Posts tagged ‘dance’

The Miracles Club

The Miracles Club

The Miracles Club

The Miracles Club is a new project helmed by Portland’s Honey Owens, who you may know as Valet or from her work with Nudge and Jackie-O Motherfucker. The concept behind this particular project seems to be a lo-fi take on the early house music of artists like Mr. Fingers.

This may be another example of the US avant rock underground desperately trying to explore every nook and cranny of ’80s music or it could represent a more intriguing trend towards noise-oriented artists becoming enamoured with the early history of electronic dance music – also suggested by Carlos Giffoni’s No Fun Acid project (as Philip Sherburne has previously noted) and Josh “Magneticring” Stevenson’s recent excavation of an acid house track he made on his Commodore Amiga, back in the day.

In any case, tracks likeĀ “Light of Love” and “A New Love” are pure win, with Owens’ deliciously cracked voice floating atop blissful synth-piano vamps and pattering four-to-the-floor beats. This is improbably brilliant stuff and you are strongly encouraged to seek out the Light of Love EP, which is available now through iTunes and which might possibly be appearing on 12″ in the near future.

April 9, 2010 at 2:00 pm 5 comments

Deadstock – Deadstock (Internal) LP

Deadstock - s/t

Deadstock - s/t

Deadstock was a mid ’90s UK post-rock/electronica combo featuring Ian Hicks aka Baron Mordant of arch hauntologists Mordant Music. Those of you who enjoyed Mordant’s excellent 2009 album SyMptoMs would be well advised to dig up a copy of Deadstock’s one and only LP, from 1996.

Essentially, SyMptoMs expands upon “Fallen Faces” fromĀ  Mordant’s previous, mostly instrumental album, Dead Air. Like “Fallen Faces”, SyMptoMs prominently features Ian Hicks singing scabrous couplets of Internet-age ennui and anomie. Much of Deadstock prefigures these developments.

The album is divided between instrumental and vocal tracks. Deadstock’s instrumentals haven’t stood the test of time terribly well, bearing many dated hallmarks of the “intelligent techno” featured on those early-’90s Trance Europe Express compilations.

The tracks with vocals are another matter altogether. Songs like “Monophonic Man” and “Nobody” are strongly redolent of Bark Psychosis’s electronically-enhanced swan song, “Blue”. These are infectious urban nocturnes, which powerfully evoke the mood of their time, not just its lesser musical trends.

Deadstock is worth picking up just for highlights such as these. Luckily enough, you should be able to get a cheap copy of the LP via Discogs Marketplace, without too much trouble.

February 18, 2010 at 9:00 am Leave a comment

The Field – Yesterday & Today (Kompakt) 2LP + CD

The Field - Yesterday & Today

The Field - Yesterday & Today

The Kompakt label seems to have a limitless supply of nominally left-field but fundamentally lightweight electronic dance music. Over the years, the label has touched upon everything from house, techno and electro to ambient and even glam rock. The vast majority of its output exists in some rose-tinted hinterland between fluffy and downright irritating. Sometimes, it’s hard to believe that Kompakt was founded by Wolfgang Voigt – he of the monumental Gas project.

In many ways Axel Wilner – aka The Field – is a very typical Kompakt artist. His epic minimal techno constructions gush cascades of sugar-water samples over bouncy, up-tempo tech-house grooves. The tunes on his much-loved debut album From Here We Go Sublime are exceptionally formulaic – each track modulating insistently between two equally heady chords until pop-ambient nirvana is achieved.

So, what marks The Field out from the Kompakt pack? Why is Wilner so much more critically acclaimed, so much more popular and – frankly – so much better than most of his peers? In a word: intensity. If Wilner was not so utterly dedicated to his aesthetic and mission, his tracks would fall flat, like so many here-today-gone-tomorrow Kompakt 12″s. Instead, the effects of his music are positively ecstatic – a cynicism-destroying flood of good vibes.

Wilner doesn’t depart much from the standard Field formula on Yesterday & Today but he does renew his commitment to flirting with disaster. Each of this album’s minor innovations could have resulted in utter calamity. Instead they’ve resulted in one of 2009’s most consistently satisfying long-players.

Doing a full vocals-and-all cover of The Korgis’ soft-pop chestnut “Everybody’s Got to Learn Sometime” is objectively a terrible idea. But Wilner’s realisation is utterly ingenious – as intense as anything he’s done but in a new slow-burning tempo. Elsewhere, he brings in (shudder) live musicians – including John Stanier, drummer with Warp-signed avant rockers Battles. On tracks like the predictably epic but surprisingly mid-tempo closer “Sequenced”, Stanier confounds expectations (or prejudices, at least), managing to build up a level of organic momentum that Tony Allen himself would be proud of.

To top it all off, Yesterday & Today come housed in a lovely matte gatefold sleeve, which includes the vinyl and CD versions of the album. You can have it all when you buy it from Insound.

November 26, 2009 at 9:00 am 5 comments

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