« March 2006 | Main | May 2006 »

April 26, 2006

More corkscrews

Given that I keep bumping up against "You Must Be this Tall to Ride the Internet" signs, blogging has been difficult of late. But I know that you, my Pitchfork faithful, will be visiting today, so I leave you with a quick wrap-up of four must-have releases from Zürich's always excellent Bruchstuecke label.

Galoppierende Zuversicht, Chnobli EP 12"
Bang Goes Stola EP 12"
Stryo2000, Stecker EP 12"
Roli Widmer / Styro2000, Chasperli EP 12"
(All releases available from Kompakt-MP3 and Beatport).

Stryo2000 and Roli Widmer (aka Bang Goes), together known as Galoppierende Zuversicht — the kit-building, improvisatory live techno act that took MUTEK, NYC and SF by storm last summer — dust off their doomsday machines to deliver three 12"s and one 10" under various aliases, with all tracks in the fairly-great to mindblowing categories. GZ's long, recorded-live A-side cut, "Erdschuber," is a heaving beast with black-ice syncopations and a Zamboni of a bassline, plus a healthy dose of Latin swing connecting them to erstwhile Swiss compatriot Luciano. Are trombones going to be the big motif for 2006? (Cf. Pantytec, Villalobos mix of Burial Mix.) Roli's solo cuts range from minimal, focused grooves to Technicolor cartoony ho-downs; clatter is the name of the game. Stryo drops two dark, heavily syncopated tools pockmarked with stray voices and scattershot rolls plus one almost Detroitish cut — if Detroit artists started listening to Raymond Scott for inspiration, maybe. Finally, on a limited-to-500 10", each artist takes a solo crack at even madder fare. Stryo's "Morgens Um Elf" (11 a.m.), according to the press release, documents an afterparty getting raided at the 11th hour, as it were, pulling itself slowly to pieces as a woman asks, "Where do we go now?" Roli, meanwhile, turns out the scariest cut since Motiivi:Tuntematon's "1939" — this one, though, isn't a buzz-bomb but a chemical attack that suffuses the atmosphere and plants lung-mines that explode with every gasp. Apparently the substance is laughing gas: the infotext cites the vocals as being a children's fairytale, a "Punch and Judy radioplay," that's been re-cut to provide "an absurd trip into drug users' attitudes and slang…. When Roli Widmer played it for the first time in Zurich, back in 1995, the floor exploded with laughter, which is an exception to the rule — the rule being a lack of humour in the club scene. That's the other reason why the release is limited." But you don't have to dig "funny music" to be seduced by this. Certainly from a non-Swiss-German speaker's perspective, the 11-year-old track isn't "funny ha-ha" but "funny uh-oh," a nail-biting, knuckleball that goes right to the gut.

April 03, 2006

Sing me Spanish telco

Three months into my "new" apartment and I'm still awaiting the installation of DSL. Doesn't Jazztel want my money? I've been trying to give it to them since December, eager fistfuls of fresh Euros ripe for the picking. Sadly, humor rarely translates across the language barrier, so all my "Take my money, please!" jokes have fallen flat when speaking to customer service reps.

The good news is that I can occasionally connect from the ample terrace out back; the bad news is that spring is slow coming, and my fingers are very cold. Plus I'm getting paranoid about just whose un-password-protected wi-fi I'm filching. I just spied a guy in the building opposite, watching me through his window as he talked on a wireless phone. For a second I thought he might be calling in an airstrike (there were police choppers hovering overhead just this weekend, I swear).

I gotta stop watching 24.

(Predictably, I lost my connection somewhere midway through writing this useless post. Last night, I spent about an hour and a half resetting my Airport, trying to mail in my "Critical Beats" column for the month. The cat sitting on my lap helped keep me from freezing, but it damn near chewed through my headphone cable in the process. Kids, nothing in life is free.)