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October 26 - November 8

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

Waking life is stressful. To begin with, there's simply more music coming out than there are hours in the day, so we were particularly keen to check out how Michel Gondry approaches the sonic side of his fantastic, fantastical The Science of Sleep. (Hey Michel, we've got a script for you: it's about an overworked music editor who starts piping promos into her dreams and ends up creating a slumberland P2P that the RIAA tries to sue out of existence, sending nighttime spies à la La Jetée to quash the operation from the inside... Oh, sorry, too straightforward?) But hey, if you can't beat 'em, beat it — in time to any one of a slew of new releases, Top 10 selections, or live mixes, of course. There'll be plenty of time for keeping quiet on the other side.


 
 
 
   
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Music the way it wants to be. 11.14.06  
 
NEWS 
BACK TO TOP 
  When the Rubber Meets the Road
LCD Soundsystem partners with Nike

James Murphy, aka LCD Soundsystem, has always had a little bit of David Byrne in his wide-eyed, weirdly deadpan stage performances; now it looks like he's copped Byrne's running-in-place shtick, too. Actually, scratch "in place" — an avid runner in his spare time, the DFA cofounder has just teamed up with Nike to release 45:33: Nike+ Original Run, a 45-plus-minute track designed to accompany joggers on their workouts. Displaying Murphy's inimitable production style, the track has the dynamics and temporal ebb and flow of an eclectic DJ set, beginning with a long, warm-up segment, moving into a rousing Afrobeat crescendo, peaking with double-time disco, and finally coming back to earth on a parachute of cool, ambient synthesizers. The track is exclusively available from Apple's iTunes music store, though hopefully it might see a limited vinyl release from DFA, as well — for all those runners with portable turntables, of course. (PS)





 
 
 
 
MORE HEADLINES
Spinning Down?
Future Publishing to sell off DJ magazine more »


US Deemed Next Big Thing
NME sets eyes on American readers more »


Gravity's Glow Sticks
Kids dig "new rave," hype or no more »


Shut Up, Already
Bill Drummond launches "No Music Day" more »





 


NEW RELEASES 
BACK TO TOP 

  Artist: Bonobo  
Album: Days to Come
Label: Ninja Tune
Release: October 6

Some primatologists maintain that bonobo chimpanzees use sex as a mechanism to avoid violence. While there is no proof that Simon Green's Ninja Tune pseudonym references such a trait, his music certainly holds an innate ability to warm up and wind down. Days to Come, with its obvious double entendre, is the perfect pheromone to calm a crazed world. As on Bonobo's prior releases, shuffling beats, emotive strings, and dubby bass are all present and accounted for. But this time he delves deeper into the jungle, picking up where his Live Sessions EP left off, adding more live instrumentation and upping the libido with jazz-inflected vocals courtesy of Germany-based singer Bajka. Yet Green's forte still shines through in his instrumentals: the closing "Recurring" finds equal emotional and compositional footing with past classics like "Flutter" and "Terrapin." It's further proof that even Ninjas need a temporary respite from the often-loveless employment of embattled beats. (SM)



  Artist: Henrik Schwarz  
Album: DJ Kicks
Label: !K7
Release: October 16

Few DJs can convincingly string together Moondog, D'Angelo, Drexciya, and Pharaoh Sanders; the tracklist to Henrik Schwarz' DJ Kicks installment looks like such a rollercoaster of styles, it'll send you reaching for the Rolaids. Instead, Berlin's Schwarz — proprietor of the excellent Sunday Music label — turns out a wide-ranging set that's the very model of smooth, leaning heavily on dusky keys and brushed drums, and bouncing off '70s funk and soul, Afrobeat, early Detroit techno, dub, electro, and Arthur Russell. (Small surprise to find Russell here, since he pretty much invented that fusion decades ago, without even trying.) To replicate the experience, be sure to get your hands on the 12-inch version of Schwarz' "Imagination Limitation," which — like most of his singles — comes broken up as a set of interlocking DJ tools. (PS)



  Artist: Michael Mayer  
Album: Immer 2
Label: Kompakt
Release: October 30

Kompakt co-honcho Michael Mayer's first Immer mix CD is only four years old, but it's already something of a legend, and justifiably so. Immer 2 follows up on the first's moody sprawl and hazy abstractions with a mix that goes far beyond Kompakt's current developmental phase — and, for that matter, far beyond "minimal." The disc's first third creeps in on little cat feet in pursuit of static dust bunnies with Someone Else, Ian Simmonds, and a curiously subdued disco brood from Brooks. Grinding keys pick up the pace as Mayer sashays through cuts from Pascal Schaefer and Crowdpleaser & St. Plomb, while Justus Koehncke's "Advance" proves a bracing, full-bodied climax. At that point, Mayer rushes a bit to squeeze three hours into 30 minutes, running from Lindstrøm's overdriven disco to the Rice Twins' shuffling pop to SCSI-9's downcast electro-house; finally, with kohl-eyed numbers from Jesse Somfay, DK7 (mixed by Sten), and Geiger (mixed by Supermayer), Mayer returns to the trailhead, his boots scuffed with mud and diamonds, ready to make the loop all over again. (PS)



  Artist: Jan Jelinek  
Album: Tierbeobachtungen
Label: ~scape
Release: October 20

The title of Jan Jelinek's fifth album under his own name translates as "Animal Observations," which turns out to be curiously apt from either perspective: to the human viewer, his gorgeous layered drones and shirred clicks might make the perfect score to a nature documentary, given the way his sounds seem sourced from ruffling feathers, rustling leaves, and the pitter-patter of soft paws. But from the animal's perspective, these "observations" could simply be the way the world looks when you're cold, hungry, and trembling with instinctive fear: a rippling field of stimuli, perpetually filtered down to the salient threats, where time is only ever a loop. Regardless of how you spin the metaphors, the album is a masterpiece of tentative tone and rhythmic restraint; it's a glorious, shimmering mist of bells, gongs, backmasked guitars, vibraphones, and, of course, Jelinek's ever-present hiss, quietly thrilling and as gaping as the great outdoors. (PS)



  Artist: Lulacruza  
Album: Do Pretty!
Label: Lulacruza
Release: Summer 2006

Now that the novelty phase of electro-Latino fusion has passed and most of the faux-ethnic, cut-and-paste snoozedelica can safely be moved to the recycle bin, a new generation of artists is finding newer, subtler ways of merging traditional Latin American songwriting with subtly electronic production. Much like their semi-compatriot Juana Molina, Lulacruza favor acoustic guitars, intimate and idiosyncratic percussion, and voices; the Argentine/Colombian duo draws inspiration from Brazil as well as Argentina, with notable traces of tropicalia in the psychedelic swell of tracks like "El Conocimiento." Hazy drones hang over much of the album, whether the noxious, beatless "Children" or the strangely lurching "Cueva, Utero, Trueno," which sounds a bit like unplugged Cabaret Voltaire mashed up with demure pop vocals. Other songs, like "Utría," with its vibraphones, bells, woodblocks, and sinewy female harmonies, are more recognizably pop but no less rich or rewarding. A strange, complicated, and charming album, Do Pretty! does far more. (PS)





 
 
 
EARPLUG FAVES

Hot Chip, "Colours (Jeff Samuel Remix)" (EMI)

Thomas Brinkmann, "128 Rua Villalobos"
(CMYK)

Ricardo Villalobos, "Fizheuer Zieheuer"
(Playhouse)

Simian Mobile Disco, "Animal House"
(white label)

Herbert, 100 LBS
(!K7)

Loco Dice, "Paradiso"
(Cadenza)

Strategy, "Fields of May" (Orac)

Luciano, "Blablabla"
(Diamonds and Pearls)

Lee Van Dowski and Quenum, "The Torque Machine"
(Defrag)

So Percussion, Amid the Noise (Cantaloupe)


 


FESTIVALS 
BACK TO TOP 
 
Taktlos TonArt Bern
October 18 - December 20
Bern, Switzerland
www.taktlos-bern.ch

Google's translators are your friend when it comes to the Taktlos TonArt Bern fall concert series, since the Swiss site publishes only in German. (Well, kind of your friend: depending upon the typographical layout on the webpage, the organization is translated either as "Tactless Bern" or "Clock Loosely Bern," which sounds like a spam subject line.) But all you really need to know about this counterpart to Zürich's annual Taktlos festival, you'll find in its lineup of intermittent concerts throughout the fall. The series kicked off this month with Burkhard Stangl, a guitarist, improviser, and occasional collaborator of Fennesz, performing Extended Heritage: My Dowland, a tribute to the 16th- and 17th-century composer John Dowland. Mid-November will see a flurry of activity with concerts from Tortoise, Marina Rosenfeld with Alex Waterman and Anthony Coleman, the Matthew Shipp Trio, and others. The grand finale promises an incendiary display of electronics courtesy of Microwaves, a collaboration between Finland's Pan Sonic and the Italian chamber consortium Alter Ego — they'll perform each other's music in what the players describe as "an endless spiral that regenerates itself relentlessly." (PS)

LINEUP: Burkhard Stangl & Extended Heritage, <strøm>/Demierre/Leimgruber, Tortoise, Marina Rosenfeld's "Joy of Fear & White Lines," Matthew Shipp Trio, Fast 'n Bulbous with Gary Lucas, Schütz Studer, Spring Heel Jack with guests, Pan Sonic/Alter Ego: Microwaves.





 
 
 
MORE FESTIVALS

Electronic Beats Festival
October 25, 27 & 28
Vienna, Austria; Bratislava, Slovakia; Prague, Czech Republic

WOMEX 2006
October 25-29
Sevilla, Spain

Mayday
November 10
Katowice, Poland

Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival
November 17-26
Huddersfield, England

Seoul International Computer Music Festival
November 23-26
Seoul, South Korea

Transmusicales
December 7-9
Rennes, France



 


LISTEN 
BACK TO TOP 
 

Pantytec: Live at Movement (MP3)
Perlon co-founders Zip and Sammy Dee release far too little music under their Pantytec alias, so this hyperkinetic set of crunchy minimal house, recorded at last May's Movement Festival, is a rare treat for fans of the label's detail-intensive, deeply funky sound.

LISTEN



Z-Trip Live on Power 106FM (MP3)
If anyone can make the Beatles and BDP make sense together, it's Z-Trip — still practically the only DJ on earth that doesn't sound gimmicky when he rocks the rock.

LISTEN



My My: 30-Minute Live Mix (stream)
Berlin's My My concoct deep, moody, aquamarine house anchored by rocksteady rhythms and set adrift by wafting keyboards and free-running samples. This 30-minute live session makes a great introduction to their recordings for Playhouse, Circus Company, and Simple.

LISTEN



Excepter: Stream 36: Live in NYC (MP3)
New York's Excepter (Fusetron, 5RC) sound like a weird combination of Liars and Pan Sonic, melting down noise generators while dancing around a campfire; here, they make a perfect fit for New York's East River Amphitheater, where their sound is as oily as the water below.

LISTEN



Tiefschwarz @ the Loft, Barcelona (stream)
Play.FM's Barcelona correspondent the Boogie Man catches Tiefschwarz in storming, peak-hour form at Barcelona's prime sweatbox, the Loft.

LISTEN


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



 
 
     


WATCH 
BACK TO TOP 
 



  Sound Sleeper, Dream Director
Michel Gondry follows his hypnagogic hunch

The fatal flaw of music video directors who become feature filmmakers is to craft not a proper, full-length narrative, but an extended music promo. Fortunately, that has never been the case for French-born director Michel Gondry — his brilliant Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004) skillfully explored the very foundation of memory, while last year's Dave Chapelle's Block Party did more than simply document a live concert event. In his current film, The Science of Sleep, Gondry's admirers will recognize some signature music video elements (such as the oversized hands from Foo Fighters' "Everlong" and the elaborately knitted creations from Steriogram's "Walkie Talkie Man"), yet there's no mistaking that the circuitous story resonates above all else, as Gondry considers a boyish, highly inventive man's desire to love despite his inability — or reluctance — to distinguish fantasy from reality. (Sound familiar?)

For his third narrative film — the first written solely by him — Gondry drew from events of his own life, as well as his dreams. His stand-in is Stephane (Gael Garcia Bernal), whose menial job as a typesetter, infatuation with his creative equal, Stephanie (Charlotte Gainsbourg), and awkward attempts at coolness mirror the 43-year-old director's early disappointments and insecurities. Unabashedly honest and revealing in its approach, what could be a typical story of unrequited love is instead told unpredictably with elaborate dream sequences and awe-inspiring, non-CGI, in-camera effects.

Keep reading »





 
 
 
 
MORE VIDEO


We've teamed up with Current TV to invite you to create videos about the culture that matters. Hit our page at current.tv/flavorpill to find out how to get in on the action.


Lady Sovereign, "Love Me or Hate Me" watch »

Hot Chip, "Over and Over" watch »

Coldcut, "This Island Earth" watch »

Beck, "Cell Phone's Dead" watch »

Klaxons, "Magick" watch »

 


CHARTS 
BACK TO TOP 
  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.

 

Cassy
(Panoramabar)

Berlin, Germany
www.cassybritton.com

 

  1. Insync, "Storm" (Fortune8)
  2. Shed, "State" (Delsin)
  3. Ricardo Villalobos, "Fizheuer Zieheuer" (Playhouse)
  4. Soundstream, "Love Jam" (Soundstream)
  5. Narcotic Syntax, "Lumbago Groove" (WIR)
  6. Tin Man, "Falling Acid" (Keys of Life)
  7. Monolake, "Alaska (Surgeon Remix)" (ml/i)
  8. Bart Skills & Anton Pieete, "Between These Walls (2001 Remix)" (100% Pure)
  9. Jeroen, "1511" (Axis)
  10. Chupacabra, "The Bigger Man (Frederico Molinari Remix)" (Raum...musik)

 
 



 
 
 
 
MORE CHARTS

Click on the links below to check out more charts

Steve Bug »

Heidi »


 


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

Founder
David J. Prince

Cover Art
TeamKitten

Contributors
Sue Apfelbaum
Justin R. Charles
Andy Cumming
Rachel B. Doyle
Andy Gensler
Jorge Hernandez
James Jung
Colin James Nagy
Cameron Octigan
Tomas A. Palermo
Nick Parish
Dustin Ross
Bruce Tantum
Mark Teppo
Neal Ungerleider
Toby Warner

Production
Anjuli Ayer
Morgan Croney
Pilar Gallego
Teel Lassiter
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.  
 
  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.  
 
  Submissions/Feedback
  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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