The deluge of indistinguishable deep house, replete with “soulful” vocal samples, swung drums, and jazzy pads sometimes makes an avid listener long for a producer who hasn’t arrived fully-formed with only the most tasteful/retro influences. Barnt is that producer. Here, he follows last year’s bizarre anthem “Geffen” with four even odder tracks. “Tunsten” starts rather polite, then a maddening synth tone climbs slowly skyward and remains for a bit before coming back down and hitting on one-note as the beat picks up, a house track as carnival-ride. “Ariola” is more staid and baroque - with counterpuntal synths evoking Vangelis. "Stac" is a skewed percussion workout, with Barnt programming drums as though he’s never heard of the grid. Any cut off the record is perfect for waking up a crowd used to knowing what to expect.
A bizarre and heretofore lost document of post-punk freedom, Indoor Life is in many ways an amazing missing link connecting Patrick Cowley and Chrome, Warhol and Sylvester, freewheeling SF-punk psychedelia with the NYC 80s downtown scene. Indoor Life formed in 1980 in San Francisco - Cowley produced their first ep (Indoor Life member Jorge Socarras also performed with Cowley as Catholic). The music is similar to Pere Ubu in a way, but with the rhythm section calibrated to funk/disco rather than utilitarian rock. Songs like Madison Ave. slow things down with gorgeous delayed trombone. Essential document.
Bruising mini-LP of uncompromising acid from the Swedish duo. As the first-track “Henry, Second Bass” jolts to life with its Phuture meets Knight Rider groove, it becomes apparent that PEEL MD is carrying on the tradition of mutant dance music borne out of analog experimentation. Closer “Fusefudge” introduces the raw drum palette and atmosphere of early industrial music. Great debut from PEEL MD and more uncompromising weirdness from the Borft label (Frak). Limited Second Pressing of 350.
A nostalgic collection of cosmic sample and synth work from the Canadian aesthete. Tracks like “Stoney Pharmacy” and “Fools on the Hill” present a more widescreen vision of Dilla’s bag. Fans of Andres will find much to love with the laidback cut-up groove of “Drinking and Thinking”.
Eddie C slowly works his way from odd, pleasing hip-hop instrumentals to the balearic/nu-disco/deep house jams that conclude the album. A lot to love.
Leech’s Brian Foote kicks off his debut for 100% Silk with a wistful piano house vamp not far from the label’s signature hypnagogic house sound. Over the course of the record, Foote’s sound reveals itself to be more micro and muscular than the label’s typical offerings. On the title track, a rude 303 and odd percussion slowly emerge as the counterpoint to the crystalline piano/female vocal that drive the track. “Ninao” works a similar formula, the producer’s love of piano house as a deceptive front for outrÃ© experimentation cemented. “Sense Enjoyer” is similarly epic. A busy 303 line begins the track, and is soon buoyed by a wistful four-chord synth progression - when the synth emerges later in the track, it’s taken on an almost-Fennesz like quality. “Winehouse” is the ep's most austere track - a rough hewn, live techno jam replete with time-lapse synth and 303-microfunk skittering around the the track’s odd beat. All in all, a worthy introduction to one of LA’s finest purveyors of live electronic sound - recommended.
Rush Hour continues its series of flawlessly curated archival house releases (Dream2Science, Sha-lor, Elbee Bad) with this track, the godfather of them all. Widely regarded as the first house track, “On & On” was influenced by Frankie Knuckles deejaying style and leans heavy on the jacking style that looms heavy over the modern house landscape. More importantly, this mutant bit of funk sounds every bit as relevant today as it did in 1984.
Incisive disco not disco from the new group made up of members of Total Control, Rank Xerox and others. Wry, world-weary vocals combine with smart synth programming and spare live percussion to create an electronic post-punk sound so obvious you’d think someone would have hit on it by now. At times, the band’s sound is reminiscent of a subtractive version of labelmates Factory Floor. Things brighten slightly on “In The House”, a track with a loping groove worthy of Factory Beneleux.
Intriguing new sounds from the Swedish newcomer. The title track wastes little time getting deep in the oddest way possible, starting with wobbly guitar before coming with a steamroller of a two-note bassline and a snare that could pass for the clackety-clack of boxcars. Eventually two samples, one made up of gorgeous strings, the other perhaps of feline origin create a deliciously stoned whole. A bit of Detroit in here, but Henrik’s house sound is all his. B-side “Spin” twists a couple samples and manic, jazz-influenced percussion into head-down, dark room business, eventually emerging with a blurred melodic organ progression and cute vocal before beating the simple groove again. TIP!
Rainy, corroded sounds from the English duo. The title track combines the tape-delay degradation expected from the Modern Love camp with the big pads of Burial’s more hopeful moments. “Slow Beaming” comes off like a refracted take on the Tri Angle sound, while “Bala” represents the ep’s emotional peak, the longing vocal subsumed by string synth atmospherics worthy of Talk Talk’s “Laughing Stock”. The record represents an infusion of downcast pop into a plethora of ‘ardcore continuum formatives - the end result, at times, veering closer to ambient music than even the foggiest post-dubstep.