25 November 2011

DUST OFF: Drexciya – Aquatic Invasion (UR-030 - 1995)

The countdown has begun to the reissue of the year. "Journey of the Deep Sea Dweller", the first in Drexciya's retrospective, is brought to us by Clone Classic Cuts in December 2011. Those in possession of hard-to-find original EPs might be irritated about this mission, but I think Clone is doing a great favor to the community in sharing the legacy of Detroit's ingenious electro act.
In anticipation it's good to recall "Aquatic Invasion" from 1995, Drexciya's most electrifying assault. Two excellent cuts of pit bull electro: in "The Countdown Has Begun" one can't escape hammering analog gear, spiced with gloomy proclamations. "Wavejumper" is an anthem to a legion of immortal frogmen combating the waves of the Atlantic. Somewhat calmer notes for the end, when we resurface to the sun in "Sighting The Abyss".
The EP is from the harder end of Drexciya's productions sharing some features with their L.A.M. (Life After Mutation) project on Detroit's Hardwax. A real treasure by deep sea dwellers.

23 November 2011

Blender techno

This year we have witnessed the invasion of wired punks moving on the fringe of electronic music. Hailing often from small-town America and ignoring the trends of the techno jetset, this new breed of artists has stirred up the scene in 2011. KPLR, Container, Red Stars Over Tokyo, Pete Swanson, Vatican Shadow, to name a few of them, have gained much respect and sheer admiration.
There is a perfectly drafted piece on this phenomenon by Mnml Ssgs guys where the new direction in electronic music is dubbed "post-techno". Fits pretty well in my view, the only thing is that "post" is a quite common attribution, in music also used for ambient and IDM; I also remember that Leo Anibaldi's output was once described "post-acid", and there are more "post"-things".
It's an endless discussion how to call music styles, but I still share my associations with the new direction in electronic music.It's a blend of different styles like techno, IDM, acid, noise, synth-pop, dark ambient, psychedelic rock, folk, just name it. All that thrown into one pot and jammed together by razor-sharp blades of a blender machine.
For those needing introduction to blender techno, two suggestions from the 14 Tracks series by Boomkat: bundles of psychotic repetition and from the outside looking in are a good start to delve into the scene. And "psychotic techno" is a great definition too ...

15 November 2011

Various – Groove 133 / CD 42

Rating: 7/10
Some good ones on this Groove compilation. Let's start with a Mexican who loves machines and combines them with traditional instruments: like a godchild of Liaisons Dangereuses, Rebolledo rocks big time in "Steady Gear Rebo Machine" with monotone percussion - a pretty angry track that makes curious about the man's recent album
Then Semantica - there is a short feature about the Spanish label in the magazine - is represented by E.R.P. with placid and deep electro track "Repose", which gets the beauty award of this comp.
"Human Like Us" from the new album of Planetary Assault Systems is an oxygen-filled techno cut and Detroit is represented by Reel By Real, "Switchback" pulled from Martin Bonds's first and recent album "Surkit Chamber - The Melding". Frau Ursula Bogner emits sinusoids from her vintage sound room while Kuedo's melancholic synth showers in "Ant City" give a taste of great album released by Planet Mu.
The Oliverwho Factory is another strong addition to the Rush Hour roster, letting smooth Copacabana house to flow in "Galactic Transit (Recall Mix)". Highgrade Disharmonic Orchestra's crawling "Moving In A Backchat Room" is a neat one too. Finnish act Renaissance Man introduces a cut from a new album on Turbo. "Ultra Thizz" offers glittering boogie-step by Rustie and Oneohtrix Point Never's "Sleep Dealer" is a sound and voice collage.
Full track list and sound samples are here.

14 November 2011

DUST OFF: K-Alexi – All For Lee-Sah (Transmat MS-8)

My hands start to caress you, down from the shoulders to your waist... Once did a tape for my girl and the title track had to be there, for sure. A piece of vinyl sexy as hell, being a good match to Lil Louis's "French Kiss" in this particular category, it offers many other qualities too.
Keith Alexi Shelby is from Chicago and he used not to belong to the first wave of Windy City producers, but still became a prolific sound writer with releases also on European labels like Djax, ACV.
Transmat and acid house is not an obvious combination. Although at the end of 1980's the label was hooked up with smiley hysteria and released a few acid house records, this one being the best of them.
As said, really no strings attached in ultra-sensual "All For Lee-Sah", that is not a straightforward floor burner, but a chaotic mix of lazy beats and stoned vocals, on a snare and hi-hat backdrop, getting really ecstatic towards the end. "My Medusa" is a monotone jacking and beeping cut, feels like seeing your twisted and stretched figure in a fun-house-mirror. For the end with "Vertigo" a proper Chicago acid workout.
This one is a repress and even Discogs can't tell when it came out. I guess in 1995 or 1996, drop some comments if you know more.

02 November 2011

Stingray313 - Electronic Countermeasures (Micron Audio MCR00002)

Rating: 9/10
Amidst the wires of copper and plastic, Stingray313 travels in a jungle of semiconductors to drop another futuristic session for electro heads. Billed earlier as "Drexciyan DJ", the masked man from Detroit is gradually navigating on his own ways and is clearly positioned in the frontline of contemporary electro.
"Electronic Countermeasures" contains four magnetizing, equally strong cuts that kick and vibrate under a veil of darkness. Gloomy vocal sample lends horror movie feeling to "Signal Analysis", the rest are precisely constructed instrumental transmissions with hints of experimental techno. "Spread Spectrum" is the culmination with a shower of obscure voices and killer beats.
Luckily last year's superb [Naked Lunch] single has seen good follow-up in 2011 with three Stingray313 releases so far, on labels like Trust and Unknown To The Unknown. Now with his own imprint Micron Audio, Ingram reinforces his pivotal role in the electro scene. I keep looking out after his new stuff.


01 November 2011

10/2011: Red Stars Over Tokyo, Alva Noto, Stingray

Long formats with experimental angle dominated my Juno charts in October. Was pleased to learn that Red Stars Over Tokyo did a great mini-LP "Hits Of Sunshine", containing both ambient warmth and pulsating bass. Grinding sounds in excess are found on Alva Noto's (Carsten Nicolai) "Univrs", released by German experimental imprint Raster-Noton. Sherard Ingram is becoming a resident in top three, this time under the moniker Stingray Enters The Unknown. The release has two versions of "The Sadist" plus reworks by electro luminaries like Heinrich Müller and Cestrian. The fourth spot goes to Zeal, a new artist with strong mix of techno, electro and breakbeats. Kuedo's synth odyssey on Planet Mu was among top albums last month and Sweden's enigmatic Abdulla Rashim is a front runner of the droning techno scene.