30 March 2011

Flashback: Auxmen in Tallinn (2003) and coming again...

Picture source: www.aux88.com
Detroit electro is coming to Tallinn: On 8 April Aux 88 presents Black Tokyo Live in the club Korter, supported by local act Fuck Yuo I Am A Robot as well by DJs MRDS and Punch.
It is the second time they are in Tallinn; a party in October 2003 attracted masses to enjoy Auxmen's vibrant live performance. Some notes from this event in Von Krahl:
Auxmen was the highlight of the night [in the lineup were also Rajaleidja (Joel Tammik), Scion and DJ Rob Rowland]. Without hesitation, two guys from Detroit, Keith Tucker and Blak Tony, got to work and started firing up the crowd with slogans like "no more standing at the wall, everybody dance". And it was body-dance they instigated. With a mixture of 313-area classics, Auxmen organized a time travel through the highlights of Detroit's electronic music.
In a stark contrast to the two preceding Germans [Scion], Americans placed much emphasis on the show. The tracks were full of force and those who expected some floating and dreamier sounds, which can be found on some of Tucker's productions, were left empty-handed. Instead the bass boomed through the room, Blak Tony constantly harassed his microphone with battle cries and Tucker's voice appeared only through the vocoder. The room rocked like in the Black Sabbath Riot.
The following sample is from Auxmen 2, released in 2003 by Puzzlebox Records:

More about upcoming gig (in Estonian): http://www.krtr.ee/est/kava/propa-aux-88-presents-black-tokyo-live-detroit-usa/

22 March 2011

Cosmos Laguna - Karma Cleaner (Trash Can Dance TCD082011)

Rating: 9/10
After visiting Kiek in de Kök, a 15th-century cannon tower in Tallinn Old Town, and witnessing exhibition about the city's days of glory but also suffering through plague and wars, I found that it was appropriate time to check the album of Cosmos Laguna. Macabre artwork looked very medieval, is it another strike of black metal?
First two tracks, "Cancer" and "Underwaterwar", made clear that the release is about electronics, although the first two sounded like noisy big beat and I did not have much fun yet. Then the game really started: DAF-like bass line in "Chaos City" worked in harmony with bone-dry shuffling loops and effects, the second half of the track getting pretty mad.
Then I lost my mind. "Bel-Air Trash Disco" kicks off in almost ambient mode, like ice-cold water dripping from the roof of an undercover cave. But then the machines start to bite with inflating hip-hop-reminiscent beats and larger than life industrial horns start to drill your body and mind. New and new layers of hard electronics shake the walls, it is evil and it is terrific. It is really an outstanding track - last time it was Ancient Methods that made me such goosebumps. Knowing that the cut is dedicated to Tallinn's legendary mid-90's club Bel-Air adds extra value. 
And the ride went on. "Mover" has a more delicate start, I could almost imagine De La Soul coming to do some rhymes, but then sentimental synths in the background give room to heavier stuff. Like many other tracks, "Please Don't Kill Me" has a majestic intro and builds into a more experimental and heavy cut.
In "Karma Cleaner" vocoded warriors from Saturn speak, in a reverse mode, assisted by ambient layers and guitar, before we face the truth of flesh-eating synthetic sequences again. "Midnight Silence" and "Memory Begins" are fat and ugly, the latter searching for the melody. Distortion is a companion in many tracks.
With Cosmos Laguna the samizdat label Trash Can Dance has found an artist that could join respected line-ups of experimental techno floor.
Bel-air trash disco by Cosmos Laguna

21 March 2011

Shackleton - Fireworks (Honest Jon's Records HJP53)

Rating: 8/10
Shackleton's every move is watched very carefully, like Warren Buffett's in the world of finance, and this record has not remained unnoticed by punters and clubbers. Shack' offers two tracks, "Fireworks" and "Undeadman", that swim in the sea of deep bass and hollow clonks, surrounded by so-beloved congas, and still maintain delicate touch. "Undeadman" might be close to the heart of zombies, if they have one.
One remix is by T++, keeping the floating and complex atmosphere of "Fireworks" and sounding like stripped-down The Orb. Torsten Pröfrock does his job like in the days of DIN, however would have expected him sticking to the equatorial breakbeats of "Wireless", published last year on Honest Jon's too.
Then the change happens on the D-side, where ReMMix by Mordant Music shows the irrational side of the electronics. Imprisoned by stealth dub and chaotic noise samples, it is my favorite here. Mordant is not beautiful, but it is not a Miss World contest either.

19 March 2011

Various - Full Circle (Silent Season SSV01)

Rating: 8/10
First came the shock: The sleeve emerging from the mailer was quite worn and a merry couple, who did not look like electronic artists, smiled at me. Johnny Mathis and Deniece Williams, what the ... Then flipped it over and, to my relief, saw the print "Silent Season" on the front. Then realized the meaning of "recycled sleeve" in the description of the first vinyl release by Canadian label Silent Season.
When hearing the first chords of Iori's "Plume", thought oh no, is it just another drop in the vast sea of dub techno, but the opener of the four-track compilation is better than usual output of this kind, carrying solid power and booming across the room. My favourite track is the next, "In The Maze" by Rie Lambdoll / Relapxych.0. As mysterious as the act name is the track with modest tempo and folk rhythms complemented by haunting female voices. This is a track to express wild nature of British Columbia, the home of Vancouver-based label.
On the flip, Mohlao ("Anektode") builds into a melodic electro with spiraling synths. For the end, Deer gives a few drops of bass in "Twisted Neck Companion", but the rest of the track is mature electronica with hints of pop sounds.
Full Circle is a limited run of 200 hand-stamped records, in recycled and screen-printed sleeves - you see, many magic words to inflate consumer and collector interest. More important is that the music on this EP matches the efforts of the artwork.

Aamen - Diskoveri (Trash Can Dance TCD072011)

Rating: 7/10
"Diskoveri" ("Disco Blood") is an album one can not easily ignore. Either you like it or not, but it is an intense melting pot of 20-odd styles. You arrive to a hectic party with Count Dracula, Pokemon, Donkey Kong, Hänschen and Gretchen and many other luminaries of the unreal world.
Rephlex artist Ovuca came to my mind when listening to Aamen and some tracks could be filed under braindance, but it is quite a mess of influences. Guitar in a lonely American diner ("Pisibehmed aknad"), electric wave pop ("Kal'n'bass"), industrial meeting black metal ("Black Metal and Pink Plastick"), piano keys ("Promised Never Promise Again"), plus noise, breakbeats... Did not find any techno, by the way.
There are a few highlights. "VVEEBEEMM" and "Altmetsa teelt" (or "We'll Done" what the track is titled in Soundcloud) sound like remixed Nitzer Ebb; "SeeUnustatudRahuMaailm" is floating and poppy synth piece that could get wider recognition. My favorite is boombastic "Misantscopic", like modern choral music that, despite of occasional machine-gun drums, sounds almost sacred.
The shortest piece of this 30-track-CDR is the opener "Kits skit" (0:32) and the longest is the concluding "Unenäostnäkku" (4:46) - so the tracks are in ascending order by length.
Aamen has got the touch and imagination but should consult a career expert, which style and direction to pursue. There are several good finds on the album as are dull and annoying cuts and I missed the bass in many parts.
Aamen - Koleidaskoop - 22 - We'll done by Aamen

17 March 2011

DUST OFF: Various Artists (Kurbel 010) - 1998

Richard Bartz might have been inspired by the automotive industry in Bavaria when setting up Kurbel or crankshaft. He did most of the label's releases but had some high-profile visitors there too, if we recall a joint 12-inch with DJ Hell ("Take A Shot").
Solid and well engineered techno was the direction of the label, evident also on this compiled EP. Three knights from Kanzleramt, Morgenstern, Laux and Heil ("Balls"), are present here like Bartz himself (as Schalt 42), Heinrich Tillack & M. Schleth. And Savas Pascalidis whose "Discotheque" takes a step towards electro house.

09 March 2011

DUST OFF: Air Liquide - Robot Wars (Sm:)e 9008-0) - 1994

Friday night and I was watching a sequel of Star Wars on mute. A new arrival from Ebay found the way to the turntable and the speakers emitted sounds that perfectly matched the sci-fi scenery of the movie.
Yes, "Robot Wars" on the screen and in my ears. Although the 1994 record issued on Sm:)e Communications is not an ultimate outer space soundtrack, it is a thriving piece of metallic acid-hop. Since 1991, Cem Oral and Ingmar Koch have produced as Air Liquide a number of classy music, to mention the album "Abuse Your Illusions" and many others.
Air Liquide's electro-infected and acidic output was among the outstanding productions of the 90's. Seems that the duo switched off the machines in 2004. Oral and Koch were more known as Jammin Unit and Walker and both had also dozens of different monikers.
The "Robot Wars" could have worked also for the Starship Troopers III, shown next on TV, but the flick itself was too much for me...

08 March 2011

DUST OFF: Various - Frankfurt (DRY-2) - 1993

From Ebay an unofficial release from the archives of Mainhattan, as the locals call the financial center Germany, at the river Main and boasting American-size skyscrapers. Frankfurt has played a symbolic role in my music interest, as the birthplace of the Groove magazine, Omen club, PCP posse and the city still breaths techno and house.
This oldie, 1993 record is branded as Frankfurt sound, but does not carry any special qualities. "303 Peak" by Evolution and "Freaks" by Dance 2 Trance (DJ Dag and Rolf Ellmer) are the best tracks here. The rest is commonplace German trance fare from the pre-Goa era, by acts I have had any knowledge before.

05 March 2011

DUST OFF: Various - Midwest Acid Harvest (Analog 06) - 1994

Fertile lands of US Midwest have brought up many acid farmers and in this compilation, a few usual suspects of the scene present a very juicy harvest, from 1994. The Midwest guys were good for any techno floor and Woody McBride, DJ Hyperactive and DJ Hud (Freddy Fresh) come with solid bubbling cuts with a good portion of funkiness.
But the real value of this EP lies in Mike Henk's "Connect". His fast and nasty acid attack has to be played loud, in dark and sweaty cellars, carrying raw power we know from Reference and Acid Planet stuff. The output of Henk's own label, Pulsar, was limited to a few releases in 1994-95 and immediately praised for quality. He made a comet-like appearance in the world of acid: short but bright. Have not heard what he has done since that. Henk's track is the first in the clip and other three come in the same order as listed above.

01 March 2011

Thank You Michael 1

Rating: 5/10
This one lines up with dozens of other bootlegs and unofficial releases exploiting the life and creation of the King of Pop. Difficult to believe it is a honest tribute release, although the title track "Thank You Michael" tries to bow down before M.J. using the gospel style, and tiresome beats. "Thrilloop Tool"  is the best take here with a monotonous disco groove while "Dense And Home Alone" travels in paths of tribal soul. The voice of the King of Pop appears in "Start Something" that is an obvious rip-off of "Wanna Be Startin' Something".