Amoeblog


Sweet Sweet Music

Posted by Mike Battaglia, April 16, 2007 12:43am | Post a Comment
    At Amoeba SF's electronica section, we've usually got at least four or five titles each month that we're extremely hyped on. Here's our current batch:



    First we've got Gui Boratto's Chromophobia on Kompakt. Boratto's Brazilian heritage gives him an edge when making his brand of tech-house, and that's an ear for rhythm. Straddling between minimal and electrohouse, Chromophobia avoids any LP pitfalls by working equally on a dancefloor as on headphones, it's got enough oomph to sound fantastic on a large sound system, but intricate enough that you notice small details while listening at home. I love his way with melody, particularly the swooping tones of "Terminal" and the bleep counterpoint in "Gate 7"; it gets quite emotional. The rhythms are key, though, and it's clear from the first track on that Boratto has a good grasp of syncopation and funk. Between the Hug and Field albums and now this, Kompakt are on a bit of a roll, again!



    Next up is We Are Together by Japanese producer Kuniyuki Takahashi, released on Mule Musiq. This is an album that is a unanimous vote amongst the electronica staff - everybody loves it (well, at least four of us). It's jazzy house music only in the loosest sense of the phrase, managing to perfectly walk the tightrope between noodly and stiff. The thing I like best about this album is its sense of space, the production on every track sounds so expansive and widescreen as to conjure up images of the music's physicality. In that sense it reminds me of the Burial album where there's a very conscious sense of three-dimensional space - it's a real "smokers delight". Check Kuni's MySpace page to hear more of this excellence.




    The Black Dog's earliest works are Modern Electronic Music 101; their innovations created a new genre of music (the odiously-named Intelligent Dance Music or IDM) and opened the doors for others to make funky, body-moving yet cerebral tracks. The music bleeps like techno but rocks sampled breaks that up the funk factor by a power of 100, and large, rolling basslines that were an unmistakable influence on early Jungle (and influenced by the UK Breakbeat Hardcore that preceded it).
    The Black Dog of 2007 is a solo act for the most part, but back in the early 90's it was a trio. Ken Downie was joined by Ed Handley and Andy Turner for what is considered TBD's best material. There was dissent, though, and Handley & Turner eventually broke off to form Plaid, one of my personal favorite electronic artists ever and a mainstay of Warp Records' roster.
    Book of Dogma
is the release that longtime TBD fans have been waiting for - it collects all of their essential early EP's, remastered no less, in one place. Most tracks have never appeared on CD, and many of these records are worth upwards of $200 on vinyl, peaking in the EBay heyday of the late 90's at $300-$400 APIECE, so you can see how momentous this occasion is. This collection is as essential as it gets, so buy it.



Finally, we have The Greatest Hits of G.A.M.M., with G.A.M.M. being the superb Swedish label dedicated to reinterpreting and mashing up Soul, Funk, Disco, Reggae, Brazilian, Hip Hop and last but not nearly least, Jazz. G.A.M.M. is loosely affiliated with Stockholm's Raw Fusion label, and includes many nujazz artists moonlighting under fake names including Spiritual South, Panoptikon, Freddie Cruger and Todd Terje (though I won't tell you what their aliases are!). The music is frequently incredible and usually surefire dancefloor material - kicking off with Red Astaire's smash hit "Follow Me", which takes an obscure D'Angelo vocal off a Method Man & Redman track and rocks a sick, jazzy vibe lick underneath it for maximum effect. Other standouts include Beatfanatic's funky reggae rework of Beyonce's "Crazy In Love" and Tangoterje's subtle samba edit of MJ's "Can't Help It" - probably the best tune on a compilation where deciding which one is best is a very difficult prospect. Undoubtedly due to unofficial status, this will come and go quickly so get on it!

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