Cognition's December 1999 Electronics Report and Chart
San Francisco, whether producing it, releasing it, or both, continues to be a hotbed for quality music. Take the Ubiquity label, for example, where there are plenty of new releases to choose from. Chris Brann proves he is adept at a wide variety of styles on his 3 track EP under his new P'taah guise, with his spin on downtempo, drum n bass, and funk fusion. Spring 2000 will see a P'taah full length that is eagerly anticipated. Trumpeter Longineau Parsons is remixed by Brann and Amalgamation Of Sounds on a 12" to highlight his Spaced Out: Collected Works 1980-1999 album. The second single from hip hopper Nobody, the "Earthtones" EP, features two lazy instrumentals, a southern fried electro tweak of "Planets Ain't Aligned", and Freestyle Fellowship's Aceyalone on the mic on "Faces Of The Deep". David Biegel (Skyjuice and one half of Bugs) is working with guitar slinger Knox Chandler and vocalist Ally Rogers as Puracane. "14 Nights"/"Things We Should Leave Alone" appear on a 12" with remixes from Hefner and Underdog. Look for the full length debut from this act in early 2000. Based in the same city, Zoemagik's latest is Stepheadedredchild, a collection of new and previously released house and drum n bass remixes of W (Wade Randolf Hampton) material by DJ Iz (Joshua Michaels), Schizophone (Jon Williams and Winston Wier), Symbiosis, Jason Mouse, DJ Abstract, and others, plus some live versions.
Seattle WA's Loosegroove imprint has just issued Critters Buggin's Amoeba (top notch experimental electronics) and a remix package to follow up the recent full length from Ponga, a band who prefer to improvise live. On the versions release (also available as a limited edition 4 track EP for DJs) Amon Tobin, Spacetime Continuum, Filla Brazillia, Capsule 150 (Ubiquity's Andrew Jervis), and more rework the source in fine fasion.
Connecticut's Component label shares its vision of post industrial/apocalyptic drum n bass on Fragments, an album from Robert Galbraith recording as Codec where moody atmospherics and heavy rhythms prove quite refreshing.
Palm Pictures has had an incredible year and 2000 looks to be shaping up nicely as well. Following up Daddylonglegs' Horse (another project featuring the almost ubiquitous Howie B), is Ancoats 2 Zambia from The Baby Namboos. Lead by Mark Porter (Tricky's cousin), with vocalists Leo Coleing and the incredible Aurora Borealis, this release through Tricky's Durban Poison is guaranteed to appeal to fans of the classic gritty Bristol sound of early Massive Attack. The passionate songwriting on display here makes most cuts instantly memorable amid the glut of low grade muzak flooding the market these days. Out in mid January, this is likely to be near the top of Best Of 2000 lists 12 months from now.
On the Canadian front, Calgary Alberta has birthed a name to watch. 18 year old Meek is shopping some well crafted quirky electronics that have already caught the ears of the UK's Worm Interface. Can't wait to see what the future holds for this musician.
Speaking of the UK, Warp and Leaf have a couple of new ones worth checking. From the former, Squarepusher returns with the "Selection Sixteen" doublepack and Two Lone Swordsmen take a downtempo approach on "A Virus With Shoes". This writer has been raving about the work of 310 and it's great to hear The Dirty Rope full length. Also none too shabby is the Last Light album from Eardrum. Leaf have consistently released music of excellence and these are no exception.
Germany is well represented with new releases from the Mille Plateaux/Ritornell camp. Kim Cascone's Cathodeflower is the second in his Blue Cube triptych where music is 100% computer generated. Also on Ritornell, but slightly more busy, is Stilluppsteypa's Interferences Are Often Requested: Reverse Tendency As Parts Become Nearly Nothing. And one of my favorite American artists, Crank (Danny Zelonky aka Low Res, half of Trash Aesthetic), unveils his second album for Mille Plateaux with Heftibag--eight invigorating new pieces plus a remix from Smyglyssna.
Austria is where we'll finish this time, focusing on the Twentysomething label. If jazz is your bag, you'll want to grab Icy Finger's Icy Session, while Enduro's Fire Walk With Me balances dark soundscapes with a hefty dollop of downtempo beats. That's it till 2000.
Cognition Electronics Top 20
1. Pub-"Summer" EP (UK Vertical Form CDR)