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January 18 - January 31

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

Game play is the accidental theme for this issue of Earplug, from Thomas Brinkmann's pinball metaphors to Second Life's remixed role-playing. Fittingly, we lead off with a look at Jackin' Pop, the upstart critics' poll that's giving the Village Voice's Pazz and Jop a run for its money. And with our usual bounty of charts and DJ mixes, everybody wins.

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2007 is the Year of the Ghost. Ghostly International announces the release of Lusine's Podgelism, featuring remixes from electronic music's highest echelon, plus Skeletons and the Kings of All Cities' kaleidoscopic opus LUCAS. Ghostly's dance floor imprint Spectral begins its multi-city residency with Audion, who releases new tracks and remixes of his 2006 smash club hit "Mouth to Mouth."  

Vote or Die
Jackin' Pop spices up year-end shenanigans

Rehashing 2006 is, like, so last year, but a dark-horse entrant in the year-end survey biz is making backward glances more edifying than usual. IdolatorGawker Media's music blog, launched late in 2006 — has stepped up its contentious take on the blogosphere with the Jackin' Pop Poll, a none-too-subtle challenge to the Village Voice's iconic Pazz & Jop Poll, whose fate and reputation became unclear when Voice owner New Times fired P&J; creator Robert Christgau and music editor Chuck Eddy. As it happens, the Voice will still publish its annual music-critics' survey on February 7, and much of the controversy over the jousting polls — as documented in the SF Bay Guardian and on NPR — will likely interest only media insiders.

But the Idolator roundup has proven itself more than mere mimicry, expanding the usual features (top albums, top tracks, individual ballots, voters' comments) with new categories like top artists and reissues, as well as statistical geekery like demographically sorted results and the "enthusiasm 40," which ranks albums by the number of points individual voters give them. "We didn't reinvent the wheel so much as rotate the tires," claims Jackin' Pop overseer Michaelangelo Matos in his introductory essay, and it looks like the fine tuning isn't finished, as Idolator continues to issue a steady stream of ever-more arcane analyses. Bad news for middling indie, maybe, but a boon for the pocket-protector industry. (PS)

Cue It Up
Continuum soliciting new proposals for 33 1/3 series more »

The Guardian finds NY nightlife nodding off more »

The End of It All
ZYX cashes in on minimal more »

Return of the Living Dead
Death knell rings (again) for superstar DJs more »



  Artist: Thomas Brinkmann  
Title: Klick Revolution
Label: Max Ernst
Release: December 6, 2006

Klick Revolution leaps past the "distressed material" formula of its peers to emerge as an arcane tribute to the magic of the pinball machine, but Tommy this ain't. Thomas Brinkmann has risked overplaying his analogue take on clicks and cuts for some time — all broken-down, scratched, and sliced vinyl reconfigured into neatly propulsive meta-techno — but while Klick Revolution offers more of the same, it's inspired enough to suspend cynicism. Klick Revolution works best at its extremities — the hailstorm of buzz and crackle that opens "Inclined Plane" is invigorating as it temporarily jettisons the glitch-into-beat equations that pepper the album. But it's the pinball concept, admittedly, that's lost on this listener. (JD)

  Artist: Maga Bo  
Title: Confusion of Tongues
Label: Soot Records
Release: January 12

Released on DJ /rupture's Soot label, DJ Maga Bo's mixtape is a study in the permutations of rhythm, splicing Arabic and Jamaican bounce onto gypsy beats and distorted beatboxing. Bo took a hands-on approach to assembling the vocals for this global gumbo; whether working in Fez, Dar es Salaam, or his home base of Rio, the freelance sound engineer cut a cappellas with local MCs. Mixed live on Resonance FM, Confusion consists largely of these unreleased collaborations, as well as Soot-centric selections from Nettle, Timeblind, and Filastine. Even with its dizzyingly diverse sources, Confusion is surprisingly of a piece, speaking in its own intense idiom whether the syntax is amped-up raï or chopped-up "Sleng Teng" riddims. (TW)

  Artist: Lymbyc Systym  
Title: Love Your Abuser
Label: Mush
Release: January 23

While most post-rock is preoccupied with unswerving stoicism, Arizona's Lymbyc Systym take a chance on the opposite, with click-and-drag dramatics that are blindingly colorful, lively, and optimistic. But the sibling-duo's Mush Records debut, Love Your Abuser, strays far from the dueling guitar ballets and icy-cold aesthetics of genre poster boys like Explosions in the Sky, taking care to approximate Kieran Hebden's laptop magic and the Icelandic charm of Múm without borrowing too liberally. So while most post-rock bands are busy soundtracking gridiron battles and conjuring images of the apocalypse, Lymbyc Systym paint pictures of birth and growth, making Love Your Abuser a welcomed respite from the genre's characteristic severity. (RM)

  Artist: Massonix  
Title: Subtracks
Label: Skam
Release: December 5, 2006

808 State's Graham Massey returns to his long-dormant Skam alias on this generous, unsettling album of analog sparks and bubbles. Despite the underwater theme, this is neither the Drexciyans' war cry nor the Two Lone Swordsmen's bong-snorkel dub. Instead — and entirely befitting Skam's restless aesthetic — Massey pulls together echoes of library music, Reich-inspired pulse minimalism, and the detuned exotica of Freeform or Low Res. He combines all this with a crude version of Detroit techno, as though relayed via tin-can telephone amongst a group of kindergarteners before being rendered in rapidly melting crayon. Messy and naïve, it's among the most charming and, above all, personal electronic music to arrive in recent memory. (PS)






Various Artists
Title: Beat Kings: The History of Hip-Hop
Label: Nature Sounds
Release: January 23

The stature of the hip-hop producer has risen over the last few years, ostensibly thanks to the success of Timbaland, Kanye West, and the Neptunes. But no measure of modern recognition can justify the near-criminal disregard for the original architects of hip-hop. Long overdue and an essential tool in any aspiring beatmaker's bag of tricks, Beat Kings: The History of Hip-Hop is a much-belated "thank you" to the producers behind hip-hop's most crucial albums, featuring such legends as DJ Premier, Pete Rock, Marley Marl, and 45 King alongside acolytes like Kanye West, RZA, and Swizz Beatz. Producers tend to keep their friends close and their studio secrets even closer, but Wu-Tang DJ and Beat Kings interviewer Mathematics manages to capture unprecedented revelations from this talented A-Team. Part instructional video and part historical document, Beat Kings takes these celebrated producers, many forced to the background as a result of their MCs' fame, and positions them squarely in the forefront, where, frankly, they should have been all along. (SM)



Mule Musiq

Svarte Greiner

"Remember Love"


Onur Özer
Red Cabaret EP

Baby Kate Remixes

"Blood on My Hands (Ricardo Villalobos Remix)"
Skull Disco

Myth Takes

Charlemagne Palestine & Tony Conrad
An Aural Symbiotic Mystery
Sub Rosa

"Auf dem Hof (Ludron Dub by Crowdpleaser & Mimie Nana)"


PREVIEW: Club Transmediale
January 25 - February 3
Berlin, Germany

Not to put too fine a point upon it, but Berlin's Club Transmediale is one of our favorite events of the year. OK, so maybe February isn't the best month to visit the city, but events with the breadth and depth of CTM are few and far between. This year's theme, "Building Space," gives the fest ample room to test out various theories (and, better still, practices) of sound as it relates to media, technology, social and political structures, and visceral sensation. Unusually for Berlin, techno cedes its hegemony to a plurality of styles, from the breakcore and dubstep advanced by WASTED, a festival within the festival, to the improv and noise experiments of acts like Birchville Cat Motel, Oren Ambarchi, and Jazkamer (intriguingly slated to perform their "Metal Music Machine" lineup). A film-and-video segment, entitled Handclaps, runs from Janek Schaefer's slideshow-like Covers to a documentary on Detroit's Mr. De, while Berlin turns the usual festival hierarchy upside down, inviting all comers to plug into a "giant collective audio-visual jam." (PS)

LINEUP: Pierre Bastien, Alexander's Annexe feat. Mira Calix, Sun City Girls, Interstellar Fugitives, Donna Summer, Pure, Dev/Null, Patric Catani, Tim Exile, Fuckhead, Venetian Snares, Birchville Cat Motel, Burial Chamber Trio, Jazkamer, Artificiel, Bas van Koolwijk & Gert-Jan Prins, Rafael Toral, Colleen, Sublime Frequencies, Trio A, Nettle, Robert Henke, FM3, Rechenzentrum, Clark, Pole Band, Adrian Sherwood, Fuckpony, Nôze, Para One, Feadz feat. Uffie, Geiom, Hatcha & Crazy D, Boxcutter, Robotic, Vulva String Quartett, Lawrence, Uusitalo, Dapayk, Onur Özer, Sleeparchive vs. DJ Pete, and many more.


January 21-25
Cannes, France

January 22-28
Tromsø, Norway

January 25-27
Bologna, Italy

Club Transmediale
January 25 - February 3
Berlin, Germany

February 8-10
Trondheim, Norway

Spark Festival of Electronic Music and Art
February 20-25
Minneapolis, MN

Barcelona VisualSound
February 22 -
March 14
Barcelona, Spain

(K-RAA-K)³ Festival
March 3
Hasselt, Belgium

Winter Music Conference
March 20-25
Miami, FL



Minilogue: Live at Panoramabar (MP3)
Sweden's Minilogue are set for a banner year, with recent hits under their belt on Crosstown Rebels and WIR, plus upcoming releases for Traum and Wagon Repair. This live set from last June balances propulsive rhythms and billowing atmospherics in just the right proportions.


David Fine & Barnabas: Wagoning It (MP3)
The Underl_ne label's David Fine and Barnabas get their brood on with a typically austere set of gothed-out, minor-key minimalism. Expect creepy-crawly bass lines, hair-raising synths, and cathedral-sized reverb from artists like Louderbach (Troy Pierce), Matt John, and the Model.


Bleep43 Radio: the Darmstadt School (MP3)
Bleep43 has deep archives, from Uwe Schmidt retrospectives to a leftfield Surgeon session spanning Roy Ayers to Whitehouse. Brush up on your serialist history with this blast of Schöenberg, Stockhausen, Boulez, Ligeti, and more.


Forensics: February 2007 Mix (MP3)
The latest installment from dubstep's DJ Forensics kicks off with four tracks from After Dark and just gets darker, oozing through Burial, Moving Ninja, Digital Mystikz, Loefah & Skream, and other leaders of the pack. Not for the faint of heart.


Ghislain Poirier: Mix Afrique (MP3)
DJ /rupture's Mudd Up! blog hips us to the latest mix from Montreal's Ghislain Poirier — this time out, the atlas-shrugging selector hits listeners with hip-hop from South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Senegal, and Mauritania.


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


O. Lamm, "Aeralist" watch »

Amon Tobin, "Foley Room trailer #1" watch »

Claude VonStroke, "Deepthroater" watch »

Nôze, "Kitchen" watch »

Forss, "City Ports" watch »


    You Can Sleep When You're Dead
The party never stops in Second Life

Imagine a future where going to the club means hitting the couch with your laptop and high-speed wireless connection, where hearing your favorite DJ spin live involves neither long lines nor crowded clubs, and where those extra ten pounds weighing you down disappear as you transform into the lean, lusty lothario of your dreams. This future is right now in Second Life.

Second Life is a 3D virtual world, run by San Francisco-based Linden Labs and inhabited by "residents" numbering nearly 2.5 million (of which 10,000-20,000 are concurrent users). Founded in 2006 by Philip Rosedale, former CTO for Real Networks, Second Life takes the Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game (MMORPG) model to new highs with a functioning (and flourishing) "in-game" economy, robust user-created content, and a thriving society as diverse as its global user base.

Given Second Life's libertine parallels to Burning Man, it shouldn't be surprising that DJ culture is beginning to infiltrate the underworld. Big-name jockeys are beginning to trumpet their virtual appearances with the same fanfare once reserved for carbon-based appearances: just last month, the Scumfrog announced the opening of a "24-hour party island called Skyros," featuring round-the-clock sets from the progressive-house DJ and colleagues D:Fuse, Static Revenger, DJ Rap, and Richard Vission. Second Life has come to resemble "RL" — real life — with a nightclub scene as diverse as any major city's, with venues for techno, house, drum 'n bass, rock, industrial, trance, and reggae. On any given night, residents can "teleport" (a common way of navigating SL's vast "grid") to a variety of clubs, like !Alpha Box, a mid-air-suspended nightclub specializing in minimal techno, or Republik, where the musical menu runs from industrial dance to blisteringly hard techno.

keep reading »


Flipping the Bird
Justin Martin and Dirtybird revitalize Bay Area house more »

NY artists share their New Year's resolutions 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.



Hamburg, Germany


  1. Various, We Are Smallville (Smallville)
  2. Move D, Anne Will (Remixes Part 1) (Liebe*Detail)
  3. Efdemin, "Just a Track" (Dial)
  4. Stefanik & Tasnardi, "Doch Nicht" (Cargo)
  5. Duotheque, "Amarcord (My My Remix)" (Boxer)
  6. Unknown, Workshop 01 (Workshop)
  7. Super Flu, "Monaberry" (Lorna)
  8. Daniel Offermann, Arabian Pleasures EP (Just)
  9. Shackleton, "Tinfoil Sky" (Skull Disco)
  10. Ripperton, "10A" (Liebe*Detail)



Click on the links below to check out more charts

Let's Go Outside »

Djinxx »


  Managing Editor
Philip Sherburne

Contributing Editors
Melody Caraballo
Doug Levy
Steve Marchese

Cover Art
Robert Pallesen

Anjuli Ayer
Morgan Croney
Pilar Gallego
Teel Lassiter
Daphne Yang

David J. Prince

Andy Cumming
Jonathon Dale
Rachel B. Doyle
Ronan Fitzgerald
Maya Henderson
Jorge Hernandez
James Jung
Robbie Mackey
Michaelangelo Matos
Colin James Nagy
Tomas Palermo
Lola Rephann
Dustin Ross
Bruce Tantum
Neal Ungerleider
Toby Warner


  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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