Meets Most Soulmates At Faust Studio Deejay Laboratory
GERMANY KLANGBAD 66LP 2 x LP (2014)
‘Once again this album is a celebration of musical inspiration and personal friendship worldwide’ reads the legend on the rear of this this double LP’s sleeve and it’s a good capture of the contents: 3 parts mix tape (‘inspiration’) and 1 part collaboration (‘friendship’). If I’d heard this blind I’d have sworn it was a new release from Yamantaka Eye – the Boredoms’ frenzied frontman-turned-tribal-house-DJ and drum circle shaman – who knocked out some excellent mixes in the early ‘00s; the raging pan-musical wildfire of Planetary Gas Love Webbin’ being my personal favourite volume of dance floor anathema. But as his recent mixes are hard to get hold of for non-Japanese, DJ Marcelle’s mach 5 mashups of rhythms tribal-to-techno provide an excellent substitute for the ritalin-starved.
Something of an old hand behind the decks, Marcelle has been running a radio show in Holland (Another Nice Mess) for the past 30 years and appears to be as much of a musical omnivore as the late John Peel, whom she apparently counted among her friends. Certainly no less inspired nor comical in her collage-like combinations than EYE-sama, she cuts and splices samples like a samurai swordsman with a professionally packed suitcase. Yet, at the drop of a hat she’ll drop everything and launch into an audience singalong as happens on side three, tumbling into the locked groove that marks the ‘end’ of the mix phase. By this time we’ve feasted from a plunderphonic horn of plenty too rapidly changing to prevent stomach cramps, but side four is the breather: showcasing Marcelle’s collaborative side across five equally eclectic and exotic but more evolutionary tracks. It’s a fitting end to the preceding madness, and a novel way to end a mix: with a compilation.
The Another Nice Mess vinyl series now runs to four double-vinyl volumes, so one might be inclined to wonder WHY anyone would release a hard-copy mix (cassettes aside) in these days of digital-plenty, when no scene or artist goes undocumented and archived on Mixcloud by talented enthusiasts around the world. While not invalid, given the current vinyl bubble one could just as easily point the finger at the plethora of pointless vinyl issues and reissues that clog the racks today. If anything, Marcelle’s playlist is as fine a presentation of wheat from chaff as one could possibly stomach. While it would be easy to point out that Marcelle has clearly earned the right to such extravagance and this ‘love letter to vinyl’ route is probably appropriate to her modus operandi, it certainly behooves the conscientious consumer to decorate their surroundings with such delirious professionalism.
Ulrich Troyer feat. Vin Gordon, Didi Kern and Kassian Troyer
AUSTRIA 4-BIT PRODUCTIONS 4BIT-P006 12” EP (2015)
A super-solid four pack of remixes from electro-dub tinkerer Ulrich Troyer, whose amiable Songs For William 2 we previously had the pleasure of reviewing. While it was hard to pick a favourite from that eclectic treasure trove, it has proven just as difficult to go wrong in choosing a ‘single’, as these four able remixes demonstrate. Anchored into the throbbing ‘ostinato iterations of a massive bass line’, ‘Deadlock’ is a lean beast, its cool, graceful movement radiating great self-confidence. Outwardly similar, the remixes link like one, long toy-town parade that got caught in a gust of spliff smoke. Suitably relaxed listeners will discern the subtle distinctions from one track to the next, and many will appreciate the unassuming interlocution of Vin Gordon’s trombone; a delicate trimming that allows room for the liberal play of echo and reverb in time and space.
Monet In The 90’s
USA OSR-TAPES OSR #24 LP (2014)
Cutesy Californian bedroom indie-pop with a stylised, adolescent amateurism that beams from the diary art sleeve; valium vocals breathing warm life into platitude-plentiful lyrics like “my cup would be empty but yours has filled up the rest / love is a nest and you patch it up the best you can” and a song of love to the skateboard. Though markedly more lo-fi in affectation, Chris Weisman and cohorts – alongside devotees such as Caribou and Olivia Tremor Control – enjoy an enduring enchantment with psychedelically charged records by the Residents, Beach Boys, Beatles, Byrds and beyond.
But he has shunned the bombast and expansiveness for the simple comforts of home, which on initial listenings makes it easy to write things off as mannered pastiche (not least when his pitch-shifted female companion chimes in) but over time these songs do get their hooks in, and there’s no denying the musicianship that underlies the restraint of the song-craft, as little filigree flourishes of guitar in ‘Forgive and Forget’ and elsewhere attest. But pastiche it is, and if the title tells us anything its that Weisman harks back to the 1990s; a decade when home technology became sufficient to the task of making festival headliners out of skilled amateurs. Sure, he may not have been Lollapalooza material, but that could have been his decade.