29.9.09

Vitalic Brings A (Flash)mob


As I'm sure most of you have picked up by now, face-melting electronic dance music isn't really my interest or forte anymore, but that doesn't mean that the whole genre of rave-inducing anthems isn't still in my blood and something that, from time to time, I genuinely appreciate. Additionally, as with any popular form of artistic expression, there is always room for the trend-followers, copycats, or fakes to coexist with the merited geniuses or innovators. While East Germany by way of Ukraine's France's Vitalic churns out fist-pumpers that neon-clad hipsters are likely to fawn over, he distinctly falls in the latter category, and therefore I can only feel proud to discuss his latest full-length, Flashmob, on BBBD.

Vitalic made waves in 2005 with OK Cowboy, a mesmerizing, woozy addition to the growing trope of techno-aggrandizing styles that were rapidly sprouting up in the early 2000s. "My Friend Dario"―a thrashing electro-pop gem of epic proportions―was the hit but I enjoyed tunes like "Polkamatic" more for their off-kilter, creepy vibe. The best songs on OK Cowboy posed to be theme songs to a Tim Burton horror/freak show that never happened.

Four years after Cowboy, Vitalic is back with Flashmob, an LP that starts heavy-handed and never lets up. The producer's penchant for scaring the hell out of his listeners while simultaneously hypnotizing them into spasming on the dance floor is still there but now it's been amped up yet another notch. Flashmob feels incredibly frantic: Listening to it is, at points, like trying to keep up with a friend on the fritz who monologues to you in a panic, failing to take a breath through the whole ordeal. My appreciation for the songs on Flashmob aside, I don't suggest you listen to the thing all at once, and whatever you do, don't put it on while doing something that requires focus and calm (i.e. driving, working at your job). You've read the disclaimer, now download these jams!

Vitalic - Station Mir 2099

Vitalic - Poison Lips

Vitalic - One Above One

Vitalic - Second Lives


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25.9.09

Greg Wilson, Credit To the Edit Vol. 2


Greg Wilson made history (and one hell of a comeback) with the 2005 release of Credit To the Edit Vol. 1, a Tirk Recorings compilation of the legendary DJ's, you guessed it, edits. For those of you who don't know Wilson (or, better yet, haven't had the pleasure of meeting the man and absolutely chewing his ear off for a full evening!), here's his story in a nutshell. Back in the 70s, Wilson started playing around with disc-jockeying after being greatly influenced by "black music" clubs in the U.K. He began incorporating all sorts of funk, soul, disco, and rap with more traditional DJ fodder, oftentimes using a reel-to-reel setup in addition to the widespread turntable one. After scoring numerous gigs and residencies, Factory Records/New Order's club, the Haçienda, picked him up as a regular DJ, possibly in an effort to overhaul the decaying venue's horrendous reputation and unmatched debt. Shortly after getting the Haçienda job, though, Wilson diped out of the limelight and truly stopped DJ'ing for about 20 years, instead producing for others and raising a son. The man was clever in that he knew he'd make a return to the nightlife scene, but wanted to do so only after enough time had passed for his reputation to have fully aged.

Credit To the Edit Vol. 1 was a spectacular collection of edits Wilson put out on Tirk in the early 2000s that, for the most part, revolve around 70s and 80s jams. Every one of Wilson's cuts is impressive in its sublime, utterly natural integration of buttery "black music" (his words not mine!) and energized, punchy electronic dance. Below are three samples from the seminal comp.

Since Credit To the Edit immediately came off as looking like a series, what with the "volume" being thrown around and all, us diehard fans first freaked out about the record itself and then, almost immediately thereafter, asked ourselves when the second installation would be hitting shelves. Well, it took a little longer than at least I suspected it would, but the good news is that Credit To the Edit Vol. 2 is dropping in November!

Unlike the first one, this new 12-track compilation "provides a perfect illustration of how the present is being shaped by the past, with artists from both sides of the Atlantic producing great new tracks that take their inspiration from the type of music highlighted in the first volume, neatly serving to bring the project full circle in the process." In short, volume 2 is less invested in the past and more in connecting sounds of the 80s to those of today―in a boogie-inducing way, of course! Enjoy these older edits and get psyched for the forthcoming sophomore swing! You can find the full tracklist after the jump.

Raw DMX - Do It To the Funk (Edit)

Kool & the Gang - Sesame Seed (Edit)

Mike T. - T.'s On the Mike (Edit)

1. Love Is The Drug / Roxy Music
2. Don't Turn It Off / 40 Thieves (Feat Qzen)
3. Voodoo Ray / A Guy Called Gerald
4. Love Honey / Sugardaddy
5. Secret Sunday Lover / 1gnition
6. Lady T / Crazy P
7. One Lifetime To Live / Gary Davis
8. Starlight / Escort
9. Oh Snap / Nick Chacona & Anthony Mansfield
10. Dirty Talk / Klein & MBO
11. Messages / OMD
12. Mercy / The Third Degree



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24.9.09

Broadcast & the Focus Group


For a while, I was a tremendous Broadcast fan. The British duo's chilling combination of 60s lounge pop and fragile experimental ambient meanderings just did it for me. Somehow, though, their albums left my main computer, took up residence on my external hard drive, and haven't been seen for quite some time. To my great excitement, though, their label, Warp, just announced the October 27 release of Investigate Witch Cults Of the Radio Age, an EP (at least that's what they're calling the 23-track disc) they created in collaboration with the Focus Group. Witch Cults could be Broadcast's most impacting and significant output to date for its sheer innovation, delicate composition, and wholly enchanting arrangement. You'll be more mesmerized than ever.

For those of you who don't know the Focus Group, it's the musical project of U.K. graphic designer Julian House, who also just so happens to own the label to which he is signed, Ghost Box. House's stuff is really only similar to Broadcast's in terms of texture as the man doesn't sing or even attempt to compose pop songs of any variety on his own. However, he draws largely from the same influences and references: library music sounds, 1970s films and programs soundtracks, old synth warbles, and so on. (By the way―you've seen house's artwork countless times before: he's done covers for Stereolab, Oasis, the Prodigy, and, of course, Broadcast itself.) The official coming-together of Broadcast and the Focus Group was an absolutely genius move. Not only does it further cement each outfit's individual reputation for being spectacularly talented, but it also sets them up to impress the world as a unit that only gets better and more unusual, unique with time and assistance from friends.

As usual, the songs are titled in a style typical only to Broadcast. Everything sounds like a half haiku or a line from a fairy tale that's been flipped and flopped just enough to change its meaning and make you give it a second look, a second think.

Broadcast & the Focus Group - The Be Colony

Broadcast & the Focus Group - How Do You Get Along, Sir?

Broadcast & the Focus Group - Drug Party

Broadcast & the Focus Group - I See, So I See So

Broadcast & the Focus Group - The Be Colony/Dashing Home/What On Earth Took You?

Broadcast & the Focus Group - Make My Sleep His Song


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17.9.09

BBBD Mix: "The Rain"


It's been something like a month since I last made a mix, and on account of it being my girlfriend's birthday, I feel especially festive right now. So: without further ado, I present you with "The Rain," the latest BBBD mix. I think the tracklist describes its vibe better than my words would be able to.

Note: Be warned of one big train wreck between the second and third song. My apologies in advance.

(1) Sorcerer, "Shaolin Style"
(2) CFCF, "Monolith"
(3) Altair Nouveau, "Street Thunder II"
(4) Ramona Brooks, "I Don't Want You"
(5) Arcade Lover, "Fantasy Lines"
(6) Shit Robot, "Simple Things (Todd Terje Version)"
(7) Sally Shapiro, "Love In July"
(8) Majeure, "Teleforce"
(9) Lindstrøm, "The Magnificent"
(10) D-Pulse, "Highway To Saturn"

Nik Mercer - The Rain Mix


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11.9.09

D19


Alright, I'll be honest here―the main reason I'm posting right now is to test out Google Docs' latest innovation―PDF embedding! Since I feel conflicted by writing something without including music, though, I figured I had to tack a song on to the PDF. I've been listening to the Michael Zager Band's "Life's A Party" nonstop today, so it seemed only appropriate to doll it out to all of you kind readers.

I've professed my deep love and admiration for Zager previously, but this song is notable for an additional reason outside of my fandom: Cissy and Whitney Houston provided vocals for it. Back in '77―a few years before Whitney's leap to superstardom―the chanteuse was recruited by the disco maestro for "Life's A Party," a tune that's not quite as good as "Let's All Chant" but certainly up there. It's bouncy―almost flamboyantly elastic―and especially tightly arranged. Whitney and her mother belt out the lyrics with incredible conviction, and, excitingly, sound like they're competing for the top prize at a mother/daughter talent show: Whitney solos with the exuberance of a young teen while Cissy shreds with a professionalism you can only acquire after decades of being in The Industry. Enjoy!

Michael Zager Band - Life's A Party


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10.9.09

Lake Heartbeat


Service Records is, next to Studio's Information and the Tough Alliance's Sincerely Yours, Sweden's greatest―and most varied―independent label in my humble opinion. The Swedes are notorious for concocting "perfect" pop songs, traditionally of the jangle pop persuasion; they are not, however, the most varied musicians on the planet: they tend to stick to what they do best and not fiddle around outside those self-imposed borders much. Generally. Service's strength is in its ability to release music that spans multiple genres without losing its thematic centering. Jens Lekman's Jonathan Richman-style troubadour tunes mingle with DJ Kool Dust's buttery, retro disco jams; the Whitest Boy Alive's thin, airy pop mixes with the Embassy's post-punk synth-fueled melodrama; and so on.

Service's latest release is Lake Heartbeat's Trust In Numbers (buy it), a soothing, loungey modernization of easy-going 60s pop a la, say, Burt Bacharach. Lush string arrangements weave in and out of beachy guitar riffs; bouncy beats and cosmic bells enhance shimmery, reverb-laden coed vocals; and a certain intrinsic optimism fuels the record's overall road trip-ready vibe.

Here're a few samples from the long-player. If you're super excited by the superb creation, skip buying just the album and join Service for €25―they'll digitally deliver everything they drop for your life.

Lake Heartbeat - Pipedream

Lake Heartbeat - Build the Wall Up

Lake Heartbeat - Golden Chain


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3.9.09

Rough Jemz


"Brooklyn, by way of Providence" is not a comment you see much in band bios, but in the case of Javelin, the rarity is reality. Rarer still is for such a young, unknown group to bust onto the scene with a self-released full-length that takes many pages from the Avalanches' style guide and produces the best sample-based album in that vein that I've heard since Since I Left You. Dead serious. (When I write "in that vein," I refer to sample-based music that aims to construct actual songs with melodies, verses, choruses, and so on, and not Girl Talk or 2 Many DJs' mash-up sample-based stuff.)

Javelin's style merges hyper-active, wobbly club beats; synth ditties you would easily find in hundreds upon hundreds of 80s pop tunes; so-melodic-it's-sappy hooks that I wouldn't be surprised to hear come straight out of a Disney film that was never produced; and plenty of riffs and rhythms from a variety of world musics, namely South American ones.

While plenty of the LP, Jamz n Jemz, is dance floor-ready, there're a number of gorgeous, swooning epics that I simply can't get enough of (the cutely titled "Lindsay Brohan," "Tu Machina"). And then there're unexpected funk slow jams like "Doug Flutey" that make it truly impossible to put your finger on just what the hell Javelin is doing but completely okay with hanging out for the rollercoaster of a ride.

You can buy tunes digitally at the band's MySpace page and can invest in a rare 7" of theirs over here. The band is playing with friggin' Miho Hatori at the Market Hotel on September 18. Try concocting a reason not to go. Impossible.

Javelin - Lindsay Brohan

Javelin - Doug Flutey

Javelin - Intervales Theme

Javelin - Tu Machina

Javelin - Tryouts


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