AUSTRIA SPECTRUM SPOOLS SP035 LP (2014)
Spectrum Spools plump disparate once again with this rough n’ready addition to their diverse roster: Prostitutes aka Cleveland, Ohio-based producer James Donadio, who takes his place in the school of techno minimalists (Brinkmann, Hawtin et al.) who enjoy long bus rides through 4/4 Land, making the most of minor episodes witnessed along the way. Retro-heads may well enjoy these no-frills numbers, which hark back to the pre-Ableton Live days, when tracks were patiently stacked on atop the other like a Jenga tower; and with a predilection for more conventional settings, our producer is quite the adept when it comes to removing the extraneous. For the most part, cardio-vascular thumps dominate the show, punching holes in those speaker cones, while the passenger seat goes to melodies so stripped down that they’re emotionally barren. Doubtless these would once have earned the approval of Kevin Martin or Mick Harris, and no small debt is due to James Plotkin’s pummelling mastering work. While Donadio’s tendency to squeeze dry a limited reservoir of resources will demand a certain amount of patience from listeners, he still offers much bang for buck: at times these long haul drives careen through space like the Fuck Buttons (‘Cylindrical Habitat’) and cut loose like Cut Hands (‘A Number Between Their Eyes’), but are ever committed to menacing the dance floor.
TIGERBEAT6 MEOW 202 EP (2013)
Liberal dashes of Gorillaz, LCD Soundsystem and Deadmaus are audible in this high-octane electro-pop, and I recommend it unreservedly to fans of the same acts. The French duo DAT Politics have been making a name for themselves internationally since 1999, with releases on Kid606’s Tigerbeat6, Chicks on Speed and even Sub Rosa under their low-slung belts. The sheer energy of The Powermoon EP speaks promisingly of their performance appeal; compressing an LP’s worth of content into six delirious tracks. It’s well-meaning and doubtless good fun in a live setting when you’re surrounded by bouncy 20 year-olds. Opens with the synth squeakery of ‘Boogie-Mind’, the vocodered vocals of which convey shades of compatriot success story, Daft Punk. By extreme contrast, ‘Ghost Town’ is all nonchalant girlie electro anthem that just manages to stay awake at the wheel, while ‘Hold That Pose (My Mother Told Me)’ – endowing the EP with Gorillaz-level eclecticism – sees our heroes joining forces with The Soft Pink Truth for a spot of ballsy, chopped-up indie rap, with cocksure French girl vocals and air horns camping things up nicely. While fun for some, I personally find it all a bit tiring as home listening goes, but it could well be someone else’s perfect pre-club listening choice.
SPAIN ALKU 129 LP (2013)
Evol’s press advises us to ‘file under: more annoying rave anthems’ and I could end the review here, for even the word count would be apposite. But I won’t.
This blood red vinyl 12” is a tribute to the equally relentless, 1992 gabberrrrr… classic ‘Poing’ by Rotterdam Termination Source, which is apparently the highest (mainstream) charting rave track in Dutch history. According to Discogs denizens, the tune has also been used by West Bromwich Albion Football Club to celebrate goals, and has been a direct influence on many subsequent dance tracks. While not directly sampling said tune (nor any other), Something Inflatable dispenses with the original’s pads and kickdrums and extrapolates the ever-so catchy ‘poing’ sound. The resulting electro-mentalism poings away for a total of 30 minutes, shifting pitch and bpm here and there, but otherwise making good with the poings, like a hyperactive child addicted to the iPad app from Parent-Hell. If you don’t yet get what this is all about, please read again from the beginning. Further amusement may be derived from the fact that on Side A the needle moves outwards from the centre, bringing it back to the point of origin on side B, provided the listener manages to get that far.