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manual with jess kahr / north shore / darla
*see 'darla' link for review and mp3

elektronische musik interkontinental 3 / various artists / traum

Yet another brilliant release in the Elektronische Musik series for Traum Schallplatten. "Interkontinental 3," compiled by Traum/Trapez co-owner Richard 'Riley Reinhold' (aka Triple R), continues to bring us the finest in warm bubbling techno from every hemisphere known to man. Germany, England, Ireland, Australia, Argentina, Japan, they're all here. Volume 3 is full of bright, poppy, dance-floor material properly balanced by deep, dreamy, minimal activities for the late-night; and it all grooves. Process and Oliver Hacke deliver, as usual. Donal Tierney and Jorge Gebauber each introduce some of the finest tech-house this side of that new rock beyond Pluto, Sedna.

I'm telling you, it's all here, and thankfully, the vinyl release this time round is only a 4 track 12" featuring a few club friendly tracks from the CD. It includes the Broker/Dealer rmx of French band Margo's "La Baumette," Popnebo's "Of Course She Does," a different killer from O. Hacke than appears on the CD, and Michael Fentum's "Warm Hands," which are actually lush strings that evolve into this static-laden montage. There's even a QuickTime video on the CD by POLAR called Occupy set to the music of Victor Bermon rmx of Fotel Folyamat's "Love Streams." Like I said, it's all here.
listen: adam kroll / klostergarten
listen: donal tierney / text xxx

pantha du prince / diamond daze / dial

Pantha Du Prince (aka Gluhen) takes his personal palette of sounds and applies them to new minimal techno structures. After falling for the Gluhen LP, I didn't know what to expect from this one. I half-expected off-time, deep shuffle techno with noise clusters here and there. What we end up getting is deep minimal techno with the classic Dial beauty and sophistication devoid of any straight up, generic sounds. Every element - bass, melody, hi-hats - is given a custom tuning to make it unique, stark, grey, and full of beauty.

Pantha Du Prince blends the dark brooding drive of Carsten Jost, the heavenly lift of Lawrence, and a tech/house structure similar to the Traum label injected with impeccably chosen/arranged sounds. While Jost tends to push forward with dark, sharp sounds accenting the beat, Pantha Du Prince has more of a driving (yet still sophisticated), dark funk. (See "Eisregen and "Circle Glider") Side C's "Sad Saphire" is like way deep Basic Channel taken out of the dank basement and placed in the clouds. Another step forward in the dark beautiful world of Dial records and another favorite LP. Recommended.
listen: pantha du prince / circle glider
listen: pantha du prince / butterfly girl

fennesz / venice / touch

One of the few truly original voices in contemporary electronic music, over the last nine years Christian Fennesz has created and refined a signature style that effortlessly combines dense, noisy digital fragmentation with a warm almost subliminal pop sense. As with pretty much all his releases, "Venice" sees Fennesz focusing on the sound of the electric guitar extending its palette through various digital processing techniques.

Although the album is less cohesive and overall developed than his last album 'Endless Summer" (or even the singles collection "Field Recordings"), in some ways its sketch like quality is its strength. Less conceptually oriented, the album comes across like a personal document of a time, an idea or perhaps a place. While "Venice" may not be as immediate as some of Fennesz' previous efforts, its combination of somber haunting melodies and grainy texture illuminates a space where simple somewhat catchy guitar playing wontedly coexists with the din of contemporary computer manipulations which is further illustrated by Jon Wozencraft's beautiful cover photographs documenting human interaction and manipulation of nature.

A somewhat mournful and generally subdued affair, "Venice" shows an artist reflecting on his craft rather then trying to force himself into a new direction. Highlights include "Transit," a stunning collaboration with David Sylvian that continues where their fantastic duo track on Sylvian's recent album "Blemish" left off. Situated directly in the middle of a mostly subdued listening experience "Transit" literally bursts out of the speakers accentuating the album's more pop like characteristics as well as its more restrained moments. Here's to hoping for an album's worth of Fennesz vs. Sylvian.
listen: fennesz / the point of it all
listen: fennesz / transit