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New Releases

October 12 - 25

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

Spring is supposed to be the season of renewal, but this autumn sees the revival of one of house music's most vaunted labels and the launch of two promising new imprints. We talk to Zero 7 about how they're reinventing themselves as something more than a mere downtempo act. And our Reviews and Listen sections are full of plenty of new music to serenade your leaf-crunching sojourns in the coming weeks.

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Introducing the all-new Suzuki SX4. The kick of 143 horsepower. The capability of all-wheel drive. The flexibility of a 5-door. All standard and all wrapped up in sheet metal that's been pounded into a real statement. With this kind of attitude, you'd better show up with the best stories come Monday morning.  
  Keepin' Time
Strictly Rhythm relaunches in Defected partnership

Chicago's Trax and DJ International came first, but the label most associated with the early New York house sound is Strictly Rhythm. Founded by Mark Finkelstein in 1989, and with A&R; manager supreme Gladys Pizarro guiding the way, it was the go-to label for the city's nascent scene, releasing seminal early work from artists as diverse as Masters at Work, Wamdue Project, Josh Wink, and Armand Van Helden. Strictly shut its doors in 2002 after an ill-advised hookup with Warner Music, but you can't keep a classic down. Now Finkelstein has hooked up with the UK's Defected label to resuscitate the label; in addition to releasing new music, Strictly Rhythm will begin reissuing its mind-blowing back catalog of time-tested tunes, in digital as well as old-school formats. For youngsters who are new to top-tier oldies like Underground Solution's "Luv Dancin'" and the Rhythm Factor's "Lose Control," as well as graybeards who've worn out their old copies, the news is a godsend. (BT)

Trinkets and Triangles
Tiefschwarz, Williams launch new labels

Superstar DJs have it all — free booze, willing fans, first-class legroom. Why they'd choose to put even some of those perks on hold and turn their attentions to running an actual business is beyond us. But that's precisely what two highly touted acts will do this month when they launch new record labels. The Berlin duo Tiefschwarz, best known for a string of singles on Classic and Four/Fine, as well as a highly rated Fabric mix and remixes for the likes of the Rapture and Goldfrapp, have teamed with France's Arthur Velasquez to launch Souvenir Music; the first release, produced under their Ichundu alias, is a dark memento from the stormiest sojourn ever. Phonique and Riton will supply forthcoming singles, with remixes coming from Alter Ego's Roman Flügel and Mobilee artist Sleeper Thief. Scotland's Williams doesn't have Tiefschwarz' CV, but his records for Glasgow Underground and Get Physical, plus a cracking remix for the Knife, suggest that his new Love Triangle Music label will aim straight for the heart of the main floor. With a debut release from Williams himself, backed with remixes from Bodzin & Romboy and newcomers Pitch & Hold, Love Triangle proves that when it comes to labels, more really is merrier. (PS)

Dissing Information
British charts disqualify Beck more »

Appetite for Destruction
Destroy Minimal flogs a dead horse more »

A New Blip on Miami's Radar
Carnival Center aims to bring Sónar to US more »



  Artist: My My  
Album: Songs for the Gentle
Label: Playhouse
Release: October 23

Don't judge Berlin-based My My's album by its cover art: despite the wild horses and gilded sunbeams, these guys are hardly freak-folk disciples of Devendra Banhart or easy-listening acolytes of the Carpenters. Instead, Lee Jones and company make sterling micro-house and subtle techno that shares sonic space with Isolée, SCSI-9, and Jeff Samuel. Unusually, however, direct lines run from Jones' former persona, the mid-'90s downtempo project Hefner, and the intricate sound manipulation showcased throughout Songs for the Gentle. Like Hefner's staccato, hyper-edited soul, songs like the bullet-train smooth "Reverse Charge" insert sample fragments and curious synth flourishes into linear grooves. By mid-album, Jones (who performs, DJs, and records with partners Carsten Klemann and Nick Hoppner) eases us toward placid melodic waterfalls ("Pelourinho") and techy, bubbling hot springs ("Half A Hole"). Plenty of chopped house and Teutonic stomp round out the album, charting new directions for Jones while confirming his production prowess. (TAP)

  Artist: Various  
Album: Back to Back
Label: Mobilee
Release: October 23

Anja Schneider's Berlin-based Mobilee label has been tearing up turntables over the past two years, pumping out killer single after killer single, all of them caulking the seam between minimal grooves and full-body workouts. Mobilee's roster is principally made of dark horses — Sebo K, Pan-Pot, Nhar, GummiHz, and even Exercise One are hardly household names — but Schneider couldn't have harnessed a swifter team to pull her wagon into the spotlight. Disc one gives a first aluminum airing to the vinyl sides that have built the label's "overnight success" rep: Sebo K and Prosumer's deep-blue "Moved," GummiHz's psychedelic "Isolate," Exercise One's clattering "Debaya," and Schneider and Sebo K's ravetastic "Rancho Relaxo," among others. On the bonus disc, Schneider pieces together a Rube Goldberg-like assemblage of pulleys and levers; the tracks showcased here comprise a kind of in-house Round Robin, with each artist remixing a Mobilee colleague — full of precise lines and folds, it's like a game of telephone crossed with origami. (PS)

  Artist: M.A.N.D.Y.  
Album: At the Controls
Label: Resist
Release: October 16

M.A.N.D.Y., co-founders of Berlin's Get Physical label, follow up James Holden's At the Controls mix with another wide-ranging, double-disc session. Where Holden's was an outer-limits trip, though, M.A.N.D.Y. describe the edge of the dance floor and work their way in, kicking off with the minimalism of Matthew Dear and Isolée and ending up with disco-tech from Kenny Larkin, Fingers Inc., and Lindstrøm and Prins Thomas — via a long, winding road touching upon big names (Alex Under, Mathew Jonson, Booka Shade) and other talents either up-and-coming or back from hiatus (Rockers Hi-Fi, Dinky, Djuma Soundsystem). Disc two moves away from the peak hour and into the after; the dusky session plumbs the darker, dirtier side of minimal via cuts from Heartz4, Villalobos, and SCSI-9, touched up with deep-house tearjerkers from Atjazz and Justin Martin. Throughout, the mixing remains tight and inspired, a reflection of the duo's versatility as DJs, selectors, and literal masters of the ceremony. (PS)

  Artist: Candie Hank  
Album: Groucho Running
Label: Sonig
Release: October 2006

Candie Hank is Patric Catani, better known for his work in Puppetmastaz and DHR's fin-de-siècle techno-punk band EC8OR; as Candie Hank, he explores a bizarre combination of breakcore, lo-fi electronics, and the kind of sci-fi circus music associated with artists like Felix Kubin. Hank bills himself as "The One Man Festival," and it's not far off, given the range he covers. "The Booty Bank," featuring Angie Reed, is absurdist booty music; "Ultima Dub" is saw-tooth analog schaffel dub; the electro-shockabilly-breakcore "Kids Stay United" sounds like what Nation of Ulysses might have done had they bought Casios and overdosed on dodgy jungle comps. None of it's wacky for wackiness' sake, though; songs like "Groucho Finds UFO (And Goes Space)" are fueled by genuinely mind-blowing sound design, and even the goofing off feels more "uh oh" than "ha ha" funny. Somewhere Raymond Scott is rolling over in his grave — tapping his toes all the while. (PS)

  Artist: Agoria  
Album: The Green Armchair
Label: PIAS
Release: October 16

France's Agoria has his eyes on the bright lights, but he doesn't seem quite sure whether he wants to be Vitalic or James Holden; distorted, beat-driven stompers such as "Like a Bull" ape the former, while the delicate "Les Violons Ivres" — perhaps it should have been called "In a China Shop" — is nimble, plucky trance that clearly has Border Community in mind. Agoria's choice of collaborators feels half-baked, and so do the tunes on which they appear — among Peter Murphy, Neneh Cherry, and Princess Superstar, it's actually Superstar who sounds best, punking up the atonal electronics with caterwaul and hot sex. But despite moments of aimlessness, there are enough driving, synth-heavy cuts like "Cecile," "Europa," and "Code 1026" to reveal a solid EP hidden in the album's overstuffed sleeves; those three alone posit a buzzing electro-disco that sounds like nobody else. (PS)


Jeff Samuel, Step (Traum)

John Tejada, Cleaning Sounds Is a Filthy Business (Palette)

Melchior Productions, "Different Places" (Perlon)

Lulacruza, Do Pretty! (Lulacruza)

Tobias Becker, Trallafitti (Platzhirsch)

Michael Mayer, Immer 2 (Kompakt)

Henrik Schwarz, Live (Sunday)

Williams, The Shivering (Love Triangle)

Ichundu, "Hey" (Souvenir)

Phage & Daniel Dreier, "Plumber's Workshop" (Klang)


PREVIEW: I Love Techno
October 21
Ghent, Belgium

Regular readers of Earplug know that we love techno: we loved it when it was uncool, we love it as it assumes new cultural capital, and we'll keep on loving it when it's become horribly passé once again. As you can imagine, Belgium's I Love Techno, now in its 12th year, is our kind of festival. Its definition of the genre is just elastic enough to allow for the emo-electro of Ellen Allien and Apparat, the cut 'n paste punk of Justice, and the regal strains of the "Kings of Techno," Laurent Garnier and Carl Craig, without watering them down. Get thee one "The Kids Want Techno" t-shirt from Wasted German Youth, and we'll see you in Flanders — ray-diddly-aving. (PS)

LINEUP: Deetron, Laurent Garnier, Carl Craig, Shinedoe, Joris Voorn, Technasia, Dave Clarke, Motor, Boys Noize, Justice, 2ManyDJs, Digitalism, Tiga, Booka Shade, Kraftwerk, Miss Djax, Marko Nastic, Dr. Lektroluv, Tiefschwarz, James Holden, Ellen Allien and Apparat, Philippe Zdar, and more.


Instal 06
October 13-15
Glasgow, Scotland

Amsterdam Dance Event
October 19-21
Amsterdam, the Netherlands

Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival
November 17-26
Huddersfield, England

December 7-9
Rennes, France



Cassy: RA.026 (MP3)
As if helming one of the year's best mix CDs weren't enough, Panoramabar resident Cassy weighs in to Resident Advisor's podcast series with another hour-long twirl of deep/classic/minimal/tech/house goodness.


Smith n Hack: Live Promo (MP3)
Berlin's Smith n Hack (Errorsmith and Soundhack) are producers/remixers par excellence, and their live show — a stutterfunk mélange of techno rhythms, broken beats, corroded acid, and deep disco mayhem — has to be seen to be believed. Electronic music doesn't get much more live.


Damián Schwartz Live (MP3)
Damián Schwartz is proving to be one of Spain's brightest new talents; his singles for labels like Apnea, CMYK, and Múpa offer bleepy techno that nods simultaneously to old-school and new-world minimalism. In this live set, he's characteristically chilly and supple, all at once.


Tipper: Deep Mix 2006 (stream)
For all its futurist rhetoric, breaks can be a disappointingly conservative genre; fortunately, breaks iconoclast Tipper keeps pushing the music forward, fusing vintage bleep, dubstep-caliber bass, and advanced audio design to create sounds so unreal, it's uncanny.


Moon Harbour Presents Matthias Tanzmann Live @ Marbella Beach, Barcelona (stream)
Sónar attendees know that the chiringuitos of Playa Nova Marbella host some of the best action Barcelona sees all summer. Here, Moon Harbour's Matthias Tanzmann rocks the sunset crowd with 78 minutes of deep house, laidback funk, and fine-grained techno. Now where's our tinto de verano?


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



  Zeroing In
Zero 7 open up to new sounds

This past May, when Zero 7 released their third full-length album, the laidback, downtempo group's world suddenly, paradoxically, became a little more complicated. The Garden, while not a complete departure from their trademark style, takes the pop and instrumental leanings of their previous recordings and moves steadily away from the easygoing sound that guaranteed their early success. While continuing to work with longstanding vocalist Sia Furler, Henry Binns and Sam Hardaker, Zero 7's creative core, brought Swedish/Argentine folk singer José González onboard after falling in love with his album Veneer while touring. The resulting record rides a line between standard downtempo stylings and a quirky pop sensibility, with roots that lie closer to traditional English folk than to anything recognizably "electronic."

Perhaps due to this tension, The Garden has so far received a tepid response from both reviewers and the public. Sales have not yet matched those of their previous efforts, but the group hasn't found cause to complain. "It's actually been good for us," explains Hardaker. "The label has been leaving us alone, and we've been able to concentrate on perfecting — and enjoying — the live show. It seemed after the Garden State thing [the group's music was featured on the film's infamously middlebrow soundtrack] and the success of the last couple of records, that we were pegged as this marketing tool — you know, 'The Soundtrack to Summer,' 'The Makeout Album of the Year,' and all that. Right now, we're just playing the best shows of our lives."

Keep reading »


Tangled Up in Groove
Techno gets knotty more »

Reggaetón Is Dead, Long Live Reggaetón
Puerto Rican genre comes of age more »

Gentlemen Prefer Analog
120 Days weigh in on synths more »


  Each week, 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.



Berlin, Germany


  1. Pikaya, "Grüne Raufaser" (Cadenza)
  2. Eclat, "Eclat" (Morris/Audio)
  3. STL, The Early Tracks (Perlon)
  4. Dan Ghenacia & David K, "U&I;" (Freak 'n Chic)
  5. Nick Holder, "Erotic Illusions" (Poker Flat)
  6. Dan Curtin, Synaptic EP (Klang)
  7. Sleeper Thief, "Full of You" (Mobilee)
  8. Gabriel Ananda, "Miracel Whop" (Miracel Whop)
  9. Recloose, "Dust (Induceve Remix)" (Peacefrog)
  10. Swat Squad, "Escoria Rmx" (Escoria Rmx)



Click on the links below to check out more charts

Jesse Rose »

Photonz »


Melody Caraballo
Jocelyn K. Glei
Doug Levy
Sascha Lewis
Steve Marchese
Philip Sherburne

David J. Prince

Cover Art
Matei Apostolescu

Brian Blessinger
Justin R. Charles
Andy Cumming
Geeta Dayal
Rachel B. Doyle
Andy Gensler
Jorge Hernandez
James Jung
Craig Kapilow
Justin P. Lavelle
Colin James Nagy
Cameron Octigan
Tomas A. Palermo
Nick Parish
Dustin Ross
Bruce Tantum
Mark Teppo
Neal Ungerleider
Toby Warner

Anjuli Ayer
Morgan Croney
Pilar Gallego
Judah Wiedre


  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.  
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  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 nine other email magazines, covering ART, BOOKS, NEWS, FASHION, and cultural events in five cities — NEW YORK, LOS ANGELES, SAN FRANCISCO, CHICAGO, and LONDON.



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