Bionaut (AKA The
Modernist, Burger Industries, Geometric Farms, and officially
Jörg Burger) is a respected member of the Cologne minimal techno crew
that includes Pole, Wolfgang Voigt, and Thomas Brinkmann, all of whom
are known for their unique styles of minimal techno. In my mind, the
work of Jörg Burger is strong and consistent and perhaps more accessible
than that of his German peers, but I have always seen him as the lowest
rung on the Cologne ladder. But this is not to say that he is not
immensely talentedhe is. It's just that his competition is pretty
With Lubricate Your Living Room, Matador has released a collection
of Burger's out of print European releases from 1993-1997 and the
result is a very summery-sounding CD perfect for an open window and
a cool breeze. For fans of the more traditional 4/4 techno sound found
on The Modernist, be prepared for a much more mellow disk that
is influenced more by minimal dub and ambient music than traditional
techno. In fact, this collection has much more in common with Mouse
on Mars than the Modernist.
Textured with funny vocal samples ("electric campfire"),
a resonating xylophone sound ("p. bateman"), and a generally
pleasant atmospheric quality, Lubricate Your Living Room is
a refreshing disk that rivals his best work. Given the fact that some
of the music on this record is from the early nineties, it is amazing
how fresh it all sounds. Burger will never be as groundbreaking as
Pole, but perhaps I'll move him up a bit on my Cologne list of talent.
have been coming in their pants over this release and I must admit,
I simply don't get it. I gave into the hype and finally picked up
the disk and I have to say I am deeply disappointed. I am always looking
for original hip-hop and usually dig anything the Automator produces
(Dr. Octagon, Handsome Boy Modeling School), but this release
is simply a bore.
Teaming with Del the Funky Homosapien (the dullest MC in business)
and Kid Koala, Automator has some nice moments including the symphonic
"3030," but overall he seems uninspired. Breaking with his
trademark heavy-bass sound, Automator is at his most subdued, and
do we really need another underground hip-hop project with a a Space
Age theme attached to it.
In all fairness, perhaps the newly-released instrumental version would
have been a better purchase. Del the Funky Homosapien could steal
the momentum from a speeding train with his constipated rhyming style.
To catch Automator at his best, skip this release and check out the
brand new Gorillaz CD, reviewed
here in this publication.
an affordable domestic release by Astralwerks of this wonderful Kraut
Rock band's canon of work from the Seventies. It's about time, is
all I have to say!
If you haven't heard them, they have influenced everyone from Bowie
to Stereolab and are responsible for the first remix songa huge
contribution to electronic music. The first 3 releases simply named
Neu!, Neu! 2, and Neu! 75 are masterpieces of electronic
minimalism. Think Stereolab without vocals. This duo consisting of
Kraftwork bandmates Michael Rother and Klaus Dinger put out 3 albums
between 1971-75 (and a couple of duds in the Eighties) and the list
of people they have directly influenced is too long to mention.
Follow them chronologically, each release is a little weaker than
the next, but all in all this is great music from one of the most
groundbreaking bands to come out of the Seventies Kraut scene.
only 11 minutes long. That's probably all I need to say about this
EP to discourage you from buying it. And actually, that would be a
shame because the music (though brief) is great.
If you like the band, you'll be pleased. If you are among the many
who find B&S uninspired and hokey, then you won't like it because
it is more of the same. I've always been a sucker for their music
and think If You're Feeling Sinister is one of the best releases
of the Nineties.
This 3-tracker derives it's name from the opening (and best) track
"Jonathan David" that tells a sexy story about David (you
know, the one who killed Goliath) and his friend Jonathan. It's super
dorky, but super-lovely. Just what you expect from B&S.
Look for the full-length soundtrack to Todd Solondz's (Happiness,
Welcome to the Dollhouse) new film this fall.
|Peaches - The
Teaches of Peaches
Old school techno and hip-hop beats and a super low-fi production
make for one of the nicer surprises of late on Peaches debut The
Teaches of Peaches. This is a party CD, plain and simple, with
in-your-face sexuality that puts tamer notions of "girl power"
to shame with intensely funny lines like
Sucking on my titties like you wanted it me, calling me all the
time like Blondie, check out my Chrissi behind, it's fine all of
Titles like "AA XXX," "Diddle My Skittle," and
"Lovertit" bypass naughty in favor of nasty.
This Canadian rapper and sex-rocker also known as Merrill Nisker
has thrown together a wonderful debut that has something for everyone.
There is enough fun to be had on this disk to spin it at your next
house party and it's original and complex enough to keep even music
snobs smiling while everyone else is shaking their ass to the funky
beats. Fuck Guided by Voices, I'll be checking out Peaches at the
Voice's upcoming Siren
is a huge departure for Eitzel and fans of his original band, American Music
Club, may be surprised to see how far this former frontman-gone-solo has
come. Where Eitzel has often relied on collaborative efforts with other
big-name musicians such as Peter Buck, he has finally created a disk that
is fully his own.
On his sixth solo CD, The Invisible Man, Eitzel has thrown together
a very uneven disk that is barely saved by the strength of 3 or 4 beautiful
tracks. Unfortunately, there are also many hokey tracks you will have to
wade you way through.
Overall, fans will enjoy his blending of acoustic guitar with subtle electronics.
This is an average disk whose moments of splendor (like track 4) make it
techno? Is there really such a thing?
You bet, and Savvas Ysatis is one of its bigger artists. Unfortunately,
his work on Select is kind of average. In fact he sounds like Loumo
and/or the Modernist,
only duller. Think minimal techno and house beats, with touches of dub
here and there. The disk ends up sounding repetitive and none of the artist's
melodies really stick with you or ask to be revisited.
It's really not a bad CD at all, but nothing on Select moved me
either and I doubt I will be giving it very much time in my CD player.
Maybe the next record will be better because I can see glimpses of talent
on a few tracks.
|Shuggie Otis -
anyone seen the packaging on this re-release? It reads like a promotional
package. Reviews by David Byrne and Sean O'Hagan to name a couple are
prominently splashed across the cover raving on and on about Inspiration
Information. You would think they discovered the Ark of the Covenant.
Basically, they all say that this undiscovered and forgotten artist is
a genius. It's kind of like that dorky ad campaign for a Knight's Tale
that played up one good review from Rolling Stone.
At least the ad campaign-generated hype is valid with Shuggie! This is
a great CD. It originally was released in 1974 and is as slick and funky
as anything put out by Marvin Gaye. Politically and musically, Shuggie
is more subtle than most of his early Seventies Soul peers, so at first
listen don't expect to have an orgasm (as the packaging suggests) but
I can guarantee that most fans of this period will be pleased. I don't
know what prompted the re-release (Shuggie didn't die recently--he's still
alive and touring) but I am thankful that I found him.... even though
the label did shove it in my face.
a very so-so show at that not-to-be spoken of Williamburg speak-easy recently,
Bardo Pond's most recent Matador release Dilate is a nice surprise
to all fans of stoner rock and drone. Long and trance-inducing melodies
are really just the framework for the droning guitar work and feedback
played by this quintet.
On this outing, lead singer Isobel Sollenberger has much more time to
improvise on the mike bringing about a vocal styling similar to the improvisations
found on many Can records. Only she is a woman and much cuter. Dilate
is noticeably better than their last release Set and Setting and
is the band's best album since Lapsed.
a piece of crap this one is. This is easily the most boring release I have
heard in a long time and it amazes me that this band actually has a following.
This German minimalist/post rock quintet of talentless poseurs consists
of keyboardist Stefanie Bohm, guitarist Jurgen Soder, bassist Michael Heilrath,
and drummer Thomas Geltinger, but each member could easily be replaced by
any teenager snatched from a local battle of the bands.
I suppose they are trying to sound like Tortoise with the repetitions of
Stereolab thrown in, but the outcome is as soulless and dull as anything
in recent memory. Simple melodies are repeated in a very formulaic way with
no surprises and or variation.
Definitely skip this one.
For a second opinion, see what Eric Schneider has to say about this release.
Want Some may not qualify as a new release to some, but I just stumbled
upon it for the first time last week. And what a pleasant surprise given
the fact that this amazing DC band just recently split up. This compilation
of 21 B-sides from the past several years is as consistent as it is long.
The usual blend of punk, funk, soul, and gospel is to be found here and
Ian's over-sexed lyrics are as hilarious as ever. This release came out
in 1999, but for those of you who missed it (like me) go and pick it up.
It rivals Sound Verite in overall listenability.
not one of those reviewers claiming omniscience. There is way too much
music out there to keep up with everything. That said, I will attempt
to say something intelligent about the latest Mogwai, despite the fact
that I am largely unfamiliar with their last couple of releases. I hear
the last two sucked anyway, but who knows... critics can be cruel and
are not to be trusted.
Their latest, Rock Action, is actually pretty darn good. It is
short and a little on the melancholy side, but it is definitely worth
a listen. This Glasgow quintet has sculpted a consistently satisfying
record, mixing in a vocal track or two on this largely instrumental excursion.
Sounding at times like a more subtle and less eruptive Godspeed You Black
Emperor, Mogwai seems most at home performing the instrumental.
They also seamlessly texture their sounds with subtle looping and electronics
that enhance the overall recording by adding a nuance not usually found
in post-rock recordings.
On the tracks that do include vocals such as "Secret Pint" and
"Take Me Somewhere Nice," Mogwai approach the beauty of Low
with their sleepy vocals and pleasantly lulling melodies. This is a really
nice disk. I'll have to give the last couple a spin.
|Ltd. Noise - About
hate the term Acid Jazz. It's the kind of catch word guys with
pony tails use to impress chicks. The term Trip Hop isn't a favorite
of mine either. This one reminds me of white art schools kids choking
on blunts as they try to be "down."
Ltd. Noise fits into both categories, but to their favor they are actually
really good. This duo consists of Ped Gil and Paul Fishman (Ped is a former
member of Frankie Goes to Hollywood) and together they have put together
a very funky first CD that is as equally influenced by jazz as it is by
Mixing electronics, live instrumentation, jazz samples, and a taste of
German-sounding glitches, About 8 Minutes is refreshingly unpretentious
and original. We look forward to hearing more from this London-based band.
Free Williamsburg© | 93 Berry
Street | Brooklyn, NY 11211
| July 2001 | Issue 16
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