Saturday, May 30, 2009

Riding High

Until recently, the delights of the Highpoint Lowlife label were unknown to me but but over the past few weeks I've been giving some air time to some of their releases and have been generally delighted by the results. As with many a 'discovery' these days I first took note when something leapt through my headphones but due to my poor file keeping I wasn't quite sure where I'd got the tracks by 'Kwaidan' from. A search of discogs failed to provide any results and it was only when I noticed an e-mail bearing a similar catalogue number from the amongst the mountain of junk we get sent that I started to dig and realised that I'd been sat on a whole heap of promotional gems for way too long.

The Kwaidan tracks are kind of hard to describe as they don't sit easily with usual categorisations - there's definitely dubstep overtones remisicent of the likes of Skull Disco but at nearly 12 minutes long apiece, the two tracks on HPLL030 encompass so much more as they mutate along their trajectory taking in all manner of haunting wails and machine drones amidst the pervading dark atmosphere.

Kwaidan - Hoichi //HPLL030

Highpoint's roster is a pretty varied affair but from the handful of releases I've checked out, there's a strong electronica presence; a genre which seems to have been relegated to the lower leagues these days. Ranging from atmospheric textures through more dancefloor oriented experimentation all the way to distorted mentalism, Highpoint Lowlife is bound to have something for anyone with even a passing interest in this genre but for me the real gem in my current explorations comes from two Hungarian guys. I've not heard the original of Tigrics' Boko but the Friskfisk remix is simply stunning and up there with some of Aphex's finest moments - in fact had this come out on his Analord series from a few years back it would surely have been considered one of the standout tracks. The release notes that come with this one state that Friskfisk is somewhat reclusive, makes music for himself and his friends and has no intentions of getting anything else released - surely a tragedy if he has other moments of genius like this up his sleeve!

Tigrics - Boko (Friskfisk Remix)

As well as its openly experimental side, HPLL also releases more 'straight up' material such as Hot City's house rhythms or the dubtec stylings to be heard on Gravious' Futurist EP, the label's latest release.

Gravious - Jupiter Jazz

The final point of mention goes out to whoever's doing the mastering for these releases as, bar none, the sound quality on everything I've checked out is impeccable - not only loud but super crisp and really allowing all of the individual elements to breathe.

So, all in all, a damn good discovery and a label I'll definitely be keeping an eye on. Recent releases have all been digital only and can be purchased from the usual players such as Juno Download or Boomkat but the label also has it's own shop which you can access direct from their site.

Labels: , , , , , ,

Greater Than The Sum Of Its Parts

We're not one for blowing our own trumpets too much here at ill-ec-tro-nic but we were the first blog ever to post Moderat. That's right, back in October 2006, RAW posted a then unreleased track named 'Let Your Love Grow' which appeared on a compilation given away with the 100th issue of De:Bug magazine.

Said track went on to become an undergound anthem when it appeared on Modeselektor's second album 'Happy Birthday!'

Moderat’s formation began back in 2002 when Sascha Ring (aka Apparat) and Gernot Bronsert and Sebastian Szary (aka Modeselektor) recorded an EP for the record label BPitch Control. The making of this release was incredibly exhausting for the three of them, and at the last minute they renamed the EP “Auf Kosten der Gesundheit” (which translates to “At The Cost Of Health”). When it came time to begin working on an album, Moderat suddenly broke up.

Skip to spring 2008 and after lots of individual successes the men re-unite and decide to continue working on their album. The three guys began by renting studio space at the legendary Berlin Hansa Studios in order to record the album in analog with the help of the studio’s vintage tube technology and an old EMI console from 1972, restored especially for them. American software designer, Joshua Kit Clayton, was hired to program a superb reverb algorithm specifically for the recording process of this album.

And it shows. So many people, myself included listen in wonderment at how Modeselektor get such a 'Phat' sound to their music. The album itself is a classic combination of the Modeselektor + Apparat sound. The former's tutonic beats are once again to the fore, but this time layered with the fuzzy synth lines of Apparat which were so evident on his collaboration with Ellen Allien.

Other influences also spring out. First track 'A New Error' sounds exactly like Boards of Canada's floaty ambience before the megolithic beats drop. Elsewhere on 'Out of Sight' the beats are pure Burial with their wood block percussion. It is no surprise that Modeselektor have been influenced by the 'Dubtec' sound and Berlin's current love for all things Dubstep.

Moderat - Out Of Sight // BPitch Control Buy

The self-titled album is also be available as a limited edition DVD produced by the Berlin based artist collective Pfadfinderei, feature music videos and more exclusive content. Buy

Labels: , ,

Wam Bam Thank You (The) Man

Since all trace of my last post was unceremoniously removed from the interweb by the powers that be, I thought I'd just repost the excellent mix from Leo Zero.

I can only assume that David Bowie's record company didn't like Leo's superb remix of 'Moonage Daydream' as justification for taking it down. Personally I thought that it did Bowie a great service in promoting a classic track to those who may not have been aware of it. Just to let you know that Leo was also behind the remix of Lou Reed's 'Satellite of Love' and look what happened to that. Massive Hit. Lou Reed probably made a shit ton of money and it put him back in the charts. Everyone's happy.

Maybe the same thing is gonna happen here.

Leo Zero - Wigwam Mix

Friday, May 08, 2009

Three Halves Doesn't Make A Whole

Upon seeing the flyer for Thursday's Honest Jon's party at Plastic People with it's triple header of Mark Ernestus, DJ Pete & Sleeparchive (live) I became rather excited at the prospect of seeing three techno legends in such intimate surroundings, although I did feel a little bewildered as to why this wasn't going to be on a rather more practical Friday or Saturday night.

As half of Basic Channel / Rhythm & Sound as well as a whole host of other sub-projects, Mark Ernestus' music credentials are well and truly cemented in place as it's nigh on impossible to overstate the importance of these ventures in terms of both the original productions the pair delivered as well as the ongoing influence their sounds have across a whole manner of genres today. Given that I don't recall ever seeing Ernestus listed as a DJ on flyers and the like, I had a sneaky suspicion that he wasn't going to be a four deck wizard but I felt pretty confident that he would have some damn fine records in his box. And sure enough he did, although their shine was a little dimmed by his 'no-mixing' DJ approach and somewhat haphazard sequencing and cross-fading resulting in an almost 'school disco' type awkwardness at times as the crowd waited for the outros and intros to pass so they could resume their appreciative dancing. I'm trying to tread a little carefully here as I am such an admirer of his work and he is truly in the scene's premier league but it just felt a little strange that the razor-sharp perception of space and flow that Ernestus' productions exhibit seemed to be sadly lacking from his DJing; something I'm citing as more of a surprise than a criticism. At times though, it did feel a little as if you were watching him play records for himself on a Sunday afternoon.

DJ Pete delivered a much more structured performance and for the first of his two sets, dropped a wealth of techno treats and maintained the momentum on the floor nicely. His set later in the night took things down a different path where he displayed his new-found passion for all things dubstep. The hefty bass sounded superb on Plastic People's system and sure enough he dropped some corkers but I couldn't help but sense that it wasn't really what the crowd were expecting or indeed what they were particularly wanting as the flyer had screamed 'techno, techno, techno' at them.

Techno, however, is what they most certainly got when Roger Semsroth aka Sleeparchive stepped behind his controls as his stripped down brand of clinical audiophile sonics was just what the doctor ordered. His set was the undoubted highlight of the night and I found it much more dynamic than his performance at 2008's Bloc Weekend which was the last time I saw him. My only complaint is that I wish it had gone on for longer as I was enjoying it so much.

So, all in all, it was definitely a worthwhile night to have attended but not quite the 5 hours of audio heaven I'd been hoping for.

Sleeparchive - Hospital 03
Sleeparchive - Papercup (buy)

Labels: , , , , ,

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?