August 1999 Reviews

This month's guest reviewers are Scott Lazaruk and Thomas Robbs, a.k.a. ones & twos, a techno & house tag-team from Toronto, Canada. (Click on the link for contact & realaudio sets).

(artist :: release :: label :: cat # )

T e c h n o

CIO :: Rare Loop Rmxs :: Boozo Music :: BZ017

Madrid may be the last place on earth you'd expect a quality Detroit techno release to come from -- but preconceptions were made to be broken. Madrid's CIO certainly does so with this release -- choice cuts to be found here, including the 'CIO Self Abused Mix' with its strong Mills/Hood influences, and the deep & moody 'Rox Insane Hold Edit'. Two more deep electro-tinged techno mixes fill out the EP. Nice work from the Boozo camp! 3.5/5

ROLW :: Surfing in the North :: Boozo Music :: BZ0018

"Imagine Robert Hood and Mauritz Von Oswald sporting Hawaiian shirts while scratchin' the waves". Thus reads the info sheet from Madrid's Boozo Music -- what techno connosseur wouldn't be interested? This release definitely lives up to the description -- every track on the EP is a gem! Full production and deep synth chords, jacking basslines, and twisted rhythms make this a record a joy to mix as well as a great listen. Full marks, gold star, etc etc -- more please. 5/5

A3K :: Seabase 99 :: Boozo Music :: BZ019

Alex Martin, known for his exploits on F Communications, Playhouse, and Pod Communications, brings his talent to bear on Madrid's Boozo imprint with superb results. Fans of Octave One and Wildplanet will definitely want to check this out. 'Spycam' gets you bumping from the first bar, funky Detroit styled house at its finest. 'Seabase' is my pick of the litter, with its deep, dubby highends, and rocking bassline. 'Syphoon' is a dreamy journey, with snappy hihats and atmospheric layers of melody, while 'Alt' finishes things up on an upbeat funky techno tip. Superb. 5/5

L.A. Williams :: Tha Freight Train EP :: Great Lakes Records :: GLR-002

Toronto's Great Lakes Records brings us another great techno release courtesy of Chicago's L.A. Williams. 'Stretch' kicks off with an aggressive stomp and constantly mutating rhythms which progress to a mad crescendo, then segue back into dark, moody progressions. Flip the release to get blown off the hook by 'Tube UK'. Damn! This track is one for the peak hour .. cycling filtered hi ends start the rhythm kicking, and then layer upon layer drop into the madness. Eerie vocal samples and feedback squeals punctuate the rhythm and really put the nail in the coffin (figuratively speaking of course). You'll definitely want to grab a copy of this -- possibly two! 5/5

Agent X :: The Individual EP :: Great Lakes Records :: GLR-003

Detroit's Agent X brings us the third release on Toronto-based Great Lakes Records -- a roughed up mixture of techno and house. 'The Beat Down' is your typical filtered funk track, pumping and thumping. 'Tweakin' relies on a nice pumping house beat slowly adding washes of tweaked atmosphere in the background -- a great mixing tool. The standout tracks off the release are the two mixes of 'Outhere'. Both mixes start off with a deep house feel -- piano chord progressions filling out the melody. Out of nowhere, Forklift's acid line starts fading in and out of the mix. An odd combination that works well in the mix, especially for djs that like to ride between techno and house throughout their sets. 4/5

H o u s e

Reno Disco :: Saturday Night Beaver EP :: Haute Couture :: TEK-V-99

Montreal's Haute Couture record label drops one of the finest Canadian techhouse releases I've heard this year, courtesy of Reno Disco. The EP opens up with a filtered funking monster in 'Can't Go For Dat', sampling heavily from Hall and Oates. Definitely a fun track. 'Faith' lays it back a little with a deep but funky track full of dreamy vocal samples. On the flip, 'Hot and 69' is a straight up, off the hook pumping house track -- a great mixing tool. My pick off the release is 'Savoir Plaire', a bumping techhouse piece that kicks off with a great Woody Allen sample. Well worth your while! 4.5/5

Les Jardiniers :: Le Theme :: Haute Couture :: TEK-V-100

Another great release from Montreal's Haute Couture imprint, this time from Les Jardiniers. 'Everybody's Got it' is all about good times -- plenty of funky, jazzy house for party times! 'Funky Daktari' is my pick off the release ... stripped & pumping, with funk snippets and little scraps of vocal samples in the mix. Two mixes of the title track, La Theme fill out the release. The original is an instrumental hiphop mix. The second is a beautful deep techhouse mix that really stands out -- deeply layered synths and vocals making a very full sound overall. Keep a sharp eye for this label, the releases I've heard have all been quality. 4/5

Step Time Orchestra :: Is Best :: Stickman Records :: Stik 066

Toronto's Stickman Records keeps up its tradition of quality techno and house releases with this release from Finland's Step Time Orchestra. 'Kalinka' is a bit of a filter funk oddity, deep & meandering, toying and teasing with the samples before kicking into the track. 'Bylsisters' begins out with a dreamy Finnish coversation, and proceeds to build layers upon layers of rhythm into the mix. 'Jallu Cola' brings out the emotional content with it's heartfelt instrumental solos, while 'Cinderella' get deep and dubby to close out the b-side. Sweet summertime house. 4.5/5

V/A :: Collective Grooves 2: Brothers of the Underground :: SOM Underground :: SOMLP1250

SOM Underground has put together a solid line-up of artists on this double 12" release. Tony Rodriquez kicks things off with "North 5th Street Serenade" - a dreamy jazz guitar solo with piano and organ stabs, all tossed with a bumping rhythm section. Rodriquez follows it up with a dub mix featuring a deeper solo. On the flip side, Brothers' Vibe offers up "Estilo Africano", a deep sweaty percussive work over. The drumming in this track is fantastic. Brent Laurence closes out the first 12" with "Satisfaction" - a male vocal intertwined with with a slow groovin' synth line. On the second 12", Victor Simonelli serves up "Soft and Sweet" with its hypnotizing intro and a piano line that shifts things up a level. Retroactive follows up with "My Disco Groove" - a straight up jackin' groove. On the flip side, Brett Dancer lets us in on the "Get Down with the Get Down" which throws down an ass shaker of a bassline mixed with some high end stabs and vocal snippits. Jordan Fields closes out the double pack with "Nightfall", a phasing glide over a piano, soothed with deep beats and rhythms. 3.5/5

Restless Motion :: Pipe Dreams :: Bronze Mocha Music :: BMM 129

Producer Brent Laurence gives us two house tracks on the "Pipe Dreams" release on Bronze Mocha Music. On the A-side, "Move Me" falls into a galloping house track with vocal samples rounding out the groove. "Ooohhh Yeah" has similar vocals with a filtered disco loop that surges to the front with a real swing. Each track is given a dub on their respective sides. 3/5

Paranoid Jack :: You Are For Me :: Stickman Records :: STIK 064

Paranoid Jack, aka Manny Berenguel, drops a hard house stormer on the Toronto based Stickman Records with the title track, "You Are For Me". A steadily building synth mixture kicks into over drive with a vocal sample of the title and a thumping bassline. On the flip, "Jack's Promise" hits you with a dose of hard house and a dash of filtered funk, lightly sprinkled with Martin Luther King's "promised land" sample. While "Save My Soul" kicks off as a thumper of a track but breaks down into a long spacey melody that comes back strong. 4/5

Li'sha :: That's Why I'm Here :: Yoshitoshi Recordings :: YR 038

Written by Dave Warrin and produced/remixed by Miguel "Migs", "That's Why I'm Here" is a slamming, roll the windows down, summertime track. Leading with a strong vocal by Li'sha, "Migs" drops a soul vocal mix followed with a dub. Heading straight for the flip you'll find the longer mix which fills out very nicely on a big system and drops a funked up synth line to extend the mix. An all around solid production in traditional Yoshitoshi fashion. 5/5

Mental Floss :: CD Rom Sampler

Hailing from Toronto, Ontario, Andrew McCallum aka Mental Floss delivers a sampler of his productions and remixes as well as 4 hours worth of live PA and DJ'd sets to play on your computer. Ranging from the minimal and complex sounds of his "Autechre Remix" to the full on trance stormer of "Earthtones", Mental Floss offers up something for every tastebud. McCallum is noted for his work with the Kosmic Free Music Foundation ( as well radio play around Southern Ontario and his popular online series, POTS. 4/5

Copyright © 1999 Scott Lazaruk & Thomas Robbs. Reprinted with permission.

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