Archive for the ‘henrik schwarz’ Category
My interview with Henrik Schwarz is now up on Resident Advisor. I’m rather proud of the dialog we had and I hope you get a kick out of it, too.
I swear, we will not have pillows to greet you, Jesse.
Excuse the outsider’s perspective from which this preview reports. It was written for a local paper, but they arbitrarily decided to recruit someone else for the task at the last moment.
Rising talent Jesse Rose is not exactly easy to categorize, a fact which seems to working for him rather well. Dabbling in the clean lines and jazzy motifs of modern house, the distortion-friendly confines of electro-house, dark and grating minimal techno and life-affirming deep house has captured the attention of dance floors, critics and labels alike. When the Berlin-based, British producer isn’t releasing on Dave “Switch” Taylor’s Dubsided or Get Physical (for whom he mixed the third volume of their popular “Body Language” series), he’s running (and releasing on) the Made To Play and Front Room Recordings imprints. Rose’s most impressive release, the 2006 album “Presents More Than One,” found him collaborating with a host of equally talented artists including Henrik Schwarz and Solid Groove on a set of crisp and catchy house tunes made as much for listeners’ heads as it is for their behinds. His gig at Smart Bar (tonight @ 10 PM) is his second Chicago appearance in 2007, and if Rose’s diverse discography means anything, it’s likely to please a variety of fans.
Quite possibly my favorite JR recording, it makes no distinction between Rose’s weirder impulses and more straight ahead tendencies and is instantly accessible for it. Roughly hewn synth stabs chase after the coolly intoned vocals like a game of cat-and-mouse carefully regimented through wet pads and dry hi-hat hits. I’m not sure what to expect from Rose’s set tonight (though I’m guessing he drops his cover of Steve “Silk” Hurley’s “Jack Your Body,” already out on Gigolo), but this is the tune I’ll be waiting for all evening.
Art by mikesmanifesto
Ed Davenport, “Eye Speak” [liebe*detail] (buy)
The sheer rattle of this track is what instantly draws you in. Its handclaps clatter so hard they might have been done by a line of deep house robots and provide added texture to the single-minded synth ripple. And while I love the porous melody which occasionally floats into frame, the vocal sample is so woozy and out of place it’s distracting from the track’s driven focus. Still, this altered states workout is another fine release from liebe*detail.
Klas Lindblad, “Your Love” (Asshole & Gentleman remix) (buy)
Apologies for the sound quality on this one. It’s not something you find every day so I’m glad to even be able to post an otherwise lost track. A&G are an earlier Henrik Schwarz outfit including Lindblad himself which only exists on this remix. Deep and unpredictable.
Henrik Schwarz, “Walk Music” [Moodmusic] [purchase]
This is a mighty return to self-producing for Henrik Schwarz — his first single since last year’s mega-sized “Where We At.” And as much as I’ve been loving his remixes from this year, “Walk Music” trumps them all. The tune is a bit haunted, the host of a goosebump-raising apparition in the form of a backwards vocal sample. A thick, forcefully plucked bass line and popping house beat thrust below, with swirls of string section swells filling in any white space left on the canvas. Easily one of Schwarz’s more accomplished productions, it tugs dancers onto the floor by their hearts moves them with beautiful, deep melodies. I can’t believe this came out in March and I’m just hearing it now; what a fantastic piece of music.
Isolée, “I Owe You” (remix) [Playhouse]
Process, “Pelican” (SCSI-9 remix) [Trapez]
Studio, “Life’s A Beach” (Todd Terje’s beach house remix) [Information]
One of the rock bands to grab me and demand repeated listens this year was Studio. Leave it to Todd Terje to inject a dubby, Balearic sunshine into their single and ride the rhythms like an assertive jockey. Summer hangouts may commence when this gets passed around. Another fine release from Information.
Kraftwerk, “Dentaku” [WB]
Nôze, “C2″ [Circus Company]
Alton Miller, “Clouds Are Gone”(Henrik Schwarz Repitch Dub) [Deeper Soul]
If you’re a Guy Gerber fan you should make your way quickly to Resident Advisor, where they’re offering a free track from Late Bloomers, his new album.
Berlin DJ/producer and Innervisions co-owner Dixon (aka Steffen Berkhahn) is the fourth producer to helm Get Physical’s Body Language mix series and the first not to have a release with the label. It makes sense, then, that Dixon’s contribution is also the most likely to catch the ear of the crossover crowd occasionally meandering into dance music territory, getting the hired guns to recruit. While many of his selections are regularly caned during his DJ sets, a few (Thom Yorke, Chromatics) seem aimed at this elusive group. Fortunately, their inclusion doesn’t detract from the mix; it’s more like Dixon is playing tunes for new friends whose comfort levels he doesn’t want to test just yet. After a brief strings-and-things intro by Timo Maas, listeners are treated to the obscuro pop of Chromatics’ “In the City” and Owusu & Hannibal’s “What’s It About,” which infuses Paul Simon-esque songcraft with 21st century soul. Dixon gets to his true passion – house and deep house music – with his laid back funk version of Château Flight’s “Baltringue” done with Innerzone’s pal Henrik Schwarz and Mari Boine’s “Voui Voui Mu” – another Schwarz remix. He also includes some of 2006’s standouts and 2007’s better tracks so far. Stefan Goldmann’s version of It’s “Women In Toilet” clangs sweetly with shuffling repetitions, while Larry Heard’s brilliant acid house b-side “The Sun Can’t Compare” makes way for the mix’s crown jewel: “Where We At” (Part 2) by Dixon, Schwarz and Innerzone co-owners, Âme. Featuring a prophetic sample of techno legend Derrick Carter ruminating about a “never-ending war” and clashing moral values, this soul-stirring tune brings the whole mix together and sneaks in some social commentary. The mix comes to a close with live set staples such as Martin Buttrich’s evocative remix of Tracey Thorn’s “It’s All True” and the brass-house stomp of Herbert’s “Moving Like a Train” remixed by Smith N Hack. Despite a couple tracks which lack the personality of the rest of the selections, the well-mixed Body Language Vol. 4 is a proud moment for Dixon sure to bring him wider exposure – inside and out of dance music culture.
Mari Boine, “Vuoi Vuoi Mu” (Henrik Schwarz remix) [Universal Jazz]
Owusu & Hannibal, “What It’s About” [Ubiquity]
Herbert, “Moving Like a Train” (Smith N’ Hack remix) [Studio !K7]
IT, “Women In Toilet” (Stefan Goldmann Macro version) [Electrochoc]
Dixon is spinning tonight at Ohm in Chicago.
Lee Jones, “There Comes A Times” (Prins Thomas remix) [Aus Music]
Having Prins Thomas remix Lee Jones’ delightful “There Comes A Time” makes sense in principle: they both enjoy and know their way around a good melody, as well as how to arrange it in a compelling manner for the alloted time. So imagine my surprise when Thomas suddenly pulls a Jesse Somfay on us, drops the tune into a grumbling factory and stretches it out an additional four minutes. The cute lil’ acid chirps still pop up and frolic through the sooty atmosphere, joined by Thomas’ signature elastic guitar noodles and snapping drumwork (which diffuses nicely bouncing off the concrete walls), but they’re less the focus — more like trapped lightning bugs doing their best to illuminate the dank surroundings. This is easily the darkest tune I’ve heard from Thomas; I almost didn’t think he had it in him. And while I’m glad he’s exploring his range, I can’t say I’m particularly enthralled with the results. Still, this is a must-hear for Prins Thomas fans, especially if you’re not hung up on having to dance your ass off to all his output.
Robert Hood, “Untitled” [Cheap]
Henrik Schwarz, “Jimis 2006″ (Mix 3) [Diamonds & Pearls Music]
Thomas Schumacher, “Is Not” [Spiel-Zeug Schallplatten]
It always fascinates me when a producer remixes a tune and swings its mood and tone in the complete other direction. Is it the mood they’re in, or perhaps the mood in which they feel the song belongs? Is it a playful challenge or a reliance on a tried and true aesthetic? When considering Henrik Schwarz’s remix of Camille’s “Ta Douleur,” a quirky and up-beat bopper, I feel like the latter question applies. By discarding the original’s entire beat (in this case, no real loss) he’s both freed himself from its pop construction and added the task of writing his own instrumental with his favored tonal setting. He starts relatively simple and neutral with a spring-loaded twang beat and atmospheric chords, gaining a deep, uncertain tone at the addition of a grainy synth pattern and muted bass runs. When Camille’s ruddy vocals drop in, her flair is muted but no less pleasant (thanks to Schwarz’s careful selection of verses), cautiously intoning in French over criss-crossing piano lines. The belated addition of string section swells seems a little overboard for a well-established overcast mood, but provide a decent safety net for Schwarz’s plinking runs. With each spin of this remix my preference changes: At times I really like the darkened mood, the opposite side of the coin; other times I wish we could see Schwarz flex his production muscles and give us something chipper. And if any tune was grist for such an occasion, “Ta Douleur” would have been it.
Camille, “Ta Douleur” (Henrik Schwarz remix)
Camille, “Ta Douleur”
Thanks to Psycho BBQ for the remix.
01. Clipse, Hell Hath No Fury
Ahh, sweet vindication. After years of well documented label bullshit, Clipse released their magnum opus which nearly lives up to accumulated hype. In many ways, Pusha T and Malice benefitted from the arduous and frustrating build-up between Lord Willin’ and Hell Hath, much as Wilco did from the YFH shuffling. But instead of merely building notoriety with label slight of hand, Clipse spent their time in industry limbo honing their already acute lyrical skills, coaxing the best and most fitting beats from Pharrell and building a devoted following. The resulting album was a lyrical slaughterfest with a pile of merc’ed lyrical targets and sparse beats that still womped. In a year full of disappointing rap records (I maintain that Fishscale is weak coming from Ghostface, More Fish even moreso), Hell Hath No Fury proudly stood at the top of the pack and commanded you fuckers to kiss the rings.
Audio: Clipse, “Momma I’m So Sorry”
02. Scritti Politti, White Bread Black Beer
White Bread Black Beer is another peak in the mountain range of Scritti Politti’s career. Green Gartside’s expert reinvention of his already winning formula gets more out of less without sounding sparse or contrived. The resulting creations are a testament to his abilities as a pop song writer and a persuasive wake up call to those who slept on him the first go-round. White Bread is also a challenge to bands such as Hot Chip and Junior Boys for whom Scritti Politti albums serve as crucial points of influence: Daddy’s back with a new take on an old game; time to step it up!
Audio: Scritti Politti, “Throw”
03. Matmos, The Rose Has Teeth In the Mouth of the Beast
Conceptual eggheads from the start, Matmos stunned me with The Rose Has Teeth, an album that matched its lofty ambitions of honoring influential historical figures with intensely compelling and thought-provoking compositions. Where previous releases proved to be daunting listens for some audiences, The Rose both fittingly represented its conceptual targets and invited its listeners to learn with lush arrangements and supplimentary technology (the liner notes also act as a primer wherein users can read more about its subjects). Few conceptual artists make art albums (these days) this engrossing or pleasurable to hear.
Audio: Matmos, “Steam and Sequins for Larry Levan”
04. Hot Chip, The Warning
With as much love as this album’s singles have received, you would think The Warning as a whole would’ve seen better press. After all, it’s spring-heeled leap forward in song-writing makes the snarky joke with feeble melodies known as Coming On Strong look positively flaccid. The Warning succeeds with warm synth melodies and pristine harmonies chunked up by a jangled emphasis on percussion, even springing for clever lyrics without gobs of irony. Hot Chip is also extraordinary at understanding dance music, which made killer cuts like “Over and Over,” “Boy From School” and “(Just Like We) Breakdown” into prime fodder for an iPod Shuffle’s worth of remixes from likewise excellent producers (with Erol Alkan and Solid Groove at the top of the pack). A perfect fit for techno and rock fans alike, The Warning should not go unheeded.
Audio: Hot Chip, “Arrest Yourself”
05. Justin Timberlake, FutureSex/LoveSounds
Not enough pop stars break away from their primary role in society: to perform and look good doing it. Justin Timberlake is a pop star unwilling to be relegated to talented body status. FutureSex/LoveSounds pushed all involved to out-perform their best work and come up with something fresh, even futuristic (jamming two tunes together? Two become one, motherfucker!). The result was a pop record so unexpected that a fair portion of JT fans still don’t know what to do with it, but love it anyways. Listening to this album is bearing witness to the maturation of a star who happens to make pop music.
Audio: Justin Timberlake, “LoveStoned/I Think She Knows (interlude)”
06. Tim Hecker, Harmonies in Ultraviolet
Topping himself yet again, Tim Hecker birthed Harmonies in Ultraviolet, one of my favorite albums to relax with this year. Gently massaging electrons to course in time, recreating the thaw of winter’s deepest freeze, picking up on the little reassuring noises and reminding listeners that they exist, Hecker makes the extremely detailed sound simple and gorgeous. Even at its most eardrum-rending it puts me at peace, a wonderfully contradictory feeling that assures me of Harmonies’ pronounced brilliance.
Audio: Tim Hecker, “Dungeoneering”
07. Sonic Youth, Rather Ripped
Let’s discard the age thing for a minute (even if you haven’t read about it, you’re thinking it) and focus on the reasons Rather Ripped works: Though the album is lyrically streaked with despair and desperate tears, it’s juxtaposed with some of Sonic Youth’s most downright pretty melodies, as if writing tunes matching the lyrics’ pained tone would be too much for human ears, so here it is anyway. Accessible to a point, Rather Ripped has all of the noisy energy and nuance one would expect from SY, slipping in peripheral counter rhythms between anthemic leads and spazzing out when being ear-pleasing gets too burdensome or boring. Kim Gordon also gives the performance of a lifetime, her gravel-shred silk pipes inhabit the narrator’s skin with unusual ease; Thurston Moore is no slouch either, recalling his best vocal motifs without sounding dated or old. No one needs to teach these old dogs new tricks. They wrote the handbook and Rather Ripped is this year’s lesson plan.
Audio: Sonic Youth, “Do You Believe In Rapture?”
08. Califone, Roots and Crowns
Califone continued their streak of fastidiously-crafted fragment folk with Roots and Crowns, an album that found the group at their most concentrated and assured. Each song is caught with its body in some farm house in southern Illinois, roughly around 1949, and its head in the whirring present, dumbfounded. Creaking harmonics with moth-eaten holes plugged with scraps of seemingly arbitrary sound gently coat the ears, speaking volumes of Brian Deck and Tim Rutili’s skillful orchestration. Complimented finely by Rutili’s seasoned vocals (which sweetly serenade as well as the scrape the ground and the notes surrounded it) and his scattershot poetic lyrics, Califone deliver the complete package (and an excellent Psychic TV cover to boot). Those ready for a bit of the roots and not yet ready to aggravate dust allergies should sit a spell and give Roots and Crowns a few good spins.
Audio: Califone, “The Eye You Lost In The Crusades”
09. Henrik Schwarz, DJ-Kicks
Because this is from the DJ-Kicks series rather than, say, Fabric, Henrik Schwarz and other artists who’ve contributed a mix have been able to reveal their tastes in a safe and often stunning manner. This volume is no different. Like Gilles Peterson with a greater appreciation for native sounds and no real need for acid jazz, Schwarz cherry-picks forgotten and underappreciated slabs from what must be a vast collection. Starting out by deforming Moondog’s “Bird’s Lament” and dancing it around with iO and D’Angelo, Schwarz keeps piling on stranger and more delightful tunes. And as with most DJ-Kicks mixes, Schwarz works a handful of his own tunes into the grooves of obscurities, most notably his reductive and seductive remix of Coldcut and Robert Owen’s soul-rousing “Walk a Mile In My Shoes.” As unpredictable as it is awe-inspiring, Henrik Schwarz’s DJ-Kicks is easily among the most ambitious and enjoyable mixes of 2006.
Audio: Coldcut & Robert Owens, “Walk a Mile In My Shoes” (Henrik Schwarz remix)
10. DJ Drama & Lil’ Wayne, Dedication 2: Gangsta Grillz
Though the distinction of being one of the few popular rappers to actually, you know, throw down has kind of gone to Lil’ Wayne’s head and made him say all kinds of crazy stuff. At the same time, it’s easy to argue that as his noggin’ grows bigger, so does the quality of his work — tapes like Dedication 2 and albums like Tha Carter II prove it. Even when he sounds like he might be slipping into a vicodin/’dro coma Weezy spits wrecking crew lines, so when he’s at his most alert (especially his freestyle on the “Show Me What You Got” beat, Jesus) it’s like a walking, talking, white-slinging firing squad. Although Jay-Z’s too tired from all the lamping he’s quietly doing by the pool, it would be spectacular seeing Louisiana’s Finest square off with the Old Reliable Guard. Instead, Lil’ Wayne’s just going to further extend his legacy and keep putting out barn-burners like this one.
Audio: DJ Drama & Lil’ Wayne, “Dedication 2″
11. Booka Shade, Movements
12. OOIOO, Taiga
13. NOMO, Nu Tones
14. Boris, Pink
15. Junior Boys, So This is Goodbye
16. Crowdpleaser & St. Plomb, Mindtrip
17. Islands, Return to the Sea
18. T.I., King
19. Arctic Monkeys, Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not
20. Oakley Hall, Second Guessing
This list is a bit different from the one I submitted to Idolator’s Jackin’ Pop Poll thanks to some extremely well-timed Christmas presents post-poll. When the results come out (whenever that happens) you’ll see the differences. Thanks to everyone who visited my blog this year, commented on my blog, linked to my blog (special thanks to my pals at Pound for Pound, Another Night On Earth, Idolator and Not Rock On) or helped me in any way with my writing. It means a lot. See you in 2007.