Cognition's July 1999 Electronics Report and Chart
by Andrew Duke

Whether you plan a summer of lazily loafing or productive ass bustin', whatever you do, don't forget about the music. Here's some recommendations for putting together your soundtrack for this summer.

#1 on your must-purchase list is the "Programmed" album from Innerzone Orchestra (out August 24 on Astralwerks). Put together by Detroit's Carl Craig, musicians in this project include Mudd Puppy bassist Paul Randolph, jazz pianist Craig Taborn, and Francisco Mora (who has played with Sun Ra) on drums and percussion. Richie "Plastikman" Hawtin even helps out on one track. It takes a while for the true vibe of this piece to really sink in, making it not that easy to describe the listening experience in words. What you get is, simply put, music with a bucketload of soul. Innerzone Orchestra rework their namesake's seminal 1992 cut "Bug In The Bassbin" (which inspired many of today's drum n bass artists) and Craig's "At Les", cover The Stylistics' "People Make The World Go 'Round", bring in rapper Lacksi-daisy-cal for some rhymes, drift in deep house waters on "Galaxy", and blast open the doors of musical possibility as we make way for the year 2000. If you can only afford one album this summer, this is the one to splurge on.

Albums from Unit and Shuttle 358 are also much worthy of your attention. On Caipirinha, Unit's "The Narcoleptic Symphony" combines skittering and sledgehammer percussions with warm, thoughtful melodies, while Taylor Deupree's 12K continues with its issues of superb electronics in the "Optimal.lp" from California's Shuttle 358. Here computer music is harnessed and shaped into an at times ambient, at times more atmospheric soundscape.

Montreal's Interchill imprint has two major releases planned for this season. Neil Sparkes & The Last Tribe's "Burning Mask" is a delicious organic-meets-electronic jambalaya with hearty infusions of dub, downtempo, jazz, and spoken word. Featured on the "Interior Horizons" compilation are Canadian artists such as Legion Of Green Men and Drift, along with acts from the UK, Sweden, and Japan. On Ninja Tune's Ntone, the ubiquitous Atom Heart teams up with Burnt Friedman for the second Templates 12" (both are combined on one CD). There's free jazz, Pole/Ovalish cracks and burbles, outerspace funk, and sometimes all of these at once, plus plenty of tomfoolery in general. Check it.

Warp follow the incredible "EP 7" doublepack from Autechre and the "Finer" remixes from Nightmares On Wax with a new album from Plaid. "Rest Proof Clockwork" has the expected interludes along with plenty of beats and scratchin', some splendid techno and IDM, as well as an uptempo electro track. Wonderful stuff. The naughty Cylob crams 8 cuts into just over 19 minutes on his "Lobster Tracks" EP for Rephlex. Electropunk? Hmm, it's certainly apt to make you nod your head and maybe even want to get a groove on. On Pagoda, the Danish Deepfried Toguma's "The HI-FI Companion" is a soothing batch of songs with a variety in the tempos, but a consistency in the quality department. Seek it out. Looking for some drum n bass? Grab King Kooba's "Enter The Throne Room" album on Second Skin, "The Greatest Hit" from Justice on Hydrogen Dukebox's Recordings Of Substance sublabel, and Darchives' "Scenario" EP. From Sweden's Primal, this is d n b with doses of drama a la Source Direct.

Finishing off with the compilations, grab "Toshoklabs presents: Dated", featuring more new material from the brilliant Nate Harrison (as Solomondilate and Jack Russel + Lou Frutiger), plus other talented American artists showing how it's done in the IDM field. Detroit's electronic experimentalists can be investigated via "D[elEcTROnIc]T", while Scotland's Diskono crew cram Kid 606, Brindle Spork, Andre Estermann, and other lofi electricians together on the blue vinyl "I'm So Bored With The USA Volume Two" 7".

And if all the summer madness is stressing you out, the best musical chill pill out there is likely the Off-Centre comp on Palm Pictures. Named after the biweekly British club hosted by Patrick Forge, Ross Clarke, and Trevor Wyatt, this has previously released goods from DJ Die, Roots Manuva, Blaze, and others, plus exclusive bits from groups including Bugz In The Attic and Likwid Biskit. Summertime and the livin' is easy…

Cognition Electronics Top 20

1. Innerzone Orchestra-Programmed (US Astralwerks CDR)
2. Neil Sparkes & The Last Tribe-Burning Mask (CAN Interchill CDR)
3. Unit-The Narcoleptic Symphony (US Caipirinha promo)
4. Cylob-Lobster Tracks EP (UK Rephlex)
5. Plaid-Rest Proof Clockwork 2 X LP (UK Warp test)
6. Shuttle 358-Optimal.lp (US 12K CDR)
7. Various-Toshoklabs presents: Dated (US Toshoklabs)
8. Various-I'm So Bored With The USA Volume Two 7" (UK Diskono)
9. Deepfried Toguma-The HI-FI Companion (UK Pagoda)
10. Flanger-Templates EP (CAN/UK Ntone)
11. Avocado-Weather Satellite EP (US Clutter CDR)
12. Various-Off-Centre (US Palm Pictures)
13. Max Romeo-Open The Iron Gates 1973-1977 (UK Blood And Fire promo)
14. Le Dav-Sampler Abuse Vol. 1 EP (FR Subscience)
15. Macy Gray-Do Something (remixes) 2 X 12" (US Giant Step promo)
16. Justice-The Greatest Hit (UK Recordings Of Substance promo)
17. King Kooba-Enter The Throne Room 2 X LP (UK Second Skin promo)
18. Darchives-Scenario EP (SE Primal)
19. Various-D[elEcTROnIc]T (US Detroit Electronica)
20. Various-Excerpts From The Chillspace (UK Matsuri promo)

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