Thursday 6 August 2020

Shopping List (...?)

As mentioned in previous posts, I'm currently sizing up my ever growing wishlist to see what will make the cut come this Friday, and truth be told I've been slacking a bit, and there have also been new additions in the last few mins before I started writing this post to complicate things further. Even then this post is still going to contain one thing I already own (two things if you count the B12 track that I already have from another album) but I'm getting sidetracked. Today's order is lovely bleepy early to mid 90's techno, the kind that Warp was putting out around that time as part of their {Artificial Intelligence} series (of which two of these choices are from!) Let's go.
Jeffrey Smart - The Four Closed Shops (1982)

I might as well get into the Warp stuff first off, starting with my favourite underrated entry in the series of LPs: Richie Hawtin's Dimension Intrusion. I could never get into Hawtin's output as Plastikman but I absolutely adore this album, its a shame none of the tracks appeared on either of the Artifical Intelligence compilations because for me they are up there with the big names in terms of demonstrating what that series was all about. That's not to say that you can't hear the direction that Hawtin would take, one of the tracks on Dimension Intrusion is a 13 minute slow arpeggio only punctuated by bass pads and occasional samples from THX 1138. I've chosen the title track this time around, it's one of the more upbeat bits of the album actually which gets super ambient in places but it also shows off both the differences and similarities with Hawtin's later more minimal work. It was never re-issued internationally after it's 1993 pressing, but it's now real easy to get your hands on now as Hawtin himself published a 25th anniversary edition to his Bandcamp, albeit with a slightly different tracklist to the original release.

Next up is a bit of a strange one. I can't remember how exactly this one came to my attention, I do have some vague memories of a discogs reccomend but even then I don't really remember the page, likewise I don't remember what made me even find it on bandcamp either. I think I may have heard it in a live set maybe? I definitely do remember hearing it somewhere with the incorrect title and having to listen to the whole thing to find that initial track that caught my interest. Anyway, that's irrelevant, as it hits the same buttons for me as the Warp brand of electronic at the time, in fact coming out around 1994 after the Warp crew and others had taken techno from the dancefloor to the home stereo. It's not quite as cool and hi-tech as the Warp stuff to my ears, but it also wouldn't sound very out of place on one of the compilations either. I have to agree with the Resident Advisor review that says the whole album has a much more warm feel than it's contemporaries I listed, it's techno that feels very tactile and for want of a better term (also borrowed from the RA article), Cosy. Very much embodying that 'home listening' concept that the original Artificial Intelligence compilation was based on.

Taking a bit of a turn around with B12, another of my favourite examples of this kind of sound. B12 are pretty much the opposite of what I mentioned above; in contrast their brand of listening electronic is that cool, hi-tech sound that drew me to this kind of stuff in the first place. With album titles like Time Tourist, its cover art featuring retro-futuristic covers of a Neo-London is certainly in line with that "Future Music" aesthetic, which as you all probably know is supremely up my street. Telefone 529 originally appeared on Electro-Soma in 1993, as well as on the first Artificial Intelligence compilation under their 'Musicology' alias. As noted on the cover of that compilation, Kraftwerk among others were the inspiration for this new wave of electronic, and that influence is plain to see here from the track being focused on technology (though this time ironically Phones and not Computers as in Kraftwerk's case) to the repeating samples of automated phone operators.

And finally a little bit more from DMX Krew. Purely instrumental this time which means yet again no self-aware retro lyricism, but as the title would suggest the track itself is very funky indeed. I was hooked even before the first of many wobbly bass warbles came through, but even then, every layer of the composition of Wave Funk is incredibly well done. As Ed messes with the filters toward the end making the main hook go from bouncy to squelchy, to nervous and back again I can't help but grin. It's only short especially considering its the title track and all but I honestly can't complain, nothing else on the EP has anywhere near this level of funk so it just makes the whole thing even sweeter. If you're in the mood for some analogue jams and have completely rinsed the Analords over the last decade like I have, this EP and it's sequels are definitely ones to look out for.


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