We rarely do ‘premieres’ because we have a rigid professional schedule, and also there are more popular outlets for such promotional activities. What does a premiere even mean in a true information economy? Does mutating a microsecond before the rest of your species confer you with any evolutionary advantages?
We rarely scoop anything because we don’t want to feed the leak beast that has made most album releases non-events (we were lucky enough to exist before the state of affairs was thus). [NB we have been known to fuck this up once in a while, but never for the sake of primacy, at least since we grew up]
We march to the beat of our own drum (which sounds a bit like this, this and this – it is a borrowed drum). This means that we are not the right port of call if you want to be ‘in the loop’. And surely we are not tastemakers.
It doesn’t matter much either way, maybe it’s maturity, not feeling like we have to have heard about every new ‘hot’ band or ‘banging’ jam (NB hot and banging as defined in our own glossary) before everyone else. Maybe it’s an adjustment to minimise cognitive dissonance: we gave up, we fell off the wave, we lost our edge.
Instead, we sit in our porch, like Kelso in Heat, “waiting for stuff to come to us, beamed to us all over the fucking place.” We also look as cool as him, age has many positives.
And what things come to us now, that came to everyone else a long time ago? Things like Mi Ami’s stunning new album Decades, released by 100% Silk. Here we see them render that pilgrimage to Ibiza you feel you should have made when you were young unnecessary or un-longed for, for they act like tectonic shift masters / codeine disco incantators, to bring you the best imagined versions of Ibiza, the Warehouse, an imaginary Roulé club space, and the Loft, void of all toilet hassles and dodgy drug shenanigans.
Time of Love, today’s jam, is mongy dazzle of the highest order, and we wouldn’t have it any other way. We strut down neon halls that remind us of that Brazilian disco level in Max Payne, if only the sound hadn’t been designed, but thrown together on the fly, and all the better for it. We realise that this is the logical conclusion of a ‘Myspace Band influences’ list that began with Daniel Wang and Sun Ra (we were there, mind), and the spirit of love infecting that legendary mixtape they produced for us.
We realise that it’s been a long time, and we are old, but that we still have a dance in us.
Whether your with Dunbar on music and dance evolving as mass social grooming, Darwin and his strutting peacock, or feel dancing and music is tickling the brain in ways nature cannot, dancing is a part of our humanity and has been for a very long time. 2011 was a good time for music you could dance too…
Lindstrøm : De Javu When you play a Lindstrom track in your dj set its always difficult to follow. It’s normally difficult to know what to play it after too becuase, lets face it, no one else makes records that sound like this. The new album Six Cups Of Rebel is out on Small Town Supersound in February.
James Fox: New Jack SwingJames Fox laces pristine mid-tempo dance with some silky new jack swing vibes, projecting us inside an utopia of white and honey which is to mainstream house music what romance is to porn.
We are believers in the possibility of a non-fucked up after-hours club where the tribes congregate to squeeze the last ounce of physical sweetness of the ephemeral night, rather than gurn their way into infinity. If that place exists, this is its theme tune.
SebastiAn: Love In Motion Feat. Mayer Hawthrone More Stones Throw related goodness by way of the loudest Banger on Ed’s roster pitching Patrick Cowley’s Lift Off Down to an unmistakably Purple Oneesqu slowed clap groove.
Machinedrum: Come1 Riding last year’s bubbling up of Juke and snapping it into a piano-house ghost-ballad workout. With an opening the hits right in the feet and then proceeds to gently let up over the next six minutes Come1 is the reverse of most dancefloor equations. Drawing you in with it’s hedonistic intensity from the off then taking you on a tour of its sorrow.
The whole album’s a near effortless reminder of how good dance albums can be. building upon a Footwerk foundation to deliver everything from a dancefloor Boards of Canada (Now U Know Tha Deal 4 Real) to one of the most cathartically maudlin pieces of music this year in Lay Me Down (which has the audacity to not actually be the last track on the album).
Graphics: Adjectival EWell Rounded are quickly and efficiently becoming a treasure of the Brighton Vs. Hove demilitarised zone. Graphics is the second release on offshoot, Well Rounded Individuals and is a towering example of Fractured British Dance Music. A sliced vocal looped and buried under fabric-thin waves of synth washes haunts the intricate drum programming and sweeping siren-calls that interleave and enchant. Which is not to say it’s adverse to a break and a surging refrain, that’d be silly.
Den Haan: Gods From Outer Space Bandying “macho disco” around like leather, sweat, and guitar riffs were about to go out of fashion Gods From Outer Space is probably more fun that you can actually ever have in a club, but with this as your soundtrack it would be impossible not to try.
D/R/U/G/S: Connected Connected doesn’t waste much time bringing its snippets of Techno and House to bear on the floor. Far too much has been written about ghostly reconfigurations of former genre glories and the pillars that this stands upon are amply described by the track itself in the opening minute and a half. Exercising aCraig-ian approach to the build, the drop finally arrives and the euphoria is suitably unleashed. Not ones to paddle in the pool of anti-intellectual hedonism, 20JFG are satiated by the wiring machine ballet that seems to underpin the ABSOLUTELY MASSIVE HANDS IN THE AIR PIANO HOUSE that forms the back end of the track.
Magic Touch: I can Feel the Heat Imagine a unicorn leaping out of an original pre-hipster/Urban Outfitters post-everything appropriation 1980s t-shirt, into a rainbow pond of everything that’s awesome about disco music, and out again into the garden of eternal delights that lies beyond, where it dries itself with an almighty shake, droplets of joy splattering all over in a kaleidoscopic rain which is photographed with minimum exposure, the ensuing images (or their emotional equivalent) are then pressed on vinyl for the whole world to dance to.
Ital: Ital’s Theme Ital soundtracks the muscular leaving party for a space marine squadron. A glimpse out of battered portholes onto the uniquely specular beauty of crystalline asteroids, for a moment…before the pounding of the room draws their attention back to the dancefloor with a heaving, looping ecstatic roll of wave after wave of 23rd century Italo instrumentals.
Death in Vegas: Trans-Love Energies Richard Fearless returned with a 7+ minute track referencing the soundtrack to New York’s The Loft and the UK Acid House scene featuring the considerable vocal talents of Katie Stelmanis of Austra, and we couldn’t stop playing it. The only thing that could have made it better would have been a 30min extended remix. The rest of the album wasn’t bad either.
Hans Tanza: An Audience with Hans Tanza Nutjob consultant extraordinaire Hans Tanza convenes a board meetingto discuss the quarterly impacts of psy-trance flotations on the futures market of electro-acoustic academia circa 1976
Mi Ami: Dolphins EP Mi Ami’s vessel plunges through a forest of cyclopean futurist hulks, its distorting, tape-bent beats pounding off the walls. High above Gavin Russom watches from a former car insurance office (now sans walls) and smiles to himself in the knowledge that there are others. Glancing upwards for a moment he catches the forms of Derrick May and Carl Craig huddling around a fire, lit on an equally exposed floor of an old financial institution. Down below the vessel nears the source of the sound as light cascades from the rising sun. Hundreds of people throb around a fire giving thanks to those who came before, those who provided us with such riches. A badly painted cloth hangs from an old piece of corporate art and reads: ‘Things should be made anew before they are destroyed again.’
Virgo: Resurrection (reissue) To call this life-changing is no exaggeration. Imagine the most intimate moment of ‘It’s You’ by ESP’ time stretched across a 3 hour movie about Jamie Principle floating on the ethereal plane and perhaps you’re getting there.
Daphni: JIAOLONG001 While we found Caribou’s recent album to be not as up our street as the previous few we did very much enjoy the Daphni remix project which re-visited the gratuitous psychedelic elements we loved about Caribou’s sound.
Wheez-ie: All Werked Up EP Texan Juke desperado Wheez-ie’s veers between hardcore footwork punishment and futuristic heartbreak – ‘Leave her Alone’ hovers above the battlefield like the X-Men’s Storm, convening from the summer skies a purple hurricane of emotion at whose eye spins a silver music box delicate ballerina.
Xander Harris: I want more than Just Blood/Urban Gothic If you like your drum programming hand built from the Dopplereffekt textbook of absolute rigidity, and your synth lines played straight from the pained claws of The Phantom of Paradise, then Xander Harris is the pick for you.
Innergaze: Shadow Disco Innergaze take us in a strut through a parallel land where mirrors, glitter and dances are the holy sacraments of a mainstream religion whose father is Liquid Liquid (on a dubby bender), the son is Daniel Wang and the holy spirit Arthur Russell. On its journey it collects a thousand scuzz tropes and redistributes them across a skeletal groove so lazy, it makes E.S.G sound like a clinical minimal techno project devised by the appointed keepers of metronomic purity. Spectral hedonism, that’s our new calling.
Factory Floor: Various 12’’ Factory Floor strip dance music down to its bare components, and configure them with the grim nonchalance of a murder squad retained by the black ops soviet. Synth loops blast like machine language glyphs straight off Nitzer Ebb’s and Front 242 body music usage dictionary. The motorik beats read like input-output flows in a 5 year programme of industrial production that measures results in terms of sweat. The shards of distortion are cruelly designed to produce collateral damage, demoralization and mass surrender.
Zomby: Dedication Zomby buries us in a frozen dead ocean, where we float surrounded by a constellation of discrete music molecules floating in stasis. They recall the past (massively compressed Jarre, blocks of primary colour which are the slices of a Jan Hammer gradient) but aren’t it. Rather, evolved echoes, nano-designed DNA blueprints for a future fauna of Cupertino Panthers and fractal wing dragonflies.
Lumpen Nobleman: Grusha Lumpen Nobleman’s (no link, alas) is all about the deepness, the abyssal and the sub-dermal, ochre drones awesome like the ornate dome of a defiled Orthodox monastery breaking through the mist, grim commandoes in ghillie suits pulling their best Snake moves up the snowy hill, an inhuman metronome ticks away at the heart of the ruins, counting down the time left for the start of the paranormal firefight.
FWY: Ventura EP We continue our love affair with Edmund Xavier and his FWY’s trucker techno-gamelan escapades. Watch out for the title track’s superb melancholy drone, like Cormac McCarthy’s existential cowboy gazing into a neuromantic dead-channel sky, a moment before stepping past the borderline.
The Passenger: \_| The Passenger’s\_| combines Armando’s optimistic bass rumbling, Orbital’s playful chimes, Wendy Carlos binary fairy-telling and the sort of acid riffs that Plastikman would have come up with if he had been commissioned to update Maurice Sendak’s bibliography, in collaboration with Paper Rad.
Pye Corner Audio: Black Mill Tapes Vol.2. The first post witch house record? Made by someone who probably never heard of witch house? Slow techno and radiophonic electronic passed through a hauntology filter to create one hell of an immersive experience. Why this isn’t on everyone’s albums of the year list is mystifying.
Standing alone in the desert, pre-dawn. A chill wind whipping up dust devils that catch the bright moon light.
For a moment.
Then the focus is pulled to the great spires that fill the horizon. Glimmering against the deep blue sky. Their windows filled with fire, their structures reconfigured by the light emanating from their crumbling floors.
The dust devils know where the party’s at.
Running into one of the many concrete valleys — which has slowly filled with encroaching sand — our vessel for this post’s extended metaphor plunges through the forest of cyclopean futurist hulks, the distorting, tape-bent beats pounding off the walls. High above Gavin Russom watches from a former car insurance office (now sans walls) and smiles to himself in the knowledge that there are others. Glancing upwards for a moment he catches the forms of Derrick May and Carl Craig huddling around a fire, lit on an equally exposed floor of an old financial institution.
Down below the vessel nears the source of the sound as light cascades from the rising sun. 100s of people throb around a fire giving thanks to those who came before, those who provided us with such riches. A badly painted cloth hangs from an old piece of corporate art and reads: ‘Things should be made anew before they are destroyed again.’
Mi Ami‘s transmogrification may have been foretold long in advance of their gonzo mixtape for this web-zine but that Ballardarian car crash seems like the appropriate forge from which Dolphins emerged. Sunrise, the only instrumental on their latest EP is easiest to slip into the late 80s Chicago haze that stuffed Daniel’s record bag on their last trip to the UK but the entire EP is a love letter to much that 20JFG and Daniel and Damon (who now make up Mi Ami) hold dear.
Mi Ami‘s deliriously lo-fi mix for us got lost briefly in the flooded series of tubes that connect 20JFG to the outside world. Thankfully its battered form has been secured from the depths of Sendspace.
This is like being stuck in the middle of sensory depravation bubble in the trobbing heart of Detroit Techno circa ’89. As you near the sides the waves of distorted bass overwhelm you. You retreat attempting to find the event horizon for the vertiginous noise, sometimes straying into silence occasionally tuning to an alternate plane altogether and forever falling into bass.
If Ableton was used for this, its emotionally damaged shell will be walking the corridors of anonymous nightclubs approaching strangers and blithely offering them quantisation services. This isn’t perfectly bland mixing – it’s welding. Tracks crashed together, fused with audio fed straight from YouTube – I’m pretty sure you can hear the volume being turned up on a Mac towards the start. EQs dial in and out, not to accentuate the drop or build tension but with unfathomable almost organic logic. Like a restless animal, hi-frequencies are isolated, tossed around, dropped and fed back into the mix before the whole thing jumps through a portal to another mix entirely, glimpsing its own future (or past it’s hard to tell) before slamming back into the original timeline. For a moment. Then silence. In a mix.
This is glorious.
This could also have been a complete mess if the selections hadn’t supported this approach but thankfully each track seems part of a narcotic fever dream we drift in and out of, flicking channels within some schizophrenic PKD opera. Which I guess is like most music we love: the selection of the component parts support the unconventional ideas at their core. Well, most of the time.
Like a colossal bird emerging from Darwin’s Egg, spring spread its golden wings across our fair seaside city yesterday, an inverted Phoenix, bringing everything around it back to life. Gentle breezes flicking through the narrow streets, blowing away the cloak of grey that accumulates in winter’s dormancy. Rays of light, in training, waiting to ambush, with nostalgia for moments past with friends and beer and battered stereos only temporarily avoiding the urge to consume your precious tapes. For in our ill defined seasons this weather-purgatory seems at last ready to give way to the hazzy bliss of summer. And as before (after the tapes but before today) Mi Ami are back to amplify that hazzy bliss of summer with gentle waves of building distortion.
Dreamers rolls around in the dirt of teenage nights spent in suburban back gardens, the battered wooden fences dividing you from the worlds of possibility beyond. Feral, half glimpsed in the blue/orange night, stalking your periphery with hints of reckless futures. A growing crescendo calling out across decades of electric guitars, rusting in the salt heavy sea air.
Like some totem of Balearic bliss Maxxi & Zeus pre-empted this welcome herald of warmer times by dropping their new 12″ for International Feel through the portal. Deliriously and unashamedly ambient The Struggle stands with its back to the lapping waves of dusk facing forward, into the dark forest on the edge of the beach. The tension and release of shaken percussion forming the spine to synth cameos. The ghostly shell of Vangelis’s Deckard, blissfully washed ashore, lifespan ending, wishing he’d seen the Tannhäuser Gate. Eno’s Ambient works filling the atmosphere, paving the way for the quasi-self-help sample. Strangely unsure, self-deprecating yet eerily charismatic. Gloriously at odds with the simple natural beauty of the synthesised sounds that served as prelude.
//TENSE// travel to us via the ethereal medium of TommyBoy. Hailing from what we can only surmise is an alternative concrete Texas permanently shrouded in a damp leather-black haze where all heat is absorbed by the giant solar panels used to drive the multitudes of synthesisers and drum machines slaving away underneath their blue silicone sky. So a bit like Highlander 2.
Mine Too eases in with with its EBM pad sounds worn proudly around its muscled torso. Giant fucking neon sword hanging by its side. Which it promptly drops down into the gaps between stairwells ’cause this is music for strutting not stabbing. The sense of all of EBM history contained in one track is almost overwhelming. The waves of simple synths and surging levels of drum machines leave you giddy, vaguely disorientated and lost within the repetition. A lyrical focus on the sort of financial concerns of the last great surge in individualism (which coincided with the last great surge in EBM) can’t help but to leave you lost with the loops. But remember kids, correlation doesn’t necessarily imply causation…
Mi Ami sneak their first first Thrill Jockey release into 2009 with their new 12″ (new album in 2010). Thanks to the vagaries of digital sorting their dubed out B-side hit first. Leaving the equally excellent ‘Cut Men’ to stand around waiting for its mist shrouded brother to depart the room.
But ‘Out at Night’ can not leave. Lingering, winding its synthetic sinews around the speakers and flexing, gently, driving the noise under waves of briefly heard guitar lines from some Balearic epic; the last chimes of disco captured in ash like a distant party near Vesuvius; an eerie voice calling out from the other side (of the record) trapped in its own reverb prison.
Aguirre stalks through these grooves sending out darting stares of madness as the track mutates around him, quietening, then making way for crunched handclaps. Torturing the poor conquistador as his navigation of ancient rivers is sound-tracked by an amorphous beast hiding in the overgrown river bank.
Thrill Jockey have asked us to take this MP3 down but the two tracks are available to stream here (click the titles in the right hand column).
Limited to 750 copies worldwide you can get it from Thrill Jockey’s site here.
Bands bereft of ambition, watch how Mi Ami continue taking it to the next level, and repent of your sinful ways. When you start down the path of creation, you shouldn’t dare settling for less, least the furious Gods decide to reincarnate you into a wingless insect in a garden full of hungry birds the next time you’re around. In their Towers Fall 12 in Hoss Records they homestead misty lands where the boundaries between dub techno ruminations, kosmische astrology, Ike Yard post punk blitzkrieg and acid house voodoo blur and meld into a lumbering colossus of flaming eyes and an attitude to boot. Whole landscapes are reshaped with the pulse of a rumbling bassline, rivers steered off their course following the mesmerising radiations of a synthetic piper, forests grow in the flicker of an eye to accommodate a tribe of little humans worshipping at the feet of a menacing totem, these are the heart-rending images that their primeval music summons, like sitting in the shoulder of God while he plays Populous in HD 3D total surround soundsystem styles. Now this is shock and awe, in slow motion.
Harder, Faster, Faster, Stronger, Foot Village’s fierce drums continue accelerating like an unhinged virus which at some point in the near-future shall evolve into spiky teethed creatures of the sea destined to crawl into our shores and grow bristling fur and vicious claws and climb up the trees and borrow under the land and dwell in thick shrubbery and search throughout the infrarred spectrum for enemies, incumbents from an old era that foolishly believe this is still their time. Naw, they are over, the future is a new country- they will find out soon enough when, upon stepping down an unfamiliar path, they feel a slight vibration in the air, subtle movements in the edge of their vision, the initial spin of a vortex which is the beginning of a charge which is this noise you hear. Foot Village shall be unleashing Anti Magic in Upset the Rhythm very soon. You will know them by the trail of grimacing skeletons, missing tibia and femur to replace broken drumsticks another example of their furious efficiency.