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September 27 - October 10

Earplug is a twice-monthly email magazine, delivering a handpicked selection of news, sounds, videos, and original features to the international electronic-music community.

The French have good reason to gloat these days: between Daft Punk's resurgence and Ed Banger's, um, surgence, and meting out Justice wherever hipsters congregate, the new Gallic touch has the world firmly in its grasp. This week, we report on Mr. Oizo's inaugural foray into filmmaking — a cryptic feature that sounds like Quadrophenia for the Electroma set — while our interview subject, Para One, takes French electro from its roots in leftfield hip-hop all the way to Cannes. Leaving Paris, we survey new releases from Animal Collective, M83, Wiley, Ewan Pearson, and the Japanese veteran DJ Krush. Finally, as a reminder that there's life outside of headphones, the Ear to the Earth festival formulates new ways of listening to the world.

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A la Planche
Mr. Oizo takes a bite into movies with Steak

First music and now movies: the Ed Banger crew seems dead-set on media domination. Following closely behind Daft Punk's Electroma, Mr. Oizo (aka Quentin Dupieux) brings us Steak, an "experimental mainstream feature film" set in the near future. Written and directed by Dupieux, Steak features Oizo's labelmate SebastiAn and stars popular French duo Eric and Ramzy; appropriately, given Ed Banger's fashion-conscious status, the film's about an image-obsessed group of guys that go to extreme lengths — think plastic surgery — to stay hip. The soundtrack, with 21 original tracks composed by Mr. Oizo, Sébastien Tellier, and SebastiAn, is just as noteworthy as the movie itself. Ed Banger, in conjunction with Because Music, will release the album in late October, while an English-subtitled version of the film is under consideration. Only one question: will Flat Eric make a cameo appearance? (MH)


Strut, Pout, Put It Out
Strut Records returns, bringing Grandmaster Flash with it

After four years languishing in the Great Record Store in the Sky, Strut Records — purveyors of Nigerian Afrobeat, house jams by Ashley Beedle, and obscure Tony Allen jazz-funk greats — returns as an imprint of !K7 Records. Assuaging fears that !K7 will simply swoop in to plunder the back catalog, Strut founder Quinton Scott has come aboard as the A&R; guy, ensuring that his label's customary elegance is once again but a needle-drop away. The first project for 2008 is a new Grandmaster Flash LP, recorded in August in his studio and reportedly proceeding apace. Says Scott of partnering with the British label renowned for its attention to detail and presentation, "Horst [Weidenmuller, !K7 CEO] and his team are music lovers... and achieve a mix of consistently high-level releases with great business acumen." Welcome words to fans of a British label revered for its attention to detail and presentation. (DMC)


Neon Heights
Fluokids blog US tour more »

On Bended Knee
David Byrne releases rare theatre score more »

Coming to a Radio Near You
Radiohead shopping new album to labels more »

The Hypnotist
Thomas Melchior releases No Disco Future more »

Caped Crusaders
Supermayer Save the World more »



  Artist: Animal Collective  
Title: Strawberry Jam
Label: Domino
Release: September 1

While Strawberry Jam's cover is splashed in the warm, welcoming reds of its titular fruit, it's impossible to miss the blood-like pool of near-black sliding through its center. Now more than ever, Animal Collective are obsessed with over-ripening, and, when the moment strikes, reveling in the rot. More aggressive than 2005's Feels, Jam adds a schizophrenic edge to the soft Brian Wilsonisms of singer Panda Bear's sun-drenched solo album, Person Pitch; tunes like "Peacebone" and "Chores" pair surprisingly standard structures with dark electronics, childlike croons, random yowls, deep reverb, and endlessly cycling echo. "#1" falls into full-on art-school abstraction, while "Unsolved Mysteries" reinvigorates the wheeling, carnival-obsessed tone of 2004's Sung Tongs. Album highlight "Fireworks," meanwhile, proves the potency of the band's apocalypse-vs-pop approach, pairing radio-friendly vocals with the caw of gulls and fiery synth strikes, as warm oscillations wrap urgently around speedy snare. (AP)

  Artist: M83  
Title: Digital Shades, Vol. 1
Label: Gooom/EMI
Release: September 4

Frenchman Anthony Gonzalez will release a "proper" M83 record early in 2008, but Digital Shades, Vol. 1 shouldn't be ignored simply because it's a light apéritif. Gonzalez's work has always made plain his love of Eno's ambient pearls, and Digital Shades is a full-length indulgence of that predilection. Sure, the album occasionally sounds like New Age Meditations, Vol. 8, but Gonzalez can't help it: remember, he chooses song titles like "Lower Your Eyelids to Die with the Sun," and it's his bare-assed emotionalism that made M83's name in the first place. Anyway, once you hear Gonzalez's paean to Gustav Klimt's painting The Kiss, you'll find yourself lost amid the shimmering, buzzing, and yearning. The after-dinner drink of Vol. 2 will hopefully have a bit more kick, but for now this'll do just fine. (TLB)

  Artist: Ewan Pearson  
Title: Piece Work
Label: !K7
Release: September 24

Cynics might say that salvaging anything listenable from Goldfrapp is achievement enough, but Ewan Pearson's rewiring of their "Ride a White Horse" almost outdoes itself: its astral disco is so gloriously effervescent, you feel you're coming down through cumulus. The same inventiveness is all over Piece Work, a double-disc set cherry-picked from Pearson's prodigious remix archives. His gift is rare, as he respects the original tenor of the material while imprinting every version with his distinctive signature — a kind of trebled-out, hazy pop that's all streetlights, sweet smoke, and glitter. Sometimes it's almost too damn much: Piece Work's climax, a take on Cortney Tidwell's "Don't Let Stars Keep Us Tangled Up," steals away the vocalist's second-tier Björkisms and sets them among helium-huffing, stargazing atmospherics, recasting Tidwell as an ingénue singing into a bower of bliss. (JD)

  Artist: Wiley  
Title: Playtime Is Over
Label: Big Dada/Ninja Tune
Release: September 18

While his pupils-turned-rivals Dizzee Rascal and Kano continue to veer further toward US-style hip-hop, genre godfather Wiley has stuck to his guns. The MC/producer might call his sound "eskibeat," but Playtime Is Over doesn't sound drastically different from his tracks that helped define grime in 2003. That's not a knock on the beats here, which are white-hot (especially the spare 808 and synth clap on "Gangsters"); it's just that Wiley's growth is more apparent in the lyrics department. Playtime finds the conflicted MC veering between hardened tough talk ("Bow E3," "Flyboy") and vulnerable sensitivity (as on "Baby Girl," a song directed to his newborn daughter). Though he later changed his mind, Wiley threatened to retire from rhyming earlier this year to concentrate on beats; Playtime suggests, however, that he still has lots more to say. (JS)






DJ Krush
Title: A History of DJ Krush
Label: Red Int/Red Ink
Release: September 7

The Japanese have a deft touch with short phrases that translate into much larger ideas. One such saying, "suimou tsunenimasu," translates to "there's no end to training" and can apply to almost any undertaking — including the relatively new art of DJing. For Japan's DJ Krush, that ideal has been the driving force behind more than a decade's worth of hip-hop abstraction. Archived on three DVDs, A History of DJ Krush has it all — from classic Meiso-era interview footage of CL Smooth to a recent clip of a high-flying Tokyo rooftop gig. While his career thus far has been one of elegance and understatement, the DVDs hold nothing back, ostensibly throwing out every conceivable image Krush has ever committed to video. In addition to the usual compendium of music videos, there's a re-released Japan-only documentary from '96, plus handfuls of never-before-seen interviews. The artfully packaged set has the grand, nostalgic totality of an artist poised to hang up his headphones. Yet for Krush, forever reverent to "suimou tsunenimasu," it's just one more lesson in a lifetime of dedicated training. (SM)



Richie Hawtin
Concept 1 96: CD/VR reissue

Andrea Sartori
Il Tagliacode

"Place to Be"
Liebe Detail Spezial

Fingers Inc. feat. Robert Owens
"I'm Strong"

Laurine Frost
"Papillon (Ripperton Remix)"

Chica and the Folder
"Angelus Novus (Ricardo Villalobos Ritus Mix)"
Monika Enterprise

Marc Houle
"Techno Vocals"

Deetron feat. DJ Bone
"Life Soundtrack (Radio Slave Remix)"
Music Man

Mikael Stavöstrand
"Housedays (Koljah Remix)"

Thomas P. Heckmann


PREVIEW: Ear to the Earth
October 12-20
New York, NY

Music, a less immediately mimetic practice than writing or painting, is rarely recognized for its relationship to the natural world — besides, say, an unfortunate tendency amongst reviewers to emphasize the "glacial" qualities of Icelandic musicians or the "pastoral" tones of Boards of Canada. But, from Francisco López' rainforest surveys to Chris Watson's animal studies, there's no shortage of work that engages the earth's own soundtrack. The second installment of the Electronic Music Foundation's Ear to the Earth festival strengthens the connections between "sound, music, and ecology" with a series of performances, presentations, installations, and panel discussions. The program is as broad as its subject matter, ranging from the New York premiere of John Cage's A Dip in the Lake — a three-person performance of 427 site-specific recordings, mixed live — to a series of New York sound walks and a presentation of Bernie Krause and Andrea Juan's sound and video work from the North and South Poles, respectively. Perhaps the most urgent and intriguing performance is Bruce Odland and Sam Auinger's Requiem for Fossil Fuels; of their work, the composers write, "There come times in life where the passing of great events require formal acknowledgment to assist in their comprehension. We now face the passing of our way of life dependent on fossil fuels, and hope to gain insight by examining the sounds of our culture through the lens of the 'Requiem Mass.'" (PS)

LINEUP/FEATURED COMPOSERS: Sam Auinger, Shankar Barua, John Cage, Joel Chadabe, Alvin Curran, Philip Dadson, James Danoff-Burg, David Dunn, Stephen Feld, Luc Ferrari, Thomas Gerwin, Joe Gilmore, Bernie Krause, Joan La Barbara, Cécile Le Prado, Annea Lockwood, Pierre Mariétan, Steven M. Miller, David Monacchi, Bruce Odland, Maggie Payne, Andrea Polli, Jean-Claude Risset, Robert Rowe, Laurie Spiegel, Morton Subotnick, Jim Tolisano, Barry Truax, Hildegard Westerkamp, Iannis Xenakis, and more.

PREVIEW: BBC Electric Proms 2007
October 24-28
Camden, UK

After a bold arrival last year, the BBC Electric Proms festival launches another five-day affair of unconventional multimedia events across various London venues. The organizers have concocted exclusive collaborations and improvised sessions from artists past and present, from low-key, intimate performances at the Barfly with Hadouken (the Leeds "grindie" act combining grime and indie) to big-stage showdowns at the Roundhouse and Koko, bringing the Chemical Brothers with support from Justice and former Chem collaborator Beth Orton, and Mark Ronson alongside the BBC Concert Orchestra. And, whether featuring the artists as subjects or subjugators, exclusive screenings of films involving Daft Punk, the Flaming Lips, and Joy Division guarantee ample inspiration for all. (MM)

LINEUP: Agaskodo Teliverek, Alasdair Roberts, Basquiat Strings, Ben Westbeech, Bishi, Blanche, Candie Payne, Charlie Louvin, the Crouch End Chorus, Cold War Kids, the Coral, Daler Mehndi and the Wolfmen, David Arnold, Duke Special, Editors, Eliza Carthy, Ellery Eskelin, the Enemy, Estelle, Ghetto, the Handsome Family, James Yorkston, Jamie Cullum, Kaiser Chiefs, Kano, Kathryn Williams, Lily Allen, Lisa Knapp, Mark Collins, Martin Carthy, Marry Gilhooley, the Metros, Mike Waterson, New Cassettes, Norma Waterson, Oliver Knight, Paul McCartney, Paul Weller, Radio Luxembourg, Ray Davies, Reverend and the Makers, the Riff Raff, Riz MC, Sam Isaac, Santogold, Sean Lennon, Seb Rochford, Sigur Rós, Simon H. Fell, Siouxsie Sioux, Soil & "Pimp" Sessions, Terry Hall, Tim Burgess, Tim Van Eyken, and Willy Mason.


Matthew Dear's Big Hands
October 1-27
US Tour

October 8-13
Mexico City, Mexico

Iceland Airwaves
October 17-21
Reykjavík, Iceland

Dublin Electronic Arts Festival
October 25-29
Dublin, Ireland

I Love Techno
November 7-10
Ghent, Belgium

November 16-18
Helsinki, Finland



Damian Lazarus: Lazpod#01 (MP3)
Crosstown Rebels honcho Damian Lazarus tries something different on his inaugural podcast, mixing up expected fare (Swayzak, Radio Slave) with the out-there (Vangelis, Negativland) and the outright bizarre (Flight of the Conchords). Not your average minimal mix.


Abe Duque: Live at Melt! Festival, 2007 (stream)
New York's Abe Duque is an acid master, as brutal as he is minimal; he overlays his 909 meltdowns with horror-core vocoding that rides the line between ridiculous and downright terrifying.


Beyond the Wizard's Sleeve: Live @ G-MEX, Manchester, July 2007 (MP3)
For a crash course in the "New Balearic," look no further than Erol Alkan and the Grid's Richard Norris. The two blow through their own edits of the Chemical Brothers, the Small Faces, and Peter Bjorn & John, along with cuts from Pink Floyd and the Nazz: unexpected, to say the least.


Kindred Spirits Soundsystem: Brasil Mix (MP3)
Amsterdam's Kindred Spirits Soundsystem give it up for Brazil's rich musical heritage with an hour of samba, bossa nova, MPB, and their contemporary offshoots. It's the next best thing to a roundtrip ticket to Rio.


Cio D'Or: Aquamarin22 (MP3)
Fresh off her fantastic new Kimono EP for Swiss label Motoguzzi, Cologne's Cio D'Or turns in a deep, corkscrewing mix brimming with bleepy urgency.


Looking for more hot mix sets and fresh new tracks? Check out Blentwell for an ongoing document of the evolution of blended music online.


Battles, "Tonto"
"Atlas" shruggers rock for light watch »

Principles of Geometry, "Mathématiques Modernes"
Tigersushi's soundtrack to crashing planes watch »

Take, "Slouched Over"
Lo-fi video for LA downtempo watch »

Richie Hawtin goes green
Minus founder turns label eco-friendly watch »



  French Connection
Hip-hop beatmaker Para One has a techno Epiphanie

A brazen, joyous techno stomp tempered by an ominous, almost shoegazy vocal hum, Para One's "Dudun-dun" might be the most ubiquitous (and catchy) track from French dance's new wave not to have the words "Ed Banger" stamped on the label. Curiously, Para's roots are in rap; he's been making hip-hop tracks for a decade and helped shape the last two albums by Parisian club-rap crew TTC. You'd almost never know it, though, from listening to his debut album, Epiphanie (Institubes/RykoDisc), which is chock full of unorthodox techno, electro house, and Eno-like dirges. Earplug's Jesse Serwer caught up with Para (aka Jean-Baptiste de Laubier) during a break from his recent North American tour with Institubes labelmates Orgasmic, Curses!, and Surkin.

Earplug: It seems like this whole crew from Paris made the transition from hip-hop to club music at the same time. How did that happen?

Para One: When TTC started, they were into underground hip-hop and experimental stuff from all around the world. So their first album [Ceci N'Est Pas Un Disque] was all about that. Me and Tacteel joined the crew at the end of the first album, and we were into trying to push further with machines, experimenting with some really weird stuff. TTC got so excited about it, so when we did the second album [Bâtards Sensibles], it was all about trying to be really extreme, pushing the boundaries as far as we could. We were really influenced by the IDM scene, especially Warp Records, so we tried to put this influence into hip-hop, which was really hard in France because people were not into it at all at first. It's about the life we had — we were going to clubs every night and we wanted to do some dance tracks.

EP: How do you feel about hip-hop now?

PO: I still love hip-hop. I've been listening to it for 15 years and it's my main influence, but at some point we had to experiment and create our own sound.

EP: It's interesting that Epiphanie doesn't hint at that background.

keep reading »


Deep Freeze
Deepchord explores The Coldest Season more »

Dead Again
Electronica's second coming more »

Debunking electronica more »

Soundtrack to Seattle
An MP3 mixtape guide to the Decibel Fest more »

Completely into the Rock-Star Thing
Dance music's ambitious new ambassadors more »

Pony Up
New Young Pony Club are all very innocent more »

Rock's on Fire
Liars tell it like it isn't more »

Full-Lengths in It for the Long Haul
The album is alive and well more »


  Each issue, Earplug sneaks a peek inside the crates of our favorite DJs. We'll even help you beef up your own bag: click on selected titles to preview tracks, download MP3s, or purchase vinyl.

  The Glass
(Plant Music)

New York, NY


Dominique Keegan and DMC Champion Glen Brady have been working together since 2003; the NYC-based Dubliners have produced and mixed the successful Sound of Young New York compilations, featuring many bands formed at Keegan's own Plant Bar. On the other side of the console, Keegan and Brady perform as electro rockers the Glass. Couples Therapy, the duo's guitar-driven throwback to early-'90s Manchester, was released on September 25th on Plant Music.

  1. Xaver Naudascher, "Lost" (Supersoul Recordings)
  2. Rex the Dog, "Italian Blond" (Kitsuné)
  3. Mark Ronson feat. Lily Allen, "Oh My God (Chris Lake Remix)" (Columbia)
  4. The Glass, "Mad at You (Arveene & Misk Remix)" (Plant Music)
  5. Kanye West, "Stronger (A-Trak Remix)" (Def Jam)
  6. Kap10Kurt, "Dangerseekers (Tepr Highspeed Remix)" (Plant Music)
  7. Bonde do Role, "Gasolina (Crookers Crunk Remix)" (Domino)
  8. Blamma Blamma, "Carry Me Home" (unreleased)
  9. Shit Robot, "Chasm" (DFA)
  10. Kasper Bjørke, "Back & Spine (Extended Mix)" (Plant Music)



  Managing Editor
Philip Sherburne

Contributing Editors
Anna Balkrishna
Melody Caraballo
Doug Levy
Steve Marchese
Andrew Phillips

Cover Art
Tara McPherson

Anjuli Ayer
Morgan Croney
Teel Lassiter
Sarah Steele
Daphne Yang

David J. Prince

Brian Blessinger
Todd L. Burns
Michael Byrne
Jimmy Carson
David M. Cotner
Andy Cumming
Jonathon Dale
Rachel B. Doyle
Cameron Eeles
Ronan Fitzgerald
Marc Gilman
Maya Henderson
Jorge Hernandez
James Jung
Natalie Liechti
Dei Lewison
Melissa Maouris
Michaelangelo Matos
Colin James Nagy
Tomas A. Palermo
Nick Parish
Jon Perlmutter
Lola Rephann
Dustin Ross
Joe Rudkin
Jesse Serwer
Patrick C. Sisson
Bruce Tantum
Neal Ungerleider
Toby Warner
Julie Yau


  About Us
  Earplug is an email magazine dedicated to electronic music and its many dynamic styles and influences. Published every two weeks, it features a handpicked selection of music news, cultural spotlights, tip sheets, CD reviews, original reporting, and music festival previews and reviews. Earplug offers only pure editorial and unbiased news — no money is accepted from any artists, labels, promoters, or companies seeking mention.  
  Media Partnerships
  Every other week, Earplug presents one exclusive media partner. Click for more information about advertising opportunities on Earplug and across all Flavorpill publications.
  Cover Art
  We have an open call to create the covers that run at the top of each issue. If you would like to submit a design, please email us at design and we'll send you the necessary specs.  
  Tell us what you think is exciting and worth including in Earplug by dropping us an email at tips. Writers interested in getting even more involved should reach us at contribute. To criticize, praise, or generally comment on this publication, please send an email to feedback.

In addition to this twice-monthly digest of new electronic music, Flavorpill also publishes ten other email magazines, covering ART, BOOKS, NEWS, FASHION, and cultural events in six cities — NEW YORK, LOS ANGELES, SAN FRANCISCO, CHICAGO, MIAMI, and LONDON.



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