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April 14, 2010

Feeling: April 2010 Top Ten

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Jacob Korn, "Mirrorflip" (Dolly)
This just kills me; there's something about the way the melody and the bass wrap around each other at odd intervals that keeps catching me off guard—a little like when you find yourself tearing up unintentionally at the end of a flick. Emo.

To Rococo Rot, "Forwardness Fridays (Shackleton's West Green Rd Remix)" (Domino)
I love what Shackleton does with the organs here. Prog, baby.

Four Tet, "Sing (Floating Points Remix)" (Domino)
I failed to find the Joy Orbison remix on vinyl. That's what I thought this was, actually, when I snapped it up label un-read at Hardwax. (Did that even come out on wax?) Who cares, I won: this is even better. Like frugging down on a great, spongy expanse of moss.

Miracles Club, "Chango (White Rainbow)" (Ecstasy)
I wrote about this in my last post. Still thrilling me.

Nebraska, A Weekend on My Own EP (Rush Hour)
I wrote about this for The Wire a month or two ago (and still haven't found it on wax, dammit). "Soho Grand," "A Weekend on My Own" and "Time Has Come" remain three of my favorite deep house tracks this year. The first tune's hi-hats, Rhodes and (seemingly) electric bass seem to jump out of the speakers; for being such a chilltrack, it's got amazing heft and presence. And then "Weekend," which is almost certainly made with the raw material from "Soho," goes all jellyfish-like, in Pepe Bradock style, without ever losing its drive. "Time Has Come" seems to use more of the same, but this time it pulls out all the stops, amping up into a vocal-led tune with shades of Kemetic Just, I:Cube and Charles Webster. Can't get enough of this record.

VSQ, "This Is That" (Kalk Pets)
Hanno Leichtmann (Static, Vulva String Quartet) spins a one-bar vocal sample like cotton candy, ballooning it up with thudding piano chords, lovely contrapuntal synth lines, and a spare electro-disco rhythm. (It also has a bassline to die for.) What's amazing is how much mileage he gets out of his barrel of one-bar loops; there's nary a dull moment, as shifting lines wax and wane around the indelible center. The Efdemin remix is something else entirely, wandering a little like Tobias Freund's remixes do, slow but intense.

Basic Soul Unit, "Yellow River" (Crème Organization)
I appreciate the other tracks on this EP more than I really feel them, perhaps, but "Yellow River" is a perfect example of melodic, melancholy techno, so classic it might as well be carved in marble.

KiNK, "Rachel"/"Keys of Life"/"E79" (Ovum?)
Against all possible odds, it never feels textbook.

Recloose, "Cardiology" (Playhouse)
Loved it then, love it now. Have been pulling out quite a bit of old Recloose lately – also "Can't Take It," the Carl Craig mix. 10 years later, overdue for a rewind.

D-Train, Something's On Your Mind (Prelude, 1984)
Flea-market find. I finally get these guys.

April 05, 2010

Miracles Club

I've been away for a while, I know. So in the hopes of returning to blogging with slightly more regularity, here's the first post in what's meant to be a series highlighting favorite new releases and other sonic infatuations.

Miracles Club, Light of Love EP (iTunes)

When I first heard that Portland, OR's Honey Owens (Valet, Nudge, Jackie O Motherfucker) had a new house-music project, I was intrigued but skeptical. I love Owens' music, but something like this seemed potentially risky, especially given the current vogue for old-school piano house and acid house. Between House of House and Gavin Russom (first with Black Meteoric Star and now, the Crystal Ark), faithful revivalism and respectfully deviant revisionism are, for the moment, pretty well covered. Plus, it's probably unfair of me, but I always tend to be suspicious when musicians coming from the "indie" sphere first engage with dance music; there have been enough weak-ass crossover attempts to confirm that two very different skillsets are required.

Well, clearly my wariness was all for nought. However much the 909s and chiming piano chords may anchor Miracles Club's forthcoming 12" in tradition, there's so much more here than mere pastiche. It's definitely inspired by acid house (even though there's not much 303 to be found, if any), but the duo's own copious ideas easily carry the day. I can hear a lot of familiar inspirations in here—everything from Together's great acid-house remixes of the Durutti Column to a Seefeel-style jones for shoegazing drones. But the way they finesse all the elements together, with ostinato synths bleeding into drum-machine lines and psychedelic guitar, it gels into something way more than the sum of its parts. ("Chango" sounds almost like Emeralds might, if they signed to Rush Hour.) In the two days since I received the files, this has shot towards the top of my favorites so far this year. It's the kind of record I want to construct a setlist around.

Between this and Carlos Giffoni's No Fun Acid, it looks like "outsider" acid house might prove very fruitful in 2010.

Check out Miracles Club's blog (helpfully titled The Ecstasy Blog, just in case you weren't sure where to file the music) for streaming audio, tech geekery and more. They've also got some videos up on their Vimeo channel, but they don't begin to capture the depth of the recordings. It is pretty cool to see some live knob-twiddling, though. On their MySpace, check out "Light of Love."

JACKING HOUSE from Miracles Club on Vimeo.