Music Reviews



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Artist: youANDme
Title: mouche
Format: 12"
Label: Dub2Dust (@)
Distributor: DBH
Rated: *****
A graceful dub-flavoured tech-house proposal is ready to come on decks from Frankfurt-based vynil label, founded by Gabriel Le Mar and Carsten Schorr, whose publishing efforts are focusing on possible declensions of a dub-derived sounds within techno and house rhythmical patterns. Behind the moniker youANDme, there are two Berlin-based djs and producer, Martin Mueller and Daniel Stroeter, veterans of that scene as they roll interesting musical hybrids since 1995, which magnetized many partygoers and renowned labels such as Cocoon, Compost, 2020Vision, Ornaments, Platzhirsch and many others. On "mouche" (French word meaning "flight"), they let listeners hovering in the air with unobtrusive and well-balanced rhytmical oscillations, frothy echoes and icy ascending samples, so that it seems that there's a sensorial conflict between dynamics which gradually get warmer and warmer by taking possession of the body and inducing almost automatically some movements and sonic breeze which become subject to frostbite, but everyone knows what the mixing of warm and cold currents can cause... "Electric Dub Remix" by skilled dj Luke Hess on B-side immediately kicks with crunchy and regular beats, which sound remarkably influenced by typical Detroit techno progressions (it's quite normal if you consider that Luke is a dj born in metropolitan area of Detroit and musically grown in the legendary mid-90ies warehouse parties there, an influence tempered by a scientific approach on sound coming from his background in engineering and mathematics), the most notable additive to the track, which keep original aerodynamics properties intact.
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anymore
Artist: M. Marchoff & MJ Caroline
Title: Voxfields
Format: CD
Label: Zoharum (@)
This release is a strange album. Completely constructed upon field recordings is far away from postcard-like sounds of some strange place but closer to evocative industrial soundscapes.
"Voxfields" opens this release with a factory's siren that underlines the oppressive soundscape made out of the field recordings. "Voxfields II" is a short interlude to the next proper track of this album "Voxfields III" with some sparse drones above a sort of rhythm constructed with small noises. "Voxfields IV" is based on metallic rhythmic sounds in a quiet environment while "Voxfields V" deals with metallic resonances. "Voxfields VI" close this release with a sort of dark ambient soundscape ending in a complete silence.
This work made by Marek Marchoff and MJ Caroline is perhaps too particular to be rated with a number between 1 and 5. Adventurous in this search of an industrial way of constructing a field recording album could be a revealing or a boring listening. It depends on the curiosity of the listener.
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Artist: Gtronic
Title: Sergeant Bass EP
Format: 12"
Label: Dim Mak (@)
Distributor: Downtown Music
Rated: *****
I thought that samples of military snares and similar references in dance music were a little bit old-fashioned, especially after many stylists spoke out for the hoped disappearance of combat jackets, helmets, camouflage trousers, admiral coats, uniforms and insignia from wardrobes, arguably related to that smelling-like-teen-spirit feeling of being enlisted by strict rules of society - maybe many workers, retirees, businessmen or jobless people are feeling the same for the heavy tax regimes and the general rising of cost-of-living indexes related to financial crisis, even if such a situation could result in a feeling of belonging to a firing squad -. However that may be, many techno followers are joining to the rowdy forces of Gregory Grauwels aka Gtronic, a young techno maker dealing with the rougher and more contagious side of hard techno and the assault he normally mounts is sensorial as confirmed by this hard-ditting EP, wisely titled "Sergeant Bass" and issued by Steve Aoki's label Dim Mak- he still needs some seniority to reach golden stripes and gleaming medals, but he looks like quite resolute as he says with ogre-like voice in the title track between pasty bass pulses, harsh cuts and sharp sounds -. After he sets himself the target, Gtronic grinds his weaponry to reach the goal: military snares and dirty techno sounds in "March of Evil" are going to inflame the army (the snares used a long time ago by Dutchman Hans Weekhout's brain child Capricorn in "20Hz", which could came to listener's mind, will appear stuff for washouts) and a session of hard training has been scheduled on course sonic surfaces and whirling skretches of "Bubba", a sort of reminder of the dynamics which made Gtronic sound so notorious and beloved. An instrumental version of "Sergeant bass" has been included in the Ep for the sadic pleasure of lieutenants, who are going to recruit new forces in many clubs of the planet. Mission is going to be accomplished.
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Artist: Stefan Paulus (@)
Title: Becoming-Dissolve
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: Earth Mantra
Rated: *****
The author of this release, Stefan Paulus, conveniently calls his sonic stuff by using the expression "psychogeography drifts", a reminder of the notorious method for investigation on surrounding reality as well as an eccentric approach to the studies of a place, defined by radical theorist Guy Debord, and while listening this contemporary sonic "flaneur"'s "Becoming-Dissolve" and in spite of the theoretical limits of such a method, which have been recognised by its inventor, some words by Debord himself look like having been echoed back by Stefan's sound: "When freedom is practiced in a closed circle, it fades into a dream, becomes a mere image of itself. The ambiance of play is by nature unstable. At any moment, "ordinary life" may prevail once again. The geographical limitation of play is even more striking than its temporal limitation. Every game takes place within the boundaries of its own spatial domain". The so-called "derive" resounds in the three moments of this becoming, a kind of narrative sequence of long-lasting field recordings which have been injected with entrancing sine waves, electronic rarefied atmospheres and humoral resonances so that it seems an emphatic cruise across a nebula of daily aural stimulations: the overwhelming solipsism combined with a certain feeling of self-alienating during a train trip in "Becoming-Endless", the glacial lethargy and the freezing surges in "Becoming-Imperceptible", the entrancing absorption of the ego within a natural landscape, emphasized by heavy rain, nocturnal chirring of cicadas and the blowing of strong winds over a wintry land, in "Becoming-Molecular" are the daydreaming stages of this suggestive dissolving. "Becoming-Dissolve" is available for free on Earth Mantra's net-label web-site.
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Artist: VV.AA. (@)
Title: Tectonic Plates 3
Format: CD
Label: Tectonic Recordings (@)
Rated: *****
Tectonic Recordings has had a formative influence on the evolution of Dubstep and its various bass-y tributaries. Run by Rob Ellis, aka DJ Pinch, over they years they have released a slew of classic Dubstep records by the likes of 2562, Distance, Skream! & Benga. It is fitting that on this most recent installment of the Tectonic Plates compilations, that they freeze and take stock of the current state of the bass.

Over the course of 13 tracks, it is possible to hear and identify many mutant strains of late-night LFO tweaking; from the now classic sub-woofer shredding of Kryptic Minds' "The Talisman," through the hypnotic tribalism of Tunnidge's "Universal" to the ends of an ATARI universe of Ginz's "Chrome". It draws a straight line straight from the earliest dubstep sounds, like Burial and Kode 9's wailing ghost divas and half-tempo locked grooves, to Skrillex's laser eyes and monster drops. Most of the tracks keep to the consistent 140 BPM, which makes for a smooth listening experience, well sequenced and well produced. There is also a pervasive mournful mood, brought on by heart-tugging strings, that harken back to the earliest days of dubstep, that sense of melancholy and immanent dread. Easy on the ears. Some of the tracks seem like works in progress, like Kevin McPhee's "Outs," which sounds like a dubplate rushed hot to the presses to someone's DJ friend, which seems like techno in its purest forms, utilitarian jams to make people dance.

In this day and age of media overload, trusted labels and selectors are more important than ever, and Pinch has been on the scene since the get go. Not every track on Tectonic Plates is essential listening, just like any DJ mix anywhere, but any of them would go over the for the late night faithful. Its interesting to speculate on where bass music will go from here.
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