Wednesday, October 31, 2012

DUST OFF: DJ Jokke (Radiomafia) - Relief & Cajual Mix (1995)

Now when Strut has released a truly essential compilation "Only 4 U: The Sound Of Cajmere & Cajual Records 1992-2012" featuring the highlights of Chicago's second wave label Cajual, it's time for a little flashback.
Fond memories from the hot night of 29 July 1995. She had already fallen asleep in the other room and I decided to stay awake for a while, to tune into the Radiomafia channel transmitted from Helsinki. Hearing "Enter The Dragon" and "Flash" for the first time, the tracks struck me like a lightning. What followed was about 30 minutes of pure audio sex.
It was a good decision to push the record button of my tape deck. Mixed by Finnish electronic dance music influencer DJ Jokke, the clip features some of the Cajual & Relief tracks that rocked the floor in the summer of 1995.


Thursday, October 25, 2012

Mitchbal & Larry Williams - Jack The House (Still Music STILLM035 - 2012)

"Jack The House" is a manifesting track title for Chicago house, used by Fast Eddie, Femme Fion and probably many others. All that is about the jack and the house. Working together in various productions, Mitchbal and Larry Williams recorded in 1987 their own "Jack The House", now being released for the first time by Still Music.
For a remix duty they managed to attract no lesser than Frankie Knuckles, the Godfather of House Music, who hits with Kevlar bass line and decorates sweaty Chicago Warehouse with Rimini disco balls. Because of italo factor it could be placed in the mid-1980s German dance chart but dominant drums, groovy synths and a choir of sirens lend genuine Chicago feel. The B-side's vocal and instrumental versions offer slight variations and are mainly repetition of the kicking flip side. Let your body boogie for me, baby.

Frankie Knuckles - Jack The House
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Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Part II: Tommi Grönlund (Sähkö) interviewed by Alien Underground (1994)

Click to enlarge
Sähkö's Tommi Grönlund speaks to the London techno zine Alien Underground in 1994. The first part is here.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Part I: Tommi Grönlund (Sähkö) interviewed by Alien Underground (1994)

Click to enlarge
A copy of London techno and hardcore zine Alien Underground, predecessor of Datacide magazine, was an appreciated souvenir from a trip to London in 1994. In addition to a number of reviews and articles it features also an interview with Tommi Grönlund, the founder of Sähkö Recordings. The second part is here.
It was the time when Pan Sonic was Panasonic and therefore finding an appropriate track to this post is not difficult.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Skirt - Tumulto (Shifted Remix Part One) (SEMANTICA 27B - 2012)

Release date is in November 2012
Skirt aka Bethany Busto, from Texas, US and Birmingham, UK, has decided to stay connected with Semantica, after a collaboration with Svreca on the label's release number 50.
Following again the principle of random numbering Semantica 27B will be a single-sided release featuring the first part of Shifted's remix of Skirt's track "Tumulto". Kicking off as a mid-tempo half-stepper the bass fills the room with boom for a techno cut similar to "Ganymede" and "Clytha" by Truss. However "Tumulto"  feels a bit too static and incomplete, which might be explained with the second part probably waiting in the pipeline.
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Thursday, October 18, 2012

Andreas Gehm - What's On Ur Mind EP (Mathematics MRI64 - 2012)

Mathematics Recordings really deserve close attention as they excel with quality output coming from Jamal Moss and his numerous label friends both from the US and overseas. Andreas Gehm has been affiliated with the imprint before and after a joint effort with the legendary Steve Poindexter, the German drops another four-track tool in the Chicago vein.
Having obtained recognition with his acidic blasts as Elec Pt. 1, on Bunker and his own Penthouse Trax imprint, Gehm has chosen a warmer and house-inclined approach in his recent productions and the new EP on Mathematics features classy Chicago house tracks. With a gloomy recital in "Fire & Ice" and futuristic buzz in "From Space 3 Suns", the A-side is the winner but soulful and groovy cuts on the B-side serve well too.
Andreas Gehm - Fire & Ice
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Note: This post has been written in old-fashioned-end-of-1980s way, without any help of Internet search engines and databases, such as Discogs, and if  you see in incorrectness here please add a comment.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Nick Simoncino - The Other Side (Finale Sessions FS011 - 2012)

Release date is in October 2012
"OTP Party Breaks #4", a pretty decent job in the footsteps of the eighties disco-house, was in 2010 an incidental purchase and my first meeting with Nick Simoncino's music. Thereafter the Italian DJ and producer has put out a steady flow of releases, including on Mathematics and L.I.E.S., and increasingly shown affection for the canons of Chicago and Detroit.
He is also commuting between those two cities in "The Other Side", a three-track EP out soon on Finale Sessions. With the title track "Symphony Of Brotherhood" he has programmed an ample tech house groover and the same mood continues in "Thank You Elisa", featuring compulsory acid line and soft pads. Majestic chords dominate in "Got U On My Mind" on the flip, playing with an array of percussion and glimmering keys making it the best pick of the release.
A kindred spirit of Aril Brikha and Raiders Of The Lost ARP, Simoncino drops a chord-driven release with a high feel-good quotient. Perfect music for a drive in the city on a rainy evening.
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Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Metasplice - Decant (Morphine Records doser015 - 2012)

Hardly any daylight penetrates to an Antarctic ice station where experiments with hazardous substances of extragalactic origin are conducted in "Decant / Churn", for another proof how Rabih Beaini's Morphine Records is obsessively exploring the fringes of electronics. This time under discharge is the second tankful by Philadelphia's abstract techno crusaders Metasplice, already taking no prisoners in the debut EP "Topographical Interference".
Current brain-straining exercise is introduced with a machinery malfunction of worst kind in "Decant". After minutes of deformed noise and tension-fueling claps, the valves are gradually opened to release the steam, guided by tin-dipped percussion for a mental build-up. In "Churn" all systems remain in the error mode when bleeping signals and robustly pulsating bass emerge from the haze, all this exposed to the constant state of alarm for entire seven minutes.
Hijacking the genome of Sähkö or Raster-Noton and challenging Vatican Shadow, Metasplice with its disoriented sound assaults is a revelation for 2012, reaching new peaks in the obscurity quotient and opening new perspectives for the floor.

Buy vinyl from Juno
Buy vinyl from Hard Wax

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Mr Raoul K - Mande (Still Music STILLMDLP007 - 2012)

Release date is in October 2012
A world citizen has returned to the home and reached an essential station in his musical career when after an inspiring trip to Mr Raoul K's native Côte d'Ivoire his new album "Mande" is published on Chicago's fine label Still Music.
Already with the first releases on his own Baobab imprint Mr Raoul K showed increasingly more qualities than just being "mysterious" and "exotic" Lübeck-based producer of African origin. Despite of pursuing a moderate release schedule he quickly became a preferred deep house producer in Germany, his Wahlheimat since 1992.
Now Raoul Konan N'dah Kouassi has completed his recent creative phase on a Chicago label, with "Mande" consisting of explosive combination of the artist's rhythm-oriented African background, reserved machine funk and best picks from the school of tribal house. Mr Raoul K remains faithful to the main elements of his sound but is ready for some surprises to honor his musical heritage, by means of assembling his former band in the African home.
His music expresses down-to-earth attitude and strong ties to the Mother Nature, except in the introductory "Somassai" which might be easily placed between high-rises of Abidjan. It's a calm morning in the first rays of sun, but the call of concrete jungle can't be resisted when synthetic horns and rhythms start inflating the atmosphere for vibrant 14 minutes.
After the hybrid of machine funk and pulsating bass, Raul Orellana’s Mauresque guitar has been borrowed for a restless tribal cut “Bardot”. Distant thunder on delicate dubs lead "Sierra Leone (Deetron Mixdown)" to a more glamorous path, with synth hooks showing the way to the distant lights of cosmic disco.
Quite unexpected change comes with "Belebeleba", which is an authentic folk song with a full set of vocals and percussion made in Western Africa before the vinyl version concludes with "Rainforest Chicagomix", a relaxing house tune.
The CD version features some extra tracks - "Rainforest Coratouchmix" and two ethnic versions of the title track "Mande" plus a documentary about the artist and his musical background. A majestic work spanning several continents and cultural influences.


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Friday, October 5, 2012

Altar Eagle - Nightrunners (Digitalis DIGIV047 - 2012)

Altar Eagle. At first instance there was something uncanny in the name, good for a grim species overlooking humble crowd in a sanctuary, feeling very Gothic.
The truth is the opposite when the duo consisting of Brad Rose and his wife Eden Hemming Rose have completed a beautiful pop album in the sidelines of running ever-surprising Digitalis label.
The first impression of "Nightrunners" is that it's made of the same fabric as Paco Sala's recent debut LP on Digitalis: The same harmonic synth and smudged guitar setup combined with sultry female voice sounded very familiar. However Altar Eagle is operating on the next level with mature pop songs with a slight cold breeze. Yes I say pop because the album could be only vaguely classified under experimental, the main line of business for Digitalis. In a positive sense the band keeps in-the-middle-of-the-road approach conveying simple messages how music for lighter moments should be made. And yes, I said songs because it's something that's all about with Hemming's voice lending a happy-go-lucky dimension to the album.
Partly sounding like my fellow Estonian Maria Minerva, Altar Eagle's release creates unidentifiable but sweet associations with the music I have encountered over the years. Still thinking a joint tour with a warm-up band like St Etienne would be a good idea, for telling to the kids what brighter side of indie means. And I would invest in "Digital Gold Futures", for sure.
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Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Matti Turunen - Elokuu EP (Muhk Music MK001 - 2012)

Release date is in November 2012
Matti Turunen, one half of the electro duo Morphology, celebrates the launch of Muhk Music with a three-tracker which adds another contender to the ongoing challenge about Detroit’s outposts in Europe.
Surely, the North can do it too, Turunen from Finland says with his new EP for the label run from Sweden. The man from Järvenpää uses hardware to record in one take, lending a genuine feel to the music.
The title track “Elokuu”, which means August, is like about remnants of the summer, but even when leaves start falling from the trees these warm chords are protecting from the chill. Glimmering and thriving analogue compositions which might easily originate from Transmat or 430 West headquarters.
In the same vein is “Stars”, featuring an euphoric synth groove from the mid-track. Lights are dimmed for “Things You Duo” which reveals Turunen’s electro roots and is equipped with a devouring acid line for a more serious side of the EP. In the same it retains the chord-driven overall atmosphere, also known from Jori Hulkkonen's earlier releases.
Muhk Music's debut is in a way an orthodox interpretation of Detroit’s soulful face but sounds surprisingly fresh in the context of 2012. Watch out for the cow.

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Tuesday, October 2, 2012

09/2012: Ancient Methods & Kareem, MPIA3, Acid Mercenaries

September was a great month for new music, topped by a deadly collaboration of industrial techno greats Ancient Methods and Kareem with "Exstinctio Conscientia" for the vinyl debut of the French label Fondation Sonore. London's Avian is in a firm grip of acid techno, delivering with "Ely / Squatter's Dog" the second striking EP by MPIA3. Corrosion alert came also from Panzerkreuz label with Acid Mercenaries. Fullpanda's recent output has impressed, now with a split EP by Yuka and Stanislav Tolkachev. Jay Ahern launched a new label Modular Cowboy, celebrating it with "Cheap & Deep" remixes by Norman Nodge and Jonsson & Alter. Stroboscopic Artefacts continued exquisite "Stellate" series with the second volume, where Silent Servant and Luis Farfan do some wonders.
Full Juno chart for September is here.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Leo Abrahams + Oliver Coates - Crystals Are Always Forming (Slip Discs SLP002 - 2012)

A new noise and experimental project on the Manchester label Slip Discs. "Crystals Are Always Forming" is the debut of Leo Abrahams and Oliver Coates who have ventured on the cohabitation of cello and electronics. Eleven compositions totaling about 33 minutes witness a range of slow and stretched drones hovering between electronic noise and mistuned acoustic instrumentation.
Numbered in Roman format from "I" to "XI", mostly three-minute cuts address the public fond of static sound experiments with the suspense seething beneath.
Experimental is a tight market and largely saturated, meaning that extracting the last from the soft/hardware does not necessarily guarantee success. Abrahams and Coates, in turn, have not worked for the sake of experimentation and despite of high degree of sound disorder "Crystals Are Always Forming" contains harmonic bits for balanced overall impression.
The tracks span from igniting electronic rumble (“I”, "II") to attested minimalism (“III”, "VIII"). Droplets of percussion emerge like from a leaking cistern in "IV" and impressively dramatic “VI” makes to think what is hidden behind the gates of an hill-top Scottish castle. Electronics has the upper hand and cello is rather in also-starring role, at least considering the modus operandi of ordinary cello. Abstract electronic elements prevail, except in “V” where the supremacy of the cacophonous string instrument is driven by shimmering drone. Concluding cuts palpate the borderline of third-ear experience in the release which comes as cardboard-packaged CD in an edition of 200.

Hakim Murphy - Wet Analog EP (Episodes 02 - 2012)

Hakim Murphy, a Bachelor in music composition, is another proof that Chicago is not sleeping. Initially fascinated by deep house, Murphy adds throbbing subnotes to the second release on Episodes, recalling the rawness of Warehouse and dryness of Jamal Moss.
Navigating in a magnetic storm, “Technis” might vaguely stick to deep house textures but when we proceed to “Analog Stroll” abstract signals on stripped-down drum machine arrangement take the control, all that rounded up by ample space groove. In “BBQ Knobs” distorted bass is turned on for a real subwoofer test while “Tunnel Dark” is accentuated by rhythmic modulations and comes the closest to soulless machine jack. With his pressurized analog house Murphy tells the heritage of Armando or Cajmere is well preserved.

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