Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Sasha - Xpander EP (2018 Update)

Ultra Records: 1999

(Click here to read my original TranceCritic review)

Feels like this has been a lo-o-o-o-ong time coming, the last of my earliest reviews needing a proper overhaul. Technically, that's not true, another from those first few shaky months of TranceCritic writing lurking down (up?) in the 'A's of my album collection. Doubt there's much anticipation for another Eat Static review though, whereas everyone's always interested in another take on Xpander. Especially when one's original take is a grotesque word salad of amateur track-by-track detailing.

Frankly though, there's not much I can expand upon the Xpander discourse (except bad puns, clearly). The tune holds up astoundingly well two-decades on, still sounding light-years beyond what its prog contemporaries were offering, and there was no lack of bombs from the year 1999, believe you me. I mean, obviously the big synth leads and twinkly melodies are the memorable features, but mang', listen to what's going on in that rhythm too! What even is that burbling, churning low-end? Not the bassline, that's for sure – it's just superficial fluff, yet the sound design on it is astounding! Is it any wonder folks were hot for Airdrawndagger to drop if that level of detail was put into a big, obvious anthem like Xpander? Imagine hearing such music for a whole album's worth. No, really, keep imagining it – we never did get what folks were expecting with Sasha's final LP effort.

It's not like Mr. Coe had to craft such an exquisitely produced track with Charlie May. When this single came out, it was more in service as what was expected of top tier DJs of the time. No matter how deep your crates, how impeccable your track selection, or how masterful your mixing, the punters of the world demanded a signature anthem to your name. Digweed had Heaven Scent, Oakenfold had If I Could Fly, Tenaglia had Elements, Tiësto had his remix of Delerium's Silence, and so on. So too it appeared the case with Sasha's Xpander, the requisite anthem folks going to his shows could happily expect to hear every time. Only he overshot, and now the tune is getting orchestral remakes. Take that, Digweed!

The other tunes on this EP were obviously overshadowed when Xpander first dropped, but have gained more respect over the years for not being as blatant as the main track is. If anything, it showcases where Sasha's muse more generally wanders, never quite coalescing into something easily identifiable while plucking traits of personal favourites of his past. Belfunk's got that chuggy, proggy groove before melting into Orbital, morning-after bliss. Rabbitweed gets in on that ominous prog-breaks business with shades of Way Out West thrown in – and again, just an insane amount of detail in the percussion. Baja provides the lengthy chill, comedown vibe with ethnic samples and dubby percussion. Huh, y'know, under another producer's handle, this could have passed for psy-dub. Never noticed that before. Oh, the strange alternative timeline we could have lived in had Sasha been swayed into the psy camps instead.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Various - X-Mix: Hardfloor - Jack The Box

Stud!o K7: 1998

This is the tenth and final volume of X-Mix, ending on a surprisingly retro note. However, Stud!o K7 had a new-fangled DJ mix series gaining steam - DJ-Kicks - and the market for trippy home videos full of tekno musiks was on the wane by the end of the century. Like, who'd have ever guessed ravers could actually watch such weirdness on regular TV channels? No, best to wrap things up, maybe initiate a label rebrand in the process, and let X-Mix slowly recede from the collective memory as but a quirky artifact of '90s nostalgia. Makes springing for the DVD editions that much more tempting, right?

If tapping German acid masters Hardfloor for a throwback acid house set wasn't odd enough, the accompanying video is remarkably retro too. For sure there's still computer editing and CGI trickery involved, but more than ever before, the studios utilized ample amounts of 9mm film footage, splicing, cutting, and layering with effects to such a degree that... well, they honestly look like the sort of underground visuals you'd often see at clubs at the time, and well into the here and now. Again, it makes sense, the CGI rendering of older X-Mix videos easily capable with computer screen-savers by '98. Oh, you know if you went to budget party at the time, you'd find a Windows Visualizer projection on a blank wall. Unearthing '70s Hong Kong movie footage, however, and syncing it to acid house? Now that's art!

One thing I wonder, though, is whether going old-school was Hardfloor and !K7's intent with the final X-Mix all along. Like, I've no doubt the label wanted misters Bondzio and Zenker regardless, but might have they been expecting a more modern take on acid? I'm not even sure they could have delivered on that front, most acid of the day the hard, bangin', London Tekno Crew stuff, which Hardloor generally eschewed. Acid house though, in all its original, late '80s form, was basically dead, and at least another half-decade away from any sort of retro revival.

So aside from a few newer cuts of their own (because Hardfloor wasn't a thing yet in '88), our intrepid acid duo break out their crates of all the acid alum. Phuture is here! Fast Eddie is here! Adonis is here! Sleezy D. is here! Armando is here! Steve Pointexter is here! Dudes who like 'Jack' are here! Oh, sweet, even Bam Bam's Where Is Your Child? is here, a right-proper mood setting in the early going of this set.

Folks tend to forget just how weird and evil this music sounded when it first emerged, what with ever weirder and eviler music emerging throughout the '90s. That Bam Bam cut though, it never fails to send the creeps sweeping through your spinal column. I can only imagine what actual parents thought of it then. Or, heck, even now! Forget the obnoxious noise of brostep, Where Is Your Child? will still panic conservative sorts.

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Various - X-Mix-3: Richie Hawtin & John Acquaviva - Enter: Digital Reality

Stud!o K7: 1994

No longer satisfied with one DJ for their X-Mix series, Stud!o K7 settled for nothing less than a tag-team set for volume three. Or they had no choice in the matter, Richie Hawtin and John Acquaviva a package deal at this stage of their careers. If you want one of these techno dons, you gotta' book the other – a brilliant marketing tactic that carries on to this day by many scene-whoring sorts (Steve Angello & Sebatstian Ingrosso, Excision & Datsik, Dimitri Vegas & that guy who shouts shit). Still, though one would go onto mega-stardom while the other remained a 'DJ's DJ', at this point you couldn't think of one without the other, their Plus 8 print one of the hottest labels to emerge out of Windsor Detroit-region in the early '90s.

It's remarkable that for a German label, !K7 didn't really rely on their local DJs in this series. Yeah, Paul van Dyk provided the MFS-showcase kick-off, but his pure trance set's now regarded as an outlier in the X-Mix canon. DJ Hell and Hardfloor would get mixes down the road, but !K7 did their homework in scouring the globe for techno talent in need of a debut commercial set for their discographies. That... was among their manifestos, right? It's definitely a trend they held up for most of these releases. As an aside, I find it amusing that, for as many Genre Defining, Trend Setting, Forward-Thinking, and Very Important mix CDs Richie Hawtin would put out over the years, his first mix CD was in service of old-school CGI rave videos.

But first, we're treated to Mr. Acquaviva's mix, featuring tunes from Speedy J, Hardfloor, Laurent Garnier, and L.S.G. Whoa, wait, what's Blueprint doing here? Aren't these guys techno through and through? Maybe Richie is, but John's often more adventurous with his sets, and X-Mix-3 is no exception. Despite burning through a half-dozen tracks in around twenty minutes, the opening portions of his mix has a surprising prog-house vibe going for it. Obviously not proper prog or the like, but techno and acid house that's rather groovy, chill, and spaced-out for the time. Can't deny being a little put off hearing such blatant sampling of Steve Hillage's Garden Of Paradise in Orson Karte's Metamorphosis though.

Eventually John settles into the sort of acid techno you'd expect from the owners of Plus 8, building things to a nifty crescendo of Hardfloor's Alternative. When Hawtin takes over, he can't help but use an ambient interlude bridging things together, a small letdown coming off the acid high of Hardfloor, but Hawtin's gotta' start fresh for his unfussy minimalism.

His set runs shorter than Acquaviva's, and does about as you'd expect of a mid-'90s Hawtin rinse-out (just tunes, none of that micro-edit mixing). Spastik's here, of course, as is Spaz, his LFO collab' Loop, a remix he did on Teste's The Wipe, plus cuts from Lemon8, Peelo, and Speedy J. Man, did techno dudes ever love them some J' back then.

Various - X-Mix-2: Laurent Garnier - Destination Planet Dream

Stud!o K7: 1994

Even 'Back In The Day', there were a fair number of home videos featuring trippy CGI art with the tekno musiks. Few garnered as much prestige as the X-Mix series though – well, about as prestigious as this medium ever got. Studio !K7 (then Stud!o K7) had been dabbling in the AV market since the late '80s, mostly providing VHS tapes of alternative rock and punk bands popular in Germany. Somewhere along the way, they got hip to that 'techno' thing going on at underground clubs and love parades, and released a trio of tapes featuring such music dubbed 3 Lux. As there were no official videos made for tunes like Cosmic Baby's Cosmic Cubes, Alec Empire's King Snake, or Sven Väth's Caravan Of Emotions, !K7 commissioned original videos from various CGI studios to go with the music, much like you'd see on screens at clubs (so many colourful, spinny geometric shapes!). It proved such a success that !K7 rebranded the series as X-Mix in 1993, now with enough scene clout that it could provide fresh sets from top-tier DJs not only on VHS, but with a tie-in CD as well.

Though based out of Germany, the series wasn't rare on my side of the planet, even if you'd have to pay a significant import fee for them. Oh man, was it ever worth it, few CDs at the time offering as sublime of techno sets as you'd get with X-Mix, some Very Important DJs making their debut commercial mixes with this series. Like Laurent Garnier!

I've gone on about early-era Garnier before (prominently with his compilation album Early Works), but here's a refresher. The Frenchman served as a sort of bridge between Detroit techno and German trance, his sound often taking elements of both such that you could honestly label it either-or, and folks wouldn't bat an eye. X-Mix-2: Destination Planet Dream's no exception, ol' Laurent finding himself some of the tranciest techno on the globe (and maybe beyond?).

Many well-known artists make up his set: Underground Resistance, Derrick May, Carl Craig (by way remixing Brian Transeau's Relativity - yes, really!), Kenny Larkin, Dave Angel, Planetary Assault System, Galaxy 2 Galaxy (UR again), plus Hardfloor's remix of Robert Armani's Circus Bells, if you're not tired of it yet. Was this tune overplayed? Sure feels like I keep stumbling into it.

Most of the tracks Garnier uses feature plenty of flange-effects on percussion, simmering acid, and looping, spaced-out pad melodies, which sounds like old-school trance in a nutshell, but all in a very Detroity sort of way. Really, the most pure trance this set goes is Essence Of Nature's Blue Orchidee, but obviously a Ralf-Sven production would at this time, even if that cut's rather bang-on for a Harthouse single. We also get bleepy techno (Rhythim Is Rhythim's Icon), buzzy minimalism (Mike Dearborn's Deviant Behaviour), and a comedown finisher with Garnier's own Go To Sleep. Yay, a track that properly ties into the mix's concept title!

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Cottonbelly - X Amounts Of Niceness (NYC Sessions 1993-2004)

Wrong Records: 2004

Way, way, way back in the early days of TranceCritic, I'd post lists of albums I'd bought with intention to review, updating it with each purchase. Figured it was a handy way of letting our scant readership know what to expect, when I'd average around one review every two weeks (such work ethic). I usually met my quota, but one item I listed continuously popped up on those lists that never materialized was this particular collection of tunes produced by Cottonbelly. I simply had no clue how to approach it. While by no means the most obscure thing I'd have thrown up on the fledgling website, I still had scant information to work with. There wasn't much in the way of liner notes to help, Lord Discogs was still in its early stages of utility, and I was too lazy to search the wider web for whatever knowledge nuggets might be floating out there. Besides, who reading a 'trance' website would care about a dubby, jazzy, world-fusion, downtempo guy? Okay, a second one – Bill Laswell was already pushing it.

But finally, Mr. Cottonbelly's time to shine has come at last, even if only at the tail end of a years-long, insane project I've inflicted upon myself. And fortunately, there's more Discogian Data at my disposal than ever before! Not that there's much there anyway, X Amount Of Niceness the only long-player to his credit. Truthfully, he was more known as a remixer, of which many of his works are collected here. The first tune I ever heard from Cottonbelly was, in fact, a remix of Noiseshaper's The Only Redeemer, plus that nifty Tempest Dub tune that appeared on Quango Records' Dub Selector compilation. Surprisingly, that cut doesn't appear on here, though one of his earliest works do, in Edge Test 1 from 1993. That came out on Edge Records, a label established by Gordon Matthewman. Hm, Cottonbelly's real name is Stuart Matthewman. Might these be brothers? If so, that was awfully nice of Gordon to give Stuart a break like that. I wonder what other credits Stuart Matthewman has. *dives down the Discogs hole* Oh! Oh my...!

Turns out Mr. Matthewman is a member of Sade, the British soul-jazz group with huge hits throughout the '80s. They went on hiatus after 1992's Love Deluxe, so Stuart pursued his own musical interests as Cottonbelly throughout the '90s. This included doing remixes for Gregory Isaacs (Night Nurse), The Ananda Project (I Hear You Dreaming), Maxwell (Luxery), and Cirque Du Soleil (Africa, really!). In the meanwhile, he carried on making his own brand of dubby reggae jams, comfortably rubbing shoulders with the likes of Kruder, Dorfmiester and Thievery Corporation.

All his works are definitely of a 'niceness' quality, and he probably could have maintained a tidy solo career in the downtempo scene to this day. However, when Sade reconvened in the new millennium, it effectively put an end to the Cottonbelly era of Mr. Matthewman's discography. Too busy touring, I guess.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Raekwon - The Wild

Empire: 2017

I feel neglectful when it comes to Raekwon. It was his Immobilarity that opened my eyes to all that hip-hop could be in terms of narratives, and both Cuban Linx albums are stone-cold classics in the Wu pantheon. Unfortunately, his other albums don't spark much interest in yours truly. It's not that I doubt his verbal skills on any of his projects, but I've been burned a few too many times on 'mediocre Wu' to scope out everything all these MCs release. Rae's no less immune to the syndrome, a lesson learned with The Lex Diamond Story. Unless he's bringing something dope to the table with production to back it up that gets the knowledgeable heads I trust talking, I give his stuff a pass.

Turns out Mr. Woods has released an album that's gotten knowledgeable heads talking, or at least positively buzzing to such a degree that I haven't seen since Cuban Linx, Pt. 2. While by no means is it being hyped to Cuban Linx levels (because really, the only thing that could generate such talk is a Part 3), I figured it was about time I got myself re-associated with The Chef in The Wild.

And this... this is pretty darn good! Mind, I'd never go into a Raekwon joint expecting something revolutionary, not at this late stage of his career. Just bring me more of those vintage storytelling raps with witty street slang and a slew of solid beats to back them up, and I'm more than sated. Rae' easily delivers on the lyrical front, providing his usual assortment of street tales, reflective raps, and braggadocios boasts about living and maintaining his good life after so many years in the game. I was particularly thrown for a loop on Marvin, a retelling of the life of Gaye with Cee-Lo Green belting out a chorus as only he can. Where did Rae' find the inspiration to rap about that tale of triumph and tragedy? And damn, does producer Frank G ever provide the perfect soul loop for this tune (not to mention his other contribution of Nothing - methinks he gets Rae's vibe quite well indeed).

The soul loops mostly dominate The Wild, which makes sense as Mr. Woods' own flow has taken on something of a mellow, husky soul itself as he's aged. He still finds time to fit in with current trends though, including a twitchy, synth-heavy cut with Lil' Wayne in My Corner (he don't rap much of anything new, but he does sound good rapping it), a gothic tune with synthy choirs and organs in M&N with P.U.R.E. (don't know him), and a slice of trap in You Hear Me to close The Wild out. It's... fine for trap, I guess? Doesn't really fit with the rest of Rae's vibe on this album though, especially as a closer. Don't worry, Shallah, you don't have to jump on every trend with your work. Like, no one remembers that 'crunk' jam off Lex Diamond.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Oasis - (What's The Story) Morning Glory?

Epic: 1995

The only Oasis album you probably have, even if you're not an Oasis fan. Not to say their other albums weren't super-popular and mega-sellers, but (What's The Story) Morning Glory? absolutely trounces its discographic neighbours many times over. Heck, their debut album Definitely Maybe didn't even chart here in Canada. It did eventually reach Platinum sales though, riding the coattails of Morning Glory, which hit number one with a bullet, and Top 10 nearly everywhere else in the world. It even reached fifth on the Zimbabwean Albums Chart – I didn't even know Zimbabwe had such charts!

Now the obligatory, not-shocking truth-bomb from yours truly: this is the first time I've ever sat down to hear Morning Glory in full. Yeah, I know, big surprise that one of the biggest rock albums of the '90s featuring some of the most overplayed radio singles ever passed me by when 'techno' was my calling card. It's not like my teenage years weren't already spent hearing half this album everywhere I went. Wonderwall was inescapable. Champagne Supernova was inescapable (because ain't nothing more appealing to teenagers than singing about getting high). Don't Look Back In Anger was inescapable. I think I escaped Some Might Say though, having only vague recollections of hearing it in the past. Still, the utter omnipresence of Oasis quickly led me to Britpop rock fatigue, so odds of me hearing a whole album of music from the band cratered fast and hard. Damn, I even blame them for my continued avoidance of The Chemical Brothers' Dig Your Own Hole, because like Hell I wanna' hear a Gallagher going on about setting suns in my 'techno', yo'.

We're two decades removed from OasisMania though, so maybe now I can appreciate these songs with a fresh perspective, without those hummable choruses ingrained like nails upon my brain. And aside from Wonderwall, I do dig these jams. The songcraft on display is unquestionably worthy of the hype, to say nothing of how it inspired British rock's demand for big, emotional anthems that go down well at music festivals. Liam's vocals really pop, Noel's guitar leads hook and glide you along, and everything else... kinda' mushes into a big wall-of-noise assault.

Was Morning Glory always so brick-walled in the mastering? I never noticed it when hearing the singles on the radio or the TV, but it's unmistakable now that I'm paying attention to the album proper-like. Apparently this was a big issue at the time, audiophiles complaining about the lack of dynamics for a major record such as this. The producer, Owen Morris, admits to mastering in such a manner, as much a result of inexperience in the studio as his shying away from “posh production values”. I can't say it's a deal-breaker in enjoying this album – the melodic leads remain the focal points, as they should – but it's weird saying Morning Glory is best experienced played in the background, ignoring nuances you couldn't pick out if you tried.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Various - The Werkstatt Chronicles - 2009-2014

Werkstatt Records: 2014

I didn't plan on getting this. All I wanted was a nifty Arcade Metropolis t-shirt from the label's Bandcamp. For some reason though, they threw this digital download of fifty-six tracks in with the article of clothing I purchased. That's... a lot more Werkstatt Records music than I'm willing to take in. It'd translate to at least three CDs of material, maybe four, and who wants to read about that much amateur efforts at techno, industrial, EBM, and synthwave?

That isn't meant as a slam. Listening to the early portions of this compilation, it's clear Werkstatt and their artists had some growing to do. The best compliment I can give this stuff is that it wouldn't sound out of place as filler on a late '90s Hypnotic/Cleopatra CD, so take that as you will. I get the sense these musicians were more enamoured with creating clever artist names than the actual music they were making: Boogie Vertigo, Azure Defiance, The Psychedelic Dream Vortex, Droid Sector Decay, Avalanche Reverb Prozac, United States Of Atrocity, Moscow Locomotives, DJs On Acid Destroy Commercial Europe, Synthesizer.

One of the few early acts that does leap out with stronger songcraft chops compared to everyone else is, unsurprisingly, Beatbox Machinery; aka: Toxic Razor, the dude who founded Werkstatt. And when Kriistal Ann is added for their duo of Resistance Of Independent Music, it's clear the two will have a lasting impact on the label's future prospects. It's as though Werkstatt's finally found its footing and ready to take it's next step forward - from digital dumping ground to a place where aspiring, talented producers could make a home. Or use as a launching point for a larger career at least.

Okay, it wasn't all at once. Kriistal Ann doesn't make her first appearance until track fifteen, and for many tracks after, it's still shaky ground between improved, interesting synth music and noisy, nonsensical industrial waffle (got the dreaded “TURN THAT SHIT OFF!” while playing it at work). Is it any surprise that as Werkstatt steadily inches towards synthwave, the better the overall product sounds? Or, I dunno, maybe there's folks who prefer the aggro industrial stuff over the chipper, poppier synth music – I don't have enough involvement with the industrial scene to make that informed an opinion on what's represented here. It could be top-tier tuneage for all I know. I'm sure, however, we can all agree that EBM is the fun compromise between these two worlds!

Once The Werkstatt Chronicles passes track thirty, the synthwave really starts taking over, though EBM still gets a few looks in too. Hey, GosT is here! And there's Kriistal Ann's darkwave solo stuff. Ooh, I recognize more of these names: Ghost Patrol, Radio Poltergeist, Dan Terminus, Resist Concept. But yeah, most of my Werkstatt exposure comes after this period of the label's lifespan. T'was an interesting jaunt into their early years, but it isn't the music that lured me into their fold in the first place.

Friday, February 16, 2018

Legiac - The Voynich Manuscript

Dronarivm: 2016

Hey, it's another Dronarivm release. Remember when I went through a bunch of these at the start of this months-long alphabetical backlog? My how time flies. Been nearly one-hundred reviews written since the last item from this label, and the fact I'm still not through yet sends my mind to the lands of Bogglin. Heck, this marks the fifth 'V' album in this batch, which increased my total 'V' albums by 30%! Can you just imagine how many 'W's there are? (spoiler: not many)

There hasn't been much released under the name Legiac, but the players involved have definitely been busy bodies. Dutch brothers Don and Roel Funcken started out doing glitchy braindance, IDM, and electro under a number of aliases, most prominent being Funckarma, Cane, and Mystery Artist. They got a look-in with Very Important IDM labels like Warp and Skam, but never broke out of obscurity in any significant way. The other player involved in Legiac is Cor Bolten, who Lord Discogs tells me was active with new wave bands since the early '80s, whilst doing film score work on the side.

Seems like an unlikely pairing with these folks, but somewhere along the way, they did team up. First it was doing experimental stuff as Cor Bolten, Don Funcken & Roel Funcken, then doing downtempo, abstract stuff as Dif:use, and finally IDM leaning material as Legiac. That one looked to be a one-off effort, and a final one, the individual parties going their separate ways again. A few years ago though, Roel and Cor dusted Legiac off, The Voynich Manuscript their second album under the revitalized project. Yo', where Don in all this?

When I first dove into this album, I wasn't expecting something as melodic as we get here. True, I didn't have any prior musical knowledge of Misters Funcken and Bolten, just my preconceived notions based on what Dronarivm works I have taken in. And for sure there's ample amounts of droning ambience and blanketing field recordings present, but often used in a subtler, graceful manner than most other works in this vein. There's space and depth in these layers of sound, with melodic tones at the fore, but never so prominent they drown out the burbling static and white noise lurking underneath. What's remarkable is the chaotic sub-surface of sound is so consistent throughout this album, whenever it does recede, it not only makes the melodic leads leap out, you also feel that absence as though you've lost a chunk of your soul. Or maybe it's just like that in the final piece Ambikythera Mechanism, what with opulent organ tones driving things forward.

It really is a gorgeous composition, and many of the early tracks in The Voynich Manuscript are darn lovely as well. However, there's also a lengthy stretch towards the back-half that kinda' dithers about with wallpaper sonic doodles and experimental drone. They're fine in their own right, but compared to the highs this album hits, kinda' forgettable too. So it goes.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

The Oak Ridge Boys - Voices

Platinum: 1999

Greetings, people of the year 2018. I am 2073 Sykonee, but not the 2073 Sykonee you may have gotten to know in the year 2017. Nay, that Sykonee comes from a different timeline, one that seems impossible to believe, but then from where I sat, so does yours. Sykonee Prime tells me he grew tired of reading that perspective, and scoured the timelines for one where the Oak Ridge Boys never existed, which is where I come from. Things certainly are different compared those other timelines – why, I'd even qualify it as “better”, what with a lack of nuclear arms race happening. Yes, we eventually harnessed nuclear power for our own ends, but after WW2 ended (which did take longer in my timeline, true). Seems without the original Oak Ridge Quartet doing gospel shows for the engineers working on The Manhattan Project, they just weren't inspired enough to keep their work productive. The war ended before they completed their work, and pos-

Oh, right, I'm supposed to review an album of music from Oak Ridge Boys, not detail my alternative history. Sorry, it's fascinating how much impact this group has had over the course of your events – it's as though they're everlasting.

Since I have no knowledge about Oak Ridge Boys, Sykonee Prime offered me some quick notes on the group's status when they released this album Voices. Seems after several years of singing gospel, they switched to country with a lot of commercial success. Then something called “The Eighties” happened (wow, that decade was that infamous for you?), and one of their key members, William Lee Golden, left, replacing 'The Beard' with 'The Mullet'. The group's commercial aspirations petered out for a while, then Golden returned, 'The Beard' once more preserving the Oak Ridge Boys legacy.

Voices was their proper return-album, though had too much competition from newer country stars like Shania Twain, Alan Jackson, Dixie Chicks, Tim McGraw, and Chris Gaines to make much impact (I don't know who any of these people are, but I'm assured they're Very Important). Voices was thus regarded as an album that satisfied fans of the Oak Ridge Boys, but nothing newer country fans cared about, officially relegating the group to 'legacy status'.

Now, we definitely have country music of this sort in my timeline, though I doubt any of y'all have heard the likes of Topper Gantley or Nancy White or Slim Wittikens. Can't say I've heard any country group with vocal harmonies quite like this though. Wow, especially that bass singer! Is he the bearded guy? Really, the clean-shaven one? The song topics are mostly about “regular jane and joe” things like working for the weekend, finding strength with the loves of your life, starting up families, discovering hidden pasts of broken families. It all sounds nice enough, though rather quaint from my end – nowadays, the only family thing I have to worry about is whether my Martian great-grandkids will arrive in time for Earthen Equinox.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Bauri - Vinkelvolten

FireScope: 2017

Bauri is Martin Abrahamsson, a very bearded person in the world of techno. He started out in the late '90s self-releasing material on his own Saundart print, but soon got picked up for an album called Slacker Journal by Lee Norris' original label Neo Ouija. The project then went into mothballs for a while, as Mr. Abrahamsson teamed up with Thomas Jaldemark as Donk Boys to release trendy minimal plonk-house. When that grew out of fashion, Martin dusted off the Bauri alias and joined forces with Nihad Tule for a run of Serious Minimal Techno on Drumcode.

Somewhere along the way, his earlier IDM-leaning works under the guise got picked up for compilation duty on the cancer charity label Touched, rubbing shoulders with many IDM and ambient techno legends old and new. As B12 also recently released music on that label, it follows that they came into contact with Bauri this way, and is how Bauri has an EP out on their Firescope print now. Or, y'know, Mr. Abrahamsson just heard about B12's label through the grapevine, and sent them some stuff for consideration. Occam's Razor, and all.

In any event, Bauri's come full circle with Vinkelvolten (translated to... “angle volts”? “angle revolt”? Angle-something, according to Google Translate... my Scandinavian is mayonasse). After all those years chasing the trends, he's gone back to the genre that's forever unbankable but always adored by die-hard electronic music connoisseurs: ambient techno. Unless he did at another point between this and the clinical dub techno of RISE586, though Lord Discogs doesn't suggest so.

Opener Warm Fuzzy Feeling makes no bone about what sort of vibe you're gonna' feel. The moment you hear that lazily bobbing acid bass and gentle melodic leads, all the ancient Apollo and Warp compilation memories will flood through your brain matter. Warm Fuzzy Feeling has more of a vintage Aphex-chill vibe to it though, whereas the following three tunes edge closer to the realms of Boards Of Canada. Maybe not so much in generating those hazy hauntologic triggers, but certainly in providing the laid-back trip-hop rhythms with an IDM aesthetic. Or is that a Plaid thing? I need to hear more Plaid to confirm.

Kirmumxyl is fairly simple, a nice beat with minor clicky-glitch effects complimenting a gentle melody. The titular cut goes comparitively abrasive on the rhythm end, with lots of click-clack and bleepy electro sounds, but the melody is no less chill than anything else. Final cut Amethyst is the closest Boardsy tune here, coming off playful and cheery, Bauri even throwing in playful skippity vocal snippets. It's certainly a far cry from the Serious Techno he'd been making, and might be a shock to those who only know him for that (or even Donk Boys) – pleasant or not likely dependent on your particular taste. For those who were vibing on Mr. Abrahamsson since the Neo Ouija days, however, they'll definitely enjoy Vinkelvolten a great deal. It's practically tailor-made for such tastes.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Suduaya - Venus

Altar Records: 2016

Again! Again and again and again! I mean, I had a good hunch this would turn out another winner, the Suduaya tunes on various Altar compilations consistently some of the best. Actually diving into his albums though, I wasn't terribly sold just on looks alone. Dreaming Sun and Unity had the sort of New Agey artwork that gives Altar a reputation of being on the cheesy side of psy-chill, though anyone that's taken in a good chunk of the label's output would know such a rep' is bollocks. Not that I should cast stones here, the artwork most definitely a factor in which album's I'll impulsively spring for whenever I dive in for a mini-splurge. If I must choose between mystical mumbo-jumbo or sci-fi star systems, the space stuff is gonna' win out every time. This Venus though, that's equally a reference to planets and goddesses, plus there's an alien hiding in this one's cover art. Guess it won't hurt to finally scope out some Suduaya proper-like.

And the first thing I'm struck by is how much Mr. Roquefere is stylistically influenced from Asura, at least in regards to the opening track. This is actually a remix of the tune Universalis by Astronaut Ape, a track that only appeared on a 2012 digital compilation called Everything Is Possible from smallish Russian label Trimurti Records – obscure, in other words. The original is more downtempo, with light arps and spritely melodies, a pleasant little ditty in its own right. Suduaya basically adds those slow, throbbing prog-psy rhythms in his remix, an aesthetic that Asura practically made his own, though obviously not exclusive to him. Still, if you're gonna' ape the sound of any prog-psy producer, Asura's not a bad source to crib from.

The next bundle of tracks stick to the slo-psy side of things, but doesn't come off chill nor dub in the process. It really is prog-psy at a lower BPM, but with things moving at such a languid pace, it give Suduaya plenty of space in creating ridiculously catchy, groovy basslines. I'd expect these from the psy-dub camps, but these tunes aren't especially dubby in their production. Well, maybe Catalan Wind, in that things get all glitchy-trippy with vocal effects, even breaking out a freakin' brisk 2-step rhythm for a while. Mang', when did Altar start getting hip to the glitch-kidz stylee?

The back-half of Venus ups the pace into your standard prog-psy territory, and Suduaya maintains Altar's high batting average for the most part. Diamond Dust with Cydelix brings some acid action with spacious spritely sounds, Lampyris adds some ethnic vocals, The Muse does that Asura-throb again, Knots Of Eternity features nifty little skippy sounds on the low-end, and Baku goes straight for the floating sunrise morning feels. Or, as I like to call it, prog-psy done right, and Suduaya, he do prog-psy done right. Maybe not changing the game or the like, but every quality scene needs its steadying presences keeping that bar high.

Ladytron - Velocifero

Nettwerk: 2008

It took them four albums and nearly a decade, but Ladytron finally, finally, found themselves a label that wouldn't drop them (Invicta Hi-Fi, Island Records) or collapse (Telstar, Emperor Norton). It only seems appropriate that it was Vancouver-based Nettwerk that would take them in, what with their debut album being a reference to the city's area code number. And hey, the print even had ties to new wave and synth-pop since their earliest years, so it's not like Ladytron was out of place there. Sure, Nettwerk's taken a few odd tangents over the decades, but a former electroclash band that was never electroclash in the first place nicely rubs shoulders with the likes of Sarah McLachlan, Skinny Puppy, and Delerium.

By this point, Ladytron was quite evolved from the charming, bristly synth-pop that marked their early work. They were now sounding like an actual band, with actual instruments like drums and guitars to go with their stockade of retro synths. And if the New Order and Depeche Mode influences were only hinted at in tangent with the obvious Kraftwerk and Human League nods, they fully embrace them in Velocifero, their rockiest outing yet. I mean, 'rockiest' in sounding rock-like, not 'rockiest' in sounding shaky and uncertain. 'Rock-like', as in rock 'n' roll, not the stones we find strewn about the ground. The music, I mean, not the act of sex. Curse my language of multiple meanings.

A couple things make Velocifero a decidedly unique album from the previous three. One, Ladytron employ more of a 'wall-of-sound' production to their music this time out. Even when things sometimes got chaotic with their older tunes, you could always pick out distinct sounds apart from each other. That's barely the case in Velocifero though, every vocal, synth, guitar and drum machine melting into a homogeneous whole of dense reverb and echo effects, instrumentation acting more like layers of timbre rather than individual set pieces. For sure you can still identify an organ tone from a drum kick, or Mira's Bulgarian lyrics from Helen's sultry lisp (*swoon*), but more than ever before, they all are in service of the musical whole.

This leaves the album as something of a double-edged sword, though. Front to back, Velocifero is easily the most consistent and flowing LP Ladytron ever put out. By the same token though, it lacks those instant ear-worm tunes that forever (and a day) get lodged in your head. Absolutely there's still wonderful songs on here. Singles Ghosts, Runaway, and Tomorrow hit insta' pop triggers the group have always done with ease, while Burning Up, The Lovers, and Versus yank all the feels out of my spleen-soul, leaving me aching for more. Yet when the album ends, old hits like Destroy Everything You Touch and Discotraxx pop into my head first, individual songs on Velocifero fading away into an amorphous glob of sound that dominates the album's production. Whatever, I can still vibe on some amorphous glob of sound, especially when it's coming from Ladytron.

Friday, February 9, 2018

L.B. Dub Corp - Unknown Origin

Ostgut Ton: 2013

L.B. Dub Corp is Luke Slater, whom I've mentioned in the past as being a Very Important Person in the world of techno, primarily for his work as Planetary Assault Systems. Following the turn of the century, however, he put that project on hiatus, focusing his attention elsewhere (DJing, label managing, misplaced stabs at crossover material). During this period, he released a couple EPs cashing in on that trendy dub techno action of the mid-'00s, this here alias its outlet. They didn't garner much attention, and L.B. Dub Corp would likely have been left a footnote within Mr. Slater's discography.

At the start of this decade though, Luke signed a deal with techno tastemaker Ostgut Ton, reviving P.A.S. in the process. Folks got super-hype in his output after that, giving him enough clout with the Berghain print to release more material from his side project too, the result of which being this here debut L.B. Dub Corp album Unknown Origin. And a good thing too, because we can always use more music in the Bandulu stylee these days.

Wait, isn't L.B. Dub Corp a dub techno thing, as is in the Basic Channel stylee? At first, yes, when doing Basic Channel clones was all cool an' hip, but there's plenty of those, and Slater wasn't adding much to the discourse making it. Nah, 'tis a far better thing to do, exploring the tribal side of dub techno when so few ever do anymore.

And Luke doesn't waste time letting you know where this album's heading. Opener Take A Ride gets in on a shuffly, broken dub rhythm with husky whispers uttered from famed rasta poet Benjamin Zephaniah. Nearly Africa and Ever And Forever lay out a bobbin', minimalist grooves, echoing chants, dubby pianos, and spaced-out synth leads. Elsewhere, L.B.'s Dub offers up some vintage heavy Bandulu rhythms, while No Trouble In Paradise inches things back to the lands of Detroit without ever losing that tribal dub fell. To close out with I Have A Dream, an opulent tribal-dub sermon with Zephaniah preaching celebrating multiculturalism, I can't think of a better vibe to end a record on. Shame Mr. Slater doesn't, then.

Four more tracks take us out of Unknown Origin, but they don't have much in common with the Afro-tekno that cames before. Turner's House and Generation To Generation stick to classic Detroit vibes, while Any Time Will Be OK reminds us that L.B. Dub Corp was a serious dub techno project at one point. Roller with Function sounds like a something initially intended for the P.A.S. albums, but contains enough of a dubby, tribal thrum to warrant inclusion here. None of these are deal breakers for this record, just less interesting paths taken compared to the unconventional roads the first half of explored. Considering we haven't seen any new L.B. Dub Corp material in the half-decade since Unknown Origin's release, maybe this was all Luke needed to make to satisfy that Afro-dub techno itch he had niggling at his muse.

Various - West Coast Grooves Volume One: David Alvarado

DMC: 2000

This is when United DJs Of America was irrecoverably changed, a shadow of its former self. Perhaps the series concept had grown redundant, the DJ mix market ballooning to such a degree that spotlighting overlooked US jocks was unnecessary. Everyone was a DJ by the year 2000, and stores were far from lacking in CD options for Yet Another Mix. If DMC wanted to keep this series fresh in the minds of casual consumers, a shake-up was in order. First, do away with that iconic logo – too '90s. Next, implement a cheap-as-fuck cover design, making your product as unappealing in shelves as possible. Finally, cancel the UK market distribution, because who among the Brits really liked American DJs anyway? Amazing this series made it twenty volumes before folding.

United DJs Of America, Vol. 15 was the first in this change, and it shows. DMC was still offering UK options (which I have in my possession), but the only indication this mix was still part of the series is the barcode. Maybe they had some small faith they could translate this 'west coast grooves' concept beyond a volume one, but they sure weren't putting any effort into it.

David Alvarado's a chap I should have come into contact more often, but simply haven't. He's released many singles on Very Important Labels (Peacefrog, Strictly Rhythm, Yoshitoshi, Ovum), has been playlisted by many Very Important DJs (Deep Dish, John Digweed, Terry Lee Brown Jr., lots of minimal tech-haus sorts), yet I have but three scattered tracks of his in my entire library (so sayeth Lord Discogs). Bizarre.

Yeah, I don't know much about Mr. Alvarado. A Los Angeles native, he mostly focused on the deep side of house, shifted towards a techier style when that became more fashionable, and even self-released a techno LP this past year. United DJs Of America – West Coast Grooves finds him still in deep house mode, and he provides a serviceable set of chill Naked-OM vibes with a little Latin flavour thrown in towards the end. Petalpusher (aka: Miguel Migs) shows up, as does Kerri Chandler, but I don't recognize many names beyond those.

An early highlight is the Kevin Yost and Peter Funk track Another World, which plays to their impeccable sense of mellow, dubby jazz-house just as wonderfully as their classic Dreams Of You. Mind, it's not quite as mint as that tune, but it does provide me with an easy, lazy comparison with Mark Farina's Frisko Disco, in that David's set pales compared to it. All the tunes here are fine, but little leaps out at you either, making this perfect background fodder at a swanky club while sipping cocktails, and not much else.

Things aren't looking too hot for United DJs Of America. Think it's time I bail myself out of this series pronto. As luck would have it, a certain expert in escapes just happens to be in L.A. too! What say you, Mr. Plissken?

Mr. Plissken: The name is Snake.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Various - United DJs Of America, Vol. 14: DJ Soul Slinger

DMC: 2000

It took six years, fourteen entries, and seventeen DJs, but d'n'b finally, finally, gets a look-in with United DJs Of America. What, did the U.S. Of A. just not have any love for jungle throughout the '90s? My dudes, of course there was a strong contingent of junglists on this continent, with plenty of prominent DJs doing the rounds. DJ Dara! AK1200! Dieselboy! Freaky Flow! Wait, I'm just listing off jocks that came out on Moonshine. Come to think of it, that was the only significant Stateside label promoting homegrown d'n'b DJs. What gives, Soul Slinger? You had a jungle label, Jungle Sky, and an outlet for it with your Liquid Sky shop. Surely you could have given a few jocks a promotional bump based off your brand? Then again, perhaps America's d'n'b scene simply didn't have enough presence to make national marketing a viable option, not until a print with the financial backing of Moonshine got some cross-continental exposure going.

It's also a surprise that, for as long as he'd been in the business, Carlos Slinger had never made a commercial DJ mix until this point. Yeah, there was Upload: A Continuous Mix a couple years prior, but that one mostly featured his own productions, so was more an album than a proper rinse-out of vinyl crate weapons. Not so here, names like Scitex, TNT (2), Uncle 22, and The Burner Brothers all showing in the Soul Slinger's set for United DJs Of America, Vol. 14. I haven't heard of any o' these cats.

The CD opens with some live crowd action and MCing – was this a live recording? there's no indication in the inlay – and Mr. Slinger shows off his Brazilian roots with his own Zulu Transform (Samba Mix). At first I was worried that such MCing would overtake the music, but it's only for a couple early tracks, and T.C. Izlam doesn't appear again until the very end, where the crowd noise returns for a jump-up remix-singalong to Mike & Ike's Plutonic (you've heard it before as Biz Markie's Just A Friend).

Surprisingly, I wish he did show up a few more times throughout, because the tracks on offer grow rather monotonous after a while. Slinger seems intent on showcasing d'n'b with weird base noises above all else, whether they're a good tune or not. Some of it kicks proper darkstep ass, like Slither's Distorted Minds and Future Cut's Whiplash. Others are hilariously limp or silly - the bassline in DJ Del Mar's Him sounds like a wet fart dribbling out. I don't think the mix CD suited Slinger's particular style, and perhaps he knew it, never releasing another commercial set again. Maybe he preferred focusing on fashion.

New York City has had far too much representation in this series. We need to get out of this place, pronto, and there's only one man for a guest review capable of doing so. What say you, Snake?

Snake: The name's Plissken.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Various - United DJs Of America Presents: Murk Starring In Miami Vice

DMC: 1999

This series is being screwy again. No where on the cover or the inlay does it tell you this is Vol. 12 of United DJs Of America. I could understand if they'd be reluctant to include the number if it was Vol. 13, but for whatever reason, DMC/Mixer decided this was the point they were to break with tradition. No more numerical volumes. Glorious gimmick cover art of the DJs involved. Reduce their series logo to a footnote (well, for the UK version of this release). Dammit, they rented that Lamborghini and retro suits for the photo shoot, and they're gonna' make sure you see them in all their glory! Naturally, United DJs Of America went back to basics with Vol. 13, never doing such a gimmicked release again.

Anyone worth their house-salt knows who Murk is. Oscar Gaetan and Ralph Falcon have been staples of the American scene since the early '90s, establishing their own Murk Records to self-release vinyl under various aliases. When house music was struggling to figure out what to do next, the Murk Boys took the vibes of Chicago and added a deep, sexy Miami bump 'n' grind aesthetic to it, eventually leading to what's often referred to as 'tribal house'. All the big proponents of it – Danny Tenaglia, Steve Lawler, Roger Sanchez – always namedrop Murk as highly influential in the development of their rinsing style.

The one United DJs Of America trend Vol. 12: Miami Vice does maintain is being the the debut commercial DJ mix for the chosen jock(s). So to it is with Murk, although they were mostly known as record makers rather than record spinners. Still, I'm sure they hosted plenty of nights throughout South Florida (and New York), so they have some experience behind the decks.

And they don't do anything to dash expectations. The thick, heavy, sweaty, tribal rhythms hit you early, and remain steady, familiar names like Peace Division, Krome Avenue, Eddie Amador, and Kings Of Tomorrow all weapons in Murk's arsenal. Also, Pete Heller's huge anthem Big Love is on here, one of the earliest CDs to get a feature. This was ridiculously overplayed by the year 2000, but many years removed from it now, it all comes flooding back why everyone went apeshit over this – at least until Daft Punk's One More Time completely changed the game. Anyhow, if you like yourselves a Tenaglia set that isn't quite so silky smooth, you'll dig Murk's contribution to this series.

Obviously the cover art invites a guest review spot from Crockett and Tubbs of Miami Vice fame, but I know which individual y'all really want to hear from, the infamous Tony Montana (aka: Scarface). Have at you, mang'.

Tony: Ay, this [bleep] mix is [bleep] alright, right? Murk Boys, they [bleeep] all day long, and when they [bleeep] the [bleeep] club with [bleeeeep] records, them sexy [bleeep] chicas and [bleeep] with [bleeep]. They proof of [bleeeeeeeep] American dream, livin' [bleeep] and well.

Monday, February 5, 2018

Various - United DJs Of America, Vol. 11: Cevin Fisher - My First CD

DMC: 1999

This name tasks me. Taunts me. Flies in the face of all that I hold grammatically pure and true. Cevin is pronounced with a hard 'C', like 'Kevin', but my brain wants me to pronounce it with a soft 'C', like 'Seven'. Anytime I see a 'C' beside an 'e', I gotta' say it as an 's'. Brains are weird.

Folks new to the house game may know Mr. Fisher for his vocal contributions in recent singles, but he's been a New York City fixture for many, many years. He spent a good chunk of the '90s releasing his own singles under several one-off aliases, and built up a rep' as one of house music's emerging talents on the DJ circuit. By the turn of the millennium, he looked poised to stand shoulder to shoulder with Morales, Sanchez, Knuckles, and Vega, especially since they'd all done prior mixes for the United DJs Of America series. This would launch the next stage of Cevin's career!

He... didn't take off quite as expected. It wasn't a fall off or anything, but house music kept morphing throughout the '00s, and Cevin's vintage New York disco house kept him firmly entrenched in the clubbing underground. Thus he never broke out the way his contemporaries did, though it wouldn't surprise me if he prefers it that way.

And yes, 'dangerous disco' is the name of the game on United DJs Of America, Vol. 11 (his first CD!). The opening Beautiful Day from House Of 909 takes us off with chill, uplifting vibes, but Cevin doesn't waste time in getting us to that ultra-loopy house action, including his own anthem of House Music - Cevin don't mess around with fancy titles, yo'. From there, things go a little deeper (Those Norwegians' Soda), a little Latin (Agent Purple's Kings Of Spain), a little bumpin' (Wet Dreams' Sunrise), and back to disco (Studio 45's Freak It). And what New York house set is complete without the obligatory nine-minute gospel cut to take us out? Well, some, but Mr. Fisher's making sure all flavours of house are repped here, so raise those damn hands and sing the praises of your Lord Jesus!

Oh man, there's so many famous fictional people from New York City I could get to do a guest review spot. For some reason though, an investment banker by the name of Patrick Bateman wants in.

Patrick: I didn't understand house music, not at first, when black people in Chicago were dancing to it. Something about that environment didn't seem right, like a primitive version of the disco nights of Studio 54. New York City made house better, merging it with something called garage. I believe that's another disco genre. It gave house music more soul, not unlike an upbeat Whitney Houston song. House music is now played in many clubs around the city, including The Tunnel. Hardbodies there like dancing to it.

(Uh, you've hit the word-cap, Patrick, and didn't talk about the CD at all.)

The first Cevin Fisher track I heard was It's Gonna Be Alright, a collaboration with Jus Us as No Pain, in 1993. The single came out on Hardtrax Records in 1993, and had five different versions on it. The first two mixes, titled No More Pain Mix and Gonna Be Alright Mix, have little variation between them. Cliff's Deep Flute Mix has some jazz flute notes being played. Rio Beats adds some Latin influences to the track. The Vox adds long delay and echo effects to Cevin's vocals. This was the only single Cevin Fisher released as No Pain.

It was after this single that Cevin Fisher started releasing music under this name. His first record was called Oye Ese Pito!!! on the label Gettin Lifted. His next single was an eponymous record, released on Groovilicious in 1996. This had the tracks Do You Wanna Fly, Take You To The Skies, Pump It, and Pump The Beats. Cevin released many more singles that same year, including I Want Music on Subversive, Raise Your Hands on Sound Of Minisry, and Check This Out and The Most Wanted EP on Maxi Records. In 1998, he paired with Robert Owens, a popular house music singer, and Satoshi Tomiie, a progressive house producer, for the single Darkness, released on S3. By far though, his most popular track was (You Got Me) Burnin' Up, released on Tommy Boy Silver. It's success lies with a sampling of Love Sensation by Loleatta Holloway, a disco hit from 1980, released on Gold Mind Records. In capturing Loleatta Holloway's impassioned belting voice, Cevin Fisher recaptures the hedonistic feeling of late '70 disco for a modern era. Another club anthem Cevin released in 1998 was The Freaks Come Out.

(what are you doing? I said your word cap was tapped out)

Cevin Fisher used a slightly different alias for The Freaks Come Out, called Cevin Fisher's Big Freak. This would be the only record he'd use the alias for. The track uses a sample from Whodini's Freaks Come Out At Night, released on Jive in 1984. Another key feature is the belting refrain of a 'disco diva' singing "Oh baby, oh!" Also in the track are horns that sound like a mardi gras celebration. In combining all these elements, Cevin Fisher captures the melting pot of New York City's varied clubbing cultures both past and present. Many popular DJs have now featured it their mixes and radio shows. This includes Pete Tong's Essential Selection - Summer 1998, on FFRR; Boy George's set in the tag-team release with Judge Jules of The Annual IV, on Ministry Of Sound; DJ Dan's mix CD Beats 4 Freaks on Moonshine Music; Tall Paul's set in Cream Anthems, released by Virgin EMI; Carl Cox's Non Stop 98/01, released on FFRR; The Klubbheads, in their set for the three CD release Kontor - Top Of The Clubs Volume 2, released on Polytel; Flavio Vecchi's set on New York Bar Compilation Volume 1, released on Dream Beat; Allister Whitehead's set in Fantazia - British Anthems 2000, released on Fantazia; Robert De La... Gauthier's Club Foundation, released on ID&T; Richard Evans & Johnathon Robbins' set from In The Mix Ibiza, released on Circa Records LTD.; Mas Ricardo in OXA House Vol. 2, released on TBA; DJ Erick-E's set on Work 9, released on Work Records; Alan Thompson's set in Trade: Summer Holiday, released on Jive.

(oh my god, doesn't this guy ever shut up?)

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Various - Rewind: Taylor - Resonance

DMC: 1998/2001

Yeah, this technically isn't part of the United DJs Of America mainline series, but the reissue Rewind series, which primarily focused on some of the best mixes from United (a few also cribbed from Mixmag Live!). I've already covered this information with Mark Farina's Rewind (aka: United DJs Of America, Vol. 9 – Frisko Disco), but that review was... geez'it, three years ago now? Doesn't seem a shade over two-and-a-half.

Anyhow, the original version of this CD was United DJs Of America, Vol. 10, hence its current placement in my ramshackle retrospective. Taylor (Myles Glenn Wooten to the California voter roll) was an appropriate jock to tap, bringing trance back into the series with the genre on the cusp of US commercial interests. What better reason, then, to have one of that scene's dedicated veterans emerge from obscurity for a rinse-out? Oh, right, because he also had that huge collaborative single in Anomaly – Calling Your Name.

This is a good, solid trance set from Taylor. The only overplayed anthem is the breaks hit Expand The Room from The Light, and Jackal & Hyde's Get Down To My Technique is a fun lead-in to it. Taylor himself apes a little Chris Cowie in Slide, and hearing Lieb's bangin' rub of Movin' Melodies' Rollerblade is always welcome (chopped vocals in '96!). Throw in a few acid cuts at the start, and a lengthy prog collab' with Sasha and Maria Nayler at the finish, and you've yourself a very nice trance CD in whatever used shop you might find it in.

Los Angeles is where Taylor hails from, and few folks are as fictionally famous from that region than Zack Morris. What say you, Zack?

Zack: You know, if I'd been of this current generation, I'd totally have become a DJ. Don't get me wrong, having a band called Zack Attack is fun and all, but c'mon. Me, the center of attention with thousands of screaming fans cheering my name to play other people's music? It's the career I was born for.

A.C.: Hold on there, preppy. If anyone's destined to be a DJ, it's me. Heck, it's so obvious that an actual DJ took my name and made a career of it. You'll always be runner up to my talents.

Zack: Hey now, Slate', we don't have to be rivals. We could do a tag-team, you know? Go into this together, be a stud DJ duo, the two of us. How's that sound?

A.C.: I dunno. Sounds like another one of your schemes, preppy. You'd just gum things up in the end. But hey, why not?

Screech: Hey, guys, what about me? You need someone with actual technical knowledge to operate those laptops and programs that do all the mixing.

Belding: Hey, hey, hey, what is going on here? I used to be a DJ, and can offer some expert insight-

Zack: Whoa, time out! We're getting far too crowded in here. Time to cut this guest review short.

Various - United DJs Of America, Vol. 5: Frankie Bones - Brooklyn, NY

DMC: 1996

And... we're already in some discrepancies regarding this series. I have in my possession Frankie Bones' contribution to United DJs Of America, as worthy as any US-born jock to get the nod. However, two versions of his entry exist, one with this yellow background, listed as Vol. 5, and another with a red background, listed as Vol. 6. Which is the real deal?

Both, kind of. This series had US and UK distribution, but for some reason, the UK skipped on the double-disc outing of Vol. 4 featuring David Morales and Frankie Knuckles, thus gimping the sequence for a couple years before Mark Farina's Vol. 9 set the timeline back in order (man, is there anything Frisko Disco can't do?). Cover art aside, there's no difference between UK-Vol.5 and US-Vol.6, though considering the red one's got all the Discogian comments attached, I suspect it's considered the proper-deal – it is the American version, after all.

As for ol' Frankie The Bone, he needs no introduction since I've talked him up plenty now. For a jock that was so instrumental in bringing rave music to the underground masses of the Eastern seaboard, it's surprising this was among his first major commercial DJ mixes. He'd put out several tapes prior, but the Discogian data's a little flakey on the exact dates of his other 1996 releases – for all I know, House Loop on Sm:)e Communications or Global House Culture Vol 2 on ESP-SUN Records hit the streets sooner. Still, fairly certain this was his first UK DJ mix.

And there's no beatin' round the bush with Bones' brand of bangin' acid techno. The kicks come hard and fast right out the gate, dudes like Tom Wax, Chris Liebing, and Commander Tom all doing the damage. A particular chap by the name of Michael Kores pops up frequently in this set, though usually under an alias, including Albion. Yeah, you can imagine my initial shock when I thought it was the other Albion (aka: Ferry Corsten) in a Bones set. Trance does get a cursory glance in the track Active Sensing from Lectric Cargo, yet another project from Norman Feller, but it's the relentless hard techno and acid we get through and through. We wouldn't have it any other way from ol' Frankie.

For this guest review, there's only one Brooklynite famous enough to review Frankie Bones, the Flatbush native Bugs Bunny! What, I didn't say they had to be human.

Bugs: Eh, what's up, doc'? Me, review music? Sure, I can do that. I know all the classics – Brahms, Beethoven, Bachs – and plenty of vaudeville too. Frankie Bones, eh? Hehehe, get a load of that name. What is he, a skeleton? Hehehe, better watch out for roving bands of Rovers. Frisky gangs of Fidos. This music is different from what I'm used to, but it sure does pep'. Hehehe, would make for a wonderful gag, placing headphones of it playing onto ol' Elmer's head while he's sleeping.

Friday, February 2, 2018

Various - United DJs Of America, Vol. 3: Josh Wink - Philadelphia, PA

DMC America: 1995

It's been a while since I did a “DJ mix series retrospective on the cheap”, and if there's one that could use another look while being affordable, it's United DJs Of America. While Europe and especially the U.K. were absolutely gung-ho about their vinyl spinners, many DJs in America struggled to gain much attention outside clubbing hotbeds, save the occasional crossover single they produced on the side. DMC figured they could make bank highlighting some of America's most prominent jocks, and started the series up in 1994.

Hot off the heels of his breakout acid anthem of Higher State Of Consciousness, DMC tapped Josh Wink for the series' third entry. Heh, no, that wasn't the sole reason. The whole point of United DJs Of America was to shed some shine on locales beyond the famed clubbing hotbeds of New York City, Chicago, South Florida, and San Francisco (Detroit was more about warehouses than clubs), and Philadelphia often went overlooked. However, DJ Jazzy Jeff wasn't part of the house and techno scene, ?uestlove was busy doing his own thing with The Roots, and Diplo was an unknown teen in '95. If any Philly jock was to get the greenlight here, Josh Wink was the man, a well-established veteran with discerning heads even before hitting big with Higher State.

United DJs Of America was Wink's first commercial DJ mix, and I suspect he was still in the feeling-out process of how to make one. It starts fine enough with some bumpin' house action from Murk and Madd African, but soon gives way to the sort of minimal techno and house that Wink made his name on, including his own pre-Higher State cut How's The Music. It's all very heady music, and I'm sure worked wonderfully in dark, sweaty clubs back when, but does it ever drag listening to it on the homefront. Plus, I'm kinda' worn out on DBX' Losing Control now, thanks.

But we all know ol' Josh for the acid, and the back end of his set comes correct with the tweakin' 303 action, tracks like Cappio Bros.' Caffeine 4 Daze?, Firefly's Supernatural, and ten-plus minutes of Tata Box Inhibitors' Plasmids doing the damage proper-like. A strong finish, though a rather tedious trip to get there.

I can't do a DJ mix series retrospective without some gimmick, so what better way to celebrate each selected city than having a guest review spot by someone famous from each location. And I can't think of anyone more famous from Philly than Rocky Balboa! What, I didn't say they had to be real.

Rocky: A'yo, if DJing is something Josh wanna do, and is something Josh gotta' do, then Josh will do it, ya' know? Remember, big arms can move rocks, but big beats can move mountains. Ya' know, they always say if you live in one place long enough, you are that place, and Josh, he's Philly, through an' through. He's a contender that refused to give up.

Thursday, February 1, 2018

ACE TRACKS: January 2018

Four months now. Four. Months. Ef-Or. Nearly one-hundred reviews later. And yet, I'm still not finished this alphabetical backlog! Man, remember when I first started it? I 'member, especially those first few albums, wandering about the local neighborhoods in the first days of autumn, taking in all those... *checks October 2017 reviews* Those Dronarivm albums, and those Mick Chillage works, not to mention an honest-to-God dubstep album. Why, that far back, I reckon no one reading this blog even knew what an Oak Ridge Boy was. It all feels so long ago now, so very long ago, and we're still far from the finish line. Three more letters of the backlog, then it's on to the final three letters of the alphabet, then after that it's... hmm, I'm not entirely sure. Do I keep right on going into albums that feature numbers in their title? Explore other ideas for review material? Perhaps finish other outstanding projects first? Offer myself a little break? Actually, I've plumb forgotten how to 'veg', downtime these days mostly just me having a breather between work and writing. OCD's rough that way. Meanwhile, here's the ACE TRACKS for January 2018.

Full track list here.

Ras Command - Serious Smokers (The Best Of Ras Command)
Simon Scott - Silenne
Seaworthy - Sleep Paths
Geometry Combat - Tanz Der Schatten
Legowelt - TEAC Life
Rainbow Vector - This Way

Percentage Of Hip-Hop: 5%
Percentage Of Rock: 5% (though it sure is soft)
Most “WTF?” Track : Daft Punk - Drive (you've probably forgotten this is how they first sounded)

So TEAC Life isn't on Spotify, which on one hand I'm kinda' thankful for because sorting those additional nineteen tracks would be mind-numbing. Plus, with all the Soma techno on hand, having that much techno would go redundant on this playlist. On the other hand, they're all dope tunes, techno that everyone who likes techno should hear – ah well, there's still the Bandcamp option.

Overall, a funny playlist, this one. Techno dominates, but every so often, it gets broken up by a little synth-pop ditty, or a rapping Japanese lass, or a '70s hit you've heard thousands of times on your local radio.

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. Dido Dieselboy Different DigiCube Dillinja dirty house Dirty South Dirty Vegas disco Disco Gecko disco house Disco Pinata Records disco punk Discover (label) Disky Disques Dreyfus Distant System Distinct'ive Breaks Disturbance Divination 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 Soul Slinger DJ-Kicks Djen Ajakan Shean DJMag DMC DMC Records Doc Scott Dogon Dogwhistle Dooflex Dopplereffekt Dossier Dousk downtempo dowtempo Dr. Atmo Dr. Dre Dr. Hook & The Medicine Show Dr. Octagon Dragon Quest dream house dream pop DreamWorks Records Drexciya drill 'n' bass Dronarivm drone Dronny Darko drum 'n' bass DrumNBassArena drunken review dub Dub Pistols dub techno Dub Trees Dubfire dubstep DuMonde Dune Dusted Dynatron E-Mantra E-Z Rollers Eardream Music Earth Earth Nation Earthling Eastcoast Eastcost EastWest Eastworld Eat Static EBM Echodub Ed Rush & Optical Editions EG EDM World Weekly News Ektoplazm electro Electro House Electro Sun electro-funk electro-pop electroclash Electronic Dance Essentials Electronic Music Guide Electrovoya Elektra Elektrolux em:t EMC update EMI Emiliana Torrini Eminem Emmerichk Emperor Norton Empire enCAPSULAte Engine Recordings Enigma Enmarta EP Epic epic trance EQ Recordings Erased Tapes Records Eric Borgo Erik Vee Erol Alkan Escape Esoteric Reactive ethereal Etnica Etnoscope Euphoria euro dance eurotrance Eurythmics Eve Records Everlast Ewan Pearson Exitab experimental Eye Q Records Ezdanitoff F Communications Fabric Fade Records Faithless Falcon Reekon Fallen fanfic Fantastisizer Fantasy Enhancing 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 Firescope Five AM Fjäder Flashover Recordings Floating Points Flowers For Bodysnatchers Flowjob Fluke Flying Lotus folk Fontana footwork Force Intel Fountain Music Four Tet FPU Frank Bretschneider Frankie Bones Frankie Knuckles Frans de Waard Fred Everything freestyle French house Front Line Assembly Fugees full-on Fun Factory funk future garage Future Sound Of London futurepop g-funk gabber Gabriel Le Mar Gaither Music Group Galaktlan Galati Gang Starr gangsta garage Gareth Davis Gary Martin Gas Gasoline Alley Records Gee Street Geffen Records Gel-Sol Genesis Geometry Combat Gerald Donald Get Physical Music ghetto Ghostface Killah Ghostly International glam Gliese 581C glitch Global Communication Global Underground Globular goa trance God Body Disconnect Gorillaz gospel Gost goth Grammy Awards Gravediggaz Green Day Grey Area Greytone Gridlock grime Groove Armada Groove Corporation Grooverider grunge Guru Gustaf Hidlebrand Gusto Records GZA H2O Records Haddaway Halgrath happy hardcore hard house hard rock hard techno hard trance hardcore Hardfloor hardstyle Harlequins Enigma Harmless Harmonic 33 Harold Budd Harthouse Harthouse Mannheim Hawtin Hearts Of Space Hed Kandi Hefty Records Helen Marnie Hell Hercules And Love Affair Hernán Cattáneo Hexstatic Hi-Bias Records Hic Sunt Leones Hide And Sequence Hiero Emperium Hieroglyphics High Contrast High Note Records Higher Ground Higher Intelligence Agency Hilyard hip-hop hip-house hipno Home Normal Honest Jon's Records Hooj Choons Hope Records horrorcore Hospital Records Hot Chip Hotflush Recordings house Howie B Huey Lewis & The News Human Blue Hybrid Hybrid Leisureland Hymen Records Hyperdub Hypertrophy hypnotic records I Awake I-Cube i! Records I.F.O.R. I.R.S. Records Iboga Records Ice Cube Ice H2o Records ICE MC IDM Igorrr illbient Imperial Dancefloor Imploded View In Charge In Trance We Trust Incoming Incubus Indica Records indie rock Industrial Infected Mushroom Infinite Guitar influence records Infonet Ink Midget Inner Ocean Records 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 Ishq Island Records Islands Of Light Italians Do It Better italo disco italo house Item Caligo J-pop Jack Moss Jackpot Jacob Newman Jafu Jake Stephenson Jam and Spoon Jam El Mar James Blake James Horner James Murray James Zabiela Jamie Jones Jamie Myerson Jamie Principle Jamiroquai Javelin Ltd. Jay Haze Jay Tripwire Jaydee jazz jazz dance jazzdance jazzstep Jean-Michel Jarre Jefferson Airplane Jerry Goldsmith Jesper Dahlbäck Jimmy Van M Jiri.Ceiver Jive Jive Electro Jliat Jlin Joel Mull Joey Beltram John '00' Fleming John Acquaviva John Beltran John Digweed John Graham John Kelly John O'Callaghan John Oswald John Shima Johnny Cash Johnny Jewel Jonny L Jori Hulkkonen Joris Voorn Jørn Stenzel Josh Christie Josh Wink Journeys By DJ™ LLC Joyful Noise Recordings Juan Atkins juke Jump Cut jump up Jumpin' & Pumpin' jungle Junior Boy's Own Junkie XL Juno Reactor Jurassic 5 Kaico Kay Wilder KDJ Ken Ishii Kenji Kawai Kenny Glasgow Keoki Keosz Kerri Chandler Kevin Braheny Kevin Yost Kevorkian Records Khooman Khruangbin Ki/oon Kid Koala Kiko Kinetic Records King Cannibal King Midas Sound King Tubby Kitaro Klang Elektronik Klaus Schulze Klik Records KMFDM Koch Records Koichi Sugiyama Kolhoosi 13 Komakino Kompakt Kon Kan Kool Keith Kozo Kraftwelt Kraftwerk Krafty Kuts krautrock Kriistal Ann Krill.Minima Kris O'Neil Kriztal KRS-One Kruder and Dorfmeister Krusseldorf Kubinski KuckKuck Kulor Kurupt Kwook L.B. Dub Corp L.S.G. L'usine Lab 4 Ladytron LaFace Records Lafleche Lamb Lange Large Records Lars Leonhard Laserlight Digital LateNightTales Latin Laurent Garnier LCD Soundsystem Le Moors Leama and Moor Lee 'Scratch' Perry Lee Burridge Lee Norris Leftfield Legacy Legiac Legowelt Leon Bolier Les Disques Du Crépuscule LFO Linear Labs Lingua Lustra liquid funk Liquid Sound Design Liquid Stranger Liquid Zen Live live album LL Cool J Loco Dice Lodsb London acid crew London Classics London Elektricity London Records 90 Ltd London-Sire Records Loop Guru Loreena McKennitt Lorenzo Masotto Lorenzo Montanà Lost Language Lotek Records Loud Records Louderbach Loverboy Luaka Bop Luciano Luke Slater Lustmord M_nus M.A.N.D.Y. M.I.K.E. Madonna Magda Magik Muzik Mahiane Mali Mammoth Records Mantacoup Marc Simz Marcel Dettmann Marco Carola Marco V Marcus Intalex 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 Memex Menno de Jong Mercury Mesmobeat metal Metamatics Method Man Metroplex Metropolis MF Doom Miami Bass Miami Beach Force Miami Dub Machine Michael Brook Michael Jackson Michael Mantra 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 Mistical Mixmag Mo Wax Mo-Do MO-DU Moby Model 500 modern classical Modeselektor Moist Music Moodymann Moonshine Morgan Morphology Moss Garden Motech Motorbass Moving Shadow Mujaji Murk Murmur Mushy Records Music link Music Man Records musique concrete Mutant Sound System Mute MUX Muzik Magazine My Best Friend Mystery Tape Laboratory Mystica Tribe Mystified N-Trance Nacht Plank Nadia Ali Nas Nashville Natural Midi Nature Sounds Naughty By Nature Nebula Neil Young Neon Droid Neotantra Neotropic nerdcore Nervous Records Nettwerk Neurobiotic Records New Age New Beat New Jack Swing new wave Nic Fanciulli Nick Höppner Night Time Stories Nightwind Records Nimanty Nine Inch Nails Ninja Tune Nirvana nizmusic No Mask Effect Nobuo Uematsu noise Nomad Nonesuch Nonplus Records Nookie Nordic Trax Norman Feller North South Northumbria Not Now Music Nothing Records Nova NovaMute NRG Ntone nu-italo nu-jazz nu-skool Nuclear Blast Entertainment Nulll Nunc Stans Nurse With Wound NXP Oasis Octagen Offshoot Offshoot Records Ol' Dirty Bastard Olan Mill Old Europa Cafe old school rave Ole Højer Hansen Olga Musik Olien Oliver Lieb Olsen OM Records Omni Trio Omnimotion Omnisonus One Little Indian Oophoi Oosh Open Open Canvas Opium Opus III orchestral Original TranceCritic review Origo Sound Orkidea Orla Wren Ornament Ostgut Ton Ott Ottsonic Music Ouragan Out Of The Box OutKast Outpost Records Overdream P-Ben Paleowolf Pan Sonic Pantera Pantha Du Prince Paolo Mojo Parlaphone Patreon Paul Moelands Paul Oakenfold Paul van Dyk Pendulum Perfect Stranger Perfecto Perturbator Pet Shop Boys Petar Dundov Pete Namlook Pete Tong Peter Andersson Peter Benisch Peter Broderick Peter Gabriel Peter Tosh Phantogram Phonothek Photek Phutureprimitive Phynn PIAS Recordings Pinch Pink Floyd Pitch Black PJ Harvey Plaid Planet Dog Planet Earth Recordings Planet Mu Planetary Assault Systems Planetary Consciousness Plastic City Plastikman Platinum Platipus Pleq Plump DJs Plunderphonic Plus 8 Records PM Dawn Poker Flat Recordings Pole Folder politics Polydor Polytel pop Popular Records Porya Hatami post-dubstep power electronics Prince Prince Paul Prins Thomas Priority Records Profondita prog prog psy 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 psychedelia Psychick Warriors Ov Gaia Psychomanteum Psychonavigation Psychonavigation Records Psycoholic Psykosonik Psysolation Public Enemy punk punk rock Pureuphoria Records Purl Purple Soil Push PWL International Quadrophonia Quality Quango Quantum Quinlan Road R & S Records R'n'B R&B Rabbit In The Moon Radio Slave Radioactive Radioactive Man Radiohead Rae Raekwon ragga Rainbow Vector raison d'etre Ralph Lawson RAM Records Randal Collier-Ford Random Review Rank 1 rant Rapoon RareNoise Records Ras Command Rascalz Raster-Noton Ratatat Raum Records RCA React Red Jerry Refracted reggae remixes Renaissance Renaissance Man Rephlex Reprise Records Republic Records Resist Music Restless Records RetroSynther Reverse Alignment Rhino Records Rhys Fulber Ricardo Villalobos Richard Durand Riley Reinhold Ringo Sheena Rising High Records RnB Roadrunner Records Robert Hood Robert Miles Robert Oleysyck Roc Raida rock rock opera rockabilly rocktronica Roger Sanchez ROIR Rollo Rough Trade Rub-N-Tug Ruben Garcia Rumour Records Running Back Ruthless Records RZA S.E.T.I. Sabled Sun SadGirl Sakanaction Salt Tank Salted Music Salvation Music Samim Samora sampling Sanctuary Records Sander van Doorn Sandoz SantAAgostino Sarah McLachlan Sash Sasha Saul Stokes Scandinavian Records Scann-Tec sci-fi Scooter Scott Grooves Scott Hardkiss Scott Stubbs Scuba Seán Quinn Seaworthy Segue Sense Sentimony Records Sequential Seraphim Rytm Setrise Seven Davis Jr. Sghor sgnl_fltr Shackleton Shaded Explorations Shaded Explorer Shadow Records Sharam Shawn Francis shoegaze Si Matthews SideOneDummy Records Sidereal Signature Records SiJ Silent Season Silent Universe Silentes Silentes Minimal Editions Silicone Soul silly gimmicks Silver Age Simian Mobile Disco Simon Berry Simon Heath Simon Posford Simon Scott Simple Records Sinden Sine Silex single Single Gun Theory Sire Records Company Six Degrees Sixeleven Records Sixtoo ska Skare Skin To Skin Skua Atlantic Slaapwel Records Slam Sleep Research Facility Slinky Music Sly and Robbie Smalltown Supersound SME Visual Works Inc. SMTG Limited Snap Sneijder Snoop Dogg Snowy Tension Pole soft rock Soiree Records International Solar Fields Solaris Recordings Solarstone Solieb Soliquid Solstice Music Europe Soma Quality Recordings Songbird Sony Music Entertainment SOS soul Soul Temple Entertainment soul:r Souls Of Mischief Sound Of Ceres Soundgarden Sounds From The Ground soundtrack southern rap southern rock space ambient Space Dimension Controller space disco Space Manoeuvres space synth Spacetime Continuum Spaghetti Recordings Spank Rock Special D Specta Ciera speed garage Speedy J SPG Music Spicelab Spielerei Spiritech spoken word Spotify Suggestions Spotted Peccary SPX Digital Squarepusher Squaresoft Stacey Pullen Stanton Warriors Star Trek Stardust Statrax Stay Up Forever Stephanie B Stephen Kroos Steve Angello Steve Brand Steve Lawler Steve Miller Band Steve Porter Steven Rutter Stijn van Cauter Stone Temple Pilots Stonebridge Stormloop Stray Gators Street Fighter Stuart McLean Studio K7 Stylophonic Sub Focus Subharmonic Sublime Sublime Porte Netlabel Subotika Substance Suduaya Sun Station Sunbeam Sunday Best Recordings Supercar Superstition surf rock Sven Väth Swayzak Sweet Trip swing Switch Swollen Members Sylk 130 Symmetry Sync24 Synergy Synkro synth pop synth-pop synthwave System 7 Tactic Records Take Me To The Hospital Tall Paul Tammy Wynette Tangerine Dream Tau Ceti Taylor Tayo tech house tech-house tech-step tech-trance Technical Itch techno technobass Technoboy Tectonic Telefon Tel Aviv Terminal Antwerp Terra Ferma Terry Lee Brown Jr Textere Oris The Angling Loser The B-52's The Beach Boys The Beatles The Black Dog The Brian Jonestown Massacre The Bug The Chemical Brothers The Circular Ruins The Clash The Council The Cranberries The Crystal Method The Digital Blonde The Dust Brothers The Field The Gentle People The Glimmers The Green Kingdom The Grey Area The Hacker The Herbaliser The Human League The Irresistible Force The KLF The Misted Muppet The Movement The Music Cartel The Null Corporation The Oak Ridge Boys The Offspring The Orb The Police The Prodigy The Sabres Of Paradise The Shamen The Sharp Boys The Sonic Voyagers The Squires The Tea Party The Tragically Hip The Velvet Underground The Wailers The White Stripes The Winterhouse themes Thievery Corporation Third Contact Third World Tholen Thrive Records Tiefschwarz Tiësto Tiga Tiger & Woods Time Life Music Time Warp Timecode Timestalker Tipper Tobias Tocadisco Todd Terje Tom Middleton Tomita Tommy Boy Ton T.B. Tone Depth Tony Anderson Sound Orchestra Too Pure Tool tools Topaz Tosca Toto Touch Tourette Records Toxik Synther Traffic Entertainment Group trance Trancelucent Tranquillo Records Trans'Pact Transcend Transformers Transient Records trap Trax Records Trend Trentemøller Tresor tribal Tricky Triloka Records trip-hop Trishula Records Tristan Troum Troy Pierce TRS Records Tsuba Records Tsubasa Records Tuff Gong Tunnel Records Turbo Recordings turntablism TUU TVT Records Twisted Records Type O Negative U-God U-Recken U2 U4IC DJs Überzone Ugasanie UK acid house UK Garage UK Hard House Ultimae Ultimae Records Ultra Records Umbra Underworld Union Jack United Dairies United DJs Of America Universal Motown Universal Music Universal Records Universal Republic Records Unknown Tone Records UOVI Upstream Records Urban Icon Records Utada Hikaru V2 Vagrant Records Valiska Valley Of The Sun Vangelis Vap Vector Lovers Venetian Snares Venonza Records Vermont Vernon Versatile Records Verus Records Verve Records VGM Vice Records Victor Calderone Victor Entertainment Vince DiCola Vinyl Cafe Productions Virgin Virtual Vault Virus Recordings Visionquest Visions Vitalic vocal trance Vortex Wagram Music Waki Wanderwelle Warner Bros. Records Warp Records Warren G Water Music Dance Wave Recordings Wave Records Waveform Records Wax Trax Records Way Out West WEA Wednesday Campanella Weekend Players Weekly Mini-Review Werk Discs Werkstatt Recordings WestBam White Swan Records Wichita Will Saul William Orbit Willie Nelson world beat world music writing reflections Wrong Records Wu-Tang Clan Wurrm Wyatt Keusch Xerxes The Dark XL Recordings XTT Recordings Yamaoko Yello Yes Ylid Youth Youtube YoYo Records Yul Records Zenith ZerO One Zoharum Zomby Zoo Entertainment ZTT Zyron ZYX Music µ-Ziq