Saturday, September 30, 2017

EDM Weekly World News: December 2011

Are we all tired of DJ popularity polls yet? All the hullabaloo that marked each annual competition for biggest, bestest marketing whore seems to have simmered down in recent years, some losing all sense of credibility when non-DJs started winning, while others have fallen into repetitive ruts. Some years ago though, controversy still kept these things the talk of techno-town, and who can forget the year when we suddenly found ourselves with TWO (2) number one DJs? Even more shocking was that neither of them played trance! The poor, pathetic Trance Family was irate, flabbergasted, flummoxed, and not very polite either, raining on that year's champions like a wet fart. No, wait that was the actual celebration and its weak-ass spizzler fireworks. Sad.

Of course, if you didn't care for the results of those particular #1 DJ Polls, there was always the TranceAddict #1 DJ Poll, the TranceFix #1 DJ Poll, the Mixmag #1 DJ Poll, the YourEDM #1 DJ Poll, the DI #1 DJ Poll, the Beatport #1 DJ Poll, the mmnlssg #1 DJ Poll, the Pitchfork #1 DJ Poll, the CokeMachineGlow #1 DJ Poll, the TinyMixTapes #1 DJ Poll, the FACT #1 DJ Poll, the Vice #1 DJ Poll, the XXL #1 DJ Poll, the Rolling Stone #1 DJ Poll (I think Chemical Brothers won it that year... and every year), the Guardian #1 DJ Poll, the Billboard #1 DJ Poll, the BBC #1 DJ Poll, the NBC #1 DJ Poll, the CNN #1 DJ Poll, the CSPAN #1 DJ Poll, the FoxNews #1 DJ Poll (their result made Glenn Beck cry), the MTV #1 DJ Poll, the MuchMusic #1 DJ Poll, the Channel Awesome #1 DJ Poll, the Escapist #1 DJ Poll, the ScrewAttack #1 DJ Poll, the MetaCritic #1 DJ Poll, the IGN #1 DJ Poll, the EGM #1 DJ Poll, or Ishkur's Worst DJs poll.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Various - Wu-Tang Meets The Indie Culture

Babygrande Music: 2005

When I was in the throes of my hip-hop honeymoon, two groups ruled supreme as all that was great within the genre. You know who these two groups are, because I've constantly name-dropped them for as long as this blog's been active again (five years, oh good God...). And as any 'young rap fan' can attest to, when you start following groups, you start thinking up potential pair-offs between them, like comic super-team cross-overs. How dope, thought Year 2000 Sykonee, would it be for Del Tha Funkee Homosapien and Inspectah Deck to trade lyrical atomic bombs! Casual and ODB riding a warped rhythm with their rugged, warbling flows! Souls Of Mischief sharing street tales with Ghostface and Raekwon! A-Plus and True Mathematics blending samples! Never mind the Wu and Hiero ran in such drastically different hip-hop spheres that these pairings could never to happen - I could at least dream of them.

And then it did happen! ...kind of. While not a full-on collaboration, the fact I'm holding a CD that includes Del, Casual, GZA, RZA, and U-God in the tracklist feels like a minor miracle in of itself. I guess having MF Doom, Ras Kass, Aesop Rock, Prodigal Sunn, R.A. The Rugged Man, J-Live, plus others is a nice bonus, if you're down for such acts too.

Wu-Tang Meets The Indie Culture is the brainchild of Dreddy Kruger, who appeared on a couple Wu affiliated tracks, but settled into an A&R role for the franchise, producing compilations and the like. When he launched his own print in Think Differently, he wished to bring more underground acts to the light, and figured mixing 'backpacker' rap acts with Wu-Tang stars was a good way of doing so. Providing the bulk of beats for all these MCs to spit their bars over is Bronze Nazareth, who's had a decent career in his own right following this record. He certainly gets the Wu aesthetic as laid out by The Abbot, funk and soul samples looping over gritty or smooth rhythms, as per each cut's lyrical context. Oh, and RZA handled his own 'blaxpoitation' beat for his team-up with MF Doom in Biochemical Equation, though the infamous masked MC lacks much spark in his verse. Kinda' happens when the 'collaboration' doesn't require everyone to be present in a studio.

That's unfortunately the vibe I get from Wu-Tang Meets The Indie Culture - a lot of disparate acts doing their minimum best for the project before they moved on to their own interests. There isn't anything wack on this CD, but nor does it elevate much higher than whatever excited ideas were probably germinating in your mind from the core concept.

Still, Dreddy Kruger believed in it enough to get enough recognizable names involved, his enthusiasm coming through in the paragraphs of liner notes. The highest praise I can give this is Wu-Tang Meets The Indie Culture is it's the best 'third tier' Wu project I've ever heard, though my sample-size is minuscule.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Wu-Tang Clan - Wu-Tang Forever

Loud Records: 1997

The Wu-Tang Clan's sophomore album couldn't help but be a double-LP. I mean, it was already The Thing to do for most rappers of note in the mid-'90s (Tupac, Biggie, Bone Thugs, Master P), but at least it made sense for this dynamic group. Their debut Enter The Wu-Tang was as perfect an album as any dropped in hip-hop's history, and the half-dozen solo records from various members after proved there was no lack of dope material in their ranks. After so much unprecedented success as a rap conglomerate, they absolutely deserved more room to breathe, letting all these MCs have more opportunities to shine on the mic, and celebrate The RZA's five year plan coming to fruition. Concerns about filler and bloat? Oh come on, how could the Wu Empire falter in their moment of triumph, especially after such a glorious lead single in Triumph?

And CD1 doesn't disappoint, almost a strong album experience in of itself. Yeah, the overlong Wu-Revolution opener reeks of pretentious hubris, that the Wu nation is willing to sit through a nearly seven-minute long sermon from Papa Wu. On the other hand, it does set a tone that the Clan is aware of social issues impacting black communities, and that they aren't gonna' just be another bunch of rappers glamorizing gangsta' lifestyles. Cool, but now that you've cleared your conscience, RZA, how about bringing the motha'fuckin' ruckus again? He done does that, Reunited showing off his newfound twitchy-soul production chops, follow-up For Heaven's Sake bringing the ghetto-grime to the fore, As High As Wu-Tang Get a fun bit of bouncy funk, Maria a boozy-woozy fest, and It's Yourz a good ol' stompin' crowd anthem.

And the rest of the Clan bring killer material to CD1 too, some of their all-time greatest lines ever dropped here (GZA: “Too many songs with weak rhymes is mad long; Make it brief, son - half short, twice strong.”). MCs that didn't much get spotlight in 36 Chambers have equal opportunities among the established stars, and a decent range of topics are covered among the ten tracks (lyrical showcases, street tales, conscious slabs, slum love, etc.). The only thing missing from CD1 is a definitive, stone-cold classic cut, but then they had to save something for CD2.

Disc number two starts off strong as well, Triumph the kick-off, followed by Impossible containing what RZA considers “one of the illest verses of all time”, Ghostface Killah vividly narrating the last moments spent with a dying friend on the street. Unfortunately, this is where that anticipated bloat starts to settle in, a run of average, oddball tracks leading to a slog of hip-hop between the islands of right dope shit (harrowing Little Ghetto Boys, ODB's wonderfully unhinged Dog Sh*t, the orchestral punch of Heaterz). Cheekily, the closing ghetto-soul of Second Coming is strictly handled by vocalist Tekitha, with nary a Clan member in sight.

CD2 is essentially a glorified B-side, but as mentioned, Wu-Tang Forever is easily worth the admission price for CD1.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Snap! - World Power

Arista: 1990

They hadn't planned on it. Sure, they were having some fun dabbling in productions and all, but Michael Münzing already had a tidy career running clubs out of Frankfurt, all the while doing a little DJing on the side. And while he had some synth-pop success with Papa Sven and Luca Anzilotti as OFF, most of Münzing's productions were in service for the clubs he played at, even using sampling gear in his shows.

Still, any European DJ worth their salt at the turn of the decade couldn't help but notice the sounds coming out of clubs from Italy and Belgium (not to mention how sample-happy everything had gotten), American styled hip-hop and house music the new hotness. Never mind that such genres had never charted in Germany. Misters Münzing and Anzilotti figured they'd adopt an American-sounding alias, make a record or two for their own clubs and leave it at that. Only trouble is the resulting record became an international smash, a tune rinsed out at clubs, on radio, at sporting events, during high-school dances... and still does to this day. To imagine a world without The Power is to imagine a darkest timeline indeed.

There's more to the story surrounding that single of course (oh is there ever more!), but I've an album to get through here. Point is Münzing and Anzilotti had to follow that sudden anthem up with an LP, the duo and their newly minted 'Snap!' moniker going from strength to strength in the singles department. Ooops Up turned into another winner (though not quite as big in The US), and Cult Of Snap! showed they weren't afraid of injecting a little Afro-funk into their jams. And while “Benito Benites” and “John 'Virgo' Garrett III” had undoubtedly tapped into a nascent european-fusion of hip-house few others could replicate, it was rapper Turbo B who gave them their unmistakable charisma, Darren Butler's deep, aggressive American inflection often coming off like a Chuck D clone. Yeah yeah, he'd never be as politically charged as the Public Enemy frontman, but between his tone and Snap!'s wilful incorporation of Afrocentric music (in Germany!), it was enough to get Mr. Butler inducted into Afrika Bambaataa's Zulu Nation. Yes, really.

We all know the big hits off here, not to mention the charming house hit Mary Had A Little Boy (oh God, the high-school memories with this one!). The rest of World Power amounts to a little better than filler, and is probably quite wonderful if you dig those early '90s hip-house jams. Most of the tracks are just excuses for to Turbo B drop a bunch of brag raps (Believe The Hype, Witness The Strength), with Blasé Blasé the most charming with its strict Funky-Drummer throwback vibe and off-ball asides from a faux Flavor Flav (plus, that bassline!). The mid-album ballad I'm Gonna Get You probably sounds all kinds of corny on the surface, but I've no doubt 'friend-zoned' dudes everywhere play this as their anthem.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Carbon Based Lifeforms - World Of Sleepers

Ultimae: 2006/2011

I love Carbon Based Lifeforms. Adore their ambient grace, their manipulations with little TB-303 knobs, their sense of open spaces both outer and inner. And yet, even after a half-decade of nabbing a copy of World Of Sleepers (thanks, re-issues!), it's never quite clicked for me the same way all their other records have. Heck, despite hearing Interloper for the first time just this year, it stuck with me stronger than most music off here. Right, that album was almost blatantly immediate and obvious in its songcraft, but Twentythree was pure synth-pad drone, and even that's taken more residence in my brain-pan than World Of Sleepers. Believe you me, it's getting ever more crowded up there, though I get the sense a little memory degradation has set in. Like, I can only recall about three out of fifteen tracks from 1993's D.J. Club Mix Vol. 2 from Polytel, one of which being a lame cover of Mr. Vain by 'Club Beat'. Oh dear, I'm doing that old man thing of ridiculously long anecdotal tangents, aren't I.

Naturally, this isn't a problem when I'm playing CBL's sophomore album. After the slow, gradual build of opener Abiogenesis, where soft ambient pads, ethereal tones, bleepy electronics, and digital voices guide your synapses to 'wake up', you're damn skippy my body's ready for the thumping beats and burbling acid after. If there was any doubt that Misters Segerstad and Hedberg weren't worthy of being mentioned in the same breath as Ultimae's other key acts of the time (Solar Fields, Aes Dana, Asura), that opener should have quelled them.

And World Of Sleepers doesn't let down from there, follow-up Vortex a haunting piece of ambient techno once again playing to CBL's strengths (dubby pads, acid!), and Photosynthesis working another wonderful builder containing a melody that's on par with the classic MOS 6581. Three tracks, three winners! But after that, World Of Sleepers starts losing me.

The music remains all fine in of itself, it just feels as though CBL are retreading similar ideas already explored in the openers. More burbling acid, more lovely synths, more dubby percussion, more filtered 'science' lyrics, all of which kinda' blends together as World Of Sleepers plays through. Yet when I hear the crunchy acid work from Proton/Electron, the soft chill-out of Gryning, the gentle piano tones of the titular cut, or the geek-hop rhythms of Erratic Patterns out of context, I always do a double-take of “whoa, why haven't I heard this CBL track before?” I have, every time I've thrown World Of Sleepers on for a playthrough and unconsciously let it slip into the background of my attention span. Why does my brain keep doing that!?

The final track of Betula Pendula does draw me back in though, a gorgeous ten-minute piece of space ambient. Always gives me the uber-feels after, which keeps World Of Sleepers high on my 'Great Ultimae Albums' list. Why yes this 'list' is ridiculously big, why do you ask?

Thursday, September 21, 2017

King Midas Sound - Without You

Hyperdub: 2011

How odd is it that this Kevin Martin project immediately got a remix album, but none of his Bug material has. Even the critically lauded London Zoo only got a few token EP rubs, and that was undoubtedly his most successful album ever. King Midas Sound, on the other hand, passed by with less buzz, quite a few folks not even aware it was another project from The Bug. Still, I sense it gained something of a 'musician's musician' following, where the savviest of UK Bass ears couldn't help but zero in on King Midas Sound's developments. I doubt Martin, Roger Robinson, and Kiki Hitomi planned it as such, but when I see a crap-ton of obscure, esoteric artists 'reworking' tunes for Without You, it makes me wonder exactly who's the target audience here. Like, were so many acts anxious to lend their aesthetic to the King Midas sound that Hyperdub had no choice but to release a remix album like this?

Actually, Without You is something of a mish-mash of older stuff and new material. If you missed out on the King Midas Sound debut record Cool Out, fret not for you get the wonk-jazz of Flying Lotus' rub on Lost (eh, I'll pass) and Dabrye's weirdo synth-pop stab at One Ting as a hidden track (noice!). Both remixes on the Goodbye Girl single also show up, Without You kicking off with Kuedo's ker-lumpity bass-clump of G.G., plus Mala's tribal dubstep of Earth A Kill Ya. It ain't bad, but compare it to the bizarre place art-poppers Gang Gang Dance take the original moody number - I'm left speechless! The original was a fairly minimalist, menacing piece of spoken word dub music, whereas Gang Gang turn it into something you might expect from an Orb and Youth collaboration: all chipper, flighty, and filled with silly sounds. And yet Roger's words remain just as poignant in this setting as the other. How'd Gang Gang do d'at?

All the new songs are given 'revoice' credits, including the titular cut with a D-Bridge rub that's almost ambient dub. Kiki gets to showcase a little Japanese knowledge with Tears, Cooly G brings some R&B sultriness to the fray in Spin Me Around, and Joel Ford does his own croon in Say Somethin'. Not to let all these urban voices dominate, Green Gartside of the indie band Scritti Politti shows up in Come And Behold. It's... an odd contrast to the rest of Without You's thick haze of grimy dub ol' Kevin drenches his productions in.

In case that's not enough, other remixes go for weird abstraction (Robert Aiki; Ras G & Afrikan Space Program; ooh Deep Chord!), or familiar Hyperdub future garage (hey Kode 9; yo' Hype Williams). In all, Without You is a warped trip through the disparate muses of various musicians, the only thing holding it together being Kevin Martin's faith in letting all those invited stretch wherever they want. Well no wonder so many wanted in on this 'remix' album!

Cryobiosis - Within Ruins

Cryo Chamber: 2013

Another day, another artist on the ever expanding Cryo Chamber roster. Seems I can't go a few months without talking about someone for the first time on this label. Heck, in a way, I've already covered nearly all of them in one of those Cryo Chamber Collaboration albums, but it seems I'm on an unconscious task to give Every. Single. Artist. on Simon Heath's print their own special spotlight too. Including this one, I've now talked up twenty-three artists with music on Cryo Chamber, and there's still a bunch more I've never mentioned (Aseptic Void, Dark Matter, Wordclock, Metatron Omega, Paleowolf, Hoshin, and more... oh God, are there ever more!). Is this dark ambient outlet becoming its own version of a black hole, seemingly sucking in all manner of musicians into its bleak gravity well? No, that can't be right – I've come across quite a few other labels with just as massive of contributors to their discographies. Cryo just has something that keeps me poking about more, wondering how this new name or that overlooked producer might offer a different spin on the genre's morbid aesthetics. Also, sweet, sweet CDs to buy. Gotta' have ma' physicals!

Cryobiosis isn't exactly new to the Cryo family, in fact one of Mr. Heath's earliest recruits to the Chamber house. Cristian Voicu first debuted with From The Depths on GV Sound, yet another dark ambient/drone/experimental net label that's harboured such talents as SiJ, Songs From A Tomb, Morbid Silence, Astral & Shit, Radio Noiseville, and... Primus? Uh, anyway, ol' Simon liked Mr. Voicu's voice enough to invite him over for an album deal. He's released two since then, Within Ruins the first of them. It's fairly easy to hear why the Cryobiosis stylee caught on with Mr. Atrium Carceri, both having an ear for those post-apocalyptic tones and atmosphere, exploring abandoned dwellings in decayed husks of civilization. It's just, going by this album, Cryobiosis doesn't quite have the same sense of narrative flow as Atrium Carceri does.

For sure his craftsmanship with each track is easily on par. Opener Enthrall has all the morbid drones, discordant pads, and skritchy sound-effects that have you feeling like your wandering the broken rubble of old buildings. Some tracks offer piano calm while fumbling through dripping ceilings and puddles of black water (Frigid Silence, Recollection, Forgotten). Others ramp up the claustrophobic field-recordings and forlorn tone (The Corridors Beneath, Corroded, As The World Decays, Departure). And some pieces are pure depressive drone as you wander aimlessly through the dark (Murkfall, Through Debris).

Where am I going with this though? What exactly am I seeing? Is there a story behind the scenery, or does it exist only for its own sake? There's merit in such an approach to the genre, but I cannot deny being spoiled by many Cryo Chamber releases crafting distinct stories guiding me through more than vivid, unrelated imagery. If that's all Cryobiosis set out to make though, then Within Ruins definitely succeeds there.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

The Beatles - With The Beatles

Parlaphone: 1963/2009

The only Beatles album you're supposed to have, even if you're not a Beatles fan. It's got the iconic cover photo, after all, one even The B-Sharps ripped off. It's also the 'indie' option of their first two albums, lacking the instantly recognizable hit singles of Please Please Me, like I Saw Her Standing There, Love Me Do, and Lennon's famous throat-wrecking rendition of Twist And Shout. Instead, you get almost-as instantly recognizable hits like All My Loving, I Wanna Be Your Man, and Starr's tub-thump rendition of Please Mister Postman. Okay, they're both chocked full of vintage Beatlemania 'choons', but With The Beatles has the iconic cover and the slightly lesser-known classics, critical factors in building music hipster cred. Plus, it was the last album released before America caught on to their music, butchering their releases into nothing like the UK versions in the process. Basically, you'd be a true O.G. vinyl God if you had With The Beatles in America - or was Canadian. Yeah, my country got With The Beatles months before them yankees had any official music from the Liverpool-Four. Having ties to the Commonwealth was still reaping some benefits.

As always, it's nigh impossible for me to review an album that's been psychoanalyzed to death by music scribes nearly twice as old as I. The Beatles' story is so etched in Western culture that it'll likely last far into the future, when rock music is but a distant memory, but tales of troubadours conquering the globe endure. So it's rather quaint coming back to these early records when they were still mostly a British phenomenon, rockin' the billy, Merseying the beat, and coverin' the cross-Atlantic classics. No Bob Dylan folksy influences found here yet, my friends.

If you're wondering just how these lads managed to sell over a million copies of With The Beatles (a feat previously accomplished once in Britain, via the South Pacific soundtrack - haven't heard it either), it wasn't just their snappy duds and puckish charms. These guys really were good musicians, already finding ways of mixing things up as a record played through. Little Child has harmonica! Till There Was You has bongos! Please Mister Postman has cowbell! I Wanna Be Your Man has Ringo singing! And yes, it's the same song The Rolling Stones did too. Lennon and McCartney wrote the tune, then figured maybe Jagger and his band might have better use of it. Mickey and the Stoners definitely did, but then them Beatles went and did their own version of it anyway, each being released within weeks of the other. What's funny is Lennon figured the tune just a throw-away, because like Hell he'd give the Stones or Ringo the spotlight on a good song.

Even if you're just a fan of the Number-One hits, it's hard denying all the charming melodies and vocal harmonies throughout With The Beatles. These guys had the look, the sound, and the drive for something unprecedented in rock music: global domination.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Ladytron - Witching Hour

Island Records/Nettwerk: 2005/2011

Hard to believe this is only my second Ladytron review, but it's not like the foursome have made a ton of music over the years. To date, they've released five albums (though a sixth is in the works), their last one coming out way back in ye' olde year of 2011. I suppose that hectic touring schedule caused a bit of the ol' burn-out, plus they aren't the quirky young electro-pop chickens of the early '00s anymore. I'm sure members now have families to tend to, side-projects to cultivate, and whatever else that can keep a four-piece with as disparate backgrounds as these lads and lasses have from reuniting with consistency. Maybe that's why, for as much as I adore Ladytron's sound, I've always been hesitant in buying up their albums in one big splurge. I want to savour the ones that do come out for as long as humanely possible, never risking my own burn-out.

After yet another round of label troubles, Ladytron released their third album Witching Hour in 2005, one of the worst years for electronic music since the initial rave explosion. Fortunately, the group somehow stands outside time and space, the record just as sonically timeless as their previous work, yet also pertinent to the trends happening in the here (there) and now (then). It's a very good album, is what I'm saying, in a year when finding very good albums was a ridiculous feat of excavation that would make Indiana Jones and Globetrotting Batman quiver in the knees.

It was also a radical departure from the pure synth-heavy sound the group had in their early work, bringing in added drums and guitar work to complement their electro-pop. Some attributed it to latching onto the disco-punk wave of the time (LCD Soundsystem was the hippest band about), but I don't hear it. Rather, it simply sounds like Ladytron spent some of their hard-earned cash on new musical toys, thus letting them expand their aesthetic beyond pure retro work. Unless you figure 'post-punk new wave' just as retro as synth-pop.

It worked to some extent, Witching Hour scoring the band some of their first chart action, lead singles Destroy Everything You Touch and Sugar some of their best-selling songs. They weren't gang-busters, mind you, but considering their label troubles, it's remarkable they got on the Billboards at all. Then again, breaking the 'boards was never their M.O. I think their fans are perfectly content keeping Ladytron's impossibly earwormy choruses to themselves anyway. Saves room at the live shows.

And there's plenty more to enjoy from this album. The peppy 'rockers' (High Rise, AMTV, Weekend, Whitelightgenerator), the dreamy synth-poppers (International Dateline, Soft Power, The Last One Standing), and the moody downbeat pieces (CMYK, Beauty*2, All The Way). Throw in all the charmingly catchy, yet oddly tragic lyrics you've come to expect from Helen Marnie's satin lisp (...*swoon*), and Witching Hour remains one of Ladytron's best records. Just ignore the rubbish remixes at the end of the re-issues though.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Various - WipEout XL

Virgin: 1996

WipEout didn't introduce the world of gaming to electronic music, but it sure built one of the biggest, strongest bridges to its culture. The first game scored a coup in getting the legendary Designer's Republic to create its futuristic aesthetic, while Tim Wright of Psygnosis' music studio supplied several original techno and trance tracks that fit the vibe of racing at super-high speeds. It didn't hurt that a beta version of the game appeared in the 'raver' movie Hackers either.

Sensing they could do more nods to the burgeoning 'chemical generation', Psygnosis also licensed out a few tracks from prominent 'electronica' acts of the day, including Leftfield, The Chemical Brothers, and Orbital. This factoid wasn't seen as a major selling point for the game though, especially since the tracks never appeared on the American version of WipEout. When a sequel to the game was announced, however, the mighty Virgin realized they could license out a bunch of their signed acts to the game, giving them even greater exposure with a totally untapped gaming demographic. Throw in other 'rave culture' landmarks like Red Bull ads (when 'energy drinks' were still a new concept for the West) plus associated music videos, and you have one of the defining touchstones of 'electronica' in the '90s! Or just a fun racing game with kick-ass music.

I'm almost tempted to do two reviews of WipEout XL (aka: WipEout 2097), as the game version and soundtrack version do have differences. Most interestingly, the game features some ridiculously rare cuts from The Chemical Brothers and FSOL, not to mention the exclusive Cold Storage tunes from Mr. Wright. Maybe I'll save it for *gasp* video reviews.

As for the CD, the track list isn't too surprising if you know your mid-'90s 'electronica': We Have Explosive, Loops Of Fury, The Third Sequence, Afro Left, P.E.T.R.O.L., Firestarter, Atom Bomb. Actually, the Fluke single is somewhat different here, slower and with bigger beats than the video tie-in. Underworld is also repped, though by way of the ultra-fast, loopy Tin There (a sorta' remix of Pearl's Girl), and a remix of The Chem-Bros' Leave Home that somehow sounds nothing like either group.

Easily the most intriguing thing about this compilation are the two exclusive cuts that never appeared in either WipEout game: Source Direct's 2097 and Daft Punk's Musique. The former I can see either as a tune that didn't make into the game, or Photek getting his pals a little extra rub, being something of students of Mr. Parkes' approach to tech-step. That Daft Punk track though, it's totally a case of Virgin promoting one of their new acts. And why not, the French duo already making massive early buzz with their initial singles. Sure, Musique's “what if Plastikman did a house track?' vibe totally clashes with the rest of WipEout XL's roster of big beat, d'n'b, and Brit techno, but damn, feel that funky filtered low-end. Virgin's trick worked, as I couldn't wait to hear it on the forth-coming album!

Various - Winter Chill 2

Hed Kandi: 2000

Something funny happened in the year between the first Winter Chill and its inevitable sequel: chill-out music as a commercial juggernaut became a thing. For sure it's always had a marketable undercurrent within club culture, dating as far back as when The KLF specifically made an album to chill out to called Chill Out. Whether it be ambient dub, Balearic jazz, trippy hip-hop, or whatever trendy, laid-back vibe was currently circulating, mentally exhausted punters could always rely on a few selections in the music shops to ease their frazzled brains. Then someone in the high towers of record labels realized there were more folks out there who could use a little downtime music in their lives than the Ecstasy Generation, and chill-out compilations suddenly exploded upon the scene with several CDs featuring the same songs you already had in a different order. Sure as shit Hed Kandi wasn't immune to this trend.

Think I'm exaggerating? Second track on Winter Chill 2: Moby's Porcelain. Third track: Chicane's No Ordinary Morning. Fourth track: Delerium's Silence. Tenth track: Thievery Corporation's Lebanese Blonde. CD1 also features songs from Bent, Goldfrapp, Dusted, A Guy Called Gerald, and The Beloved. You getting a sense of familiarity yet? Hell, CD2 opens with Paul van Dyk's Vega! Yeah, it's a nice enough chill tune, Mr. Van Dyk having a stab at jazzstep, but these are all darn obvious names to have on a chill-out collection, even for the year 2000 when the concept still had a fresh fragrance. The series did course correct in later volumes, though Winter Chill itself only lasted six volumes before Hed Kandi was bought out by Ministry Of Sound, save a one-off return in 2012. You bet your bottom dollar its got nothing to do with 'chill-out' music!

Back to Winter Chill 2, even Hed Kandi head-man Mark Doyle knew including the likes of Moby, Delerium, and Paul van Dyk was little more than a shameless commercial tactic to lure in the impulse buy, and thus ignores such artists in his inlay notes. Instead, he once again big-ups his label's own talent like the jazzier Afterlife and Urban Dwellers, which is fair play if you're having them rub shoulders with chill-out's newest stars.

If all this 'suburban downtempo' music isn't cutting it for you, there's always CD2. Vega aside, this is where most of the trip-hop and acid jazz vibes are hiding out, many tracks care of the rising Studio K7! that Mr. Doyle was quite eager in hyping. Thus you find Tosca, Terranova, Smith & Mighty, Handsome Boy Modeling School (Dan The Automator!), and... LTJ Bukem? Well, he did have a debut album out that same year. And yeah, CD2 is definitely more of the downtempo vibe I prefer in compilations of this sort, with plenty of smooth, smokey rhythms, soulful strings, dubby atmosphere, and sultry vocals throughout. As a means of introducing music on a proper deep tip to soccer moms who bought this for Silence, I'd say Winter Chill 2 does right.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Various - Winter Chill

Hed Kandi: 1999

The nice thing about a lot of old Hed Kandi CDs is how cheap you can find them now – ironic, considering how pricey they were when fresh on store shelves. It was that ridiculously expensive entry point (especially as an import) that always made them an easy pass when pursuing the shops for new music, but I can't deny seeing that super-slick cover art would give me pause regardless. Now one can find these things for a quarter the original price, and sure, may as well take in a couple if I see an intriguing one in the used market. They did have a reputation for having good music as well, at least before being absorbed by Ministry Of Sound.

The label also built its rep' on deep house on a slightly commercial bent, but they were all about that downtempo vibe too, releasing at least two such compilations per year. Serve Chilled first came out in summer, and when that proved successful, Hed Kandi head-man Mark Doyle decided a winter companion just made good artistic sense (not to mention mighty profitable as a Xmas gift option). The basic idea behind Winter Chill, then, was music that was best played while cozying up indoors with a hot beverage as brisk winds and dour weather beat against your patio windows. And what better music to supply such a setting than good ol' trip-hop (mostly CD1) and acid jazz (mostly CD2), the most dependable (and commercially viable) of the downtempo genres.

Anyone worth their salt in this scene should know a tonne of artists in this tracklist. Nightmares On Wax. Mr. Scruff. The Herbaliser. Peshay. Rae & Christian. A Man Called Adam. Morcheeba. Innerzone Orchestra. Hell, this is looking like a Ninja Tune collection. Even d'n'b man Omni Trio can't help but stay jazzy-chill with Native Place. Smartly, Mr. Doyle mixes in a number of fresh faces and obscure acts too, letting names like Santessa, Eyedentity, 45 Dip, and Guardians Of Dalliance get a little associative rub from the main draws on a CD like this.

The most 'mainstream' names that crop up are Hybrid and The Wiseguys, but even then we're not dealing with well-known tunes from them. We get the trip-hop bounce of We Be The Crew provided by The Wiseguys, and the French-rapping cut Sinequanon from Hybrid. Wow, never would have thought I'd hear the same French-rap tune in such a short amount of time, especially when my exposure to French-rap is basically nil.

As for all the other recognizable names, I can't confirm or deny whether tracks like Survival, Pacific, So Long, The Sensual Woman, or Moog Island are obscure offerings from their respective creators, in that I don't actually have albums from them. Yeah, funny that, me having so much downtempo music, but almost all of it in compilation form. All I can confirm is I don't have many of these songs anywhere else, making Winter Chill an ace collection for rounding out my collection.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Various - Winter

Altar Records: 2017

Boy, was this one a long time coming. Even without my alphabetical stipulation, the fourth edition of Altar Records' Seasons series was quite late. The first one, Spring, was released way back in spring of 2013, over four years ago! Summer came a year later, then Fall in late autumn of 2015. Nothing too out of the ordinary there, having a yearly series with a release date coinciding with its particular thematic season. The whole year of 2016 went by though, with no Winter to be seen. We were assured Winter was coming though, so we waited, and waited, and waited, but still no dragons, just a bunch of floppy wieners- whoops, wrong 'winter'.

Finally, in late February of this year 2017, Winter was released. I guess that technically keeps it within its established schedule, but yeah, compared to the brisk rate of output from Altar Records' first thematic series, this one sure took its sweet time reaching completion. I mean, it's been so long, it's forgotten its original art-style. What happened to the border runes, and the seasonal kaleidoscope stylee? Sure, this cover art is purty as fresh fallen snow, but rather typical of Altar's usual fare. The others had a distinct flair unto themselves.

Whatever. It's always the tracks within that's important and label head DJ Zen still knows how to find 'em, sign 'em, licence 'em, arrange 'em, print 'em, distribute 'em, and- wait, where's the “mix 'em” in all that? What kind of DJ doesn't mix?

Familiar names that return naturally include AstroPilot, his The Wind Through The Keyhole as solid a slice of ethnic-flavoured psy-chill as anything he's ever put out. Long time Altar vets Lab's Cloud gives us a dubbier offering of psy-chill in Alma Zen, while Suduaya's Clear Water opts for a spritely bit of prog-psy (it's almost 'twinkle prog'!). Hm, both these acts have been Altar staples for a while, yet I haven't reviewed anything of theirs. May have to rectify that. Anyhow, the best of the star players is Asura's The Savers, one of the most energetic, gnarliest trance tunes I've heard Mr. Farewell kick out in ages. Holy cow, where has he been hiding this stuff!

A few newer recruits to the Altar family rounds Winter out. Argus gets two track to open the compilation with, The Time Before a pure ambient dub outing while We Are One dips into prog-psy's waters, as does Profondita's Island. At the opposite end, one half of that group, Eyal Markovich, remixes No Gravity from Unusual Cosmic Process into a throwback prog-psy outing - compared to the typically languid pace Altar loves promoting, it's 'uptempo prog-psy'!

Eh, you've noticed something lacking in these detailings? Yeah, cannot deny the 'winter' theme is rather absent in these tunes. For sure they're all great cuts, but they don't make me feel like I'm frolicking in frosty meadows or snow-capped forests. Maybe dark ambient truly is the best winter music out there.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Sounds From The Ground - Widerworld

Waveform Records: 2012

I relaunched this blog four years and eleven months ago. Can you guess how many Sounds From The Ground albums I had at the time? None. None of their albums is how many I had on October 2012. I barely even had two of their tracks, Triangle and Gather, the latter by way of an earlier Elliot Jones project called Path. Including this particular release, I now have eight of their albums. In that time since, Sounds From The Ground released a ten track, twenty year retrospective called 20 Years Of The Best. Naturally, most of those have been given an Ace Track honour (such prestige!), yet I could make a double-LP playlist of SFtG Ace Tracks alone. If you'd have told me I'd be a Sounds From The Ground 'expert' after five years of doing this, I'd have laughed at the notion I'd still be doing this five years later. Surely it'd only take a couple years to review my entire music collection, not a half-decade.

Sans that 'best of', Widerworld is thus far the last album Jones and Nick Woolfson released on Waveform Records, the duo having since gone with their own Upstream Records print for new music distribution. Maybe they'll return to Waveform at a later date, but three albums deep now in the independent domain, and I think they're quite satisfied with how Upstream's doing. Ooh, they even rolled out a vinyl option for their latest effort, Alchemy!

As for this particular album, I mentioned in their previous one, The Maze, that SFtG were showing signs of evolving their ambient dub sound. True, it was an achingly sluggish evolution, but the change was at least noticeable, making more use of modern dub production over the staunch traditionalist stuff most associate with '90s trip-hop. Widerworld carries that on, though as we're still dealing with Sounds From The Ground, the sonic development still moves forward at a glacial pace. Fans wouldn't have it any other way, I reckon.

What stood out the most for me on this album were the tracks that almost sounded like Jones and Woolfson were cribbing a little from other acts. Yeah, you could make that claim about a lot of their work – comparisons to Kruder & Dorfmeister are inevitable – but I'm talking outside the usual assortment of name-dropped downtempo producers.

For instance, the track Hunters utilizes a few dubbed-out sounds that have me recalling Future Sound Of London at their dubbiest. Raining Leaves has gentle synth pads and bloopy chill acid that wouldn't have sounded out of place on older Aphex Twin in his more whimsical moments. Fields Of Green And Yellow almost has a laid-back country vibe with its acoustic guitar work, but those additional synth notes in the back-half are pure Sounds From The Ground vibe. And Ink Spots... eh, there's probably some glitchy dubstep guy out there that I could compare to, but I'm lazy in confirming it.

Friday, September 8, 2017

Hybrid - Wider Angle (Special Edition)

Distinct'ive Breaks: 1999/2001

Thank God I got the double-LP version of Wide Angle - aka: Wider Angle - otherwise I'd struggle through Hell with this review. The second CD, an inclusion of the Live Angle: Sydney disc that also includes the brilliant Altitude / Kill City single, supplies me all the praise, plaudits, and platitudes I need to convince folks that I, too, have drunk deeply of the Hybrid punch. I'd hate to have gone into this with the ultra-snark that I couldn't help but feel when my peers were gushing over their debut, buying into the PR byline that Wide Angle was “one of the most moving pieces of electronic music ever”. Dudes, it's a good album, but not that good. Like, did y'all not hear that Dusted record? Oh, you didn't. Erm, moving on.

But no, I get it. Way back, when Mike Truman, Chris Healings, and Lee Mullin struck upon a surprisingly effective idea of combining orchestral arrangements with cutting-edge breakbeat technology, we all loved it. Heck, even 'Son Of God' Sasha bought into it, wrapping up his 'trance-breaks' portion of Northern Exposure 2 with the full, original twelve-minute Symphony. A regular hack in dance music would have taken that initial success and parlayed it into an album-long edition of gimmicky retreads, but not Hybrid. They had bolder intentions with their music, fusing many more unconventional ideas with their nu-skool breaks. Soul! Jazz! Saxaphones! Jangly guitars! Julee Cruise! French rappers! Oh, and a couple more standard progressive trance and breaks tracks too, with orchestral arrangements and all. Gotta' still give the audience what they expect, right?

Hybrid are certainly deft in their music craft, everything about Wide Angle studio slick and polished. I dunno', though – even after hearing Finished Symphony at the end again, the album always leaves me feeling wanting, like I've just consumed a very fancy meal at a restaurant that's high in decor, but low in stomach satisfaction. After which, I head over to the nearest sports bar or night club for some greasy pub food and beer of mass quantities. Throw on the Live Angle CD, is what I mean.

And hot damn if CD2 doesn't warm my cockles every time. For sure it's got the big 'cinematic' singles of Wide Angle in Snyper and Finished Symphony, plus prog-trance stomper High Life is given added grit with pumping synth stabs not unlike BT's Fibonacci Sequence. You also get the smashing progressive breaks cut Burnin', the Alanis Morrisette bootleg Accelerator, and an eleven-plus minute long version of Kid 2000. Throw in the aforementioned bonuses Altitude and Kill City - a track I'd honestly deem worthy of a 'most moving pieces of electronic music' tag – and you've a CD that makes finding Wider Angle worth your effort.

Or not, if you prefer your Hybrid as less 'tear-out' and more 'chill at home with tea and crumpets'. For sure there's a sizable market for that too. At least the 'Special Edition' option gives both of best worlds.

Halgrath - The Whole Path Of War And Acceptance

Cryo Chamber: 2014

Halgrath already has the distinction of being among the first artists invited into the Cryo Chamber fold, her Out Of Time album released when the label was almost nothing but Atrium Carceri and Sabled Sun releases. With her sophomore effort for Simon Heath's print, she added another first to her accolades: an album containing cover art with actual colour! Green trees! Blue skies! Contrasting white, making the colours pop! Alright, it's still a tad muted and shadowy, but compared to the typically bleak, black, grimy brown, blood-red grayscale most Cryo artwork entails, The Whole Path Of War And Acceptance is practically hot neon. Strangely, I haven't seen another Cryo Chamber album utilize such a colour-scheme ever since. Has Halgrath claimed a monopoly of healthy green trees for the label's cover art? Guess it pays to call 'dibs' on such things.

While Out Of Time was a fine showcase of Ms. Agratha's various takes on dark ambient's myriad moulds, at twelve tracks it had a tendency to wander as an album, its loose 'Limbo' theme never quite coalescing into a strong narrative. On this one, she's pared things down to a tidy eight, and boy does it make a difference. For sure she still indulges herself from dark drone to ethereal ambient to orchestral Occult, but all in service of this album's theme.

With a title like The Whole Path Of War And Acceptance, I was expecting something über-epic, like a tale of clashing countries and cultures, leading to cataclysmic battles and the dire consequences of such devastating destruction. Then I remembered two things. One: this is only eight tracks long, hardly enough space to parlay such a narrative. Two: this is dark ambient we're talking about, and the genre almost never depicts a grand, Game Of Thrones styled opera. But boy does it ever love detailing the apocalyptic aftermath, especially as told from the perspective of a lone survivor.

That's not what this album's about either, though. Nay, The Whole Path Of War And Acceptance is yet another introspective piece, and apparently a rather personal one at that. Essentially a retelling of dramatic events in one's life ('war') and the struggle to overcome them to some semblance of self-healing (“acceptance”). In the hands of a lesser artist, this would probably come off sounding trite and cliche, but Halgrath is easily up to the task of telling this tale. There's moody, droning openers (Acceptance Of Inner Self, Consecreation), melancholic ethereal pieces (Afflatus, The Opposite Mind And Mutuality, Cold Breath Of Mountains), mournful piano dirges (Epic Journey And Oblivion), and meditative ambient closers (Deep Immersion And Repose, Your Soul Is Just A Particle Of Stars). Along the way, you get operatic chants, discordant strings, claustrophobic field recordings, and even occasional tribal drumming. Yeah, I'd say that runs the gamut of a Halgrath album.

Out Of Time was good, but The Whole Path Of War And Acceptance is great, offering a tantalizing sampling of everything dark ambient provides in a focused journey.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Everlast - Whitey Ford Sings The Blues

Tommy Boy: 1998

Throughout hip-hop's history, there's been the ongoing side-story of The Next Great White Hope. I won't get into the nitty-gritty of this tale here, as I only have a mere [self-imposed word count], and it's a topic that could cover a couple volumes worth of perspectives. The bottom line is there's always someone out there called upon to be the torch-bearer of Caucasian representation in rap. Your Beastie Boys. Your Eminem. Your... um, Vanilla Ice. Yet one name always slips from this discussion, despite being one of hip-hop's most successful artists throughout the '90s, one Erik Schrody. You know him better as Everlast.

Not that I blame the initial apathy, his 1989 debut Forever Everlasting one corny-ass example of rap, even with an Ice-T bump (that video for The Rhythm!). Fortunately, he also realized label management was forcing him into a mould he didn't fit, so Mr. Schrody soon found himself teaming up with Danny Boy and DJ Lethal, creating a little group by the name of House Of Pain - you've definitely heard of them. That only lasted a half-decade though, so Everlast went back to the solo scene, taking on a new persona of 'Whitey Ford', and put some learned guitar skills to use.

Hey, rap and rock were already mingling by the late '90s, so why not try the same thing with the blues? It has a similar origin story (music of poor black communities; co-opted by a lot of white guys), and it had been so long since Everlast's first album, perhaps the public would buy him as a road-weary troubadour of the down-trodden. Heck, how many outside hip-hop circles even knew there was an 'Everlast' as part of House Of Pain?

Not many, I wager, throwing those expecting more blues-hop in the vein of mega-charter What It's Like for a loop when throwing on Whitey Ford Sings The Blues. Some of rap's respected talents drop in for a cameo (Prince Paul, Guru, Sadat X with a few verses), and there's a fair bit of the traditional hippity-hop throughout the album. Heck, the intro is a parody of The Fat Boys, about as retro as rap could get in '98. Throughout, you get Everlast rapping about getting money (Money (Dollar Bill)), haters (Tired), drug abuse (Painkillers), rockin' the mic (Praise The Lord), and funky beats (Funky Beat). And it's all perfectly solid rappity-rap that Everlast displays. About two-thirds of Whitey Ford Sings The Blues doesn't shake the rap foundations the slightest.

Yet we mostly remember this album for the times he goes blues crooner (Ends, What It's Like, Today, Death Comes Callin'). It was such a unique, fresh angle to take the genre, it couldn't help but stand out from the pack. Still, I don't think folks were eager hearing more of it either, no one capitalizing on this sound to such a degree in subsequent years, Everlast included. But hey, it got him that collab' with Santana. That's gotta' be a plumb feather in his hat.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

The White Stripes - The White Stripes

V2: 1999

For as big a band The White Stripes became, they certainly have humble beginnings. I wonder if they'd have even broken out of Detroit obscurity without a couple lucky breaks. For sure Jack and Meg White had a good sound going for them, but this was the late '90s, you see, and theirs was a sound no one in the world of Corporate Rock had interest in. Maybe if one of the elder statesmen of blues classic rock made a throwback garage album, that would get some buzz, but a couple of kids out of the Motor City? Hell, the music press already had a new hero from that area to fawn over, a white rapper who somehow earned Dr. Dre's blessing. Now that's a story!

This duo may never have had much aspiration for their music beyond dominating their local scene, but boy did they go all out in doing so. Jack White was already a seasoned journeyman playing in various bands, but when his recently married wife Meg had a kick at the tin cans, they realized their musical synergy was better than anything else he'd been working on before. Thus they dubbed themselves The White Stripes, with a peppermint candy theme in their presentation, about as retro a rock look as you could hope to get in the '90s. While working the underground rock stages for about a year, indie label heads noticed the duo had “It”, and were offering them record deals. They signed with Cali-based Sympathy For The Record Industry (they of Chemical Dolls, Love Dolls, The Lazy Cowgirls, Mad Daddys, Loudspeaker, Experimental Audio Research, and The Pooh Sticks) for a debut album.

And, well... it's certainly a debut album from The White Stripes. They already had a deliberately simple sound to begin with, and if their so-called magnum opus of Elephant wasn't breaking the mould by much, then a self-titled debut sure as Shirley ain't either. If anything, it can't help but be as basic as blues rock gets, Jack and Meg still in the process of realizing their full potential. It's certainly a good ol' rowdy time throughout, the production as heavy and thick as you could get in the '90s. At sixteen tracks long, most averaging the two-to-three minute range, The White Stripes supplies a nice variety of hard rockers, bluesy downbeaters, and... um, that's about it. Hey, it's not like the songs last long anyway.

Still, as decent a debut as this album is, it didn't get much attention in the rock world – they were more interested in the output of Limp Bizkit and Creed, dont'cha know. However, an influential UK DJ by the name of John Peel (perhaps you've heard of him?) happened upon the album, taking an instant liking to it. Naturally, his word gave The White Stripes an in with the always savvy British market, while The U.S.... had to wait for a Lego video to finally catch on too. Then they couldn't stop praising this album!

Friday, September 1, 2017

ACE TRACKS: August 2017

So I don't know how many folks 'round these here parts follow festival news, but I imagine the whole 'Shambhala's Burning' thing had to reach a few eyes and ears of those who do. 'Tis true, for half my time up in that mountain valley, the surrounding air was quite hazy with smoke indeed. Heck, even the drive up there from the coast had us chasing The Eye Of Sauron for most of the trip, though I cannot deny seeing a blood-red moon rise over the hills was a trip in itself every night. Still, when the haze gets so thick that you can no longer see the valley walls, and little flakes of ash start falling like snow... yeah, small wonder a firm evacuation notice went out. On the Saturday, when I saw a half-dozen fire vehicles rushing down the highway across the river the festival takes place, followed by a porta-potty on a flatbed, that was when I realized shit had gotten real. Shambhala shutting down a day early was a bummer, but seemed the right thing to do regardless.

But as I volunteer there as well, I had to stay for the 'cancelled' day to complete my shift work (there's always work to be done!). Good thing too, because a light misty rain had settled in that Sunday morning, such that it by the literal 11th Hour, the call came out that the festival was back on, the fire hazard no longer an issue. Sweet deal, we get a 'bonus' night out of it all, and boy did I need that extra night to just let go, if you catch my drift. It didn't matter that none of the headliners I wanted to check out didn't make it (LTJ Bukem, REZZ, The Orb doing their set a night early without me knowing about it). Dancing in a midnight downpour never felt so vitalizing!

Okay, enough of that. Time for another ACE TRACKS playlist, in typical shorty-August edition.

Various - Welcome To The Technodrome Vol. 4
Etnoscope - Way Over Deadline

Percentage Of Hip-Hop: 0%
Percentage Of Rock: 14%
Most “WTF?” Track: Can't deny the Genesis tracks really clash in this playlist.

I don't know what's funnier: that I have a lot of retro-future music from totally unrelated artists here, or that faux-live music from The KLF is followed by real-live music from Neil Young. The bookends flow surprisingly well, but the middle portion does get rather meefy in the transitions. Maybe I should get back to playlists that aren't alphabetical in order. You know, put more effort into these, make them a listening experience again rather than a seemingly random assortment who's structure is incidental to the music on hand. Mmm, nah, I savour the strange transitions.

Things I've Talked About

...txt 10 Records 16 Bit Lolita's 1963 1965 1966 1967 1968 1969 1970 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 2017 2018 2019 20xx Update 2562 3 Loop Music 302 Acid 36 3FORCE 3six Recordings 4AD 6 x 6 Records 75 Ark 7L & Esoteric 808 State A Perfect Circle A Positive Life A-Wave a.r.t.less A&M Records A&R Records Abandoned Communities Abasi Above and Beyond abstract Ace Trace Ace Tracks Playlists Ace Ventura acid acid house acid jazz acid techno acoustic Acroplane Recordings Adam Freeland Adham Shaikh ADNY Adrian Younge adult contemporary Advanced UFO Phantom Aegri Somnia Aes Dana Afrika Bambaataa Afro-house Afterhours Agoria Aidan Casserly Aira Mitsuki Ajana Records Ajna AK1200 Akshan album Aldrin Alex Smoke Alex Theory Alice In Chains Alien Community Alien Project Alio Die All Saints Alphabet Zoo Alphaxone Altar Records Alter Ego alternative rock Alucidnation Ambelion Ambidextrous ambient ambient dub ambient techno Ambient World Ambientium Ametsub Amon Tobin Amplexus Anabolic Frolic Anatolya Andrea Parker Andrew Heath Androcell Anduin Andy C anecdotes Aniplex Anjunabeats Annibale Records Anodize Another Fine Day Antendex anthem house Anthony Paul Kerby Anthony Rother Anti-Social Network Aphasia Records Aphex Twin Apócrýphos Apollo Apple Records April Records Aqua Aquarellist Aquascape Aquasky Aquila Arcade Architects Of Existence arena rock Arista Armada Armin van Buuren Arpatle Arts & Crafts ASC Ashtech Asia Asian Dub Foundation Astral Projection Astral Waves Astralwerks AstroPilot Asura Asylum Records ATCO Records Atlantic Atlantis atmospheric jungle Atomic Hooligan Atrium Carceri Attic Attoya Audion AuroraX Autechre Autistici Autumn Of Communion Avantgarde Aveparthe Avicii Axiom Axs Axtone Records Aythar B.G. The Prince Of Rap B°TONG B12 Babygrande Balance Balanced Records Balearic ballad Banco de Gaia Bandulu Battle Axe Records battle-rap Bauri Beastie Boys Beat Buzz Records Beatbox Machinery Beats & Pieces bebop Beck Bedouin Soundclash Bedrock Records Beechwood Music Benny Benassi Bent Benz Street US Berlin-School Beto Narme Beyond bhangra Bicep big beat Big Boi Big L Big Life Bill Hamel Bill Laswell BIlly Idol BineMusic BioMetal Biophon Records Biosphere Bipolar Music BKS Black Hole Recordings black rebel motorcycle club Black Swan Sounds Blanco Y Negro Blasterjaxx Blend Blood Music Blow Up Blue Amazon Blue Öyster Cult blues Bluescreen Bluetech BMG Boards Of Canada Bob Dylan Bob Marley Bobina Bogdan Raczynzki Bone Thugs-N-Harmony Boney M Bong Load Records Bonzai Boogie Down Productions Booka Shade Botchit & Scarper Bows Boxed Boys Noize Boysnoize Records BPitch Control braindance Brandt Brauer Frick Brasil & The Gallowbrothers Band breakbeats breakcore breaks Brian Eno Brian Wilson Brick Records Britpop Brodinski broken beat Brooklyn Music Ltd Bryan Adams BT Bubble Buffalo Springfield Bulk Recordings Burial Burned CDs Bursak Records Bush Busta Rhymes C.I.A. Calibre calypso Canibus Canned Resistor Capitol Records Capsula Captured Digital Carbon Based Lifeforms Carl B Carl Craig Carol C Caroline Records Carpe Sonum Records Castroe Cat Sun CD-Maximum Ceephax Acid Crew Celestial Dragon Records Cell Celtic Cevin Fisher Cheb i Sabbah Cheeky Records chemical breaks Chihei Hatakeyama chill out chill-out chiptune Chris Duckenfield Chris Fortier Chris Korda Chris Sheppard Chris Witoski Christmas Christopher Lawrence Chromeo Chronos Chrysalis Ciaran Byrne cinematic soundscapes Circular Cirrus Cities Last Broadcast City Of Angels CJ Stone Claptone classic house classic rock classical Claude Young Clear Label Records Cleopatra Cloud 9 Club Cutz Club Tools Cocoon Recordings Cold Spring Coldcut Coldplay coldwave Colette collagist Columbia Com.Pact Records comedy Compilation Comrie Smith Connect.Ohm conscious Control Music Convextion Cooking Vinyl Cor Fijneman Corderoy Cosmic Gate Cosmic Replicant Cosmo Cocktail Cosmos Studios Cottonbelly Council Of Nine Counter Records country country rock Covert Operations Recordings Craig Padilla Crazy Horse Cream Creamfields Crockett's Theme Crosby Stills And Nash Crosstown Rebels crunk Cryo Chamber Cryobiosis Cryogenic Weekend Crystal Moon Cube Guys Culture Beat Curb Records Current Curve cut'n'paste Cyan Music Cyber Productions CyberOctave Cyclic Law Cygna Cyril Secq Czarface D-Bridge D-Fuse D-Topia Entertainment Dacru Records Daddy G Daft Punk Dag Rosenqvist Damian Lazarus Damon Albarn Dan The Automator Dance 2 Trance Dance Pool dancehall Daniel Heatcliff Daniel Lentz Daniel Pemberton Daniel Wanrooy Danny Howells Danny Tenaglia Dao Da Noize dark ambient dark psy darkcore darkside darkstep darkwave Darla Records Darren McClure Darren Nye DAT Records Databloem dataObscura David Alvarado David Bickley David Bridie David Guetta David Morley DDR De-tuned Dead Coast Dead Melodies Deadmau5 Death Grips Death Row Records Decimal Dedicated Deejay Goldfinger Deep Dish Deep Forest deep house Deeply Rooted House Deepwater Black Deetron Def Jam Recordings Del Tha Funkee Homosapien Delerium Delsin Deltron 3030 Depeche Mode Der Dritte Raum Derek Carr Detroit Devin Underwood Deysn Masiello DFA DGC diametric. 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