27 July 2010

Mensah - Untitled Future Funk EP (H.E.N.C.H. 017) - 8/10

Miami Vice meets seismic bass in "1986 Was The Future". Bristol resident Mensah Anderson presents a brighter side of dubstep, combining 80's sound aesthetics, buzzing effects and tension-raising breaks. In fact the first track is even closer to electro and old school influences can't be overheard. A catchy melody lends anthem potential to "1986..." and lifts the mood along the simple bass lines and vibrating drums.
Halo of bygone times is also on "Acid Dub", the opening track of the AA-side, that pays homage to the beginning of the 90's. Fierce hoover sound along with hectic vocals and piano passages derive from the era when raves were discovered by the UK youth. AA2 or "Untitled Future Funk" turns down the speed and returns to the present days in a more orthodox dubstep composition.
The digital release will have three extra tracks, the sleeve says, and these are well worth checking too. Fascinating goodies dropped here.

Cologne Tape - Render (Magazine 001) - 9/10

Cologne Tape is an orchestra consisting of no less than eleven people. Including Jörg Burger who has worked under aliases like Bionaut, Modernist, to name a few, and gone a long way in making Cologne an electronic music power center. He has been joined by producers behind Ada, Popnoname, The Field and others.
All tracks are just called "Render" and numbered from one to five. The intro-like opener is a crash of massive bass effects, hollow percussion experiments and haunting voices, all thrown into the same pot and alerting the listener for what's coming. "Render 2 (Magazine Edit)" drives across the valleys and forests of beautiful Germany in a slight house mood, assisted by bass guitar and Autobahn-like synthesizer chords. Flute before the end is unmistakably a greeting from the 70's.
B-side opens with "Render 3", a short psychedelic bass-backed gallop with hazy and stoned voices in the background. Number four kicks off like an introvert synth session with xylophone groove and twisted keyboards, but once the beat is released it develops into a colorful contemporary house track. By the end you are surrounded by a swarm of sounds. "Render 5" is a pure extended krautrock madness of over 11 minutes, a somnambulist hymn with reverse voices added.
This mini-LP of over 30 minutes does not only recycle old krautrock and Kraftwerk ideas, but also adds achievements of electronic music in recent 20 years. Definitely this record is a result of profound planning and engineering, and not of one occasional afternoon in the soundproof bedroom. Almost perfect.

26 July 2010

ASC - Phobos/Oort Cloud/Matter Of Time (Nonplus Records #006) - 5/10

A promo of ASC's new album. The opener, "Phobos", is the best one here - a compressed mosaic of  bass and dub that bears some concealed aggression. A mystic male voice promises something's gonna happen, assisted by an exotic yell and the sound machine marches along like in former Mille Plateaux-style electro hop and bass experiments. A tight package.
"Oort Cloud" is a floating interlude from the rain forests of the electronica, a bit too short. On the flip, "Matter of Time" spoils the game as it would fit into the soundtrack of "The Beach 2" with L. Di Caprio. Electric-shock-sounding distortions do not improve this lounge-minded and boring track not much. Except "Phobos", a surprisingly average release.
Phobos by ASC

21 July 2010

Deadboy - Cash Antics Volume 1 (Well Rounded Records 004) - 8/10

The label art, with a disturbingly bleeding bare bosom, promises b-movie horror experience. In fact the "blood" is Deadboy's stylised signature and three tracks are packed with R'n'B-influenced UK garage tunes. Girls rap on swooshing bass lines, breaks and fat beats.
"Way That I Luv U" on A1 sounds as a charismatic female duet in an intense lyrics showdown. The instrumental part is a lightweight synth-driven experience, having even something cheesy in it and reminding of 90's simple eurodance compositions.
On the flip powerful and naughty girl voice decorate also "Unofficial Girl", with the same smoothness and moderate bass hooks. "Long Way 2 Go" is another definition of a dubstep ballad with an impressive balance of spiritual and powerful female voices, menacing sub-basses and divine keyboards.
In a constant flood of garage and dubstep releases, Deadboy's recent one has ventured on a urban vocal trip and created a lively record that works well.

17 July 2010

Various - Sandwell District - Sampler Single 2 (SDSMP2) - 8/10

Enron would never have been collapsed if only the auditors would have been as precise as Silent Servant, the artist behind untitled opening tracks on both sides. Linear and controlled techno that sticks to hypnotic repetition but refrains from glass-shattering kickdrum assaults. It belongs to the same league of ozonized tracks known from Jeff Mills's SITS series, but is too predictable to be outstanding.
A1 goes straight ahead like torpedo cars on the Lake Bonneville,  with inhuman voice samples and an atmospheric passage at the end. B1 follows the same dry minimal patterns and is not too far from Ian Pooley's Silvershower tracks on Plus 8 (1996).
If you are looking for variations on this release, the contributions by Downwards stalwart Female are your thing. Being in experimental mood, he concludes the A-side with a beatless shoe-gazing. Then B2 is a highlight with spiraling groove that is put on slowly but surely drilling beats. And yes, it's edited by Regis. Decent stuff.

15 July 2010

Alex.O.Smith - Mid 90's (FXHE Records 432 A) - 8/10

Omar-S here with a huge acidic footprint that's not made in the sand, we just have to identify the whereabouts of these steps. Cities ashore of Great Lakes have produced essential pieces of house and techno and Chicago was the epicenter of acid.
But Alex.O.Smith remains in his first encounter (correct me if I'm wrong) with the magic 303 box faithful to his home town, following the traditions of Detroit. A clear proof is B-side's "Mid 90's", with snares and hi-hats well in place, that reminds of UR's "Acid Rain" trilogy that came out in 1993.
A-side has two ultra fine tracks: The first is a wobbly old school exercise with all acid elements in place, it just keeps going. "Ultra Fine Two" sets off with minimal claps and evil bass line and then turns into a slamming acid inferno with strong funky beat. It's a euphoric helicopter trip that keeps humming inside your head.
Mastered with a few tricks, the slab of plastic is another respectful addition to each acid head's collection. It's difficult to reinvent something in this genre in 2010 but all fans of the bubbling sounds are served well here.

11 July 2010

Sepalcure - Love Pressure (Hotflush Recordings 025) - 8/10

New Hotflush is not for claustrophobic dubstep caves but for garden gatherings along sizzling barbecues and fizzy drinks. Sun lotion is recommended when using Praveen Sharma's and Travis Stewart's burning new release.
The title track on A1 is a soulful and mild piece, combining pitched up deep house elements with delicate bass and conveying the message of love. "Down" is my fave here: more wonky and vibrates around gorgeous urban vocals saying "deep in the underground" on undulating chords. "Every Day Of My Life" opens the B-side: a subs-backed slow funk contribution with vocal support along the title theme. Then "The Warning" concludes with a moderately paced housier contribution and "this is the warning" vocal sample. A colorful EP that in some aspects reminds of Goldie's "Inner City Life" from 1994. "Love Pressure" has a clear concept that it follows across all tracks, while some creative variations would have made it even better.

Sepalcure - Love Pressure EP samples

06 July 2010

Pulshar - Sacrifice Of Love / Mantistyle Remixed (Phonobox 007) - 5/10

I have to admit that first the voluptuous piece of female anatomy caught my eye, the only question is if the music is as attractive.
Pablo Bolivar, a Spaniard behind several minimal house releases, and Aphro Sainz have teamed up as Pulshar. The original "Sacrifice of Love" is a soft-couch-song with subtle dub techno lines, and "Mantistyle" (Deep's Edayar Remix) is not much different, reminding of the output of Sub Static and other German labels years ago. If not to say it's a cheap copy of Tikiman.
On the flip Even Tuell has turned and twisted "Sacrifice of Love" into a more bassy and minimal track with a recurring vocal sample. Sistema's remix of "Mantistyle" is a honest and a bit dramatic song that does not pretend creating any crossovers and rounds up somewhat stronger B-side. 
However sharing William Adolphe Bougureau's "Nymphs and Satyr" (1873) on the sleeve is very much appreciated.

Egyptrixx - The Only Way Up EP (Night Slugs 002) - 6/10

Night Slugs had a decent launch and current one follows the same paths of smooth UK garage and house productions. A friendly outing by Egyptrixx to accompany the journeys in the London Tube outside peak hours.
On the A-side "The Only Way Up" is packed with snare and solid bass along with whining synths. "Everybody Bleeding" follows pretty much the same patterns, only a robust female vocal adds some extra weight.
Remix treatments on the flip stand out: Ikonika Remix of "The Only Way Up" with subtle chords and deep house feel is the first one to remember. Kingdom Remix, of the second A-side track, is the roughest part of this release and has even hands-up euphoric feel, if I may say, with vocals stripped.
Despite of delivering nothing unexpected on this release, Egyptrixx has well jumped the bandwagon of the contemporary UK scene.
The Only Way Up (clip) by EGYPTRIXX - EU TOUR

01 July 2010

The Kenneth Bager Experience - Fragment One Remixes Part 1 (zzzus120032) - 4/10

The lingerie girls on the sleeve and bargain price were the drivers behind purchasing this 2009 record that has three interpretations of "Fragment One (...And I Kept Hearing)". A-side is filled with a remix by Sweden's Style Of Eye, a family-friendly pop track with hints of shuffle and minimal house, that would have been a revelation in 2004 but not clearly outdated by now. Suitable to accompany circus performances with clowns and lion tamers.
Some improvement on the flip as Robot Coupe remix is a spherical medium-paced journey with dub techno elements and good to meet the arrival of a new day. For the end, Original Radio Edit is a dreamy whistle-along pop tune with vocal support by Icelandic rapper Gisli. Lean back and sip your mojito, this record will not harm you. The following video is certainly inspired by Danish "charm" movies of 1970's.