Ellen Allien and Berlin clubbing institution Watergate have had a long relationship, so it's disappointing that her entry in their mix series is such a dud. Watergate 05 may begin in familiar territory—the icy, emotive techno of DJ Yellow and John Tejada have typically been her bread and butter—but soon we're thrown into everything from wobbly bass to bongo-laden micro-house to second-rate electro. The mixing is jarring, the pacing erratic. Read more »
Veteran German knob twiddlers To Rococo Rot are at it again. On June 29, the trio is releasing its seventh album, entitled Speculation. Recorded in the rural studio of legendary Krautrock outfit Faust, it's sure to find the fellows continuing to blur the lines between acoustic and electronic instrumentation and taking plenty of cues from their German forefathers such as Neu!, Harmonia, and Cluster. "Horses" is the first offering from the new record, and the serene track features a bubbling synth intermingling with light percussion and pastoral melodies. These days it seems like anyone with a budget bedroom setup can crank out a mellow tune and slap the "chill" label on it, but To Rococo Rot is still showing us how the pros like to get down.
The dancehall-meets-funky club fire that is Sticky and Natalie Storm's "Look Pon Me" has finally been given the go-ahead for remixes, and Mixpak has opened it up a contest to all willing producers. Check out the official rules and download the acapella here. Read more »
Jneiro Jarel has produced under as many monikers as Kool Keith, and luckily, his output shines as brightly as Black Elvis'. On "Black Blocks," Jarel channels something of Electronic Warfare-era Underground Resistance, utilizing a foreboding bass throb, high frequency distorted industrial loops, and guitar harmonies to create a piece of dark electronic funk that is just begging for a DJ Assault rework. With deep, pitch-shifted vocals intoning throughout, there's also a political side to "Black Blocks" that is unmistakably influenced by Mike Banks. While the rest of the Android Love Mayhem EP isn't as indebted to Detroit's best production crew, its tones and sonic palette waver somewhere between FlyLo and Nomadico, which is definitely a good thing for our ears.
The clanking trip-hop beat that leads in the original version of Pollyn's "Can't Get Into It" is traded out for a steady and straightforward house beat on Altair Nouveau's remix. In fact, the only element left intact on DFA producer Brandon Mitchell's rework is the ethereal vocal delivery of singer Genevieve Artadi. Altair's arsenal of vintage synth tones and space-boogie grooves provide the instrumental background instead, and transform "Can't Get Into It" into a dancefloor number you'd have to be deaf not to get into.
Being an electronic pop act is a lot harder than it used to be.
It wasn't that long ago that lo-fi electronic pop was all the rage with the indie set—remember when The Postal Service was blowing everyone's mind in 2003? Whether cobbled together by a lone soldier in his bedroom, or assembled with old synths, some spare instrumentation, and often sparer musical ability, the music was ostensibly indie pop, owing a lot more to C86 and twee than it did Detroit techno or Chicago house. Now that 2010 has rolled around, the indie pendulum continues to swing back and forth between laptop producers and more traditional guitar-based instrumentation, but the simple act of being a DIY electronic act is no longer revolutionary. As such, new albums from High Places and Javelin, not to mention genre veterans Lali Puna, have a tougher hill to climb than their counterparts of a decade prior. Read more »
The hype surrounding London's Roska is inescapable, and for good reason: his work is some of the freshest bass-driven beat music around. Though he's been throughout Europe and the UK several times, this April marks his first venture to North America, with high-profile stops in LA, San Francisco, and New York City. Check out tour dates after the jump! Read more »
Sitting on the back of a truck rolling through foothills of the South African bush, Nthato Mokgata’s cell phone keeps cutting out. Yet the 24-year-old rapper/DJ/singer/graphic designer, better known as Spoek Mathambo, brims with cocksure swagger even while bouncing across the rural landscape to film a video with his dancers. When you’re as busy as this dude, sometimes you have to do the walk-and-talk. Read more »
It's good to know that the glittery soul and sexual shimmy of future-funk is alive and well in a city currently best known for its electro-house exports. Parisian producer Onra teams up his solid grooves with Olivier Daysoul's wacky falsetto on the dancefloor heater "Long Distance." Paying homage to his rave-minded peers with his super-compressed beat, Onra still keeps the boogie alive with a bouncing bassline, tons of spacey synth sounds, and a hook that rivals just about any of Daft Punk's catchy melodies. The music is brilliant in and of itself, allowing Daysoul's colorful vocal delivery to serve as the icing on the cake.
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