Saturday, January 29, 2011

Mike Parker - Aquaplano Ltd 02

Rating: 6/10
After a number of tense and slinky releases on own label Geophone, Parker moves on to Europe and continues his series of echo-filled compositions, now on Italian label Aquaplano. In January he did another EP, on German Prologue Music, including a Donato Dozzy remix.
From this EP I would pick one track, "Arena", that is a thrillingly hollow and brain-eating exercise lying close to Sähkö's and Plastikman's minimal monsters. Beatless and menacing cut touches with metallic tentacles and scrapes the skin.
In "Acromion" pumping bass and drilling loops are all over the place but it lacks mystic power of the opener, as does "Compressor Blades". Absorbingly acidic "Sekhmet" brings some improvement with more varied sound textures.
I don't see no match to Nuel's A1 on the first Aquaplano Ltd release and Parker's record is a slight disappointment compared to his Geophone output.


Thursday, January 27, 2011

Various - Groove Magazine Sampler (Groove 128 CD 37)

Rating: 6/10
No doubt the artwork is a failure. Don't think the robust a** on the sleeve belongs to the mag's cover boy Nicolas Jaar who in the song "Keep Me There" hums along on electronics. One track is not enough to assess if it's a ingenious work or not. Also in melancholic mood is Rajko Müller AKA Isolée ("Palermo Triste") and Caribou's electronic pop song, remixed by DJ Koze, is neat but very unsurprising.
The first three signify a lethargic start, but Agoria puts the things rolling with synthy "Panta Rei", which still lies light years behind Unit Moebius' classic "Panta Rhei". Salem comes from the witch house faction and does gothic-wave-synth-pop.
Cologne scene would be unthinkable without Kompakt and Wolfgang Voigt (Mike Ink) but his jingling minimal composition is quite suitably named "Apathie". Ann Aimee's Delta Funktionen is represented with a less passionate take from "Setup Two: Fusion" and Steffi is under the influence of Mr Fingers and Chicago.
Then two guys still too young to retire, Patrick Pulsinger and Abe Duque, shatter the floor with an old school mover ("Blame It!"). "Mosaik" by Siriusmo plays with complicated beats but Space Dimension Controller ("Temporary Thrillz") does not sound like "new" music and I even don't get temporary thrills for it.
The best three for the end. Berlin-based dubstep hero Shackleton and his congas open a new chapter in "International Fires", which with chorus voices and tickling percussion would fire up any crowd. Demdike Stare's "anti-wellness sonic bath" (quote: Groove mag) is a sure bet ("A Tale Of Sand"). The last one is a great surprise when German dark poetry is put on krautrock-electronics by Der Räuber Und Der Prinz ("Moogwalzer") - a tip for the future, wirklich grossartig.
Groove covers different genres of the electronic music but CDs seem to reflect, with a few exceptions, the mag's taste for outdated minimal and poppy sounds. Still it's a good bonus and always worth listening.


Wednesday, January 26, 2011

DUST OFF: Future Sound Of London - Kiss FM, London, 1992

A history lesson: Many thanks to Rico Passerini from Berlin for sharing a Future Sound of London show on Kiss FM, during Christmas 1992. A parade of breakbeats and analog sounds for your pleasure, starting with euro techno dinosaurs like Ramirez and Datura and going to deeper electronica. At 28 minutes Moody Boys come with a mix of ragga-infected acid house and at 43 min Rotterdam Termination Source's love-or-hate-it track "Poing!" brings up memories of raving 1992. At 54 min The Holy Ghost Inc, later Tresor recording artist, offers raw and ugly techno. Plus FSOL's own sounds, many familiar samples, etc. Take your time and enjoy.

Future Sound Of London - Kiss FM, London - 26-12-1992 by R_co

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Function - Variance 1-3 (Sandwell District 13B)

Rating: 7/10
Hard to believe but this is my first Function release, although the guy has been around for more than a decade and recently moved to the spotlight with Sandwell District. Here is David Sumner's solo effort on a techno label that shows the direction at the moment.
Maybe the expectations were too high but I had to be patient to get to the essence of this record. The first two tracks are searching for techno's ornamental angle. After a minimalistic and flimsy composition for the start, the following "Variance 2" is a rather dubby affair and does not stand out at all. The show really begins in "Variance 3": Acid bites and weird moaning on a minimal hypnotic groove takes the release into new heights.
It's professional work that does not have the drive for peak hours on the floor but fits well to the picture Sandwell District is painting.


Monday, January 24, 2011

DUST OFF: The Young Gods - The Young Gods (INTOX 011 CD)

Finally in 1987, I discovered that Mireille Mathieu, the lady with famous pot haircut, and Joe Dassin were not the only artists singing in French. And it was a rude awakening when The Young Gods hit the stage with immense charisma of the singer Franz Treichler, assisted by Frank Bagnoud on drums and Cesare Pizzi on sampler. They were not even French but Swiss and that in a proper way, representing country's three main nationalities.
They have been electronic punks of the rock scene with music that is difficult to place on the dancefloor. In fact it was "Did You Miss Me", a Gary Glitter cover sung in English, that I heard first. Real power and passion was found in songs like "Nous De La Lune", "Jusqu'au Bout" and others. TYG had a new album out last autumn, "Everybody Knows", where Treichler is the only original member of the band.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Sandwell District - Feed Forward Test Session (SDLPLIVE1) - 9/10

October 2010: Graz and Berlin were the locations for Sandwell District's (SD) test sessions. For the enjoyment of techno fans, for the days when Santa Claus was visiting, part of the action was made available with this release. And not only this: A single by Function and a full album by SD rounded up the end-of-the-year efforts of the Sandwell District label.
It's a solid techno record. Already first beats of the Berlin-side tell that the guys know the trade. A bold charge with thriving drum patterns that come with slight hiss and are later complemented by atmospheric layers and echoing effects, which do no alter the mood - it's still a power track. But closer to the end the storm starts to fade and we enjoy a nice sunset in ambient mood. What a pity that the outerlude is so short.
Graz-side is switched on with syncopated beats and although it's not such a roller coaster as the flip, the bass is ever present and squeezes you tightly against the wall. The track goes its way, steam and haze slowly covering the landscape, with deserted factories in the horizon.
It might sound so rock'n'roll but some crowd noise from the live recordings would have spiced up the whole thing, especially the Berlin-side.
Techno needs new kids but it's also terrific to learn that long-time producers like Regis and Function, here with Juan Mendez, are still in effect. SD was one of top labels in 2010, indeed.


Friday, January 14, 2011

DUST OFF: Plastic Noise Experience - Neural Transmission (Van Richter 1006 - 1995)

Unterschätzen Sie nicht die Macht*. Teutonic onslaught on American soil was the result when Californian label Van Richter hosted a release by Plastic Noise Experience (PNE), at that time a two-man project of S.M. Kalwa and Claus Kruse.
"Neural Transmission" moves between industrial and EBM, and is a compilation based on PNE's  three releases from the first half of the 1990's.
For the start a worldwide hit, rougher cover of Bronski Beat's "Smalltown Boy", but the rest is written by the band itself. "Serious Times" is an industrial song with smoother synths and lyrics but for the rest you get plenty of furious machines and raucous German vocals. Bursting power in "Kill The 6", Tateinheit" or "Das Ritual", etc. Some tracks at the end ("Illusions", "Treat The World") dive more into (new) wave sounds with a certain portion of piano and Glockenspiel.
Critics may say that "Neural Transmission" cements the worst stereotypes about German electronic Marschmusik. Still it's an adrenalin-filled release from PNE that seems to be still around, after having in the noughties dealt with the industrial label Alfa Matrix.
*Don't underestimate the power


Friday, January 7, 2011

Vindicatrix - Hume / Unborn Vectors (Mordant Music 045) - 10/10

You can't expect something ordinary from Mordant Music. "Hume" walks on the borderline of real and imaginary world, presenting first a theatrical performance by an uncredited and dramatic vocalist (Vindicatrix?) who is doing it in Fritz Ostermayer style. Electro-acoustic composition and sleepy bass serve as backdrop. This is for the first half of the A-side. Without interruption we move on to technoid part that is welcomed by cheering crowd and thereafter mixed with some drops of acid, to make your feet move.
"Unborn Vectors" is another vocal performance, assisted by orchestral arrangements, various bass facets and percussion elements. At mid-track it morphs again into a rhythmic, techno-house minded and acid infected floor fare, preserving strings.
An awesome record that cements Mordant's position among the most forward-thinking and out-of-the-box labels.


EDASI - White Tie Black Noise (Trash Can Dance TCD052011) - 7/10

Gloomy twins have arrived. Two CDRs, as separate releases, full of noise and experimental sounds by EDASI. But the twins are not identical. While "Night At The Museum" could be effectively used in interrogations to make people confess anything to anyone, the other one can be used for other purposes. If to leave noise aside, the other CDR "White Tie Black Noise" offers several good finds. My favourite is "Die Lügenrächer" that features small ugly creatures that have dragged along own vocoder from a distant planet, to ride through nine and half minutes on subtle percussion and licking drone, occasionally like V/VM.
Then "Horror Mirror (Original Version)", by name like a creation of Hammer Studios, but calm as forest lake if compared to the rest. Again of solid length (16:51), it vibrates through time and space in electro-acoustic mood.
In "Unknown Critters" you meet some abandoned souls in jazz salon. Undulating composition of strings and percussion in "Missanigra" and "Kalt Und Gefährlich" grows into a trip of distorted drumming. Yes, distortion is everywhere.
And the there's noise. The fury in unleashed in long and painful "Riders Of Apocalypse On Speed" with screams and cacophony amidst dark shoegaze feeling. "Eisener Besen" is pure carnage and "Detsembrikuumus" ("December Heat") does not stay much behind.
In Estonian edasi means forward, a word that relates to avant-garde. The artist behind EDASI is Mihkel Kleis of Luarvik Luarvik fame. The CDRs are published by Estonian scene insider Trash, as continuation of three compilations last year (see "Sügis").


Tuesday, January 4, 2011

DUST OFF: Heath Brunner - Untitled (V-MAX V-992 - 1995)

In mid-1990's Detroit City labels had very distinctive sounds ranging from harder Millsian loops to UR's futurist funk. It means that Lansing, Michigan, where V-Max was founded, had to choose a different trail, meaning faster and more experimental tracks, mainly techno but also electro.
After first listening V-Max tracks seemed even too harsh and twisted, it took some time to get used to the sound. This EP is done by the label founder Heath Brunner AKA Silicon, whose catalog includes releases on KMS, NSC and, more recently, on Clone-associated labels. It's a techno record that partly reminds of Black Nation Records, also from the surroundings of Detroit, from Kalamazoo.


Monday, January 3, 2011

Goth-Trad - Two Faced / Sunbeam (Deep Medi Musik 33) - 8/10

Japan calling. Goth-Trad is Takeyaki Maruyama and not a novice of the electronic music scene with his first release dating back to 2001. Japanese know how to construct earthquake-proof buildings and therefore Goth-Trad is not afraid that his bass assault would harm any dwellings in and around the epicentre.
He loves the bass, you get plenty of it here. Threatening and fat sounds on "Two Faced" that chugs along like a truck with heavy cargo. "Sunbeam" builds up in anticipation of a special event, maybe the arrival of, ahem, Godzilla. Almost a random pick to my collection but turns out to be from the better end of the dubstep avenue. 


Sunday, January 2, 2011

DUST OFF: Ø – Aste (Sähkö 002.5 - 2006)

Before we go, I need a letter that's not in the keyboard. After selecting Insert and then Symbol it's ready. Ø like Danish physicist Ørsted who in 1825 was the first to produce aluminium. A symbolic fact because Ø or Mika Vainio is of pure metal.
Two good reasons to start the new year with this release. Firstly, I'm obsessed with alien sound experiments by Sähko; secondly, it's recorded in Turku, European Capital of Culture along with Tallinn this year. All the work is done in 1992-93 but the record hit the stores in 2006.
The sound of Sähkö's earlier days can't be missed here. "Aste" is quite close to be a techno record, and not so experimental compared to Vainio's and Ilpo Väisänen's output as Pan Sonic (or Panasonic until they were legally harassed by a electronics company of the same name). It kicks off with "Spiraalit", good for conquering techno floors. Minimal "Maan Valossa" features the theme of Yuri Gagarin, first man in space.Wall-shaking low frequencies and heavy bass can be found on "Sukeltava" and "Siimes" and other four tracks round off a solid package.
In 1970's Americans sent Voyager spacecrafts to seek for the encounters of the third kind. On board were Golden Records, carrying information about the life on Earth. If they would do it again the works of  Ø should be there, for facilitating contacts with anybody who might be out there.