January's a bit shit, isn't it? Here's some acid techno - it never fails to cheer me up. This selection runs from 1988: Bam Bam's sinister and brilliant 'Where's Your Child?' through to about 10 years later. I had to include a couple of Hardfloor numbers, obviously, since they are the absolute masters of the form. There's also a couple of Richie Hawtin efforts - an early, headfuck one in 'Substance Abuse', and the relentless acid epic of his System 7 remix. Some of my favourites are the slightly less well known tracks that rocked my socks back in the day - Gamma Loop, Hexagone and Cyan are particular favourites, and my vinyl copies are suitably crackly. (The mp3 of Cyan unfortunately has a skip). Actually, they are all favourites - the list could have been massive, but these are just the ones I've collected on mp3 over the years. For some reason I feel I should point out that I have all of them on vinyl except the Edge Of Motion one, which I've never got around to buying. If you have trouble collating these tracks in your player, album artist is 'white dot acid techno'. I hope these tunes soundtrack a spannered evening for someone, somewhere. 1 - FUSE - Substance Abuse (Warp) 2 - Gamma Loop - 4X3 (Hyper Hype) 3 - Robert Armani - Circus Bells Hardfloor Remix (Djax) 4 - Hexagone - Burning Trash Floor (Djax) 5 - Alaska - The Thing (F Comm) 6 - Hardfloor - Confuss (Harthouse) 7 - Bam Bam - Where's Your Child? (Tresor) 8 - Air Liquide - Psy 9 (Blue) 9 - System 7 - Alpha Wave Plastikman Remix (Butterfly) 10 - Magenta - Boost (Experimental) 11 - Cyan - Peacekeeper (Experimental) 12 - Barbarella - My Name Is Barbarella/The Spaceship (Harthouse) 13 - Edge Of Motion - Set Up 707 (Djax)
Weirdo sci-fi new wave proto-punk from 1981. Edgy and slightly deranged, primitive grooves and processed vocals abound, with heavily phased, fucked and flanged keyboards and guitars panning around the mix. This falls somewhere in the middle between Simply Saucer and Weird War, with bits of Devo, Hawkwind and Low-era Bowie (or his band, at least) thrown in. It's all delivered with speed paranoia post punk energy, and speared through with searing guitar lines, and littered with enough kosmiche debris to make it freaky and unique.
This superb album came out in late 2009. Etienne Jaumet is also in synth duo Zombie Zombie, who are not ashamed to reveal their influences - releasing an EP of their interpretations John Carpenter music. Whilst the influence of John Carpenter can be clearly heard on Night Music, the influence of Carl Craig takes the sound away from the more retro synth-fest of ZZ, into a more techno influenced direction. Craig is credited: 'Mix directed and imagined by Carl Craig', so it's not clear exactly what he does, but the grooves are allowed to run here, opening up into spacious vistas. First track 'For Falling Asleep' is a 20-minute epic masterpiece, driven by an arpeggiating synth, and simple kick drum. The track is pulled into the stratosphere with restrained duelling saxophones lines with heavy delay, and some trippy vintage synth noises. Like most of my favourite synth based music, it looks both forward and backward in time, with a futuristic ambience perfectly suited to driving around ultra modern cities at 3am. Although this is clearly the best track, every track on here is brilliant. The fat analogue lines and simple, classic drum machine grooves are always perfectly embellished with great melodies, and lush, deep ambience. On 'Through The Strata', what sounds like a hurdy-gurdy adds harmonic richness - hurdy gurdy and saxophone are not instruments I would generally associate with this kind of music, but they are inspired choices. The saxes return on the beatless last track 'At The Crack Of Dawn' - a reprise of the first track, which rounds out this hypnotic, resonant LP. Utterly brilliant: this was probably my album of 2009. Also, it makes a good companion piece to the Sinoia Caves album.
Versatile records asked me to delete the link. I'm going to leave the post up anyway, because I wholeheartedly endorse this brilliant album. I bought mine on vinyl from Juno, but they don't seem to have it any more. You can get it here or here in the US.
This is probably my favourite release by Ben Chasny's cosmic folk project. From 2003, it consists of two epic and glorious tracks based mostly around layers of vocals and guitar. 'Redefinition Of Being' has a wonderful chant for multiple voices that seems perfectly circular in nature; running on and on and into itself. This line is echoed in acoustic guitar, with some primitive hand drums offering laid back percussive impetus. There are numerous steel stringed guitars creating a chiming undergrowth of reverby harmonics. It generates a kind of occult ambience that I can imagine soundtracking some of the weirder end of 70s cult or horror cinema: the day for night scene of the Knights Templar on horseback from Tombs Of The Blind Dead springs to mind for some reason.
'Creation Aspect Fire' has more of a ritual feel to it, with a more intense delivery of vocals and instruments. This breaks down into a harmonic temple drone, with some high chiming bells piercing the churning ambience with crystalline clarity. This slowly gives way to a gentle combination of voice and gently freaking out acoustic guitar that echoes the first track.
Also recommended: Dark Noontide; The Sun Awakens; Dust & Chimes.