Aria: February Top 10
Going like gangbusters, I've been neglecting the blog while here in Berlin. Instead I've been doing lots of interviews—keep your eyes peeled for a minor byline explosion in the coming month—plus working on loads of music, some for release and some for the love of noisemaking, so far. (Most immediately, stay tuned for a remix of Guillaume & the Coutu Dumonts' sublime "Les Gans," coming soon from Musique Risquée; another remix, for a different artist, on a brand-new label, will hopefully be following soon. And there's even a curveball or two in the works: hello rock remix!) And, of course, I've been out and about a bit, as I detail in this month's Month in Techno column.
Meanwhile, the early successes of 2008 are starting to pile up. Here's a February Top 10 list, with quite a bit of it unreleased, to whet your appetites.
Los Updates, "Pictures of You (Tobias Remix)" (Cadenza)
Los Updates are Jorge Gonzales (of Chilean rockers Los Prisioneros, and also of the Gonzalo Martinez project alongside Martin Schopf, aka Dandy Jack) and friends; the upcoming release from Cadenza features Gonzalez being remixed by Ricardo Villalobos, Luciano, Dandy Jack, et al. Welcome is the fact that the package includes a 13-minute version of "4 Wheel Drive," my favorite cut off Villalobos' Fabric 36; more welcome still is this remix by Tobias Freund. I heard it in his studio a month or so back and was promptly floored, but I couldn't be sure it wasn't just the Kreuzberg kind that was getting my ears in excellent condition. Nope. Wonky deep house with robot soul to spare and more color than I've heard in an "electronic" record since Sun Electric… or Thomas Dolby. Brilliant. And 100% pop. My #1 track of 2008 so far.
Tuomi, "Expense of Spirit" (Macro)
A group project featuring voice, piano, strings, and electronics is the first proper signing to Stefan Goldmann and Finn Johanssen's Macro imprint, the label responsible for last year's amazing Lunatic Fringe EP. The title track starts off as a charmingly wonky (the new meme for 2008?) bit of deep house and blossoms into a flat-out gorgeous psychedelic torch song by the end.
Discodeine, "Tema di Gamma" (DIRTY)
French editerrorists DIRTY tap Discodeine, aka Pilooski and Pentile, for the first "proper" release on the label, and it's a corker. Prepared piano, sour harmonics, and battered bell tones melt together into an alloy fondue laced with LSD. (Hear it on Pitchfork here).
François K, "Road of Life (Quiet Village Dub)" (Wave)
I'd forgotten how good this track was until I was reminded of its very existence by Quiet Village themselves yesterday (lovely guys, btw). Imagine Radio Slave remixing Konono No. 1 and you'll get the idea.
Extrawelt, "DistTheme" (Kompass Musik)
Someone's patch cables are on fire. Sounds like Panasonic recording for Border Community, which in my book is one of those heaven-made matches you can only dream about.
Lee Jones, "Aria (Tiger Stripes Remix)" (Aus)
Nothing fancy—just tight, shuffly minimal house positively slathered with unexpected tone color: the perfection of an ideal type.
Goldfrapp, "A&E (Hercules and Love Affair Remix)" (Mute)
The Gui Boratto remix is just about what you'd expect, complete with vocals so overblown I wouldn't be surprised to hear the track played in Paul Van Dyk sets. But Hercules and Love Affair strips it down to a slow and spindly grind, complete with African chants, church bells, and overheated 909s. His forthcoming album is also genius: for once, believe the hype.
Gadi Mizrahi, I Know EP (Wolf + Lamb)
The closest anyone has come to replicating the spirit of Closer Musik since that group's untimely demise? Mournful pads, tumbling hand drums, whispers, dub delay, beats that stray far from the 4/4, plus a great Ryan Crosson remix. If you thought Wolf + Lamb just threw good parties, think again.
Andomat 3000, "BND2 (Luke Solomon Remix)" (Four:Twenty)
Ando and Solomon have done a spate of mutual remixes recently, and one is struck by how far each seems to be pushing the other. I was always a fan of Music for Freaks, but it's hard to believe that this is the same Luke Solomon, both here and on his fantastic solo album debut for REKIDS.
Arne Michel, "Danke / Good Bye (Chat Noir Remix)" (Lan Muzic)
My labelmate Arne Michel comes up with a deep and shoomping slab of melodic house that wouldn't sound out of place on Connaisseur or Border Community; Pan-Pot's Tassilo gives it that extra bit of heft. I expect to reach for this one frequently.