Friday, September 29, 2006

Captain Barman?

Right now listening to Captain Beefheart's Shiny Beast (Bat Chain Puller). Now I knew that dEUS's Tom Barman acknowledges him as a major influence. And you hear that in the group's music. But what I didn't know is that he even imitates Beefheart's voice. Sometimes emulation goes way too far. This is one of these times.

Obviously Beefheart's later work is lightyears removed from his early work. Shiny Beast is way more accessible than I expected from listening to Trout mask Replica, which is arguably a brilliant record, but which I've always found difficult to sit through. Next up, his last record before he disappeared into the Mojave desert, Ice Cream for Crow.

Philippe Doray

Under normal circumstances you would have read my usual 13 on Sunday this weekend, but I got sidestepped by a lingering addiction for the new Junior Boys, which has been on almost constant rotation since Sunday morning and which I'm starting to think is the best record I've heard since the beginning of the millennium.

Nevertheless I just have to post this one, because it's a truly gripping record that gets under your skin and stays there.

I haven't found out much about Philippe Doray, except that he got drafted as synthplayer in Thierry Muller's Illitch for a while, and that an orginal of this album fetches about 180$, which is, I must admit, a fair price for such an incredible record (of course I'd be delighted if someone had the brains to reissue this on cd, but if I had the money, I would buy it without hesitation).

The music is a bit difficult to describe because it's pretty diverse. Doray delves, as you can deduce from the title, into industrial sonics, but there are also a lot influences of pop music, free jazz, funk and new wave on Nouveaux Modes Industrielles and the sound of the beatboxes and synths is pretty amazing for that time (it was released in 1977). I guess you could call it perverted pop music, because it's as if Doray made a normal pop record and then decided to fuck it up real good.

He sings quite a lot but his voice is sometimes warped into a sort of nagging screech, which makes it all sound pretty dirty and unhealthy, like a Captain Beefheart who has gone electronic. When his voice is not treated he sounds pretty arty, but that doesn't disturb a bit. A possible reference, though still pretty far removed, could be Cluster's Zuckerzeit, if that record had vocals on it, but the electronics are far less rhythmical, more freeform. Amazing record, though incredibly hard to find, even through the usual channels. Recommendation of the week.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Not so Junior anymore

I put this on when I came out of bed on sunday morning and a day later I'm growing more addicted by the minute. I didn't like their first album at all (I mean that it met with a truly unredeemable disinterest from my part), so this second album comes on as a surpise, a revelation of sorts.

Me personally (but that could be a K-Punk-reading related syndrome) I'm reminded most of Ultravox and John Foxx, but ultimately Junior Boys always sound so much warmer. The immaculate Kraftwerk of Man Machine is somewhere in there too and on some tracks it is almost Metro Area with vocals, an even more minimal version of Kelly Polar. For a brief moment the shadow of Brian Eno's future pop records is looming and by now you know that there's even a Sinatra-cover on So This is Goodbye.

Not that it matters or disturbs. As all truly great artists they take elements from a wide range of influences and create something new and undiscovered out of it, celebrating instead of emulating their shining examples. Add to this Jeremy Greenspan's voice, that sounds as if it's been designed especially for this kind of instrumental backdrop and you have a superbly crafted collection of timeless electronic popsongs that's oozing future nostalgia like there ain't no tomorrow.

Sublime! Magical! Da real shit! That kind of record.

Tod Dockstader

A quick internet check revealed that there are already three epsiodes available in Dockstader's Aerial series. But the first one is already pretty impressive. It is the ideal soundtrack (or sound environment) for nocturnal listening. Actually, it does even more: it reveals the endless and ever restless night behind all hidden realities, sounding eerie and familiar at the same time.

Like The Hafler Trio Dockstader is a true soundcatcher, erecting small mementoes, small signs in the wilderness of thought and time, for concrete sounds and residual environmental noise that we all have forgotten about or stopped noticing a long time ago, because they have become part of the soundlibrary of our post-industrial subconscious.

Even after the first (plucking these sounds from the air and committing them to tape, already creating possible bias through modes and method of the recording) and second (structuring the sounds into meaningful narratives) processing rounds, he succeeds in conveying their constantly lingering atavastic vibrations, a white noise reflection of your immediate sound ecology, altered onto a point of unrecognizability, a sonic Babel transformed into music.

Friday, September 22, 2006


The eminent K-Punk does it again with an absolutely brilliant piece connecting the dots between Philip K. Dick's and Richard Linklater's A Scanner Darkly, Blade Runner, speed and postmodernism.

Strange too that Dick is also used as an abbreviation for Richard, don't you think? Or am I being too Dickian here?

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Joanna Newsom

Engineered by THE Steven Albini? Produced by THE Jim O'Rourke? Arrangements by THE one and only Van Dyke Parks? This should be THE works, then? A good record it is, of course. With that kind of creative input any less would have been a crime. On top of that, when you get no more than five tracks, you know this baby is going to scream: "Pro-o-o-o-g!" And that's what it does, alright, with 'Only Skin' elegantly crossing the dreaded 15-minute line. Strangely, the hiring of the mentioned intergalactic trio taken into account, it is the pixie-voiced Newsom herself who is assuming firm control of these five medieval mini-opera's, with her expressive vocals (that have an even greater emotional reach than on The Milk-eyed Mender) and harp doing most, if not all, of the hard work. And the sleeve art, with that window looking straight out into Middle Earth, really suits her, don't you think? Maybe not the record of the year, but this is not bad, not bad at all.


Yesterday for the second time listened to Booka Shade's debut album, Memento, and was again terribly disappointed. I remember putting it aside when it was first released and even with the knowledge of their latest, quite brilliant recordings, Memento continues to miss something that makes it an essential album. You hear all those typical Booka Shade sounds, but they are just not arranged in a good way, making it a very dull record, that not for a moment reaches the heights of 'Night Falls', 'Darko' or 'In White Rooms'. It seems like they hadn't completley mastered their machines at that point in time.

Much better are Rome's new arrivals, Modern Heads. Both the Gliding and Paper Toys e.p.'s contain exquisite minimal that, at times, borders on (yes!) neo-trance. Over at My Space you can stream some of their songs.

No More Output

Just found out that after ten years in the bizz Trevor Jackson's Output is calling it quits. Not that it was ever one of my favorite labels but, nonetheless, he brought us Black Strobe, DK7 and Colder and was a firm European bridgehead for the DFA label, back then only known to a few Nuyorican aficionados. A pity.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

13 on Sunday (3)

Various Production - The World Is Gone [XL, 2006]
Would-be mix-up of folk and sub-bass (dubstep, that is). The two genres are given a little too much of their own personal space, so a real co-fusion fails to occur. If you like Massive Attack (who doesn’t?) and Tricky’s early cd’s, you might want to give this a try. The record is pretty versatile, so I guess everyone is going to find the song that suits him/her. I know for one thing that I’m going to be able to listen to ‘Hater’ in a few years time and not be disappointed. Could be a stayer, could be not.

Vangelis - Beaubourg [Windham Hill, 1979]
Oh man! Forever soiling my brand new boots in the process, I waded hopelessly through the dreaded Endless Plains of Shit before reaching the first oasis in Vangelis’s discography. Blade Runner you obviously know, but this may be his next best piece. It's certainly his most atonal. Beaubourg consists of nothing more than two long suites full of cosmic wizardry that don’t really go anywhere peculiar. But while you’re there, it’s pure bliss. As much as I do not begrudge the man the limitless piles of money he’s made by setting new standards of bombast for the Hollywood soundtrack industry, it made me nonetheless wonder what Evanghelos Odyssey Papathanassiou could have achieved if only he’d spend his time making this kind of records.

The Emperor Machine - Vertical Tones & Horizontal Noise [DC, 2006]
The new long-player by Andrew Meecham is another crazy journey into a whirling vortex of musical styles. You can hear influences from psychedelics and Krautmotorik, large chunks of library music and rare groove and way-out-there disco and slo-mo electro. Not as immediately gripping as its predecessor but still easily one of the best records you can buy yourself this year. Those who think that Lindstrøm and Prins Thomas are too cheesy and want something with a little more cojones, this is the one.

Lindstrøm - Fast & Delirious [Feedelity, 2003/2006]
Drawn from the recently reissued Feedelity 000, this is the Lindstrøm I like most. Stomping electro groove, no-worries kind of atmosphere, cheese tightly reined in, very musical and full of pointillistic detail, yet entrancing. The perfect Sunday morning house record.

Ican - A Quien [Planet E, 2006]
Kind of an old-fashioned record for Planet E. This four-tracker actually reminds more of the kind of techno that Derrick May might be caning. The summer party screaming titletrack has the feel of Derrick Carter’s Latino-techno classic ‘Theme from Blue Cucaracha’, which ain’t too bad as a reference. The other tracks continue much in the same vein. No real surprises but a return to pure dancefloor technofun.

Akabu - Phuturebound (Âme Remix) [Z, 2006]
Everybody’s screaming about Âme these days and with remixes for Rodamaal and this scorcher for Joey Negro’s Z-label you can’t but agree. Sounding contemporary as hell, it steals a little bit from every evolution in electronic dance from the last 20 years and comes up with a sparkling, jubilant house classic. Âme rule!

Digital Mystikz - Conference (Hand Drum Jam) [Souljazz, 2006]
I’m busy convincing the world that these guys (not Burial!) are currently thee shit of shits. ‘Conference’, drawn from one of their recent singles on Soul Jazz, is a perfect little dance number. Shaolin violins, tight percussion and some deep bass, no more ingredients needed. Functional it may sound, it is also pretty awesome. Drumpower dynamics at its best.

Mental Cube - Q [Debut, 1990]
From the latest incarnations of postrave we continue with this classic from the guys who later became known to the world as The Future Sound Of London. ‘Q’’s blissful melodies are not that far removed from the first FSOL tracks and the general ecstatic feel takes me back to the endless sounding hedonistic dance music that flooded out of the UK in the late eighties/early nineties, right before the Artificial Intelligence brigade took things over. Takes you back, and that’s never a bad thing.

Laraaji & Brian Eno - Ambient 3: Day of Radiance [E'G, 1980]
I was really quite astonished when I heard this. Brian Eno going Philip Glass in the Land of The Rising Sun? Something like that, in any case, because, since he’s only mentioned as a producer, the maestro’s musical role is not too clear. Hypnotizing, magical and essential, whoever made it.

Justin Timberlake - What Goes Around [Jive, 2006]
I think it is fitting that, with all the producing power and studio trickery that has been unleashed upon Justin Timberlake’s sophomore album, it is the rather traditional (with that I mean it screams STEVIE WONDER! and MICHAEL JACKSON!) tearjerker-cum-Spanish-guitars ‘What Goes Around’ that stays with you after a few listenings. Cruel irony, then, that it’s when he’s obviously slagging off Britney (a bit like flogging a dead horse, innit?), that you sense that, for once, he’s actually serious about what he’s singing. Which is a bit sad and gives Motherfuckin’ Justin a vulnerable human touch, after all. “Take it to the chorus!”, then?

Royal Trux – Fear Strikes Out [Virgin, 1995]
I’ve only yesterday discovered the radical new world that is Twin Infinitives, so you will forgive me for including this très Rolling Stones sounding straight little rock number from 1995’s Thank You album. Call it the feared Twin Infinitives Backlash. Hennema’s even more très horny-in-a-dirty-way vocals do it for me on this one. The album as a whole rocks too. And now I’m back off to the everlasting task of unravelling the mysteries of Twin Infinities.

Ash Ra Tempel - Schwingungen [Ohr, 1972]
Join Inn and Inventions for Electric Guitar contain some brilliant music but this the best record I’ve heard up till now from the Ash Ra discography. One of the unmistakable high points of kosmische rock. Thanks to Krautrock-co-conspirator Son of the Silent Age for the tip.

Richard Youngs - The Naive Shaman [Jagjawuar, 2005]
As usual the thirteenth record is the one that surprised me this week. From what I’d read about Youngs I imagined him to be another droning guitar man. But what I didn’t know is that he actually sings the whole of the time. His voice you’re gonna hate (most likely) or you gonna like (less likely), but he really sounds like the naive shaman on the sleeve and for me the obvious limitations of his vocal delivery are compensated by the weird pulsating minimalism that he employs to support it. Sounds a bit like a tripped-out Nick Drake who has been locked up in the synthesizer room and decides to give those machines a try.

Saturday, September 16, 2006



Listening to Xasthur's latest offering, Subliminal Genocide, I'm imagining Dante being taken on his tour through hell, but with Lautréamont instead of Virgil as a personal guide. There really must be a lot of pain hidden in the soul of Malefic, the man behind Xasthur. Enduring his music is a bit like being eaten from the inside by phenomena unknown and knowing that there's no end to your suffering in sight for the next century or so. Any ray of hope that manages to invade this dense fog is immediately swallowed whole. There are times when I think I'm gonna shit my pants listening to this guy's inhumane yet thoroughly captivating growls and howls. Recommended for sure, but I'd advice keeping that brand new ultra-absorbing toilet paper at arm's length.

Wacko Jacko

A mate of mine studied Philosophy a few years ago and so he has collected a little library containing works of most of the philosophical hot shots of the previous century. So I take one of Derrida's books (I forgot the title, but it isn't too important for what I'm about to say) from the shelves. I open it on a random page and there I read: "The History of God is a scatology."

Afterwards I was - and am still - thinking: "Putting aside the fact that this undoubtedly very wisely deduced and wrought sentence should be understood into its proper context and even given the fact that Jacques Derrida may have introduced a few enriching methodologies and/or terminologies into recent philosophical history, how can I ever again take this man seriously?"

Indeed, how far strayed from the original meaning and intention of philosophy must one find himself to conclude such an improbable and, frankly, quite ridiculous dictum out of the history of Man looking at his God? How can one be expected (given that this sentence is not the conclusion but the premise, the starting point of one of Derrida's lectures) to put any faith into the deductory powers of such a man?

A few pages of this kind of nonsense would have made even an insomniac as notorious as Cioran fall asleep at night.

Friday, September 15, 2006

3 Eggs

The Hafler Trio, Andrew Liles and frequent Nurse With Wound collaborator Colin Potter take you on a very mysterious soundscape journey that takes you from the deepest bottom of the sea, through damp primeval caverns, to the highest and coldest windy peaks. No drones but a barely audible alternation of immaculately distillated ambient - almost to the point of silence, there are moments when you wonder which part is environmental sound and which is music - and lots of weird soundforging (are those voices or just weirdly looped soundbits?). 3 Eggs may at times come on a bit ghostly and unheimlich but it is all so beautifully structured that not a note feels out of place, which makes it a perfect soundtrack for limbic dreamstates and other transitional phases. Reminiscent of Cranioclast's Iconoclastar, and that is a compliment, should you wonder.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006


Hadn't really expected anything from this. But it turns out to be an enjoyable, albeit sometimes a tad boring, record. No big surprises on the musical front with the Air duo opting for a mix-up of their own dreamy pop and Papa Serge's seventies records. One thing is certain: in contrast to her mother, Charlotte can actually sing. Not the record of the year, but overall one of the best French albums I've heard in a decade or so, even if she chooses to express herself in the language of Shakespeare rather than that of Molière. Try it, you might like it.

Phantom Slasher

There are instants when you are tempted to buy a record at face value, i.e. on the rather tenuous basis of the sleeve. Luckily, apart from the outrageous jacket, Phantom Slasher's latest outing also delivers the musical goodies. Probably The Idjut Boys in one of their disguises, Gruble contains mostly more of what surely must be the ultimate music to fit the Zeitgeist, that is: it mixes up dubbed-out disco with space guitars. Those who cannot regularly appreciate a healthy dose of disco kitsch, should avoid this record at all costs. Lindstrøm and Prins Thomas likers and lovers on the other hand will know where to find it.

Vangelis (2)

I must say I really don't know if that 2cd version of Vangelis' Blade Runner soundtrack that's been floating around for some time is a bootleg or an official version, but it sure is the definitive edition to end all editions (since there have been quite a few). Thirty two pieces in all make up what is without a shadow of a doubt the best Hollywood soundtrack ever. In hindsight it is remarkable to notice how Vangelis accentuates the uninevitable multi-culture that our future surely must bring with a lot of ethnic touches. It is also one of the few pieces from the eighties where the typical eighties production style does not make you wretch. In the end all these observations are obviously pretty worthless if you haven't seen the movie (with which it forms a single organism), which after all these years still stands as Hollywood's ultimate celebration of modernism. My advise: Check out both and read Philip K. Dick's brilliant novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, on which the film is based.

Monday, September 11, 2006

The Emperor Machine

Just arrived in the mail, the new long-player by The Emperor Machine aka Andrew Meecham of Bizarre Inc. and Chicken Lips fame, Vertical Tones and Horizontal Noise. And it's another rollercoaster ride through cosmic disco, wigged-out electronica, cool krautfunk and a whole lot of progressive sounds. From the fine people over at D.C. Recordings, who also released his fenomenal and over here quite cherished debut Aimée Tallulah Is Hypnotized.

If you like this, you might also want to check out the rather bootleggish but mighty Cosmic Dancer label, on which The Emperor collects his favourite obscure space disco sounds.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Digital Mystikz

This week I dismissed Burial as something not for me. And now I know why: I want my dubstep instrumental and still somewhat danceable. And ain't that just what Digital Mystikz provide. Their stuff is very minimal, sticking to one idea and making the most of it. You can still feel the dub, but the overtones of raw electro and residual rave ring much louder in their almost clinical structures. There's an undeniable sense of immediacy and urgency here, yet the music sounds incredibly restrained, like a Plastikman-gone-evil. And, something I very much like, at times you can almost feel the paranoia. Best start out with their recent singles on Soul Jazz, then you'll know what you're in for.

And now I'm gonna listen Various Production's The World is Gone, which, as I've been told by Mister Mathias, is the future of dance music. Will keep you posted on that.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Mommy, what is a cultural pessimist?

Justin Timberlake's new long-player will NOT change the future of dance pop.

And I, in the meantime, am wondering, how 9/11 seemingly has led people all over the world to conjure up Great Stories about das reine Nichts. Have we really lost our perspective to such an alarming degree that we judge people like P**** H***** and Justin to be The Future? That we actually dare say that they are taking risks?

"Best of! Most Of!
Satiate the Need
Slip them into different sleeves!
Buy both and be deceived"

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Wolf Eyes + Anthony Braxton

Whoa! As a lover of all things industrial over the years I've become accustomed to all but the most unbearable noise and the nastiest frequencies. But this unholy racket tops everything I ever heard in this genre. Some of the rawest noise and dirtiest sounds you'll ever hear have crept into this gig and you can only admire veteran Braxton for teaming up with these boys. Confrontational noise that does not make any compromises and takes no prisoners. The biblical phrase "Kill them all, God will sort them out" sprang to mind a couple of times. Shockingly awesome.


Tom Middleton (of Jedi Knights/Global Communications) mentionned 'La Création du Monde' (featured here) as his favorite ambient track of all time. But I love the record as a whole. It was one of his first outings as a solo artist (he used to be in the excruciating Aphrodite's Child, together with the human ball of hair named Demis Roussos) , but I couldn't help but noticing how much it resembles the atmosphere of his famed Blade Runner soundtrack. Pure magic.

Essential Vinyl

  1. STL - The Early Tracks [12", Perlon]
  2. Mr. Flagio - Take a Chance [12", Cosmic Explorer]
  3. Gui Boratto - Like You [12", Kompakt Pop]
  4. Spektrum - Mayday (DJ T. Remix) [12", Non Stop]
  5. B.C. - Konked Out [12", Redux]
  6. Akabu - Phuturebound (Âme Remix) [12", Z]
  7. DJ Mehdi - I Am Somebody (Kenny Dope Old Skool Remix) [12", Ed Banger]
  8. Toby Tobias - A Close Shave [12", Rekids]
  9. Audion - Just a Man [12", Spectral]
  10. Radio Slave - My Bleep [12", Rekids]

Catching Up

After having thoroughly plundered the vaults of recent musical history for a few weeks (Yesterday my ears even started to ache from having listened too much, but then again that could also have been a direct consequence of listening to Coil's ANS), I think I'm gonna spend my time this week with some reading. Today I walked into the bookshop and found to my consternation that Dantec again has come up with another 800 pages of though metaphysical science fiction. And in a friend's bookshelf I found a translation of Sokal & Bricmont's Fashionable Nonsense, a book I just have to read given my fundamental suspicions about postmodern thinkers/writers/wankers. Rather a coïncidence then that I bought my first Zizek (The Universal Exception) a few weeks ago. It sure will be fun to compare the world views of Lacan-haters and Lacan-lovers. Also still waiting for a read: another three Philip K. Dicks (The Penultimate Truth, Time Out of Joint and Eye in the Sky) and Greg Bear's Blood Music. And this week a new Ballard too. So much books, so little time.

listening to: Vangelis - L'Apocalyse des Animaux

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Monday, September 04, 2006

Ash Ra Tempel

Let's try some Ash Ra Tempel, I thought. The surprise I was in for! Join Inn (1973) at first seems pretty normal sign-of-the-times spaced out psychedelic rock. And indeed, 'Freak 'n' Roll' is a straightforward rock symphony lasting about 19 minutes. Nothing wrong with that. If you like Comets On Fire, you can dig this too.
But b-side 'Jenseits' is the true discovery here: more than 20 minutes of seriously spaced-out ambient. At first it does remind of Tangerine Dream's first ambient works (think Zeit or Phaedra), but this is altogether more way out there among the stars. It even reminds a bit of Carl Craig's 'Neurotic Behavior'.

I would state that Inventions for Electric Guitar (also 1973) is even better, but then I wouldn't be telling the whole truth. Some of it is even better. The proto-ambient sounds of 'Quasar' are pure bliss. But both 'Pluralis' and opener 'Echo Waves' need a post-millennial edit, especially in those parts where Manuel actually starts thinking he is a guitar god, which is mostly toward the end, where, in the seventies, you somehow always needed to come to a bombastic conclusion. Nonetheless you can find some of the most beautiful sounds ever committed to record on Inventions.

13 on Sunday (2)

David Sylvian & Holger Czukay - Plight and Premonition [Venture, 1988]
This is the kind of ambient I like. Misty atmosphere, a constant feeling of longing (Sehnsucht, the Germans would call it) and sadness, nothing much happening at all, no noise for starters, in other words a perfect night record. A record I’ve come to appreciate throughout the years, because on first buying it, I thought it compared rather lightly to Sylvian’s more song-approached output. Also, at the time, Czukay to me was just the guy with the funny name who made that record with Jah Wobble and another German fella whose name I just couldn’t remember. Ah, how things change.

Holger Czukay & Rolf Dammers - Canaxis [Music Factory, 1970]
Originally this record came out under the name Technical Space Composer’s Crew, which I must admit is a rather nifty name. Czukay and Dammers don’t sound half as cool. Anyway, this is Can’s Holger Czukay doing the ethnical minimalism thing years before others even thought of it.

Underground Resistance - Spirits Speak [Somewhere In Detroit, 1996(?)]
Taken from one of those très rare Somewhere In Detroit 12-inches. Ten minutes of slow deep techno bliss, based around some acid, an occasional sitar-lick and Mad Mike’s never faltering stellar soul finesse. I would say: “They don’t make ‘em like this anymore”, but unfortunately for my financial status, Mike Banks makes one like this once in three months or so.

Six Organs Of Admittance - It Was Written [Durtrojnana, 2004]
Another side of Ben Chasny is revealed by this little ditty, hidden on a limited-as-hell 7-inch for David Tibet’s label. Instead of going for the usual full-blown spiritual raga symphony, he keeps it under four minutes and even manages to swing-inna-hillbilly style. Hearing is believing.

Skream - Skreamism Vol. 2 [Tempa, 2006]
Presently still not too sure about Burial, but I know I like this better. What the hell, you can always expect the goods from Tempa. It’s dirty, deep and dark and the quality is as high as the bass is low. Heavy doubts about how you should dance to this, though.

Disco Galaxia [White/Bootleg]
One of those way too pricey bootleg double vinyls that you just have to buy because the originals are unfindable or cost you a small fortune. Nothing but fine Italo disco stompers by people like B.W.H., Mr Fagio, Lectric Workers, Massimo Barsotto (dig that ‘Whole Lotta Love’ cover version) and Jago (Metro Area, but from 1983). The texts are pure pubescent stupidities, most beats sound like they have been recorded from out of a rusty can, the kitsch has carefully been glued into the screaming synths, and, if such was possible, a vocoder overdose is a serious possibility. I just love this music.

Kraftwerk - Ralf Und Florian [Vertigo, 1973]
Yes people, there was also Kraftwerk before Autobahn. This really is the strangest record you can think of as a predecessor to the record that opened up their career. There’s lots of percussion and ambient on this one and the melodies sound as naïve and carefree as one can imagine from these robot technicians. Yes, this really is one frightfully joyful record. And don’t those vocoders sound sweet next to that steel guitar!

Organisation - Tone Float [RCA, 1970]
Wonderfully meditative soundscaping mixed up with free rock from this Kraftwerk-predecessor. If you want to know how Kraftwerk might have sounded with guitars (and, admit, who wouldn’t), then this is the record you need to listen. A lot of guitar soloing going on here but other pieces already point to early investigations into ambient. A versatile first outing from these electronic pioneers, as ever based around the primordial duo core of Ralf Hütter-Florian Schneider. And produced, as is the case with nearly every essential Krautrock album, by Conrad aka Conny Plank.

Rhythm & Sound - Rhythm And Sound [Rhythm And Sound, 2001]
Having bought all the vinyls it’s nice to have all these tracks on one cd. Sometimes it makes you wonder if the Rhythm & Sound stuff maybe is the best thing they have done. But I get that every time I listen to these never-ending dubscapes, whether they’re called Maurizio, Basic Channel or any other moniker. In each case you listen and you’re lost forever.

The Knife - Silent Shout [V2, 2006]
Another possible candidate for record of the year. That voice alone gives me the chills, sometimes even the creeps. But don’t let that forget that the music is pure brilliance too, somewhere between the punky Detroit spirit of GusGus and the perfectionist tradition of Scandinavian pop. The overall feeling, too, proves a thorough understanding of all things techno. If all pop music sounded like this, that would be the day, wouldn’t it?

Sunn O))) & Earth - Angel Coma [Southern Lord, 2006]
A split e.p. where Sunn takes you for another tour through their favorite caves of horror, while Earth continues in the vein of their latest album, that is, they now sound like ghostly cowboys who’ve recently kicked the habit, but will always have to deal with a resulting minimal obsession. Hear now the dark soul of America!

Flash And The Pan
Producer duo Vanda and Young (brother of two AC/DC-members and co-producer of that group's two first albums) came up with a strange mixture of late disco and early new wave. With that voice you instantly remember and their cool funkiness, they even had a few hits (remember ‘Waiting on a Train’ and ‘Midnight Man’?). But did you know that they wrote and had their first hit with ‘Walking in the Rain’, later covered by Grace Jones during the legendary Compass Point sessions? And that you urgently need to check out ‘California’, a track from their first album, which is about the best song I’ve unearthed from the dusts of time in 2006? Or the supercool ‘Look at that Woman Go’, from their last album? No? Now you do.

Laurin Rinder & W. Michael Lewis - Seven Deadly Sins [AVI, 1977]
Aesthetically speaking this record’s sleeve is about as low as you can possibly go. Like a poor man’s Modern Talking these guys stare you in the eye like they just been caught frolicking in the nearest public lavatories. That’s the seventies for ya, I suppose. But the music! Seven Sins (with a song for every sin) is one of the best disco records you’ve ever heard, that is, if you like the sometimes painfully cheesy irony in the nu disco of Lindstrøm and Prins Thomas. And, oh yeah, those jungle drums on Carl Craig’s ‘Demented (or Just Crazy)’, they were sampled from this record. Which was a bonus, because I found that out after I bought it. Sleeve sucks, record rocks. And since I like records that surprise me I’m going to make this my Recommendation of the Week.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Kneel before the Gods of Soul

Just returned from a dj set by one Kenny Dixon Jr aka Moodymann. Man, oh man, one of the best sets I've ever heard! J Dilla (he insisted a lot on J Dilla, he played at least three J Dilla tracks), Freeze, The Dirt Bombs, Lil Louis's 'The Conversation', Eddie Grant's 'Time Warp', Smokey Robinson, Sexual Harrassment's 'I Need a Freak', José Gonzalez (have you ever met a dj who made you dance to acoustic guitars?) and, of course, a whole lotta disco, soul, R&B and funk (where da ya think he sampled all those sounds from?). For at least 15 or so tracks he played I'd give a smallest toe, just to know the titles. And the man ain't afraid either to take up the mike and start a cosy conversation with the dancing crowd. So, I think we can officially deny all rumours about Kenny Dixon being a rock-hard black activist who'd rather play his records behind the privacy of a curtain. Best dj set of the century, so far. This guy makes you remember what a good dj really should be. Unforgettable evening! Moodymann rules! Do I make myself clear?