Monday, May 30, 2005

Out of tune
Geiger's debut album, Out of Tune, available now on Firm records.

Friday, May 27, 2005

Speicher 11-20
A download guide to Kompakt Extra (part II), thanks to
AMG and Andy.

Speicher 11 (+++)
Review by Andy Kellman
The 11th Speicher is shared by Kompakt newcomer DJ Koze (a member of the whimsical International Pony) and Naum (fresh off a Schaffelfieber 2 appearance). DJ Koze's "Der Säger von St. Georg" gets more willfully abrasive by the second; a bangin' electro-techno cruncher, the track piles on one aggressive effect after another, constantly reloading with more punishing ammunition. Naum's "Galore" is friendly only in a relative manner, though its glammy shuffle-tech foundation makes it a hedonist's delight. The crashing hi-hats near the conclusion give it an extra charm, closing it out in grand, uninhibited fashion. It has become increasingly troublesome to stay on top of the Kompakt Extra releases, but this one shouldn't get lost in the, er, shuffle.

Speicher 12 (++)
Review by Andy Kellman
Both sides of Speicher 12 feature Jens Harke. On the A-side, he remixes Freiland's (aka Wolfgang Voigt) "Grün," while the B-side features one of his own productions. Having already appeared on an Auftrieb release (alongside a remix from Dieter Gorny), the presence of the Freiland remix appears to be a ruse to get Kompakt fans to pay more attention to Auftrieb, a label that's generally less inviting — the releases from that label tend to be nastier in demeanor, though some of them will indeed appeal to those with an ear for harsher Speicher tracks. Harke's reinterpretation of the original is more welcoming, not only for his addition of robotic vocals. Harke's own "Eigenrauch" is one of the biggest-sounding Speicher tracks, though it's pretty nondescript.

Speicher 13 (++1/2)
Review by Andy Kellman
Reinhard Voigt, Kompakt's most prolific (and increasingly reliable) producer, wins out with the better of the two tracks on Speicher 13; "Protekt" is very house-y by Voigt standards, and is less punishing for it, with spiny keyboard patterns massaging the brain rather than assaulting it. Jake Fairley, a Toronto native with several releases on Sender and Dumb Unit to his credit (in addition to a previous appearance on Speicher 9), comes up with a circular buzzsaw of a track that gets dipped in acid during its latter third. Once the track finishes, it becomes apparent that its first minute resembles a breakdown as much as a warm-up; with that in mind, its effect in whole is that of a part two.

Speicher 14 (+++)
Review by Andy Kellman
Between this release's "Masterblaster" and "Cool Harbour" (from 2002's Kompassion 12"), the Orb haven't merely demonstrated a love for shuffle-tech — they've also created two of the sub-sub-subgenre's finest moments. Though it's not quite the beast that "Cool Harbour" is, "Masterblaster" is almost as powerful and crisp, with the sharpness of the sawtooth buzzline cushioned somewhat by a heavily washed-out chorus of voices. (You might want to alert your uncle or grandfather that the KLF's Jimi Cauty assists.) M. Mayer's chugging "X" is easily the sleeker of the two, filled out with twinkly/spangly effects that give it a strong resemblance to Joris Vermeiren's "Atomium" (as heard on Ricardo Villalobos' Taka Taka mix). This gets Kompakt off to a fine start as it enters a seventh year.

Speicher 15 (+++)
Review by Andy Kellman
"Ari" follows Schaffelfieber 2's "Issimo" and Speicher 11's "Galore" as Naum's third production to be released by Kompakt. Roughly a couple minutes in, it shows all the signs of being a prime DJ tool with optimal shuffle-oriented potential, but a wonderfully blockheaded bass line and crashing hi-hats (as heard near the tail end of "Galore") eventually make their entrance. Multiple seering effects come from keyboards; even with these, a rock band with basic glam rock knowledge could faithfully replicate the whole track without difficulty. On the B-side, Joachim Spieth makes his first Speicher appearance since the eighth release, with a deep-burrowing stomper full of whip-crack hits, piercing bomb-drop noises, and neo-acid splatters. This release, as part of the Speicher series, falls somewhere in the middle of the pack.

Speicher 16 (+++1/2)
Review by Andy Kellman
Speicher 16 features an unlikely pairing for 2004, at least as far as aliases are considered, not necessarily the producers behind them: it looks like Kreisel's five-year reunion. Kompakt head Wolfgang Voigt contributes a track as Mike Ink, while Jörg Burger steps up as Burger Industries. The pairing certainly invokes old memories for many jocks and dancers, but this isn't merely a skip down memory lane. If Ink's "Playing With Knives" sounds familiar, it's because it's an updated (remastered, crisper) version of a track Voigt produced for the 1999 Kreisel series: it was the A-side of Kreisel's "Rissko Acid Catch." Unsurprisingly, it's just as fresh now as it was then: acid techno at its stickiest. Burger's "Derby" appears to be brand new; it's just as voluptuous as the A-side, and ranks with the Voigt brothers' co-productions in the series. These two tracks should help make the second Speicher mix album just as much of a fierce force as the first.

Speicher 17 (+++1/2)
Review by Andy Kellman
Technically the third Speicher for 2004, the 17th release of the series involves Ferenc (fresh from a respectable 12" on Kompakt proper) and Naum (who was last heard from on Speicher 15). Ferenc's lengthy "Punto Pilota" stalks stealthily with a deep bass line and some of the producer's most mind-altering layers of effects. Naum, half of the Glasgow-based Optimo, delivers a smoother, more dynamic variation on his crowd-pleasing shuffle tech. His by-now-trademark decimated hi-hats come into play, once again, in all their air-punching glory. (Dear Naum: don't ever make a track without them.) This is one of the several must-own pieces of the Speicher puzzle.

Speicher 18 (+++1/2)
Review by Andy Kellman
On the A-side of Speicher 18, series stalwart Reinhard Voigt cooks up another one of his ripping techno tracks; longtime Reinhard followers will eat it up, while those who've only attached to the likes of "Kontakt" and "Supertiel" might be a little less enthusiastic. Regardless, Heib steals the show on the flip side. "Diana Dies Tonight" has the be the most strikingly titled track released by Kompakt — it's striking by anybody's standard. If the title were more benign, the track would remain extremely powerful. Unlike the grating/gnashing/in-the-red reputation Heib has built with his Auftrieb releases, "Diana Dies Tonight" shows the more pensive and alarmingly eerie sides of his personality. Centered around a sweeping buzz and suspenseful strings, the track threatens to boil over but remains in a white-knuckled state. The synthesized sound of passing vehicles is placed near the fade-out, making it an even more bracing listen.

Speicher 19 (+++1/2)
Review by Andy Kellman
Nearly a year after releasing one of the Kompakt label's best singles, Rising Sun, Magnet makes a reappearance in the Speicher series with "Kisskisskiss." Magnet's object of affection here is probably Maurizio; the track is a heavier, thicker, fuller take on Maurizio's sound, but the indebtedness is apparent. It's a welcomed, if late, follow-up. Wighnomy Brothers deliver "Wurz and Blosse," an equally dark and deep track that's relatively minimal, gliding swiftly on a dynamic bassline accented by distressing vapors. These tracks are two of the smoothest in the Speicher series; those expecting the abrasion and danger in the bulk of other Speicher tracks might be a little let down.

Speicher 20 (+++)
Review by Andy Kellman
You never know what you're going to get from DJ Koze. On the side he contributes to Speicher 20, you get a dark, ten-minute monster of a track that's as enticingly looming as anything else released through Kompakt. A stealth bass line undulates at all the right button-pushing moments, and is made all the more effectively creepy by the rattling bells and hi-hat rushes that accompany it. Justus Köhncke's "Sofort" (English translation: "immediately," most likely the answer here to the question, "When to crack this skull?") is surprisingly ill-tempered for the otherwise pop-happy producer and is probably the closest any Speicher track has come to resembling early-'90s Underground Resistance. It's so out of character for Köhncke that a blindfold test involving the craziest Kompakt head couldn't possibly yield a positive identification.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Speicher 1-10
A download guide .... by
Andy Kellman and allmusic. All releases available at Kompakt website.

Speicher 1 (+++)
Review by Andy Kellman
Speicher 1 is a various-artists 12" from Kompakt with tracks from Jürgen Paape, M. Mayer, Superpitcher, and Auftrieb. Pinning down Kompakt's sound is difficult enough based only on the label's diverse stable of producers, and the task becomes downright impossible when some of those producers come up with new sounds for each track that they make. This release is emblematic of that fact. Superpitcher's nervous "Grace" and Paape's kinetic "Ballroom Blitz" (not a Sweet cover) are pleasant but not spectacular dance tracks, while Auftrieb's stomping "Strang" is one of those "shuffle tech" numbers that unleashes an abrasive, alienating groove. (If a video game featured a serpent spiked with prickers across its tail end, this would be the sound it would make as it attacks.) M. Mayer's low-key "Capiche" offers some respite, but it's not exactly up to the man's standard.

Speicher 2 (+++)
Review by Andy Kellman
Where the content of Kompakt's Speicher 1 was split between four producers, Speicher 2 is a shared release between two noted German producers: M. Mayer and Reinhard Voigt. Mayer's A-side is a cover of Sade's "Love Is Stronger Than Pride," turning the Nigerian diva's original into an up-tempo tech-house track with vocals that are rhythmically spoken (and heavily echoed) rather than sung. It isn't a joke — at least it doesn't sound like one. Given the simplistic but meaningful lyrics, many could be tricked into thinking it's a reworking of a lost Chicago house classic from the late '80s. Voigt's "Supertiel" is just as strong as anything from his full-length for Kompakt, speeding by at a rapid velocity with immaculate production flourishes. Despite the fact that this 12" has half as many tracks as Speicher 1, its value practically dwarfs its predecessor.

Speicher 3 (+++)
Review by Andy Kellman
The third in Kompakt's Speicher series brings the brothers Voigt — Reinhard and Wolfgang — together for a pair of collaborative productions. While most of Wolfgang's output of late (as Tal, Mint, All, and Gas) has been mostly ambient and often beat-free, these two tracks are aggro 4/4 club tracks that have more in common with his sib's productions for Kompakt. "Korn" is a dirty and sleazy dancefloor groove with dense layers of noise and rhythm — save for a couple moments where the track is whittled to only a couple elements, the primary beat is easy to lose within the mix. The lengthy "Roxy" isn't nearly as dark, with moody synth tones and an eerie vocal sample stretched over the top of relatively slinky polyrhythms. [Note to Kompakt phreeks: The version of "Roxy" on the Total 4 CD is an edit that trims nearly three minutes of the original found here.]

Speicher 4 (+++)
Review by Andy Kellman
Kompakt's fourth Speicher 12" is a split between Superpitcher (Aksel Schaufler) and Wasserman (Reinhard Voigt). Both producers deliver a single track of nasty floor-burning techno. Voigt comes out on top with "Spring," a nearly anthemic track with pumping beats and escalating synth notes shooting off at a blistering pace. Superpitcher's "Irre" isn't quite as great — it's a little more complex and veers toward abrasive shuffle-tech without being off-putting. A number of rhythmic devices give the track a galloping edge. Both tracks here fit in well with the remainder of the Speicher series, which has favored aggressive techno over Kompakt's numerous other sounds (lush house, wispy ambient, melodic dance-pop, etc.).

Speicher 5 (++++)
Review by Andy Kellman
At this point, Kompakt's split-producer Speicher series might as well be considered a sub-label, since it tends to favor the more aggressive side of the label's output. This fifth one brings Reinhard and Wolfgang Voigt together again, but unlike the collaborations of Speicher 3, this features a solo production from each Voigt. The furious "Dorn" is one of Reinhard's best blazing techno tracks, with numerous intricately woven elements. As strong as that is, Wolfgang wins out with "Vision 3," a brilliant sci-fi house production that manages to cram all sorts of sounds into it while retaining wide-open spaces. If Wolfgang releases another batch of tracks in this vein that are nearly as strong, his label just might outdo itself. Speicher 5 is the best of the series thus far, hands down.

Speicher 6 (+++)
Review by Andy Kellman
This installment in Kompakt's Speicher series is a showcase for Superpitcher's talents as both a producer and a remixer. Pop group Quarks' "I Walk" gets an infectious shuffle-tech makeover, the bopping beat and the sing-songy female vocals striking a colorful, playful chord. Superpitcher's own production, "Fieber," isn't merely one of the Speicher series' best; it's one of the best the Kompakt label as a whole has released. And it's not even the pinpoint-perfect beat programming that sticks out — the track's greatness has a lot more to do with the robust clusters of keyboard melodies, which are so thick that they also function as the bass line. If someone attempts to pigeonhole Kompakt as a microhouse label, put this one on.

Speicher 7 (++++)
Review by Andy Kellman
The seventh Speicher features two Kompakt vets, Reinhard Voigt and Michael Mayer. The two co-produce a pair of tracks, both of which rate near the top of the series' heap. "Unter Null" is a shuffling stomper with a recurring alien melody that could've been swiped from a low-budget '70s sci-fi flick. The beat is propulsive but never assaultive. The B-side, "Bring It Back," is even more fleet of foot, a swift dancefloor track with swarming effects — and a clipped vocal sample that echoes the title — encased in light gauze. This is definitely one of the strongest Speicher releases thus far, with exceptional work from both parties.

Speicher 8 (++)
Review by Andy Kellman
Speicher 8 is a split 12" shared by Joachim Spieth and Michael Mayer. Two minutes in, Spieth's "Under Pressure" seems like it would've been at home on Kompakt's first Schaffelfieber compilation; it eventually develops into something more palatable for the dancefloor, though it would probably work best in a set as a de-emphasized bridge between two tracks. The B-side is credited to Mayer, even though it's a remix of Reinhard Voigt's "Supertiel" (off Speicher 2). Mayer's take is unnecessarily busy, and not nearly as effective as the original, with nearly every space plugged up by a noise of some sort. Skippable.

Speicher 9 (++)
Review by Andy Kellman
This marks the first time Kompakt has gone outside their immediate circle for a contributor to the Speicher series. Canadian producer Jake Fairley pitches in with "Motor," a track that fits perfectly into the Speicher scheme without resembling anything the series has spawned previously. It's more smacking than banging, and it hits with an aggressive, unpleasant force. "Hysteria" is substandard Superpitcher that never quite gets off the ground. The tempo is slower than usual for him, and the keyboard vamps just kind of lull you into submission. Neither Fairley fans nor Superpitcher fans should feel obligated to pick this up.

Speicher 10 (++++)
Review by Andy Kellman
Wolfgang and Reinhard Voigt prove to be up to the challenge of retaining the championship belt of the club-oriented Speicher series on this, the tenth release on Kompakt Extra. As on Speicher 5, the two tracks here are co-productions from the brothers. Both are as indispensable as anything else in the series, and both make strong cases for modern-day acid trance. "Was du Willst," the ten-minute A-side, is the greater draw of the two tracks, with euphoric trance melodies offset by anxious, ominous textures. "Vision 04" isn't quite on the level of Speicher 5's "Vision 03," but the ghosts of late-'80s Chicago house would no doubt put it to use.

Friday, May 20, 2005

Total 6 (and vanity)
Two years after after … Kompakt seems to be preparing the sixth instalment of the legendary Total series (to be released in August). Looking forward to see what are the tracks selected this time for the compilation. One thing has changed this time: almost every track of the german label is available at their website. Before the launch of the
mp3 site, it was almost the only chance to get their releases in a digital format. But yes, I will be buying it on CD. Even if there are not exclusive tracks … having all the Total comps from 1 to 5, will look very nice together with the other five.
Btw, I have just notice that the latest Areal 12": Ada's Blondix that includes Eve (DJ Koze Mix) and Livedriver. (I am going bankrupt)

Thursday, May 19, 2005

The Night Will Last Forever ...
... is the title of Lawrence's new album released by
Novamute/Ladomat on Monday 16 May. Twelve new tracks available on CD and 2LP. Includes the track 'Swap', release previously as a single with mixes by Carsten Jost and Serafin.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

No cure recommends ...
to enter now, search for Marlow's new single 'Quiet' (Moonharbour) and download one best tracks of the year so far. A deeply exuberant bass for a minimal vocal thang.

Monday, May 16, 2005

Tresor 216 release is a retropective of Juan Atkins work under Model 500, 3MB or Cybotron. Press release: Although this collection contains a few pre-Metroplex tracks from his early Cybotron project, the bulk of his important works were crafted in the framework of the Metroplex label, which he founded in 1985. Juan Atkins recorded under several aliases, including his noteworthy Infiniti releases on the Tresor label throughout its history.
Here is the tracklist:
1-01 Cybotron Alleys Of Your Mind (3:34)
1-02 Model 500 Future (4:54)
1-03 Model 500 Starlight (6:27)
1-04 Model 500 Vessels In Distress (5:20)
1-05 Channel One Technicolor (6:50)
1-06 Model 500 The Chase (5:42)
1-07 Cybotron R9 (5:15)
1-08 Infiniti Game One (5:40)
1-09 3MB Jazz Is The Teacher (9:41)
Featuring - Magic Juan
1-10 Cybotron Cosmic Cars (4:23)
1-11 Model 500 Wanna Be There (6:44)
2-01 Cybotron Clear (4:55)
2-02 Cybotron Dreammaker (5:44)
2-03 Infiniti Skyway (5:55)
2-04 Model 500 No UFO's (7:04)
2-05 Model 500 Nightdrive (Thru Babylon) (6:11)
2-06 Model 500 Ocean To Ocean (5:49)
2-07 Juan Atkins Something About The Music (3:50)
2-08 Model 500 Off To Battle (6:05)
2-09 Cybotron Cosmic Raindance (4:02)
2-10 Model 500 The Flow (4:18)
2-11 Visions Other Side Of Life (5:08)
2-12 Model 500 The Passage (7:30)

Friday, May 06, 2005

We Are Monster
Five long years after 'Rest', the second Isolee album 'Wearemonster' seems to be arriving. At least two people already listened to it. One is David Drake, contributor to Stylus Magazine. He said it is 'less rhythmically nebulous than Rest aka one of my favorite albums ever, more disco, meaty glittery house. Its like Rest plus a dash of MRI'.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Shades of a Shadow
John Dahlback's first full length 'Shades of a Shadow' available now on Little Angel