NEW ARRIVALS AND RESTOCKS FRIDAY, APRIL 4
thanks for looking.
welp, it would seem april shows are upon us here in PHL… thus making it a poor weekend for outdoor activities, but ‘round here we see it as a golden opportunity for you all to catch up with some vinyl purchasing (!)… you’ll notice this weeks list is a touch light on the rock equation, that is if you consider the franklin dbl lp on cocodrilo easy listening… it’s not. and besides did you see last weeks list? rock was well rep’d there… almost as well rep’d as the new and restocked noise titles on this weeks list. more olde english spelling bee and no fun productions restocks as well as new titles from mouthus, hototogisu, kranky records, magik markers and more… got the ethiopian instrumental hits on l’arome back in (as well as the other *essential* ethiopian titles on said label), this one was outta print for a spell. it’s a good one, don’t miss out again. more nigerian funk/disco on soundway; some new dubstep titles (plus a surprise restock of the razor x prods dbl lp!!!), and tons *tons* of new dance imports! come on by and check em out!
as always, many of the titles are in very limited quantity, so if you're interested in anything listed below, feel free to call or email me, I will gladly hold items for up to a week.
prices do not include shipping and handling. for those of you shipping within the continental united states I offer a 5.00usd flat shipping rate for any amount of records and/or compact discs. shipping cost for international orders are calculated on an order by order basis. payments for orders can be made via paypal or with a credit card by telephone between 12-6pm/est.
i also offer bike messanger service via timecycle couriers. for the low cost of 10.00usd i can deliver any amount of records and/or cds you wish to purchase to your center city philadelphia location (this includes some parts of south, west and north philadelphia) within two hours (and for those of you who need your records even faster, we also offer ‘rush’ service for the low flat rate of 20.00usd for any amount of records/cds delivered to you within one hour). of course, we are still more than happy to ship records via the usps within philadelphia. as with the international shipments, orders placed before 5pm/est will ship out that evening and should reach their destination by the following day.
ROCK, POP AND PSYCHEDELIC
FRANKLIN- LIFE CIRCLE 2LP (cocodrilo, spain)
*Franklin were one of the first underground bands from Spain, formed in the late '60s by some of the best musicians based in Madrid at the time. Fuelled by the killer guitars of Pablo Weeber and Antonio Gª De Diego, they only recorded two sought after & excellent hard-psych 45s (the first one, containing their psyched to the max cover of the Stones 'Satisfaction' was recently included on the Andergraun Vibrations comp). In 1974, the band recorded a whole album which was never released until now. Their new line-up for those sessions featured two drummers and a new keyboard player. Life Circle is a conceptual album which sounds more prog-rock than their previous 45s, in fact we must say this is a must for anyone into Spanish progressive sounds. Nine tracks full of hard guitar, mini-Moog, Mellotron, analog keyboards, some spacey and experimental-symphonic passages, English vocals. Titles like 'Renaissance,' 'Intro for Cosmic Body,' 'Takeoff.' Double vinyl set, 500 copies limited, featuring the whole Franklin output: their two 45s, the unreleased Life Circle album remastered from the master tapes and a couple of rare live tracks. Includes insert with liner notes and photos.
PUNK AND POST-PUNK
SUICIDE- SUICIDE LP (red star, usa)
*restocked… Official 1999 reissue of the first Suicide LP from 1977, on the original Red Star label. Digitally remastered, iconic cover art intact. Beyond-essential late '70s underground listening which has carried near boundless influence. Suicide were Alan Vega (voice) and Martin Rev (electronics). Classic punk-electronic trance that sounds as intense and vivid as ever and unlike some of their peers from the era, still as dangerously futuristic. This edition contains two extra tracks not on the original LP: a remix of Cheree, and Keep Your Dreams.
AVANT GARDE AND NOISE
SUTCLIFFE JUGEND- TRANSGRESSION LP (dogma chase, japan)
*Dogma Chase proud to announce the new album of the true innovative power electronics band from uk. Sutcliffe jugend transgression follows this is the truth on ground fault recordings and Hospital Productions. It comes absolutely standing and disturbing electronics noise which is thorough aggressiveness and total directly fierce vocals. Its tension is ultra violent including seditious for all of need it. We are sure that you feel strongly again they are still outstanding and are growing toward into the living truth. We would like to dedicate it for all of the human living with strength that continue to be honest and real NOISE fanatics. This release was sold at their first Japan tour in April. It comes on pure white vinyl with a A4 sized insert in textual sleeve with embossed band name. Limited to 500 copies.
HOTOTOGISU- UNDER THE ROSE LP (heavy blossom, usa)
*Hototogisu’s first lp release on their own imprint Heavy Blossom! Under the Rose is a pair of incantations for the dark and vengeful animal spirits. Sung in two parts Malignant Coronation and Origami Skulls are blackened arias, dizzying vortexes and canyons of screams, guitars and chaotic rhythms. Arising from this richly recorded and mastered vinyl slab come black tarpits of malevolence and savage beauty, harking back to a pre-Christian universe of animating spirits and tutelary daemons . Comes in black jacket with a full color photograph attached to the front cover and thickly inked silk-screened backs. Edition of 600.
STARS OF THE LID- THE TIRED SOUNDS OF STARS OF THE LID 3LP (kranky, usa)
*repressed… Are there other earthling-conjured soundworks rivaling the majesty of Henry Flynt's minimalist hillbilly fiddle fantasias or the heavens-rending power of Messiaen's works for organ? Undoubtedly, else why bother listening. But the only thing speaking at us right now from these charmed regions are the celestial airs of these Stars of the Lid. Alternately lulling and wielding a potency that wholly escapes 'experimental' musics, sotl bring big, whomping chunks of sonic firmament with a sustaining, life-affirming sweep. For the most part the latest sotl missive offers sound sources which refuse to readily reveal themselves. Treated strings, organ or backwards tubular bell runs -- it's simply a sublime chorus of instrument voices, irresistible as the undertow. Also gurgling up in the mix are whimpering pups, shuffling feet, Dictaphone-preserved foreign lecture hall blather, a city bus shouldering to an unsteady stop -- common enough stuff, but rendered here as the sounds of civilization heard distantly, the human receiver filtering everything through a palpable dis-ease that bespeaks a Higher yearning. -- Dean Blackwood
STARS OF THE LID- STARS OF THE LID AND THEIR REFINEMENT OF THE DECLINE 3LP (kranky, usa)
*repressed… The long awaited new album from Stars of the Lid is finally ready for your sonic immersion. Painstakingly recorded, processed and assembled over the last five years, sotl once again deliver a massive work filling two compact discs and three vinyl albums, clocking in at over two hours. While most albums of this length would be considered tedious at best, sotl are arguably the only contemporary composers who can seemingly alter the time-space continuum simply through the playback of their organized sound. They take time itself and stretch, compress and turn it inside out, altering what would otherwise be an arduous test of nerves into an interlude of half awake dreams that ends too soon. In this album, sotl picks up where The Tired Sounds Of... left off with an emphasis on melodic development, moving their epic soundscapes beyond mere drone and subsequently frustrating all the typical ambient cliches associated with their music. Perhaps the best references for this current work would be found in the score to the film Le Mepris by Georges Delerue, the orchestral works of Zbigniew Preisner, or the 1958 CSO/ Fritz Reiner recording of Hovhaness' Mysterious Mountain, specifically the third movement. But in the final analysis, such comparisons are superfluous at best, as Stars of the Lid have created a musical universe in which they are the sole inhabitant. Simply put, this album is a masterpiece.
DEAD C/HI GOD PEOPLE- SPLIT LP (nervous jerk, australia)
*restocked… debut release from new Australian label Nervous Jerk (Formally Art School Dropout records). Amazing split lp by New Zealand free noise legends Dead C and local heroes of surreal theatre, world damage and spaced rock The Hi God People. Dead C provide 2 tracks taken from their ATP show in LA 2002. Starts of with a suprisingly gentle and repetitive rock mantra, ends in punk noise, feedback wall of squall - killer! Hi God supply 3 tracks - a mind blinding mix of sermonic atmosphere, space chug, tribal clunk and glorious plunk. All up a genius paring of 2 of the southern hemispheres finest: Noise, trance, rock, feedback, fun, love and weirdness all wrapped in a stunning silk-screened sleeve by Dylan Mattoral (snawklor, hi god). Local record of the year.... ?" - Synaethesia. "Pairing of northern suburbs conceptual improv performance art collective and New Zealand noise addicts of a 20 year vintage. the Dead C boil down the top-impact sections of their relentless 2002 LA ATP performance to 18 minutes of brutality. Hi God People take ears on a free form sonic adventure. Limited to 500 copies, each come with silk screened artwork by Dylan Martorell thatll have your mind collapsing at first sight of its intricacies. -Missing Link.
SUSAN ALCORN- AND I AWAIT THE RESURRECTION OF THE PEDAL STEEL GUITAR LP (olde english spelling bee, usa)
*restocked… This is the fifth solo offering by the Houston, Texas-based pedal steel sorceress, Susan Alcorn. 'The Heart Sutra' opens and is inspired by the 'Sutra of the Heart of Transcendent Wisdom,' which was delivered by Buddha 2,500 years ago. It is a beautiful, yet solemn work that reverberates from within, as Susan strums those magical strings. The title track, 'And I Await the Resurrection of the Pedal Steel Guitar,' was inspired by Messiaen's 'Et Expecto Ressurectionum Mortuorum.' It is a near 16-minute epic of stirring, haunting sounds. Each note is stretched out and floats like a spirit on the wind in a graveyard. Ms. Alcorn's approach to the pedal steel guitar is completely unique and she doesn't quite sound like anyone else. If one is patient enough, they will realize that she makes every note and space count.
MOUTHUS & AXOLOTL- 12-15-04 LP (olde english spelling bee, usa)
*Last copies of this out of print side from 2005… Much anticipated hook-up between these two modern rock titans, recorded at The Tarpit (home of the Double Leopards/Mouthus White Rock sessions et al) on Christmas day, 2004. Mouthus sound totally beautiful here, with that drugged slow-motion tone extending their higher-minded rock-brut into whole new vectors of 'there'. Some almost-dissolved high-end fuzz guitar ala Matthew Bower skirts the very periphery of your ears while distressed choral vocals flit in and out of corporeal form and drums slowly pad towards an ever-receding horizon. A magical late-night spirit fuck played by an orchestra of beautifully-doomed ghosts in the last comedown throes of pure LSD. Highly recommended. Edition of 550 copies in full-colour printed sleeves with insert. –volcanic tongue
MOUTHUS & COUSINS OF REGGAE- SPLIT LP (olde english spelling bee, usa)
*A side each of fertile noise-rot from Montreals Cousins of Reggae and Brooklyns Mouthus. Soundly rejected by Discovery Channel - the Cousins five-track suite about the Hudson Bay follows up their limited & hard-to-find debut l.p. (on Ohnonoise) & a recent cd-r on Mouthuss Our Mouth imprint. They set sail with some hyperactive stompers and narcoleptic stumblers intent on capsizing all vessels in their path before coming under attack by a squadron of pissed off jet-skiiers. On flip are two massive Mouthus jams - "New Drugz" & "Better Than Facemask" which perfectly capture a day spent peaking on mescaline at the Daytona 500. Limited edition of 500 with unique handpainted covers and full-color inserts.
MOUTHUS- SISTER VIBRATION LP (our mouth, usa)
*this might be their most devolved circumnavigation of rock from to date. The guitars are impossibly impacted, muffled sandpaper huffs that move in tectonic slugs while the drums shrug between boings of tone-pad squelch, electrified steel-band ceremonials and primitively executed power stomps. This kinda profound retro-futurist refusal lines em up with a buncha modernists like Chrome, TG and even live Mars but there’s something in the distant, hiccupping vocals and the generally manhandled atmosphere that sounds like a more drug-degraded take on the kinda hillbilly scorch that Alpo-era Cheater Slicks occasionally delivered on. If you like yr rock gasoline-damaged to the point of almost-intelligible, stick out your cans. Limited edition of 500 copies in art sleeves released on the group’s own private press imprint. –volcanic tongue
KAORU ABE/SABU TOYOZUMI OVERHANG PARTY- SENZEI 2LP (qbico, italy)
*Kaoru Abe: (alto sax). Sabu Toyozumi: (drums, percussion). Rec. February 25 and April 15 & 30, 1978 live at Gaya, Tokyo, Japan. Unrelease recordings available here for the 1st time after more then 25 years… Long ago, when I started listening to free jazz records and was blowing on my alto, the abrasive sax sound of Kaoru Abe immediately fascinate me and he instantly became one of my hero... by then Id have NEVER imagined that one day Id have released an unissued record by him. This dream come true is now possible thanks to my dear friend Sabu, who discovered these very well recorded magical live sessions. Here, youd still hear Abe piercing sound (even if in this period he suffered terribly from physical and mental pain), few months before his tragic death for acute stomach rupture (official report, but his habit was known...). Unfortunately, he died too young, at 29 years old, on Sept. 9, 1978. His solo activity had been documented on at least more then 15 releases (between LP and CDs), but his collaborations had been less documented: three seminal releases in duo with guitarist Masayuki Takayanagi, another duo DLP with Sabu, a duo/trio from 1970/71, a duo LP with bassist Motoharu Yoshizawa and finally group playing with Derek Bailey and Milford Graves. So this new duo live sets are much more welcome. He was definitively one of the greatest improvisor from Japan and Sabu with his creative and powerful drumming, the ideal partner to let him freely express all his intense emotions. Raw energy, aggressive playing, heavy stuff. -- qbico
JUTOK KANEKO/TAKAHISA KIKUKAWA- WEDGED NIGHT LP (siwa, usa)
*restocked… October 2002 recording of improvisations and songs by Jutok Kaneko (guitar) and Takahisa Kikukawa (drums). Kaneko should be familiar to some as the man behind the heavy psychedelia of Kousokuya (whose much sought after debut LP from 1989 has finally resurfaced on PSF). Kikukawa's name on the other hand will likely not ring too many bells outside of his home country but he did supply some sublimely spaced drumming to the dreamy Che-Shizu for a while and he plays percussion and piano in UZU. Both in Kousokuya and in Kaneko's solo work the line between composition and improvisation is a very blurry one so it's only in the loosest of terms that we say side one of this album is an 'improvisation' and side two consists of a couple of 'songs'. The LP comes in an appropriately black and black on black silkscreened cover with two screened inserts.
TORI KUDO/LA CONSUMPTION 4- ATLANTIC CITY LP (siwa, usa)
*restocked… archive lp of material recorded by Tori Kudo and some fellow travellers during a stay in New York in the Summer of 1981. Originally released on cassette the approach on these recordings was a long way from the eerie organ driven Noise Tenno LP that Tori and Reiko released a year earlier. About half of Atlantic City consists of songs, teeth bared and falling apart as they come together but still in a style similar to Tori's subsequent work with Maher Shalal Hash Baz. The other half is made up mostly of extended guitar jams rooted equally in rock and blues but retaining Tori's rather unique take on the idioms. Screenprinted cover and insert art adapted from drawings and photos taken in NY and Atlantic City in 1981.
CHIE MUKAI- SOLO IMPROVISATIONS CD (siwa, usa)
*restocked… cd reissue of Chie Mukai's second solo album originally released on LP in 2000. Three tracks recorded at Kid Ailack Art Hall in Tokyo in the late '90s. Just over 40 minutes of solo improvisations featuring the beautiful deep drone of the er-hu (a traditional bowed Chinese instrument), augmented by voice, kengali, rings and cymbals. Mukai is an important (and underdocumented) figure in the Japanese underground whose work goes back to her time as a student under Takahisa Kosugi in the late '70s which resulted in her participation in the legendary East Bionic Symphonia album. Since then, she has continued to work with her own Ché-SHIZU outfit and appear on recordings with artists such as Maher Shalal Hash Baz, Rinji Fukuoka (Overhang Party), Sei'ichi Yamamoto (Boredoms) and Masayoshi Urabe. This CD is housed in a screenprinted gatefold chipboard sleeve and is released in an edition of 600… It is such an unadulterated pleasure to have this Siwa album, her first release outside of Japan, back in print. Three longish pieces, all recorded live in the late nineties. There's a far fuller drone sound to her er-hu here, compared to that on her previous solo release (Kokyu Improvisation, on PSF), a wavering intensity that pulls your brain straight into a sensation-dulled trance. And with none of the evil wince often associated with solo violin improvs, you're free to fully appreciate the fractional control and deep humming resonance of the instrument. It's a beguiling sound, seeming to combine both earth and air in one eternal thrumming, shimmering pull of gut on steel string. Mukai augments the sound with an occasional percussion crash, and a verse or two of wordless higher-mind vocalization. What more could a human ask for? This is sumptuous late-night improv, a fine goose-feather pillow for addled minds everywhere. --Alan Cummings
SEISHOKKI- 1975-1977 LP (siwa, usa)
*restocked… Seishokki (roughly translates as 'Organs Of Blue Eclipse') was an outfit formed while it's members were still in high school and active from 1975-1977 in Asahikawa in northern Japan. The onset of punk may have validated these six non-musicians decision to start a band but original member Ikuro Takahashi (who went on to perform with a veritable who's who list of outfits including Fushitsusha, High Rise, Che-Shizu and Maher Shalal Hash Baz) has suggested that a lot of their inspiration came from what was probably a misreading of early minimalism. With their musical influences as likely to be only heard of as actually heard what comes out in these recordings is a wonderfully primitive approach to the repetition of minimalism with exuberant forays into wild synth/percussion driven noise. The result is a sound that falls somewhere between the original Amon Duul LPs and Outside the Dream Syndicate with a nod towards the subsequent development of noise as a genre in the Japanese underground. These are believed to be the only surviving recordings of this band with the exception of a vocal track with lyrics concerning an eternal teenage concern deemed too mortifying for release. Limited vinyl only edition in lurid 5 color screenprinted jacket.
MAGIC MARKERS- RELAX IN A PANIC FREE ATMOSPHERE LP (spring press, australia)
*Our first release by Hartford, Connecticut outfit Magik Markers is out now. The beautiful 12" LP [featuring artwork by Pete Nolan] contains the best Markers free rock meanderings youre bound to hear. The current lineup consisting of Elisa Ambrogio & Pete Nolan sees Steve Gunn (General Head Quarters) & Josh Burkett (Joshua, The Believers) pitching in on the new material. The record is in a strictly limited edition of 250 copies. Excited? So are we. Tracklisting: Relax In a Panic Free Atmosphere [10.39] (lIve at Smell, LA), Come Back to the Five & Dime, Tex Watkins [12.27] (Live in Cleveland), When Big John Gets Up [8.12] (Live in Denton, TX).
HAIR POLICE- BLIND KINGDOM LP (ultra eczema, belgium)
*restocked… Odd colored carpet of bizarre 3D fields dominate the bright and lurid psychedelic forests you'll have to run thru to grab a mug a brew at the end of the trip! Hop on the back of a giant pink elephant and let go, eventually follow his tiny dick-like tail if u are too small to climb up this pink turt in space! But do give it a try and check out what's left? Thats right: nothing! Just a puddle of restless throbbing poop in different colours. The elephant turns out to be a puddle as well and the sounds you're hearing are all on the most psychedelic Hair Police LP so far! This is definitely way different then any of their other recordings, way more high bliss, blown out delayed voice and hardly any harshness. Originally recorded as a Hair Police radio special for Radio Centraal in Antwerp! Thick black and neon blue eye destructive cover design and a psychic laser etch on the B-side of this 180 grams wax!
GREG KELLEY & ALEX NEILSON- GRAVESIDE DOLES LP (ultra eczema, belgium)
*two of the most intense young "free" dudes from different parts of the globe (kelley from boston, neilson from leeds) unite for this completely weird record, taking free music to a different level, recorded on top of eachother via mail. this sounds like moving the heaviest metal closet on a little rubber boat from brighton to the east coast of the united states, kicking off with a heavy free jazzy tune full of retarded trumpets stuffed with little babies screaming for a change slightly changing into ice cold acoustic metal scraping ambience. tons of different sounds to discover and very unclear whether they came out of a trumpet, a drumset, a mouth or a whale. comes in a black and silver fine line drawn cover by dennis tyfus limited to 400 copies.
TOLERANCE- DIVINE LP (vanity/no label, usa)
*restocked… Vanity was a legendary Osaka-based underground label from the late 70s/early 80s. They released albums of primitive electronics by the likes of Aunt Sally, Sympathy Nervous, Dada, Sab, BGM, etc. None have been officially reissued (besides the first Aunt Sally I guess) and the original LPs have been basically unfindable anywhere in the western world since the day of release. This is a "gray area" reissue of the 2nd Tolerance album, originally issued in 1981. Their music has been described as "almost proto-Ambient Techno". Tolerance, consisting of Junko Tanage and Masmai Yoshikawa, were the only band that released a second album on Vanity. Their first LP (Anonym, 1979) was supposedly the source for the title of the second Nurse With Wound LP, To The Quiet Men From A Tiny Girl. The label was founded by Yuzuri Agi (he was also rumored to have ran Voice records, which in 75-76 released the ultra-mysterious Brast Burn and Karuna Khyal LPs). The following label manifesto was published in 1979: 'We will produce records pursuing 1). Electronics Music, 2). 'Music as Furniture' series (Modernistic Music), 3). Invation to Kayo-kyoku, 4). Music with experimental new vision (Punk., New Wave, Free Music, Modernistic Music, etc.).'
FOLK, BLUES AND ROOTS
V/A- WAYFARING STRANGERS: GUITAR SOLI 2LP (numero group, usa)
*Double LP version, great gatefold sleeve… Bridging the gap between American primitive pioneers John Fahey, Robbie Basho, and Leo Kottke, and the California modernists William Ackerman, Alex de Grassi, and Michael Hedges, Guitar Soli explores the private side of the solo guitar movement from 1966-1981. While Takoma and Windham Hill were laying the groundwork for the new age marketing juggernaut of the mid '80s, these fourteen loners were picking away in tiny cafes, selling records hand to hand. The double LP set comes housed in a beautiful recycled cardboard gatefold sleeve and features Ted Lucas, Daniel Hecht, Dan Lambert, Jim Ohlschmidt, Tom Smith, Mark Lang, Richard Crandell, William Eaton, George Cromarty, Scott Witte, Brad Chequer, Dwayne Canan, and Dana Westover.
V/A- WAYFARING STRANGERS: LADIES FROM THE CANYON CD (numero group, usa)
*restocked… Compilaton of obscure and unknown 1970s female folk artists, featuring Becky Severson, Collie Ryan, Linda Rich, Caroline Peyton, Carla Sciaky, Judy Kelly, Shira Small, Jennie Pearl, Mary Perrin, Priscilla Quinby, Marj Snyder, Barbara Sipple, Ginny Reilly & Ellen Warshaw. For those looking to go beyond the Perhacs/Sill resurgence, this is a pretty insightful set, well documented in Numero-style. By 1970 the folk revival was all but over. Gone were the days of 'Will The Circle Be Unbroken' and 'If I Had A Hammer.' ABC's Hootenanny had been cancelled. Broadside was out, Rolling Stone in. Richard Farina was dead. Dylan plugged in. Joan Baez and Judy Collins gave way to a younger, more introspective generation of songwriters. The sound that began in the hills and caught fire on the lower east side of Manhattan was now being reborn in the canyons of California. The fruits of folk's second renaissance are collected here. Wedged beneath the infrastructure of the music business, playing in coffee houses and at church picnics. Deeper than recent crit-revisionist darlings Linda Perhacs, Judee Sill, or Vashti Bunyan, Ladies From The Canyon takes a solid look at folk's private and obscure underbelly.
FUNK AND SOUL
V/A- NEW ORLEANS FUNK VOLUME 2 3LP (soul jazz, uk)
*This is Soul Jazz Records' new journey into the heart of New Orleans and a guide to the city's finest funk music produced in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Featuring everyone from The Meters to Eddie Bo, Lee Dorsey to Betty Harris, this is a who's who of the Crescent City's most famous and most funky! The city of New Orleans has deep musical roots that stretch back to Africa. New Orleans first gave birth to jazz music, a black musical form centered on rhythm, improvisation, freedom and collectivity at the turn of the century. Similarly in the late 1960s, New Orleans funk came to define a unique sound, mixing Caribbean rhythms, New Orleans second-line syncopation and rhythm and blues, all played by the Big Easy's finest musicians. While jazz and funk music spread throughout the world, many African-American musical traditions remained within the city limits such as Mardi Gras and Carnival, Saturday Night fish fries, funeral marching bands and much more, which partly explains why New Orleans music is so unique. The album comes with extensive sleeve-notes, exclusive photography and more, and is an essential guide to the musical landscape of New Orleans and -- together with Soul Jazz Records' earlier New Orleans' releases -- presents the definitive story of New Orleans funk. Although on the mainland coast, New Orleans is also surrounded by lakes, giving the city an island feel. Similarly, its proximity to Puerto Rico, Cuba, Haiti and the other West Indian Isles means that Latin and Caribbean musical influences are in its veins as much as American musical traditions. The upside of this city's isolation is that New Orleans musical traditions flourished away from those of the rest of America. A thriving city full of artists, musicians, singers, producers, record companies, studios (well, one studio, actually) led to a 24-hour, 7-day-a-week musical life, playing in clubs, bars, brothels, carnivals and parades. The downside of the city's isolation from the rest of the U.S. was that the city never developed a solid music industry to back up the creative over-supply. While New York had Atlantic, Detroit had Motown, Memphis had Stax, Chicago had Chess, Los Angeles had Modern, New Orleans had a multitude of small businesses fighting for space -- and often each other. Without the marketing, promotional weight, business and financial clout, New Orleans labels found it hard to get the nationwide distribution necessary to fill the million-odd jukeboxes throughout the country. So while every family in America knows the music of Gladys Knight or Smokey Robinson, few could tell you about -- let alone hum a tune from -- Benny Spellman, Inell Young, Warren Lee...this is far from being a reflection of the artists' creativity or musicality -- as anyone can tell you, New Orleans' melodies are the catchiest of all -- more it is a reflection of the limitations of the local music industry. Some New Orleans artists became successful throughout the U.S., such as Fats Domino in the 1950s and in the late 1960s, The Meters and Lee Dorsey, but many artists remained within the city limits. This makes for a fascinating goldmine of music released by a complex myriad of small labels run mainly by New Orleans producers, promoters and artists themselves. New Orleans Funk 2 brings together many of these artists along with text, sleeve-notes and photographs that gives social and historical context to the incredibly funky music of New Orleans.
MAHMOUD AHMED- ERÈ MÈLA MÈLA LP (l’arome productions, france)
*shop favorite restocked… The re-release series of original Ethiopian classic vinyl continues -- the finest Ethio jazz by Mahmoud Ahmed and his band from 1975 plus two tracks from 1978. The liner notes: 'Melancholy blues, piercingly minimalist country airs, brassy, danceable urban jazz, heart-wrenching, off-key crooners: a rich and stirring patchwork of sounds, crossing Afro-beat, Latino-swing moves and Eastern arabesques (Anaïs Prosaïc).' Such were the first -- informed and enthusiastic -- opinions of the music press when the first strains of modern Ethiopian music sounded on our shores. This was in 1984-1985. Such a positive note, struck about such a country at such a time, created plenty of reverb. The country had been so thoroughly trashed by the media's feeding-frenzy, which spewed out a mix of horror and pious pity, bitter denunciation and humanitarian appeals, wallet-tickling clichés and refusal of identity. In one brutal swoop, TV-reality transformed Ethiopia into a cursed nation, forsaken by God and by man. In contrast to these tragedies, but in the same hackneyed tones, Mahmoud Ahmed's life resembles an edifying fairy-tale where destiny, talent and achievement combine to triumph over poverty, fate and the evil eye. Biography, history and legend, with the help of God, infallibly weave the lesson of merit rewarded. But who can argue, in spite of the mockery that celebrities invariably draw, when faced with one of the greatest voices in all of Africa? Once upon a time, there was a street urchin in Addis Ababa, who started off as a shoe-shine boy and went on to become one of his country's biggest stars, opening the door to Ethiopian music to Western audiences. --Francis Falceto
MULATU ASTATKE FEAT. FEKADE AMDE MASKAL- ETHIO JAZZ LP (l’arome productions, france)
*shop favorite restocked… The Ethio Jazz album by Mulatu Astatqé is a jewel of the modern Ethiopian music and a mythical album, since the beginning of Ethiopian music reissues (mainly on Buda Musique). An incredibly groovy Ethiopian record, originally from 1969-1972. Amazing orchestral 'Ethio-groove' filled with US soul, jazz, sometimes Latin and the deepest Eastern rhythms, even including some great nasty and dirty fuzz guitars. A true gem of Ethiopian modern instrumental music, which illustrates perfectly this symbiosis of strong rhythms and quality arrangements of subtle yet deep Ethiopian melodies. A must for all '60s/'70s collectors! In the Ethiopian musical landscape, Mulatu Astatke is a unique musician, composer, arranger. His real contribution consists in his action for instrumental music, in a country where orchestral traditions doesn't exist. For the last 30 years, he is the leading head of the Ethiopian musical scene. First vinyl reissue and definitely one of the most important Ethiopian music albums.
V/A- ETHIOPIAN MODERN INSTRUMENTALS HITS LP (l’arome productions, france)
*shop favorite restocked… Ethiopians' deep-seated ethiocentrism, the legacy of a thousand years of history, has contributed in no small way to their music's strong national identity, particularly impervious to any African influences. Latin influences, so pervasive in the great musical centers of West Africa and the Congo, have been similarly rebuffed, despite the brilliant attempts of a musician like Mulatu Astatke. He was the first and for a long time the only Ethiopian to have studied music abroad (England and USA). In the late '60s, he brought back 'ethio-jazz', as well as a passion for Latin rhythms that was not readily shared by the Ethiopian audience. As early as 1966, he released a single and two LPs in the US entitled Afro-Latin Soul (and a third LP, Mulatu of Ethiopia in 1972), with his Ethiopian Quintet composed of American and Latin-American musicians (Worthy Records). That was three years before Fela's first American tour and six years prior to Manu Dibango's key breakthrough with the release of Soul Makossa in the Western 'pre-World music' market. All this goes to show how much the history of the African continent's musical modernity should be reconsidered in light of the Ethiopian adventure, even though this lone spark bore little relation, musically or ideologically to the musical revolutions initiated most notably by Ghanian highlife, South African jazz, Congolese rumba or, much later on, by Fela.
V/A- ETHIOPIAN URBAN MODERN MUSIC VOL.1: ETHIOPIAN SOUL AND GROOVE LP (l’arome productions, france)
*shop favorite restocked… Urban Ethiopian music stands out within the African continent thanks to its creativity and originality. Whatever the shade -- pop, blues, jazz or soul -- it comes from a fusion of local musical traditions mixed with an echo of Western music. It bewitched Ethiopia during the 'Swinging Addis' decade before recently winning the favors of a well-informed audience all over the world. This first vinyl volume of Ethiopian Urban Modern Music presents some of the Ethiopian 'groove jewels' drawn from the essential CD Ethiopiques series directed by Francis Falceto and published by Buda music.
ALEMAYEHU ESHETE- ETHIOPIAN URBAN MODERN MUSIC VOL.2 LP (l’arome productions, france)
*shop favorite restocked… Alèmayèhu Eshèté is no less than one of the great voices of the heyday of modern Ethiopian music, the swinging sixties which, in this country, went on until the fall of the Emperor Haile Sellassie 1 in 1974. On a par with Tlahoun Gèssèssè, Bzunèsh Bèqèlè or Mahmoud Ahmed, Alèmayèhu is a star at the top level of the constellation that once lit up the wild nights in the capital.
LULA CORTES E ZE RAMALHO- PAÊBIRÚ 2LP (mr. bongo, uk)
*restocked… double lp version, deluxe gatefold sleeve, limited to 1000 copies worldwide… Paêbirú is an obscure Brazilian psych concept album about the four elements (earth, air, fire, water) that was lost to time in a warehouse fire in 1974, causing it to become a massively sought-after lost classic, fetching up to $1500 for vinyl copies. This recording of the collaboration between Brazilian artists Lula Côrtes and Zé Ramalho is a wonderfully off-kilter record, full of fantastic hooky and strange tunes that range all over the place, from full-on freakouts to quiet pastoral. The entire range of 1970s hippie Brazilian musician culture is displayed in this record. It's experimental, but it's relentlessly driven towards fun. If you like good music, you will like this legendary album untouched by time. Côrtes, who composes and plays on many of the tracks, seemingly appears only when talking about obscure Brazilian psych reissues, Ramalho, on the other hand, has built a solid career as a Brazilian pop singer and takes on most vocal duties. It's a very atmospheric blend, sung and chanted vocals are no more or less important than any of the other elements, which include classical acoustic and fuzzy electric guitar, piano, organ, flute, sax and a range of percussion. It's free and psychedelic, but just reigned in enough to keep it tense and exciting. The closest comparison might be to combine Amon Düül with Sunburned Hand of the Man and perhaps Double Leopards, if they lived on a commune together in Brazil and recorded while indulging in mass quantities of narcotics. In Brazil from the late 1960s onward, Caetano Veloso, Jorge Ben, Tom Zé, and many others blended elements of psychedelic rock, jazz, indigenous folk, with more 'classic' urban styles (bossa nova, samba, etc.) and instrumentation. As much a political identity movement as a cultural, Tropicalia artists as a whole were interested in using artistic expression as removing barriers and as a means of enabling other societal freedoms. Simultaneously, but across the Atlantic, European mystical trance rock of the time, beginning with outfits like Parson Sound and Amon Düül, and continued by Träd Gräs och Stenar and Algarnas Tradgard.
CILIBRINAS DO EDEN- CILIBRINAS DO ÉDEN LP (nosmokerecords, spain)
*Rita Lee of Os Mutantes and her friend Lúcia Turnbull's first outside project, these recordings were done for Philips in 1973. Cilibrinas Do Éden have played at Os Mutantes show in May 1973, at Palácio de Convenções do Anhembi, in São Paulo. It was Cilibrinas' first gig. At this show, Rita and Lúcia played with all the Os Mutantes backline, the show appeared to be a psychedelic edge with Rita and Lúcia dressed like some outside aliens for that time. They also dressed in colored clothes and feathers like a progressive rock band. Never officially released on vinyl or CD, Now a group of Brazilian fans with European residence pick the recordings and put them in this deluxe vinyl format, with only 500 numbered copies done. This release contain also two rare outtakes from Os Mutantes. You will certainly dig this if you like Mutantes: these recordings are a mix of the psychedelic Os Mutantes with some glam-rock freakness. Fantastic, professionally remastered sound, unbelievable material for all the Os Mutantes fans, and one of the best lost albums of Brazilian psychedelia!
V/A- NIGERIA DISCO FUNK SPECIAL: THE SOUND OF THE UNDERGROUND LAGOS DANCEFLOOR 1974-79 2LP (soundway, uk)
*Lagos, Nigeria, 1974-1979: the funk & disco capital of West Africa. More nightclubs, bars, spots and dancefloors than any place along the coast from Dakar all the way to Kinshasa. Nigeria Disco Funk Special is an amazing collection of heavy dancefloor grooves from urban Lagos in the '70s -- hot and driving slices of funk, disco and boogie that show just how vibrant the music scene was in one of West Africa's most populous and culturally diverse cities. In the '70s, it wasn't just James Brown who influenced the musicians playing in the nightspots of Lagos -- the loose-structured and elongated jams that he was pioneering in America had been a part of Nigerian music much longer than that. This album is the sound of Cuban-heeled and micro-minied Lagos youth soaking up the sound of the American discotheque and putting their own inimitable twist on the proceedings. The CD and double gatefold vinyl include rare tracks from famous musicians like Bongos Ikwue & The Groovies and Mono Mono's Joni Haastrup, as well as selections from cult bands like Asiko Rock Group, SJOB Movement and Jay-U Experience. Other artists include: The Sahara All Stars, T-Fire, Voices Of Darkness and Dr. Adolf Aonotu.
V/A- NIGERIA SPECIAL: MODERN HIGHLIFE, AFRO-SOUNDS & NIGERIAN BLUES 1970-1976 PART 1 2LP (soundway, uk)
*restocked… Since 2002, Soundway Records has been synonymous with high-quality and groundbreaking compilations of music from Africa, the Caribbean and South America. Nigeria Special is the most ambitious project yet for the label -- a truly in-depth, double album look at Nigerian music in the early to mid-'70s, encompassing a broad range of styles. Compiler and DJ Miles Cleret has spent five years working on this album -- involving trips to Lagos and around Nigeria interviewing musicians and researching recordings, as well as a suitable amount of time scouring dusty record stores and warehouses for elusive sounds. This compilation presents some of the best un-reissued and forgotten sounds from Nigeria, covering the amazingly vibrant and diverse styles that emerged and flourished at the time. Everything from highlife, jazz, Afro-beat and blues to more traditional styles are represented to give as comprehensive a survey of the scene as possible. The 32-page booklet covers a history of the time plus in-depth information on the artists and musicians, as well as a look at the amazing pop-art cover designs of Nigerian records. Side 1. 1. Ayamma - The Anambra Beats (4:05), 2. Okwukwe Na Nchekwube - Celestine Ukwu & His Philosophers National (6:09), 3. Amalinja - The Don Isaac Ezekiel Combination (5:15) Side 2. 1. Akula Owu Onyeara - The Funkees (7:28), 2. Oja Omoba - Dele Ojo & His Star Brothers Band (3:41), 3. Koma Mosi - The Harbours Band (2:54) Side 3. 1. Nekwaha Semi Colon - The Semi-Colon(3:29),2. Osalobua Rekpama -Sir Victor Uwaifo & His Melody Maestros (3:20),3. Onwu Ama Dike- St. Augustine & His Rovers Dance Band (6:05) Side 4. 1. Feso Jaiye - The Sahara All Stars of Jos (4:08), 2. Ema Kowa Iasa Ile Wa - Mono Mono (6:48), 3. To whom it may concern - Tunji Oyelana & The Benders (2:56).
V/A- NIGERIA SPECIAL: MODERN HIGHLIFE, AFRO-SOUNDS & NIGERIAN BLUES 1970-1976 PART 2 2LP (soundway, uk)
*restocked… Since 2002, Soundway Records has been synonymous with high-quality and groundbreaking compilations of music from Africa, the Caribbean and South America. Nigeria Special is the most ambitious project yet for the label -- a truly in-depth, double album look at Nigerian music in the early to mid-'70s, encompassing a broad range of styles. Compiler and DJ Miles Cleret has spent five years working on this album -- involving trips to Lagos and around Nigeria interviewing musicians and researching recordings, as well as a suitable amount of time scouring dusty record stores and warehouses for elusive sounds. This compilation presents some of the best un-reissued and forgotten sounds from Nigeria, covering the amazingly vibrant and diverse styles that emerged and flourished at the time. Everything from highlife, jazz, Afro-beat and blues to more traditional styles are represented to give as comprehensive a survey of the scene as possible. The 32-page booklet covers a history of the time plus in-depth information on the artists and musicians, as well as a look at the amazing pop-art cover designs of Nigerian records. Side 1. 1. Asiko Mi Ni - The Nigerian Police Force Band(The Force 7) (5:09), 2. Belema ? Opotopo (Easy Kabaka Brown)(6:12), 3. Alabeke - Dan Satch & His Atomic 8 Dance Band of Aba (4:35) Side 2. 1. I Want a Break Thru' - The Hykkers (3:01), 2. Arraino - Popular Cooper and His All Beats Band (3:02), 3. Simini ? Yaya - Collins Oke Elaiho & His Odoligie Nobles Dance Band.(3:39) 4. Buroda Mase - Bola Johnson & His Easy Life Top beats (4:55) Side 3. 1. Business Before Pleasure - George Akaeze & His Augmented Hits (4:36), 2. Omo Yen Wu Mi - Shadow Abraham with Mono Mono Friends (3:28), 3. Blak Sound -Leo Fadaka & The Heroes (4:53) Side 4. 1. Torri Wowo - Godwin Ezike & The Ambassadors (3:07), 2. Eguae Oba - Osayomore Joseph & The Creative 7 (4:29), 3. Akpaisong - Etubom Rex Williams & His Nigerian Artistes (2:28), 4. Ugali - The Tony Benson Sextet (5:21).
DUBSTEP AND GRIME
SMASHER & LEWI WHITE- BACK IN DA DAY 12” (beyond da booth, uk)
*Impressive murkage from Smasher, acclaiming his name in two parts with Lewi running the voodoo down across two mighty instrumental versions.
TRG- TIME IS NOW/THEY KNOW 12” (immerse, uk)
*Massive breaking dubstep from the Romanian producer most likely to go the distance.
RAZOR X PRODUCTIONS- KILLING SOUND 2LP (rephlex, uk)
*restocked… A collection of 7" singles and previously-unreleased tracks from UK-based Kevin Martin's (The Bug) Razor X Productions, started in collaboration with The Rootsman. Features apocalyptic mashup ragga anthems from the classic Razor X 7" imprint, as well as a few exclusive tracks which all show the rougher side of this act. Killing Sound celebrates soundclash as urban warfare. Floorquake basslines, body breaking beats and a barrage of deafening electronics amplifies the noise of cultures clashing. Fusing ragga's obsession with sex and violence to punk's confrontational energy, this ear bashing blast of detonated breaks is a fired-up antidote to the glut of careerists clogging up the airwaves, and valiantly continues the dirty work begun by On-U-Sound, World Domination Enterprises, Public Image, Bad Brains et al. An unforgettable rush of sonic insanity and red level intensity, distorted bleeps, explosive beats and terrifying vocal performances provide the blueprint for a skullcrush party disenfranchised rockers can appreciate and reggae casualties can celebrate. From the initial, unforgettable homicidal anthem penned by He-Man, to the melancholic crooning of Studio One veteran Tony Tuff, from the Tiger-style sadism of Wayne Lonesome and the tongue-in-cheek fighting talk of Warrior Queen, the lesser known MCs give legendary mic chatters Cutty Ranks and Daddy Freddy a murderous run for their money in the verbal skills and lyrical chills department. Call it yardcore, bashment, mutant ragga or whatever -- these tracks rock hard and gleefully burn up the rule book.
PEVERELIST- INFINITY IS NOW/JUNKTION 12” (tectonic, uk)
*West country boy Peverelist returns home to Bristol's forefront dubstep label. What has set Peverelist's productions and DJ sets aside is his adroit blend of deep Bristolian sound system heritage with a more European, specifically Berliner take on the question of bass weight. These are two bumping joints of bass line destruction, stepping lightly around the four-four and sounding like the perfect fusion of dub and techno. Support from all the usual suspects -- MASSIVE.
WONDER- SWAMP MEET/FULL METAL JACKET 12” (wonderland, uk)
*Heavy wares from Wonder, this time coming to us with this fresh 2-tracker for the Wonderland imprint. 'Swamp Meet' is one of those signature metallic killers that seems to be constructed out of bits of malfunctioning machinery -- a heaving mass of treated bass progressions and menacing melodies, Wonder style. 'Full Metal Jacket' is a more staggered affair, decimated rave chords squashed and buried deep in the mix while an angry bass fuzz towers over proceedings. Also, it mixes in very well with Justin Timberlake's 'Cry Me A River,' and if that ain't a selling point...
HOUSE, TECHNO AND DISCO
MOLLONO.BASS/DREHER & SM.ART- SOS 12” (3000 grad, germany)
*3000° is a known fixture as an experienced artist pool from Mecklenburg in northern Germany. Fortschritt3000 has been organizing parties for over ten years with a focus on electronic dance music. They are now, and have been than, moving ahead of time and style. In 2004 the crew created their own booking agency under the name of 3000 Degrees Booking. There is more because the crew not only runs its own label Acker Records but also has just initiated a second label, which originated out of the background of Kombinat100. The new label 3000° Records is tailored for, and focuses on, functional club music. The first release on this new label has been produced by its label head Mollono.Bass who is known for superb releases on Ostwind and Acker Records. His deep and driving sound with an atmospheric touch is once again coming out in this record while the second track by the Berlin live act Dreher & Smart is, like always, a true surprise for ears and legs. Together they have celebrated an ever growing number of genius remixes as for instance the Depeche Mode 'Martyr' on Mute 10 or 'Grillen im Park' a remix for Kollektiv Turmstrasse. Moreover during their numerous live gigs and independent releases the crew has proven to stay true to essence yet at the same time surprises with new ideas and infinite innovation. Their sound thus drives, is yet ever changing and harmonic while bridging the impossible by being full of love for detail and modern arrangement. A perfect debut -- we are keen to hear more soon!
THOMAS MULLER- RIDE ON 12” (bpitch control, germany)
*A French transplant to Berlin, Thomas Muller presents Ride On, his impressions of Parisian nightlife and a voyage though Europe's metropolises. "Ride On" slowly forms a hypnotic atmosphere until a long, deep break brings us back to earth. "X Nights" invades the ears with an awesome and dark bass line with small details that create a new space within the track. "Puppet's Dream" is Thomas' homage to Berlin's Bar 25, bringing back the spirit of summer onto the turntable.
SIMON BEESTON- KRANKENWAGEN 12” (district of corruption, germany)
*DoC presents births yet another up and comer to 12" club, Simon Beeston. 'Krankenwagen' is a super twisted rave bomb and features two heavy hitting remixes from Liebe ist Cool and DoC label boss, Aaron Hedges. Beeston hails all the way from Auckland, New Zealand but now calls Berlin home. Simon first came to play a series of gigs in Berlin in 2003 including a performance at the original Tresor. Two years later, Simon has set up shop in the techno capital of Germany and has been growing in popularity in the underground scene. We were first introduced to the original version of 'Krankenwagen' in very particular circumstances. After label boss Aaron got his hands on it he has played it at every DJ gig since to constant hands in the air crowds. During one of these particular parties, which in a very oddly Berlin manner was taking place in a secret location hidden behind a donner imbiss, Liebe ist Cool kids (Peter and Kitty) fell in love with the track too. We all decided, among other erroneous and often forgettable pieces of information, to do a remix. That is how the Liebe ist Cool remix was born. Liebe ist Cool provides a stripped down and dirty Berlin minimal take on 'Krankenwagen.' Working with tight grooves and tribal rhythms, their remix builds quickly to a fiery pace and keeps the energy. Layered on top of this percussive aphrodisiac are super quirky sound effects and stripped vocal samples. Aaron Hedges provides a down and dirty rave bomb of a remix. You really just have to hear this one! Pushing high energy percussion and slowly developing arrangement patterns make this track a real journey.
COMA- COMA 12” (firm, germany)
*Coma are Marius Bubat and Georg Conrad and they are the long awaited rush of fresh air in the streets of Cologne and in the clubs worldwide. They combine pop and rave, techno and rock in a very unique, subtle and elegant way. Coma are nu-rave and old school techno, '80s pop and 2k-modernity in a deep hug. Coma gives the right answer to the wrong hypes and new influences, voices and feelings to electronic dance music. Live on stage Marius and Georg appear with laptop, guitar and microphone and they know how to have fun with their own beats and how to make the people scream constantly.
WILLIAMS- EL BAILE 12” (get physical, germany)
*Scottish producer Williams is back with El Baile for Get Physical. The title track immediately enthralls with its galloping kick, snare and analog bass pattern, and an electro motif that propels it onwards into the heart of the dancefloor. "The Unbearable Truth" is a thrillingly modern, moody take on the straight-up acid track. "Kiss Of Life" features an interplay of synths, kosmische-style chords and a tech-house strut. House music to get lost inside.
GUI BORATTO- ANUNCIACIÓN 12” (k2, germany)
*Since his debut 'Arqipelago' (K2/4) Gui Boratto has achieved almost everything a techno artist can achieve these days. His album Chromophobia, including the omnipresent single 'Beautiful Life' has been a firm favorite amongst DJs from every angle. It's the rare combination of brilliant technical skills, an uncanny ear for catchy hooklines and this razor blade-sharp grooves that make him an exceptional figure in techno world of today. With Anunciación, he's back where everything began: on Kompakt's dinky K2. Soundwise, it's a wee bit darker than Chromophobia but hey -- that's this winter's fashion. But don't worry, there's still a fair amount of soulfulness involved.
GUILLAUME & THE COUTU DUMONTS- LE CREW NORMAND 12” (karat, germany)
*After a remarkable first appearance in 2005 with his project Egg, Guillaume & the Coutu Dumonts pays a second visit to Karat label but this time in solo! Guillaume, who recently released his critically acclaimed first full length album for Musique Risquée, is on an intense roll of production. His releases have been adding up restlessly over the course of the past year, though contrary to the norm, this latest release clearly shows that Guillaume is fully capable of maintaining both a high level of output without compromising a shred of the quality we have all come to expect from his releases. The three tracks from this latest release, Le Crew Normand, are exquisitely fresh. A gifted percussionist, he uses his talent to elaborate a captivating musical vision that is both playful and sexy. Though rhythm is the key element here, the complexity and refinement of his arrangements always reveal a simple and efficient groove, confirming once again that even the most elaborate ideas are best presented in a simple language, and make no mistake; this EP is packed full of wonderfully fresh ideas! Behind this explicit invitation to the dancefloor can be found a music of a great finesse, that offers an irresistible and intoxicating breath of fresh air in todays climate of cookie cutter formulas and genre cliches. Cookie cutter formulas and genre clichés.
ALTER EGO- WHY NOT?! 2LP (klang elektronik, germany)
*restocked… It's been three years since Alter Ego's last album, Transphormer, so Roman Flügel and Jörn Elling Wuttke unleash more of their madness upon the world. Why Not?! may not be the Alter Ego album you've been expecting. Picking up where Transphormer left off, it's frontloaded with all the ballsy Alter Ego hallmarks you've come to expect: buzzing squalls of synthesizer, leads that cut like a blowtorch, and rhythms that pack a rock 'n' roll punch to house and techno's jacking package. It's raw, dirty and just barely restrained. But Why Not?! is something else: it's funny. Maybe even a little bit goofy. This is techno, but it's not of the stonefaced, screwfaced variety. It's good, clean fun -- well, except when it's dirty, which is most of the time, given Alter Ego's affection for ragged waveforms and distortion-crusted drums. Most of all, it's dizzying, which might have something to do with the fact that virtually every track is slathered in grand, sweeping sounds with their portamento settings tuned to Roller Coaster. Listening to the album feels a little like racing down a playground slide that's been hooked up to a moderate electric current, and landing in a pile of mud. It's safe to say that NEVER before has classic house, techno and ragga/dubstep been combined in such a way. This record is destined to cause a stir amongst the current wave of French party crashers. Alter Ego have never been the most reverent of acts -- just consider the name of their early incarnation, Acid Jesus -- and on Why Not?!, from the titles to their tunes, their irreverence hits a restless new high, without ever sacrificing the all-powerful groove.
DIRK LEYERS- ALMA 12” (klang elektronik, germany)
*Not even a month after his Klang debut together with his studio partner Nerk, Dirk Leyers comes up with his first own record for Klang Elektronik. If you compare both releases something catches your ears for sure: Dirk Leyers' own music sounds totally different from his productions with Nerk, but both styles share an important common ground: they're far away from the beaten tracks of standard club music. Where humor, chaos and a quacky dancefloor are the definitive factors for Nerk & Dirk Leyers, Dirk prefers the plain beauty of elegant involving Detroit techno grooves on this record. With 'Azul' you got the most epic and at the same time impulsive track of this record. Above an anxious meandering bass line flash bright synthesizer sounds, while the beat unerringly gallops directly towards dancer's heaven. What a perfect trip! On the B-side, Dirk Leyers calms down a little bit and begrudges us with a conveniently laid-back almost ambient piece of music called 'Azur,' before he relieves us with the spheric whispering last track 'Alma' out of this record.
SUPERPITCHER VS. THE CONGOSOUND- SAY I'M YOUR NUMBER ONE 12” (kompakt, germany)
*Congosound (Carles Congost) stems from one of the most vibrant nightlife cities in the world: Madrid. Mainly famous for his video works, with the musician Fibla he also ventures into the world of dance music, sporting a casual yet persuasive style of electronic post-disco that feels comfortable between Metro Area and the Balearic revival. Superpitcher's remix of "Say I'm Your Number One" is an 11-minute wildpitch-gone-crazy affair that is absolutely devastating on the floor.
TAMA SUMO & PROSUMER- PLAY UP/BROTHERS, SISTERS 12” (ostgut, germany)
*What is house music? A question that keeps coming up for decades now. Our catalogue number 14 has been produced by Tama Sumo and Prosumer collaboratively. At the same time it marks the first release ever by Tama Sumo, whose DJ career started in 1993. When Tama claims 'bass makes you happy,' then this is not only true for her very funky Sunday afternoon sets as a resident at Berlin's Panorama Bar, but it also applies to both tracks born out of her friendship with Achim 'Prosumer' Brandenburg. 'Play Up' and 'Brothers, Sisters': Two tracks reminiscent of Trax. Kickdrums and basslines dig deep; funky, short guitar licks lead up to breaks after which arms fly to heaven and sweat drips from the ceiling. Prosumer just knows how to create those special moments by using only a few select, simple elements. A technique, Tama Sumo is, as it seems, familiar with as well. You can call it the everlasting laws of the old school!
MARTIN BUTTRICH- STONED AUTOPILOT 12” (planet e communications, usa)
*'Stoned Autopilot' written & produced by Martin Buttrich. Mastered by Enrico Mercaldi @ Timetools Mastering. 'Cruise Control' was written & produced by Martin Buttrich. Mastered by Enrico Mercaldi @ Timetools Mastering. Both tracks are Detroit-influenced and masterful.
JOHN DAHLBÄCK- WINNERS & FOOLS 2LP (picadoll, germany)
*Double LP version. This is the third full-length release from John Dahlbäck. Starting at the tender age of 16, this prolific producer and label owner has placed himself into international electronic music's top league. With more releases out than Bud Spencer had fist fights or Hugh Hefner had bunnies, John has grown into a mature musician over the years. Winners & Fools is definitely his most sophisticated work to date and a step forward. After mainly producing dance tracks in the last years, John is now putting all his effort into detailed and deep musical work. Winners & Fools is a well-balanced journey through multiple electronic music worlds -- insane club weapons stand proudly next to beautiful vocal tunes and big room anthems in the vein of Alan Braxe or Daft Punk -- and it is certain to draw a whole new bunch of listeners to his music. Other Swedish producers like Eric Prydz, Steve Angello and Sebastian Ingrosse may have paved the way to pop, but John Dahlbäck has entered a totally new building filled with glistening synths, sharp, snappy beats, and robots in skinny ties.
AXEL BARTSCH & ALEX NIGGEMANN- TWOFER 12” (sportclub, germany)
*Right after moving to Berlin, Sportclub presents freshly traded Alex Niggemann who already caused a stir with his 'Darko' remix for Booka Shade. Niggemann debuts with a deep killer track featuring a permanently magnetizing melody line, aspiring to be the spring hit of the new year. After being abstinent for a couple of months, Axel getting back on the scene with the b-side 'Daccord.' Decent percussion, deep bassline, loopy. Trancy, dubby monotonously rising but still straight forward track design is the best practice. A true Bartsch.
LANGENBERG- SLOWDOWN 12” (sthlmaudio, switzerland)
*Already hammered by Chaton, Ripperton and Lee Van Dowski, Langenberg is gifting us with a stunning two track ep. Pressed with full fat and all your nightly needed calories, the two 45 rpm tracks presented here are perfectly representing modern club culture. A true groove, a rare and personal sound-crafting and design skills represent very well the Langenberg talent. Get on with us and dance!
SIMON HAYDO- DIFFERENT SHADES OF WHITE 12” (stockholm ltd, germany)
*After the huge 'Score for Direction' success with label owner Pär Grindvik, Stockholm LTD presents a new Swedish talent for the world. Simon Haydo is a really close friend of Pär Grindvik and the Stockholm LTD family. For several years, Simon has been playing records among the high end clubs in his hometown of Stockholm, Sweden. A while ago he finally got himself some studio equipment and has been asking for production tips from time to time, but when we received his demo, we realized that he didn't really need them. Simon knocked us right out of our chairs! We rarely get demos this emotional and we didn't know that Simon would pass us one as we had not heard a bleep of his music until that day. Most of the demos you get are from people trying to sound like someone else, but Simon has a sound of his own. We are really proud to have Simon Haydo joining the label and his first record Different Shades of White will follow us forever!
AGARIC- THE DARK HOLDS THE SUN 12” (sunset diskos, sweden)
*Sunset Diskos is back with another killer EP from Agaric, this time with a remix by no less than Camea. "Come Below" is a sneaky funk bomb, slowly building and building with a deep and punchy groove. "No One Knows" is like a rattlesnake on acid, twisting and twisting, with a massive and poisonous groove building up and up. Camea takes the track to more spooky territories, perfect for massive sound systems.
MIKAEL STAVOSTRAND & FRANCO CINELLI- MONDAY BLUE 12” (sunset diskos, sweden)
*restocked… Sunset Diskos is back with a huge EP by label boss Mikael Stavöstrand teamed up with Argentinian wiz kid Franco Cinelli. "Money Talk" starts with deep and funky basslines and builds up to a freaking percussion monster. "M Forever" is groovy and deep with lots of details and turns -- perfect for after hours.
LUCIO AQUILINA- SQUARED CIRCLE & DISCO BUS REMIXES 12” (trapez, germany)
*Italian DJ and producer Lucio Aquilina has already released two records with Trapez. In anticipation of his upcoming remix record, one track from each of his previous recordings are remixed here. "Squared Circle" was remixed by Red Robin & Jakob Hilden, and has a playful, quirky, massive bass line. On the flipside, Roland M. Dill remixes "Disco Bus." He has created a peak-time rocker, cutting up the vocal and other parts to make it a funky and mixable techno tool.
AIRBUS MODULAR- DESTINATIONS 12” (traum, germany)
*Greek duo Airbus Modular release this 3-tracker in anticipation of their debut full-length. "Destinations" is a brainy, melodic avalanche with sequences wandering up and down, randomly creating a Latin-like flavor. "Poise" is technical and energetic, with lots of different parameters and small details that develop into a dubby, relaxed, techno-house track. "Manoeuvres Time Seconds" is more experimental and occasionally hits with organ stabs and cool breaks.
ALECS MARTA- RAMPER + PATRICK ZIGON REMIX 12” (treibstoff, germany)
*The Barcelona-Cologne-Express rides again: Alecs Marta is in charge this time, the bustling Catalan with the stinging glance. As one half of the Swat Squad he may prefer to wander about in the suburbs of ornamentation but on his own he always enters competition through the front door. He isn't the loitering kind of guy anyway, which shows quite clearly in 'Ramper': this track drives on rails, a well lubricated hybrid confronting light-hearted and bouncy friendliness with demanding clarity. It's casual and focused at the same time, just as we come to expect from the Catalans as the 'Spanish Germans.' Quite a coincidence then that the remix descends from the South of Germany, bearing the trademark sounds of its producer Patrick Zigon. The guy that made good tracks into great ones at Cocoon or Kling Klong condenses the airier original to some sort of nightly tour de force, procuring tightly shaved beats and one hell of a massive bassline blanking the sky like a solar eclipse. I do not wear my sunglasses at night anymore and here's the reason why.
JOHN STARLIGHT- ROAD RAGE 12” (ukw, germany)
*John Starlight is ridin' dirty and kickin' up some dust with this one-sided bass-o-mator. Forward, reverse, bump, bump, reverse... "Road Rage" is a fine example of electronic music that isn't afraid of experimentation. That's the distinctive John Starlight sound which he defined in 2003 with the milestone Blood Angels: organic, bass-grinding and massive! That beer must be chilled, the engine must be thrilled, lame pling-plongs get out of the way.
GOWENTGONE/MARCEL DETTMANN & FENGLER- REMIXES 12” (vidab, germany)
*Here we go with the next release on Vidab. Number 5.5 features two remixes by Berghain residents Marcel Fengler and Marcel Dettmann. Listen to their interpretation of two unreleased Gowentgone tracks. There is no need to describe the tracks point by point. Just give them your full attention and enjoy them.
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