miercuri, 26 ianuarie 2011


Ridiculous name. Like a villain in a cheap Victorian melodrama. Visions of Ludus (Ludicrous) twirling his moustache as the hero is fated to die horribly but then he talks too much the hero escapes and we all nod off to sleep. Meanwhile, I’m tired, so expect grumpiness. 
Of the tracks Ludus says: Tracks constructed with analog rigour and a futuristic rather than rétro sound . Ludus Pinsky develops and assembles himself the equipment he works with to obtain the kind of sound he needs. The 4 tracks in this EP range from tribal electronics as in …….. to futuristic pop as in ……., from the film-score-like theme of “Nothing is as it appears” to electronic disco as in …. That’s really what it says. Which isn’t terribly helpful. The record company do try a bit harder with: “Ludus Pinsky is Lapo Lombardi’s alter ego, a multi-talented Florentine artist, well known in the Italian Reggae/Dub scene. Among others he worked with Ice MC and Il Generale. More recently he’s been sharing Alexander Robotnick’s passion for analog synths, collaborating with him on two projects, Italcimenti and The Analog Session. This is his first solo EP, featuring 4 tracks constructed with analogue rigour and a futuristic rather than retro sound.”
Umma Flute takes the acidic path from the outset, weaving a hypnotic feel like it’s Harthouse 1992. A classic acid sound, like the last 20 years never happened. But in a good way.
Nothing Is As It Appears goes for a more Moroder style synth sound, like a lost track from Midnight Express or even Blade Runner. A bit of Kraftwerk added to the mix with the vocodered stentorian vocals. A gradually escalating track which peaks briefly towards the end. Cinematic stuff.

duminică, 23 ianuarie 2011


Barbarella is a trance/ambient track and album (“The Art of Dance”), released on Rising High Records in 1993 at a time when RHR could do no wrong. Confusingly, it was also the name of the artist. And in the incestuous world of early 90s dance, it was a collaboration between Sven Vath (allegedly the inspiration for Moody DJ, if anyone remembers the cartoons) and Ralf Hildenbeutel.

The track itself is a trippy journey in space, full of tinkling pianos, whooshing sounds and that early trance drum pattern. I’ve no idea why they chose the Barbarella name.

Vath went on to set up respected trance labels Harthouse and Eye-Q. Whilst Vath and Hildenbeutel would go on to collaborate on Vath’s best-known album “An Accident In Paradise”. Vath is now owner of the Cocoon club in Frankfurt, one of Europe’s leading clubs.

Barbarella – Barbarella (My Name Is Barbarella – The Spaceship) Caspar Pound Remix

Barbarella – Barbarella (Irresistible Force Remix)

Barbarella – The Mission

The Barbarella stuff is pretty hard to get hold of these days. But it appears on Sven’s Retrospective 1990-1997 album.


After over five years of apparent semi-retirement, Ken Downie (now solo) re-emerged in 2002 with the Unsavoury Products album, credited to The Black Dog with Black Sifichi. It was apparently not the follow up to 1996’s Black Dog’s Music for Adverts (And Short Films), but a break-away project allowing two artists to come together on common grounds. If the music is an extension of Downie’s previous work, the presence of poet Black Sifichi on each of the twenty tracks gives an altogether different dimension to the work.

Hailed by some reviewers (and by me) as “commercial suicide”, Unsavoury Products is someone getting things off his chest musically. But whether it is worthy of release is another matter – on balance, probably not. Based on the work of Beat guru William S. Burroughs and following his cut-up technique, the album was assembled by Ken Downie and Scottish poet Black Sifichi over a few months; both artists throwing ideas at each other, giving a very organic structure to the album. But I’ve never had time for poetry and the album feels self-indulgent.

Perhaps I’m being too harsh. A reviewer said:

"Although each track is independent, it is in its entirety that Unsavoury Products reveals its bizarre beauty. Feeding on the perversions of society, from the expectancy of the public (What Do They Want? where Black Sifichi reflects on the complexity of being creative) to the anonymity of push-button services (Mental Health Hotline), this album is an unsettling piece of modern poetry. Safichi’s voice and sometimes-altered diction, superposed onto the multi-faceted Black Dog compositions, creates a rather intriguing atmospheric and absurd tale of urban misery. Faithful to the spirit of Burroughs’s work, Unsavoury Products often displays a twisted and disturbing sense of humour, from the dog-man paranoia of Dogbite and Secret Biscuit to the irrationality of the Wishing Well or Pigeon Chest."

If you are after challenging electronic music, this is it:

The Black Dog with Black Sifichi - Dogbite

The Black Dog with Black Sifichi -Invisible Things

The Black Dog with Black Sifichi - Someone At The Office

Sharebee links


Some electronic space rock psychadelic hippy disco, courtesy of The Future Sound of London pseudonyms.

After a gap of 9 years following illness and other things, Amorphous Androgynous returned in 2002 with a second album "the isness". And this time they didn't hold back. The album is what early-1970 English pastoral hippies would have made in the digital age. The basis of the album was alleged to be recordings from 1996 which they had updated.

An album more out of step with its time is hard to imagine. But that's The Future Sound of London for you. And, to ram the point home, they released a notional remix album, also in 2002, "The Mello Hippo disco Show".

They may have thought that the psychadelic connection wasn't clear enough, so in 2005, they released"Alice in the Ultraworld".

Amorphous Androgynous - The Mello Hippo Disco Show

Amorphous Androgynous - Life's A Flow

Amorphous Androgynous website


Somewhere back in the mid-90's a fresh faced Brazilian ex-pat living in the UK decided he was going to put down his harmonica, pick up a sampler, and name himself after a Stephen King novel. The resulting album, Cujo's 'Adventures In Foam' (released on Ninebar records, later reissued on Ninja Tune) signaled Amon Tobin's entry into the world of music.

Immediately upon hearing this record, the powers that be at Ninja Tune signed him up to record as Amon Tobin, and he quickly went to work on his debut 'Bricolage'. If you'll recall, these were the 'trip-hop' years for electronic music. But 'Bricolage' shone above all that. Although employing a marriage of jazz and beats, it stretched it further by bringing in elements of bossa-nova, batucada, and jungle, and combining it with a sense of song-writing that elevated it above the standards of that scene.

Next up came 'Permutation'. Although stylistically a logical follow up to 'Bricolage', it was also on this album where things starting taking a noticeable turn to a much darker output.


Adrian Sherwood has been involved with music since the 1970s.

Adrian (born 1958 in London) is a record producer best known for his work with dub music as well as for remixing pop acts such as Coldcut, Depeche Mode, Primal Scream, Pop Will Eat Itself, Sinéad O'Connor, and Skinny Puppy.

He is co-founder of Carib Gems and Pressure Sounds, and founder of Hitrun Records as well as Green Tea Records and Soundboy Records. His most well-known label is On-U Sound Records. He is also the fourth member of industrial funk outfit, Tackhead, credited as "mixologist."

He describes his role as "I organise the bands and make them up, because a lot of them are studio bands before they become real bands, I produce the records, record the records and mix the records, and then I try and make sure our records are presented in a way that is suitable to me, that feels right with my own sensibilities."

In 1986 he began working Jamaican dub producer and singer Lee Perry. They produced the classic album "Time Boom X De Devil Dead" and Sherwood's support helped relaunch Perry's career.

He made contributions to the industrial genre in his remix of Einstürzende Neubauten's song Yü Gung, on the album Halber Mensch, as well as his production work with Ministry, Cabaret Voltaire, KMFDM and Nine Inch Nails. Adrian has also contributed to the blues, with his Little Axe project with Skip McDonald, producing his album on Real World Records “Champagne and Grits” in 2006.

In 2003, Adrian Sherwood released his first album as a solo artist, Never Trust a Hippie? which featured collaborations with various artists such as Sly & Robbie, Steven "Lenky" Marsden, Carlton "Bubblers" Ogilvie and Jazzwad.

In 2006 he released his second album Becoming A Cliché that again featuring numerous artists such as Lee "Scratch" Perry, the late Bim Sherman, Dennis Bovell, Little Roy, Lee 'LSK' Kenny, Samia Farah, Raiz and Mark Stewart. A limited 2-disc version was released simultaneously with the second disc titled "Dub Cliché".

On beginning a solo career, Sherwood stated, "I wanted to do some of my own writing and make something that was challenging for me...As a producer, it’s my job to satisfy the artist foremost. I wanted to make something that was a little more aggressive and modern. I wanted to paint a picture that was contemporary, one that specifically showed where my brain was at. I’ve got to the point in my life where it’s time for me to call all of the shots."

Most recently, Sherwood received notice for the original reggae score he created for the acclaimed 2006 independent film, Johnny Was starring Vinnie Jones, Roger Daltrey and Samantha Mumba.

On music, Adrian said, "Music is lovely because it stimulates people; superficial music doesn't. If you make something that you put your heart and soul into and really try to push it so it leaps out the fucking speakers at you, and if there's a good feel to it, then you've achieved something."

Impossible to create a representative selection, so here's a random one (tomorrow the pop stuff):

Doug Wimbish - Logdrum (Sherwood Remix)

The Unknown Cases - Masimbabele 89 (The Adrian Sherwood Remix)

Adrian Sherwood/Doug Wimbish - Karma Kola


Abfahrt is German for “Departure”. It was and is a German record label, the creation of Torsten Fenslau.

The track “Come Into My Life” (sometimes called “Come Into My Live”) was licensed to the influential Guerilla Records in 1993. The track had originally been issued the year before by Torsten on his own Abfahrt label. The Guerilla version benefits from a better cut than the original release. It was released on Guerilla with a radio edit, an Orbital remix and Exploding Plastic Inevitable remixes (Exploding Plastic Inevitable was David Holmes, with Jagz Kooner and Garn Burns).

Fenslau's collaboration with Jürgen "Nozie" Katzmann yielded excellent results on the first Abfahrt release, "Alone (It's Me)", which appeared as early as 1989. Arguably one of the first ever trance records, "Alone" illustrates the oft-forgotten fact that new beat and trance were indeed close cousins, and; Katzmann's vocals are regarded to have worked very well on that track."Come Into My Life" is another story, though. Listen to the Radio Edit for a string of clichés so cringe-making that even a C&W singer might have rejected it.

Interestingly, Guerilla's label manager Dick O'Dell apparently had big plans for Abfahrt. In autumn 1993, he said “No one knows anything about them. So, I’ll be able to invent them, play around with the irony of the whole pop thing for a bit. KLF have done that better than anyone else and this will give me a chance to indulge that side of me.” However, those plans came to a sudden end with Fenslau's untimely death some months later.

Digging around, I found that the original Abfahrt release included a mix that didn’t make it to the UK. It is an instrumental - the Breathless mix. I never knew it existed, let alone heard it. But if anyone reading this has, I’d love to hear it.

Abfahrt - Come Into My Life (Radio Edit)

Abfahrt - Come Into My Life (Exploding Plastic Instrumental)


Aphrohead was an early pseudonym of Felix Da Housecat (Felix Stallings) and used for his techno offerings.

Second-wave Chicago house impresario Felix Da Housecat entered the elite via his recordings (as himself, Thee Maddkatt Courtship, Aphrohead, Sharkimaxx) as well as his ownership of Radikal Fear Records, one of the premiere Chicago labels of the 1990s. An introduction to Chicago legend DJ Pierre during the mid-'80s gave the 15-year-old Felix Stallings, Jr. the kickstart he wanted, and with some help from Pierre, he produced his first single "Phantasy Girl" in 1987.

His parents discouraged his growing club lifestyle, however, and after high-school graduation Stallings left the scene entirely to attend Alabama State College. Over the course of a few years, he lost all interest in house music, though his girlfriend got him back into it. After calling DJ Pierre (who had moved to New York's Strictly Rhythm label), Felix began mixing and producing again. By 1992, he had a hit with the single "Thee Dawn" on Guerilla Records. His popularity soared in Europe, and the following year's "By Dawn's Early Light" and "Thee Industry Made Me Do It" cemented his reputation.

Not long after Stallings formed Radikal Fear Records, the label became one of the top house imprints in the world, thanks to releases from Mike Dunn, DJ Sneak, and Armando as well as Felix himself. During 1995, he released his debut full-length Alone in the Dark (as Thee Maddkatt Courtship) on Deep Distraxion. Hot on its heels came the label collection Radikal Fear: The Chicago All Stars and a Housecat DJ album titled Clashbackk Compilation Mix. Another production LP, Metropolis Present Day? Thee Album, followed in 1998. One year later, Stallings appeared extra busy; in addition to his first album as Aphrohead, he also released another Maddkatt Courtship LP, the highly praised I Know Elektrikboy. 2001 saw the release of Kittenz and Thee Glitz, a highly praised LP that helped him gain mainstream exposure through articles in glossy magazines across the globe -- not to mention remix work for the likes of Madonna and Kylie Minogue. The proper follow-up, Devin Dazzle and the Neon Fever, didn't arrive until well over two years later, but Stallings put together a pair of mix albums (2002's Excursions and 2003's A Bugged Out Mix) during the intervening years.

From his 1999 Aphrohead album:

Aphrohead - Lack of Communication