I'm Not A Gun-Mirror (Palette)(US)
This is the fourth album from techno producer John Tejada and classical guitarist Takeshi Nishimoto. I hadn't heard the previous three albums on German imprint City Centre Offices so I wasn't sure what to expect. Mirror is the first album on the LA-based Palette label run by Tejada but definitely shares similarities with the typical releases on the duo's previous label with its use of live instrumentation, fragile shoegazer melodies, and techno- influenced percussion. What I'm Not A Gun truly sounds like is a techno-fueled Tortoise with the duo's penchant to jam out but it's done in very martial, controlled increments. The tension and release cycles that occur subsequently and throughout the album are typical of a techno mix, what aren't typical include Nishimoto's lush guitar tones and the elements of live percussion that lend to a much looser and organic feel. An interesting album from an interesting project.
John Digweed-Bedrock 10-Past Present Future (Bedrock)(UK)
I just can't seem to escape the Diggers or his Bedrock imprint, which in terms of dance music has had an enormous amount of success. Whether Bedrock's output is worthy of such reward is highly debatable but I do still believe the label's biggest hits contributed to the industry's precipitous decline at the beginning of the decade. Instantly recognizable cuts like "Heaven Scent". "Persuasion", and "Pushin' Too Hard" remain virtual ear poison to me and surely to many other trance haters too. The important thing to point out here is that earlier this decade the music began to change and regroup itself and surprisingly this label is following the trend whereas so many have not (BTW-can I get a big raspberry for Paul Van Dyk?!). The emphasis on Bedrock 10 is decidedly "future" with a grip of brand new remixes of Bedrock's seminal works. Some hit the mark and others don't (please no more Bruce Aisher-EVER!) while newer signings like Misstress Barbara, Tom Mangan, and especially Guy J journalists at mainstream pubs to blankly gush over or a reference point allowing no-nothing insiders at the dance rags to spew saccharine treacle about are a strong attempt to kill the progressive virus at Bedrock HQ once and for all. My complaint here is that this is this is a one disk sampler pared down from three into something easily digestible for lack wit mainstream journalists and insidre toadies. To me this business has always been about the music and to deny taste makers access to your music basically says your music isn't good enough for critical review. So Mr. Digweed consider yourself served, no more good reviews until you meet me halfway on the quality of the promos you are sending out.
Marcin Czubala-Chronicles Of Never (Mobilee)(Germany)
Polish producer Marcin Czubala has been making techno records for quite sometime but Chronicles of Never is his first album for German techno pillar Mobilee. The artist album is rich in imaginative sounds and even a nice tribal house stomp on tracks like "Los Companeros". But like so many other albums in this nebulous tech house genre Chronicles just drags like a drab mofo and I am asleep long before I ever hit the dance floor.
Kaskade-The OM Remixes (OM)(US)
I was surprised at how much I liked this cash-in collection from OM and how far Kaskade has drifted from his core sound since signing with Ultra. Despite how you may feel about the guy, in my case his music is way too pretty and fluffy for serious consideration, there is no denying that his sense of melody and production chops are perhaps some of the keenest in the dance music world. On The OM Remixes he transforms the dreadful into a thing of beauty (Colette), reworks Mark Farina's "Cali Spaces" into a fight song for the West Coast scene and cuts loose on many of these tracks with reckless ingenuity creating formal intros like old school disco cuts. I honestly wish he'd introduce more of those creative elements into his own productions and remixes. Kaskade always feels so restrained and this collection is no exception.
Bradelectro-Pinstripe Late Nite (Tarantic)(US)
Pinstripe Late Nite starts out with such promise blaring pseudo-dancehall affectations on the opener "Missin Ur Lovin" and includes some half decent electro house cuts that are at least less irritating than many others of the same ilk. Where this album goes wrong is padding an EP of mediocre tracks with four lackluster remixes. Hell the track "Rubberbands", which isn't all that, makes three friggen appearances on this album which only has 12 tracks total. To quote Gang Starr-"That ain't keeping it real, that's keeping it wrong". Big thumbs down here.