September 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

Crave :: (self-titled) :: Woodwork Recordings :: WOOD004

Toronto's Woodwork Recordings drops another superb techhouse offering, this time courtesy of Mark Thibideau under his 'Crave' pseudonym. "Microdots" opens the release on a light, airy tone, progressing cheerfully throughout the mix. Sunkissed provides a reworking of "Microdots", adding his signature depth and layering to the mix. On the flip we have the pumping, funky rhythms and deep chords of "Danny B". The last track, "Pipe Words", gets into moodier territory, with offset rhythms and haunting synth stabs. Stunning stuff -- music for your mind that still moves your behind.

Daniel Lui & Matt Thibideau :: Surface :: Chair Recordings :: CHAIR 005

Chair Records continues its string of quality, original music with Surface, a collaboration between Dan Lui and Matt Thibideau, two of Toronto's well known techno producers. Matt is also known for his work under the moniker 'Altitude'. Both of these tracks are deep techhouse grooves, perfect for long, layered mixes. Listeners will be somewhat reminded of the deep dubby feel on Chain Reaction's releases, but the solid bassline ensures that these tracks will be accepted as well on the dancefloor as the couch.

Mike Parker :: Vertebrae Waltz :: Geophone Records :: GPH03

Mike Parker is no stranger to quality techno, with over ten years of producing electronic music behind him. "Vertebrae Waltz", the third release from Mike's Geophone Records, showcases his fine production skills perfectly. This two-tracker is sure to get the technoheads into a frenzy -- a pounding bassline, tweaking synth acid lines, and cool train samples that give the tracks a very locomotive feel.

Mike Parker :: Voiceprint :: Geophone Records :: GPH04

Buffalo, NY's Mike Parker presents us with another deep techno piece on his Geophone imprint. All three tracks are deep, dark, and minimal, with very heavily vocodered bits of vocal samples. "Voice One" is the full-length cut, with gradual progressions and a deep kick. "Voice Two" opens the throttle a bit more with a hard jacking beat. 'Voice Three' is an accapella of the vocoder samples. All in all a great piece for you techno technicians.

H o u s e

Chris Gray :: Emotional Distortion LP :: Trackmode Recordings :: TM-014

Chris Gray follows up on his excellent "Trippy Fingers EP" with a full length album on Brett Dancer's Trackmode Recordings. "Emotional Distortion" is definitely a great pick for those who like their house deep and hypnotic. All the tracks are deep and well produced, each one their own emotional journey. A strong techno influence shows up in many of the tracks, somewhat reminiscent of Ian O'Briens' techno-jazz forays (but definitely in a class all its own!). All in all a fantastic listen.

Nick Holder :: Version 5.0 :: DNH :: DNH-050

Toronto's Nick Holder drops yet another deep house bomb on us. "Love Is Blind" is quite possibly the most gorgeous record I've heard all year. Deep and pumping with the most stunning jazz vocals, you'll want to get your hands on this for sure!

Solid Gold Playaz :: Got'z Pimpin To Do :: Chisel Records :: CH 2003

Pure, unadulterated Chicago house on the latest cut from L.A. Willam's Chisel Records. Jacking beats, filtered samples, funk and disco loops -- all the usual weapons, but used with uncommon finesse! Check out this record if you were starting to think you never wanted to hear another filtered disco riff. My pick of this litter is definitely "Got'z Pimpin", with its sweet little disco riff and bumpin bassline.

Solid Gold Playaz :: Pimp Ride :: Solid Gold Records :: SGP 1000

With all the incredibly formulaic fare being churned out in house music, it's a joy to come across a record that sounds this fresh! "Pimp Ride" is Chicago house at its finest, jacking and funking. Although composed of traditional disco loops and beats, these tracks stand out from the flood of material you've heard in this field. Lots of progression, original samples and superb production. Personal picks are the jackin "All Da' Girlz" and the sweet flute riffs of "MindInterlude". Over and above the 4 tracks, we also have two "Pimp Loops", full of movie samples, perfect for dropping as intros or breaks.

Aaron Carl :: Soldier :: Sounds For People :: SFP-9631

Detroit's Aaron Carl, known for his work on his own Wallshaker Records, brings his talents over to the SFP camp for this beautiful garage hymn. Four great mixes of these soulful vocals, from deep and moody to a gospel stormer, you'll want to grab this one!

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

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