Friday, June 29, 2018

Spacetime Continuum - Emit Ecaps

Astralwerks: 1996

The whole kerfuffle surrounding a dodgy re-issue of Jonah Sharp's Sea Biscuit did result in one positive: rekindling my interest in his old Spacetime Continuum project. I always assumed it was among those nigh-impossible to acquire discographies, released in ultra-limited fashion or on hopelessly obscure labels. Well, Sea Biscuit was on Fax +49-69/450464 (among other collaborative works with Namlook), and Mr. Sharp did have his own print, Reflective, which was about as underground as it got back-when (though the lads at Ninja Tune liked them). In any event, preconceived notions confirmed, amirite? Yeah, then I learned Jonah was also signed to Astralwerks, possibly one of America's longest, most respected electronic music promoters. They partnered with the almighty Virgin, fer' crise'sakes! How an ambient techno guy got signed to a label that promoted the likes of Chemical Brothers and Fatboy Slim blows my mind, but then Astralwerks did lean that way at their start too. Couldn't resist those almighty Virgin dolla's tho'!

And as Astralwerks was plenty profitable during the compact disc's glory years, there's plenty copies of Spacetime Continuum floating about, making gathering some vintage Jonah Sharp far easier than I'd ever have anticipated. I haven't gotten all the albums, mind you (that collaboration with Terence McKenna seems a little too out there for my interests), a couple mid-'90s items suiting me just fine. And as always, alphabetical stipulation starts us off with one of Mr. Sharp's lesser known works, his alias Emit Ecaps. No, wait, that's the name of the album, Emit Ecaps just a couple one-off tunes for compilations. What does 'emit ecaps' even mean? I keep thinking drugs.

As for the album, Emit Ecaps, you can definitely tell it sprung from the mid-'90s, when electronic music scenes were frequently cross-pollinating, yet it's rather timeless too. Opener Iform gets down with that funky electro business, but doesn't sound retro in the slightest. Follow-up Kairo starts off in ambient techno's lane, but somehow gradually morphs into jazzstep d'n'b before shifting onto an ambient dub path – Sharp sure makes good use of the twelve minutes dedicated to this track.

And the genre fusion doesn't let up. While electro, Detroit techno (of course) and dub tend to dominate Sharp's aesthetic, there are nuggets of other genres scattered throughout too. Out Here spends a significant chunk of its time being flighty, bleepy space ambient before dropping some solid techno thump for its final minute. Vertigo has some kind of jungle-breaks bleep ambient techno thing going for it (and is pretty darn dope while doing it). Pod pairs grumbly technobass with floaty electro melodies, perfect for cruising the Oceanus Procellarum Boulevard. Funkyar could almost be a tech-house track, if it didn't stutter-pause its rhythm so often.

Listening through Emit Ecaps, I realize it's perhaps a tad too 'IDM' for the sort of customer base Astralwerks had started cultivating in '96, which sadly caused it to slip through the cracks. There's no excuse overlooking this little electro gem these days though.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

John Shima - Elements Unknown

FireScope: 2017

But really, how cool is FireScope Records? Like, obviously B12's little label won't win many ultra-hip awards anytime soon, but the print is so deliciously retro, it can't remain a hidden treasure much longer. From the ageless spacey techno they promote, to the pulp sci-fi artwork their releases adorn, it has everything folks fond of phuture muzik can hope for. My only gripe is shipping from them is brutal expensive, but that's what I get for living in the coastal paradise that is the Pacific Northwest (we have our down days too). Or still handing out for physical copies. Could be worse though. I could be ordering the vinyl options, and Lord Nelly is the shipping costs for that beyond brutal – like, BDSM for the music connoisseur. Puts 'buying the vinyl' into perspective though.

When the boys behind B12 started expanding their label to include more artists, John Shima was the first to get the nod. Something of a journeyman producer, Mr. Shima first made his debut with the Fader EP on digital-only label Red Robot Records in 2010, offering up three tracks of deliberately throwback Detroit techno. Fine and dandy, though I don't think many folks noticed it at the time, as techno itself was still in the throes of navel-gazing minimalism, and why should anyone give much care that a UK guy was making Detroit techno. Only Detroit dudes and German guys could make Detroit techno in 2010, if any were making it at all.

John though, he kept plugging along, releasing single after single on label after label, even appearing on that Touched Bass cancer benefit a whole slew of techno producers contributed to. I suspected in the Bauri review that this project was how he came into contact with B12, and now we have another suspect in this FireScope drafting! Once is happenstance, twice a coincidence, but if I come across a third producer from that compilation also on FireScope...

If you've been following Mr. Shima's career since his start, then you'll be in fine, familiar hands with Elements Unknown. Of course, the odds of that being the case with my reader-base is astronomically low, so here's an obligatory rundown of the four tracks present. Elements: nice, chill spacey vibe, with soft electro beats and burbling acid bassline. Symbols: more pure Detroit on the rhythm end, including a little thudding 808, all the while spaced-out synths and blippy-bloopy melodies ride in support. Implant: straight-forward techno, this one, though spacey, loopy, and melodic; could easily fit in an old-school Laurent Garnier 'trance' set. Illuminate: back to the downbeat electro vibes, or ambient techno if you will, since it totally would have made the cut on one an Artificial Intelligence compilations.

Which is great, if you dig that era of techno! Or not, if you don't know it all. Yeah, Elements Unknown doesn't shake the FireScope stylee one iota, but then I doubt B12 brought John Shima on for any other reason than to stay their course.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Ishqamatics - Earthbound

Anodize: 2013

Lee Norris keeps giving his music away! Okay, it's as a 'thank-you' to those who were on the ...txt mailing list, as he's relinquishing control of that label to move onto other interests. As for what he's given up for grabs, some of it's been ...txt material, while others were handled by other prints, though as these remain his own works, I guess he has every right to do what he wants with it. A fair bit's been Nacht Plank albums, which I can't say I'm super-keen in nabbing every time – there's only so much ultra-dorky electronic experimental music I'm willing to take.

Not with Ishqamatics though. When Mr. Norris made Earthbound available, I eagerly snatched it up. Yeah, I had lukewarm feelings about Spacebound, but there were enough ideas floating about his and Ishq's creative ether that their other collaborations at least still intrigued me. Of course, the first album he made with Ishq (Spacebound came out a few months after) is well out of print now, so I didn't think I'd get around to hearing it anytime soon. Guess ol' Lee had other ideas for us procrastinating fans.

And boy howdy, am I ever tempted to check out their third record, Waterbound, after hearing this one. This is what I was expecting from these two pairing up, mostly on the rhythmic department. Yes, once again, an album with 'Earth' as a concept isn't afraid to dig its feet into the dirt. We're not talking about anything seriously funky or ass-wigglin' here, of course, but even the soft, dubby pitter-patter of minimalist ambient techno is more body movin' than the pure pad drone of Spacebound, such that I find myself more engaged with Lee and Matt's lengthy excursions. Yeah, even seventeen-plus minutes of opener Sky Hi. It's just so floaty and breathless, like hovering about cirrus clouds, snug in a thermal suit, the stars above tantalizing and teasing out an expedition if not for this accursed gravity well terra firma generates. Oh well, time to fall back to the soil from which we sprung (there's a long ambient outro, naturally).

I think what I prefer most about Earthbound is the fact it's only five tracks long, mostly averaging between ten to fourteen minutes in length. Much as I rib about 'noodly songcraft', truth of the matter is Lee and Ishq have a style that kinda' needs those extra half-dozen minutes to fully germinate in my brain matter, and Spacebound didn't give that opportunity much. It's the only explanation I can think of for how melodic ideas in Ringstone Round here stick with me better than they did in Through The Ringstone there. Same story with Piano Cruxia here, versus Piano Cruxia Subspace there. The extra ambient techno beats don't hurt either. Elsewhere, Angels On The Stairway still provides a mostly ambient outing (Ishq gotta' Ishq), while the titular closer takes us back out to the cosmos in fine fashion. Wait, shouldn't this then be called Spacebound?

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Cirrus - Drop The Break

Moonshine Music: 1997

For as much as Moonshine Music pushed Cirrus as one of their premiere acts, I seldom gave them much attention. It never seemed prudent, see, so often appearing on compilations like Big Dirty Beats 2, Moonshine Overamerica 98, This Ain't Trip Hop?, plus assorted soundtracks (I've reviewed a few). The Los Angeles posse were well promoted by their label, making sure they could hang with all the big big-beat boys of the day (The Crystal Brothers, The Chemical Method, Junkie So Slim, Fatboy XXXL). As Cirrus never got name-dropped in discussion of “most essential breaks albums”, I just forgot about them, save the occasional spotting in a used shop. As in this case!

Actually, I'd already heard Drop The Break, one of my old Rupert peers having a copy for himself. I recall generally liking what I heard from it, surprised by the diversity on display for a supposed big-beat group. It honestly sounds like it was made a couple years prior, before big-beat was really a thing, much less a genre to board a bandwagon upon. Besides, Cirrus were still mixing things up with the acid breaks scene of California, their ravey roots far more prominent than any aspirations for rock-approved crossover success. Maybe they were hedging their bets a bit in dipping their fingers into any genre they could at the time, though once it became clear their biggest hits were big funky breaks, it's no surprise they committed to that road.

For now though, anything hot with the Moontribe crew was open game. You like house music? Then Cirrus has the hook-up with Superstar DJ and the slightly proggier Nassau. Or how about that good ol' tweakin' chemical breaks action, with the acid knobs twiddlin'? Then Leap Into The Light or the titular cut have you covered. Big obvious breaks anthems with all the James Brown samples you can handle more to your taste? Break In should sate your needs, especially the Transatlantic Move Mix (original's more proper big-beat bosh). Eh, you don't vibe with breaks at all, as it don't compare to the real business that is jungle? Well hey, guess what, Cirrus made a d'n'b cut too, the super peppy, piano jam October 27! Okay, this one might also be Venn Diagramming with happy hardcore.

If this all sounds too upbeat and hectic for you, then don't fret, as Cirrus show off their chill side throughout the album as well. Ghetto Of Life is breaks on the downbeat, Superstar is funky breaks on the downbeat, and Yallah Babibe is breaks on the su-u-u-per downbeat, suffocating in a thick smoke of hashish. Finally, there's Bionic Hippy, a tune that sounds like it should have been on an old-school progressive house collection rather than the closer of a supposed breaks record. No, wait, there's also a right funky slow-jammin' jam as a secret song as the proper closer. Man, Drop The Break is about as mid-'90s an 'electronica' LP as it gets with that.

Friday, June 22, 2018

L.S.G. - Double Vision

Bonzai Progressive: 2017

Crazy to think it took fifteen years for Oliver Lieb to release a full-length album, and a double-LP at that. Yes, including The Unreleased Album, now officially released on his Solieb Digital print, but first made way back in 2002. Also, there was Inside Voices under his own name with Psychonavigation Records, but since that label hideously collapsed, the album's status is currently in limbo. Double Vision though, there is no doubt. Two CDs full of proper new tunes, released on a print in no danger of disappearing, and under an old reliable alias fans have been hoping a return to for ages. Take all my money, Mr. Lieb!

Still, it requests the question, where does L.S.G. fit in modern clime's? The heart-pumping trance that the moniker built its rep' on hasn't been in vogue for an age, and ol' Oliver hasn't shown any signs of returning to that style. He's well moved on from the minimal techno of Solieb – it was only fashionable for a short while anyway – but his few recent, scattered singles seem uncertain where his lane now is. Melodic techno? Spacey tech-house? Whatever thing Norman Feller's managed to sustain a career on? And is there even a need to keep making club singles anyway? L.S.G. had been trending towards the chill-out camps ever since Into Deep, but would there even be interest in another ambient outing after the lukewarm response to Inside Voices? So many options, so many ideas – ah, just double-album the return, filling all the creative needs!

And as CD1 opens with the grand space ambience of Seven Worlds, melting into a slow-burner with groovy rhythms, sci-fi sounds, and epic synth builds of Escape The Galaxy, all I can think is, “Damn, have I missed L.S.G.!” Oliver's always had a unique touch with rhythm and melody, instantly recognizable and never dull (if a little predictable though, one must admit), and long time fans should feel right at home here, tracks like Vapor and Passion reflecting glories past – even the rhythms take what Lieb learned from his Solieb days, putting it to far greater use. And if you do need some evolution along with his vintage sounds, how about a little psychedelic big-beat bedlam in Tipsy Flower and Perfect Blue? That ought to trigger your Future Sound Of London receptors. Also, Suborbital reminds me of an old, obscure Steve Porter prog cut (Innerpulse), which I have to assume is just a coincidence.

Even though it's the obligatory 'chill' disc, CD1 contains some serious body movin' beats. That can only mean CD2 is gonna' tear things out, right? Eh, it's definitely more upbeat, though still hovering a dozen BPMs lower than Lieb's classic stuff. I also don't find this disc quite as interesting as the first, contemporary 'peak time' tech-trance with vintage Lieb flourishes. It has its moments, but after awhile, I start itching for a little Black Album business. Now that's some mainroom techno that'll scare the kids away!

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Plaid - The Digging Remedy

Warp Records: 2016

The challenge with starting up a discography collection of long-running acts is figuring out where to start. Do you nab the agreed-upon classics first, then work your way down, with probable diminishing returns? Go in chronological order, from uncertain, interesting beginnings, through peak seminal works, then trudge through a long run of average material? Maybe go about it in an unconventional manner, say alphabetical order! But nay, most gather albums dependant upon two factors: availability and affordability. And it just so happens that the most available and the most affordable are either the newer albums, and the classics (thanks, re-issues!). Oh, and that one mid-career dog LP no one ever speaks of, found in every used shop and discount bin. Every legacy act has one of those in their catalogue.

Anyhow, Plaid, a duo I'm finally digging deeper with, as there's only so far one can go with Handley and Turner's Black Dog works. Under this moniker, they've released ten albums, two soundtracks, a couple collaborative projects, and who knows how many singles (The Lord That Knows All claims seventeen). Having only dabbled with their post-Dog music, I was stumped on which albums I should have if I want to become a Plaid fan. The fact they don't really follow conventional album traditions hasn't made things easier, most LPs looking like scatterings of whatever they're making at a given time, themes and concepts be damned. Thus I felt the blind purchase was best, gathering up whatever was most affordable and letting the London lads hit me for all they're worth, preconceived notions be damned. So if you're looking for a proper retrospective of Plaid's career, I dunno, instead ask that Wonky Angle guy to do it.

Of what I splurged on, alphabetical stipulation states I must review The Digging Remedy first, which also happens to be their most recent offering. Aw, now y'all expect me to review this in context with their greater discography, and here I am with no frame of reference.

Actually, I can say The Digging Remedy is exactly the sort of Plaid album I was expecting from a recent effort. Contemporary, but eclectic enough that it doesn't fit in any era. Lots of stylistic jumping, tunes mostly hovering around the three-to-four minute mark, a clear sense of producers comfortable with their tools and trade, showing little fear or restraint in exploring whatever sound they wish. An opener that has something of a John Carpenter vibe going for it? Sure things. CLOCK featuring big, super-stuttery chord stabs and dreamy melodies. Yeah, guy. A funky shuffle with The Bee? Shuffle away, boys. Something dubsteppy for the braindancers in Yu Mountain? I'll buy that. Treading back to techno's domain in Saladore? Let me get my robot on. A twee, acoustic ditty for a closer? No problem.

So The Digging Remedy delivered, but for thoughts on how it holds up compared to older material, check back later in the summer. Should have gotten to Not For Threes by then.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Curve - Doppelgänger

Anxious Records/3 Loop Music: 1992/2017

(A Patreon Request from Omskbird)

Though it's among the most mundane of critical platitudes, often repeated when digging around for associated info and insight into Curve's debut album Doppelgänger, I can't help but fall lock-step with it. So here it is, the quote emblazoned on promo stickers and adoring liner notes: “These guys were really ahead the 'curve', man!” Like, if I didn't know this came out in the early '90s, I'd have sworn it was a release from around the 'electronica' boom. Tunes like Already Yours and Fait Accompli could have rubbed shoulders with Republica and Orgy on compilations, while Horror Head might have appeared on a trendy, low-budget hacker thriller soundtrack. Toni Halliday could have paired up with a progressive house producer for a hit sing- no, wait, she did do that, with Paul van Dyk.

The music here does defy much of what rock was doing at the time though, such that they invented a whole new term for it. Fortunately, a couple other bands like Chapterhouse were doing similar things with ultra-dense effects pedals, so it was undeniable a new genre was being birthed. Yet despite getting lumped in with the nascent 'shoegaze' scene, Curve stood out from the pack, a rougher, noisier edge to their ethereal wall-of-sound, with grinding basslines and mechanical rhythms suggesting more an association with industrial rock (itself still developing). Throw in Ms. Halliday slightly Gothic look (that eye-shadow!), and it's no surprise the band might have fit snuggly within that scene too. But wait, all that distortion! Might they have also been grunge as well? No, no, the 'danceable' beats totally makes them part of the 'Madchester' brigade. Urgh, why you no easily fit anywhere, Curve?

Naturally, an album this seminal could only receive a super-deluxe double-CD re-issue for its 25th Anniversary, and 3 Loop Music doesn't hold back. Not only do you get the original ten-track album, but a pile of associated singles sprung from it, plus the original three EPs leading up to it (Blindfold, Frozen, Cherry), a couple live cuts, their obscure cover of the disco classic I Feel Love, and a bonus Aphex Twin remix of the track Falling Free! And by remix, I of course mean a standard On EP era track, with some of Toni's ethereal singing used as a pad. I think even his Jesus Jones remix retained more of the original. Ooh, there's another band I can't help thinking of while playing back Doppelgänger, though I'm certain folks would hate that comparison.

I'm kinda' beating around the bush with song specifics, because this 2CD package is honestly overkill. Curve's sound is neat and unique, but after two-plus hours of it with little variation, it all mushes into my head like an industrial shoegaze sonic soup. Sandpit offers a nice pure-ethereal respite, and the Blindfold EP material provides a quirky look at Curve's development (rapping!), but twenty- three songs (and an Aphex bonus) is just too much for one sitting. Needs more spacing for a full appreciation.

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Carbon Based Lifeforms - Derelicts

Blood Music: 2017

Nope, this is still too weird to me, my brain still unsure what to make of Carbon Based Lifeforms being part of the Blood Music family. Leaving Ultimae Records, that's fine. It was clear Misters Segerstad and Hedberg weren't gonna' mesh with Aes Dana's shift into dub techno, so finding alternative outlets was inevitable. Maybe they'd follow Asura to the Altar Records camps, perhaps get chummy with another growing ambient techno print (Carpe Sonum, Databloem), or remain completely independent with their own digital Leftfield Records. The allure of vinyl out on the market though, it's just too much to ignore, and if any Scandinavian label has proven itself as the go-to distributor of niche vinyl, it's Blood Music. What I wouldn't give, though, to be a fly on the wall (a gremlin in the inter-tubes?) to hear the sales pitch on this particular marriage. “Oh yes, what your death metal label really needs is an acid-chill space ambient act – it'll totally bring in those lucrative psy-trance kids!”

Still, this new deal at least gave us re-issues of their old material, plus a whole brand new LP, their first in half a decade! (not counting some score work for the movie Refuge) Where might CBL's muse have drifted since the pure space drone of Twentythree? So many tantalizing paths they may have taken since, perhaps adopting trendier sounds like Ultimae and Silent Season's dub techno indulgences. Or maybe they'd explore completely new territory, venturing into the realms of shoegaze chill! I mean, they are technically on a rock label now, so it would fit.

Nah, guy. If anything Derelicts sounds like exactly what it is, a new album on a new label giving a potential new audience a general overview of their established style. It's a safe album in the Carbon Based Lifeforms discography, sticking to what's always worked best for them – downbeat songcraft, subtle acid, spacey pads, moving melodies – with a couple fresh ideas that even the eldest of fans can enjoy. Right, there's no MOS 6581 on here, but at least a little Potosynthesis. Really though, Derelicts has me thinking an album where Interloper and Twentythree were fused together – the immediacy of the former, and the spaced-out ambience of the latter.

Tracks like Accede, Derelicts, Equilibrium, Dodecahedron do the downbeat acid-chill thing, while 780 Days and Loss Aversion go for the wide-screen crescendos. Elsewhere, Nattväsen works another twee, spritely fairy-tale chill tune, complete with the requisite innocent-yet-creepy British child dialog. Mixed among them are plenty of pure ambient pieces, all still vibing on that Twentythree space drone, and mostly presented in tasty four-to-six minutes portions. If you need more though, closer Everwave is fourteen minutes of proper ambient bliss, so don't say CBL doesn't hook you up with the proper shit, yo'.

Dan and Johannes may not have evolved much with Derelicts, but it's still a fine album, their style intact and unique from much else out there. Especially on Blood Music. Blood Music...!

Friday, June 15, 2018

Quantum - Darktech

Werkstatt Recordings: 2014

Here we go again. A Werkstatt Recordings release featuring an artist with this as their lone entry at Lord Discogs, and no bio to speak of. It's starting to feel like sifting through long-forgotten goa trance compilations on ultra-obscure French labels containing a pile of one-offs barely anyone's even aware existed. Or maybe I'm just feeling that way given the nature of this particular item, but it's astounding how many dead-ends I've met finding things out about artists released under the Werkstatt banner. I mean, hey, nice of them giving all these unknowns a little extra promotional buzz beyond whatever Soundcloud and Bandcamp tags provide (d'em stickers, yo'!), but surely both parties could be a little more involved than this? Is it some Millennial thing I'm not aware of, online music makers flaunting any and all traditional modes of distribution and PR? Hey, I'm hip, I'm game to the Streamstep and Cloudcore play.

Fortunately, there's a little more info regarding this Quantum fellow in other outlets, including confirming it is a dude we're dealing with here. No doubt about the sex this time out, the associated iconography featuring a menacing Predator-like creature in shadow, its skeletal features illuminated by kinetic neon light. It's like something straight out of psy-trance's playbook, which makes sense as Mr. Rasmussen freely admits to cribbing ideas from that scene and incorporating them with the trendier new hotness of synthwave. It makes for a weird hybrid I haven't heard before, though edges just enough into the psy side of things I'm surprised Werkstatt picked this up at all. Like, isn't their whole modus operani reviving any and all '80s sounds and vibes, from industrial to synth-pop to EBM to space-synth? What's a decidedly '90s genre doing here? Gotta' corner every niche these days.

Actually, Darktech isn't retro in either a '90s or '80s fashion. Yeah, it features the same style of chugging, 'outrun' rhythm synthwavers love indulging, but Quantum does it in a real gritty, vicious darksynth manner – has Blood Music heard this guy yet? There's also ample sprinklings of the half-step 'metal-thrash' bridge dudes like Perturbator are always doing, which keeps things in the realm of synthwave, I guess. Like, if this was a real psy-trance project, those bridges would have been triplets. Aside from that though, everything else has me thinking psy-trance, from the screaming leads, to the chaotic bridges, to the trippy arps. Hell, I'm even willing to cautiously inch towards calling Worldeater aggrotech, that semi-existent '90s sub-genre of industrial that got all comfy with techno. It's certainly noisy enough to fit the vibe

I'm sure there's some micro-nano-yocto sub-genre of the psy scene that would claim singular ownership of Quantum's stylistic fusion (it's called 'psy-synth', isn't it... *sigh*), which really, really, really makes me want to tap out on all that nonsense. Mr. Rasmussen's just made some nifty tunes with a unique identity that can fit in either camp. It isn't necessary to create a lone island for every style.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Plunderphonic - Plunderphonic

Mystery Tape Laboratory: 1989

(A Patreon Request)

It's not every decade that a conceptual album title so perfectly encapsulates a new genre of music that it's forever attributed to it ...but enough about Brian Eno's Ambient 1: Music For Airports. We're here to read my typed words regarding Plunderphonic, the seminal album from John Oswald that took the concept of sampling into strange new realms.

These aren't remixes or pilfered breaks or the stitching of uncleared sources into something entirely new, oh no. Mr. Oswald's aim was re-contextualize existing and familiar music such that you could still easily recognize the source, but be thrown just askew enough that it sounds warped and twisted from the author's original intent. As you can imagine, this was highly dodgy where copyright was concerned, but John never intended to make a single dime out of the project, giving copies away freely to radio stations, libraries, and passing gents. Even that wasn't good enough for the Canadian Recording Industry Association though, forcing him to destroy any copies he had on his person or face being sued into oblivion. Thus, original CD copies of this album now fetch stupid prices on the collector's market, which kinda' defeats Mr. Oswald's intent, doesn't it.

Another key gimmick/challenge/stylistic-choice John placed upon himself in crafting these tracks was to only use material recorded by a given artist in each piece. For instance, opener Beatles only uses The Big Chord that ended their song A Day In The Life (plus some fanfare chords). Dab tape-splices and edits Michael Jackson's Bad (in case the cheeky cover-art didn't give it away). Don't pilfers Elvis Presley's Don't Be Cruel. Net cribs snippets off of Metallica's And Justice For All (and sounds like a really complex math-metal tune in the process – I wonder if anyone's tried performing this live?). Spring plays about with Stravinsky's Rite Of Spring (for a composition that induced a riot when it premiered, it sure does receive love from unconventional sources). Brown gets ultra-meta in raiding Public Enemy's raiding of James Brown. As should be clear, no genre or scene was safe from Oswald's interest, everything from any era fair game for plunder.

Which is all interesting to hear, especially for trainspotters and studio rats. Does it actually sound good though, or does Oswald's incessant cutting, splicing, and layering render tunes intimately familiar into weird nonsense? Eh, depends on what you want out of this. Why settle for a herky-jerky mess in Birth when you can hear The Beatles original Birthday instead – oh, isn't it cool how manipulated it sounds though? I don't know anything about the jazz originals Mirror gets its stuff from, but to my ears, it don't come off much different than the actual nonsensical improv free-jazz gets up to on the regular. Still, d'at ambient drone of Rainbow!

There's fun bits and pieces in Plunderphonic, but ultimately comes off as John Oswald intended : an exercise in abstract studio artistry, with familiar music as the painter's palette. Goodness, how pretentious.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Fantastisizer - The Dark Sun

Werkstatt Recordings: 2013

And another one of these! Is this just something that comes with the synthwave scene, where anonymity is a currency as with early dubstep? Not like I have much of a leg to stand on here. I've been on the interwebs for over two decades now, and would like to think I've maintained at least a semi-anonymous presence. You can find pictures and details about myself if you really want to look for them, but I haven't plastered them all over the place for all to see either. If music had been a stronger calling for my muse than writing though, would I still walk this shadowy path through the Information Super-Highway (wow, there's a callback)?

I suppose it would matter just how successful I'd become. A forgotten single or two, who cares where it came from, but if it was even a minor hit, someone would at least be looking at Lord Discogs for additional info. How many details would I want shared, then? Full name and bio? A third-person essay? Just some scrub nonsense? All these Soundcloud kids and Bandcamp bands may not be ready for the limelight that is Discogs Famous, preferring their real lives unintruded upon. Not every amateur producer needs their musical upbringing splayed out. Some just had a few softsynths at their disposal, cranked out a couple tunes on a lark, and happened to get noticed by a digital label who's quality control has no lower limit. It's a tale as old as time.

Fantastisizer's tunes are nicely crafted synthwave tunes though – I wouldn't have sprung for the bulk pack deal from Werkstatt Recordings including it if I thought otherwise. And of course, there's absolutely no additional information of who this is, where they're from, and all that good stuff us 'music critics' are supposed to detail. I suppose if I wanted to do some actual 'journalism', I might use an email and contact Fantastisizer personally, but what if they prefer this anonymity? They (he? she? I kinda' wanna go with 'she' for a change – why should every electronic producer be assumed a 'he'?) does have a Soundcloud and Facebook page that hasn't been updated in a few years, so dead ends there. Even 'her' Bandcamp offers a mere two additional releases before calling it quits in late 2014 [EDIT: Spotify also has an additional track dated 2017, so not abandoned after all]. Either that, or whoever was behind the Fantastisizer alias (gads, do my fingers ever trip over each other typing that name) moved onto another project, though this one isn't outright obscure. At least a couple dozen folks have snagged up tunes from Fantastiszer – the 'name your price' price don't hurt.

Four tunes make up The Dark Sun, all of which doing that slightly chipper synthwave stylee with twee synths and moody rhythms. There's almost a trance vibe to some of these, especially Before Dawn, which I didn't expect. When something's titled The Dark Sun, it ain't the obvious feels you usually get.

Monday, June 11, 2018

Michael Mantra - D#m / Gm

Purple Soil: 2008

Much of Michael Mantra's career was fairly typical as most egg-headed ambient/New Age composers went. Releasing material via ultra-rare tapes on his own label, occasionally popping his head out of obscurity for a compilation track or two, and generally minding his own business honing his craft with little care for fame and fortune. Maybe he'd receive a nice shout-out from one of the ambient journals of the day, but I doubt tapes like Sworn To The Bell and RNA – Ribonucleic Ambience were getting much attention. He did release one notable album, Sonic Alter on the American ambient print Silent, but for the most of the '90s, that looked to be Mr. Mantra's lone brush with success.

After a while, Michael paired with a producer named Rod Modell, the two collaborating on a couple LPs. You know Mr. Modell as DeepChord, and he even did a remix album of Sonic Alter under the guise before folks knew much about him. This gave Mr. Mantra a little associated buzz, and soon his works were getting unearthed for a new generation of ambient heads. Even Silent Season got in on the act! Man, that's wild. I'd seen the name 'Michael Mantra' here and there, but never made the DeepChord or Silent Season connection. Having now taken in a little more of the man's drone-scapes, the association does makes sense. This particular album comes care of Purple Soil though, a Czech print releasing material about as glacial slow as the frigid forms from which Mantra took inspiration in crafting these pieces of minimalist drone.

Yes, we're back in these waters again, ambient so subtle and minute that it'd have Geir Jenssen hoping for a little more action. His is a meditative sort of drone, the likes I've touched upon before (The Eternal Om springs to mind – the inlay even has a similar 'do not play while operating automobiles' warning), and is almost impossible to detail in any useful sense. I'll still give it the ol' college-try for sure, but if I don't make it back alive, tell my loved ones- never mind.

D#m is forty minutes long, and has around a half-dozen sounds coming and going throughout its runtime. There's the distant breath of wind through alpine cirques, something like bird-song slowed and stretched into weird abstraction, an even subtler drone tone than the wind that gradually changes pitch over dozens of minutes, and that's it. I cannot deny I'm strangely entranced by it all, like I must pay astute attention to even the most impalpable of changes to get the proper experience of this composition. Forty minutes is a bit much though, my mind often conking out somewhere past twenty-five. At a 'tighter' thirty-three minutes, Gm has a little more going for it, in that it isn't so impossibly quiet, with field recordings stretched out as a distant tone resembling an om chant emerges. A real 'reach for the laser' anthem compared to D#m, this one.

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Kriistal Ann - Cultural Bleeding

Wave Records: 2015

Kriistal Ann can't remain in synth obscurity. I'm sure experts in coldwave scenes or darkwave scenes or 4AD scenes could point to '80s talents that exuded pure Gothic charm and dread, tut-tutting that Ms. Michailidou isn't anything new. Maybe so, but in our contemporary times, such music remains ultra-fringe. Hearing any vocalist with such distinct flair is even rarer, thus how can Kriistal not leap out of a black-n-white YouTube video like the spectre from The Ring, dragging you into some pagan autumn ritual by graveyards and cathedrals.

I feel like it's only a matter of time before a major label exec comes sniffing around the Werkstatt Recordings offices, hearing upon the easterly winds of a dark muse surrounding herself with undeniably low-grade production standards. They won't care that it's part of the music's appeal, the bare, brittle rhythms and out-of-tune synth strings adding to the cold, Gothic aesthetic Ms. Michailidou has crafted into her own fiefdom. They'll ignore the fact she's already four solo albums deep with the Greek print, not to mention her work with label head Toxic Razor in Paradox Obscur and Resistance Of Independent Music, plus François Ducarn in Sine Silex. All they'll see is a female talent generating some underground buzz, ripe for exploitation if they can just mould her to fit their schemes. Yeah, good luck with that – save a sudden revival of The Crow or The Craft franchises, this brand of ultra electro-Goth ain't generating dollars anytime soon. And even if it could, studio-sleeking it up will only ruin that which makes it so intriguing in the first place. We don't want our coldwave sounding so fresh and so clean - it's gotta' be deep in the muck and dirt, making you writhe with the worms. Wait, why am I talking like I'm some expert on this scene? I've barely dipped a pinkie toe into these icy, black ponds reflecting pale moonlight.

Anyhow, Cultural Bleeding is Kriistal Ann's third album, and her only solo outing not released by Werkstatt. Oh no, my ridiculous scenario came true! Heh, no, this was put out by Wave Records, a Brazilian outfit. How they came into contact with a Greek synth/cold/dark/industrial peddling the same sort of sound, I haven't a clue – Hell, I didn't even know Brazil had such a scene going for it!

The material on Cultural Bleeding is slightly better produced than her outings on Werkstatt, but not drastically so. There's still the bleak atmospherics, claustrophobic electro rhythms, and grand Gothic, operatic words of Kriistal's voice, selling lyrics like “This is the end of things; Now at least, I know the truth”, and “Once more an ancient tragic, bard recall; In boldness of design surpassing all”, and “Je fais le deuil d'une fleur; Repousses le sort; Et te dis lalala”. There's even a track sung in ancient Greek, Αντιγόνη! It honestly makes about as much sense as her broken English to my ears, but Kriistal doesn't sound any less entrancing in the language.

Friday, June 8, 2018

Marnie - Crystal World

Les Disques Du Crépuscule: 2013

This is what I mean. Just look at this cover! I know that's Helen Marnie posing there, a somewhat sultry glance your way with latex (rubber?) leggings propped high against the wall. It's something I can easily see a fly-by-night pop starlet do, but the lead singer of Ladytron? The band that's maintained a stoic aesthetic no matter what era of their existence (including that Yo Gabba Gabba! guest spot ...yes, really!). My brain has a difficult time processing it, adjusting to a Ms. Marnie that didn't know could exist. Like, was she always lurking there all along, but didn't want to upset the Ladytron apple cart in all these years? Had she not fallen in with those synth dorks, might Helen have taken a stab at a solo album much earlier in her career? Would such a solo career have led her to retro synth music just the same, or might she have been lured elsewhere, like Brit-pop bollocks? Eh, I can't imagine that, no matter what twisted time-line we find ourselves in. Her muse definitely seems fixated on the ethereal synth-pop of 4AD lore.

Besides, if you squint your ears enough, Crystal World isn't that far removed from the roads Ladytron had been travelling up to that point. She already has fellow 'Tron member Daniel Hunt helping her out in the studio, so really Ms. Marnie's debut solo is like a Ladytron album, just without the other lady or the guy who adds much of the 'tron' to the sound. A slickly produced and polished record, then, retaining much of the songwriting but unencumbered by ultra-retro analog synth noises. Now now, not everyone's a fan of modular Moogs.

Thus the album opens with a sweeping ethereal cry, building upon soft synths and rhythms thick with '80s reverb. Marnie finally drops some poetic nuggets about being The Hunter, and oh man oh man am I ever getting Clannad flashes here – the band, not the anime. Damn, the Irish synth-folk group is even fronted by a lass named Máire Ní Bhraonáin. Too much coincidence for one brain to handle, mang!

Crystal World isn't a total throwback though, production more contemporary than even Ladytron's output typically is. We Are The Sea features a sludgy electro-pop beat, while tracks like High Road, Violet Affair and Submariner touch upon the indie scene's fascination with '60 dream pop. Heck, Submariner sounds like something off Gorillaz' Plastic Beach.

In fact, there's a lot of familiar songwriting on here, melodies that you'll swear you've heard elsewhere (dear God, is Sugarland ever driving me crazy that way). That's not to say Marnie's style-biting, as she owns every piece of music she sings and crafts here. There's just little in the way of challenging synth-pop on hand, Helen more focused on the lyrical content of her work. And hoo, do I ever get swept away by her voice, but then I did even when she sang about mundane things like taking girls to movies. No blame.

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Boogie Down Productions - Criminal Minded

B-Boy Records/Traffic Entertainment Group: 1987/2016

Can't be a hip-hop completist without having Boogie Down Productions in your collection. Not that I'm under any delusion I'm a completist - I'm in no hurry to add Biggie, Jay-Z, or Lil' Wayne to my rap shelf (far right, lower third). Just saying, if you want hip-hop heads taking you seriously, the group KRS-One built is required study material, this debut album from the BDP posse a Very Important rap album from the '80s. A remarkable feat, considering there's no Rick Rubin or Def Jam association with Criminal Minded. Can't escape the influence of an AC/DC sample in Dope Beat though. But hey, a ton of hip-hop culture cribbed from Boogie Down Productions after, so fair play.

Like gangsta' rap! Only, Criminal Minded isn't gangsta' rap at all, at least not in the way N.W.A. would define it. No doubt KRS-One gets into some gritty street tales, like resorting to gun violence to save his ass from home invaders in 9mm Goes Bang, or dealing with a crack whore in Remix For P Is Free. That's only two tracks out of ten though, hardly enough material to consider this album gangsta' rap through and through. Hell, such tracks aren't even playing up the 'gangsta' lifestyle, no more than Grandmaster Flash's The Message does (and it doesn't). It's that cover art, isn't it, KRS and DJ Scott La Rock all decked out in a small arsenal. Definitely a first of its kind, rappers showing off their guns and ammo rather than their sneakers and jewellery, though seems overplayed for the sake of marketing here. Gotta' draw attention from that crashed jet on License To Ill somehow.

Beyond all that though, Criminal Minded still has its feet within the realm of old-school hip-hop. The beats are simple boom-bap and quick-cut sampling (rock and James Brown, naturally), with Scott La Rock scratching between KRS-One's verses. Meanwhile, Mr. Parker goes off on a variety of topics, mostly showing off his lyrical prowess (Poetry, Word From Our Sponser, Elementary, Criminal Minded) while going after lesser MC – truly, the essence of vintage street battle-rap. In fact, this album was also among the first in bringing crew feuds into the spotlight, KRS-One singling out the Queens rapper MC Shan of the Juice Crew for being a style-biter and “sucker MC” compared to talents from the other Boroughs of New York City. South Bronx and The Bridge Is Over are often name-dropped as seminal classics of 'diss rap', and hearing them even this far out of context, I can't help but lean back and proclaim, “Daaa-yuum!”

And there's more! KRS-One switching between Jamaican toasting and his Bronx flow, properly bringing the two styles together. The tragic fact this was the only material we'd hear from Scott La Rock, murdered later that year. The album's underground status cemented due to years of being out of print from label mismanagement. Me finally knowing where Method Man got that 'super sperm' line from. It's all here! Completist material indeed.

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Falcon Reekon - Consecration

Werkstatt Recordings: 2016

This is ridiculous. Would it kill the Discogs community to be more thorough in its data-logging? I get that it's mind-numbing to keep track of EVERY. SINGLE. digital release, and there honestly should be a little quality control - Soundcloud demos and giveaways need not apply. But if the Discoggian community allows DJ tapes and exclusive white labels into the archives, surely items that have an actual price tag attached to them are worthy as well. A mere half-dozen souls may buy a $2 track, but that legitimizes Bandcamp releases far more than some of the rubbish I've come across in the utter recesses of CDr-Land.

What I'm getting at is, despite only two albums appearing in Falcon Reekon's Discoggian profile, his Bandcamp provides plenty more: an additional five albums, a single track release, plus a compilation of old material. Why hasn't anyone entered these as well? Is it because they're self-released, and not tied to an actual label like Werkstatt Recordings? That don't fly, 'cause I've seen oodles of 'self-released' entries throughout Discogs too, especially from the ambient camps. Is it because synthwave remains a rather niche interest, so young that dedicated chroniclers of the genre's releases are scarce? It sure ain't like a decade ago, when every micro-genre would have a three-dozen blogs sharing the same few singles at a time. Not that I've gone out of my way to discover otherwise, but I do wonder if I'm one of the few folks out there even giving labels like Werkstatt any attention at all. I did not ask for this burden, but if such is my fate, then so be it.

Falcon Reekon is... um, Falcon Reekon, from France. Of course Lord Discogs has no other information on him, although neither does his Bandcamp. His Soundcloud adds where the name comes from ('80s inspired, naturally), but no details regarding actual name and the like. Proper anonymous action. For a chap with nine albums under his belt, you'd think he'd (it is 'he', right?) be a little more up on the promotional game. What would I know about that though, the very antithesis of self-hype?

Consecration is Falcon Reekon's second album with Werkstatt, and is about as typical and classy a synthwave album as it gets. Not a bad thing if you're still vibing on the stuff, as I am, but if the likes of Perturbator haven't convinced you of the genre, there's little chance this album will either. A few 'outrun' styled tunes aside (Live Chase, Outrunners Wiz Attitude, Overnight), Consecration is also some of the most chill synthwave I've come across, without ever sliding into sappy synth-pop. It almost sounds like synthwave inspired by house and disco than anything strictly ripped from the '80s. A deeper vibe, if you will, suitable for late night cruises on the boulevard rather than tearing through neon-soaked roads. Why, I'd almost be willing to call it 'deep-wave', but don't let the Bandcamp Tagging Consortium know – tags are abused enough as it is.

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Biosphere - Compilation 1991-2004

Biophon Records: 2012/2017

Now isn't this just a right dandy little item Geir Jenssen's given us. As Biosphere, he released few actual albums throughout his first fifteen years of music making, but each one was a bonafide classic of ambient and frigid techno, making fans squirm and itch for more material. There were collaborations with Pete Namlook (Fires Of Ork) and Higher Intelligence Agency, but if you fancied yourself a true Biosphere completist, you'd have to do some serious sleuthing and digging, many tracks exclusive to compilations littered among his discography. Some of these weren't too hard find – even I could find copies of Trance Europe Express 3 on my local store shelves – but chances are you'd have to come from the hinterlands of Norway to snag yourself a copy of Nova Norvegia – (Get) Into The Arctic Groove. To say nothing of the outright obscurity of a Denmark museum collection in Krydsfelt – Norpol. I imagine even the peer-to-peer juggernauts of old had trouble tracking that one down.

Well fuss no more, Biosphere Completists, for Geir has gathered all his wayward offspring between the years 1991 and 2004 into a tidy 2CD compilation, titled, um, Compilation 1991-2004 - doesn't beat around the lichen moss, does it? Of course, if you really want to fancy yourself a true-proper Biosphere Completist, you'll still hunt down all those CDs these tracks were sprung from. For sensible people though, this will suffice.

Although, having listened through this now, I wonder if Compilation: My First Fifteen Years has any appeal beyond only the most die-hard Biosphere disciples. There's no denying Mr. Jenssen's frigid oeuvre can leave some folks cold (hah!). Yet whether you prefer his bleep techno beginnings, desolate field recordings, or looping drone, few come away from his work without at least thinking, “Hm, that's interesting.” And this double-discer touches base on all these aspects, but if you were coming in here looking for brilliant exclusives that never made an album cut, you've come to the wrong place indeed.

There isn't much from his techno days, opener Hypnophone the lone cut with any sort of beat among these fifteen tracks. The Third Planet and The Seal & The Hydrophone (Geir has a fascination for hydrophones) do the bleep ambient thing that marked his second album. By four tracks in though, we're already in the year 1997, when the minimalist abstraction really started taking hold of the Biosphere muse. Knives In Hens and Superfluid features some of the most experimental samples and drones Geir's ever produced, tediously so. At least the gentle ambience of Bird Watching and Sun-Baked end CD1 on a pleasant note.

CD2 is generally more consistent, as Mr. Jenssen's figured out how to craft his abstraction sampling into compositions with direction and focus, despite sometimes taking forever getting there (such a lonely road in Vi Kan Tenka Digitalt, Vi Kan Tala Digitalt). If you can't mess with ultra-minimalism though, well, you probably haven't bothered with post-Millennium Biosphere anyway.

Friday, June 1, 2018

ACE TRACKS: May 2018

It's been a strange feeling, this past month of writing. More relaxed, not as much pressure to keep pressing on to an end goal. Like, there still is an end goal, in that there has to come a point where my infinity project comes to fruition (receiving another twenty albums in the mail this past week alone sure makes it difficult tho'). Yet if I'm not feeling the free-flow of creative juice, I'm perfectly fine taking a step back for a day, regather my thoughts, come at better, stronger, though not necessarily harder or faster. There's no denying a few efforts from the past five years could have been better if I'd given them a little more care.

Of course, another thing is this past month's been a rather distracting affair, all 'round. So many movies (damn you, Marvel!), so many sicknesses (had to take two sick days – I seldom even take one per year!), plus that looming, work-related uncertainty that just won't be settled anytime soon. Okay, within the month for sure, then I'll finally know just how gainfully employed I'll still be. If not though... well, I guess I'll have more time to write. Plus there's that Patreon thing too. Can't forget to plug that every chance I get – the service tells me it's in my best interest to do so, no matter how much of a whore you end up feeling.

On those cheering thoughts, here's the ACE TRACKS for the Month Of May, of the year Twenty-Eighteen!

Full track list here.

Various - 10 Years Of Drum&BassArena: Mixed By Andy C & Grooverider
Wu-Tang Clan - 8 Diagrams
Gravediggaz - 6 Feet Deep
Euphoria - 2 Days Away

Percentage Of Hip-Hop: 25%
Percentage Of Rock: 6%
Most “WTF?” Track: Anything Gravediggaz ...but in a good way!

So strange that 8 Diagrams isn't on Spotify. Like, I get that the album was released on a short-lived label, and it's current status is probably still in legal limbo, but surely RZA would have found a new home for it a decade after the fact. AND Gravediggaz too, for that matter. Is Gee Street just being tight in its licensing with that one?

So I did something I haven't done in a long time with these playlists: sequence the tracks into a proper mixtape or set. I do this not because of nostalgia or a need for creative outbursts, but because my old alphabetical stand-by resulted in an incredibly wack order of tunes. Seriously, it was just... painful, the transitions I was hearing, over and over and over. I've had some 'eclectic' playlists in the past, but man, nothing like what this was turning out as. You just can't go from Global Communication to Canibus to Ladytron. You just can't. Hopefully this arrangement makes listening through this more tolerable. Well, for me, anyway.

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. 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