Pittsburgh Track Authority
Big release from the prolific Pittsburgh crew, the latest on Spencer Parker's new Work Them imprint. Well-received releases on Uzuri, Further, Argot and their own Pittsburgh Tracks imprint have demonstrated the trio of producers are creatively restless, offering fresh takes on dub techno, rhodes-driven house, boogie and bass music in their relatively short run. On Strenf, PTA continues to keep listeners guessing. A1 "Strenf" finds PTA plying the uptempo analog techno sound which made Untitled such a big track. "The Standard" is peaktime madness, with a deceptively simple synth vamp filtering over a powerhouse rhythm. The B-side eases up slightly, dropping into the dub house territory of their previous Further release Archipelego, and indulging their documented love of classic effects modules. Closer "It's Time" represents the unlikely meeting ground of Basic Channel and classic Dancemania productions, and goes a long way to describe the group's growing popularity in the underground; while hundreds of producers clamber over each other to mimic the classics in fascimiles of varying worth, the Pittsburgh crew's collective decades of voracious record collecting and studio time allows them to push the music they love forwards.
Third Ear Recordings
Perfectly messy, functional house tracks. Opener "Allez Aly's" unsettling groove is accompanied by a pseudopolitical rant and a perfectly rhythmic nonsense chorus from D.Ham. Fans of Madteo's turn on the mic for DJ Sotofett's recent (and rare) "There's Gotta Be A Way" will love this one. "Standing On My Ground" veers closer to classic Detroit House sounds - Lydia's vocal is accompanied by a beautiful chord-shifted, descending pad. Not content to turn in a merely pretty track, the edges of the track are filled with odd modular sounds. The B-side's instrumental tracks are even stranger, once again recalling the loose cadre of labels and producers pushing modern house in bizarre directions (Madteo, Sex Tags, EMG, Henrik Bergqvist).
Clone Jack For Days
Big jacking party tracks from the Night Slugs head. On this release, L-Vis shows he can get nasty with or without melody. "Circuits" is a peaktime roller built around a hypnotic mid-range synth line. There is barely a melody to be found on the B-side, rather, percussive jack tracks for brutal club efficiency. Closer "SDS5000" is perhaps the highlight, it's fractured quarternote funk marrying the primivitism present on some early Chicago productions with the producer's own penchant for minimal party tracks.
Beautiful old/new deep house ep from the Italian Producer. The concept here is to combine rare classics with current productions, but this is no slapdash affair. "Private Collection" is a cohesive, improbably current document. "I'll Be There" is snatched from the Discogs hoarders, and its funky pads, longing vocal, drum swing and two-note bassline would be welcome on any 2013 dancefloor. 1992's "What You Like" works a similar formula to winning effect. The newer tracks hold up; the fidelity may be slightly better, but Mantini's instinct for perfect house tracks remains the same.
Terrific new release from Gerard Hanson, aka Convextion. E.R.P. continues to pump out emotional electro of the highest order. "Tuga" is on the level of the absolutely killer Analord track XMD5A. "Pith" is more subdued, working around an oscillating pad and interpolating spacious strings over an insistent tom. Reverb for days.
Class reissues of a pair of 2007 releases from E.R.P. It's somewhat suprising both of these twelves dropped in quick succession as they demonstrate fairly different approaches to modern electro sound. On the pastoral, amazing "Alsoran", glacial synths run over electro basslines to form gorgeous inner-looking funk. "Automaton" is UR-influenced alien electro, though Hanson's signature wall of synths make an appearance on the title track. Essential
Great new track from the father/son team of Tevo and Rick "Poppa" Howard. Tevo leans on the Roland machinefunk before introducing a feelgood Rhodes progression and his father's weathered, soulful vocals. Paul Du Lac takes a turn for a pair of remixes - stripping the tracks melodic layers in favor of a filtered, minimal arpeggio and 707 handclaps. Du Lac's vocal dub is perhaps the record's highlight, pairing Rick's vocal against robotic, irresistable house.
Excellent initial offering from Ithaca’s Blank Slate. North Lake’s “Griswold” starts the compilation with patient, hardware oriented house which sounds a bit like a more homespun version of Levon Vincent’s recent output. Arnaldo’s up next with the subdued “Family”. Mirko goes hardest, juxtaposing a dubby stab against a wobbly chord and using the transition to introduce a banging bass/drum workout. QY brings things out with a Deepchord-influenced track. A simple drone pans from left to right for pleasing effect. This release is moving fast so be sure to do the same. TIP!
Rocketnumbernine and Four Tet
Great document of the collaboration betwen the Sun Ra-referencing duo Rocketnumbernine and Four Tet. These pieces, recorded in one take and mixed by Floating Points, demonstrate a deep groupthink honed during a stint where the trio opened for Radiohead. Spiritual jazz, as well as Hebden's work with the late Steve Reid, certainly play a factor here, but "Roseland" also bears serious resemblance to Agitation Free's lucid krautrock. Four Tet's signature weightless synth work rounds out the track. "Metropolis" is slightly more martial, with Hebden adding a hopeful progression, but retains the deeply psychedelic feel of the A-side. Perfectly loose live drumming holds both pieces together. Recommended!