summer in europe

Oh, would I were there for the festival season and sunny, grandiose views. Not that things are that bad here in the US-- DEMF went off well from all accounts, and lots of great music is coming to New York this summer. Anyway, to explain my brief absence: I just got back from the small town of Oberlin, Ohio, where I DJed some great parties during Oberlin College's commencement week. Good on you, Oberlin kids, for getting down to Reinhard Voigt, Dandy Jack and a load of other stuff I thought you'd hate!

Today's post deals with some of the current heavy hitters on the European scene, and particularly with some of the more elegant sounds that evoke the greenery, the cobblestones and the sunny bliss of summer in Central Europe.

Interestingly enough, the first track comes from a name usually associated with dark, brooding, hallucinatory techno. Yes, Pom Pom 29 has recently been released, and while some of the dark edge remains (especially on B2), the release is brighter than any previous Pom Pom effort. Leaving behind the mystery of who exactly Pom Pom is-- some guess Justus Kohncke, others that Pom Pom is really a catch-all for a secret multi-artist re-edits label-- let's get to the meat of the A-side of Pom Pom 29.

Unlike many of the more recent Pom Pom releases, the track begins without percussion, opting instead for a fantastically spacey arpeggiation loop. The beat arrives soon enough in typical banging, well-padded fashion. Some twinkly harmonies later, a demented harpsichord synth arrives. That's right, HARPSICHORD on a Pom Pom release-- believe me, it is something for the ears to behold. Eventually, the track resolves with some serious synthy octave whooshes in the background, the arpeggiation loop still going strong. As a major fan of Pom Pom, I must say that this release surprised and delighted me more than almost any other I've heard-- if I didn't know who it was, I'd guess something like Lindstrom or even Minilogue. Strange how the ears can deceive! (Special thanks to one of my closest friends and collaborators, the lfam, for bringing this to my attention).

Pom Pom- Pom Pom 29 (Side A)

Next up is an older track from one of the big names of the past year, Ame. Their new record Balandine, out now on the Innervisions label that they run with Dixon, is an exercise in dark, deep house. In this sense, its tracks are quite different from last year's slow burning "Rej," which was blasting at nearly every club everywhere at the time.

The track below is taken from the 2004 Sonar Kollektiv release, Mifune/Shiro. The latter track begins with a steady deep house beat and a low bass progression. After this backbone has been set, a high and simple synth loop comes in, eventually combining with piano strikes reminiscent of Henrik Schwarz and a slowly creeping guitar-y synth line. When the beat finally drops out, the bass keeps it moving whilst a new, ethereal synth line brings one up into the trees. The elegance and grandiosity of this particular line makes the track-- it instills head-shaking and whoops of ecstasy from the dance-floor. So check out this older treasure from Ame, and make sure to see them spin if you get the chance-- it's well worth it.

Ame- Shiro

The next post will concern itself with some rare and lovely gems from two of minimal's favorite sons: Ricardo Villalobos and Luciano, so visit again!

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