30 December 2010

2010 Newcomer: Bakey Ustl

1. Bakey Ustl
Not an unbiased decision to select Bakey Ustl, native Estonian, the Newcomer of the Year. But it's not far-fetched because of his storming solo debut on Unthank, a twisted view on deep house. Also my blog statistics and Juno's sales chart (his EP in the 6th position of the last eight weeks) are clear proofs of the excellence of this release.
2. Raime
Missed the vinyl version of his debut, "Raime EP", that was followed by another strike of gothic electronica in "If Anywhere Was Here He Would Know Where We Are", with a Regis version. I'm expecting more of it in 2011.
3. Svreca 
Despite of an earlier co-release with Oscar Mulero, the year 2010 marked his strong arrival in the techno scene; "Obscur" is brilliant and Semantica is among the labels to watch.


28 December 2010

Preview: Shackleton at the Club 2011 launch in Tallinn (1.1.11)

shackletonIn 2011 Tallinn is European Capital of Culture and a lot will happen on the club and music landscape. On 1 January 2011, for those who have recovered from the New Year's Eve, a new event series called Club 2011 is kicked off. Headline performer is Skull Disco founder and dubstep hero Shackleton, definitely a genre-expanding producer and sound wizard whois a much anticipated guest at any event.
Also from local perspective the line-up is impressive: live performance by a trio composed of Rainer Jancis, Rasmus Merivoo and Joel Tammik. On stage also eccentric Andres Lõo, techno-acid-electro-mix-up team Sex Drive Live, Mustad Noodid plus DJs Raul Saaremets, Rhythm Doctor, Siim Nestor, Jaagup Jalakas, Kreck a.o.
The venue is Metro Plaza, a chic office building in Tallinn City, turned into club for that particular night. Tickets €10.00 at the door and please remember that euro is the official currency in Estonia as of 1 January. You can spend your kroons too if any left.
http://www.plektrumfestival.ee/2010/12/23/660 (in Estonian)

27 December 2010

2010 Best Record Shop: Decks.de

2010 was full of great music and I would like to give props to some excellent sources for obtaining it. The lion's share of the stuff was bought from online stores that top the ranking but I hope that physical record stores remain in business, being also great meeting points and arteries of social life.
1. Decks.de
A regular for my record purchases with vast selection and customer-friendly interface. Allows omnibus orders, i.e. to collect an order during 30 days before shipped. Prices are ok and shipping charges do not hurt - they even offer UPS for €10.90 (to Estonia, delivery time around one week). Decks.de sells only what they have in stock. As a downside some items become available a few days later, rarely never, than at competitors but it depends on the distribution companies. Does not sell digital releases. Launched Decks Classix, a platform for repressing 1990's gems (Blake Baxter, Moodymann, Jimi Tenor, DJ HMC, etc.).
2. Boomkat.com
The best address for limited-edition and cutting-edge records from really deep from the u-ground, in addition to a superb selection of electronic music chart-runners. Boomkat really knows the trade and in reviews they do stunts with words. Reliable expert advices and recommendations for exploring minds. In addition to hard copies offers also digital formats, including FLAC. Would be the best record shop if they only would drop discriminating shipping charges to Estonia.
3. Honestjons.com
Found it in 2010 and immediately did some orders. Affiliated with the record label of the same name, it offers a quality selection of deeper-minded and exploring releases. If you are into Angolan funk or Turkish chant, it's your place. A kindred spirit of Hard Wax crew and a foothold of Berlin's deeper scene in London. Friendly and personal service.

Hard Wax - a classic and a place to visit in Berlin. Mail order offers opportunities to grab Hard Wax exclusives, in addition to usual suspects across techno, house, IDM, dubstep and, of course, reggae and dub. Occasionally items are out of stock, after the order being submitted.
Clone.nl and Rushhour.nl - the Dutch can do it. Both are distributors too and offer many delights, Clone being more focused on electro, wave and nu-disco stuff while Rush Hour keeps the house, funk and soul alive. But you find much-much more at both. Essential places for stocking up the collections; Clone has a digital shop too.
Juno.co.uk - seems to have all the world's music, huge selection and provides that you know what you are looking for.
Rubadub.co.uk - have heard many good words about it and might discover it in 2011.
Stupido-Shop - sprung from an independent record label. I don't challenge the statement "simply the best record shop in Finland". Enthusiastic and friendly owner and a well-stocked place to drop by in Helsinki. Has e-store too.
Sister Ray - still alive and kicking on Berwick Street, London.

Rahva Raamat - a books and media chain in Estonia that courageously stocks a good selection of actual vinyls. In Estonia Lasering is a good choice too.
Ebay - offers tend to be overpriced but sometimes good finds. I used for stocking up with 90's hardcore and acid classics, thank you Electryx!
Discogs.com - in 2010 tried first time the marketplace, it has virtually anything and prices range from bargains to silly rip-offs. 
Used clothing - if lucky the boutiques sporting this name and sign can stock even records. More likely, in second hand outlets that sell used household stuff and in Tallinn some have several boxes of vinyl too. 95 percent of the stock is uninteresting but in 2010 I found Carpenter's "Escape From New York" soundtrack, some italo things and 90's house.

18 December 2010

Blastromen - Human Beyond (Dominance Records 044) - 9/10

Ambassadors of blue light have descended on the Earth. They glimmer, they roar, they vibrate behind the controls and are full of microchips, delivering a message of electro. No sterile-gloved research in a secluded lab but a spectacular demonstration of blazing energy to the world.
The first album of the Finnish Blastromen ignites a party and captures the floor with vocoded vox, melodic layers and hectic breakbeats. Cold and beautiful title track "Human Beyond" sets the agenda, then the pace is upped in "Battlenet". Vocoders speak and machines breathe in oriental-sounding "Follow The Command" and in heavier "Computer Simulator". "Sky City 1000" would sound well in an après-ski party in the Alps. No really weak links among eight tracks, but some do stand out and therefore EP format with less tracks would have worked well too.
Blastromen will have a lot of dedicated fans who appreciate its live performances, as seen on Youtube. Electro is music with attitude and can be either expressed with motionlessness, like Kraftwerk or Dopplereffekt, or with rocking live sets, like Auxmen or this same Blastromen.When I look at them it's like Batman and Robin in futuristic outfit driving the crowd mad. These Finns with illuminating epaulets have style.





Buy blue vinyl + poster from Save Our Sounds
Buy CD from Juno

14 December 2010

2010 Best Artist: Ancient Methods

Medieval techno funk duo Ancient Methods tops the Best Artist  category. For every listed artist I added a track that impressed me.
1. Ancient Methods "Untitled: B1" (Ancient Methods)
2. Stingray 313 "Sentiment" [Naked Lunch]
3. Delta Funktionen "Please Identify" (Ann Aimee)
4. Marco Bernardi "Msry" (Dirty Planet Recordings)
5. Mark Ernestus Vs. Konono N° 1 "Masikulu Dub" (CNG)
6. Svreca "AW09" (Semantica)

Almost as great artists and tracks, in random order:
Robert Hood "Omega (End Times)" (M-Plant)
Nuel "Untitled: A1" (Aquaplano)
Speedy J "Armstrong"
Bakey USTL "Heroin" (Unthank)
Mensah "1986 Was The Future" (H.E.N.C.H.)
TV Victor "130509" (Non Standard Productions)
T++ "Dig" (Honest Jon's Records)
Blastromen "Human Beyond" (Dominance Electricity)
Uku Kuut "Vision Of Estonia" (People's Potential Unlimited)
Emad Parandian "Scud" (Haknam)
Cologne Tape "Render 2 (Magazine Edit)" (Magazine)
Mr Raoul K "Mystic Things" (Baobab Music)
Female "Regis Edit" (Sandwell District)

    11 December 2010

    2010 Best Label: Honest Jon's

    1. Honest Jon's Records
    Might be a surprise to learn that London-based Honest Jon's Records (HJR) is the best label in a techno-focused blog. A surprise not because of Damon Albarn, former charts star of Blur fame, who co-runs the label and does it very well. It's because of versatile catalogue, where in 2010 T++'s doublepack "Wireless" and "Splazsh" by once-promising soccer player Darren Cunningham AKA Actress were among few releases categorised as techno or electro.
    HJR is becoming an institution of higher music education. It doesn't shy to release music made in Istanbul 100 years ago or folk techno from South Africa. Plus attract an all-star-band called Moritz von Oswald Trio to its roster and co-operate with human drum machine Tony Allen. A label to watch in 2011 too and good luck to Honest Jon's record store, a place with great selection and friendly service. 
    2. FXHE
    Detroit is still doing it and evidently FXHE Records is among those injecting funk to the floors. Omar S., the hard-working man behind the label, provided both quality and quantity in 2010. Raw house tracks with  strong techno feel still characterise label's output but we also heard acid and deep house, with guest appearances by Gunnar Wendel, Roy Davis Jr., Kai Alce. For many still has a cult status. 
    3. CLR and Ostgut Ton
    Two German techno factories share the third position. Although I still haven't found alleged excellence in Shed's releases, like recent "The Traveller", Ostgut is a strong platform with artists like Dettmann, Klock, Prosumer and others. They just keep driving and understand what's en vogue when published compilation "5 Years In 60 Minutes" in cassette format. Speedy J's "Armstrong" was a highlight on CLR and later volumionus remix series of Traversable Wormhole appeared. Chris Liebing keeps the label on steely tracks.

    A good year had also: 
    3024 - combined deepness and dubstep
    Ancient Methods - only one but mindblowing release
    Congotronics - building a bridge between Africa and Europe
    Diskant - hypnotic drum rituals from Germany
    Mathematics - scouting new talents and keeping the Chicago legacy
    M-Plant - Robert Hood's renaissance goes on
    [Naked Lunch] - DJ Stingray was pure excllence
    Sandwell District - really, where next?
    Semantica - high-quality intelligent dark techno
    Something In The Sky - buzz and beats from outer space
    Tresor - several great reissues
    Umblu - house and dubstep from Estonia
    And many more...Thank you for the music!

    2010 Best Remix: Is This Insanity? (Ben Klock Remix)

    1. Martyn Ft. Spaceape "Is This Insanity? (Ben Klock Remix)" -
    Martyn was a big name for 2010 and when Ostgut stalwart Ben Klock placed his hands on the track the outcome was superb. On top of that hypnotic vox contribution by Spaceape. Undisputed winner of the remix category.
    2. Marco Bernardi "Giro (Exium Remix)" - Bernardi's excellent EP was refined by a thriving remix of Spanish duo Exium. Solid techno for the floor that was picked up by Surgeon for his Fabric mix-CD.
    3. Cub "C U 1 (UST Remix)" - dark and mysterious trip with a treatment by UST - could be acronym of Ugandan Speed Trials.

    Worth a mention are also Svreca's "Obscur (Regis Remix)" and Luke Slater's remix of Lucy & Ercolino's "Gmork".

    08 December 2010

    2010 Favourite Media (online): Intergalactic FM

    This is the category that could be described "too many to list". I have listed in my profile the blogs and sites I follow, and as you may guess, these are not the only ones.
    Although charting the favorites is a challenge, there are some that I would like to present. Excluded is discogs.com, a daily tool, that is anyway in own league.
    1. Intergalactic FM
    A treasure box for anyone into electro, techno, italo, horror movie soundtracks and whatever else can be found on earth. Or will be found soon. The streaming site was initially set up by I-F as Cybernetic Broadcasting System but later relaunched as IFM. The hardest stuff comes on Channel #1, under the code name MurderCapital FM. Look for archives and great mixes you find there. I should remember my donation to the site.
    2. mnmlssg
    It was a mix by Hauntologists Vs Cheap And Deep that took me to the website. Initially thought it's "just another blog" but discovered how consistently the site is run. The best feature are the DJ-mixes, ranging from Luke Hess and Kassem Mosse to Silent Servant and Ancient Methods. Great articles about current state of electronic music and party reviews. mnmlssg produces a lot of tweets too.
    3. Soundcloud
    For sharing music and inviting people to buy records. It may host also some pirate files but it's a trustworthy source for finding sound clips uploaded by artists themselves. This platform will see another growth year in 2011 and hopefully also many archives, not only new releases find their way to the site. Just a good example for other labels: The Vision's "Detroit: One Circle" can be found at Soundcloud.

    And then there are Ebay, Youtube, all great online record shops, and sites like Planetaryfunk, Moth, Heliori, POPOP, Trash Can Dance - to name only a few.

    07 December 2010

    Donato Dozzy & DJ Say - Your Transparent Eyes (Attic Music 006) - 7/10

    Donato Dozzy, who released his sought-after first album "K" this year, remains true to the tradition to team up with other producers. Two-track release on Attic Music is his second collaboration with DJ Say, after an EP on Mental Groove.
    It smells like dub techno but it is not. Mid-tempo "Your Eyes" opens the game with destructive bass and flashing synth effects. It stays very intense until a bit cheesy phrase something (?) in your eyes, surrounded by echoes, emerges from the background. Recurring sample adds hit potential but starts to annoy when the track progresses. Also a lower voice would have worked better.
    Even deeper "Transparent" pumps off with effects and bubbling sequences and can't be distracted from its straightforward path. Something for the moments when you watch stars and dream about extraterrestrial beings. Two pretty decent cuts from Italians, without breaking into new territories.


    06 December 2010

    2010 Favourite Music Media (offline): De:Bug

    It's time to wrap up the year 2010 and the first category is about the media that is available in hard copy. The paper is not searchable and takes up some room in the shelf but I prefer these mags in old-fashioned way. Needless to say that like other traditional media publications, they have websites too.
    1. De:Bug (D)
    Published in vibrant Berlin, De:Bug covers elektronische Lebensaspekte that do not only encompass modern music but also gadgets, technology, media and society. The party guide tells the best on offer in Berlin and beyond. Elaborates various aspects of the electronic world and comes with a number of professional reviews - where you see that every second critic by Bleed starts with Tja. Open-minded in exploring different genres and sub-genres to educate readers. De:Bug would make some people learn German.   
    2. Wire (UK)
    Something for expanding your musical horizon. Anything about Tuvan throat singers, Portuguese experimental noise or contemporary minimal classics, while also having some words about electronica and dance tracks. "Wire Tapper" compilations come free with the magazine a few times per year and summarize what has been under Wire's magnifying glass. Exceptional writers with deep intellectual approach to the music and world.  
    3. Groove (D)
    From Frankfurt am Main and has been in business for 20 years, a surviving contemporary of the legendary Frontpage mag. The layout and format are undergoing constant change but the contents focuses on music we find at DJ charts of Sven Väth, Richie Hawtin, DJ T and many others. A CD compilation comes as bonus with every kiosk issue. In recent years has published many interesting feature stories about the music history, e.g. Tresor, Patrick Cowley, Eastern Germany's electronica, italo disco and many more. Many reviews.

    05 December 2010

    Bakey Ustl - E.P. 1 (Unthank 001) - 9/10

    Stop fiddling with your goddamn radio, d'ya hear? Turn it off! It's late night at the campus, thin walls don't isolate the sounds coming from a room. It's not a radio, it's a disciple of  professors Theo P. and Kenny D. who has well progressed in Deep House Research.
    The outcome is in front of us: Filling the A-side, "A Tender Places" is a juicy and stripped-down deep house track that tells how to engage in different carnal activities, all night long. At 2:22 we encounter a sudden break and some empty grooves but the same track goes on with accelerating rhythm at the end.
    On the flip, deep grooves persist in more ordinary "Nose Candy" before all changes in "Heroin". The B2 track is just audio arts with kaleidoscopic noises and samples chasing each other. "Heroin" is like a movie by Iñárritu and in stark contrast to suave deep house cuts.
    Timo Rohula works under the cryptic moniker of Bakey USTL. He comes from a place called Vändra in Central Estonia and currently studies audiovisual arts at Gerrit Rietveld Academie in Amsterdam. "E.P. 1" is Bakey's debut single, after tracks in two Various Artists releases of Estonian label Umblu (recently "Kila Kola"). Impressive start with Moodymann-style deep house, not to to speak about the experimental B2 track. 


    03 December 2010

    Various - Generator: Broadcast In Hi-Tech (Generator 031) - 7/10

    After a hiatus of almost 15 years, if not to count some occasional releases, Detroit's Generator Records is trying a new push. The label presents a compilation that contains both seasoned and rookie producers. In total eight tracks of tech house mainly, with some deviations to harder or jazzier sides.
    A tougher start when Abstract Science ("The Grinder") debuts with a brave techno groover, followed by Andy Rantzen's ("The Kiss") commonplace tech-house with jazzy angle.
    The label boss Alan Oldham contributes, in addition to sleeve illustrations, as T-1000 with chords driven tech-house ("Detroitism"). Terrence Dixon, master of minimalism and monotony, drops sure-handed loops on heavy bass in "Daily Routine" and it's the best track here. Obsolete Music Theory's track ("Past Virtue") is medium-paced shuffling techno like from the funkier part of Detroit's textbook.
    Plural ("07") goes off intensely and then turns into a deep house cut. Jamal M. ("Fine And Mellow") drops his trademark quirky, filtered funk with slight late-night house feel and Windimoto ("Friday Night: UBQ") is also among the new ones, doing easy tech-house for the end.
    The compilation has a great significance for keeping the Detroit spirit alive but does not offer any sensations artistically. Though it's a solid package with a few highlights and worth to find a place in your record case.

    Clip: DJ T-1000 - "Detroitism"


    02 December 2010

    Afrobeat's Tony Allen coming to Tallinn


    Tony Allen, a long-time companion of afrobeat icon Fẹla Aníkúlápó Kuti and drummer in his bands, does a gig at Rock Café in Tallinn, on 9 December. Along with Kuti, Allen has been a great influencer of African modern rhythm music. In the same, the gentleman who turned 70 this year, has spread the afro message in the European music scene and beyond.
    It's a pity I have only fragmented knowledge of Allen's productions, essentially limited to one CD I would like to share with you before the concert.
    Issued in 2008, the compilation "Lagos Shake: A Tony Allen Chop Up" (Honest Jon's Records) summoned many musicians who are fond of Allen's talent, to contribute with new versions or remixes of Allen's songs.
    One can't deny album's sunny atmosphere that attracts people the fill the floor with dancing feet. Closer to Allen's roots are the versions by Hypnotic Brass Ensemble, Wareika Hill Sounds and some others, while we also hear samba and genuine West African party rhythms.
    Detroit producers are represented by Carl Craig who did a jazz-house-sounding interpretation of "Kilode". Hard Wax man Mark Ernestus added Basic Channel's delicate dub to "Moyege" and the same did with "Ole" Moritz von Oswald, stretching it to a 11-minute dub techno piece. Grime and electro treatment was given by Newham Generals.
    A bright-sounding but also deep record that pays tribute to Allen's and afrobeat's heritage.

    Newham Generals: "Tetsuya's Theme"
    Source: www.juno.co.uk

    30 November 2010

    Jeff Mills - Something In The Sky Part 5 - 7/10

    "Something In The Sky" series has reached part five and sticks to the enigmatic concept we know from previous issues. After having torn tens of shrink wraps from Axis's or Jeff Mills's records, the question is if the magic is still there when I push the "play" button.
    Like other Something In The Sky (SITS) releases, the current one offers transparent and dynamic no-frills techno where the best is for the start. A1 is a monotonous track full of hidden force and good for any peak time DJ-set. Space signals and subtle beat come in A2, a composition I would call power ambient. Unfortunately the B-side is quite average and both tracks that move in upper spheres are not inspiring. 
    Critics say that Mills's newer releases are reproductions of a few well-working tracks with slight alternations and the statement could be even true in this case. With the 6th SITS record in the pipeline, the question is if one can maintain the freshness in a concept expanding to a total of 24 tracks, at least, without suffering of fatigue.
    As a long-time Mills fan, I can say it's another good research in ufology with familiar loops and effects but not from the most innovative end of his creations.


    28 November 2010

    Ancient Methods - Fifth Method (AM-5) - 10/10

    The walls of Jericho are shaking again when hit with the sonic assault by Ancient Methods (AM). Baeks and Trias, two masterminds behind the act, are on the move in heavy armor, again in the crossroads of darker techno and industrial.
    A1 goes off with a raw and energetic sequence pumping like, I would say, a rave track. At mid-track the tempo is reduced, rhythm altered and what follows is AM's trademark diesel beat. A2 is a five-second clip of disco, like a mastering mishap.
    On the flip of marbled vinyl, B1 is a robust stomper with distorted voice sample and full of amazing power, reminding of some Subhead releases.B2 keeps the standard with basses challenging the needle, the track complemented by funkier beat.
    Seems that now defunct Zhark and Possible Records have donated some organs to AM. It's cyborgian techno, on foundations of early-90'sound, but also with a spirit of older times when men were made of iron and ships of wood.
    Since 2007 AM have done only five releases on their own platform, the fact speaks of professionalism and quality. Brilliant continuation of the series with AM-5.


    23 November 2010

    Bam Bam - Where Is Your Child (Tresor 10165) - 8/10

    This should rather belong to the Dust-Off category because the original "Where Is Your Child" was released in 1988, in the heyday of the acid house. Now it has seen the light of the day again, as a reissue by Tresor.
    Fellow Chicagoan DJ Rush has put his naughty fingers on the track and filled the A-side with an harder take, allowing closer to the end an acappella section on bristling hi-hats.
    While the title track boasts a classic and fat bass line, the sound of breaking glass and crying baby deflates the overall impression. Yes, the underlying idea is to warn parents about hazy pastime of their kids, but desperate moaning Where is your child? is disturbing. The theme of do-you-know-what-your-kids-do? has been used also in other productions, drop me a comment about this.
    For the end "Give It To Me", a solid acid house trip, as another proof of Chris Westbrook's skills. Without a crying baby it were 10/10.


    22 November 2010

    Svreca - Obscur (Semantica 18) - 9/10

    Limited edition of 100 and handmade details are only secondary factors why to get excited about this record that is my first encounter with Spanish outlet Semantica and the work of the label head Svreca, by the passport known as Enrique Mena. Those seeking loud techno bangers on the release should look at somewhere else. Towards the end the hardness comes up but in an intelligent and mystic way.
    The title track, "Obscur" is a floating drone signaling the eternal emptiness. Then Regis's remix of "Utero" is atmospheric electronica with mystic background voices and reminds of earlier Aphex Twin and, more exactly, of Passarani's LP "22nd Century".
    Change of mood awaits on the B-side: "Erosion" is a rhythmic tribute to Torsten Pröfrock's T++, with subtle breakbeat and dark stabs. The rest of the B-side dips into claustrophobia and sinister deepness with "SS10" and "AW09", the latter a bit reminiscent of Jeff Mills's SITS series and being my favourite here. Both of them bite like outer space insects.
    All tracks are in one go. The liner notes explain that Obscur is a gloomy-looking Swedish garment label that has two of the collections named called like to last two tracks of this EP.
    Along with Exium, Sverca and his label are another proofs of Spain being on top of the current techno world, with a big chunk of innovation.


    20 November 2010

    Dave Clarke @Korter, Tallinn

    Yesterday Tallinn's club nation had something to choose from: King Britt at the Club Privé, Leo Young at Mutant Disco in Sõprus Cinema and in the Korter Dave Clarke, the fixture for all "tech heads and electro whores" (quote: krtr.ee). Rotermanni area in the Tallinn city is becoming an artery of social life and there is also Korter running a mixed selection of club nights.
    Around 23:00 the music was already flowing with local Anders Melts AKA DJ 4-Got-10 at the controls. Being the front man of Estonian industrial band Forgotten Sunrise, his fondness of EBM and machine sounds was clearly audible. The set was very energetic, occasionally close to electroclash.
    Then another local, DJ MRDS, had his turn, mixing (minimal) techno with several dub techno tracks and, for the cheering crowd, I-F's classic "Space Invaders Are Smoking Grass". During his set a lady with different gadgets started to fiddle on the equipment, to set up the stage for the night's star performer.
    Dave Clarke started at 1:30 immediately stepping on it with heavy bangers, creating a stark contrast with MRDS's dubby finale. It felt like at the peak of a hard techno set and no time for a warm-up was given to the enthusiastic crowd. DJs travel lightly nowadays and also Clarke's "record case", i.e notebook, carried an illuminated apple sign - it was a surprise that he did not use any vinyl. The mixing was seamless and almost none of the tracks, or even cuts, lasted more than one-two minutes. He processed the material perfectly and put a lot of energy in to the set, allowing some sample flashbacks to his own productions.
    Clarke's set was harder than expected, although calmed down a bit after a storming introduction. Some bits of Basic Channel tracks and electro passages offered some change. It was nice to hear him again and thanks for coming to the North.

    18 November 2010

    Various - Sügis (TCD0102010) - 7/10

    The sound of facial hair and piercings on the first of three compilations, dedicated to new Estonian rock and other non-electronic music and presented in an home-made collection titled "Sügis" ("Autumn").
    Industrial group Forgotten Sunrise does a few contributions but the vast majority is guitar-based fare, among the total of 22 tracks.
    Modern bards Orelipoiss and Contra make a poetic and obscene - for those who know the language - introduction, as short as your breath. The next 14 tracks are focused on noise and furious guitars, ranging from insane punk to mature rock. Good finds are Highmachine ("Hookers From The Swamp") and heavyweight droning works by Melmac ("The Storm") and Talbot ("Pick-Up Lane").
    Tolmunud Mesipuu comes with a lo-fi guitar attack and smashing live group Zahir surprises with distorted country hooks in "Bring Me The Head Of Gwyneth Paltrow (In Mind Condition)". A poppy contribution by Leslie Da Bass ("Trans") is a rare bird in this noisy and menacing company. "The End" by Sinine is an heavy rock ballad reminding a bit of Nightwish. Insane guitars and white noise in "Black Christmas" by Edasi that redefines Season's tunes. Aforementioned Forgotten Sunrise has remixed heroic rock group Loits ("Tuleristsed") and then concludes the comp with quiet "In Heaven (Lady In The Radiator Song)".
    Would have expected more lyrics in Estonian and stronger input of industrial music but it's an honest collection of harder rock from the country in the shores of the Baltic Sea. Compiled by Trash who runs a music and movie blog where you find also the full track list.


    17 November 2010

    Martyn - Remixes by Ben Klock / Illum Sphere (3024-007) - 10/10

    You bright guys have known it since January: the release is just brilliant. Two takes from Martyn's album "Great Lengths", starting with "Is This Insanity?". Yes, it is insane.
    First we find us in a vacuum where clonking and creaking beats are the only companions, till Spaceape enters the stage with suggestive voice to grab all attention. His MC qualities are just amazing and if somebody might say he apes Maxi Jazz of Faithless, it's not true. Without his vocal, the remix Ben Klock would have been a well-working but quite ordinary techno track. Now the best ingredients of the original have been crystallised into the remix of the year.
    On the B-side, Illum Sphere's workout of "Brilliant Orange" is floating dubstep electronica, a nice one too. Worth checking is also another record of Martyn's remixes, done by Zomby and Redshape.

    16 November 2010

    Various - Tropical Discotheque EP (SOFR002) - 8/10

    The heat is on at Sofrito; after vintage afro club funk of "Soweto Disco" they come with a 2010 repress of "Tropical Discotheque EP", carrying the same power and emotion as known from Sofrito's previous releases. No artist credits but four edits or reworks of thriving floor tracks: A-side is filled with two quite similar versions of "African Disco Power", with male vocal backing. On the B-side tempo is reduced in Caribbean-sounding "Calypso Path", while "Disco La Calle" goes a bit cosmic, being the best track of the EP.

    14 November 2010

    Uku Kuut - I Don't Have To Cry / Vision Of Estonia (UQ 001) - 10/10

    For a review about Uku Kuut's album "Vision Of Estonia" (2012), please click here.

    You may think it's vintage funk and soul from an American metropolis like New York or Chicago. The sounds are right and go under the skin. But Peoples Potential Unlimited (PPU), a label from Washington DC, has found an hidden gem produced in Sweden by two exiled Estonians in 1984, Uku Kuut [oo-cooh cooth] and his mother, in 1984.
    The title track, "I Don't Have To Cry", is cozy synthesizer funk with smooth vocals and slight vocoder. Even more I like jazzy funk instrumental "Vision Of Estonia" on the B-side that has a cool and composed Nordic feel, with homesickness of people starting a new life abroad. 
    Uku was born in 1966 in Estonia, that time part of the Soviet bloc, and emigrated with mother Marju to Sweden and later to US to pursue their search in music to find real soul. Marju was a well-known singer before leaving the country; however since the beginning of 90's she and Uku have been living in Estonia again.
    Uku tells the story behind the record in his blog. While still an active musician with own studio, he is also determined to find working formulas to enter the world of wine with Estonian produce.
    Great idea by Andrew Morgan of PPU to share these excellent tracks. I believe it will be a revelation not only to Estonians, how already in mid-80's US-minded funk was done by the Kuut family. Hope there will be UQ 002 and even more.


    12 November 2010

    Omar S - These Complimentary Track'x (AOS432*16 RE-1) - 7/10

    Omar-S is a real Motor City man: Produces rough tracks and has a proper day work in automotive industry, at the Ford Motor Company. Been very busy this year and may have needed extra night hours to keep up with the publishing schedule. Now simultaneously with "All I Do", a collaboration with Roy Davis Jr, a new four-tracker called "These Complimentary Track'x"  is out on his home label FXHE.
    Having recently done his first acid record, he continues where he left off: "Solely Supported" is clearly following the lights of Chicago and sounds like warehouse acid. "Under Jamaica" has furious drums and wicked programming of ghetto tracks, a noisy affair. On the B-side, melodies remain detached in "Columns" that is the closest to Omar-S's "ordinary" tracks - a long composition of dry beats and growling synths. For the end a surprise with "Boot Hill" that is a 78-second outerlude of disco soul, like a field recording featuring a portable radio left on the beach.
    Omar S has been a wicked kid of the new Detroit wave and does not look getting tired; however this release will not exactly match his best ones.


    11 November 2010

    The return of living cassettes

    Mp3 and FLAC are taking over the world and it makes to believe that the future of music lies in digital format. Retailers are struggling with CDs, tagging the them with new and new "sale" labels. Laser disc seems to be the biggest loser as the vinyl output is steadily on the climb and worshippers of pure analog sound are increasingly numerous.
    Good, e-music is sweeping all over the place. But with a trend comes anti-trend - to become later a trend itself. Now, when browsing new arrivals at the web shops, I have had a feeling that some of the new electronic and rock music is released on cassette exclusively, often as limited editions and special artwork.
    You need facts? When tracking down Donato Dozzy's new album I looked at the website of Seattle-based Further Records, just to see that in 2010 they have had several cassette-only releases by Anders Ilar, Shemale, Public Safety and others.
    Also a number of specialized labels have sprung up, for example Scotch Tapes. Today I learned that "10.10.84", a recording by Tangerine Dream founder Conrad Schnitzler, is exclusively out as cassette-only on Mirror Tapes.
    For a while I have considered buying a tape deck, preferably with USB slot, to digitize some dusty MCs from my archives. The resurgence of the format thought to be obsolete means that tape equipment would also have use for new music. After all, tapes could provide rather good sound quality and depending on the style, a lo-fi feeling would not do any harm.

    10 November 2010

    Mark Ernestus Vs. Konono N° 1 - Masikulu Dub (CNG 2) - 10/10

    The first release of the label Congotronics was day and sun, this is night and moon. Much darker atmosphere here as Hard Wax head honcho Mark Ernestus has filtered original Congolese composition by Konono N° 1 into pulsating drum tracks.
    Psychedelic voices decorate the dub version on the A-side while the flip ("Masikulu Rhythm") is reduced into dry and percussive loops. Dubbed out growling on knocking percussion paints a picture where sharp-eyed hunters of the tropical rain forests are at large to get your attention. This is a kindred spirit with "Wireless" by T++ and the work of Harmonious Thelonious. Warrior sound with a pleasant touch of innovation.

    Masikulu Dub
    Source: www.honestjons.com

    09 November 2010

    Various - Mukuba Special / Rubaczech (CNG 1) - 9/10

    "Rubaczech" may sound like surname of a Czech ice hockey player but the foundations of this release lie elsewhere, in the lands the humanity derives from. "Rubaczech" is a creation of Konono N° 1, a congolese collective that mixed native and electric instruments with sounds of old car parts.
    Konono N° 1 was widely unknown till Congotronics album in 2004 and a LP-box of the same name this year, that featured several acts from the country walking along the thin line between tribalistic folk music and electronica.
    Now the track has undergone a treatment by Nonplace Urban Field man Burnt Friedman who largely maintained the textures of original's soft electronica. On the A-side delicate percussion and warm voices characterize Shackleton's take of "Mukuba Special", made by another African combo Kasai Allstars. It's a track deriving from Black Continent's heritage full of rhythms and in the same bearing sunny smoothness. The second half turns more psychedelic with mingled chaotic voices and an array of stingy percussion elements.
    Both sides lean towards reduced dubstep and give a promising start to a new label that essentially helps to coin a new style called "congotronics". Calling it just "tribal" would be too simple and even misleading. Nice African-European bridge built here.


    05 November 2010

    DUST OFF: Dave Clarke - Archive One (Deconstruction - 1996)

    After spotting red-black posters in Tallinn, announcing Dave Clarke's gig in the club Korter on 19 November, it's time to recollect some impressions and emotions related to the guy.
    In recent years I've lost somehow interest in his doings, but it was ACV's "Alternative Current" compilation where I heard D.C. first time, contributing with raw and pounding "Winter" and "Autumn". And in November 1994 he played in the club Berlin in Helsinki, at a warm-up party for the event Weekender next day. It was a devastating experience - a rather tiny and dark room flooded with hard acid techno and by far too many decibels, with a cute girl dancing on the table, sweat dropping from the ceiling. It took some hours before my liver and guts settled to places they were supposed to be.
    Speaking about his music, Clarke's trilogy "Red" and album "Archive One" were landmarks of techno. Yesterday, after a longer break, I put the needle on the LP and was happy to rediscover the sounds that have meant so much. Very diverse tracks: Starting with almost symphonic "Rhapsody in Red", then his trademark backspins in "Protective Custody" and "Wisdom To The Wise". From the harder edge came "Storm" and really explosive "Thunder". "No One's Driving" is an hip-hop instrumental, one of my faves of this album, and concluding "Splendour" is just beautiful slow tripping with vocals of Laura-Jane. Definitely a classic release.
    http://www.krtr.ee
    http://www.daveclarke.com

    "Thunder"
    Source: www.juno.co.uk

    29 October 2010

    Madteo - Sinister Ministers (Meakusma 002x) - 8/10

    The music on this record, issued in January this year, is like a fata morgana. You see something hovering in the air, then get closer, but the only thing you can touch is emptiness. You think you can get it easily, but no. This is the true style of Madteo: Nothing is too apparent.
    For example: The playing speed of the record. "Made Off", that in many sound samples runs on 45 RPM, and "Sheepdipping" feel irritatingly slow - fiddling with pitch control would add new angles to the thing.
    All five compositions move along deep and sinister electronica where A-side carries somewhat academical feel - cinematic vocal samples may derive from an earnest psychology professor with horn glasses. Also slight melancholy ("Delphic Sophistic") can be found, but my choice is uptight "Deliverance" with disintegrated bass and beats, just a small bit reminding of dub techno. "Do What U Do" is an hip-hop joint for the end, with MC assistance by Sensational.
    After having pre-listened the EP on the web I was impressed, but the actual record had to be tested by turntables several times to make clear that "Sinister Ministers" is a decent record, although it occasionally resorts to commonplace sound textures.
    Belgian label Meakusma is a fine address: For the start an impressive compilation "Rüts", thereafter Terrence Dixon found his way to the label and most recent signing is disco-esque act [sic!].

    28 October 2010

    DUST OFF: Genetic Waste Remixes (Delirium Red 06 - 1995)

    Soon it's Halloween and an higher concentration of skulls and obscure figures can be observed even in Estonia. Monster theme has been immensely popular in the hardcore nation and also "Genetic Waste" lines up with threatening symbols. Hard sounds that have well survived the years after being issued in 1995.
    The original track is a dark and accelerated slammer, but the best comes on the B-side where Genetic Waste itself and DJ Delirium deliver a really hypnotizing hardcore track, the one with "infinity" sample. It's a really living track with different beat patterns.
    Lenny Dee and Wavelan come with two remixes and I still have to say Lenny's efforts never convinced me. Too loud, too pounding and somewhat vacuous, like here. Disintegrator's "Acid Storm" is a fierce hard acid trip for the end.

    21 October 2010

    DUST OFF: C-Tank - Nightmares Are Reality (Overdrive 030-12 - 1993)

    C-Tank will be prescribed for anger management. Like in "Clockwork Orange", where violent Alex was forced to watch brutal movies, in expectation these will extract his evil thoughts. This vintage hardcore record may reduce tensions, but afterwards one can't escape the feeling of deeply and thoroughly hammered beef.
    The best for the start: In the title track tempestous battle noises create a threatening atmosphere before brutal kick-drum beats step in. Childish samples from Evil Dead spoil the game a bit, but otherwise, just give a go.
    Then "House Hallucination" mixes an housey groove and hardcore beats - for the brave to enjoy. Hard as nails and howling "Tank Trip" manifests the no-compromise approach and "Montonic" adds burning drops of acid. Fans of dumb pounding find their own satisfaction ("Air Bounce", "The Rave Zone") and "Biolunch" is just too fast, even with a -8 pitch.
    In the first part of 90's, Overdrive was a large factory of harder German techno that supplied the crowds with massive output ranging from primitive knock-beats to tracks for eternity. It's surprising that Andy Düx still keeps the label up and running - already for over 20 years.



    Buy vinyl/CD from Discogs
    Buy a track from Junodownload

    18 October 2010

    DUST OFF: DJ Sneak - Blue Funk II (Relief 722 - 1995)

    It's fun to take a train, thought DJ Sneak and in 1995 made the second release of "Blue Funk" for the fans of rail travel. Mr Sosa is not aboard of an old-fashioned vehicle for admiring Swiss landscapes, but he steers a horsepower-laden Midwest cargo train. The man himself said once that he was inspired by Farley "Jackmaster" Funk who mixed acapella train sounds to his radio shows in Chicago.
    Machine-gun-like "Runaway Train" is overly percussive, almost techno, with wild drum staccato. Heavily pumping "Purple Haze" goes above others - a real train track with monotonous rhythm. Its dry and filtered beats get the closest to the mid-90's Chicago's mad and minimalist but rough sound. "Jumpin' Jacks" reminds of booty-house, but receives a downgrade because of irritating hooting. "Last Stop - All Aboard" makes a step towards deep house and even has some melody, unlike others.
    By now we know DJ Sneak as a well-paid guest at numerous jet set parties with Krug and Mumm pouring all over the place. But in mid-90's he was one of the young and angry producers in Chicago to make the club floors burn. It just did not last: Already "U Can't Hide It From Your Bud" in 1997 gave a clear indication that things are changing and not to the better.
    The label, Relief Records, is a brilliant chapter in the development of Chicago house and keeping the traditions alive, but it's another story.

    DJ Sneak "Purple Haze"


    14 October 2010

    Black Cow - Mojito / Toni The Lefty (Black Cow 003) - 7/10

    Black Cow is not an expert of animal breeding: The horned creature pictured on the label is a courageous bull, not a cow. But this observation is irrelevant because the music is worth checking. By style the seven-inch from Japan moves between soul and funk, with two quite differently sounding tracks.
    "Mojito" on the A-side is a shuffling percussion and rhythm exercise where we hear lively synths and vocal snippets. On the flip, soulful and latin-minded "Toni The Lefty" recalls bow-tied vocal group and shining horns in Acapulco. Because of the format the tracks are short, but neat.

    Black Cow "Mojito"
    Source: www.lighthouserecords.jp
     

    13 October 2010

    Marco Bernardi - Ist Das (Dirty Planet 003) - 10/10

    Prepare yourself for a ride. "I Feel The Lies" flies with time machine to the days of acid house. True to best traditions of 80's Chicago, the track spins around bubbling sounds and thumping beats, with the vocal part done by electro legend Keith Tucker. Cool, Aux 88 front man in a totally new role.
    Exium has mastered a remix of "Giro", delivering thus the best techno track of 2010, in my humble opinion. Millsian jingles and darkly pounding four-to-the-floor arrangement is exceptionally good. Exium's 2006 release "Unemotional" was my first encounter with the Spaniards - those who have not yet discovered them, it's about time.
    "Msry" is, again, a different story: Slightly shuffling and smoother than preceding tracks, built on harmony of chords and strings, but with technoid backdrop and flying grooves. Lovely and full of force. The original of "Giro" is cosmic electro with singing synths and a robotic voice revealing the soul of machines. An intense lead-out.
    The record is so multi-faced that sounds like a "Various Artists" release. Well, the man from Glasgow has enjoyed Tucker's and Exium's company, but it's still his creation. Not a single second of boredom comes up here, just excellent!
    Marco Bernardi - Giro (Exium remix)

    10 October 2010

    Delta Funktionen - Setup One: Decorum (Ann Aimee 11) - 8/10

    I don't have any idea what kind of offices does the label Delsin have, but can imagine a brass coated plate at their doorsteps saying "Detroit consulate in Amsterdam". Also Ann Aimee, Delsin's department for more intellectual output shares the values of the mother "company".
    The newest by Delta Funktionen inclines to the floor and has only a few thoughtful moments. The plot is driven by Detroit-inspired tracks with heavy basses and metallic dubbiness. "Abundance" is a solid opener that goes like by deep techno manual, as does its twin "One's Space" on the flip.
    The best part comes with intense and thundering "Please Identify", for the era of total surveillance with biometric passes and ever-present CCTV. It's powerful and sharp, with some acid is dropped and showing the tougher face of the artist. B2, "Erosion", makes to think about Torsten Pröfrock's project of the same name, on Chain Reaction, and it's also the most reduced piece here, blowing like autumn wind over the fallen leaves.
    A well-done record that is like Toyota: Comfy and modern, but missing a certain kick for full enjoyment.

    Delta Funktionen "Please Identify"
    (Source: www.delsin.org)

    05 October 2010

    Aaron-Carl (1973-2010)

    At the end of September 37-year-old Detroit producer Aaron-Carl died of lymphoma. Final diagnosis was issued only a week before his final departure. Aaron-Carl was best known for his deep house productions, issued among others on Soul City, Underground Resistance sub-label, and later he created own platform Wallshaker Music. But he also did with "Down" an electro release for Metroplex. R.I.P.
    Aaron-Carl: Down (Resurrected Vocal)

    30 September 2010

    DUST OFF: Acid-Pin-Ups I (JJ 005 - 1994)

    Thomas P. Heckmann performing here, hiding behind the name Acid Pin-Ups and peeking at girls out there, having programmed for each of them a rough serenade. Acid record with tough and deformed sounds that, has unsuccessfully tried to add a funky edge to the entire stuff.
    "Betty 101" and "Heather 202" just open the game that goes better with "Marilyn 404", concluding the A-side and just riding rudely over you. On the flip, "Ivonne 808" takes a few steps closer to acid hop and "Cathleen 909" blinks to electro.
    JJ was a label in Frankfurt, retaining a solid distance to hard trance that had infected Germany then. The acid platform's first artist was Uwe Schmidt aka Atom Heart (aka Senor Coconut :-) whose interpretations on the theme "Azid Ramcash" will be still worth checking.



    Surgeon - Fabric 53 (fabric105) - 8/10

    Buying a DJ mix on CD sounds pretty moronic when the web offers zillions on podcasts for free. An exception can be made if both the form and content offer good vibes, like here.
    Metal-case-release belongs to the series launched by London club Fabric in 2001. This mix session comes from Birmingham techno don Surgeon who kicks off with a field recording in the Tokyo underground. Follows a  patchwork of drums and loops that is sewn together with almost imperceptible borders between the tracks. It's more sound processing than a mix and in accordance with the metallic outfit.
    The CD is like autumn weather in Estonia, changeable. The man himself has thrown in several own tracks ("Klonk" is good) and techno faction is represented by Luke Slater, Ritzi Lee, Robert Hood and others. Marco Bernardi ("Giro"), remixed by Iberian duo Exium, makes you fly. From the bass-dubstep and UK garage camp Scuba, Instra:mental and Starkey catch the ear. Darker tones are brought in by James Ruskin and Mark Broom ("Hostage") and inquisitorial Ancient Methods. Russ Gabriel ("El Juan") comes with a bright, latino-flavoured Detroit track and DJ Overdose ("What") with ecologically tested electro.
    Surgeon performs a successful operation, but even a better one is his Wax Treatment mix from the spring 2010.

    22 September 2010

    Edge Of Motion Feat. Ronin - Back On Track EP (Djax-Up-Beats 378) - 7/10

    With "Set Up 707", Edge of Motion was a torch bearer in the beginning of 1990's. Current release comes from 2005 and two Dutch masters have teamed up with Ronin aka Dave Ellesmere to create tense but constructive pieces of techno with harder edge.
    A-side's "Break Da Roof" sounds like ordinary schranz that would have remained unnoticed in a DJ set by Chris Liebing five years ago. "3 Da Hardway" is not as much rushing but treats your skin with sandpaper and ears with howling acid lines. Concrete floors would hold out, but no guarantees are give for parquet. Quite efficient is also "Yeah Baby" - evil acid techno with masculine roaring. "Inattack" gives powerful finishing lines.
    Probably one of the last releases by Edge of Motion and has to be classified not as a new record but something from the archives, as it lies already five years back. Full respect to the heroes of the past.

    17 September 2010

    DUST OFF: Surgeon Meets Vice - Creep EP (Ideal Trax 7/1997)

    You think a meeting of Anthony Child and Jay Denham is noisy and pounding affair? Not necessarily, because two masters of techno keep a quite low-key and stripped-down dialog here. The title track undulates and swings on minimal bell-like sounds. "Creeper" is even more reduced and keeps up the same, a bit ghostly feeling. Techno pal D-Knox had come to say hello in the studio and left behind an hallucinating vocal footstep to complement track's hazy atmosphere.
    B-side's "The Point" is a few degrees stronger and spins in a more metallic and technotic mood. A bit different and great techno record from 1997.
    Surgeon needs no introduction and I recommend to get his recent Fabric mix-CD where he combines harder classic tones with new dubbier sounds. What concerns Vice, I was quite unimpressed of his Black Nation Records output, but current record gives a good understanding what he is capable to do.

    ---Surgeon Meets Vice "Creep"
    Source: www.juno.co.uk

    16 September 2010

    DUST OFF: Peter Schilling - Major Tom (WEA 24.9927-0)

    When 1980's arrived, Neue Deutsche Welle - teutonic counterpart of the British new wave - swept across Germany. Deutsch-Amerikanische Freundschaft (DAF) was the group that personified this movement. But then NDW became gradually popular music to go to the charts with Nena, Falco and others.
    Also associated with NDW, Peter Schilling was a luminous shooting-star of 1982 with David Bowie-inspired "Major Tom (Völlig Losgelöst)" that awakes fond memories among Germans having reached the middle age now. Nicely melodic and catchy refrain has been reused by other artists later. The 12-inch includes luckily a version extended to five minutes. On the B-side joyful guitar pop called "...Dann Trügt Der Schein" tells about appearances that are deceptive.
    Although having made a few records afterwards, Schilling remained one-hit wonder. Now, in the autumn 2010, he has a new album out and goes on a tour. What explains why "Major Tom" has resurfaced in the play lists of German local radio stations.

    14 September 2010

    Stingray 313 - Sphere Of Influence/Sentiment [NakedLunch 006] - 9/10

    Metaphers of oceanic fauna are very appropriate. "Sphere Of Influence" is a jellyfish floating calmly in the tropic floods of the Caribbean. Warm and even melancholic electro with hints of acid that, despite of certain softness, feels very deep and futuristic.
    "Sentiment" is a highlight of 2010 - hot-tempered stingray, who else, with burning electro impulses full of high voltage. The fusillade of powerful beats is smoothed by the vocal sample I love you and genuine jingling synths.A bit longing, but soulful and rough track in the same. Like for those who dress in black and wear masks but place a fallen baby bird back to the nest.
    Mask fits well Sherard Ingram: Known as Drexciyan DJ he likes to conceal his identity, as did prematurely departed mystical James Stinson; "Sentiment" may be well dedicated to him. Playing with the pitch would open new perspectives of this clear vinyl. Strong performance.

    10 September 2010

    Various - Groove 126/CD35 - 6/10

    The kiosk version of Groove comes always with a CD promoting the cover boys & girls of the magazine and their upcoming or recent releases. The labels in the autumn issue of 2010 are mostly the usual suspects like Kompakt, Border Community, Dial, Ovum, etc. No mind blowing tracks here but some pretty good finds along the music I have heard thousands of times.
    The start is brilliant: Cologne's big band Cologne Tape is featured with the opener of their excellent single "Render". Good one also from the French Circus Company - dOP comes with a funky orchestra-sounding arrangement along androgynous vocals between Seth Troxler and Nina Simone.
    Oliver Ho, a man with repetitive techno past, has produced under Raudive moniker a track that initially sounds like a thin percussive and softly-grooving minimal piece for relaxing moments, but then piano-assisted pumping takes control. John Roberts and his creaky "Porcelain" represents the next wave of minimal producers with altering rhythms and creative sound processing. Gonzales plays piano and synths for burlesques at autumn fairs to give a good surprise for the end. The rest is quite commonplace fare: Superpitcher and electrofied pop house (again), CPU and dubstep-backed plus vocoded exercise, Luke Abbott and stretched indie-sounding computer music. "No Way" is a chord play from Shed's new album that has been immensely hyped but not impressive.
    Other tracks are by Rekids artist Mr G, messaging darkness is calling me, and Shlomi Aber, Ukrainian Vakula and Tensnake in more or less housey interpretations. Pop coalition is represented by Bon Homme from Denmark with vocals reminding of Laid Back and paying a soft and poppy tribute to "Ray Ban".
    Real Player people can listen audio clips here.

    09 September 2010

    Hauntologists - EP 3 - 8/10

    Derrida coined the term hauntology that in the electronic music has been  extended to the productions of Mordant Music and Ghost Box. Although the term refers to a ghostly theme, this 12-inch would not exactly serve as a soundtrack for creepy movies. Hauntologists, a series launched by Jay Ahern and Stefan Schneider in Berlin, has advanced to the third release that offers the same formerly known ample, undistracted sound work hovering between techno and house, in a deep and dark atmosphere.
    Knobs have been turned and FX used on the A-side to create a saturated and deep sound palette. B1 is as mysterious where only the  laser swords are throwing shadows on the dark walls. It would attract artists like Sleeparchive, Torsten Pröfrock or Mika Vainio to show their remixing talents.
    But the third track is clearly the highlight - tension-packed B2 charges in a powerful way, marching along with hi-hat assistance to create a hectic feel. Old school pumping techno that still remains composed, is merged with a likeable groove.
    Once Josh Wink praised the first Hauntologists EP in the Groove magazine and I'm also very happy with the second one. B2 is the winner of the latest addition, but the rest is lagging behind the former releases. Not to speak about Cheap And Deep.

    31 August 2010

    Various - Soweto Disco (Sofrito Super Singles 001) - 8/10

    Recent soccer tournament made the world think that for South Africans vuvuzela is the only instrument they know - definitely a grave misinterpretation. As a recent example of successful South African music, take Elvis Maswanganyi AKA DJ Mujava and his "Township Funk". Or from earlier times, minimal and micro house artist Portable, in addition to the local rap scene. I believe there's still a lot to discover as the music from the Southern tip of Africa.
    "Soweto Disco" is a 12-inch full of party feeling, offering a modernized collage of South African shaking disco and funk from late 1970s to early 1980s. A collective called Teaspoon & The Waves delivers two tracks - starting with "Oh Yeah Soweto" that moves masses in a vein of disco's pioneer years. The opener is also the most average track of this release.
    On the A-side follows funkier "Saturday Night Special (Sofrito Vs. Kilombo Edit)", assisted by an energetic electric guitar, creating a mild and concrete atmosphere in the same. Sounds like "Papa Was A Rollin' Stone", more precisely the version by Was (Not Was).
    B-side is brilliant: Blessed with Nzimande Allstars and "Highway Sporo Disco" that is along and rolling jazz funk fitting well to the mirror-ball-decorated rooms. A tricky electric organ launches the party, guitar squeaks in almost oriental mood and horns screech like elephants. Makes wait for Sofrito's next releases.

    ---Nzimande Allstars "Highway Sporo Disco"---
    Source: www.juno.co.uk

    26 August 2010

    DUST OFF: Hexagone - Burning Trash Floor (Djax-Up-Beats) - 9/10

    Ludovic Navarre, once front man of the late Fnac Records, achieved world fame under St Germain moniker with smooth and jazzy house ("Boulevard", "Tourist") that was enjoyed millions of times in living rooms and lounges around the world.
    Although being influenced by Detroit, Navarre did his only acid record for Djax-Up-Beats in 1994, and it was unforgettable one. The 10-minute-long original of the "Burning Trash Floor" is also on Djax's bubbling label compilation "Mission Underground", along with Planet Gong, Random XS, Purple Plejade and others. Corrosive matter.

    TV Victor - GRV Vol. 1 (NSP 08) - 9/10

    Repetitio est mater studiorum, repetition is the mother of learning. The introductory lesson lasts 10 minutes 46 seconds and is titled "130509". A blunt, even too blunt loop keeps going like D***cell bunny, only the whole experience is not as soft and furry. It's self-confident sterile techno that advances in a majestic way, free of any rush. Hints of dub have been added, but the track bears only slight resemblance with Basic Channel or Chain Reaction releases.
    Darker feelings on the B1 or "010709". It's droning and thumping, more minimalist track from the hidden spheres of mind. The most recent release of Non Standard Productions concludes with ambientish sound collage, TV Victor letting loose his experimental urges. "100609" features hangman's drum and random noises dragged to the daylight from remote corners of the universe.
    Udo Heitfeld, the man behind TV Victor, is close to Hardwax camp and has published several records on Tresor. His CV includes also Gagarin Kongress, a project for techno floors that was found in a recently reviewed 90's compilation ("Astralleib", remixed by Joey Beltram). "GRV Vol. 1" is a solid pack showing a somewhat elitist face of the contemporary techno. The first track is in a freund-ly way edited by Tobias Freund, having recently put his talented fingers also on Margaret Dygas's "Frankly".
    The minimal and messy artwork and first sounds of this record tell what to expect and the expectations are well met.

    ---TV Victor "130509"---
    Source: www.juno.co.uk

    24 August 2010

    Frente Cumbiero - Pitchito / Ananas Tornillo (NYCT-7005) - 9/10

    Cumbia is hugely popular folk music in Colombia, an ever-present soundtrack for village parties and beyond. In the same, latin music is an immensely abused genre with different lousy and cheesy interpretations pounding in all those dance bars and BBQ joints across the globe.
    But this one plays in a league of its own. A cooperation of Bogotá soundwriter Mario Galeano and NYC label Names You Can Trust has peaked in a seven-inch filled with contemporary and stylish dance music that will speak also to those who necessarily do not stand "latin thing". Drums are working, horns tooting and antique electric organ gives out cool sounds. ¡El Disco es Cultura!
    "Pitchito" is partly reminiscent of Los Hermanos's "Quetzal", a maya-inspired track of Detroit's latin tech masters. This undulating and rhythmic track could be of assistance when charming a rattlesnake, if anybody dares. Except a brief song episode in "Ananas Tornillo", both sides are filled with rolling instrumental music that current house and tribal producers could learn from.
    As a flashback: In the beginning of 90's, Italian act Ramirez swept over the semi-underground dance floors, with "Hablando" being their greatest hit. Accordion and a native Colombian on vocals helped to coin the genre techno cumbia, but it's a different story.
    More about Frente Cumbiero tells this great interview.
    Frente Cumbiero - Pitchito

    22 August 2010

    DUST OFF: The Vision - Spectral Nomad (Metroplex 025) - 10/10

    This music is painting pictures: Dusk has settled over the city around the Renaissance Center whose contours raise prominently to the sky. Elsewhere, a lonesome sad figure is dragging a grocery cart on cracked concrete that once was called a street, but now screams of decay. The city in the twilight. But then, you catch a suggestive and encouraging phrase Detroit, Detroit, put on spiraling rhythms.
    It's difficult to find a match to "Detroit: One Circle", to capture as precisely the soul and passion of Motor City techno. This track gleams like chromed bumper of a 1977 Chevrolet, but also bears indefinite sorrow you encounter in the eyes of a veteran who lost his leg in Vietnam.
    The medium-paced track starts with underwater signals and flows in a convincingly minimal way to the last grooves. "Explain The Style" is like a twin sharing the same hypnotizing rhythm and the rule of machine. "Spectral Nomad" that opens the record is entrancing techno jazz and "Modern And Ancient" a more experimental outro, all in uncompromising quality.
    The Vision is Robert Hood and "Detroit: One Circle" has many common features with his "Rhythm Of Vision", also from mid-90's, the latter having just higher BPM rate. This one here fits perfectly to the futurist label of Juan Atkins. Just indulge yourself with a classic.



    18 August 2010

    Michael Black Electro - Michael Black Remixes (Team Acre 004) - 7/10

    Well, the artist name could have been smarter. But here we have Michael Black Electro or Mr Janne Hyttinen from Finland, on the crossroads of electro and hip hop, the latter dominating on this record.
    Author's fellow countrymen hit with four remixes of MBE's album tracks, full of rhymes and beats. A-side opens with Desto's take of "Agape", a tense hip hop with a sensible angle and like wanting to get closer to R'n'B.
    Then two versions of "Mustang" - artist called Clouds kicks off with piano and then slow but dull working-class rap starts rolling. Teeth's version on B1 is more steely having well-known dubstep and electro lines, and a darker and repetitive vocal part. RPK' s remix of "Helicoid Trajectory" concludes the game with thundering bass, vocoded lyrics and flashing synths.
    All ingredients are there for creating a rocking record, but the interpretations are quite alike. Good average that asks for turning up the volume for full enjoyment. The original version of "Agape" follows here.

    16 August 2010

    Moha! to release "Kriiskav Valgus"

    German label Le Petit Mignon is due to release a 7-inch by Moha, carrying an Estonian-language title "Kriiskav Valgus" ("Screeching Light"). According to Discogs the band MoHa! consists of two Scandinavians, Anders Hana and Morten J. Olsen. They have performed at Odessa Pop party in Tallinn and might have been inspired by local language when doing their next record.
    Le Petit Mignon.

    14 August 2010

    DUST OFF: Vainio / Väisänen / Vega - Endless (Blast First 147CD) - 9/10

    VVV - vicious, vibrating, volcanic. A joint ritual of Alan Vega, former vocalist of protopunk combo Suicide, and Finnish industrialists of low frequencies Mika Vainio and Ilpo Väisänen, better known as Pan Sonic. Caution: Listening to this could harm your artificial pacemaker or other electronic appliances.
    A nasty start with "Medal", that despite signalling pacifism sounds like an armada of armoured vehicles attacking. The pressure goes on with witch dance in "Incredible Criminals", where roughly yelling vocal and darkly hammering machine music try to extinct each other. "Motor Maniac" roars like a large American vehicle - no, not a Cadillac-type street cruiser, but a 1000 HP pull-race tractor. Cylinders and pistons are sighing with Alan's voice, ready to make a dash with a heavyweight trailer attached.
    "No Home Kings" and "Outrage For The Frontpage" are experiments of distorted mind and sound, while slower and easier "Endless" gives your breath back. Mad power returns in "Fun In The Wonderland" where Vega spits and bares his teeth like a cornered werewolf. The CD's tenth track starts with sparse percussion, but with echoed voice it grows to a haunting meditation called "Baby Lips". "Sick Sick USA" is another demonstration of power and in "Disgrace" Vega's suggestive vocal rules, on almost imperceptible minimal rhythm patterns.
    The creations of Vainio's and Väisänen's freaky brains have taken a central position in my all-time-top. Cold and steely machine music is their passion and it's no wonder when the internal urge to do a "song record" hit, Vega was taken aboard - it makes "Endless" a special release. In 2005 the same team published another album, "Resurrection River", on Mego.

    ---"Sick Sick USA"---
    Source: www.juno.co.uk