Henning Baer – Gemini EP (TANSTAAFL Planets)
TANSTAAFL Planets are back with another short essay in quality techno in the form of this super-fine EP from German artist Henning Baer. Sometimes a producer and a label come together as such a perfect fit that it seems to be written in the stars and this is one of those times. Four tracks of grumpy, energetic and sublime techno and noise and it’s well worth a look.
We kick off with 'Housing On a Sunken Ship' which is a beatless wash of digital noise underpinned by muffled and half-heard synths that seems to sum up our disjointed and pained relationship to our electronic existence. Next up, the title track is a weighty and austere percussion track that brooks no argument. Then we have 'Shopping in Jail' which is another pounder with snappy 909 snares that are going to sound absolutely huge if I ever get a gig on a decent system... Finally, rounding off the proceedings we have '8KHz' which is a bit more disjointed than the previous two but just drips tension. Quality release.
Oh god – the moths are back. Why don’t I shut my window when working at night!?
Pittsburgh Track Authority – Your Situation EP (Freerange)
Freerange have been doing it right for just about as long as I can remember but I guess with my limited cranial storage capacity that’s not saying much. So, naturally, when I saw that they were teaming up with the mighty Pittsburgh Track Authority I was extremely excited to hear the results.
And the results are bloody marvelous! We kick off with the title track and, while it’s solid and weighty in the drum department, it’s light, floaty and funky in the synth department. A proper slice of house music. Hot on the heels of that, we have 'RT.28' which is a more broken affair in the rhythm department but this time tempered with some smooth Rhodes chords that are pure cream. Finally we have 'Gold Trim' which takes things into wistfully funky territory, but with a lovely solid beat to keep you moving. Oh and that flute!!!! This is the real deal people.
Sarrass – Dirty Gear LP (Third Ear)
German producer Sarrass has just dropped an immense new long player on the veteran UK techno imprint Third Ear and it’s well worth taking a look. Embarking upon a techno album is a brave endeavor. Do you just go for 9 tracks of dancefloor bangers? Well, it’s hardly an album then is it? Or do you do a few bangers and then shoehorn in some wafty ambient stuff to pretend it’s an album?
So it’s quite rare to come across a techno long player that actually takes you somewhere; that moves through different colors and timbres with coherence. Well this is one of those cases. Sarrass manages to make music that would work on a dancefloor but to weave it into a larger whole that is both coherent and immersive. Oh, and you can hear the whole album in it’s entirety on their Soundcloud before going on to buy the triple vinyl (which I will be doing come payday). Bravo!
***Charity Shop Bangers***
Here we go again. More gems from the shabby little wicker basket next to the DVDs;
D Mob – It’s Time to Get Funky (FFRR)
Yes, it’s he of “We call it ACIEED” fame. It’s a bit cheesey but when it’s only 50p (and for charity!) you just grab the record and hope for the best. This is one of those busy but infectious hip-house records that is hard not to like.
James Ruskin – Point 2 (Tresor)
I found this in the Minds Matter shop at the bottom of Lordship Lane and I love to think that for weeks the grannies have been shuffling past it while they look at the reasonably priced second-hand clothes and tacky-yet-comforting ornaments and trinkets that have cluttered all flat surfaces in our grandparents' houses for generations. James Ruskin is an absolute legend of UK Techno and seeing this in the crate took me back to being 17, losing my shit to a kick drum and a hi-hat at Atomic Jam in Birmingham. Most of this album is a bit too linear for my sets but 'Connected' is a lovely, creepy little groover.
Earth Wind and Fire – I Am (CBS)
This has to be one of the most magnificently artworked records I own and it cost 20p or something ridiculous from a charity shop in Canterbury. Designed by Shusei Nagaoka, the cover blends afrofuturism and mysticismm with lashings of ancient Egypt (and a smattering of Mesopotamia for good measure). Oh, and spaceships. The music’s pretty funky too. RBMA did a really good piece on Shusei recently. Right - I’m off to buy some energy drinks now but I’ll leave you with this…