- * No Charge:: All Bits Off
- * * Signs of Life:: Momentary Distraction
- * * * Viable Energy:: Source Solid
- * * * * Sustained Pulse Rate:: Rotation
- * * * * * Fully Charged:: Classic
- Comfort Fit :: Forget and Remember
- MP3 :: Tokyo Dawn Records
- * * * * * :: Boris Mezga’s Comfort Fit falls on the hip-hop side of the fence, fat with the head-nodding pleasure pace of laconic beats and the persistent echo of back alley scat jazz of the 1950s. But it is Mezga’s techno influence that adds a unique flavor to his latest record for Toyko Dawn. Forget and Rememberchallenges expectations by insisting on being heard as a full record and not as a collection of phat cuts to be chopped up for a mixtape. Forget what you know; remember what it is to feel.Blaktroniks’ rap on “Freeze the Cut” is careful and measured, a downtempo soliloquy played out against a backdrop of digital splices and winsome organ programming while “Something to Do” finds Blaktroniks transported to a South Seas island where two turntables and a radio transceiver are mixing Martin Denny rhythms with deep space signals. Mercury Waters raps on “She Knows Me Now,” his voice twisted and distorted by vocoder effects, the digital age gaining purchase on the last purely human element of modern music.But the majority of the record is purely instrumental tracks. “Whenever You Wanna Call Me” sounds like a lost DJ Krush joint, skating on the edge of Eastern Mysticism with its hint of wood flute. “Sorry” layers several different styles of keyboards (old school piano, mellotron and the plastic whoop-whoop of a child’s toy) over a resolute drum kit and a whispered vocal loop. Rife with abject apology, “Sorry” will be played as background music when a player finds his way to his door in the morning and is forced to work his magic in order to come home again. “Planetary Picknick” beeps with space loops, outer boundary markers that sound their insistent warning pulse, while a slumbering drum kit lays down on the beat urgently enough that the systemic marker pulse becomes organic instead of mathematically precise.Mezga brings the lazy blunt edge of hip-hop to the four on the floor loop aesthetic of techno, pitching rhythms on the back side of the beat and giving everything room to breathe. In much the same way that DJ Krush turns dance music into slow-motion party music, Comfort Fit does indeed fall into the groove nicely. Forget and Remember is the after midnight platter of choice for those who are tired of the frenetic disco ball movement of techno and just want to slowly grind against one another until dawn.
- Cheju :: Dreamscapes
- MP3 :: En:peg
- * * * :: Cheju’s Dreamscapes are layered with a hundred million synth patches. Analog keyboards vie with squelchy drum programming while DSP interference lends gravitas and color to the otherwise cheerful melodies. Pleasant without being revolutionary, fanciful without being chaotic, these eight ‘scapes flow readily enough into each other, making for a diversionary forty minutes but, like cotton candy, I’m hard pressed to remember the previous track as the current one is whirling in my head (though “Dreamscapes” with its acoustic guitar and torch singer vocal track persisted longer than the others). As an ultimate test, I put Dreamscapeson as I napped, and I woke refreshed and humming a happy little tune. You really can’t beat that.
- Mathieu Ruhlmann :: The Calm of the Suns
- MP3 :: Entity
- * * * :: Mathieu Ruhlmann offers some deep ambience with The Calm of the Suns, a deep droning that quietly undercut by the whisper of gas clouds (“The Calm of the Suns”), the drift of hazy particles (“Summerfall”) and the tiny circadian noises of metallic alien creatures (in “Aymasa”). Bell trees made from polished bone tinkle in the miasma of “Brumal” while disembodied voices and a lonely clarinet wander lost in deep caves. The Calm of the Sunsis close listening music, a delight for headphones and a dark room where every crackle and rustle of Rulhmann’s spooky ambience can set your heart a-thriling.
- Various Artists :: Table of Elements
- MP3 :: M-Tronic
- * * * * :: France’s M-Tronic has been building their catalog around an elemental theme, each release attaching itself like an errant electron to a chemical compound. With their Table of Elementscompilation, M-Tronic offers a free taste of the label’s take on home-grown chemical experiments.Servovalve’s “Underdose” rattles along on the wheels of rhythmic noise and then dissolves into a field of bell tones. Adapter and Ch.District offer more melodic IDM with Adapter’s “Itsme” melding a whiff of Boards of Canada style ersatz innocence with Amon Tobin’s groovy breakbeat style. Duuster finds glitch and static in the reverb of a lounge singer’s languid torch song, building a cascade of noise and effervescence beneath the singer’s opium-haze croon for “Izumi Sita.” Displacer offers the “hazardous mix” of “Stimulus_Response,” a dub noise effect that crawls along with a lip-curling arrogance and noisy splatter to its beats.G-nox disappears into a maelstrom of noise and beats, thrashing your speakers with a howl of white noise over a relentless battle drum of beat programming while Dither’s “D121″ hovers in the upper stratosphere like a tumescent rain of electrified particles, waiting for a delicate change in atmospheric density. I:Gor’s “Darkdesertfullofblindsouls” swaggers across the room like the drunken cousin of the Flat Eric puppet, awash with hard liquor and amen breaks.Table of Elements is a great showcase for the diversity of M-Tronic’s roster and a reminder that I need to pull out some of their previous releases and investigate their upcoming records. Excellent teaser.
- Various Artists :: First
- MP3 :: -n
- * * * :: -n’s Firstcompilation is a celebration of the glitch atmosphere. The contributors disappear into the detritus of their digital signals and coax out tiny techno anthems and swirling atmospheric ambience. Andrey Kiritchenko’s “Speading Comets” [sic] is a bout of celestial wonderment filled with the gas glitch of distant stars and pitched cascade of falling comets. Both c6 and Lod opts for the glitch-heavy techno route, and Lod’s “Esponja 5″ squirts and darts with electricity over a dance-floor friendly beat while c6′s “Dusty Link” shivers with its glitch as it gets into your pants and sets your ass thumping. Muffrare’s “Ilt” grabs onto a singular bass beat as its anchor and scatters complex drumming about this point in the sand.Like Kiritchenko’s track, Coeval’s “Fluido y Neutro” is filled with atmosphere, soaked so heavily with noise and driving rain that listening for the drifting melody is a bit like trying to pick out a specific bat in a flood of nightflyers cutting across a dark sky. Firstis nicely arranged, back and forth from the beats to the atmospheres before ending up at the scissor-glitch of Masaya Sasaki’s “Major7″ which slices long drones with sharp bursts of aluminum noise. I’ve certainly got favorites on this one, but the whole thing is worth letting fly in your MP3 player.
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