Luke Hess is apparently determined to escape any and all pigeonholing that may come with his being a techno producer from the fabled city of Detroit. By infusing his streamlined Detroit techno with various elements of dub, field recordings, and, ahem, Jesus, Hess shows it’s possible to emerge and flourish from under the mighty shadow (and baggage) of the Motor City.
Author Archive: Todd Hutlock
After an uncharacteristic period of inactivity from the end of 2008 through the first couple months of 2009 (previously the label had been issuing new releases about every six weeks like clockwork), Cadenza took the unusual step of putting out five releases basically on top of each other. On one hand, the approach makes a big splash in the marketplace and keeps the label’s name in the headlines a bit longeer and more prominently than it might otherwise be. On the other hand, the glut of releases tends to dull the impact of the music as the already fairly uniform Cadenza sound can’t help but get repetitive in such large doses.
By 1992, the spiritual kinship between the cities of Detroit and Berlin had existed for years. But despite the invisible conduit of ideas and inspiration flowing back and forth between the world’s electronic dance music capitols, there was precious little actual collaboration to show for it — just a handful of tracks, really, though a symbiosis of ideas and a definitive kinship was in full flower. 3MB was the German half of the equation, featuring Moritz von Oswald and Thomas Fehlmann who would go on to produce pioneering music of their own. The pair had worked a year previous with Detroit techno pioneer Eddie “Flashin” Fowlkes, though the group only truly collaborated on two tracks on the double LP released under their names. By all accounts, however, the work between Atkins, von Oswald and Fehlmann was a true melting pot, the music showcased on the group’s self-titled double LP released by Tresor in 1993.
Stefan Kozalla has been on a roll for an unnaturally long stretch of time in the mercurial dance music community. His particular take on house music is generally full of humor, energy, and some of the most killer earworms in existence, and his first single for 2009 is no exception.
Like death and taxes, Jeff Mills is something of an inevitability. Restlessly creative and prolific even now, more than 20 years after his first release, Mills shows no signs of slowing down, and may just be learning some new tricks at this late stage in the game. Always a vinyl purist — Mills’ famed three-turntable DJ sets are legendary — the Axis and Purpose Maker label boss has recently signed a deal with Beatport to make his tracks available digitally for the first time, even taking the opportunity to issue unreleased bonus tracks (somewhat irking his fellow vinyl purists, of course). With his embracing of today’s technology at long last, Mills’ legendary obsessions with sci-fi and futurism are appropriately on full display on his first release of 2009, “The Good Robot.” Which, of course, is not available digitally.
It’s been a quiet beginning to 2009 for the esteemed Perlon label. In fact, they haven’t been heard from since the October 2008 release of the CD version of Ricardo Villalobos’ Vasco project, itself made up mainly of material previously released on vinyl. Blame it on the economy if you must, but there’s no questioning the musical landscape has shifted during Perlon’s silence as the dance universe moves further and further away from minimal tech-house of the last few years in favor of other sounds: dubstep, deep house, and others. While the label’s (and Matt John’s) first release of 2009 certainly won’t bring about any sort of widespread revival, it slips on like a comfortable old shoe or worn-in sweatshirt and reminds us what a reliable and quality label Perlon is.
[Ornaments] While some might have expected the mysterious Ornaments label to follow its breakthrough smash (Moodymann’s stunning remix of Sascha Dive’s “Deepest America,” one of 2008′s defining deep-house moments) with further big names and big-room floor fillers, the imprint has instead followed it up with a couple of low-profile releases, first from Mod.Civil and now [...]
Certain schools of thought believe the highest achievements of dub techno have been long ago attained by the likes of Maurizio and his Basic Channel/Chain Reaction cohorts. However there is no denying the stunning addendums from the likes of Quantec, Rod Modell and Stephen Hitchell et al. have furthered the legacy of the deep, dubby sound. Hitchell has been carving out a name for himself since the early days of the millennium with his stunning twelves and EPs under various guises and now marks his debut foray into the full length album stakes as Intrusion.
[Desolat] Apparently the star power on call to remix tracks from Loco Dice’s 7 Dunham Place couldn’t be contained across just one double pack; a second double has just surfaced with a lineup just as strong as the first. While Part 1 found Luciano, Cassy, DJ Sneak, and Mike Huckaby taking cracks the material, part [...]
[Internasjonal] For his first release of 2009, Colin de la Plante heads from his native Canada further north to Norway and Prins Thomas’ Internasjonal imprint, home of many slices of cosmic space disco goodness. While the sound and construction are consistent with The Mole’s recent work, there is a nod to Thomas’ style, as well [...]
[Studio 1] From his groundbreaking ambient work as Gas to his acid-fueled excursions as Mike Ink, to his foundation of the pioneering Kompakt empire, Cologne’s Wolfgang Voigt has had an especially active hand in the development of electronic dance music sounds in the last decade and a half. For all the weight the above carries, [...]
[Pom Pom] Those hoping the first CD release from the ultra mysterious Pom Pom imprint would provide hints as to the identity of the artist behind the long-running series will be sorely disappointed: Following the theme of all-black vinyl releases, the CD is, of course, totally black all around, including both sides of the disc [...]
[Cache Records] Berlin-based Pacou seems to be making a series out of remixing his older material. Last year saw DeepChord and Mike Huckaby both taking at crack at his back catalog with stunning results, and now relative newcomer MLZ (aka Miles Whittaker) has remixed Pacou’s “Minus” (from a 1998 EP on LL Records, recorded under [...]
Painting by Stephan Balleux [Deutsche Grammophon] The third volume of Deutsche Grammophon’s “ReComposed” series was a match made in heaven: longtime friends and past collaborators Carl Craig and Moritz von Oswald teaming up to “recompose” classical pieces by Modest Mussorgsky and Maurice Ravel in their own inimitable styles. The resulting LP was one of 2008′s [...]
For our final year-end column, LWE staff writer Todd Hutlock takes to task the top five worst ideas of 2008. Pundits can argue back and forth all they like about whether 2008 was a good year for music — that’s a matter of taste. What can’t be argued, however, is that for any and all [...]
Chat-room scuttlebutt has swirled around the true identities (and merits) of the Sons Of The Dragon, the artists behind this limited-edition white double-12″ of deep Detroit-flavored techno.
[Macro] With a resume including releases on Perlon, Classic, Ovum, Innervisons, and his own Macro imprint, as well as a reputation for being a clutch DJ, Stefan Goldmann is one of the more pedigreed producers on the scene. Goldmann may be well-respected and popular with listening audiences and other DJs alike, but he hasn’t reached [...]