This is the debut full-length release by Berlin's Holger Zilske (aka Smash TV) for the Playhouse label. A leading proponent in the ascendancy of the BPitch Control label and the greater electronic landscape, Holger has cultivated his reputation as a techno visionary under the moniker Smash TV with over 8 years and nearly 30 releases to his name. Since then, Holger's distinct blend of complex arrangements and gargantuan bass lines has been refined incrementally. With ten productions laden with bubbling textures, sweat-fueled percussion and tropical artwork, Holz navigates us into summer climates with moist palms and deep, deep eyes. "Lichterfelde" transforms remote boroughs of Berlin into ecstatic wildernesses populated by looming insectoid tones and gusts of humid pad textures. Punctuated by stabbed Eastern melodies, bouncing bass drops and ritual drum patterns, the opener sets the climate perfectly. "Mes Yeux" pulses amidst decompressing pads and reverberant mechanical samples in a deep house descent, while the hazy beginnings of "Roter Rausch" swarm around steadily enveloping synth and bass progressions in an intoxicating techno mirage. Deep and penetrating synth tones define "Druckraum," which probes meticulously with lazy, clicked percussion and the distant chatter of echoing beats. "Work" commands your obedience with mesmerizing melodic passages and dystopian, metallic percussive accents. "Golden" builds a lazy pop lullaby with decaying samples, trickled percussion and the dulcet vocal contributions of Swedish artist August Landelius. "Metrodancer" builds a formidable house strut with poked bass and melodic punches of 8-bit synth. In a similar vein, "Olho Gordo" plunges into dark waters with ghostly pads, dry, percussive tones and enveloping beats to test your after-hour stamina. Under the pseudonym One Chef, August Landelius returns to team up with Holger on "Have A Cup Of This," which disorients with clattering percussion and certifiably dizzy synth lines that dance around plunging bass tones and ringing symbol rotations. Counting to close with resonant, clocked percussion, August reintroduces his intimate vocal reflections in another downbeat pop arrangement, "To Them To Me," providing the perfect soundtrack to the end of an evening, and an appropriate end to an album that signals a new dawn for Holger Zilske.
Poker Flat proudly presents Collaboratory, Steve Bug's fourth artist album. Based strongly on the concepts of collaboration, shared ideas, mutual respect for fellow artists and the strength of combining forces in the studio, Steve chose some very special producers and vocalists to work with on this exciting project. From Berlin natives and well-known high-climbers Cassy and Clé (of Märtini Brös), to one-half of the Detroit Grand Pubahs aka Paris The Black Fu, ace producers and equally dexterous vocalists are assured. The Southern Hemisphere's hottest new export, Simon Flower, features with Bug on their teasing cut "Passing Clouds," while Minimise boss and techno legend Donnacha Costello also goes head-to-head with the Poker Flat maestro in the studio. That's not to forget the stunning vocals from Brazilian talent Virginia Nascimento on the slow-spun "Trust In Me," and the classic Chi-Town cut "Like It Should Be," on which Helsinki's Gigi makes a magical, rare appearance, sharing her inspiring and heartfelt message. While the snappier moments of the album will work dancefloors into a frenzy, the whole album breathes an analog warmth which is hard to find these days and which underlines the organic character of a fantastic, song-based album. Steve Bug chose the finest analog equipment, outboard gear and an analog console to create an album which is also, sound-wise, a true masterpiece.
Tokyo Black Star
This is the debut full-length release by Tokyo Black Star. Black Ships is led by a team of production warriors: world-traveling French DJ Alex From Tokyo is based between Tokyo and New York, armed with his high-grade receptor antennae, and his partner, Isao Kumano, operates from his studio-base in Tokyo as a multi-talented, high-profile engineer and sound producer specializing in all musical aspects from mixing to mastering. As Tokyo Black Star, their ship has advanced through the galaxy, meeting fellow travellers along the way. Their encounter with Dixon influenced the start of his label Innervisions, their love of art led them to NYC-based, rising Japanese new generation painter Tomokazu Matsuyama, who produced this album's beautiful artwork, and their need for the word cast the voice of poet Rich Medina as album storyteller, lending his distinctive, deep voice to one of the characters in this story. Black Ships is not only Tokyo Black Star's nonfiction travel diary, it is also the supreme tale of traveling through the world of imagination -- an ultimate, brilliantly-executed electronic dance music novel within the modern, club-oriented electronic dance music genre. This is neat, ultra-modern slickness that encompasses electro-beat, tribal rhythms, jazz squawks, nervous disco, and so much more. The journey of the imagination begins with the exalted feeling of departure, sometimes steady, but also sometimes facing navigation trouble. There are climaxes, denouements, and voyages within voyages. This is the sound of distant ports, of pirates surfing waves of static, and space stations humming along on some far away galaxy.
Harbour Boat Trips 01: Copenhagen
Globetrotting Danish DJ/producer Anders Trentemøller presents his first-ever mix CD honoring Denmark's rich musical lineage, highlighting some of the greatest moments from his home country's most beloved talents, and also including many more international artists as well. Every once in a while you might stumble upon a piece of music that speaks to you on such a high level that it communicates with the very essence of the human self. Where throw-away pop music can be a time-filler, and often a time-killer, music with real integrity, depth and soul is the kind of thing we actually make time for. In that spirit, some of the Danish maverick's favorite songs are here, for those special, intimate moments that exist purely between sound and listener, with no interruptions. Taking inspiration from the transient, constant activity of Copenhagen's harbour, this mix also sees the heralded producer creating his own special edits along the journey. Launched along with a brand new label platform, HFN, Harbour Boat Trips 01: Copenhagen is full of magical melodies, inspiring lyrics, haunting musical sequences and openly honest emotions from four decades of music history. This collection ranges from wonderful singer-songwriter visions such as Emiliana Torrini's serene "Lifesaver," to swathing synth-scapes like Suicide's "Cheree," to low-slung electronic escapades such as Musclehead's freaky "Phosphorescence." There's a wealth of fantastic music on offer, not to mention some inspiring combinations of unlikely tracks and rare out-takes. The finale, a subtle mix between Copenhagen Collective and Soft Cell, really needs to be heard to be believed. Harbour Boat Trips 01 is a refreshingly unorthodox metropolitan meltdown of post-rock, neo-alternative and electronic bliss. Other artists include: Grouper, Gravenhurst, I Got You On Tape, Beach House, The Brian Jonestown Massacre, The Raveonettes, Nic Endo, The (Hypothetical) Prophets, David Garcet, Rennie Foster, Caribou, Four Tet, Khan, A Place To Bury Strangers, and Two Lone Swordsmen.
International Deejay Gigolo label-head DJ Hell presents Teufelswerk (trans. "Devil's Work") -- Hell's masterpiece and a towering double album follow-up to 2004's NY Muscle and his breakthrough 1998 opus, Munich Machine. Across 16 exquisite tracks divided into two themes, "Night" and "Day," Hell weaves an intoxicating spell. "Night" sees Hell in more familiar nocturnal surroundings as Detroit and Chicago grooves battle the ghosts of Kraftwerk, Neu! and DAF with notable vocal contributions from Bryan Ferry and P. Diddy. On the "Day" half we find celestial vocals cascading around acoustic guitar figures as a motorik rhythm propels it ever skywards, sharing space, spiritually at least, with Pink Floyd, Hawkwind and Can. With assistance from Peter Kruder of Kruder & Dorfmeister, Christian Prommer, &Me, and Anthony Rother, Hell states: "The album is very personal. All my knowledge is there. I went back really far to the early '70s. I don't think I can make a better record." Coming from Hell, whose life mirrors his art, that's saying something. A cultural chameleon with an encyclopaedic musical knowledge and a bold sense of style, Hell has carved a reputation as the Warhol -- or should that be War-hell? -- of our generation. When Hell launched his International Deejay Gigolo empire in 1996, his rebellious creative streak gave the label a punk DIY aesthetic. An open-ended techno imprint with a natural pop sensibility, Gigolo immediately stood out and attracted like-minded artists such as Fischerspooner, Vitalic, Miss Kittin & The Hacker, Tiga, even the Pet Shop Boys, Jeff Mills and Dopplereffekt. Teufelswerk is a musical odyssey that is the sonic cumulative whole of DJ Hell's entire career.
This is the debut full-length album from Dresden's Sebastian Lohse, aka Break SL. After two very successful 12"s on Philpot, Break SL has already defined his own universe of sounds and proper production skills, and City Wasteland proves this is a young talent to watch. After the smooth introduction with house-rooted strings, piano and sweet FM-synthesis, he explores the deepest territory of Detroit-influenced techno with "Weird Dancer," followed by a lush playground atmosphere over beatdown excursions on "Kids." The track "My Love Is For U" introduces us to the voice of Syjana, singing a duet with Lohse himself. "Break It" pushes musical boundaries even further, with 4-to-the-floor, funked-up electro and meandering soundscapes, reminiscent of B12 and the likes. Next is "Laguna Seca" from his second 12" on Philpot -- a track that has already made it onto various charts, and a true masterpiece. "Dirtbomb" has some nice edges and a dark feeling to it. Hovering samples and a raw, dirty feel on the drums give the whole track a very subtle blues, but the following "Slowmotion" pours oil on troubled water with the sort of endless, floating euphoria we sometimes miss on the floors of today. "Trombone" is taken from Break SL's debut 12" -- a hidden gem of sparkling arpeggios, driving chords and a serious beat now appearing in a different version on this album. "Move!" is filled with old-school techno galore, while "Searching" takes the tempo down a bit, still keeping it funky, moody, and mellow, with Syjana's voice rounding it all out beautifully. The "Outro" breaks it up for the last time, leaving you stunned by the overall atmosphere and variety of moods.