Attention, all uber-minimal techno geeks: take a deep breath and brace yourself for the bad news: the revenge of the nerds is over. Your days of standing around at concerts, arms folded, contemplating the "evocative meta-narratives" and "poignant de-emphasizing of negative space" are coming to an end. Cold, clinical, minimal techno is dead, and sexy techno rules. Don't act surprised––the signs have been there all along. Remember when German label Kompakt flipped the minimal script with their dancefloor-oriented Speicher releases, some neo-trance, and their stumbling, crumbling Schaffel-techno? Then Ricardo Villalobos dropped the Latin-rhythm-inspired emo-techno album Alcachofa and Matthew Dear released the gothy-techno pop opus Leave Luck to Heaven? That was no coincidence. Remember how Luomo celebrated circuit-party fist-pumping gayness with his tech-pop masterpiece The Present Lover and how—on the latest Plastikman album Closer—North America's posterboy of techno-fetishism Richie Hawtin proved that he wasn't just a CPU trapped in a skinny white guy's body? (OK, so his new haircut is a little Hitler Youth, and the introspective vocals are totally gay, but at least he's trying.)
I know it's all very confusing for you and you're all, "What the hell am I supposed to do with my collection of ultra-rare Japanese imports of music that sounds like robotic ant farts?" Well, our advice is to go out to your local record store and trade them all in for the latest album from Superpitcher cos it's about to fall like a million tons of bricks on your pointy little head. There's a reason why every punter, journalist, and techno freak has been eagerly rubbing his hands like Scrooge McDuck waiting for this full-length to drop.
After freaking everybody out with 2001's "Heroin/Tomorrow" (his first 12" of dreamy, Detroit-influenced techno on Kompakt), and a slew of wicked remixes, everybody pegged this guy as Kompakt's next thing. Think of T. Rex vocals meets Wolfgang Voight production and throw in a little Pram bittersweetness and Morr Music postrock organics with a sprinkle of tongue-in-cheek glam posturing, and you've got a seriously solid listen. Going between hard-edged shuffle-techno and delicate bell and organ ambience, Superpitcher manages a well-rounded album without spreading himself too thin.
Originally released in 1980, guitarist/composer Glenn Branca's Lesson No. 1 for electric guitar was a groundbreaking attempt to combine avant-garde classical shit (Philip Glass–style repetitive phrases) with the sonic assault of rock instruments. Over 20 years later, Acute Records (also responsible for releasing a collection of Branca's early work with Theoretical Girls) has wisely decided that more people need to hear this shit. With its hypnotic blend of loopy, angular guitar motifs that swell to epic, Godspeed-like proportions, the recording is still fresh two decades later. Add to that the aptly titled 11-minute head-fuck "Dissonance," the 13-minute sonic apocalypse "Bad Smells" and the 17-minute original video footage of his "Symphony No. 5," and you have one wild ride. Essential left-field listening. Also on Acute, look out for the Parisian 70s synth-punkers Metal Urbain's 80s spin-off band, Metal Boys—noisy, dissonant guitars collide with bubbling keyboards and Euro-accent vocals.
I got a whole whack of 7"s in the mail recently, a lot of them from this small label out of Chicago called Ghost Arcade that you might want to track down if you're at all interested in electro-pop (check out their latest release from J+J+J, "Spills That Kill," for some raw, irreverent Casio-core).
Also on the electro tip, German label Disko B is getting ready to release some of their older classic albums Stateside. First off is the Dutch electro crew I-F's Fucking Consumer album. Remember that single "Space Invaders Are Smoking Grass" from way back when? You know, the one that helped kickstart the 80s retro thing in '98? That was them. Now you can get that classic track and a whole bunch of essential and unreleased stuff (including the John Carpenter–influenced "Assault on Radical Radio"). A must for dark-electro fans who have better things to do than track down all these singles on vinyl.
Michigan trio Kiln's latest instrumental effort, Sunbox (Ghostly International), is a must for those of you seeking some late-night listening music. I'm not even gonna bother with BOC comparisons or words like "lush," "sprawlingly beautiful," or "heartachingly nostalgic." Oh wait, I just did.
Japanese artist Chib is on some spooky shit, and I don't mean spooky as in fucking corny, pseudo-intellectual rhetoric à la collegiate junglist DJ Spooky. I mean spooky in a way only Japanese people can be. Somehow Chib juxtaposes quiet, intimate everyday sounds with haunting melodies and childlike instruments to create an atmosphere that—if you listen to the album on headphones walking home at night—will have you looking over your shoulder every five seconds worried that some crazy mutant motherfucker in a trench coat is about to tentacle-rape you.
Send all promos to Electric Independence c/o Raf + Vince, 264 Ste Catherine St. O. Montreal Quebec Canada H2X 2A1
Top Ten Albums from HUB musiques
1. Arthur Russell The World of Arthur Russell (Soul Jazz) 2. Daniel Bell Blip Blurp Bleep (Logistic) 3. Sluta Leta Semi Peterson (Mego) 4. Minotaur Shock Rinse (Melodic) 5. Roy Ayers Virgin Ubiquity (BBE) 6. Coleen Everyone Alive Wants Answers (Leaf) 7. The Limp Twins Tales from Beyond the Groove (Tru Toughts) 8. AGF Westernization Completed (Orthlorng Musork) 9. V/A Superlongevity 3 (Perlon) 10. Madlib Blunted in the Bomb Shelter (Antidote)