Electronics Report for March 1999 (compiled February 1, 1999)
by Andrew Duke

Don’t ever underestimate the importance of production in shaping the sound of the music you hear. Just like there’s a difference between music that is underproduced and music that is minimally recorded, the same is true for the shinier end of the spectrum. Too much production ruins just as much music as not enough does. The biggest problem with pop music is overproduction, where insecurity in the product leads to overcompensation in the audio. Leave it to the independents to sort things out. Listen to “Floating In Shallow Water”, the sophomore album from Burlington, Ontario’s Legion Of Green Men, and it screams “confidence”. If only more artists had this trait. LOGM’s Lex and Ru have been in the electronic music game for long enough to know when a song is finished, and this knowledge is shown admirably on this release. They’ve broadened their range with the use of vocalists on a third of the tracks, aided by a variety of tempos and fluid drum n bass (“Gammaland” is simply superb), aquafunk, warm soundtracks for movies yet to be made (“Demystified Time (& Space)”), and nods to their groundbreaking loopwork (“Tracing #13”). More proof that Canada is brimming with talented electronic musicians. Short review: wow!

It’s a fact that some of the best remixes aren’t given a commercial pressing and never make it to your local record store, unless it’s a DJ unloading some white labels. Promo-only item of the month is undoubtedly the 4 Hero remix of Glenn Scott’s “Heaven”, teasing us for his forthcoming “Without Vertigo” LP on 550 Music. Far more than a drum n bass remix, this skillfully shuffles rhythms and moods in a matter of measures, much in the same way as the recent “Close The Gap” single from Beanfield on Munich’s Compost imprint. New is the latin flare of Les Gammas’ “Chasin’ The Double Six” 12”, while sister label Jazzanova unveils the “Excellent Bird” EP from DJ Matsuoka, 4 tracks of jazzy downtempo material previously released on the Japanese Inner Directs and Styling labels. The intro to Herbie Hancock’s “Watermelon Man” from 1973 seems to be the sample du jour; Matsuoka pitches it up and puts it to work on the title track.

Prolific Germans Hans Platzgumer and Gerhard Potuznik team up as Cube & Sphere for their take on drum n bass, old school 808-fueled hip hop instrumentals, plus bits of swinging be bop percussion, and a hidden ambient track on the “Great Norwegian Explorers” album. Trumystic Sound System’s Soothsayer joins up with some other members from the crew to expertly juggle jungle, hip hop, reggae, and electronics in the fusion that is “Zen Turtle”. Keeping to the variety of styles format, Coldcut gets put through the remix wringer by the likes of Canada’s David Kristian, Detroit’s Carl Craig, the UK’s Shut Up & Dance, and others, plus there’s live versions of “Panopticon” and “Atomic Moog 2000” on "Let Us Replay!"

Moving into more experimental territory, an artist soon bound to be causing waves is Nate Harrison from New York. Recording as Jack Russel + Lou Frutiger, the "Nanofunk" EP is the first release from his Toshok Labs and bodes well for the future with its striking elegance both in the music and packaging. 310 is the first American signing to the prestigious UK Leaf label. The limited edition “Prague Rock” EP is the work of Joseph Dierker and New York studio engineer Tim Donovan. A number of tracks from progrockers Genesis are sliced up and reassembled into a new piece, with the same done to Jethro Tull, King Crimson, Pink Floyd, and Yes in collages best described as funky Plunderphonics. One can assume Phil Collins and the rest of the boys plundered mightn’t be happy with these reconstructions, but, frankly, they never sounded so good.

Cognition Electronics Top 15

1. Legion Of Green Men—“Floating In Shallow Water” album (CAN Post Contemporary/UK Swim~ promo)
2. Speedranch^Jansky Noise—“Welcome To Execrate" mix CD (UK Leaf promo)
3. V/Vm--"Machine" 4 X 7" (UK V/Vm)
4. Jack Russel + Lou Frutiger--"Nanofunk" EP (US Toshok Labs)
5. Model 500--"Mind And Body" 2 X LP (BE R & S promo)
6. The Mighty Quark--"Ian Hendrick's Disco" album (SE King Syndrome Sounds CDR)
7. Cube & Sphere—“Great Norwegian Explorers” 2 X LP (DM Disko B)
8. Soothsayer--"Zen Turtle" album (US Mutant Sound System promo)
9. DJ Matsuoka--"Excellent Bird" EP (DM Jazzanova)
10. Coldcut--"Let Us Replay!" 2 X LP (CAN/UK Ninja Tune)
11. Glen Scott—“Heaven (4 Hero/Sylk 130 mixes)” (US Giant Step promo)
12. Antfactor—“Mixed” (US Independent CDR)
13. GFS featuring J-Smooth--"Creep" 12" (US Beatsmart test)
14. Lo-Fidelity Allstars--"How To Operate With A Blown Mind" album (UK Skint)
15. Les Gammas—“Chasin’ The Double Six” 12” (DM Compost)

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