30 June 2010

DUST OFF: Regis - Gymnastics (Downwards DNLP2)

As Birmingham warhorses like Regis, Surgeon and Female are back in business, it's time for a flashback. Gymnastics, a LP by Regis issued in 1996, is a perfect tool to fight obesity. Tight and banging tracks that are based on a metallic loop, serve well for intensive body exercise and guaranteed killing of excess calories. Will not spend any more words on this definition of minimalist hard techno.

17 June 2010

DUST OFF: Karl Marx Stadt - 1997 - 2001 (Lux Nigra 16 - 2001)

The website of now defunct Lux Nigra featured jolly commercial spots from Japan and the label in general seemed to be addicted to the country of Rising Sun. For Karl-Marx-Stadt as such the sun has gone down, because the city in the Eastern part of Germany is called Chemnitz nowadays.
It was in 2001 when Christian Gierden put together a mini-LP with tolerance-testing selection of versatile tracks. On the A-side "Test Object" kicks off as another piece of dreamy electronica but then wild breakbeats take control. "011000" is a soft interlude before "Vgamz" intrudes, with a mix of UK and Teutonic hardcore that signs off with a melodic Atari-like sound after frantic analog massacre. "Nowhere At Home" is plain techno for the floor.
B-side is launched by "Nsk2.Sqids", where poker face electronica morphs into hectic woodpecker disco and pitched ragga shouts. "Moonie Moonstone" has synths and cembalo, followed by the most insane exercise: screaming Japanese folk singer opens "Optime Prior", then flooded with ugly gabber. Female vocals soften a bit "Theorie Und Praxis" that is heavier bass-laden electro hop. Quite a rollercoaster.

15 June 2010

Herpes Ö DeLuxe - Kielholen (Hinterzimmer 01) - 8/10

No cheese and chocolate from Switzerland but glowing steel and whispering elves in the first release of Hinterzimmer Records. Label founders Reto Mäder and Roger Ziegler have teamed up with turntable instrumentalist Christoph Hess (Strotter Inst.) and two other performers, to produce an album for advanced listening and darker dancefloors.
An irritating wake-up clock introduces "Fern der Hoffnung" that develops into a hypnotically crawling esoteric track spiced with eco-friendly narration and metronomic drum beat. Raindrops and orchestral sound samples set the tone in "Funkenflug", a calm composition before most intense "Tief Unten" unleashes a psychedelic mayhem of distortion, with Strotter Inst.'s turntable experiments feeling in the bone marrow. Feels like trapped in the mine, deep under the surface and the only companion being a manically-sounding compressor drill.
The rage is over in "Ruhig stellen" that plays with human voice samples and sound snippets in an experimental vein, as does "Im Moos" - both are in-depth explorations of sound. "Boiled Rice" is a minimalist composition that bears the vastness of cosmos with weak signals intercepted from a long-lost spaceship. "Nichtsdestotrotz" is almost inaudible during the first minute but then a weak hiss is covered by upbuilding abstract noise and creeping drone. Impressive.

08 June 2010

The Psychic Stewardess - Spiritual Foundation (Strange Life Records 037) - 7/10

It feels like sitting in your favourite cafe and knowing the menu by heart but still enjoying familiar atmosphere and those sweet cakes. The label and the artist tell what to expect. Another strike from Strange Life Records featuring Smackos-like floating and spinning vintage synths with a certain concept, including the identity of the artist. The Psychic Stewardess is presented as "a part time stewardess and psychic from the Californian desert town of Palm Springs" but do you really believe it? Just the label boss Mr Wolfers AKA Legowelt under another guise and even less smarter detectives can recognise his handwriting. If Wolfers really ultimately succeeds in signing a tractor-driving UFO researcher and electronic artist from Antarctica, nobody believes him anyway.
Here a good opener, "Frosty Wings", that is an occultist mid-tempo composition and shattered minds are lurking also in "Telepathic Synthesis System" and "Ghost Apparitions". A bit ambient-sounding "Night Service" and "Paranormal Section" are good for moments of self-reflection.
My favourite is joyfully grooving "Falcon Watch" that shows clear floor potential along with concluding "Green Lands".  Also "Detroit - Rainbows Of Darkness" that starts with a hollow oscillation and, when the beat comes in, there is some Motor City feel surrounded by sawing synths.
One more note: Wolfers still prefers a more cryptic URL (http://www.xs4all.nl/~awolfe/) to Legowelt.com that's also working. Just for keeping the style he should use Gopher for web surfing and a cryptic e-mail address, like 42310802491002@compuserve.com, as it used to be almost 20 years ago...
Frosty Wings

02 June 2010

T++ - Wireless (Honest Jon's Records 49) - 10/10

Honestly, it's a serious contender for the best release in 2010. Torsten Pröfrock, ein Berliner and Hard Wax associate, goes in the footsteps of great explorers like Captain Cook or Sir Livingstone, not being afraid of blazing new trails. "Wireless" is a hybrid of varied percussions and distorted sound snippets, from exotic areas where an average taxpayer would never venture to. "Wireless", Pröfrock's last production under the T++ moniker, is like an exploratory trip to encounter species of unknown origin and intentions.
Chaotic and complex, this record gives not up for a second and charges you with a deep intensity not known for a while in electronic music. "Cropped" features manipulated East African voice excerpts over humming and clicking percussion. Subtle ethnic instruments and crazy rhythm hooks set the tone in "Anyi" and "Voices No Bodies" bubbles along like T++ releases on his own label Erosion. "Dig" comes with robotic sound and straighter rhythm textures, built around a distorted voice sample.
T++ does sound experiments without sinking into abstractness, which would be hard to comprehend. A deep and carving release that goes well beyond of usual dubstep fare you find in bulk nowadays. Divine.
The record bought at Rahva Raamat (Viru Keskus) in Tallinn.

01 June 2010

Various - The Soft House Experience Vol. 1 (Mathematics 038) - 8/10

A beautiful release from Chicago to herald the arrival of the summer. "Low Low's Odyssey" by Soulomon (LOWLOW Remix) is bright and lovely synthetic house that does not lack intensity. Equipment sings and smooth layers take off one after another. A melodic storytelling about heroes who have won the seas and conquered lands. For The Exaltics and "Moments In Time" you have to switch from 33 to 45 rpm, unless you prefer a lazy-beat stuff. The track is more bass driven, a bit cosmic composition with all bulletproof deep house elements.
Florin Büchel's sunny "Stargazer" covers the B-side with strings and keys with a romantic edge. The guy from Liechtenstein, could be the country's first electronic artist, has released on Mathematics brilliant EPs, as Contra Communem Opinionem.
Another quality vinyl from the Windy City label that can perfectly mix rhythm and melodies. Not a groundbreaking release but neat and friendly.
Soulomon - LowLow's Odyssey by soulomon