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Electric Independence

Did you hear about Vitalic? Some arsehole stole his laptop last month in that Cargo venue in Shoreditch just after he'd soundchecked.
Κείμενο Piers Martin

Did you hear about Vitalic? Some arsehole stole his laptop last month in that Cargo venue in Shoreditch just after he’d soundchecked which meant he couldn’t play what was due to be his most important London show (after the blanket praise for OK Cowboy) and would easily have been the highlight of the inaugural Encompass festival. The whole episode was like New Year’s Eve where you’re super-excited beforehand and then when midnight arrives, when the theft was announced, you’re so disappointed. He only uses the G4 for gigs, though, so it’s not like it’s an integral part of his studio or anything, and now he’s got a new one and is back killing it. He’s also remixed Bjork’s “Who Is It?” into an organ-driven pop romp that’s a little like Soft Cell’s “Tainted Love”, frisky, out on One Little Indian. When Bjork heard his version it apparently inspired her to make music again. Then there’s his remix of Daft Punk’s “Technologic”, due on Virgin soon, which is not only a vast improvement on the original (obviously) but is also the moment when the two titans of French rave finally meet, although one’s on the way up while DP are slipping badly (why won’t they explain themselves?). Have you noticed how no one has ever remixed Vitalic, yet whenever he remixes anyone he always turns in a superior version? It doesn’t happen that often, but that’s the sign of a true talent these days. The Basement Jaxx “Kontrol” remix of “Technologic” is ridiculous, too, best thing they’ve done in ages. What with all the hype and everything it’ll be hard to miss the new album by those Tiefschwarz guys, Eat Books (Fine), but it’s worth avoiding if you can. Excitingly, these German brothers call what they make “modern day dance music”, and their album ticks all the right boxes with its cool electro-house bleeps and fashionably edgy punk-funk vibe. Hearing their decent remixes of Spektrum and whoever you know they’re capable of fucking things up marvellously but Eat Books plods along, conservative and square, like they were trying to appeal to a wider audience, got confused, and ended up diluting their style. One track, “Damage”, could be by Everything But The Girl. The tracks where the guy from Chikinki sings just sound like Chikinki, and the world doesn’t need any more Chikinki. Like the Mylo one, it’s just an average record made by a couple of average talents with nothing remotely interesting to say that’ll be hyped beyond reason and sell stacks. I’ve even bored myself trying to write about it. You’re better off getting the latest Traum compilation, Elektronische Musik—Interkontinental 4, another excuse for this excellent German label to round-up a dozen of its recent releases, not that they need one. They have a lovely minor aesthetic going on at Traum and here they explore it further, gently and subtly, with succulent minimalism from Zentex, Terrae and Jesse Somfay and others you’ve never heard of (at least I haven’t). They’ve an enviable roster now with Oliver Hacke, Dominik Eulberg, Polish oddball Off Pop all appearing, and it’s refreshing to hear Nathan Fake, the only English guy present, provide the disc’s highlight with his serene “Dinamo” odyssey. Tenuously, Fake’s Border Community labelmates, Oxford’s The MFA (which stands, brilliantly, for The Motherfucking Allstars) have a totally insane remix of Ellen Allien’s “Lava” single out now on BPitch Control. Everything they do is excellent. “Dinamo” also pops up as the centrepiece on Today, Superpitcher’s first DJ mix album for Kompakt. Slick and smacky, like Aksel Schaufler’s own streamlined productions, Today cruises atmospherically through Lawrence, DJ Koze and the Wighnomy Brothers and climaxes with Sebastien Tellier’s magnificent “La Ritournelle”, with which every DJ mix album from now on should close. That should be a law or something. It’s nice to see The Emperor Machine surge back sci-fi-ly so soon with two DC Recordings 12"s that, if you place the backs of the picture sleeves side-by-side, make up a cute crayon drawing of robots zapping a giant alien. The new tracks are rougher and more tripped out in a heavily percussive freestyle kind of way than the poppy cuts on his album and take a while to get into, plus there’s a splendid 13-minute extended assault on LP track “Front Man” by nostalgia kings the Idjut Boys. What’s more, The Emperor’s partner in Big Two Hundred and Chicken Lips, Dean Meredith, returns as White Light Circus (also on DC) with two freaky nouveau-Italo narco-funk mutations titled “Marching Orders” and “The Shot!” that build and build for hours in a completely pleasurable manner. In other hot disco news, snazzy Finn Sami Liuski slinks again as Bangkok Impact with two impossibly glossy 12"s for Crème Organization, “Taboo” and “Do It”. And if you thought Liuski couldn’t get any friskier, check the new Putsch ’79 release on Clone, “Arpeggio Life”, which sounds like a very fruity take on “The Lion Sleeps Tonight”—good, though. And the final Cocadisco takes place at The Social (5 Little Portland Street, London, W1) in early July. PIERS MARTIN