5 hot picks (pt. 2)
Nucultures-Butterflies, Zebras, and Moonbeams 2xCD(1k) (US)
Nucultures is a collaboration of three talented Philadelphia electronic musicians Ellie Perez, Barry Meehan, and Tim Motzer (who has worked with King Britt in the past). The two disk set is expansive chillout bliss with the second disk being slightly better than the first with its focus more on song-oriented downtempo and Broken Social Scene inspired indie pop. The first disk has a lot more jazz and nu jazz tendencies that show of the combo's flair for improvisation in a groovy lounge setting. Vocalist Ellie Perez is the secret weapon on Butterflies, Zebras, and Moonbeams making a decent disk well worth the listening effort.
Kolo-Track One Rmxs single (40oz) (US)
This CD-r came out way back in April and it has taken me a few months to actually get around to review it mostly because I have been playing it continously. The Chris Fortier remixes under his 40oz guise are part of his ongoing transformation into a new school techno producer by harnessing the energy of techno (jn this case minimal) with the warm, fuzzy hooks of progressive house. Originally a huge trance anthem released by Neil Kolo, who is one half of the Fade duo along with Fortier, back in 2000 the recognition factor is definitely there. Fortier brings his "A" game on his two remixes adding a romantic, almost gothic, emotional techno coated flavor that seems to be all the rage in Brooklyn at the moment. The third track is simply a re-edit of the original version of "Track One" and did little for me as I have particularly strong distaste for that style to begin with.
Chris Fortier-Under Your Nose single (40oz)(US)
I absolutely love this tracks shuffly drum sounds with accented almost ominous snare taps. Beautiful, emotional melodies drip throughout. I keep hearing tracks like this and I am at a loss to describe them other than calling them emo-house. Taken from Fortier's full length As Long As The Moment Exists this single is dancefloor proof that this release is probably one of the best and most forward thinking of 2007.
Martijn Ten Velden/Paul Harris-Toolroom Knights Vol. 1 2xCD(Toolroom)(UK)
I have really been digging the singles that Toolroom outta Kent has been releasing. They certainly straddle the line between mainstream electro house and darker more minimal sounds in a very exciting way. Unfortunately none of that giddy energy is captured on either disk of this collection. Dutch DJ Martijn Ten Velden likes to keep it bangin' and his mix quickly devolves into the same dreadful hell I associate with those godawful Gatecrasher compilations. Paul Harris, formerly of Dirty Vegas, turns in a more 80s influenced mix but without much character or flavor to really move me, sort of like a light version of Danny Howells or Nic Fanciulli without all of the flare.
Royal Sapien & 40oz-Fade Records Audio Tour Vol. 2 (Fade) 3xCD (US)
What sounded like a fun tour, Brooklyn's Royal Sapien mixing up the Fade imprint's discography. While it is refreshing to know that the label has put out enough tracks to warrant a two disk showcase mix like this I can't say the majority of them sounded all that great. Dark, tribally progressive house circa 2004 just doesn't sound all that inviting these days, much has changed. What is good on Royal Sapien's mix only shows up at the end of disk one, Chris Fortier's "Despegue" which is rapidly becoming one of my favorite cuts this year Sadly any other highlights are few and far between. 40oz (aka Chris Fortier) contributes a dark and drummy mix for the bonus third CD. What shows promise is marred about a lot of boring proggy sounds and is way too short to make anything more than a cursory impression.