Monday, March 29, 2010

Easter Fun - Fabric Competition

Apologies for the radio silence over the last couple of weeks - Langer and I ended up going on a very last minute snowboarding trip and tools were downed almost instantly with scant regard for our adoring public. Those of you with a similar passion for the white stuff may wish to keep your eyes on this - a project being run by the people Langer and I stayed with while we were away.

Anyhow, back to the music!

Easter weekend will soon be upon us and just as much of a tradition as over-indulging in chocolate is the UK's (and I'm sure numerous other countries') passion for indulging in some dancefloor mayhem over the Easter break.

As ever, Fabric has lineups to die for and not being content with being host to a killer beat-laden party on the Friday (including our mate Goodhand and his Numbers collective), Saturday sees Detroit legends Robert Hood and Kenny Larkin hit Room Two with Cassy, Daniel Bell and some other prominet house and techno stars also being on the bill. Check out the full weekend lineup here.

It's been a while since the last one, but Fabric has once again been kind enough to offer us some freebies to give away. We have two pairs of tickets up for grabs and to be in with a chance of winning just e-mail us at with the answer to the following question.

Q) Which legendary Detroit techno / electro collective was Robert Hood an early member of?

Entries by midday this Thursday please.

For those of you otherwise engaged this weekend here's a little taster of what you may be missing out on.

First up is a Robert Hood live set from last year - It think this was pretty soon after Hood started performing live - I didn't witness it first hand but to be honest the recordng didn't blow me away like I thought it might do. It's got plenty of his trademark tough and incredibly stripped productions and therefore there's some great moments in it but I was expecting the flow to be a little better - the gaps in the recording certainly don't help this - I assume these were filled with whoops & hollers as the crowd on the night lapped it all up. I keep meaning to edit the gaps out...

Robert Hood (Live) // Jan 2009

Next up is a couple of stone cold classics from Mr Larkin. he's always been one of my favourite Detroit producers but he never seems to get quite as many press inches as some of his peers (presumably not helped by him taking a sabbatical from techno at the turn of the century to pursue an alternative career in comedy). Some of his early productions are simply mind-blowing and when I saw him DJ several years ago I enjoyed it immensely too.

Dark Comedy - War of the Worlds
// Art of Dance (1992)
Kenny Larkin - Metaphor // R&S (1995)

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Friday, March 12, 2010

Kruzin' On

As I mentioned shortly after it's release, LJ Kruzer's Manhood & Electronics is a truly delightful slice of ambient electronics perfectly suited to a spot of horizontal listening. However, as I'm sure you've gathered by now, I also have rather a penchant for doing the techno shuffle so was excited to learn that select cuts from the LP were being given the remix treatment with the express intention being to give them a little dancefloor oomph.

The Manhood & Electronics EP comprises two remixes each of both Poil and Tam with all of the tracks coming from different producers. TVO and Trademark tackle Tam and both versions follow a similar formula whereby the original ambient melodies form the backdrop of the revised track whilst kick drums plus additional percussive and synth elements have been added to provide the danceability (as you would expect!). I've not heard any of Trademark's work before so wasn't really sure what to expect but their version is a kind of laid back tech-house affair albeit with a bit of a disco vibe - pleasant enough but not really my thing. TVO's Dead Weight mix is much more up my street - truer to the electronica vibe of the source material and steeped in atmoshperics and tension. The kick doesn't drop until the 2 minute mark and then only stays for a while coming back in every now and again for a small flutter of activity to punctuate the dense orchestral tapestry TVO has a fondness for weaving.

<a href="">Tam (<span class="blsp-spelling-error" id="SPELLING_ERROR_14">TVO</span> Dead Weight mix) by <span class="blsp-spelling-error" id="SPELLING_ERROR_15">LJ</span> <span class="blsp-spelling-error" id="SPELLING_ERROR_16">Kruzer</span></a>

The remixes of Poil are handled by Cyan341 and Ukkonen and again both bring something very different to the table. Cyan's341 mix is a heads down minimal workout with little resemblance to the original version although the fact that the album version provides some of the few percussive moments of the original LP it's probably fitting that such a beat-laden version features on the remix package. Ukkonen's version makes good use of Kruzer's fondness for pianos and is more in keeping with the overall feeling of the original source material even though things are glitched up a bit here. Ukkonen is another artist I've not come across before but apparently hails from Finland and has releases due out on both Uncharted Audio and Rednetic later this year. At a shade under three and half minutes, this initial glimpse into the working's of this producer left me very hungry to hear more so we were particularly delighted when Uncharted Audio offered us another of his tracks as a blog exclusive.

Ukkonen's Tam remix doesn't form part of the official remix package but is provided here for your listening pleasure. Similar in feel to his Poil remix but with a 4/4 structure this time, this mix provides another interesting take on the original and I can only assume it missed out on inclusion on the full release by a whisker. All in all then, this remix EP is a very worthy accompaniment to the original long player and provides enjoyable dancefloor moments whilst helping to expose LJ Kruzer's music to new audiences and new environments.

The digital version is available now and the limited vinyl edition was due out this week too but has been delayed. However, the nice folk at Uncharted Audio are doing a great deal whereby if you pre-order the vinyl direct from them now, they'll give you the digital release while you're waiting for the wax to arrive - can't say fairer than that!

LJ Kruzer - Tam (Ukkonen Remix) // Blog Exclusive

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Saturday, March 06, 2010

Time To Boogy

The relevance of the mix CD in today's times of frequently flowing and freely available podcasts is a subject which gets debated frequently but my stance on it is simple: if the mix is good then the CD is worth buying. Excellent examples of such worthy purchases were highlighted last month in Langer's double headed Fabric feature and the latest addition to the Boogybytes series is another such case in point. Boogybytes Vol.05 is mixed by Seth Troxler and is the first in the Boogybytes series not to be put together by one of the core BPitch roster and if this was done as a toe dipping experiment then Ellen Allien must surely be pleased with the results.

Setting out with an elongated and rather captivating intro that spans the first three tracks, the party vibe finally drops with the rather ubiquitous The Soul Part II (a track I'm not actually that keen on) before starting the mix's journey through a variety of interesting changes in pace and musical direction. The first half of the mix has an underlying house vibe but invariably with a deep techy undercurrent as exhibited on tracks such as Deniz Kurtel's remix of Fables and Fairytales. Things head into more minimal territory around the halfway mark, spearheaded by Alex Delano's Molar One and also featuring the likes of Hawtin, Hearthrob and Matthew Dear (in his Jabberjaw guise) before lightening up again with the excellent Birds and Souls and then finishing with a flurry of attention grabbing tracks including cuts from Roman Fluegel and Fever Ray.

In isolation, most of the tracks on this mix probably wouldn't get me particularly excited but Troxler's skill in selecting tracks that work well together and using them to move around the playing field and keep things interesting is what really makes this a worthy purchase and on the strength of this outing it's easy to see why Troxler is gaining a growing reputation as a DJ of considerable note.

The mix doesn't seem to be in all the usual places just yet e.g. Boomkat but you can pick up a copy at Phonica.

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