Where does techno go after it's been framed and hung in a gallery? As with their last release (1996's Don Solaris), Manchester's modern masters lay it on thick, this time with a fresh palette. There are a few familiar notes and devices, such as employing multiple guest vocalists like Simian, Elbow and Alabama 3, all of whom produce great results. But it's drastic shape-shifts and an increased intensity that mark 808's return. The tone of "Soulflex," for example, glides effortlessly between martyr and menace. Can a Vatican commission be far behind? Read more »
Veteran rhythm king J Saul Kane pits his identities against each other to gratingly irresistible results. The title track sprinkles samples of sheep bleats (you read right) over some grimy Space Invader electro, while the b-side's rough-waved "Mmm" and alienatingly ambient "Baric Void" remind us that attitude long outlasts nostalgia. Read more »
Vancouver's Tripwire works it for the Philly dub-house label with these three thumpers running a fever theme. The solid "Uh, Fever" is long on conga-drive and hypnotic bassline, while its flipside remixes deepen things with more bass, subtle effects and tight dubby vocal samples. Boom. Read more »
Veteran Ninja Tune producer Fin Greenall signs his Sideshow project to London's future beat-fostering Simple label. Both "Sound of Today" and "I Don't Know Why" mix clipped, alarm-clock ticking kicks and snares with dusky, sunset-hued melodies, even a little blues slide-guitar. Like former production partner Hefner, Greenall's sound is uptempo narcotic, like a bag of hash for the dancefloor. Read more »
Two slabs of noir-ish, chugging UK bass, driven by heavy-handed cymbal rides and twisting, warping low-end. Narrows always tells the traditional 2-step sound to fuck right off with his heavy, grimy 4/4s. This is what the term "hard house" should really apply to. Read more »
Two stellar musicians present a soaring sonic convergence. Carter's countless associations include Sun Ra, Cecil Taylor, Sonic Youth and William Parker, while Radding has worked with John Zorn and Wayne Horvitz, among others. This duet, however, is a rare and timeless pairing. When bassist Reuben Radding brought multi-instrumentalist Daniel Carter to Seattle shortly after 9/11, Carter brought only his alto saxophone, saying that it "helped create a kind of simplicity, focus, and relative quietude." How can a record be so primal and filled with emotion, and yet be so peaceful? Read more »
Two reputedly well-known mystery techno producers unleash this pair of house/breaks hybrids for the non-prolific but on-point Sosumi imprint. Shuffling 4/4 beats, echoing wah chords and a tight soundclash vocal breakdown highlight the title, while the flip's "Cruise Control" is a hardcore, disco-ey, ska-tinged party jam. Fresh for spring. Read more »
Toronto DJ/producers Nix, Astro and Chris B check in with three chunky bits. "Speak and Read" runs a tight rhythm under Smooth B-ish rhymes by local Abdominal dueling a Speak 'n' Spell toy. Meanwhile, Psy swallows two million words to little effect on "Psy'd Tracked," but comes through nicer on the T-town posse cut "Fade," featuring eight MCs, including Yushin killin' it in Japanese. Rhyme styles: B+. Beats: A+. Read more »
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