10 in one week?! Don't come to expect this...
Almost Anonymous-v1.0 (firstname.lastname@example.org)(US)
It's one thing to name yourself after Lee Burridge's new imprint it's another to put out in a mix CD in the same league as ol' LB. Sacramento area DJs Dave K and Malachi do just that on this surprising find in my own backyard. While the tendencies of the Europeans are to play it techy on these new school minimal mixes Almost Anonymous stay true to their Cali roots adding a serious amount of H-Foundation West Coast house bounce to the mix making their sound absolutely 100% relevant where I dwell. The programming is great with London, Berlin, and San Francisco well-represented and the mixing is professional grade putting it in the top echelon of local mixes I have heard. I have a feeling these two are going places, it's rare to hear a mix in my neighborhood that peers into a future that I have not heard yet. Actually it's a pretty rare fact period and so I am pleasantly surprised to find that my little corner of the world is littered with such amazing talent.
Do yourself a favor and download this deep meets minimal treat:
Tom Middleton-Lifetracks (Six Degrees)(US)
Along with Mark Pritchard, Tom Middleton has made some of electronic music's must endearing music first as a Jedi Knight now doing business as Global Communication. No one has their nose more in the game than the UK veteran Middleton. This solo foray from him is indicative of his more reflective side, which at times delves into OG new aged ponytail sounds reminiscent of Tomita and Steve Reich. I suppose you can take it or leave that but I found myself forgiving of Middleton's more feel-goody Josh Tesh passages due to his inventive use of melody in an electronic setting. Middleton really scores with "Margherita", a minor chorded idyllic beauty that evokes memories of Cafe Del Mar on Ibiza.
James Murphy & Pat Mahoney-Fabriclive 36 (Fabric)(UK)
I was hoping this would be better, especially considering all the much-deserved hype surrounding James Murphy's latest offering as LCD Soundsystem this year. If ever there was a summer when electronic music struck back it was 2007. Sadly, this whole mix is essentially two great party DJs digging their crates to entertain soulless, deadeyed white indie rock kids. The results are archival in nature, many great tunes programmed in such a way to steal the soul from them (if that is possible, and it is). Things catch fire near the end of things with back to back classics from the Vanguard imprint by Junior Brown and JT respectively but I was still reeling from the all too brief snippet of Still Going's latest on Murphy's own DFA imprint earlier in the mix. I cynically realized this was yet another ploy for the indie kids to buy into a trend they will never truly love. Sorry, I wish this could have been a better mix-sadly I get better disco mixes from my friends than this one which is a real shame because Fabric's stuff is usually so top notch.
Kim Hiorthøy-My Last Day (Smalltown Supersound) (Norway)
Kim is a real talent, he designs the amazing covers for the Smalltown Supersound imprint, he also seems to make music. My Last Day is his foray into the Norwegian national craze with disco and techno. I am not sure what to make of it either, my gut tells me that it sucks and sadly most of it does. The production is just too thin and home demo sounding with tons of half baked ideas and drum sounds that just don't work. Now normally I would chuck a CD like that into the reject pile, why bother writing about it at all? Well, because tracks like "Album" and "Alt Gar Sa Langsomt", while fatally flawed, show a lot of promise. My advice is to use those cuts as a reference point and start from scratch.
West Indian Girl-4th & Wall (Milan) (US)
Now I am not one to write about bands nor associate myself with all of that rock n roll chicanery. Actually that isn't necessarily all true, I tend to only write about bands on rare ocassions that I once liked and ones today that sound like those old bands I once liked. West Indian Girl is such a band, with heavy (albeit commercial) shoegazer elements ala early 90s UK group Curve. There are some great dreamy psychedelic liltings that nod (from afar, VERY afar) to Swinging London. However sometimes these guys mistake a good groove with (yikes) Fleetwood Mac or worse yet Stevie Winwood. Surprisingly the group sounds credible on the two house music tracks they take on "Solar Eyes" and "Lost Children" which are great party tracks that actually work with the album as a whole. 4th & Wall probably isn't going to land too many electronic music fans but the structure and jammy nature of this album may catch more discerning listeners off guard in a good way.