Sunday, February 21, 2010

Dancefloor Delights

More goodness from the Stroboscopic Artefacts camp to kick things off for today. This time it's from the label's digital only arm and their beta sampler. The release showcases a more diverse output than the tracks I've heard on the label's vinyl offerings and rather than watering down the label's techno focus it simply pushes their agenda into house, minimal, dub techno and even dubstep territories. Each of the four cuts on offer comes from a different producer and is of a high standard but for me it's the dark steppa's filth of Perc's 'Wooden Art' that steals the show here with an uncompromising excursion into tough, rigid percussion and dark, haunting FX although Frank Martiniq is another worthy contender for top billing with his enchanting dub techno epic 'My Visor'.

We've been asked not to post full tracks for this one but here's a couple of samples from our favourite cuts on the EP.

Perc - Wooden Art (Sample)
// Stroboscopic Artefacts
Frank Martiniq - My Visor (Sample) // Stroboscopic Artefacts

You can pick up a copy of the sampler here.

Next up today comes something that will need little introduction for anyone who's been into techno for any length of time or knows of its history. Plus 8 Records was founded in 1990 by Richie Hawtin and John Aquaviva and is without doubt one of the most important techno labels of its time. As well as putting out a plethora of releases involving Aquaviva and Hawtin across a variety of aliases, it was also home to a lot of Speedy J's work throughout the 90s as well as other great releases from the likes of Dan Bell, Kenny Larkin and Vapourspace to name but a few.

To celebrate the label's 20th birthday it released a special remix package at the end of last year where modern day stars were invited to remix the label's back catalogue. Across 22 tracks, the artists list reads like a who's who of techno's history both past and present and the track selections on offer provide some interesting takes on the classic originals. Taking such a revered body of work and trying to improve on it is always going to be a challenging task and certainly where the compilation succeeds is in adjusting the original tempos and sounds to fit modern day dancefloors. While the overall package is a solid enough offering, it lacks any real killer moments though and in my mind at least it's beauty stems largely from the remnants of source material that bring a lump to the throat as the they cause memories to be unlocked. Definitely worth checking though.

Teste - The Wipe (Rex Sepulveda Remix) // Plus 8

Plus 8 - The Remixes is available from the usual digital outlets including Zero".

One thing that's changed a lot in 25 years of dance music is the way records sound these days. When done properly, modern day production techniques certainly make your ears prick up even if these same techniques are often derided for replacing the raw soul and passion associated with records from yesteryear. While not particularly being of a tempo or beat structure that I usually lean to, there's something about Tim Xavier and Camea's Velvet on Canvas release that really does it for me. I think it's the overall production style that I like; the way that everything is so warm and full sounding and where the groove just carries you - I can't quite put my finger on it but I know that I like it.

EDIT: Track Removed by Request

Pick up a copy at Juno.

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Saturday, February 13, 2010

Belated Introduction

Despite being going since 2008, the Prologue label only came to my attention recently. The first release to make me take note, was Iori's Unknown Place EP as I had recently come across his work on Galaxy, the debut release on the Phonica White series. Across both of these releases, Iori has made his agenda pretty clear with a heavy focus on post Basic Channel dub techno and his sound palette is warm, deep and very immersive. My one criticism of his work is that his tracks have a tendency to take hypnotic minimalism a little too far and moving towards a more verse-chorus-verse type structure rather than the minimal pattern evolution he seems to favour, would, in my mind at least, elevate his work to the next level.

Iori - Magnetic // Prologue buy

Cio D'or is a more established name, having put out a string of 12s over the last 5 or so years. Die Faser is her debut album and puts together a collection of tracks linked largely by a common theme of experimentation with reverb and delay. The overall result is pleasing, reminding me in parts of Pantha Du Prince's work albeit with a more minimal dancefloor edge. Whether it hangs together that well as an album is something that I'm not too sure of as the danceflooor focus of many of the tracks gives an overall feel more akin to a doublepack 12" release although as this has come out in digital format only I guess this is something a little hard to achieve! For the digital jocks out there though, this minor quibble of mine isn't going to make much difference as the key thing here is that there's plenty of tasty cuts to weave into your sets.

Cio D'or - Brokat
// Prologue buy

Donato Dozzy has been causing quite a stir on the blogosphere, not least as the mighty mnml ssgs has put him on a pedestal as one of the best DJs in the world right now. Having checked out some of his online mixes as well as having seen him play at Bleep 43 last year, it's pretty clear that anyone with a penchant for deep, thoughtful electronics is going to take great pleasure from checking out this guy's work behind the decks. He's also got a healthy production history under his belt and I'm a little ashamed to say that I'm not too familiar with this side of his work. On the In Vaders EP, Dozzy teams up with Dino Sabatini to deliver a pair of deep techno cuts that are complemented by an additional track from Sabatini and chums in their Modern Heads guise. The title track is definitely the dancefloor killer here with a rolling percussive groove and skittery effects providing a platform for the arcade-style bleeps that no doubt provide the inspiration for the title. Nocturnal is a much more sedate affair based on Sähkö style minimalism perfect for headphone listening and Mooger mixes thick ambience with tough Berghainesque percussion to deliver a slowly-evolving tool filled with subtle twists and turns to keep your ears pricked up.

Donato Dozzy & Dino Sabatini - In Vaders // Prologue

The In Vaders EP is scehduled for release on 19th Feb - check out a full preview here.

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Sunday, February 07, 2010

Fabric Hits A Century

The Fabric and Fabriclive mix series have just reached their half century each and continue to push the envelope exploring new sonic territories. Fabric could have easily sat back and ploughed the same old furrow as other so-called 'superclubs' by putting out generic mixes from the scenes trusted big hitters. However they have gone the other route and keep on championing rising talents.

The two new mixes come from Martyn and D-Bridge & Instra:Mental. Martyn can be considered now to be a big name, however Fabric is still the first label to release mix by the artist and to give him the honour of number 50 says something about their attitude. Although considered to be a Dubstep artist, Martyn has always incorporated many more influences than straight up Bass music. His mix starts off with the Prince/Outkast R&B of Hudson Mohawke then drifts through 2-step to Dubstep to Techno. It's a varied mix of beats which would normally be reserved for the Fabriclive nights but it shows just how much the House and Techno community has opened up to dubstep that they can now sit side by side on Fabric's main Saturday 4/4 centric night.

Martyn - Hear Me (Zomby Mix)
// 3024 Buy

Fabric 50 mixed by Martyn is out now. Buy

EDIT - Martyn has also done a promo mix to accompany the official release - check it out here.

The real revelation for me though came when listening to D-Bridge & Instra:Mental present Autonomic. After being mesmerised by the emotive 'Watching You' by Instra:Mental from last year, this mix just blew me away. What Instra:Mental & D-Bridge have created is a new take on Dubstep fused with a half-step minimal Drum & Bass tempo to create a brand new sound for the 2010s.

“There was no space in drum & bass, it was just running twenty breaks on top of each other, so we thought about what we could do, because what we were making was quite minimalistic in some ways; we decided to not fill the gaps." - Instra:Mental

The mix contains many tracks from the artists themselves but also many of Dubstep's leading lights working at a Drum & Bass tempo. Tracks from the likes of Scuba, Skream and Distance slot perfectly in the mix.

This will be a mix that is going to get caned all year and is a breath of fresh air from the D&B scene which I personally though had lost it's creativity long ago. Highly Recommended.

Instra:Mental - Watching You // Nonplus+ Buy

Fabriclive 50 will be released on February 15th (USA March 23rd)

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