12/11/2004: "six songs."
The inside of a traffic cone, if you can believe that!
Six recent dance tracks that made me weep (as girls go, I'm a little more fragile than you might expect):
1. Phonique feat. Die Elfen -- The Red Dress (Tiefschwarz remix)
Absolutely epic. This is the tune I've listened to the most this week, through the rain and drab skies and icy wind. Props to Paul for playing it last weekend at his DJ night--hearing it on a big system (er, a system bigger than my iPod/headphones) completely floored me. I've been really impressed with all the Tiefschwarz remixes I've heard, but this one takes the prize. It'll be in my top 10 for sure, right up there with 'Timecode'. It's not a sad song--it's a total anthem with a really basic, minimal underpinning, but it's so luminous and beautiful, and the crystalline synth riff sounds like church bells to me. I think upbeat anthems are actually the saddest, though, when you feel swallowed up in their bigness, overcome by their power. Tim Finney wrote something really great a month or two ago about grooves, of traveling inside of a groove, and that's how I feel when I hear this.
2. Unit 4 -- Body Dub (Tiefschwarz remix)
Another unstoppable tune remixed by Tiefschwarz. If you think Unit 4 is a great name -- which it is -- check out this awesome website, which is like a cross between 8-bit Nintendo skies and early rave -- genius! And nothing happens if you click on the image, which confused me for about five minutes. An impossibly intricate tune with tons of pathos, but the saddest part is about 3:30 in.
3. Chelonis R. Jones - One & One
Chelonis R. Jones hails from New York, but he's part of Get Physical, a label out of Berlin that's been rocking me hard -- thanks to Ronan who tipped me off to them in the first place. Why don't more people rate these dudes? Maybe it's cuz they unabashedly refer to themselves as 'deep house,' and there's nothing tastefully minimal about 'em in the slightest--this is total cheese, and it's fuckin' great stuff! Lots of syrupy vocals, full-on flowery weepy swirly discoriffic tunes, poptastic electro-bounce, hard and wacky acid, and not-so-faint whiffs of classic Chicago house. I mean, I'm glad Kompakt's been getting so much press and all, but there are literally dozens of other great German dance labels that have been regularly dishing out the goods--Perlon/Playhouse/Traum/Trapez and on and on. Anyway, Get Physical! The DJs/producers on the label have the best names; they sound kinda Chicagoey even -- Chelonis R. Jones, Booka Shade, DJ T, Lopazz, Voltique, Zoo Brazil. The best name, though, is M.A.N.D.Y., which sounds like something you'd see in pink puffy letters on a glossy rave flyer with a pic of Bart Simpson under it. M.A.N.D.Y. is German duo Patrick Bodmer and Philipp Jung, and why they call themselves M.A.N.D.Y. I have no idea, but I think it's awesome. Expect big things from them soon -- Kompakt golden boy Justus Koehncke did a remix of Chelonis R. Jones' 'I Don't Know', and I hear that Ada is working on a remix of a Booka Shade tune. Search out the whole Get Physical mix that was released this year, but especially the Chelonis stuff and DJ T - 'Philly' and DJ T - 'Phantomas'.
4. Rex the Dog -- I Look into Mid Air
Every song the shadowy Rex the Dog produces or remixes seems like a gift from the skies, and I've been assiduously collecting every 12" single, b-side, remix, and snippet of his work thus far. The worst thing about the Rex the Dog remix of Client's 'Radio' is Client--wish they'd just get out of the way and let Rex do his thing. Anyway, 'I Look into Mid Air' is the B-side to 'Frequency', and it's probably the cheesiest Rex track yet, but I love it. Makes me want to write an article and have Rex the Dog remix it into a goddamn masterpiece.
5. Micatone -- Plastic Bags and Magazines (Tiefschwarz remix)
The title's a little worrying--sounds unsettlingly electroclash, doesn't it? (Even kinda rhymes with 'Silver Screen Shower Scene' now that I think about it, though I still like that song.) The lyrics are pretty insipid (not as insipid as the 'slash dot dash dot dash' song or whatever the fuck it is on the new Fatboy Slim album), but yeah, they're pretty dumb, and the female vocals--just their timbre and resonance--even sound vaguely annoying. But lyrics, well, they don't matter, and about 4:30 in, something happens. Her vocals just melt into a "ooh" or "hmm" or something, and suddenly, as the vocal sample gets chopped up even further, into this "ah" sound that boings up and down like a spring with random inserts of "it's crazy," the track becomes impossibly, impossibly moving. God I'm a wuss.
6. The MFA -- The Difference It Makes (Superpitcher remix)
Let's not kid ourselves here--this is a straight-up trance anthem--maybe the most trancey thing Superpitcher's ever been involved with. (Apparently Danny Tenaglia's already phoned in asking for copies!) But while listening to it the other night while walking up Fulton Street, with the fog hanging over Fort Greene in this just so way, the epic glacial whoosh of it brought a tear to my eye. A song only needs to matter for one moment for it to matter at all, and it mattered so much that night.