Affirmation is itself essentially multiple and pluralist, whereas negation is always one, or heavily monist. Yet history presents us with a most peculiar phenomena: the negative forces triumph; negation wins in the will to power! This is the case not only in the history of man, but in the history of life and the earth, at least on the face of it inhabited my man. Everywhere we see the victory of No over Yes, of reaction over action. Life becomes adaptive and regulative, reduced to its secondary forms; we no longer understand what it means to act.
-Gilles Deleuze, Pure Immanence
I was informed by a friend that my recent MP3 blog-esque music dumps was causing his iPhone browser to crash, so I’m going to try and cut that out (but fear not, so much music one click away:) Anyways, as you can glean from the title of this post, been feeling especially fatigued by the affected all-knowingness that seems to be a hallmark of internet journalism. Whether it’s arts writers praising a show’s tokenist diversity efforts in lieu of any analysis that goes beyond superficialities or the way so much personal taste seems to represent a grocery list these days, the end result seems to always be the same for me: staggering dullness (which seems to be the defining aesthetic of this age, also known as premium mediocre). And don’t get it twisted; I’m all for people joining the social justice party. But don’t assume that one’s inclusivist politics always makes for a particularly compelling critical hermeneutics (even if doing so gets you all dem clicks). Of course, it’s always a bit too easy to hone in on what one doesn’t like rather than seeking out things to affirm, so I’ll put a pin in the whinging and invite you to join me for some recent jams from the likes of Well Street Records, Max Loderbauer, Burnt Friedman and Ekman alongside a killer Morgan Geist repress and a bruising archival release of machinic riddims circa 1980-1986. Let’s get it.
I’m beyond stoked for the latest archival release from Lecce, Italy’s ace Orbeatize label, which popped up on my radar over the summer when they reissued the outsider disco holy grail that is Abaddon. I’m not at all familiar with the rhythmically riddled work of Ernst Thomas, but his is a discography I’ll likely be probing further after listening to the revelatory collection that is Modern Tracks another 100 times. Collecting four extended experiments in synthesized percussion the artist recorded between 1980 and 1986, it’s a wonderfully aslant release that is a must-scope for all you drum synth nerds out there.
I first got hipped to Well Street Records upon finding a cheap copy of Loop LF’s Stepping Back EP sometime last year and was beyond charmed by the four tracks of wistful broken beat, each cut feeling like it could have emerged at any point from the past fifteen years. And for once, I don’t mean that observation as a dig! Despite having run into Ruff Cherry throughout the years, it wasn’t until seeing that crucial “TIP!” assessment over at Hard Wax that I finally bothered to check the producer’s wares. And Hot. Damn. Excelling in that special type of androgyny that seems particular to the adventurous UKG set, A1 cut “Siren” rests squarely within a steady/ambivalent drum pattern, darting bass divebombs sliding off the side of the vehicle. By the time the sweet heatwarped chords hit the mix, flanked by melodious screeches, it all feels too precise. Only this time, the gags are liberating.
Max Loderbauer is the bomb. I fell for him via his work in Sun Electric and the Moritz Von Oswald Trio and stayed for the Villalobos collabs (not to mention their work as Vilod). His solo work remains a trusted source for contemporary electronic music that actually sounds contemporary and his two wistful remixes from Joao Paulo Esteves da Silva, Mario Franc and Samuel Rohrer’s Brightbird. Loderbauer has long demonstrated an alacrity with freeform improvisation and his Eurojazz leanings lend his dance music-facing productions an earnest musicality, in the best sense possible. His baptism in bass comes through in both of the pulsating remixes featured on the twelve alongside a life lived on and through the Autobahn, each encouraging an ineffable type of intuitive, lived sense in the listener. Ace.
Since debuting in 2012 on Panzerkreuz Records, Nederlands’ Ekman has released over twenty records of blown-out electro and techno stylings on such labels as Trilogy Tapes, Bedouin, and Berceuse Heroique. While his productions can veer a bit too heavy into senseless drowning-under-distortion land for my tastes, the Primus Motor album he released on electro powerhouse Shipwrec back in February is the perfect blend of ass-bumping beats and obtuse synth squiggles, each track fitting just awkwardly enough onto the grid. With titles suggesting an extended detour in the land of mystical mathematics, the eight tracks deftly mine the mind-body parallel for optimal results. Solid record.
Lastly, if you’re debating dropping the $40+ for Morgan Geist’s 1996 Remnants EP as original copies are currently priced on the ‘Scogs, think again as it just got a much-needed repress. I’ve long loved the A1 cut “Intronic” for its hovering beats and gaseous chords and the Mondrian remix at the end triples the length and pumps up the low-end for a proper chin-stroking dancefloor moment.