#038: Ride, Cymbals
his Friday on Beatz we are offering up the latest from Goat Dance, Tango Terje, and Pom Pom, as well as new offerings from M_nus, Hand on the Plow, and Dial. Don’t be shy, read on…!
Apple Of Disco EP
Terranova / TNT 82876870531
Video-game disco? MIDI Cerrone demos? This is precious stuff but very, very catchy, almost disarmingly so. Skiba is a 19-year-old Polish kid from what I gather, just out of high school, and he’s got a patient sense of build, never too anxious to prove how clever he is. The sound palette is pretty 8-bit, but there's always one element in the song that sounds dizzingly acoustic by contrast: the ride cymbal taps on disco-funk a-side "Safari Jazz"; the rhythm guitar scratches on "Violet Carnation," which is "Supernature" meets the theme from NES's Ghosts and Goblins; the obviously digital runs of piano on horror-disco track "The Fog." I don't think this stuff would work too well in a club setting alongside bigger-sounding tracks, and the ornamentation is a little too new-sounding to fit entirely into neo-italo stuff that's happening now (though the title track would disagree with me). That said, consider me charmed.
Pom Pom 28
Pom Pom / POM 28
Granted I haven't gotten through all the Pom Poms, but front to back, top to bottom, the ones I've heard have been four tracks acting more/less as variations on a single theme. This one features four unrelated cuts though: A1's a mellow take on stuttering twinkle-techno rhythms that remind me of a straightforward, ultra-minimal Radio Slave, if only for the amount of space in the middle; A2's a brash house track in a timid techno body, unable to fully emote; B1's practically a Plastikman cover, so funky in the treble; B2's a screwed-down soundscape-type cooldown track, like if Throbbing Gristle wrote a track for a Buddha Bar comp, or if Excepter ghostwrote the next Enya.
Bear Entertainment / BE016
This is Dean Meredith from Chicken Lips, which is why you might confuse this one for a CL track or even an Emperor Machine track: really rubbery, really spacey, loose-jointed disco-funk. The difference between this and “Sizzle,” Meredith's first single as Goat Dance, is this one's less wobbly and ramshackle. It’s all for the better, with a steady kick and a simple bassline melody that doesn't quite resolve and a groove that's content gaining momentum while (I think they're) Juno synths shimmer atop. When it kicks into full-gear there's no stopping it, a real just-before-peaktime record, which I don't think you can really say for most of the DC Records axis, most of which falls under the umbrella of just good listening. Dub on the flipside.
Baby Kate Remixes
M_nus / MINUS48
Heartthrob’s “Baby Kate” was something of a summer anthem last year after its pole-position appearance on the min2MAX compilation, and while it wasn’t really all that memorable in and of itself—some routine minimal beats, a deep, bending, two-note analog riff, a few stuttering noises and little else—it worked well in everyone’s sets and that sense of space is also what likely gives it such appeal as a remix. There’s so much room to roam here, so much that can be done with a track that is essentially nothing more than a half-dressed mannequin waiting for someone to come along and drape it in their own fashion. Which is exactly what happens here across seven remixes (including some of those pesky “download only” versions, which are really starting to boil the blood of we vinyl purists), as the remixers take turns making the cut sound like their own work.
Deep breath and we’re off. Magda plays it straight by simply rearranging and tweaking the riffs and noises a bit while keeping the same general pulse and tempo of the original in what could easily be mistaken for an alternate take by Heartthrob himself. M_nus newcomer Konrad Black adds some more noises (the ones Magda left out, perhaps?) and a bit more rhythmic percolation to the pot, while Troy Pierce dispenses with the main riff altogether in favor of the sort of noises that come out of a fax machine when you’ve accidentally dialed one on the phone. Even M_nus boss Richie Hawtin takes a crack here—twice. Hawtin’s Plastikman mix is a refreshing trip down memory lane to the days of “Spastik” and “Krakpot” that keeps things low, thumping, and repetitive, with a few tweaked stabs of the original riff to break the hypnosis. Hawtin’s other mix is under his long-dormant Robotman guise (remember “Doo Da Doo”? Aw, yeah!) which follows the same rhythmic template as the Plastikman version, but with a bit more funk to it, not to mention a hi-hat and other bits of sorta housey perc. Good to hear the old boy remixing again, even if the tracks sound nearly exactly like things he did a decade ago.
As for the non-M_nus guests, they provide the more interesting and original work here. Sasha Funke gives the rhythm track a much-needed seeing to while clipping the riff into an altogether more sprightly sounding thing, while Adam Beyer and Jesper Dahlbäck up the tempo a bit and work the riff into a big, bouncy dancefloor monster with more energy than the other remixers combined. See what happens when your beat is more than a simple minimal thump in 4/4, kids?
Everything here is good if not great, but I definitely walked away wishing that more remixers with different styles had been invited to contribute, as a few of these versions tread pretty similar territory. What might, say, Audio Werner have done with these elements? Or Alan Braxe and Fred Falke? Or Radio Slave? Or, hell, the DFA? Even if they had failed miserably, the whole package would have been better served by a few more truly “different” takes. If you’re gonna bother with seven mixes, you might as well mix things up a bit more than this.
Truth & Consequences Remix EP
Catenaccio / CCCO 06
I will confess right off the bat: not only have I never heard the original versions of the two tracks remixed here, I’ve never even heard of Benjamin Fehr or his alias as FFWD (the sleeve lists both, so who knows exactly how he wants to be billed now?) But a Ricardo Villalobos remix of Barry Manilow would likely get me to at least sit still and listen for the requisite 10 to 17 minutes, so why not give this a shot too? Sure enough, the mad Chilean beats are still jackin’ and the noises and samples and filtered vocals and warm rub-a-dub bass hum create a suitably fun and funky track, but it all feels a bit skeletal, almost as if he didn’t care much for the original track and merely stuck the elements into his mental blender and spit this out, fully formed.
There aren’t enough of those sharp left turns or totally jaw-dropping/sublime moments he’s known for, and they are missed (although one big keyboard stab near the end comes close). Still, if this is Villalobos on autopilot (and it sounds like it is), the man is probably shitting out solid gold eggs as I write this. Oh yeah, and Falko Brocksieper turns in a mix on the flip. It’s built up on this sort of unpleasant grunting sample, a looped “fuck you, fuck me” vocal clip, and some routine chugging beatwork. Not bad, but nothing to make you stop from flipping the record over and playing the Villalobos mix again looking for little bits you might have missed either.
What I Did On My Summer Holidays
Radius / Rad 010
Crap name, but an apt one. In "Miami Playa," phase-shifting oscillators mime the action of slow waves rolling in across your toes while you walk to the sweet beach party you can just hear the thumping of. It's a little bit further away with the "Miami Playa Version," but by "Mote I Verdensrommet" you've realized that the damn party was on the other side of the Port Olimpic the whole time. Things are looking up, and "Frankfurt in Fifteen," which clocks in at half of that, is the last and possibly best take on the same set of themes, with slow and ornate revolving patterns in the background and a highly-mobile squiggle and bassline in the fore. Coming from the N.E.W.S. family in Belgium, this is a nicely-rounded EP with something for the dancers and something for your downtempo set that doesn't reek of acid jazz.
Bury Da Bwoy / Hunter
DMZ / DMZ 011
I know next to nothing about dubstep, but the little I've heard is nothing if not hypnotic. Sometimes to a fault: Burial hypnotizes me right to sleep. Mala (of the Digital Mystikz) avoids that neatly with variations of elements cycling in and out of the kind-bud haze, different hands reaching out and grabbing alternate parts of your anatomy. The effect is slightly unsettling, but in an enjoyable way. Of the two tracks, "Hunter" is a bit closer to what the mind would categorize away as "dub," though the huge distorted bassline remains somewhere off in the distance, never threatening your speakers. Instead the eccentric staccato clicks and dry thumping of the drums dominates, while a perplexing film sample intrudes twice. "Bury the Bwoy" is slightly more dizzy and creepy, jazz on goofballs rolling into the wrong part of town at the wrong time of night. Forward-thinking and elegantly disturbing material.
Dial / dial 34
The happy Hamburg-ers at Dial have always shown a cryptic interest in deep house, but until recently it’s a feeling that bubbled up as an interpreted influence, rather than an openly presented take. But listen to Lawrence’s betalounge DJ set from last year, and the open embrace of this foundational sound is becoming obvious. Dial is digging the deep house of old.
The “Split” EP perfectly complements this gesture, offering a pair of tracks at once openly reverential and unapologetically, distinctively their own. The tracks have an inverse relation to each other in a sense: Jost’s begins with a conga-led groove that could easily be Moodyman, but the Detroit house thang slowly subsides as Carsten piles on the blue notes and reverb, finally adding sibilant tambourines on every beat and more melancholy piano. It’s a return to form of sorts that sees Jost re-capturing the lovely gloom of his criminally under-rated You don’t need a weatherman… album.
Efdemin’s track, on the other hand, begins sounding light-years away from the deep house vibe—the intro has more in common with the silicon dryness of Donnacha Costello’s recent 6x6 release. The angular pixelfunk nods along for a few minutes (enough time for Magda to play six tracks over the top), before a (you guessed it) blue sounding melody intrudes, giving absolutely no forewarning for the sudden interjection of a Chicago-style “house nation” preachapella. The contrast between the outrageously sparse rhythmic arrangement and the vocal works a treat. More than that though, the “splitness” of the EP somehow belies a synthesis between the old and the new, between the happy and blue, and also between Jost and Efdemin’s work. For all these reasons, it’s another superb EP from Dial.
Plowtrax Vol 1
Hand on the Plow / HOTP006
I first met Laszlo on the dancefloor, in December. I think I was a bit bored, maybe a little tired—and definitely quite drunk. I felt that sudden urge to find a corner and curl up into a ball. But then this outrageous track faded into the mix. Wowzers. I whooped, gripped my hair, then did what any drunk trainspotting idiot would do—I marched right up to the DJ and asked “What the fuck is this?”
Turns out I was listening to “Bleep Me Daddy,” the A1 on Laszlo Beckett’s Plowtrax Volume 1 EP. And what a sound, too—something of the rambunctious “oompah” of the old Wishmountain tracks, but with the hypercollage sensibility of Akufen or Ark, and a little something extra. On the ‘phones, the density and diversity of the samples used is conspicuous—live drums, real hand claps, pitched-up toms—and over that, the crazy, malfunctioning synth equivalent of a bad balloon someone just let go of. The long track on the B continues the madness, with a frenzied, shouted vocal over the top of a ridiculously intricate collage of live drums and bass, sounding like nothing much except Beige or Lump. “Keep on Counting,” the B2, takes things down a few pegs intensity wise, continuing the same sampledelic approach, but in a more atmospheric vein not dissimilar to moments on the recent Audio Werner EP reviewed here a few weeks back.
A lot of cut-up microhouse can suffer through its inherent boisterousness (or cause suffering at least)—like a four-year old stuffed full of gummy bears, things can get really annoying really quickly. But this is easily one of the more accomplished EPs in this vein for a while. Fun fun fun ‘til your daddy takes your farming implement away. Keep you’re eyes on Laszlo, and just hope he keeps his Hand on the Plow.
On the Beach Edits
Balearic Biscuits / bb04
In the race to mine the archive of early eighties sounds, there’s bound to be a few strange excavations. All kinds of “bad” music, not least of all disco (and its bastard progeny), have been dredged up, washed off, inspected, re-evaluated and finally defended: “You dismiss Antillean ska-folk disco, but actually…” Perhaps this intro is just an indication of my ignorance, not to mention my cynicism, toward the excesses of a necessary and interesting process. There are lots of instances of maligned genres containing fascinating musical ideas, could we but overcome our prejudice and listen carefully. Wally Badarou’s music is a fine example on this tip.
Having said all that, I’m failing to see what Todd “Tango” Terje does in “Belladonna” and “On the Beach.” To me at least, this is just MOR dreck that’s been given far more attention than it deserves. “Belladonna”, (originally by Andreas Vollenweider), is a kind of elevator music epic that belongs on the soundtrack to “Blame it on Rio,” melding a Brazilian jazz sound to disco and a yucky “ethnic” female vocal. Likewise, “On the Beach” (originally by Chris Rea) has all the hallmarks of a 1983 promo video for a three star conference centre in the Bahamas. Perhaps there’s “more to it than that” and (once again) this music is not being given its fair hearing. Okay, but you try listening to it. Blech.
01: Trippy Disco - Mote I Verdensrommet
02: Matt Vega and Morten Fresh - Instant Corruption (Nino Raro Deepend Mix)
03: Galen - Playing Games (Claude Vonstroke His Chucky Cheeze Mix)
04: Laszlo Beckett - Bleep Me Daddy
05: Redshape - Species
06: Half Hawaii - Into You
07: Carsten Jost - Love
08: Mala - Bury the Bwoy
Trippy Disco - Frankfurt in Fifteen [Radius]
Maximilian Skiba - Apple of Disco EP [Terranova]
Chris Rea - On the Beach (Tangoterje Edit) [Balearic Biscuits]
Tackhead - The Game [4th & Broadway]
Ladytron - Destroy Everything You Touch (Hot Chip Remix) [Island]
Galen - Playing Games [Utensil]
Evelyn "Champagne" King - Shame / Nobody Knows [RCA]
Shades of Love - Keep In Touch [Body to Body] (Instrumental Version) [Venture]
V/A - Music of Quality & Distinction, Volume One [Virgin]
V/A - Dirty Edits 2-5 [Dirty Edits]
Andy Stott - Handle With Care [Modern Love]
Håkan Lidbo - This Looks Infected, Doesn’t It? [Musick]
Porter Ricks - Scuba Lounge [Mille Plateaux]
Beck - Cellphone’s Dead (Villalobos Entlebuch Remix) [Geffen]
Luciano - Keridos [Cadenza Split Composition]
Rod Modell – Avionics [Echocord]
Cortney Tidwell - Don’t Let The Stars Keep Us Tangled Up (Ewan Pearson Long Vox) – [Ever]
JTC – Trancender [Crème Organization]
tobias. – Dial [Logistic]
Ace Frehley - New York Groove [Casablanca]
Michael F. Gill
San Proper & Tom Trago – Catterpillar Butter Plus (Proper’s Mixdown) [Rush Hour Recordings]
Mark Broom – Upside Down [Pure Plastic]
John Thomas – Magic [Logistic]
Oaysis – Incredible Bass (Slipmatt remix) [Vicious Vinyl]
Lopazz – I Need Ya [Output]
George Demure – Sister Valhalla [Tirk]
Keith Hudson – Nuh Skin Up [Greensleaves]
Shackleton – Blood On My Hands [Skull Disco]
Shed – Well Done [Soloaction]
Steve Doesn’t Drive – Woman & Car [Did Records]
By: Stylus Staff
Published on: 2007-03-02