Saturday, December 15, 2018

Beast from the Middle East - DJ Emile (Lone Romantic)

Title: Beast from the Middle East
Artist: DJ Emile
Label: Lone Romantic
Cat Number: LR010
Genre: Electro

A1: Beast from the Middle East
B1: The Bombshelter Speech
B2: Beast from the Middle East (Straight from Kuwait Mix)

Once it gets going, ‘Beast from the Middle East goes back to the old school (it is the reissue of a 1997 release after all, but feels like it has come from an earlier dimension). However, it takes rather long to get there, the first three of seven minutes being given over to, in the words of the press release a “cinematic opening section” which is two minutes too long. The last four minutes are excellent though, with the breaks and beats being embellished by ye classic (James Brown?) vocal groans. If you want cinematic, head for The ‘Straight from Kuwait Mix”, which feels like a languid, layered drive through some idealized souk. ‘The Bombshelter Speech’ does what it says on the tin, and is a call to arms recorded live at a gig with Emile as MC. This is the first in a timely series of releases on Lone Romantic devoted to unearthing some previously slept on electro. It’s made an interesting, and slightly abstract, start.

Brace Yourself - Keith Tucker (Brace Yourself)

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Peace EP - Raze Of Pleasure (Still Burning)

Title: Peace EP
Artist: Raze of Pleasure
Label: Still Burning
Cat Number: SB001
Genre: House

A1: Wilder
A2: Alright
B1: In Control
B2: At One

Still Burning, a sub label of Late Night Burners, which is a young label from The Netherlands, has the noblest of intentions. This is to rerelease obscure gems from the past, revitalizing them in the process and, ergo, keeping the music accessible and Discogs sharks at bay. This has certainly been the case with their debut, Raze of Pleasure’s ‘Peace EP’. Raze of Pleasure burned very brightly between 1990 and 1993, putting out five releases on Vice Versa Records before submerging into oblivion. This, their second outing is, while very much of its time, totally relevant today and has a timeless deep house/rave crossover vibe which exudes, on the one hand a hazy, fuggy, dance floor ambience, and on the other an energetic, boundless, nostalgia. I suppose I’m showing my age now but I really love this as I was there during its birth and probably danced to it first time around. So, onto the beats: ‘Wilder’ starts things aquatically, and is the deepest thing here. It’s no slouch but the pace is picked up by ‘Alright’ while ‘In Control’ blends the tempo and the feel of both. ‘At One’ is the real sunrise moment of the EP, being an uplifting mix of break beats, piano, swirling atmospherics and a cherry on the top spoken word snippet. This feels like it has everyone’s best interests at heart, because it does.

Sunday, December 09, 2018

Breakthrough EP - Ripperton presents Headless Ghost (Drumpoet Community)

Title: Breakthrough EP 
Artist: Ripperton presents Headless Ghost 
Label: Drumpoet Community
Cat Number: DPC072-1/-3
Genre: Deep House

A1: Real Smile Fades
A2: Abandon
B1: See You Yever
B2: One Day OK, One Day Not
B3: So Many Podcasts And So Little Time
B4: Deep In The Park

It’s been a long time since I listened to a Drumpoet Community release, and working from memory the pairing of Ripperton and the label seems a no-brainer. This is the second Headless Ghost release on the label, the previous one being from 2016, and it’s exactly what I thought it would be. Polished deep, driving grooves balanced with something more offbeat. ‘See You Yever’ is the most interesting track; it’s mid-paced, minimalist and slightly discordant. This air of uncertainty continues through ‘: So Many Podcasts And So Little Time’, and ‘Deep In The Park’ the latter acting as a coda to the former. The other three compositions pick up the pace with ‘Real Smile Fades’ treading a nice line in shuffling melancholia, ‘Abandon’ doing the momentous groove thing and being a useful tool. Finally, ‘One Day OK, One Day Not’ strikes a nice balance in haunting, dance floor based disorientation.

Thursday, December 06, 2018

Dreams of the Tropics - Jacuzzi General (Paradise Palms)

Title: Dreams of the Tropics 
Artist: Jacuzzi General 
Label: Paradise Palms
Cat Number: PP011
Genre: Cosmic Gibberish

1: Prelude
2: Eurostar
3: Dreams of the Tropics
4: Pool Shark

Following on from the previous review, we again find ourselves in a Balearic netherworld where, in this case, a sun-loving voluptuary holds sway. There’s a wooziness to this release which evokes the heady humidity of summer holidays seen through the looking glass. It feels strange listening to this with the rain beating down outside in a chilly December evening, but all the tunes here have that frictional momentum and cosmic chug, which can create a parallel world anywhere.

Zehn - Pin Up Club, Conga Fever (Mireia Records)

Title: Zehn
Artist: Pin Up Club/Conga Fever
Label: Mireia Records
Cat Number: MIR10
Genre: House

A1: Dilapidated – Pin Up Club
A2: Dilapidated (Lauer Remix) – Pin Up Club
A3: Dilapidated (RSS Disco Remix) – Pin Up Club
B1: Chihuahua – Conga Fever
B2: Chihuahua (Jacob Korn Remix) – Conga Fever

Oooh, I do like a mid-range plodder me, so the original mix of ‘Dilapidated’ has it all: it’s euphoric, cosmic stuff which lopes along under the weight of it’s own bass, hitting the highs and feeling the lows. Moving onto Lauer’s remix, we have a more energetic italo-inspired effort which is every bit as good as its predecessor, just a different facet. The RSS Disco remix is relatively flat by comparison, but this shouldn’t be seen as a negative. On the contrary it’s sharp edged dubbiness (a contradiction of terms I’m well aware of), makes it a moody take on the original. I have a student who comes from Chihuahua so I’ll be asking him if the eponymous offering here could in any way soundtrack a typical day. It’s a lively tune and one which grooves hither and thither; it does have a slight commercial edge to it though. This may be the reason why I prefer Jakob Korn’s remix, which hollows things out and mutes the originals’ excesses.

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Rising - Antigone (Token)

Title: Rising
Artist: Antigone
Label: Token
Cat Number: TOKEN88LP
Genre: Techno

A1: Rising
A2: Sands of Time
B1: Perchance to Dream
B2: Lost and Found
C1: Out There
C2: Duality of Mind
C3: Infinite Limit
D1: It Follows
D2: Irreversible
D3: Love Field

This is Antigone’s debut album and it’s a patient, well-disciplined realization of what I would hope is the artist’s imagination. This much should be obvious I suppose, but in a genre as claustrophobic as techno, it may need to be said more often than should be necessary. It’s not easy to make something which is truly unique within this genre anymore. The machine funk trace elements of one strain or another always seem to be present and form another layer of veneer on what has already been absorbed. What has kept me listening to this collection over the past few days is its symmetry and ambience; two very important techno characteristics that distinguish this album and raise it above the level of the mundane. It’s a bit too clean at times, but the space within which Antigone operates is both figurative and hallucinatory and, although most of what has been produced here feels safe within its cyclic realms, the restraint and maturity which adorns it is notable.

Monday, November 26, 2018

The Snake Bites Twice - Posthuman (Craigie Knowes)

Title: The Snake Bites Twice  
Artist: Posthuman
Label: Craigie Knowes
Cat Number: CKNOWEP13
Genre: Techno

1: Steal the Show
2: Cobra Structure
3: Polywater Acid
4: Down 2 Jakk

Electro and acid, the devil’s dumplings of electronic dance music. Seen by some to be no more than house/techno inflections, and by others as genre and sub genre respectively. Without going into the detail that I already have, I’d just like to say that the acid dominates on this release by Posthuman, with the only track free of it, ‘Steal the Show’ being an electro banger with a rave sensibility. That doesn’t mean that it’s the only composition to stand out though: ‘Polywater Acid’ journeys into a stoned hinterland for most of its last three minutes; ‘Down 2 Jakk’ is distinguished by dramatic metallic swirls which raise it above the merely mundane and ‘Cobra Structure’ has a funky shuffle that will test even the most double-jointed dancer. Craigie Knowes are signing off a great year in fine style.

Oscillate tracks 001 - D. Tiffany & Roza Terenzi (Oscilate Tracks)

Title: Oscillate Tracks 001
Artist: D. Tiffany & Roza Terenzi
Label: Oscillate Tracks
Cat Number: OSCT001
Genre: Electro/Breaks

A1: Electronique - Roza Terenzi
B1: Spirit Alien - D. Tiffany 
B2: Spirit Alien (Jayda G Esoteric Mix) - D. Tiffany

An interesting release this, which incorporates electro, drum and bass and a Jayda G  remix, which remains true to the original’s spirit while being very much of itself. Roza Terenzi’s ‘Electronique’ is a wonderful track: euphoric electro  with break beats which steadily builds and  relies on disparate elements to come together and provide a stream of mind melding moments. It’s versatile and will build at the beginning of a set, as well as raising the temperature just when needed. It’s subtle, and much more than the sum of its parts. The original of ‘Spirit Alien’ is a cosmic drum and bass excursion and is very understated. Jayda G’s remix goes down a similar rhythmic route, but makes frictional use of percussion and vocal samples to further emphasise syncopation and mood. An interesting release that refuses to be pinned down.

Friday, November 23, 2018

S.T - Rings Around Saturn (Brokntoys)

Title: S/T
Artist: Rings Around Saturn
Label: Brokntoys
Cat Number: BT30
Genre: Techno/Electro

A1: Saturnine
A2: Pulp Tech
A3: Apocalypse Lite
B1: Event Strike
B2: Perfect Crime
C1: Online Spectre
C2: World Interior
C3: Uncanny Soul
D1: Non Place
D2: Automatic Memory
D3: Mirage

A varied and interesting release this one. Flitting between augmented and reductionist strains of electro, techno, IDM and cosmic synthwave Rory McPike has created the soundtrack to a Hieronymous Bosch animation. If the garden of Earthly Delights were set to music, the result wouldn’t be too dissimilar to this. There’s chaos, but also order, a little like the third law of thermodynamics. Above all though, this collection glistens with energy and evokes a dawn of time scenario where fish are just about to grow legs and oversized planets hang in a purple sky. It’s an imaginative, evocative collection of compositions, each of which contributes in its own small way to the construction of a primitive, parallel universe.