Dance Beat: Photek, Marcus Nikolai, LTJ Bukem ...

Top drum & bass producer readies second full-length, due Sept. 26.

The second full-length by drum & bass experimentalist Photek is tentatively set for a Sept. 26 release, according to his U.S. label, Astralwerks. Titled Solaris, the album ventures into non–drum & bass territory, including four vocal tracks and some deep-house cuts. Photek (born Rupert Parkes) released several singles on his own UK labels before putting out his debut LP, Modus Operandi, in 1997. ...

The first full-length on the underground Cologne, Germany, label Perlon is Marcus Nikolai's recently released Black. Perlon has developed into one of the leading homes for Germany's abstract-techno community, propelled partially by Nikolai's single "Bushes," which was a club hit last year. Clair Dietrich, who sang on "Bushes," also performs on several tracks on Black.. ...

The fourth volume in LTJ Bukem's Earth series is due July 31 in the States, through Studio K7. A collection of 12 tracks that offers contributions from artists such as Big Bud and Flying Fish, the music spans drum & bass, deep house and soulful Latin grooves. The CD comes courtesy of Bukem's Good Looking Organization, which includes the imprints Good Looking, Looking Good, Cookin', Nexus and Blue Vinyl. ...

The latest release by German minimal-techno producer Reinhard Voigt is Premiere World, which recently came out on the Cologne label Kompakt. Having also recorded under the aliases Sturm, Kron and Pentax, Premiere World is the first album by Voigt (whose brother Wolfgang — a.k.a. Mike Ink — is among the community's leaders) under his own name. The six untitled tracks lean toward the beatless mind trips of his brother's gorgeous and abstract Gas releases. ...

Tricky collaborator Martina is recording her solo debut album. According to her UK manager, the singer just signed a deal with Independiente Records, which is released through Sony Music outside of England. The untitled album will be released next year, the spokesperson said. ...

The French house label Distance is celebrating its fifth anniversary with the 21-track compilation Distance 1995–2000, which is available as an import in the United States. The two-CD compilation, divided into "Club" and "Deep" discs, includes Distance cuts from the past five years by Romanthony, Kevin Yost, Kenny Larkin, Kings of Tomorrow and Larry Heard. ...

Señor Coconut, the latest persona concocted by Uwe Schmidt, the prolific Frankfurt, Germany-bred techno producer now residing in Santiago, Chile, will release his debut, El Baile Aleman, a collection of nine Latin-style covers of classic Kraftwerk songs, due July 4 on Emperor Norton. Spanish for "The German Dance," the amusing album includes cha-cha versions of "The Robots" and "Neon Lights" and merengue versions of "Tour de France" and "Autobahn." In addition to Pop Artificielle, a quirky album of electro covers of classic pop songs he released earlier this year, under the name lb, Schmidt released several ambient records in the '90s under the alias Atom Heart and also runs the techno label Rather Interesting. ...

Nearly 1,000 people gathered Saturday (June 17) on San Francisco's Pier 39 to dance and raise awareness about protecting the city's nightlife. Many of the city's late-night venues have been forced to close or have been refused permits. The San Francisco Night Life Coalition sponsored the event, which featured lectures from city officials as well as sets by local DJs, including Moonbeam and Mad Marj. ...

Josh Wink, Carl Craig, Todd Terry, Doc Martin, Robbie Hardkiss and the Bassbin Twins are among the DJs scheduled to perform at Sapphire, the premiere event of the Gem Party Series, organized by Connecticut-based promoters Kemical Equation. The event takes place July 15, at the Connecticut Expo Center in Hartford, and also features Genaside II, Swayzak, Adam X, John Selway and DJ Roland. Other attractions include a debut of the Sony PlayStation 2 gaming system and a breakdancing contest. More information is available at the event's Web site, www.kemicalequation.com. ...

The Chicago post-rock collective Isotope 217 will release their third album, Who Stole the I Walkman?, Aug. 8 on Thrill Jockey. The band, which includes Tortoise members Jeff Parker, John Herndon and Dan Bitney, blends elements of live improvisational jazz with studio manipulation and electronic rhythms and textures. Unstabl Molecule, the group's 1997 debut, was essentially a live experimental-jazz recording, while last year's Utonian Automatic EP moved closer to the mix of styles realized on Who Stole the I Walkman?. Last year, the band also put out Commander Mindfuck, a two-song collection of remixes. ...

The fourth album by French instrumental hip-hop producer DJ Cam, Loa Project (Volume II), will be released July 11 on Six Degrees Records. Closer in style to his 1994 debut, Underground Vibes (released in the United States in 1996, as part of Mad Blunted Jazz), the new album's 12 tracks are heavy with film-noirish soundscapes and heavy, loping beats. ...

Scottish duo Arab Strap, who released their third album, Elephant Shoe, on June 6, will release Mad for Sadness on July 4, on Jetset Records. A collection of live tracks from a 1999 London concert plus three songs previously unavailable in the United States, Mad for Sadness reveals the team of Aidan Moffatt and Malcolm Middleton's mix of electronic rhythms with guitars in sparse song structures. ...

London techno producer James Ruskin recently released his second solo full-length LP, Point 2, on the respected Berlin label Tresor. A leading purveyor of minimal techno whose driving rhythms can fill a dance floor but whose precise layered textures stand up to intense sonic scrutiny, Ruskin also runs his own techno label, Blueprint Records, which released his 1998 debut, Further Design. ...

— sonicnet.com staff report