26 May 2010

Speedy J / Monoloc - Armstrong / Pumpkin (CLR 031) - 8 and 3/10

Chris Liebing's label has arrived to the 31st release but this is the very first in my collection. B-side is clearly the downside of this 10-inch: Monoloc serves us a "Pumpkin" that does not taste at all. It's a common-sounding and dull techno track that's going nowhere, despite of having a certain portion of metallic funk in it.
On the flip, the upside that delivers naked and purist techno by grandmaster Speedy J himself. "Armstrong" is a menacing and deep track with fat basses pumping with confidence. Clearly an achiever, like Neil, the first-man-on-the moon, or Lance, the-man-living-in-the-saddle- whichever Armstrong the producer had in mind. Like Monoloc's, this is not a speed-crazy "schranz" track either, with BPMs around 120. Massive.
CLR031 Speedy J - Armstrong by jochempaap

Nuel - Untitled (Aquaplano ltd 01) - 7/10

Five untitled tracks on a limited and stickered white-label release. A1 is an animal with teeth of steel: hammering minimal loops remind of earlier Sähkö and Sleeparchive and sweeping acid lines fly all over the place. It's a hypnotic and massive start but the rest of the EP is easier to digest. Ambient enters the game on A2 where beatless and calm sound textures prevail and I can imagine seagulls nosediving at a secluded beach.
Alarmingly, B1 kicks off as another irrelevant minimal house track, with occasional noises and clicks, but then darker bass appears to improve the situation. B2 gives synth drums and plays with EQ that is complemented by dreamy soundscapes and humble strings. Can't avoid the feeling of old school trance, like Age of Love and Harthouse stuff. B3 is a brief random-sounding collage of electronica, indie, acid and other sound fragments.
Although the first track promises a sinister trip, at the end of the day we see that the predator is a dreamer. Nuel, an Italian from Rimini, has produced an old-new trance record with a deeper edge.
And I have to mention that heavy stylus was needed to avoid jumps in a few parts of this vinyl.



21 May 2010

Harmonious Thelonious - On Stages EP (Diskant 02) - 8/10

You will be well boiled and cooked when listening to that. A cannibal feast is introduced with "Angewandte Muziek" where dry and fierce percussion accompany the track. Crowd shouts and synth drum wildfires leave no doubt that you have been stranded on a remote island somewhere in the Southern hemisphere. Planet of Drums and Raoul K would send greetings. "On Stages" is based on a spiralling bassline and jack elements. With shouts and whistles it creates an impression of live performace - that explains the title as well.
On the flip, "Makeshift" runs on a wooden xylophone groove and softer percussion but lacks the excitement of other tracks. For the end you will be rewarded with ample drums: "Primitive, Persuasive, Provocative Percussion" is really a fat rhythm monster and soundtrack for tribal rites.
Durian Brothers and now Harmonious Thelonious have made Diskant a great launch and it's definitely a label to watch out for. Not an ordinary club fare that expands the horizons.

DUST OFF: 100% Acidiferous - Tank / 303 State (100%)

Acid assault from 1993 and Frankfurt. Not the most wanted of five releases by the 100% Acidiferous label. On the A-side "Tank" goes rushing and takes a deep bow to the fans of gabber as BPMs try to break the ceiling. Sounds better when pitched down, although meant for 45rpm.
On the flip "303 State" comes and bites with 303-sound and slapping kickdrum but is not as rebellious as the "Tank" side. Playing with pitch control would add new nuances to both tracks.
The sleeve carrying the slogan "Caution Acid" reminds of the invasion of a Dutch DJ gang I witnessed more than 15 years ago in the House of Chess, Tallinn. During the set a DJ with funny stiletto beard and proud ponytail presented the sleeve to the crowd. Acid was pouring down and Dutch go-go girls wearing mascara and snorkel flippers were a great sight.



19 May 2010

DUST OFF: The Possessed - Black Blood (PCP 009 - 1992)

Skulls at large again. Planet Core Productions' (PCP) hardcore machinery plays with breakbeats but manages to create even darker and gloomier atmosphere than in their usual kickdrum-infected rave monsters. The tracks do not suffer under self-imposed speed limit and relative slowness makes them even harder.
"Black Blood" is massive: starts with obscure rubbing sequence, followed by fierce breakbeats, symphonic strings and evil voice samples. "Manipulator" quotes a horror movie dubbed in German and then the mass of breakbeats and hoover sounds makes it another intensive trip.
On the flip "The Lord Is My Avenger" begins like a meeting of Middle Eastern strings and voices but gains speed thereafter and follows the setup of other tracks. A shattering interference by long-time defunct PCP camp, from 1992.



Kasper Bjørke - Standing On Top Of Utopia (HFN Music 04 LP) - 6/10

A good present for a young-at-heart lady celebrating her 52nd birthday. She definitely remembers the disco days and is fond of pop music. Well, Scandinavians have done a cute record full of disco hooks, guitar riffs and honey-like vocals. I have to admit my doubts before the purchase as it sounded "too pop", and really, the opener "Young Again" would fit well to afternoon radio shows from Dublin to Minsk, as does "Alcatraz". The next, "Dasko Vanitas", is different: an instrumental piece that lets disco balls shine and pours in some hefty bass, on the backdrop of well-measured beats. "Animals" features vocals by absent-minded ladies and rubbing bass and the A-side concludes with "Great Kills", a slow and even melancholic instrumental meditation.
On the B-side "Melmac" is the first one to note: surprisingly different and even somewhat aggressive motor music with neotrance feel. "Heaven" is a cover of Rolling Stones and brings back melodies and sweet siren voices. "Efficient Machine" can't decide between rhythm patterns, switching from slower to faster and "Fasano" travels in more experimental roads.
This record is like a social event with several singers and musicians involved. Bjørke has composed most of the tracks but sings only on one, "Fido & the Friendly Ghost". Summerlike stuff that will not only speak to the lady (52) but also to fans of cosmic and house.

16 May 2010

Roland Sebastian Faber - Gropiusstadt EP (Aube 009) - 6/10

Every German, or more exactly Swabian, dreams of building a house. Or they did, if we consider that nowadays about half of the population rents the dwellings. Like in the Gropiusstadt region in Berlin - the apartment houses like huge walls of concrete reaching to the sky.
Herr Faber has engineered another synth record with German precision. Unfortunately A-side's "Löffelkinder" is a lifeless disco-esque composition, where soprano uh-ah's mix the sound picture a bit. On the flip the title track "Gropiusstadt" lets the synth sing in a merry way heralding the dawn of a better future. Suave guitar passages emerge to lend a dreamy feel to the piece. A kind of Latin soul lies in the inner depth of this track,  while inevitably Jarre pops into my mind again. B2 or "Morgengrau" only vaguely keeps the momentum of the previous track and lets occasionally the sun peek between the impersonal buildings. Despite of its common-sounding texture the title track deserves a small award for sound architecture.

15 May 2010

Markus & Kristian / Town Of Tomorrow - Hän Malli On / LXIX (Huge Bass 002) - 10/10

A-side of this 2002 release can't go wrong: the world famous "The Model" by Kraftwerk, like played by the group itself, and sung in Finnish. Some may say it's blasphemy but here we have a strange-sounding but high-profile meeting of the electronic music greats and Finnish school of electro. The lyrics are funny and singing of Markus and Kristian may require some improvement - but I like it. On the flip a funky and rough electro song praising a number that signifies sexual position. We see also former Formula One champion on the label but I doubt he has any musical role here.



12 May 2010

DUST OFF: Frankfurt Trax Vol. 1 (PCP 004) 8/10

In the beginning of the 90's a hardcore techno factory was based in Frankfurt am Main (FFM), a lot of brain-drilling trax, by dozens of artists hitting the floors from its conveyors. It was revealed only later that one man, Marc Trauner, was behind of most of the monikers and in addition to producing was utterly busy in inventing new and new label and artist names. PCP (Planet Core Productions) was the base of the hardcore.
About same time a wave of hard trance swept across Germany, and although the PCP and Harthouse releases, for example, were different like day and night, still some trance gurus like Sven Väth and DJ Dag found their way to the PCP releases.
This one is the first in the legendary Frankfurt Trax series that suffered a loss in quality in later volumes, when it was already issued under Sony. Here PCP crew is still seeking its own style and combines industrial and hip hop influences.
Here the best comes last when Tres Hombres and Free Base Factory present two bonus tracks that are real FFM ghetto hip-hop joints. Recorded live in the seminal Cooky's club, with primitive equipment and ignorant sound engineer, I imagine. A very energetic lo-fi stuff that reminds of Public Enemy.

09 May 2010

Tony Rohr + Dietrich Schoenemann - Stovepipe EP (Nachtstrom Schallplatten 017) - 8/10

A drop-dead serious session by Rohr and Schoenemann, and by their remixing friends. It's music of November, sounding like the moments when you have stayed inside and hear whirlwind trying to unroof your den. And the weather forecast tells it will not be any better.
The original is a creeping and slowly pulsating wall of sound that is built around one central sequence. Metalogic's dark and trippy remix reminds in some parts of "Times Fade" by Phuture The Next Generation. On the B1 a remix by Alland Byallo who raises the tempo in a version with unoriginal dub techno sounds that make it clearly the weakest link here, despite of deformed voice effects. "Stovepipe (Perc Vs. Metalogic Remix)" bulldozes over everything it meets, with metallic drum patterns and discreet acid lines, though maintaining modest speed. Put on 45rpm to catch a more ravey version.
At first sound it may feel like an average production by another German label. I'm happy to learn that Schoenemann is still well-placed and has with Rohr delivered a decent release. Recommended.

07 May 2010

DMX Krew - The March To The Stars (Strange Life 038) - 7/10

Ed DMX rocked the Tallinn Art Academy in May 2002 with a blazing live set, along with Cylob who among other tracks manipulated the masses with his techno-electro version of "What Shall We Do With A Drunken Sailor?"
Now on Legowelt's Strange Life label DMX Krew gives daylight to a new Cd-R that is more wave and pop than electro. Certainly he had piled up a lot of analog equipment for this one. First tunes are happy cartoon music with disco and funk influences, not too challenging. "Lip Chime" and "Tension" are more abstract and slower letting out some NASA sounds. "Happy Birthday" is celebrated when driving with a convertible along the calanques and Mediterranean coast at Marseille. "MS10 Breathing" and "Bel 189 Trax" are Toytronic-like floating synth compositions. "Memory Theme" is my favourite here with a catchy melody and slapping synth lines. It would work well at the Eurovision Instrumental Contest, if there were such thing. In the last track, "Hellfire", you hear a disciple of Jean-Michel Jarre. Nice and simple release.
The following one is from earlier "Nu Romantix" album, check:
Come To Me Edit by EDMX

05 May 2010

Robert Hood - Alpha / Omega (End Times) (M-Plant M.PM6) - 7/10

Good to have here somebody from the 313 area again. Hood made the comeback of the year in 2009 and is still busy, preparing a new album and current 12-inch gives a preview of what is coming. "Alpha" is a functional techno track but too common-sounding and too long. I would not give more than 5 points of 10.
But "Omega" is a killer. Starts with a metallic sequence and then charging drums take the control. It's a massive monster reminding of classic Detroit and Berlin releases and sucks you in like a vortex. Impressive and makes to wait for his sci-fi minded album. Here a mix of Hood's tracks:
EPM Podcast 6 - Robert Hood M-Plant Mix by epm-music

03 May 2010

Lucy & Ercolino - Remixes (Stroboscopic Artefacts 004) - 9/10

Luke Slater, techno man in business for almost 20 years, puts his remixing hands on the track called "Gmork" and does it with passion. Definitely he returns to his roots here with a solid floor stuff and we can forgive him diversions to average-sounding breaks and electro productions ("Wireless", 1999). Slater is back and delivers an impressive remix where he sends furious ravens to scream around a deserted factory. The track is so many-faceted, like a medley that recalls best sounds of Slater's career and adds some new.
Dadub's version of "So The Nothing Grows Stronger" is dubby and energetic bearing some Caribbean feel and driving on distorted vocals. It's not an overproduced dub techno piece but still spheric and let's you breathe. A promising break in the middle goes over to a more technoid passage and heavy drums appear before the track ends. Not bad at all and both sides would serve well on the floor.