Amoeblog

Resident Advisor's podcast: awesome or fantastic?

Posted by Mike Battaglia, April 19, 2007 02:50pm | Post a Comment

One of my favorite online destinations for dance music in 2007 is Australia's Resident Advisor. It's great for up-to-the-minute news, interviews, DJ charts and more. But while the writing is a bit off occasionally and the coverage a bit too club-focused, RA really shines through its podcast, an hour long mix by cutting-edge DJ's featuring the best the music has to offer. Recent sets from Alexander Robotnik, Âme, Maurice Fulton, Ripperton, M.A.N.D.Y. and particularly the completely satisfying Dixon mix have quenched my thirst for ever-newer mixes. Best part: it's free (unless you consider registration a cost). Go get it!

Save Internet Radio

Posted by Mike Battaglia, April 17, 2007 01:01am | Post a Comment
Do you listen to online radio stations? Often? Do you have favorites you love a whole lot? Well, all that is about to end, thanks to yesterday's hearing of the Copyright Royalty Board, at which it declined to change its mind regarding a recent hike in rates that will effectively put everyone out of business.

Still, there's hope.

Send a letter to your Congressperson. If you care, you gotta.

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!

You Know The Score

Posted by Mike Battaglia, April 15, 2007 12:58am | Post a Comment
Alternately known as Old Skool, Hardcore or simply Rave Music, Breakbeat Hardcore is the bastard spawn of Chicago Acid House, Dub Reggae and Bomb Squad-style Hip Hop. Here's a slew of videos I've been collecting that showcase the stuff in it's full glory. All Hail YouTube!

Run Tings - Fires Burning:



Altern8 - Infiltrate 202
:



Kicks Like a Mule - The Bouncer:



Liquid - Sweet Harmony/SL2 - On a Ragga Tip:



SL2 - DJ's Take Control:



Acen - Trip II the Moon (Kaleidiscopiklimax)
:

A Basement, a Red Light and a Feeling

Posted by Mike Battaglia, April 14, 2007 08:36pm | Post a Comment
This week I happened to receive new music by Elektrons, a Manchester-based duo who've recently released their second single, and it's one that has shot to the top of my chart - I've been humming it all week!

 

"Dirty Basement" features Eska, a vocalist who's worked extensively in the Broken Beat world with the likes of Bugz in the Attic and I. G. Culture, often the highlight of the songs she's singing, as is the case with the majority of Culture's vastly overlooked New Sector Movements album Turn It Up. She is wicked, and this is no exception. The staccato verses sound like she's channeling Missy Elliot a bit but once she really starts singing, it's purely Eska.



Elektrons
are also known as eclectic DJ crew  The Unabombers and throw an internationally-known club night called The Electric Chair (popular enough that they have their own CD compilations) that's been turning folks on to its varied music policy of fun, funky and leftfield dance tunes since 1995. Made up of Justin Crawford and Luke Cowdrey, the Unas both have a long history in music, with Crawford being behind jazzy downtempo act Only Child on Mark Rae's Grand Central Records as well as bassist for Madchester dance-rockers New Fast Automatic Daffodils (who are due for a major revival any day now - you heard it here first).






This tune. is. killer - check the Elektrons' MySpace page linked above to hear it. Any song with the chorus "All we need is a dirty basement/With a red light on" is going to naturally appeal to me (another lyric explains that "these are the only things that can keep me motivated". Me to a "T"). Singing the praises of dancing in the dark as a lifestyle might not be a new thing, but this is how its done properly and with style. It's part House and Disco, part Hip Hop, part Soul. Check it for yourself:



I completely love how it manages to be 100% contemporary pop but still bump and swing in the right places. Infectious.



Last year's Elektrons single, The Get Up EP, was an instant favorite of mine and in my bag for a solid year afterwards. I'd recommend checking out "Sunshine Love", a summery disco jam with a rubberband bassline and enough good spirit to propel multiple beach parties.

"Dirty Basement" is out now on 12".



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