Wednesday, September 19, 2007

A Few Reviews

I had some good gear shoved my way from Teclectic this week.

Title: Era Bulgaris
Artist: Lad & Dave The Hustler
Label: Num
Cat Number: Num19
Genre: Space Techno

A: Era Bulgaris (original mix)
B: Era Bulgaris (Quenum remix)

This is a solid example of the type of stuff we've come to expect from Lee van Dowski's label. With a slight difference though. The original mix uses a choir to underpin wiry, elastic beats that cascade throughout the track changing about three quarters through to a more urgent, highly-strung synth. There's a strong percussive element running along this tune's lateral line steering it on a steady course through choppy conditions.

Quenum's remix keeps the choir and the dramatic opening but stretches things out a little more making use of a clap and vocal snippet that flickers over the top along with a sinister hum that peaks after about three minutes. The choral contribution soon outstays it's welcome to give way to a bottom-heavy shuffle, only to sporadically return.

Both mixes will, I'm sure, work wonders on more discerning floors and will provide a dose of syncopation when needed. I prefer the original, but only because I would have preferred the vocal to be more understated.

Title: Green Chocolate EP
Artist: Fusiphorm
Label: Minimood Records
Cat Number: Minimood 001
Genre: Warped

A: Green Chocolate
B1: Mister Blue
B2: Green Chocolate (Koljah's Exploding Cake remix)

'Green Chocolate' sounds like Gizmo the gremlin being hit over the head repeatedly with a brick. There's a metronomic timing also at work here that keeps the track bubbling along at an even pace. It's absolutely bonkers though. Seriously, were did Fusiphorm get the idea to make this stuff? Like it's name suggests, 'Green Chocolate' exists in a universe of its own making. One that's totally stark raving mad.

Moodier and slightly more sinister is 'Mister Blue' with it's digitally-enhanced melody based on traditional organic sounds. Does this sound like gibberish? As well it may but when trying to describe music like this there's a stream of conciousness at work that's hard to define. This is funk to make you dance when you're buried up to your waist in mud.

Koljah's take on the title track is the most unavoidably dancefloor friendly of the three on offer here. It's a serious monster of a track that whirrs and buzzes at all the right moments to create mayhem just when it's needed. Breakdowns don't normally do that much for me but they do here.

Title: Soulfull EP
Artist: Skat
Label: Sthlmaudio Recordings
Cat Number: SAEP013
Genre: House

A: Yo Boy
B1: Uptight
B2: Take It Back

'Yo Boy' uses a, what to call it? hip-hop vocal, which isn't as bad as it sounds but could be better. It's thankfully accompanied by a dubby synth wash and wonky string section that, combined with an urgent, driving kick builds to an off-kilter crescendo. It's good, but there's a cliched element to the vocal that I'm not comfortable with.

'Uptight' jacks along gently but again has a vocal which isn't really my cup of tea. It's not overstated at all, and fits in with the general scheme of things but I can't help feeling that the track isn't benefiting that much from it.

'Take It Back' uses vocal samples that urge you to 'take it back.' Obvious I suppose. This tune falls midway between the other two in my opinion. A jacking groove again pounds away at a slightly higher tempo than 'Uptight' but lacks the bite of 'Yo Boy.'

All three tracks are solid, and it's unusual to have a collection with so much vocal action underpinned by such strident funk. Even though I'm not always enamoured of the voices in question, it's still a very promising package from Skat.

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