Tuesday, June 30, 2015
It was a perfect a point in my musical development that I stumbled upon Delerium's first forays into crossover ethno-pop. The acts that had served as my introduction to the genre weren't doing it for me anymore, the allure of thicker, dubbier beats drawing me deeper to the underground. Yet I hadn't ventured that far from familiar shores either, a compilation or two about my only exposure to the likes of Orb, FSoL, and BdG. How could I know Bill Leeb and Rhys Fulber raided a ton of famous beats and sounds from prominent acts and famous tunes? Besides, it's not like Semantic Spaces' intended audience would know either, the album marking a reinvention of the Delerium brand for a potential new listener base of New Age stay-at-home mothers.
Or not. Whatever commercial roads the duo travelled in the wake of Karma doesn’t really apply at this earlier point in their career. Front Line Assembly was still their biggest draw, Delerium mostly relegated to dark ambient noodling, a chance to explore weird soundscapes and abstract songcraft. The label Nettwerk itself was also in transition, moving away from the EBM and ethereal synth-pop acts that defined its ‘80s output (Skinny Puppy, Moev, Single Gun Theory). Even Nettwerk’s biggest star, Sarah McLachlan, had yet to break out of local stardom, mostly making music that wouldn’t sound out of place on 4AD.
It’s that influence, more than anything, that marks Semantic Spaces style. There was no real crossover attempt here because neither the name Delerium nor Nettwerk had much impact yet beyond the scenes that already nurtured them (and even rejected by hard-line industrial sorts). Some of the sampling that goes on here is a bit much though – Flatlands is basically a beefed-up early Enigma tune, and it’s difficult hearing Consensual Worlds without thinking of The Orb, much less the bell hook and native chants in Sensorium without thinking of Origin Unknown or Deep Forest. Yeah, quite a few of these came from sample discs used throughout the industry, but sometimes an act uses it so definitively, anything after comes off like a cheap copy. That said, I fully endorse the use of that Meat Beat Manifesto break in Resurrection. Paupa New Guinea’s a classic, but it don’t have no Vangelis choir chant, mang!
Semantic Spaces finds its proper stride when Leeb and Fulber write music with less emphasis on the samples they crib. The two vocal tracks with Kristy Thirsk are some of Delerium’s best, Flowers Become Screens hitting great gothic grooviness (!?) and Incantation a ridiculously catchy club cut (that chorus!). The remaining instrumentals - Metaphor, Metamorphosis, and Gateway - ride ethno-ethereal trip-hop vibes as expertly as you’d ever find in the early ‘90s, never coming off sap or cliché.
Aw man, those darn nostalgia headphones are on my head again, aren’t they. Whatever. Semantic Spaces doesn’t demand fastidious critiquing – it is what it is, and you can either despise it for that, or embrace your inner Wiccan goddess. Or something.
Monday, June 29, 2015
A significant CD in Turbo Recordings' history, this was the label's first ever spotlight on a single producer. I'm hesitant to call this an album though, as ADNY already had such an LP to his name, released the year prior on Plastic City. I suppose that one - The Way Eye See - wasn't technically an ADNY album either, placing his name alongside a “Presents Leiva” credit, but it's all the same guy anyway, Mr. Alexi Delano. He's worked under a few aliases over the years too, including A.D.1010 for Harthouse Mannheim during the mid-'00s, and earlier as Bob Brewthbaker. Yeah, he's another European who made house music with an American-sounding pseudonym – what do you expect from a resident of Plastic City (home of Terry Lee Brown, Jr. and The Timewriter, yo').
Long time Turbo (and Tiga!) fans might be asking, “Wait, what’s all this ‘house music’ you speak of with regards to the label? Aren’t they known for electroclash and trashy acid techno?” To which I first reply, “Haven’t you read any of my prior Turbo reviews?” Or secondly: “Huh, guess you aren’t that long of a Turbo fan.” But to reiterate for my umpteenth time, Tiga’s label That Could got its start in the realms of fashionable house and techno, a dash of electro thrown in for the occasional spicing (or a drum ‘n’ bass tangent because Montreal nepotism). Among the earliest hits of any sort for Turbo came care of two ADNY cuts, Dreaming and his remix for Universal Tongues & DKMA’s Shiver Me, which I’m almost certain I’ve talked about before because they featured on several mixes and compilations.
So let’s instead focus on the remaining ten tracks selected for ADNY’s Selections: 1997-2000. First off, none of these appeared on that Plastic City album, so no sign of repeats here. As far as I (and Lord Discogs) can tell, these are previously unreleased tunes, with a few smatterings of vinyl cuts from other licensed labels. It provides a nice assortment of house vibes then, never settling for the some ol’ thing over and over (though I wouldn’t mind that from Shiver Me, no sir).
Primarily we’re in the deep end of soulful house, though with more of a thick, tribal East coast groove than the style Naked Music and OM Records were churning out at the time. And what deep house tune isn’t complete without some additional musicianship thrown in, whether some xylophone tones (I’m Still Here), brass section licks (What If I Love), or smooth vocal come-ons (Never Leave You, ICU). Elsewhere, ADNY stretches his muse to incorporate a little slow-jam synth-pop (Desierto de Atacama) and voxed-out Balearic bliss (Precious Lady).
Is Selections: 1997-2000 an essential addition to your deep house collection? Probably not, as there’s oodles of the stuff for grabs out there. Still, Tiga had an ear ADNY, and if you have faith in the Montreal tastemaker’s, um, taste, you know he wouldn’t steer you wrong here either.
Sunday, June 28, 2015
For many out there, this was their first Aphex Twin album. Mine too, in fact, though I bought it along with …I Care Because You Do and Richard D. James Album - when you’re diving into the Aphex’d one’s catalog, there’s no sense half-assing it, right? Selected Ambient Works Volume II was most fans’ first LP experience with the man from the lands of Cornish though, thanks in no small part to the abundance of recommendations it continuously received. Liked that droning ambient track off Radiohead’s Kid A? SAW II. Want more music like Boards Of Canada? SAW II. Need to complete your Very Important Ambient Albums collection? SAW II. Curious about Aphex Twin but hate ‘techno’ beats? Come To Daddy EP.
The internet has no shortage of metaphoric write-ups and poetic praise gushed upon this double-LP. Hell, I recall a PR blurb on the wrapping stating something like “if the Monolith from 2001 could make music, it’d sound like this album”, which is about as pretentious an assessment of droning ambience as you can get. Couple that with packaging that screams “THIS ARE ART!” (non-titles, abstract track depictions), and you’ve an album from the ‘rave ranks’ highly instrumental in electronic music’s continued ascent into credible discourse.
Not that it’s undeserved. The compositions crafted across these two CDs truly are remarkable in their bizarre, warped approach to tones and timbres. You often do feel like you’re navigating realms of the outworld, occasionally brought back to an earthly grounding only to be charted off to alien dreamscapes shortly after. At times Mr. James creates pieces of such lovely, soothing calm, you feel like being wrapped in a warm blanket of sonic bliss (Cliffs, Rhubarb, Lichen, Z Twig). Other times he’ll drag you through weird scenery, images distorted into lucid abstractions (Spots, White Blur 2, Radiator, Domino, Grass, Parallel Strips, Curtains, Tree). Some tracks offer a guiding rhythm, and thus a bit more structure to the proceedings (Blue Calx, Shiny Metal Rods, Blur, Hexagon, Weathered Stone). And in a few more pieces, it sounds like the Aphex’d one is just messing around with sounds and effects for their own sake, getting his musique concrete on because why not (White Blur 1, Grey Strip, Tassels). Yes, I’m referring to these compositions by their assumptive picture names – it’s easier that way.
Selected Ambient Works Volume II can seem a daunting excursion for some, a two-hour plus dive into various sonic doodles with no real rhyme or reason for their being. No doubt a few of the ultra-abstract sorts could have been jettisoned while lengthier pieces shortened. And yet, despite some tracks not sticking to my brain matter as memorably as others, I can’t imagine this album as less than its current sum. There’s honestly enough variety across twenty-four works (twenty-five for vinyl enthusiasts, lucky bastards) that you’re constantly engaged by each piece, just to hear where Aphex goes next with it. No wonder everyone keeps hoping for Selected Ambient Works Volume 3.
Sunday, June 14, 2015
Full track list here.
Various - Global Underground: Paul Oakenfold - Live In Oslo
Various - Global Underground 003: Sasha - San Francisco
Various - Global Underground 014: John Digweed - Hong Kong
Various - Global Underground 29: Sharam - Dubai
Del Tha Funkee Homosapien - Golden Era
Various - Goa Trance – Psychedelic Flashbacks
Various - Goa Trance – Psychedelic Flashbacks 2
Various - Goa Spirit 3
Percentage Of Hip-Hop: 31%
Percentage Of Rock: 0%
Most “WTF?” Track: ICP. Always ICP.
Well, this was one seriously nerfed playlist. June of two years past was already a lean month for reviews to start with, what with so many double, triple, and quadruple CD releases. Then there’s the lack of old Global Underground material on Spotify, so many classics of the progressive era now lost to a generation of online streamers. Why must you make us seek alternative methods of hearing your CDs, defunct labels of the past? Then you got way obscure psy-trance, though much of which is best left forgotten anyway. Surprised Del’s Golden Age wasn’t available on the Spots tho’ – guess he likes keeping his shit proper underground that way.
So that leaves with very little left, less than two hours worth of music. Almost wasn’t worth making a playlist for, but whenever else will you get to hear Canadian conscious hip-hop, ancient goa trance, and Oliver Lieb all in the same short span of time?
Saturday, June 13, 2015
I’ve already ranted on about R & S Records’ utterly derped idea of replacing classic covers with their logo when they did the deed on Model 500’s Deep Space. At least in the case of Aphex Twin’s Selected Ambient Works 85-92, it wasn’t that much of a difference. The stark white background is retained, and the cover logo remains black provided you keep the shiny portions tilted away from the light. Yeah, the R & S stallion isn’t as dope as the Aphex ‘A’ ( or ‘A+T’, or ‘λ’, or saw, or half-starfish, or rip-off of the Yellow Pages logo, or whatever crackpot theory that’s out this week), but at least the simplistic style remained. It’s not like the original’s packaging was much to get fussed over anyway.
That’s the only fresh take I can offer with this review. Everything else that can be said about SAW 85-92, has been said, including me saying what I just said. Of course, there’s also my personal thoughts about this album, so if you’re after any proper critical analysis of Aphex Twin’s debut LP, scurry on over to one of the zillion other reviews online. Heck, even the new liner notes from Will Troup in this re-issue might suffice, even though they’re unashamedly fanboyish.
What I find so remarkable about this classic album is how it’s not really an album at all. Yes, Mr. Richard D. James often toyed with the LP convention, but most of his subsequent full-lengths had some structure to them, encouraging you to play them front-to-back so each track was taken in with the context of its surrounding neighbors. SAW 85-92 doesn’t have that, tracks coming and going as they mean to go on. Nor should there be any rhyme or reason to their sequence since the whole release is literally nothing more than a collection of tapes he’d made over the years. After giving them to an eagerly curious Renaat Vandepapeliere, the R & S head set up a new sub-label (Apollo) to release some selections upon realizing how far ahead of the curve these tapes were. He couldn’t put it on his techno print, after all; they were just too ambient for that. Yet, they weren’t proper ambient either, were they? So many weird, rough rhythms, taking well-worn drum machines and feeding them through filters and distorters and reverbers. Ah well, those lovely melodies and alien synths were close enough to ambient to make it count for the time being. Folks would shortly come up with a proper new genre tag anyway.
Of all Ricardo de Santiago’s output from the ‘90s, it took me the longest to hear this one in full. For sure I’d heard a few tracks here and there (Xtal, Schottkey 7th Path, Pulsewidth), but as SAW Early-Years came out on Apollo, it always sat stupid expensive on Canadian shelves. I knew the legend of this album, but no way was it worth thirty-plus bones for old ambient techno.
Nah, guy, even then it totally was.
Friday, June 12, 2015
Why did neo-folky Lorenzo Bracaloni choose the alias of Fallen for his new project? There’s so many Fallens out there. Lord Discogs lists at least a dozen who’ve taken on the moniker prior to Bracaloni. For that matter, why even use a whole new alias? Is his material as The Child Of A Creek just too different from what he provides in this CD? Huh, I guess I should take a listen to some of those albums just to be sure. With five LPs out there, a couple ought to be on the Spotifys or Bandcamps for a quick perusal. I’ll be right back.
And I’m back. Wow, Lord Discogs wasn’t kidding when it described The Child Of A Creek as neo-folk. Half the time I feel like I’m in some medieval fantasy book or a quieter moment out of the Witcher series, but with added contemporary treatments like ambient synth washes or prog-rock guitar echoes. Neat stuff, though I can’t say it’s a sound I actively search for. Oh, and aside from similar influences in instrumentation, nothing like the music on this album of Secrets Of The Moon.
For one thing, there’s no singing for the Fallen – we’re dealing with instrumental-only pieces here. I wouldn’t call it pure ambient though, as there’s a steady, rhythmic pulse throughout most of these tracks, either as traditional percussion but sometimes complemented with an electronic bassline too. It takes elements of New Age meditation folk and jettisons all the bits that makes that music so tepid and sap, rather like TUU in their heyday (please tell me you still remember TUU). I also get something of a krautrock vibe here, mostly of that genre’s quieter moments with synth effects and echoing guitar. By and large though, we’re in the realms of outdoor chill music as enjoyed in the cool, summer twilight, a light mist obscuring the moon high in the sky. Oh, what secrets Luna holds on this particular night, wonder thee (rocks; it’s mostly rocks).
Particulars, then, because I need to burn a little more word count here. A mere six tracks make up Secrets Of The Moon, each lengthy but not tediously so, placing the album at about a breezy fifty-five minutes. The longest of these (and the titular cut) goes through a few movements but generally returns to a somber oboe melody with dark pads in support. The second longest track, Cosmos, opens with minimalist drone, soon giving way to Middle Eastern percussion and lengthy synth passages before finally erupting in bright synth-drone washes and distant guitars. Elsewhere, shorter pieces Ravenhand prominently features a santoor, Of Dreams allows the electric guitar centre stage, and Golden Dust has a very ethereal gothic vibe going for it.
So this was a fun little bit of exploration. Like The Child Of A Creek, I can’t say I’m inclined to check out future Fallen (14) efforts, but it was worth getting out of my comfort zone for Secrets Of The Moon.
Thursday, June 11, 2015
Awww, yeah. Now we're talkin'. A compilation of Rising High trance, one of the O.G. labels of that scene, with a bonus DJ mix CD from the Godfather of trance, Oliver Lieb. I spy Cygnus X's Superstrings in that mix - not the Rank 1 remix or Corsten remix (or whatever), but the original, old-school version. You bet the boys behind this revitalized Secret Life Of Trance series were about to lay some serious knowledge on all them 'crackers of the year 2000. Nothing could possibly go wrong with this.
The first track on here is Lost 22 from Starecase. Hey, I've seen that name on a few DJ mixes before (Bill Hamel, Timo Maas, and some dude by the name of Tijs). I'm also fairly certain I've heard the Max Graham Remix of Lost 22, but the original version is what we get here. It’s a charming little prog-trance number, the sort you’d hear in plenty of set openers of the time. It also sounds very much of 2000, which I wasn’t expecting from a Rising High compilation. Guess Casper Pound had to placate the masses’ expectations for a trance CD regardless, but at least Lost 22’s classy enough.
Following that is nu-skool breaks from XPD’s Titty Twister. Wait, what the Hell? What on earth is a breakbeat track doing on a trance CD? These aren’t even ‘trancey breaks’ like Hybrid or something, but full-blown nu-skool, including those buzzy basslines everyone enjoyed mocking. This is the sort of stuff Adam Freeland was playing, and has no place on a trance collection, even if Mr. Pound is one of the producers. Would the breaks scene accept an ATB cut in a Krafty Kuts mix? Hell no!
Following that is... oh God. Moonrunners’ Fathom is a such a lame pinch of the Balearic trance fad, including a synth rhythm that sounds like a watered-down version of Tekara’s Breathe In You. The whole track’s insipid bilge, with an overlong breakdown playing out Zamfir’s The Lonely Shepherd on Spanish guitar – dudes, you don’t diss the Zamf’s panflutes like that! The rest of the CD1 amounts to little else of note. Chris Cowey (as F2) turns in an agreeable bit of techno on Dominca, Silvio Ecomo’s Standing as a solid tribal pulse, and Lieb goes deep with Light It Up as Phools Inc. Generally a balls disc though, sadly.
With such weak music to work with, ol’ Oliver would have to transcend even Sasha’s skills on the decks to salvage the CD2 mix. He does what he can, but even at best Mr. L.S.G. has only been a functional jock. He spices things up with a few of his own productions though, almost all under obscure one-off aliases like Mindspace and Multiplicity. The mix even turns enjoyable once he’s finished playing out the obligatory CD1 material, finishing out with an old-school vibe I thought Rising High would deliver. Unfortunately, it’s not enough for another play of Secret Life Of Trance: Episode 2 anytime soon.
Wednesday, June 10, 2015
Also known as that album everyone bought expecting to find Born Slippy on. Then they were disappointed to discover Born Slippy wasn't on this album, and demand grew for the biggest single of Underworld's career be added. So they did, shuffling it off to a bonus disc in select countries like South Korea, Japan, and eventually as a re-issue in the band's native UK. Us folks here in the Americas, however, never got that bonus disc, forced to enjoy Born Slippy in its original EP format or as the opener of the Trainspotter soundtrack. And you know what, we're totally fine with that, yo'. If Underworld had intended Born Slippy as part of the Second Toughest In The Infants experience, they'd have included it as part of the original album package. It's not their fault they underestimated that track's massive appeal. Besides, there were other options to hear it anyway (including Top 40 radio!). Nay, best to take in this album as intended - we're tote's fine without that bonus CD here in North America, really!
Of course, once folks got past that Born Slippy exclusion, they realized Second Toughest In The Infants is a great piece of Underworld musicianship even without it. Dubnobasswithmyheadman was genre defining, but it mostly stuck to its proggy groove throughout; later, Beaucoup Fish settled for a mellower vibe, an LP fully intended for the home market whether folks wanted it or not. This second outing in the Emerson years finds the group venturing into scenes that would normally clash in the hands of others, yet melts together in a fashion only Underworld could make their own.
First though, that opener! The Juanita-Kiteless combo is already brilliant, and was rightfully the group’s killer start in all their late ‘90s tours. Weaving in a little extra acid action with To Dream Of Love only makes the first sixteen minutes of this album that much more mint, but I’ll never tire of those soaring synths, robot voices, or echoing guitar stabs. Why yes, this is my favourite piece of Underworld action, even over all the recognized classics.
And how do you follow one of the greatest starts to an album in your catalogue? By going jazzstep and trip-hop for another fifteen minute medley (Banstyle-Sappy’s Curry), of all things. Look, it was 1996, and those were the cool new genres to toy around with. Speaking of, how about them d’n’b crazy-crazy-crazy beats in Pearl’s Girl, eh? This just might be my second-favourite Underworld track, if you don’t include their remixes.
With so much awesome on Second Roughest Of The Chill’ins, it’s easy to forget the other solid tunes on offer. There’s some vintage Underworld cool-groove with Confusion The Waitress, more pummelling techno action with Rowla, a mellower techno outing with Air Towel, and something of a New Wave throwback in chill-out closer Stagger. It’s a well rounded album from a well-rounded group, and no excuses on your part to not be playing this right now.
Tuesday, June 9, 2015
So Ultimae have been busy getting their re-issues on, in particular label-head Aes Dana's early back catalogue. Only... it's 24kbs FLAC remasters, and not anything in a physical medium. *sigh* Maybe they'll get around to it again, but my hopes of having Memory Shell on CD with a classy photography booklet grows ever slimmer in the passing years (to say nothing of the ultra-rare Aftermath). Dear me, I hope Ultimae isn't considering a limited vinyl run of these? It’d be wonderful for consumers of the black crack, but we purveyors of aluminum are getting left out on the curb. They couldn't be so cruel!
Musings for later. For now let’s go back to Ultimae's early years, when you could count their roster on one Simpsons hand. Their discography included but a couple of albums and a smattering of compilations, all quite stunning - yes, even Fahrenheit Project Three, as it'd yet to be eclipsed. Vincent Villuis had already worked with Asura for Code Eternity, and was testing the solo waters as Aes Dana through Ultimae’s compilations, but he put off his proper debut for while, allowing other artists the spotlight to create buzz for the label. Heck, he’d probably have let Carbon Based Lifeforms release Hydroponic Garden ahead of Season 5 if they’d joined Ultimae a little sooner. I wonder if Mr. Villuis is just humble to a fault sometimes.
As for this album, it’s an Aes Dana LP, and as I’ve done this dance with y’all three times prior, I’m sure you can guess how this one’s turning out too. He pretty much nailed his moody, minimalist brand of dontempo psy from the onset, and Season 5 is no different in that regard. As this is a debut, however, there aren’t as many genre explorations as you’d find in his latter albums, this one mostly sticking to dark prog-psy grooves and dark ambient techno tones. Plus, with a running theme of the ‘fifth season’ of the year, we get the sounds of nature thrown in at various points. What is the fifth season, you ask? Not any specific stretch of days in the year, claims the PR blurb, but those transitional points between seasonal change. Huh, we have those all the time here in Vancouver. They’re those wonky days where it’ll be frigid and wet in the morning, but clear and warm by the afternoon: two seasons for the price of one solar cycle, and throwing your clothing options into utter disarray.
Season 5’s a solid enough album from Aes Dana, as all his albums typically are. If that’s not enough convincing though, consider this: little sounded quite like the music that’s on this album at the time. Even Ultimae was still mostly toeing the psy-chill and world beat line, and to have something as dark as Season 5 come out in that scene had to come as a surprise. We’ve grown all too spoiled by Aes Dana’s style by now, but given that context, it’s a remarkable record.
Monday, June 8, 2015
Before getting into this album, what's the deal with Ultimae this year? We're nearly half way through 2015, and there's been scant material from the label - a couple singles from Miktek and Aes Dana, and that's about it. Perhaps they're going through another one of their occasional fallow periods, focusing on internal restructuring or recruiting drives for new artists. Ooh, maybe they're busy getting ready for another round of re-issues. That'd be wicked-awesome if some of their older material gets the physical format treatment again! Get the buzz out there, boys and girls.
Speaking of words that end with “uzz” (wait for it...), let's talk Scroll Slide from Hybrid Leisureland. The ambient project curated by Hidetoshi Koizumi has popped up on this blog once or twice (Connect.Ohm, Ultimae compilations), but this is the first time I'm diving into a proper solo full-length album by the man from Japan. Not that he has a whole heck of a lot to sift through, this only being his second LP out of three, one earlier on hopelessly obscure print Floor Limit, and a third on equally obscure print Double Life Records (Lord Discogs lists Hybrid Leisureland’s Variable as its only release, though has a catalogue number suggesting a few others out there, unknown to even The Lord That Knows All; methinks it’s an outlet for Mr. Koizumi’s studio though). He hasn’t been in much of a hurry to release material for its own sake either, a surprising approach for the sort of ambient produced under the Hybrid Leisureland banner. Laptop noodlers and synth droners churn out hundreds of such albums yearly, some artists releasing at least a dozen LP-length pieces in the same amount of time ol’ Hidetoshi’s put out three.
Perhaps that’s why Scroll Slide was mostly bypassed even with the greater exposure Ultimae offered. Folks enjoying ambient techno and psy-chill the label’s known for weren’t sure what to make of a pure ambient album of the sort Harold Budd and Brian Eno might have made way back in the day (or in the here and now for that matter). Every delicate touch of piano, soft layer of pad, or minute strike of percussion is treated with an impossibly sense of fragility, as though Hybrid Leisureland’s music was a piece of abstract art made of feathers. You figure it could fall over with the slightest breeze, yet it remains sturdy and sound, defiant against your expectations of physics. Um, I’m not sure how this metaphor translates to the music on Scroll Slide, but you can bet you’d hear these compositions on the speakers of such a gallery in Tokyo.
Each track Mr. Koizumi crafted holds up as individual pieces of music, not just mindless synth drone. Beyond that, however, there honestly isn’t much to detail, though with reasonable runtimes they never noodle about as so much similar ambient does. Think of Scroll Slide as a comforter blanket, leaving you feeling snug and warm within its fuzz.
Sunday, June 7, 2015
Fugees’ The Score annoyed me to no end when it first came out. It was inescapable, everyone hyping the ever-loving Hell out of it, songs on hourly rotation blasting from radio airwaves and music video transmissions. Not to mention the nonstop requests at whatever teen dance, Christmas party, or wedding I was attending, when all I wanted to hear out was a little Dance Mix 96 instead. Okay, so I only heard Killing Me Softly, because it was among the most omnipresent singles of that year. That was enough to convince me The Score wasn’t worth my time though, as teenage ignorance is wont to do.
Slowly but surely I came around to the Fugees' multi-platinum selling sophomore effort (thanks, jungle remixes!). Killing Me Softly is what it is, a fine cover of a classic soul song that gave Lauryn Hill the spotlight on the album, Wyclef and Pras politely stepping aside for her moment to shine (save some hype man calls). What finally made me a fan, however, was the way she could command a hook so effortlessly.
Ready Or Not is the obvious one, but the strangely forgotten Fu-Gee-La is another winner, her rendition of the Teena Marie original worming its way inside your brain matter for long-term residence. Seriously, I listened to The Score about a week ago, and her Fu-Gee-La chorus is still randomly spinning in my head! It doesn’t hurt it’s got such a wicked bottom end, deep in the dub with a swaggering dancehall bounce. Why doesn’t anyone bring this song up anymore? It was the lead single, including a prominent sticker on the front proudly proclaiming it as the reason to buy The Score. It had two extra remixes added as bonus tracks, including one from dub reggae legends Sly & Robbie! Yet to this day, nadda and zilch is mentioned of it. Hell, I don’t even recall anyone talking up the track even when the album was new – even the goofy kung-fu Chinese restaurant skit prior to it got more play than Fu-Gee-La. Revive this song, yo’!
While the rest of The Score if often bypassed from the big tunes, that’d be a disservice to your ears. Yes, the Fugees were only ever modest MCs, but they rose to fame when gangsta tropes and New York City mafioso raps were the big hotness on the East Coast. In feeding off their influences of reggae, dancehall, soul, and the conscious end of hip-hop, they stood apart from all their contemporaries, offering an easy-going vibe for an increasingly aggressive scene. They could throw down when it came to battle skills (How Many Mics, The Score), though their focus was aimed more at inner-city strife, especially back in Wyclef’s native Haiti.
Speaking of Wyclef, just how brilliantly daft is some of his production here? Sampling Enya – freaking Enya! – for a hip-hop track and making it work is amazing in of itself. Still, I always knew Boadicea was a dope cut, if given right context.
Saturday, June 6, 2015
While good ol' J' covered for my brain cramp on these singles, I did a little extra sleuthing on these Sci-Files. As Amazon doesn't have them available for listening purposes, I sought alternative streaming and purchasing options: Spotify, Soundcloud, and all that. Checking in with Bandcamp, I discovered ASC did in fact gather up the various Sci-Files EPs into a proper long-player, and made it available through his newer Auxiliary print! Unfortunately, it's still just a digital format, but if you want to experience these songs as an album rather than disjointed singles, there's no need to put that extra effort into making consolidated playlists anymore (sorry, Jack).
On the other hand, maybe these past four reviews of praise somehow left you with an indifferent shrug for the whole deal. So ASC makes some finely crafted atmospheric jungle – many producers have over the years too, plenty of which are still available for a quick listen all over the interstreams. With so much music and so little time, there’s just not enough minutes in the day to indulge yet another classy d’n’b collection if it’s still adhering to The Rules of the genre. Fair enough, which makes Volume Six of this series all the more important to ASC’s Sci-Files endeavour. You can mostly skip out the previous volumes if the prospect of ‘spacey atmospheric jungle from the late ‘00s’ doesn’t do it for you, but Volume Six, no way, guy. This is where Mr. Clements finally gave us a taste of future possibilities, in his music making abilities and the d’n’b scene as a whole. Why, you might say he achieved a sort of epiphany during his Sci-Files sessions! (oh God, I’m so sorry for that)
So, Epiphany, track number one of part six in a twelve track album-series. Remember that whole genre-not-genre microfunk thing I mentioned back in Volume Three and most of anything Autonomic related? Oh yeah, this cut is that sound to a tee, urgent rhythms and steady propellant bassline, but entirely dubbed-out and subdued in their execution. Even with the brisk pace, the percussion remains minimal and sparse, allowing the deep low-end plenty of space to ooze in all those sonic gaps. Meanwhile, wide-screen pads and dreamy synths breathe like cosmic embers, and damn skippy Epiphany’s getting my simile wank-fest on.
Taking us out of Sci-Files is Defiant To The End, another slice of sweet microfunk pie (the name will stick, trust me!). The rhythms are stripped even further than Epiphany, percussion and bass blanketed by droning ambience. Melody is barely present, an occasional ping of notes or crest of pad synth emerging before retreating back from our ears. It’s atmospheric music in the truest sense of the word, not just some fancy definition of a vibe.
And that wraps up this week’s look into ASC’s Sci-Files. Somehow, against the odds, this was kept interesting with so little music to work with (it was, right?). Hope y’all now understand why I don’t indulge singles too often.
Friday, June 5, 2015
(note: why have one guest spot review when you can have two for twice the price, especially when the bill is a tidy zero dollars to begin with? You can read more reviews from Jack Moss on his blog, even if he hasn't updated in a while. How long's his hiatus been, a little over two years now? Huh, sounds familiar somehow...)
So, Sci-Files Volume 5, eh? Having played all my overlong intro cards in the previous review, how the Hell am I supposed to drag out a description of two tracks to another Sykonee-imposed word count? Even if they are two of the most gorgeous, evocative pieces of electronic music ever committed to, um, file?
Ah, the hell with it.
The Elements starts with the most unpromising sample on the whole damn series, a MOR guitar strum that immediately brings to mind memories of criminally tepid coffee table jazz ‘n bass from 1997. Are you sure you’ve locked the right coordinates into the navigation system, Captain Clements?
I think this incongruous sample is the reason The Elements is my least-remembered tune on the whole album-not-album (look, we’ve discussed this). Which makes it all the more joyous to be reminded that The Elements, once it gets past its distinctly unpromising first 70 seconds, is actually one of the best tracks of the lot. So many drum ‘n bass hacks out there would have looped those 70 seconds, thrown in a mournful trumpet sample and some third-hand soul diva vocal over the top, sat back and sparked up. But not ASC! Instead he mutates the coffee table into a sublime cyborg symphony of fluttering melodies, topped off with a delightfully suggestive vocal sample.
Blueprint doesn’t quite rewire the hackneyed so unexpectedly, but once again the intro, dextrous as those breaks may be, doesn’t even begin to hint at what’s to come. Within minutes Clements is layering galactic synth washes, bleeped-out melodic transmissions and electro-tinged robo-bass into something that’s dnb but also so much more.
Listening to these tracks with my critical faculties fully engaged and a desperate need to pad out word count looming over me, I can hear more than ever how ASC takes the tropes of atmospheric drum ‘n bass, which let’s face it was running distinctly short of ideas even in 2008, and splices them with the genes of ambient, IDM, film score and just sheer sci-fi sonic wizardry to push the boundaries of the genre into uncharted quadrants of deep space.
Okay, I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking that I don’t know what you’re thinking and that I’m just using a cheap rhetorical trick. But you’re also thinking that I’m over-hyping this shit, aren’t you? Well maybe I am. As a sci-fi sucker who originally fell in love with electronic music because it sounded like the future I wanted to live in, I’m definitely the target audience here. But if you like music that stirs the imagination, that paints pictures behind your eyelids, that forces adjective-strapped music-journos to wheel out the hoary old one about “the soundtrack to a movie that doesn’t exist”, then don’t read another word of my blather and run instead to the nearest music-streaming service, cue this whole thing up start to finish and then tell me I’m over-hyping this shit.
Just don’t search for “The Sci-Fi Files”. Only an idiot would do that.
Thursday, June 4, 2015
(note: reading five reviews of ironclad word count detailing so little music grows boring, so spicing things up is a different voice, Jack Moss, my old writing partner at TranceCritic. He knows these EPs more intimately than I as it is. Also, check out his blog for more of his reviews, even if it's currently on hiatus)
When someone asks me what my favourite album is, I usually tell them it’s The Sci-Files by ASC. This is despite the fact:
1. The Sci-Files isn’t actually an album at all, but rather a series of EPs.
2. I don’t even actually own the series in its entirety.
3. I’d actually been erroneously calling it “The Sci-Fi Files” for years, right up ‘til Sykonee commissioned me to write this here review and used its proper name.
This isn’t out of sheer hipster point-scoring (“My favourite album? It doesn’t actually exist as an album”) but rather because The Sci-Files is an album in all but the trifling technicalities of how it was actually released. ASC originally wanted a lavish series of vinyl releases before the woes of his label Covert Operations forced him to abandon the plan and relegate his masterwork to a poxy series of MP3 releases. Imagine that gorgeous artwork in a series of themed 12” sleeves. You bet your ass I’d own the full series if that had happened, and I don’t even own a turntable. But it didn’t happen, and so I was free to collate the series on a Spotify playlist and play it through just like an album without ever having to pay for each individual track.
[Painful pseudo-intellectual amateur music-journo angle about playlists being the new albums sold separately.]
Anyway, the point is that The Sci-Files plays through like an album, and a fucking brilliant album at that, an album with a subtly varied but remarkably vivid and consistent mood, an album that explores the realms of pre-Autonomic experimental atmospheric ambient drum ‘n space as though that were an actual assured genre and not some nonsense adjectives I’ve just flung together. So to extract two tracks from the middle of this album-not-album and talk about them as an EP just feels hopelessly incomplete. Because how can you stop at just two tracks?
But stop there we must. So what have we got on Volume Four? There’s First Snow, which is actually one of the most conventional cuts out of the whole series. Despite its desolately inhospitable atmospherics and pleasingly over-dramatic percussive avalanches it’s not a million miles away from the kind of glistening frosty atmospheric jungle that, say, Alaska has been doing for decades. As far as desolate, inhospitable percussive avalanches go it’s still a blinding tune though.
Holosphere, on the other hand... This is the kind of tune that makes The Sci-Files so special. It’s drum ‘n bass alright, but not as we know it, Jim. The spacious, tech-y drum programming might just be some of James Clements’ finest rhythmic work and the bassline rends and tears at your subs like your head is being dragged through a wormhole. And the atmospherics, my God. ASC has a tendency of late to lapse into an over-explored seam of murky glitched dystopia, but Holosphere tickles your mind’s eye with visions of an uninhabited alien landscape, bleak but unimaginably beautiful.
Top shit, basically.
Wednesday, June 3, 2015
Slight oversight on my part from the previous Sci-Files review. ASC's former home on Covert Operations Recordings was also a house that he built, so by all accounts the label would have been fully behind the project, had lack of funding not nixed plans for a vinyl run. What fun is theorizing if you knew everything though, eh? Plus, in some weird way, it'd be funny if Mr. Clements himself wasn't entirely satisfied with where Sci-Files was heading, his muse already wandering away from traditional forms of d'n'b in favour of trying out new things like dub techno, drone ambient, and whatever it is that he made for Autonomic (microfunk!). And it still doesn't excuse a limited run CD venture being unavailable. Kickstart that shit, mang!
Anyhow, here we are now with Volume Three of ASC’s Sci-Files series. Offworld Tides Part 2 is our opener with this two tracker, yet another slice of dreamy atmospheric d’n’b. It’s also a very apt title, imagery of seaside shores floating in your head as waves ebb and flow, though I’m still feeling the Balearic vibe over anything cosmic. Maybe aliens have their own Ibiza around Tau Ceti. Incidentally, the original Offworld Tides appeared way back in 2003, as an AA1 side on Inperspective Records. Geez, how many labels has ASC appeared on? No, don’t answer that, it was rhetorical.
The B-side of this digital collection, Firesign, is where things get interesting as far as the Sci-Files are concerned, marking the first instance of ASC forgoing the atmospheric jungle that marked the previous number of tracks. It’s relatively short, and much, much more chill and minimalist, with deep, dubby pads, yet maintaining the brisk, steady groove d’n’b adores making its calling card. Firesign is the sort of tune you’d expect as a transitional cut on an LP, but more importantly it’s something of a transitional track for ASC as a whole, a taste of the sort of music he’d begin exploring in subsequent years following Covert Operations’ folding. I wouldn’t call it an essential addition to your collection, as Mr. Clements has produced better offerings of this style elsewhere, but a noteworthy tune it does remain.
And with that, I must admit I've hit a wall in my coverage of Sci-Files. I’m struck dumb for additional information, and with three more to go, there's no way I'll keep these interesting by covering just two tracks per review. Why did Mr. Clements insist on having such classy cover art for these, forcing my hand in presenting each volume proper-like? I could blather nonsense between the analyses, but that would do them a total disservice. Methinks it’s about time to call in a favour for another guest review spot, and a sensible one for a change (sorry, Zangief). An individual who'd have no problem pinch-hitting a couple reviews, someone who knows these EPs inside and out. Hell, he was the one who turned me onto them in the first place (ASC in general, at that).
Tuesday, June 2, 2015
Damn precedents. I never should have established them. Lack of foresight on my part perhaps, but I must have subconsciously looked forward to the challenge they presented too. I knew I had a few runs of CDs where coming up with consistent, interesting content would test my writing ability, even if it meant turning into a robot or calling in guest spots from street fighters to do so. In a pinch though, I could always count on every reviewer’s default crutch when struck dumb for an angle: detailing the music track-by-track, A full-length CD's worth easily eats up my self-imposed word count, hence why I typically only cover the essentials as necessary – makes for better reading to boot. With ASC's Sci-Files series, however, I'm offered no such recourse, each volume consisting of two tracks each, and no more. Son of a...
I understand the marketing behind something like this. A producer gets a concept swirling in their noggin, but wants to treat it with artistic care so fans and consumer can appreciate it more. Each successive single builds upon what came before, another chapter in the musical journey with unique cover art proudly displayed on record shelves like collectibles. Great for vinyl enthusiasts, but ASC’s Sci-Files never saw a run with the black crack format, instead relegated to the shrug-inducing realm of digital downloads and online streaming. Guess Mr. Clements’ old home on Covert Operations Recordings didn’t have enough faith in his concept, or simply lacked the funds for a proper hard-copy deal. What I want to know is why didn’t they at least provide a CD version consolidating everything? Surely a run of a few hundred wouldn’t be that costly – even ASC’s new pseudo-home with Silent Season offer that, and they’re way out in the middle of West Coast Canada nowhere!
Of course, I’m moaning for the lack of a Sci-Files CD more for my own benefit, as it’d make my hobby-job easier this week. But nay, I must do each of these EPs one-by-one, as is my rule with any series of CDs. Except Volume One, as I don’t have the first.
Since we’re dealing with ASC of the ‘00s, ol’ James is still in traditional d’n’b mode, and Volume Two opens with Datura, as fine an offering of the atmospheric sort as you’re likely to ever hear. Okay, not ever-ever – I can’t know how much some of y’all consume. Datura though, she hits all the key components I vibe on with this style: deep echoing pads, light floating melodies, vocal samples transmitting from the cosmos, and enough clever drum programming that things never fall into stale loops. Following it is Earthtones, touching on most of the same atmospheric points, but settling for a tone that’s more grounded than the spacey Datura. Definitely recommended for those in need of LTJ Bukem alternatives.
Off to a good start then. Only four more to go. Dear Lord, I pray I don’t succumb to anecdotes too soon.
Monday, June 1, 2015
Full track list here.
Sandoz - Chant To Jah
Kraftwelt - Retroish
Escape - The Futurescape
Various - Die Welt Ist Klang: A Tribute To Pete Namlook
The Beatles - Abbey Road
The Beatles - Rubber Soul
RZA as Bobby Digital - In Stereo
Percentage Of Hip-Hop: 0%
Percentage Of Rock: 10%
Most “WTF?” Track: Dire Straits - Sultans Of Swing (…just because)
The Pete Namlook tribute box set isn’t on Spotify. *whew* Thank God for that, as I didn’t want to go through the effort of putting all those tracks in this playlist. Besides, if you gotta’ hear those tunes, they’re all available in full within each CD’s review via their Bandcamp link. Might be a pain skipping all the way to CD8’s clutch of Ace Tracks though.
The drawback of not having a week’s worth of music here is it makes for a rather short Playlist. Heck, even if Spotify did have it, there’s still another half-dozen albums missing. On the other hand, we get ourselves a nice, easy, breezy collection of progressive house and groovy trance that remains in total denial of what it is – tech-house and techno, sure. Throw in a few laid-back dubby jazz numbers, spots of high-octane acid, and your requisite outliers, and this playlist turned out better than expected. Oh, and yes, I did include the opening three tracks off Interchill’s Sanctuary in their sequence off that compilation, though not right at the very beginning – I’m not that predictable.
Things I've Talked About
10 Records 16 Bit Lolita's 1965 1966 1967 1969 1971 1972 1973 1974 1975 1976 1977 1978 1979 1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2 Play Records 2 Unlimited 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 20xx Update 2562 302 Acid 4AD 6 x 6 Records 75 Ark 808 State A Perfect Circle A Positive Life A-Wave A&M Records A&R Records Abasi Above and Beyond abstract Ace Tracks Playlists Ace Ventura acid acid house acid jazz acid techno acoustic Adam Freeland Adham Shaikh ADNY Adrian Younge adult contemporary Aegri Somnia Aes Dana Afrika Bambaataa Afro-house Afterhours Agoria Ajana Records AK1200 Akshan album Aldrin Alex Theory Alio Die Alphabet Zoo Alphaxone Altar Records Alter Ego alternative rock Alucidnation Ambelion ambient ambient dub ambient techno Ambient World Ambientium Ametsub Amon Tobin Amplexus Anabolic Frolic Andrea Parker Andrew Heath Androcell anecdotes Aniplex Anjunabeats Another Fine Day Antendex anthem house Anthony Rother Anti-Social Network Aphasia Records Aphex Twin Apócrýphos Apollo Apple Records April Records Aqua Aquascape Aquila Arcade arena rock Arista Armada Armin van Buuren Arpatle Arts & Crafts ASC Ashtech Asian Dub Foundation Astral Waves Astralwerks AstroPilot Asura Asylum Records ATCO Records Atlantic Atlantis atmospheric jungle Atomic Hooligan Atrium Carceri Attic Audion AuroraX Autistici Aveparthe Avicii Axiom Axtone Records B.G. The Prince Of Rap Babygrande Balance Balanced Records Balearic ballad Banco de Gaia Bandulu battle-rap Beastie Boys Beat Buzz Records Beats & Pieces Beck Bedouin Soundclash Beechwood Music Benny Benassi Berlin-School Beto Narme bhangra big beat Big Boi Big L Big Life Bill Hamel Bill Laswell BineMusic BioMetal Biosphere BKS Black Hole Recordings black rebel motorcycle club Black Swan Sounds Blanco Y Negro Blasterjaxx Blend Blood Music Blow Up Blue Öyster Cult blues Bluescreen BMG Boards Of Canada Bob Dylan Bob Marley Bobina Bone Thugs-N-Harmony Boney M Bong Load Records Booka Shade Botchit & Scarper Boxed Boys Noize Boysnoize Records braindance Brandt Brauer Frick breakcore breaks Brian Eno Brian Wilson Brodinski broken beat Brooklyn Music Ltd Bryan Adams BT Buffalo Springfield Bulk Recordings Burial Burned CDs Bush Busta Rhymes Calibre calypso Capitol Records Capsula Captured Digital Carbon Based Lifeforms Carl B Carl Craig Carol C Caroline Records Carpe Sonum Records CD-Maximum Celestial Dragon Records Cell Celtic Cheb i Sabbah Cheeky Records chill-out chiptune Chris Duckenfield Chris Fortier Chris Korda Chris Sheppard Christopher Lawrence Chromeo Chronos Chrysalis Ciaran Byrne cinematic soundscapes Circular Cirrus Cities Last Broadcast CJ Stone Claptone classic house classic rock classical Claude Young Clear Label Records Cleopatra Cloud 9 Club Cutz Cocoon Recordings Coldcut Coldplay Colette collagist Columbia Com.Pact Records comedy Compilation Comrie Smith Connect.Ohm conscious Control Music Cor Fijneman Cosmic Gate Cosmic Replicant Cosmos Studios Council Of Nine Counter Records country country rock Covert Operations Recordings Crazy Horse Cream Creamfields Crockett's Theme Crosby Stills And Nash Crosstown Rebels crunk Cryo Chamber Cube Guys Culture Beat cut'n'paste Cyan Music Cyber Productions CyberOctave D-Bridge D-Fuse Dacru Records Daddy G Daft Punk Damian Lazarus Damon Albarn Dan The Automator Dance 2 Trance Dance Pool dancehall Daniel Heatcliff Daniel Wanrooy Dao Da Noize dark ambient dark psy darkside darkstep darkwave David Bickley David Morley DDR Deadmau5 Death Row Records Deejay Goldfinger Deep Dish Deep Forest deep house Deeply Rooted House Deepwater Black Def Jam Recordings Del Tha Funkee Homosapien Delerium Deltron 3030 Depeche Mode Der Dritte Raum Derek Carr Detroit DFA DGC diametric. Dieselboy Different DigiCube Dillinja dirty house Dirty South Dirty Vegas disco Disco Gecko disco house disco punk Discover (label) Disky Disques Dreyfus Distant System Disturbance DJ 3000 DJ Brian DJ Craze DJ Dan DJ Dean DJ Gonzalo DJ Heather DJ John Kelley DJ Merlin DJ Mix DJ Moe Sticky DJ Observer DJ Premier DJ Q-Bert DJ Shadow DJ-Kicks Djen Ajakan Shean DJMag DMC DMC Records Doc Scott Dogon Dogwhistle Dopplereffekt Dossier downtempo dowtempo Dr. Atmo Dr. Hook & The Medicine Show Dragon Quest dream house DreamWorks Records Drexciya drill 'n' bass Dronarivm drone Dronny Darko drum 'n' bass drunken review dub Dub Pistols dub techno Dub Trees Dubfire dubstep DuMonde Dune E-Mantra E-Z Rollers Eardream Music Earthling Eastcoast EastWest Eat Static EBM Echodub Ed Rush & Optical Editions EG EDM World Weekly News electro Electro House Electro Sun electro-funk electro-pop electroclash Electronic Dance Essentials Electrovoya Elektra Elektrolux em:t EMC update EMI Eminem Emmerichk Emperor Norton enCAPSULAte Engine Recordings Enigma Enmarta Epic epic trance Erik Vee Erol Alkan Escape ethereal euro dance Eurythmics Eve Records Ewan Pearson experimental Eye Q Records F Communications Fabric Fade Records Faithless Fallen fanfic Fatboy Slim Fax +49-69/450464 Fear Factory Fedde Le Grand Fehrplay Feist Fektive Records Felix da Housecat Fennesz Ferry Corsten FFRR field recordings Filter filters Final Fantasy Five AM Flashover Recordings Floating Points Flowers For Bodysnatchers Flowjob Fluke Flying Lotus folk footwork Force Intel Fountain Music Four Tet FPU Frank Bretschneider Frankie Bones Frankie Knuckles Fred Everything freestyle French house Front Line Assembly fsoldigital.com Fugees full-on Fun Factory funk future garage Future Sound Of London g-funk gabber Gabriel Le Mar Galaktlan Galati Gang Starr gangsta garage Gas Gasoline Alley Records Gee Street Geffen Records Gel-Sol Gerald Donald Get Physical Music ghetto Ghostface Killah glam Gliese 581C glitch Global Underground Globular goa trance God Body Disconnect Gorillaz gospel goth Grammy Awards grime Groove Armada Groove Corporation Grooverider grunge Guru GZA Haddaway Halgrath happy hardcore hard house hard rock hard trance hardcore Hardfloor hardstyle Harmless Harmonic 33 Harold Budd Harthouse Harthouse Mannheim Hawtin Hearts Of Space Hed Kandi Hell Hercules And Love Affair Hernán Cattáneo Hi-Bias Records Hic Sunt Leones Hiero Emperium Hieroglyphics High Contrast Higher Intelligence Agency hip-hop hip-house hipno Hooj Choons Hope Records horrorcore Hospital Records Hot Chip Hotflush Recordings house Huey Lewis & The News Human Blue Hybrid Leisureland Hyperdub Hypertrophy hypnotic records I Awake I.F.O.R. I.R.S. Records Iboga Records Ice Cube Ice H2o Records ICE MC IDM illbient Imperial Dancefloor Imploded View In Charge In Trance We Trust Incoming Incubus indie rock Industrial Infected Mushroom Infinite Guitar influence records Infonet Insane Clown Posse Inspectah Deck Instinct Ambient Instra-Mental Inter-Modo Interchill Records Internal International Deejays Gigolo Interscope Records Intimate Productions Intuition Recordings ISBA Music Entertainment Ishkur Island Records Italians Do It Better italo disco italo house Jack Moss Jam and Spoon Jam El Mar James Horner James Zabiela Jamie Jones Jamie Myerson Jamie Principle Javelin Ltd. Jay Haze Jay Tripwire Jaydee jazz jazz dance jazzstep Jean-Michel Jarre Jefferson Airplane Jerry Goldsmith Jesper Dahlbäck Jive Jive Electro Jliat Jlin Joel Mull Joey Beltram John '00' Fleming John Digweed John Graham John Kelly John O'Callaghan Johnny Cash Johnny Jewel Jonny L Jori Hulkkonen Jørn Stenzel Josh Wink Journeys By DJ™ LLC Joyful Noise Recordings Juan Atkins juke Jump Cut Jumpin' & Pumpin' jungle Junior Boy's Own Junkie XL Juno Reactor Jurassic 5 Kay Wilder KDJ Ken Ishii Kenji Kawai Kenny Glasgow Keoki Keosz Kerri Chandler Kevin Braheny Kevorkian Records Khooman Khruangbin Kid Koala Kiko Kinetic Records King Cannibal King Midas Sound King Tubby Kitaro Klang Elektronik Klaus Schulze Koch Records Koichi Sugiyama Komakino Kompakt Kon Kan Kool Keith Kozo Kraftwelt Kraftwerk Krafty Kuts krautrock Krill.Minima Kris O'Neil Kriztal Kruder and Dorfmeister Krusseldorf KuckKuck Kurupt L.S.G. Lab 4 Ladytron Lafleche Lange Large Records Lars Leonhard Laserlight Digital LateNightTales Latin Laurent Garnier LCD Soundsystem Leama and Moor Lee 'Scratch' Perry Lee Norris Leftfield Legacy Leon Bolier Linear Labs Lingua Lustra liquid funk Liquid Sound Design Liquid Stranger Live live album Loco Dice Lodsb London acid crew London Classics London Elektricity London Records 90 Ltd London-Sire Records Loop Guru Loreena McKennitt Lorenzo Montanà Lost Language Loud Records Loverboy Luaka Bop Luciano Luke Slater M_nus M.A.N.D.Y. M.I.K.E. Madonna Magda Mali Mammoth Records Marc Simz Marcel Dettmann Marco Carola Marco V Mark Farina Mark Norman Mark Pritchard Markus Schulz Marshmello Martin Cooper Martin Nonstatic Märtini Brös Marvin Gaye Maschine Massive Attack Masta Killa Matthew Dear Max Graham maximal Maxx MCA Records McProg Meanwhile Meat Loaf Meditronica Menno de Jong Mercury Mesmobeat metal Method Man Metroplex Metropolis Miami Bass Miami Dub Machine Michael Brook Michael Jackson Michael Mayer Mick Chillage micro-house microfunk Microscopics MIG Miguel Migs Mike Saint-Jules Mike Shiver Miktek Mille Plateaux Millennium Records Mind Distortion System Mind Over MIDI mini-CDs minimal minimal tech-house Ministry Of Sound miscellaneous Misja Helsloot Miss Kittin Miss Moneypenny's Mixmag Mo Wax Moby Model 500 modern classical Moist Music Moodymann Moonshine Moss Garden Motech Moving Shadow Mujaji Murmur Music link Music Man Records musique concrete Mutant Sound System Mute Muzik Magazine My Best Friend N-Trance Nacht Plank Nadia Ali Nas Nature Sounds Naughty By Nature Nebula Neil Young Neotropic nerdcore Nettwerk Neurobiotic Records New Age New Jack Swing new wave Nic Fanciulli Nick Höppner Night Time Stories Nimanty Nine Inch Nails Ninja Tune Nirvana No Mask Effect Nobuo Uematsu Nomad Nonesuch Nonplus Records Nookie Nordic Trax Norman Feller Northumbria Nothing Records NovaMute NRG Ntone nu-jazz nu-skool Nuclear Blast Entertainment Nulll Nurse With Wound NXP Octagen Offshoot Offshoot Records Ol' Dirty Bastard old school rave Ole Højer Hansen Olga Musik Olien Oliver Lieb Olsen Omni Trio Omnimotion Omnisonus One Little Indian Oophoi Oosh Open Canvas Opus III orchestral Original TranceCritic review Ornament Ostgut Ton Ott Ouragan OutKast Overdream Pantera Pantha Du Prince Paolo Mojo Parlaphone Paul Moelands Paul Oakenfold Paul van Dyk Perfect Stranger Perfecto Perturbator Pet Shop Boys Petar Dundov Pete Namlook Pete Tong Peter Benisch Peter Gabriel Peter Tosh Photek Phutureprimitive Phynn PIAS Recordings Pink Floyd PJ Harvey Planet Dog Planet Earth Recordings Planet Mu Planetary Consciousness Plastic City Plastikman Platipus Plump DJs PM Dawn Poker Flat Recordings politics Polydor Polytel pop Popular Records Porya Hatami post-dubstep Prince Prins Thomas Priority Records prog prog psy Progression progressive breaks progressive house progressive rock progressive trance Prolifica Proper Records Prototype Recordings protoU Pryda psy chill psy dub Psy Spy Records psy trance psy-chill psy-dub psychedelia Psychick Warriors Ov Gaia Psychonavigation Psychonavigation Records Psycoholic Psykosonik Public Enemy punk punk rock Pureuphoria Records Purl Push PWL International Quadrophonia Quality Quango Quinlan Road R & S Records R'n'B R&B Rabbit In The Moon Radio Slave Radioactive Radioactive Man Radiohead Raekwon Ralph Lawson RAM Records Randal Collier-Ford Random Review Rank 1 rant RareNoise Records Rascalz Raster-Noton Ratatat Raum Records RCA React Red Jerry reggae remixes Renaissance Reprise Records Resist Music Restless Records Rhino Records Rhys Fulber Ricardo Villalobos Riley Reinhold Rising High Records RnB Roadrunner Records Robert Miles Robert Oleysyck Roc Raida rock rock opera rockabilly rocktronica Roger Sanchez ROIR Rollo Rough Trade Rub-N-Tug Rumour Records Running Back Ruthless Records RZA S.E.T.I. Sabled Sun Salt Tank Salted Music Salvation Music Samim sampling Sanctuary Records Sander van Doorn Sandoz Sarah McLachlan Sash Sasha Scandinavian Records Scann-Tec sci-fi Scott Hardkiss Scott Stubbs Scuba Seán Quinn Segue Sense Sentimony Records Sequential Seraphim Rytm Setrise Seven Davis Jr. Shaded Explorer Shadow Records Sharam Shawn Francis shoegaze Si Matthews SideOneDummy Records Signature Records SiJ Silent Season silly gimmicks Simon Berry Simon Heath Simon Posford Simple Records Sinden single Sire Records Company Six Degrees Sixeleven Records ska Skin To Skin Slinky Music Sly and Robbie Smalltown Supersound SME Visual Works Inc. Snap Sneijder Snoop Dogg Solar Fields Solaris Recordings Solarstone Solieb Soliquid Solstice Music Europe Soma Quality Recordings Songbird Sony Music Entertainment soul Soul Temple Entertainment Souls Of Mischief Sound Of Ceres Soundgarden Sounds From The Ground soundtrack southern rap southern rock space ambient Space Dimension Controller Space Manoeuvres space synth Spank Rock Special D speed garage Speedy J Spicelab spoken word Spotify Suggestions SPX Digital Squarepusher Squaresoft Stanton Warriors Star Trek Stardust Statrax Stay Up Forever Stephanie B Stephen Kroos Steve Angello Steve Miller Band Steve Porter Stijn van Cauter Stone Temple Pilots Stonebridge Stray Gators Street Fighter Studio K7 Stylophonic Sub Focus Sublime Sublime Porte Netlabel Substance Sun Station Sunbeam Sunday Best Recordings Superstition surf rock Sven Väth Swayzak Switch Sylk 130 Symmetry Sync24 Synergy Synkro synth pop synthwave System 7 Tactic Records Tall Paul Tammy Wynette Tangerine Dream Tau Ceti Tayo tech-house tech-step tech-trance Technical Itch techno technobass Technoboy Tectonic Terminal Antwerp Terra Ferma Terry Lee Brown Jr Textere Oris The Beach Boys The Beatles The Black Dog The Brian Jonestown Massacre The Bug The Chemical Brothers The Clash The Council The Cranberries The Digital Blonde The Dust Brothers The Glimmers The Grey Area The Hacker The Human League The Irresistible Force The KLF The Misted Muppet The Movement The Music Cartel The Null Corporation The Offspring The Orb The Police The Prodigy The Shamen The Sharp Boys The Sonic Voyagers The Squires The Tea Party The Tragically Hip The Velvet Underground The Wailers The White Stripes themes Thievery Corporation Third Contact Thrive Records Tiefschwarz Tiësto Tiga Tiger & Woods Time Warp Timecode Tobias Todd Terje Tom Middleton Tomita Tommy Boy Ton T.B. Tone Depth Tony Anderson Sound Orchestra Tool Topaz Tosca Toto Touch Tourette Records trance Trancelucent Tranquillo Records Trans'Pact Transformers Transient Records trap Trax Records Trend Trentemøller Tresor tribal Tricky Triloka Records trip-hop Trishula Records Troum Tuff Gong Tunnel Records Turbo Recordings turntablism TUU TVT Records Twisted Records Type O Negative U-God U2 Überzone Ugasanie UK acid house UK Garage Ultimae Ultra Records Umbra Underworld Union Jack United Dairies United DJs Of America Universal Music UOVI Upstream Records Urban Icon Records V2 Vagrant Records Valley Of The Sun Vangelis Vap Vector Lovers Venetian Snares Venonza Records Verve Records VGM Vice Records Victor Calderone Vince DiCola Virgin Virtual Vault Virus Recordings Visionquest Vitalic vocal trance Wagram Music Warp Records Warren G Water Music Dance Waveform Records Wax Trax Records WEA Weekly Mini-Review White Swan Records William Orbit Willie Nelson world beat world music writing reflections Wu-Tang Clan Wyatt Keusch XL Recordings Yello Yes Youth Youtube Yul Records Zenith ZerO One Zoo Entertainment Zyron ZYX Music µ-Ziq