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January 30, 2005





Harry Wilfred Sherburne, September 13, 1919 - January 21, 2005.

January 21, 2005

Losing your lease

In the end, the brain retreats to its animal core, the soul cloaked behind dumb sense. Foreign bodies apply pressure, none too subtle, to squeeze out the life force -- cruel landlords exercising the owner-move-in clause who care not that the building crumbles around them. Arbitration is not an option.

January 16, 2005

Los top 40

Gustavo Lamas, un artista argentino con discos por Traum, Fragil, Onitor, y ahora el sello nacional Casa del Puente, presenta su lista de los top 40 discos del 2004... haz clic aquí a ver algunas sorpresas desde un maestro del minimalismo del cono sur. (And keep an eye out for Casa del Puente's forthcoming site, promising audio and video from their artists, who include Cecilia Amenábar, Flavio Etcheto, Audioperú, the sublime Leandro Fresco, and more.)

January 08, 2005

You got your electro-breaks in my dubstep! No, you got grime in my techno!

Gutterbreakz on "intelligent" techno, dubstep, and grime -- plus MP3s from Vex'd, Mark One, and Plasticman, corkers all.

(In other related developments, search for -- and destroy yourself with -- Plastikman's Plasticman's pummeling, minimalistic rework of none other than Alter Ego's "Rocker." Who'd-a thunk that the squealiningest anthem of the years, championed by everyone from you and me to freaking P. Diddy, for god's dake, would go sublow?)

January 06, 2005

The boys are back in town

Atlantic City bookies are putting high odds on Last Exit to finish in the top 30 in this year's Pazz and Jop poll, but that doesn't mean that Junior Boys are cashing in their chips. Jeremy Greenspan, who nightlife reporter Tricia Romano recently spotted trying out a new standup routine during the downtime in the band's set at Joe's Pub (perhaps inspired by that other techno superstar who's traded jack trax for laff tracks, Kenny Larkin), writes in to report that Junior Boys' new album is nearing completion.

"The sound has strangely solidified into a Frank Sinatra/Gary Numan/Ron Hardy kinda thing," says Greenspan -- which of course is exactly what fans were counting on. Thwarting expectations, the JBs have also finished a remix of Billie Holiday for the next installment of Verve Remixed, but before you rack your brains for a Junior Boys-appropriate pun on "God Bless the Child," consider this: Greenspan has also just completed a track for a childrens' album. No word yet whether the song is a reprise of Last Exit's cut "Teach Me How to Fight."

God bless the Junior Boys. (And take my laptop, please.)

Chart: Ewan Pearson

Ewan Pearson, the man behind some of the more crackerjack remixes to come along lately (including Depeche Mode's "Enjoy the Silence," Closer Musik's "1 2 3 No Gravity," and -- soon come -- Feist's "Inside and Out"), kindly gave me permission to repost his monthly "Enthusiasm" chart for January 2005. I've only heard three of the below tunes, which bothers me to no end. (As for the Feist mix, it's a blissed-out, graceful dub with vocals so holy that it's not just bananas, it's plantainsong.) Now I have to go wipe up the drool spill on my desk.

Ewan Pearson: Enthusiasm

1. morane - the beach / let me out [perlon]

the first fruits of a new project from markus nikolai, 'the beach' is a shuffling clavinet funk track, but it's overshadowed by 'let me out' on the b-side, which sounds something like captain beefheart with a house beat. slightly shambolic electric guitar, an affecting vocal and german disco stylings punctuated by very free chords every now combine to make this the freshest record I've heard in months.

it's not going to be an easy sell or sequence amongst the legion of tiefschwarz-a-likes clogging racks and record boxes at the moment but variety is the spice of life and records like this need to be played. and quick.

2. the visitors - the race (henrik schwarz remix) [playhouse]

the shiny detroit original has been out before on their own polish label; henrik schwarz's new school analogue house version is a brand new and quite fantastic track in itself. epic like carl craig at his best, with slap bass, organs and electronic pianos and then a ridiculous chicago ending to cap it all.

3. rammstein - keine luste (black strobe remix) [?]
black strobe - receive / play [?]

just in case you think i've gone all noodly it's time to scare the horses. the strobe give it their heaviest since 'ghostrack' with a remix of rammstein (!) and their own new single is another ebm belter. take your punishment...

4. mr negative - evacuate! [fine]

no gallic misanthrope on vocals this time out, just straight up dancefloor action. available in brutal electro and more playful italo versions, both sides rock the spot, though the latter is my favourite. arpeggiators set to stun.

5. trentemoeller - physical fraction [audiomatique]

bleepy minimal 118bpm (hooray!) electronic throb. they used to call this trance dance. quite a long time ago now, it must be said.

6. dirt crew - largo (dominic eulberg mix) [dirt crew]

the new wunderkind on the block strikes again; I actually prefer this to his ace roman flügel remix, but what do I know? played loud it pushes all the right buttons anyhow.

7. riton - closer / walk on water [get physical]

mr smithson goes to germany. take your pick from emotive vocal techno and
green velvet-ish chicago stylings. sehr güt.

8. lcd soundsystem - disco infiltrator [dfa]

james murphy brings the adenoidal party funk.

9. faithless - miss u less see u more (switch version) [cheeky]

been around for ages, but I can't stop playing this. wonky swinging house that kills everytime it's played out. best thing they've done since 'get your dub on'.

10. freaks - tweeker [mff]

"got any techno?"

11. feist - inside and out (pearson and usher remixes) [phonogram]

Last but not least some shameless self-promotion. feist was on two of my favourite albums of last year - Kings of Convenience "Riot on an Empty Street" and her own sublime "Let It Die". After being unable to schedule a mix of "Mushaboom" in time for release, me and Al Usher have mixed the Bee Gees cover "Inside and Out". There's a full bells and whistles vocal version: 104 BPM boogie with a dash of early Frankie Knuckles and for those of you that can't or won't there's an Ableton-munched electro-disco dub pushing the tempo to a hasty 117BPM. Hope you like.

January 04, 2005

Grist for the list

If I were making a top 10 list of top 10 lists, Yancey Strickler's would be my number one. Or wait... maybe that'd be number two? Read him here to untangle the hidden logic of listmaking (and stop second-guessing me already!).

January 03, 2005

Introducing: Goth & B

The first great single of 2005 comes from a former make-up artist who sang backup on OutKast's Speakerboxx/The Love Below. Tori Alamaze's "Don' Cha," produced by Cee-Lo, is a weird, mournful amalgam of R&B and goth-house -- like gospel modulated through Swayzak, or a Kompakt Pop record reconfigured for an Atlanta strip club.

It really is a strip club kinda song: it swivels and grinds at a pace seemingly much slower than its actual 120 BPM, building up button-popping suspense with every glacial side-to-side. And speaking of glaciers, the mid-range organs -- has Cee-Lo been listening to Ada or something? -- flare up like sun flashing off a blinding ice shelf; the only signs of a thaw are in the detuned ride cymbals, which soften and drip with every bar. (While we're pointing out techno analogues, they sound uncannily like the sour rides in Richie Hawtin and Steve Bug's "Low Blow".)

The track's secret crux is in the disconnect between the lyrics and the tune: the chorus goes, "Don' cha wish your girlfriend was hot like me/ Don' cha wish your girlfriend was a freak like me," but for all her sass, Alamaze sounds mostly sad, and the instrumental behind her is utterly downcast. What might have been just another pole dancer's "crunk & B" jam is, instead, something much more complicated: a funeral march for erotic love.