Saturday, July 21, 2007

Son Electronique

2562 - Channel Two

To myself it has always been an immediacy, but hopefully it will, thanks to Appleblim and Shackleton's latest releases, Ewan Pearson opening his latest Fabric mix (sort of) with it and records like this one, become clear to the general techno/dance populace as well: (minimal) techno and dubstep were always made for each other. Take these two razorsharp technodubbers by young Dutch producer 2562 and mix them with off-kilter minimal techno, say of the Villalobos persuasion, and nobody should even notice that you are no longer playing techno. Great divides being closed, if the world at large does not start with it, it may as well be happening in music.

Shackleton feat. Jackson Del Rey - Next to Nothing

Strangely enough I find the usual Shackleton magic not entirely present on this outing for Crosstown Rebels. The techno remixes by both Guillaume and the Coutu Dumonts and Exercise One are for once far superior. They stick to the percussion and the result is two very memorable and funky as hell club stormers. Essential.

Aril Brikha - Ex Machine

Aril Brikha has to be one of the most unlucky producers of all time. He started out with 'Groove la' Chord', without any doubt one of the ten best techno tracks of all time (if not the best). It just could not get better after that. It almost did a few months ago with 'Berghain'. But there is not a single note on Ex Machine that so much as equals the power of the two aforementioned tracks. Everything is incredibly beautifully produced, everything sounds lush and warm. But it leaves me colder than both poles combined. Terrible, is it not?

Cybotron - Clear (Cobblestone Jazz Remix)

This could have been an outrageous sacrilege. But surprisingly it is far from that. It is actually very good with the Cobblestoners doubling the length of the original and adding subtle and non-invasive effects. But it will forever remain anyone's guess why they did not call this 'The Mathew Jonson Mix', because it is overly clear that those are Jonson's settings.

B12 - Slope

Talking about retro. The return of B12 is at the very least quite unexpected. After a silence of almost a decade the duo are back and they deliver. Only three tracks for the time being but 'Slope' itself can be played out by any self-respecting techno dj. The other two tracks are more akin to their previous incarnation, but even there you can hear a definite progression away from their eternal post-Transmat leanings. Awesome and welcome back.

Innersphere - Phunk (Ricardo Villalobos Remix)

Ricardo does one for the floor. It was about time. No self-reflection, darkness or ultra-minimalism this time (mind you, not that I have anything against that), just an original interpretation that will give this classic a second life. Villalobos The New Remix King? Pretty sure.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Silence (and what to do with it) Part 2

Terrific interview by Dan Warburton with Radu Malfatti, a composer and player I have become obsessed with over the last few months. Almost seven years on his ideas about music (and the absence of it) still are more relevant than ever. He is also totally my kind of guy, sparing nobody and nothing, saying what has to be said and ever looking forward.


Following extract is, I think, the most important passus of the interview. I will deconstruct (and reconstruct) this further in the following days when I have got the time. For the time being I will refer to an earlier post of a few months ago which led to a minor discussion with K-Punk at the time (who got his point from - or agreed with the point of - Simon Reynolds) and whose argument I find I have neglected to rebut. The dichotomy/oppposition under discussion has nonetheless been grinding at the back of my mind ever since. (Incidentally, it also ties in with Ralf Wehowsky's quote I referred to a few posts below.) Anyway, more on this the following days.

"Warburton: (...) I can't decide if it's a blessing or a curse to be fantastically aware of very tiny details (acoustic or otherwise) of wherever you happen to be."

Malfatti: For me it's a blessing: the more we are aware of things the better. We can decide later if we "need" them or not, but look at all those people who are unaware of most of what's going on around them. Sure, it would be a curse if every little detail entered our brain and passed through the short-term memory gate and stayed in long-term-memory - then we really would have a lot to carry around with us! - but someone once said that we don't use more than 65% of our brain capacity, and I'm absolutely sure that most folk don't even use that. I assume that this is the underlying structure or meaning of the meditational aspect of certain human knowlege. What happens if we elevate the known into the realm of unknown, the unimportant into the realm of important? We sharpen the consciousness and I think we then are able to become aware of the acoustic environment surrounding the music - and: the music itself!!

Monday, July 16, 2007

No words.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

A funny side effect of reading the news headlines when you are only half awake is that your linguistic interpreters are still half asleep too.

So I am reading this headline on the BBC News site: "LA Church in record abuse deal."

Could you believe that the first thing I thought was: why would anyone, and especially the church, abuse a record?

Friday, July 13, 2007

The Beast is Back

216. So now we're encouraged to think of the world of the 1970s as glittery, but with the occasional off-colour joke, whereas in fact it was a world where the threat of violence seemed almost omnipresent. We might like to imagine that we've made progress, although never forget, this was the decade of petrol shortages and power-cuts. If the people of 2007 lost the use of their televisions, broadband connections and mobile 'phone rechargers for just a single evening, or were told that they'd have to leave their cars at home for the next week or so, then I'm fairly sure the riots would make Bloody Sunday look clean by comparison. Consumerism makes us less volatile, but only as long as it's there and it's working properly. Today, people tend to go berserk if the video goes wrong for any reason. So imagine what would happen if everything blacked out simultaneously, the way it often did, thirty years ago.

I have spend the last two evenings plowing through the - no less than - 243 snippets over at Beasthouse (indeed, my social life is non-existent; only when I choose to, of course) and I will continue to spread the word about this guy. If you have to be depressed and angst-ridden to write up things like this, I would like to be depressed and angst-ridden.

OK, that's stretching the point a little, I suppose (were it only for the fact that half of the time I actually am depressed and angst-ridden, though that is still a better average than most people in the Western world can claim), but this is by far my favourite blog of 2007. Culture-at-large, linguistics, psychology, politics, society and even health care are discussed and thoroughly dissected and... Deleuze, Lacan and Derrida are not referenced, not even cursorily. Ah! Those were the days...

It would almost re-point you to the all too often forgotten fact that funny and to-the-point should be near identitical. Or make that: it should be no crime to be funny and to the point at the same time. Which of course is mostly the case (I won't even add 'these days' to that last sentence, because I suspect from experience with pre-80ies fun-ness, that it used to be even worse).

And, more importantly, you might learn something. For example, did you know who Sax Rohmer was? Bet you didn't. Not that it does matter in the least. But still...

Thursday, July 12, 2007

It seems I am more and more retreating from the world of 'normal' music these days. One way or another these days I always end up, or listening to a whole lot of unstructured improv and noise assaults, or investigating the merits of this or that modernist composer (Scelsi, Webern, Xenakis). It goes even that far that a lot of my time is spent listening to silence on disc. With 'silence on disc' I mean the kind of music that makes you wonder whether it is your computer humming, the house squeaking or, indeed, the music that you put on that you are hearing at a given moment. Anyway, if less is more, nothing is everything.

None the less I am again amazed at the gullability of the common music scribe to believe that Interpol has anything whatsoever to do with Joy Division. I have never detected a single trace of Joy Division-ness in Interpol and the new album makes that point even clearer. I almost threw up when that overacting singer pointed out to the world that "it's not so bad". Ian Curtis would never have daigned to come up with a silly line like that. For Christ sakes', not only is it that bad, it is even worse. Then again, Our Love to Admire is easily their least irritating record to date, though there is not a single note on it that even comes close to the brilliant 'Evil', the group's only non-irritable sequence of notes.

On another tip: whether it is Richard James or not (I think it is him, though), I think The Tuss is absolutely worth your time.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Melting Vinyl ... So Hot

Appleblim/Shackleton - Soundboy's Ashes Gety Chopped Out and Snorted

A shame for those who bought the cd, but this is easily the best Skull Disco release up to date. Probably the darkest too. Appleblim's 'Vansan' eerily approaches dubstep's equivalent of the Basic Channel esthetic. Those Carl Craig-ish syncopated synth lines are an added bonus. Shackleton keeps to what he does best: developping the bass to unearthly deepness with leading ritual tribal percussion and creepy whispers as superstructure. Minimal as fuck, too.

Avus - Furry Hat/Spnkr

Go for 'Spnkr', Border Community's bid for 'Spastik'-fame. Do not know if it will outlast the ages, but at the moment it sounds damn fine.

Tolga Fidan - Venice/Tanbulistan

Veeeeery hot shit, this one. Between minimal house and techno with eerie voice samples and some ethnic atmosphere thrown in to make this one of the ep's of 2007. Huge!

Luciano - Fourges et Sabres/Back to Front

Not really dance floor material but addictively well-constructed and full of little detailed melodic fancy. One of his best and one of Perlon's most maximal. Luciano and Perlon still make a mighty duo.

John Edwards - Codeine (Tim Paris Rework)

Tim Paris and elegance? Never thought I would combine them. Toned down Initial-style house with lots of musical elements from the original well employed. And like the best records the climax comes right before the end. Tasty!