Author Archive: Colin Shields

Jus-Ed, Vision Dance

Vision Dance is the moment Jus-Ed has gone from the magnetic but prickly man in the corner to the true blue friend sitting just to your right.

Genius of Time, Drifting Back/Houston We Have a Problem

Drifting Back/Houston We Have a Problem, the latest Royal Oak 12″ by Genius of Time, shows why Clone just doesn’t get enough love.

LWE Podcast 70: Elgato

If Elgato is keen for music itself to do most of the talking, LWE’s 70th exclusive podcast is a good start. Showcasing old U.S. and UK house and garage, his mix makes a compelling argument for their shared history.

Lerosa, Facade EP

With the Facade EP, Lerosa’s third for Uzuri Recordings, one would think the game of pin the tail on the producer would be getting easier.

Elgato, Tonight/Blue

Even Hessle Audio’s impressive year of releases fades into the background as soon as the needle drops onto its latest, Elgato’s Tonight/Blue.

Scuba/Dissident, Remixes

The latest platter from Hotflush/Offshore sister label, Hotshore, which pits D-Bridge against Scuba’s “Tense” and Headhunter against Dissident’s “Society of Silver,” suffers from incongruous aesthetic combinations.

RezKar, Above The Clouds

LWE’s Kuri Kondrak caught up with South Africa’s RezKar two weeks ago, noting the promise of big things to come. RezKar’s newest, one track backed by four remixes on the Running Back label, is significantly more assured, without quite seeming to realize the potential present in earlier efforts. There are a number of very good things in the original mix of “Above the Clouds”: pretty melodies that dance through artful synth arrangements, defying both hands in the air schmaltz and limpid disco house recombinations. This is a good trick to know, and the track generally betrays a good ear and considerate attention to musical quality. But carefully negotiating a divide that has at its one end Gui Boratto and its other Prins Thomas is an insufficient accomplishment for someone whose earlier output promised galloping individuality.

EQD, Equalized #003

Equalized #003 is not an easy record to identify, and not just because its creator went through reasonable pains to stay anonymous. Both sides of the disc feature thoughtful, hard tripping grooves that feel like they might disintegrate into warm, gooey, and rhythmless piles of mash at any moment. Drums lurch into the mix on one off-beat, never to be seen again; towards the end of the A-side, a house stomp emerges from the techno shuffle: this is a record that makes unpredictability into an art form, using surprise, rather than an emotional sonic palette, to deliver pleasure. On its own, this might not make the latest from EQD worthy of careful discussion. Plenty of tracks in techno history evolve in unexpected ways — I’m thinking now of Jichael Mackson’s dubby rework of Chris Isaacs — but very few producers are skilful enough to avoid using the genre conventions of house and techno enough to let the surprise do so very much of the work.

Cio D’or, Die Faser

Cio D’or is intricately tied to a different response to the Berlin minimal that, for better or worse, has been the previous decade’s most powerful force in shaping electronic dance music. Her music is a lucid exploration of the gaps between Saturday night minds and Sunday morning bodies, and Die Faser is the culmination of that trend to date. It is also a rare full length from a motley international crew who are reshaping attitudes about the relationship of foreboding sonic aesthetics and pleasure, and pointing out, to those of us who might have missed them before, the horizons of the challenging and rewarding style that I would rather call anything else but “headfuck techno.”

The Hasbeens, I Fall To Pieces

The Hasbeens have released only three records so far, and all three have been greeted rapturously. The question left to answer about their simply constructed, repeatedly beguiling electro/disco cuts seems not to be whether or not they’re worth listening to (they definitely are), but rather what it is that makes them so damn good. “I Fall to Pieces” is the latest release, having migrated from Clone X to Frustrated Funk, another of the many arms extending from the Vishnu-esque Clone body. The 10 Euro asking price might seem a little steep for a platter containing one pleasant three minute piano ditty and only one traditional track. When considering that the record that started it all, 2006′s “Make The World Go Away,” will set you back about €40, “I Fall to Pieces” suddenly seems like a good investment regardless of the music inside.

Audio Werner, A.S.A.P.

Way back in the days when mnml was all the rage, Andreas Werner was a reliable choice for well articulated techno that showed respect for dance fashions and rebelled against them at the same time. The Cologne linchpin has had two years out from production, only to bounce back with two new releases this year, one each for Minibar and Hartchef Discos. “A.S.A.P” features the same astute percussion that made Audio Werner’s name, as well as a depth and grace that will be familiar to fans of records like 2004′s “Deep Sheep.”

Igor Stravinsky, Le Sacre Du Printemps (Stefan Goldmann Edit)

Writing in 1626, Francis Bacon described “…sound-houses, where we practise and demonstrate all sounds and their generation… we make divers tremblings and warblings of sounds… We have all means to convey sounds in trunks and pipes, in strange lines and distances.” (The New Atlantis).The manipulation of sounds, found or manufactured, into the futuristic and new is an impulse that has accompanied the musical urge, it would seem, for hundreds of years. It motivated Luigi Russolo to build his intonarumori at the turn of the last century: these were huge horns attached to boxes, the full set of which would fill a large room. In performances with classical orchestras after the first World War, Russolo elevated his mechanical tinkering into something that might have been the first true electronic music. Around the same time, Igor Stravinsky released his “Le Sacre Du Printemps,” a piece widely thought to be a cornerstone in musicological development.

Sevensol & Bender/Brotherhood, 00 Remixed

Leipzig’s Kann Records, masterminded by Bender, Sevensol, and map.ache, kicked off last year with the first of several unremarkable releases drawing mainly from the productions of the label owners. Daniel Stefanik and Sven Weisemann have fashioned remixes of two tracks from that debut 2X12″. Both are frustrating studies in how easy it is for tracks from talented producers to slide into gooey bland ignominy.

LoSoul, Slightly/Gridlock

“Slightly/Gridlock” is the first of two new LoSoul singles released in anticipation of his third album for Playhouse. If this release is anything to go by, Care will have an enormous range. A-side “Slightly” is a swirl of fat, bright and wet minimal house elements anchored by idiosyncratic drum programming. Like most successful minimal house, “Slightly” combines melodic and rhythmic components seamlessly. A stuttering, filtered, and oddly unrecognizable noise that forays into the track’s third minute, playing with the central riff before switching its focus towards some lonely snares that enter the fray. It always seems to me this quality –- the slippery wrestle of movement and tone until they become indistinguishable — gives the most reduced music its unique charm. “Slightly” affords that sensation generously, and LoSoul seems to have gone one step further by imbuing into his sounds a gregariousness that gives each a little personality unto itself.

Luke Hess, Dub For Love EP

[Modelisme Records] Luke Hess has shown signs of huge promise as a producer for a while now. As a Detroit native, he’s charged with the difficult task of balancing that city’s rich musical history with his own artistic voice, which is influenced by a rare (for a techno producer) focus on the spiritual. Hess’ latest […]

Kontext, Plumes/Blinkende Stjerne

[Immerse Records] There is a temptation to lump in Stanislav Sevostyanikhin, better known as Kontext, with experimental Bristol dubstep producers because of the spacious, grimy soundscapes his records on Immerse contain. Something very different, however, is going on in the music of this St. Petersburg native. You would need to reference everyone from Aphex Twin, […]

Rustie, Zig-Zag

Photo by George Steinmetz [Wireblock] Rustie’s rise to (relative) fame in 2008 was swift to say the least. Alongside fellow Glaswegian Hudson Mohawke, Joker, and Zomby, he is one of the leading lights of a not-dubstep style whose name is most frequently given as wonky, although sometimes more creatively as aquacrunk, among other things. Hallmarks […]

LWE’s Top 5 Breakout Artists of 2008

For our third year end column, LWE staff writer Colin Shields highlights his top five breakout artists of 2008. 2008 has been an exciting year for electronic music in many ways, not least because the means of production and distribution have become so thoroughly democratized. Some focus on the cookie-cutter, “Abletonized” records in which this […]

Reggie Dokes, Rain Redemptive Love EP

[Philpot] Once again Philpot has delivered a distinctive record with its latest release which comes from Reggie Dokes, a relative unknown whose bio touts his connection to Detroit techno and Derrick May. Although hearing about Motor City pedigrees has become a bit boring, it is interesting and a little sad to hear just how distinctive […]