(313) ::AOAIOXXYSZ:: 1

From ozymandias G desiderata
Sent Mon, Jan 30th 1995, 08:06

Reviewed herein:

     LL IDM  Florence - Revelation (Eevo Lute)
 313         V/A - Midwest Acid Harvest (Analog Records)
 313    IDM  Jeff Mills - Growth (Axis)
     LL      Rude 66 (Bunker)
     LL      X-Plain (Bunker)
        IDM  V/A - The Remix EP (Cosmic Records)
        IDM  Laurent Garnier - Shot In The Dark (F Communications)
 313    IDM  V/A - Deep Detroit Volume One: Detroit Techno-Soul (PowWow Trance)
 313    IDM  V/A - Deep Detroit Volume Two: Magic Tracks (PowWow Trance)
 313    IDM  Lemuria - Lemuria EP (Submerge)
             Voltage 9 - Candema (SyneWave)
 313    IDM  Rhythim Is Rhythim - It Is What It Is (Transmat)
 313    IDM  Rhythim Is Rhythim - Nude Photo (Transmat)
        IDM  Future Sound of London - ISDN (Virgin / Astralwerks)
        IDM  V/A - In Sight Volume One (Visible)
        IDM  Autechre - Amber (Warp)

	A mixed bag this time, with the majority of these records
courtesy of sashainboston. I hope everybody digs my new Review
Relevance (tm) scheme, which is intended to let those of you on each
of the three mailing lists I'm sending this to know which reviews you
should care about. (You can ignore the rest.) I obviously need more
Dutch stuff, just so my lowlands comrades don't feel like I'm
neglecting them. E-mail me for an address to send donations of quality
Dutch music (especially records on Djax or Eevo Lute) to.
	The more astute of you may note that I am reviewing one of
these albums for the second time. This is because I hadn't really
figured out the release back then, and therefore wrote a really
useless review of it. I'll probably end up re-reviewing stuff every
now and then when I feel like my opinion of it has changed enough to
make a new review worthwhile.
	In the interest of remaining my contrary self, one of these
releases has no relevance to any of the mailing lists I'm on. I hope
you can all deal with this fact. Lord knows I've been difficult enough
as it is.

NON-DISCLAIMER: I review this music for everybody's delectation, and I
obviously think it's all worth taking the time to talk about. Feel
free to disagree with me and even flame my little pink butt. I love to
argue!  About just about everything! At length!


KINGPIN RELEASE OF THE MONTH:


Artist: Florence
Title : Revelation
Label : Eevo Lute
Cat No: EEVO 012
Format: 12"
            Revival
            Intruder
            Vortex of Emptyness
            Revival - Dub

	Pole position in this set of reviews goes to what must be one
of the most exquisite pieces of music to fall into my lap in quite
some time.  This is _good_ _shit_ through and through. "Revival" is
the perfect blend of elements: off-kilter mutated rhythms with all
sorts of live sampled drum loops (one running at half the speed of the
others), elegant keyboard lines that walk the fine line between being
complex and unnecessarily noodly, a haunting piano break, and enough
bassline to keep the whole thing firmly anchored on the
ground. Absolutely amazing. Stefan can one- up the Black Dog at their
own game. Almost everything that I find to be good about the
Artificial Intelligence series is in this song.
	"Intruder" would be acid if the noises it used weren't so
metallic and harsh (the song makes my turntable sound broken). Fans of
the Acid Junkies will have a good idea what to expect from this
one. "Vortex of Emptyness" is aptly named (if incorrectly spelled,
meow meow) -- lots of reverbed beats and echoey sounds. Finally, to
tie it all together, "Revival Dub" brings the wispy keyboards of the
first track back, and just when the floatiness gets to be too much,
the beat kicks in. Four perfect tracks, one perfect EP. I recommend
this (and all Florence) to one and all.

Artist: V/A
Title : Midwest Acid Harvest
Label : Analog Records
Cat No: ANALOG 06
Format: 12"
           Mike Henk - Connect
           Woody McBride - Together
           DJ Hyperactive - Rimshot
           DJ Hud - Off Balance

	This EP is a mixed bag, but it's all undeniably acid. One
wonders at the amazing amount of really hard music the Midwestern
U.S. continues to produce -- I'll probably get flamed for this, but I
found the two years I spent going to school in the Midwest the most
mind-numbingly boring in my life. Why is it that the hotbeds of gabber
and jungle in the US are in places like Milwaukee and Chicago? Is it
compensation of some kind? I really don't know. But that's a topic for
another discussion.
	The two a-side tracks are great - Mike Henk turns in a
nervous, sketchy acid number that shows that, amazingly enough, the
mindbending simplicity of acid has yet to be completely tapped; Woody
McBride turns down the tempo and produces a solid midtempo track with
nice, crunchy kicks. I'm sorry to say that the two b-sides both suck
-- I've heard good material from DJ Hyperactive before, but this track
has way too much pointless keyboard squirreliness and not nearly
enough rhythm to hold it together. And the DJ Hud track is monotonous
and doesn't really seem to have anything to say. If you like Woody /
DJ ESP it's probably worth it for the a-sides, but pass if you aren't
a freak for that sort of thing.

Artist: Jeff Mills
Title : Growth
Label : Axis
Cat No: AX010
Format: 12"
           <untitled>
           <untitled>
           <untitled>

	Jeff has worked out a trademark sound, and on this 12" he
continues refining it. This is yet another in his long series of DJ
tools that, in their rhythmic strangeness and textural complexity,
push completely beyond most DJs' limits. These three tracks all have
the Mills sound: a solid, four-on-the-floor backbeat underpinning all
kinds of crazy keyboard rhythms over the top. It's hard for me to
differentiate the tracks without having names to refer to them by, but
they all use the same formula, in different ways.
	As other folks have noted, Mr. Mills seems to be mellowing a
little as of late, and this EP is no exception. And also as no
exception, one track ends in a perfectly synchronized locking groove
-- who does he know that can master records this well?

Artist: Rude 66
Title : <untitled>
Label : Bunker
Cat No: BUNKER 020
Format: LP
           <untitled>
           <untitled>
           <untitled>
           <untitled>
           <untitled>
           <untitled>
           <untitled>
           <untitled>
           
Artist: X-Plain
Title : <untitled>
Label : Bunker
Cat No: BUNKER0 18
Format: LP
           <untitled>
           <untitled>
           <untitled>
           <untitled>
           <untitled>

	These records are beauties in their anonymity: they come in
plain plastic sleeves, have the artist name and catalog number typed
(in the Star Trek: The Next Generation font) on one side's (black)
label, and nothing else. The music is another matter entirely: this
is some of the silliest acid I've ever heard. Heavily processed
samples from porno movie ads ("More shocking than 'Behind The Green
Door!'") and bad horror movies combined with hard, sometimes distorted
beats and ominous (yet still twiddly) acid lines. It's not as cheesy
as that makes it sound -- like all really good European acid it falls
somewhere between being frivolous and somewhat creepy. Of the two, I
prefer Rude 66, if only because they have a slightly more ominous and
disjointed sound. Comparisons to labelmate Dave Clarke would probably
be appropriate: I felt like I had anticipated what the Bunker sound
would be like pretty well, just because I knew Dave Clarke's sound.

Artist: V/A
Title : The Remix EP
Label : Cosmic Records
Cat No: COS003.5
Format: EP
           Dave Angel Remix
           Lords of Afford Remix
           Planetary Assault Systems Remix
           Steve Bicknell Remix

	This EP asks the musical question, "Oh Steve, what are these
remixes _of_?" without giving up any answers. I'll tell you this much
-- you aren't likely to guess what the original sounds like from these
remixes.  Dave Angel abandons his usual jazzy trance sound and
produces a tight, hard acid tune with lots of interesting noises. It
feels very finely tuned. Lords of Afford do a much more lumbering
take, and their track mostly just feels hard. Despite this, it's still
fun listening and is very DJ friendly. Planetary Assault Systems, like
Mr. Angel, turn in a tight, boomy remix. It has always struck me that
PAS lives up to its name very well; I wonder whether that's an
intentional effect on Luke Slater's part, or if I somehow force the
songs to sound that way inside my head?
	Is it ironic that the most pedestrian song on here is the
artist remixing himself? I don't think so -- it seems to me that
musicians are often too close to their songs to do much with the
remixes. At least that's what I suppose is going on here. All you
trainspotters out there -- why does Steve Bicknell's name sound
familiar? What else has he done?

Artist: Laurent Garnier
Title : Shot In The Dark
Label : F Communications
Cat No: 137001412
Format: 2xLP
 7:19      Shapes Under Water
 6:46      The Force
 6:20      Track For Mike
 7:30      Bouncing Metal
 5:20      Silver String
 6:57      Rex Attitude
 6:55      Geometric World
 7:42      Raw Cut
 5:37      Rising Spirit
 6:14      Harmonic Groove
 8:00      022

	Laurent Garnier wanders all over the place, in terms of
quality as well as of style. The first two songs on this LP are
excellent evidence of this.  "Shapes Under Water" is gorgeous trance,
giving me new faith in a subgenre that I thought had put itself into
insulin shock through its own overbearing, plastic sweetness.
Guitarlike synths (which actually play something related to harmony!
My oh my!) over a chunky, booming rhythm track (I like songs that go
boom, which is why I use that word so frequently).
	On the other hand, "The Force" is a relentlessly monotonous
progressive house track which features a horribly bad sample (which
sounds like the noise the Little Louie Vega character makes in "Mortal
Combat III: DJ's Revenge" when he hurls the steel 12" at archvile
Mixmaster Morris: "House force! House force!").
	The rest of the tracks fall somewhere in between. The album,
as a whole, makes me wonder how involved in the rest of F
Communications' other productions Laurent is: some of the "elements"
of other things I've heard on F Comm peek their guilty heads up here
and there on this record (owners of "DS, Volume One" will recognize
the reason for the sly use of quotation marks above, and will also
recognize the rhythm pattern of "Track For Mike").

Artist: V/A
Title : Deep Detroit Volume One: Detroit-Techno Soul Compiled By Eddie Fowlkes
Label : Pow Wow / Tresor
Cat No: PWD7439
Format: CD
 5:10      Kech - Irony
 5:46      Shake - Dreamlights
 5:30      Eddie Flashin' Fowlkes - 420 High
 6:43      T.H.D. - Daga 301
 5:40      Eddie Flashin' Fowlkes - Macro
 3:54      Optica Nerve - Quaza
 5:19      A.E.S. - Music In My Head
 5:47      Santonio - Nightgroove
 3:38      Optica Nerve - Technology

Artist: V/A
Title:  Deep Detroit Volume Two: Magic Tracks Compiled By Juan Atkins
Label:  Pow Wow / Metroplex
Cat No: PWD45
Format: CD
           Scan 7 - 21st Century
           Optica Nerve - Premonition
           Drexciya - Positron I Stand
           Intellitronic - Pixel
           Ron Cook - Ffwd
           Infiniti - Hardrive
           Eddie Flashin' Fowlkes - Deepcover
           Infiniti - Flash Flood

	I felt like I had to mention these two again, especially
following the recent discussion of the lack of good Detroit
compilations. Nobody else seems to notice the excellent work PowWow
has done in bringing quality Detroit music to the American
masses. Granted, all of their compilations are licensed (primarily
from Tresor), but with all of the crap the major labels are foisting
off on us in the name of Techno, it's nice to see a label with
major-label aspirations doing things right.
	And these releases have been done right. Although they've been
slow to grow on me, I've been finding these two CDs jammed into my CD
player quite a bit the past few weeks. This is the techno that is most
directly descended from what got started in Detroit a decade ago:
smooth, soulful, and deep. It's all goddamn beautiful listening music,
too. What made these releases difficult for me to immediately
appreciate is turning out to be what is engaging me now: these songs
all exhibit a lot of the ill-defined quality known as "soul," which is
not something I normally appreciate (with the exception of Marvin
Gaye).
	The other thing I really like about these compilations is that
they feature Detroit artists that aren't as well known. The spotlight
on Detroit these days mostly seems to focus on either Submerge or +8,
and there's obviously a lot more going on than that focus would lead
you to believe. Besides the big names (Eddie Fowlkes, Juan Atkins,
Drexciya), there's a lot of good music here from artists that I am
mostly unfamiliar with: Optica Nerve (who have three brilliant tracks
here), Shake, Scan 7, and Kech are the best of a good bunch. Where do
all of these people hide?  What else have they done?
	In short, I feel that anybody with an interest in Detroit
music owes it to themselves to track down both of these
compilations. They show you a deeper side of Detroit that it's very
easy to miss.

Artist: Lemuria
Title : Lemuria EP
Label : Submerge
Cat No: GG007
Format: EP
 5:40      Voyage To Lemuria
 4:42      Cosmic Forces As They Were Taught In Mu
 4:50      First Night In Lemuria
 3:55      The Dream

	On the other hand, Submerge deserve the props they
get. They've been putting a consistently great stream of releases out
for the past year or so, and this is but one example of what makes
them good. Processed samples, intricate rhythms, and a good chunk of
the funk make this a well-rounded release. I prefer the two a-side
tracks, because the b-sides get a bit monotonous, but they're all
solid. Those of you that thought the Acid Rain series was good except
for having a little _too_ much acid will probably get into this
record. Fans of good pressings will also dig it -- I know I've got a
high-quality record when I feel those thick, rounded edges.

Artist: Voltage 9
Title : Candema
Label : SyneWave
Cat No: SW07
Format: 12"
           <untitled>
           <untitled>

	I like this record, but it's pretty generic New York
acid. Would I make that statement if I didn't know that this record
was from a New York label? Probably. It's just got that sound:
bass-heavy beats, high BPMs, little snippets of acid here and there,
and an overall minimalistic feel.  It's good if you're a DJ and are
looking for an inoffensive track to use as a bridge, but if you're
just looking for something entertaining to listen to, you'd better
look somewhere else. There's just not enough here to hold a casual
listener's attention.

Artist: Rhythim Is Rhythim
Title : It Is What It Is
Label : Transmat
Cat No: MS6
Format: 12"
           It Is What It Is
           Feel Surreal
           Beyond The Dance

Artist: Rhythim Is Rhythim
Title : Nude Photo
Label : Transmat
Cat No: MS2
Format: 12"
           Nude Photo [Photo Mix]
           The Dance [Living Room Mix]
           Move

	Yeah, yeah, I know it's pretty late in the game to be
discovering the old Detroit techno, but Transmat stuff doesn't exactly
grow on trees around here. It takes up valuable shelf space that could
otherwise be occupied by the latest wailing diva monstrosity. The
eerie thing about listening to these records is knowing that they are
now almost seven years old, because they really don't sound it -- they
sound like something that could have come out last year. People are
always saying that about the old Detroit techno, but it's true. The
best of it really is timeless.
	Derrick May's stuff also foregrounds the whole relationship
between Detroit and Kraftwerk. I get a heavy Kraftwerk vibe off these
records.  But there's a lot more than just Kraftwerk (and P-Funk)
going into these records -- you can hear elements of soul and pop and
electro and all kinds of stuff poking out of the mix.
	However, this is not to say that listening to these records
caused any sorts of religious experiences for me. They're merely good,
and interesting in a historical way. If you've never heard old-school
Detroit techno, this is a good place to start, but I would also say
that you'd probably dig Model 500 more.

Artist: Future Sound of London
Title : ISDN
Label : Virgin / Astralwerks
Cat No: CDV2755
Format: CD
           Just A Fuckin Idiot
           The Far Out Son Of Lung And The Ramblings Of A Madman
           Appendage
           Slider
           Smokin Japanese Babe
           You're Creeping Me Out
           Eyes Pop - Skin Explodes - Everybody Dead
           It's My Mind That Works
           Dirty Shadows
           Tired
           Egypt
           Are They Fightin Us
           Hot Knives
           A Study Of Six Guitars
           An End Of Sorts

	I'm treading upon well-packed ground, so I'll keep this
brief. Like many people, I like this release a lot more than
Lifeforms. There's just a lot more here that I can sink my teeth
into. The fact that most of these tracks follow a normal song
structure helps as well. And I will never be able to find it in my
heart to slag any record that hoarks the beat from Eric B and Rakim's
"Follow The Leader" (as "Slider" does)
	But jeez, the middle part is awfully boring, and there's a lot
of nouveau-industrial bits that I could just do without. I have come
to really hate whale noises, and I think Reload has pretty much sealed
that chapter of ambient sampling off (in "Mosh", of all places). Plus,
when did FSOL develop an allergy to the letter "G"?
	With that in mind, I'd say that this is my favorite FSOL
release in a good while, primarily because of the stronger, more
rhythmic tracks. And I had absolutely no difficulty finding it (for
$15.68 (?)) here in Missoula, Montana.

Artist: V/A
Title : In Sight Volume One
Label : Visible
Cat No: VISCD1002
Format: CD
           Fidelity Bytes - 'D' Funk
           Pirate Audio - Quadexion
           Joey Beltram - Drums Of Orbit
           Martin Bond - Essence [Mark G!'s Mix]
           Channel 69 - I Never Felt [Jeff K's Mix]
           Seofon - Scharae
           Polytaps - Star Glider
           A.T.O.I. Myster School - Earth / Invocation / Mantram
           Martin Bond - Cosmic Voices
           Darwin Chamber - U.F.O.

	Despite Jeff Kihn's protestations, this is a really good
collection, and not at all what I would have expected from a San
Francisco label. If you'd taken the artificial-sounding "'D' Funk" out
somewhere and kindly disposed of it, this would be very consistent
(and consistently good) collection of tracks off Visible records.
	Personal favorites are the breakbeat-driven clattery rhythms
of Seofon's "Scharae" (is their album as good as this track? If it is
I'll have to get it), the Skinny Puppy-esque ambient randomness of
"Earth / Invocation / Mantram", and Pirate Audio's trancy darkness.
	It is indeed surprising to see such a dark collection of
tracks coming out of the relentlessly happy San Frandisco scene. All
of the tracks (again, with the exception of the initial woofer) are
moody in one way or another, and all have a kind of otherworldly
beauty. Lots of minor-key dissonance in the keyboards and fractured
rhythms. Plus, there's something that sounds suspiciously like a
Meredith Monk sample in "Essence", and anybody that's heard her can
testify to the haunted sound of her voice. This compilation succeeds
admirably well at interesting me in Visible's other releases.

Artist: Autechre
Title : Amber
Label : Warp / WaxTrax! / TVT
Cat No: TVT7230
Format: CD
           Foil
           Montreal
           Silverside
           Slip
           Glitch
           Piezo
           Nine
           Further
           Yulquen
           Nil
           Teartear

	Finally, we conclude with a review of what sounds like the
newest Artificial Intelligence release. I don't care what all you
trainspotter dorks say -- these guys were on AI II, this album is on
Warp, and it sounds enough like Incunabula to fit inside the AI
series.
	This is a surprisingly good album. I say "surprising" because,
while I thought Incunabula was pretty swank, I listened to it maybe
five times before it was relegated to the obscurity of one of my many
CD cases. There just wasn't enough there to hold my attention.
However, the same quality of emptiness that worked against their last
album works _for_ this one. Parts remind me of the Myst soundtrack
(which is about the highest compliment I can pay a piece of music --
the Myst soundtrack absolutely floored me), parts remind me of
Beaumont Hannant, and parts have the same melancholy feel as the
Polygon Window album.
	Autechre seem to enjoy sounding disjointed. They mutilate
their samples, their rhythms are bright, clattery, and off-kilter,
their keyboard lines are almost fractal in their random complexity,
and the concept of traditional harmonic or melodic structure seems
totally foreign to them.  Sometimes this all comes together and works,
like in "Further" or "Silverside," but sometimes it just sounds too
precious for words, like in "Nine."
	They also seem to have picked up a strong fondness for
inordinately long fades. Autechre have never been big in the song
structure department, and it shows. Most of these songs don't really
end -- they just gently drift away. Heck, most of them don't really
start. It's like randomly opening to the middle of a novel and reading
ten pages -- things happen and change over time, but you don't feel
any sense of introduction or conclusion.

      ozymandias G desiderata AKA Forrest L Norvell AKA DJ AladdinSane
GCS/CW/DJ d- H++ s++:-- !g p1 !au a- w+++ v+++ C++(---) U?++++(----)$ 
          P--- L 3 E++ N++ K++ W---(-----) M++ V-- -po+ Y++>+++ t@ 5- 
          jx R-- G'' !tv b+++ D++ B-- e++ u*(**) h-- f++ r++ n++ x+(*)