29 July 2011

Shitcluster / Unit Moebius Anonymous – Untitled (Chan's 1)

Rating: 9/10
Sounds from the far side where mud people eat stones and are hunted by last remaining pterosaurs. On the A-side it's not even mud, it's the act oddly called Shitcluster that runs its own thing, sharing a bad dream filled with eerie sounds from the caves. City is dying proclaims dystopian voice, accompanying crawling bass for the last rites before the demise. Shitcluster's debut on Bunker some years ago was sheer madness and, fortunately, their state of mind has not showed any signs of improvement since that.
Unit Moebius has been around with re-releases, called the Golden Years series, but UM Anonymous is a spin-off run by Jan Duivenvoorden. Helium voices on hectic breakbeat and monotone agitated percussion carry the track to entire 18 minutes. Creepy machine abstractions from The Hague for well-trained electro heads.


27 July 2011

Nuel – Aquaplano Ltd 03

Rating: 10/10
What I see on the label are the portholes of a flying saucer. What I hear is a stratospheric soundtrack, on the third release of the Aquaplano Ltd series. After droning and hollow techno journeys by Nuel and Mike Parker, it's again the Italian Manuel Fogliata who, instead of going with the flow of darker dubs, opens a new direction for the label and steps into electro fields.
Four untitled pulsating transmissions, more uptempo on the A-side where the play is opened with a functional track, reminding of  DJ Stingray's recent "Sentiment" on [Naked Lunch]. Follows an energetic show-off of cascaded drums. The lighter side of electro comes on the flip where breakbeats are mixed with sultry melodies and floating chords, while B2 has some tranced-out notes and cosmic rock influences. When listening to the B-side the conclusion is that the summer is the perfect moment for issuing such tracks.
Like a true disciple of Marinetti and Drexciya, Nuel has managed to create a futuristic and thriving piece of electro where the joy of making music is well audible. And knowing that Nuel's full-length is in the pipeline at Further Records adds more excitement to the life.


26 July 2011

Raime – The Three Chambers Of Our Entities / Living In The Gaps We Cannot Jump (BLACKESTSE001)

Rating: 9/10
It happened on 6 July 2011 when the edition of 50 copies was sold in a couple of hours, after tweeted by Blackest Ever Black.
Carefully handcrafted good-smelling cardboard package was shipped to several countries of the world, hopefully not to be confiscated by customs.
The surround DVDr contains a 15-minute utterly claustrophobic composition where the main hero struggles to find a way out of the maze. After many minutes of dark ambient hiss, Raime leads out with its trademark distilled percussion. The video fits well to the music - the screen is in pitch-black mode.
The CDr is a mix made for Sonar and extended with two tracks. As anticipated we meet a number of 1980's dark wave and industrial bands - along Cabaret Voltaire, Front 242 and Yellow Magic Orchestra many groups that have enjoyed less limelight. Wild drum dance by Pink Military sounds like the band is Raime's godmother, The Klinik is fond of furious machine poetry, (Hypothetical) Prophet builds a tower of synths and Ike Yard is engaged in shamanism. Another tip is Hula before it starts to feel like at home when Front 242 and YMO close the play.


21 July 2011

Various - Fouke Le Fitz Waryn EP (Crow Castle Cuts 1037)

Rating: 7/10
A medieval story related to crows and castles is behind the 12-inch compilation but instead of gloomy feelings we get six tracks filled with bright sounds from North Wales.
Stamped, and stamped again, edition in grey vinyl might make suspicious but don't worry, the bird-themed compilation has some qualities. Stronger cuts on the A-side, which begins with fine guitar-touched house in "Exotic Guitar" by Maxim Lany & Lemakuhlar, followed by Studio Swiss's chord-driven "Falcons Pass".
After ornithological intermezzo called "Knaresborough Bird" by Glyn Ceriog, the flip contains nu disco flavored tracks by Luv Jam and Taylor Made while Plas Vegas goes back to the house sounds of 2000. Nothing too special but a neat compilation of warm grooves.


20 July 2011

Hype Williams – Kelly Price W8 Gain Vol. II (Hyperdub HDB052)

Rating: 7/10
Catalog number 52 is my first Hyperdub and my first Hype Williams. The label that introduced Burial might be searching for new directions as I can't find any dubstep here. The question is, what genres does the record represent as in many aspects "Kelly Price ..."  is more art and performance than music.
Four tracks in total and two of them clearly not for the floor. On snarling and clapping synth backdrop, "Rise Up"opens up slowly as a bloom under the rising sun. Spoken-word cut "Badmind" is like picked up from random US radio transmissions dedicated to cultural issues.
The best moments come when funky synths rattle in 80's-electro-flavored "Farthing Wood Dub" and also the most danceable track, smoothly rolling "Boss Man", aligns to that - only it's far too short. Feels like the sketchy EP has been put together in haste instead of taking more time in the studio.
Will not initiate a discussion if Hype Williams are hypnancholic or hypnagogic, they are just different and remain in the frontline among today's electronic bards.

19 July 2011

Levon Vincent – Man Or Mistress (Novel Sound NS-05)

Rating: 9/10
The heat is on in New York and radiating all over the world when Levon V. hits with the fifth release on his Novel Sound imprint.
Three tracks of sublime madness between house and techno start with equivocally named title cut "Man Or Mistress". After leading in with ample bass line, the track spins around like a dervish. Sleazy synth hooks make it a perfect match for watching Russ Meyer’s “Mondo Topless” on mute. In a later phase hysteric horns break in to carry the track towards padded end.
On the B-side, "Making Headway" slams big time with metallic percussion like from a construction site field recording. Feeling too heavy and bulky as standalone track, it becomes a predator DJ tool when mixing into house or techno sets that need some life. "No Regrets" walks on a softer path with broad dubby chords and sensitive vocal I took my chances anyway to express the warmer side of the producer.
The value of “Man Or Mistress” lies in varied sound textures used in each of the three tracks that enable feeling the producer's different emotions during the days that are not the same. Now I can join the chorus of those seeing excellence in Levon Vincent, after having hard time to access "Six Figures".


16 July 2011

Video: Mescalinum United - We Have Arrived (1990)

It was the day when Mescalinum United gave birth to hardcore. With its devastating nature the track literally manifested the arrival of techno's new brutal face. Like a whirlwind it swept over the skyscrapers of Frankfurt and introduced the world to the joys of massive kick drum.
The intro of "We Have Arrived" heralds a mayhem and all obsessed HC fans know what follows. It does not aim at becoming beats-per-minute champion but the track with strong industrial influence carries immense power. In the wake of 1990's it ruled the scene along with other output by PCP for the Hall Of Fame of HC. Was later remixed by Aphex Twin, among others. Ein Brett!

10 July 2011

DUST OFF: Gagarin Kongress – Astralleib (Tresor 37 - 1995)

In 1995 Gagarin Kongress was an one-off project by Edgar Domin and Udo Heitfeld, the latter known as TV Victor. It was Tresor's "Sirius" compilation where I found the original of "Astralleib", a polyrhythmic angular piece falling between the main floor and leftfield. But the revelation came when Joey Beltram turned the original upside down with a smoking remix - heavy fuel for all techno engines. The version by The Moon And The Sun kept a delicate stance and for the end breakbeats entered the stage in "Klapperstück".


08 July 2011

Perc – Wicker & Steel (Perc Trax TPTCD003)

Rating: 8/10
The fans of barbed sounds met with excitement the news about Perc's album, his first full-length after a production career of ten years.
Heavyweight single of "My Head Is Slowly Exploding", where Chris Carter's remix outplayed the one by Ancient Methods, heralded the march of angry machines for the album. Also by the design and semantics, "Wicker & Steel" does not stand for wellness and relaxation.
But the album is not exactly filled with torture room techno, although harsh sandpaper sounds dominate in "My Head ...", "Start Chopping", "London, We Have You Surrounded". Atmospheric "You Saw Me" carries something (from the sky), like we know from Jeff Mills' recent output and "Gonkle" derives from the mountain caves of the Lord of the Rings.
In my view, the real value of "Wicker & Steel" lies in tracks that might sound like moments of meditation, if compared to the rest. Already the voice-modulated "Choice" tells a great story on chilled-out backdrop, signaling that this is not an ordinary techno album. My peak moments come in "Pre-Steel" - an industrial ambient anthem to the infrastructure consisting of freight trains, cranes, tankers at the Port of Southampton or elsewhere. Before the end, "Snow Chain" might be inspired by big chill of recent UK winters - the track is as crisp and cold. Those three are found also in the sound clip below.
So, instead of gloomy beasts my heart beats for mystic beauties in this album, among the best of techno full-lengths in 2011.


06 July 2011

Various – Variables II (Mordant Music 048)

Rating: 8/10
Mordant Music is a renegade of today's electronic music and does not cease experimenting with rhythms and melodies for thrilling interpretations. One can imagine Mordant coming up with a new act like "Rollerskating Bankers With Pink Hats" to conquer the world. Don't get me wrong - they are no clowns - but Mordant gives a twisted angle to their productions, ranging from hauntological songs to dub and punk-influenced tracks.
A crazy company of various artists here. In "Soldier (reMMix)", Autre Ne Veut has mashed up pop-chart-feel for a weird and catchy tune to be sung along. Hectic synth piece called "ASDIC" by Baron Mordant himself is a gremlin disco hommage to Aram Khachaturian's "Sabre Dance".
Ekoplekz's psychedelic "Organite" carries the textures of progressive rock and in "Thermodub" the same suspect drives a large mutated dub soundsystem along the alleys of funkstep. Sii's bassy "Condor MoMent" has some drama of Italian 70's police flicks and electronic strings in "#6 (Magic & DreaMs Edit)" by Some Truths conclude the EP of leftfield sounds. As always, happy to have new Mordant.



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01 July 2011

Terminal 313 chart at Juno (June 2011)

Another month of excellent releases, topped by another masterpiece by Prologue when Donato Dozzy and Neel embarked on an aquatic trip in "Silent Drops". The boys of Unit Moebius were sighted again at the sewers of La Haya, to team up with Shitcluster for weird electro tracks. Perc's "Wicker & Steel" is the album of the month, refraining from industrial techno stereotypes and delivering a varied choice of harder sounds. German act Robotron represents the electro faction and Zooloft shares again somber deepness on EP by Giorgio Gigli, Obtane and Milton Bradley. Music Institute 20th Anniversary Series comes with the Part 3, including KDJ's take of "Problèmes D'Amour" and Model 500's "Light Speed".