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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