30 April 2010

Various - Kila Kola: Various Shades of Estonian Electronica (Umblu) - 7/10

Estonia, land of music. Modern composer Arvo Pärt was born here, in a small town called Paide, and every five years a monumental Song Festival gathers 30,000 performers and 150,000 paying spectators for a celebration of music - in a country with less than 1.4 million people.
First house and techno producers, spiritual disciples of Soviet-age deep electronica composer Sven Grünberg, emerged 20 years ago and since that the vibrant scene has created several impressive tracks, not to speak about great parties across the years.
The newest compilation by Umblu Records showcases the talents of today. The sheep on the cover do not mean it's close to the KLF's legendary "Chill Out" as it has various but club-oriented tracks on it.
It starts with dreamy and even melancholic sounds: "Lovecool (LDB Rmx)" by Uncandy has a fragile female voice and airy synths and Bisweed's "The Underwater Trip" is floating composition with relaxed strings. "Little Rene" by S.I.N. plays with breakbeats. The next one, Prospecta's "The Creation of the World", is like from a New Age crate with lounge-feel and exotic voices, remains somewhat bleak. Kali Briis and "Beibe Beibe" turns up the tempo to give us twisted disco with smooth basses, and morphs surprisingly into another, vocal-sampled house track - no mastering mishap? 
Then two en-vogue tracks from the better end of the compilation: "All Night Long" by Raadž is a grimey track that pushes energetically along and flashes subs, a bit Rekids-like stuff. Bakey Ustl and "I Call You Fat" is a urban-feel heavy bass-driven track.
Andrevski, Tallinn's club hero for years, shows his production skills in "Tarzan Call" with backspins, analog keys and Detroit-ish moderate-paced rhythms. L-OW's "What Would We Do" is a smooth bass-backed track in a merry company of dancing and singing people.
Espirit & STM's "Franctic Fruit" come with a beautiful and well-paced composition of electronica, one of the best of this release, having a nice housey transformation in the middle to return to inital rhythm patterns towards the end. Kreck starts with pipe in "Mictlantecuhtli" to proceed with metallic downtempo excursion and subs. "Sea Grip (Ajukaja edit)" by Qba is shuffling and beeping march music, dry and wonky, that spins around one groove and reminds of Speedy J's "Pullover".
Then Djerro and "Keelatud sõprus" - we can say and now for something completely different. Erkki Tero gives us freaky and FX-ed Estonian vocals, about a forbidden man-woman friendship, that succumb into a nervous and noisy disco funk - far too short track!
Umblu Records boss Raul Saaremets, a don of the Estonian scene, performs as Ajukaja "Jamaicawerk", analog sounding Tallinn house with synth layers and Caribbean shouts.
And last but not least: "Lost is Speiss" by Vaiko Eplik who, while flirting a bit with electronica, sends space rock greetings, another highlight of the compilation.
A good and well-balanced compilation of club-oriented tracks that, though,  follow often recent sound trends and could have a bit more of innovation, but still offer a few pieces to remember.

28 April 2010

DUST OFF: Digital Justice - Theme From: Its All Gone Pearshaped (Fragile Records 14) - 8/10

A release from the year 1996 that sounds like the name of the Transmat sublabel - two fragile, and long sound excursions that hover between ambient and trance. In fact, it's pure and deep chord-driven Detroit techno like we know from John Beltran or Aril Brikha. With only one difference: drum machines were not taken into the recording studio, although four Brits who are behind the Digital Justice project wouldn't have any trouble to carry the equipment. But they coped perfectly without beats and created a 34-minute record that would easily qualify as a LP. The title track was first issued on Robs Records on 1994 but after Fragile release we haven't heard much about the authors. Current one is really a beautiful piece to remember. A music of sunrise and dewy meadows.

27 April 2010

DJ Jus-Ed vs. DJ Qu - Real House Music... (Underground Quality 027) - 8/10

Not much innovation was used when this release was titled, the same can be said about the label name, Underground Quality.
But here we have a decent four-track EP full of percussive deep house. Qu did the A-side and kicks off with technoid feel in "Runwitit", a slo-mo and minimal drum composition that reminds of recently reviewed Traversable Wormhole remix of a To Rococo Rot's "Forwardness". The next one, "All Across The Floor",  is a perfectly produced fabric that does not need any ironing and where cool vocal inserts are complemented by catchy keys and horns. Deep house at its best and has both power and elegance - A2 is the clear winner of this release. 
On the B-side two tracks by Jus Ed: First, "Retrace Your Life", delivers nice synth drums and then adds spaceship-sounding hum to the well-selected chords. "Jusnotic" is the most intensive of all of them with  Plastikman-like helicopter bassline and slapping sounds we usually hear from FXHE releases. Kicks a...
Can't argue it's not real house music. Nice musical storytelling with deep house influences from Detroit and New York by a Connecticut label. Underground - not so much; quality -yes, I agree. However I'm not sure if I need two copies of it as the label insists.

26 April 2010

To Rococo Rot - Forwardness Fridays EP (Domino 356T) - 8/10

This is pure prejudice to think that To Rococo Rot, being around for years, does music for salons and art exhibitions only. However this is the first time the group makes an entry to my record shelf. I have to admit that seeing two interpretations in addition to the original track helped to decide for this one.
On the A-side is "Friday" and West Green Rd Remix by Shackleton, dubstep insider and Skull Disco label co-founder. The track hovers beautifully over the moon-like landscape and adds some decent bass to otherwise quite atmospheric feel. It's like at a weather station where discreet instruments tell us with what days are to come, but then distant thunder is heard and somebody is agitating at the corridors before the new layers of sounds emerge. The track is very mature and even scientific.
On the B-side "Forwardness" has been given a remix treatment by Traversable Wormhole  (NYC techno veteran Adam X) who has opted for a crawling track with noisy minimal influences. A lot of knobs are turned and synth layers thrown in - music for dancing around a flaming bonfire during a cold night.
B-side concludes with "Forwardness" by To Rococo Rot. Here we encounter modern electronica with a touch of acoustic with guitars and bells. The track is much more indie than the other two and speaks to ToRR fans, I believe.
Not a too accessible release that has to be listened carefully to perceive all sound bits and advanced rhythm patterns. Still, great tension inside and very much recommended.

25 April 2010

Kompleksi - [I Aint No] Lovechild / Moscow Nineteen Eighty (Lal Lal Lal 19) - 8/10

Definitely, the singer was not a choir boy of merit. Especially on "Lovechild" carrying a tune is a real challenge for him - but it could be just a clever disguise to keep this seven-inch as weird as possible. Because the guy doing the vocal part is Erkki Rautio AKA pHinn, an instigator of the Finnish electronic music scene and founder of PhinnWEB with Kompleksi being this website's "house band". "Lovechild" is like early-morning karaoke after a heavy night in the bar where only the boldest, and not necessarily the most beautiful, have survived. "Moscow Nineteen Eighty" is a bombastic and nicely rolling electro track for those who remember the first Olympic Games held in the Eastern Bloc, and the friendly bear Миша. The vocal and lyrics are as silly as on the flip but you just have to live with Finnish humor.

22 April 2010

Cub - C U 1 (CUB 01) - 7/10

A sinister piece that chops your mind like a guillotine. It's a definition of hardcore techno in 2010: the BPMs do not rush but the atmosphere is utterly dark and impelling. "C U 1" on the A-side is a Spartan journey with straightforward metallic beats and all kind of inhuman sounds. Clinks and clonks are surrounded by impenetrable fog of echoes and buzz that is all over the place.
On the flip a remix by UST (Ugandan Speed Trials, I bet) that is not any more digestible and does not let any daylight in either. You get hollow drums as an extra here. However, both sides share the same patterns and are almost identical. A bit more of variations would not have done any harm to this monster.
Fits well to the company of Ancient Methods and newer Downwards productions. A real riot of the machines, supposedly German-made. Who knows, maybe Jay Ahern on a drone trip here?

21 April 2010

Low Limit vs Lando Kal - The Golden Handshake EP (Numbers 1) - 8/10

The clash of the guys equipped with laser swords, one side for both of them. Low Limit loves a dirtier mix of electro and dubstep, experimenting with rhythms and varied percussion. All three tracks splatter like fountains in front of the cheering old school fans. "Where You Been 7.0" is a full-on bomb constructed with a kind help of chemical beats and real ghetto flavor. A bit like Modeselektor and Puppetmastaz in a jam session.
Lando Kal is smoother and believes that house and broken beats together can create magic, especially in the first track. The following, "Exotic Jesus", could be a definition of dubstep symphony. Easier we go in "Fuzzy Ankles" that concludes this side with a mysterious ballad performed by the machines. Much faster though, if you decide to experiment with 45 RPM.
A bit inconsistent and partly overdone first release of a new label that has really put some efforts into the artwork. Handful of old musical influences are mixed into one pot here but you taste also some fresh ingredients.

19 April 2010

Ed Solo / JFB - Age Of Dub / Resident Evil (Sludge 001) - 7/10

In the beginning of 1990's Bruno Sanchioni and Giuseppe Chierchia filled global dancefloors with a captivating trance hymn called "Age of Love", produced under the moniker of same name. The number of different releases and reissues of this single competes already with some songs of The Beatles.
The first release of the label Sludge awakes memories with a bass version of "Age of Love" on the A-side. Eddie Bickley takes all the credit for producing the piece without referring to two Italians. Even somebody having an object stuck in the ear would recognize that it's a remix of the club classic, not even heavy sampling. But the track is enjoyable - tons of thundering bass vibrate on old synth lines and vintage melody takes you far away.
The B-side chugs on with a bass motor. "Resident Evil" is a dubstep exercise with retro hip hop samples. A lot of power and a challenges for the sneaker soles.
A purely subjective view: The original "Age of Love" would have fitted well to the B-side, as a comparison and tribute to the bygone times; it would have been a good ground to raise my points.

16 April 2010

DUST OFF: Various - Privileged Frames For Reference (V/Vm Test Records 0002) - þ/10

Back off, keep off - this bunch has to be isolated from the society because it's not music. It's terror. And it's error. V/vm is like 100-watt light bulb that attracts of all kinds of weird insects. Purgatorian parasites and bugs gone berserk crash your ear canals and paint their graffitis inside there: "V/vm was here“. You get no sleep after listening to this mayhem.
Alien Porno Midgets swing the hula hoop on „High Altitude Over Hawaii“ but then Japanese Industrial Agents give with a metal hop a pre-taste of what is coming. Oleg Satichenko’s „Emissions From Reactor Room 17“ is an insane noise orgy from the Tchernobyl epicentre that is madly playing with low frequencies and human tolerance. „Clean“ by Mild Man Jan is a upbuilding, drone-assisted cyberdance and after a short alien conversation a more joyful laptop music, with Rephlex influences, by Brioche Kretzaal rounds up the A-side.
Noisy breakbeat opens the B-side, folllowed by Sherpa's "Expedition": not music but a mode of being with spooky voice fragements and sounds that are uttered by the space garbage. Before the end, Mild Man Jan, who is not a mild man at all, throws in some solid BPMs again. Spheric sounds round off the release that in its entirety shakes you. Uh-uh...
The record is from 1996 but sounds very fresh.

12 April 2010

Emad Parandian - Marangai Waikawa (Haknam 01) - 8/10

The name Parandian may sound Armenian but the artist here is a  Universität der Künste student from Berlin with a heritage of folk music and classics. A-side is a percussive, synth- and FX-filled voyage in a dark tunnel with barking echoes and a remote tribalistic chorus - here and there it makes you slightly shiver. Despite of being somewhat faster and closer to dub techno, in a DJ mix the track would sound well alongside Cheap and Deep Productions.
B-side is an upbuilding ryhthm collage with reverbs and mystic voice processing. The track on the flip, "Scud", serves anxiety: ghostly moon blinks between the steel-grey cloud rags but there's not enough light; wet and naked tree branches hit against your face and mythological creatures are raving behind the trees. Just can't put it into the words, better listen yourself to the record.

07 April 2010

Roska - TWC EP (Roska Kicks & Snares 007) - 9/10

Roska has the debut album out on Rinse and for this special occasion a review from the archives of Masinamusa, from the fall 2009.
In Finnish "roska" means "rubbish" but this first association is totally wrong in this respect. Because the release is pure gold. "Concrete Jungle" is a perfectly rolling production with a catchy rhythm and a perfect choice for an Indian Summer terrace party. Pure bliss goes on in the same vein with "Proverbs". B-side tightens the grip, a female "ah-ah" vocal emerges and some funk and "Strings of Life" influences are thrown in. The last, "Without It (Bonus)" is a real culmination. Thank you, Your Highness Roska, for delivering genuine 21th century dance music and being not far away from creating totally unique stuff here.

Juju & Jordash - Juju & Jordash (Dekmantel 002) – 8/10

Having met in Haifa at the end of 90's and now residing in Amsterdam, Juju and Jordash have produced their first longplayer that is colorful like a Jewish market.
Kicking off with "Deep Blue Meanies“, an easy-going tune with hit potential and a hint of bleep and more serious house. Then comes "Jugdish" that seeks entry into a chill out room and showcases Middle East roots with folk instruments and occasional piano. The B-side is a melodic deep house for joyful late night clubbing. Then we get to the second piece of wax and are immediately encountered with more speed. You are thrown into an oscillating sea of sounds full of energy that beam you up to euphoria. "Dirty Spikes" comes with extra drums and "Jazzy Trance" with a sax. The D-side slows down and flows along with hints of acid and jazzy trumpet ("Niks").
The record is a creation by cosmopolitans who have not forgotten the piano teachers from their early years and friendly folk instrumentalist from the neighborhood, but also have taken up exciting musical influences from both sides of the Atlantic. A great piece of work by Gal Aner and Jordan Czamanski.

06 April 2010

One can't escape English

When I incidentally started the masinamusa.blogspot.com back in 2006, just to share my impressions on great electronic and club music I come across, then it was mainly writing for myself. Now I try to produce a brief review about any piece of music I obtain and sometimes pick up gems from my archives. In Estonian only and I intend to keep it like this. But as a side project I launch terminal313.blogspot.com, an English version of Masinamusa. Hope you can find something here.

05 April 2010

Mr Raoul K - Mystic Things (Baobab Secret 1002) - 8/10

Raoul K, hailing from Côte d'Ivoire and Hamburg, presents a new gem of his (sub-)label. While Baobab's first, "Le Cercle Peul" from 2008, was a smooth and unpretentious tribal house then especially the A-side of current outing is a fierce voodoo. More industrial than house, reminding of Jamal Moss's rougher productions. Title track that is co-produced by Lopazz hits you with lunatic synth drums, native instruments and eating basslines. It's not admiring the beauty of the nature in a jungle, it's Abidjan's vibrant downtown.
B-side's "No Food No Groove" is a different story. At least the beginning that greets us with West African strings and percussions, in mellow party moods but then the pace is picked up, sounds get harsher and uhudu-uhudu-uhudu is the message. A brief tribute is paid to "Los Ninos de la Parque". All in all a modern tenebrous hypnotica.

Unknown Artist - Shimmy Sham Sham (Shimmy Sham Sham 001) - 8/10

Who is the most prolific club artist? Who else than the "Unknown Artist" who is represented in the discogs.com zillion times, most of it nothing more than just plain boredom. By calling an artist "anonymous" some expect to lend a mysterious and alternative touch to the release but often it's just a marketing trick. The artwork of such releases is quite basic - a paper sleeve, stamp on the label, etc.
This 12-inch is exactly like this: anonymous (said to be produced by Guillaume & The Coutu Dumonts, unconfirmed). By hearsay from Berlin and the first release on a new label. It means, you get either all the fun or nothing. Happy to say that the first option applies here. A-side is a great rolling disco-funk that starts off in an instrumental vein. In the middle of the track merry afro vocals show up, and as a common effort of a male singer and gospel chorus really make you feel sky high.
B-side smells like a edit with very familiar vocal samples. The style persists, only the pace is somewhat slower. Would be a perfect club record if only the flip would not be so common-sounding - that explains the 8 out of 10 points.
But still, shimmy sham sham, sham, sham, shimmy!

04 April 2010

Various - Pomegranates (Finders Keepers 29 LP) - 7/10

In Iran the era of Mohammad Reza Pahlavi come to an end in 1979. In a word, with shah's escape the party was literally over. Current compilation of 60's and 70's Persian funk and pop by Finders Keepers, the label with a nose for great tunes from dusty attics and murky cellars, tells what kind of party it was.
On this release you should not expect the world's wickedest psychedelic trips and space disco. Pop and moods with an exotic aura, but still close to Western prototypes rule here, although some better tunes move in more mysterious ways.
Main players are the ladies: hysteric voice play by Parva in „Mosem-e Gol“ reminds of Cheikha Rimitti, the Queen of Rai. Sweet miss Googoosh (picture) makes an impressive appearance with three tunes: „Talagh“, „Bemoun Ta Benouam“ and „Gol Bi Goldoon“. The first of them excels in addition to the vocal also with a mesmerizing bass; the third one is a sans-souci piece. Artist called Zia represents a male musical collective.
The authors of this compilation have done great job and brought to us Teheran's modern times that could have been as cool and hip as in London or Paris - if not to say more. Credits to the great artwork and comprehensive info sheet.

01 April 2010

Jeff Mills - Untitled (Something In The Sky 002) - 9/10

SITS 002 is an extraordinary release. It's the first Mills production in ten years that lands in my collection (the previous one was "Metropolis"), although his early catalogs of Axis, Purpose Maker and Tresor are well represented in the shelf. "The Purpose Maker EP" and "Waveform Transmissions Vol. 1" still give goosebumps.
Secondly, the current one is, indeed, an exceptionally good release. Spins around a UFO theme that is part of the larger concept of this recently founded label.
On the A-side you find very Millsian, perfectly calibrated jet techno that makes the aliens stretch the aerials and will be definitely up-to-date sound also in 2110. Both tracks are fairly atmospheric and the Grand Master moulds the matter in a slightly cautious manner, keeping a bit of distance.
B-side offers a kind of old school dramatics, only it's a pity that the first track on the flip is loop-like with not too many variations. B2 slows down and changes the rhythm but all downtempo attempts are made void by an energetic synth groove "feels like 1992".
Now when I think, it's a rather ordinary release with all the loops and familiar sounds & effects. However, Mills has managed to create an atmosphere that we recognize from his best days; all in all it makes  peek up the sky - maybe there's still something...

M. Pittman - Erase The Pain (Fit 001) - 7/10

In the Detroit's newer deep house scene Marcellus Malik Pittman is one the greats, along with Dixon, Wilhite and Parrish - you know the score. However, "Erase the Pain" is a suitable name for the A-side track: The further it goes the more annoying and painful it is. A monotone groove like a merry-go-round that is well in line with the aesthetics of  the above mentioned school but is somehow powerless and does not make you wink.
Introducing the B-side is "Sync", a lot sharper track based on a metallic beat being in the same a somewhat lazy exercise that starts haunting you. "Illa 5 Ela" concludes the play with a smooth-smooth jazz house and makes you dream of days when you can sip your wine on a terrace. Second halftime saves the game here.