Archive for January, 2007|Monthly archive page
Filip and Johnny, photo by Clayton Hauck
If Johnny Love (of Guns ‘N’ Bombs) took one thing from Chicago, it was the artform of the Chicago Hotmix — a blitzkrieg-style of live mixing known for its high track/mix length ratio. When I talked with him and Filip back in December for a forthcoming Alarm Magazine piece, he was unafraid to acknowledge the level of difficulty accompanying the execution of a electro house/French touch mix with that format: “A lot of the songs from that genre really aren’t made for quick mixing. When you play minimal techno you can do that because they’re not much going on; there’s a hi-hat coming in every two minutes.” Listening to the mix will help put this all in context, even if this one is a little less “Hot.” G’N’B’s nuanced and ultimately efficient mixing provides a new road map — hot off the press — of what’s going to be hot in the Justice/MSTRKRFT/electro rock scene in the next month or so. Though I don’t care for the Felix Cartel cut, even when they consult the Daft Punk handbook, this mix (especially the G’N’B’s material) seems to foreshadow a budding career.
Guns N’ Bombs – Mixtape #2
datA, “Aerius Light”
Does It Offend You, Yeah?, “We Are Rockstars”
Guns’N’Bombs, “Crossover Appeal”
MSTRKRFT, “Street Justice” (MSTRKRFT 07 remix) [mixtape EXXXCLUSIVE]
Felix Cartal, “Moss vs Tree”
Boys Noize, “Feel Good (TV = Off)” (Shinichi Osawa edit)
Yelle, “Short Dick Cuiz” (Tepr remix)
Christopher + Raphael Just, “Disco 128”
Surkin feat. Vyle, “Toxicoman”
The Futureheads, “Worry About It Later” (Al Dare Half Done refix)
The Teenagers, “Homecoming” (Guns ‘N’ Bombs 1996 XTC remix)
Özgür Can, “84 Shots” (Oliver Koletzki & Florian Meindl remix)
Lopazz, “Share My Rhythm”
Tres Demented, “Shez Satan”
The Game, “Let’s Ride” (The Amps remix) (exclusive?!)
I owe The Amps a bit of an apology. Last time I reviewed one of their remixes I embarrassingly called their Willie Hutch sample “plastic white boy funk,” a fact Amps member Abraham pointed out to me recently. This is what happens when I haphazardly blaze through reviews while blazed — a reminder that fastidiousness is often more important than firstness. Anyway, Abe was kind enough to give me their new remix of The Game’s “Let’s Ride,” a tune which surely needed retooling. Unable to cope with losing the support and production of his own personal savior, The Game turned to Scott Storch to emulate Dr. Dre’s g-funk. That’s kinda disrespectful for a guy who still licks the Doctor’s Timberlands, even if they no longer touch studio floor. The Amps manage to create the same West Coast feel with a decidedly Eastern sound, sampling an excellent Asian-flavored tune and dropping in their own head-compacting kick drum. Whatever stringed instrument is used to make the nimble main melody is catchy, oddly reminiscent of the progressions used on g-funk melodies, and a bigger draw than the dross name-dropping leaking from Game’s crooked scowl. Though there’s not much variation, this remix is vastly superior to the original. More rappers need to hire The Amps on the pronto.
Patrick Wolf, “Bluebells”
I have to admit I slept right past Wolf’s last album, Wind in the Wires, without a second thought. Sure, his oh so urgent moans about lycanthropy and relatively lo-fi beats grabbed my attention four years ago, but the appeal wore thinner with each passing year. Pitchfork’s ambitious mp3 blog, the Forkcast, reminded me Wolf still existed earlier this week so I’m giving him a second chance. “Bluebells” finds him no less cinematic or obtuse, but the addition of a few years has steadied him out, focused his aim. The attention paid to detail is readily apparent in the bottlerocket percussion, buzzing synth undercurrents and even the piano motif which flutters gracefully when it’s not charging forward. Wolf’s maturity is also apparent in his voice, which conveys all of the tune’s tender emotions without spazzing out (especially nice are the wordless backing vox in the song’s latter half). I won’t pretend “Bluebells” has renewed my devotee status or anything, but I have a greater respect for Wolf and some anticipatory feelings for the forthcoming Magic Position, which is hopefully just as good.
Samim, “Papsd” (ft. Big Bully)
Now I don’t know Samim from a bar of soap, but this bass-heavy thumper calls to mind the more vocal pieces of Troy Pierce. Big Bully more or less scats over small blippy motifs, sometimes finding his soulful pipes taken down an octave or two to sound double-barrel-chested, not unlike recent favorite, “25 Bitches.” The tune heats up during the midsection with an ascending synth swell that stops just short of taking the tune to hyperspace, overheated engines or something. I have to say, I’m looking forward to more tracks from Samim and any more excuses to mix to and from a certain song about bitches.
Sebastien Grainger, “When You Go Out”
You know that period after a rough break up where you’re all mopey and unable to do anything properly? Ex-Death From Above 1979 member Sebastien Grainger seems stuck in that coping stage based on this new cut from his forthcoming split with Jewish Legend. Much lighter than DFA1979 material, “When You Go Out” makes Prince-aping guestures that sound forced from Grainger’s hands and lips. Chipper glockenspiel and a fuzzy guitar lead (Ratatat, anyone?) bounce around to the simplistic drum programming (programming a frickin’ drummer should be able to jazz up), giving the song a cheerful feel clashing with Grainger’s mope-a-dope lyrics about places “for the broken-hearted.” With as talented as he’s proved to be on DFA1979 material, Grainger needs to wait until he’s sufficiently over this break up to try his hand again at songcraft. No one needs to hear him crying in his pop-chop Cheerios.
Minilogue, “Elephant’s Parade”
Luciano, “Amelie” (remix 2)
Gaiser, “Neural Block”
Ricardo Villalobos, “Ichso”
X-Press 2 ft. Rob Harvey, “Kill 100” (Carl Craig remix)
Phantom/Ghost, “Relax, It’s Only A Ghost” (Pantha Du Prince version)
Butane, “Tinker Toy”
It seems that as heavy music pioneer Justin Broadrick ages, his music projects get relatively more accessible. As a member of Napalm Death, Broadrick helped spark the inception of grindcore; then he moved on to found industrial trailblazers Godflesh. After reportedly suffering a nervous breakdown in 2002, he reemerged three years later with Jesu, a trio whose sound fused the pulverizing riffs of Broadrick’s past projects with more hook-led motifs. Conqueror, Jesu’s second full-length album, leans much harder on ear-catching intervals than on ear-ravaging assaults. The difference is immediately apparent in the titular opening track, which beckons hypnotically with chunks of grumbling guitar, washes of trebly synth and Broadrick’s patient coo. “Transfigure,” “Weightless & Horizontal” and “Stanlow” employ the same sunshine-through-clouds aesthetic, flattening listeners against their chairs like a narcotic lead blanket. Though this full court press of sound is typical of Jesu’s arrangements, Conqueror’s more inviting approach eschews the harsher tones of previous releases, almost qualifying as a droning form of pop metal or even shoegaze. Neither of Jesu’s styles is necessarily better than the other; whether or not listeners enjoy flattening riffs minced with mellifluous melodies could decide their opinions of the album. That said, Conqueror effectively constructs a comfortable crush of a listening experience, laying out audiences flat and then wooing them with aural sweets. Here Broadrick proves his gradual acceptance of more sonorous styles is not surrender, but an alluring exploration of his punishing abilities.
And from what I understand, this is a yearly thing.
Gui Boratto, “Like You” (Supermayer remix)
Kelis ft. Too $hort, “Bossy” (SebastiAn remix)
Wanted to thank my boyfriend, Mark, for help with this post. More reviews coming soon!
NOMO, “Nu Tones” (Matthew Dear remix)
Thomas Brinkmann, “Today”
Sleeparchive, “Bleep 04”
Here’s my review of the new Martin Buttrich single, “Well Done.”