2009 Winter Singles

Winter’s made its return here in Chicago after a week of warmth. In such weather, there’s nothing better than staying home with a stack of new records from the usual suspects. I’m eagerly anticipating a new reissue from Let’s Pet Puppies, but in the meantime lets get down to business.

Omar S: “Blown Valvetrane”

Blown Valvetrane cover

Sound Signature, 2009

I’m one of those who prefers the techno side of Omar-S, so this single suits me perfectly. The title track is a simple conceit with constant cyclical filtering of a lo-fi synth groove. It’s brutally unrelenting, but surprisingly smile-inducing. Near the end the rhythm slows to a crawl before regaining speed like a lumbering post-apocalyptic road train. “Busaru Beats” is dense with percussion sounds not usually heard together. It’s like every preset on a keyboard was used to create a tribal video game world. “Deep Valve Cover” starts out a bit (early) Plastikman, but once the chords kick in, it’s on another level altogether.

Scott Grooves: “Detroit 808”

Detroit 808 cover

Natural Midi, 2009

While the original version of this doesn’t do much for me, the Dub Delay mix by Panther is hypnotic. Chords decay over a simple house beat for a pleasant end-of-the-night cut. Part II introduces a stuttering voice and timeless synths. It’s actually quite IDM.

Patrice Scott: “Far Away”

Far Away cover

Sistrum Recordings, 2009

Third up is yet another stripped-down track. Strings shift between two sustained notes over an ever-present kickdrum and changing, spacey bleeps. The Mike Edge Remix adds LFO bass and even more synth layers, again bringing things into so-called intelligent techno territory.

VA: Music Institute 20th Anniversary (Pt 1 Of 3)

Music Institute 20th Anniversary Pt 1 cover

NDATL Muzik, 2009

I’m a bit disappointed by this one. The rhythm tracks on the A-side strike me as too simple. While they were probably good DJ tools back in the day, they seem more dated than classic now. The B-side vocal tracks are pretty straight-forward, if occasionally lo-fi, house. Lots of new twelves claim to be unearthing old, unreleased material, but I’m left wondering if these tracks are truly representative of the Music Institute back in the day.

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  1. hey Jacob,
    nice pick ups. all of the artists mentioned are obvious standouts to be listened to upon sight.
    I just got the Music Institute 12″ and I’m feeling those B side cuts. I’m planning a full write up on it shortly. I know where you’re coming from but what other unreleased material were you referring to?

  2. I’m just saying digging up “unreleased” tracks seems to be a trend, and while it’s worth it for things that actually got played in clubs back in the day, I don’t need to hear every demo from the eighties 😉

  3. true. that Mayday track certainly has the hallmarks of an early version of “Strings of Life.”
    just got this so I need to spend some more time and soak in these tracks before issueing a final verdict.

  4. i agree with your assessment of the music institute 12″ as far as the the mayday track goes (a1)… but the a2 definitely doesn’t sound dated at all to me. it’s great and still very capable of lighting up dancefloors. (anyone have any clues as to who it’s by?)
    that’s my favourite cut on the 12″ but the B1 is excellent too. has a pretty classic sound but i certainly don’t hear many house tracks this good being released regularly (i wouldn’t say it was terribly lo fi either, especially on a page containing a positive review of the latest omar s effort!)

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