28 June 2011

DUST OFF: Olga+Jozef #07 (OJ-07 - 2000)

Olga and Jozef were not wedding musicians from the Carpathian Mountains, but a proper techno label from Bratislava. Slovak scene, with artists like Rumenige or Kre, teased the floors with banging tracks and made a contribution, when at the millennium switch the axis of European techno moved to the East - if we also recall Umek and other Slovenians.
This is a strong release, which on the A-side offers tribal-fueled dense loops and on the B1 a real feast of repetitive beats, before a chillier conclusion.


27 June 2011

DUST OFF: Woody McBride – Come In... (Bush 1030 - 1996)

April 1996, Paris. I enter the Techno Import store where the guys at the counter are busy testing the system with a track that hits me immediately. "C'est Woody McBride", I am told and years after this moment I still think "Come In..." is among the very best McBride has offered during his long and prolific career.
"Come In...", not a typical 303-release, is a terrific example how the man in the frontline of acid techno controlled the machines. A-side has two medium-paced cuts, starting with acid-housey burner "Let's Get Freaky". On the flip, roughness comes up in "Wall Of Confusion" that is totally insane attack of killer bees.


24 June 2011

DBX – Losing Control Remixes (Peacefrog 025XX)

Those who have been waiting for the represses of DBX's EPs feel the world being a better place now. Their purses might not necessarily agree, but undeniably the 20th anniversary of the UK label Peacefrog brought along a number of excellent limited editions.
All-time classic "Losing Control EP" may rest in the shelf for the next special listening, and let's focus on the remixes of the title track, reworked by Detroit triumvirate in their own distinctive styles shortly after the original record in 1994.

Rating: 8/10
Carl Craig could not resist to add claps and some tension-fueling breaks to the filtered version, while maintaining the original textures of the sound. Planet E man was squeezing out the best from his machines to create a floor-friendly cut. Robert Hood held the humanized vocal sample on repeat and sped-up the track in a vein of "Minimal Nation", initially out also in 1994. Richie Hawtin's drop-dead serious remix expressed his mid-90's metronomic machine sound, with any emotions stripped.
A good record, but after years of "Losing Control" being rotated in numerous DJ-mixes and compilations, the remixes do not sound so appealing anymore. Today I would rather listen what could be wrenched out from "Spock's Brain".



23 June 2011

Somfay – Bright Black Borealis (Detroit Underground 14)

Rating: 8/10
Techno purists might have difficulties to accept this record. I was puzzled before and still am, to take a position whether it's a terrific or terrible record. Because, in spite of some features of a heavily pumping floor burner, it bears a distinct softer side when trance fairies descend on the grooves.
After a dark and energetic start, sweet melodic layers and guitars come up in "Virgo Widow" and remind of 1980's charmer Nik Kamen. Drum staccatos and acid lines dominate in thumping "All Above All" while Drumcell's rattling interpretation would satisfy the taste of techno heads bound for dark sweaty rooms. For the end, "Soak Scalene" moves in downtempo regions where a distant pied piper is heard walking down shadowy alleys. A gentle cut, reminding of the beautiful side of the electronic music.
Canadian Jesse Somay was among main protagonists of minimal flood in mid-2000's, doing several records on Archipel, but has been less in the limelight since that. Now he comes with an euphoric and daring release that might be quite a sensation at summer raves. Anticipating bluegrass versions, not joking.



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22 June 2011

Various – Uncanny Valley 004 (UV 004)

Rating: 9/10
Uncanny Valley's fourth installment is a surprise to anyone accustomed to the label's jazzy deep house output. Keeping the format of EP compilations, the sounds deriving from Dresden represent rougher side of the house music.
"You Think You Think" by Sneaker runs in a synthetic bass-driven disco mode when suddenly jacking vocal sample pops up and assortment of fierce hi-hats and snares carries the track to proud length of over 12 minutes. Though, gradually the vocal sample starts to annoy.
A real shark is CVBox's acidic "Machinematch" that moves amidst underwater bubbles, hitting vigorously with the tail and chasing all small fishes in the sea. After this trip, Stefan Lohse's "Plätschern" feels incredibly slow. The bass rate is lower but bold and the track travels goes along winding paths of acid, to add deep house flair closer to the end.




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19 June 2011

Hard Wax, Paul Lincke and Berliner Luft

In Berlin, Kurfürstendamm and Unter den Linden are must-go place in any travel guide, attracting the tourists visiting the city. Those seeking a different face of Berlin end up in Kreuzberg, a multicultural and bohemian district that is home of many record shops. When getting out at Kottbusser Tor underground station you are close to a world-famous location for cutting-edge electronic music and shining vinyls.
Paul-Lincke-Ufer 44A is the headquarters of Hard Wax - the address found at the store's mail order invoices signifies in real life an inner-yard apartment house. Not a posh place decorated with graffiti and surrounded by small institutions closely or remotely related to the Berlin music scene. Also noticed a door sign for iCrates, a small firm doings apps for crate diggers. And there was a car repair shop or similar.
It was end of September in 2005 when I visited Hard Wax first time. I was short of time and when arriving at Paul-Lincke-Ufer I had about one hour before the shop had to close. The street was pretty dark and initial search for this holy address was fruitless. On the second attempt, behind an arch, found the yard and the building, climbed the stairs and there it was. A special shop in a special location.
But who is Paul Lincke? He was a German composer and conductor in the first half of the 20th century. Author of "Berliner Luft", merry orchestral piece that is said to be unofficial anthem of German metropolis.

18 June 2011

Lory D – Strange Days Vol. 1 (Numbers 13)

Rating: 10/10
Acid house is in the air. Plenty of new releases follow historical trails of the warehouse/hangar parties to reproduce bubbling tracks. In the same the the new releases reinvent something reinvented a while ago. But here is a clear exception: Lory D's first record on Numbers.
Twenty years after his debut, the Italian is still coming on strong to drop two epic acid cuts. Both "Acidronix" and "Acid Prastix" give a broad grin of smileys, but the essence of the release lies in analog techno.
Although too short, "Acidronix" is a bold mover for those homesick of old school raves. Silver box conveys its message, saw bass is sharp and connections with EBM are not too far-fetched. On the flip, "Acid Prastix" is like a slinky serpent finding its way through adhesive analog sequences and striking acid lines. Drum patterns jump and collide in a hectic manner enough for virtual stagediving.
Numbers hosting Lory D means that the label works on a versatile roster and can't be defined as a  bass/dubstep platform anymore. Compared with the first Numbers release, "The Golden Handshake EP", the current one is very different. Recommended for all dedicated citizens of rave nation and makes to wait for "Strange Days Vol. 2". The 13 is a lucky number.


17 June 2011

Edward – A Piece Of Us (Giegling 07)

Rating: 9/10
"More light" did Johann Wolfgang Goethe allegedly exclaim before passing into the eternity in Weimar, a city in Germany and the home base of Giegling Records. Now the light comes from this relatively new but impressive label, which brings fresh air from Germany.
Whereas the music is pitch black house-funk, with slow intermezzos ruled by sentimental sax and soft horns ("Human Leaks"). A blind test would place the record in the neighborhood of Moodymann and Levon Vincent (good example "Ours"), because of attitude and groove strongly rooted in the tracks. My favorite is "Society 0.5" with a robotic vocal sample on ample house bass. Not a new release, but sounds timeless. Only the question, who is Edward, remains unanswered.


16 June 2011

Sandwell District – Sandwell District CD (FFCD01)

Rating: 8/10
Without Sandwell District, the year of techno 2010 would have been unimaginable. Regis, Function and Juan Mendez, quality producers in the battlefields of electronic music, were teasing the crowds throughout the year and as a culmination did an awesome album. The vinyl was sold out virtually in a few minutes and therefore a CD is most welcome. It's not just the vinyl album in digital format because includes different versions and remixes.
Those familiar with SD know what to expect. Overall atmosphere is closer to ambient than floor techno but it's not a "quiet" album. For example, two versions of symbolic "Immolare" sound like not being from the same family. While Function version is a floating journey, Silent Servant hits with a rhythm stick in a strobe- and smoke-filled track. "Blood Tide" with its dizzying groove has not lost any appeal in time and still keeps a good hit potential. Thriving stuff in "Hunting Lodge" and "Svar", known from another single with live recordings in Berlin and Graz. Slightly different than others is "Speed And Sound" that inclines towards neo-trance and cosmic feelings.
SD's blood circulation is clearly connected with the machines they work with. The album sounds as a result of careful production with clear ideas behind.



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03 June 2011

DUST OFF: Huren – Istropolitana EP (Qube Records 001 - 1999)

Go to google.de, type "Huren" and search for pictures. What you see might be exciting but not related to the real Huren or Dave Foster, a producer known for uncompromising attitude to the music. His greatest success came with the project Teste and the track "The Wipe" (Probe Records) that landed in many compilations and was reissued by Plus 8 some years ago.
In the beginning of 1990's, with fellow Canadian Himadri, Foster produced sci-fi acid and stripped-down minimalist trips (see Perceptrons). Later he moved closer to sinister techno, becoming associated with ultra-tech label Zhark and doing a highly pressurized techno album with Kareem, in addition to the EPs.
"Istropolitana EP” came out in Canada in 1999 and is a real off-road experience for guys peeking through muddy windshield and having gasoline flowing in their veins. Indeed, “Post Modern Jeep Beats” as the label says. "Zeugung" is built on one pumping loop and heavily breathing synths that prepare for the peak moment delivered by "Hemothorak”. The darkest dreams of techno heads come true when sighing and clinking machines are mixed with echoes and steel-coated vocal samples. The last minute tests the limits.
Less exhaust fumes on the B-side that starts with "Klubokhan", where tech-house textures and acid stabs remind of Fred Giannelli's output as The Kooky Scientist. "Scream Box" concludes the record with jacking techno workout and occasional dimmed vox.
Huren's EP would qualify to techno charts in 2011 as it belongs to same family of droning and dubbed-out releases gaining ground this year.


01 June 2011

Terminal 313 chart at Juno (May 2011)

The May charts herald another return of acid. Twenty years after his first release, Italian Lory D is in a great form when reinforces surprisingly the roster of Numbers, hitting with EBM-minded acid tracks. Japanese producer Iori combines droning techno journey with subtle acid confirming that Prologue Music is a techno label to watch in 2011. Albert van Abbe is a new striker of the Dutch electro squad and comes with the second release of own No Comment label. Thereafter acid again: Uncanny Valley label is a revelation with quality mini-compilations of which the latest is dedicated to oldschool bubbling sounds, also found in bulk in the album by JTC and two-track single by Tin Man.