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Reviews: House / Techno


Review: Benoit & Sergio Let Me Count the Ways

Sometimes it feels as though there are two different sides to Washington, DC/Berlin-based production duo Benoit & Sergio. Sure, at a basic level there are literally two of them, but moving beyond the physical, there appears to be a concerted attempt to meld two musical halves into a cohesive whole. Nowhere has this been more obvious than with "Let Me Count the Ways," the duo's new single on Spectral Sound, which once again finds Benoit & Sergio blending clinical tech-house with a slick, European synth-pop aesthetic. Read more » 

Review: Wolf + Lamb vs. Soul Clap DJ-Kicks

Label: !K7

Can four DJs coexist on one mix? DJ-Kicks thinks Brooklyn's Wolf + Lamb and Boston's Soul Clap can. These like-minded duos upturn the sad times promised by their ironically bummed-out cover photos by mixing a big-hearted, slow-tempo house cocktail stirred with vintage techno to transport even the coldest hearts to warmer climes and good times.


Review: Nicolas Jaar Space Is Only Noise


The past few years have seen an explosion of techno's sonic boundaries, with more leftfield and jazz influences creeping into a world more known for its sweaty four-to-the-floor workouts. Perhaps no other group has been more responsible for this sea change than dOP, the Parisian trio that has brought organic textures, live instrumentation, and a playful irreverence to the post-minimal landscape. Joining the group on the Circus Company label for his first solo full-length, Nicolas Jaar appears to be following in their sonic footsteps.

Review: Marc Houle Drift

Label: Minus

It's unfortunate that Berlin's Marc Houle is probably best known for "Techno Vocals," his cheeky 2007 stab at the trend of pitching down vocals in minimal dance music. The plodding parody of that piece lies in direct contrast to the stark, depressing tones of most of the tracks on Drift, his fourth full-length for the Minus imprint. Read more » 

Review: Sistol/Superpitcher On the Bright Side & Sistol (Remasters & Remakes)/Kilimanjaro

Two eccentric techno veterans unveil new albums, with varying results.

It's hard to believe that the careers of Aksel Schaufler and Sasu Ripatti—you might know them better as Superpitcher and Vladislav Delay—stretch back to the late 1990s. Read more » 

Review: Ost & Kjex Cajun Lunch

Label: Diynamic

Obsessed with the cheese on their plates and the cheese on their turntables, Petter Haavik and Tore Gjedrem (plus recurrent guest vocalist Tracee Meyn) forego the usual expectations of cool to create joyful music that is both frequently ridiculous and frequently ridiculously good. The oddball Norwegian production duo has claimed that their debut, Some But Not All Cheese Comes From the Moon, was, implausibly, based on a Matthew Herbert-style appropriation of cheese and biscuits (as the band name translates) as its sound source. Read more » 

Review: Booka Shade More!

Sometimes less really is more. Where Booka Shade's highly acclaimed second album, Movements, epitomized the duo's low-key, approachable beats and dappled, warm synth melodies, the German tech-house producers' fourth full-length intends to provide exactly what its name suggests: More! In this case, cohorts Arno Kammermeier and Walter Merziger mean more energy, more ornamentation, and more friends along for the ride. Read more » 

Review: Ellen Allien/Marcel Dettmann/Martin Buttrich Dust/Dettman/Crash Test

A trio of German vets offers new long-players to the decidedly singles-oriented techno world.

Let's be honest: The album format has not been overly kind to techno. Tracks experienced in the happy haze of club life aren't usually listened to in pre-set chronological order in the comforts of home. The closest you come to recapturing the good times of the night before is to pop in a mix CD by one of your favorite DJs. Even then, it doesn't come close to matching the extra-sensory "wow!" factor of dancing in a room full of people, immersed in pulsating rhythm and sound. There are exceptions to the rule, but more artists need to figure out how to have it both ways, sustaining the 4/4 thrill on full-length recordings as they would in a club setting. Three veteran German producer/DJs—Ellen Allien, Marcel Dettmann, and Martin Buttrich—attempt to bridge this nagging live sound vs. studio sound gap on their new releases. Read more » 

Review: Various Artists Soma Compilation 2010

Label: Soma

The bad news: No Soma compilation for 2009. The good news: The 2010 comp is coming out considerably sooner—and it's as good as you'd expect from the highly regarded Glaswegian label. The album features standouts from Soma's roster of the past year or so, from artists like Slam (represented here with the spare, light D'Julz remix of "Positive Education" and the richly layered Joris Voorn remix of "Ghost Song") and Silicone Soul (the Ripperton remix of "Dust Ballad II," with its great elastic bassline). 2009 might be gone, but at least some of the year's best releases haven't been forgotten. Read more » 


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