Every week or thereabouts, Mutant Dance Moves takes you to the shadowy corners of the dancefloor and the fringes of contemporary electronic music, where new strains and dance moves are evolving.
Not to be curmudgeonly about it, but for the first few years, the lone day you wouldn’t find me in a local record store was on Record Store Day. Long lines out the door and around the block, crowded shops, rampart record speculation, readily available classic albums pressed on 180 gram vinyl and marked at 10x the original price, all to pick up something pressed on pink vinyl, that’s not what I enjoy about digging for unheard sounds and making heart-quickening new music discoveries.
Even as RSD has expanded and grown even more bloated and ludicrous with each passing year, I have warmed to it of late, as there have been many cool things blipping into shops on that madhouse day. Last year I braved the throngs at numerous shops in New York City, coming away with cool things like a Holger Czukay 7”, Four Tet’s remix of Tinariwen, and this almost absurd soft-rock comp put out by Numero Group. Corporate and overblown as the day can be, just because there are unnecessary Bob Marley and there are many fine treasures to be found on that day.
A few treats that MDM hopes to grab this Saturday are below:
No doubt one of the more prized 12"s to appear on RSD, this single finds mercurial EDM wunderkind Nicolas Jaar showing his wide reach, deftly remixing both ambient-generative music godfather Brian Eno as well as the sumptuous vocal harmonies of indie rock luminaries Grizzly Bear. His “Lux” remix is haunting, adding Jaar’s odd vocalese while “Sleeping Ute” evolves from a shimmering acapella into a downtempo track.
Jürgen Paape - “Triumph” (Kompakt)
Released in 1998, the second single from Cologne-based producer Paape marked the auspicious debut of a new record label, Kompakt. Noisy and propulsive (even sampling a sliver of Miles Davis), it would take a few more years before the label caught on outside of Germany’s minimal techno scene, but Kompakt remains at the vanguard of modern electronic music some 15 years later.
Dan Deacon - “Konono No. 1 Ripoff” (Domino)
Wham City’s Dan Deacon has been putting out frenzied, distorted, hyper-minimal, sugar-rush music ever since his debut (even if last year’s America tempered that trend a bit with neo-classical tropes). Due to overwhelming demand from his fans, this 7" is the first official release of a track he often drops in concert. As the title suggests, it takes its cues from the Congolese band Konono No.1, who deploy electrically-amplified likembé (not dissimilar to a thumb piano), but sped up to Deacon’s high metabolism with the help of dual drummers. A giddy, metallic rush.
Dunkelziffer Retrospection - 3xLP (Emotional Rescue)
While elsewhere one might find Stephen Malkmus making a run at the German kosmische classic Ege Bamyasi by the legendary Can, what’s sure to offer real thrills is this massive compilation of the Can-related band, Dunkelziffer. Formed in the early 80s by Can associates like Dominik Von Senger and Matthias Keul (and featuring Can drummer Jaki Liebetzeit and Damo Suzuki on a few cuts), this triple vinyl set finds the band mastering krautrock and also branching out into reggae, funk, and Bitches’ Brew-type jazz fusion. The original albums are almost impossible to come across stateside, so this is a welcome reissue.
Public Image Limited - “Public Image” (Light in the Attic)
Tangentially a punk song, this exact reproduction of the 1978 single from former Sex Pistol Johnny Rotten (né Lydon)’s new endeavor Public Image Limited marked a seismic shift in the British punk scene, as rock’n’roll guitars gave way to other noises: dub reggae, industrial noise, disco, and krautrock (Can were one of Lydon’s favorite bands in the '70s). Catchy pop on one side, raucous noise and shouts on the other, PiL would go on to explore both extremes with their debut album and classic, Metal Box.
Pittsburgh Track Authority - “I’m a Dancer” (Pittsburgh Tracks)
MDM faves Pittsburgh Track Authority decided to get in on the RSD 2013 action this year with this sweet single of disco edits they’ve deploy everywhere from their hometown to Berlin. The A side finds them taking a soaring electro-tinged early 80s track, cutting off the growling vocal so as to climb even higher. The b-side works something similar with an old Italo disco track, emphasizing a searing guitar lick in their rework.
Oval - Systemisch & 94diskont. (Thrill Jockey)
These first two releases from Markus Popp were a jolt when first released in the mid-'90s. Popp captured the irritating, glitching noise of scratched CDs (a sound kin to blasts of cold water in normal settings) and turned them into something wondrous, new, and even soothing (think a Jacuzzi, warm and churning). There are few things as discombobulating and delightful to get lost in like the 24 minutes of “So While.” And hearing the sound of skipping CDs on wax is paradoxical fun.
Vuolo / Grande – Desert (Strut)
Library records came back into vogue in the early 21st century as beat-diggers found grooves galore in these musical cues that were used for a variety of TV shows and commercials, before being revered in their own right. Strut has a fine new set from The KPM Library out now, but they also released this curious library album on its own. It’s Tangerine Dream re-imagined by Italian session guys, full of arpeggiated synths, sputtering drum machines, and groovy ambience, proving that Italians even do library music better.