however good they are, labels like dubsided and crosstown make fuckall money and who can blame them for cashing in occasionally once in a while? If the artist is happy, what can we say? Still, it would've been nice if 'A Bit Patchy' had remained an indie classic....P.S. Eric Prydz isn't total scum! His remix of 'Rocker' by Alter Ego is the best of the bunch, and he's done various more credible and interesting tracks than the chart fodder we mainly know him for. Though he's done some unforgivable stuff.cheers for the comment and the sample, looking forward to the new rekid!

7:07 PM  
Blogger Alex Egan said...

mega post! niceness...

looks like we won't be able to make mutant pop tonight :( but at least we have new music to listen to :)

and you haven't listened to 'smash' yet? are you mad? its brilliant, go get go get

7:14 PM  
Blogger Benedict x said...

Yeah, it's all about 'Tweaker's Delight', I played it at a house party once over the top of 'Wuthering Heights', people got upset

1:04 AM  
Blogger Puffin Jack said...

mutant pop was wicked, we totally rammed it! my mini disco set went down like a sack of shit, then i got the house out and smashed it. more details soon...

11:10 AM  
Blogger Chente said...

Great tracks from Alex Smoke and Alex Under. I heared these two are worth checking out, the upcoming stars of minimal and neotrance, but haven't heared much from them yet. Thanks!

11:23 AM  
Blogger Blackest said...

yes puffin, good work - spoke to Rich at lunchtime and he still had a spot of lockjaw going on! can't believe i missed it, but didn't really have a choice, fuck it, roll on the next one...our job now is to get a consistently good turn-out. from the sounds of last night, shouldn't be too hard..I hear we've got both rooms next time n'all...We will bring the disco. Speak to you on the phone soon

12:25 PM  
Blogger Richard Carnage said...

The first Mutant Pop was definitely a huge success by all accounts. Puffin's right - it was packed, and people seemed to be digging the tunes. I could go on about the poor state of the equipment (and use it as an excuse for my lacklustre mixing in places) in the Arc but there's no point as it didn't dampen the night at all. Roll on Butane (that's our guest on the May 5th night, by the way)!

Soft - Seriously, give that Rekid track a few more spins and imagine that throbbing bass on a big system. Played it last night and it went down really well. The Flugel mix is good, he strips it of the bass and extends it out into an acid workout reminiscent of his 'Test One' release as Acid Test, but I can't help but miss the chugging bass that really makes the original the tune that it is.

4:10 PM  
Blogger Richard Carnage said...

Oh - and if anyone's got an mp3 of the Rub'n'Tug mix of Sly Mongoose's 'Snakes and Ladder', a yousendit would be much appreciated!

4:12 PM  
Blogger Blackest said...

oi, carney, ysi me that flugel mix of rekid pleeeeeeease. And that Morane.cheers

6:51 PM  
Blogger Mathias Vermeulen said...

Nice post Mr. Soft.

Unfortunately (correct me if I'm wrong), like every PF release in the last four months that hasn't been by Steve Bug, its completely lacking in melody.

So on the spot completely right!(Just as the love for Alex Smoke by the way.) It seems like Steve Bug is reserving all the nice work for his Audiomatique label nowadays. (Anyone got that mixcd by Martinez - Audiomatique Vol. 1? Made me realize how much quality that label in two years released.)

Completely off-topic, but since I'm listening to it now I would like to mention that Luciano's Sci.Fi.Hi.Fi mix on Soma is totally mindblowing. Ugh!

7:51 PM  
Blogger Blackest said...

...esco, thanks. haven't heard the luciano mix, but everyone seems to dig it; I should really fork out some cash and buy it but you know how it is...He's playing at Fabric on 29th April, alongside Jamie Jones & Sweet N Candy (not to mention Tim Sweeney and Rub n Tug), so I'm going to try and catch him live then...Alex Smoke is a genius, basically, so prolific and I hear he still works his day-job...and no, didn't hear the audiomatique comp but have been loving the label for a while ('physical fraction' has to be their best release) - didn't know it was owned by Steve Bug. Cheers, take it easy

8:11 PM  
Blogger martin said...

would like to hear the flugel mix of that awful track too, yes please!

btw, trentemoller has a new 12" coming out on poker flat soon called "nam nam", or something along those lines... old news now perhaps, coming out any week now. cheers

8:52 AM  
Blogger Blackest said...

cool bauri, i'm sure rich will post the flugel mix soon, and i'm looking forward to new trentemoller...

10:43 AM  
Blogger Mathias Vermeulen said...

Trentemoller is in a way suffering from the 'raising-too-high-expectations' disease; but tunes like his remix of 'Bubble Bath' (released on Pocketgame somewhere in november I think) is just a blatant Zdarlight-ripoff and way below his standard. Let's see what the future brings..

12:59 PM  
Blogger Blackest said...

My love of Trentemoller is based on three tracks - Physical Fractio, Rykketid, Polar Shift - which he hasn't yet come close to bettering. Good luck to him anyway...

9:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

First off, thanks for a great blog. Anyhow, bit of info on Trentemøller garnered from an interview on a Danish webpage - mostly in the 'oh dear' area, unfortunately. His album should be out in September, but is described as a home-listening album as he is bored with dance music.... First single features vocals by Richard Davis.

He is currently working on a collaboration with a Danish indie type and describes the sound as indie-electronica inspired by Massive Attack and Radiohead. Ahem.

Finally a remix of the new Pet Shop Boys single described as reminiscent of vintage New Order and the poppiest thing he's done.

Still, hope he sees the error of his ways and gets back to pumping out dancefloor barnstormers.

12:12 AM  
Blogger Blackest said...

jesus. here's hoping. thanks for the info...

8:20 PM  

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