Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Markus Guentner - In Moll

Label: Kompakt
Year: 2001
Styles: Ambient Techno

Review: (Allmusic.com)

Add Markus Guentner to your growing list of German producers to watch. Following the Regensburg 12" issued in late 2000, two slots on the Pop Ambient 2001 compilation, and some work for Festplatten and Ware, Guentner embarks on the path set by Dettinger and Jonas Bering as the third producer to release a full-length LP on Cologne, Germany's Kompakt label. Throughout the duration of In Moll, Guentner proves his worth as an excellent laptop ambient producer, going toe to toe with the likes of Wolfgang Voigt's finest output as Gas and All (Voigt actually provided the artwork for the record). Guentner also shows that he has several tricks up his sleeve, evading a common ill of many electronic producers by showcasing a few fully developed dimensions, rather than sticking with one gag and running it into the ground. Despite the arid, paranoid feel of the beatless second and fourth tracks (as with the previous single-artist long-players on Kompakt, none of these seven lengthy tracks are titled), there's something remotely oceanic and lilting about them. The third track features a persistent thump amidst puffy atmospherics and subtle layers of shimmering chimes; only the most dedicated fan wouldn't mistake it for a prime Gas production. The influence of Harold Budd creeps in during the sixth track; as a distant piano repeatedly plays a drifting melody, gauzy strings breezily ebb and flow. The Kompakt catalog gets richer and richer.
- Andy Kellman (Allmusic Guide)


Part One: http://rapidshare.com/files/131705139/Markus_Guentner_-_In_Moll.part1.rar
Part Two: http://rapidshare.com/files/131740819/Markus_Guentner_-_In_Moll.part2.rar

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Monolake - Cinemascope

Label: Monolake
Year: 2001
Styles: Minimal Techno, Ambient Techno, IDM

Review: (Allmusic.com)

On Cinemascope, Monolake (aka Robert Henke) blends the stark sounds of the street with beat-conscious elements, creating a reserved late-night brew of intense minimalism. Short bursts of light break through the dark cracks that underscore the majority of Cinemascope, allowing the largely clipped and clicky beats to comprise the framework of the record. Not unlike Richie Hawtin's later work, Henke utilizes subtractive theory to pull apart regular dancefloor structures into roomy, spacious reconstructions that echo endlessly, reminiscent of the introspective period of early-'90s Detroit techno. Perhaps the perfect record for driving around the city at night, Cinemascope takes in the wonder of architecture, construction, and how people tend to relate to those concepts. Certainly, Henke seems somewhat more closely aligned with his German, minimal-tech colleagues, but he no doubt is in safe territory with Detroit's innovators of the genre. His sometimes spooky and skittery layers of rhythm imitate the clunking and perfect cadence of factory machines in their restless stages. Little melody creeps in, but there's still something pleasant about the work. Perhaps this pleasantness is found in the music's general relaxedness. Nothing ever bubbles over with excitement, but ebbs and flows are still quite visible. And even still, Henke keeps the dancefloor in mind, especially on the track "Remoteable," which is dark and nondescript, held up with constrictive beats and subtle layers of rhythm.
- Ken Taylor (Allmusic Guide)


Part One: http://rapidshare.com/files/129961674/Monolake_-_Cinemascope.part1.rar
Part Two: http://rapidshare.com/files/129966627/Monolake_-_Cinemascope.part2.rar

Sunday, July 13, 2008

The Black Dog - Spanners

Label: Warp
Year: 1995
Styles: Ambient Techno, IDM

Review: (Allmusic.com)

The last release under the group name before the trio splintered, Spanners is a great full-packed CD of modern electronic music, the band drawing on everything from dub to avant-garde experimentalism to create a varied, intoxicating collection. Funk samples are twisted and played with rather than lovingly reused, lyrics eschewed for obscure or unintelligible samples at most, generally straightforward dancefloor tracks still sound slightly hesitant or off. Even from the first song, "Raxmus," it's not too surprising that this appeared on Warp Records; the blend of shuffling yet crisp beat, ambient tones, and other sonic touches and tweaks practically could have been tailormade as a calling card for the label. Certainly, there's a healthy sense of playfulness and obscurity that won't surprise fans of labelmate Aphex Twin, neither will song titles like "Psil-Coysin" and "Nommo." The highlights are many, most often achieving a solid combination of dancefloor friendliness and unexpected sonic trickery. "Chase the Manhattan" may have a cringeworthy pun of a title, but the brisk funk/world percussion beat, soothing synth washes, and distorted electronic bass stabs all come together wonderfully. "Further Harm" shifts a number of times during its length, sometimes playing around with rough beats low in the mix and at other points serving up a variety of keyboard melodies interspersed with brief vocal bits. Other numbers of note include "Pot Noodle," with what sounds like a soft acoustic guitar or a keyboard programmed to sound like one playing a lazy, relaxed melody under the main loop, and the echoing, minimal percussion breaks and squelchy electro-inspired tones of "Frisbee Skip." A series of brief bridge tracks entitled "Bolt" (i.e., "Bolt1," "Bolt2," etc.) crop up throughout Spanners, mostly following their own curious logic as they slide from one track to the next.
-Ned Raggett (Allmusic Guide)


Part One: http://rapidshare.com/files/129305276/The_Black_Dog_-_Spanners.part1.rar
Part Two: http://rapidshare.com/files/129410258/The_Black_Dog_-_Spanners.part2.rar

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Plaid - Trainer

Label: Warp
Year: 2000
Styles: Ambient Techno, IDM, Detroit Techno

Review: (Allmusic.com)

After negotations broke down between former Black Doggers Ken Downie, Ed Handley, and Andy Turner, what was projected to be a three-disc set with nearly all the existing Black Dog Productions rarities became instead a two-disc set of Handley/Turner productions recorded during the first half of the '90s. Trainer is still a near-essential document of early British techno, including a raft of rarely heard classics like "Scoobs in Columbia," "Norte Route," and "Angry Dolphin," plus the entirety of their ultra-rare Mbuki Mvuki mini-LP. The Handley/Turner production aesthetic balanced sublime, Detroit-inspired synth with hyper-kinetic drum programs and breakbeat madness years before England's love affair with jungle. Grabbing tracks from far-flung but like-minded labels like ART, Planet E, A13, and Clear, Trainer includes over two hours of warped acid house from a B-boy perspective -- it's hardly a coincidence that Black Dog Productions shared initials with South Bronx's finest.
- John Bush (Allmusic Guide)


Part One: http://rapidshare.com/files/128266674/Plaid_-_Trainer.part1.rar
Part Two: http://rapidshare.com/files/128278544/Plaid_-_Trainer.part2.rar
Part Three: http://rapidshare.com/files/128288703/Plaid_-_Trainer.part3.rar