30 June 2004


MR. 76ix - Hits Of 76ix
This is actually released by Autechre's Skam label (who, lest we forget, were the first to discover Boards Of Canada) who's catalogue is now available for download via Warp's Bleep site. Other labels are gradually being added, with the promise of Ninja Tune pitching in shortly, but I digress.

This year I've sort of got used to having my mind blown on a weekly basis. The sheer quality and quantity coming out of the electronic leftfield at the moment is staggering. More stuff than I actually have the time to write about, unfortunately. But this album by Mr.76ix needs to be honoured, worshipped and generally bigged-up forthwith. I have absolutely no idea who this guy is, but clearly he's gonna be big news before long. Imagine a creative entity that is a composite of prime early-'90s Aphex Twin, Authechre at their most seductive, Squarepusher mash-up (with occasional Amen break death-rattle destruction) and latter-day LFO synthetic purism. Yeah, he's that good. I lack the fucking intellect to do a decent review of this one. Just get hold of it immediately.


This is some strange shit. Team Shadetek are a duo from NYC, but definitely NOT disco-punk bandwagon hoppers. They might possibly be in the Tech-Hop camp, but only in a peripheral satellite sort of way. The thing that strikes me most is the clunky, unsyncopated beats which mess with my nervous system and make me feel all rigid. Then there's the bass sound, like some ancient Casio keyboard preset and the general feeling that these guys dare to programme where other sequencers fear to tread. A glorious, sticky, viscous mess of useless funk. Original. Admirable. More, please.

The more high-profile recent NYC group release, but I'm a little underwhelmed. The single and b-side from last year were shit-hot, suggesting that !!! were the ones to save discopunk from a premature creative cul-de-sac by raising the game to a more expansive, freeform plateau. I'm not saying it's bad album, just that only about 50% (including aforementioned single) is great whilst the rest is simply adequate. The Darkness's crown has not been toppled yet, but, christ, the potential...

25 June 2004


Following on from K-Punk's list, I humbly submit my own selection, presented in the same format as Mark, in no particular order, but catagorised by decade. It's dominated by white artists too, but that's because I can't include Americans or Jamaicans. Not much female action either - a constant concern of mine. Difficult to pin-down what to include from the '00s - not enough time has elapsed for me to truly gauge their significance.

Squarepusher - Go Plastic
LFO - Sheath
Simeon - Chemistry Is What We Are
Radiohead - Kid A
Broadcast - The Noise Made By People
Luke Vibert - YosepH
Chris Clark - Empty The Bones Of You
Audio Bullys - Ego War

Renegade Soundwave - Soundclash
Renegade Soundwave - In Dub
LFO - Frequencies
Mark Stewart - Metatron
Depeche Mode - Violator
Boards Of Canada - Music Has The Right To Children
Wagon Christ - Throbbing Pouch
Aphex Twin - Selected Ambient Works 85-92
Aphex Twin - Selected Ambient Works II
Aphex Twin - Richard D. James Album
Authechre - Incunabula
Autechre - Tri Repetae
Beaumont Hannant - Texturology
u-ziq - Tango N' Vectif
Squarepusher - Feed Me Weird Things
Black Dog Productions - Bytes
B12 - Electro Soma
Metalheadz - Platinum Breakz
Spectrum - Soul Kiss (Glide Devine)
Richard H. Kirk - Virtual State
Electronic Eye - Closed Circuit
Sandoz - Intensely Radioactive
Cabaret Voltaire - Plasticity
Sweet Exorcist - C.C.C.D.
Orbital - Orbital II
Tek 9 - It's Not What You Think It Is !?!!
My Bloody Valentine - Loveless
Stereolab - Cobra & Phases Groop Play Voltage In The Milky Night
Seefeel - Quique
Ultramarine - United Kingdoms

Spacemen 3 - Playing With Fire
A.R. Kane - 69
Fad Gadget - Fireside Favourites
The Fall - Bend Sinister
Joy Division - Closer
New Order - Low Life
New Order - Technique
Jesus & Mary Chain - Psychocandy
O.M.D. - First
O.M.D. - Architecture & Morality
The Specials - More Specials
B.A.D. - No. 10 Upping Street
Mark Stewart - As The Veneer Of Democracy Starts To Fade
Robert Wyatt - Old Rottenhat
Soft Cell - Non-Stop Erotic Cabaret
Pet Shop Boys - Please
23 Skidoo - Seven Songs
XTC - Skylarking
Yazoo - Upstairs At Eric's
The Art Of Noise - (Who's Afraid of)The Art Of Noise
John Foxx - Metamatic
Japan - Tin Drum
Cocteau Twins - Treasure
Cabaret Voltaire - The Voice Of America
Cabaret Voltaire - The Crackdown
Cabaret Voltaire - The Covenant, the Sword & the Arm Of The Lord
Cabaret Voltaire - Code
The Associates - Sulk
The Human League - Travelogue
The Human League - Dare
Richard H. Kirk - Black Jesus Voice
The Stone Roses - Same (sorry mark!)

Syd Barrett - The Madcap Laughs
Robert Wyatt - Rock Bottom
Eno - Here Come The Warm Jets
Eno - Another Green World
Eno - Music For Airports
John Lennon - Plastic Ono Band
Nick Drake - Pink Moon
This Heat - First
David Bowie - Low
David Bowie - Hunky Dory
Tubeway Army - Replicas
Roxy Music - For Your Pleasure
Thomas Leer & Robert Rental - The Bridge
Cabaret Voltaire - Mix Up
Throbbing Gristle - Heathen Earth
Throbbing Gristle - 20 Jazz Funk Greats
PIL - Metal Box
Mike Oldfield - Tubular Bells

Pink Floyd - Piper At The Gates Of Dawn
Kevin Ayres - Joy Of A Toy
Pretty Things - S.F. Sorrow
The White Noise - An Electric Storm
BBC Radiophonic Workshop - BBC Radiophonic Music
The Kinks - Village Green Preservation Society
The Beatles - Rubber Soul
The Beatles - Revolver
The Beatles - Abbey Road
Soft Machine - First
The Zombies - Odessey & Oracle
The Shadows - 20 Golden Greats

18 June 2004


So anyway I'm totally hooked on this Jimmy Edgar character. No news on when exactly this album is gonna come out on Warp, but it turns out he released an album called "My Mines I" back in '02 under the double-alter ego Kristuit Salu Vs. Morris Nightingale on Merck records. Thirsty to hear more of Jimmy's magic, I scoured the P2P network in search of this release. Once located, a download was initiated and I went to bed, leaving the PC running. Came down this morning and there's the album nestling in my hardrive ready for action. How's that for progress?* Okay, so Jimmy didn't see a penny from the transaction but I'll buy him a pint next time I see him. And tell anyone who'll listen to seek out this album by any means necessary. How come I never heard about this album before? Did it just slip out unnoticed, or was I just not paying attention? Whatever, it's kinda weird that the most mind-blowingly futuristic album I've heard so far this year is actually 2 years old (and I've heard some fucking ace new records this year!).

I'd assumed that this album was maybe a tentative blueprint for the material Jimmy released on this year's "Access Rhythm" EP. But no, this is a fully-formed, technically superb, conceptually pure collection of beat-bending Tech-Hop (has anyone coined that phrase yet?**)that belies Mr. Edgar's tender years. Broadly speaking, the tracks as Morris Nightingale are the more phat, funky rhythm workouts, whilst the Kristuit Salu tunes are more meditive and cerebral. Interestingly I read somewhere that, like me, Jimmy only really likes old skool '80s Hip Hop and you can hear that influence in the sparse arrangements - what he leaves out is as crucial as what he puts in. There's some really gorgeous synth textures - quite similar to some of those used on Kraftwerk's "Tour De France Soundtracks" (though Jimmy's album predates theirs by a year)and the glitchy rhythm programming is so in-the-pocket that I'm virtually swooning with pleasure.

Every few years, a record comes along that really speaks to you, sends the imagination into overdrive with fresh possibilities. Mantronix's "Music Madness", Aphex Twin's "Selected Ambient Works 85-92" and Boards Of Canada's "Music has The Right To Children" are the sort of albums that have reached that level for me. I believe that "My Mines I" may be another. God knows how great the new one is gonna be...

* I've just finished reading a book called "Sonic Boom - Napster, P2P and the Battle For The Future Of Music" by John Alderman. It was written in 2001, so is already hopelessly out-of-date, but is nevertheless a fascinating account of the unstoppable development of online MP3 file sharing and the various attempts to crush it by the music industry. Lot's of interesting info on copyright law and 'intellectual property' too. There's already been a bit of heated debate on this subject in blogdom and I've no wish to get that particular thread back on the agenda BUT..the more I read into it, the more convinced I am that I have absolutely no sympathy for the major label corporations whatsoever. They're a fucking disease that has been strangling creativity, ripping-off artists, and fascistically controlling the consumer's access to music for too damn long. Whilst I will continue to financially support labels that care and treat their customers and artists with some respect, I'll never buy a major label release again.

** Hmmmm, "Tech-Hop". I like the sound of that. I googled the phrase, but only found one example of it's use a genre description in an article on some Canadian artist called The Jirku Boy. Apart from that, only a couple of references to tracks called "Tech-Hop", here and here. Whatever, I'm resolved to use the phrase more often....

15 June 2004


I must admit I was horrified when I first heard of "GhettoTech". Whilst I have no problem with filthy, horny, sexist lyrics as a rule, the thought that my beloved Detroit Techno, with it's utopian, symphonic, highly conceptualised aesthetic had finally been subverted by the 'jocks' was an awful thought. Which is probably why I've resisted hearing anything by The Detroit Grand Pubahs for so long. Big mistake. The new one, "Galactic Ass Creatures From Uranus" is a beauty. True, there's a fair amount of 'rumpy-pumpy' talk but there's also a surprising amount of scope here. Whilst the most pervasive approach is minimalist techno with lyrics like "Where my weed at? Where my hoe's at?" delivered by electronically pitched-up helium vocals, there's also the irresistibly phat R'n'B + social commentary of "God Imposters", the string-laden emotion of "Landing In Detroit" (like a downtempo take on Derrick May's "R-Theme") and the spooked-out sci-fi jazz funk of "Bite The Pillow Talk". The album's hilarious title and cover illustration gives a cheeky nod to the space travel obsessions of Detroit's odd-ball funk grandad George Clinton, but I get the impression that the first thing the Pubahs would do if they ever made it into space would be to find out what fucking in zero-G feels like. The whole album hangs together really well and delivered in such good humour that you can easily turn a blind eye to the more misogynist elements. Hardly tasteful, but certainly very tasty.


I downloaded Jimmy Edgar's "Access Rhythm" EP from Bleep.Com over the weekend. Fuck me! This kid is BRILLIANT! Kinda like Prefuse 73, but more minimal and spacious. Whilst Scott Heron blows me away with his constantly shifting complex arrangements, Jimmy's talent is to take the most basic elements (super-phat Hip-Hop beats with one or two samples) and make them sound endlessly absorbing as he juggles with the audio in such a masterly fashion. I can't stop playing it. A quick peek at his website reveals that, not only is Mr. Edgar an extremely talented individual, he's also a 19 year old with pin-up looks. Christ, I am so fucking jealous of this little bastard. This kid could potentially be the first genuine left-field electronic Megastar, if enough people get behind him. There's a full-length album due this summer. Not to be missed, methinks. Make a note on your Things To Do list: "Check out Jimmy Edgar, 'cos Gutterbreakz sez he's a muthafuckin' genius". Unless, of course, you already have....


Luke Vibert returns this month with yet another release, this time under his more familiar alias, Wagon Christ. The album is called "Sorry I Make You Lush", and it's superb, assuming you like your wide-screen trippy Avant Garde sampledelia coated in a honey-sweet melodic E-Z Listening layer of gorgeousness, that is. The trademark Wagon Christ sound has been augmented by big dollops of turn-of-the-'70s cheesy Moog synth exotica (think Dick Hyman, Walter Seer, JJ Perrey and countless 'Moogsploitation' albums), fully updated for the 21st Century of course, and (after his recent flirtations with Amen Junglism and Avant Disco revivalism) a strong quota of 'classic' oldskool Hip Hop breakbeats including, on the title track, the 'Apache' break. Oh, the audacity! If ever there was a museum dedicated to the evolution, sounds and grooves of Dance Culture, then surely Vibert would be in line for the curator's job. His hard drive must be choked full of classic samples, which he diligently exhumes, polishes and recycles with such unselfconscious glee that you can't help but smile as yet another dimly-remembered sonic artifact emerges from the constantly shifting flux. Of course, all this could be dismissed as train-spotting nostalgia if not for Vibert's highly imaginative arrangements. His ability to blend seemingly disparate genre's and era's into totally unified and unique new shapes is the key to his success, along with that indefinable 'feel-good' factor that, for me, makes this album my nomination for the Official Gutterbreakz Soundtrack To Summer 2004. But what's this? As the album draws to a close, the enraged/anguished voice of Charlton Heston rises out of the mix to cry: "Damn You! God damn you all to Hell!" (and I'm sure you don't need me to tell you where he got that sample from). It's rather out-of-character for Luke to end a record on such a sour note and, come to think of it, the curious album title could be perceived as a bit peevish too. So who's been pissing Vibert off? My guess is that he's had some problems with sample-clearance. Imagine some long-forgotten songwriter complaining about Luke's uncleared use of a sample from some obscure, crappy library record. Luke's response might be "sorry I make you (sound) lush, you ungrateful old git" . This is, of course, pure supposition and conjecture. I really don't have anything more worthwhile to think about.

12 June 2004

K-Punk's Rephlex Grime review now at Stylus.

I've heard it too now and....I love it! Mark makes a connection between Slaughter Mob's sounds of paranoia with early Cabaret Voltaire. Good point. In fact, I hear echoes of the Cabs' methodology all over the place. The rhythm track for Plasticman's "Industrial Graft" is a deadringer for that employed on the Cabs' "Trust In The Lord", and the tribal samples on Mark One's "Raindance" follow on from Richard Kirk's ongoing obsession with Africana. Excellent work, and respect to all three artists, though if I was to single-out anyone for special praise, it would have to be Slaughter Mob. I was really gripped by the razor-sharp grooves and slightly darker, dubbier soundworld. "Creeky Door" is a fascinatingly abstract piece that put me in mind of Musique Concrete pioneer Pierre Henry. And those basslines -Jesus!! definitely one to watch...

On a completely different note, I wonder if Mark has heard the latest album by Fennesz yet? I wasn't really switched-on to him until I heard his remix of Junior Boy's "Last Exit", which really blew my head off with it's saturated textures. This new album is called "Venice" and it's fucking gorgeous. Somewhere between Aphex Twin's "SAW II" and MBV's "Loveless", it's a beatless, weightless, indistinct, overloaded, isolationist, melodic slice of pure spellbinding magic. At some point in my life I'm sure I must've said that guitars were a spent force. Well, Mr. Fennesz has proved me totally wrong. If you only buy one 'chill-out' record this year, make it this.

09 June 2004

"We're now training a generation of young people that there's no connection between music and plastic."

So says Josh Bernhoff of research analysts Forrester in today's Daily Mirror. This is in relation to the fact that Apple's i-Tunes Music Store is going online in the UK on June 15th, and will be offering music downloads at about 86p per track. Apparently it's already taken America by storm - 70 million tracks were sold last year -and experts are predicting that this will finally trigger the end of the CD. Even prior to the i-Tunes launch, there have been 500,000 downloads in the UK this year already, compared to virtually none last year, according to the British Phonographic Industry.

Now, even though I've been crusading for the MP3 revolution recently, even I was struck by a sense of impending doom on seeing this report. Even though I've bought hardly any CD's since I got my i-Pod in March, I still have a certain attachment to the old bits of plastic in their crappy jewel-cases and still enjoy the act of physically nosing around the CD racks in the music shops. The thought that those shops might not actually be there for much longer is scary. Maybe I'm still smarting from the news that my favourite shop, Imperial Music, is to close soon. Apparently this is due to extortionate increases in Business Rates, rather than falling sales, but I can't help feeling pangs of guilt about my lack of patronage in recent months. And even though I'm resolved to stick with the i-Pod/download route (because, after all's said and done, it's fucking great) it was comforting to think that the old method would always be there when I needed it. Yet, as a BPI insider remarked: "With i-Pods and now mobile phones working as MP3 players, CD's are no longer necessary"..

The CD is dead, and I helped to kill it. May God have mercy on my eternal soul....

05 June 2004

Darn, seems like I never get the time to blog recently. I had this big post-electroclash essay planned, incorporating the new Miss Kittin and Felix Da Housecat albums but, even though I made a good start on it, I feel like I missed the boat...the zeitgeist has passed me by. But hey, at least I actually got around to reading a book (Philip K. Dick's "The World Jones Made", fact fans) and, thanks to i-Pod, I've been absorbing plenty of new sounds on my travels. More of which soon, hopefully.

In the meantime, there's an interesting little interview with Richard H. Kirk at The Milk Factory for all interested parties to digest.

03 June 2004


An excellent time was had by all at "Recognise" on Thursday. I had the pleasure of meeting several new faces, including Tim Edwards, one of the other 'first time' DJs, who's drunken enthusiasm and wild mix of Aphex/Vibert/Kylie/Prince/Faust/Tears For Fears and er...Nik Kershaw set new parameters for eclectism. Apparently Tim is a member of a group called Bronze Age Fox, which also includes his brother who is better known as laptop experimentalist Minotaur Shock. Tim was proudly displaying his group's new triangular-shaped vinyl release, which was apparently financed by Sony. Nice one, son.

My mate Dave B. put in a good performance too. Despite his initial plan to subvert the event with all kindsa weird shit, Dave's commercial instincts proved too strong and he was soon filling the floor with crowd-pleasers like Beyonce and, of course Kylie Vs. New Order mix of "Can't Get You Out Of My Head". Dave had a picture of his idol Paul McCartney pinned-up in the DJ booth, in the hope that it would bring lot's of luck and good vibes. Must've worked, 'cause the vibe was well moist. And yes, Dave just couldn't help playing "Jet" by Wings. He also made good on his promise (threat?) to play "Conquering Lion" which is a garage rock-style cover of the old Yabby U reggae classic by Whiteworst. Who the fuck are Whiteworst? It's this recording 'project' (I wouldn't use the term 'group') who's members include myself, my mate Aaron and occasional live drums from Dave. Apparently the track went down quite well, although I wasn't able to gauge audience reaction myself as I was deep in conversation in the entrance hallway at the time. Darn...

The third member of the Recognise 'virgin-DJ' triad was also called Dave. His tastes seemed to be very much towards exotica/tropicalia-type stuff. Perhaps his most striking attribute was the outrageously retro moustache he was sporting. Not sure what statement he was trying to make, but I liked it.