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Reviews: House / Techno


Review: Solomun Dance Baby

Label: Diynamic

After three years of releasing 12-inches for the likes of Four:Twenty, liebe*detail, and his own Diynamic imprint, Bosnia-born, Hamburg-based Mladen Solomun unleashes his debut long-player. Overlook the mildly tacky album title (and, indeed, track titles) and Dance Baby is a quality debut that deploys deep-house signifiers with relative subtlety and nuance. Read more » 

Review: KZA & Toshiya Kawasaki I’m Starting to Feel Okay Vol. 3

On this 18-track mix, KZA and Toshiya Kawasaki probe dance music’s more leisurely conceits. Theo Parrish’s dub of Kuniyuki’s “All These Things” sets the disc’s woozy, sensual tone, and Discosession’s remix of Naum Gabo’s “Black Lab” conjures a serious Italo-kosmische hybrid before Soft Rocks and John Daly inject some dramatic prog rock and Detroit-techno bump into the laid-back disco vibe. Read more » 

Review: Annie Don't Stop

Life isn't always easy for pop princesses. Sure, some become international megastars, but legions more simply fade away, or even worse, get stuck in label purgatory. Such was the fate of Annie, which is why it feels like a millenium or two has passed since songs like "Chewing Gum" and "Heartbeat" were being hailed as works of electro-pop genius. Now that her label drama has passed, Annie is back with her sophomore effort. Read more » 

Review: Claude VonStroke Bird Brain

Label: Dirtybird

San Francisco-based Dirtybird and Mothership impresario Claude VonStroke (a.k.a. Barclay Crenshaw) is one of the few electronic music producers who can inject humor into his tracks without coming off like a doofus. On his follow-up to 2006’s Beware of the Bird, VonStroke balances levity with darkness, as on “Monster Island,” where a madcap 303 whoop contrasts with percussive, jangling chains and hazy strings. Read more » 

Review: Traxx Faith

Label: Nation

The first full-length from Traxx (a.k.a. Chicago-based DJ and producer Melvin Oliphant III) touts the most jacking-est of styles—"jakbeat," an Ann Arbor and Chicago sound that’s both an ode to and update of early Chicago house. Traxx, no purist, reaches back even further (“Parametric Melody” nods to Larry Levan, quoting Peech Boys’ “Don’t Make Me Wait”) while also looking ahead. Vintage as the drum programming and acid synths are on a track like “Enka,” Faith has a soulful, futuristic quality throughout. Read more » 

Review: CFCF Continent

Label: Paper Bag

The first sounds heard on the debut full-length from Montreal-based producer Michael Silver (musically known as CFCF) are a slow, bouncing beat matched by a handful of poignant synth tones that could have swirled straight from the hands of a lovesick android. Continent's opening track, "Raining Patterns," is more future-R&B than disco dance party, and sets the mood for an album more about the upper half of your body than the lower. Read more » 

Review: Black Devil Disco Club Presents: The Strange New World of Bernard Fevre

Label: Lo

As half of Black Devil Disco Club, Bernard Fevre decades ago invented his own stream of Italo-disco, only to vanish until a few years back. Now Fevre has rescued his own Strange New World from the mists of time, and we find that he long ago dialed up a psychedelic, sci-fi spin on library music, conjuring bodily thrills and spinal chills, decades before Boards of Canada mined similar terrain. Read more » 

Review: Etienne Jaumet Night Music

Label: Domino

Mixed by Carl Craig, French producer Etienne Jaumet's first solo album delivers. 20-minute opener "For Falling Asleep" utilizes looped, occasionally acidy arpeggiations, with a processed saxophone providing the piece's main melody. Weird whisperings and ululations provide the piece with some foreboding undertones that wouldn't make for pleasant dreams, but the pastoral final minutes are dreamy enough for an afternoon nap. Read more » 

Review: Matias Aguayo Ay Ay Ay

Label: Kompakt

Chilean producer Matias Aguayo (formerly of Closer Musik) has created a dark carnival of an album on Ay Ay Ay, a restrained event with sustained creepiness underlying the celebration. Filled with thudding drums and melodies constructed from vocal tics, tones, whispers, and asides, it plumbs disorienting depths—imagine an Audion track where the corkscrew melodies have been replaced with a choir composed of the whispers from Lost. Read more » 

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