• !!! - STRANGE WEATHER, ISN'T IT?

    Set 17 2010, 12h02



    Punk funk seems such an outdated concept now. Just like Nu-Rave, Indie-dance and a whole other host of names that have been and gone that were used to describe the point where indie kids started going to clubs - Erol Alkan was king and Data Rock looked like the most exciting band on the planet. For better or worse, mixed in amongst this was !!! aka Chk Chk Chk, a band that always seemed to have a bit more going on between the ears. However, when I heard news of a new album, I still wasn't expecting anything more than the standard fare of indie band with electronics.

    From the opening boom-chack of 'AM/FM' to the Balearic sheen of 'Even Judas gave Jesus a Kiss', the first couple of songs sound, well, underwhelming. Nice, inoffensive, but not getting ripped, put it that way. Things pick up with 'The Hammer' - crushing sytnhs and a sparing vocals slip in and out of a busy arrangement that falls just the right side of chaotic. 'Hollow' continues in the same vein - dark, brooding and menacing but with hanging from a much sparser skeleton. 'Jump Back' is an exercise in bass hooks and atmosphere. However, I can't help feeling that if they stopped being a 'band' and dropped the vocals, I could get into the music a whole lot more. There's a ton of hooks and interesting musical ideas, but I just can't escape feeling like I am at the indie disco every time there is some singing.

    Clearly suggesting a band such as !!! to drop their singer is about as useful as an ashtray on a motorbike. I reckon the best I can hope for is some nice dub mixes.

    !!!





    taken from:

    www.electronicbeats.net/Reviews
  • MARK BROOM - ACID HOUSE (SAVED RECORDS)

    Ago 26 2010, 18h46

    Mark Broom is one of those figures who have bubbled on the periphery, seemingly forever. His latest album is simply entitled Acid House, and though not strictly a collection of acid tracks, it is a selection of music that has one purpose in mind - to make you move. Preferably in a robotic, repetitive way whilst in a warehouse or basement full of similarly minded individuals. Spread across two discs, from the opening filtered thud of 'Gap' you know that Broom is not fucking around. Acid House is the willful opposite of an album that has parts, sections, flow etc. And it' s all the better for it.

    Leaning heavily on samples and an old-school production approach, the collection Broom has presented doesn't ever stray to far form its remit of pounding club music, but the catch is that almost every cut is a killer. In today's world of stripped back grainy dub techno, hazy bass-workouts, cold-wave soulful house, depth and meaning, it feels pretty subversive to listen to a CD of straight up club tracks that don't suck.
    Broom is clearly not a man interested in trends and fashion, he just wants to put out the kind of tracks he wants to hear played very loud.

    For me personally, the darker cuts such as 'Feathered' will be the ones I am reaching for when the strobes kick in, but there's something here for clubbers of all persuasions.

    I wished I was here more than once whilst listening...


    Mark Broom
    Acid House
    Saved Records
  • MATTHEW DEAR - BLACK CITY (GHOSTLY INTERNATIONAL)

    Ago 19 2010, 17h38

    I suspect like many people I was hoping for a record in a similarly upbeat vein to Asa Breed when I received Black City - the second full length from Matthew Dear where he uses his own name for more pop-orientated releases. Therefore getting my head around the significantly bleaker beats contained within took a good three four listens, and only then did my feelings of vague disappointment fade away and allow me to enjoy what is ultimately a spirited follow up to one of my favourite albums of the last ten years.

    Firstly, Dear has one of the most distinctive voices in pop music as ably demonstrated on the woozy funk of 'I Can't Feel'. Chugging grooves, mutilated acoustic guitars and lyrics that are delivered mantra style are enveloping and engaging. 'Soil To Seed' is perhaps not the strongest song on the record, but neither does it stick out as not belonging there either. The humorously titled 'You Put A Smell On Me' is where things start to move into heavier territory. Arpeggiated synths and glamourous drums join together for a strutting, pouting workout. 'Monkey' and 'More Surgery' are again, not Dear's finest work but do little to cause offense either. In fact that's one of the problems I encountered when listening to Black City. At the sign of Dears voice, I can't help but want 'Don & Sherri' or 'Pom Pom MK2' to be the music I am hearing.

    However, those kind of emotions, or those sounds are clearly not what Dear is trying to convey, (find out more in our interview with the man himself) and to try and reconcile what Dear wants to play with what I want to hear is a fruitless task. Introspective and pop music are not always happy bedfellows, and I can't help but wishing for a few more hooks - it would see blissful diversions such as 'Gem' arrive with more impact and add to the dynamics of the record.

    Still, my expectations are not the point. Think of it as his moody second album and you'll have no problem - for all of my criticisms (minor, I might add) the world needs producers like Matthew Dear, and there is nothing here to find genuine fault with.


    Matthew Dear
    Black City
    Ghostly International
    Asa Breed


  • PVT - CHURCH WITH NO MAGIC (WARP)

    Ago 12 2010, 19h43

    A different set of sounds and instruments, and I would hazard a new way of working, has led to a significant development in the sound of PVT as aptly demonstrated on the nausea inducing video for 'Window' (which you can see below).

    However, for better or worse it's still the same band and the trio - made up of brothers Laurence and RIchard Pike and long term musical partner Dave Miller - are resolute in exploring how and where they can push the boundaries of a three piece band, whilst retaining the energy and drive that is possible within the format.

    More urgent with their message and injecting lyrics to the music, they sound at times more like a conventional band than perhaps they have ever done before. But conversely that's the bravest thing about this album - it would be easy to keep pushing deeper into weirdo kraut instrumental territory on their third album, and perhaps against expectations they have written some proper pop songs such as the title track and 'Timeless' which are by turn inventive with their references and futuristic in their delivery.

    Gorgeous interludes such as 'Waves & Radiation' and the bonkers 'Light up Bright Fires' are other highlights on what should be a massive highlight in Warp's release schedule.



    PVT
    Church With No Magic
    Warp


  • ALTERED NATIVES - SERIAL VENDETTA (EYE4EYE RECORDINGS)

    Ago 1 2010, 18h23

    Danny Native aka Altered Natives must be a restless soul. It was only a couple of months ago that he released his first full length - Tenement Yard. Rather than being a cohesive opening statement (although it was), it was closer to a compendium of the house orientated tracks he had developed up until that point. A statement for his vision of grimey 4/4 club music. Preceding this was the dance-floor destroying 'Rass Out' , featured on Martyn's Fabric CD, and a massive remix of Ikonika's 'Idiot'. All helped to pique interest in the London based producer, but maybe not enough to accommodate two full albums within the same amount of months.

    Serial Vendetta arrives less than ten weeks after Tenement Yard, and my concern would be that perhaps the wider world has not yet had time to absorb Danny Native's charms. Mirroring Autechre with their recent back to back releases, Serial Vendetta is a markedly different album, but also feels like a companion piece. Or it's another collection of club tracks, this time focusing more on broken, bassy beats rather than opting for a house music structure. Trying to peer into the world of Altered Natives is like looking inside from a very dirty window, and whether this sudden outpouring of work is through chance or design is not clear.

    Continuing to explore the boundaries of complex, percussive club music, rubbed down with a dirty rag, Serial Vendetta plays more like a mix-tape than an album. There are certainly no passages or filler - each track is a straight up club weapon, and at the risk of tiring out a cliché even more, they are equally enjoyable at home, at work and through the headphones. From the opening track 'Mother', which samples amongst other things Blade Runner, with it's bashment percussion, alien textures and staccato bass stabs, to the closing growl of 'Rage of Aquarius', which is as close as UK bass music comes to disco, this is a non-stop journey through the mind of one the UK's most interesting producers.

    Hypnotic and funky, dark and shady, Serial Vendetta has been dominating my speakers ever since I got it. I just hope it doesn't get overlooked.


    Altered Natives
    Serial Vendetta
    Eye4Eye Recordings



    Tenement Yard
    Ikonika
  • FEINDREHSTAR - VULGARIAN KNIGHTS (MUSIK KRAUSE)

    Jul 26 2010, 16h06

    Germany’s small town of Jena has not only spawned techno superstars Wighnomy Brothers and the associated Fat Plastics recordstore, but now the seven piece instrumental collective, Feindrehstar. The techno-jazz collective has happily chimed and freestyled their way through their first album Vulgarians Knights. Swerving between various musical lanes, the septuplets have put together a gem of an album for future jazz enthusiasts. The ten-track longplayer remains fresh, inspiring and exceptional for a debut album.

    Strangely enough, they have been around for ten years and their discography only accounts for five 12”s. Four of the records have been released on their own label, Human Instinct, and one outing on Sonar Kollektiv. For this album the group requested the help from Michel Baumann, who is better known as Soulphiction or Jackmate. Baumann lent his know-how and experience for this album’s rhythm construction.

    Feindrehstar put so much soul to this album that it’s really hard to pin point my favorite track; ‘Knochenbrecher’ grooves seamlessly, ‘Arabikanana’ has its witty undertones and ‘FelaFresh’ is a classy deep house tune. The tracks are raw and crisp and the bands live instruments make it all happen.

    One aspect of Vulgarian Knights needs to be highlighted and that’s the albums' complete diversity. Mesh in jazz, funk, electronica, house, and soul and you might get an idea of this album. Even though I’ve yet to see them live, I’m convinced that by that ol’ English saying that goes, “many hands make light work”.


    Feindrehstar
    Vulgarian Knights
    MUSIK KRAUSE
    Fat Plastics
    Jackmate



    Wighnomy Brothers
  • JIMMY EDGAR - XXX (!K7)

    Jul 26 2010, 16h01

    Channeling the energy of fellow mid-west native Prince, Jimmy Edgar's second full length album XXX - this time on !K7 - is riotous mix of electronic funk that is at times utterly futuristic and at others like a homage to the Pac Jam Band.

    Album opening 'Function of Your Love' is a strutting electro-boogie workout that sounds better than most of the boogie records I have in my crates, updating and elevating the sound to a credible, contemporary style that no longer has to wallow in pastiche.

    'Hot Raw Sex', the lead single of the album, has 'hit' written all over it. A devastating synth, killer bass and screaming machines drop in and out of the mix to be joined on occasion by Edgar's breathy vocals. From P-funk vibes to space-electro like on 'New Touch', XXX is bursting with digitized funk from the every corner of the universe. There are even some distinctly contemporary beats on 'One Twenty Detail' and 'Push', which don't sound the least bit out of place. Edgar has struck the perfect balance between retro futurism, and contemporary electronic boogie.

    An assured, dare I say it serioulsy sexy album from a producer who knows how to get exactly what he wants.


    Jimmy Edgar
    XXX
    !K7


    Pac Jam Band
  • MOUNT KIMBIE - CROOKS & LOVERS

    Jul 20 2010, 18h17

    One of the years most highly anticipated releases, Mount Kimbie's debut album - Crooks & Lovers goes to show just how far what was once termed 'dubstep' has come. SIgned to Scuba's Hotflush label, and preceded by a brace of stunning EP's ( and a fair few remixes) Crooks & Lovers feels like it has been a lifetime in the making, so rich as it is with emotion, depth and sonic trickery.

    Sampled children and a simple acoustic guitar fill your ears, before a shuffling beat drops into a sea of haze on Tunnelvision, which serves as an opening vignette for what's ahead - an aperitif if you will. Would You Know and Before I Move Off continue in a similar vein, crafting a hook and a melody out the barest of elements, offset with clever vocal samples and swathes of reverb. Things then take a slightly unexpected turn with the snarling, acidic bass-line of Blind Night Errand. After a staccato opening riff, an ominous growl snakes out of the speakers before morphing into some kind of warning siren that then drops all of these elements for simple melodic synth refrain to round things off, that had me checking to see if I had accidently skipped the track.

    Across 11 songs, the compositions on Crooks & Lovers range form very short, to not that long which works decidedly in the favor of Dom & Kai - the two young producers behind Mt Kimbie. Never outstaying their welcome, the songs have just enough time to squeeze their gritty emotion into your consciousness with barely there hooks, rhythmic effects, dirt and fuzz. Ruby is a case in point, the kind of song that stops making sense when you deconstruct it - a beat, some effects and hook you can sense more than hear. Ode to Bear -my favourite track simply sweats it out with subtle emotions and solid beat that is equal to far more than the sum of it's parts.


    Like a picture book of memories the beauty of Crooks & Lovers is in it's intangibility.


    Mount Kimbie
    Crooks & Lovers

    Scuba
  • VARIOUS - SEED X (SEED RECORDS)

    Jul 12 2010, 9h28

    I wish there were more record labels like Seed. From the stylised Italo of Antoni Maiovvi to Sleeps In Oysters’ wind-up pop charm, there is no logic to the direction of the label, just the impeccable taste of label boss ‘Bruce’.

    This three CD retrospective celebrates 10 years in the game for a label that knows nothing in terms of genre, just music that they believe is good enough to be released through their tiny imprint. Unit Black Flight, the ridiculous and amazing Dagger Brothers and Company Fuck all appear with starkly different but equally brilliant songs. In fact the depth and breadth of the music on offer across this wonderful three part collection would put many a major label to shame.

    From the lowest to the highest brow; every interesting musical angle is covered.


    Seed X
    Seed Records
    Antoni Maiovvi


    Company Fuck
    Dagger Brothers
  • VARIOUS - SHANGAAN ELECTRO NEW WAVE DANCE MUSIC FROM SOUTH AFRICA (HONEST JON'S)

    Jul 6 2010, 19h24

    I was very excited to receive this album. I had read the press release, checked out a whole load of videos and waited patiently for the postman to come knocking.

    Shangaan is hugely popular type of music that originates in Limpopo, South African that was dominant in the seventies and eighties, but fell out of favour in the following decades. A resurgence of the style was sparked by producer Nozinja aka 'Dog' who updated the sounds by replacing electric and bass guitars with organs and marimbas and pushing up the tempo to something closer to gabba. He also incorporated english ( occasionally) to the lyrical mix. The result is like some kind of lo-fi meeting of global cultures that sounds like, well not a lot else.


    With fast syncopated rhythms this is music that has been specifically engineered for dancing - in fact the Shangaan scene is dominated by dancing at huge outdoor gatherings where women, men, young and old basically don skirts and dance. The lyrics of Shangaan tracks are about husbands & wives, family and love. This collection of tracks spanning 2006-2009 were complied by label boss Mark Ainley and ex Basic Channel member Mark Ernestus.

    Released on Honest Jon's this is in the main going to appeal to a specialist section of music buyers that favor regional sub-culture music over say, the latest tech-house releases on Beatport. However pretty much everyone I have played this to has fallen in love with it. The melancholic singing and bittersweet melodies give the music a sense of longing that is universal and the unusual ( to western ears) musical framework is highly intriguing.

    The only problem I have is that over the course of a whole CD, the songs do become a bit samey and the casio-fied production starts to grate. Then again, I could say that about a whole load of techno, so this is a refreshing change if nothing else.


    Honest Jon's


    Mark Ainley
    Nozinja