Archive for June, 2008
Thursday, June 26th, 2008 | Event Preview | No Comments
With only a week or so until Wild in the Country, EarPipe decided to have a chat with Renaissance’s main man Geoff Oakes about what to expect, what’s new and what’s making RenHQ giggle like school girls with excitement.
What can we expect this year from Wild in the Country?
18 hours of the very best in electronic and indie live acts and djs, funktion one sound, beautiful décor, lots of fun stuff to keep you amused and possibly the prettiest festival location in the UK.
Whats different this year from last year’s festival?
we have increased the hours by 50%, so it’s now an 18 hour marathon, starting at 1pm, with a much bigger and more diverse line-up. We only had 3 live acts last year, whilst this year we have 20, and there’s been a greater focus on making Wild in the Country feel like a fun and interesting festival experience. Whether it’s a surreal cuppa and cucumber sandwich at the mad hatters tea party, lazing away the afternoon in the enchanted forest or braving the fairground rides, there’s plenty to do both day and night.
So there are now 6 arenas what can we expect from each arena?
there’s a lot of musical diversity and we have programmed each arena to flow as if it were its own individual night. Each will have their own specific décor and funktion one sound, making every arena feel much more like a club than a festival tent.
What is Ren HQ most excited about at this year’s festival?
I think it has to be attracting Bjork for her only UK festival appearance. Danny Tenaglia’s first festival appearance in 6 years, Richie Hawtin hosting the only Minus arena at a UK festival this summer and Pendulum’s Live show will also be highlights.
Yoda was added to the bill. Will he be wowing us with one of his special AV shows?
He isn’t doing the ‘film score’ set, but he always delivers something special………. We were really pleased to land him and I can’t wait to see him play.
Richie Hawtin and friends are there celebrating 10 years of Minus, will they be doing their new cube live show concept thing??
No, the mysterious Cube is coming later in the year! However, this is a true Minus showcase and, with Carl Craig as a special guest, is a techno connoisseurs dream.
Are there any more acts to be announced?
No, we’re 10 days away as we speak…… everything is locked-in and the site build has already started.
Will there be an after party anywhere for those that don?t want to stop?
I am sure there will be but our focus is on the 18 hours of the festival, so no Wild in the Country endorsed after parties I’m afraid………. Not totally discounting turning up at one myself though!
Is mud banned from WITC this year and is the sunshine booked and confirmed for the 5th?
last year we had what was quite possibly the wettest day of the wettest summer on record, so it can only get better! We took a lot of lessons from last years weather and are much better equipped to deal with it should it happen again. The forecast for the south is looking pretty good though, so fingers crossed for a hot and sunny weekend.
What sets WITC away from your usual GlobalCreamfieldsbury Festivals?
the bigger the festival, the more pressure there is to load up the line up with as many djs and acts as possible to ensure the huge ticket sales required to break even are reached. This often means that too many acts are crammed into an arena with short sets and things don’t flow musically. We’ve tried to maintain a specific feel to Wild in the Country by putting together a credible and coherent line-up that makes real sense musically, giving set times of up to 4 hours to some DJs. The integrity of the line-up, coupled with an equal focus on a relaxed and fun experience, means we attract a great crowd that creates a unique festival atmosphere. The absence of a hard house tent feels like a breath of fresh air!
Thursday, June 26th, 2008 | Album Review | No Comments
Sven Vath’s Cocoon releases the first of the two crown jewel compilations. The second, released after the summer is The Sound of the Season where Sven showcases the “big” Ibiza tunes so all the workers can reminisce how pappa Sven blew their mind at the end of a two day marathon encompassing Space and DC-10. However for this review we’re more interested in the first of the releases. The ‘Compilation’ series, now in its Hth incarnation showcases the tracks which will be rocking the Cocoon boys and girls over the summer. These compilations usually shy away from the garishness in the big “big” hitters normally seen on the Sound of the Season CDs. But they still cover techno tracks which you will be hearing in the clubs but probably in a more underground manner. The compilation is left in an unmixed format its perfect for budding DJs who have an instant party on a CD to mix with, perfect for the million and one DJs heading out for their big Ibiza gig at the Orange Corner.
This year the CD ranges from quality names such as Dubfire, Jooris Voorn, Simon Baker, Cassy, Gui Boratto and Efdemin. The theme throughout is electronic house and techno that makes you dance. The first track comes from Cassy with her sublime and subtle hypnotic loops. A Plea For Me uses her soft voice in short vocal elements whilst a simple yet effective loop opens the CD. There is minimal progression in most Cassy tunes but she can just strike the hypnotic nail on the head with such ease and precision. Jooris Voorn follows Cassy with a similar style. He uses warm bubbling basslines and Moroccan influenced percussion as electronic horns increase in intensity. Another great track to build the mood of a set.
Oliver Ho uses syncopated beats and electronic abstract pigeon coos on Tempo. Quirky and strange, only the boldest DJs will use. What follows on from here is a series of your regular drawn out techno tracks for the club, trendy bleeps and clicks with plip plop beats. Vath has an outing with fellow German Flugel who imposes his minimal influences on Sven, creating Trashbin Dance. Whilst Simon Baker infuses bleeps with an elephant trumpet on U.
Len Faki goes for the more traditional tougher edged peak time Cocoon sound with heavy beats, evil synths and an interesting incorporation of the Jungle Brothers ‘I’ll House You’ vocals. Defector or merely regression back to the techno scene, old now new boy Dubfire follows with Diablo. Like most of Dubfire’s tracks, they’re very well produced but seem very clinical and generic. It’s an entertaining track but at the same time lacks anything interesting. Its quite an art.
The CD begins to move away from the peak time bleeps and heads towards the wind down. Gui Borrato transitions the CD starting with a dark Gaiser style beat before flourishing into bright and colourful synths and strings. Something that Gui is so good at. Efdemin continues the bright and colourful synths with a dash of acid on Float. The acid flows into Mark August’s 3 of A Kind which is sure to be massive this year and I’m pretty sure it’s already been moving a lot of dancefloors already. Old style synths intertwine over a heavy marching kick drum which intensifies and releases like a pressure valve.
Compilation H is a solid collection of tracks suitable for all techno occasions. Whilst some of the techno tracks start to sound similar through the middle, they still all have an individual quality outside of the CD. Good tracks for the summer and perfect if you’re a DJ.
1. Cassy Britton – A Plea For Me
2. Joris Voorn – Deep Side of the Moog
3. Oliver Ho – Tempo
4. Väth vs. Flügel – TrashbinDance
5. Simon Baker – U
6. Len Faki – Death by House
7. Dubfire – Diablo
8. Tolga Fidan – Us and Them
9. Gui Borratto – Golden Axe
10. Efdemin – Float
11. Mark August – 3 of a Kind
12. Matt Star – Am I Dreaming
Thursday, June 26th, 2008 | Event Reviews | No Comments
The last couple of weeks at EarPipe have been manic in a musical sense. Firstly we were at Sonar festival the weekend just gone and we will be bringing you the full report soon. But we also managed to catch two gigs from two Goliaths in music. The first was Massive Attack at their opening gig for the Meltdown festival at the Southbank Centre, London. Being the curators for this year’s festival, they planned to do two live shows at the opening and closing whilst packing out the time inbetween with performances, showcases, talks and the odd silent disco.
The Royal Festival Hall was a spectacular venue to hold the band. Usually reserved for orchestras and the ballet, Massive Attack had transformed the stage into a cityscape of lights and equipment resulting in one of the most impressive and carefully thought out light shows for a gig I have ever seen. Their light installation added and enhanced the mood of Massive Attack’s dark trip hop stylings creating such an audio visual experience. The LED screen combined with the mood lighting really brought enhanced their music whilst also conveying messages adding a political stance to the gig. As for the music, the band moved through all four albums and even showcased tracks from a forthcoming album. Highlights for me have to be the beautiful Teardrop, the winding, dark Angel and of course the euphoric Unfinished Sympathy, which had the entire auditorium up on their feet. If you’re going to Glastonbury, make sure you catch them.
The other gig which EarPipe managed to catch was Radiohead’s final London gig of two on their In Rainbows Worldwide tour. Set in the heart of Hackney’s Victoria Park, Radiohead had a sort of mini festival set up. Large stage, big crowd and the great outdoors. The weather was clear and sunny. Aeroplanes floated over as they approached London City Airport. Truly a great local venue. Whilst their light show was pretty it was not a patch on Massive Attack. On the plus side it was all eco friendly using only the bare essentials. But for Radiohead that’s beside the point. Everyone was here to hear their new album and to see what tracks from the past they may dig up.
In Rainbows sounded phenomenal on the sound system. Crystal clear as the few thousand strong crowd floated away to Nude and Videotape. Bodysnatchers and 15 Step injected a great energy into the set whilst House of Cards ushered the sun into the horizon. After hearing live I think I can safely say that In Rainbows is their best work since OK Computer. Maybe the freedom from the shackles of big record labels allowed the band be true to themselves to create shear quality music. That said their back catalogue is by no means meant to be ignored.
A lot of Radiohead fans attend their gigs to play the “will they play their big hits” lottery. Usually they’ll drop one or two from the two albums which brought them so much popularity. But with this being their last gig in London at such an different venue, fully dedicated to the band and a crowd to follow too. Surely something special should happen….. and by god it did. Merely a couple tracks in from the new album and they slide into Lucky. The crowd go wild, I shed a small tear. Couple more tracks later National Anthem reverberates around the park and is shortly followed by No Surprises, launching the crowd into karaoke mode.
Lucky and No Surprises was special. Two of my favourite tracks from OK Computer. I had had my fill of Radiohead nostalgia, but they take it further. Harking back to the second album, My Iron Lungs and title track The Bends bring back the raw feel of their early days and have the old skool and now middle aged fans thinking is the early 90s all over again. If that weren’t enough the encore is finished by KARMA POLICE! Again the crowd sing in unison from start to finish with Thom Yorke’s angel like voice. The stand out moment comes as track finishes but Thom Yorke continues solo on his acoustic through another round of the chorus and the entire park complete the vocals. What a way to end the performance. But it wasn’t left there. The band return yet again to perform the second encore and finally finish with Paranoid Android!
What a perfect set, perfect venue, truly AMAZING, what a band. Radiohead we salute you.
Wednesday, June 18th, 2008 | Album Review | No Comments
Argy first came to my attention way back in 2005 just as I was getting into the whole, dare I say, “minimal” house thing. His track Love Dose was blowing up all the usual hang outs from Sonar to DC-10 and Fabric. Its slow and sexual pace and warm round bassline epitomised what was happening in the dance music scene. Fast forward a few years and the man has a whole album out.
Argy’s Focus On is a kind of artist album come mix compilation, similar to what Villalobos did with his Fabric release. He mixes his productions or remixes, old and new to produce a deep and sensual tribal soundtrack. Intricate percussion and warm basslines course through the CD as it glides effortlessly through a dark and winding journey.
Argy teams up with Jerome Sydenham of Sandcastles fame for track three, In The Mist. This track is exclusive to the mix and combines the deep, dark and tribal powers of both producers. The dark and hypnotic track slips into the eerie but familiar Love Dose. Its acid squelches and alien synths continue the subtle and tribal mood.
The darkness is lifted for a brief moment as Argy and The Mole collaborate on another exclusive for the CD. Cantstandlovegetaway is classic house reminiscent of the late 90s. Funky loops and disco-esque beats urges some ass shaking before dropping into the DJ Gregory collaboration Our Drums. The result is an old style big room tribal track and it’s good to hear this sound again. DJ Gregory’s penchant for African rhythms and percussion ooze out and form a formidable sound with Argy’s dark and hypnotic sound. Tribal is surely going to make a come back this year!
His dubby remix of Ryo Muraki’s Down The Sky takes influences from that classic prog sound of yesteryear. Its dubby synth stabs and chugging bassline injects some bright energy as the mix begins to wind up to Argy’s recent organ lead ‘1985’. The organ creates a perfect sound to round the CD off.
This mix has shown Argy’s ability of creating great house music from across the board, be it tribal, minimal or straight up classic house. This man can do it all. It’s a great mix which showcases what a talent he is. Lets hope we see more and more from him. 8.5/10
Buy the CD from Amazon
Tracklisting (* exclusive to CD):
01. Jerome Sydenham, Texu, Romantic Couch:
Ebian (Argy‘s Legendary Bonus Beats)
02. Argy: The Storm
03. Argy & Sydenham: In The Mist *
04. Argy: Love Dose
05. Argy: Malena
06. Argy & The Mole: Cantstandlovegetaway *
07. Argy & DJ Gregory: Our Drums * /
Argy & Bayoga: Under No Illusion*
08. Argy & Solomun: Anemone *
09. Ryo Murakami: Down The Sky (Argy Remix)
Thursday, June 12th, 2008 | Single Review | No Comments
Simon Baker returns after his seminal Plastik release on Playhouse from last year. For this release the DDD resident unleashes his brand of techno come house on Tolfrey’s label Leftroom, which has been going from strength to strength.
The original track is big and ballsy techno. An energy filled intro clicks and blips its way through to a simple 4 tone synth cycle, which changes in length, upping the intensity of the track until in crescendos into a brash breakdown of distorted reverberating synths. The track simmers back down to its intro component parts to gently pass you on to the next track. Hypnotic and ear catching this track is sure to cause explosions on the dancefloor.
Two remixes are in this package. The first is from Frankie who cuts and loops the original into a more frantic busier techno track. Shorter loops create a busier sound as all the elements from the original play a part. Frankie takes the original breakdown too, but again cuts and chops it up this time off key creating a wall of noise which will most likely ruin you on the dancefloor. High paced, loud and brutal. Use with caution!
The final remix comes from label owner Matt Tolfrey teamed up with Leftroom artist Marc Ashken as they go verses against the Jesus looking Parisian Ivan Smagghe. Between them they’ve restrained the intensity and switched to an evil bassline as bleeps ping out over the top and echoed vocal sighs slide in to create a moment of madness until it is briefly struck down with a silent break. This brief silence of clarity is short but needed as the track drops back in and continues its spiral down the bleepy hole. Trippy and eerie, this track is made for those dark underground rooms and makes for the best track in the package with the original coming in a close second.
Simon Baker – X, Y & Z is out on Leftroom Limited,
on vinyl now and on digital from 7th July
Thursday, June 12th, 2008 | Single Review | No Comments
I don’t know whats happen but the last year or so Shlomi Aber has just come out of nowhere and started knocking out quality tracks like nobodies business. He ravaged the scene back in 2007 with his release Freakside on Ovum and this time he returns on his own label Be As One.
Side A is titled In Theory Yes. It runs with a subtle tribal rhythm and a warm round bassline that wobbles about the beats. Simple synth stabs hold your attention in the foreground periodically settling down to allow the warm bassline to rise through. Its straight forward in idea, but the simplicity creates its infectiousness.
Side B takes more of a summery deep house route in Efrat. Shlomi resurrects a combination of deep and prog house across a similar format seen in ‘In Theory Yes’. Bright synth stabs pop open over a routine house and shaker beat to create another simple and effective mover. To be honest this second track lacks imagination but Shlomi’s production skills deliver such a clean and smooth sound you’d be hard pressed to find better quality in other productions.
Great tracks if not a little formulaic. But it will certainly entertain the dancefloors out there. 7/10
Shlomi Aber – In Theory Yes/Efrat is out now, Download from Beatport
Monday, June 9th, 2008 | Single Review | No Comments
Tiefschwarz’s label Souvenir re-releases Psychonauts’ World keeps turning with a bunch of new remixes so that it can get the attention they believe it should have got the first time around.
The original is a fusion of electronica and indie with hints of disco and funk. Add the vocals and it is reminiscent of Depeche Mode. Its moody electroclash feel would fit best in an alternative set but doesn’t really stand out enough to have widespread appeal. However it will be the remixes which should be catching the ear of most DJs and punters.
The first remix sees Mogg & Naudascher deliver a heavy electroclash number. Taking the electronica element a step further than the original, they use classic acid synths and electronic noises in a trashy way. The vocal seems to sit well as the tracks squelches away with increasing intensity. A crazy tweaky acid workout.
Remix number 2 comes from Italian duo Audiofly. On a bit of a roll in recent times, the boys give it their minimal house treatment. Sparing use of the vocals over haunting sounds, muted percussion and a wonky techno bassline keep the original darkness whilst injecting some funk and danceability into the whole affair. The output is worthy but the vocal doesn’t really work for me. Give me a dub version!
The Highfish remix keeps close to the original. A DJ friendly beat at an increased tempo brings the original into a mild techno realm. Extra synth sighs and stabs contain the moody original in a more upbeat structure. It’s simple and effective, but only enables it to be used in more 4/4 driven sets.
There is something for everyone here, interesting tracks with varying success in using the vocal. 6.5/10
Tuesday, June 3rd, 2008 | Album Review | No Comments
The queens of Berlin go head to head this month. Mobilee’s head honcho vs BPitch Control’s head honcho in a bloody album release to the death… Chances are Anja Schneider and Ellen Allien are friends in the current European party capital that is Berlin and such brutal ideas probably never cross their mind. In fact we should be thankful that both are releasing albums. For Anja Schneider this is her debut album that she has co produced with Paul Brtschitsch on her own label Mobilee. Her album delivers the supple house sounds that Mobilee is currently pushing through acts like Sebo K and Pan Pot as well as the wider community from Rekleiner through to Dixon and Guido Schneider.
The album begins with Safari, a track which blends a cyclic melody of chimes and warm synths. It chime and synth melodies swirls and exchange positions as subtle percussion flutters in and out of the foreground to create a warm and welcoming opening track. From the light opening Anja dives straight into the heavy tribal rhythms of Mole. Released back in April it has been on heavy rotation for a lot of DJs out there. And rightly so as this is one of the stand out tracks of the album and of the year so far. Its highly percussive tribal rhythm and warm sub bass give Mole a dark and primeval foundation where stabs of sliding synths, plucked strings and wild sounds create an eerie and enchanted scene. Imagine Native Americans, the desert and some potent hallucinogenics as you quest to find yourself spiritually.
Maki and Beyond the Valley keep the restrained deep sound set by Mole. Maki utilises a Spanish guitar for an uplifting hook over a deep and percussive backing whilst Beyond the Valley uses a trickling guitar synth and echoed vocal stabs to create the atmosphere on the track. Both are similar in style but have their own nuances to distinguish them apart.
Cascabel uses intertwined melodies from various chime or glockenspiel sounding instruments which wriggle over a steady kick drum. It’s restrained like many of the other tracks in its delivery and the melodies hypnotise and mesmerise, making Cascabel a great warm up track for leading in to the next track Belize.
Another one of the singles already released, Belize is the other stand out track. Its stripped down nature and slow moving phases create a spacey round sound which has been destroying dancefloors for the last year or so. This track epitomises the deep hypnotic stripped back sounds which is rife across Europe at the moment.
Its hard to rate an album like this. On one hand each track is an excellent example of the new deep sound, yet as an album it can get tedious as one dark rhythm melds into the other. It’s not really an album to be listened to end to end but more so a collection of good dark house singles. Making it worth a purchase if you’re a DJ into this sound, but as an artist album it lacks variety and journey. 7/10
Anja Schneider – Beyond the Valley is out now.
4. Beyond The Valley
8. Get Away
9. Little Red Riding Hood
10. Fish At Night
Tuesday, June 3rd, 2008 | Album Review | 1 Comment
Miss BPitch returns to our ears with her Berlin-esque special brew of atmospheric minimal beats. Miss Allien has been quite busy over the past year with a Fabric and Boogybytes compilation releases which were praised on these very pages, add to that her label duties as head of BPitch and the various parties they stick on in Berlin and around the world, it’s a wonder where she found time to make this album. But here it is a kind of follow up to her Orchestra of Bubbles collaboration with Apparat back in 2006.
Ellen has taken the stripped back, atmospheric and trippy elements that we heard on her recent compilation efforts and reinterpreted it further in her own style. The album delivers 11 tracks which skirt around its main theme. Caress is a airy heavenly track which does as the title says, it caresses the listener through its long and drawn breathy synths over subtle industrial beats to the pearly gates of the album. Bim is the next track through the gates and is in stark contrast to Caress. It is about as stripped back as you can get, syncopated beats jerk and fidget along with rattling mechanical sounds and a reverberated vocal echos in and out of each ear. Its strange in a confusing David Lynch manner, which at the same time makes the track interesting.
One of the most rounded tracks on this album has to be Elphine. It has dancefloor appeal, yet retains the quirkyness and restraint Ellen set out to achieve. This track has a certain playfulness to it. Its sampled vocal stabs which forms the melody and what must be a slide whistle used in the breakdown gives the track a playground cheekiness about it. In contrast Zauber is a more elegant affair. A slow heartbeat rhythm and sensual clarinet melody breathes calm into the middle of the album creating a “floating in space” track that could work in a sci fi film or a ballet.
Ondu one of the stand out tracks of this album has an alternate sci fi feel about it. In particular a 2001 Space Odyssey feel. A throbbing bassline builds tension over mechanical respiratory sounds whilst a Chinese flute eats into your consciousness as you realise a HAL computer is trying to kill you. Out the final track on the album also has a similar crazed feel about it. Echoed breathy vocal stabs reverberate through the track over a restrained kick drum and clichéd tap drip noises become intertwined with syncopated percussion all strung together by a high pitched screeching synth. Its simple yet complicated, weird but intriguing, which pretty much sums up this whole album.
It’s an album where organic and industrial/mechanical sounds meet to produce a sci fi movie style score of music where the listener can get lost in loops and sounds. If you’re one for the tap drips, pots and pans then it’s likely you’ll like this album. Those looking for a fuller techno sound will be disappointed for the most part. Like a lot of Ellen Allien’s work, it’s not necessarily obvious from the get go, so those with short attention spans may deadpan it from the start but it’s definitely a grower. 7.5/10
Monday, June 2nd, 2008 | Album Review, Other | No Comments
For those that don’t know, Mental Overdrive is Per Martinsen a Norwegian producer / DJ and live performer. From his biog it sounds like he’s done everything from releases on R&S ranging from nosebleed techno to electro ballads. Coming from Norway he does have that distinct Scandinavian sound of disco and funk combined house that we hear the likes of Prins Thomas and Lindstrom play and produce.
This album combines the influences of disco, funk, house and electro with various results. Elephantastic kicks the album off with a quirky electronic number where a squelching riff runs over disco beats as big horns attenuate the end of each bar. The result can only be described as a spacey cartoon with charm. Run to the Hills is an interesting take on Iron Maiden’s original, using an synth for the guitar screeching riff and heavily vocodered vocals in place of Bruce Dickinson’s 80s power vocals. Unfortunately the different take does the track justice and sounds a little tacky. Spooks seems the most dancefloor friendly as it fires disco beats through a trickle of electro synths to get the sluggish of people pogoing.
There are two stand out tracks on this album, the first has to be Original Material. It goes straight for the jugular with its simple disco funk loop, distorted synths and some old skool filter action, creating a peak time frenzy set which could fit in amongst the darkest of techno or the lightest of house. The other stand out track is Mysterio. It’s dark and slow electronic melodies with stripped back percussion sets it out from the other tracks instantly.
Unfortunately this album is a mixed bag. Whilst some tracks are good, there are others which takes the disco influence a bit too far, causing tracks to sound tackier than a stick of blackpool rock. 5/10
You Are Being Manipulated is out now. Buy it from Amazon.
5. Run to the hills
7. Original Material
8. Molina’s Theme
10. The Rage
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