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soft pink truth / do you like to party? / soundslike

After two critically acclaimed 12"s, Drew Daniel of Matmos finally releases his long awaited full-length under the Soft Pink Truth moniker."Do You Party?" is a far departure from Drew's work with Matmos. Where Matmos is experimental cut-up electronics, the Soft Pink Truth is funky and filled with samples galore -- the vocals are cut up, spliced and distorted with elements of house, disco and electro dispersed throughout. The Soft Pink Truth has much more in common with the likes of Akufen, the Avalanches, and Herbert (hence, the album being released on Herbert's Soundslike label). Drew also takes influence from contemporary R&B producers like Timbaland and the Neptunes, as homaged on the track "Soft Pink Missy" which is probably not just influenced by Missy Elliott and Timbaland but probably contains samples from them too. "Do You Party?" is a true genre breaking album, one that is both for fans of dance and experimental music, but all in all this debut is funky, funky, funky! Truly groundbreaking stuff!

speicher / kompakt

Just when you thought Michael Mayer was only about chin-stroking, pipe-smoking intellectual techno, he comes out with a mix of floor rockers, mainly featuring tracks from the recent "Speicher" series on Kompakt. Things get stomping right off the bat with the genre-shifting Superpitcher mixed into T.Raumschmiere's "Musick". (Which has to be the closest Kompakt will ever get to Marilyn Manson.) The club lights are blasting full power by track three (Wassermann's "Ende der Schoenzeit") mixed into M.Mayer's own "Love is Stronger Than Pride", which utilizes lyrics from Sade's song of the same name, and is one of my favorite tracks of 2002. Tracks six through nine are the make-or-break section of this mix... You have to brace yourself. I was turned off at first, but ever since my third listen, this section is
becoming my favorite part. Superpitcher appears again, bringing the energy up, but it's Reinhard Voigt's "How We Rock" that brings that mother home. His grooves are just unstoppable, and will inspire the most jaded intellectual to pump his fist like a weekend warrior. Things break down by track nine and take off into dreamland with Markus Guentner's "Regensburg" (rmx). Epic Gas. The bell sounds will make you close your eyes and smile. Finally, a groove reminiscent of Voigt/Voigt's "Roxy" comes in, all sexy-like with Voigt/Voigt's "Vision 03". The surprise comes at the end when a burst of soundtrack strings lead into what seems like a farewell conversation between a man and a woman in a '50s German film noir. We are left to wonder whether it's a farewell, or a happily-ever-after as it ends with the sound of a door closing.

pole/ 45/45 / ~scape

Stefan Betke's "Pole" (a name made synonymous with deconstructed, submerged glitch dub) comes to the surface with a newly discovered sense of melody, arrangement and a bit of uncharacteristic jigginess. There's been a slight shift toward the "jiggietronic" feel of modern pop soul, even amongst the ultra-serious avatars of modern electronic music. While Pole "2" was popularly referred to as "too reggae", and not "deep" enough, "45/45" takes new themes and explores them so effectively that the listener is likely to become charmed beyond remembering the artist they're listening to. Change is good. Track four, "Back Home" is a slinky groove featuring sampled trap drums, a looping upright bass melody and a warm chord surge that qualifies it as the unofficial union of Farben and Tortoise. Believe it. "Round Two", one of the two "jiggy" jams, manages to have that stunted funk without being typically German/Teutonic. A simple break, micro melodica notes, a looping synth stab that comes in at the right time, and a tinkling water glass... In "The Bell" all the elements are masterfully coaxed in little by little, steadily, and constantly ping-ponging off of each other. A flawless EP, I haven't heard this much variety and strength in a long time. Recommended.

opiate / sometimes / morr

I hadn't heard Opiate before, so after seeing the album cover (a nighttime city horizon obscured by a lambent yellow-green glow) I was half-expecting to be sunken into the review-chair wrapped in a thick haze while listening. Quite the contrary... "Sometimes" is by no means sluggish or drugged-out like I thought it would be. Nor is it even close to boring. There are many layers that reveal themselves each time you'll play this. Each of the six songs has good ideas, and Opiate builds upon them nicely. He creates a warm electronic environment with exquisitely crafted moods and atmospheres. The use of "real" instruments like piano or the sample of a violin augment these tracks just the right amount, like a touch of the perfect spice. The glitchery is not overused or superfluous in any way, and the "niiiice", catchy beats are well programmed and well executed. There's an occasional squiggle of digital debris that escapes into the ether somewhere, in the guise of a displaced voice (see "Perdot"), or the swirling wisp of a microscopic jet stream (see "opiTTT"). The pleasant, tingling, soft crackle and wistful melody of "Snow Story" is as inviting as a mug of hot cocoa in front of a fireplace, and "Stp!" is a sensuously funky cut! Ah, this little album just gets better each time I listen to it. There are a couple of moments where Opiate reminds me of his fellow countryman Goodiepal (both are gifted with the seemingly effortless knack for an irresistible melody), but this does not surprise me, it only convinces me that "something different is in the water" over there in Denmark. My only complaint about "Sometimes" is that it's only 23 minutes, and by the end I'm left wanting more... well, I guess it's a good thing, right? Short but sweet. Looking forward to the long player.