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  • Little White Earbuds October Charts | Little White Earbuds

    Little White Earbuds October Charts

    Chart courtesy of The Economist

    01. R-Zone, “Romijn Ravine” [R-Zone] (buy)
    Whether you blame the 20-year nostalgia cycle or the popular stylings of René Pawlowitz’s various projects, breakbeats are back in techno. I, for one, welcome their return, especially after a grim couple of years in which much techno has endeavored to become harder and grittier without offering much else. “Romijn Ravine” is without a doubt my favorite example of breakbeats’ return to the form so far. Released anonymously by Creme Org off-shoot R-Zone, the track is steeped in its ‘nuum heritage but offers fresh flavors where it has the potential to be stale. Much credit is due to its lunging arrangements where wide, tub-thumping kicks hit their syncopated marks with wild-eyed precision, leaving layers of clattering drum breaks to serve mostly as texture. The melodies are equally focused, whether coming from the synth bass notes which shadow the kicks or the atmosphere-scraping pads which mirror their peers in a higher register, giving the sensation all elements are working towards a single goal: a dance floor takeover. And while I appreciate the premise of R-Zone’s faceless releases, the talented producer behind their sixth volume certainly deserves recognition for what they’ve done here. Here’s hoping they can capitalize on it somehow for future releases.

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    02. John Barera & Will Martin, “Reality” [Dolly] (buy)
    Forgive me for turning these charts into a sort of clearing house for reviews we didn’t manage to write. As any DJ knows, you don’t have to play the most current cuts to win over a crowd, just good ones in the right order. Most DJs would do well to drop “Reality” in their sets, and not just because it’s proven its worth in Steffi’s Panorama Bar 05 mix. Written by Boston-based producers John Barera (of B-Tracks/Supply Records renown) and Will Martin, the tune is like a bottled party just waiting to spill out over a dance floor. Unlike many tracks built mostly from samples, “Reality” contains a good deal of clever rhythmic and melodic variations which enhance the live feeling of the samples themselves. Cowbells chime in, snare patterns shuffle and flex, and brass stabs arrive as counterpoints rather than leads. But the real star of the show is the most unexpected element, the oft-derided flute, which sounds more vivacious and full of delicious attitude than any other instrument could offer in its place. To date this is the only collaboration between these Bostonians to hit the vinyl market, but a track this outrageously enjoyable is bound to spark demand for the pair’s work in the near future.

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    03. Gerstaffelen, “Game On Major”
    [M>O>S Recordings] (buy)

    Just when I thought I had reached my saturation point with Chicago-influenced house music, M>O>S Recordings reminds me the Windy City’s sounds are forever when harnessed by the right people. Enter Gerstaffelen, a complete unknown who makes a strong debut with The Old Villagers. Picking just one of its four cuts to write about wasn’t easy, but “Game On Major” stands a hair taller than its peers. Brawny and physical with a nuanced sense of melody, the track feels tense and conflicted, as if its title was the beginning of a throwdown for the ages. Many of its elements border on being rote at this point — flanged hi-hats, 808 kicks, reverberating 707 toms — so the impeccable arrangements are lifesavers. The way the bass line leans into the back half of each measure provides an unexpected momentum when heard beneath drawn out pads, and finds and an unlikely twin in the hi-hats landing on the same beats. A stammering synth lead bides its time before opening up and gnawing on the sounds around it, prolonging the effectiveness of what could feel excessive. Both in tone and kit, “Game On Major” (and most of the EP’s tracks) is basically in the same league as Redshape, a heavyweight in this style, which bodes well for Gerstaffelen. And while the former is ceaseless in his productivity, this record proves there’s still room for a lot of things we might otherwise be sick of.

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    04. Deetron ft. Ripperton & Cooly G, “Thinking” [Music Man Records] (buy)
    Given the unique and exciting properties of Cooly G’s voice, it’s something of a shock it’s taken this long to hear her singing on a track she didn’t produce herself. She’s just one of many guests on Deetron’s second album, Music Over Matter, but to my ears her performance and its integration into “Thinking” puts the others (including Seth Troxler, Ben Westbeech, Fritz Kalkbrenner, et al.) to shame. She’s joined by Deetron’s countryman, Ripperton, whose role here is untraceable but apparently essential as “Thinking” is both a killer opening track and quite good on its own. Many of Deetron’s signatures are present here with a fresh, 2013 sheen on them, from a globby, 5-note progression somersaulting across a stark beat, to grainy organ stabs which start off as white noise before revealing themselves while flaring out. Cooly G mostly maintains her detached air while admitting she’s been thinking of you lately, but Deetron also sends her ad-libs ricocheting across the track through the magic of reverb — just another segmented element to fit into the energetic atmosphere. And while the album doesn’t necessarily hold up as well as this tune overall, it’s not for nothing that “Thinking” is its best track with guest vocals.

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    05. Berg, “Vakuum” [Berg] (buy)
    A good DJ is always looking out for records that don’t bring the house down but rather keep things humming along. The debut release of Berg (both the artist and label) fits nicely into this category, with “Vakuum” serving as my go-to. Here it’s all about the crispness of the percussion, tucked into a nagging, push-pull pattern thanks to the clap poking out on beat two. Drums this fastidious cry out for chords as pretty and slow to decay as those deployed here, seeming to shiver in their bare surroundings, only a few tepid notes setting the pace from beneath. The cover art, depicting some craggy mountain range, is a suitable visual metaphor for “Vakuum” — brisk and beautiful, sturdy and long-lasting. It’s fitting that Berg first appeared on a remix of Flori’s “SU 3150″ for Aim, as that label’s best work is similarly clean, steady, and deployable in a variety of scenarios. Whoever Berg is, great minds think alike.

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    06. Benedikt Frey, “Seven Corridors” [Love Pain Sunshine & Rain] (buy)
    07. TCB, “Monogamie” [Die Orakel] (buy)
    08. Tin Man, “Hack” [Pomelo] (buy)
    09. Deepchord, “Tantra”
    [Soma Quality Recordings] (buy)

    10. Signature Series, “Canopy”
    [Bad Party Records] (buy)

    Staff Charts:

    Gwyn Thomas de Chroustchoff
    01. Huerco S., “‘Iińzhiid” [Software Records]
    02. Pearson Sound, “Starburst” [Hessle Audio]
    03. Andy Mac, “Hearts & Lungs” [Idle Hands]
    04. Black Orange Juice, “I Don’t Know” (Joe Goddard Remix) [True Panther Sounds]
    05. DJ Rashad Feat. DJ Spinn, “Double Cup” [Hyperdub]
    06. Mount Kimbie, “You Took Your Time” (Kyle Hall Remix) [Warp Records]
    07. Cupp Cave, “Everlastic” [Ramp Recordings]
    08. Kel, “Irritant” [Tanstaafl Planets]
    09. Special Request, “Deflowered” (Kassem Mosse & Mix Mup Remix) [Houndstooth]
    10. Strategy, “Return From The Stars” (Pev’s Jerky Mix) [Idle Hands]

    Dino Lalić
    01. Breaker 1 2, “DMT” [Forbidden Planet]
    02. R-Zone, “If U Going Thru Hell Keep Going” [Label]
    03. Jay Daniel, “Brainz” [Sound Signature]
    04. Pev & Kowton, “End Point” [Livity Sound]
    05. Dresvn, “Untitled B1″ [Acido Records]
    06. Seven Davis Jr, “One” [Must Have Records]
    07. DJ Qu, “Eden” [Yygrec]
    08. 400 PPM, “Lean Manufacturing” [Avian]
    09. Joe, “Maximum Body Muscle” [Hessle Audio]
    10. Valib-R, “About Freedom” (Retro:grade Reconstruction) [Nous]

    Chris Miller
    01. Torn Hawk, “Bad Deadlift” [Long Island Electrical Systems]
    02. Deepchord, “Prana” [Soma]
    03. The Mole, “Lockdown Party” (Sprinkles’ Crossfaderama) [Perlon]
    04. Autechre, “M39 Diffain” [Warp]
    05. Conforce, “Spaciotemporal” [Delsin]
    06. Vatican Shadow, “Contractor Corpses Hung Over The Euphrates River” [Hospital Productions]
    07. Lumigraph, “Yacht Cruiser” [Mister Saturday Night Records]
    08. Voiski, “From Red To White” [Long Island Electrical Systems]
    09. Heatsick, “Mimosa” [PAN]
    10. Audio Tech, “Dark Side” (Vilod Remix) [Metroplex]

    tick  on November 1, 2013 at 7:01 PM

    great chart, love that R-zone one!


    Little White Earbuds October Charts 2013 &ndash...  on November 2, 2013 at 2:40 PM

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