Saturday, March 21, 2009




Now, since i tend to trust in techno music ever since I started listening to it and since I always knew that it doesn't matter when mainstream techno easily and frequently starts to sound like pure empty crap (just like the rest of the mainstream music) and that this genre should be respected by critics just like any other genre, great examples of electronic repetitive brilliance always come as a huge breathe of fresh air which reinforce my desire to either dig up old stuff or wait 'till something new comes along.

Escapements is a beautiful injection and a slap in the face to the industry. It's retro in the truest possible way, the songs reach climax using only the hihats and crashes (just like it used to be) and the melodies never, ever stop. Read the great review below from some unknown source.

Techno music is a funny old game at the moment. The merest hint of fashion, or ego, and the old guard are up in arms. In 2008 then, they are marching with pitchforks on Berlin, waving banners proclaiming ‘we want the old Hawtin back’. It’s understandable, of course. This music was never about image, less so personality (put up your hand if you remember Rising High’s infamous “Faceless Techno Bollocks” t-shirts). It was owned by no one, a treasure discovered by those fortunate and open-minded enough to appreciate it simply on the basis of form. A lot has changed. Mixmag proclaimed that techno is now officially ‘sexy’ music. Er… it always was, thanks. But cue media frenzy. Everyone’s moved to Berlin. ‘Minimal’ is a — get this — ‘new sound’... don’t make me laugh. Sure, there is a slew of copycat, dullard 4/4 records going around that are about as cutting-edge as the Kaiser Chiefs, but this does not a musical revolution make. Far from it. And yet, as always, there are gems to be discovered by the adventurous. Techno isn’t dead, it’s just suffering from a dodgy botox job and a sketchy PR consultant.

Petar Dundov is a Croatian producer whose new album Escapements is a thing of absolute joy. Despite a number of previous releases, including one for Jeff Mills, I hadn’t come across his work until now. What Dundov has achieved so effortlessly here is to cross the apparent gaps in the world of techno, to remind us all of some things we may have forgotten. This album takes the word ‘minimal’ and applies it in the classic sense — long, meandering pieces that seem to do little yet are constantly evolving. Drums are pared right back, whole tracts of the album are powered by a simple kick and nothing else. You get the feeling that the club will explode with the momentous arrival of a hi-hat. And it will. But that won’t be for the lack of anything else going on. This album contains heavy synth action. This album contains a lot of — gasp! — arpeggios. For the oldest of the old guard, there was a time, fabled in the history books, when even trance was not a dirty word. Before it was co-opted by fluoro-adorned crusties in the '90s, trance and techno were almost interchangeable terms, particularly if a track was long and repetitive. Escapements harks back to this period and beyond (She In Purple gives a nod to Italo disco), but it’s not wilfully retro. It simply takes the perceived rules of modern minimal, techno and trance and throws them out of the window to create something rare: a truly honest record. And it bangs. The single Oasis is a monster. It is almost impossible to explain in words — just one of those tunes that is ten minutes of big sound system perfection, a guaranteed future classic. But Escapements also contains deep and reflective elements: Waterfall, for example, could easily be straight out of the Motor City with its big strings and deep, driving groove. Dundov’s not afraid to throw the drums out entirely either, with both opener Kanon and closer Anja’s Theme stripped bare of them.

So refreshing then, to hear this album. This is about as real and purist as techno music gets in 2008, and proves there’s plenty of life left in the old dog yet. Time to stop worrying about Hawtin’s jedi-knight-meets-flashing-bluetooth-box shenanigans and start concentrating on great techno records again. Make no mistake, in Escapements Petar Dundov has supplied us with one.



One of the goofiest efforts in the goofy exotica genre -- and brother, that's saying something, given the stiff competition.

First, I want to thank everybody for their kind words of support for this blog of mine. I practically gave it up some months ago but then I checked my downloads which skyrocketed recently and started reading a shitload of positive comments. Obviously, people are diggin' my eclectic taste in everything that ends with .mp3. So -- I am back. Kachoing!

So, here's a great, great (one of the best) goofy odd 60's exotica albums of all times from one of the weirdest and unexplained composers ever. It's kitschy and almost child-like atmosphere, brilliance of arrangement with tasteful yet naive choruses of paradises lost and psychedelic roads of calmness, definitely lock-up the age of relaxed psy music makers into the 60's. It is very strange how far and "romantic" this record sounds. It's like we will never hear something this childish done with such an effort for detail.

Ahbez boasted a resumé as colorful and mysterious as his music. Born Alexander Aberle in Brooklyn in the early 20th century, he changed his name in the 1940s shortly after moving to (where else?) California. A hippie a good 20 years before his time, he cultivated a Christ-like appearance with his shoulder-length hair and beard. He claimed to live on three dollars a week, sleeping outdoors with his family, eating vegetables, fruits, and nuts.

One of the genuinely strange characters of pre-rock American popular music, Eden Ahbez's main claim to fame was as the composer of "Nature Boy." The melodically and lyrically beguiling song was a huge pop hit for Nat King Cole; it would be covered by many other reputable performers, including Frank Sinatra, John Coltrane, Sarah Vaughan, and the Great Society (Grace Slick's pre-Jefferson Airplane band). But Ahbez's modern stature rests on a 1960 album that mixed exotica album and beatnik poetry. It rates as one of the goofiest efforts in the goofy exotica genre -- and brother, that's saying something, given the stiff competition.

Musically, Ahbez' 1960 outing was squarely in line with the exotica fad, utilizing then-unusual combinations of instruments (flutes, bongos, vibes) and sound effects like creaking boats to conjure up the aural equivalent of a tropical breeze. Unlike Martin Denny or Arthur Lyman, Ahbez often added his own spoken poetry, speaking of coves, paradise, and other idyllic subjects. Occasionally he even sang in a thin voice (he's no Nat King Cole). Even those who share Ahbez' yearning for heaven on earth must concede that his recorded effort to invoke these states is, to put it bluntly, sophomoric. Yes, it's good for some snickers from the exotica revival crowd, but that's almost definitely not what he had in mind when he was making this.


Monday, March 2, 2009


It's up again so get it fast here.
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