Tag Archive: anton

Ramadanman & Appleblim, Void 23

Void 23 finds three incredibly talented producers struggling to articulate what they’re trying to accomplish over nine minutes.

Seuil, Moonapark EP

Seuil branches out from his tracky house aesthetic and nails whole new styles on his Moonapark EP for New Kanada.

Jichael Mackson, Just In Time

Although uneven, Jichael Mackson’s Just In Time finds him as untamed and confounding as ever.

The Gathering, In My System

Although Chez Damier’s recent projects have languished in semi-obscurity while Mojuba’s reissues of his work flew off the shelves, his latest effort as The Gathering has already attracted more attention than anything he’s done since his Prescription days.

Hector, A.G.E. EP

Both in execution and style, the three tracks of Hector’s A.G.E. EP most resemble the percussive build and release at the heart of so many 2000 And One tracks and their quality is similarly uneven.

Radio Slave, I Don’t Need A Cure For This

It’s not entirely surprising REKIDS sat on I Don’t Need A Cure For This as it’s noticeably more subdued than Edwards’ usual club-clobbering fare, but it’s paired with the ethnic-sampling house varieties he’s helped popularize.

David Keno, Snatch001

For a couple weeks now my friends and I have entertained ourselves on the cheap by playing stacks of 45s at 33, giving into the well worn truth that almost everything sounds better slowed down. Not surprisingly, producers reach for the technique regularly, whether to fit a sample into the groove or in efforts to impart an androgynous “soul” sound unachievable at full speed. On the off chance it’s done well, it can transform whole tracks into something worth hearing time and time again. David Keno tried his hand at the Slowed Vocal Slot Machine for “Upside Down” on his new EP; and while it’s certain to be popular I’m less sure about its playback value.

Various Artists, Halal Prepared Vol. 1

In Islamic parlance, food that’s been prepared in accordance with Sharia law is designated as halal, similar to the Jewish distinction of kosher foods. So by naming its seventh release Halal Prepared Vol.1 London-based Boe Recordings sends a strong signal regarding the level of respect it affords to house music’s underground fore-bearers and traditions. Yet the three tracks on offer here from KiNK, Iron Curtis and Ladzinski are reverent rather than than obedient — clearly influenced by seminal house releases but more than devotional works of blind faith. It’s likely the critical difference that could earn this EP a place in record buyers’ baskets while its strictly traditional peers huddle on the shelves.

Marino Berardi, Best Intention EP

Marino Berardi’s first claim to fame was being among the first Belgian-based producers to be licensed by a notable American house label when his Expression In E-Dub single was picked up by Wave Music. But that was in 2000; and despite a string of solid if not stellar singles for Ovum, Fresh Fruit and more — not to mention that MB Recordings was built to host his tracks — dance music buyers let past accomplishments recede into back catalogs without a second thought. Berardi has since begun the second act in his musical career with a few tracks for Phil Dairmount’s surprisingly underrated Room With A View label. This renewed push is accompanied by a noticeable shift in Berardi’s sound, moving away from the sometimes bland palette which dulled his often rigorous arrangements. Collaborations with Dairmount on RoomWAV comps Perspectives 01 and 03 suggested an interest in orchestral source material; and on the Best Intention EP, Berardi’s first solo release since 2007, his examination of this inspiration yields what’s sure to be another career highlight. It’s also backed by remixes from Pezzner and Christo.

Tensnake, Coma Cat

Despite what seems like a rapid ascent for Hamburg’s Marco Niemerski, the man best known as Tensnake has been honing his craft for over a decade. His breakout Keep Believin’ EP for Endless Flight and 2009 smash hit, In The End (I Want You To Cry) on Running Back sounded so fully realized because he’d worked out the kinks on one-off singles for smaller labels like Trax of Interest, Various Delight Recordings, and Players Paradise, as well as releases on his own Mirau imprint. With the Coma Cat EP, released by nu-disco hotspot Permanent Vacation, it appears Niemerski’s sound has crystalized even further around the neon tone palatte and taut arrangements that brought him many plaudits on In The End.

Nico Purman, Rhapsodies

When evaluating music it’s not uncommon for music critics such as myself to overemphasize innovative sounds and structures and overlook the artists who work well inside the dimensions of established forms. Novel thrills get rarer with each year of new releases, with each new software edition, so by setting the bar inordinately high we discount some still worthy releases that are a bit more familiar, especially within dance music. Yet you would be hard pressed to find a full dance floor that expects aural alchemy from its DJs, or a DJ who resists all but the most revelatory records — it’s just not how things work away from our computers. Rhapsodies, a late 2009 release from Argentinian producer Nico Purman was my latest reminder of where my head should be at. Although he’s best known for his tenebrous tech-house on Modelisme, Curle Recordings and Vakant, this record finds Purman unexpectedly tossing his hat into deep and ethnic house rings. His outsider’s perspective lends a lot to these well worn paths, making this one of his most enjoyable EPs.

Roni Nachum, Guest Service Shalom

The Hebrew word “shalom” means peace, but it’s also a greeting and sometimes a goodbye. For Roni Nachum, a young producer from Jerusalem, “Guest Service Shalom” is one hell of a hello. His vinyl debut, which so skillfully walks between deep house moods and techno’s edges, arrives care of the shrewd A&R work of Nitzan at Fine Art Recordings. It’s also backed by a superb, decompressing remix by Mark E.

Nina Kraviz, Pain In The Ass

Although hip-house is no longer a genre many dancers think about, its demise has not halted the dozens of house tracks whose schtick involves ranting, loosely scripted spoken vocals. Sometimes the master of ceremonies is trying to make a point, othertimes it’s more like being a fly on the wall. I’ve rarely bought into the concept that producers’ conversational prattle is much more interesting than my own; whether it was Villalobos enjoying sushi on “Andruic & Japan,” Diddy pleading for longer tracks on “The DJ,” or the vulgar boasts of Pimp Jackson, these diatribes often seem more distracting than helpful to dancers’ attempts to get into the groove. Nina Kraviz, who was one 2009’s big gainers and affiated with others as part of the Underground Quality stable, has proven not to be immune from the appeal of chatter, as evinced on “Pain In The Ass.” First appearing on REKIDS owner Matt Edwards’ Fabric mix, the flippant track has been paired with “I’m Gonna Get You” for Kraviz’s solo REKIDS debut.

Oxia, Sun Step EP

From time to time I check out Resident Advisor’s monthly Top 50 chart to see how wildly my tastes diverge from those of thousands of DJs who make up its voters. What caught my eye in October’s chart was the unusual sight of one producer, Oxia, holding court from the top two slots with both sides of his “Sun Step EP” for Nick Curly’s 8bit label. The French producer has been in the game since the mid-90s and can claim a handful of singles for Kompakt Extra among many others in his discography, so being a chart topper is not too much a stretch for the versatile, pop-attuned producer. But still I wondered, what would a single have to sound like to so handily grab the big brass stylus?

Marcel Dettmann/Prosumer & Tama Sumo, Phantasma Vol. 3

When you’re a label as well respected as Diamonds & Pearls, audiences tend to expect a lot from each new platter. Add boldfaced names like Tobias Freund and Efdemin, the pair responsible for the first of D&P’s Phantasma series, and expectations could’ve burst through the ceiling. Yet after “Vol. 1” struggled to satisfy as anticipated (largely down to a surprisingly lackluster Efdemin cut), the Phantasma series took a dip into relative obscurity. To be sure, this was listeners’ loss as “Vol.2” offered “Choices,” a resplendent Matthew Styles and Dinky collaboration and “Machupichu,” a Pier Bucci joint of nearly equal quality. “Vol. 3,” however, is unlikely to suffer a similar fate with Marcel Dettmann on one side and a Prosumer/Tama Sumo collaboration on the other. As the latter has already evinced in the mix (Panorama Bar 02, to be specific), this is a record many DJs won’t want to leave home without.

St. Plomb, Escape Run

Having spent the better part of the last three years on sabbatical from releasing records, St. Plomb (Vincent Kolb to the family he nurtured in the meantime) fiercely assures fans his creative and producing faculties are still sharp on the long awaited return, “Escape Run” on Brut! He was last spotted with production partner Crowdpleaser, zig-zagging around the globe in support of their critically acclaimed and sonically diverse debut album, 2006. So it’s with great pleasure that I report St. Plomb’s latest retains the eccentric, non-linear style which made him such an intriguing producer in the first place.

DVS1, Klockworks 05

Private press labels — those insular imprints built primarily to house an artist’s own work — offer something akin to a Fortress of Solitude for their owners. When Shed, Swayzak, Villalobos or Levon Vincent wants to release a record unbound by the expectations of label owners and their bean counters, they retreat to their respective private press labels and turn their unadulterated visions into a vinyl realities. So when such a label invites an outsider into their hand stamped fiefdom it can be interpreted as a sign of great respect towards the invitee. If most label additions are unsurprising (Reboot and Los Updates on Sei Es Drum, Norman Nodge on MDR), the name emblazoned on “Klockworks 05” is sure to raise eyebrows. The first outside artist released on Ben Klock’s self-styled Klockworks label is the virtually unknown DVS1, a Russian born, Minneapolis-based producer most often affiliated with his Hush promotion company. Any concerns about letting an American (and a Midwesterner not from Detroit, to boot) take the reins will surely be allayed by caliber of “Klockworks 05.”

Baby Ford, Tin Of Worms

It’s difficult to mention Baby Ford in 2009 without feeling the need to also discuss the passing of his longtime production partner, Ian “Eon” Loveday. Ford’s Trelik label was established primarily to release his work with Loveday, whether solo or together as Minimal Man. Loveday also lent his talents to the now seminal Baby Ford & The Ifach Collective project. Although the frequency of their collaborations tapered off after the turn of the century, one imagines the bond between them never weakened. All the more reason “Tin of Worms,” Baby Ford’s latest single released only days after Loveday succumbed to pneumonia, feels inexorably linked with his partner’s untimely passing. Production schedules suggest the music was likely complete well beforehand, yet a pall hangs heavily over the release.

Rodriguez Jr., Kids of Hula

Perhaps more than any other genres, dance music inspires, nay, beckons for the existence of copycats. Whether it’s the natural tendency to follow hitmakers’ lead with one’s own interpretation or the myriad technological opportunities to emulate sounds found in the hits, clubbers tend to reward even shabbier, trend-riding producers with their presence on the dance floor. Sometimes this provokes ire in producers at the front of the pack (eg. Dan Bell’s frustration over Josh Wink’s “Phreak”-biting “Superfreak (Freak)”), other times successful mimicry means new record deals (eg. much of Cadenza’s roster in 2009). Yet the inevitability of copycats doesn’t mean they should be let off the hook, especially in more egregious instances of plagiarism. Rodriguez Jr.’s “Kids of Hula” is one such case.

Affkt & Danny Fiddo, El Prologo Remixes Pt. 1.1

Scrolling through new releases the other day I came upon “El Prologo Remixes Pt 1.1” by Affkt and Danny Fiddo, a record which seemed notable only for its superstar remixers, Ricardo Villalobos and Luciano. How did two fresh-faced producers with scant discographies on a new label, Barraca Music, snag these giants (and Radio Slave on the digital version) for remix duty? Listening to the originals makes it obvious: The meticulously groomed percussion, sputtering drum breaks, Latin diatribes and blurred marimba progressions of “Points” and “Cartas Para Geisha” are the bread and butter of Villalobos’s and Luciano’s sets. Recently these masters have taken good care of their emulators (see: Sei Es Drum and Cadenza’s last 10 records), so a couple remixes for their new followers is very in character. Yet as this EP makes clear, reworking tracks made in your own image has its pitfalls.