Sorry for the long absence. Thanksgiving is always a mess of seeing friends, crazy cooking, and getting superbly intoxicated. Hope yours was good, too!
Today, we have a newish track remix of a track by Kenny Hawkes and David Parr, two of Brighton's-- nay, England's-- finest DJs and producers. Hawkes & Parr team up for a release on Serge Santiago's label, delivering a deep and infectious house track.
What is even more exciting about the EP, though, is the fact that Santiago's remix on the B-side is a monstrous take on the original-- it is almost unrecognizable as a remix, which is quite a difficult trick for a producer to pull at times. Utilizing the choicest synth lines and some of the same percussive elements, Santiago throws in a wonderfully-panned two-note synth stab that mesmerizes the listener and truly begs to be played on a good club system. In some senses, Santiago's take on "The Boobytrap" would be right at home next to some of Carl Craig's more engaging recent work, and this is very good thing. Santiago is a jet-setter, but the hype surrounding him is well-deserved, if his recent output is any indication.
Kenny Hawkes & David Parr- The Boobytrap (Serge Santiago Remix)
So, tomorrow I'll be posting two vintage tracks by Hardfloor, whose techno mastery should be known by everyone. For now, though, I'd like to point out my feature on Underground Resistance in Big Shot Magazine, which is available in fine record shops everywhere. (I also wrote a somewhat sarcastic piece on Gildas Loaec of Kitsune in the same issue, if you're looking for some cutting remarks about 'nu-rave' or 'blog house' or whatever the fuck people call it, order your copy today!)
Finally, I want to recommend that you head over to YouTube and search for a track called "Smell Yo Dick" by Riskay. Possibly one of the most infectious and dirty R & B tracks of the year, after one listen, you'll find yourself walking around singing 'Can I smell yo dick?' Very funny.
Every few months, I find myself returning to the music of Arthur Russell, one of my personal and musical heroes. Whether it be the hyper-sexual disco of "Is It All Over My Face?," the elegiac simplicity of "Soon-To-Be Innocent Fun/Let's See," or the no-wave synth insanity of "Springfield," Russell's music is altogether affecting, gorgeous and brilliant. That such a talent was lost too soon to the scourge of AIDS perhaps gives some credence to the old aphorism that only the good die young.
Today, I'm posting a DFA remix of "Springfield." Those familiar with the original will notice that Murphy, Sweeney & Co. eschew the original's beginnings, opting instead to pump up the low kicks while looping the ethereal vocal/saxophone harmonies that are the mark of the track's endings. The soft synths of the original only come in as if incidental, lending the remix a more personal and less bombastic quality. Additionally, the bass-line and Russell's lead vocal lines are brought out of the lovely murk of the original-- this latter change is the best decision the DFA could have made, as it high-lights Russell's unique and emotionally-resonant voice. Cello scribblings and seemingly unsynthesized piano parts are also brought out, allowing the listener a peek into the original's hidden workings. Certainly my favorite DFA remix, "Springfield" will run through your head constantly after a listen or two. From the post-humous 2006 album, Springfield, on Audika Records. Finally, also worth mentioning is a new documentary that a friend of mine has been assisting on about Russell's life-- information can be found here.
Arthur Russell- Springfield (DFA Remix)
Next time, a return to techno!
So sue me: Dennis Ferrer has been one of my favorite artists for the past couple of months, and remixes of his great tracks have been flourishing simultaneously. Thus, while I feel slightly weird about posting another remix of a Ferrer track in less than a month, there's no helping my love for this guy's work. Another guy whose recent output has been consistently stellar is Mikael Nordgren, aka Tiger Stripes, who is the most recent remixer of Ferrer, and the focus of today's post.
"P 2 Da J" (which originally appeared on Ferrer's '06 album, The World As I See It) is a fantastic track with a funky, deep Chicago beat, great synth sounds and vocal loops. However, it is a bit... frenetic? While one of the original's merits is its wildness, the Tiger Stripes remix takes these wild elements and shapes them into a tight, controlled techno track with rhythmic and harmonic complexity that only peaks out in the original. The synth stabs, bell sounds and marimba elements are wonderfully syncopated, the bass throbs the track along, and the percussive elements are mixed perfectly, allowing the harmonies and stabs in the mids to really shine. Finally, the aggressive "UNH" and breathy samples of the originally lend the track a dangerous, sexy feel that is difficult to ignore. On King Street Sounds as well as Defected.
Dennis Ferrer- P 2 Da J (Tiger Stripes Remix)
So, in the interest of keeping appetites for new stuff whetted, I'll be posting the promised balloon track today, and the new techno track tomorrow.
The photo above is of Judy Dunaway, a composer and guitarist who has worked with such luminaries of contemporary music as John Zorn, the FLUX Quartet and Yasunao Tone. She also happens to be the "Mother of Balloon Music," performing and recording many pieces of music using gigantic, amplified (and sometimes processed) balloons. "Bluebird," the track below, is the result of a collaboration with the aforementioned Tone, one of the most prolific and active members of the Fluxus movement. Much of his more recent work has involved cutting patterns into or placing tape onto audio CDs and recording a player's efforts to read the digital material. (His astoundingly noisy yet gorgeous Songs for Wounded CD is a classic, and should be heard by all).
For the collaboration below, Judy recorded a multi-track balloon piece, and Tone strategically placed tape on a CD recording of the piece. The result is a fluttering, sputtering, and strangely beautiful piece of electronic experimentation. Dunaway has also been known to do jazz standards on the balloon, and her work will most certainly delight any sonic explorer's ears.
Judy Dunaway w/ Yasunao Tone- Bluebird
Tomorrow, get ready for a Tiger Stripes remix of Dennis Ferrer!
Today's post, as promised, is dOP's new track featuring Noze, "Dopamen." It goes out to my boy in Berlin, Michael, who once did a radio show with the same title as this post...Gude laune, ja?
"Dopamen" is a crazy earworm of a tech-house tune, filled with swelling synths, a hi-frequency synth note keeping the track hi-NRG enough throughout, handclaps, as well as the usual panoply of secondary percussive elements. What is especially nice about "Dopamen," though, are the vocals and vocal samples. Noze lend the track a sexy, seamless movement that helps bring it above typical tech-house, making it a surefire hit with the amyl-and-white crowd along with the more 'serious' techno heads. On Noze's label, Circus Company, the rest of the EP from which "Dopamen" is taken is also quite something to listen to, and a definite pick for one of the best records of the last part of 2007.
Check out the comments section for some clarification on the particulars of the track from dOP themselves!
dOP featuring Noze- Dopamen
Next time? An experimental piece using balloons, as well as a new techno tune.
New track coming tomorrow-- Dop's "Dopamen" featuring Noze.
Tonight, though, I'll be on WOBC FM, Oberlin College and Community Radio. The show should be pretty interesting-- all sorts of aleatoric electronics, experimental instrumentation (including a piece done with processed balloons!), and complex dance music shall be displayed to your ears. (That doesn't make a whole lot of sense, but just roll with it). Tune in from 8-10 pm EST for a live stream.
And look forward to that Dop track tomorrow-- it is a fantastic tune.
Argh, things have been hectic. However, I will not be as ungodly busy for the next few weeks, so more frequent posting shall be happening.
Today, we start off with a track by a friend,Mario Diaz de Leon, who is currently studying under trombonist and composer George Lewis at Columbia. He is also one of the latest signings to John Zorn's Tzadik label. Needless to say, he is one of the most exciting young composers around, as well as a wonderful guy. (He's been known to stay up very late dancing to techno, too!)
"Drops of Rain" is a 'cover' of sorts, but not really. Originally done by Blink-182 (!) under the name "Down," de Leon used software to slow down the original, poppy-yet-melancholic song file to create an astounding, epic track. What did he do? He played the slowed-down track using an open guitar tuning, and found that it suited what he was looking for. Full of gorgeous washes, processed guitar and vocals, "Drops of Rain" sounds nothing like Blink-182; in fact, it sounds so little like Blink-182 that the track is a bit of a mindfuck. Its ambience is engaging while maintaining a multi-layered, ethereal beauty.
Originally recorded live using processed guitar and vocals with minimal post-processing, "Drops of Rain" is taken from an unreleased record called Mira, a five song disc whose other 'original' tracks build on compositional ideas that arose from the process of creating the Blink-182 'cover.' Mario calls the style 'megatone,' with a bit of tongue in cheek. Below is a short video of the album's title track, taken live in Birmingham this past August.
And here is "Drops of Rain." Do keep an eye out for future releases from de Leon, as his compositions are diverse and far-ranging.
Mario Diaz de Leon- Drops of Rain
Next up is a new track from Berlin's Kiki & Sasse. On Moodmusic, "Grand Cru" is an irresistible, deep tech-house number with a wonderful 1-4-5-3 synth loop running lushly throughout. Along with a wriggling, high-mixed bass line and perfect percussive bits, the 120 bpm track is a perfect late-late floor-shaker. Originally purchased at Halcyon, where there was discussion of how killer Sasse's recent output has been. "Grand Cru" is yet another fantastic tune with his name on it, so get on it.
Kiki & Sasse- Grand Cru
Next time? More new techno!