Paste Magazine discussed in 2018 how the Modern Rock genre has been left soul-searching whilst Post-Punk is thriving. The fractured nature of Post-Punk lead to the formation of many sub-genres. Synth-Pop, EBM, New Wave being just some that preserved its parent genre tropes, whilst interloping with electronic unorthodox sounds. These in turn gave birth to a wide variety of sounds including Italo, Bass, Techno, Cold, Dark and Minimal Wave, all of which edify each other. Listening to Peggy Gou, and even Jamie Jone’s recent remix of Teddy Pendergrass’ ‘Life Is A Song Worth Singing’, demonstrates that the style has hit the upper echelons of the underground dance scene. Desert Sound Colony, aka Liam Wachs, seems to be as fluid as any in carrying such sound. The Londoner seemed to be an ideal fit with his first releases being manufactured for Scissor & Thread. With hints of Indie & more angular Rock, they shared similarities with Bob Moses and Clockwork releases on the label. Black Light Smoke’s ‘Firefly‘ showed more ambition, however, and certainly Desert Sound Colony seems to have hit a power-boost upon hearing. ‘Lose My Rhythm’ is a track by a man at the peak of his powers. It unmistakably stands heads and shoulders, if not above, the rest.
Liam has also released under the moniker of DSC. ‘The Sorcerer‘, his 2017 release on Holding Hands Records was one that showcased his more experimental side. It had an abstractness, but minimal leaning of a Roman Flügel project. ‘Coming Round‘, released just a year later, was a return to his regular Post-Punk productions. A dance-floor belter, ‘Lose My Rhythm’ sounds like a product coming from the same studio sessions. A voluminous kick drum starts the track off before a warbling bassline kicks in. Vocals hum chorally. Sounding like a lovechild of Roland 909 and KORG MS-20, the gyrating melody is mesmeric. As one YouTube comment points out, the track sounds like an updated version of Belgian New Beat producer Richard H Kirk’s ‘Never Lose Your Shadow’. Guitar is plucked, before the main vocal enters. ‘When I Lose My Rhythm I Feel Alive’ it echoes with revelry. Naturally this paints a picture of a dancefloor bedlam. The punk influence kicks back in from the simple guitar picks heard in the breakdown. It all hits the nail on the head as it picks back up with crystallising splintered synth stabs kicking in. Hectic stuff. Continue reading →
The contribution by the Netherlands to music created with a computer cannot be underestimated. The three royalties of trance who ruled the airwaves of the scene were all Dutch. The current posterboy of EDM proudly wears his country’s orange colours when performing mainstage. However, the nation’s influence on the underground scene is equally as impressive. Dekmantel and ADE festivals bring thousands of pilgrims who gather to pay their dues at its annual gatherings. Renowned Amsterdam-based Red Light Radio radio hosts global trailblazing DJs ranging from John Talabot to Danny Daze. The range of the local DJs hailing from the Low Lands comprise of veterans such as Boris Werner & Legowelt, respected crate-diggers like Antal and emerging talent including Job Jobse, Benny Rodrigues and of course, Young Marco. Marco Sterk, the face behind the last alias on the list, has been slowly turning up the heat on the production cooker over the years. Released on Greco-Roman in 2017, his remix of Roosevelt’s breakthrough track ‘Sea’ is the culmination of his halcyonic interpretation of Deep House.
Marco’s signature sound combines soft percussion work akin to Nu-disco and Italo Disco cuts, with euphonious melodies. His Welcome To Paradise (Italian Dream House 89-93) Vol. 1 compilation is a retrospective, shoegaze house melodies that are a perfect fit for a hazy afternoon. It’s also a fair reflection of his production. With an infectious chord-progression dancing along to the rhythm conducted by a gentle kick, his ‘Sea’ remix incorporates the leading synth from the original with ease. While the elements separately lack modular sophistication, their effortless coherence is sonically rewarding. Tints of melancholia colour the 1980s palette that paints a landscape of Arpeggios. Young Marco portrays a tranquil scenery with the mastery of Wes Anderson’s direction.
Beck – Cellphone’s Dead (Ricardo Villalobos’ Entlebuch Remix)
It is always a good sight when producers step out of their comfort zone and remix tracks from other genres. Superpitcher has arguably been one of the best, time and again interpreting playlist tracks into party-ready cuts for the dancefloor. Hot Chip made a steady transition from Indie to Techno. Rarely however is it a minimal remix. This track, widely regarded to be made by Priku on the mysterious EEE outlet (Our theory being East End Edits sub label of East End Dubs’ Eastenderz). An edit of a Depeche Mode’s ‘Little 15’, it attaches a minimal beat to the original melody orchestrated by an organ. It’s an excellent exercise in the stripping back of a track. Ricardo Villalobos’ is a fine remixer, and his morphing of Thomas Dolby’s 1982 new wave release ‘One of Our Submarine‘ shows he has no bounds when it comes to remixing. As Crack Magazine has put, he’s a ‘creator of some of the most ambitious and outright bizarre electronic constructions of the last 20 years’. Audaciously pushing the boundaries, he has cooked up cuts that extend up to 40 minutes long in runtime. A common thread, however, underlining all is that they’re all analogue, and they all carry a distinct sound. Villalobos ups the ante on the uniqueness of this Beck track, ‘Cellphone’s Dead’. Originally a White Label release in 2007, it neighbours an Ellen Alien remix on her own BPitch Control. A compelling escapade in the genius of sampling, it’s an incredible showing of what you can do if you become a master of it.
A 15 minute odyssey, it begins with a chugging bass synonymous with his cuts. You really need to play his other cuts to appreciate it fully. Using polyrhythmic latin flare, the percussive knocks and flutes bring a swing to the track. It’s the critical path he uses to build the rest of the track with, just as Luciano, Lucien or Mirko Loko would. An 8-bit loop sends a charge through the foundation of the track, which then proceeds to use a mashup of vocal snippets from the original. ‘One by one I’ll knock you out’ says the childlike vocal, as Beck proceeds to say ‘Cellphone’s dead, lost in the desert’. It paints a perfect picture of feeling lost, not only in the groove but at a fabric London party it may get played at 2 am. Harmonised choral ‘hums’ in the background are played in a way that elevate the track like a chambré synth. The whole composition is wacky in a way that a DJ Koze track is. Continue reading →
The A2 on his brilliant debut EP, Make It Good. With Remixes from Larry Heard, Ostgut Tonregular Ryan Elliot and Tale of Us, it was an exercise in Electronic Art, at Picasso Levels. Monocraft (Your Love Is Alright) is a mix of Tech, Deep, Indie and Prog Rock. One thing people can agree about Electronic Music is it can hit every emotion. And having such different genres mixed in hit different parts in one track. Released in 2012 by the Life and Death label co-founder Manfredi Romano, this DJ Tennis cut is a wonderful track completely synonymous with other sombre label cuts.
In this interview with Magnetic Mag, Manfredi mentions ‘I grew up with indie, punk rock, post-punk and hardcore.’ Instantly this is felt within the vocals. Sounding a touch like Caribou or The/Das, it’s bleak and melancholic. It’s hits the crest of the wave at the 4.30min mark with the spine tingling ‘Your Love Is Alright’ motif. Up until this point, there’s been a real buildup. Prog-band bass not too dissimilar to Dubfire’s Deep Dish bubbles underneath. Manfredi’s also said later in the aforementioned Magnetic Magazine, The first artists that got really interested in electronic music were people like Aphex Twin, Boards of Canada. This was my approach to electronic music – brain-dance I would say.’ And boy does his synth work just do that. Horn like chords are played airily. Midway, downtempo strums are played with orchestral strings. It teases the brain before a scattergun single note comes in not too dissimilar to Patrice Baumel’s ‘The Hatchet’. Clearly Tale of Us shows Tennis a thing or two, because the staple laser soundscape of theirs, such as the one in their remix of Who Made ‘Who’s Never Alone’ makes a welcome appearance. A track that sends your brain into a frenzy, it’s great for home listening as much as a Fideles set at Hi Ibiza on a Thursday night.