B.H.F.V., ET 01

[Live At Robert Johnson]


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Through the years the hip-hop origins of electro have steadily been supplanted by glossier acid-etched techno and house associations. However it wasn’t that many years ago that 808s and syncopated breakbeats were the province of Afrika Bambaataa, Man Parrish, and Mantronix. Frankfurt’s Live at Robert Johnson label has been mining a territory somewhere between the urban beginnings of electro and its evolution over the past thirty years. In kind, label manager Oliver Hafenbauer and Arto Mwambe’s CB Funk joined forces as B.H.F.V. to present the ET 01 12″, two slices of funky dance music that reach back into the sounds of the early ’80s and update it for 2011.

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Of the two tracks here, “ET 01” is the more modern take. There are hints of Modeselektor and Siriusmo’s modern electro inflections on both sides, but the bubbling bass line of “ET 01” would fit into any Modeselektor-helmed DJ set; the track’s relentless rhythmic pace is enhanced by delayed snares and a wandering synth melody. There is almost a dub reggae or dancehall feel to the track in this regard, perhaps folding in old influences of the original hip-hop sound systems. On the other side of electro, “ET 06” reaches way back into the history of drum machines for an almost preset sound library of melodies and percussion. The high frequency melody could be on the “Wild Style” soundtrack while the plastic hi-hats and snares wouldn’t sound out-of-place blaring from a breakdancers’ boombox on the streets of the Bronx. This gives the track a very nostalgic feel even though the dark bent of the bass line elevates out of the retro-cheese of ’80s electro. The conglomerated production of B.H.F.V. is obviously drawing from a wide array of influences and uses them in equal measure throughout both tracks here. You can hear the producers’ love for the early days of electro without the downside of pure emulation, a place where many retro styles fall down. It will be great to hear how this group of producers turns their ear to other facets of electro and electronic music in general.

veloziped  on March 23, 2011 at 4:52 AM

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