Wednesday, December 03, 2003

Music Journalism:

Recap: Fabric
08 November 2003
London, United Kingdom
Simple Records showcase: room three

Hands down, London's Fabric has one of the most innovative and forward thinking music policies in the world. The simple records showcase held on the 8th of November was no exception. On display in the intimate space of room three was Fin Greenall, playing as Sideshow, starting off the night with his blend of lush and deep beats. Following came a performance from Austrian-based duo Walkner.Hintenaus. Their set consisted of Uwe Walkner on the decks, with Frederic Hintenaus providing live percussion over the top, accompanied by sax and trumpets from Trio Exclusiv artists Martin Zrost and Richard Klammer. The sound from the turntables was spaced-out jazzy grooves and breaks with the additional live improvision adding quite the special element. Following this performance, simple recordings DJ Will Saul carried the night until 5 in the morning with his fluid blends of breakbeats, deep house and an extraordinary attention to the mood of the dancefloor. Overall, a great warm-up set, a very special performance from the Austrians, and a sublime display of DJ talent from Will Saul. In the future, expect bright things to come from simple places.

-Colin James Nagy

Fresh from the US release of his LP entitled “Again,” Mark Nguyen Tan aka Colder drops the first 12’ single, “Crazy Love” with two remixes. The original is anchored by a very Joy Divison/ Mani from the Stone Roses-eque bassline, with Colder’s detached vocals hanging over paranoid sounding synths and fairly simple, yet driving drum programming. The remixes are distinct departures from the originals, with Output Recordings Artist Tall Blonde (Luke Innes) essentially rebuilding the song from the ground up, taking the vocal duties, adding an acoustic guitar and some very minimal synth elements. On the flip, there is dark 4/4 Rework stomper for the floor with german-accented female vocals this time repeating “smile and a kiss, together” and getting all hypnotic on us. From here on it gets progressively more distorted, twisted, and depending on how you take your cup of tea--dead sexy.

-Colin J Nagy

Review: Chicken Lips Dj Kicks

The British DJ/ Production trio Chicken Lips step up for the latest installment of in a long line of DJ kicks mixes, pulling out some records that have been had a distinct influence on their left of center and distinctive production sound.

This mix is on the super-eclectic tip and takes its influences equally from reggae, dub, disco, punk and funk without one genre necessarily overshadowing another. On display are the organ-based psychedelics and filtered female vocals of Brainticket’s “Meaning of life,” the bleeps and bass heavy funk of Jimmy Spicer’s “The Bubble Bunch (original Jellybean 12’ Mix.) all the way down to the leftfield echoes and dubbed-out slink of Nina Haggen’s “African Reggae.” On the unmixed LP, there are tracks of slightly more peak tempos as well, namely the funk, horns and strings of The Raincoats’ Animal Rhapsody (Dennis Bovell mix) and the flanged-out 4/4 disco oddity that is George Duke’s “Brazilian Love Affair.”

-Colin J Nagy

CD REVIEW: Channel 2: A Compilation of Output Recordings (various artists)
Released April 2003
$16.99 (Other Music)

With his Underdog remixes and hugely successful Playgroup project, it would seem Trevor Jackson can do no wrong. This assertion is only further reinforced by the quality of the material being released on his London-based Output Recordings label. Output's latest compilation, Channel 2, showcases a diverse blend of the punk/funk avant garde, and then moves far beyond into the downbeat/leftfield realm. On display are the lazy, ethereal melodies of 7 Hurtz' "Malibu," the warbling 303 acid house of DK7's floorfiller "The Difference," and the downbeat synth-tinged whispers of Circlesquare's "Non-Revival Alarm." Also showcased are NYC staples LCD Soundsystem and the Rapture. Channel 2 is more than enough to whet the appetite and encourage further exploration of the label. Essential. (CJN)

T. Raumschmiere, Ellen Allien, Apparat, and Tommie Sunshine
when: Wed 11.12 (9pm)
where: Knitting Factory (74 Leonard St, 212.219.3006)
price: $12 advance / $15
links: Event Info | T. Raumschmiere | Ellen Allien | Apparat
Most recently known for the sonic destruction that is the song "Rabaukendisko" from his latest album Radio Blackout, Berliner T. Raumschmiere brings his energetic, dirty, synth-driven techno to NYC. Raumschmiere's live gigs often leave the crowd fearing for his safety as well as that of his equipment — he throws every ounce of his essence into the performance, which is sure to be sweaty, fist-pumping, and intense. Preceding is the Berlinette herself, Bpitch control label boss Ellen Allien, dropping Deutschland's finest breaks, techno, and electro on the decks. Raumschmiere's co-label owner Apparat also performs, with an opening DJ set from Tommie Sunshine. (CJN)

Nitin Sawhney
when: Wed 11.19 (10pm)
where: Anju (36 E 20th St, 212.674.1111)
price: $15 advance / $20
links: Event Info | Nitin Sawhney
Nitin Sawhney, like his contemporary Talvin Singh, has been one of the major innovators of a new kind of music that combines traditional Indian arrangements, percussion, and strings with the modern synths and beats of electronica. Described by The Face as an "Asian Modernist," Nitin has released three critically acclaimed albums, one of which was short-listed for the Mercury Music Prize. Tonight's event is a listening party for his latest LP, Human, which, drawing on his British and Asian roots, is perhaps his most autobiographical work to date. After the playback, Mr. Sawhney performs a DJ set. (CJN)

Michael Mayer w/ Reinhard Voigt
when: Tue 11.25 (9pm)
where: APT (419 W 13th St, 212.414.4245)
price: $5 advance / $10
links: Michael Mayer | APT
The minimal sounds of Cologne-based Kompakt records, whether categorized as "house" or "techno," are causing quite a stir in Europe, and tonight Kompakt boss Michael Mayer, fresh from mixing a new Fabric release, brings the latest tracks from his own crew and other labels' forward-thinking music to APT. Mayer describes his sets as being "very pop-influenced," emphasizing song structure rather than long, drawn-out house mixing. While admitting to loving the deeper side of house, he insists "there should be a few tunes you can whistle on the way home." He's joined by Reinhard Voigt, a Kompakt artist from the start, who's best known for producing dirty and subversive pop-tinged minimal techno. (CJN)

Paul Mogg of Psychonauts
when: Fri 11.28 (9pm)
where: APT (419 W 13th St, 212.414.4245)
price: $6
links: Psychonauts | APT
Paul Mogg and Pablo Clements are the Psychonauts, a duo that made their name as turntablists in the late '90s with their epic Time Machine mix of 50 Mo'Wax records in 40 minutes. It was an absolute masterpiece of the cut-and-paste ethic that blurred boundaries and left most people scratching their heads. After creating much buzz with little output beyond the Mo'Wax comp, Psychonauts recently released their stellar debut record, Songs for Creatures, on DJ Hell's Gigolo imprint. This evening, Psycho Paul takes to the decks, supported by James F*cking Friedman. Anticipate fractured electro-funk enriched by a deep-rooted musical knowledge spanning time, space, and genre. (CJN)

CD REVIEW: Aarktica, Pure Tone Audiometry
Released February 2003
$16.98 (Amazon)

Jon DeRosa, a Music Technology graduate from NYU, has recently released the latest in a series of albums under the guise Aarktica. The project consists of a constantly revolving lineup of collaborators, always anchored by DeRosa's atmospheric guitar soundscapes. The newest CD, Pure Tone Audiometry (Silber Records) is a cohesive piece of music from start to finish, with a distinct and subdued atmosphere, punctuated by occasional moments of upbeat post-rock, and set against an almost glacial ambient backdrop — a sonic contradiction that leaves the listener roaming between frigidity and warmth. Perhaps most striking is the sophisticated level of production, which invites us to discover deeper layers of textures and pulses with each listen. (CJN)

Released June 2003
$15.99 (Other Music)

While the NYC punk/funk scene cribs and recycles bits and bobs from the '80s, this release from Colder is absolutely refreshing in that it doesn't wear its Joy Division, Cabaret Voltaire, and Kraftwerk influences as prominently as a lapel pin on a secondhand blazer. Rather, Parisian Marc Nguyen Tan has patched said references into a decidedly new and unique context. His debut record Again features chopped-up funk basslines and spacey, detached vocals over synth melodies — all filtered down into a fairly minimalist and downtempo affair that
may prove to be one of 2003's best. (CJN)

CD REVIEW: UNKLE, Never, Never, Land
Mo' Wax/Island
Released September 2003
$25.99 (Other Music)

The latest incarnation of the ever-evolving UNKLE project consists of Richard File, James Lavelle, and, in the tradition of 1998's Psyence Fiction, a host of big-name collaborators. Never, Never, Land features Jarvis Cocker, Josh Homme, Brian Eno, Ian Brown, and Massive Attack's 3D in a clear departure from former UNKLE member DJ Shadow's dark and emotive compositions. Lavelle and Files' monthly residency at London's Fabric has proven to be a major influence for this new sound. Gone are the artfully constructed downtempo jazz breaks in favor of big-room synth basslines, piercing snares, and a 30,000 watt soundsystem in mind with tracks such as "Panic Attack" and "Safe in Mind." However, one of the album's best moments, "In a State," with its blend of synths, guitars, and Richard File's vocals, is decidedly dark and danceable, yet comparatively restrained. Some tracks may seem too overt at first, but this record's subtleties expand with each listen, while still satisfying fans of the UNKLE soundsystem's menacing dancefloor presence. (CJN)

Artist: Swayzak
Album: Fabric 11
Label: Fabric
Release: August 12, 2003

From the microsampled sounds of Akufen and two spot-on DFA productions to a Negativland cut-up and a Thomas Dolby synth classic, Swayzak's contribution to Fabric's CD series is a creative, eccentric mix. With this release, 4/4 constraints don't dictate the game; instead, Swayzak choose to emphasize individual tracks and specific moods — like R√∂yksopp's dreamy remix of Felix da Housecat's "What Does It Feel Like?" and Rockers Hi Fi's classic space dub "Push Push." A solid, genre-defying effort. (CJN)

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