Saturday, March 30, 2019

Various - Disco Kandi 05.02

Hed Kandi: 2002

Time munches on - *chomp, chomp* - and CDs that were once silly-costly on Vancouver shelves continue to drop in price across the globe, including the unstoppable Hed Kandi machine. This doesn't mean I'm interested in gathering up all the Hed Kandi compilations, but for an occasional fiver, what harm is there in a steady indulgence of early-'00s club house and disco dance? None I say, and let's be honest: no matter how corny or cheesy you think the music might be on these, it's neigh impossible resisting a tempting glance from the cover art alone. So slick, so supple, so seductive, so... oh my!

Hed Kandi may have started more on a deep house tip, but the label knew where the the real money was: the chill-out market! After they covered that angle, they branched out to the next most lucrative scene, establishing the Disco Kandi series, and hoo-boy howdy, were they quick to flood the market with sequels. 2001 alone saw three entries, capping off with Disco Kandi 5. For some reason though, they ditched regular numerical conventions after, and tag each subsequent volume as a decimal. In fact, they did this with most of their series after 2002. What sort of sense does that make? And why settle on whatever arbitrary number they did in the first place? Like, Beach House stopped at 04.0x, Winter Chill stopped at 06.0x, and Disco Heaven didn't even get past 01.0x. They'd eventually just revert to yearly tags, but this period does remain one of the quirkier aspects of the Hed Kandi legacy.

Anyhow, we're diving into Disco Kandi 05.02 (re: Disco Kandi 06), because it was the cheapest I found on a recent hunt. Also, I seem to be finding a lot of these .02 compilations over their sequels; strange, that. The concept of Disco Kandi is straight-forward enough: CD1 offers the more vintage sounds of disco, including nods to garage and diva soul, though all in a modern context. CD2 brings in the tougher disco house tunes, treading closer to French house's loopy domain, though as this is a 2002 release, we're not quite there yet.

Namedrops are about what you'd expect of a Hed Kandi release too. StoneBridge is here! Mousse T is here! Full Intention is here! Joey Negro is here! Tim Deluxe is here! Danny Howells.. is also here? Plump DJs? What are you doing here? Remixing War's old-timey Galaxy, is what.

Yeah, there's a few updated rubs of old tunes here, though not as many as I was expecting. Mousse T's go with T-Ski Valley's Catch The Beat sounds almost as pure as the 1981 disco-rap club it spawned from. Full Intention's go with Aly-Us' 1992 hit Follow Me wouldn't sound out of place in New York City that same year. Meanwhile, Hi Fi Serious turn The Beatles' Believe into ...wait, THE Beatles? *checks Discogs* Well sonofa'.. Turn The Beatles' mellow ditty Because into a disco house number. Cheeky mudder fuggers.

Friday, March 29, 2019

Czarface & MF Doom - Czarface Meets Metal Face

Silver Age: 2018

It wasn't the hip-hop team-up *I* was hoping for, but Deltron can't be everywhere. Still, this probably makes the most sense of any collaboration with Czarface, the comic book inspired creation of Inspectah Deck, Esoteric and 7L. For sure there's been plenty of rappers who've taken cues from comics, but not many adopted it into a lasting persona. One other such dude is MF Doom, a remarkable two-decade feat with seemingly little Marvel/Disney threatening glances over his shoulder. Like, is the mask just different enough that copyright claims haven't buried him these past two decades? MF Doom is also a dude I probably should have digested far more of than I have to this date (re: barely at all). In due time, I'm sure I will; maybe after I've exhausted every and all Wu-Tang explorations.

First off, how are Deck 'n Eso'? Still in that comfortable flow they've been in since Every Hero Needs A Villain? You bet they are, while 7L's production retains the ol' school funkadelic sample-heavy hip-hop flavour I've come to appreciate out of this group. Hell, as 'mumble rap' and its cheap-ass sounds have come to dominate, this stuff remains a wonderful renaissance of when hip-hop was dynamic and vitalic. Whether with twitchy paranoid pianos (Badness Of Madness), street-hustlin' bass boogie (Astral Traveling, Forever People), or grimy soul-sludge (MF Czar, Phantoms), there's plenty here for the old heads and the new heads who like what the old heads like. Methinks that's a demographic that could use a little more of a boost.

As for them rappers then, what are you in for? Czar-Deck is his usual lyrical form, even calling out his detractors for being too lyrical at times (th' fuck kinda' criticism is that? Rebel INS always uses just the right amount of words in his rappity-raps ...kids these days). MF Doom sounds cool, in a rugged, low-key menacing sort of way. Not as lyrical as Deck, but they are rather different MCs, and make for a good contrast against each other. As for how he sounds compared to other projects, I honestly can't say – this is my first extended exposure to MF Doom (gasp!). As for Esoteric, I was worried he might get outshone by Deck and Doom, in that Eso's style is so similar to INS, he'd come off like a spare wheel to Deck and Doom's interplay (plus, y'know, just not as famous as the other too). He holds his own just fine though, and even has some of the funniest lines here, especially if you know your wrestling references (hehe, “stick out like Kurt Angle's temple vein”).

Beyond that, this is just a solid collection of hip-hop. Nods to the 'comic book team-up' aspect is played out in skits as knowing winks, but they never go much beyond that. Which is a little disappointing for yours truly, as I'm still waiting on a proper Czarface narrative album. Who knows though, maybe that Ghostface collab' will finally see the deed done.

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Current - Communion

Origo Sound: 2003

I'll forever (and a day) lament the passing of old-school music shops, but online options have proved a reasonable substitute, and I'm not just talking the vast data-stores of places like Discogs and Bandcamp. No, even small shops like the Ultimae or Databloem sites contain the sort of catalogues that makes browsing through their stock an enjoyable time-waster. True, clicking pages isn't nearly as satisfying as fingering jewel-cases, but beggers can't be choosers. So long as spiffy cover-art catches my eye enough that my impulsive buying nature is sated, it shall suffice.

So it goes with this Communion from Current, an item I picked up from... gosh, I forget now. A psy shop, I remember that much. Anyhow, I knew nothing of this artist, but with a row of alien heads on the cover, how could I resist? The man behind the alias, Robert Solheim, hails from Norway, with this album coming out on Origo Sound, which you may know from numerous Biosphere releases.

This mostly falls under the psy-chill camps, and I must admit a little under-produced for the genre. Maybe if it came out in the '90s, Communion would have stood out more, but by 2003, psy-chill had seen remarkable growth and evolution, and most of the stuff Mr. Solheim's crafting here is strictly middle of the road. There's the slightly dubby tunes (Sunday Sunburn, Alone With Company), songs with a trancier bent (Patterns, Ghost Trip), tracks on a spacier, futuristic tip (No Sign Of Life, Plaza Circular), and cuts leaning closer to trip-hop's domain (Minor Abstraction). Nothing's wack or anything, just music treading well-tread roads. In fact, it sounds incredibly familiar. Something I can't specifically place, but I'm certain I've heard numerous times in the past. It's like... like... Oh my God! This is exactly the sort of music I'd make if I were ever to do the deed. Heck, even the cover art is likely something I'd have gone with! And that puts Communion in a weird spot for yours truly. I'm not sure if I like it because of this, or dislike it for the exact same reason.

Given the amount of music I buy, folks often inquiry why I don't actually make any myself. Truth is, the musical ideas I have sloshing about in my head have been done – if no one else than by me at that moment – and what interests me in music exploration is that which I haven't heard. I want to discover sounds I've never thought of, could never imagine, and prefer leaving that to those who've invested more of their time and skill into the craft than I'm willing to do so. Why waste my time replicating that which I can readily hear elsewhere, and perhaps find new and better in the process?

It's a fascinating conundrum, but perhaps more astounding is that, after so many hours of music listening, this is the first time I've confronted it. Kudos to Current for that feat, if nothing else.

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Spielerei & Mantacoup - Cold War

Silentes: 2007

Amplexus was dead, but that didn't mean someone could gather the ashes and relaunch another Italian ambient label in its stead. There's always room for more Italian ambient labels, especially ones you've barely heard of. I'm not sure who used the Phoenix Materia on Amplexus, giving rise to Silentes, but in short order Michael Mantra, Rod Modell, and Seele found comfortable homes there. It's a label that's quietly kept a small number of annual releases these past fifteen years, doing little to attract attention to itself but always drawing in a few well-regarded countrymen for an album or three.

The duo of Spielerei & Mantacoup falls into that category (though they're Dutch rather than Italian). They haven't released much, mind you, this Cold War and earlier Wichman And Other Pieces their lone collaborative works, and practically nothing since (so sayeth Lord Discogs). Each have put out solo works on dataObscura, while Spielerei has an additional item out on Databloem. And right he should, since Spielerei's real name is Dennis Knopper, owner of Databloem. Oh yeah, have I mentioned that dataObscura was an offspring of Databloem too? I don't think I have. Good to have that tidbit of info logged somewhere in the pounds of words contained on this blog. Point being, considering he has such a highly regarded label to his name, it's surprising he and Mr. Vermeent (Mantacoup) went with a different label for a second album together. Was it a request from Silentes? A favour owed to Michael Mantra? Figuring a 'cold war' theme fit better with a label that resides closer to the former iron curtain?

Now that I've got all that rambling out of the way, here comes the part where I must confess Cold War hasn't made much of an impression on me. For sure I'm hearing a lot of things I like, but it feels like I'm spending too much time wanting to like it more than just the basic appreciation I have for ambient techno glitch. There's a concept here, lurking, urging to get out and expose itself, but can't quite break through. Maybe I've been too spoiled by dark ambient exploring similar themes – that scene always knows how to construct a narrative out of their albums. I struggle in hearing where Spielerei and Mantacoup's muses are going here though.

Where It All Ends opens Cold War with a suitably melancholy mood, while the frantic, glitchy percussion of follow-up Cuba Crisis hints at the technological monstrosity that the battle of super-powers created. Pigs Bay has urgent burbling electronics, Meanwhile In Moscow goes minimalist and sonically paranoid, but the album's momentum kinda' dies after that, with far too much dithering experimentation interspersed with soundtracky ambient pads. As I said, all stuff I like hearing in general, just lacking the strong songcraft structure I've come to expect of such music. Oh well, final track After The Shockwave is a nice lead-out of micro-hop and synth-glitch – nicely sells the reckless futility of cold wars.

Saturday, March 23, 2019

The Prodigy - No Tourists

BMG: 2018

(a Patreon Request from Philoi)

I may have passed on The Prodigy post-Millennium, but that doesn't mean I didn't keep some tabs on them, the lingering question of “are they still going?” always tugging at my curiosity. Truth is, questions of 'relevancy' were long since dashed after Liam Howlett failed to keep pace with electronic music's mutations throughout the '00s, and it seemed he spent a lost decade of figuring out just where his brand of thrashy-bash stadium fodder fit. I think he eventually sorted it out, and No Tourists finds the Prodge machine running as smoothly as one could expect/hope for in the year 2018.

Which, for all intents, may end up being the final official Prodigy album, what with Keith Flint's passing and all. Yes, Liam was the brains behind nearly all the music that ever came from the Prodigy banner, but as a live act, 'Keef's presence was what catapulted the group from rave favourites to something marketable across the globe. For good or ill, it was Mr. Flint and his iconic double-'hawk hairdo that got him front and centre on Spin Magazine (and lampooned by Weird Al's quickie Lousy Haircut), not Maxim's cat eye lenses, Liam's nose-ring or Leeroy's... gangling legs? Howlett long claimed the tunes he made were just as much in service of Keith's antics as anything ear-catching or club smashing, knowing he'd struck upon a winner if his stage jester went completely ape-shit to it as the tune blasted from stacks of speakers. It's difficult imagining Liam finding the same level of musical confidence without Keith's moshing approval.

And that's the vibe I get from No Tourists, ten tracks designed with maximum thrash appeal for those who still have a fondness for Prodigy of old. Still, I won't deny almost fearing the worst with opener Need Some1, the track sounding like it's cribbing from the school of Pendulum rather than anything Liam built. Fear not, my friends, for follow-up Light Up The Sky brings back the big boshing beats of yore, with red-lined acid thrash and sped-up rasta vocals. Yes, it's way familiar of Prodigy of old, but isn't that what we've always wanted from them anyway?

The other track that treads into contemporary festival cliches is Timebomb Zone, and only because those chipmunk vocals aren't of vintage rave stock. Boom Boom Tap too, I guess, though I sense that one's more a pisstake of trap anthems than a sincere attempt – how else to explain a curt “fuck you” at the drop before unleashing fierce jungle on your ears? As for the rest, No Tourists is all fine, the sort of tuneage intended for quick, explosive release, then just as soon passed on by. There little that sticks with you like classic Prodigy of the past, but for the time you spend with them here (a rather brisk thirty-seven minutes!), it's a fun ride. And, given the circumstances, if this does mark the final Prodigy album, it's a fine final send-off as well. Respect.

Saturday, March 16, 2019

Axs - Arctic Circle

Silent Season: 2011

It's about time I accept many of those original Silent Season CDs are well and truly out of my financial reach. Yes, even more so than the elusive early Autumn Of Communion discs. I mean, I shouldn't feel bad about digging into their digital catalogue, most of their initial run released as MP3 or WAV only options anwyay; heck, it was a full year before they even added their distinctive photographic cover art of Pacific Northwest scenery. Such is the way of things now, and if Bandcamp streams remains the best option of hearing items like Atheus' Compile or Purl's Deep Ground, then so be it. Just would be nice to plug that into my main sound system at some point, is all I'm sayin'. Maybe I just need to upgrade my computer speakers too.

Thus it is so with Arctic Circle from Axs (or Dj AXS, or Alexander Gouard), because if I'm finally gonna' dig on me some Silent Season digital, it may as well be the one with the derelict boat. Well, not so much derelict, but sunken, abandoned, left to rot in the foggy harbours of the Georgia Strait. A once proud fishing (crabbing?) vessel little more than a rusting hulk, soon to be home for all manner of barnacles, mussels, starfish, and tiny baby salmon. There's certain themes I like in my cover art, is what I'm saying, and if it ain't blue, then an abandoned boat will do. Landlocked preferable, but I cannot deny seeing this one half-submerged brings the strange melancholy feels just the same. Incidentally, this is possibly the most presence of humanity that's ever graced a Silent Season photo-cover. Figures it also depicts nature reclaiming it.

Mr. Gourard had a fairly productive half-decade of activity (so sayeth Lord Discogs). He floated about various labels like Other Heights, Red Dye, and ZeECc, plus had his own short-lived print called Blue Oranges. Following a three album stint with Recycled Plastics, his output appears to have dried up, going quiet these past five years on the production front. Arctic Circle came out around the middle of all that, his lone contribution to the Silent Season saga.

So we're in dub techno and ambient drone territory, as expected with this label. There's the calm and soothing layers of timbre as found in Empty Sky and Frozen Signpost, plus the slightly uptempo tracks like Compass and Edge Of The Chasm. Meanwhile, Glass Dome touches on some good ol' Biosphere-styled drone dub, with an ultra-long fade-out that would have Geir watching his clock a little. What surprised me though, was when this album cautiously tread into dark ambient's domain. Island At The Brink Of Time is quite desolate and sparse, mysterious and cold as the northern winter skies, while The Dusk Glade creates something of a claustrophobic vibe, as though the empty tundra suffocates you under its overwhelming desolation. I guess that explains the oceanic wreck on the cover art – dark ambient loves its boat ruins.

Friday, March 15, 2019

Swayzak - Avantgarde // Serieculture

Avantgarde: 2006

For a while, this was thought of as the Lost Swayzak Album, a collection of original tunes that never saw a proper release. For sure it looks legit, a sturdy digipak with two CDs and spiffy liner notes detailing the London duo's history. Lacking a barcode, however, makes Avantgarde // Serieculture more a fancy promo, though what it's promoting, I haven't a clue. A new label called Avantgarde? This is its only release (so sayeth Lord Discogs), so if it was made to launch it, that failed.

Best I can tell, Avantgarde // Serieculture is little more than a fun collectible Swayzak was handing out while on an American-side tour. I know this because they handed out a copy to me during their Vancouver show. Recollection's fuzzy now, but after seeing them down at the Lotus Sound Lounge (R.I.P., best underground Vancouver club ever), I started chatting with them behind the DJ booth, as one is wont to do when having a drunken buzz going. Throughout my gabbing, David Brown (I think it was David Brown) handed me one of these, to which I probably said I'd do an online review of it for TranceCritic, because I distinctly recall him saying this wasn't an item for commercial review, just a promo. Funny how certain things stick with you like that.

In any event, what I get out of the original tracks on Avantgarde is a collection of tunes that just couldn't fit on Swayzak's more commercial leaning albums. This is some downright minimal, abstract tech-house here, though done in such a spacious, dubby style, I'm rather enraptured by all the clicky noises, warbly woodwinds, echoing piano tones, and glitchy sonic fuzz. Still, most of these are at best transitional tunes in a proper LP, so I can understand why they were relegated to a b-side option such as this. They did eventually appear on a Japanese-only release as part of Serieculture, which is technically Swayzak's last album, but that's the extent of their exposure.

Another item on here that could never have appeared on their regular albums is Subway Travel, a half-hour long concept composition of ever evolving deep tech-house grooves, minimalist looping synth dubs, fuzzy field recordings, and all that good stuff you'd associate with ambient dub's early days. I also don't know if Subway Travel has ever been officially re-released – unlike the other tracks, it doesn't appear on the Swayzak Bandcamp page. Does make Avantgarde // Serieculture worth seeking out for.

CD2 features a DJ mix as presented by the Swayzak Soundsystem, which was handled by frequent collaborator Roger 23. In keeping with the minimalist click-haus vibe of CD1's tracks, this are a deep, serious set of Room 3 vibes, names like Virgo, Africans With Mainframes, Matthew Johnson, Schubert, Shockt, and Zweikarater making up the track list. It's fine for what it is, though I still rate Swayzak's Groovetechnolgy v1.3 well above this. Hm, wonder how that fabric mix fares. Have yet to hear that.

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Autumn Of Communion - Autumn Of Communion 6

...txt: 2015

Well, someone lucked out on not one, but two Autumn Of Communion CDs! My patience continues to prove fortuitous (God, I love that word), and with a little more time and pluck, I just might land myself those other older, rarer AoC albums after all. Have any of them possibly come down in price on the collector's market yet? *checks Discogs* NOPE! It utterly boggles my mind that someone paid nearly CA$400 for Autumn Of Communion 3.5. It's just one track! Sure, in a spiffy metal tin, but still.

While it makes skipping out on the AoC Moonstreams box-set that much more cagey on my part, this highlight another good reason to have done so: I'd otherwise have been forced to write reviews for a lot of AoC albums all in a row, and that would get tedious in a hurry, believe you me. Already I'm struggling to come up with much based on these two albums. Imagine if I had to also cover Autumn Of Communion, Autumn Of Communion 2, Autumn Of Communion 3, Autumn Of Communion 3.5, and Autumn Of Communion 3.9. Not to mention Broken Apart By Sunlight Part 1, Broken Apart By Sunlight Part 2, Broken Apart By Moonlight Part 1, and Broken Apart By Moonlight Part 2. And before you point to Neil Young: Archives as proof I could do it, Mr. Young had a far more dynamic and musically adventurous first decade of music making than Lee Norris and Mick Chillage have had together since 2012. There was more to talk about there, is what I'm saying, whereas I can only reiterate so many times how nice Autumn Of Communion's ambient compositions are before your eyes glaze over. I like this stuff, but boy do I need some space between sessions of it.

AoC 6 does focus Lee and Mick's songcraft some, offering up three digestible chunks of music of comparable length. Why, each piece could have tidily fit on one of those charming mini-CDs, a notion I have to assume they realized with the Broken Apart... series just on the horizon. This would also mark the final numerically self-titled album, going out in stark white style.

Autumn Echo 1 has most of the pleasing synth tones and subtle melodic passages I've come to appreciate in AoC's material, but for some reason doesn't stick with me so well. I don't know why. Autumn Echo 2, however, works a nice gradual build, making good use of its near twenty-four minute long runtime, never feeling like its dilly-dallying in getting to whatever point its trying to get to (a charming ambient techno 'peak', is where). Even the lengthy fade out is somehow engaging, almost making me forget there's a third track after. Autumn Echo 3 is on that sentimental, meditative ambient tip, treading close to New Age territory. I've not much else to say about it.

Now imagine me trying to write similar stuff for a dozen more such reviews. Yeah, not happening with sanity intact.

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Autumn Of Communion - Autumn Of Communion 5

...txt: 2015

Over a year ago, Lee Norris announced an Autumn Of Communion CD box-set, Moonstreams, gathering up all the AoC albums up to that point. Cool, as much of their early work is no longer readily available in a physical format, some of which only found for triple-digits in the second-hand Marketplace. Had I not already gotten four of those thirteen releases (!), I would have considered snagging such a collection. Alas, it felt redundant getting double-copies of Polydeuces, Metal, Autumn Of Communion 4, and Broken Apart By Echoes. I resigned myself to holding out hope the remaining nine albums might pop up at a tidier price or, God forbid, succumb to a digital option.

Well, the fates proved fortuitous, as EAR/Rational Music unearthed some unsold AoC albums while clearing out their stock room, and made them available to folks on their mailing list. Hey, that includes me! I'll get on that post-haste and- oh, it's Autumn Of Communion 5, one of the lesser regarded albums of AoC's initial run of albums. I know this because it's actually affordable on the second-hand market, and has never commanded the obscenely high selling prices the previous CDs have. Aside from AoC 4 anyway, though that one likely remains affordable due to still being in print. No one's paying for ludicrous collector's mark-up when one can easily buy an original copy at Carpe Sonum's Bandcamp page (not a shameless plug, I swear!).

Don't get me wrong, I was tickled that I snagged a copy of Autumn Of Communion 5, if for nothing else than proving my foresight in passing on the AoC box-set correct. The music within is fine too, though I can understand why it doesn't get talked up as much as their other works. Three tracks comprise this release, the first of which a whopping thirty-four minutes long. And unless this is somehow your first Autumn Of Communion review you're reading (if so, apologies for a confusing couple of paragraphs), you just know that's thirty-four minutes of spacey, soothing, noodly ambient music. As a thirty-four minute long outing of spacey, soothing, noodly ambient music, it's very nice, and has enough additional elements like spritely synths and shifting passages such that it can keep your attention for most of the duration. If you prefer your ambient music in digestible chunks though, Autumn will likely pass you by.

At a shade under fifteen minutes, Communion is easier to take in, and dare I say a might bit lovelier too. This is more on the meditative tip, with breathing synth pads and relaxing melodic tones that make me want to lazily float down a rural creek surrounded by willow trees. In space! The final track Final Communion is a 're-think' by Stormloop, which has something of an old-school Tangerine Dream vibe going for it. An interesting addition to AoC 5, though doesn't really jive with the rest of the album. Then again, with only two other tracks, how much more is there to jive with?

Monday, March 11, 2019

Louderbach - Autumn (Original TC Review)

M_nus: 2009

(2019 Update:
I was a bit off on that Depeche Mode comparison, but beyond that, everything in this review holds up, as does this album for a little bleak sonic artistry in your life. What boggles my mind, though, is how Troy Pierce essentially faded from music making after this. Not just as Louderbach, but in totality. Aside from a smattering of singles shortly after this album's release, Troy's Discoggian data vanishes - I'm not even sure how much he remained involved with Items & Things after he founded it with Marc Houle and Magda. I know he'd become somewhat jaded over techno's direction, but surely not so much that he'd abandon it completely. Such a shame, as he was one of the few 'minimal tech' dudes I actually liked from that insufferable era. Would have been interesting hearing how his sound developed in a post-Berghain era, or even where he'd have taken Louderbach. As for Gibby, he's kept active in the visual industry, but it seems this project was the height of his vocal career. Oh well.)



IN BRIEF: Feel the gloom.

Hey there, how’s it going? Oh, not bad. Lovely weather today, isn’t it. You know that it’s going to turn to rain soon, right? Yeah, I know there’s not a cloud in the sky, but trust me, it’s going to turn damp and overcast soon enough. It won’t be a nice summer shower either, but a long, soaking downpour that will chill you to the bone. Yeah, I suppose it’ll make the grass greener afterward, but all of that lush vegetation is just the byproduct of artificial growth; it’d be green in a desert with all the chemicals saturated in those soils - which, by the way, will dissolve into the rain water as it seeps into the water table, where it will eventually make its way into our drinking reservoirs and finally into our taps as we unconsciously consume these toxins, allowing them to slowly erode our body’s health with cancer until we die from it. Oh, and your favorite sports team won’t win a major championship ever again.

Alright. Have I sufficiently depressed you, my dear readers? If so, then perhaps you’re now in the proper mood to listen to the new Louderbach album titled Autumn. Okay, so it isn’t really that depressing, but in exploring their inner goths, music-man Troy Pierce and vocalist Gibby Miller have conjured up quite the gloomy sophomore effort.

On one hand, this is actually quite beneficial because it’s different from so much of what you’d expect from the M_nus camps these days; instead of a collection of minimal tech that will be forgotten in a year’s time, there’s actual songs on here! More than that, though, is Pierce has eschewed many of contemporary techno’s clichés, which shouldn’t come as a surprise as he’s been one of the biggest critics of plink-plonk-hiss ‘minimal’ for a few years now. As one of the individuals who helped nurture minimal’s early rise in popularity, it’s a safe bet he’s been patiently hoping all the tourists clear out soon. In the meantime, he's taken the time to indulge in another scene altogether: industrial-goth.

If you’ve ever had a passing familiarity with that scene, much of Autumn will come across as old-hat. The murky atmosphere, Depeche Mode-like lyrics, and choking drone-experimentation seem directly lifted from the late 80s - third track One Hundred Reasons could have easily been an early Delerium tune (back when the group was more known for their industrial project Front Line Assembly). Heck, even the cover art seems heavily inspired by 4AD’s output. And this is all perfectly fine. Pierce adds just enough fresh wrinkles into the sound, especially excellent bass grooves, keeping things from sounding too much of a blatant style-bite; it’s apparent he’s got a genuine fondness for this sound, even if his minimal techno career prevented him from exploring it more.

As for Gibby, he too seems to understand that, when it comes to goth-inspired vocals in dance music, it is best not to take things too seriously. I can honestly say I don’t pay much attention to such lyrics, nor do I have any desire to search for a ‘deeper’ meaning; a lot of it is pretentiously dark poetry anyway. So long as his singing simply adds to the atmosphere of a track, he could be going on about walking his dog for all I care. Aside from the opener Autumn and She, Gibby seems to throw a knowing wink to the audience that this music is meant for light escapism rather than deep contemplation. (at least, I sure hope that’s the case…)

Speaking of She… yikes! I don’t know what got into Pierce’s head, but this is one seriously disturbing track. I can actually feel myself suffocating as this one plays, which either makes it devilishly great, or one I’ll never want to unearth again; rather like one of those psychologically terrifying movies.

There’s a couple other odds and ends to Autumn, like the Juan Atkins inspired Nothing More Than A White Poison, which seems out of place given the theme of the rest of the album, but overall I’ve covered the gist of things. It’s a short album that doesn’t stray far in tone, though arranged such that it doesn’t get dull; that is, provided you buy into the whole goth atmosphere. And that’s where some problems arise.

For the minimal techno groups, Autumn will come as a breath of fresh air (despite that air being musky, damp, and carrying the scent of wood-rot): it is, after all, something different from the norm. Label-honcho Hawtin sure seems to believe in this album, having commissioned a whopping seven remixers for the lead single Shine; even mainstream records don’t get that many right off the bat. Yet despite nothing to fault with the music on hand, long-time goths aren’t going to be nearly as enthralled. Any number of albums released in the past twenty years have touched on these themes and sounds with various results; Louderbach falls somewhere in the higher end of the middle of that pack. Plus, you can’t help but wonder if the goth scene will accept Pierce and Miller with open arms, or figure them as much of tourists as all the ‘minimal’ producers that sprung up a couple years back.

Whatever the case, Autumn is a fun little album to throw on if you want to get in touch with your depressive side, but generally too singular in tone to be a compelling listen in any other setting.

Written by Sykonee for TranceCritic.com, 2009. © All rights reserved.

Saturday, March 9, 2019

Cosmo Cocktail - Aurora

Werkstatt Recordings: 2017

Huh. Looks like I wasn't out of the Werkstatt woods after all. It's not like I forgot this album was in the queue either, its cover art quite striking in that classic space-synth mould. In fact, that's probably why I forgot it was a Werkstatt release, almost too good for the label. That's not a dig on the Greece synth peddlers, just that they tend to have a certain aesthetic, the sort of pulpy style you'd expect out of dingy cyperpunk enclaves, not airbrushed cosmic vistas. And while the art isn't anything spectacular either, I get more a Dynatron vibe out of it than Retrosynther. To be honest, I was at a loss of where I got Aurora in the first place, and was savouring the reveal of when I finally got to it proper-like. I'd forgotten it was Werkstatt, knew it wasn't Blood Music, but couldn't think of any other synthwave labels I'd raided these past couple years. Aphasia Records?

A few other factors had me thinking Aurora as an album released elsewhere. For one, Cosmo Cocktail isn't an utter blank within the Discoggian archives: there's even a full name provided! Luca Brumat mostly self-released a smattering of digital EPs, though found an additional outlet with 30th Floor Records, another in the endless amount of synthwave net-labels that emerged this past decade. With no physical releases though, naturally I didn't pay that print any mind, and I'm assuming the lure of tapes and CDs brought Mr. Brumat into the Werkstatt fold. His first one was Atmosphere Zero, with cover art featuring what appears to be a cyborg seaman operating the periscope of a U-boat – ah, that's the Werkstatt aesthetic I'm talkin' about.

Far as I can tell, Aurora is Cosmo Cocktail's magnum-opus, even getting a vinyl re-issue through TimeSlave Recordings (synthwave label # 138, 428, but has Futurecop!). It's certainly some high-grade synthwave music in the space-synth mould (SSSSYYYNNNNNTHHH!). The titular proper-opener captures all the cosmic vibes of casually cruising the solar system in tiny model spaceships against matte paintings and neon vector grids. Unfamiliar Skies adds some new wave vibes with a crooning Ideon. The Skylab Odyssey lays the epic synth chords on heavier. Last Call adds a little acid burbling to a strident new beat space groove. Across Orion Nebula ups the pace some while bringing more of a mysterious tone to the party. We'll Never Come Back serves as a lengthy credits coda to the album. Gagarin! Don't Look Back! ...um, severing ties to an evil galactic mega-corp criminal ring? Got nothing there.

What really pushes Aurora over the edge as one of Werkstatt's best releases is the production, everything coming in clear and crisp, with sonic resonance befitting a professional retro-studio rather than a DIY outfit. Heck, it's even better than some of Blood Music's output, which can sound muddy at times. With all these factors in play, can you blame me for initially thinking Aurora wasn't Werkstatt? I think not!

Friday, March 8, 2019

Tristan - Audiodrome

Twisted Records: 2000

A significant album for yours truly, though not for anything to do with the music within. Or maybe a little, though I don't put that on Tristan himself. Nay, Audiodrome was the first CD that I learned to not have any faith in Amazon reviews. It was still early in my 'online buying' days, that fancy new credit card I finally procured providing me access to the largest storefront the world has ever seen. What to buy, though, what to buy? Well, look at that, some handy 'recommendation lists' from Amazon users, and there's even one for trance. I like trance! At least, I think I still liked trance. If it's good trance, at least, and this particular list was reppin' some names that skewed towards the psy side of things. Ooh, Tristan, I know that name, appearing on that Trance Psyberdelic compilation. With adjectives like 'dark' and 'deep' in this reviewer's high praise of Audiodrome, I thought I might be in for another Black Album from L.S.G. Well, not quite.

So this album couldn't live up to the adulation of an Amazon review. Unfortunately, it didn't even live up to my expectation of a psy trance album. True, that's totally on me, as I was honestly unaware that a significant segment of the psy scene had embraced minimalism. In fact, Tristan's work is often cited as among the forerunners of that shift, Audiodrome held up as one of its best offerings. I can jive with that, the music on here definitely better than other examples of this sound from this era – one need only gander at that Alien Dust compilation for proof. Heck, some of Audiodrome is better than what's being churned out in this style to this day - ain't no abuse of triplets here, my friends.

And to be fair, only a couple tracks are of the slower, minimalist plodding variety. Even fairer, I respect Tristan's attempt at doing something quite different from psy trance norms. If anything, Valve is a precursor to the monotonous strand of prog-psy, so you gotta' give him credit for predicting it so far ahead of everyone else. I suppose Reptile Mind isn't too bad either, though constantly fails at shifting into second gear. Is probably the point.

That's not to say the rest of Audiodrome features a ton of tear-out trance, the remaining tracks generally minimalist as well. They show greater use of tension and build though, such that when those vintage psy-trance peaks hit, Tristan's getting maximum efficiency out of minimal sounds (and hey, if I need something more classical-goa, there's always Dreamtime). Naturally, I didn't 'get it' at the time, but have come to appreciate the songcraft in these tunes, especially in lieu of future repeated examples of how awful this can go. Audiodrome still isn't recommended for novice psy heads, truly a slow burner of an album. If you've been lurking about those 'forest trance' sorts though, give this one a go to hear its roots.

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Various - Audioworks Various Artists V1 (Original TC Review)

C.I.A.: 2004

(2019 Update:
Well, is this ever an eyesore. I know there's still a few track-by-track reviews lurking in my archives, but the older they get, the harder they are to read. Not that they were well-written in the first place, but my eyes can't help but glaze over once the supposed meat is getting detailed. Looks like a bunch of fat and gristle now. Some folks out there like fat and gristle, but not me. I likes my steak lean an' mean.

Of course, the biggest oversight in this review is the total absence of any Pendulum name-drops. True, this compilation came out before the Down-Southerns changed the d'n'b game forever after, but I was writing this at peak Pendulum-mania. Frankly, though I knew they existed, and Jack Moss had reviewed them for TranceCritic, they never registered on my radar until much later. Just goes to show how out of the loop I really was from jungle at the time, so take whatever I had to say here with a boulder of sodium carbonate.)



IN BRIEF: Rough’n’ready jungle for all.

Got’dang’it, but do I ever have a hard time starting these jungle reviews. I only dip into that scene whenever I feel the urge to bust out some frantic dancing or be absorbed by sub-whoofer assaults. The cultural nuances hardline junglists cling to with life-or-death intensity fly over my head, just because I’ve never been subservient to any one small niche of music-dom. Yes, I do my research for the necessary background info on the subject, but the personal insight a highly anticipated release on the jungle ‘mah-siive’ isn’t something I feel. I am, for all intent and purpose, a passive fan of the music, and that’s about it.

Perhaps that’s why we don’t cover as much jungle as some of the other genres. We know we can’t bullshit our way through some of the more underground acts, as junglists would see right through us. Alternatively, just dryly covering a release’s details is awfully boring, and can probably be read anywhere anyways.

Take this release for instance. I’m sure a hardline junglist could go into great depth about Total Science, their impact on the ‘deebee’ scene, and the particulars about their C.I.A. label. Of course, I could do the same, but the nuances junglists have come to know from fellow scensters would undoubtedly be missing from my interpretation of this info. While events are just historical dates to me, to the junglist they are defining moments in their lives.

Does this make me qualified to review jungle? As a review of jungle for junglists, maybe not. However, as a general music fan writing for other general music fans, why certainly.

That convoluted disclaimer out of the way, let’s dive ourselves into some breakneck drum’n’bass, yes?

So yeah, Audioworks is basically a showcase of the C.I.A. family (the C.I.A. stands for Computer Integrated Audio, your fun-fact of the day). Everyone has a moment to flex their muse here, and while the tempos are fairly consistent at their rapid pace, there are still plenty of flavors to be had.

Hive & Echo get the party started with some easy going street funk and synthy strings. Of course, the rhythms are as frenetic as ever, but never feel as though they’ll derail at any moment. As for the bassline, it doesn’t try to bludgeon you with its presence, simply bobbing along at sub-frequencies that’ll rumble in your gut when played on adequate sound-systems.

However, if you prefer your jungle with the basslines dominating, then Baron’s Meet The Creeper will be right up your alley. After a bit of a tease in the intro, the beats come in slammin’ with a grimy bass riff. Nothing pretty about this track; it knows its role and performs it admirably. DJ Friction’s follow-up Shockwave indulges with the formula a little more though, making use of a bleepy hook to play off the main bass hook. Additional sound effects complete the package, making Shockwave a well-rounded slice of niceness.

Wisely, Audioworks doesn’t overindulge in these tracks for long, and takes us into more soulful territory with Total Science’s own offering of Picture Perfect. The bassline still has drive, but the additional synth hooks and vocal samples help carry the song to mellower pastures. The next couple of tracks follow Picture Perfect’s lead quite nicely, although Booty Conspiracy began to wear a bit thin with its repetitiveness.

Invaderz aim to change the mood of this compilation once again, giving us a taste of the paranoid sci-fi soundscapes of Control. With more attention payed to the atmosphere rather than the rhythms here (the beats tend to be quite repetitive, and are arranged in such a manner that isn’t the easiest to dance to), this track may not be up your alley if you prefer your jungle soulful or energetic. Still, as a diversion form what we’ve heard so far on Audioworks, Control is a welcome bit of moody music.

The Spirit’s Midnight Run retains a similar atmosphere to Control, but the beats are more ‘bang-on’, making it easier to groove to. It also marks a return of the dominating basslines as heard earlier in this compilation, although intermittently. It makes for a nice segue though.

Why? Because follow-up Friday is absolutely killer, that’s why! The intro beats to this track are already some of the most intense heard on Audioworks, but when Friday briefly breaks down to introduce the main bassline hook in a nice build, the energy it creates is off the fucking chart! This is head-banging, balls-to-the-wallz, pummel you senseless jungle business here. And like crafty producers, Drumsound and Smith only makes use of it sparingly, making you hungry for it to drop back in but never for so long you get sick of it. Fucking wicked, this track is.

After that burst of nitro, we’re taken into a blissy bit of drum’n’bass with Digital’s 3 Point, hinting at an easy-going outro for this compilation. Follow-up Divine Intervention seems to support this idea for a bit, but takes a 180 by unleashing a growling, abrasive bassline with terrifying results. Heh, nothing like a little ‘bait’n’switch’ action to snap you out of your stupor. Q Project does come correct though, offering us a dubby slice of ragga jungle to take us out.

In all, I quite enjoyed listening to Audioworks. While individually these tracks may not be breaking any new ground, their arrangement here is very good. At no point did I feel the flow lagged or came to an abrupt halt, and each track managed to sound different enough from the last to keep me interested. In fact, even after listening to this constantly for the last few days to write this review, I’ve never grown bored of it, and will probably still have it on my current rotation.

Audioworks is a solid compilation of jungle. Even if you’re only a passive fan of the genre, do check it out.

Written by Sykonee for TranceCritic.com, 2006. © All rights reserved.

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Various - Fade Records Presents: Audiotour - Chris Fortier

Benz Street US: 2004

It's amazing how Chris Fortier repeatedly kept the 'trance' faith alive for me. I've already gone on a tonne over the hopelessly obscure Trance America mix from him, and wouldn't you know it, he did it again with an almost equally obscure mix CD, this little Audiotour item. Right, this isn't trance, but progressive house, or prog, whichever you prefer in the year 2004, though even then there were a number of notions of what prog-house was anymore. Was it the deep, dark, dubby tribal stuff Digweed had been championing for a while? Or was it the slighter, poppier stuff as heard from Gabriel & Dresden's various works? Was it some mutant hybrid with twinkly melodies and chugging rhythms? No one knew for sure, thus the scene was set to fracture in such a fashion that it still hasn't found common ground again. All I knew at the time was most of the mixes I was sampling weren't doing it for me, leaving me wondering whether I'd ever buy another prog-house CD.

And honestly, I wasn't expecting a revival or something from Chris Fortier – I was surprised enough seeing this release sitting idly in an A&B Sound that browsing day. I knew he'd done a mix for Digweed's Bedrock series, but had heard little else from him since Trance America. For all I knew, he had jumped on the McProg bandwagon too, or maybe pulled a Steve Porter and gone funky house! And hoo, did I fear the worst with the opening track A.B.E. from Motive, a short-lived project from Tom Anderson and Mark Hunt, featuring the vocals of Abegale Fishcer, and among the cheesiest prog-breaks tunes I've ever heard. Just... eugh. I'm flabbergasted that the label behind Fade would release such a track. Then again, they also were the first to remix Delerium's Silence.

Forget the first track. It has nothing to do with the rest of the mix, a total misdirection of where Audiotour takes you. Yes, this is basically a Fade Records showcase, and wouldn't you know it, Fortier had kept his label on the straight and narrow, releasing tunes like it's still the year 1999. Or 2001. Whenever you figure 'peak dark prog' was. Point is you get those tasty vintage deep dubby chuggers like Blackwatch's rub on Luigi's Creation, The Ally Qats' Talk To Me Goose (that breakdown!), and Chris Micali's L' Èvasion (complete with creepy sample of Dr. Loomis describing Michael Myers in the insane asylum).

The moody groovers out of the way, Fortier unleashes a few fun anthems for the close-out, including a cheeky collaborative remix with Steve Porter on D'Shake's old-timey Yaaaah! (that's four 'a's, yo'). Chris's own cut Wateveritis works the classic prog-house vibes as wonderfully as any tune from the '90s, while the final run of Fade tunes are fine, though strangely sound a tad dated compared to the tracks that came prior. Still, when it comes to '90's sounding mid-'00s prog-house, I'll take dated any day!

Monday, March 4, 2019

Autechre - Incunabula

Warp Records: 1993

(a Patreon Request)

It's clear I've neglected Autechre, and I have my reasons. Fear, disinterest, embarrassment... all worthy factors (no joke, for the longest time, I thought their name was pronounced “aur-toosh”; I don't know how that happened). Honestly, it was probably a singular Muzik Magazine review that led me astray from the music of Rob Brown and Sean Booth, in that they were lamenting how 'un-musical' they'd become since their first three records. An exaggeration, perhaps, but the stuff I was hearing from Autechre at the time was indeed super serious IDM experimentalism. Cool if you dig on technical wankery, but it wasn't something I was interested in. Still, those first three albums were highly recommended. Maybe one day, I'd check them out. One day, one day... one day...

Oh hey, one day is here! And if I'm gonna' dive into Autechre, I may as well start from the beginning, as it's apparently the easiest leaping on point. Incunabula came out at the tail-end of Warp Records' Artificial Intelligence run, the last of the original artist albums under the banner. Warp would release one more compilation, then essentially mothball the series, as all these weird ambient techno 'doods' had enough clout to stand on their own without a concept linking them all together. Besides, with so many other labels now getting in on this 'intelligent techno' trend, I'm sure the label wanted to distance itself from such a gimmicky tag. Good luck on that, mates.

As for Incunabula (ergh... keep wanting to type 'innocuous'), yeah, it's definitely an early ambient techno album. I can hear why latter-era Autechre followers aren't too fussed with this debut, as it really sounds like the lads from Rochdale are still influenced by their peers rather than embarking on any drastic sonic journeys themselves. I'd even be so willing to say this might be the least 'Autechre-sounding' album in their discography, if I had any clue what the majority of their discography sounds like.

For sure it's one of the finer examples of early ambient techno, and you can hear plenty of sonic markers still being emulated by modern producers of this sound – Aphex Twin didn't have a monopoly on inspiration, after all. By the same token though, a track like Bike sounds like it could just as easily appeared on a B12 EP, Aut Riche just as easily on a Black Dog collection, Brochus 2 as a Speedy J fill, and Lowride as a ...wait, isn't that DJ Premier In Deep Concentration?

Still, there are glimmers of the complex drum programming Autechre would come to known by, tracks like Maetle, 444, and Basscadet showing they were willing to think outside the traditional techno box. Meanwhile, Windwind, Eggshell, and Doctrine have nice warm melodies countering the harsher electronics, which is what we ever wanted out of our ambient techno anyway. Incunabula may not be a terribly challenging record compared to later Autechre works, but it's enjoyable on its own merits just the same.

Saturday, March 2, 2019

OutKast - ATLiens

LaFace Records: 1996

Now this one, I was under no delusion it'd sound like Stankonia. No one in hip-hop sounded like Stankonia in the mid-'90s – heck, very few sounded like Stankonia when that album dropped, though I'm sure there's an outlier or two that could be pointed out as the true originator of 'southern trap-rap crunk-jungle soul'. Point being, though Stankonia kinda' numbed the enjoyment I should have had with Aquemini, I knew fully well ATLiens would be its own beast, meaning I could take it in under its own terms, expectant hype be damned.

No, wait, that's not entirely true. I knew ATLiens had its own high amount of praise, though for different reasons. An album that showed there was something creative and ingenious brewing in the lands of Georgia. An album that proved southern rap could be more than a bunch of booty bass and ghetto-cheap beats. That Wu-Tang Clan didn't have a monopoly on comic book iconography. Okay, maybe not so much that last one, but man, doesn't Big Boi look like he'd fit right in with a team-up with Method Man or Ghostface Killah? Right, they settled on Raekwon in Aquemini, but for sure the seeds of a major coastal crossover event were planted here. Also, Andre 3000 as a genie, but there were wacky sorts in hip-hop before him. He just started flying his own freak flag for ATLiens.

So if there's any disappointment to be had from my end regarding OutKast's sophomore album, it's that they didn't push the envelop quite as far as I was led to believe. The package screams ultra nerdcore concept outing, and given the general plaudits heaped upon it, I figured it a game-changer not just in the lexicon of southern rap, but all of rap. Nay, it's instead treading ground already being charted by the likes of the Hieroglyphics crew and other 'backpack rappers' of the time. And hey, totally a departure of what was expected from the south, so that's good enough, right?

Right. I don't need to hear Boi and 3000 rapping about their intergalactic escapades as portrayed in the booklet's comic. Hearing them waxing tales about living in Atlanta is good enough when the flows are this dope and the beats are this fine. ATLiens is best served as a deep southern fried slice of chilled-out vibes, perfect cruising material for hot 'n muggy days just trying to get by. There are moments of introspection, moments of booty chasin', and moments of good ol' simple head-boppin' – all under a thick THC haze as imported from somewhere beyond the outer reaches of your being. Or something.

It's a strange journey I've taken in exploring OutKast's discography. I came in when they were crossing over, but before they'd truly broken through the mainstream. The further back I dug, the simpler they seemed, but somehow more interesting too. Still, not sure I'm up for Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik. That one seems too straight-forward, and I need my OutKast a little askew.

Friday, March 1, 2019

ACE TRACKS: February 2019

So this past month, I've had to do something for work that I haven't had to do in a very long time. It's something I've dreaded could come about again, the nature of my work somewhat fickle in where I must go for periods of time. See, the nature of living in Vancouver is you should never, ever commute over a bridge or through a tunnel. Unfortunately, the expense of living in Vancouver often means one must find residence out in the 'burbs, across the bridges and through the tunnels. I have not done this, as my means of living has left enough financial fluency such that I can live within Vancouver-proper, where my work has been for the past decade.

At the start of February, however, I was 'loaned out' to another place to work. A place that's on the other side of a bridge. One that I must commute to in an opposite direction. Actually, the commute there is pretty easy, as I leave rather early in the morning and is a breeze, the time just a shade longer than the time it takes me to get to my regular working area. That commute back, on the other hand. Dear God, it'd almost be just as fast for me to walk the distance, the traffic so congested. Of course, if I had my own vehicle, this wouldn't be such an issue, but if I don't cheap out with transit, how can I continue living in my Vancouver paradise? Oh well, what's an extra 45 minutes home from work, when you got a fresh ACE TRACKS playlist to jive on?


Full track list here.

MISSING ALBUMS:
Motorbass - Pansoul
Paul Oakenfold - Perfecto Presents Another World
Bandulu - Antimatters
Pitch Black - Ape To Angel
The Angling Loser - Arena Of Apprehension
Morgan - Arrakis

Percentage Of Hip-Hop: 11%
Percentage Of Rock: 26%
Most “WTF?” Track: any of the Asia songs (whoa, they were actually good!)

Yep, that's another pile o' tune missing from another playlist. Ahh, just like old times, eh? Getting down to the final stretch of 'A' album though, which means we're in for another massive backlog of newer music to get through. Don't worry though, that Viking Metal I've hinted at is put off for much further down the road.

Things I've Talked About

...txt 10 Records 16 Bit Lolita's 1963 1965 1966 1967 1968 1969 1971 1972 1973 1974 1975 1976 1977 1978 1979 1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2 Play Records 2 Unlimited 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 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&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 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 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-rap Bauri Beastie Boys Beat Buzz Records Beatbox Machinery Beats & Pieces bebop Beck Bedouin Soundclash Bedrock Records Beechwood Music Benny Benassi 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 Def Jam Recordings Del Tha Funkee Homosapien Delerium Delsin Deltron 3030 Depeche Mode Der Dritte Raum Derek Carr Detroit Devin Underwood 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 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 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 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 fsoldigital.com 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 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 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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