August 12, 2007

Generally, I’m into electronic music. That’s fairly broad, but I do enjoy all varieties of that genre, from the deep house to the hard funk to the pounding trace to the trippy drum ‘n’ bass. The more I get into this kind of music, the more I tend to branch out in my listening styles. Right now, I’m getting back into some European loving with some duos and unknown groups in North America. One of the duos I discovered from a short-lived music magazine, which produced a CD of some essential songs from the year (I think it was 1999 or 2000). They had a killer track on there by Pepe Deluxe, called “Woman in Blue.” It began with a slow uphill climb of sounds, but when it hit that peak, the beats came out of the blue and slammed into you. If you weren’t in a good mood before hearing that song, you soon got into a good groove. It’s a hard sound to describe because this duo (who are Finnish) mix up everything from big beat to surfing music to scratching on turntables, and this one song has a long of those styles mixed into it. Fortunately, Pepe Deluxe just released a new album, Spare Time Machine. It’s an incredibly diverse album, and very excellent. Here’s a clip of what they have put up on their website describing the duo and the album, which summarizes the album perfectly:

I have always been fascinated by the duo’s rampant obsession with the Aural Grand Unified Theory of All, a.k.a. the Quest for Lapis Philosophorum of Sound. The remaining evidence points to the fact taht during the late 60’s several brave sonic investigators got very close to reaching this goal… and we’re all too familiar what happened to them. But despair not, as they left a legacy: several clues and tips for the fellow adventurer, hidden deep in their beautiful music. It is the Quest and those clues that led to the birth of Ultratone Electrosonic Industries, the only company in the world dedicated to producing tools for aural chronoauts.

– Kalervo Salo, Head of Research and Development, Ultratone Electrosonic Industries.

I’ll leave it at that, except the track, “Pussy Cat Rock,” is one of the most refreshing songs I’ve heard in a long time that deserves to be slipped into any DJ set on radio or at a club just to mix things up. Has a funky beat, and screaming lyrics. A song a crowd could sing and dance to a la Twist ‘n’ Shout and other classics. A newly discovered group is Justice, a French duo which has been called the next Daft Punk. I’m not sure how I missed this group before, because they’ve been putting out some solid remixes of high profile groups over the years. Their debut album was just released in July in the US, Cross, and it’s been called the dance album of the year. It’s not your typical dance album if you’re expecting an hour long mixed set by a DJ, or pop dance music from of the young sirens on MuchMusic or MTV. It’s a darker dance beat, with frequent breakdowns in the music and a lot of sounds flying at you from the left and the right to break things up. There are some definite French influences in their music. Not being a total connoisseur of French music, the ones I can pick out are Air and a bit of Jean-Michel Jarre, plus the obvious Daft Punk. The big hit from the album is “D.A.N.C.E.” which is reminiscent of the Jackson Five hit “ABC,” with the angelic voices of children singing on top of some hard beats that get you shaking in your chair. It’s hard not to like this song, and it’s even harder not to like the album. I’m going to leave this with a Swedish duo, LO-FI-FNK. Again, this is a duo I’ve just been introduced to (one of the negatives about being on the wrong shore for this kind of music – but thankful for the internet for allowing me to discover it). They just released their first full-length album as well, “Boylife.” I haven’t had a chance to listen to it entirely yet, but the one single I have heard, “City,” sounds a bit like Scissor Sisters (as well as some pop groups from the late 90’s that I can’t put a finger on). Apparently, the album is about the duo’s departure from their day-to-day life they’ve been living since graduating, meaning they’re on their way to producing music full time. It’s an excellent track to pick up on iTunes to bring you over the hump of the work day. I’m going to prepare a lengthy review of my current DJ/producer of choice of late, M.I.K.E. His discography is lengthy and perfect.

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