The much-lauded and well-regarded Adam Beyer seems to be getting even better with age, if one of his newer efforts on his Mad Eye label is any indication. The China Girl EP is a striking slice of minimal techno, particularly the B-side, "Ask Yourself." Beginning with a tech-funk beat more reminiscent of Detroit than Sweden, the track quickly becomes a real well-padded banger, with excellent woodblock percussive bits in the background. A nice, dubby organ chord then begins to move with the track, and eventually, a new and heavily-distorted dub chord is added, allowing for comparisons to Basic Channel, or a more loudsome take on Brendon Moeller. With high-frequency squeals and distorted tones riding throughout, the track is a real ear-pleaser.
Adam Beyer- Ask Yourself (Original Mix)
Next time, look forward to two essential Italo tracks from Doctor's Cat.
Muffler, at all of 22 years of age, has released an impressive number of house, jungle and drum'n'bass records the world over. The Helsinki native has just made his debut on Britain's Hospital Records, and what a debut: one couldn't ask for a lusher, more dreamy d'n'b track-- in fact, the record sort of sounds like what would happen if Vangelis decided to assist in making d'n'b records rather than disco records. (See his work with Demis Roussos for the Vangelis disco experience).
"Mermaids" begins with watery, hi-frequency noises and relatively standard d'n'b percussion. Within a few seconds, though, synthesized, ascending vocal samples beginning looping heavenwards, and then the killer, brooding piano loop comes in. All this time, seagull-like squawks, beachy whooshes and bleeps lurk in the background. The bass-line is smooth and not too high in the mix, and just when you think that the track can't get any lusher, chanting female vocals begin hovering in the background, eventually coming to the fore and leading to the track's major valley. The summit, though, is close enough, and soon all of the elements are back, the female vocals taking over for the piano's major melodic role until the track's ending. If anything, this track is proof that d'n'b can be gorgeous, plaintive music with many nuances (as well as melodic appeal). Certainly check out the other track from this EP ("Waves Breaking") as well as Muffler's other releases-- he's been making tracks since he was a young lad, and he can only get better with age.
Muffler- Mermaids (Original Mix)
So, where to begin with Omar-S? The "grandson" of Detroit techno is a DIY mother with attitude, releasing his own records on his own label, telling people who don't give him respect to fuck off, and otherwise just being a badass. See that guy in the picture? Yeah, that's him, and yeah, that's a gun. Before I even go into his track that I'm presenting today, I'd like to point out that he sells his records for almost NOTHING. You can get a great number of them for what you'd spend on two records from some German record label, so there's absolutely no excuse not to support this underappreciated genius of Detroit.
Omar's latest release is a one-sided, backwards-spinning (as in it plays from the label out, not the usual way) affair that guest stars Theo Parrish on percussion. The track is based on a simple synth loop that continues for the track's 11:35 run-time, with nice padded kicks, wonderfully-syncopated jangle bells, alien-like squelches, and sustained tones. The effect is a mesmerizing-- nay, hallucinogenic-- techno masterpiece, with a break that is so long that when the beat comes back in, it is a total mind-melter. Certainly one of the dirtiest, craziest Detroit tracks I've ever heard, this one should be talked about for years to come. Here's to Omar-S, and here's to my associate the lfam for sending this great piece of vinyl to me.
Next time, some new minimal from Adam Beyer. Additionally, I broke down and decided to start paying for more storage space on yousendit, so tracks will once again be up for two weeks or 500 downloads. And thanks for all of the great notes that people have been sending!
Several months ago, I happened to be in Pittsburgh. Now, other than some good museums and architecture, the Iron City doesn't have that much going for it any longer; in fact, Pittsburgh kind of sucks. But one saving grace of the town is an AMAZING record store in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood. Jerry's has more records in one place than I've ever seen in my life, including more than 20,000 45's (!). I walked out of Jerry's with two bags full of (mostly) excellent records, and only $60 lost from my coffers. So if you are in Pittsburgh for whatever reason, it is a stop worth making.
At Jerry's, I picked up a 12" from a group called Canto Azul because of two Faze Action remixes on it, and needless to say, those remixes are quite something. The job that the Faze Action boys do dubbing out what was a Latin House track is especially noteworthy-- from the mesmerizing bass-line to the congas, from the insanely delayed guitar bits to the straight padded house beat, the Fazed Action Dub of "Resolution" is a heady affair that fits in nicely with some of the Idjut Boys more dubby experiments, and could even slip into the balearic sets that seem to be burgeoning at the moment. The organs and mid-level writhing guitar samples are a nice nod to other Latin musics, too. On the now-defunct Resolution label, there is little information about Canto Azul available-- if you know anything about them, do let me know! Most of all, though, enjoy this bit of dubby house madness. (Hint: the apex comes right before the five-minute mark).
Canto Azul- Resolution (Fazed Action Dub)
Next up is a track from Haneef Raisani, the father of the house and techno scene in Dubai. Amid all the excesses and beauty of that fabled city, Raisani has made a place for foreign labels and DJs, as well as fostering a burgeoning Middle Eastern house scene. (Almost makes you want to move, right?)
Raisani pairs with Pierre Guidera to create an absolutely slamming remix of their own track, called "French Orgasm." On Raisani Records' 50 Degree Dubai Heat compilation EP, the track is a perfect mix of high-frequency whooshes (and...uh, orgasm noises), deep and padded kicks, congas, beautifully syncopated synths, moments of harmony and a peak that crushes. Sometimes reminiscent of Ingrosso's '06 remix of "Swimming Places," Raisani and Guidera are on a deep mission to bang you into dust and swirl you about Dubai's oasis-like scenery. Apparently a big hit at the WMC this past March-- not that being a big hit in Miami makes you a legend any longer, sadly enough-- "French Orgasm" is peerless in 2007 for bringing a loud, complex and boisterous flavor to the somewhat austere and Teutonic current deep house scene. Watch out for Raisani in the future-- he might just make Dubai into the best new party destination.
Raisani & Guidera- French Orgasm (French Do It Better Mix)
As promised, this post features a brand new track from Detroit's beautiful DJ Minx. "Lavender Lust" is ten minutes of loungey, deep house, and the first track on the Detroit Beatdown Volume Two EP on Third Ear Recordings. The track begins with an ascending two note synth-line, then the high-hats and kick come in. Shortly thereafter, a narcoleptically soft, soothing progression of sustained synth notes come in, followed by yet another, more clipped synth line. Eventually, all of the other synths fade into the background and all that remains is this latter line...then this fades, too, leaving only the bass and percussion...then only the kicks and hi-hats...and so on, until the track fades with the padded kicks. While certainly not a tune for dancing, it is certainly a tune for low-lighted, plush lounges, or a good slow cruise on a summer's day. Worth mentioning, too, that the rest of the EP is also quite wonderful, deep and techy through and through.
DJ Minx- Lavender Lust
The next post will have a choice newer track as well as a 1996 joint from Faze Action. Additionally, I have switched to yousendit from sendspace, so that tracks will only be up for one week or 100 downloads from now on. Sorry for the inconvenience, but YSI seems to work a bit faster for me, and also allows the tracks to be seen on the Hype Machine.
A few weeks back, I posted a track by Popnebo taken from the We Are Not Detroit, We Are Destroyed Volume One compilation on Balkon, which also contains some other great tracks. One of these is by a rising star from Croatia named Davor O., who has just released a six-track EP on the Zagreb-based Home Made Electronica label. The EP is wonderful amalgam of tech-house and minimal, with some lovely ambient moments thrown in for good measure-- it definitely is one of the better releases of 2007, in my opinion, and hopefully will garner some more recognition for Davor and the exploding Balkan techno scene.
The stand-out track on the EP is "Whales Making Love," a minimal number right at home alongside many of techno's recent summer hits. It bangs its way into the ear immediately, featuring excellent secondary percussive bits and restrained string stabs. The title of the track-- which is in some ways a bit regrettable, but funny-- comes from the high-freqeuncy, acidy squelches that become louder as the track continues. The bass roams throughout, but the moment of ecstatic release in the track comes when grandiose, near-aerophone sounding synths come in with a melodic line worthy of greeting royalty. Secondary synth bits in the mids, hisses and a head-swelling sense of whales fucking fill the rest of the track with abandon. Definitely a GREAT track to play in the late hours, techno fans all around will be able to really kick out the kinks with this monster.
Davor O- Whales Making Love
(By the way, this is a direct link, not a sendspace download).
Tomorrow, look forward to a chill new Detroit-styled joint from DJ Minx.
Needless to say, I am still recovering my senses from the two (six?) amazing sets by the UR DJ Assault Squad this past weekend. Though Friday at APT had its moments, it was really the sets at Water Taxi Beach that stood out, not only because the sound was better, but because the vibe of being outdoors against the Manhattan skyline fit the sound and mood of the crowd much better. So, without further ado, here is a clip that should give those uninitiated to the sound a bit of an idea as to what it was like. (Worth mentioning, too, that nary a computer or Serato-plates were in sight throughout the evening-- real mixing from real DJs was the order of the night).
The evening started off with a pretty sweet set by Cleveland's Brothers Brothers, who definitely got the crowd ready for UR with some choice Detroit-infused deep house tracks. Only after the long-ass to get in subsided did UR begin their assault on the crowd. First up: James Pennington, aka Suburban Knight.
Pennington whipped up the crowd with his signature claustrophobic style, running through UR classics like "Stardancer," his own work ("Echo Location" was a highlight), and some more Detroit techno finery. His set was the shortest of the evening, unfortunately, but was certainly worth an early arrival to the beach. Next up was DJ Skurge, who can be seen below helping Model 500 out at this year's DEMF-- he's the only one not facing the crowd.
Skurge's set was what got people really riled up. He went through tracks like whirlwind, his mixing seamless and the beats hard-hitting. He dropped tons of great bombs on the crowd, too-- the valleys were as monumental as the peaks. Highlights included "Freedom Dancer," whose swirling, snare-fuelled revelry had the floor whooping and hollering like nothing else. The last and longest set of the night was manned by Dex, who "fucking KILLED IT," as one party-goer enthused to me the next day.
I cannot help but agree: Dex's set was the best of the evening. He went from playing hard-hitting techno to the 'hi-tech jazz' that UR are famous for, and even included some live vocals in his set courtesy of UR's booking manager/cohort, Cornelius. The highlights here are almost too numerous to mention-- so many of UR's finest tracks (along with other Detroit monsters) were played that to name them all would be a bit much. Of course, the most uplifting moment came right before the encore, when all the levels were taken down and Cornelius read the manifesto: "You will find your strength in the sound, and make your transition." The crowd was chanting the most famous initials in techno well after Dex was done for the night, and it goes to show that UR's talk of unity and transformation through techno is no bull.
Tomorrow, we'll have a great new track from Davor O., a rising star from Croatia.
Here is what might be my favorite Underground Resistance track, just to whet your appetite for a bigger post early next week. If you're in NYC this weekend, come to see the UR Assault Squad (including Suburban Knight) DJ tonight at APT or tomorrow at Water Taxi Beach. Should be two amazing sets!
Underground Resistance- Mirage
Ah, finally back! After a wild week of working while sick (see Sunday's post), I've recovered my senses and my sinuses enough to post again. So, on to it.
The first track of this post is a yet-to-be-released work from UK-based Breakage, otherwise known as Jamie Boyle. The DJ and producer has been making thoroughly pulsating jungle and breakbeats since 2001, and has quite a rep among that scene's regulars. "Clarendon," taken from Marcus Intalex's astounding FabricLive 35 mix, does not depart from what one would expect from Mr. Boyle: it contains a narcotizing two-note bass loop, ascending horn samples, dub vocal snippets, and delayed backing percussion. Of course, the requisite congas enter into the mix, but only towards the track's apex, when all drops out for a lone, delayed vocal bit. Whether or not jungle is your thing or not, the track is perfect for testing out new sub-woofers or simply sitting back and smoking a fattie. Highly recommended stuff, especially for those looking to chill out and let bass destroy their innards.
Our second track comes at us from France's Sebastien Leger, a well-known name in the field of party house and techno. "Champagne Party" is, in many ways, the perfect party track: its beat is well-padded, it has some funky-ass bass and near-disco guitars moving in loops throughout, and finally, it has a great break wherein only one new element is added: a muffled sample of a woman hitting a high note. Its handclaps and samples of a 'champagne party' only make it more of a jubilant affair. Reminiscent of a less stoned Idjut Boys, "Champage Party" will certainly effervesce any party where you might play it.
Sebastien Leger- Champagne Party
Tomorrow's post will be a celebration of the UR DJ Assault Squad coming to New York for two dates this coming weekend. Perhaps I'll see you there?
Sorry all, I was going to post many tracks for you this weekend. Instead, I got hit with a massive sinus infection that laid me flat until a few hours ago. Light hurt my eyes, music hurt my ears, everything sucked. But look out for stuff this week, including a track from Breakage, a classic from Sebastian Leger, and a look at UR, whose DJ squad will be performing TWO sets in New York this coming week.
First track of the post is from some d'n'b heads we heard from in our first venture into the genre a few posts back. Commix are among the more prolific and well-regarded d'n'b groups out of Britain (where else?) at the moment. Many of their tracks are sample-heavy affairs with sublime peaks and valleys, as well as a really fantastic sense of harmony, a quality not altogether common in the slog of d'n'b crap out there. "Be True," while departing from usual dub samples, utilizes a jazzy female vocal line to create much of the tension in the song-- the main chords throughout the entire track consist of three pitch-shifted samples of her singing the word 'true.' Along with loungey pianos and strings, the track rolls forward at perfect speed for a drive along city freeways. Finally, the pitch-shifting work done on the vocal samples, as well as the vocal loops, are unstoppably good. Not too fast for those wary of the d'n'b, but fast enough for those looking to slam, Commix's newest single (on Metalheadz) is a surprisingly lush affair, and one of the best d'n'b singles of the year thus far.
Commix- Be True (Original Mix)
Next up is two tracks from the infamous man pictured above, Jamal Moss (aka Insane Black Man, aka Hieroglyphic Being, aka The Sun God, not to mention a member of Africans with Mainframes). However, these two tracks have a bit of a twist: they're not on the right speed. Moss' 2005 effort on Klang, Conversations in an Analog Dialect, is a wonderful techno record made using only analog synths, and its sound is appropriately spacy, squelchy, and otherwise good. But after spending a great deal of time with it (thanks to my man Copy Copy), it came to my attention that I'd been playing it at 33 rpm rather than 45 rpm. After correcting this mistake, though, I was dismayed: the tracks just didn't sound as good sped up! More spacy, for sure, but more R2D2 than drifting through the ether. Since I am more partial to the latter, I continue to listen to these tracks on the wrong speed-- their vibe is deeper, the bass is actually apparent in the mix, and the high-frequency washes and squelches are at levels appropriate for human ears, not canine ones. Perhaps you'd like to check out the difference for yourself? Well, head on over to Beatport after listening to these slowed-down tracks and listen for yourself. I'm sure you'll agree that this Moss effort is more pleasurable, summery, and plausible on the wrong speed. Additionally, the listener is able to get more of a handle on Moss' rhythmic complexity and genius on a slower speed. If you're still into it, I highly recommend other HB releases, particularly the Machines for Lovers EP on Spectral.
Hieroglyphic Being- Linux/Conversations in an Analog Dialect