Thursday, November 29, 2018

Alien Project - Activation Portal (Original TC Review)

H2O Records: 2007

(2018 Update:
Probably more acerbic than necessary, but eh, that's just how you did things back in the '00s. If something was dodgy, crummy, sketchy, awful, and poo, you didn't hold back the hyperbole one iota, lest readers/viewers mistakenly think there was a glimmer of good in the product. These days, it's better doing harsh criticisms with thoughtful approaches, nuanced deconstructions, and long-form video essays talking into a microphone really fast. Still, there's something to be said for the cathartic release of what we have below.

I joked about 'banishing' Alien Project to the bowel's of TranceCritic's archives, but I wonder if he somehow
did wind up there. This was Ari Linker last album under the moniker, shortly after rekindling his partnership with Ido Liran for their Save The Robot project. That lasted a little longer, shooting straight for commercial appeal, even to the point regular eurotrance jocks like Ferry Corsten and Richard Durand were rinsing their tunes. Don't know what he's been up to this past half-decade, but for all intents, it looks like Alien Project is totally dead. Surely my words didn't kill it...?)

IN BRIEF: Familiarity breeds contempt.

What the...? No... You’ve got to be fucking kidding me! Did he really think he could get away with it? This is so blatantly obvious, even a complete trance rookie would see through this hack. What a fucking gimp.

Eh? Oh, hi there, fellow readers. Whatever am I blathering on about? Allow me to introduce you to Exhibit A: N R G by Alien Project. You may know this track by its more familiar title of Café del Mar. Yes, that’s right folks: N R G is essentially Café del Mar (Alien Project Remix). But instead of giving proper credit to the source material, Alien Project changed a note or two and gave it his own ‘original’ title, thus negating the need to pay royalties. Vanilla Ice would be proud.

Apparently, this is only the tip of the dodgy iceberg when it comes to Ari Linker. Talk to anyone in the psy scene about him, and you’ll be met with a level of scorn usually reserved for the likes of DJ Sammy and Scooter in other circles. However, many dedicated goa-heads are rather anal when it comes to maintaining their scene’s underground cred, and anything with a whiff of commercial intent is often unjustly derided. Just because something has popular appeal doesn’t automatically make it bad, so I gave Activation Portal a spin to hear if the buckets of bile were with merit.

Indeed they are.

Ignoring for the moment his shameful pillage of recognizable trance tunes (and Café del Mar isn’t the only occurrence), this is a very bland collection of psy. Ari seems incapable of making his arrangements work. The rhythms are typical full-on drive but very little of his synths in support give them life. Most of his hooks are the same ol’ tired Israeli clichés. There’s nothing here that hasn’t been done before and better.

Most of his original tracks often start with a hint of promise. Super Buster has some nice leads; Activation Portal’s supporting trancey hooks are effective; Yellow Blaze teases with ace opening rhythms. Nothing of note ever comes of it though, as Ari continuously falls back on go-nowhere wibble supplemented with DOA tweaks. If psy is meant to trip you out, this is the equivalent of drinking cough syrup for a high.

There are some moments worth your attention but I’m hardly giving Ari credit for them. Tweaky, for instance, has a decent enough peak, but this is originally an Astrix track, so that was probably his work there. Groovy’s buttrock guitars are passable, but this was a collaboration with Raja Ram, so who knows how much his influence helped guide the track (and the ‘tee-hee, snicker’ use of the Cannibus Culture dialogue from Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas is juvenile idiocy). And Aztechno Dream is an agreeable if uneventful slice of simple trance, but this is a remix by Shanti, whom likely stripped out the original's bunk.

The shame of it all is just how good the production is. I’ve seldom heard all these stock psy synths sound better, and when the rhythms do drive, it’s with just as much punch as the stuff coming from Discover Records. It’s even enough to be forgiving of how achingly average most of the stuff on here is.

But no. We mustn’t forget our initial reasons for hatred. Ripping off Café del Mar is bad enough, yet Ari trumps that by doing the same thing with As The Rush Comes! Yes, that is the Motorcycle song you’re hearing in Deeper, and yes, that is Jes’ voice. The breakdown/build is practically a direct lift, with Ari throwing in useless effects to hide it. Does Ms. Brieden even realize she’s now singing for bland Israeli psy? I'm not so much irate over using the song itself (t’was quaint, but overplayed); it’s Ari’s utter insult to our intelligence that we wouldn’t notice it that gets my goat.

If you wanted to do a remix of the originals, fine. Contact the producers to request a remix project from them. If you wanted to cover it, fine. At least have the decency to call it by the same name since everyone will recognize them as such. Instead, both N R G and Deeper have all the hallmarks of a producer looking to capitalize on weak rehashes all the while hoping his audience is so clueless, they’ll think he made these melodies himself. Mr. Linker would have a promising future being the ghost producer of a This Is... Psy compilation from Beechwood Music.

These are disgraceful antics, my friends. I simply have no choice in this matter. I hereby banish thee, Alien Project, to the bowels of our review archives, to sit alongside the likes of Scooter and Cascada. May the scouse house brigade have mercy on your soul.

Oh, for additional unintentional hilarity, seek out the promo spiel for Activation Portal. Here’s a sample:

”Are you prepared to step up to the plate, into the Portal, and onto the next level of light on your path to enlightenment and joy??Are you willing to move towards a higher destination where peace and goodwill reside continuously, where love dwells eternally and where all things are, indeed, possible???

Well then, friends, compadres, amigos - step up, right this way........the Activation Portal is now open and all Galactic travelers and music lovers alike are invited to come forth and experience, even embrace, if you will, ever new and unfolding infinite dimensions of cosmic consciousness, hitherto unavailable to humanity at large, but now easily reachable by all, through the timeless, enduring and commanding medium of sound, which is, by the way, the Governor of all Existence!”

Can you believe there's three-hundred more words of the nonsense?

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Sven Väth - Accident In Paradise

Eye Q Records: 1992

Only Sven Väth could make a 'solo' debut such as this and get away with it. Like could you imagine a man in the 2000s behind Very Serious minimal techno parties in Ibiza creating something as daft as a flute and harpsichord Coda? Not bloody likely – unless, of course, you are Sven Väth, a chap who probably hasn't a clue where his inspiration will take him. He just goes with it as he feels it. And my mind boggles of what it must have been like to hear Accident In Paradise when it was fresh and new, a collection of highfalutin artistry from the dude behind the legendary OMEN nightclub, and who's previous major musical output consisted of singing with the boys behind Snap!

In officially putting his name on an actual record though, I'm sure the young Väth had a ton of ideas floating about his head, many of which inspired by the raving lunatics he saw emerging in Frankfurt's nascent clubbing scene. The freaks were coming out in full force, uninhibited by the looming threat of crushing communism while getting knackered on really good drugs. It must have looked like a carnival of world-wide cultures, all meeting at a European crossroads, where tribal spiritualists could intermingle within aristocratic chambers. So many ideas, so many influences, how can one interpret them within the confines of dance album? Probably you don't, but that didn't stop Sven from at least trying.

Fortunately, Mr. Väth had a secret weapon at his disposal, helping him curate his ideas into something presentable. Okay, Ralf Hildenbeutel wasn't that much of a secret, the man already instrumental in producing many of Eye Q Records' early singles. He and Väth even released a collaborative album earlier that year as Barbarella, a more straight-forward techno LP. Having gotten what was 'expected' of them out, they were free to indulge in whatever fit their fancy in a proper artist record. Just make sure that lead single's a stompin' acid techno cut though – don't want to scare the punters off before they buy the album.

Accident In Paradise is, if nothing else, an ambitious LP that almost comes together as Sven and Ralf envisioned. Heavily front-loaded, the opening salvo of tribal-trancer Ritual Of Life, sweeping ambience of Caravan Of Emotions, and blissy Balearic vibes of L'Esperanza eats thirty-five minutes of the album, more than half its runtime. It can't help but go down from there, and they don't even try reaching that lofty peak again, the back half of Accident In Paradise mostly taken up by interstitial musical doodles of Renaissance dalliances. Even Mellow Illusion, a groovy, nine-minute old-school trancer, comes off humble and ordinary in this album's context. Re-issues added the radio version of L'Esperanza, giving you reason to keep the album playing through, if you're willing to sit through Sven and Ralf's psychedelic carnival ride getting there. I give them props for including such daft tunes like Merry-Go-Round Somewhere, but like most, I usually tap out after Mellow Illusion.

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

The Future Sound Of London - Accelerator

Jumpin' & Pumpin'/Hypnotic: 1991/2002

The only Future Sound Of London album you need, if you listen to certain sorts of people. Let's call them 'stuck in The Haçienda' kind of people, UK ravers who never grew beyond that era's acid house scene, will only accept electronic music as it sounded then, and not a month later. Never mind that Brian Dougans and Garry Cobain ventured forth into new, fascinating realms of pure headtrip, mind-fuck album works – it's just not danceable, mate. I sense, though, such folks are forlorn at the coulda'-been, the shoulda'-been of FSOL's potential as studio hounds producing clubbing fodder. They made so many classic, genre-defining tunes at the time, the possibilities of what they might have done after had they scaled back the arty, pretentious aspirations boggles the mind. But nay, the lads from Manchester had grander visions in mind.

And I get it – oh man, do I ever get it. For as much as I've continued enjoying FSOL's work, there's an undeniable addictive simplicity about the tunes on Accelerator that remain effective to this day. Papua New Guinea, obviously, but I've no doubt tracks like the future-shock breaks of Expander, acid-bleep dopeness of Calcium, and blissed-out trancey acid house of Pulse State would be just as effective in any contemporary setting. Hell, I heard 1 In 8 at a music festival this past summer. 1 In 8, one of the 'filler' tracks on this album! Who plays 1 In 8 in this age? A DJ at Basscoast, apparently.

Still, one cannot deny there's some rather dated material on Accelerator too. Despite the smashing opening of Expander (oh, you just know Sasha cribbed that title), Stolen Documents is little more than a peppy transitional track of bleepy sounds and chirpy acid funk. While Others Cry has a little more personality going for it with its Balearic-Jamaican vibe (yes, really), nice for a sway in a hammock or beach lounge. On the other hand though, It's Not My Problem and Moscow have the unenviable task of bookmarking the album centrepiece of Papua New Guinea, and in being such abrasive, boshing tunes, neither are capable of it – you're just waiting for Papua while Problem is playing, and Moscow always feels like a comedown from New Guinea. As for hints at where FSOL would take their music, Central Industrial slows things down and plays up the future-shock scenery full-tilt. Psygnosis Studios were definitely paying attention.

When Accelerator was rolled out for a tenth anniversary re-issue, it included a bonus disc of Papua New Guinea remixes. Most of them take the tune's basic structure and re-purposes them into a particular genre (Satoshi Tomiie does the prog thing, Hybrid do the prog-breaks thing, Oil do the funk-dub thing). The most interesting of the lot are the Simian Mix, where the rock band turns Papua into a bizarre, stoned, jazz-stomp indie hoe-down (I'm sure Gary loved it), and Andrew Weatherall's eleven-minute rub – progressive house of epic proportions, that one!

Monday, November 26, 2018

Hybrid - I Choose Noise

Distinct'ive Records: 2006

(a Patreon Request from Omskbird)

I Choose Noise is what I was expecting Morning Sci-Fi to sound like. Which is funny, because by the year 2006, I thought Hybrid was well onto their 'we are soundtrack composers now' stage. Like, I don't recall much promotion for I Choose Noise's singles. I'm sure tracks like Dogstar and Falling Down did well enough on the DJ circuit, but how represented your tunes are on compilations tends to signify actual popularity (yes, even in the mid-'00s), and if folks were mostly clamouring for a trend-whorish remix of an old single, well...

For those who'd been clamouring for another Wide Angle though, I Choose Noise finds Truman and Healings bringing the sophisticated songcraft back to the fore, with all the acoustic guitar interludes and orchestral arrangements some undoubtedly felt lacking in Morning Sci-Fi. Now, I liked the 'dumber' music of Morning Sci-Fi, but that's because I feel Hybrid are at their best when making 'dumb' music, utilizing their breakbeat science in ways my reptile brain interprets as transcendent (Live Angle still their best LP, no doubt).

And there are some of those wonderfully 'dumb' moments on I Choose Noise, including the titular cut, big aggressive beats boshing things out as an urgent string section wonderfully builds tension. Last Man Standing gets funkier with the breakbeat science, harking back to the days when such tunes were found aplenty and cyber-action movies of the late '90s – how odd to hear it in the year 2006, I wager. Hooligan Spirit dips its toes into boshing electo, as though the cyborg police are on the march for criminal hackers, and Dream Stalker gets Peter Hook back on the bass guitar for another smooth slice of progressive breaks that wouldn't sound out of place in a movie credit roll.

Ah, hm, y'know, I'm getting quite the sense of these tunes being written with films in mind. Hybrid had released a collection of music intended for potential movies the year prior (Scores), and while these are far denser in arrangement than simple background fodder, I can't say any real hook or melody latches on the same way older tunes have. Dogstar is a well crafted single, with all the things folks who love Hybrid come to enjoy (strong rhythms, strong lead singer, nice instrumentation, smart use of an orchestra), but Lord help me if I had to hum it to anyone. You'd think tunes like Falling Down or Until Tomorrow, with actual choruses, would have some sort of hook, but Hybrid's production smooths everything out into a dense wall-of-sound almost to a fault. At least I remember Choke for that weird bell tone over a trip-hop beat.

I Choose Noise ends on another big orchestral anthem of Just For Today, clearly trying to ape Wide Angle's climax of Finished Symphony. It doesn't quite hit the mark, but as a whole, I liked this album more, even if the individual tunes don't stick with me as much as Wide Angle's. Weird how that works sometimes.

Friday, November 23, 2018

Absolutely Fabulous - Absolutely Fabulous

Spaghetti Recordings: 1994

I don't know much about the show Absolutely Fabulous - heck, I didn't even know such a show existed until I heard this Pet Shop Boys charity single. That isn't to say the famed British comedy about a pair of past-their-fame ladies trying to maintain their fame didn't make it to Canadian shores. I'm sure it aired on our Public Broadcast Services networks alongside other BBC gems like Red Dwarf, Fawlty Towers, and Edward The Penitent. I think it even had a re-run slot on our comedy network, but again, I never saw it – are British comedies given the death slot of 8:30am? There's been a couple attempts at an American version of the show, but they never caught on, probably because Americans prefer comedies about low-to-middle class buffoons rather than upper-class twits. Okay, Frasier was an exception, but that show had a recognizable, admired lead, plus its upper-class silliness was tempered with gruff, middle-class sensibilities (y'know, real 'Murica how-to). Them Brits tho', they love mocking those who believe themselves better than thou'.

Of course, this has bollocks-all to do with this single. Near as I can tell, Pet Shop Boys were referenced in the show, which prompted Pet Shop Boys to make a charity single for the Comic Relief drive in return. Fair play, and it seems Misters Tennant and Lowe had some fun making a totally gaudy euro-dance tune replete with sampled dialog praising designer fashion labels while bemoaning “dull soulless dance music”. They even named their b-side remix the Dull Soulless Dance Music Mix, a thumping acid techno cut with that phrase endlessly looped along with the beat. I know they're kinda' taking the piss here as well, but they didn't have to hit the nail with such precision.

Really, the only reason I got this was for a full version of that utterly grand and daft Our Tribe Tongue-In-Cheek Mix, featuring a Rollo anthem at peak Rollo-iness. Take all the over-the-top, flashing lasers, epic gurning off your tits hits he did as part of Faithless, then bake the cheese into a cake of exquisite taste: it's so rich that you'll go sick from too much of it, but for the portion you're fed, *moi*. Sadly, the only version that came here was the mangled cut on Disco 2. Sure, maybe a local DJ might play it at a cheeky club night, but if I wanted a copy for myself, I'd have to import one from the UK, or mainland Europe, or South Africa (!), or Australasia (!!). No, seriously, the single hit the number two spot in both Australia and New Zealand! How'd that happen?

But sure enough, the CD came down low enough on the used market that paying for those extra shipping charges finally nabbed me my own copy. And hey, it even comes with an additional Rollo remix, Absolutely Dubulous. It, uh, does that Visnadi euro-house thing with the 'doo doo' organs. Kinda' dull and soulless, if I'm honest.

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Eat Static - Abduction (2018 Update)

Planet Dog/Attic: 1993/1995

(click here to read my original TranceCritic review)

Finally, an album long overdue for a spiffy re-review, one of my earliest, cumbersome efforts. Time to give this early goa trance classic the prose it justly deserves, none of that regrettably dry track-by-track description nonsense. Let's do this! *cracks knuckles* ...*stares at screen* ...*re-cracks knuckles* ...*makes some tea* ...*checks Twitter and Facebook for a bit* ...*watches some Ten Minute History videos on Youtube*(hehe, *thunk*) ...*stretches every ligament in body*...*stares at screen some more* ...*receives call from Seattle friend that he's waylaid at the Vancouver airport overnight, so meet-up for drinks and a VIP showing of The Freddy Mercury Movie* ...*gets back to computer, stares at screen even more* ...*realizes he's succumbed to paralysis by analysis*

Okay, so turns out I have perhaps a tad too much on my mind, with no clear idea of how to approach. Like, all the traditional angles are covered elsewhere (historical importance, themes explored, etc., etc.), and I see little point in re-iterating points. Really, there's only one that immediately springs to mind, and as usual, it relates to where things sat when I wrote that first review.

Oh, not so much me, as I've gone over that plenty 'nuff. No, I'm talking about Eat Static themselves, and how their career was looking in the dread year 2005 (music-wise, at least). It'd been four years since their last album, In The Nude!, which may not seem like a long time, but for an act that was releasing LPs on a near yearly clip, is quite a gap. And even then, were they still considered part of the psy trance lexicon? That album plus previous Crash And Burn! were showing far greater exploration outside the conventional psy parameters, which wasn't too surprising given the general trajectory the old goa guard seemed headed. Juno Reactor was getting big and opulent with Japanese concerts and orchestras, and Simon Posford had redefined psy-dub for a new generation, so why wouldn't Eat Static, what with a prog-rock background, also start feeling the need for something different? They must have worked it all out of their system though, as by 2007, they'd come back into the psy fold with De-Classified. And yeah, I didn't like that one at first, feeling it a regression of their songcraft, but compared to most psy of that time, has aged remarkably well.

And Eat Static (mostly just Merv now) just keep crankin' out the LPs, almost at the same rate as the '90s. Who'd have guessed they'd still be doing this when Abduction was released? Heck, who'd have predicted that scene itself would take the twisted turns it did. Listening to Abduction now, with how much it owes itself to the progressive house of the era as anything Goa or alien based, there truly is a sense of the UK raving masses still being a communal thing, willing to hear any crazy new idea so long as the rhythms last, the melodies soar, and the pills remain pure.

Monday, November 19, 2018

Abandoned Communities - Abandoned Communities

self release: 2014

Is this Lee Norris' most obscure project? For sure it's his lone release with Pietro Bonanno, but he's done one-offs with others too. Most of them are recent efforts though, but after so much time collaborating with Mick Chillage and Ishq, it had to be a little refreshing branching out from familiar faces, a couple of which he'd make more than one album's worth of material with. It remains to be seen whether those other collaborations will generate more than a single session, but given it's been nearly a half-decade since Lee teamed up again with Pietro for another Abandoned Communities jam, odds are in the newer cats' favour continued music making.

Heck, this particular release likely came about due to circumstances at the given time, such that Misters Norris and Bonanno couldn't replicate them without some proper planning. During his time in Italy, at some point Lee hooked up with Pietro to record music inside a derelict building in Piemonte; hence, Abandoned Communities. So, like, does that mean if they wish to do a follow-up to this self-titled debut, they'd have to find another derelict building to record and perform in? And what if they wanted to take the concept to a live setting, with an audience? Would they have to find a derelict building that is at least up to code with the local municipality that could hold enough folks without it becoming a hazard? Hey, that'd definitely be taking things back to underground rave roots and all, though this doesn't strike me as a duo that would cater to such a crowd. And wouldn't an audience defeat the purpose of music being made in an isolated, uninhabited setting, all that mass of humanity soaking up the natural reverberations off empty halls and naked walls. So many tantalizing possibilities for a collaboration that yielded a total of two (2) tracks.

Before I get into them, I should provide a little info on the second half of Abandoned Communities, Pietro Bonanno. Not much to go on though, according to Lord Discogs. He self-released a handful of piano albums in the early '00s, made a couple drone ambient LPs for Akroasis and Essentia Mundi in the late '00s, released a couple lengthier drone ambient pieces as AON for Treetrunk Records, and went relatively quiet after, save a lone album in 2015.

Along the way, he paired up with Lee Norris, after which they made two lengthy drone ambient tracks. And yeah, there's not much else to say regarding them. Tsapi de Diablhou reaches the half-hour mark, drawing out long pad tones and uneasy moods. 'Shorter' piece Tem Pledd makes use of bird song accompanying its desolate drones, making for an even more unsettling bit of music (especially when the birds disappear!). This is possibly the darkest ambient I've ever heard from Mr. Norris, as though I'm, well, wandering an abandoned dwelling, ghostly whispers lurking in the shadows. Not one for the laying back for sleepy time, this.

Saturday, November 17, 2018

Transcend - 2001-2008

Ntone: 1995

And another CD I thought I'd never find, due to the fact I didn't know it existed. Absolutely I knew a few artists on that Tone Tales From Tomorrow Too compilation had music elsewhere, and even gathered a few items up from them (Spacetime Continuum, Neotropic, Sounds From The Ground, kinda'), but Transcend? Sure, the chap had two tracks on there, but he seemed like such an enigma, what with strange, obscure, futuristic track titles like 2003 and 2005. What hope could a teenager from the hinterlands of Canuckistan have in stumbling upon anything from the dude? Very little indeed, Transcend a nigh ghost within the Discoggian archives. This is his lone album, with a lone vinyl single with some of the same tracks coming out the year prior. Even his compilation-fu is sparse, a few scattered tunes on the usual suspects for trippy downtempo cropping up (Mind The Gap series, Instinct Records, Shadow Records). Darren Leathley, the chap behind Transcend, didn't do much else beyond Transcend either, a jungle cover of Pretty Vacant as Sub Carrier all that Lord Discogs provides.

What I hadn't counted on, however, is that Ninja Tune still has CD stock of this album, as revealed when I checked out their actual online store for the first time ever. Why hadn't I ever done that before? Because Ninja Tune music was always available in local stores, and I figured whatever was available here was available anywhere. Not the soundest of logic, but then, there was always Amazon too, providing the fallback. Now that I know it's there tho'... *giggity*

Oh, hey, maybe I should talk some actual music, eh? Ah, sadly, I'm not sure there's much to talk about here. 2001-2008 features eight tracks (2001 up through 2008), all doing that early '90s sample-dub stoner downtempo stuff quite a few folks were doing, and is strictly middle-of-the-road at that. Associated name-drops include The Orb, Psychic Warriors Ov Gaia, and maybe some post-Lifeforms FSOL for good measure. But all done in a real hazy, woozy, trippy meandering kind of way, which fits the 'experimental side of Ninja Tune' vibe Ntone was establishing itself as. I guess you could call this stuff illbient, though it lacks the turntablism that marked that genre's traits. I can't say I've heard much specifically like Transcend's style, but he's not doing much to elevate above the pack either.

If there's any distinct trait in this album, there's a loose idea of the evolution of civilization. The opening clutch of tracks mostly feature chill, laid-back tunes that have no problem throwing in a looping tribal beat, repeated stray woodwind sample, or ethnic chant into the dub stew (plus, big bong rips). The vibe turns urgent by mid-album (hey, it's the Tone Tales tunes!), and downright sketchy and paranoid too (2005). The final track, 2008, features tranquil jungle field recordings, eventually giving way to abrasive, rhythmic samples of deforestation – chopping, sawing, and felling of jungle growth, sending the local fauna fleeing for their lives. Message, much?

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

KMFDM - Xtort

TVT Records/Metropolis: 1996/2007

KMFDM were on the verge of a mainstream breakout, the likes of which seldom seen in the industrial scene. Like, if teenagers in the hinterlands of Canada were now familiar with your tunes, it wouldn't take much to push your careers into the rarefied air breathed upon by Trent Reznor, Rob Zombie, and Al Jourgensen. Never mind that such commercial popularity is antithetical to the industrial mantra, you gotta' grab that brass ring in the one opportunity it comes around. Naturally, in their follow-up to the breakout album Nihil, KMFDM did the only sensible thing an industrial thrash-rock band should do: step back from the brink of all that was commercial and untrue.

Oh, Xtort was still a commercially successful album, indeed their highest charted record ever. That's almost certainly due to the positive buzz previous singles like Juke-Joint Jezebel generated though, all that hot soundtrack licensing getting folks into the stores searching for the latest KMFDM album. The turnaround from Nihil to Xtort was quick though, the band's ninth album hitting the shelves just a year after (and Symbols came a year after that ...KMFDM were a studio machine in the mid-'90s). Thus when folks were looking for the latest KMFDM album, it was probably Xtort they first saw – the return of iconic Brute! artwork didn't hurt either.

If you fear you're inching just a tad too close to the domain of pop, however, then one must get back to the raw, aggressive thrash that could only be loved in the underground. And KMFDM done did that, Xtort one of the heaviest albums the band had produced to that point (ever? I haven't heard enough of their post-2000 material to know otherwise). That didn't stop TVT Records from aggressively promoting the album, not to mention 'suggesting' the band make at least one radio friendly jam in lead single Power. Band leader Sascha Konietzko makes no bones it's a “dumb and catchy” tune, what with an ear-wormy hook and 'soul-mama vamping' singing from Cheryl Wilson on the chorus. Didn't stop him from making a similar track in Inane though. Really, Mr. Konietzko seemed to have a lot of fun both praising and trashing Xtort in his own promotional cycle. Oh, you know there were some doubters creeping into the fandom following their crossover success – the industrial scene's ridiculously anal about such things. Why else would Sascha do such a pisstake on Xtort's promo?

Then you get outright thrash tracks (Apathy, Son Of A Gun), the jack-booted industrial stompers (Ikons, boogie groover Rules), some nods to the burgeoning digital hardcore sound (Craze, Blame), plus a couple spoken word portions too. Dogma has anarchist poet Nicole Blackman spouting some anti-establishment rhetoric over thudding, marching beats, while secret song Fairy is a cheeky, dirty children's tale recited by Jr. Blackmale over piano. It'll make you laugh, if not blush.

So a solid album, all said, KMFDM delivering a properly aggressive response to their commercial success. Take that, wishy-washy fans!

Monday, November 12, 2018

raison d'être - Within The Depths Of Silence And Phormations (Redux)

Cold Meat Industry/Old Europa Cafe: 1995/2013

I wouldn't call Peter Andersson a giant in the realm of dark ambient, but dude's definitely seen some shit. His early career had him doing industrial, EBM and sound experiments under various aliases, which naturally led him to doing dark ambient under other various aliases. In recent years, he's created more aliases to explore other facets of the industrial scene, but throughout it all, raison d'être has been his most prominent project. Atomine Elektrine and Stratvm Terror (with Tobias Larsson) give it competition in terms of total output, but at twenty-five albums under the guise, Mr. Andersson's other handles have some catching up to do.

I'd like to say Within The Depths Of Silence And Phormations is the raison d'être album that came highly recommended, was given the ultra re-issue treatment for its Very Important status in the annals of dark ambient, but I can't confirm that. For one thing, quite a few albums from that era of his has seen the re-issue treatment, especially those that came out on the now defunct Cold Meat Industry print. There's also little in this particular album I hear that signifies it being a giant leap forward in Peter's songcraft compared to what came before. And while I'm sure there are those who hold Within The Depths... as the best release from raison d'être, without taking in everything from him during this period of work, I cannot confirm such a proclamation. Nay, I honestly only scooped this album up because, as I was perusing an online store, I saw a boat on the cover. If there's one thing I've learned about dark ambient, always buy the albums that feature boats on the cover – they're like the Saturn beauty shots of the genre.

So diving in with no idea of what I was diving into, I was immediately struck by a steady drum beat and Gregorian chants. I didn't know what to expect, but I certainly wasn't expecting ritualistic dark ambient. Incidentally, the track is called Sephiroth, and considering this came out in 1995, it makes me wonder if Nobuo Uematsu is somehow a raison d'être fan. No, just a coincidence, I'm sure.

The album mostly flits between intense chanting pieces and droning atmospheric dark ambient compositions, painting a remarkable canvas of a church society on the verge of crumbling ruin. Not just in the field recordings and orchestral additions either, but also the sporadic dialog samples too – something about murder and the like. It all rather reminds me of Delerium's older works, but with a stronger narrative from start to finish and less noodly experimentation. Cool stuff, if you like depressive dark ambient with hooded monks in the periphery.

This Redux version includes a bonus disc of assorted material released around the same time. It's mostly of the same variety of dark ambient – repeated chants, minimalist drone, melancholic melodies, though under-produced compared to what's on Within The Depths.... Having a specific tale to tell can do wonders for one's presentation.

Saturday, November 10, 2018

The Herbaliser - Wall Crawling Giant Insect Breaks

Ninja Tune: 1998

I've enjoyed Ninja Tune for as long as I've known they existed, yet there's a significant gap of their catalogue within my CD shelves: artist albums from their early years. It was all about the compilations from the Ninja folk, see, the most eye-catching of the lot always featuring their logo splayed across the front, unmissable, unmistakable. Aside from a couple CD singles though (because cost), it wasn't until Coldcut's Sound Mirrors that I actually bought a proper LP from the label. I've since scooped up a few '90s releases, but more as explorations of specific artists than the fact they were on Ninja Tune. Well, time to rectify that, fill in more glaring gaps in my ever expanding collection, starting with one of the print's longest contributors that isn't Coldcut: The Herbaliser. Erm, by way of a CD single. Can't knock old habits, I guess.

Have I talked much about The Herbaliser, beyond the requisite name-drops? I don't think I have. Let's talk about The Herbaliser. First off, despite a handle assuming a single individual performing an action involving herbs, The Herbaliser is in fact two London blokes, Jake Wherry and Ollie Teeba. They've added additional members over the years, but these two remain the core, turntablists rinsing out jazz and hip-hop with scratchtastic aplomb. Okay, maybe not ultra DMC-champion aplomb, but respectful enough to be included in discussion with many UK heavyweights of the '90s. I'm sure the Ninja Tune bump helped, though they'd been making the live rounds a couple years before getting their break with the Coldcut crew.

Wall Crawling Giant Insect Breaks was among the lead singles for their third album Very Mercenary. Ain't nothing fancy about this outing, Wall Crawl a straight-up hippin', hoppin', scratch breaks throwdown that'll get the b-boys pounding the ground - I don't know if that's the proper lingo. There's two versions of Wall Crawl, the first featuring a bunch of spoken samples about hip-hop's history, sound frequencies, time travelling, and some teenager astounded by his ability to scale a wall just as easily as a giant insect, like a wall-crawling human... spider! Ooh, I know this one, I know this one! The Blue Beetle, amirite? There's also a shorter, instrumental version just featuring the drum breaks, but isn't as much fun to hear without all the cheeky samples.

Instead of remixes, we get two live recordings of tunes from The Herbaliser's previous album, Blow Your Headphones. The first, Ginger Jumps The Fence, does more of the funk-hop jimmy jam with an earwormy string section in the lead. There's a scratch solo ('natch), a saxaphone solo (eeug, me ears), and an... organ 'n flute solo? Something like that. 40 Winks is more on that downtempo vibe, a smooth bit of soul-jazz for the end of an evening. Finally, an untitled Bonus Beats track replays a bunch of breaks from Wall Crawl, supposedly for your own turntable sessions. Wait, is that even possible in CD form?

Friday, November 9, 2018

Rapoon - Vernal Crossing Revisited

Staalplaat/Zoharum: 1994/2013

As I continuously marvel at our modern marvels of finding and gathering all forms of music, I wonder if I'd have had any hope at all of finding Rapoon's Vernal Crossing back in the day. Like, I barely even knew who the chap was, my only reference point a lone track on a Hypnotic compilation called Ambient Rituals. Still, such recognition was enough for me to nab a copy of any artist album if I so happened upon them in the Vancouver music shops: compilations were very handy in the discovery process of music hunting.

So let's assume Rapoon's Vernal Crossing somehow crossed the Atlantic Ocean, crossed the North America continent, and crossed every distributor's hands to end up on a shelf that I just so might have happened to cross paths with. What section of the store would it even be filed under? Not the 'Electronica' one, that's for sure, the music within far too tribal and 'ethnic' to rub shoulders with house and techno CDs. The 'World Music' section then, but man, there's something far removed from any sort of reality in Rapoon's music, hardly fitting in with the likes of [endless name-drop session of culturally influential musicians abroad]. Heck, it could very well have migrated to a New Age corner, what with the meditative qualities lurking in the endlessly looping chants and rhythms coupled with hypnotizing pad work. Maybe it'd have ended up in the 'Industrial' section, if the music clerk was savvy enough to know of Rapoon's Zoviet France background.

And even if I had found it, what on Earth would I have made of it? For sure the world beat dork in me would be intrigued by all the chanting and drumming, but this stuff is on an entirely different plane of existence compared to what I was familiar with (Banco de Gaia, Deep Forest, etc.). It's, dare I say, erotic, opening track The Same River Once creating an atmosphere of primal jubilation and haunting ecstasy, a celebration of the coming season of fertility. Makes me want to strip naked and dance in the spring sunshine with someone of the Wiccan faith.

What gives all these tracks an other-worldly edge is the same dusty, dubby filter Robin Storey used throughout Zoviet France's run. Best I can describe is as though you're watching a grainy, black-and-white documentary, a short film repeatedly flickering against a stone wall in the claustrophobic dark. You recognize elements of human culture, especially those involved in ancient rituals predating anything the West has conceived, but it doesn't seem real, more like a fever dream of what once was.

Vernal Crossing was apparently the album that got folks noticing Rapoon on a unique wavelength when it came to ethno-ambient, such that it received a 2013 remake from the man himself. While it certainly captures his recent, more polished songcraft, there's still something entrancing about the primitive, dubby looping going on in the original. Feels like a more appropriate vibe, given the subject matter.

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Moss Garden - Understanding Holy Ghosts

Kaico: 2013

And... we're back to our regularly scheduled ambient excursion via Lee Norris mailing list Bandcamp giveaway! No, no, don't all go cheering all at once, I know how much y'all yearn for me to endlessly wax the bull about dreamy pads, droning layers of timbre, and fuzzy, crackly field recordings. We all have our lanes, our strong suits, our specialties, and for me, this is apparently it. I did not ask for this responsibility – nay, it was foisted upon me, when my ears perked towards the digital winds that binds everyone's interwebs into that which is the grand tubular info super-highway. And as I carry on checking out these musics that Mr. Norris remains a generous gent over, it seems appropriate that I finally return to the project that first clued me into his music, Moss Garden.

Okay, technically I came into contact with his sonic souffle when I got that fantabulous, instipicuous Pete Namlook tribute box set, where he appeared twice as Ishqmatics and Autumn Of Communion. Had no clue who he was at that point though, indeed the main names luring me in old familiar favourites. Man, when I look back at that box set now, and all the artists I've come to learn of since, it feels like Die Welt Ist Klang's become an ambient advent calendar, where I'm slowly ticking off each artist.

Anyhow, despite that box set being my initial lure, I did peruse Carpe Sonum's catalog for anything else that caught my eye, of which the Moss Garden album In The Silence Of The Subconscious did. That was in fact Moss Garden's second LP, their first coming out a year prior on the Japanese sub-label Kaico (that print's first release, apparently – crazy that it was done by a foreigner group). While not vastly limited in its run, it's was still scant and obscure enough that there's no way I'd get to snag a copy for myself, so yay on Lee Norris for providing it this way to hear now!

And might I say, Understanding Holy Ghosts is a smidge better than In The Silence Of The Subconscious? Obviously any album that opens with a track titled No Prayers For The Mosquito is ace in my books (die, blood suckers, die!), but I feel there's more interesting songcraft in this album. Obviously both make wonderful use of dreamy, dubby pad work and droning timbres, though the second album rather blended together throughout. However, each composition in Understanding Holy Ghosts has a unique element standing out from its brethren. Overlooking Oceans has a soft rhythmic clatter as though you're traversing a railroad or bumpy road bridge. Ritual Solitaire and Structures Of Patience features lethargic, dubby metallic percussion, the latter time-stretched into a sonic haze as gentle choir and string pads blanket you. As for that melody in The Fabric Of Sentinal... dear God, my heart turns to melted butter on a fluffy waffle topped with cinnamon icing sugar. Bliss, is what.

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Supercar - Futurama

Ki/oon: 2000

(a Patreon Request from Philoi)

I know rock music has been a major component of Japanese culture for many decades now, but I don't hear much of it. Their chief sonic exports into my earholes remain j-pop and traditionalist modern classical, with some minimalist ambient and techno celebrating neo-Tokyo on the side. All these retain some hint of Japanese influence, adding to the rich tapestry these genres encapsulate across the globe. Rock music, on the other hand, is almost entirely devoted to Americana, forcing its musicians into its mold. Any innovative deviation from The Source is often ridiculed (krautrock, stuffy British progressive rock ...Norwegian death metal?), making the once rebellious scene almost as conservative as country (the true bastion of all that is Americana).

Thus whenever I hear Japanese rock, I give it a respectful nod, but seldom hear much that differentiates it from its American counterparts (screaming j-Punk noise an exception – no one screams like the Japanese!). Indeed, if I didn't explicitly know going in, I wouldn't have guessed this Supercar band was Japanese. For sure they sing in Japanase, but because they do so in that shoegazey method of elongated syllables, it doesn't sound much different from an English singer, in that I haven't a clue what either are saying most of the time. But man, do such vocals ever sound cool in the wall of sound that is indie rock.

Supercar cranked out seven albums in a decade of activity, before disbanding in 2005. They seem adored enough to get vinyl re-issues as of late, but even the Empire Records soundtrack got a vinyl reissue, so what's that worth? No, but seriously, Futurama is the sort of album that could use a little resurgence, a catchy assemblage of dream pop indie jams and club ready electronic rhythms. In fact, this album is far more electronic than I was expecting, tracks like opener Changes, Karma, and Fairway laying the techno-kicks on thick.

Mostly though, we get a variety of chipper indie rock (Playstar Vista, White Surf Style 5., Restarter), quirky synth-hop ditties (Baby Once More, Shibuya Morning, Everybody On News) and dreamy jams (Flava, New Young City, I'm Nothing). Some tracks add in a unique element from the usual shoegaze tones (what is that bleepy sound in Star Fall?), while others revisit musical themes from earlier in the album. Still, Supercar seem incappable of ending Futurama, the last clutch of tracks sounding like they're the capper on the album. No, wait, here's one more song. And one more. And one more. And...

And lyrically? From what I can glean from sporadic translations, most of these songs deal with relationships, which is a little disappointing, if I'm honest. With a title like Futurama, and clear album flow going down, I was kinda' hoping for songs about, well, the future, or at least living in some 'futurama' future. Heck, maybe they are, and the translations simply didn't capture that theme. Wouldn't be the first time something Japanese is lost in translation.

Saturday, November 3, 2018

Hybrid - Morning Sci-Fi

Distict'ive Records: 2003

(a Patreon Request from Omskbird)

I'm sure I liked Wide Angle - I definitely know I liked Wider Angle for the Live Angle bonus CD. Unfortunately, a few things held back a love for Hybrid's debut album, none more prominent than a sense the duo's artistic pretensions didn't always match the finished product. They wanted to move beyond the easy club fodder, creating high-culture music for a cultured audience. Cool, bro, but that leaves those who adored the breakbeat science wanting in the wind. How can such folks get their flail on when a French rapper is crooning over a trip-hop rhythm?

I won't deny being in that camp, making me wary of checking anything after Wider Angle. Figured Hybrid would continue the super-sophisticated music explorations, the blinding breaks they made their name on a mere stepping stone to higher, loftier goals in the music world, thus a journey I wasn't much interested in joining with. As continues being the case, I should have got that tree trunk out of my rump sooner, because fuck me if Morning Sci-Fi is better than Wide Angle by a... erm, broad space.

It starts as I initially feared (well, properly starts, discounting the secret song hiding in the CD's negative space), with Hybrid throwing oh-so many ideas into a soup of genre fusion, with production ultra-crisp and clean such that it kinda' neuters whatever teeth the song has. Like, there's things I like in True To Form (can never go wrong with a Reese bass growl, and it's nice hearing those New Order vibes from Peter Hook), but with the obligatory orchestral swells and limp lyrics from Adam Taylor, it once again sounds like Hybrid's clutching for musical opulence they just can't quite grasp.

Then Know Your Enemy hits, and hits fuckin' hard with the progressive breaks action I love from these guys, and all is right again. Then third cut Marrakech hits, and I'm thrown for a loop, the tune some sort of psychedelic trip-hop outing that wouldn't sound out of place in a FSOL Environments LP. Ain't no way that's gonna' get a “most moving pieces of electronic music” plaudit, but it definitely earns an uber thumbs-up from me! And while I prefer Hybrid's instrumentals, Adam Taylor sounds great in I'm Still Awake, the music complementing rather than burying him as though his voice is just another layer in an overstuffed cake.

And goodness, how are there so many kick-ass club tracks on this album? It's not as relentless as Live Angle (obviously it couldn't be), but the block featuring Visible Noise, We Are In Control and Higher Than A Skyscraper gives that CD serious competition. The final clutch of tracks gets back to the lyrical stuff, with Kirsty Hawkshaw providing a full range of octaves on the closer Blackout. This was honestly what I was expecting out of Morning Sci-Fi, but given the highly kinetic, super energetic tuneage that preceded it, by all means, Misters Truman and Healings, have at your sophisticated songcraft.

Friday, November 2, 2018

James Blake - James Blake

Universal Republic Records: 2011

(a Patreon Request)

I was in serious music exploring doldrums in the year 2011, due to albums like this. Nothing specifically on it, mind you; heck, I didn't even bother checking if I might like it or not. When an act gets as hyped as James Blake did leading up to his debut album though, I can't help but give the ol' side-eye in response. The likes of Pitchfork and TinyMixTapes are praising him as their latest second coming, you say? Must be some insufferable indie-twat doing music outside conventional lanes, thinks I. Naturally, that's an entirely douche-nozzle position to take, but after so much indie-rag hype leading me to mediocre music, you can understand knee-jerk reactions to their recommendations.

Having now taken in James Blake from James Blake, I can honestly say: really? This is what all the hullabaloo was about? For sure, it's a perfectly pleasant little soul album, with a few contemporary UK garage tricks giving it additional flair and personality. And man, does Blake ever know how to maximize sonic space, his tracks remarkably sparse and empty, letting his voice linger not just with the delay and echo effects on his vocals, but even in the nothingness between another piano chord or bass throb. I've always felt the best soul casts the singer isolated and laid bare, with little distraction impeding what should be an intimate dialog between artist and listener. Obviously that doesn't always happen – Hell, at the pop level, soul can't help but get caught up in theatrics just like everyone else (do I really need to hear five octaves to know how much you feel that agonizing emotion?). Blake though, he shows welcome restraint in such gimmickry, things like multi-tracking his voice or digitally manipulating it into different octaves serving the needs of a particular song and nothing more.

So as an understated, honest little soul album, I did like James Blake, but still don't understand where all the hype comes from. Check that: I do understand where all the hype came from, especially from the indie-rags. They adored it because it's an understated, honest little soul album, when it wasn't supposed to be an understated, honest little soul album. James Blake was anticipated to be a saviour for a dubstep scene having succumbed to all that was bro, bringing class, cleverness, and prestige back to a once-hot underground movement. He was supposed to do that within dubstep's parameters though (or post-dubstep, or future garage, or etc.), and he didn't do that here. Yeah, there's some sub-rattling bass frequencies in tracks like Limit To Your Love, and twisted garage-soul in I Mind, but those are exceptions to the general style James indulges in here.

And honestly, his soul doesn't sound much different from stuff on Dusted's album, though as released via Hyperdub. And that's fine – I likes me some Brit soul every now and then – but in subverting everyone's expectations, yeah, small wonder indie folks tripped over themselves showering the hyperbolic praise.

Thursday, November 1, 2018

ACE TRACKS: October 2018

Just how important is it that I physically own a CD before I review it? Clearly not the most important factor, as I've reviewed a number of releases without holding a tactile object within my fingers beforehand (wait...). Even beyond digital-only items as found on Bandcamp, there's a few vinyl-options I've skipped on in favour of the digital (egh, I feel dirty typing that) because beginning a collection of the Black Crack is just not a feasible option for your truly. Plus, I've started the painful acceptance that some CDs are likely never attainable for any reasonable price, so why deny myself of releases (and the artists their financial compensation) if the non-physical option is available. And let's not forget, way back in my TranceCritic days, a large number of reviews were written from, erm, less-than legit sources. We were young, we didn't have the money!

That's probably part of why I feel it necessary that I do things proper-like now, to make amends for cheating the game before. More than that though, I feel reviewing something off a stream – legit or otherwise – is cheating as well. What right do I have in dropping extended critiques of music if I'm not willing to put in my own personal time and money into it? It's no better than writing an overlong YouTube comment, and I'd like to think this blogging thing has a smidge more class than that. Also, if I did open my reviewing options to everything Spotify has available, then I'd be obligated to cover all the new stuff, all the time. When will I have time to review Moonshine compilations from 1999 then? Alright, soul bearing over, here's the ACE TRACKS for the month of October:

Full track list here.

Scott Grooves - Key Statements - The Beginning: The Soiree Collection 1992-1995
Miami Beach Force - The Revenge
Scott Grooves - Pure Mixin' It: A Decade of Natural Midi 2007-2017
Autumn Of Communion - Polydeuces
Cryogenic Weekend - Polar Sleep

Percentage Of Hip-Hop: 0%
Percentage Of Rock: 6%
Most “WTF?” Track: Easy choice would be a GosT tune, but I didn't include any of the truly WTF?? tracks off Possessor.

I don't know how this playlist sounds! Okay, I know how the music goes and all that, but how it flows together, I haven't a clue. I simply had no time for it, see. I usually throw these together a day or two before the end of the month, give it a once over, and move on. However, with a couple Patreon Request items finally arriving in the mail, those have taken up my prime listening time instead of this. So, uh, y'all may be venturing into musical territory I've yet to experience with this one, friends. Have at 'er!

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 Aoide 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 Creedence Clearwater Revival Crockett's Theme Crosby Stills And Nash Crosstown Rebels crunk Cryo Chamber Cryobiosis Cryogenic Weekend Cryostasis 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! 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