Little White Earbuds April Charts 2012


Chart courtesy of The Economist

01. Model 500, “The Messenger” [R&S Records] (buy)
It’s an unassailable truth that Juan Atkins is one of the greatest producers of all time. Yet it’s fair to wonder if the skills that earned him the distinction are just as sharp some 25 years after he began to crater the earth in the shape of electro and techno. To be honest, his 2010 single as Model 500, OFI/Huesca, didn’t inspire much confidence; so I approached his latest R&S dispatch, Control, with a healthy dose of skepticism. It turned out to be the antidote to said skepticism as it finds Atkins still at the top of his game. My pick of the litter is B-side “The Messenger,” a sure footed electro cut which runs circles around much of the bass music out there. Much of its advantage comes down to the sheer quality of its tones and timbres: marimba runs that come alive into searing synth patterns, vaporous leads which bend with the wind, retro futuristic progressions glinting like a million buttons on a spaceship console. But in truth they would be merely pleasant if not so tactfully arranged, tied to vigorous clap/kick patterns that hitch up at critical points to give the tune that extra oomph. Leave it to an original master to show the kids how it’s done.

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02. Claro Intelecto, “It’s Getting Late” [Delsin] (buy)
So often we hear about artists describing the act of making music as an almost therapeutic experience. And while it’s great that listeners often get enjoyment out of these cathartic expressions, there’s a distinct possibility what’s committed to proverbial tape is not what people need or want to hear — something better left on unpublished. I got that feeling when listening to Metanarrative, Mark Stewart’s second album as Claro Intelecto, which was written in the wake of his grandmother’s passing and lost much of the immediacy that defined his music. Lucky for us, Stewart returns to the LP format with Reform Club, a tremendous album which harmonizes his majestic motifs with the hardy percussion that is his signature. Take for example “It’s Getting Late,” which is basically the album’s centerpiece. The complex bouquet of pads wafting through its resilient drum programming conjures up an intensely complicated emotional portrait; it’s practically scoring those pivotal seconds when two people size up a situation that ends together or very much alone. Its alloyed bass line keeps tugging at you to make a grand gesture while the whirring hi-hats (including a devastatingly well chosen open ride cymbal) suggest a flurry of brain activity. Yet no matter the outcome, Reform Club and this highlight make excellent companions.

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03. Andrés, “New For U” [La Vida] (buy)
By now this track by well loved Detroit producer Andrés has spread far and wide, and I’m not sure it’s necessary to chart such a known floor-filler. Then again, of course it is; a tune this good cannot be ignored. It’s sort of ironic that it’s entitled “New For U,” as very little about the track deviates from what we know as the makings of pleasant house tracks. Instead it excels by using undeniably catchy ingredients — a pliable bass run, solo stomping percussion, titular vocals, subtle keys, and an arresting string progression — cut to just the right lengths — everything used in moderation — and arranged to utter perfection. Listeners crave the strings’ return every four bars but keep dancing in sweating anticipation, but those paying close attention can lose themselves in the minute variations in the backing patterns while they wait. If anything is novel about “New For U,” it’s the tempo: at a brisk 130ish, it’s significantly faster than most house of its ilk. While I’m sure it can be mixed in knocked down a few BPM, it has an allure as a track you build up — one that defines a set when thoughtfully deployed. All this adds up to a record that’s left a significant mark on the first half of the year and has a great chance of burning the name Andrés into the ledger of 2012.

Andrés, “New For U”

04. Ifume, “Concrete Land” (Dub)
[Komplex de Deep] (buy)

It’s mostly fair to expect that a “dub” version of a track is going to strain out much of the embellishment to leave the most essential parts in a more spacious version. For Ifume’s second single on French imprint Komplex de Deep, conventional wisdom flip-flops. “Concrete Land” feels like only the wiring was strung around the barest of foundations, while its dub version is what you’d hear just as the ribbon gets cut. This version proves Ifume to be quite talented at evolving his melodic concepts, as a gentle tonal flicker expands into a more insistent leading progression unfolding over three phrases, eventually locking into the rhythm that begs at least one fist-pump per dance floor. There’s a lot to be said for his choice of percussion patterns, which while fleshed out feel unobtrusive, and timbres, whose slightly Latin verve hints at the Japan native’s upbringing in Brazil. Taken together, “Concrete Land” (Dub) feels like one of those tracks DJs use as a turning point from early doors moments to a more demanding slot. An excellent pick-up by the often overlooked Komplex de Deep and a big step forward for the relative newcomer Ifume.

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05. Paskal & Urban Absolutes, “Our Smile In Your Face” [Visky Recordings] (buy)
Now that much of the trendy, murmuring deep house which flooded set lists is turning into trendy, misremembered 90s vocal house, it’s especially refreshing to find music embracing the best parts of both while aspiring to be something else entirely. The German duo of Paskal & Urban Absolutes has been rather busy so far in 2012, but “Our Smile In Your Face” is the effort that stood out most for me and embodies the kind of hybrid I’m after. Initially rolling out a trundling, hand percussion groove over mild pads, “Our Smile” doesn’t wait too long before firing off a series of bolder, tech-flavored synth stabs providing a big push on the downbeat. The combination is more assertive than one might expect, and with the occasional vocal intoning “I’m leaving,” it manages to be rather memorable if not particularly groundbreaking. It’s the kind of tune you’d expect to hear on Freerange Records or perhaps Room With A View (the latter of which has signed work by the duo), when in fact it’s the sophomore release by the Czech label Visky Recordings. Hat-tip to them for grabbing it for themselves, and here’s hoping there’s more in the pipeline like it from Paskal & Urban Absolutes.

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06. Emeralds, “Does It Look Like I’m Here?” (Daphni Mix 1) [Jiaolong] (buy)
07. Recloose, “Magic” [Rush Hour Recordings] (buy)
08. Moodymann, “U Ranaway” [Scion A/V] (download)
09. Frak, “666” [Kontra-Musik] (buy)
10. Anthony Naples, “Mad Disrespect”
[Mister Saturday Night Records] (buy)

Staff Charts

Andrew Clapper
01. Mark E, “Oranges” [Spectral Sound]
02. Massimiliano Pagliara, “Fade The Light” (Rotciv Underground Remix) [Live At Robert Johnson]
03. The M.E.B., “M5-M6” (Brennan Green Remix) [Let’s Play House]
04. Session Victim, “The Haunted House” [Delusions Of Grandeur]
05. Steve Moore, “Panther Moderns” [Long Island Electrical Systems]
06. Soft Rocks, “Mirador De Las Estrellas” (Ray Mang Remix) [ESP Institute]
07. Dead Rose Company, “Don’t Stop” [Let’s Play House]
08. Soft Rocks, “Talking Jungle” (Justin Vandervolgen Remix) [ESP Institute]
09. Beat Pharmacy, “Hootin & Tootin” [Throne Of Blood]
10. Lovelock, “New Age Of Christ” [Internasjonal]

Nick Connellan
01. John Daly, “Release” [Drumpoet Community]
02. Claro Intelecto, “Still Here” [Delsin]
03. The Citizen’s Band, “Densed” [Live At Robert Johnson]
04. Developer, “From The Womb” [Developer Archives]
05. Lauer, “Hafflinger” [Running Back]
06. The Citizen’s Band, “Diva Dub” [Story]
07. Christian Vance, “Step 3000” (Brick Veneer Dub) [Haul Music]
08. Imugem Orihasam, “Internal” [Ilian Tape]
09. M>O>S, “Lost Digits” (Marcel Fengler Emersion Mix) [Dolly]
10. Peter Power, “Red Roses” [Kleine Reise Records]

Steve Kerr
01. Jonsson/Alter, “Acapellan” (Donato Dozzy Remix) [Kontra-Musik]
02. Paco Sala, “Earn Your Stripe” [Digitalis Recordings]
03. Htrk, “Slo Glo” [Ghostly International]
04. Elgato, “Luv Zombie” [Hessle Audio]
05. Vessel, “Merge” [left_blank]
06. The Grid, “Floatation” (Subsonic Grid Mix) [EastWest]
07. Kuedo, “Work, Live & Sleep In Collapsing Space” [Planet Mu]
08. Dean Blunt & Inga Copeland, “untitled 10” [Hyperdub]
09. Lazer Sword, “Pleasure Zone” [Monkeytown Records]
10. Actress, “The Lord’s Graffiti” [Honest Jon’s Records]

Kuri Kondrak
01. Jaime Read, “Give It To You” [Housewax]
02. Dream 2 Science, “My Love Turns To Liquid” [Rush Hour Recordings]
03. LOWLOW, “Low Phase” [Night Gallery]
04. Matthew Wieck, “Cleared Direct” [Altered Moods Recordings]
05. Conforce, “24” (Gesloten Cirkel Remix) [Clone Basement Series]
06. Patrice Scott, “Tones & Things” [Sistrum Recordings]
07. Andrés, “New For U” [La Vida]
08. Carlos Nilmmns, “The Old Way” [Lifeworld]
09. October, “String Theory” [Simple Records]
10. V, “Untitled VIII” [Nuearth Kitchen]

Chris Miller
01. Pye Corner Audio, “Toward Light” [Type Recordings]
02. Shawn O’Sullivan, “At The Reservoir” [W.T. Records]
03. Anthony Naples, “Mad Disrespect” [Mister Saturday Night Records]
04. Jonsson/Alter, “Kyrka 2.0” (Minilogue’s Will Of Wind Remix)
[Kontra-Musik]
05. Elgato, “Zone” [Hessle Audio]
06. Vatican Shadow, “Church Of All Images” (Regis Remix)
[Blackest Ever Black]
07. Pépé Bradock, “12Turn13” [Atavisme]
08. The Traveller, “A100” [Ostgut Ton]
09. Ra.H, “Spacepops” (Donato Dozzy Remix) [Morphine Records]
10. Dean Blunt and Inga Copeland, “untitled 9” [Hyperdub]

Per Bojsen-Moller
01. Actress, “Marble Plexus” [Honest Jon’s Records]
02. Claro Intelecto, “It’s Getting Late” [Delsin]
03. Vakula, “I Wanna Dance With You All My Life” [Leleka]
04. Simoncino, “Distant Planet” (Larry Heard Remix) [Thug Records]
05. Nuno Dos Santos, “Hamming” (Donato Dozzy Remix) [Trouw]
06. Manmade Science, “Phase” [Philpot]
07. Trusme, “Sweetmother” (Marcel Dettmann Remix) [Prime Numbers]
08. YoungTEE, “Rehab” [white]
09. Maxxi Soundsystem, “Inside The Count” [Wolf Music]
10. Recloose, “Magic” [Rush Hour Recordings]

Harry Sword
01. Kowton, “More Games” [Livity Sound]
02. Synkro, “Memories Of Love” [Apollo]
03. Magic Mountain High, “Untitled 1” [Workshop]
04. tobias., “Leaning Over Backwards” (Efdemin Remix) [Unterton]
05. Da Sampla, “Track 4” [Wild Oats]
06. Gatekeeper, “Atmosphere Processor” [Apple Pips]
07. Data, “Intrusion” [Black Box]
08. Kassem Mosse & Mix Mup, “Bust A Move” [The Trilogy Tapes]
09. Szare, “Horizontal Ground 11 A1” [Horizontal Ground]
10. Vatican Shadow, “Chopper Crash Marines’ Names Released” [Type]

Brandon Wilner
01. Pittsburgh Track Authority vs. Nice Rec, “Get Out Of Your Head” [Pittsburgh Tracks]
02. Actress, “The Lord’s Graffiti” [Honest Jon’s Records]
03. Jamie Grind, “We Still Play 140” [Infrasonics]
04. Afrikan Sciences, “Boss Nova’s Second Pass” [Deepblak]
05. Nuno Dos Santos, “Hamming” [Trouw]
06. Bon & Rau, “Iris” [Smallville Records]
07. Dream 2 Science, “Mystery Of Love” [Rush Hour Recordings]
08. Tom Flynn, “People Everyday” [Hypercolour]
09. Alex Israel, “Habitation Micturation (Feat. Kevin Reynolds)”
[Crème Organization]
10. The Citizen’s Band, “Densed” [Live At Robert Johnson]

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