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Electric Independence

Well, it seems kind of childish to try to muster any feelings of hate into this column when you're still trying to get your head around the news that John Peel has passed away.
Κείμενο Piers Martin

Egyptian Lovers

Der Zyklus

Dominik Eulberg

Oliver Hacke

Well, it seems kind of childish to try to muster any feelings of hate into this column when you're still trying to get your head around the news that John Peel has passed away. His is such a sad, irreplaceable loss; it's still hard to believe he's gone. I remember looking at the radio listings in The Guide the weekend before his death, thinking, wow, he's on Radio 1 three nights a week for two hours, I should listen. I hadn't tuned in properly for a while because I receive so much new music anyway, and music radio, even the specialist shows, generally play so much homogenised rubbish. These days I listen to Five Live or Radio 4 because most other stations irritate. But you just assumed he'd never disappear from the airwaves, that he'd always be there, late at night, playing some happy hardcore track at the wrong speed, whenever you needed him. Like millions of listeners, he turned me on to such amazing music from all over the world and completely changed my outlook on music. I remember seeing him at the Sonar festivals in Barcelona, walking around in shorts and a T-shirt, a record bag heaving with white labels and CDRs slung over his shoulder. Or watching Jeff Mills perform a three-deck session at the BBC's Maida Vale studios last year while Peel broadcast the show live a few feet away, it seems crazy this will never happen in this way again. So many memories and all of them wonderful. Thanks for everything, John (RIP, RPM). To Rotterdam, then, and a packed Clone Records party at the Waterfront venue, which was overflowing with love for another music legend, electro man-mountain The Egyptian Lover. For some reason the L.A. genius who fused Kraftwerk with Prince in the 80s and wrote killer tracks like "Egypt Egypt" and "Freak-A-Holic" was only performing in Rotterdam and Paris, his first European shows, what, ever? Also on this insane bill were electro-wave duo the Novamen, electronic disco king Alden Tyrell, whose live set featured so many irresistible hits I thought I was going to explode, and I-F, who DJed a magical set with such flair and passion (each track he played he knew intimately and sang to himself), that we can only hope he stops boycotting the UK and pops over to spin here next year. The Lover, larger than ever in an obscenely colourful shirt, sauntered on with sidekick Jamie Jupitor and did all the hits, playback style, and the place went nuts. All the new school freaks were there—Legowelt, Orgue Electronique, Kassen, Dexter, Spacid (where was Luke Eargoggle?)—and the girls at the front each received CDs and photos from the Lover himself so he could meet them personally and sign everything afterwards backstage. Then he joined I-F onstage at the end for a brief DJ duel, a moment to truly savour. Clone's sub-label Dub has just released the latest LP by Dopplereffekt and Japanese Telecom producer Heinrich Mueller. He returns as Der Zyklus and, like the last Dopplereffekt album on Gigolo and his Arpanet project for Record Makers, Biometry is an austere and abstract rumination on new forms of Big Brother technology, in this case the possibilities of biometrical identification, for which he collaborated with a Bavarian biometrics company. By no means an easy listen, Biometry is an exercise in advanced sound design sprinkled with thin, sinister melodies and shuffled rhythms. Developing such cynical technology, he seems to warn, is not necessarily a positive endeavour. Tell us something we don't know. On a happier note, science and electronics combine beautifully on Flora & Fauna, the debut album by newcomer Dominik Eulberg, on Traum. He's a young biologist at Bonn University and put out a few 12"s on Traum before this incredible album, which sounds something like warm, rubbery Thomas Brinkmann techno mixed with washes of celestial analogue harmonies and quirkier, organic sounds—camera clicks, belches and birdsong—sucked straight from Richard James' hard-drive. Dominik spends a lot of time in Germany's national parks studying wildlife and is writing a book on the subject. Each of Flora & Fauna's ten tracks is about a specific creature and in the booklet he provides detailed notes on each (in German, sadly). It's a fantastic record. It's always a good time for peculiar clicky minimal German stuff but this month is proving unusually fertile. Dusseldorf producer Oliver Hacke's new album Subject Carrier, on Trapez, is a free-flowing after-hours odyssey, one of those records where not a great deal occurs but it's still a captivating listen. But the one you must own is the latest LP from the mercurial Ricardo Villalobos, Thé Au Harem D'Archimède, on Perlon, which, deliciously strange and indulgent and intoxicating, is so much more interesting and alien than last year's Alcachofa. God knows when he found time to record these six sumptuous sides of vinyl, he spent the summer spinning crazy music everywhere for days on end, hopelessly wired on whatever, with or without his playmate Hawtin. The music must just gush out of him in the studio. Thé Au Harem D'Archimède is like liquid ketamine soaking into fluttering ribbons of velvet, ten impossibly supple, percussive grooves, the final two featuring the distant vocals of Cassy Britton. Like all the finest artists, Villalobos is totally lost on his own freak-out trip. But it's a joy trying to keep up with him and, every so often, immersing yourself in his magical music.