It feels like timing has dulled the impact of Sasu Ripatti’s most recent renaissance. It’s not as though he’s ever curbed his profligate evolution, making great lateral moves and nailing everything from microhouse to supremely narcotic dub techno, from glacial electroacoustic improv to fractal sequencer programming. Coverage of his music has tended to favor projects like Tummaaand Vladislav Delay Quartet, painting the image of an artist going into his dotage by pursuing more “serious” forms, while glossing over the brash, vivid rhythms of contemporary Raster-Noton releases Vantaa, Espoo, and Kuopio. Ripatti has no interest in battling this image; his most recent effort is the vinyl-only Ripatti label. Its third release is credited to his Vladislav Delay alter ego, and it joins those Raster-Noton releases as some of his most accessible output.
The opiate fog hanging over those Vladislav Delay Chain Reaction release lifted a while ago, but Ripatti03 is hyperactive even by Kuopio‘s tightly wound standards. “Footwork-influenced” is the press release byword for the spray of kick drums and foil-covered stabs, but it’s a superficial affinity. “SND-influenced” is as descriptive, but Delay’s music never holds our attention by virtue of referring to something outside of itself. It is recognizable as his music by its characteristic materials but is also different on a molecular level from his other stylistic tangents. B-side “#22″ is aggressively staccato, but we float over the track at a familiar syrupy rate. The biggest innovation in this approach is in the way Delay constantly deforms the frames of reference between each loop. “#22″ is a constant struggle to remember the immediate past. The same sounds never loop in exactly the same way, harshing the flow with tugs of time dilation. A-side “#5″ opens with an interpolation of Elgato’s “Zone” before erupting into some kind of showdown between Z’EV and DJ Premier. The rules governing Sasu Ripatti’s music are out of reach in a way they aren’t with many other producers, and his mastery of inner space in the latest manifestation of Vladislav Delay remains as sublime as ever.]]>
DVS1 is an American producer who makes his bones in Europe, counting his closest contemporaries as those who soundtrack Berghain’s Sundays. Given this robust globalization, it’s no wonder that he’d encounter a clip of talented producers along his path. And such hobnobbing is on display via Mistress Recordings, his sublabel that has built quite the resounding catalogue in less than a year of existence by featuring releases from U.S.-, UK-, and Germany-based artists. The same robust globalization, however, has proved consequential, hindering his own production rate as of late. But as he revealed in our mid-2013 DJ Debriefing, that’s poised to change. “You know, I’m finally finding the pleasure in writing music, so I want to find more time for it,” he told us at the time. As such, we arrive at HUSH02: a pair of tracks largely void of anything begetting his referenced “pleasure,” but nevertheless a welcome return to form.
“Lost Myself” picks up where his only prior HUSH release left off. That was 2011 and if there’s one thing that’s immediately clear, it’s that he hasn’t lost his defining edge in the interim. Built off a chug that resembles Robert Hood at his most pointed, it’s tidy and unrelenting with a bulbous lick pining through a sturdy kick-clap combo. More impressive, though, is “S.O.S.” Bloated in all the right places, the track bounces and churns and snarls across its nine-minute duration. There a glut of included components, but they’re arranged in such a steadily streamlined manner that it holds an even impression of dread throughout. There’s no reinvention of the wheel on display; both tracks lump forward with a staid aplomb, never wavering nor journeying much in their respective runtimes. But if it’s confident techno you’re seeking — the sort that can ensnare an entire room from the jump –both cuts should meet your needs nicely.]]>
Much like DJs making their own extended edits or dancers crying out for one more tune at lights on, DJ Koze prolonged the afterglow of his widely adored 2013 Amygdala album with two remixes packages. Following reworks by Matthew Herbert and Efdemin, the second shift crew of Roman Flügel and Robag Wruhme continue to wring magic from Koze’s originals at the same high caliber as their predecessors.
Flügel’s remix concentrates the scattered elements of the title track into a mostly smooth, gently burbling stream of sound, only a four note melody jumping up so regularly it recalls a fountain on a timer. His signature, jazz-like synth solo segues into a more dynamic second half where Milosh’s honeyed vocals and mallet runs jangle in the air, nodding to the original before diving back into the stream. Wruhme’s “Broky Frumu Rehand” of “Nices Wölkchen” is closer in spirit to the original, content to let details run wild and break into the deep, bass-driven pulse to make space for Apparat’s soaring vocals. Still, it’s considerably more floor-friendly — dreamy but driven along a clear path. Koze and Wruhme are certainly kindred producers, and this remix feels like the fraternal twin who’s a natural dancer. In kind, it’s probably the record’s most valuable cut. One walks away from this second batch of remixes feeling like afterglow of Amygdala could last forever if Koze wasn’t so discerning in his choice of remixers. Instead we get to stretch it out ourselves as long as we keep them in our crates.]]>
[Golf Channel Recordings]
The Central Executives aren’t advertising their real names or anything but I want to bet they have something to do with Whatever We Want Records and the No Ordinary Monkey party. A Walk in the Dark is as successfully anarchic as those projects, referencing all sorts of strange proto-house and disco offshoots. The actual lede here is that I apparently listened to A1, “High Roads,” 22 times before I made it to the second track. It’s like Dinosaur L’s “Clean On Your Bean” crossed with La Perversita’s “I Love You S…,” or maybe something by Love of Life Orchestra, with a lady seductively talking about roads on top. Its groove is gentle, suave, narcotized, and I want to say timeless, or at least out-of-time.
While this track feels like it could have arrived in the early 80s, there are moments where modern touches are more apparent, as on the rigidly funky “Shut Ya Face,” or “Power Point,” with its typing clap sound; both remind of DC Recordings or Maurice Fulton in their playfulness. Others are more subtle, with their age primarily distinguished by the fatness of their kickdrums. I’m not sure if this album is actually top-heavy, but it’s very easy to get stuck on the first few tracks. “Loveray 79″ interpolates a little Harry Nilsson (“people keep talking to me…”) atop a busily strutting arrangement, and then “Waveform Reform” has a guy scatting and a vibraphone solo. Perhaps the best way to describe the album is to say that if you spend too much time listening to deep house, there are a lot of potentially ugly parts. There’s such a spectrum of instruments here, but, possibly because of how great the first track is, this madcap energy feels excusable, if not totally natural. More often than not, elements like the scatting or lounge jazz vocals work seamlessly with the more “tasteful” bits, like the rigid electro bass line that makes sultry closer “Take You Home” boom. A Walk in the Dark may inhabit an offbeat, not-very-salable zone, but its eclecticism, apart from “High Roads,” is also its strongest asset.]]>
Listening to Jacques Greene’s music, you get the feeling that we won’t have much longer with the artist in his current state. The achingly beautiful melodies, steamy synths, and chrome plated production that has so far attracted the attention of people like Radiohead, Azealia Banks, Katy B, and the XX is destined for major exposure. It is most likely the producer’s penchant for r&b that has got him to this point; his tracks typically play with saccharine vocals and heat-warped, shimmering keys that wouldn’t be out of place on a commercial pop track. Greene, however, keeps his sound firmly rooted in the club, drawing influence from, among other places, the most forward thinking UK dance music over the last 15 years. It is a sound that quickly won favor in those territories, his first two releases coming out on the London-based Night Slugs and Glaswegian LuckyMe labels. Anyone who has seen Greene perform live can also attest to the fact that the producer can strip away the gloss and meter out some punishing sounds, also evidenced on his Ready EP for Martyn’s 3024 label. LWE popped some questions to the Canadian in a bid to discover what it is that drives his music [his answers are coming soon] and also asked him to assemble our 198th exclusive podcast. With a raft of exclusives and unreleased material, Jacques Greene turns it out over 70 minutes for your listening pleasure.
Download LWE Podcast 198: Jacques Greene (71:39)
01. Drake, “OVOXO” (TEAMS ∞ TRUST edit) [*]
02. Frankey & Sandrino, “Save” [Innervisions]
03. Krystal Klear, “Fumer Tue” [Cold Tonic]
04. Jacques Greene, “Night Tracking” [LuckyMe*]
05. Tiga, “Gentle Giant” (Martyn’s Heaven Remix) [Turbo]
06. Partynextdoor, “R A I N ft. Rochelle Jordan” [*]
07. Pablo Mateo, “Roxy” [LACKREC.]
08. Anthony Naples, “Perro” [The Trilogy Tapes*]
09. HNNY, “No” [Puss]
10. A.G. Cook, “Had 1 (slowed)” [*]
11. Aden, “Part of Me” [Ultramajic]
12. Jacques Greene, “No Excuse” (Yung Gud Remix) [*]
13. Seiho, “KOI” [Perfect Touch]
14. Jacques Greene, “1 4 me” (demo) [*]
15. DJ Richard, “Benzos” [White Material]
16. Yung Gud, “Fall In Love” [*]
17. How to Dress Well, “Words I Can’t Remember” [Weird World]
18. iPhone recording of dudes in Delancey Station
* denotes tracks which, at the time of publishing, are unreleased
LWE Podcast 162, contributed by Recondite, was a brilliant live set of his own productions. Be sure to add it to your collection before it’s archived this Friday, April 18th.]]>
A Sagittariun pushes the tempo on his first record since 2013′s awesome Dream Ritual LP, with four brilliantly structured tracks that again express an expert appreciation for Detroit techno. A Sagittariun’s freedom and confidence in using all the tools at his disposal is displayed as classic drum sounds pop up halfway through tracks that you thought had already finished evolving. In the anonymous producer’s shrouded hands, nothing is out of date, and the sudden addition of a particularly ravey clap isn’t remotely cheesy, but instead feels as real and exciting as it would have before it became a cliché. There’s a wide angle of influence and inspiration to this record though, with loopy grinds, scattering UK hardcore percussion and menacing Berlin sequencing employed in a quartet of tracks traversing a spectrum of different energies, from visceral rage to mystical sublimity.
Side A’s “Wave Upon Wave” begins with a high speed beat and shuddering rimshots, almost sounding like jit or ghettotech. Its tautness drops a level as indistinct bass smudges bounce around the rigid framework, slackening it into something more like electro, while big, crisp drum-machine snares and white-faced strings are struck in time. There’s skill here in melding together all the different elements: as fluttering arpeggios course through the mix, a heaving, dub-wise bass line and clinking offbeat snare drums (an undeniably British rhythmic combo) enter the fray. “Re-Ignition” barely decelerates, with another slightly misleading intro of computer console whirs dropping into a hard, calloused throb-grind rhythm. Subtly growling bass, with its minute pitch adjustments and soft-filtered syncopation, instills a truly unsettling feeling in your chest, and induces instantaneous perspiration when layered with the beat-thump. As those deadly-steady hi-hats drop in, the picture — frenzy beneath a forcefully restrained surface — becomes thrillingly apparent. This is dark room techno.
The velocity of the orbit gently continues to drop on the flipside, but “Ascella” still provides the most instant dance floor appeal for me. Something of UK hardcore’s rhythmic dynamics, make the whole EP somehow more intricately textured and unsettled than the U.S. records that have influenced A Sagittariun — those of Underground Resistance and Jeff Mills, for instance — and “Ascella” is a prime example. Lower frequencies bed the track on an uncertain, slip-sliding base, and a teasing rise of rhythm peaks, with understated and deadly effective style with the arrival of demonic, chattering synths that could have once been thrashed strings. Finally, with the mood calming at last, “And The Moon Be Still As Bright” shines coldly, casting pale, melodic light over a wandering, stargazing bass line and a gently jacking beat.]]>
Veronica Vasicka’s Minimal Wave label has released a plethora of spiky archival pieces from DIY synth experimenters of the late 70s and early 80s that have often lain forgotten—and sometimes unreleased—for decades. Recorded in musky bedsits in Hamburg, Copenhagen, Brussels, New York City at whatever point, this is the music of the enthusiast: the young amateur let loose on strange machines, making it up as she goes along, keeping the noise going in the early hours. Accordingly, it’s a catalogue that has often carried a stark vulnerability: raw, stumbling and untamed. Subsidiary label Cititrax has followed a more widescreen path, releasing music from established experimentalists like Chris Carter and The KVB. Here it presents the debut LP from Bruta Non Calculant, a new project from Alaxis Andreas G., the French underground mainstay behind Le Syndicat Electronique. It’s a record full of suitably nefarious velveteen sonics, the full Gallic shadow.
“Civilisation” leads with the oppressive atmosphere of a funeral drone, kick, and snare, rendered in crystal vision. “The Perfect One” introduces guitar and Alaxis’ distinctive baritone into the mix, a hypnotic combination. “World in a Tear” offers an epic take on slow moving scarcity of sound—a vamping three-note synth refrain, some hats, and an echo unit. It carries the vibe of a sleazy Spaghetti Western set piece; the stranger approaching the flyblown bar; unshaven barman cleaning sticky mescal from the cloudy glasses; inbred locals swiveling on their stalls to blink away from the sun as the wooden slits flap open.
“Oro in El Crisol” continues the theatrical atmospherics in fine form, all growling bass and moody ambience. Indeed, Bruta Non Calculant seem intent on creating a rather self-contained patch on this record. Most of the tracks contain broadly similar elements—particularly the beats, which deviate little from a low-lit click and stumble—but tweaks them subtly enough to create a securely enveloping and hypnotic whole. “A.M.” provides a somber, two-minute air break of string and vocal while album closer, “Our Grief,” rounds proceedings off in understated fashion with a woozy beat and crisp synths closing in fast. This is an album that seduces slowly, a hypnotic record that acts as something of a polished modern counterweight to the lo-fi excursions of Minimal Wave.]]>
It’s a given at this point that DFA makes impeccable A&R choices, nurturing bands from bright little beacons of hope into full fledged stars of the underground. Selecting Gunnar Haslam to remix Factory Floor’s “How You Say” is particularly inspired, as it finds a satisfying connection point between two very different artists. His take is workman-like in its directness and metallic tones, rotating endlessly to pull listeners deeper into an industrial landscape of vaporous guitar “melodies” shootings off sparks and and indefatigable percussion assaults. DJs who play this puppy to an already hyped, techno-friendly crowd will have to peel dancers from the ceiling. Our thanks to DFA for premiering the remix on LWE.]]>
Although it is an accomplished effort in its own right, hitting the sweet spot between Detroit techno and futurist electro, Erika’s Hexagon Cloud LP from last year continues to yield impressive remixes. The first set offered divergent reworks by Detroit house mainstay Marcellus Pittman and Canadian industrial techno duo Orphx, and on this, the second, a new group of talents take her originals deeper into space.
Patrick Russell takes charge of the fairly stark “North Hex” and reduces it even more, rotating an assemblage of simple parts around the original’s curvaceous groove. Israel Vines’ take on “Gardeners” initially recalls Jeff Mills in its rushing, cyclical bells (which feature on the original as well), but the track eventually assumes its own identity, evolving into a laser-laced electro skip, which undercuts a wilted main line. Speaking of Mills, the fittingly named Outer Space emphasize more Mills-ian bleeps on “Tow Ride,” underscored by the metallic groans of heaving machinery. The duo eventually hearken back to Erika’s precise, slender original, though, as the arrangement hits steady cruise control above a legitimately filthy bass line. The marquee act on the EP is Donato Dozzy, who contributes two remixes of “Early Warning Starfield.” Dozzy is having a big year with the Voices From The Lake tour and a lot of releases, and both efforts showcase why he is so in-demand. To those who know his catalog, neither will be a huge surprise — both are swaying, pulsing, repetitive, and incredibly balanced. Both take on wholly different moods, however: the “Bioclock” mix features woody, Reich-ian phaser hypnosis, while the sci-fi ominous “Spiral Synthi” mix is laced with a screechy cry that sounds like it’s falling from heaven.]]>