Scouting around for something sensational and new I’ve drawn a blank over the last few days...well, that’s the way it goes...ever hopeful, we perhaps dream of a sound not yet made, the one that will fuse some if not all of our favourite genres. In my case, that would be impossible, and besides, something about the purity of a genre can be magnificent in itself.
So rewinding a couple of years (and due to the nature of its content, three decades), I’ve been enjoying the ‘Cherenkov Radiation’ EP by Der Zyklus, especially ‘Quasar’. It has the pure beauty of the best Kraftwerk tunes, which is no coincidence, yet to reduce and refine electronic music this way is, I suspect, no mean feat. The temptation must be to overload the technology. ‘Quasar’ sounds just like the future did 30 years ago. It’s that good.Anyway, I’m a sucker for space-oriented titles, it’s true. If Sir Cliff released an album about black holes, dwarf stars and, you know, things cosmological, I’d sit up and listen. The chances, thankfully, are as remote as Sir Elton recording a concept album about string theory (there’s a chance Vanessa Mae could name an album ‘String Theory’...in fact I think she should...and she probably will once she’s read this). So many Sirs in our wonderful Pop history...you know, I’m convinced Paul Weller will be knighted eventually...well, not convinced, exactly, but quite willing to put a fiver on it depending on the odds William Hill will give me.
I’m sure Sir George Clinton mentions quasars in a Parliament tune but I’m damned if I can recall which one. George was into the galactic boogie theory long ago, back before the world became a zone of zero funkativity. And it came to pass, as you know, that a Germanic-Funk-Detroit connection would come together. Whilst my recall is far from total, Ruaridh Law nicks Dick’s ‘We Can Remember It For You Wholesale’ as a title for his The Village Orchestra release. The title track’s an epic exploration on the theme of memory which requires a proper listen and I’ve yet to do that, but it does sound interesting. The three remaining tracks are easier to digest and in the techno vein but not without merit as they rise above common Earth-bound efforts to reach...oh...Pluto? ‘Lost Memory’ is the standout, building as it does for over ten minutes.
Satisfying my seemingly daily urge to have my ear drums hammered there’s Adam X/Ancient Method’s ‘Cardiac Dysrhythmia’ EP. If Der Zyklus is a streamlined super-light space ship, this is a monster truck, and I feel, in one sense, I shouldn’t like it because it does hark back to the old days of, say, Techno Animal, and that heavy metal tech-breaks thing was OK then – but now? Perhaps I admire their willingness to pound the skeletal structure of techno into pieces and weld them onto their robot wars beast for total war in the Terminator sense. It’s defiantly retro in a way, but it has beaten me into submission.
Gaslamp Killer looks like the kind of, hey, crazy dude who might rampage nude through LA wielding a sampler...a bit geeky, but I’m enjoying his ‘Death Gate’ EP no end. It’s also retro in a way that it carries a torch for the old days when breakbeat was fresh, Shadow was king and so on. Yet, despite the fact that while nobody mentions ‘breakbeat’ these days we know the methodology is alive and well and here’s proof. He’s not afraid of sampling ‘Psyche Rock’, that’s how crazy he is. Also Astatke, if I’m not mistaken. ‘Carpool Dummy’ hammers the breaks, but ‘Shattering Inner Journeys’ might be the best shot, an extended trip into Prog Break territory – seriously – complete with military drum and old tech as in The Day The Earth Stood Still.