31 May 2011

DUST OFF: Bullet Proofed Split EP (Super Special Corp. 06 - 1993)

Armed with distortion and brutal bass, cold-blooded commandos rush to annihilating mission. It's always midnight in their world as they strike and put everything into pieces.
These grim sounds are transmitted from the year 1993, on Super Special Corp. that was one of dozens of labels run by Marc Trauner, the mastermind of the Frankfurt school of hardcore. It's the only release featuring artists Distortion Bastardz and GunMen, which might have been also another alter egos of Trauner, who knows.
A1 fills two minutes with evil distorted drone that is like a stretched-out intro. Then A2 goes straight down to the business with brain-drilling bass drum slammer that some people might call extreme dumbness. On the flip GunMen delivers two tracks of pure old school power. Effect-filled B2 has some touches of hardtrance, so popular about the same time, but drums are the boss.
Interesting fact that Uwe Schmidt (Senor Coconut, Atom TM) was involved in the label that was officially shut down in 2001.

27 May 2011

Virgo Four - Resurrection (Rush Hour Recordings 113 BOX)

Rating: 10/10
The roster was largely the same across a number of Chicago house compilations that flooded the market 15-20 years ago. Lined up like a reliable team: Joe Smooth, Adonis, Farley Jackmaster Funk, Virgo and many more... Yes, Virgo too. Even can't remember if it was on a CD compilation found in one supermarket bargain bin in Marburg, but the first track I associated with Virgo was definitely "Do You Know Who You Are?".
Later it turned out that many people did not know who the Virgo really were as a project consisting of Marshall Jefferson, Adonis and Vince Lawrence used the same name. The genuine ones were Virgo Four - Eric Lewis and Merwyn Sanders - who now wiped off the dust from their historical creations to deliver a retrospective of lost tracks titled "Resurrection".
I did not feel immediately the urge to get this weighty and costly package. The question was if there is anything left to explore in fully charted territories of Chicago house. But the old tracks turned out very new and fresh-sounding; little wonders have been made in remastering to take out the best from dusty reel-to-reel tapes.
A couple of hours of well-spent time without being annoyed. The collection covers all directions of the Chicago sound and works as a representative peek into different faces of the Windy City house development. Pure analog journeys dating back to 1984 with the newest pieces done in 1990.
Trade mark roughness of Chi-town productions is present across the album, but to treat the crowd in full, Virgo Four have managed to use the gear for very varied output. While "It's Hot" is a smooth house piece and "Silence" works as a warehouse classic, the tracks like "PH 25", "Let's Go" and especially "Knightro" are serious acid jackers. "Look Into Your Eyes" sounds like being under the influence of italo, "If You Want To Dance" might have inspired Moodymann and beautiful house tune "Lost Inside You" sounds just very Virgo Four.
Should I state the obvious truth this is an essential release?

Buy 2xLP version

25 May 2011

DUST OFF: DBX - Losing Control (Peacefrog 022)

The news that Peacefrog Records is celebrating the 20th anniversary big time  - by reissuing many out-of-print classics like DBX's "Losing Control" -  is a good reason to return to this seminal release. Considering that in 1994 also Robert Hood's "Minimal Nation" came out, it was a superb year for minimal techno - long time before the term minimal was exhausted by mid-2000's producers.
The title track of "Losing Control" with oscillating robo-voice and jacking dry rhythms is for me the genre-defining creation that belongs to the all-time top 10 of techno. Well, this is an underground hit, but more amazingly entire EP does not have any weak links. Stripped-down, monotonous and in a devilish way hypnotizing, up to the "Spock's Brain" just an insane trip.
DJ Jokke, a legendary club scene engine from Helsinki, advised to get this record when I was visiting the Street Beat shop back in 1994. Unfortunately I lost the record at a party and had to hunt down one from Discogs. And now, when Peacefrog announced the reissue, I did not hesitate a second.

23 May 2011

Milton Bradley – A Sky Full Of Numbers (Do Not Resist The Beat! 06)

Rating: 9/10
No way, I have never resisted the beat and neither will here. Ultra-low bass hum in "A Sky Full Of Numbers" on the A-side would be good to test how tolerant your neighbors are. Somewhat bulky metallurgic ambiance is surrounded by bleeps, echoes and well-preserved sounds extorted from a wrecked Roswell spaceship, making this medium-paced track an intense experience.
On the B-side, spooky stinging loops in "The Path To Mathematical Truth" mean that we are in the eye of the currently omnipresent droning techno storm. Fretting sequences seize the control and the track would work well in the spectacular running scene of Hitchcock's "The Birds".
Less rumble in "Numerical Analysis" that, though, falls not much out of the picture with underwater volcanoes extracting clouds of sulfur to the surface. Pokerface stuff.


19 May 2011

Vernon Felicity – Bliss (Clone S.O.S.2)

Rating: 9/10
Please meet Mr Vernon Felicity, by name a fellow who could easily be a hidden artist from the beginnings of warehouse parties. No doubt this piece of dark-green vinyl expresses Clone's love for overseas sound aesthetics, when the halos of Chicago and Detroit hover about this warmly rolling record.
"Scarlet Light" on the A-side starts with acid house feel that gradually receives warm chords and advances as a blissful journey of colored sounds. It's a full-bodied and majestically grooving mover keeping the spirits up.
Jazzy keys and rougher rhythms are mingled with deeper house grooves and subtle acid on the B-side track "Autumn Leaves". Despite of melancholic title it carries positive power. Also, amazingly the artist has managed to abstain from cliches that easily come up in this type of productions.
In fact, Vernon Felicity is not another (black) talent from America, but Dutchman Boris Bunnik, also known as Conforce and Versalife, who has done several records for Clone family so far.
This release can is also an award for those supporting real record shops: Because "Clone Store Only Series" is not available for mail order unless you grab one at Discogs. 

16 May 2011

Bill Youngman – HH3 (Killekill 003)

Rating: 7/10
When browsing new arrivals at Hard Wax, a black sleeve sporting yellow writing KILLEKILL did not remain unnoticed. And created some irritation, leading in first place to a question: What's in this criminal kind of name? WWW helped out that it's an organization throwing parties in Berlin and also running a label that has reached number three of the catalogue.
At first instance I thought Sandwell District has come with a new moniker, because of familiar loops and smudged atmosphere in "HH3". But it's Bill Youngman and nice to hear the American around, more than a decade after his debut on Serotonin. He comes with a decent release for floors, "HH3" following the canons of contemporary techno productions, constructed on inexhaustible loops.
Though, my first impression was not far-fetched: Sandwell District is present, doing a solid but quite ordinary version of "HH3". Concluding the B-side, "Trilogy" catches more attention with waving electro feel, for a good change after more energetic tracks.
A record that will find a place in many DJ cases without breaking any barriers. On this occasion, the29novfilms, an outstanding director for techno videos, has provided motion picture versions of Killekill003, here the Sandwell District remix.

14 May 2011

Iori - Lapis EP (Prologue 019)

Rating: 9/10
It alerts your mind without getting emotional. Japanese producer Iori drops two bass-heavy and linear tracks for travels between earth and space, as manifested on the label picture. Already first moments of the A-side tell that weighty black vinyl is well exploited to capture thundering feel of this production.
Destructive bass and hi-hats introduce "Lapis 1" that is gradually blended with morphed acid lines and working its way through the tunnels filled with noises from a steel processing factory. However the second half of the track is quite uneventful, pumping along in a monotone way.
Without abandoning deep bass, "Lapis 2" offers a more varied landscape of sounds the are centered around boiling and smoking acid sequences, lending a dark trance flair to the B-side and reminding of recent output by Mike Parker, Giorgio Gigli, Nuel, and, from mid-90's, Sähkö's Philus.
Prologue Music, a new techno powerhouse from Munich, has won with Iori another excellent producer who recently showed his dubbier side on the "Full Circle EP" on Silent Season. Only it's a pity that "Lapis 3", the winner track of Tom Bonaty's Smoke Machine Podcast, is not included on the vinyl release and will be out digitally only.