shitloads of record reviews from spring 2000…
Position Chrome Retrospective (mixed by Panacea) – PC 36
Strange release this, as it is neither a retrospective of Position Chrome (all the tracks bar one are linked to Panacea’s own work), nor a retrospective of Panacea (as the better of his work extends beyond Position Chrome onto the Ladyland releases and other labels). Perhaps there’s a slight awareness of the intense ‘red-eye’ drum and bass scene endemic amongst the UK producers, though Position Chrome would be validated to challenge this hegemony through its excellent material pushed by the likes of Heinrich at Hart (distorted hip-hop and electro) , Techno Animal (industrial swingbeat) and Current Value (non-linear futurescapes) – all of whom are omitted here except for one (weaker) Current Value track. Enough of what this isn’t, and on to what it is: a full-on celebratory collection starting from the seminal early Panacea tracks (Chrome 6 onwards – the first 5 releases from the experimental side of electronica are quickly forgotten). Thus the emphasis is on the apocalyptic rave strain that made the first 4 or 5 Panacea 12’s such essential purchases in mapping out the aggressive techstep beginnings. The mix utilises the high-energy buzzes and drones that marked the breakdowns and intros of these tracks – included are Tron, Jacob’s Ladder, Aggressive, Tortue and the ‘limited’ Chrome 13 – excluded is the best of them all: ‘Reality’/’Day After’. These tracks take us to the point in time where the label renamed itself and the UK scene moved towards the ‘automated command function’ style exercised by labels like Test, Metro, Virus and Charge, leaving Panacea’s hell party beats partly stranded on a shrinking raft. Of course, Position Chrome branched out again to resemble the (forgotten) diversity that informed the label from the outset, but flexed this diversity in the dystopian ‘feel-bad’ futuristic context that was being pushed across the techstep scene. But for the CD Panacea ignores this and ploughs through with the full-on nasty tracks that co-habit the current Position Chrome discography. Two weaker tracks divert your attention (the unimaginative acid attempt of ‘Tank’ and Disorder’s messy ‘Systemcheck’) until the mix is saved again by the semi-beatless spaced out ‘Hybris’. We then get the flipside to the recent Current Value 12, another disappointing Disorder track, the excellent untitled track (from Chrome 12), and a final salute with a live in your face track that veers dangerously close to Panacea’s mosh-metal tendencies. So its a strictly nostalgic affair that brings back some happy memories but an awareness of the swiftness of the dynamics of these scenes.
B Recordings ‘Instant’
20 inches of ill-defined electro beats that surface with increasingly regularity on the axis between Disko-B (Germany) and Cheap (Austria). Five tracks here: all of them mocking of the strong genres like techno and breakbeat but falling into a deliberate bland-ness that parallels and opposes Chain Reaction’s collapses into static dub. Typical Cheap irony then, maybe even super-irony in this case? Highlight is ‘Autoelektrika’ which skirts round the pungent cheese of a eurodisco anthem before finally giving in for a tantalising couple of closing bars. Strictly for self-flagellants.
Spin ‘Supercharged’ ForceInc 160
Biochip cements his status as current workaholic within the ForceInc sweatshop, ditching his electro-kitsch style and building on his (and the labels) renewed relationship with time-tampering 4/4 beats. Whereas trapping loops of pop pulp can invoke nihilist spasms (here we have a reinterpretation of Hypnotist’s ‘This House is Mine’) the work here seems to be more immersed in Force Inc’s larger and more focussed strategy of reanimating the pre-acid and cod military beats of (say) Nitzer Ebb (the 3 Heckman releases are the reference points here). Unfortuneately, as with his Null 12, Biochip seems to fall between the two camps.
Sabotage’s strategic division align themselves with some key operators in the neuromantic scene, and hatch a parallel scenario of the disco heat beat that is being championed by the likes of simulcra movies such as ‘Boogie Nights’. Of course, what we have here is as much 70’s Travolta as it is 70’s angry brigade. Parallex Corporation and adult set the hi-scores with their ‘interpretations’ : Ferenc ditching his stifled electro habits and resurrecting his Italian disco fetish with a 125bpm lo-energy disco-pant, and adult tweaking up the tempo, chopping up the samples, and applying their deliberate 70’s electronix lip-gloss. The Krok track seems a little too serious in pursuiting that false haven of the ‘real’ electro track (now we have had electro sucked into the commodity machine it is perhaps time to try a little harder?), though Elin provides one solution by pulling the knot tighter on the noose between disco and 2step garage making a seductive piece of slick trash. Speed Garage recommended in Datacide? – work it out for yourself.
Shinto ‘Ai To Kakumei’
Sublabel from Disko-B, continuing the parallel process with Cheap by creating a space for raw electronica tampered by the likes of euro-septics Platzgummer and Potuznik. Separator 2 rolls back to the early Chrome releases where breakbeat ran amok before gathering under the stormclouds of techstep – definitely a case of lost before found with fast changing moods and programming, prolonged monologues and singularities galore. Deep listening, as they say when words run out. DM
White Viper ‘Crawler’
Position Chrome 35
Rumoured to be Techno Animal, but closer to the future-tech of Current Value with disjointed breaks, high voltage snares, distorted bass and apocalyptic sound drifts. Side one is slightly more cyclical than c.v. making it mixable in the twostep onslaught, whereas the flip is insanely approximated and spills everywhere for the first half of the track, driven along by an unremitting electronic gale. Futuristic and nasty in equal measures, indicating the first signs of a bug in the twostep command program. DM
Tekonivel ‘Gulab Jamoon’
Mika Vainio delivers on 4 tracks against all those who thought the Pan Sonic album was a little to polarised by dub electronics. Gulab Jamoon sees a return to the 4/4 using that bottomed out bass thud surrounded by occasional electronic whirs and sighs, ie Vainio at his best taking the next leap from techno to PCP to this new sound, whilst slowing the tempo enough to impinge on those in the electro camp. Best track is B1 which twists a wicked signature into a gruelling bass drive – a key release.
Thomas P. Heckmann ‘Raum’
Mille Plateaux CD MP68
Most of the producers in the Force Inc stable use the labels multi-noded set-up to experiment with their own outlooks, and Heckmann adds to the list by returning to MP after signing his name in the visitors book way back at the labels inception with one of his ‘Age’ packages. Of late Heckmann has been trotting out the techno trax and remixes as well as producing the ‘Welt in Scherben’ triumvariate that managed to dumbfound critics by faithfully reproducing the Nitzer Ebb sound. His single-minded-ness makes him, and this new project, worthy of attention.
Without wanting to appear like looking for a reason to enjoy this CD, I’d suggest taking the advice given on early Coil and LAYLAH tracks and playing it at beyond the accepted maximum volume. This detracts away from labelling the whole project as ambient, leaving only the regrettable track 4 (no names, of course) as something resembling a musical accompaniment to water-birthing. Playing loud benefits the listening simply because the soft focus foreground tones are bleached out and made to crack and bubble, while the clicks and whirs that sit feebly in the background appear more aggressive. Overall this makes the unspoken concept of the project – sound travel – appear more direct as opposed to contemplatative. Track 1 has the listener trapped in the basement of an empty building, tracks 2 and 7 borrow heavily from Porter Ricks, tracks 3 and 6 best illustrate pure sound travel using various overlapping an never-arriving pulses, whilst track 5 sounds like an insect version of ‘Second Annual Report’. DM
Anthony Child / Andrew Read vs Speedranch^Jansky Noise – Split
series 6 – FatCat
The surgeon meets the doctor as techno’s half-dimensional demi-god at last shows that he listened to his oft quoted ‘influences’. If only T/G had persisted, then maybe ‘post-rock’ wouldn’t have needed to be invented – because it sounds even worse than rock. So one track of one side of this sounds like an update of ‘Shadow Of The Sun’ (that’s a credit).
Speedranch is post-rock in a different sense of the word – a man of one pair of trousers and one facial expression – like the badboy who comes good in an Aussie soap opera. No surprises then that when the media came looking for him he agreed to mime out all the cod dialogue (‘harder, louder, faster’ excuse me). What Andy V/Vm was doing there I don’t know, but the flip to this sees their next work since the highly avoidable Leaf material (compost?). Two tracks that sound like the Butthole Surfers – too little too late. Please, someone at DHR give this man a contract so we can all get on with our own lives. DM
Pure – The End Of Vinyl – Mego 3”CD
Goem – dertig cm – Mego 12”
Mego humour in the titles here. Datacide’s favourite aunty DJ Pure celebrates ‘the end of vinyl’ with a 3” CD of two tracks called side one and side 2. Punchline alert – both of these tracks are compiled from multi layered samples of vinyl run-out grooves (the end of vinyl…). Goem’s dertig cm is actually 30cm of vinyl from a producer nurtured on the staalplaat scene where vinyl is a non-entity. The humour ends with the sounds as we enter typical mego territory. Pure goes for an overkill of highly related data, locking in a multitude of rough sounding run off tones, whilst goem shows us his ‘student simulator’ hospital monitoring machine to create the kind of flatliner techno that exists amongst the small bands of Panasonic fans. How Mego manage to operate filters of quality and pointedness on their releases is a perplexing question, but once again these two missives strike with a deadly accuracy. DM
Hanayo in Panacea
Mille Plateaux 56
Panacea let loose to defuse the aggrandising cerebral nature of Mille Plateaux through a collaboration with ‘pop’’sensation’ Hanayo. 10 tracks of extremely diverse extremes ranging from insane hardcore overload (Panacea is apparently now working the states through Industrial Strength), grafted hip-hop structures (similar to Panacea’s better output on the Electric Ladyland comps), full-on electronics in the Merzbow#/Aube mould, a bizarre (and woeful) cross between Jean Michel Jarre and drum and bass, and a finale of mutilated Tekken sequences. Hanayo’s contribution in a distressed Björk style intervention leaning more towards the Evil Dead than Vanessa Paradis (as the tip sheet would have us believe), throwing on the finishing touches to push this firmly into the territory of a digital EInstürzende Neubauten. A call to arms for those who thought Panacea was dwindling in a diminishing drum and bass lock groove, but the aggression can sometimes overshadow the generic modifications and genetic manipulations at work – ie heavy listening – can I go home now? Dorothy Matrix
Make SND Cassette
Mille Plateaux 69
Mille Plateaux make a heavy re-investment in the Berlin-tech sound via the circuituous route of Sheffield based info-theorists SND. Having produced 2 limited run 12s from this (post) industrial cold city, they take the minimal packaging and anonymous design-info onto the CD format. The sounds solidify a hybrid between the effects ridden house hybrid of Chain Reaction and the earthly electronics and barely functional programming that contour Sheffield’s place in electronic music, synchronising the organic pulses of Vainquer with a stripped down, ultra-clinical set of clicks and blips obeying a shifting mathematical equation. Like an art exhibition consisting entirely of bar-charts and graph paper – the prickly obscenity of it all draws you in….
AMM: For Ute / Merzbow: Tower Of Ghost [
Fat Cat Records]
Another intriguing split-single that sets Japanese noise-merchant Merzbow in a fruitful contrast with the long standing improvisation-ensemble AMM. Given that both deal with the manipulation and exploration of ‘noise’, with the jettisoning of an accustomed duration and the radical disavowal of musical narration, it is a testament to this release that, by drawing the two into associational proximity, countless differences are enabled to be opened. Merzbow, an individual, mainly deals in electronic sound sources whereas AMM, a group, take the main impetus of their sound from acoustic sources: the piano of John Tilbury, the percussion of Eddie Prevost. That said electronics appear in AMM through the destructuring guitar playing of Keith Rowe where a ‘treated’ guitar, is ‘played’ with bows and bolts and screws. Extraneous sources are also riven into AMM’s sound via contact microphone and portable radio. Already there is more to say about AMM than there is about Merzbow.The latter’s track is just one of thousands that this producer has released and Tower Of Ghost proves to be no exception to the rule. The interest lies in the way that a fascination with such noise music can come to be apprehended as a means of avoiding a ‘dialogue’ that AMM, in contrast, are intent on providing by means of the process-accent of their ‘music’. As improvisers AMM are dialoguing with each other, but at the same time, as is figured by the intervention of electronic and atmospheric components, they institute a dialoguing process with the listener. There is no resistance to the extraneous, it is made intravenous, taken-on, responded-to and issued-out. AMM are dialogic whilst Merzbow are monologic. The spaces within AMM, the intent to create layers, the fluctuation of attack and decay, of timbre and texture, is creative of an open space that is enhanced by bringing the acoustics of their performance (For Ute is an excerpt from a live performance in Graz) into a discrete collaboration with the recording technology. The various laminated elements of AMM’s can then be contrasted to the singular, almost tunnel visioned, aspect of the studio-bound Merzbow track. Even so, Merzbow and other such noise music, are maybe exploring that narcissistic dimension of noise, where, there is this fascination with eliciting a ‘psychosis’ of sound: the extraneous is resisted, memory is blocked and the power of phantasy is made inoperative. Merzbow assaults us with the manufacture of desociated extremities and with his refusal to be ‘understood’ in the terms of a common signification called ‘music’. Like AMM he jettisons this syntax and allows the machinic-interface to become overwhelming: Merzbow, as an individual, is so much less than the wall-of-noise, but still attempts to effect it, to make interventions into it. That such a transformative intent, and the psychical-jarring it effects, has appeared pleasing and disruptive, only serves to remind us that there have been more provocative Merzbow tracks than the one released here: an originally-earmarked track was too fierce to be cut and it is worth wondering whether this one would have warded-off the approach of language. However the continually intriguing factor of this split-single is that the AMM track encourages such an approach to Merzbow to be made, rearticulating ‘closure’ as ‘openness’, whilst the Merzbow track makes vivid the aural adumbrations and political nuances of AMM. Two approaches to the dissolution of the ‘self’.
Various: Modulation and Transformation 4 [
If ever there was a music industry-mediated release to make the ‘truth-value’ of the reviewer redundant then this could well be it = confess your subjective partiality, renounce ‘in-house’ objectivity, and sack yourself. With 36 tracks spanning a duration of over 3 hours we are effaced with/by a ‘various’ that may as well be read as ‘variegated’ (“the difference is spreading” says Gertrude Stein). Any review is thus – more pleasingly, more efficaciously, more politically – freed to become ‘writing’ and to make its text-response (lexical-once) a conduit towards fictional realities and a reinvigorated layering of the ocular drive = skin of the ear drum is a prosthetic instrument. Who needs musician-personalities when we can be artist-listeners says Nietzsche. AND SO, the sleeve notes talk of machines that enable us to perceive the imperceptible and just as each track here is a machine within a machine that interlocks with other tracks that are machines within machines, so too this compilation functions like a node of the Net = anonymous signals are all the better for the way they provoke desire and don’t burn the ear-skin with the branding of ‘name’ and ‘preceding reputations’.The perceptible is the ease of hearing sound organised into commodities which are reviewed by those who refuse ‘voluntary redundancy’ = product as the harbinger of a possessible ‘truth’. Own kudos. Stack shelves. Get yourself placed on the continuum and dig-in (“I know who I am told to be” in 50 words or less). BUT. The arousal of imperceptibles (made audible; never made visible except by John Ford, Arthur Penn and Carl Dreyer ) is an involutionary rather than a revolutionary practice: passion first, passion to perceive, then desire in perception = no first but thirst / no truth except a neologistic one (a symphony of KLANG). THEREFORE (three fires) the Paris ‘68 wall graffiti: “Beneath the paving stones, the beach” (revolutionary) becomes the Preston ‘99 bus seat scrawl: “Off the continuum, the imperceptible” (involutionary). Sound arouses thusly because, unreviewed, de-mediated, being of uncertain ratio, maybe microtonalique (another story), it can pass between blocks of always lately genres (noise is a battering ram that attempts to crack the edifice of genre – it’s real success is in the way it trains us, makes us ready for the real shock of imperceptibles that lie at a remove beyond noise … “ever hear a cello-flanger roll?”). Sound becomes free of being pressed into service (genre as a neo-colonial occupying force of gentle brutality that persuades listeners to identify themselves as passive); it can return to being “unlocatable in space”, at the same time that, being made to be most unnatural, it is a dispersion of perversions that flow away and never come back to the source once it’s flowing and started. Sound is in its element (to the nth power of unnatural) when it is machined (filtered, tangentialised, buggered, diagonalised, twisted, made hologramic = virtualising the musical sign to the degree that it passes between, but passes in such a way that it is perceived (slow/quick…but leaving its vapour trail in the guise of resounding depth). SO. Wet-eyes. Quiversome skin. Glazed-over passion can only hear the difference.Tracking the imperceptible, making the unnatural perceptible, is to embrace a suffusion of differences (Proust’s spoon) that touch the drum (hourless drum) and renounce a conscripted sound (reviewed) that is instantly contemporaneous and presciently bored (new). But the new is in history and when is resuscitated (as it is here) it has a chance of eluding its categorisation (tracking back to Cage and Varese and). Where does originality end and imitation start? And why is this always a bogus question? Eddie Miller
Various: The Men You’ll Never See EP [Clone 10]
Holland meets Detroit in a time-zone intersection that’s eluded GMT. First up its Electronome who unknowingly (?) resurrects the likes of DAF in the spirit of Chris and Cosey: synth drum slash rather than snare, rolling sequencer juggering and pidgin-english vocoder vocals. Next it’s I-f. More vocoder vocals and a vague, doomy ‘leaving the planet’ funk. Still in the 80s the Detroit side opens with D.I.E. who stay far too close to the now over-used Kraftwerk blueprint i.e. Trans-Europe Express. Adult round-off the EP with a synth-pop ditty that takes very few risks with the formula. The interesting aspect of this EP is not so much the music itself as the overall sense you get of this analogue-machine-pop functioning as nostalgia for some and a brave new world for others. Either way there’s less and less room for manoeuvre.
The Parallax Corporation: Lift Off [Viewlexx]
At the right time in the wrong place this track could create some kind of buzz. Unfortunately the place would probably be some hipsters club in London where people are rediscovering the joys of electronic disco while carrying 70s Adidas sports bags. That said this track is a lot rougher than Moroder etc. and would make fine in-roads into a pub jukebox, but it doesn’t do enough else to merit closer listening attention. It’s a track that’s not quite commercial enough to do business but not developed or transforming enough to do the business. A disappointing record, perhaps compounded by the break-down that wants to alleviate the monotony rather than let monotony weave its magic. It’s as if Marcel King never happened. Come on Viewlexx.
(Murder Capital 03)
Four tracks.Two straight down the line electro numbers that don’t stretch the genre like the other Murder Capital releases did. Except for some enhancements these tracks are firmly lodged in 1984 and their being affixed there is made certain by the use of several samples (oh, no it’s Kraftwerk again). Flipside has a poppy-ditty to open (oh, no it’s the Human League again) and the EP is rounded off by a track whose beat-box and bass judders are ruined by a vocoder whose phrasing is exactly where it should be i.e. so right it’s wrong. Electro is definitely being overdone. It’s being done to death. Dead genre. What a shame. Flint Michigan
Speedranch^Jansky Noise / Anthony Child: Andrew Read [Fat Cat]
Another split 12 from Fat Cat sees heterogeneous collaging from Speedranch/Jansky on the opener where a hip-hop beat is busted open and cut-up and interfered with by various bits of clamant detritus: test tone, scratch-slashes, dissolute guitar, horror noise etc. Next up is a rising synth-pitch intro where, when all the notes arrive, there is a gradual layering of noises into a squeaking cacophony that gradually lessens and allows for the narrative resolution of descending pitch. Neat chaos. Flipside has collaboration between guitarist Andrew Read and Anthony Child (aka Surgeon) where the latter treats and re-processes the former. Their opening track ‘Guitar Treatments 6’ makes the guitar into a lithe noise generator that is not afraid of the spaces that can be filled by discrete whirs, click-laminations and molecular folds. That there’s no real centre or spine here makes the track have a very tactile and enticing effect that is perhaps lacking from ‘Guitar Treatments 7’ which has, albeit muted, an anthemic quality where the guitar is no longer a guitar but an organ it is easier to attach journalistic adjectives to.
Fennesz: Hotel Paral.lel
If post-rock was really pre-punk with none of the pomposity taken out of it and if rock means it’s got to have a guitar in it then this Fennesz CD is the first or last rock release which probably means it can escape from being genrified. Released in ‘1997’ doesn’t really mean anything when John Cage and Varese are still alive and, aside from one or two tracks with a more conventional structure/sound (szabo), Fennesz has here implied that its possible to be heterogeneous without having recourse to jumping about all over the place and then calling it consistent. On tracks like sz and santora it seems like the fragments of atomised-guitar, staticked-plectrum and cable-string aren’t laid out consecutively but occur concurrently beneath one another in a use of the vertical space of sound. This stacking of ‘events’ without ever over-layering and obliterating the space leads to an appreciation of the tracks as immersible, as a presenced present rather than as a journey towards denouement. In this way the detail made possible by digital processing, the measured use of such clusters of detail, seems to make it possible for Fennesz to build noises up and exercise a greater control over the proportion of their components. The guitar and other machines.
Pure: The End Of Vinyl [Mego 15]
Not so much the end of vinyl as two tracks made up from shards and fragments culled from track run-offs this CD has an unassuming air and provokes fascination with the idea that the unheard micro-grooves of records are assembling and coming back to haunt a listener who has never even heard them. The first track works more in the vein of assembling clusters of sounds and giving them a staggered rhythm that are staggered in the mix. The second has more of a linear and portentous quality ensured by a bone of droning bass that is punctured by smaller events: static hiss unwinding into a ringing dot…
Goem: Dertig cm [Mego 19]
Four tracks made from an old piece of hospital equipment, a pulse generator called a ‘student simulator’, has the effect here of melding unfamiliar tones to beat-driven structures where the blips are depthened to give anchorage. These tracks come across like techno super-group Unit Moebius where repetition and subtle phasing make the listener alive to nuance and receptive to background echos whilst playing on the techno paradigm of beat becoming note. Minimalism is here assured by the fact that the Dertig tracks don’t involve any other sound source than the treatments, phasings and layerings of the pulse generator which gives them their focussed quality – the generator is being explored to the degree that its timbral dirt-hiss is being included rather than cleared away and in thus setting such ‘limits’ to the possible outcome (using what you’ve got) Goem offer us a strange hybrid between monotony and polyphony that puts the stress on the structuring of the tracks.
Various: Three Compositions for Machines [Staalplaat]
As with Goem the emphasis on the tracks collected here is on composing for a single machine and sticking to its timbral range. Here Mika Vaino, Pita and Charlemagne Palestine compose on three custom-made machines developed by C.Schlage and the results make up this live recording. That they were performed as part of a ‘Masterclass’ festival may be ironic, but it may also lead to the sneaking suspicion that ‘classical’ notions of ‘craft’ and ‘musicianship’ are sneaking into the electronic culture which may be one of the downsides of the post-techno cross-fertilisation of experimentation in ‘sound material’ (techno is getting ‘closer’ to punk?). That said it is revealing that of the three composers on offer here it is Charlemagne Palestine (a recently-remembered american minimalist composer) who makes his ‘instrument’ sound the least mechanical but the most machinic– Vaino and Pita seem to thrash about on their machines and place the impetus of their compositions on ‘action’ and ‘drama’. This may be an outcome of the limitations of their allotted machines but Palestine’s piece doesn’t shy away from a simple approach: a series of ‘whirring pipes’ rise in pitch one after the other as if the sounds where generated by just flicking a switch. Once all the pipe-sounds are in motion their intensity seems to be increased by volume adjustments until one by one they are ‘switched-off’ and their pitch descends. Affective.
A CD of improvised electronics from Japanese trio ISO where the accent is on maintaining the spaces between the sounds and creating a subtly rising incline in the music. That the tracks are beatless makes for rhythms that are either abstract and tending towards a kind of supple and interactive flow or that are accented as controlled surges. Overall there’s a neatness throughout the CD that is reflected in a production job that, depending on mood, either softens the overall effect and limits the potential of the timbre or allows for a clear separation of sources. That this CD is caught somewhere between a live ambiance and/or studio recording maybe doesn’t do ISO justice?
From The Judson years
(Alga Marghen CD)
First time release for this collection of early 60s tape pieces made and constructed by post war avant-garde shadow figure Philip Corner. Cropping up as a Fluxus activist and as a ever expanding footnote to the official histories of American musc, Corner, on hte request of Alga Marghen’s Emanuele Carcano, made a trip into the wilderness to liberate these tape pieces from a music archive. What we’re faced with is rough and ready experimentalism where formis in symbiosis with content and process is audible. From the opening piece crafted literally at the kitchen sink through to tape mixes of collaged classical recordings and an electronic composition made at Columbia University, Corner makes audible an energy and enthusiasm to take music to an ‘untimely’ place. If this isn’t all then Oracle, An Electronic Cantata On Images Of War, is a heterogeneous masterpiece: scrapes, klangs, hums, trumpets, marching orders, speech fragments, a spinning toilet seat and lots more are assembled into a paradoxical coherence. Depth mix and dirty timbre from 1962.
(Alga Marghen CD)
Another documentary CD drawn from the 60s output of David Behrman, a member of the Sonic Arts Union and comrade therein with other, perhaps more well known, electronic experimenters… Alvin Lucier, Robert Ashley and Gordon Mumma. This CD opens with a formal piano piece which provides a handy backdrop to the listener being able to fully appreciate the moves Behrmann made subsequently. Going by the tracks on this CD these moves revolve around a growing interest in pursuing the possibilities for new timbres away from classical restraint. So from a Cagean prepared piano piece we move into Wave Train where the piano is played by making the piano strings resonate by means of feedback generated guitar mics. The end result makes the piano disincarnate and prosthetic: a humming, shifting, detonal plateau. Behrman fucks with the piano soe more on Players With Circuits: “one performer played a piano, another operated an oscillator and ring modulator, a third handled amplifier gain and tone controls”. If this sounds a little like Stockhausen territory then this is the punk version: vertical cracks open punctured-up traumas as the piano bemoans its audio destruction. Though this CD contains a less successful, and perhaps dated environment recording it ends with R¨n Thrø¨©h: a twelve minute piece for homemade sy6nthesizers realised by the Sonic Arts Union in 1968. Say no more. But. Built timbre and another beginning for a new drive away from instinct.
(Alga Marghen CD)
Remarkable CD from Walter Marchetti who, the sleeve notes inform us, has been involved in the European avant-garde since the mid-50’s. Containing four 17 minute tracks and a short epilogue of ‘toilet flushing’. Marchetti seems at pains to take the environment recording to a different zone. It might be that our not being told of the location of these pieces and of the ‘events’ that are occurring therein is the mani factor in enhancing their effect. Is he in a cave? Is he underwater? Is he buried beneath the motorway in an acoustic capsule? Is he in a dungeon? Is he swimming in an aquarium? Whatever Marchetti may be is perhaps beside the point, for it is his offer to make the listener listen alongside him that makes this CD a strange and intimate trip. Double drive. What we hear , then, are microscopic aural textures that bring us to a sense of the presence of absence and to a sense of the absence of presence (appropriate cleche). Eventless and pointless but fascinating and active, we pass through sounds that are to some degree static and immobile: they begin and they continue and their repetition-compulsion is achieved without rhythm or is achieved by means of a rhythm that is contiguous. Thus the recordings that Marchetti makes (and perhaps remakes later, adding emphasis and extension) are so full of a sense of solitariness, are so haphazard, that it is almost that we are listening to habitual intricacies, a kind of unconscious soundtrack, a ‘thing-presentation’ in search of an affect rather than a word. Listening with Marchetti and listening easy we know we are building an auricular drive.
Interesting news from Holland. F��irst EP for that previously unsigned dutch artist. One of the best record I heard lately, electro wise, the usual tempo and structure but the sounds are definetly much harsher, even industrial to a certain extend.
Logo side: fucked up double beatelectro with vocoder voices breaks.
Flip it for my absolute favorite: the first track on text side. Metalic, nearly funky, twisted groovy beats, still hard electro-ish. I really like that “duu du dulu dulu duu duu duu” (chinese style little melody, you’ll see…) and those really strident medium – highs. And on top of that you get an acidish track.
Raw source – CYC 03
A new 12″ for that french label already pointed out by outstanding first release “Hubreaks”, who played an adventurous stepping broken style.
1 cool track, calmer, cleaner (where is the bass gone ?). A groovy “techno step”, far more faithful to the french sound, with sexy samples of humming guitars. Val
Peter Pan : The sound of Centipede
Passe Muraille PM 012
A winning doublet for french Peter Pan, signing 2 new EPs, PM 12 (hard tek) and Perce Oreille PO 011 (jungle).
For the first one, weird 4*4 techno, even housey (Cracking up), full of digital processing. The hard version of Crackin up makes you feel like your in a food processor. Favorite on the other side (The Dentist), hard hardtek. Core kiks and fast drawn in loops with lots of psychadelic effects, and a good dose of drilling.
PO 011, “Nehen Zahl”, is definetly drum & bass. It features 2 tracks with a live drummer and an interesting prose on serial killers. Val
Scrape your head with a 7 ” of french hardcore, doom as you like, 4*4 variating with breakbeats or hip hop riffs according to the speed they are layed in.
Really like that great Goldorak sample. Good recipe : a bit of speed gabber, apinch of hard breaks, a lump of guitar, lots of distortion, a handful of slamming kicks and let the record speed up. The Vega’s forces attack!
Lory D – SNS 014
Two track 7”, with ‘Deep from Colosseum’ reminding me, in places, of ‘Humanoids from the Deep’, released by Overdrive in ‘92 – deep bass pulses, synth-twists – although ‘Colosseum’ is certainly not as interesting now as ‘Humanoids’ was then. ‘Deep’ begins as a slowish 4/4 techno track, with sporadic injections of electro-beats which eventually take over half way through. Generating atmosphere, it manages to claw back some of the deepness which characterised the earlier SNS releases, noticeably missing on ‘Friski’ and the ‘Adrenochrome’ release, but still definitely on a lighter, less warped tip. On the flipside, ‘Cleaner from Prati’ limps home, promising little and delivering even less with a non-descript electro track lacking depth and power. Kovert
Somatic Responses –
What could have been an excellent 3 track SR release due to rhythm programming, is entirely let down by a half-hearted choice of, and arrangement of sounds. This lack is made obvious when this record is compared to the recent Six-Shooter releases by the somatix, especially number 7, which juxtaposes strong sounds and strong intricate beat workouts into mad broken/stepping hybrids. The Progerik record is generally encased in uninteresting analog squeals and suffers.
V/A- Mission two: connecting electronix network – Nature
10 track long player, featuring various European artists providing a mixture of (non-4/4) memorabilia and possible future insight. Strangely, almost all the most interesting cuts come on one slice of vinyl, perhaps indicating this should have been only a 12. Anyway, the highlights come via: 2 be Freak (aka Seal-Furic and Oliver Moreau from Reload Ltd.), Amp-tek(Eclectic Records), Somatic Responses, V/VM and D’Archangelo. 2 be Freak: 170bpmish broken beats and metallic insistence, overlaid with slightly unconvincing dark synths, slowing down half way and firing back in. Amp-tek manages a much more powerful sound than previous tracks on ‘Eclectic’ and illustrates a tenser atmosphere, quite slow but with harsh double speed kicks and bleak synth licks. The Somatix provide a slow and surprisingly mellow cut, which is cool all the same. V/VM leave all trace of the dance behind, layering thick hiss, italio-chat, grungey noise and dredging their gramaphone collection. The D’Archangelo track only hints at kitsch with their track ‘engine’, differing from their previous EP, recorded for Nature and their new long player on Rephlex, which are both in full 80’s effect. ‘Engine’ is an interesting, short, disjointed track, disassembling beats and panning out soft sound unexpectedly – not as dirty and mechanical as it sounds, but cool.
UHT – Cavage 01
New, ‘experimental’ imprint from Paris, providing an alternative to speed in France – featuring dark grinding cave themes, rocking electro, and abstract indecision. Fine undercover action.
Kovert< <<<<<< HWF 1 Don’t Lie White Boy Kut-Up Kaos Kick: Subjugation Station Ultraflash: Scavenger Girl Long awaited first release on the Homewrecker Foundation, the Zhark sublabel for women in electronics is a split 7” with the slow dark pop of Kut-Up Kaos Kick (check the video on http://www.vfs.com/~rkozak/deadtry.mov) on one side and Ultraflash’s Scavenger Girl on the flip. A disparate double between high and low tech, between pop and avant garde, between direct aggression and cryptic bytes. Ultraflash’s Nintendo GameBoy production was ripped off by a well known producer who ran out of ideas on a ‘limited’ double pack, but proves to be much more powerful. Currently circulating as a US pressing that plays from the inside out. Against the grain. -The Jackal Praxis 21 Slaughter Politics Awww shit... Sometimes I think there is never going to be another hit like “In Bed with Hanin” or that one off Amputate 2, but here it is...”You Must Help Yourself”- the sexiest and slammingest track on Praxis yet. Nomex and CF pull it off to bring us ever closer to dementia of sex starved Nazi bitches and serious bass damage, topped of with utterly bashed-up breaks. The other breakcore track entitled “Stammheim” takes us to the final threshold where Andreas Baader’s last heartbeat meshes with distorted bass and a nowhere to run (but to the speakers) atmosphere. The other tracks, based around 4/4 hardcore both explore unfamiliar territory by merging a basic kick track with a well developed yet lethal atmosphere -Hecate V/A Hangars Liquides 09 A compilation with seven tracks from different artists, opening with Al Zhemer + La Peste “New Skin vs. Old School” which indeed alternates a slow 4/4 with broken beats. Noize Creator’s “Global Harsh” follows with some degraded digits and mere hint of a beat. Fatter is Joker’s “Subsonik”, much in the vein of his records on SixShooter and Uncivilised World (as Cyanide), shiny production and slower big beats (not Big Beat, but maybe as this should be...). La Veste (!) closes the first side with a fast 4/4 beat overlayed with voices and what could be a delayed guitar riff. Continuing in the same pace the next side explores deeper some possibilities of a broken beat speedcore, voices and disquieting atmospheric noises. Much less subtle is Bombardier’s “Chamber” that is full on distorted breakspeedcore, an approach that seems dated due to the “you gonna die” screamed/male/distorted vocal samples. Noize Creator rounds everything off with “Special Cleanse”, a slow beat with distorted Amiga hihats and claps and some plinky sounds that won’t leave you alone. A good collection of tracks that are sometimes sketchy but always concerned with pushing the envelope further once more, showing a broad range of possibilities... CF Gwal Verz (Dusk Records 001) Known from the first two Widerstand releases (the first a split with Eiterherd, the second a full 9-track EP), Gwal is back after the interlude of the less convincing (or more conventional) Special Forces release. Now with his own label Dusk he presents one side of ultrahard speedcore and Amiga-perversions and then one monstrous side of a ca.15 min track that travels through twisted areas of broken beats, distortion, pannings and general disorganisation of the 8-bit senses. Is it l’art pour l’art in its radical unfunctionality of a terribly low-volume cut and a weird machine writing its own travelogue through inner space? Or just a freak incident in recording history... CF I/O Error / The Gabbist Monks The Funky See, Funky Do e.p. (Freakshow Records #2) Split EP of relatively crude hardcore out of Indianapolis, with two tracks per side. Freakshow is part of the recent surge of north American hardcore releases (see reviews of Deadly Systems / Distort / LowRes etc.). Frantic voices, incomprehensible gibberish... 4/4 beats galore, sometimes in double speed - incl. strange breakups and a voice loop saying “the blood of their children”. CF Ingler Epiteth pth 013 In the absence of real “hit” tracks (such as were present on the last Ingler on Epiteth, e.g. “Riot”), this work proves more abstract, somewhat harder to get to grips with. Consistent is Laurent Hô’s very cold and digital production, on this release a real bass range of frequencies is almost entirely missing which adds to the distincltly un-funky feel. These seemingly negative elements however I always regarded as Hô’s strength as well; arrangements are carefully worked on and chronic repetition collides with lots of little edits, energies of architectural stasis with those of human movement. At the same time this record - and, again, I would insist that that’s one of its positive qualities - seems to exemplify a certain crisis in hardcore, it seems to agree with me that it is no longer possible to make good hardcore records in the same way as a couple of years ago, Ingler is searching a way out in editing of microdynamisms. Four full tracks and to finish each side a short noise piece that ends in a locked groove. CF RPG-7 (RPG-7) This was circulating (if that’s the right word) as a white label 150 press run back in ‘95 and achieved a certain status, a three tracker with GTI, LKJ Sisters and Liza N.Eliaz in various combinations in what at the time was enormously fast modes of speedcore. In fact RPG-7 was to be the ‘breakcore’ outlet for the Toons cru producing some of the most advanced shit at the time, pillaging the CD comps of Western culture for some new formula of re-cut resistance. Why this 250 BPM fest was never released before I don’t know, it is even now a nice record after so many imitators without the contents/concepts have somewhat spoiled the fun. GTI was a collective of about 15 (actual) teenagers that has since broken up and fragmented, but produced 2 LP’s and 4 EP’s (the last one - GTI 6 - never released), plus this one, a special moment in hardcore history... CF Lobotom 7 short-ish tracks and a welcome addition to the bmtr catalogue of sonic disturbances, lobotom’s tracks are generally fairly minimal percussion and noise. This is hardly “dance music” and I’m kind of grateful - some moments of simulation of certain forms, but no failed attempt at funk; sonic architectural mishaps instead! 500 bpm sleepwalking on a tightrope just before the thunderstorm. CF UHT OBE for the masses Go straight to side B > absolutely brillant opening track with EPMD (?) sample, cut up hip hop with dangerous fucked up breaks, echoes – oh my gosh! – at last an inspired moment!
I really don’t know what came over him on the following two tracks. Exorcising the (spiral) demons? As awesome the first track is, as awful is the second: A breakbeat loop with a 4/4 kick is worth about 23 years in purgatory. The first track on the other (A) side ventures into similar territory, not as annoying, but…
Finally, Breaks, Beats and Blood restores my faith again, a slow ominous (not) broken (enough) beat tinny breaks and sinister strings… People will like this EP for very varied reasons, for me it’s one of the few records worth buying for one track.
DJ Freak vs. Senical
Split EP with predictable but satisfying results if you want to hear the two outdistorting each other on 2 tracks each.
The best track is Freak’s ‘The Extremist’ as it’s based on a weird loop rather than a straight 4/4 beat.
The concept of mega-distortion that’s been used is a cul de sac though: ,definition, punch and arrangement fall by the wayside drowned by the distorted high mid frequencies, that gloss over that there’s not that much else happening.
(Active Underground 2)
The second release on Noize Creators 10” label that out of some absurd impulse I tempted to call his speed garage imprint. Of course this would miss the pint almost completely. These are raw and eclectic tracks produced with a dancefloor in mind that doesn’t really exist right now – unfortunately. Nice filmic broken beat house (?!), ruff (due to the Amiga production maybe lacking a little bit of depth), but produced with attention to detail.
Explore Toi 25
In my ears the best ET release in a while, while not offering anything fundamentally new, there is a tighter control on the proceedings, less jamming than the last batch and less monochrome than the Cyberminds stuff. It repeats a mysterious feature to press almost identical tracks twice (out of the five tracks two are ‘doppelgänger’). A furious broken beat nightmare is opening the EP: beat-sniping from all directions! Nicely extreme, and worth getting the white label only / ltd to 300 copies edition.
After the ‘shadow-track’ of the first one we find a more 4/4 oriented B-side, the first track (and therefore the 2nd) being in a more ET typical speedcore vein, while the final piece is slower and more noisy.
This 5 track clear vinyl 12”is a bit of a mixed bag consisting of two electro acid broken up tracks in a sort of Nature/late Lory D style,complimented by an f.x. saturated,4/4 techno tune which rolls out smoothly with murky percussion and psycho-string synths,blowing away the other two sub Strobe Jams efforts which complete the E.P.Not an amazing record but encouragingly broad in scope in these times of techno famine.
NU Black 9
Two fat tracks from the up and coming Roots show what damage can be done with the simplest of techniques. Both tunes use stuttering cut ups of stepping breaks and amen edits interwoven with deep synth waves and clipped punchy bass lines to build into firing roll outs which drop just when the dancefloor needs them to.No U-turn continue to develop and progress drum and bass on their own terms without jumping on the latest style or trend(even if they aren’t half as dark as they think they are).
These four trax are disappointing really when compared to previous N.K.J.E. releases.The effective pure noise/kick experiments on the Sans Pitie releases make way for a straighter style of speedcore which lacks the intensity that one would hope for in 200bpm plus music.Unfocussed noise and a lack of substance dilutes this into a monotone succession of amiga kicks which only generate boredom rather than the catharsis by velocity the producers think they are creating.Speed alone is not enough these days.
Following on from the two impressive tracks(with Karyanne)on the Explicit Bass Drum 2 compilation,this four tracker is released on K.S. records from France.Dark minimal hardness reigns throughout the E.P. which keeps everything on a tight leash rather that just hammering loads of noise loops.The bleak atmospheres invoked by the hypnotic kicks and frequencies are developed and mutated with rapid percussion switches and tension building edits.The overall feeling created is one of high tensile precision,very mixable and intelligently produced. Recommended.
Sounds Never Seen 14
This 2 track 7” from the ‘Sound of Rome’s respected SNS label comes as a bit of a disappointment.No amount of snazzy packaging can disguise a sub-standard record,it’s the noise that counts,as this flimsy electro proves.The production is smooth and flawless but ultimately bland when compared with previous output.There really is too much of this stuff about at the moment and Lory D’s efforts lack the dynamics and deviant humour required to energise this style.
The Dogs of War-
Audio Illusion Recordings
Previously only available for consumption in their live incarnation,this captures the incendiary essence of the Bomb Dogs sound across two trax on a crisp bubble wrapped 12’s of vinyl.The most effective elements of electro/tekno and hard drum and bass are stripped down and spliced to form one snarling entity which roars out of a rig.Shredded radio voices are combined with razor sharp breaks and tight sub-bass which operate in conjunction with high impact kicks to form a multi-pronged attack((c)NATO) on any party.When faced with a multitude of derivative generic releases in whatever flavour of the month (free)styles are concocted The Bomb Dogs are a breath of fresh (dog) breath.
Christoph de Babalon
Rise Above This (Zhark 70001)
This cool 4 track 7’ from de Babalon opens with ‘Extreme Joy’ a muted piece of torture chamber ambience,before launching into the criminally short but excellent ‘Endpoint’ which contains as much energy in its two minute blast as most people need in a lifetime.The discordant organ at the end of ‘Another Language’,which starts side B,adds a twist of dementia to the militant amen smash up which preceeds it,twisting the track towards utter darkness.’Interview’ completes the ritual with a haunted cut up of reversed whispers and forgotten conversations.
huture Rush E.P-Last Tomorrow Rec 9901
The Last Tomorrow present the third installment of their series relating the past,present and phuture according to their twisted rave ideology.We witness the bungled forceps delivery of Kenny Kramp and his unspeakable collusion with the Facehoover on the pounding title track.This is followed by F-Hoovers bastardisation of T99s Anastasia’, ’Anaesthesia’. Side B kicks off with the grinding trip of ‘Tunnel:K’ by the Tin Plate Terrorists;a claustrophobic slice of the darkest techno,driven by sadistic claps and dentists surgery atmospherics.The final track presents the second part of the ‘Exit Earth’ cycle by Fallen Angel,a sinister sprawling dirge,which has not the slightest gleam of light to illuminate its grim voyage toward Global Collapse…
Technical Itch 022
Tech. Itch consistantly produce good tracks in various styles on many labels but some of the most uncompromising material still comes out on their own imprint , this one being no exception. A side is chilled and understated with narcotic piano drifting among acid basslines a bit like a Dope Dragon track with more attack. AA is much more metallic and bass heavy and preferable to the other heavyweight Tech Itch tracks on Moving Shadow and Audio Couture.
Mix ‘n’ Blen 006 Subject 13 Jam the Mace/Reservoir Dogs
Kenny Ken’s label is always worth checking and the ‘Jam’ track does the business with a spare tense break built up and broken down with some suspense. Even the snatches of sound from Star Wars can be forgiven here. ‘Resevoir dogs’ literally does sound like a free party in Hackney so you have been warned.
Renegade Hardware 019
Much in the same vein as the moodier tracks on the previous Hardware release and although not immediately remarkable, it does bear some listening to and has a place among the Hardware / Virus sound around right now.
Exorcise the Demons
Anything by Source Direct is always appreciated and although all the tracks on this album are worthy ,the fact that more than half of them have already been released somewhat dampens the effect. Definitely a case of a major dealing with a package that it doesn’t understand. Better to buy the 12’’ releases and have decent sound quality that music this complex and dense requires.
Serum / New York
More Virus sounds courtesy of Dom, Fierce and Optical with ‘New York’ being the rougher track thanks to Dom. It starts off sounding like a rusty gate and develops into a right old bass distortion exercise with suitably heavy slashing breaks. ‘Serum’ is more of a roller but only just.
Sign / Sphere
What the fuck’s going on in Norway? In the wake of Teebee comes Hyde producing a killer tracks that sound huge and crystal clear. ‘Sign’ is fast, furious and very confident, a bit like Ed Rush only stronger and harder. The flip side is apparently more laid back but compensates for the slackening in pace by overloading the bass which is of course commendable.
Audio Couture 025
Monstrous release on Moving Shadow’s harder offshoot with ‘Instant’ being the five minutes to suffer here. As a DJ, Teebee is playing some of the hardest tracks around at the minute and his set is the closest thing to broken hardstep around at the minute. Chech out the double pack on Juice Records for more Scandinavian spasms.
Bad Company 001 The Nine/ The Bridge
Maldini of Future Forces is partly responsible for ‘the Nine’ which is one of the most thundering tracks around at the moment and I think the very least you can do is drop a Ragga 7’’ over it to show your appreciation. Possible examples to follow….
Olives Records Chuckleberry Wi Nu Cater
Olives Records 1999 The Screamer
Two sets of lyrics here to the same track and these guys aren’t waiting around. Trashy synths and drums in a hurry are soon demolished by vocals so deep and thick that you will never recover.
Trace:”Cells” (remix) / “Caves”,No U Turn.
The loop apparently the same throughout and yet almost invisible tweakings, additions and subtractions load the spiralling chain, the auditory equivalent of a centrifuge. The entire track runs like an experiment, uncompromising and single minded.
“Caves”: dry kick and metal fill underpin sonorous synth and bass, the atmosphere is subterranean, yet spacious, the ideal soundtrack for the long tunnels to the core in “Halflife”.
Trace:”Sniper”/ ”Azure”, DSC14. Trace’s own label. The distorted burrowing bass pushes this along over the metal fragments, deep kick. It drives hard and is perfectly crafted. “Azure” is exactly that. The ethereal theme sounds like filtered guitar overlaying the rounded bass line.
Outfit Side 1 Optical & Fierce / Serum Side 2 Fierce & Dom /New York Metro 005.
The voice sample from Andromeda Strain introduces the theme a hard stepping work out that builds with growling synth that works up to a plateau and stays there.
“New York” opens with foreboding and the voice introducing New York opens a momentum of urban transit with distorted synth which could have had more exposure and the track settles down to the transit theme which is atmospheric without any more surprises.
3 The Hardway/ Renegade Hardware. Usual Suspects kick off a good compilation “Lifeform”again a track that develops through intricate atmospherics hits the bass line and locks on.
Fibre Optix “Sin” features an addictive synth slurp and an off kilter development.
“Beachball” (Fierce and Optical) has the Optical magic: seamless production, odd vocal line,
meticulously crafted beat programming, a feeling of real composition.
Total Science: CIA 98002 Amazing 3 Tracker “Radius” explores a strange hemisphere of sound starting in the depths with a interference static on the periphery the slowly wells up. Total Science are exploring an added dimension not usually worked out in drum and bass. Very welcome.
Renegade Hardware’s Soundscapes vol. 2 feature 2 classics: “Advent” (of the supercomputer) by Usual Suspects releases high pressure energy over atmospheric melody which notches up in 3 stages growing more powerful every time. The whole track is so perfectly produced the details of the sampling are joy to behold. Pychosis’s “Inner Sense” deploys intricate metallic
triplet manipulations with pitch shifted amens over delay patterns and then the synth emerges from the depths and gobbles everything in site.
2 new Virus releases V001RR Matrix remixes Ed Rush and Optical’s “Medicine” which gives it a new lease of life. Origin Unknown’s remix of Lifecrisis is awesome the melancholic cello like sample spreads a deep shadow over the beginning and the erupting synth kicks the whole thing into a struggle of forces which is an intricate battle with different voices all having a say. Perfect.
Ed Rush and Optical’s “Sicknote” Virus VRS004 is a classic the twin forces are a potent alchemy, they always seem to have powers in reserve so everything is just right. The bass line a bulbous beast insisting its way, the beats, hi hats sustaining and mutating and the production is so correct it’s natural. “Watermelon” features a succulent synth which cores a deep bass oozing its way through the track. A mouth watering slab of vinyl.
Moving Fusion “The Beginning EP” Ramm 25.
4 tracks of the hard persistent unrelenting variety. It does not have the perversity of the Ram trilogy, but it sure kicks.
Saturated bass lines, submerged voice samples, hard snares propel through the 4 sides. This
genre is most welcome relating to Bad Company’s “the nine” and the other rinsed continuum
Danny Breaks “Dislocated Sounds”DS021 8 tracks that explore different areas. Rap and scratching, jazz fills, distortions, noir atmospheres, great programming. The 4 sides come over as a labour of love. Everything is intricately worked out and mined for it’s potential.”is that so”, “dissonance” and “definition” are high points.
Challenge / Servo
After a lengthy soothing intro the beats and bass kick in tough. With Ray Keith at the controls you know this one’s going to tear. The grumbling bass stabs are reminiscent of Dark Soldier by Renegade also on Dread.
Servo on the other side goes for the brutal bass riff and militant drums. When the amen goes off the full extent of dark and dirty vibes is released. Roughage.
“Let no one indoctrinate you with evil doctrines to suit his own conveniences. Charity begins at home. So first! To thyself be true.” Straight out of the Congo Natty camp and still hitting hard. ‘Star’ is a third label name to join ‘Ras’ and ‘Zion’. These tunes only seem to appear as white labels. If you like heavy bass & no-nonsense drums always buy on sight. “People who are helpless we try to show them love and to show them civilisation. Because civilisation didn’t flow up the river Nile: it flowed down the river Nile.” With this opener the half-pace beat and African drums take off. If you like throwing yourself around to genuinely rocking tunes you’ll love this. Big Up Congo Natty!
Da Monsta Remix/Oni Koroshi
The bass sounds like an Andy C creation (with added apple crunching noises). Pish Posh – DJ Wally – then has the good sense to add a tearing amen which turns this into one hell of a track. As it says on the promo “infectious hyperactive jump up madness”. This New York label is releasing an album of this stuff entitled ‘Up Jumps the Boogie’. They certainly are Raw Kuts. On the B-side of this one we have the deadly Oni Koroshi with a sample of some space cadet saying “er, hey man, which one of you guys is the DJ… far out, man”.And it is a brutal track. The album features firing tracks like ‘On yer Feet’ and ‘Corrupt Cops’.
Def Con One
Time is the Fire / Monday
Mac II 5
This one builds up slowly and then drops a kind of ‘tubular’ old hardcore bass noies. The break is an original and ‘spacious’ one which allows the track to tense up and then release again. This tune rocks it every time.
Brockie / Ed Solo
Represents / Showtime
I loved the original on the Kool FM album and I love this remix as well. It is the first on Brockie’s new label and bodes well for the future. Number 2 is the same two artists while three is something with Genotype. ‘Represents’ is jump up and so is ‘Showtime’. What makes ‘Represents’ stand out is the way the b-line develops and builds up to a full on sub-bass assault.
Led / Arced
Moving Shadow 133
Mark Caro is a truly prolific producer with loads of excellent tunes out under his Technical Itch guide. And watch out for the album! ‘Led’ has you on the edge of your seat from the start and it doesn’t let up. Acide bass and aggressive breaks strictly for the headstrong. ‘Arced’ is a more syncopated squelcher of a track.
Twisted Soundscapes E.P.
This consists of part 1 and part 2. Part 1 has four tracks the first of which is ‘Orbiter’ by Vagrant remixed to excellent effect by Technical Itch. This is a heads-down mean slice of drum’n’bass. The drums really go off in this track. ‘21st Centrury Funk’ by A-Sides is a more abstract affair. There’s also a dirty chunk of noise by Elements of Noise entitled Anaconda – a basic two-stepper. And finally ‘Angel Dust’ by Embee has that ‘Splash’ records deep in the mix feel to it. Part 2 consists of six more twisted soundscapes. A serious sound.
Black Science Labs
Son of Silence/Exogenesis
DJ Teebee has come out of nowhere to have releases on loads of labels all at once. He’s from Norway and specialises in a crisp, clinical production. Definitely a producer to watch out for. Son of Silence throbs with bass and creates a cold atmosphere which is somehow warm (you hippie – Ed.). Quality.