Friday, February 24, 2006

Solid Food

Great to see Oh My Gosh back online - probably the best techno blog on the internet, and a source for much of my new music. Here's hoping they're able to continue to do what they do so well without any problems or interference...

Anyway, the other day that very blog put up a track which I have been rabidly awaiting ever since I heard of its existence back in early December. Such is my relief at now owning a copy, I feel justified in posting it myself...

The track in question is, drum roll please....Solid Groove's remix of Hot Chip. Now I don't go in for all the Hot Chip worship which I see/hear everywhere, but the original of 'Over & Over' is a classic, no doubt about it....This remix, then, is essentially just a fat, bumpin' Solid Groove hippety-house tune with vocal samples of the 'Chip artfully cut into its breakdowns. A masterclass in how to handle a sacred cow, basically.

Hot Chip - Over & Over (Solid Groove Remix) // DFA/EMI

It should be out on DFA/EMI in the very near future; we'll let you know when so you can buy a copy and put some hot chips on the table of Hot Chip.

I'm going to Bristol now for a bleary reunion with my boys Puffin and Carnage (not to mention Sam, Lisa and Nicky Murrell); whatever we do, if tonight doesn't end in a red-eyed seance around Achso, I'll be heartily disappointed....Might not post for a coupla days, so have a good weekend.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

'Range Life

10 soon-to-land things I'm looking forward to:

1. The Carl Craig & DFA mixes of 'Revelee' by Delia & Gavin
2. Lazy Fat People's 'Big City' 12" on Border Community
3. The Dominik Eulberg mix of Pier Bucci's 'L'Nuit' FINALLY getting released on Crosstown
4. Holden's mix of 'Nazi Trance Fuck Off' by Black Strobe FINALLY making an appearance, albeit in blended form, on his forthcoming mix album. 12" to follow?
5. The Booka Shade LP, 'Movements'
6. Erol Alkan's alleged rework of Daft Punk; if it's even half as good as 'Do You Want To', I'll wet my pants
7. Whatever's next up on Wagon Repair. They on a serious roll, innit
8. The M.A.N.D.Y. mix of Tiefschwarz that's floating around on promo
9. Some new business from Patrick Chardronnet. Where's he been?
10. The re-activation of Kompakt Pop. I'm waiting.

And 1 of the most buoyant, loveable and best tracks of 2005:

Only Freak - Can't Get Away From Your Love (Solid Groove Remix) // Freerange

If you haven't heard if before you should be ashamed, but very excited.

The Justus League of South-West England

I've been working hard today. I almost published a post about my five-year prejudice against translated literature (I am, as you may have guessed, pitiably, pitifully monolingual); luckily for you I realized what I was doing and held my fingertip on the backspace button long enough to undo what could have been serious damage (believe me, you don't want to hear my received ideas about the pliability of Kafka's German). So yeah, I need to relax (I know, I'm a student, I don't really need to relax), and I've had too much of other people in the last few days, so I'm going to go and enjoy that rare and luxuriant privilege: a solitary pint and a fistful of cigs down the mighty Fir Tree - a wonderfully honky but friendly old pub peopled by dirty-fingered alcoholics, labradors and loose (old) women. To send me out of the door with bounce I'm playing the uber-camp disco joint 'Schwabylon' by Justus Kohncke, from his too-bizarre-for-me but palpably wonderful LP, Doppelleben. Like a Daft Punk/Chic collaboration, by way of Hear'Say. As ever, in a good way. I don't see why you shouldn't hear it too; Justus's LP is available to buy from Kompakt and all the usual outlets.

Justus Kohncke - Schwabylon // Kompakt

The URL of Sandwich

It's snowing outside. It looks nice, I'll admit. But this is England, and it's not going to settle, it's just going to turn the pavements into slippery deathtraps or create a black perma-sludge that'll hang around for weeks. Or, let's be honest, just turn into rain in mid-air.

It wouldn't bother me if I didn't have to bike into town imminently. Shouldn't I be driving Kavinsky's Ferrari or something? Well, if I was in posession of such a vehicle (my time is yet to come...), this AM I would be inclined to whack a wee bit of Cosmic Sandwich on the stereo as I cruise through the, er, gridlock of rush-hour traffic.

Steve Barnes' 'Cosmic Sandwich' was an instant (or sleeper, depending on who you were) classic that really pricked the public's consciousness when it was re-released in remixed form last year. Dominik Eulberg's hypnotic, demonstrative rework was the main draw, but lurking on the B-side was a version by Barnes himself as Cosmic Sandwich (all this talk of sandwiches, and I forgot to buy bread for my fucking breakfast)...Emphasizing the future disco elements of the original , this mix was a right royal Metro Area style-strut draped with druggy synth lines to seal the deal. A lot of people who own the 12" haven't even heard this track, such is the definitive status of the Eulberg mix; well, it deserves an airing and if you're not already familiar, here the bugger be:

Steve Barnes - Cosmic Sandwich (Cosmic Sandwich Remix)// MBF

Another Cosmic Sandwich remix 12" is on its way shortly from MBF. Daso's mix is decent, but
the highlight, for me, is the interpretation of 'Man in a Box' by Andre Kraml (he of Firm/'Safari' semi-fame)...An underrated producer in some quarters, Kraml has recently played with the roving band of Crosstown Rebels and is slowly but surely putting some fine productions under his belt after the trojan horse/albatross of 'Safari'...Always breezy, narcy and insidiously funky, his tracks are invariably dancefloor dynamite. Check this out:

Cosmic Sandwich - Man In A Box (Andre Kraml Remix)// MBF

Buy Steve Barnes/Cosmic Sandwich/Andre Kraml records here

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

The K & Me Sessions

OK, before I say anything, a big shout to Dilated Choonz, a consistently fantastic blog with wide and excellent tastes. If you haven't checked it out before, I advise you to start doing so now. Without the DC fellas this post wouldn't have been possible, for reasons which will become clear...

It's good to see the newblood techno community which we all occupy finally, absolutely, embracing the spirit, and music, of Carl Craig (pictured above). His mix of Theo Parrish has been taking electro-orientated dancefloors by storm in recent months, and many of his older productions too are being fawned over for their consummate depth and grittiness. And rightly so. His forthcoming mix of Delia & Gavin on DFA is already a contender for tune of the year.

A couple of years ago I went to see Peter Kruder at the now sadly defunct Seen night (though it continues in a slightly different incarnation as Futureboogie). Known first and foremost as a broken beat/nu jazz night, the range and variety of guests which promoter Joe90 secured in the Level days was astonishing, and a profound influence on me - among them, Domu, Carl Craig himself, and Peter Kruder.

Now, I've always had a fondness for Mr Kruder and his wares - right back to the definitive stonerism of the K&D Sessions (made, obviously, with downbeat's greatest servant, Richard Dorfmeister), though due to a former housemate borrowing (i.e. stealing) it, it hasn't been on my CD deck for a good long while. Anyway, Kruder was always the housier of the German duo, and his Detroity productions with Voom:Voom (I haven't got an mp3 of their recently released 12", but I've listened to it and highly recommend it...) are a perennial delight. His first appearance at Seen (pictured below) coincided with my first summer of love - that is, the summer when 4x4 and ecstasy began to make an awful lot of sense to me. I sidled along to the club really, I suppose, to satisfy my pothead K&D leanings, but contrary to expectation the man laid down 3 hours of deep, deep house and techno. Luckily, I'd packed a couple of beans as well as the statutory joints, and a whole new world was opened up to me over the course of Kruder's set. The highlights were numerous, but I had no idea what the majority of them were (I do remember Ame's mix of Truby Trio and the ludicrously feel-good finale of 'Strings of Life', it must be said); so I was delighted to download, from the aforementioned Dilated Choonz, one of the tunes that I heard that night and which irrevocably changed my life. The tune in question was Carl Craig's mix of 'Angola', by Cesaria Evora. Until yesterday I hadn't heard it since PK first dropped it, but I recognized it immediately. It now makes a lot of sense that Carl Craig was the man behind it; I mean, boy, does he know how to handle a dramatic vocal or what?

Craig performed a year later at Seen, and it was another wonderful night; Kruder too returned to the club last April (pictured above left), and his set is still available to stream here at the Futureboogie site (and well worth listening to, if you can ignore in-house MC Ekimov's painful but endearing chirruping atop the music). This 2nd visit was a bit jazzier, camper and less explosive than the first, but the atmosphere in the club was amazing and there are some passages of sublime, emotive techno - Lazerboy, Puffin and myself were all completely enraptured that night, and you can hear us whooping when Justus Kohncke's almighty 'Elan' is deployed...Ah, heady days.

Anyway, here's the Carl Craig track in all its warm-yet-skeletal glory; and here's to those long hot summers we all had, when we didn't want to be ANYWHERE else and for the first time realized, with bottomless joy, why people take e and listen to house at the same time. I'm a very good boy these days, but only because I feel that first awakening will always be impossible to recapture. So, as I say, let's shed a tear and raise a glass and listen to some Carl Craig.

Cesaria Evora - Angola (Carl Craig Remix) // Lusafrica

And then maybe take a pill and go out. Because, let's face it yawl, the music gets better and better and we're not getting any younger...

And thanks again to Dilated Choonz for reuniting me with that track.

[Correction: The first, amazing Kruder set at Seen (20/02/04) is still available on the Futureboogie site, albeit in heavily edited form (and with Joe90's immortal description of it - 'tunnelism at its most linear & hypnotic') - seriously, have a listen. No sign at all, though, of the Cesaria Evora track. Did I imagine it completely? Does it matter?]

P.S. If anyone knows what the first track on this '04 Kruder mix is, please, please let me know (those handclaps drive me CRAZY). Jesus. The quest never ends.

This is 'Sticks

I want to say a few choice words about a truly up-and-coming London-based label, Tiny Sticks. Over the past couple of years Crosstown Rebels and Border Community have kept up blighty's reputation in the face of so much continental quality; and though it's early days, it looks as if Tiny Sticks might well be joining them in the aristocracy of electro-tech before the year is out...

The label has so far put out twelves by Wekan and Style of Eye (Classic/Freaks-affiliated), and commissioned remixes by Kango's Stein Massiv (MBF wonky disco specialist) and Berlin-based Tigerskin, whose releases over the last couple of years have been making waves (his stuff for Dessous, and the Phonique collaboration 'Acid Again' on Brique Rouge are the ones for me). The point is, the Tiny Sticks people clearly have an eye, and an ear, for quality and are steadily building up a catalogue to be proud of...With forthcoming EPs from Huggotron and Tigerskin scheduled, the imprint's current release comes from Turner. Now I'm not sure about this, but I'm guessing that this is the same Turner who provided vocals for Drama Society's smashes 'Crying Hero' and 'Crescendo'...Anyway, the single 'My Aeroplane Mania' is released on Feb 27th; remixes come from Martinez (who seems to get better every time he enters a studio), Lawrence and Baby Ford. It's the latter I have for you here today, with Perlon/Minimal Man legend Ford taking the original into deep, almost downbeat, fidgety techno-dub territories (bit of a mouthful, that); rest assured the quality is high. The Martinez mix is rude too, so support this small, homegrown label and buy the 12" from Phonica or any of the usual outlets as of next week.

Check the Tiny Sticks' website; in a world where the cover design of DE9 Transitions is actually real and not just a horrible joke, their lo-fi aesthetic is definitely to be applauded.

Turner - My Aeroplane Mania (Baby Ford Mix) // Tiny Sticks

Been pushing too many pencils?

Two rhetorical questions for you:

1. Is 'Lights' by Break 3000 on MBF Limited the best neo-trance track of the year so far?

2. Is Carl Weathers (aka Apollo Creed, pictured above) the most greased-up man ever to have lived?

Break 3000 - Lights // My Best Friend Ltd

One Naughty Night At Native

Last Wednesday saw DJ Naughty (pictured to your right) grace our System night, and I have to say that it was a night of varied emotions for the Tape lads. As expected, Naughty really pulled it out of the (very mixed) bag and proved his worth as one of Germany's top DJs, but to a very disappointing turnout. Skipping effortlessly through electro, techno, and disco (in both its original and cosmic flavours) he built a wonderful atmosphere that I thought would be impossible to create when he started playing. I won't bore you with what he played, but I will tell you that he treated us with an unreleased gem (twice!) that sent the techno-heads in the room crazy. Let's just say that Mr Soft has talked about it before, and it's going to be one of the bombs of 2006... He also finished with the new Prince song, which sounded great! Just who is producing him nowadays?

After the thankless task of organising and promoting the night, it could have been a bit of a nightmare outcome, but the ray of sunshine came just after Naughty finished as the remaining crowd flocked around the booth to congratulate and thank him. Ahh... those narcotically accompanied heartwarming moments... He got his thanks from the crowd, but I want to take the time to thank Filippo for coming down to play with us and proving himself to be one of the nicest men in music today. It was a pleasure, and I encourage any like minded people to book him for one of their parties. Just make sure you're going to get loads of people through the door! At this point, I think it's only right to bring up his 'One Naughty Night In Berlin' mix again. Simultaneously eclectic (I hate using this word, but just listen to the styles he mixes up), innovative, intelligent, and fun; believe me when I say that it's a pure party vibe distilled onto a 5" piece of plastic. Just check out that tracklisting! Here's the mix closer, a divine Carl Craig mix of South African jazz trumpeter Hugh Masekela, previously only available on the Verve Remixed 3 CD. However, thanks to Mr Moscatello, you can now obtain it on vinyl on his 'One Naughty Night...' double 12" sampler, which I urge you to purchase (get it here). All together now... "Doin' it in the jungle!"

Hugh Masekela - The Boy's Doin' It (Carl Craig Remix) // Verve

He's been working on a new artist album over the past year, but that's been shelved for the moment so that he can concentrate on his remix work. As I write, Naughty's fucking up Goldfrapp's next single, so look forward to that in a couple of months. A week or so ago Mr Soft posted up his Fischerspooner mix, but I really don't think that that's the best example of his work. Here's his excellent mix of DJ T that came out on Get Physical a couple of years back. Believe me when I say that it's a proper good discofied electro-house banger!

DJ T - Philly (DJ Naughty Remix) // Get Physical

In keeping with the Berlin based theme of this post, we have an old remix by Berlin's favourite boy from Kiddiminster, Ewan Pearson (pictured left). After nicking some of Naughty's vintage equipment (seriously!) he went to work on a couple of remixes for the re-release on UK based label Out Of The Loop, and this is the choice cut of the two. Turning the original into an ominous acid beast, it drags Aguayo and Leyers kicking and screaming onto the floor. If you fancy listening to it in more of a 'dj set' context, check how well it mixes into Digitalism's mix of Sono (arguably his best work) at the end of the first part of my 'Tape Me Out' mix (you can still get both parts and view the tracklistings here).

Closer Musik - One Two Three, No Gravity (Ewan Pearson's Acid Mix) // Out Of The Loop

In other news, we've got some more System dates coming up, so get down to Native and support the scene!

Wed 1 March - Recloose (Live) // !K7 + Planet E + Peacefrog
Thurs 9 March - Freestyle Man a.k.a. Sasse // Moodmusic
Thurs 20 April - Justus Kohncke // Kompakt

On the Tape side of things, we've been invited to join the We Don't Play boys on Friday 20th April down at my favourite Bristol venue, Cosies (home of Puffin's other night, Big Ting). Expect the collision of Tape's 4/4 and We Don't Play's breakbeat to be the night to be at in We Don't Play's series of 'versus' nights. We've also been in talks with the manager of the Arc Bar, and we should be starting up a new party with minimal masters Mike Bull and Gareth Watkins at the end of March, provisionally titled 'Fidget'. Dates are yet to be confirmed, but we'll keep you posted. Until then... you should pick up a copy of Luciano's mix of Salif Keita, finally given a release on Cadenza this month. Just listen to that intricately delayed live instrumentation... and when the beat finally kicks... simply sublime.

Salif Keita - Yamore (Luciano Remix) // Cadenza

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Pop it bad

I had all sorts of grand plans for the contents of this post, but suffice to say I'm bloody pissed and will be grateful if anyting I turn my attention to now finds its way to the questionable solidity of blog publication. Let's not fuck around here.

Those of you in the know will remember Richard Carnage's mythical transformation from Bristol indie doyen to Bristol electro-house authority; one of the tracks which accompanied/precipitated this transformation was the work of Ada (pictured left), Areal boss and purveyor of almost cartoonishly dirty, ravey electro. I love her most for the fabulous 'Our Love Never Dies' (featured on Erol Alkan's Bugged Out! Mix, not that it needed the validation...), but 'Arriba Amoeba' is the tune I'm concerned with right now...I hesitate for fear that I might sound patronizing, which isn't my intention at all, but I remember the night that Herr Carnage played this at TAPE, and more specifically the look of satisfaction which illuminated his face as he watched the sounds of clever, brutish electro-house send shockwaves through the dancefloor. It was a turning-point for the night, and, I sometimes grandly like to think, will be looked upon as a turning-point for music at large. So let's celebrate. It's a classic track, and a crowdpleaser in the most elevated sense. If you haven't heard it before, well, what a treat you have in store...

Ada - Arriba Amoeba // Areal

Just a note - I posted Ricardo's mix of Rhythm & Sound a couple of days ago. When I did this, I had yet to warm to the track but nonetheless praised it 'cos I knew it would bear fruit in the end. Well, tonight the fruit fell from the tree and smacked me right on the head. Returning home from a party several thousand sheets to the wind, riding the bus with the usual assortment of belligerent drunkards, miserable mothers and jaundiced janitors (yes, alliteration is prefiguring reality here..), when 'Let We Go' drifted onto my earphones. The walkman test has always been - and, I dare say, always will be - the acid test of good tuneage. If it pops up on your phones while your walking/driving/riding along and it sounds amazing but you don't know what is, then immortal status is more or less guaranteed. So it was with this Villalobos mix, the arrival of which suddenly made me feel less like a student who'd had a few too many drinks and more like a student who'd had a bit too much crack and a good few personal problems to boot. In a good way. A masterpiece of suspense and paranoia, you'd do well to download it below while you still can.

John Dahlback. His 2005 was, er, frantic to say the least. At the beginning of the year I barely knew he was alive; by the end I was starting to trip out and think that every single electro-house record in every record store in the world was by ol' JD. So he was perhaps a little over-prolific. But should we hold that against him? I mean, if I had the energy and skill to knock off so many tunes, I'd sure as hell do it, especially when record labels unknown and well-known are throwing cash at me to record for them. The only problem with the creative fecundity of the young man they call Hug is the apathy it inevitably induced in his audience (well, at any rate, me) - I just could not be arsed to wade through the piles and piles of records that bore his name and crowded the racks of my favourite stores over the long and (mainly) sweet duration of '05. Inevitably, the stand-out tracks for me were those that I could trust and buy immediately by association - i.e. those he put out on K2. 'Fluteorgie' was a fantastically subtle, moody track with sufficiently powerful low end and narcy effects to properly rinse a dancefloor (the last time I saw Mayer at Fabric he dropped it and I more or less wet my pants); 'The Angry Ghost' was the one that really caught fire, though - to the extent that of the 8 or so DJs who spun at Lazerboy's now legendary Club Neon NYE party, I think every one of them played it, whether aware of the repetition of not. Anyway, unable, or unwilling, to perfectly navigate the ludicrous and inconsistent deluge of Dahlback releases in the past year, a certain track by the pseudonymous Huggotron entirely escaped my noticed. Coming over like Tiefschwarz at their most brazen and dramatic, this track is dancefloor dynamite that's almost as embarassing as it is effective. The woosh that greets the first proper break is a moment and a half. I seem to remember Simon Rigg playing 'Pop it Bad' to great approval at TAPE's 1st Birthday Party, but I seem to remember' a lot of things from that night which didn't actually happen, so...I hope you enjoy.

Huggotron - Pop It Bad // Craft Music

I'm going to go, because I can barely see the screen anymore, and have foolishly supplemented my poteen consumption with 4 cups of tea and 20 Malted Milk choccy biscuits. This way nausea lies. Good night and, as they say, good luck.


Just a verbal morsel to keep you going until the next post which will feature spanking mp3s from Booka Shade, Huggatron and Carl Craig.

Current listening:

1. Break 3000 - Lights // MBF Limited
2. Shit Robot - Triumph // DFA
3. Delia & Gavin - Revelee (Carl Craig Remix) // DFA
4. Isolee - Super Disco Edits (Including remixes by Villalobos, Luciano & Dixon)
5. Mufo - C.L.A.U.D.I.A. // K2
6. Booka Shade - Night Falls EP // Get Physical
7. Stabbed - Sabotage (Riton's Maximal House Re-edit) // Skylax Classic
8. Delon & Dalcan - Migale // Boxer Sport
9. Ulysses & Nickelback - Make You Feel Good // MBF
10. Rhythm & Sound - Let We Go (Villalobos Remix) // Burial Mix

Top 10 of the year so far (I know it's pointlessly early, but it's a sign of how much quality has already appeared in '06 that I feel compelled to make a list....

1. Delia & Gavin - Revelee (Carl Craig Remix) //DFA
2. Ulysses & Nickelback - Make You Feel Good // MBF
3. The Shock - Manhattan (Einmusik Remix) // Boxer Sport
4. Salif Keita - Yamore (Luciano Remix) // Cadenza
5. Isolee - Djamel Et Jamshid (Ricardo Villalobos Remix) // Playhouse
6. Pier Bucci - L'Nuit (Dominik Eulberg Remix) // Crosstown Rebels
7. Tiga - Far From Home (DFA Remix Instrumental) // PIAS
8. Mr Oizo - Nazis (Justice Remix) // F-Communications
9. Williams - Pinball // Tsuba
10. Lindstrom - Another Station (Todd Terje Remix) // Feedelity

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Let we go

It's telling that all my posts seem to start like this these days, but: God, it's been far too long since I last posted. In fact, I think it's fair to say I've been purely fucking lazy. It's been a tough ol' week, but Mr Soft's weeks are never that tough, so I can't use that as an excuse....

I ran out of money again yesterday (a biweekly experience), and having fielded a call from a bank woman who, from her cubicle on the other side of the world, was actually ANGRY (whatever happened to service with a smile) that I'd run £100 over my overdraft limit. I mean, it's not like it's her money. Anyway, I think I'm going to have to tie myself to the mast and get another credit card (the last one I got I haven't used for two years, and I'm still paying 'em back £15 every month). I'm quite drawn to Egg. They have a cunning marketing strategy dictating that everything from their name, right down to the fonts they use and imagery they employ, is unremittingly cutesy - I mean, faced with a picture of an adorable-looking frog in a business suit, speech bubble proclaiming 'It's so easy to apply', kind of obscures the fact that Egg, like every other bank and credit company in he known universe, is run by very UNADORABLE frogs in business suits, in their boardroom, spending more money on their morning espresso than I'll spend on my first house (that is, if I can ever afford one). Still, financial injustice rants are boring (this is boring), and, you know, one should hate the player, not the game. My EggCard application has been delayed by some vaguely-defined server problem (prolly another system overload brought on by wave after wave of bone-idle 22-year-old idealists demanding 'free' money), so my financial woes remain as yet unresolved. The question is, if and when the card arrives, will I have the good sense to put my 'credit' in the tills of grocery stores and not in the pockets of dealers or the digital coffers of the Kompakt mp3 shop? I wish I even remotely trusted myself.

Let's put aside my fiscal worries and deal with our man Villalobos. It's not just the mindbending, endlessly complex music that he seems to toss off like so much lonely manjuice, it's the fact that he manages also to maintain his gallavanting, drug-guzzling, Hawtin-assisted lifestyle AND spend so much time on his hair (check the picture above left) which posits Ricardo as a true visionary. So this week I came across two new tracks from the Chilean multitasker extraordinaire, as well as reacquainting myself with the giddy highlights of Achso. I was on about the Isolee 'Super Disco Edits' EP which is headed our way soon, and which will feature mixes by Luciano (posted below somewhere) and Dixon. It was Luciano's mix that stood out immediately, but it's Villalobos's job on 'Djamel et Jamshid' which has found its way to the top of the pile over the last couple of days. Picking up from the Achso psychotropicalia (or whatever - you know what I mean - makes me think of smoking opium on a leafy veranda in rural Chile or, for some reason, in the China of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon..) sound which seems to have found favour with all of us, there's intricate drum patterns, plaintive keys and heavy bass stabs galore, entrained by a delicious, understated melody which takes me right to that veranda I was on about. Have we reached the apotheosis of psychedelia here? I mean, how can it get, er, deeper or more organic than all this stuff? Truly we are privileged. Here 'tis:

Isolee - Djamel Et Jamsid (Ricardo Villalobos Remix) // Playhouse

Next up is Ricardo's long-awaited version of 'Let We Go' by Rhythm & Sound. I've been very excited about this, not least on behalf of Puffin Jack, what with it uniting (with equal authenticity) two of his most vigorous interests: the vanguard of minimal techno and the sound of authentic, old-skool Jamaica... Retardo keeps the original's fantastically demonic, dissolute vocals (courtesy of Ras Donovan & Ras Perez) and the hoarse horn stabs (sounding as if played by an old trumpeter with emphysema. They probably were.), adding one of his almost painfully deconstructed 4x4 lines (the kind that underpinned much of The Au Harem D'Archimede) to the brew. The end product is really, really nasty and really, really good - a raw, sinewy example of the kind of fruitful cross-genrification which seems to be the new order of the day. Definitely one for the heads.

Rhythm & Sound - Let We Go (Ricardo Villalobos Remix) // Burial Mix

I pick up my strangled narrative after a night which was grimly typical of my recent weekends - yet again I found myself at an utterly gash (sausage) party, drinking paint-stripper tequila, being abusive to loved ones and strangers, sustaining all manner of ghostly knocks and bruises in the process. My mood today has lightened somewhat at the prospect of a trip to the museum to look at some shrunken heads and other artifacts of lives lived closer to the hilt than my own (I can't even remember what 'to the hilt' sounds right). Not only that, but my virtually worn out copy of 'Polar Shift' is spinning on the plate, reminding me of all that is good about the series of inhalations & exhalations that we call life.

And so to Booka Shade (pictured above), last year's all-slaying Berlin-based producers. I doubt an introduction is necessary - but if it is, let's just say that 'Mandarine Girl', 'Panoramic' and 'Point Break', not to mention their numerous co-productions with M.A.N.D.Y., DJ T and Williams, were the official soundtrack to 2005. The Get Physical stable truly raised its game last year, and with it the electro-house/minimal/disco bar, so it's by their own standards that Booka Shade's new stuff will be (inevitably harshly) judged. A new EP, Night Falls, is on its way and while the title track doesn't seem to even tickle the dizzy heights reached by 'Mandarine Girl' (I mean, what could?), instead opting for a return to the future disco sounds that characterized Memento, I'm mightily impressed by the B-sides, particularly 'The Spectralist'. This track showcases everything I like about the 'Shade - heaps of melody, perfect beats, trancey chord progressions, acidy squiggles and druggy, emotive synth lines. This will find favour in my box and, no doubt, the boxes of many others, and will almost certainly slay the 'floor...Likewise 'Trespass 06', where a ravey, Dahlbackian motif is the central feature. It's another example of what Booka Shade do so well: use their time-honoured pop nous to smuggle Eurotrancey melody into minimal house productions of almost limitless sophistication. It's a winning combination, pitched at a mythical halfway point between James Holden and 'Encore Une Fois!'. Sort of. So. I started off the year querying the fate of Get Physical in 2006; we've not even reached the end of February and they've given us a clever but uninspiring DJ T record, Jona's colossal (and criminally underrated) 'Learning From Making Mistakes', Hell's first top-notch production in 50 years (on that Chelonis single) and a stonking EP from Booka Shade with a misleadingly dull lead track, not to mention some fine releases from GP protege Williams. Not bad going, eh? I don't know if they're going to sustain this form across the year, but in all my Physical-related naysaying, I guess I'd forgotten what good producers Booka Shade actually are. Their LP's leaked as well, so more on that another time...

Booka Shade - The Spectralist (Studio Version) // Get Physical

Booka Shade - Trespass 06 // Get Physical

I maybe don't pay as much attention to MBF as I should...Last month a new 12" turned up on the label, courtesy of Ulysses & Nickelcat, and very strange it was too. 'Make You Feel Good' is, more than anything, mercilessly quirky and mercilessly addictive. There's a vast number of conflicting ideas in its four minute duration, but they hang together perfectly and things don't end up sounding overcrowded. Essentially a rather camp pop song rendered in hi-fi lo-fi electro production, words are failing me, so you should really just download it & see. You might not be staggered initially, but believe me that in time this tune will have you scratching your head and tapping your foot and putting the needle back to the start for more. Jesus, I've played it 5 times in a row while I've been writing; it's got minor classic written all over it. A clever, clever record.

Ulysses & Nickelcat - Make You Feel Good // My Best Friend

Thursday, February 16, 2006

What lies beneath

Just a message to say...beneath the DJ Naughty business, there's a new post which for some reason has published lower down the ladder. Seek it out.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

One Naughty Night In Bristol

If you're in Bristol tonight, there's only one place (other than hospital) that I'll expect you to be:

TAPE presents System

+TAPE DJs: Puffin Jack & Richard Carnage

Wednesday 15th February

@ NATIVE, Small St, Bristol

Doortax: £5

DJ Naughty (pictured above) was present at the birth of electroclash, and over the past ten years has been a stalwart on the scene, overseeing its many transitions and mutations into areas more techy, ravey, housey, dubby and minimal. He's a top-notch, fun-peddling DJ to boot - his recent mix album One Naughty Night in A Berlin on Eskimo (the home of great mixes, check the ones by Optimo, Smagghe & The Glimmers) is a witty, block rockin' testament to this. Here's what Phonica had to say about him, and it:

"Having released various 12 "s for Gigolo, Goodlife, Ferox, K7! and Four Music, co-producing albums for Chris Korda and DJ Hell and remixing the likes of Telex, Fischerspooner, Terranova, Foremost Poets and Tiga & Zyntherius, DJ Naughty has built up a solid production reputation. However, here on 'One Naughty Night In Berlin' we get Naughty in his deejaying element. This 23 track mix takes us from Farley Jackmaster Funk and Jesse Saunders' house classic 'Love Can't Turn Around' and Patrick Cowley's 'Sea Hunt' to the blistering techno sounds of Vitalic's 'My Friend Dario', M.A.N.D.Y. v Booka Shade's 'Body Language' and the currently massive Tiga mix of Tomas Andersson's 'Washing Up'. DJ Naughty takes us on another disco-fuelled journey that joins the past to the present with consummate ease."

Well, I'm reliably informed that as a live DJ too, he absolutely kills. So come see him; support comes from Puffin Jack and Richard Carnage whose recent record shopping suggests they have their turntables set to 'stun'. Embrace the Berlin quality, reject the Brizzle common demoninator...And, in the true spirit of System - FUCK THURSDAY!

Here's Naughty's typically irreverent mix of that ol' chestnut 'Emerge'...

Fischerspooner - Emerge (DJ Naughty's Zugabe Mix) // International Deejay Gigolos

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Don't Stop Me Now

Holy shit, I have some sterling tracks to share with you over the next coupla days. I think a fair majority of them have already been circulating furiously around blogland, but as Freddie Mercury once warned, 'Don't stop me now'. Seriously, don't.

DFA (pictured above) are, let's be honest, an indie phenomenon. Who else in history has found equal favour among the kind of people who bosh mouthfuls of pills and 'chill out' to Plastikman mixtapes, and those who swig bellyfulls of Carling and listen to, like, Bikini Kill rarity collections. But then maybe we're the first generation (I arrogantly propose) that are (almost) equally happy doing both....Of course, LCD Soundsystem has gone from being the brilliantly obscure, world-saving phenomenon they once promised to be (I think of 'Losing My Edge', 'Beat Connection' and 'Yeah'), to being the disconcertingly popular, world-renowned phenomenon that they are now. It would be very unlike me not to suggest that something has been lost in translation. But it doesn't matter. Because, even as LCD play yet another gig with 2ManyDJs to the better class of post-Top Man indie kid in mid-sized venues across the universe and induce another full-body sigh of dejection from Mr Soft, so the ever-expanding DFA family continues to churn out classic after classic, and, most crucially, so the DFA production team nails astounding remix after astounding remix....

After recent unwieldy, epic retellings of tracks by Hot Chip and Goldfrapp, Murphy & Goldsworthy turn their attentions to Mr Sexor himself, Tiga. Now, I haven't actually listened to it yet, but my instinct is that the Canadian fop's LP is something of a non-starter (when the album's recording was announced, like ten years ago, the enlistment of Soulwax as producers seemed like a good I'm not so sure) - and surely nothing on it could surpass Morgan Geist's HUGE remix of 'Good as Gold'...Well, 'Sexor' was always going to be about the 12"s it spawned, and the next one will feature a DFA remix of 'Far From Home'. Weighing in at a relatively restrained six or so minutes, the mix is appearing in vocal and instrumental form, and it's the latter that's doing the trick for me...Sounding a little like a discofied Neu!, but propelled by that inimitable hi-hat-heavy percussion sound that's DFA's trademark, it's a solid workout which calls to mind a spangly, seventies vision of space travel and ranks alongside the duo's best remixes (and that's some esteemed company). Check it out. I'm guessing a fair few of you are as excited me (that is, VERY) about the Carl Craig mix of Delia & Gavin's 'Revelee' that's headed our way come March...I'd love to say that I've got hold of an mp3/promo, but the fact is I haven't, so if you want a taste (albeit with loveable manchild Tim Sweeney drawling and cooing appreciatively - well, as if he's getting a blowjob - over the top) check the latest show on Sween's peerless Beats in Space site. You will be blown away....As well as boasting the fattest, most acidic, most electroey arpeggiated synth riff that I've ever heard (and I've heard a that weird?) and a 'Falling Up'-esque, four-to-the-floor rythym which will send the right kind of tremors through the right kind of dancefloor, it's the slightly abstracted piano sounds that emerge halfway through which kill me. So fucking good. If anyone gets hold of an mp3, please tell me.

Tiga - Far From Home (DFA Remix Instrumental) // PIAS

My experience of Telex has, until now, been limited to Carl Craig's celestial mix of 'Moscow Disko' (or however it was spelt..)...But hark ye, a new EP from the Belgian electro pranksters/pioneers turned up on --- last month, with a remix from the increasingly sporadic Playgroup. Trevor Jackson's been a bit quiet over the last year, perhaps understandably a little resentful at how little he's been credited for the post-electro uprising, and distracted by the financial precariousness of Output's situation (if you saw the fantastically embittered Output 'advert' in Vice or some such publication, you'll know what I mean). Having licensed and reared LCD Soundsystem and The Rapture, his two most successful artists, Jackson has been forced to surrender them to major labels, allegedly without any payoff/thank you. While he waits for Black Strobe to finish their long-awaited (and, let's face it, bound to be crap) LP, the man we sometimes called Playgroup has had to rely on the admirable, but ultimately rather dreary, work of Colder and DK. So I was pretty surprised to see him take time out from indie label hell to lay down an absolute bomb of a remix for Telex, one of the best things I've heard so far this year...All the more surprising because I've never really thought much of Playgroup's past productions, though I dug the ideas and aesthetic. 'On the Road Again' is a cover of Canned Heat's fey, Easy Rider-style psyche-rock classic but Jackson obscures the vocal even more than Telex do, and leaves centre stage to a bolshy, synthesized bass riff and a tidal wave of druggy effects. Class, basically.

Telex - On The Road Again (Playgroup Remix) // Labels

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Fly life

Yes, well, alright, it's been a fair whack of time since I last posted. As Carnage has outlined below, we had our little TAPE School Trip to the Stink night in London on Monday (there we are, pictured above, in our respective k-holes outside the club). It went off, but Koze didn't play for anywhere near long enough, leaving celebrity hat-wearer Damian Lazarus to hammer away for the 1-2.30am glory slot. What's up with Lazarus these days? His DJing gets better and better, but gesture/gesticulationwise he's fast becoming, to quote Lazerboy, 'the Danny Rampling of electro' - seriously, you should've seen him, flailing around like we were retarded haircuts discovering mid-paced house for the first time in DC-10 or something, and EQing the living shit out of every record he played. Still, he scored big points for his set, and of the classics it was Ame's 'Rej' (so fucking ubiquitous but so far never tiresome) and MJ's '7.19fm David' (I hate saying things like this, but - it sounds soooo good on a system) which hit me hardest. He did overdo it with some minimal schminimal post-Rej, which was a shame, but we landed on our feet back at base camp, rinsing Lazerboy's k and listening to, of all things, Rob Da Bank's Fabric mix (really, surprisingly good) and the pan-narcotic sure thing that is 'Forever Changes'. I can't remember the last time I felt so awful on the fifth-day-after-the-night-before, but it's proof we did ourselves justice...Thank you Lazerboi for your hospitality, your drugs, your good cheer and that luxuriant bacon n' egg sandwich you somehow found the presence of mind to construct in the following AM.

As I was wondering around the T-bar in a fucked up trance towards the end of the night, I was handed a document purporting to be the 'Stinkzine'....I see what they were aiming for, and it's nice to have a ready-made memento of a great night (along with the wrong head, burnt mouth and brutal bank statement), but seriously....It consists of a (legitimately) self-congratulory tale of Stink's poolside inception at Benicassim, a completely unenlightening interview with Herr Koze, a horrendous poem by someone called Melissa, nonsensical streams-of-consciousness from Matt Tolfrey and 'DJ Laura Loadsadecks' (?), a hideous drawing of Mayer/Lazarus and this, a limerick by none other than Michael Mayer himself (Ogden Nash he ain't):

A STINKERICK by Michael Mayer

There were two bright guys from Old Europe,
Which swam in a pool on some new dope.
They both liked things smelly,
Except air from a human belly
But don't think they are misanthrope.

Seriously, I'm not shitting you, I've written it just as it appears...You know the saying, 'Never meet your heroes'? - yeah, course you do - well, I've met Michael Mayer and he was a legend, so I think a new adage is in order: Never read your heroes' limericks. I mean, what the fuck? Stink is a phenomenal night, of that there is no question, but the STINKzine is, basically, one of the most rubbish pieces of paper I've ever seen in my life. Prrrmmmmph.


I was at a party (by which I mean, horrendously egalitarian office-style party - everyone at my college) last night and the DJ, who was sharp enough to be spinning everything from Snoop to DJ T (a pleasant surprise considering the environs, believe you me) finished with Tief's classic mix of 'The Red Dress' (fair enough), whilst artfully popping in the opening vocal strains of 'Bohemian Rhapsody' all over the build - madness. It sounded....good? I think it did, but I was pissed enough to eat a double egg burger (the picture below is the ACTUAL kebab van I got it from - Google never ceases to amaze...)afterwards and forget where I lived, so I'm not sure if my critical acumen was what you'd call trustworthy at the time. But I have a larger point. Before the party in question, I was at my posh little drinking hole quaffing a whiskey 'n ginger ale (Puffin - you're right, it's the best drink ever). Normally the music in this place is, you know, just inoffensive dub, unnoodly jazz etc (still far from ideal, I'll grant you) but the delightful (or is that deplorable?) girl who runs the bar had obviously been given free rein soundswise, and had opted for one of those Steve Angello-style electrohouse lite compilations. I have no idea what it was, it could have just been MoS's '04 Ibeefa CD, but anyway, it was amazing how many tunes I hold/held dear were distorted and demeaned by the tracks they were sequenced alongside and the speed at which they were played - Kinda New, Geht's Noch, brash anthem after brash anthem, ocasionally levied by a bloodless banger I hadn't heard. I sat there, kind of enjoying it (I mean, you know, it's nice to go for a quiet one and hear a bit of the Flugel, no?) but pondering deeply what it all really meant. I hear Tiefschwarz's most celebrated moments twice in one night, and think, where are they now? OK, I'm not going to rinse the album again, not least 'cause I'm sure it was exhaustion and miscalculation which lead to it being rubbish, not them losing their touch - I mean, it may have been a sleeper, but that mix of Fischerspooner's 'Kick in the Teeth' was unbelievable, wasn't it? Really, really different and really, really good. Still, I thought some good singles would emerge from Eat Books, if only by virtue of well-chosen remixers. I guess Alter Ego did a garishly effectively job on 'Wait & See', but what about Gucci Soundsystem? Buick? Cass & Mangan? Why them, when you had Eulberg and Nathan Fake doing the damage on 'Isst'? Crazy. Well, Tiefschwarz have obviously learned from their mistakes as promos for Steve Bug's mix of 'Fly' have just hit the racks. 'Fly' was one of the two or three undisputed highlights from the LP - rude, spacious and full of the hard snares, claps, synth riffs and bass drops that we think of when we think 'Tiefschwarz'. Steve Bug (pictured right), whose recent 'Smackman' and magisterial rework of Sian's 'Sei' point towards a producer at the top of his game, pushes forward by looking back, microwaving the original into a sterling 7 mins of minimal electro-house which retains the build but little else. As jacking, bassy and classy as we've come to expect from my favourite Hamburger. Salad/ketchup/mayonnaise?

Download: Tiefschwarz - Fly (Steve Bug Remix) // Fine

Have you heard the new mixes of Isolee? Not to sound like a Heat sub-editor, but the producers on board are, like, soooooooo A-list - 'Retardo' Villalobos, man-of-the-moment Dixon (mastermind behind the Innervisions series which brought us 'Rej', and aider and abetter of the reinfiltration of jazzier, warmer broken beat and deep-house stylings into the linear robotics of electro/techno), and a Softie favourite: most famous 1/3 of The Three Tenors, legendary pie-eater and tropical techno doyenne Luciano (pictured above). As a latecomer to the Chilean's inordinate gifts, I'm still reeling from my rapid acquaintance with his back catalogue, not to mention his bona fide classic retouch of Salif Keita's 'Yamore' (which has finally popped out on Cadenza this week, after three years languishing in collectable obscurity). His version of 'Cite Grande Terre' isn't quite as rich as the magical goings-on of 'Yamore', but still, it's so spot-on it almost makes me sick. A fantastically deep, dubby conflation of syncopated, Trapezzy snares, underwater bass throb and serious echo that creates heavy psychedelia out of few, carefully-programmed elements: it's a world away from the fussy, compound patterns and interactions of Ricardo's already legendary Achso, but no less considered or satisfying. I'm not going to post the 'lobos or Dixon mixes, but needless to say they're top drawer stuff (especially Ricardo's track, post-Achso AMAZING) and well worth seeking out.

Download: Isolee - Cite Grande Terre (Luciano's Luck Of Lucien Mix) // Playhouse

I'm got some more fabulous bits n' pieces to share with you, but it'll have to wait 'cos right now I have an appointment with a cup of tea, a packet of bourbon biscuits and a Camel Light. Simple pleasures, eh? Hope life's treating you all well.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Something for the weekend...

Hello y'all it's me Puffin Jack back for some blogging action!

After a refreshing trip to London (see Mr Carnage's previous blog), where people actually like all this tehno gubbins, i'm feeling somewhat more inspired about being a dj in this game. Seeing people properly wiggin' out on a Monday night to some seriously stinky tunes has that effect on a cynic I guess. Just as well really because tommorow (11/2/06) night i'm hooking up with me mates the 'Under_Score' boys for some serious spinning shenanigans down Cosies Wine Bar. For the last year or so these guys have been putting on some really interesting electronic events around and about Bristol. Previous guests have included Sutekh, Si-Cut.DB and Dave Miller. Next up is the mighty Secondo. If I was cleverer and more adept at this computing stuff i'd post some MP3's but as it is you'll just have have to believe me when I say this guy is making some of the most interesting quirky, cut up house around. Recording for the likes of Soul Jazz and his own Dreck imprint Secondo has been glefully cutting up old disco tracks and splicing them back together again in a Frankenstein stylee for a few years now. Notable examples being his masterfull reworking of George Benson's 'Give Me the Night' and Grace Jones' 'Libertango'. Anyway, suffice to say i'm sure he's going to be well good. Other dj's on the night are Jim Petherwick (the minimal master), Microman (doom metal entusiast), Louis Digital (don't know him) and myself, Puffin Jack. I'm quite hyped up as it's been a great week for picking up new tunes. My colleague Ben at Replay Records has somehow managed to get about 30 new tunes this week and i'm not far behind! New releases on Dubsided, Freerange, Traum and Raw Fusion have all impressed, as has the new Duplex LP on Clone, which is very, very good. Also props to Bristol's finest house label the mighty NRK, who sorted Ben and I out with some of their lovely hoodies on the cheap. We now look like the Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum of Park Street!

P.S. Door tax is £2, things kick off around 9ish.
P.P.S. Not sure how to put pictures on this thing, i think there might be a picture of some nuns looking dodgy...

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

From Cosies to Koze...

It's been a good 3 days without a post, but we're finally back! Our little venture to London went surprisingly smoothly, and apart from a few minor things, a great time was had by all. Props go out to Koze & Lazarus for an excellent party, Lazerboy for putting us up, the guys at City16 for letting us listen to a ridiculous amount of records, and of course Simon Rigg who was celebrating his birthday in style at Stink. That is, if your idea of 'style' is galavanting around a club off your rocker! At Tape we passionately adhere to that code of debauched madness, and we went all out for what was apparently DJ Koze's first UK gig in 4 years. He certainly didn't fail to disappoint, his set chock full of varied, interesting and danceworthy tunes. Highlights included Egoexpress' 'Fool Of The New City', Pepe Bradock's mix of Candi Staton going into some Theo Parrish tune, and Daft Punk's 'Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger' mixed superbly with Pharrell's 'Angel' of all things! The last two fit together like a glove, but I almost wish that he mixed it out into something else. All because the ladies love... DJ Koze....

It was nice to see Lazarus being a bit more animated behind the decks, and he certainly rocked the place. No Eulberg mix of Pier Bucci this time around, but we were treated to a deep, dubby mix of Lindstrom's 'I Feel Space'. But who were the mystery remixers? It only took a dash over to the Rigg's corner to find out that it was none other than electro favourites of yesteryear, Tiefschwarz! They strip out the heavenly synths and stretch out the dark italo throb to transform the original into a druggy monster that I guess every London DJ worth their salt will be playing over the coming months. Ending his set with Ame's already classic 'Rej', he proceeded to take things down to a ridiculously minimal level for the highly disappointing encore. Come on Laz! Why not end things on a high? You had to take it too far didn't you?

Also disappointing was his refusal to play what we at Tape Towers view as the ultimate Speicher release, DJ Koze's 'Brutalga Square', even after we thrusted multiple defaced posters into his face demanding its outing. It's simply majestic techno music; marvel as Koze's complex micro-rhythms (just check those clicks that come in at 4:13) entwine themselves with the relentless kick as it builds and builds until the track reaches its inevitable mammoth drop that will have the whole room 'shuffle-hausing'!

DJ Koze - Brutalga Square // Kompakt Extra

Buy 'Speicher 20' from City16 or pick up the full length,
'Kosi Comes Around' from Phonica

At last the DFA have unveiled a fresh new signing; long overdue in my opinion, but I guess Goldsworthy and Murphy have been a bit busy with all the super-long remixes they've been releasing of late. Shit Robot is the moniker of Marcus Lambkin from Stuttgart and he's about to unveil his delicious debut 12" on DFA very soon. I for one will definitely be grabbing a copy when they hit the shelves, and I urge you all to do the same. A-side 'Wrong Galaxy' is a wonky chunk of cosmic-electro, but I've put the b-side 'Triumph' up for your delectation. As with 'Brutalga Square', it's another track that builds itself up to a fantastic climax, this time layering the synths atop the DFA-esque percussion until it bursts into a euphoric stoner vibe with its quirky guitar motif and hypnotic vocal. The "you got it... yeah you got the Earth!" mantra (yeah Pitchfork, 'untranslatable' my arse) fits right at home with the mood of the track and rounds off an unmissable release to reaffirm DFA's place in both 2006 and my heart.

Shit Robot - Triumph // DFA

Even though they've remixed each other and Apparat (pictured above) has released on Bpitchcontrol (Ellen's label), the last two people I'd expect to collaborate would be Ellen Allien and Apparat (EDIT: Apparat has also co-produced on her 'Berlinette' LP, but this is the first time they've recorded together as a joint project). But that's exactly what they've done, and the results will appear on forthcoming full-length 'Orchestra Of Bubbles', released on Bpitchcontrol in April. 'Do Not Break' is an excellent showcase for the soundclash that stems from Ellen's trancey influences and Apparat's skittish production talents, but don't be fooled into thinking that the LP's all this style. All tracks are all varied and interesting pieces in their own right, and it seems that Apparat has been able to control Ellen's tendencies to, well, be somewhat boring a lot of the time. That's not the only shock though... there's even a dubstep track on the album, believe it or not!

Ellen Allien & Apparat - Do Not Break // BPitchcontrol

The next juicy slice of mp3 action comes from Scotland's Williams. His first release since his massive 'Piccadilly Circuits' (featured on M.A.N.D.Y's 'Full Body Workout' mix) proves him as quite a chameleon
producer, slowing the tempo right down to create 'Pinball', a tech-italo masterpiece. Yup, it's got all those usual elements (the bleepy arpeggiated synth, the fat yet elasticated stabbing bassline), but both this and 'Do Not Break' it has what a lot of producers are forgetting about in the minimal heyday of today, a killer melody. Clocking in at only 4 minutes 16 seconds, it also never outstays its welcome. What'll probably happen is that it'll get ignored cos it's not being released on Get Physical, and Williams'll go back to producing banging techno by numbers which would be a crying shame as this is obviously a talented yet eclectic producer dying to be given the chance to showcase all his influences. Williams? Tech-italo-pop? Who'd have thought?

Williams - Pinball (Original Mix) // Tsuba
Buy 'Pinball' from Phonica or City16

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Home is where the chart is

Another week goes by, and so I must subject you to my current top 10. Some of these tracks are still available to download on this blog, you'll have to have a fish around and see.

1. Mr Oizo - Nazis (Justice Remix) // White
2. The Shock - Manhattan (Einmusik Remix) // Boxer Sport
3. Jona - Learning From Making Mistakes // Get Physical
4. Partial Arts - Cruising // Dialect Battle
5. Thomas Schumacher - RedPurple // Spiel-Zeug
6. Gabriel Ananda - Bassmaschinchen // Treibstoff
7. Williams - Pinball (Original) // Tsuba
8. Chloe - Take Care (Tim Paris Rough Version) // Crack & Speed
9. Anja Schneider & Sebo K - Side Leaps (MIA Remix) // Mobilee


Yo, sorry it's been a day or two since my last missive, been busy working and playing (with limited success in both fields). Found myself at the Zodiac for the first time on Friday, in questionable company, at a motherfucking ska/reggae night. I mean, I have nothing against ska (provided there terrible affix 'punk' is nowhere to be seen), but having lived in Bristol (where all Jamaica-centric music has a remarkably authentic bunch of performers, DJs and audiences), witnessing several hundred students going wild to a risible live set from a heinously poppy and, er, 'impure' ska group called, I think, Baldie, was a little too much for my Stella-weakened constitution to withstand. On leaving the club, I passed K2 Kebabs, which always reminds me fondly of the no-nonsense Kompakt offshoot, causing me to buy things from them even when I don't want them. On the evening in question, I went for a needlessly extravagant £3.70 chicken doner which I could barely afford, let alone digest. About three mouthfuls later I was watching my insides splatter the pavement and cursing Cologne's finest for twisting my brain out of reason. I'm convinced, as I reflect two days on, that it was the horrorska I was subjected to, and not the kebab or the booze, that induced such horrendous nausea. Anyway, I'm glad I had a shit night, 'cos that means my star's in ascendance for tomorrow night, Monday, which sees Carnage, Puffin and myself hitting our nation's fair capital for a spot of Stink action - DJ Koze and Damian Lazarus, with support from Matt Styles. Hailed as the best DJ in Germany, it's Kompakt star Koze I'm really looking forward to; I'll be amazed if he can live up to the frankly ludicrous expectations I have for him, but the Crosstown boys Lazarus and Styles alone are worth the entrance fee - which, no reflection on Laz/Styles, just so happens to be zilch. What larks. Anyway, expect a full report when I return on Tuesday; Stink is taking place at the T Bar on Shoreditch High St, 9pm-late, so if you're in London I strongly advise you to check it out.

Right. To present matters. I'm currently testing out that new Lindstrom and Prins Thomas, and I guess it sort of does the trick...But I wonder if it's at all, well, substantial? I mean, catchy tune, nice beats, etc, but - it's not 'I Feel Space' is it? That's a bit of a cheapshot, you might say, but I for one am still waiting for Lindstrom to come up with something that matches the supernatural wonderment of said tune...and 'Mighty Girl', like its recent predecessors, is not up to that particular scratch. And what's with all these pianos? A coupla days ago I was celebrating the return of the piano to the shores of discerning 4x4, but I hadn't prepared for the wanton keystroking of this track, and I'm not sure if I approve...Sure, I'm in an itchy, reactionary mood, but I have to say - is 'Mighty Girl' cosmic disco magic or a Zero 7 b-side? Come on Hans-Peter, come on Prins. If Todd Terje wasn't hanging you out to dry with every production he puts his name to, I could happily call this track 'good enough'. But he is, and I can't, so get thee to your studio, have a think and work that synth. And come back when you're actually ready. Sheesh.

Lindstrom & Prins Thomas - Mighty Girl // Eskimo

So, over to Thomas Schumacher (pictured above). When not bashing out weird substandardbutkindafatanyway electro-trash for Get Physical with Stefan Bodzin as Elektrochemie, Tommy S is a Formula 1 legend and creator of trancey, techy electro-house under his own name, for his own label Spiel-Zeug. Last year's 'Inside', off the hideously packaged Bring it Back EP, was too functional to hold its own with the the true classics of 05, but when I wanted to set the controls for 'bosh' in the space of one track, 'Inside' was straight out of the box and onto the deck. I guess it was the meaty, stylish but defiantly uncomplicated production which did the business; it's these qualities which continue to stand out in Schumacher's latest cut, 'RedPurple', which co-opts the warped bass that's come to define the Elektrochemie sound, adds some typically Get Phiz spyflick/Krypton Factor/Dutch disco synths and a spot-on drum track, and will, if played at the right time, go off big time. Highly recommended.

Thomas Schumacher - RedPurple // Spiel-Zeug

I didn't discover him until last year, but Peter Grummich (pictured above) has been releasing on quality labels like Kompakt, Spectral Sound and, er, Shitkatapult, for some time now. Back in the summer, Carnage unearthed one particular track by PG - an itchy, ambient-ish slice of minimalism - that continues to get heavy rotation chez Soft. An album track from the dodgily-named Switch off the Soap Opera, 'You Don't Know' manages to sound unnerving and oddly soothing at the same time, and only a madman or a genius would play it out. But as an end-of-the-night face-muncher or as armchair/strolling music for a regular waking life, this is nothing short of exceptional.

Peter Grummich - You Don't Know // Shitkatapult

There are so many releases/remixes by Wighnomy Brothers/Robag Wruhme, that I must confess I've sort of started to ignore them. Despite being responsible for my favourite track of last year, the all-conquering 'Wombat' on Kompakt Extra, their brand of lush, skeletal techno is sometimes so minimal that I gloss over it, or it completely passes me by, perhaps because I'm missing the vital nuances on my shitty PC speakers or shitty ipod earphones. But whenever I hear their tracks in a mix, or played out, my radar instantly starts pinging furiously, and I groan audibly as I try to remember who the track I'm hearing is by. Well, that happened with Robag's mix of 'Bulldozer' by Matthias Tanzmann; I heard it loud as fuck and suddenly it was lodged in my brain - celestial synths straight outta Aphex mingle with clicky percussion and the inimitable Wighnomian snap, crackle and pop (how do they make those sounds?) to wondrous effect. After racking my brains as to who/what it might be so that I could download/buy it, the penny dropped and I realized that I actually owned the fucker. Here, then, is 'Bulldozer' Robag-style, and I promise never again to dismiss anything of a Musik Krause persuasion.

Matthias Tanzmann - Bulldozer (Robag's Herbstmoosmutzel Mix) // Moon Harbour

Friday, February 03, 2006

Let's dance and freak

Computing Lesson #1: Always save your work. Having just spent well over an hour concocting a mammoth-sized post, my dear computer thought it would be a splendid idea to crash. It's a little demoralizing, so apologies if this post (which I'm now neurotically saving every time I finish a fucking sentence) seems a little terse and embittered. Destruction is the best editor, I suppose.

Right, no fucking around..What do you think of Ewan Pearson? He's something of a revered figure in the cult of TAPE, and in many ways his music is only a small reason for the reverence. I, for one, am rather taken with the diffident, academic air which EP gives off (though anyone who saw the interview with him on the SlicesDVD would be forgiven for thinking he's a boring bastard. I think it's fair to ascribe that impression to the Teutonic literalism of the interviewer's questions, rather than any major shortcoming of the interviewee, but...). He projects an image of someone who would be happiest just having a good read and going to bed early, but is blighted by his own colossal talent for making/playing filthy electronic music...It's not just an act, though: Ewan did a PHD in Philosophy at Cambridge, I believe, and his research there formed the backbone of the book Discographies (pictured left), co-written with one Jeremy Gilbert. Discographies is an insightful and concertedly academic look at the socio-political effects and ramifications of dance culture through history, and is still in print and available to buy at Amazon and such places. As if you need further proof of Pearson's intellectual credentials, his first release for Soma way back was, in title at least, a double-pronged reference to Thomas Pynchon's weirdnik novel The Crying of Lot 49 - he called himself Maas, after the novel's heroine Oedipa Maas, and the 12" was called San Narciso, the industrial city which is the novel's setting. Anyway, why I'm telling you this I don't know, 'cos we're here to discuss Ewan's new release as Partial Arts (along with co-pilot Al Usher), which turned up on one side of Dialect's latest Battle 12". The title, 'Cruising', though not masking some obscure literary allusion, is something of a giveaway - the truly distinguishing feature of this track is its leisurely pace. It's not boring-slow, though, like some of the weaker Lindstrom tracks which people are still pretending to like; the production's so full-bodied and detailed that the trippy languor is entirely welcome. Full of dubby effects, squelchy synths and panned sheets of none-more-electro noisery, this track will work wonders if you're playing out at full pelt and need something to slow things down without losing your crowd. There's no particularly memorable hook, but after a few listens I was willing to accept that the fat snares and the overall bumpin' feel they underpin is the hook. Quality, and provides yet more evidence that Pearson is far more than the electro-trance-lite laptop lapdog of Alison Goldfrapp.

Partial Arts - Cruising // Dialect

The Battle series seems to be really setting out its stall these days, what with the Lindstrom vs Riton and Partial Arts vs Tim Paris twelves coming out in rapid succession . I first heard 'Deliverance' by Simon Says (Simon Le Roy & Herve De Ratuld - what names) on Damian Lazarus's Rebel Futurism 2 comp, where it melted perfectly into Geiger's mighty 'Hear My Train Coming'. Anyway, I hadn't realized that this popped up on a Battle record from a coupla years ago, more specifically Simon Says vs Chloe. Having now heard both sides, I can tell you that Chloe was resolutely trounced (but was this a case of "you may've won the battle, but you haven't won the war"? I mean, have you heard anything by Simon Says since?). 'Deliverance' is all grubby, disco-house strut, bolstered by druggy builds and a bassline that spells S-L-E-A-Z-E, and now enjoys a permanent place in my box. C-H-E-C-K-I-T-O-U-T.

Simon Says... - Deliverance // Dialect

Tooli is the owner and proprietor of a very fine blog of the same name, you really ought to check it out...He's very kindly dedicated a recent post to us fools at TAPE, featuring a bunch of snazzy Todd Terje edits (check out 'Faster, Better, Stronger') and another Terje mix to file alongside the Ironkuru one which had me convulsing with delight earlier in the week. On the mix there's a track by Kerrier District, which brings back memories...For those of you don't know, Kerrier District was the work of Luke Vibert, a double LP conceived as an extravagant homage to Metro Area, who back then (2002? 2003?) were highly respected but not quite the textbook disco daddys we all now hold them to be. Even the name was an ironic tribute - while Metro Area is an NY clubbing district of mythological glamour, Kerrier District is the dull-as-dishwater part of Cornwall where Vibert grew up. So, anyway, Vibert was well ahead of the nu-disco explosion which is now our daily bread and butter; it's just a shame that the album was, well, crap. I mean, it had its moments, but the sophistication and subtle 4x4 nous of Environ's releases was fatally absent. 'Let's Dance and Freak', the LP's opener, is the exception that proves the slagging: brazen synth melodies, a properly rude bassline, acidy effects and, of course, liberal handclap and cowbell, combine to make one of my, ahem, favourite reconstructed disco tracks of all time. If you've heard this before, you'll know exactly what I'm chatting about, if not - just imagine how much we'd all wet ourselves if Lindstrom or Terje were to come out with 'Let's Dance and Freak' as new, next week. Ah, the great tangled ball of wool that we call the history of music...

Kerrier District - Let's Dance and Freak // Rephlex
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