Sonntag, 23. August 2009

Miscellany Vol.3: Kraftwerk, Dynamix II, John Robie

Kraftwerk announce 8 cd box set

Kraftwerk have announced the release of an 8 cd box set comprising their works from 1974 - 2003. The release was already planned for 2004, however it was postponed at the last minute. The new date is set for October 5th. Let's keep our fingers crossed.

Included will be (digitally remastered, expanded artwork and whatnot):
Autobahn (1974)
Radio-Activity (1975)
Trans-Europe Express (1977)
The Man-Machine (1978)
Computer World (1981)
Electric Café (1986)
The Mix (1991)
Tour de France Soundtracks (2003)

Apparently there is also going to be a vinyl release of this.

And speaking of Kraftwerk, here's a completely unrelated video by Chicago rapper GLC. It's easily forgettable if it weren't for the first 35 seconds where Bun B of UGK makes a short introduction - check out the shirt he is wearing. Not too bad ...

Scratch D of Dynamix II vs. John Robie - They're coming

Electro bass pioneers Dynamix II (or rather, one half of Dynamix II) have teamed up with electro funk legend John Robie to create 3 mixes of a new tune "They're coming". Dynamix II are probably most known for their seminal "Just give the DJ a break" and can be credited as being one of the first groups to transform the traditional rap-based Miami bass sound into the new school: creating a dark and sparse version of electro bass, with extra low end, copious amounts of vocoderized vocals and even a hint of breaks influence.

I've always thought it's ironic that this tune which so perfectly embodies their heavy and sinister style is based on an early 80s New Wave song: The main break was sampled from Visage's "Pleasure Boys":

Keyboard wizard John Robie was the mastermind behind the earliest electro records. Together with producer Arthur Baker he created Afrika Bambaataa's "Planet Rock", "Looking for the Perfect Beat", Planet Patrol's "Play at your own risk" and was also responsible for some of the earliest Freestyle records. It's no overstatement to say that he was the main force that defined the music and the sound of electro, and by that created a blueprint that artists are still copying today.

What really set him and those early electro tracks apart was the fact that he was a musician. That was a rare occasion in early 80s hip hop where the focus was usually on the beat, and the compositions were crude and raw (not that there was anything wrong with that). A similar constellation can be found in contemporary electro. My biggest qualm with a lot of new school electro is its lack of musicianship. Most artists are beatmakers - and it shows: Sometimes you're left wondering if they are going for that reduced and minimal sound on purpose or if it's due to their limited abilites. So it's a welcome surprise to hear some artistry in electro music again.

UPDATE 08/24: I just got the news that this is not even supposed to be released yet. Please check back - I will write a more detailed review as soon as the final versions hit the stores.

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