Monday, March 05, 2007
I thought I'd put a few words down about a new net label run out of Barcelona called “Stratospherik.” It's three releases old at the moment and while what it produces isn't necessarily ground breaking it's certainly good, deep techy house and absolutely gratis. The releases are, in chronological order:
In an Empty Room/Threshold – Clarke Cassidy
LaidMeBack/Dainty Day – Stratoliner
Mindnone/Nippondark – Clarke Cassidy
I'm a big fan of mood setting music that does exactly what it says on the tin, no strings attached. If you've ever wondered why, in The F Word, uberchef Gordon Ramsay almost always gets his arse kicked when he challenges someone to make a better dessert than him, it's because he insists on being too clever. He puts secret ingredients in his brownies that completely ruin the flavour and the expectation. He creates something else which, while tasting nice isn't what was wanted. I want my roast potatoes to be crispy on the outside, fluffy inside and seasoned simply with some sea salt, black pepper and maybe a little flat leaf parsley on top (oh, and don't forget to use goose or duck fat in the oven with them if available). I've never been able to understand most titles in techno or house. It's all about evocation I suppose, but I definitely think that Clarke Cassidy's first double header contains more than a hint of the words used. One of my favourite titles of any piece of music has to be “Condor to Malaga” by Jeff Mills. Whether the music fits the title or not, I feel like I'm flying over the Med when I listen to that track. Likewise, I'm having a dainty day when I listen to Sratoliner's track of the same name. The stylings are almost oriental in this one and it lays down a metronomic groove that takes it up a notch from it's predecessor “Laidmeback.” By the time we've got to the third release “Mindnone” we've come full circle and we're back with Mr Cassidy's kick drum. Listening to these three in order does give one a sense of symmetry. Stratoliner injects some uncertainty and drugginess into the proceedings and this flows over into “Mindnone” which is toughened up by an off key bass that harmonises with a disembodied vocoder. “Nippondark” is perhaps the most overtly sinister of all the tracks on offer here, with it's rumbling, industrial sub bass and busy Duracell bunny-like snare drum. You can find all these tracks here. I've no idea who made them, but that shouldn't stop any one wanting to inject their sets with some darkness from snapping them up pronto.
Here's a chart. Didn't have time to do one last month, what with babies being born and all that. Again, what you read about might not be amazingly recent, just the stuff that I'm playing at the moment.
My Rendition – The Martinez Brothers (Objektivity): I've written enough about this one already. Click on the link opposite to read my full Resident Advisor review.
Tranquillite – Jens Zimmermann (K2): A lot going on here, and a bit of a departure for K2. Disembodied Gregorian chants and a murkiness keep this one going through a miasma of unsettling but rhythmic percussion.
Whenever – Dolly la Parton (Bemysheep): First came across this one on the Marco Carola Fabric mix cd. It's Alex Under at the controls and the Robert Hood-like harmonics that he's taken a notch or two higher are dribbling in and out of the driving beat.
Czeslawa – Ben Klock (Ostgut Ton): The stamp of Robert Hood again, more noticeable on “Warszawa” than “Czeslawa.” It's debatable whether Klock and his ilk really realise that they are making something derivative (and I mean that in the nicest possible way) because this stuff sounds so fresh. “I remember (adopts the voice of a venerable old reptile) buying “Minimal Nation” on Axis in the mid 90s and they all thought I was mad.”
Dig Your Own Rave – Zander VT (Memo): Named after the legendary T Bar Sunday daytime knees up of the same name. Melancholy and optimistic simultaneously.
Galaxy 82 – Makossa & Megablast (GStone): Not an imprint that usually crosses my path, but I've got the good people at Phonica to thank for this one. Asking what a certain record on the wall was, I was given this to accompany it, as they were both from the same label. My original request didn't cut it, but this one more than does. An early evening crowd pleaser as well as and end of night floor shaker.
Alone on Mars – Redshape (Present): I'm really checking everything by Redshape at the moment and not being even slightly disappointed. Classy Detroit-inspired but entirely European techno. Not nosebleed but tear-jerking.
Housemusic/State of Mind – Motor City Soul (Lo Fi Stereo): Classy 21st Century house that houses more than it techs. “State of Mind” is the one for me. Underpinned by a bass line you've definitely heard somewhere before, a keyboard stabs away insistently bringing the track to a hands-in-the-air climax. Check the recent remixes for Fuckponydelic on Cocoon and for Dani Casarano on Connoisseur Superior which are both superb.
Viellees Canadiennes EP – Luci (Titbit): Montreal's Luci comes correct with a four track EP that peddles what is basicaly a leftfield version of what used to be called “funky house” but, thanks to K sounds a little bit more warped than your average four to the floor. This EP reminds me of Brett Johnson in parts and is suitably wonky enough to keep things interesting.
No Model No Tool – Luciano (Cadenza): Double pack from Luciano that contains something for everyone. It's the two elongated workouts “Keridos” and “Saulitude” that are the only ones I'm bothering with though. The smaller tracks on disc two all have their place, but would only work as layers on the dancefloor.