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Review: Europa 51 Absstractions

Label: L

Europa 51 come round rapping sultrily on your door with one question and one question only: at what point do you go from being influenced by the meandering pastoral postures of Tortoise and the breathy, vocalized foxtrots of Stereolab to sounding like a college dive bar-inhabiting cover band? Read more » 

Review: Teleddubgnosis Magnetic Learning Center

Label: Wordsound

Dub originated in Jamaica, but its addictive skank captures ears and hearts all over the globe. Broken down thusly, "tele" means far, "dub" stands for sound, and "gnosis" equals truth. Drummer Ted Parsons (Prong, Foetuus) and pals take dub to far-flung reaches of noise, electronics, and idealism. The Teledubgnosis core includes programmer extraordinaire Jason Wolford (of Decadent Dub Team-the Texas Tackhead), multi-instrumentalist/media artist Gregory Damien Grinnell, and former Pere Ubu bassist Tony Maimone. Read more » 

Review: Viper Squad Neon Dawn EP

Label: Far Out

DJ Venom carves out some of his best stuff to date for Far Out. Between the flute and vocal sample-infused digi-bossa of the title cut, the Prefuse-evoking downtempo sample-mania of "Case Closed" and the dramatic Detroit-ish broken beats of "Universal People," there's plenty to get with here. Search out. Read more » 

Review: The Soft Pink Truth Do You Party?

Label: Soundslike

Drew Daniel was the first "glam skater" I ever saw in SF. The Matmos member was decked out in a Thrasher shirt, acid-washed jacket, ripped stockings, and checkered lowtops with his face smeared with hot-pink mascara. This juxtaposition of urban grit and discount-store beauty abounds in his microhouse incarnation The Soft Pink Truth. With his hacked-up snares, ditzy electro-funk melodies and divas reduced to stuttering androids, Drew eliminates the need for electroclash. Read more » 

Review: Gary Martin Viva la Difference

Label: Exceptional

Detroit-based DJ/producer Gary Martin wisely eschews the four-to-the-floor panic attack in favor of a subtle, nuanced album of floor-filling techno stompers laced with bold brass and synth blips (take "Casa Cugat" and the resonant, percussive insistence of "Cidade Marvilhosa," for instance), stripped-down breakbeat (the oh-so-sexy "Mambo Elektro"), and heart-in-throat, groovy minimal house tunes punctuated by pianos and the occasional vocal sample (check out the freaky goodness of "That's What I'm Talkin Bout"). Read more » 

Review: Various The Remix EP

Label: Texture

Darqwan spotlights his dubstep imprint by putting his "Nocturnal" into the hands of remixer Geeneus, who keeps the bass rumble intact while toughening up the drumbeat. After darkening the wah-bass melody of his own breakstep jam, "Said the Spider," 'qwan spotlights Markone, who gives his own "Tribesmen" an electro-fied, subterranean rub. As they used to tell Baryshnikov: nice package. Read more » 

Review: The Gossip Movement

Label: Kill Rock Stars

Detractors of bitter chick rock will find the Gossip's variant to be a coup de grace. Their new album, Movementbetween Sleater Kinney and the Ramones. But the Gossip gives its forerunners a run for their money: they've balanced catchy handclaps ("Fire/Sign") with gospelly dirges ("All My Days"), and Beth's voice might have been plucked from some coalminer's daughter in a Southern shantytown. The Gossip has a sound that's unlike most garage rock: their songs are as bruising and bluesy as any backporch folk, but appropriately feedback-laced and ardently pissed-off. Read more » 

Review: Patrick Dubois Today

Label: Isoghi

Daniel Erbe's got one hell of an alter-ego. As Patrick Dubois, he creates luscious, minimal techno with a warm, fuzzy center. The bulk of the tunes on Today are heady, atmospheric tracks that throb with emotion and pulsate with an earnestness all too often suppressed in today's more clinical techno works. Erbe's tracks like "Run," "My Cat" and "Sofa" resonate with the gentle, fragile beauty championed by minimal machine-music artists like Norken and Brothomstates. Read more » 

Review: Dakah Hip-Hop Orchestra Unfinished Symphony

Label: Rhythm Room

Dakah lays down the gauntlet for those "producers" who recycle samples, nudge already-hackneyed beats and call the result "hip-hop." The LA-based 60-plus piece orchestra shows the difference live musicians can make on tracks like "Adiago Asiago" (subtitled "Tryin II Sow My Love"), a love song where swelling woodwinds are grounded with unhurried percussion. Another standout is "Invocation of the Duke," where the scratching lets the Latin percussion and string- and horn-laden instrumentation take the foreground. Minor quibble: sometimes the instruments overwhelm the sung and rapped vocals. Read more » 

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