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|Funkstörung - 'Appendix' [shop]
!K7-Records • CD • !K7210CD • 2007-01-22
|There was a time when one needed a few grooves pressed on vinyl, a TB 303 and a TR 808. And a small provincial town like Rosenheim was suddenly on the same map as Detroit, Manchester and all the other cities in the world that generate interesting electronic sounds. Because it was hard to understand this wondrous phenomenon, let alone explain it to others, one simply thought the Rosenheim natives were 'the German Autechre.' Bjoerk, the Wu-Tang Clan and all the advanced electronic acts knew better: Funkstörung are unique.
The Y2K bug was just starting to hit in the nineties when Michael Fakesch and Chris de Luca, who in 1996 started drawing attention to themselves with diverse small releases on Bunker
1. Spacek - "1st Stroke" [Funkstörung Remix] [play]
2. Phon.o - "Trick Or Treat" [Funkstörung Remix] [play]
3. Barry Adamson - "Whispering Streets" [Funkstörung Remix] [play]
4. Björk - "All Is Full Of Love" [2nd Funkstörung Remix][play]
5. Lamb - "Heaven" [Funkstörung Remix] [play]
6. Lusine ICL - "Sustain" [Funkstörung Remix] [play]
7. Towa Tei - "Latte & Macaron" [Funkstörung Remix][play]
8. Raveonettes - "Love In A Trashcan" [Funkstörung Remix]
9. Nils Petter Molvaer - "Axis Of Ignorance" [Funkstörung Remix]
10. Beanfield - "Close To You" [Funkstörung Remix][play]
11. Enik - "No Fire" [Funkstörung Remix][play]
12. Richard Devine - "Sigstop" [Funkstörung Remix; Bonustrack]
|Stateless - 'Stateless' [shop]
!K7-Records • CD • !K7214CD • 2007-06-25
'As close to perfection as I've heard in a long time' - DJ Shadow'These guys are deep!' - Roots Manuva'Stardom awaits' - MixmagStateless are one of the most exciting young bands of 2007. Meshing guitars with electronics, orchestral strings with turntable beats, this sonically ambitious five-piece already have a depth and a power far beyond their years. They come from Leeds, an increasingly hip breeding ground for fresh rock talent in the north of England. But their songs transcend scenes, genres and international borders. Newly signed to the Berlin label !K7, their self-titled debut album already sounds like one of the musical highlights of the year.
1. Prism #1 [play]
2. Exit [play]
3. Bloodstream [play]
4. This Language (feat. Lateef the Truthspeaker) [play]
5. Down Here [play]
6. Radiokiller [play]
7. Running Out [play]
8. Crash [play]
9. Bluetrace [play]
10. Inscape [play]
|Dj-Kicks - 'Hot Chip' [shop]
!K7-Records • CD • !K7213CD • 2007-04-06
|A question: How does one adequately capture the madcap brilliance of Hot Chip, arguably the most inventive band operating in the UK today? You could start with talking about their playful, wayward pop? Which is a pretty good start, but then that would ignore their excursions into skewed hip hop and sun-dappled folk. And how can we forget their fondness for mad, slow techno?
Over the last couple of years, as their star has risen ever upwards, they've been described in various quarters as a bedroom Neptunes; a ghetto Kraftwerk; airy-fairy art pop; Aphex Twin writing for Will Young and the Incredible String Band producing Rachel Stevens.
All of these are descriptions that go some way to encapsulating their unique sound but the real magic is putting your own spin on their devilishly slippery tales.
Since they first lodged themselves in the public's consciousness in 2003 with the magnetic Down With Prince EP (released on the ace Moshi Moshi imprint) half the fun has been in trying to guess what this London quintet will do next. Their first album, Coming On Strong (2004), did just that, but their second album, the Mercury nominated The Warning (2006), took their sonic tonics to another level.
So what happens when they transpose their musical tastes into the realms of the DJ? In the hands of lesser talents such an eclectic mixture of sounds, textures and grooves could end up a bit of a mess. Mercifully, as they demonstrated on The Warning, Hot Chip have an uncanny knack of taking all manner of cultural flotsam and jetsam and shaping it into something incredible.
And so it is with their first contribution to the Don of all DJ mix projects, !K7's evergreen DJ Kicks series. A sublime journey through the dusty crevices of Hot Chip's 10-legged record collection it manages to take in wonky electro-pop, Detroit techno, Balearica, off-kilter house, hip hop, mellifluous drum'n'bass, R'n'B, blues, jazz and Joe Jackson without ever sounding contrived or hackneyed. In fact it's the soundtrack to the best house party you've never been to. Or something like that.
'It's random,' admits Hot Chip drummer Felix Martin, 'but we arrived at the track listing in a democratic fashion, and I have to say, that I think it's representative of the different influences that make up the band.'
That means the nods to the dancefloor arrive courtesy of regular DJ Felix ('That's where I'm coming from,' he admits), while frontman Alexis, who's also partial to a bit of deck manipulation, provides the quirkier side of the 24 track shindig.
'We're DJs at the opposite end of the spectrum,' Felix explains. 'When Alexis plays out you're likely to hear Harold Faltermeyer's Fletch soundtrack, some Brian Eno and then some hip hop. I like house and techno. It makes for quite a schizo mix, but that's the way we are as a group.'
With this in mind, the thrills and spills that make up this 68-minute journey (not that kind of DJ journey, thankfully) make perfectly disjointed sense. The hypnotic, jerky soul of opener Nitemoves by former Hot Chip sticksman Rob Smoughton, under his Grosvenor nom de guerre, gets things going and this is followed by the luminous old school hip hop of Positive K's I Got A Man and the rhythmical electro rabble rousing of Gramme's Like U.
Kindred spirits New Order keep things perky with Bizarre Love Triangle, while the boisterous blues of Etta James' Down In The Basement is a suitably titled homage to that place below ground where all manner of fun occurs. Hot Chip's exclusive cut, My Piano, is another sure-fire winner. A piano-led, soon-to-be Balearic gem, it evokes not only the aforementioned New Order, but the perfect pop of the Pet Shop Boys. No mean feat.
But what really gives the mix character is the pleasing use of unknown, or, at least, unheralded artists. The decelerated daft R'n'B of Um's The Man's Got Me Beat and the blissful micro house of Lanark's The Stone That The Builder Rejected are both superb discoveries.
And here, the hand of Hot Chip is very much at work. Um is a friend of the band's from Cambridge ('He's been labouring away in relative obscurity,' says Felix, 'but he's a maverick musician; a real influence on us. It's nice for us to be able to put tracks like his and Grosvenor's on this album'), while Lanark is actually Felix and Al Doyle from the band.
'We've tried to make it flow,' says Felix, 'but it's good when bits jolt you. It's not a background, chill-out mix at all. We tried not to think too hard about the bigger picture, but concentrated on something that sounded good in the moment.'
One listen to this box of delights will soon confirm that Hot Chip's first adventure into the much vaunted world of DJ Kicks sounds good in every moment. As Ray Charles intones on the perfectly placed closing track Mess Around, 'the band was jumping, the people too'. We couldn't have put it better ourselves.
1. Grovesnor - "Nitemoves"
2. Positive K - "I Got A Man"
3. Gramme - "Like You"
4. Subway - "Persuasion"
5. Soundhack - "B1"
6. Tom Zé - "Cademar"
7. Hot Chip - "My Piano" (DJ-Kicks)
8. Wax Stag - "
9. New Order - "Bizarre Love Triangle" (Shep Pettibone Extended Remix)
10. Young Leek - "Jiggle It"
11. Etta James & Sugar Pie DeSanto - "In The Basement, Part One"
12. Black Devil Disco Club - "On Just Foot" [play]
13. Dominik Eulberg - "Der Buchdrucker"[play]
14. Grauzone - "Film 2" [play]
15. This Heat - "Radio
16. Wookie - "
17. Gabriel Ananda - "Doppelwhipper " (Live) [play]
18. Marek Bois - "You Got Good Ash" [play]
19. Lanark - "The Stone That The Builder Rejected" [play]
20. Um - "The Man's Got Me Beat" [play]
21. Nôze - "Love Affair" [play]
22. Audion - "Just Fxxxxxx" (Roman Flügel's 23 Positions In A One Night Stand Remix) [play]
23. Joe Jackson - "Steppin' Out" [play]
24. Ray Charles - "Mess Around" [play]
|Swayzak - 'Some Other Country' [shop]
!K7-Records • CD • !K7215CD • 2007-08-27
|Swayzak are their old selves again! James Taylor's fatherhood sabatical is over, David 'Brun' Brown managed things during his absence anyway, and now they return together with their album 'Some other country.' Swayzak's new opus sounds mature and full. On the Brits' fifth album, what counts is quality, loud showy effects are superfluous. Swayzak have always loved their echo pedal, but in their tenth year of existence, their dub-techno attains a new, compositional dimension. 'We're more interested in atmosphere,' says Brun. 'The album is darker and heavier - a reaction to all that minimal stuff that has become a type of mainstream.' Indeed, the pieces on 'Some other country' aren't just a trip to another country: little worlds unfold.
Can a diamond get goose pimples? Perhaps it can, if it is confronted with a deep jewel like the opener 'Quiet Life.' With the vocals of Berlin producer and DJ Cassy (Panorama Bar/Berghain), Swayzak stage a moving, room-filling question-and-answer game. It's similarly the case in 'Smile and Receive,' where her clear voice mixes with strange noises and gentle bell ringing.
Swayzak's favorite singer, Richard Davis (kitty-yo, Punkt), is also back. In a gentle and mysteriously melodious voice, he tells in 'No sad goodbyes' of how he corrected a faux pas. Then these bright, crystal clear moments, the type one sometimes experiences after an all-nighter, resonate along with it. And it's thanks to Swayzak if a tension is built up here, which could capsize at any moment, thereby keeping the listener on his or her toes. Grand cinema, but no kitsch.
On the other hand, absurd and completely hysterical, the fun Italian pop'n'roll band 'Les Fauves' sings about an unhappy young love: 'You're just a child, you have time to forget.' Well then! The singer's nasal voice is unique, 'an unusual guy who works for a blood transfusion service, that rubbed off on him,' says Brun. Swayzak illustrate this very angry song in a way that is both hymnal and strange and pack the whole thing with a lot of pop appeal. Monty Python goes techno...
At the beginning of 'Claktronic' a girl says 'up in the air.' And everything starts in a playful, beepy way. But step by step an expressively played flute is added and so is a xylophone and a heavenly chorus. Framed by a razor-sharp high hat and bouncy bass, the piece's airy arrangement develops, opening onto an almost sacral level.
We can only be amazed by so much courage for intense feelings and for so much fun in experimentation. With 'Some other country,' James Taylor and David 'Brun' Brown deliver what to date is their most expressive album. Fasten your seat belt, it's a well-directed assault on the doors to our perception. 'See, they return,' say Swayzak at the end of the album, quoting Ezra Pound. Yes, Swayzak are back, and how!
1. quiet life (feat. cassy) [play]
2. so cheap [play]
3. no sad goodbyes (feat. richard
4. distress and calling [play]
5. smile and receive (feat. cassy) [play]
6. claktronic [play]
7. silent luv (feat. les fauves) [play]
8. pukka bumbles [play]
9. by the rub of love [play]
10. they return [play]
|Matthew Herbert - 'Score' [shop]
!K7-Records • CD • !K7212CD • 2007-03-26
|'The internationally acclaimed composer, DJ and electronic studio wizard Matthew Herbert goes to the movies on his latest album Score. Showcasing yet another of his multiple musical personalities, these 17 tracks cover the first decade in Herbert's burgeoning sideline as a writer of film scores, alongside a unique ballet collaboration.
Over the past decade, Herbert has amassed an unsurpassed portfolio of highly praised releases under his own name as well as Doctor Rockit, Wishmountain, Radio Boy, Transformer and others. He has also produced and remixed artists as diverse as Björk, Roisin Murphy, REM, John Cale, Yoko Ono and Serge Gainsbourg. And he draws on all aspects of this prolific musical career on Score - from the sun-scorched melodrama of Santiago Tabernero's Spanish film about the death of Franco Vida Y Color to the haunted pianos of Kristian Levring's colonial yarn The Intended, via the pure electronics of Indiscretion and the avant-classical minimalism of Rendezvous.
Of course, the collaborative process of scoring films is very different to Herbert's usual auteur approach to composing house music and experimental electronica. Consequently, Score contains some of his most traditional and straightforward pieces to date. His 2003 big-band jazz album Goodbye Swingtime, for example, grew out of his artfully retro-modern score for the French director Blanca Li's hip-hop musical, Le Defi.
And yet Herbert's trademark dedication to precise detail and conceptual rigour remains as strong as ever on Score. Each project boasts its own distinct musical language and sonic vocabulary, invariably sourced on location and thematically linked to the film in question. Mostly composed for independent European productions, the diversity of sounds and arrangements on this album is firmly at odds with the one-size-fits-all orchestral backdrop heard on most Hollywood blockbusters.
"One thing I really find artistically bankrupt is this idea that a 19th century symphony orchestra is the sole appropriate medium for a big budget movie, regardless of the genre", Herbert says. "The idea that this could work for a futuristic film like Minority Report, which is entirely set in the future, or a film like Troy, which is set thousands of years in the past, is totally absurd. Too often there is no attempt to think about the music in direct relation to the film."
Score is a widescreen blockbuster epic of challenging, stirring, exhilarating soundscapes. It is an action adventure, chase thriller, romantic comedy and emotionally charged psychodrama all rolled into one. Fasten your seatbelt and let Herbert take you to the movies.
1. Funeral [play]
2. End [play]
3. The apartment [play]
4. Singing in the rain [play]
5. Cafe de flore (Trio Reprise) [play]
6. Gang of boys [play]
7. Blood and hair [play]
8. Bull and cloth [play]
9. Rendezvous [play]
10. Indiscretion (Alternate Version) [play]
11. Forest montage [play]
12. Broken Piano [play]
13. Tristesse [play]
14. Running from the credits [play]
15. Nicotine [play]
16. Closing theme [play]