Little White Earbuds April Charts 2014

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Chart courtesy of The Economist

01. Alex Israel, “Colugo”
[Crème Organization] (buy)

I could not have predicted Alex Israel would try his hand at making 90s-garage-house-inspired music, yet I’m hardly surprised that his take on the style, “Colugo,” is excellent. The ever capable, Detroit-based producer has cultivated a chewy, highly musical aesthetic with enough flexibility to incorporate new styles easily. “Colugo”‘s hitched up hi-hats, hyper snare patterns, and electric organ chords are all true to form, accompanied by Israel’s thick, resonating bass lines and amorphous pads. It’s the heavy-lidded synth flute lead that solidifies the tune’s appeal, filtering the corny 90s house signifier into a welcome cool breeze for dancers sent into frenzies. With his well known reference points laid out for audiences, Israel indulges the form to its fullest before pulling back just a bit — that sweet spot between overeager pastiche and underdeveloped copying. Kudos to him and to Creme for highlighting this facet of his sound.

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02. Zsa Gang, “B1”
[Off Minor Recordings] (buy)

Perhaps it’s their jammy production style or their highly musical nature, but it seems Juju & Jordash are the ideal guys for collaboration. They’ve already met universal acclaim by teaming up with David Moufang as Magic Mountain High, and Zsa Gang — a nebulous new project including like minds Max Dunbar and the hideously named DJ Pissflaps — seems like another step in that direction. Each of the four tracks on Zsa Gang’s Beehive Rhythms EP features different personnel, which explains how it careens from deranged to delectable while maintaining a general sense of wonkiness. “B1,” manned by Max D, Jordan GCZ, and Juju, is the most approachable cut, a galaxy-scale exploration of gorgeous synth leads and glowing pads, broken up ever so carefully by drums whose full-bodied attack and particular pacing suggest Max is at the controls. I also suspect the irregular, stumbling synth flute sound is his. All in all, it’s a pretty seamless blend of the players’ aesthetics that’s terrifically listenable and perhaps even playable during the early or after hours.

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03. Tristen, “Streets Of”
[Aim] (buy)

A few years ago I reviewed Tristen’s debut track, “Along These Strings,” I found his work promising but still in need of development. The Berlin-based owner of the Aim imprint has certainly taken his time letting his sound gestate. The results — found on Pictures From Above, his first completely solo release — were worth the wait. “Streets Of,” the A-side, gels perfectly with the rest of the Aim aesthetic. While its hissing hats and firm kicks give it dance-floor footing, the melodies are gentle and almost elemental in their free flowing nature. Each nuance is memorable, from the steady chords occasionally bending to create new phrasing to the woodwind tone flickering like a candle on a windowsill. There’s a feeling of comfort and familiarity without relying on overt references, a sense that the streets this tune soundtracks have been walked many times, alone perhaps but while wearing a smile. As part of the first Aim release of 2014, this is a lovely statement of intent for the label and a laudable next step for Tristen’s music.

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04. Johannes Volk, “Glare”
[Tief Music] (buy)

It’s not clear how German producer Johannes Volk fits into the story of London club night Tief or their label, Tief Music, but hearing “Glare,” it’s perfectly understandable why they wanted him involved. Part of a four track split EP with Marco Bernardi, “Glare” is slice of perfect techno that fits in a great swath of DJs’ sets. That’s because Volk mixes earthy elements with machine-fired rhythms, like an undulating organ that grows from a low pulse to anthemic, layered progressions and thoughtfully accented percussion that sweeps you along for the ride. He is wise enough to do more than modulate this groove, strafing more open portions of “Glare” with space-inspired tones that fully realize the mood he’s trying to create. While driving enough to work on busy dance floors, the organic quality of the organ provides a softness that allows DJs to ease into those headlining hours and treat dancers well. For a producer already on the rise with an extensive back catalogue, this should be a tipping point in Johannes Volk’s career.

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05. Losoul, “Daddy, What’s a Rise?”
[Hypercolour]

Hypercolour seems to be continually expanding in all directions. Whether they’re signing a host of up-and-coming talents, launching new sub-labels, or shoveling endless promos into your inbox via their HYPE Filter PR service, the London label is always finding new ways to reach new audiences. Perhaps the most intriguing is their recent courtship of veteran producers like Luke Vibert and Groove Armada. Losoul is next in line, firing off a fine single aimed directly at dance floors with his usual emphasis on repetition in fine form. “Daddy, What’s A Rise?” seems ageless, its horn-studded guitar loops sharing as much with the mid-to-late 90s as with the late 00s. Losoul’s arrangements keep this whirl of samples ticking over, inserting a clever hi-hat here, filtering down the horns there, and letting loose a few squeaky pitches and a gloopy new progression at essential points. It’s as if DJ Sneak and André Schmid (aka Rozzo or Peter Dildo, also of Mountain People fame) managed to make friends and Losoul captured it on tape. In kind, it’s the record I would pull when trying to keep a bubbling, peak-time dance floor full and happy. Here’s hoping Hypercolour’s next entreaty to an elder statesmen is just as fruitful.

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06. DJ Koze, “Amygdala” (Roman Flügel Remix) [Pampa Records] (buy)
07. DVS1, “S.O.S.” [HUSH] (buy)
08. Rick Wade, “Cloud Envy”
[Third Ear Recordings] (buy)

09. Todd Terje, “Oh Joy” [Olsen] (buy)
10. The Central Executives, “High Roads”
[Golf Channel Recordings] (buy)

Staff Charts

Dino Lalić
01. DJ Rashad, “Somethin ‘Bout The Things U Do (Feat. Gant-Man)” [Southern Belle Recordings]
02. Bell Towers, “Tonight I’m Flying” [Internasjonal]
03. General Ludd, “Brothers and Sisters” [Mister Saturday Night Records]
04. NGLY, “Speechless Tape” [Long Island Electrical Systems]
05. Imhotep, “Funky Wet Sphynx” [Superconscious]
06. DJ Sotofett, “Trans-Jungle-Ride” [Wania]
07. Dresvn, “Untitled” [Acido Records]
08. PG Sounds, “Untitled A” [SUED]
09. Tames, “Vivid Elements” [Galdoors]
10. Golden Teacher, “Party People” [Optimo Music]

Paloma Ortiz
01. Joey Anderson, “Sorcery” [Dekmantel]
02. Voiski, “A Star In Your Head” [Field Records]
03. Løt.te, “Pressure Chant” [The Bunker New York]
04. Pedro Vian, “News From Near Future” (No Hay Nada en el Futuro Madteo Remix) [Modern Obscure Music]
05. François X, “Elusive Morality” [Dement3d Records]
06. Voiron, “Radôme” (Fred P Reshape) [Concrete Music]
07. Rebekah, “Lim” [Cult Figures]
08. Myles Sergé, “Failure” [Got2Go Records]
09. Keita Sano, “She Was The One” [Mister Saturday Night Records]
10. Donato Dozzy & Tin Man, “Test 3” [Absurd Recordings / Acid Test]

Brandon Wilner
01. The Central Executives, “High Roads” [Golf Channel Recordings]
02. Protect-U, “Time to Technique” [Future Times]
03. DJ Rashad, “Somethin ‘Bout The Things U Do (Feat. Gant-Man)” [Southern Belle Recordings]
04. San Laurentino, “Lost in the Harbour” [Live At Robert Johnson]
05. Person of Interest, “Last Rites” [Russian Torrent Versions]
06. Efdemin, “Track 93” [Dial]
07. Pittsburgh Track Authority, “Debonair (Feat. Nice Rec)” [Pittsburgh Tracks]
08. Todd Terje, “Delorean Dynamite” [Olsen]
09. Marco Bernardi, “Broken Boiler” [Happy Skull]
10. Tristen, “Streets Of” [Aim]

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