21 December 2009

Nacho Patrol - The Africa Jet Band (M Division Recordings 04) - 9/10

For this occasion Danny Wolfers AKA Legowelt is king of the jungle, under the Nacho Patrol moniker. Dutchman's fantasy in inventing cool artist names is boundless. More impressive is his ability to control all the music machines and produce tracks that are retro-sounding and contemporary same time.
As Nacho Patrol he pours gallons of funk to the discomobile's tank, steps on it and let's the fun out. "El Fuego En Nosotros Todo" is a powerful start and my favourite here. Psychedelic and etherial mood set in the first track carries on throughout the release. In "Cheetahman" we encounter a chimpanzee that imitates classic jazz funk. "Hippo Aviation" adds a few drops of ample jack and "Caravelle" is a nice tune to listen to while peeking through the window of a intergalactic spaceship. 
The Africa Jet Band release is a sibling of dusty records from the 70's and 80's but despite of partial recycling this 2009 release sounds exciting and very refreshing.

Cottam - Untitled (Cottam 3) - 8/10

Third record in the Cottam series, from the UK and this time with a green label. An intensive and tribal-minded track on the A-side that reminds of Teknotika. Rhythm hits hard but the overall composition is rather dull. 
B-side is deeper and shows some evolution. Bass is charging and in the middle of the track a gentleman with African roots lets the vocal out. It fits well into the tribal and funk feel of the B-side that is the winner here.

Various - Voyeurhythm EP 1 (Voyeurhythm 001) - 9 /10

A confession to start with: the history of soul and funk, and this part of the music world in general, is something quite alien to me. It's for the experts to say if this record is freshly squeezed tasty juice or just warmed-up bouillon of edits from the cellars. Anyway, I'm impressed about this greatly rolling piece of wax that fits to the home listening, as well as to the club floor.
A-side belongs to Benjamin Sun and "When You Looked" that is a joyful and clamorous piece of old school funk. Megadon Betamax (what a name!) opens the happy proceedings of the B-side with "Heavy Lifting" and with a thoughtful sovereignity of an old funk king. Hollywood Nites, whoever he/she is, serves a more uptempo delight with a cheerful disco-like "Too Many Bells". All in all something very beautiful and high-spirited.

Emptyset - Emptyset (Caravan Recordings 010)

Rating: 8/10
There is a tunnel. And there is light at the end of it. Or is it the Black Hole. Emptyset takes us in a shady world: starting with "Aleph" and hardly audible hum. The rest of the A-side is filled with evil growling of machines that accelerate slowly - pitching 33 RPM record up would help those who are in need of more speed. Am I the only one to hear in "Gate 1" fragments from "Flash" by Fix and "Sharevari" by A Number of Names?
"Beyond" is less depressed but still keeps the tensions up with hypnotic determination. C1 or "Completely Gone" is different and would fit into any techno set, a floor-oriented track that sticks to the dark atmosphere of the album. The next, "Beyond 2", hits like Ancient Methods with lazy-paced but hard techno. The end is reached with heavyweight compositions relying on distortions and effects that remind of Pan Sonic and John Carpenter.
Emptyset is a duo consisting of Paul Purgas and James Ginzburg, the latter being the founder of the label Vertical Sound and co-founder of pioneering dubstep label Tectonic. Not bad fellows at all who have done not a bad album.

05 December 2009

The Durian Brothers - Clubs EP (Diskant 01) - 8/10

Drums in excess on the first release of Diskant, a label based in Düsseldorf, the birthplace of Kraftwerk. "Inside Palace" promises musique concrete and abstract noise but then percussion picks up, complemented by bubbling rhythms spiced with subtle strings. Dervishes are spinning, directed by one million sound layers, and signs of cacophony appear towards the end of this 10-minute piece. On the flip, "hamigokakiko" starts with a hiss and playful sequence, then percussion takes the control with some 1970's feel, I mean Sun Ra and krautrock. "Planete Sauvage" drops the tempo to gives a bit distorted bass and bells in a laid back mood.
Stefan Schwander, know as Antonelli Electric and Rhythm Maker, is behind The Durian Brothers. Always being fond of minimal (club) tracks, he has now taken a new path with experiments with heavy percussion. Clubs EP is sightly monotonous but hypnotising intellectual rhythm music.

21 October 2009

Tobias Bernstrup - Midnight Blue (Falco Invernale Records 001) - 8/10

Swedish multi-artist carries the torch that was lit in the Apennine Peninsula in the 80's. Three easy and waving italo tracks on blue vinyl, whereas the title track and "Behind The Wheel" sound like twins beacuse of shared refrain and only some synth variations. B2, "Into The Night", is different and makes an EP out this release. Primitive lyrics (my hands are on the steering wheel, I hear the sound of crushing steel) follow the italo heritage. Background forces are worth a mention too: sound engineering by Mark Verbos; female vocals by two Scandinavian sirens, Saralunden and Miss Liz Wendelbo. The sleeve design is done by the man himself and can well decorate your wall at home.
All in all, a camp thing in the spirit of Sparks & Co. It's not fully clear if "Midnight Blue" is a piece of irony, hommage to the italo era or just another performance by an eccentric.
Check it out here:

30 September 2009

STL - The Unseen Voyage (Something Vinyl Series 09) - 8/10

Stephan Laubner from Germany opens the record with a nicely ticking and smoothly grooving but somewhat unoriginal track, raising fears that he, too, suffers from complications of the minimal virus. Despite of a sci-fi-sounding title, "Space Warriors" is the most  laid-back cut of the EP but because of its length embraces the listener and the groove keeps haunting afterwards. Then "Radionoize" is a fragmented short-wave cacophony. B-side sends on a journey across the Atlantic as "Walk With Me" follows the footsteps of soulful Detroit house. A gentle but rhythmic track that harmonises well with the final "Me, Myself and I". Four loops come as a bonus.
STL is like a kindred spirit with Danilo Plessow AKA Motor City Drum Ensemble, fellow German and Moodymann disciple, and presents a lively and attractive release here.

17 September 2009

Robert Hood - Obey / Resurrection (M-Plant M.PM2) - 8/10

Hood, one of Detroit techno greats ended his period of hibernation at the end of noughties and this release is a superb present for the admirers of mature analog sounds. Gurus are sometimes inclined to repetition of earlier works, Jeff Mills being one of the examples. But his pal Hood has engineered a high-voltage and catchy techno record. Two functional tracks, lovely.

10 September 2009

Ancient Methods / Various - The Whip / Eat Like Hawks (RSB 7) - 10/10

A procession is shuffling along a cobbled street, squeezed between dark and ancient town walls. Hooded beings feel the fatigue in their feet. What is eating them - are they still in a shock about the execution of a despotic landlord or are they ridden with fear after having learned that the entourage of inquisitors is approaching? Or are they just the believing men in-trance who obediently follow the beat of a mad drummer?
On the A-side, Ancient Methods takes us back several centuries and uses medieval-like rhythm patterns that run through the filters of dark techno. The result is hypnotic and deeply sinister stuff on "The Whip". It's launched with a minimalist but heavy-hitting industrial drum that gathers more power, then changes the rhythm and gives you a slight break before finishing in more digestible tones. Meant to be played on 45 RPM but works well with 33 RPM - the right speed is somewhere in between.
B-side sees a bunch of troublemakers from Denmark: Bjørn Svin, Karsten Pflum, Jonas Olesen and Copyflex. Their "Eat Like Hawks" is less varied but matches well the A-side mayhem with distorted analog sounds and exotic vocal samples spoken in an unidentified language. 
During the first week I did listen three times to the record - it is too much but I just wanted more. Great techno that sounds fresh and is so medieval at the same time. Devastating unearthly tracks take you on awesome trip!

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