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Kai Sync

Bongolian, The – “Bongohead/ Farfisian” – [Blow Up Records]

Kai Sync   7/12/2018   7-inch, Soul

Can’t go wrong with bongo drums and Farfisa organ for a soul warm-up party with bottom jeans and floral everything. This is actually Nasser Bouzida from Wales who has produced retro-soul material used for hip-hop and funk 45 DJs. A side Bongolian has some surprising echo chamber effects, B-side Farfisian is an organ jam fest. Can you dig it?

Auntie Aubrey’s Excursions Beyond The Call of Duty [coll] – [Deviant]

Kai Sync   6/20/2018   A Library, CD

Double CD with Orb remixes from 1996 and actually a 2001 stereo re-release (!) using well-known and lesser known artists and bands. This is non-conceptuality remixing and electronica post-production of highest non-conceptual caliber, moving you into dubby house, ambient, psychedelic downtempo and all kind of audio adventures. You really can’t expect what to hear such as the Yello remix that really has nothing to do with the original track initially. Add in some wacky Dr. Patterson humor and you get a strange soup. Alas some tracks have not aged well, but most material intrigues even the most die-hard Orb fanatic. And if you want to play mainstream office easy listening music for your show, select Dave Stewart’s “Lily was Here” with Candy Dulfer!

Street Sects – “Rat Jacket” – [Flenser]

Kai Sync   6/13/2018   12-inch, A Library

Symphonic indie industrial rock meets electronic mayhem experiments with whimsy-angry arrangements in the NIN flavor. Songs about loneliness, paranoia,  betrayal and mistrust. Singer Leo Ashline provides the melancholy and Shaun Ringsmuth the multi-layered samples, angry guitars and harsh synth and drum sounds. Very original, you can’t nail down what they really represent! Hey even melodies are present! Maybe the future of prog rock. Play it. –Kai

Celldod – “Kall Fusion” – [Transfusions]

Kai Sync   6/13/2018   12-inch, A Library

New 2018 release with quite a cold-charming dark techno EP from Anders Karlson or Celldöd (Dying Cells In Swedish.) Kind of electronic music youngster Front242 would create today but with this own freezing Perfect as Swedish charm of coldness and starry nights dancing to Swedish debate programs in a bunker.  B-side has even future-Dub techno. Hardware metal music. Play this loud with lots of bass so the studio monitors rip out from the ceiling. –Kai

In Order to Dance 6 [coll] – [R & S Records]

Kai Sync   6/13/2018   A Library, CD

1996 collection from &R&S Records with various DrumNBass tracks of this era. This was the time and space of jazz influences, jazz chords, horns, lounge samples, downtempo drums and hipster elements that still kept the genre intriguing with multiple remixes of preciously released tracks.  Some of the tracks even have the early day low-end bass wobble present. Pick out the gems from the collection. For me it was the more less-jazzy experimental tracks by Tony Justice, Lemon D, Justice, Kenny Larkin and Locust. Sadly this was the last In Order to Dance collection from R&S Records.   –Kai

Rinse:06 [coll] – [Rinse]

Kai Sync   4/26/2018   A Library, CD

2008 CD with Plastician (of Rinse.FM DJ Fame) mixing various Grime and dubstep cross-over material. mostly instrumental, from ten years’ back. Fast and furious mix, each tracks gets a couple of minutes and on to the next. It works with this kind of wobble grime material, too long tracks would distract the dancers and the attention span. The dubstep world provides the wobbly bass, the grime adds in the bouncy fast patterns and chord layers.

Put the CD on continuous play for 3-4 track playback. 

Alas, ten years is a long time and the current grime scene has moved on to other pastures with even more experimental soundscapes. Consider this the time when the dubstep producers were looking for a new venue for getting people to actually dance to their tracks. –Kai

Armando – “Trax Classix” – [Trax]

Kai Sync   2/6/2018   A Library, CD

Little did the Roland engineers designing the TB-303 for lounge band as a bass guitar emulator know that it started the acid house genre with the squealchy bass lines. Armando Gallup was indeed one of the Chicago acid house pioneers, his Land Of Confusion — on this collection — became a hit both in US and Europe. He was also one of the co-founders of Warehouse Records plus a busy-bee organizing parties and much more. This is a collection of r

Schnitzler, Conrad & Schneider TM – “Con-Struct” – [Bureau B.]

Kai Sync   2/8/2017   12-inch, A Library

 

The German electronic music pioneer Conrad Schnitzler (early Tangerine Dream, Kluster, Eruption) collected huge amounts of sounds for live performances. After his death the idea appeared to re-construct new materials instead of plain remixes using these audio samples. This is the idea behind the Con-Struct series of releases. Her Schneider TM (indie artist Dirk Dresselhaus) takes this electronic music material and indeed reconstructs it in this 2016 release into various new ambient and intense electronica tracks with a surprising refreshment of the elderly electronic material. The spirit is there, but the sound is contemporary. It’s also trying to mimic the live spirit by on-the spot improvisations with the content. Very enjoyable and inspiring.

Ellen Allien – “Lism” – [Bpitchcontrol]

Kai Sync   2/8/2017   12-inch, A Library

 

This is techno artist Ellen Allien’s 2011 ambient soundscape produced for a dance performance at Paris’ Pompidou Centre. It’s a single 45 minute continuous track. The opening has a guitar loop theme that repeats with female voices smootching in and out. And from this the themes are more variated with darker and milder ambience, even jazz sample montages. There are some beat related techno elements materializing after the half-way point of this musical piece, otherwise it’s an abstract melody collage with pieces coming in and out, honoring the Eno tradition of sound collages. This kind of avant space material could easily devour too much time but there’s an option to pick and choose references. Maybe the ultimate price is to listen and get lost in the music.

Plath – “Plath” – [Mannequin Records]

Kai Sync   1/25/2017   12-inch, A Library

 

Long time ago in another dimension, the Italian duo Fabricio Lucarini and Silvia Innocenti created music with the name of Plath. This was back in 1982. It sounded like power electronica of today, but it was done long time ago. It certainly didn’t sound like anything else at that point of time. And it still does not sound like a cliche power electronics trip produced today. This is lo-fi beat electronica with angst driven female yelling that has certain F-words that most likely are the bad ones. It’s deranged, ugly, sterile, far ahead of its time. It’s certainly noticeable and excellent.

Pangaea – “In Drum Play” – [Hessle Audio]

Kai Sync   1/17/2017   A Library, CD

 

This is Hessle Audio co-founder Kevin McAuyley’s (Pangaea) 2016 debut album, an exercise in modern, contemporary UK left-field house/dance music where nothing is sacred and you don’t know how the next track sounds like. We are dealing with unexpected rhythms and off-the-beaten track synth sounds, edgy loops and stream of consciousness productions. Which is brave rather than doing 10 tracks of techno beater material, each one has its own little world, from tech house to Detroit techno, to wobble and more. Of some odd reason each subsequent track gets more interesting where the last one, DNS, is my favorite – it has shadows of early day dubstep but still takes off into a direction I didn’t expect. Nice, nice!

Reagenz – “Playtime” – [Workshop]

Kai Sync   1/11/2017   A Library, CD

 

CD – Workshop

The collaboration between Dave Moufang (Move D) and Jonah Sharp (Spacetime Continuum) are sparse between, this is their second album released 2009. However, each album is a tasty dish, a mixture of tech house with ambience and dubby sonic elements. Graceful synths work together with tasty beats and fanciful arpeggios. The opening track Dinner With Q sets the tone with acoustic guitar splashes moving along dubby synth bubbles and a deep house feel drum pattern. Many of these compositions were actually done during a short visit to a friend’s analog synth studio in Japan — even so there are no obvious traces of jamming along to make something, rather each peace is a nice standalone and excellent composition. The CD ends with a long homage to electronic dub — Du bist hier! (you are here!)

Natural Swing – “Lo-finders” – [Dezi-Belle Records]

Kai Sync   1/11/2017   12-inch, Hip Hop

 

Natural Swing delivers 20 short instrumental and chill hip hop tracks designed as abstract melody concepts with lots of warble, mud, scratched vinyl noise and sonic wobble with this 2016 release. This is very much underground hip hop with a stream of consciousness approach to samples and compositions that could be composed today with various computer tools to extend samples into more dreamlike expansions. This results lead to experiences of short bursts of introspection into unknown areas that maybe even the originators didn’t expect themselves. Some of the highlight tracks — for me — was LFO, Trane and Goodie, mostly due to the jazz influenced chord sequences. This kind of broken beat art maybe works best in small doses.

DJ Taye – “Move Out” – [Hyperdub]

Kai Sync   1/4/2017   12-inch, A Library

 

Hyperdub the label is known for pushing brand new genres even further into the unknown, in this case this 2016 release from DJ Taye pushes footwork, grime and nu-Soul into inter-dimensional music scenarios. There’s plenty of beat-deconstruction which is the new fancy production technique used with many contemporary UK producer releases. Or, drum machine patterns are not considered holy, they could be mutated into any direction wished. Otherwise we have here a loop chopping and mangling set of tracks with melancholy melodies used to formulate the release. As such, honors go to the bravery of unexpected translations of music, kind of a bebop interpretation of electronic beat music today.

 

Chicks On Speed and The No Heads – “Press The Space Bar” – [Chicks on Speed Records]

Kai Sync   1/4/2017   A Library, CD

 

Chicks on Speed and their cohorts from Spain, No Heads, deliver a mixed sandwich of indie pop, punk, punk-techno, industrial and beats spiced with sexual politics messages of all kinds. It’s both charming and confusing due to each track taking its own life form. The singers seem to be stuck in the high school punk scene which could be considered either a cliche or then a deliberate production technique from the producer Cristian Vogel. Each track delivers an energetic revolution of some kind. There are some reflections pointing at various bands like LE Tigre or Tackhead or a multitude of punk bands that discovered drum machines in their later career. And sometimes it’s just plain weird with no rhyme or reason pushing the boundaries — and that’s where the interest level starts to blink green. It’s definitely a self-contained universe of music. I suspect multiple listings will unravel the mystery. Meanwhile have fun with these tiger noise kittens. Watch out for megaphone FCCs.

Menche, Daniel – “Radiant Blood” – [Drone Records]

Kai Sync   1/4/2017   10-inch, A Library

 

This is a 2005 release from Drone Records, the label’s goal was a concept to embrace the prospect of infinite possibilities for artists, especially noise artists to embrace various forms of expression. In this case this drone music release has mild noise terror even if the A side has a solid wall with various shredding frequencies intersecting, is slowly increasing in volume with a sudden unexpected short end. The B side is more like taking a trip to the local cemetery where noise artists do an improv on the spot four in the morning. Consider this gothic noise about the unknown.

 

Thug Entrancer – “Death After Life” – [Software Recording Co.]

Kai Sync   12/14/2016   12-inch, A Library

 

Ryan MacRyhew, or Thug Entrancer, is the story of an experimental producer that moves to Chicago and discovers electronic dance music and changes his tune to fit this form. This is his first 2014 full-length album, even a double album. The tracks are roman numerically named to give the listener space to figure out the meaning behind each track. The style is techno but also has subtle influences from juke (footwork), computer games, dub dubstep, acid and other intelligent dance music genres. The patterns are frantic but sometimes restricted, giving each track some isolation from each other. Part V spirals up to the 160 beats per minute world. It might be a studio jam due to some repetitions happening, but fortunately each tracks gives the album a distinct flavor. This certainly is more adventurous dance music.

Van Hoen, Mark – “Last Flowers From The Darkness, The” – [Medical Records]

Kai Sync   12/7/2016   12-inch, A Library

 

This re-release of material from 1992-1996 is a fascinating and diverse soundscape concerning the 1990s UK electronic beat IDM scene covering even the ambient world of music. Producer and master music mind Mark Van Hoen is also known as Locust and Autocreation as well as a co-founder of Seefeel. The opening track 1967 uses a clever looping concept of a female voice which turns into its own digital language as the slower DrumNBass track progresses. The A side has faster, DrumNBass influenced material. However, when the B side kicks in, the tone moves into more introspective electronic dub and ambient techno. The C side then is dedicated to even more ambient looping material similar to Aphex Twin experiments. Last track on the D side is a long, beautiful and harmonic ambient piece which is perfect for ending a show.

 

Exillon – “No One Is Happy” – [Jacktone]

Kai Sync   12/7/2016   12-inch, A Library

 

Jacktone was an San Francisco based label that moved to Berlin and Berlin where the pasture for modern electronic music resides. This Exillon EP showcases this contemporary merge of techno elements with mind-bending off-world productions. Especially enjoyable was the off-best breakdowns that didn’t follow the typical formulas designed for DJs. I heard also some James Holden influences on the B side track. If techno has to evolve, is has to pick up elements from other influences and as such Exillon manages this well to make two tracks that are as exiting as future time travel as well as still produces the music of the future which makes techno immune to staleness.

 

Black Dog, The – “Book of Dogma” – [Soma Records]

Kai Sync   12/7/2016   A Library, CD

 

Book Of Dogma is a set of re-releases of early day The Black Dog productions — an influential intelligent electronic music trio that later morphed into Plaid by some of the members. The first three tracks is their first EP called Virtual of which the title track has been present in many DJ mixes; instant rave de-ja-vu when listening to these early 1990s tracks. The other EPs present is The Ago Of Slack with electro samba and other whacked out electronic funk. The passage of time has dulled down some of the material such as the emulation of Detroit techno sounds and Kraftwerk blips. And some material is amazingly fresh like the Weight and Glassolalia that I would not hesitate playing at a modern club today. Some of the tracks also have a feel of early day Drum and Bass experiments that were then finessed by other UK producers. However, this is a good time capsule of an important IDM band who pioneered a lot of styles that were emulated, still today as an homage to the genre-bending tour-the-force which was The Black Dog.