Monday, March 26, 2007

Getting Back To Giving Back

Big post with 71mins of music. I haven’t posted any mpfrees for a while, so here’s a load of mixes of music to which I’ve recently been listening (grammar). Each mix is entirely unpolished, but for a profound reason: I’m currently polishing The Thesis, so my efforts at perfection are focussed otherwhere.

Each mix has a delightful backstory, so allow me to interpose photos and tracklists with the relevant histories:

Feel Like Folding mix (11m28s) – 15.8mb

1. Para One – Midnight Swim (Epiphanie) [naive]
2. Drop The Lime – Skyline Fantasy (We Never Sleep) [tigerbeat6]
3. The Rice Twins – For Penny and Alexis (Speicher 33) [kompact]
4. JME – Holiday (.)
5. Atki2 – Architect [unreleased]

I was driving to Glasgow at New Year listening to Hanuman’s excellent mixes, glad to have survived Xmas unscathed, when my car blew up on the M6. With smoke in my rear-view mirror, I crossed 3 lanes of traffic and sat shaking on the hard shoulder. The hardest transition was moving from breakneck-pace-and-making-good-time to stationary-and-stuck. I sat rigid for ten minutes, freaked out, but with the mix still going: stopping the music would invite the noise of the motorway inside, and I needed to keep it out a little longer. I felt like I wanted to just throw my hand in.

Similarly, I was in the process of taking Traktor out for a testdrive (still only just got my L-plates with this bit of kit) by putting together a compilation of tracks I’d acquired through the blogosphere: most of the playlist I’d prepared was stuff sourced from Ken Trax and Word The Cat. The plan was to bring in Max Mohr’s ‘Diamantem’ of the TrickMaster’s revenge LP part way through this new and exceptionally addictive Atki2 track. Listening to the mix should amply suggest that I’ve been feeling the house vibes a lot recently – particularly geared up to Drop The Lime’s recently developments in that area [his Curses! alias is the good sheet – he’s rockin this stuff at Fabric soon on a lineup alongside Sinden, which makes great sense – surely he's likely to be showing up more on the crazy good posts from], and I’m an avid subscriber to CLAWS’s Gentlemen’s Techno Radio Show [GTR homepage] [subscribe to the podcast].

Anyhow, this vehicular outing was equally unsuccessful: it was all going so well, but then the Traktor blew up just as ‘Architect’ got rolling. So I guess I should’ve just deleted the file and started over, but I haven’t had the time, and I figured this is an opportunity to share my listening and driving habits… Anyway, this is a nice way to offer a teasing snippet of just how good the Atki2's stuff is, without actually giving the game away - it's a 20sec taster. But yeah, I give up - Throw that hand in, it’s time to fold.

Mishapen Pieces of Steel (20:48) – 23.9mb

Haven’t got a tracklist to hand. A couple of the c90 boys planned on driving up to Scotland on the O.C. (read: off chance) that there was a spooky electronica event going on in some woods somewhere. The whole thing was supposed to be so secret that you could only find out about it by decoding some crazy pages somewhere in the ether. I figured on making a mix for them to drive up with – aiming for uncompromising bleep stuff, but it ended up having a much more manic breakcore vibe to it. I know there’s some (un-named) stuff off werk that Darren passed on to me, which I figure is Überdog as it fits his M.O. – brutal while maintaining a sense of epic form; I think Jason Forrest described his stuff as verging on prog once. Apt. There’s some stuff that sounds like Electric Kettle and some stuff that sounds like Droon and some stuff that sounds like Blaerg – I’ll go through and i.d. tracks soon. Again, short and sweet – bitesize mixes suit me better I guess. I think I got the CD to the intrepid travellers on time, but it proved unlucky – they got all the way to bonnie Scotland before working out how thin the evidence for their invasion had been. But if you want some music to get you North, give it a go.

You’re Spending Money You Haven’t Got Boy (38m56s) – 53.6mb

1. J-Dilla - E=MC2 (The Shining Instrumentals) [BBE recordings]
2. Two Culture Clash feat. Cecile & General Degree - Na Na Na Na [Wall of Sound]
3. Actress - Mentor (werk one) [werk]
4. Ghislain Poirier feat. Mr Lee - Dem No Like Me [Shockout]
5. Monkey Steak - Gaza Stripclub (Electric Birdland EP) [Death$ucker]
6. Milanese - Peggy Flynn remix [white]
7. Mark Houle - Edamame (Bay Of Figs) [minus]
8. female - exotica (Advanced Bossa remixes) [RSB]
9. Errorsmith - Between Decks (Near Disco Dawn)
10. Drop The Lime - Devils Kicks (We Never Sleep) [Tigerbeat6]
11. Melchior Production - Over The Rise (The Meaning) [Playhouse]
12. SleepArchive - Research (Research E.P.) [sleeparchive/hardwax]

This mix is very recent. It’s the most polished ideas wise, but hey, I screw up a couple of segues big-style [how do you pronounce that? I’ve always rhymed ‘segue’ with ‘league’, but I’m aware of an increased prominence of ‘segue’ rhyming with ‘leg-way’, of which I am no friend].

The J-Dilla track doesn’t need description – I don’t pick up much hiphop these days, but Dilla’s effortless productions constantly demand attention. Timeless. RIP. The second track’s a few years old – my first Cecile purchase, start of a big addiction: it’s a great glitch-electro riddim, like if Pan Sonic wanted to make dancehall, with Cecile on top form with a really catchy hook. Actress’s ‘mentor’ I’ve mentioned in a previous post – utterly dancefloor. Ghislain Poirier’s ‘Dem No Like Me’ is a great addition to the SHOCK catalogue numbers. The tigerbeat6 subsidiary label’s been putting out extremely high quality dancehall/bashment releases, twinning tb6 producers with big name mcs and toastmasters. But on this release, instead of crafting a dancehall riddim (what w&w enumerates as a 3+3+2 rhythm), Poirier works out a stripped’n’bare warped handclap hiphop beat for Mr. Lee to growl over.

Monkey Steak’s ‘Electric Birdland’ EP has themed sides – on the one there’s two ruff’n’tuff junglist cuts, and on the other there’s two of their kleptomaniacal off-kilter garagey workouts. ‘Gaza Stripclub’ is one of the latter, starting us with a dervish-whirl-with-finger-bells flutter, before rolling out a snappy yet sleazy two-step-infused beat and haunting fog-horn bullroarer bass. Hanuman’s klezmer compusions drive the midsection, while Atki2’s flickering hyper-percussion skips all around the outside – it’s not so much stripclub as midnight market, surrounded by frenetic, excitable energy. In next is Milanese’s Peggy Flynn remix – Milanese has got that 2-step down to a fine art, with a vocal that sounds like it’s been through an 8FM-machine. Both the Monkey Steak and this Milanese track reassert the importance of the dancefloor as a place for having fun; Wiley and Kano have both been complaining that nobody don’t dance no more… It’s not totally true – there was this really spritish guy getting very loose at DMZ’s second birthday party at around 5.30am, although he was perhaps the exception rather than the rule – but it’s nice to know that top quality producers are making music for more than the hands-in-the-air or the heading-nodding crowds.

Of course, there’s always been a focus on dancefloor aesthetics over at the minimalish house next door. Mark Houle’s ‘Bay of Figs’ LP featured prominently in Magda’s ‘She’s A Dancing Machine’ mix CD to great effect – these disembodied synth strobes seem almost viral: you can’t argue with ‘em, you’re quickly infected, and they leave you just a little helpless. Killer stuff, and nice to have such crazy top end melodies – I like the idea of leaving the dubwise technos of Andy Stott or Geoff White to provide the bass, while rolling some crazy catchy stuff like this at the higher end of the frequency spectrum.

As ever, I'm not a fan of keeping sounds clean for long, so in bleeds this FEMALE number which rapidly gets ruff (delightful orange vinyl release). With a mind to keeping it crazy, I layered the some of that classic errorsmith over the top, and it briefly descends into madness. It picks up for some fast-and-edgy Drop The Lime action, off his incredible We Never Sleep - I really can't rate this release too highly - before relaxing slightly into some minimal house courtesy of Thomas Melchior - perhaps not an obvious successor to DTL's grime-driven bass whump, but I suspect there's a certain shared sympathy to be had between the two, particularly since 'Dreams' on DTL's 2006 'Shot Shot Hearts' LP picks out a similarly, softly spoken, nearer-to-morning-than-midnight house vibe.

Yeah, so that's it - 3mixes, one at 10mins, one at 20mins, and one at 40mins. So by that logic I suppose there's an 80min one next in the offing. I won't though, I prefer these snippets of mixtures - kinda thing you might find in a good sweetshop.


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