Mix: Dark Days

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You may wonder why I only post reviews of albums on here and not singles. Or you may not. Anyways I’m explaining here, so STFU for a minute. I don’t review singles because, if I like them, odds are they end up in a mix like this. Thus I feel compelled to point out how totally fucking bananas-awesome Wesley Matsell and Gerry Read’s latest singles are, which is obviously why I included them. Also the Recondite track, which isn’t new. Did I mention you should listen to this? You should listen to this.

Click here to download from Mediafire

1. Pearson Sound – Raindrops pt. II – Raindrops
2. Kelis – Jerk Ribs (Mount Kimbie Remix) – Jerk Ribs (Remixes)
3. DMX Krew – My Metro – Hot Punch / My Metro
4. Recondite – Riant – Bleep: The Top 100 Tracks of 2013
5. Lucy – leave us alone – Churches Schools And Guns
6. Neneh Cherry – Everything (Villalobos & Loderbauer: Vilod high blood pressure mix) – Everything
7. Dave DK – Woolloomooloo – Perfect Like You / Woolloomooloo
8. Wesley Matsell – Future Beacon – Total Order of Being
9. The Lionheart Brothers – The Drift (Frisvold & Lindbaek Remix) – The Drift
10. The Analogue Cops – Second Disco Crime (ft. Steffi) – Heavy Hands
11. Christian S – Number One – Pitch Rider
12. Boddika & Joy Orbison – More Maim – More Maim / In Here
13. Pinch & Mumdance – Turbo Mitzi – Turbo Mitzi / Whiplash
14. Sam Russo – Wanderer (John Tejada remix) – To The Brink / Wanderer
15. Gerry Read – Shrubby  – Shrubby
16. Snow Ghosts – Secret Garden (Matthew Herbert’s Wash It All Away Instrumental) – Secret Garden
17. Pearson Sound – Raindrops pt. I – Raindrops

Deemo – Dark Days by Deejaydeemo on Mixcloud

 

Albums: Lucy, Nochexx, Move D (Fabric mix), Brandt Brauer Frick (DJ Kicks)

I have been dipping my nib in the company ink… no wait, that’s not the expression I want. Um anyways I’ve been doing a bunch of freelance for the parts of the Globe that are not my day job, hence the subdued activity round these parts. Please enjoy my thoughts on the Jay-Z Daft Punk collab here, and feel free to peruse the reviews below that would never ever run in the Globe, at least not until I become top banana and make it an all-electronic-music arts section. *cackles conspiratorially*

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Lucy
Churches Schools and Guns
Stroboscopic

Lately I’ve been noticing that the minimal, techy stuff I once embraced is wearing thin, due to what must be overexposure. I fear I’ve hit peak bloop blorp. It’s largely the Lucy record that has pushed me to this conclusion, because under other circumstances I think I would be an unabashed fan. They might be tricky to dance to but there’s a lot to obsess over in the rich rhythmic and textural buffet of tracks like “The Best Selling Show.” And any album that casts samples of Peter Finch’s epic Network rant in a Blade Runner-ish dystopia of clanging pipes and shallow echoes (“Leave Us Alone”) can’t be all bad. But the number of times I’ve put the disc on and zoned out completely can’t be a good thing. At a certain stage, when the drums are kicking and the synth pads are padding, if it doesn’t hang together, well, it doesn’t hang together. Like rival gangs in a prison yard.

brandt brauer frick dj kicks

Brandt Brauer Frick
DJ Kicks
K7

Here’s a stumper for you: when I got this mix, it came with the mixed MP3 as well as the individual tracks used in the set. I promptly stole at least three of them for my own mixes. And yet, do I enjoy this hour of wonky tech and house mixed by a group I generally enjoy, and featuring artists like Peverelist, French Fries, Theo Parrish, several guys from the Night Slugs roster and others whom I absolutely love? No, I do not. Maybe it’s just professional jealousy, since I mixed those tunes so much better, obviously. But my feeling after listening to this a dozen times is that maybe having three DJs in the mix just doesn’t work – everyone wants to drop their favourite techy new tunes, and a few left-field choices, but since no one person has enough time behind the decks to establish a mood and then get sick of it enough to want to change it, everyone creates their own mini-arcs that don’t jive with the experience of actually listening to the whole hour front to back. I don’t know if that’s the case, but I will say that the choice of that old Underground Resistance classic, Galaxy 2 Galaxy’s “Transition,” doesn’t really work where it appears in the mix. Considering what a banger that usually is, I wonder if BBF are just tone-deaf to the way a mix like this is supposed to work. (Paging Henrik Schwarz.)

artwork

Move D
Fabric 74
Fabric

I once tried to collect the entire Roule and Crydamoure catalogs (on MP3, fine, stop judging me) which should tell you how big a fan I am of a certain era of French touch house. So starting a mix with a track from Roule (and others, obviously) alum Roy Davis Jr. endeared Move D to me almost immediately. We’re far enough from that era that a DJ can dabble in a bit of the swishy end of 90s – a snippet of diva vocals here, a “jazzy” (ugh) piano there – without tipping over into a nostalgia trip, and this mix feels distinctly modern while still channeling the sounds and vibe that made ’90s house such a juggernaut. Highly recommended.

Move D – fabric 74: 30 Minute Radio Mix by Fabric on Mixcloud

NTRC

Nochexxx
Thrusters
Ramp

I wouldn’t characterize the new Nochexxx as melodic, exactly. But even if the melodic fragments flying around Thrusters’ crowded sound world aren’t perfectly hummable, they are definitely refreshing, in the context of the aforementioned bleakness elsewhere. There’s a real sense of fun in these busy, hyper little tunes, which dart around like toddlers on a sugar high (save for the somber title track, with its sample of the ground crew’s reaction to the Challenger disaster used in a far more, let’s call it… appropriate way than on Beyonce’s album). I like to think of silent film characters acting out pratfalls and japes of all sorts, in jerkily high speed, as the album plays. That’s a good thing, FYI.

Ranking Bleep’s Green Series

Irony: I haven’t even seen the actual vinyl and fancy artwork for the Green Series, a collab between online music seller Bleep.com, graphic design firm GiveUpArt, and photographer Shaun Bloodworth, and aesthetics are surely a big chunk of this series’ appeal. Maybe the musicians were inspired and decided to rise to the challenge issued by the art? It would be a rare thing – anyone who’s received a lot of promos knows that good packaging is no guarantee of quality tunes. I used to grimace when I would see a hologram or something on CD packaging, for example, because it usually meant the music sucked. And then there’s this, which I actually bought in 1996 despite the fact that the album it came from was so uneven, it makes Prince’s Emancipation look like a masterpiece of curation.

I digress. All four 12-inches are splendidly abstract and addictive, but in this particular Battle Royale there can only be one winner…

4. Karenn / The Analogue Cops (BLPGRN001)

In theory I should be the world’s biggest Karenn fan, given that Blawan and Pariah are incredible on their own. Chocolate + coffee beans = heart attack-inducing flavour orgasm! …but not in this case, for me, at least. There are moments toward the end when the rattling snare and sweeping synth patterns threaten to launch your still-beating heart from your chest and send it flying across the room like a hurled tomato, but for the most part this doesn’t hang together for me. I am however not against collabs in general; I quite like The Analogue Cops’ southern rap-style tom-toms and snares popping like popcorn (or AK-47s, but let’s not go there) while the rest of the track cops a hazy spring-showers vibe. Pop your collar for this one.

3. Marcel Dettmann / Lucy (BLPGRN004)

The newest entry in the Green Series is a study in contrasts. Marcel Dettmann is the biggest name to contribute so far, and his A-side is the most melodic and listenable of the broader batch, if slightly, er, undercooked. The pipe organ melody sounds like something Flat Eric would dance goofily around his apartment to before going out, though the rigid, belligerent beat clearly means business. Stroboscopic Artifacts boss Lucy turns in a much more dry and oppressive slab; the track begins sounding a smidge like the intro to Daft Punk’s Burnin, as though it’s about to break into jaunty filter-y territory, but instead it doubles down on the creep factor with heavily treated hats rattling away, chain-style. (It is called Slaves’ March, after all.) Sure to become a staple at Halloween.

2. Objekt / Cosmin TRG (BLPGRN002)

Speaking of things that give you the shakes, I would love to see how clubbers react to something as jittery as Objekt‘s Shuttered. It’s like a sonic house of mirrors, with drums and other tones echoing and swirling in precisely articulated bursts. Videogame makers, the soundtrack to your next flight simulator title is here. Use this one for the flying-through-a-blizzard scene to give gamers fits. Cosmin TRG‘s contribution is more slick, but also gritty, with a trickle of viscous bass coating the filtered (seemingly bitcrushed) shakers and percussion. The low end is voluminous yet indistinct. I keep waiting for it to bust through the surface and eat me like one of the worms in Tremors.

1. Redshape / Steffi (BLPGRN003)

Right-thinking people are naturally wary when a DJ actually wears a mask in their press photos, so Redshape ought to be a tough sell. His Green Series entry, however, is a marvel of restrained energy that combines the best elements of most of the others. The creeping bassline and the skittering hats drive the track forward with mischievous interplay, while the other elements dart in and out of the sonic plane like fireflies. But it’s Dutch producer Steffi who steals the show with an eerie little banger. A European-style cop car siren goes off far in the distance as screechy horror stabs scratch at the surface of the track. Underneath, there’s a punishing groove perfect for a sweaty black-box, one filled with delicious tension. This is the best candidate for a movie chase scene since Hey Boy Hey Girl, and it doesn’t even have a terrible spoken sample for a hook.