Pariah has made some intriguing singles with Blawan as part of Karenn, but there hasn’t been a proper release from UK producer since 2010’s Safehouses EP. On June 11, R&S will release the Rift EP, which features three new Pariah tracks. “Signal Loss” is a spare, minimal track driven by chopped up vocals and soft piano chords.
Dutch house and techno imprint Dekmantel have revealed details of a forthcoming artist album from mystery producer Vedomir.
The label, which is celebrating its fifth anniversary in 2012, today posted a stream of the album (along with the artwork and full tracklisting) on its Soundcloud page. Some of you may have noticed the label recently slip out a white label 12″ of Vedomir material, evidently as a teaser for the long player.
Entitled Vedomir, a quick listen to the tracks on offer reveals a musically rich take on downtempo deep house. In a move that will please vinyl fetishists, the LP will be released on gatefold double vinyl format, with design duties undertaken by Red Light Radio chief Orpheu de Jong.
Equally exciting is news of a second studio album from Juju & Jordash (aka Gal Aner and Jordan Czamanski), which the duo announced last week. Although details are still relatively sacre, Czamanski told Juno Plus the as yet untitled album would range musically “from nightmare techno to psychedelic folk, 80s industrial to free jazz”.
Dekmantel will release Vedomir in the second week of April, 2012, on 2xLP vinyl format. There’s no word on a release date for the Juju & Jordash album just yet but keep an eye on Juno Plus for more details as they emerge.
Those of you yet to be charmed by the output of Dekmantel should peruse our recent feature here, which comes replete with an exclusive mix from Juju & Jordash.
A1. Jump In The Past A2. Music Suprematism – (Keyboards And Co-Produced By Vasiliy Filatov) A3. Casserole 80th B1. Forks, Knives And Spoons B2. I Don’t Aspire Perfection I Accept That I Have – (Keyboards And Co-Produced By Vasiliy Filatov) B3. Hello C1. Scream Of Kind Morning C2. Dreams D1. Lullably – (Keyboards And Co-Produced By Vasiliy Filatov) D2. Orud’ Evo
The first thing that must be pointed out about Deutschmann’s Loganic collaboration, “Darkroom Tales,” is that title. What a title. The music that bears it is every bit as hedonistic, decadent, and seedy as you’d hope: high-octane house that starts at a gallop — replete with deep, barely audible moans and sharp breaths — and never, ever slows down. It hungrily collects new elements to add to the dizzy conveyor-belt effect until it’s a hurtling mass of moving bells and whistles. Shakers, mallets, a vaguely alienating vocal sample (“What it’s gonna be? What’s it gonna be?”), handclaps that slice up the bars into uneven, colliding chunks of broken rhythm — it’s quite a ride. And if it weren’t grandiose enough, an ‘ardkore-worthy synth riff floats up from the abyss to dominate the track’s midsection, a victory lap for a track that builds energy so masterfully it’s hard not to get sucked into some kind of outrageous motion even if you’re just listening on headphones.
Label head, Tristen, provides an edit that’s a little more Aim friendly, blurring the original’s incisive slam into pleasant deep-house chord smears and turning the original’s darkroom blackness into photo-negative white. The sexily swung groove is still there, but here it’s weighed down by the lumbering kick and deconstructed melody, more like an added little bonus to an incredible track that didn’t need reinterpreting in the first place. A label so well defined as Aim jumping off on a tangent can sometimes be a dealbreaker, but “Darkroom Tales” is easily one of the most infectious and impressive tracks of the young year so far.
Forget James Cameron and his $200 million budget: Equipped only with outdated Japanese electronics, Drexciya were the true masters of the deep. From 1992 until 2002, the mysterious electro outfit created not only some of Detroit’s most original and enduring electronic music; they created an entire imaginary world, one of the greatest myth systems in the history of techno.
A new compilation of the group’s work, the first in a planned four-volume anthology put out by Rotterdam’s Clone label, serves as a crucial introduction to Drexciya’s worldview as well as, of course, their music. It’s a good time for it: In the past two decades, the meaning of “electro” has repeatedly mutated and diluted though its association with electroclash, then Ed Banger’s buzzy brand of dance music, and, lately, big-tent commercial rave like Deadmau5 and Wolfgang Gartner. The Drexciya reissue rightly returns the spotlight to the original electro’s signature rhythms and analog palette.
From their first release, 1992’s Deep Sea Dweller EP, Drexciya were obsessed with sub-aquatic realms. Their first tracks bore titles like “Sea Quake” and “Nautilus 12”, and the following year’s Bubble Metropolis EP, divided into “Fresh Water” and “Salt Water” sides and with center stickers depicting dolphins cavorting beneath craggy cliffs, poured it on thicker with “Aqua Worm Hole” and “Danger Bay”. The music was appropriately liquid, with hi-hats like raindrops, bass like the belch of some fanged denizen of the fathomless dark, and blippy melodies bobbing like bioluminescent lures.
Adapting the lurching rhythmic template of 1980s electro-funk acts like Man Parrish, Cybotron, and Jonzun Crew, Drexciya emphasized the depth-charge qualities of a booming 808 kick, and the electric-eel jolt of a zapping filter sweep. But it went deeper than that. The music was punctuated by cryptic interludes and scraps of code, like an intercepted transmission from “Drexciyan Cruise Control Bubble 1 to Lardossan Cruiser 8 dash 203 X”, a head-spinning array of names and numbers relating to something called the “Aquabahn”.
Drexciya weren’t just trafficking in metaphor and affect; they were telling a story, one worthy of its own blockbuster film. Their “Aquabahn” was, of course, a reference to Kraftwerk, whose robotic method act set an important precedent for Drexciya’s own mythmaking. Played out across track titles and cover art, one sheets and liner notes, it went something like this: During the Middle Passage, many pregnant women, sick or dying or simply too much trouble for their captors, were thrown overboard. The fetuses in their wombs, still accustomed to a liquid environment, survived. They thrived, in fact, growing fins and gills, and made their home in the ruins of an underwater city, where they mounted their counter-offensive against human greed and stupidity.
The message fit with the militant stance of Detroit’s Underground Resistance label collective, with which Drexciya were affiliated, and so did their anonymity. When James Stinson died, in 2002, I’m willing to bet that most fans didn’t even know his name, nor that of his collaborator Gerald Donald. Drexciya were rumored to be related to other shadowy electro projects of the era, like Elecktroids and Dopplereffekt— a creepy, ostensibly antihumanist project featuring showroom dummies on its record covers and vocoded lyrics like “We have to sterilize the population”— but in the pre-Discogs era, this was all speculation. To immerse yourself in Drexciya’s world was akin to following a particularly far-out comic book, where the misfits wrote the rules and justice always prevailed. It was punk as fuck, frankly— but from an Afrofuturist perspective.
But for all the talk of combat, Drexciya’s was profoundly joyful music: impish, rippling, unpredictable, and never anything less than profoundly funky. This is the first takeaway from Journey of the Deep Sea Dweller I. This first volume focuses on the group’s first five years, drawing from seven EPs released on labels like Underground Resistance, Submerge, and Warp. (Some tracks have been anthologized before, on 1997’s landmark double CD The Quest, but that’s long out of print.) Certain tropes predominate: whip-cracking 808 drum patterns, squelchy synthesizer arpeggios, dissonant bleeps and creepy chromatic chord progressions. But there’s nothing formulaic about these tracks, which range from the pensive funk of “Aquarazorda” to the double-time frenzy of “Hydro Theory” and “Beyond the Abyss”; it’s striking to realize how wildly Drexciya’s tempos could vary, especially when compared to the deeply regimented BPMs of today’s subgenres of electronic dance music. Indeed, Drexciya made few concessions to DJs: there are no 16-bar intros to facilitate mixing, and at least one point, you can hear a synthesizer pattern skip a beat, probably because one of the musicians leaned on his sequencer at the wrong time.
Lo-fi by today’s standards, recorded straight to tape, in real time, with analog machines, Drexciya’s sonics are unfailingly urgent and raw; there’s more genuine menace in the roiling “Sea Quake” than in practically anything being made today. Clone’s Alden Tyrell did a great job with the remastering, preserving the music’s wide dynamic range and letting each frequency positively sizzle in space. As hair-raising as the songs can be, it’s never an exhausting listen— unlike too much contemporary electronic music, mastered so uniformly loud that it leaves your ears gasping for air.
It’s easy to remember Drexciya primarily for their shtick. Academics love them for their applicability to concepts like Afrofuturism and the Black Atlantic. (Kodwo Eshun was particularly brilliant writing about Drexciya; their slippery maneuvers served as the perfect foil for his own techno-theoretical poetics.) Detroit true-schoolers hold them up as examples of Motor City militancy and analog purism. These are all valid positions, but Journey of the Deep Sea Dweller I also reminds us of Drexciya’s influence in other contexts, as well. The opening “Welcome to Drexciya” is a beatless burble that wouldn’t sound out of place on a record from Emeralds or Oneohtrix Point Never, artists more commonly associated with the “cosmic” traditions of 1970s synthesizer music. Space is a place, sure. But to immerse yourself in Drexciya’s underwater world is to be reminded that there are other dimensions just as worthy of exploration.
“Are Drexciyans water breathing, aquatically mutated descendants of those unfortunate victims of human greed?” wrote a figure identified as the Unknown Writer in the liner notes to 1997’s The Quest. “Have they been spared by God to teach us or terrorize us? Did they migrate from the Gulf of Mexico to the Mississippi river basin and on to the great lakes of Michigan? Do they walk among us? Are they more advanced than us? How and why do they make their strange music? What is their Quest? These are many of the questions that you don’t know and never will. The end of one thing… and the beginning of another. Out.”
These questions had a different kind of resonance in the 1990s, before the answer to every question was just a click or two away, before every new “anonymous” artist felt like a walking, talking spoiler alert. To listen to Drexciya today is to wipe the slate clean. We may know James Stinson and Gerald Donald’s names now, but their quest feels as cryptic as ever.
The aptly titled Galaxy Garden marks a departure from Lone’s previous two albums of blissed out, hip-hop infused electronica. His third LP retains the atmospheric touches of Lemurian and Ecstasy & Friends. It also shares their soundtrack qualities but this time it’s the sonic backdrop to a psychedelic, schizophrenic journey through the cosmos.
Dreamy synths float all over this album giving it a lush but eery feel. There’s beatless moments where pan pipes, whale noises, running water and acoustic guitar could take it into chill out territory but the frantic tribal percussion sees off any such thoughts. The songs shape shift rapidly and Lone glides through genres so smoothly it’s barely worth mentioning them. It’s the juxtaposition of sounds and ideas that makes this such an interesting listen. There’s a clear 90s house/breakbeat influence but it’s one of many. An old-skool rave track is topped with an 80s style noodling synth solo. Smooth melodies slide over low rumbling bass and insistent broken beats. It’s like NASA broadcast a pirate radio station out of the milky way 15 years ago and it’s somehow returned to earth covered in space dust.
Galaxy Garden is a giant leap for Lone taking his songs light years away from the earthy productions of previous albums. It’s a tricky listen to get your ears around at first but your effort will be rewarded with an LP that doesn’t tire easily.
Moodymann is the nom de disc of Detroit native Kenny Dixon, Jr. An iconoclast with a funkdafied hairdo, Moodymann has built up a devoted listenership over the past two decades with his unique, mutant productions. Often pitched between high-fidelity and infidelity, Moodymann tracks are for those moments when hitting the dancefloor feels the same as rustling the sheets. Purveyor of the label Mahogani Music, Moodymann now connects with Scion A/V to deliver Picture This, eight exclusive tracks of Motor City magic.
On his brilliant 2010 LP Emerald Fantasy Tracks, UK producer Matt Cutler combined breakbeat’s hyper-speed rhythms with the winsome, glowing tones associated with Boards of Canada, resulting in a gorgeous flurry of emotional electronic music that transcended nostalgia-tripping. “Crystal Caverns 1991” is the first single from Cutler’s follow-up to that LP under his Lone guise, Galaxy Garden; as the title suggests, he’s looking to the past again, turning his ears to early 1990s rave— but, again, this isn’t just about the past. The aggro-playful synth stabs and clipped vocal samples that are interspersed throughout provide visceral pleasure, but what’s most impressive about “Crystal Caverns 1991” is Cutler’s gift for unleashing beatific moments at just the right time, from the yo-yo bloops that hit midway throughout to those BoC-like tones layered under the tune’s bubbly melody.
It’s considered polite to relate a bit of biographical detail in these reviews—but quite frankly, is there much point here? Without Juan Atkins and R&S, the dance music map would have big holes in it. Back now on his lonesome for this release, with Mike Banks and Mark Taylor sitting on the subs bench, Atkins offers up two tracks of classic Detroit techno, which still manage to stand well apart from each other. “Control” thrashes along to a clanging, metallic Kraftwerk-style rhythm track, over which Atkins lays a twinkly, scurrying synth line and rising melodic pads. A host of robots add their voices to the tumult. “The Messenger” is an altogether more opulent offering of wobbly, haunting pads, steam-driven beats and cathedral-sized, verdant keyboard phrases. It’s left, almost organically it seems, to fade out to a simple soundtrack of raw, crunching, metallic drums. A master at work, pure and simple. - Residentadvisor.net
Since emerging in 2003, UK man Claro Intelecto has pursued the deeper side of techno, and now makes his Delsin debut with a 3 track EP entitled Second Blood, which precedes the release of his full length album on the same label in march 2012.
With a discography which includes a number of 12”s, EPs and full lengths on labels like Boomkat’s own Modern Love as well as Ai Records and others, Manchester man Mark Stewart is known for dropping bomb after bomb, with these new efforts being no different.
First up, the title track Second Blood is a lazy, scuffed and romantic sounding deep dub cut that lurches from one beat to the next with a lazy smile and soft eyes. Plenty of echo and reverb have it drifting off into the distance as warm pads and rising strings add subtle tension.
Another lazy roller but this time with brighter melodic flashes, next effort ‘Heart’ is just as lateral, dubwise and soothing as the title track, melting your mind into a dreamy state of hypnosis before b2 ‘Voyeurism’ lifts you out of your trance with a firmer kick drum, more cutting claps and groove that bounces a little more than it rolls. Some taught acid notes appear eventually, rounding off a cerebral, dead of night EP made as much for home listening as it is gentle Sunday afternoon comedowns. Essential stuff.
Two titans of the Bass/House scene unleash the mighty ‘Swims’ on heavy vinyl (only!) with sharp sleeve art via Swamp81. Over the latter half of last year it’s become a staple in the sets of both Joy and Boddika plus their extended circle of affiliates, burning up floors with a succinct blend of warehouse 303s, booty-wallop bass and the kinkiest cowbells this side of Miami, all revolving around a vocal snatch from Tronco Traxx’s 1995 single ‘Walk 4 Me’. The original features on the A-side, sounding suitably chunkier than that youtube clip you’ve been caning, while the flipside sneakily offers a chords-driven bridge, sweetly heightening anticipation of a crowd-chewing acid line and cowbell attack. Undeniably BIG tracks.