New mix: Inside Out

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Polaris is done! No word of a lie, being on the grand jury this year was one of the best things that has ever happened to me in my music critic career. I’m still floating. I am also way behind in any semblance of being up on new music, so consider this mix remedial singles listening. Grime seems to surge in fits and starts, but no other electronic genre sets the neurons firing like it does, even if Wiley is revisiting past glories. Plenty of heat to go around. Ipman! That is all.

Download from Mediafire

Deemo – Inside Out by Deemo on Mixcloud

 

1. Wen – Swingin (Facta Remix) – Swingin / Swingin (Facta Remix) (Badimup)
2. Alex Coulton – Wiretap – Recall / Wiretap (Tempa)
3. Walton – Bulldoze – 14 tracks: A UK Sound (Boomkat)
4. LHF – 2000 Dust (feat. Low Density Matter & The Ragga Twins) – EP4: From The Edge (Keysound)
5. Cooly G – Horrors in the Dance – Armz House (Hyperdub)
6. Ipman – Ghostrunner – Regicide / Ghostrunner (Tectonic)
7. Logos – No Skyline – Glass (Different Circles)
8. Pinch, Mumdance – Big Slug (feat. Riko Dan) – Big Slug – (Tectonic)
9. Pinch, Mumdance – Double Barrelled Mitzi (Turbo Mitzi VIP) – Double Barrelled Mitzi / Legion (Tectonic)
10. Pixelord – Novosib – Places (Hyperboloid)
11. SLACKK – Bells – Backwards Light EP (R&S)
12. P.O.L. Style – Saw (Mike Q Remix) – Saw EP (Unknown To The Unknown)
13. Hudson Mohawke – System – Lantern (Warp)
14. Wiley & Zomby – Step 2001 – Step 2001 (Big Dada)
15. Sound Control – Electrocution Dub (VIP Remix) – Electrocution Dub (VIP Remix) / Rockin’ Da Nation (Sound Control Remix) (Lion Charge)

Mixed Oct. 4/2015 by Dave Morris a.k.a. deemo for a-void.ca

Rapidly aging reviews: Jam City, Mike Gao, Pearson Sound

Posting is light around here while I plough through Polaris Music Prize listening obligations, but please accept these slightly outdated reviews for now, plus a mix I just finished last night that I will put up this week. I love you and want you to be happy. – Deemo

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Jam City
Dream A Garden
Night Slugs

File this under records I listened to at least 10 times and can’t remember a lick of after the fact. I will rep Night Slugs all day and have plenty of Jam City jawns in my virtual crates but the plot was lost somewhere around track three, where the shoegazey vocals and 80s-lite-funk-gone-melancholy congealed into an image as featureless as a Guy Fawkes anonymous mask. Not ruling out a monster second act but the first had me striding purposefully toward the bar long before the curtain fell.

 

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Mike Gao
Migamo
Geotic

This is probably a reflection of my current workout regime, but my gym is increasingly making me think of Guantanamo. If pushup planks didn’t come with the tagline “from the people who brought you waterboarding” I might not feel quite so strongly that today’s R&B is part of a campaign to break my will and leave me moist and quivering on a rubber mat. But here we are. Someone switched the station today to roots reggae towards the end of my last set and I was too weak to believe it was real. Must be a plot to get me when my guard is down, and then bam, hit me with the new Young Thug. Fin.

I felt a bit the same when I heard the new Mike Gao sandwiched between some tuneless post-grime single (seriously, what is plaguing the scene right now, it’s like mid-00s Autechre all over again) and a fourth-rate J Cole type (shudders). It’s a trap! But no, don’t Ackbar too soon. Geotic really is a whole album full of greasy neo-soulquarian beats and back-to-the-futuristic talk box-rocking prog synthism. There’s a hint of trap in the gothic piano basslines of Red Car and the sputtering snares and hats of So Hard To Be Free. But for the most part this is more of the glorious boom bap future that the early Low End Theory cats seemed to promise us when they hit the underground in the late 00s.

 

 

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Pearson Sound
Pearson Sound
Hessle Audio

Manny Farber’s white elephant art vs termite art theory is pretty handy when talking about pop music, though the size issue – white elephant art tends to overwhelm with presence but doesnt stand up to scrutiny like termite art’s rich details on the edges of the work – is figurative, not literal. When I first heard Mumdance and Logos’ Proto, and not long after, Pearson Sound’s self titled disc, I was mostly baffled at how dry and inhuman my favourite producers were becoming. Hoping for an actual musical note, never mind a melody, was like mustering the effort to scale a series of sand dunes in hopes of finding an oasis next to one of them. I like drums as much as the next dance geek but some of this stuff sounds like it could have been made using Einsturzende Neubauten’s power tools.

Repeated exposure made me enough of a fan of Proto that I decided to pick up the vinyl, and when I got back to my decks and turned my subwoofer to a suitable setting – a rare indulgence, out of respect for the neighbours – I was floored. But also suspicious, which brings me back to Farber. Surely anything that requires that kind of fidelity to impress has to be missing something in the creativity department? Does it mark this stuff out as middle-aged-stereo-equipment-salesman-bait, the dance equivalent of a Pat Metheny mid-80s sonic abortion? Am I going to have to grow a ponytail?

All is not lost, I think. The reality is that dance music was always meant to be heard in a club, on a big, nasty system that puts the kick drum all up in your sternum like a boxer jabbing away, and if that as a home listening requirement is not punk rock, well. Both Proto and Pearson Sound sound perfectly huge on decent headphones and speakers, but something is plainly missing until you break out the big hardware.

Pearson Sound in particular is an odd beast on mediocre headphones like mine. Subtle shifts in texture, plus a general lack of a sense of the stereo field leaves the high synth moan in ‘Crank Call’ flat and repetitive; on a good system, it wobbles and sways with every iteration. Cheap ear buds flatten the dynamic shifts that the arrangement in ‘Russet’ is carefully tailored to unveil. Pushed by speaker cones out into the air, it’s masterful.

A steady diet of these discernible yet austere pleasures would quickly become unpalatable. But then, so would any other form of extreme minimalism – drone, ambient, Neu!, colour field painting, etc. Pearson Sound has grit and detail, shadow and light, and play, its particular mixture of which is singularly great. But the emphasis is on ‘singular’.

 

Mix: Not Foliage

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Photo by Romina Chamorro/SXC

With apologies/homage to John Oliver’s rant on native advertising, I titled this mix after the under-the-radar vibe of these tracks. Only one or two of them are big attention-grabbing room-fillers; the rest are slow-burners, grow-ers, subtly-getting-their-hooks-into-you-so-as-you-don’t-notice kind of tunes. Don’t sleep on the Tommy Four Seven track, and definitely don’t miss Henrik Schwarz’s funky all-noise workout. The mind boggles.

Click here to download from Mediafire

Deemo – Not Foliage by Deemo on Mixcloud

1. Jungle – The Heat (Joy Orbison Remix) – The Heat (XL)
2. Renato Figoli – Funkaholic – Funkaholic (Amam)
3. Matias Aguayo – Legende – Legende (Kompakt)
4. Pional – It’s All Over (John Talabot’s Stormbreak Refix) – It’s All Over (Hivern Disc)
5. Julius Steinhoff – Treehouse – Flocking Behaviour (Smallville)
6. The Modernist – Die Fette Gazelle And The Hidden Sixpack – Kompakt: Total 14 (Kompakt)
7. Maayan Nidam – Before Light – Split EP (Perlon)
8. Kalipo – Take Care of Your Paradise – Yaruto (Antime)
9. Nick Monaco – I Can’t Breathe Without You (Wolf + Lamb Club Mix) – Private Practice (Wolf + Lamb)
10. Todd Osborn – Itshoustrumental – T-Rhythm Trax Volume 1 (Running Back)
12. Henrik Schwarz – Lockstep – Masse Remixes III (Masse)
13. Gingy – VSCUS – RAPT (Royal Oak)
14. Willie Burns – Picking up Promises – I Wanna Love You (Hot Haus)
15. Tommy Four Seven – OX 1 – OX (CLR)
16. Danny Daze & Translucent – Speaker Language – Speicher 80 (Kompakt)
17. Redinho – Stay Together – Redinho (Numbers)

Mix: Left and Right

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So many total face-melters here. Both tracks with Riko make the case that he might be the U.K.’s most ruffneck MC. Repping the local scene with Shi Wisdom, who really ought to have been on the Polaris long list (apparently the album was like two minutes too short). Stray, who I didn’t know previously, was a nice surprise – Exit Records holding it down. And the footwork flip of “Luck of Luchini” was urgent and necessary. RIP DJ Rashad, gone too soon.

Click here to download from Mediafire

Deemo – Left and Right by Deemo on Mixcloud

  1. Loops Haunt  – IIVA – Exits (Black Acre)
  2. Bok Bok – Howard  – Your Charizmatic Self EP (Night Slugs)
  3. Kowton – Jam01 (Beneath Remix) – Livity (Ghost-202 Remix) / Jam01 (Beneath Remix) (Livity Sound)
  4. Jacques Greene – No Excuse (Yung Gud Remix) – Phantom Vibrate Remixes (LuckyMe)
  5. Martyn – Forgiveness Step 3 – Forgiveness EP (Ninja Tune)
  6. Wen – Play Your Corner (feat. Riko) – Signals (Keysound)
  7. Durban – Chimes  – Chimes (Lit City Trax)
  8. Footsie – Tekky – King Original Vol 3 (Braindead Ent)
  9. Shi Wisdom – Fly Too – Stranger Things Have Happened (bandcamp)
  10. Heterotic – Boxes – Weird Drift (Planet Mu)
  11. VesperTown – Tuff Luv – Kaleidoscope (Donky Pitch)
  12. Jailo x Ganz – Casino Royale – Turquoise (Terrorhythm)
  13. Visionist – First Love – I’m Fine (Part II) (Lit City Trax)
  14. Stray – Fragile – Chatterbox EP (Exit)
  15. Nomine – Zen Circle – Enma (Tempa)
  16. Terror Danjah feat. Riko – Dark Crawler – Hyperdub 10.1 (Hyperdub)
  17. Ital Tek – Control – Control (Planet Mu)
  18. Traxman – Your Just Movin – Da Mind Of Traxman Vol 2 (Planet Mu)
  19. DJ Rashad x DJ Spinn x Taso – Luchini VIP – Teklife Till Tha Next Life Vol. 1 (Teklife)
  20. Dibia$e – Hold It Down – Schematiks (10thirty Records)
  21. DAMH – Black Night (DJ Koze Remix) – Black Night (Kompakt)
  22. J Dilla – Here We Go Again – Lost Tapes Reels + More (Mahogani)

Mixed June 7 2014 for a-void.ca by Deemo a.k.a. Dave Morris

What I listened to on my summer vacation

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Martyn
The Air Between Words
Ninja Tune

A quick scan over my mixes will confirm what you already suspected, that if I thought I could get away with it I would only ever mix Martyn tunes always. (Ok, maybe with a bit of Night Slugs and R&S’ roster in there as well.) He’s one of maybe three left-field/bass music producers whose embrace of four-four kick drums didnt feel like a concession, and The Air Between Words just cements his mastery. There’s a dusty, from-the-catacombs air to choons like “Like That,” whose erotic moans and swishy house piano mixed with a gloomy baseline sounds like Lil Louis’ “French Kiss” remade for a rainy day in Wales. And the languid Fender Rhodes-isms of “Drones” are perfectly offset by the insistent groove, which never lets the track sink into melancholia or pander to baser instincts. That’s really the genius of Martyn in a nutshell: capturing a feeling of unease or tension while keeping the music itself animated and alive.  Or maybe its just my overpowering urge to drop something dark and stormy like “Forgiveness Step 2” at peak time, turn the lights down – except for maybe a strobe – and see what happens.

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Prins Thomas
III
Full Pupp

Apparently Prins Thomas loathes the phrase “cosmic disco,” which makes me think it means something different from what he thinks it means. I read it as Kosmiche disco, a descendant of Can and other outfits bent on bringing experimental sensibilities to whatever cool shit was happening, including but not only dance music. If the definition of the subgenre doesn’t include a cut like the echo-laden, circular synth riff-driven, rolling drum hypnosis that is “Trans,” I don’t know what the hell you’d call it. In some ways this is the most stripped down of the three solo discs; it’s the most cerebral, but “cerebral” in the sense that, while the language it speaks isn’t really of the dance floor, it is viscerally intense. Not to mention sexy – I was struggling for a metaphor for bass lines that didn’t involve asses in skin-tight leather, and then I gave up, and here we are. Still. People forget that the brain is biggest erogenous zone, you know.

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Maria Minerva
Histrionic
Not Not Fun

Dubby bass, hazy layers of sample smog, a singer who sounds like  she’s talking in her sleep, how can you go wrong? Even now I’m not sure. Maria Minerva seized my attention with the DIY tape underground diva vibe of Cabaret Cixous – Toronto, there are three vinyl copies in Rotate This’ deep discount bin, which tells you how many people shared my affection – and a little more polish shouldn’t have gone astray. But Histrionic always seems to be beguilingly on the verge of getting good, and after a few listens, the fact that it never does gets damnably annoying. Not even a cheeky flip of a Pet Shop Boys lyric could dispel the air half-assed art schoolism. Go away and take your sub-Lana Del Rey schtick with you.

Mix: Get Bodied

deemo-getbodied

Haven’t had time to do much in the way of posting lately, but I’ve got a couple of mixes on deck to share, starting with this one. That Evian Christ track in particular is a stormer. Get up on it like this.

Click here to download from Mediafire

 

Deemo – Get Bodied by Deemo on Mixcloud

1. Bjork – Virus (Hudson Mohawke’s Peaches & Guacamol remix) – Bastards (One Little Indian)
2. French Fries – U.M-An – Kepler (Clek Clek Boom)
3. Evian Christ – Propeller – Waterfall (Tri Angle)
4. Gladiator – Assembly Line (Original Mix) – Assembly Line (Fool’s Gold)
5. JT The Goon – Eski Moment – Twin Warriors EP (Oil Gang)
6. Mumdance & Rabit – Square Wave Shell Down – Boxed Vol. 1 (Boxed)
7. Arctic – The Sicilian – 14 tracks: Nexx Level Grime (Boomkat)
8. Bok Bok – Melba’s Call (feat. Kelela) – Melba’s Call (feat. Kelela) (Night Slugs)
9. Machinedrum – Back Seat Ho (Rustie Remix) – Fenris District (Ninja Tune)
10. Mark Pritchard – Makin a Livin’ – Bleep: The Top 100 Tracks of 2013 (Bleep)
11. DJ Clent – Don’t Leave Me (Baby) – Hyper Feet (Planet Mu)
12. Henry Rodrick – Hey Baby – Don’t Believe (Studio Barnhus)
13. Umbertron – Jackmi – Chicago Tek (Loose Squares)
14. Ital Tek – Universal Decay – Mega City Industry (Civil Music)
15. DJ Earl Heavee & DJ Taye – RubbaBANDZ – Audio Fixx 2 (Ghetto Teknitianz)
16. H-SIK – Sonic Rage – Sonic Rage / No Promises (Black Acre)
17. A Tribe Called Quest – Stressed Out (Bjork’s Married to the Mob Mix) – Stressed Out (Jive)

Mixed April 12 by Dave Morris a.k.a. Deemo for a-void.ca

Two totally bitchin’ albums you may have missed

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Todd Terje
It’s Album Time
Olsen

Much has been made of how long many of us have been waiting for Todd Terje’s magnificent, kitschy, richly detailed, party-starting masterwork of an album. Less has been written about why everyone wanted an album from Terje so bad, as though a series of singles wasn’t basically the same thing. Joke’s on you, album-lovers: the best cuts on It’s Album Time have already been released as… wait for it… singles. The man is not what you’d call prolific, and what’s wrong with that? Stupid insatiable free market.

Anyways, we’re still richer for knowing that Terje is not just a great programmer but also a keyboard savant; other producers sample riffs from latin-jazz-fusion rarities, but I’ll bet my piano-key tie that Terje’s playing the stuff himself. “Preben Goes To Acapulco”  sounds like it was made by someone who’s spent a lot of time with Weather Report and/or Herbie Hancock’s mid-’70s catalog, “Svenk Sas” and “Alfonso Muskedunder” are built on montunos fast enough to at least startle Chucho Valdes, and all of them feature what seems like an endless supply of vintage-synth wibble-wobble soloing. All of these things make me indescribably happy, in case you were wondering where I was going with this.

But it’s the dance-iest tracks that really make the album more than a retro pastiche, and I defy anyone to stay still when “Strandbar” comes on. If this album has a flaw (other than the Bryan Ferry vocal on “Johnny and Mary,” which isn’t my cup of lounge-lizard mumbling, but your mileage may vary) it’s that the version of “Strandbar” is only 4-odd minutes long, unlike the 12-inch version. Four minutes of that unstoppable Rube Goldberg-goes-disco machine, even with its brilliant and harmonically sophisticated piano-led bridge, is not nearly enough. You’ll like the other tracks, and it’s no exaggeration to say you need this collection as a whole, but if you don’t listen to “Strandbar” early and often, frankly I’m a bit worried for your general well-being. They should hand out copies in office buildings and stores, like hand sanitizer.


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Pye Corner Audio
Black Mill Tapes Vols. 3-4
Type

Some years ago I got in the funny habit of combing through those newsletters that record stores like Amoeba and Aquarius put out, and making a list of any records I’d never heard of, but that sounded interesting so that I could add them to my eMusic saved items. You’d think with the bazillion records hitting the interwebs every day, not to mention the plethora of media sources offering to filter said bazillion records according to your taste, culling an artificially-selected herd of new records every week would be a colossal waste of time. Funnily enough, it hasn’t been.

One of the discoveries I remember making a big impression (and coming out in 2010, around the same time as the similar-in-nature Moon Wiring Club and Belbury Poly) was Pye Corner Audio, whose Black Mill Tapes Vol. 1 was one of the year’s highlights. It seemed like a quixotic project that would appeal more to synth nerds than to listeners – it can’t have been an accident that the pseudonym of the man behind the 1970s and 1980s school-science-filmstrip was “The Head Technician.” But most nerds can’t make a catchy number out of their virtuosic attention to detail, which is why it’s so gratifying when one of them does it – and in robust quantities.

If you had to be fleeing a villainous cyborg or removing a mind-control device from your crainium, you’d want the soundtrack to be the carefully-constructed yet gauzy ambiance of “Memory Wiped” or the music-box-synths gone sinister and John Carpenter-y of “Electronic Rhythm Number Eight.” More surprising to me was the emergence of dancefloor-ready tracks amid the sci-fi-soundtrack fodder. Both “Electronic Rhythm Number Two” and “Void Bound” have a kind of dull, rubbery sheen to their pulsing grooves that make them great set-openers, all you budding DJs. Oh and did I mention that synth nerds will love this? Because you will. Love this.