Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Southern Comfort

Goldfrapp, eh? Despite having more conceit and front than virtually any artist living today, what with their pseudo-electro-s&m dance routines and dogged pursuit of the mainstream, sometimes you've just got to hand it to them...Alison G is a fantastic vocalist, and though their original productions are invariably one big horsetail-swinging cliche, they're nonetheless remarkably lean and melodic and lend themselves amazingly well to remixes. Take the singles from the recent LP: 'Ride A White Horse' was stripped down into a nu-italo barnstormer by Serge Santiago while Ewan Pearson constructed a richly detailed, four-tiered 'disco odyssey' from the same raw materials, and Tiefschwarz rescued 'Ooh La La' from the mobile phone ad ghetto and plonked it into finessed, glam electro-house territories, full of the amazing builds and energizing drops which the 'Schwarz seem only intermittently capable of getting right these days (though it's the unreleased vocal mix, rather than the ubiquitous dub, which is the one you really want). Anyway, I respect Goldfrapp and their management for all this, because while some of the more adventurous remixes they commission don't even make it onto official pressings, wilfully subordinated as they are to cock-house workouts from the likes of Benny Benassi, the fact is that they actually pay up flat fees to quality producers to turn out versions, give them something shiny and pliable to work with, and give the fanbases of these remixers, if not the fanbases of Goldfrapp, something to delight in. The reason I mention this is because the new Goldfrapp 12" has hit stores this week, and features three absolutely stunning mixes from C2 (aka Carl Craig) and DFA. Most of you probably heard, even if it was in poor-quality ripped form, DFA's epic rendering of 'Slide In', with its masterful collusion of prog-afrobeat stylings, straight-up glitterball disco and explosion-in-a-drum-shop punk-funkery. Everything that the Pearson remix wanted to be, basically, but wasn't. As for Craig's two versions, the second of which is essentially a compressed, re-ordered dub of the first, well, we're talking more or less 'Relevee' Pt. 2 - don't get too excited though, because while the Detroit don's treatments of 'Fly Me Away' are unassailably superb, they don't even begin to rival the monolithic majesty of the Delia & Gavin piece (which, incidentally, is finally available on 12" today). Still, Craig is working from the same sound palette on this release, so we get another mini-symphony of analogue crescendos, tough kicks and speaker-slicing echo effects, but with the not-at-all-annoying vocal jostling for centre stage with the tres demented acid waves. It's a good nine minutes long, but there's so much going on - fat robot synth stabbage, duelling basslines, delicious harmonies and significant debt to that much maligned but enduring genre acid techno. Allow me a reminiscence....

When I was 16 or 17, having just finished my A-levels, myself and a few friends went to Cornwall for a week of stoned, quintessentially boyish tomfoolery; on the third or fourth day we were there, we descended upon the pub we felt we'd made our own over the preceding few days (it's amazing what hubris possesses the young...) and got on with the seriousness business of drinking ourselves into oblivion. At some point during the night, when I was just outright retard drunk, one of the most bewitchingly beautiful girls I've ever seen happened to sit opposite me. Buoyed by the false confidence that anyone who has been a 16-year-old on the piss will know intimately, I attempted to talk to her, almost certainly thinking that she was definitely going to shag me once I'd initiated her in the workings of my quicksilver wit (this remains one of the most ludicrous hopes I've ever clung to in my life. It was never going to happen...). Of course, I could barely speak, I mean I was really off the scale, but she was smart as hell and sort of listened to me with the pained pity and interest that one would normally afford a 100% genuine village idiot. I was trying everything, but I don't think my brain has ever let me down as it did then. We got onto the topic of music, and God knows how naive, presupposing and arrogant my contribution to this part of the conversation was (as of about a year ago, one of my golden rules for life has been that I NEVER NEVER talk about music seriously or intimately with strangers, unless I have some confidence that we will share a more or less identical outlook on things. That sounds very self-limiting, I know, but come on, what's the point in talking about Radiohead or The Shins with people? I fucking hate it, even though I like the bands. So rather than being snide and obnoxious, I nod, I agree, talk about 'em for a couple of minutes then change the conversation topic as smoothly as I can. I don't trust myself any other way...)

Anyway, so I'm talking to this girl, this fit as hell girl who still haunts my more salacious flights of fancy, about music, and God knows what I'm smugly ranting about - hmm, round then it was probably Wilco or something like that - and, seeing fit to interrupt one of my characteristic monologues, I ask her what her musical poison is? 'Acid techno,' she says. 'Acid techno?' says I. At this stage, remember, my acquaintance with so-called 'dance' music extended about as far as the Chemical Brothers and Tricky. I can't remember what more I said, but I know it was bona fide mortifying, and that I don't ever want to remember. I do remember, though, being completely perplexed and amazed by her tales of raving in Berlin, ecstasy and the general madness of the acid techno scene, blah blah. I think she was modelling or something back then, God knows what she's doing now - junkie? Anyway, by this point I'm really fucking trying to lay it on thick, but being too young to have learned even a cursory smoothness, my only weapon was gags. And when you've drunk twice your weight in weird-coloured booze, you're never quite as funny as you think, are you? This one-sided romance came to an abrupt end when I, purely by chance, said something which had her, up till that point stony-faced and incredulous, almost on the floor in hysterics. I was feeling tremendously gratfied as a result, and casually reached for my drink to down what was left and ask if she wanted another one. And what happened? I picked up the half-full glass of beer that we'd all been using to put out our cigarettes, and basically tipped it down my throat. And did I swallow it and carry on as if nothing had happened? Did I fuck. I puked it all over myself and in front of her, before virtually crawling on my knees to the bathroom to spend the next hour doing the same thing. When I came back, needless to say, she wasn't there.

Coda: Since then, there have been two occasions that I think quite possibly I have seen the same girl, or some spectral reincarnation thereof: 1. In my second year as a student at Bristol, my room looked down on our neighbours' gardens, and when the heatwave hit in May I found myself spending a lot of time, alone or with Carnage, sat at my window getting high and staring out of it. A couple of houses down, I kept seeing this girl sunbathing, and being as punked as a skunk, convinced myself that she was that self same Acid Techno girl. Whether she was or she wasn't, a wonderful symmetry with that frist fateful encounter came about - a couple of days later, having spent a sublime evening in the pub (this was high summer, remember) drinking sambucca and popping a brace of very fine pills, we heard a party raging away at the end of our street, and decided to pay it a visit. I saw the sunbathing girl, and after some drunken procrastination, decided I should talk to her. Rather than saying, 'Were you the girl I virtually puked on after drinking an ashtray in Cornwall three years ago?', my stupid fucking brain, suddenly giving way to an ear-popping MDMA rush, impelled me to say instead the equally unforgivable 'I think I know you...I've been watching you sunbathing from my window, I think I recognize you from that...' Literally, I have no idea what the fuck I was saying, something as spectacularly ill-advised as that if not more so, and I was met with the same incredulity and disdain I was those three years ago, but this time without the friendly undertow. After excusing myself (I don't think I even gave a fuck at the time, what with being so fucked and it being a fairly sick party), I went off to mess around with my people and generally revel in my mental incapacitation, but I do remember being sat a couple of hours later on the floor in her living room, my head so messed up that I actually thought I was serving a customer at the pub I worked at, when I was really just gurning gibberish to myself. My friend Kelly vividly recalls me asking myself if I'd like a pint of Fosters. Christ. Needless to say, when I snapped out of it, I looked up to see that the girl had been listening to everything I'd said with unqualified disgust. Shit really does happen. Anyway, I also thought I saw her at the blistering Tiefschwarz gig at The Key two years ago, dressed like the Nazi-electro-porno-biker girl of your dreams, but I didn't go near her because she was flanked by a miserable looking black man who was either her boyfriend or her bodyguard. But I'll shut up about this; I guess the point is, words have very particular associations for particular people, and when ever I hear, or think, the words 'acid techno' all of the above comes flooding back to me in a rush of embarassment and nostalgia.

Why am I telling you? Because I've finished my exams and can write for as long as I fucking like. ignore me, and just download the C2 Mix 1 of 'Fly Me Away' here, and pick up the 12" for the top-notch, instrumental Mix 2 and the DFA's glorious version of 'Slide In'. God, I'm exhausted by my recollection. Forgive me for all that.

Goldfrapp - Fly Me Away (C2 Remix 1) // Mute

The next track I have for you is the B2 from the latest release on Huume by Uusitalo. Better known as deep house cosmonaut Luomo and scattergun beat-merchant Vladislav Delay (check his recent mix of Rhythm & Sound if you haven't yet), this release goes into ludicrously pleasing dub techno territory, full of echo and, er, delay but with some tough 4x4 drops and bassline funk to lift it out of the downbeat doldrums. This is proper proper proper and I heartily recommend you download this tune then sniff out the vinyl, which harbours three other sound-as-a-pound low frequency excursions.

Uusitalo - Tulenkantaja // Huume

Personally, I don't think Kompakt has quite done the business this year, at least not yet (they may be holding back some gems for the summer season); but along with the reliable K2 stuff, one of the highlights of their '06 catalogue has undoubtedly been Oxia's 'Domino' - the one which wholesale ripped off Chardronnet's 'Eve By Day'. My affection for the tasteful trance tones of'Domino' prompted me to finally shell out for a copy of Patrick's tune, released last year on one of Europe's most promising young labels, Connaisseur. Since then, I haven't felt once compelled to listen to 'Domino'; 'cos 'Eve By Day', for this listener at least, is TT at its uncompromising best and not even a sumptuous imitation like Oxia's comes close. Simon Rigg from Phonica, who was guest DJ at TAPE's birthday party in November, finished his excellent set with this tune; it sounded delightful then, but listening to it now fills me with intense ennui: because that was the penultimate TAPE ever, before we got kicked out of the venue under a cloud of potsmoke and false accusations, and the last TAPE I ever attended. So the track which is basically the perfect tune to an end a set with unwittingly became the perfect tune to an end an era with. TAPE (the night) may be dead, but the spirit lives on in our new venture MUTANT POP. After a blistering opening night, and a second session headed up by militant minimalist Butane, it's the turn of local broken beat and deep tech maestro October to play for us, this Friday 2nd June. It's all going off at the Arc Bar, Bristol, so if you're in town make sure you pay us a visit. Anyway, back to 'Eve By Day'. Basically, it's a rising, stripped down trancer lent a genuinely celestial edge by the marvellously restrained programming; it's genius is to let the bassline build and build for a good 6 mins before introducing the the twinkling keyboard melody, itself basically the harmonic mirror image of the devastating bassline. And, in a true Kompakt vein, ambient synth sounds throughout provide the balance you need to get your body dancing while your cortex is trancing. It's a fucking classic, up there with 'Phonix' in my opinion, so you know what to do....

Patrick Chardronnet - Eve By Day // Connaisseur Recordings

You may remember my having blattered on about the Burial CD over the last couple of weeks, and I'm not about to stop now. It feels ridiculous to isolate a track from the album for download, because the record is really the sum of its parts, and no one track gives you an indication of what a tonal masterpiece it is. And I don't want to post more than one track, because I want Burial to get some cahsmoney for his efforts - despite it being killer stuff, I can't imagine a huge number of people are going to be buying it (and I don't want to reduce that number any further). Still, the abstract beat patterns, lo-fi, fuggy production and unremitting dub sensibility of this track, 'Southern Comfort' should tell you all you need to know. Seriously, buy the CD, I can't recommend it enough....

Burial - Southern Comfort // Hyperdub

That's your lot for now.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Heads up

Friday 2nd June

TAPE and VAYGE present


with special guest


2 floors of electro/techno/disco/minimal mayhem
to get you high and keep you there.

THE ARC BAR 9pm-2am Broad St, Bristol
FREE before 9pm, £3/£4 after

Friday, May 26, 2006

Summer here kids

Fuck, two days till the end of my academic career and the beginning of the most sustained partying period I've undergone in a year. Followed swiftly, of course, by the sinking in my stomach as I confront the fact I've yet to find myself a job, and having to spend the second half of the summer sending CVs to incredulous employers as I sweat untold buckets into my England shirt. The World Cup, baby. How long now? Ten days or summat. Fuck yes.

Thoughts of summer have been heavy on my mind today, and they have very little to do with the weather, which seems to be carrying on as if it were deepest February. That's what it's like in England. You forget what summer feels like. So imagine my gratitude when I got hold of Serge Santiago's ferociously good re-edit of the Sunshine Underground's 'I Ain't Losing Any Sleep', surely the most plucky contender for non-techno summer anthem I've heard this year? I've been ludicrously sleepy in terms of keeping up with indie shenanigans in the past year, largely because I no longer live with my dear friend Sam and his dutiful NME-buying, not to mention his gift for sifting through the swathes of boyish imposture which tend to dominate guitar-based music these days in search of the truly golden nuggets. Sigh. Anyway, from what I gather the Sunshine Underground (pictured above) are precocious alt-rockers who use punk-funk as a starting point rather than a dressy afterthought; some of the lyrics are awful (what's with the 'Whadya say, hey?'. What's wrong with 'Whadya say, eh?', eh?) but it really doesn't matter 'cos the tune is fantastically simplistic in that life-affirming, i-could-have-made-that-up-myself-in-the-shower way, and Serge works the mixing desk like I've never heard him before...

Notionally, I'm a big fan of Serge (pictured left), but even his fairly legendary colour series which went some way to defining the nascent electro-house/italo/disco revolution in 2004 only yielded occasional fruit for this picker - the green one, with the emphatic double whammy of 'Adventures in Failure' and 'It's A War', has long been a beloved 12" throughout TAPE headquarters. I also really fell for that mix of Goldfrapp he did, not to mention the retro-space-age triumphalism of 'Atto D'Amore', which rocked the floor at TAPE back in the Blue Peterish Elbow Room days. But I never clicked with the old Radio Slave stuff, and I can't say I rush to check his new productions. But this is different. A subtle but beefy edit which doesn't resort to big-cocked synth riffs to prove its point, Santiago instead gives the adenoidal vocal much-needed room to breathe, ups the banging-on-dustbins punk-funk element and confidently but gently inserts winning electronic progressions under the surface, clicks and beeps and italo metronomy galore. Most importantly, he works the drums perfectly, retaining the clobbering live sound but varying the emphases in such a way that pilled-up techies may even surrender to the feelgood guitar riffs. Spanking.

The Sunshine Underground - I'm Not Losing Any Sleep (Serge Santiago Remix) // CDR

So, there was me, listening to the Sunshine Underground with real pleasure but ruefully thinking 'Wherefore art thou electro/tech-house?'. Every year's a great year for music, you know, but I don't think it's unfair of me to say that the electro-house sound really hit the peak of creative fertility last year, giving birth to monstrous classic after monstrous classic and effecting something approaching a third Summer of Love in clubs and living rooms across the world. Or maybe I just took more drugs back then? I'm not suggesting that we've been shortchanged with music this year - I mean, new-school disco gets better and better, dub has made a glorious return to our listening shores (I know it never left for some) in both techno and dubstep styles, and there've been a fair few bangers coming off the press. If there weren't, God knows I wouldn't bother to update this blog. All I'm saying is, that spasm of new wave electro-house that culminated in 'Mandarine Girl' has receded, if not departed. But wait...what's this? A two-month-old track from John Tejada (pictured above right). So what? I haven't liked anything he's released in the last six months. No, wait, I've been told he's throwing in the production towel! Really? Yeah, apparently - he just wants to get on with normal life. Shit - how bizarre. Someone should tell him how dull normal life is. It may be an elaborate ruse. Must be. But what's this track you're on about like anyway? It's AMAZING. How so? It came out two months ago and no one caused much fuss. God knows why they didn't - trust me, it'll remind you of 'Mandarine Girl' and the early summer of 2005 and reinstate your love of trendy trance! You lie! No, seriously, I'm telling the truth! It's got this delicate, blissfully unfolding melody that rises and rises and takes you all the way with it - And it's backed up with tight, tough, clicky percussion lines the likes of which you thought only the 'Shade at their peak were capable of! No, really. You are shitting me. For fuck's sake, listen. YOU WILL LOVE THIS. It doesn't sound pioneering, I'll concede, but it's just superbly crafted and will've burrowed its way into your consciousness before you can say 'Tejada'. I think you're lying, but I'll give it a try. ---Seven minutes later----. Oh. My. God. You're right - it's fucking sublime. And it kicks.

Seriously folks, this one's an epic. I don't know how it escaped my attention back in March. Turn it up well fucking loud and behold the Sound of E '05 Alive And Well In '06 - who'd have thought it? If Tejada really is on his way out, which I pray to God he's not, let's thank the man for his invaluable services to dancefloor engineering, and hope he's not quitting DJing, 'cos he's one of the best spinners I've ever heard. And if the whole thing is a hoax, well fuck him or whoever propagated it, but actually don't, cos 'The End of It All' is proper, proper good and I wouldn't have stumbled across it otherwise. Bo.

John Tejada - The End of It All // Palette

Just when you give up waiting for a soul-nourishing anthem, two come along at once. Truly, we are not worthy.

[EDIT: Clearly Tejada is not jacking it in. Curse you, whoever put that idea in my mind....]

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Kiss Me Corpid


There's a crop of really decent netlabels springing up all over the shop, offering up their artists' tracks for free. It never fails to amaze me quite how many outlets there are for new music at the moment, and it's admirable that there are producers out there willing to forego payment in order to get their tunes heard. One such label is Germany-based Corpid, purveyors of all things house, techno and electro, with the inevitable (but not unwelcome) whiff of minimalism all over its extensive wares. Pick of the bunch is Drei Farben House, whose Fashion EP is a two-tracked, tight tech-house celebration of, er, clothesmaking. But fear not, the music is far from the insipid moron's electroclash that such a subject might suggest; instead you get tough rhythms iced with serene ambient effects and dislocated, acoustic guitar sounds. Not bad at all, and a fucksight better than some of the shit I've wasted eight quid on in my life. Head to the Corpid site to get the B-side and have a mosey around, and for more info on Drei Farben House head here. Here's the A-side, 'Wearability'.....

Drei Farben House - Wearability // Corpid

P.S. It pains me to say it - but new Big Brother is superb. 'High spec bitch', anyone?

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Guest TAPEr's Chart: Long Term

Okay, so, here's a new idea. After the conceptual sack of shit that was the TAPEr's chart failed to get off the ground, mainly due to my bad management skills, I've decided to er, reinvent the wheel ((c) Chris Martin). From now on the TAPEr's chart will be a weekly fixture, but instead of being an impossible concensus of everyone's favourite tracks digested by me, one lucky TAPE reader will be responsible for each week's chart. To make it even more interesting (as if that's not interesting enough), we'll bring you, somewhat erratically, charts from some very special 'celebrity' guests. Yeah, alright. So, if you're the kind of cat who visits this site regularly and leaves the odd comment behind, chances are I'll be calling upon you to deliver a chart in the future, annotations n' all. First up to bat is Bristol-based Long Term. If you're a West Country type, check out his night, Bruk - the next party is at Native on June 19th; full details at the bottom of the post. Right then....

2step garage as it should be, disembodied femininity scattered across a bed of twisting, skittering drums and cavernous, foreboding bass

Disgusting, broken, cutup electrobreaks, militant low-end accompanied by celestial, haunting melodies

Soothing, dark, meditative, beautiful... one of the most sublime dubstep cuts yet

The bastard spawn of twisted electronics and dark 2step, devastation for the dancefloor with a twist of humour from Mr Begg

Outrageously cut-up, micro-sampling 2step from the Essex-based masters, executed with the precision, skill and swing to make akufen blush

The a-side is meditative depth itself, distilled into gorgeous, sub-loaded rasta-futurism, while the Skream "remix" on the flip is a bassline monster, drop it on a system and watch them wobble!

Im sure most know about this by now, absolutely monster tune, growling, dirty bass, skipping beats and old school cut-up yelping vox...absolutely bumping

Wonky, hard techno with one of the catchiest, sickest, squeeliest synth lines ive come across... addictive

A ringing endorsement of multiculturalism, an open immigration policy, and the current degree of global communication, Columbian-born ex-dubwise DnB producer now residing in California catches the bug rapidly emanating from Croydon, South London, to produce agloriously trippy, dubbed-out, vocoder-laden, shimmering chest rattler

While my attention was originally grabbed by the shuddering, stomping, low-end funk of the a side, I soon found myself loving each and every track on this:subtle, shuffling, emotive, wonderful

Am I allowed eleven? I forgot about this one momentarily, and I've never seen it get the public love I think it deserves...

Soft: Er, no. But go on then....

The don sets himself to task, reworking the already excellent original into a glorious piece, building a shimmering, shuffling, tripped-out home for the beautiful vocal.

Catch Long Term at:

Native, Bristol
Monday 19th June; 10-4am
£1 before 11, £2 after

Oh, and here's summat for you to download:
Heiko Laux - Moved (Ricardo Villalobos Remix) // Kanzleramt

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Chart of Darkness

Mr Soft's Current Top 10

1. GABRIEL ANANDA - IHRE PERSONLICHE GLUCKSMELODIE (DOMINIK EULBERG REMIX) // KARMAROUGE I wasn't too sure about this when I first heard it, but I can now say with some certainty - BLINDER. Subtly building, with trancey elements galore, it's a winning move on Eulberg's part to retain the juicy riff that made the original such a dancefloor smash. But the real pay-off is the last two minutes of the track, where the melody dissolves into a phased, ravey synth hook that sounds like 1990 would've sounded if Eulberg had been making tunes back then...Amazing.

2. DONDOLO - DRAGON (SHIT ROBOT REMIX) // TINY STICKS There's a stylish Brennan Green mix, not to mention the competent original, on one side; but really you want to flip over for Shit Robot's storming rework. Put together in NYC by James Murphy and Marcus Lambkin, this track throbs and wobbles and wallops and builds and in doing so touches every base you'd conceivably want a Shit Robot remix of Dondolo's 'Dragon' to touch - detroit tech, wonky disco, messy punk-funk and all the rest. If you liked 'Wrong Galaxy', you'll love this; art-house at it's finest. Another week, another score for DFA - but credit to Tiny Sticks, fast proving themselves one of the UK's most significant labels.

3. MLLE CARO & FRANK GARCIA - FAR AWAY // CROSSTOWN REBELS Haven't yet heard the allegedly astounding Matthew Jonson and Jennifer Cardini mixes, but I'm all over the original, which kicks off Lazarus & Styles forthcoming Get Lost CD. Snappy tech-house with the kind of swoonsome vocal that summers are made of.

4. ADAM SKY - APE X // KITSUNE Possibly the silliest record I've heard so far this year, but also one of the best. Heavy, some would say otiose, synth riffage repeatedly gives way to a boundlessly joyful disco-funk breakdown before returning with renewed, acid-garnished vigour. Custom-made for Erol to have the Bugged Out! kids swinging from the rafters. So Kitsune.

5. HEIKO LAUX - MOVED (RICARDO VILLALOBOS REMIX) // KANZLERAMT Dust-gathering remix from 2000, back when 'Lobos was a little-known young buck on the microhouse scene. As such, it's a much trackier affair than his recent Cadenza stuff, more in tune with the minimal sounds we were digging last year than the organic meanderings of, say, 'Sieso'. File with that astonishing version of 'Elektrolatino' he did for Senor Coconut.

6. BOOKA SHADE - MOVEMENTS LP // GET PHYSICAL It's been a long time since those tracks were leaked back at the start of the year, but hopefully it won't diminish too much the impact of this pretty fine record's official release. Most of you probably know the deal - nine tracks on the vinyl, supplemented by new, but very much unexciting, edits of 'Body Language' and 'Mandarine Girl' on the CD. Still, for 12quid you can get your paws on current single 'Night Falls', 'Darko' and impending summer anthem 'In White Rooms' all beautifully packaged in a gatefold stylee.

7. RITON - ANGERMAN (RITON RE-RUB) //LINXFARREN The spirit of punk-funk lives on in the mind and music of Henry Riton, albeit with way more effects and a bit of 4x4 clout. Co-opting the drums he first unleashed on his staggering remix of Brazilian Girls' 'Don't Stop' (a Carnage fave), he lays down some woomp-woomp sub rhythms and even some trancey builds to riotous effect. It's like, there's a party in your toilet and everyone's invited. Sound.

8. ALEX SMOKE - NEVER WANT TO SEE YOU AGAIN (ADA REMIX) // SOMA Typically emotive techno affair from the Areal doyenne; not quite as slushy as her 'Maps' mix but a bit of a tear-jerker nonetheless...Can't imagine how it would sound out, but I can see it soundtracking five of your bender's more delicate minutes.

9. HAPPY MONDAYS - TWISTIN' MY MELON MAN // UNKNOWN Unmissable double pack of hard-to-find edits and mixes, including pre-losing-the-plot Oakenfold's terrific version of 'Hallelujah' and the evergreen 'Step On'. A rare chance to fulfil all your Mondays needs in one go; can't vouch for the quality of this unofficial pressing, though, so watch out...

10. BURIAL - BURIAL CD // HYPERDUB Abstract dubstep fiend Burial eschews the obvious genre stylings on one of the underground's most feverishly anticipated albums, and instead takes you deep, deep, deep into stoner (sub)consciousness. This isn't so much dubstep as plain ol' dub, but modern sarf London style, with a big nod to Rhythm & Sound and 90s ambient (one track is actually a waterlogged compression of Eno's 'An Ending (Ascent)'). If you like it paranoid, super-slow and forward-thinking, this is your lucky day. Turned up loud as hell, it already sounds like a modern classic to me. Buy this disc and support people who manage to be this mad and get records made.

As always, get these tunes where you can - support your local if you've got one, otherwise Phonica (link on the sidebar) is pretty unbeatable for stock and ease. Artists got to eat and smoke and pay the rent, so buy the flamin' records! Coming soon: guest charts, new demos we've had sent in, a wee sample of the much-feted Burial CD and loads of other shit I haven't yet conceived.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Birdy Nam Nam

Hello. Hope you're well.

I haven't done anything of great interest this week, stuck as I am in the sombre cycle of chainsmoking, bacon consumption and desperate pseudo-alcoholism that always precedes my dreaded work deadlines. Still, there must be some news...Oh yeah, Matt Waites of Nightmoves, whose legendary-before-it's-even-been-released remix of The Klaxons will be coming out just as soon as Erol's done a version to go alongside it, sent me the in-progress mix of the Infadels which Nightmoves are doing next, and believe me it makes the Infadels sound waaaaay better than they are. And I got a very kind e-mail from Mr Matthew Styles, the amiable beard who runs Crosstown Rebels with Lazarus. After reading about DFA/EMI's (just about understandable) priggishness on Headphonesex, and my own experience with Wagon Repair, it's nice to see someone from a quality, established label like Crosstown extolling the virtues of a humble blog like ours, and recognizing that we're trying to get their music heard, not stolen. Anyway, I've been planning a HUUUGE tribute to the Rebels' sound for ages now, but I'm going to hold back further - what with my dissertation deadline looming like a Titanic-sinking iceberg on the horizon. Needs must. Anyhow, Styles and Lazarus put out their long-awaited Get Lost mix CD on June 5th. I've heard an advance copy, and it's as smooth and dark as you'd expect. Spread across two CDs, I haven't been feeling the track selection as much as I thought I would; but there's a fair few bangers on there - Rob Mello's 'Give Me', Anaerobic Robots 'Darwin or Lose', Si Begg's 'On Ice' and the fantastically catchy Someone Else remix of Butane's 'Sound of Digidown' are my current favourites. Admittedly, there's nothing to compare with the thrilling rediscovery of 'One of Our Submarines' (Villalobos Remix) on last year's Suck My Deck, but that'd be asking a bit much. I'll muse further on the CD's qualities/shortcomings when I've given it a few more listens; for now, I urge you to get your mitts on the vinyl sampler which hit stores this week. Available from all the usual outlets, the main draw for me is Position Normal's gloriously odd, smacked-out slice of Cockney-balearica (don't listen to me, listen to the tune) 'Jimmy Had Jane', but with three other sterling tracks from Koze, Andy Couzenz and Naum, you can't argue with the value. The opening track on the CD mix is Mlle Carro & Franck Garcia's sumptuous 'Far Away', which'll be finding its way onto Crosstown wax very soon, backed by remixes from Jennifer Cardini (pictured right with Superpitcher matey) and Mathew Jonson (the latter of whom has done a remix of 'Higher States of Consciousness' on Wink's new CD for Ministry. Anyone heard it/got it?). Can't fucking wait. Before that, the mighty Pier Bucci returns with his 'Tita' 12", which, along with a Dandy Jack version, will finally bring Eulberg's unforgiving mix of 'L'Nuit' to the masses. Woah. After a shaky winter season, the Rebels look to be back on track, so keep your eyes and ears open....

On a completely different note, some of you guys have been sending me your demos and productions and so far, they've all been fantastic...Will be posting up what I've received very soon, but let me take the opportunity to say again: If you have made or put out some music that you think we, and the people who read this, will like, send me a YSI/mp3 to , or post me a CD/record to:

Kiran Sande
Exeter College
OX1 3Dp
United Kingdom

If I like what I hear, I'll post it and rave about it and rave to it. So get sending.

Softie's New Release Round-Up

Record of the week has to be Morgan Geist's Raremix 12", hot off the Environ press. Every track is solid, with the version of Daniel Wang's '24 to Vector Z' pushing all the right buttons for Soft - boogiedown production of the highest order. But don't pass over the other tracks on there, indeed, the housier mixes of Refection and Cim showcase an uptempo side to Geist that we haven't seen ever since Environ really hit its slo-mo-disco stride. Buy it. Perlon come up trumps with a quadruple LP of sublime, tetchy trackage from the leading lights in their minimal orbit. Steffan Goldman, Villalobos, Luciano, Pantytec, Narcotic Syntax - they're all on patrol. But it's scene darling Matt John who, for me, supplies the best cut on there - a vibrant, Detroit-inflected microhouser called 'Landing'. For 18quid or thereabouts, you can own all the minimalism you will reasonably need for the next month....The Digitalism mauling of The Cure has been whited; like Carnage, I've really lost interest in the Frenchmen's work of late - just too cartoonish for my sensitive palate. Of course, their tunes kill when you're out, but how many lacklustre, bloated re-writings of 'Zdarlight' do we need? I guess their track on the new Kitsune comp is pretty rude, but I'm still not massively impressed...especially when people like Hug are making tracks like 'The Platform'. I've started to ignore everything which John Dahlback does except for his K2 productions - he's made that label his own, really, ever since 'Fluteorgie'. 'The Platform' is just straightforward, immaculately judged narco-house that'll sound divine in the club... Softie favourite Patrick Chardronnet turns up on the A-side of Cosmic Sandwich's Man in a Box Remixes 2 package. To be honest, his trendy trance schtick fails him on this release, and it's the tough, bleepy version by Markese and Cosili on Side B which makes the 12" worth your dollar. Falko Brocksieper is responsible for the new Tuning Spork; and while the A-side sounds to me like bog-standard, swinging minimal fare, the B1 'Point88' is killer, marrying sharp old skool synths to a clicky rhythm track with dancefloor-decimating aplomb. Tip. Trentemoller's work is fast becoming a guilty pleasure for me, which is very odd when I think how menacing, original and incredible 'Polar Shift' and 'Physical Fraction' sounded in '05. His recent Poker Flat EP Nam Nam is exactly that - the sound of 2005 - but stripped of its newness, its originality, its verve. Probably because it's mid-2006. Wake up, Trentemoller (pictured)! The A-side, 'Killer Kat' certainly has its virtues (the twisted riff is pretty irresistible), but really, Anders needs to change the settings on his equipment - it's like listening to Martinez doing Trentemoller doing Martinez doing Trentemoller doing Martinez doing Trentemoller. Anyway, Samim & Jay Haze wheel out their Fuckpony alter egos for a new 12" on Get Physical - quirky as hell, you'll either love 'Ride The Pony' or hate it, but rest assured the rich, rhythmic precision we demand from GP releases is present and correct. 'Schmoozin', hiding coyly on the flip is the one you really want - fidgety minimalism with a warm build that spills U-N-L-I-K-E-L-Y A-N-T-H-E-M. The Lindstrom mix of Franz Ferdinand is actually really good, if you can stand the increasingly nauseating sound of Alex Kapranos at his remorselessly campest. Another chooka-chooka Norse disco jam that recalls HP's version of 'Tribulations'. Speaking of which, have you come across this LCD Soundsystem Def Beat Remixes 2x12"? Sounds as illegal as fuck, but the reactionary in me kind of welcomes a bit of piracy directed their way after the unsympathetic blog-chastising their (or EMI's) people have been carrying out. Anyway, on this package you get that mix of Le Tigre, and an 'unreleased extended disco dub' of 'Beat Connection' (i.e., the one on the DFA comp CD (?)) and, more intriguingly - what purports to be an LCD Soundsystem remix of The Rapture's 'I Need Your Love', 'Endorfun' and a dub of 'On Repeat'. I've not bought this release yet, so I can't comment on the accuracy of the track names or the quality of the music therein, so if you can enlighten me please leave a comment. The one that's going to be getting a lot of punters hot-under-the-collar this week is the long-awaited, irritatingly spelled collaboration between Erol Alkan and Riton (pictured), 'Squauque Eyes' - after the plaintive, exotic punk-funk of Erol's blinding Hot Chip mix, this track sounds a tad unsubtle - one of the less remarkable kind of beefy, glammed up electro-housers that he and Henry destroy Bugged Out! routinely with. Still, I need to hear it out before I cast judgement. What really makes the 12" worth putting in your basket is Riton's re-rub of 'Angerman' - a proper cut of clattering, druggy, punky-funky house that'll have your dancefloor in pieces. The 'fidget-house' revolution continues in earnest with the Speaker Junk EP from Trevor Loveys & Joshua Harvey. I've really liked Loveys' previous releases on Freerange/Frontroom, and after initial distaste I've really come round to that whole Dubsided school, but the lead track on here just sounds to me like a fidget too far. The sudden shifts, contorted vocal samples and sub frequencies will, I grant you, sound tasty out; but really just seem to disguise the flagrant lack of ideas at the heart of the record. It'll still sell loads of copies, though, so what you can say? The Juan Maclean is back with another single off Less Than Human; the original sounds a bit limpid and insignificant to Softie's ears, but it scarcely matters 'cos the A-side is a superb organic disco workover from TAPE-readers and Tiny Sticks proprietors Mock & Toof. Boom. Speaking of which, M&T deliver a pitched-down, almost breaksy (gasp!) version of Wekan's 'Skid' on the latest Back Yard 12". Originally released twice on Tiny Sticks last year - first with a version by Style of Eye, then on a remix pack boasting reworks from Tigerskin, Kango's Stein Massiv and an absolutely banging, if somewhat moronic, electro-house remix from former Wiseguy Touche, it's the latter that leads off this canny re-licensing. Watch out for the next slice of Tiny Sticks 12" freshness, Dondolo's 'Dragon', which will be dropping soon and comes with a tasteful disco-funk edit from Brennan Green and a STORMING, epic re-moulding from DFA's Shit Robot.

Wekan - Skid (Touche Nu-Club Edit) // Back Yard

Gabriel Ananda's 'Ihre Personliche Glucksmelodie' touches down in remixed form this week, with a passable house-ification from Freeform Five and a slow-burning, widescreen trancer from the peerless Dominik Eulberg - the description of the latter on Phonica sounds as if it's been translated badly from German - "He builds his remix around explicit pieces and melodies, shoots his tunes through different filters, surprises us with an up-and-down dramaturgy and finally presents his showdown in a pink-dabber-trancemovie-style!!!" but gives you an idea how much is going on with the track. Alas, there's no room on this 12" for Ananda's robust, unbeatable original, but let's not carp....

Gabriel Ananda - Ihre Personliche Glucksmelodie (Dominik Eulberg Remix) // Karmarouge

The 'real' house revival continues apace with Future Vision's re-issue of Ron Trent's 'Love to the World' - not sure if I'd play it out, but undoubtedly worth having. Telegraph have repressed the classic Post Office EP from 2004 - it's not that old, I grant you, but the producers on board have since developed fanbases far larger than they were back then. Akufen provides some of his typical tackle, twitching and hovering between irritation and the sublime; Luciano & Serafin's 'Yaki Soba' finally gets the airing it deserves; Villalobos is on respectable but not wildly inspirational, glitchy 4x4 form but for me it's Daniel Bell's deep, self-explanatory 'Rhodes 2' that justifies the price tag. If you've got cash to spare, you could do a lot worse than to invest in the Rekid LP, Made in Menorca - sludgy, dissolute disco-dub to soundtrack domestic narcosis. And really rather good.

Rekid - Lost Star6 // Soul Jazz

Friday, May 19, 2006

Charty Farty Business

Carnage's Current Listening Chart

1) The Knife – We Share Our Mother’s Health (Trentemoller Remix) // Brille
It was always going to be hard for Troy Pierce and Williams to remix a song as perfect as ‘Silent Shout’, the eponymous lead off single from The Knife’s latest LP, both producing very functional but uninspiring offerings to cater for their respective audiences. This time, Anders Trentemoller (pictured hiding behind his keyboard) steps up to the plate to transform one of the album’s highlights into a techno-pop rollercoaster, with all the trademark peaks and troughs that we’ve come to expect from his productions. After a few decidedly average solo releases that were never going to live up to the heady heights of his ‘Physical Fraction’ and ‘Polar Shift’ 12"s, I must admit that I thought that he was going downhill, but here he returns to show us all how to whip any self respecting dancefloor into a total frenzy. Last I heard of the man, he was working had on his first full length release which is apparently going to be more of a vocal affair, and after hearing this and his fantastic remix of Royksopp’s ‘What Else Is There?’ (just why was everyone going crazy for that Thin White Duke mix when they had that on the flip?), I can only hope that it lives up to the promise that he’s shown when given Karin Dreijer-Andersson's voice to work with.

The Knife – We Share Our Mother’s Health (Trentemoller Remix) // Brille

2) Akabu – Phuture Bound (Ame Remix) // Z
3) Henrik Schwarz/Ame/Dixon ft Derrick L Carter – Where It’s At (Version 1) // Sonar Kollektiv

It seems that Ame can do no wrong following the crossover success of ‘Rej’, as both of these tracks effortlessly prove; the former being a brooding deep techno masterpiece, and the latter sounding as good as the collaboration suggests it should be. Version 1’s the one to go for, but you can get hold of the unreleased second version for free on Sonar Kollektiv’s 'Inner City Visions' website. Go fetch!

4) Pinch – Qawwali (Original & VIP Versions) // Planet Mu
If you haven’t bought this record yet, then what are you hanging around for? Tectonic owner Rob Ellis (pictured above) strikes gold again with a blissfully deep original and dubbed up VIP version. It’s like Kraftwerk, underwater, with an accordion. Seriously! Excellent stuff from Bristol's boy wonder.

5) Royksopp – Beautiful Day Without You (Wighnomy and Robag Wruhme’s Spekkfakkel Remikks) // Wall of Sound
Robag and the Wighnomys do it again in the best of what’s otherwise a poor remix package on the next Royksopp single. Their usual skeletal structure is accompanied by heavenly swelling synths, and a bass drop to keep you going in the early hours. Pure after party gold, I tell ya!

Royksopp – Beautiful Day Without You (Wighnomy and Robag Wruhme’s Spekkfakkel Remikks) // Wall of Sound

6) Young Dog Alien – Electric Eel // White
I almost couldn’t believe my ears when I first heard this Greg Wilson edit during one of my occasional days working at Replay. Beginning with a stretched out dub of ‘Turn The Page’, probably my favourite Streets track, it builds to a discofied crescendo before slipping into a slowed down, almost hip-hoppish version of the Prodigy’s ‘Out Of Space’. On paper, it sounds like one of the worst novelty records ever committed to wax, but Wilson pulls it off yet again in the party starting way that you expect him to. To paraphrase Mike Skinner, "Let’s put on our Classics and have a little dance shall we?"

7) Ellen Allien & Apparat – Orchestra Of Bubbles LP // Bpitch Control
I’m not even going to begin to write about this, as Big Phil’s done it already over at Pitchfork. Go read his review, salivate, then leg it to your local record shop and hand over some hard cash. If you still don’t believe us, then I have no doubt that ‘Jet’ will make your mind up for you.

Ellen Allien & Apparat – Jet // Bpitch Control

8) Yes Boss – Get Dropped Quick // Dance To The Radio
I first stumbled upon Yes Boss supporting indie punk-funk upstarts The Sunshine Underground. Instead of being confronted by some crappy no mark indie outfit, up on stage were two guys from Leeds, one flat cap wearing guy on laptop and synths, and the other tracksuited up spouting rhymes over the top of what can only be described as a grindie backing. Their production ethic was firmly rooted in the world of dubstep and grime, but was combined the cheapness of electro pop and the result was quite a strange and unique performance. Top that all off with their audacity to berate the indie audience while simultaneously winning them over, and you had what was probably the most entertaining opening act I’ve seen in a while. 'Get Dropped Quick' came out on 7" a week or so ago, and features two versions of the track; one featuring their usual dubwise sound, and the second (on side C of all things) with added bass and guitars in what I’m guessing is an attempt at a parody on the identikit indie bands of today.

Here’s a few lyrical nuggets for ya:
"No I haven’t heard your band / You look just like Franz Ferdinand / Been there, done that, got the shirt / The constant rejections gotta hurt."
"Brand new car on your 17th birthday / still you’re desperate to be punk rock / think it’s all about chains and mohicans / I tell you child, it’s really not."
"Got more punk in my little finger / Even if I was wearing a tux and / I ain’t no protest singer / but I gotta protest - what I’m hearing sucks."
"When I look at all these indie kids there’s something bothering me / Cos they dress just like their uncles did in 1973."

For your downloading pleasure, here’s a track that features on the recent Dance To The Radio sampler. Apologies for the wma, but maybe that means that you’ll buy the proper one over at Itunes. Please do, or they’ll have no money to buy their skunk! Alternatively, head over to their
myspace to check out more of their stuff.

Yes Boss ft.Witty & Nastee Boi – Meet The Boss // Dance To The Radio

9) Kate Bush – King Of The Mountain (Radio Slave Edit) // White
Matt Edwards
strikes gold with the first ever remix of Kate Bush. Poor old Kate doesn’t like anyone ‘spoiling’ her work, which is a crying shame as this subtle take on one of her crowning glories, ‘King Of The Mountain’ from her ‘Hounds Of Love’ LP shows. Cheers to Best Foot Forward for the tuneage. Can Matty E do any wrong at the moment with his Quiet Village Project and Radio Slave output being so right on the money? Check his remix of Peace Division's 'Blacklight Sleaze' for an example of what Ivan Smagghe should really be doing at the moment.

10) The Flying Squad – Trip 2 // White
So Tim Sweeney finally gets his arse in gear and releases one of his edits, albeit on white only at the moment. As Softy says, it’s full of tribal drumming with sprinklings of spacey synth lines and handclaps galore and will be sure to mess with people’s minds when it gets played out. The Sweenster’s going to be doing the next DJ Kicks mix which I’m looking forward to greatly, but in the meantime you should all go out and buy debut mix album for Rvng cos it’s fucking great. Any mix that encompasses Manuel Gottsching, Can, Throbbing Gristle, Aphex Twin, Radiohead, Cybotron, Kraftwerk, LFO, Fingers Inc, Psychonauts, Bauhaus, Was (Not Was), Grace Jones, Yoko Ono, Mu, Zongamin, Carl Craig, and Cat Power gets a thumbs up from me. By the way, if anyone could pop up a Megaupload of Tim Sweeney’s Our Disco set it’d be much appreciated, as I’ve been having a lot of trouble downloading it from their site.

Whistle While We Work It

By now you’ll probably have read all about our exploits down in London town, but a lot less about last Friday’s Mutant Pop. It nearly ended in tears before it’d even started, with both Bruno Pronsato and Butane being interrogated in customs at Bristol airport after they found them both without work permits. Thankfully, they were let through after a couple of hours and we could breathe a sigh of relief. Still, the old adage of two minimal buses coming along at once was still weighing heavily over our heads, and we were seriously worried about the turnout at 10pm, seeing as it was fairly busy by that time for our opening night last month.

Thankfully, the people did come, and by 11pm the party was in full swing. By full swing, I seriously mean that there were already people upstairs gurning their faces off. There was one guy who had his shirt off by that point and was constantly shouting ‘harder!’ to Mike and Gaz. Drug fuelled enthusiasm is supported at Mutant Pop, but I’m not sure that this was the right way to go about it! Being based downstairs, I didn’t really get to check out too much of Butane (pictured above), but a brief sojourn upstairs made me a very happy man indeed. It was nice to see that Skull Juice's Benedict Bull had made the effort to come and see us, so we thought it’d only be right to let him loose in our record bags for a while. Needless to say, he came up trumps with a highly enjoyable set traversing through disco, hi-nrg electro-house, and Cologne techno with ease. Many thanks to Andrew and Ben for helping things to go off with a bang. Here’s Ben’s ‘tune of the night’ in the form of Claude Vonstroke’s cheeky tech-house anthem, ‘The Whistler’, played by both myself and Gaz.

Claude Von Stroke – The Whistler // Dirty Bird

My memory may be a bit patchy, but one thing that I do remember is a discussion with Ben regarding Digitalism. You’ve got to love ‘Zdarlight’ for the bassline alone, but many of their remixes seem like they’re applying the same tired formula again and again. There are exceptions to this, however, like their mix of Sono that must be about a year old now. As with ‘Zdarlight’, the bassline is primed for dancefloor demolition and it’s a really well structured mix that sort of proves my point that they’re slacking at the moment.

Sono – A New Cage (Digitalism Remix) // PIAS Germany

Next month Fluid Ounce's October will be manning the decks to bring you a tasty selection of broken beat, house, and techno. Check out his excellent mix below, and we hope to see you there!

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Puffin Jackin!

It's been a long time coming, but here's Puffin's first Tape mix for about a year now. Notoriously slack in actually finishing any mix that he does (he's about 10 minutes in to his mix for the Futureboogie site, and he's been working on that for months!), this one came about last weekend when I actually forced him to record an 80 minute set without stopping. Immediately after he finished, he was very critical about it, but a quick listen through revealed that it was in fact a toe tapping, arse shaking journey with a rather deep, driving flow to it. Anyway, I loved it, and I'm sure you guys will as well. So here we are, 77 minutes of Puffin Jack (pictured above on the right with Mike Bull and Lazerboy), recorded live using only vinyl in the library of house music that is his back room. Enjoy!

1) Greg Wilson - Hardcore Boogie // White
2) Marcos Valee - Besteiras Do Amour (Jazzanova Remix) // Far Out
3) Hot Chip - Boy From School (Erol Alkan's Extended Rework) // EMI
4) Cosmic Sandwich - Cosmic Sandwich (Cosmic Sandwich Remix) // MBF
5) Alexander Robotnick - Dance Boy Dance // Art Of Disco
6) Jesse Rose & Rob Mello - Do Ya Wanna // Front Room
7) Alex Under - C1 (from 'Multiplicationes 2') // Apnea
8) Claude Von Stroke - The Whistler // Dirty Bird
9) Dark Mountain Group - Lose Control // Buzzin Fly
10) Hug - Birds // K2
11) Phonique - 99 & A Half (I:Cube Remix) // GU Music
12) Sly Mongoose - Snakes And Ladder (Rub'n'Tug Remix) // Mule Musiq
13) Booka Shade - Night Falls // Get Physical
14) Rhythm & Sound - Free For All (Soundstream Remix) // Burial Mix
15) Hot Chip - (Just Like We) Breakdown (DFA Remix) // EMI
16) Andy Stott - Come Together // Modern Love
17) International Pony - Our House (Ada Remix) // Columbia

Puffin Jack - May '06 Mix

Jack's back

Oh, and here's an excluseeeev new edit from Mutant Pop's very own Gareth Watkins:

Hell vs Vath & Rother - Jack My Body Maggie (Gareth Watkins Edit) // CDR


Down the Chippie

I earned my blogger's stripes last night with a wee trip down the road to watch the mighty Hot Chip (pictured, not last night) at the Zodiac. They. were. AMAZING. The gig was in the smaller, basement room of the venue, and the atmosphere homely and relaxed; we also hooked up with James from Headphonesex, a very good egg, needless to say. I still haven't heard the Hot Chip LP, so for more intimate details of what they actually played you might be advised to head James' way. This much I do know: the closing triumvirate of 'No Fit State', 'Just Like We Breakdown' and 'Over & Over' were scintillating, and like everything they played, they were delivered with the ineffable, body-poppin' stage presence that we've come to expect from Le Chip..I think the evening was best summed up by Kelly, who I'd dragged to the gig with me and who, having only heard 'Over & Over' previously, declared towards the end of the set 'I think Hot Chip are probably my favourite band now.' Quite. Also on the Mr Soft Whooping Scale, twice Kelly got very angry for me shouting in her ear, and I reckon I was averaging one whoop every thirty seconds - so a little bit of elementary maths says they must've been fucking good. 8/10 on the SWS.

Support came from the mightily odd Grosvenor, aka Rob Smoughton, a middle-aged looking chap whose act was basically M&S attired, suburban Har Mar - it was like watching Steven Spielberg's body do the bidding of Prince's soul. There was also definitely a whiff of Simply Red and Fleetwood Mac in his lady-lovin' exertions, but do we have an unlikely star on our hands? Um, probably not, but I for one will be championing Grosvenor just so long as he remains as defiantly strange as he was last night. It's a testament to the lo-fi-ness of his whole project that the CD I bought from him (Metrosexual), despite having nine songs, is separated arbitrarily (and accidentally) into three tracks. So here, have four in one - separate 'em up if you want, or enjoy a Grosvenor party megamix like you've never heard before...

Grosvenor - House of Many Windows; I Wouldn't Mind 'Er; Fessin'; It's Latin The Evening // CDR

I think the Bristol office of TAPE will be attending the 'Chip's gig there tonight, so enjoy it boys, get thee to the front and dust off some techno cobwebs....

Monday, May 15, 2006

Caught Up

Fuck, sorry it's been a while.

The last fortnight or so has been hectic, for all kinds of good and bad reasons, and it's difficult to know where to begin....But let’s try and start from the beginning. Last week, or rather, two weeks ago, I spent a few days working at
FACT magazine, that gem of a free, vinyl-fixated periodical you’ve probably seen brightening up many a record store or schmendy urban rags boutique in your area…It was all good fun, and my thanks again to the FACT boys for having me– Sean, Antony and Rob – if you happen to be reading this. You can visit their site if you have the slightest interest in my interview with Mock (of Mock & Toof fame) and related tales of pink wafers, amphetamine abuse and the DFA. On that note, thank Christ that 'Relevee' finally arrived on the spot last week, sounding even better (if curiously naked) without Tim Sweeney’s blathering atop it. I mean, OK, this isn’t news to anyone at all (weren't xxjfg bigging it up in, like, 1998?) – but what a track. It’s got a good six months of mind blowing left in it, for sure…But more on that later.

FACT's office can be found in a sweet-as location in Soho, deep in the cavernous backside of London's pre-eminent techno tailors
Phonica. Both FACT and Phonica are owned by The Vinyl Factory, a company who made a total mint by buying EMI’s vinyl pressing plant off them in the 1990s, when it looked liked wax was going to be consigned to the historical dustbin before the decade was out…Of course, vinyl didn't die, and now all us fools spend £7.99 a pop on imported nonsense from around the world, and - you guessed it - The Vinyl Factory does a rather sterling trade. So everyone’s happy, more or less. But yeah, let's get this out of the way - number one on my not-too-glittering list of achievements while in London was the overcoming of my long-standing, ultra-irrational fear of Heidi (pictured above, with Weatherall), the lovely personage who runs Phonica with Simon, Hector et al. A fear born of my early sojourns to Phonica, I guess three years ago, when I didn’t know my arse from my italo and tried to compensate with brash over-confidence in the face of incredulous staff, chief among the incredules (I’ve made up that word, but it works – you know, like infidel and nodule and incredible at the same time) being Heidi. Anyways, I had no choice but to confront the poor woman after I had this conversation with Simon (pictured deck-happy below):

Soft: Alright mate, how’s it going? Are you well?
Simon: Yeah mate, not too bad. You?
Kiran: Yeah, really good, thanks…
Simon: Someone, er, found your little blog the other day…
Soft: Oh yeah? Did you have a look?
Simon: Yeah, I did…
Soft: Yeah – and?
Simon: So did Heidi.
Soft: Oh...

To cut a medium-length story short, Heidi – this blog loves you, and that errant comments section which you had the misfortune of beholding was (for our part at least) innocent in its nerdish debate. God, how mortifying. Anyway…We’ll pick up that thread later….

Listening to 'Relevee' right now, probably the 432nd time this week, and I have to say - I prefer it with Sweeney's choice verbal annotations. Maybe DFA can release a special mp3 version with the Sween's comments lovingly restored (the 'When It Kicks It's So Good Re-Edit' perhaps?). There's little point in me posting the tune, it's been around, and DFA's people seem to be launching a thorough but understandable sting operation on all blogs who post their mp3s, so no, not much point. But here's another Craig classic - the tremendous re-edit of Loleatta Holloway's 'Hit & Run' that he did for the Moxie series a couple of years back. Craig's interventions are fantastically subtle, just accentuating the right instrumental elements at the right times, and stretching the breaks out to reach Lofty nirvana; it's all about the last three minutes, when he cuts the drums loose and really stabs with dem horn. A warning, though: don't listen to this on your ipod or whatever when your walking, 'cos you will start unconsciously affecting the John-Travolta-in-Saturday-Night-Fever strut and, if you're anything like me, probably look like a right ol' twat for it.

Moxie - Specimen 004 (Carl Craig) // Moxie

A couple of Wednesdays ago I crash-landed in Neighbourhood, a half-cocked club in Ladbroke Grove, to take my fill of what had promised to be a tantalizing bill: those mighty Teutonic sub-botherers Rhythm & Sound, backed up by dubstep uberkind Skream. And, save for a unbelievably dour, soporific support set from someone who made me feel too sleepy to even find out his name (seriously, dude's tunes were so cavernous and slow that you could go and take a piss between each note of any given bassline), the music was ship-shape throughout. Only problem was, there was absolutely NOBODY there. OK, there were like, fifty people, but excusing ten drug dealers/alcoholics/unidentifiable angry black men, the remaining forty consisted of white-boy stoners and, er, one girl. That is, one very odd girl dancing at triple speed and flailing her formidable dreads like Predator at a roller disco. It was grim, and frankly a shame given the reverence and crowd that R&S you'd think could comfortably expect. [Note: I make no claim to being a long-term R&S head, but as my techno/electro tastes have moved into slower, dubbier territories, I’ve rediscovered the Basic Channel sound and, for sure, I like a lot. Ricardo’s recent mix on Burial was a big help with that.] Anyway, after my buddy Arun (who I’d cruelly, and needlessly, summoned from right the other side of London to keep me company) bailed out, I stayed the course with Antony FACT, whose enthusiastic dubstep tutorials and electro gossip were enough to keep my heart from slowing to one, eternal stop (that's death I'm talking about kids, death). When Skream took to the decks towards 1am, though, the change of gear was immediately, colossally felt. Playing manfully (which seems like the wrong word considering he looked so impossibly young) to the handful of people left in the place, whose dancing by this point resembled a family of baboons trying to swim through peanut butter, the Croydon killer took his set down roads angular, stinky and, of course, quite ludicrously bassy. I guess he was playing a lot of his own productions, with 'Lightning Bolt' a gut-loosening highlight. Oddly enough, 'Midnight Request Line', despite eliciting a cheer of recognition, sounded a bit flat - I guess he just sequenced it badly amid the fiercer tracks in his repertoire. Still, the kid's a shit-hot producer, that much we all know, and it was a treat to hear so many examples of his exacting, instantly recognizable production style booming through a club darkly. Next time I catch him I'll be sure to head East where a larger, more appreciative crowd is bound to greet him. I mean, you can't put a discerning bill like that one on a Wednesday in west London and charge a tenner AND expect people to turn up. Whoever was promoting the event, I salute your taste and your ambition, but pelple like R&S and Skream deserve at least something approaching an audience.

Anyway, the distinguished mantle of main event of the week fell to the When Phonica Met Bugged Out! party at The Key, but it turned out that the apex of that day's enjoyment actually came earlier that evening...Me and Carnage had a few drinks on Old Street before heading to the T-Bar, where the Fabric afterparty was trudging along in earnest...The thing is, I love the T-Bar so much - the lay-out, the size, the intimacy, and the diaspora of people at different stages of mammoth weekend benders, from the be-shaded Italians foaming at the mouth to myself and Carnage, who were enjoying a few early evening beers and joints. We arrived to the sounds of Matthew Styles, surely the most inconsistent DJ I've ever seen - he was in decent enough form though, and perhaps justifiably shaky after what was no doubt a big few days for him. It was a little bit fast and housey for my increasingly digressive, cosmische tastes, but he finished up with Villalobos's classic 'What You Say is More Than I Can Say', immediately drawing people to what had up till then been a rather empty floor...Later that evening, as I was taking leave of some piss (or rather, allowing some piss to take leave of me) in the Gents, I heard this (to me) memorable exchange:

Styles: How's it going, mate?
Styles' Mate (visibly, volubly wired out of his skull): Yeah mate, not too bad. I think I should go home, I've been out too long, I'm fucked...
Styles (with delicate irony): Relax a book or something.

The set which followed really did make me wish I was a reading a book or something - it came courtesy of Jamie Jones, whose 'Amazon' on Freak-N-Chic I was raving about a few months ago. To be honest, that mightily respectable track has plummeted down my list of listening priorities as the year's grown hit adolescence - perhaps lacking the depth and sophistication that rewards a right royal repeated listen. I don't think he's actually followed it up yet, but I've noticed he's been rolling with the Rebels a lot recently, so maybe he'll be producing for them soon - he'll have to raise his game a little if he wants to hold his own on a Crosstown side, for sure. Anyway, all this is irrelevant, because his short set was one of the least dynamic, most instantly forgettable sessions I've ever heard, doing little to warm the crowd for the chief attraction - drum roll please - Mr Lucien Nicolet, aka Luci-motherfuckin'-ano. He absolutely SPANKED it, creating dense, intricate, perfectly modulated phrases out of nuttin' but two turntables and a mixer - within five minutes, he had restored phenomenal disorder to the dancefloor. Seriously, he was sooooo sick. And to be witnessing it in such a small club was almost a delight too far - I don't think I've danced so intently (and, it follows, so foolishly) without being off-my-face for, well, ever. It made me wish I'd ventured to Fabric the night before, 'cos it was majestic, rude, incomparable - motherfucker was drowning us in thick clouds of ambient, twitching electronics, and every time you thought to yourself 'Gee, this is amazing but I could really do with a killer shift right about now' he'd hit you with a perfectly weighted riff, spindly break or ruffneck bassline - seriously, he was God-like; it's a while since a DJ has made techno, and my own reception of it, sound completely new again. Rich took a few pictures on his phone, so maybe he'll get them up here in due course...One track which the lil' Chilean divinity played was Loco Dice's 'Seeing Through Shadows', a tune which I'd dismissed as mere minimal-schminimal until that night - seriously, that dude can make a decent tune sound like the missing piece in the puzzle of God's original masterplan. If you get a chance to see him behind a pair'o'platters any time soon, fucking do it.

Loco Dice - Seeing Through Shadows // Minus

Anyway, me and boy Carnage could have stayed there longer but we were already late for Lazerboy's birthday party, happening upstairs at a pub (The Griffin) a few stitches down the road. It was a lovely affair - caught up with some old faces, accidentally/deliberately ignored a few, and got a chance to spin a few tunes (disco disco disco). By this point I was steaming pissed, a fact compounded by a ridiculously naive and fumbled exchange with a 'dealer', who sold me a half-gram of Persil for a sum too princely for me to painlessly recall. Me and Carnage pursued him for a while, but when he picked up a glass bottle from a nearby dumpster and turned on us, we thought it might be wise to accept defeat and, like The Rakes, retreat retreat retreat. Our evening didn't really recover from that layered insult - we have a very simplistic sense of middle-class morality, and it's never nice to be fucked over by what you stupidly think sometimes to be your fellow man - it all reminded me that I'm losing my sharpness and youth at the tender age of 22.

After a few tunes from Ricky and Lazers himself (I seem to remember Hell's tummy tuck on 'Deer in the Headlights' going down a treat), we taxied it to The Key, where we walked in on agreeable scenes and sounds of Ewan Pearson (pictured above) administering electro-pop-afro-techno-acid to a noisy, wide-eyed crowd...It's funny, I always think that I love The Key, that I love the place, but I've now realized that I only think so because I go there frequently. Basically, it's one of those places that's nigh-on-impossible to enjoy without pharmaceutical counsel - a fact I unsmilingly recognized as the evening wore (and yeah, that's the right word) inexorably on...But there were plenty of good things going on - Pearson's set was probably the best thing I heard all night - diverse, colorful, elegant and gritty; I didn't recognize the majority of what he played, save for 'Silent Shout' and the all-conquering Craigism of 'Relevee' - the first time I've heard the latter out, and wow, that alone would've made the whole trip worthwhile. Gabriel Ananda took over the reins at this point, commanding a laptop and a mixing desk the size of an aircraft carrier for a live set which sounded a bit narrow-minded after the intergalactic hocus pocus of Ewan's selection, but which frothed up to a coruscating conclusion with a live, extended edit of his devastating Karmarouge electro-house 'Ihre Personliche Gluckmelodie' - every peak and drop teased out to breaking point, he ripped the crowd to shreds with that'n, basically.

Gabriel Ananda - Ihre Personliche Glucksmelodie

We popped upstairs for Simon Rigg's (pictured above, with Marc Ashken & Antony FACT) set, a feelgood melange of tough house and vocal jackers, marred only by a faulty deck which made every transition a white-knuckle ride in the negative sense. Still, the good vibes won out and the Rigg created an atmosphere of wigged-out electro wedding disco before closing with Skream's 'Midnight Request Line' - the second time I heard that track out in one week, and the second time it failed to push the right buttons for me...Marc Ashken took over, charting a course through boompty minimal waters which wasn't quite what I was looking for at that point (to be grimly honest, all I was looking for was a successful score on the narc front...). Enlivened by the amusing revelation that the drunken floozy Lazerboy had been chatting with for ages was none other than JoJo DeFreq, I headed downstairs to see what Andrew Weatherall (pictured below) could do for me.

Note to self: no one makes you regret not being off-your-tits like Weatherall. He actually ran over my foot with his record trolley half-an-hour previously, as he walked through the crowd to take his perch in the booth, arriving to a hero's welcome spearheaded by a heroically drunk Heidi. Immaculately turned out (he wears an excellent trouser..) as always, Weatherall, whose name I've noticed is always preceded in conversation/journalism by the almost resignatory epithet 'ever-reliable', was indeed ever-reliable, if two hours of relentlessly hard, brazen electro-house with occasional (and unpalatable) big beat inflections is what you've come to rely on. Still, my mood was pathetically hankered by my rapidly diminishing fuckedness and everyone esle was going apeshit for it, so you should take my criticism with a pinch of salt. But still, I've seen the man play enough to know when he's good and when he's just dirty, and I dare say last week's performance leaned toward the latter - and in that sense, I guess he judged the crowd's desires perfectly. That's the thing with The Key - you get a very English, almost aggressive crowd turning out for their events, a pitiable lack of gleeful, bonkers-on-drugs girls from the prettiest parts of the world chatting, smiling and making room for you to dance (as seems to have been the custom of the more enjoyable nights out in the capital I've had). Instead, at The Key, you get thirtysomething British women elbowing you in the chest as they try and make space to throw down moves for their self-financed, home-made movie called "I'm a sexy dancer". Yuk. You're going straight-to-video, my dears, straight-to-video...Anyway, Weatherall did drop Padded Cell's 'Signal Failure' at peaktime, exemplifying what a heavy, versatile production it is - Carnage was not alone that night in thinking it was just another fine, full-pelt acid house jam. A spectral presence throughout was the sour (I don't mean that as an insult) face of Cio D'Or - I don't know if/when she actually played, but she seemed to be hanging around the booths on both floors rather listlessly - I was looking forward to hear her play, but I dare say she did the clean-up session far into the AM, by which time I was long gone. The basic problem with the music that night, then, was its unilateral dedication to grinding electronic sounds - If Pearson had played Weatherall's slot I guarantee I would have left in a state of rapture rather than rumination, but I think the lack of difference between the musical policies of both rooms also contributed to my angst...Basically, I just wanted to hear Luciano again. Rumour had it that either the L-Man or Ricky 'Lobos would be doing a guest slot at the Phonica hoedown, but it hadn't happened by 6am and my legs were by that point feeling way too gelatinous to cling to anything so foundationless as hope. After taking a taxi to completely the wrong part of London, the TAPE boys eventually fumbled there way back to Lazerboy's abode, weak of limb and grey of face. It was a wicked night at large, but it was all to do with Lazer's birthday and Luciano, and probably not a great deal to do with the eight or so hours we spent at The Key. That said, I could tell from a position of non-participation, as it were, that the Phonica/Bugged Out! mingling was, on its own terms, a raging success - I saw a lot of smiles, a lot of happiness and a lot of good DJs. Well done, and thank you, to Simon and all the crew for pulling it off - I'll be there for the next one, and I'll be sure to bring along my long-lost friend Massive Bag of Drugs for the ride. Wooh.

Last week, of course, saw the sudden arrival and prompt departure of Summer. After two days of unspeakably glorious weather, my part of the angry isle seems to have reverted, with frightening totality, to rain, chill winds and general unpleasantness. Still, plenty of people here are acting as if the sun has remained - if there's one I hate about hot weather it's the way it seems to legitimize, in the minds of the many, unspeakable acts of sartorial terrorism. And footwear, my god. A fervent protestor against male sandal-wearing at the best of times, I've been forced into militarism by the onslaught of pale, male paddles accoutred in all manner of flip flop and, sweet Jesus, sports sandal. I must say I took a true fascist's delight in watching the hardy toe-flashers trudge glumly through a three inch-ground frost of sewage, leaves, rainwater and chocolate wrappers as the weather took a turn for the worse yesterday. Why does male foot exposure piss me off so much? I don't think homoerotic self-hatred is to blame (this time...), it's just...Men showing off their grisly little peds in anything but desert conditions seems to me a gross slight on all that civilization has set out to achieve. So I don't want to offend you dear readers, but if I see any of you in an elaborately strapped sports sandal anywhere other than a beach-town in high summer, I will just go ahead and kill you. I will take off your fucking sports sandal and beat you across the face with it. By important contrast, the hot weather does encourage all manner of systematic female garment shedding, a topic which I could dwell on salaciously for pages, but will refrain from doing so 'cos I would like keep TAPE a forum for perversions of the socio-musical variety alone. But, fuck, some of those of bodies that people would blush to expose in wintertime are suddenly on glowing (or, as is more often the case in the UK, pallid) display. It's not just disgusting male and revealing female attire that gives summer its essential character; it's the change in mood and manner. I think England, where even the most meagre snatch of sunlight is enough to have people donning shorts n shades, this change is startlingly obvious...People seem so much less harried, they move slower, they stop to chat, they smile and point and look up at the sky rather than looking like their hurrying to the darkest ghetto of a totalitarian state to buy contraband medicine for a sick relative. It's beautiful. And even though the sun is in remission now, that palpable change in behaviour has happily remained. One for the summer, dedicated to
Best Foot Forward - hope your party goes/went well.

Cosmo Vitelli - Delayer (Quiet Village Remix) // Unknown

My dissertation is due in less than two weeks which, given my lack of prepration so far, equates to two weeks of hell for yours Softly. Missives may be few and far between, depending on the amount of time I have to write/listen to tunes, but I'll be sure to avoid the wholesale disappearance that I perpetrated recently. In fact, I've got so many tantalising morsels to share with you from the likes of Rekid, Burial and Boxcutter, that I best hurry back...

Note: I was showing my sister this humble blog a couple of weeks ago, and the first thing she asked is why it's called 'All Sexist Ape'. Somehow, it had never occurred to me that the web address might read that unfortunate way. That's what we in the business call a Joycean slip...

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