Archive for November, 2007|Monthly archive page

Fond farewell to WordPress

Well, folks, this is the end of Little White Earbuds version 1. Thanks for being with us this long. We’ll be moving to littlewhiteearbuds.com at the end of the month and we hope you join us there. If anyone reading this has us bookmarked/blogrolled, please change your links. See you soon!

Love,
The Little White Earbuds crew

Pale and blushing


Picture by Swoe

Cassy, “Soul Saviour” [Perlon] (listen) (buy) (buy) (buy)
In a recent interview with the Ibiza Voice, Cassy explained her love for the Roland 808 and 909s: “Most of techno and house has been made with these two machines, so it’s a sound we’re familiar with. Even if you don’t know the machine, you recognise it immediately and it feels like home.” It makes sense, then, that a tune as foreboding as “Soul Saviour” (from Cassy’s second Perlon effort, “Nil Desperandum”) would rely heavily upon comforting rattle of an 808 to balance the ominous tone.

The low end is stacked high with pummeling kicks and dual bass lines (one that flares each note like a blown speaker cone pushed yet again beyond its limits; another that substitutes muted color for heft), an arsenal that would test the limits of even a good soundsystem. “Save my soul,” Cassy intones, firing off 808 cowbell clangs and a hobbled over synth vamp to let rescuers know that she’s stuck behind a wall of speaker cabinets. It’s a haunting ditty that betrays its outward restraint with each rewarding listen. Prosumer and Murat Tepeli share a similar love for vintage gear used on untraditional arrangements. Quite the follow up to her Beatstreet debut, “Somelightuntothelight.”

Ms. Modifyier asked me way back in May if I wanted to contribute a mix to her Process series that’s getting rave reviews from the likes of XLR8R. I was more than happy to comply; and after many, many delays chronicled in the piece, my mix has arrived. Check it out.

Tracklisting:

Round Two, “New Day” (Club Vocal Mix) [Main Street Records]
Julien Jabre, “Swimming Places” (Jerome Sydenham Remix) [Defected]
Sleeper Thief, “Freefall” [Sixty Four Records]
Ripperton, “Tainted Words” [Connaisseur Recordings]
Paul Kalkbrenner, “Altes Kamuffel” [BPitch Control]
Rodamaal, “Insomnia” (Âme Remix) [Buzzin’ Fly Records]
Harri & The Revenge, “Lunar Tune” [Five20East]
Tiger Stripes, “Hooked” [Liebe*detail]
Argy, “Love Dose” (Luciano Remix) [Poker Flat Recordings]
Thomas Brinkmann, “128 Rua Villalobos” [Cmyk Musik]
Fabrice Lig, “X-Slaves Who Changed the World” [Versatile Records]

Force majeure

Simian Mobile Disco, “Hustler” (Shackleton remix) [Wichita] (buy)
Those Simian boys sure know how to call in a favor, eh? So far, their singles have been remixed by Prins Thomas, Switch, Armand Van Helden, Luke Vibert, Riton, Graham Massey of 808 State, and the “Hustler” single extends that to include Kevin Saunderson, Jesse Rose and Shackleton. I didn’t expect to see that last name on the list, but I was instantly intrigued when I did. “Hustler” is a raucous jam of bleeping bluster and boundless sassy energy. S. Shackleton gives off a darker vibe in his aggressively structured and ethnically influenced tracks, oftentimes fitting in the dubstep paradigm. But ever the shapeshifter, his take on “Hustler” is a different beast altogether.

Shackleton rides the rails of a ticking house beat, bittersweet harmonic burbles washing against the sides of vocal samples in pools of reverb. He fires off riffs into empty space and watches as they stretch further and further over hugely expansive bass pulses. His choice of vocal selections and their echo-laden treatment lend gravitas to lyrics like, “Gotta do what’chu gotta do” and “to stay alive.” There’s no romanticism in the Shackleton’s tone. However, the chord progressions and timbres he uses are among some of the most ear-pleasing he’s produced, though far from the pop mayhem of the original. Shackleton held up a mirror to this tune and captured a ragged minimalism befitting of its subject matter. It seems a bit of Ricardo Villalobos (who famously remixed his dystopian tune, “Blood On My Hands,” to epic proportions) has rubbed off on this shadowy producer. I think Ricardo would be proud, if he’s not already spinning this somewhere right now.

Also, I reviewed Martin Buttrich’s new single, “Hunter,” on RA. Some might be surprised that I’m not a bigger fan of it, but it’s a letdown in my book, especially the snoozephonic “Hunted.” I feel like he’s got something better inside of him yet, or at least I hope he does.

Feeling all jimpy lately


Jimpster on the decks… at his son’s 1st birthday, perhaps?

Last week I interviewed Jimpster for a feature which ran in this week’s New City. If you would like, I’ll post the actual interview as well. Jimpster plays Chicago’s Spy Bar on November 14th.

Little White Earbuds October Charts

01. Pigon, “Promises” [Dial] (buy)
More lush, deep material from Phillip Sollmann, this time sharing the credits with Rndm (aka Oliver Kargl). Rendered from a series of lengthy improvisations, the title track’s winding progression is a modernistic echo of Manuel Göttsching’s seminal E2-E4. An EP like “Promises” gets my hopes up dangerously high.

02. Len Faki, “My Black Sheep” (Radio Slave remix) [Len Series] (buy)
Leave it to Radio Slave to rescue a semi-obscure LF track and transform it into a world-consuming colossus. Its bass tone starts nearly translucent (because it’s all around you) and grows soot black and toothsome — an army of brass players firing a forceful chromatic scale down a bottomless pit at volumes you feel in your chest. If I don’t hear this over a huge PA soon I might need to hijack the nearest DJ booth.

03. Gaiser, “Withdrawal” [M_nus] (buy)
Have another look.

04. Ndru, “Vivisection” [unreleased]
Ndru’s latest and still yet unreleased track, “Vivisection” is like a window into an operation room that you can’t bring yourself to move from. As stinging vibrations and twitching atonal arrangements buzz at your ears the fleshy beat squishes sadistically to itself. Keep your eyes on young Ndru; methinks the best is yet to come. Download while you can!

05. Yellow Sox, “Zig Zag” (Roland Appel remix) [Freerange Records] (buy)
If I didn’t know better I would say this was made by one of the Innervisions crew: everything from its commanding presence to the thoroughbred construction and the characteristic wooshes between phrases screams Dixon & Co. Voom:Voom member and rising star in his own right, Roland Appel capitalizes on the tune’s inherent strengths (arresting string arrangements) and pushes it to the next level. Still plenty of time for this to have a significant impact in the clubs.

06. Kiki & Sasse, “Grand Cru” [Moodmusic] (buy)
Always nice to hear new music from Sasse and “Grand Cru” is especially kind on the ears. Its jacking, Chicago house-style beat (made from synthetic strings?) is well complimented by pock mark percussion and lip-puckering melodic tweaks. Serve to a luke warm dance floor and watch things bubble over.

07. dOP, “Allo Boom Boom” [Circus Company] (buy) (buy)
The dOP trio first caught my ear on Nôze remixes but now sound just as intriguing on their own. The hide and seek structure of “Allo Boom Boom” is refreshing, as you never quite know if you’re getting another loop or a frenetic keyboard/sax vamp or nothing at all. Deep house as made by those who never knew what deep house was supposed to sound like in the first place.

08. Nick Sole, “World Dubbing EP” [Mojuba] (buy) (buy)
Have another look.

09. Radio Slave, “No Sleep (Part 3) – Dedication” [REKIDS] (buy)
Second appearance for Mr. Edwards in this month’s charts and both of them include horns. Coincidence? Most certainly; although this time around, we get to hear the unpredictable sounds of Radio Slave going deep. Well worth the wait to get cranking, “Dedication” makes great use of a gnarled, brassy loop — a sourness to be countered by the sweet Rhodes noodles.

10. LCD Soundsystem, “Sound of Silver” (C2 Remix Rev. 3) [DFA/EMI] (buy)
Have another look.

A mix from my earbuds to yours


Just kidding, I used headphones. Picture via Married to the Sea.

A while ago the kind fellas over at Soulclap invited me to contribute a mix set for their podcast. After innumerable gear snafus and a few extremely stretched self-imposed deadlines, the mix is finally completed and posted! Here’s the tracklisting:

The Youngsters, “Third Knife” [20:20 Vision]
Naughty, “World Of a Woman” [Moodmusic]
Carsten Jost, “Love” [Dial]
Redshape, “Pink Dust” [Styrax Leaves]
False, “Face the Rain” [M_nus]
Osborne, “Outta Sight” [Spectral Sound]
Arto Mwambe, “Noh Ngamebo” [Brontosaurus]
Jesse Rose & Rob Mello, “Do You Wanna” [Front Room Recordings]
Prosumer & Murat Tepeli, “What Makes You Go For It” [Ostgut Tonträger]
Chelonis R. Jones & Marc Romboy, “Helen Cornell” (Stefan Goldmann Macro Version) [Systematic]
Kissogram, “My Friend Is A Seahorse” (James Priestley & Dan Berkson’s ‘Bariz E Syntho’ Remix) [defDrive]
Siobhan Donaghy, “Don’t Give It Up” (Carl Craig Dub Remix) [Parlophone]

Check it out if this looks like something pleasing to your ears. (Please excuse the chaos surrounding the Jesse Rose track. Its fidget rhythms may have gotten the best of me, but the rest is fairly smooth sailing.)