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Beat Report, Vol. 4

Electronic Music Reviews

Trentemoller — Even Though You’re With Another Girl EP
Released by In My Room
Trentemoller’s Even Though You’re With Another Girl EP is an unusually lyrical outing for the Danish beatmaker, all dulcet, measured vocals and theatrical orchestration, an aesthetic frequented by some of the best (and broodiest) trip-hoppers of yore. Somewhere in the shadows, Portishead and Lamb sip cognac and wax melancholic with Colleen’s lo-fi acoustics and Ratatat’s pixel-pop. Pantha du Prince offers a stripped-down, minimal version stamped with his trademark ethereal bellchimes, while Kollektiv Turmstrasse ups the ante tenfold — we get a haunted yet soulful recut of the original that simultaneously recalls the textural ambiance of Leyland Kirby and the sweetest episode of rave nostalgia yet. Muted, melodic synths border on despair: “I’ll stay the night,” a disembodied vocal utters in its obsessive episode. Something unsettling lurks beneath the driving cadence here, sure to ignite a dance floor or three.

Various Artists — Tempa Allstars Volume 6
Released by Tempa
It’s been nearly a decade since the future garage-dub sound of the moment met its first dance floor — given that fact, it’s curious to see dubstep hotshots Tempa throw down a collection of tracks that could’ve been pulled from those same aging crates. Indeed, the common thread on Allstars Volume 6 is somber, calculated cerebration, the sort of sonic darkness popularized by Digital Mystikz, TRG, and Random Trio during bass music's formative years. Alix Perez’s drum ’n’ bass history is hard to miss on “Untitled,” one of the heavier tunes on board. SBRTKT, Icicle and Skream keep the vibe firmly rooted to the underworld, while Brooklyn newcomer Falty DL serves up a welcome plate of sunshine-funk with “Sunday.”

XXXY — Every Step Forward EP
Released by Fortified Audio
As an unabashed fan of the minor key, it only took the first few moments of XXXY’s Every Step Forward EP to win me over. The gauzy, warped vocals of opening track “This Much” bleed profusely beneath a buoyant, steadfast pulse, then quickly give way to a succession of brittle, highly-danceable two-step drum programming. Continually crossfading between ecstatic rhythm and heartfelt resignation — dance to forget, if you will — the record functions on that bright, crisp, and clipped sound that Joy Orbison does so well. “Turn” is an exercise in slot-machine fluorescence a la Zomby, while the billowing, temperate ambiance of “Flew” tips a hat to Basic Channel. A quality set from Manchester-based XXXY, keep an eye out for this one.

Various Artists — Ghostly Essentials Rarities Vol. 2
Released by Ghostly International
Detroit’s Ghostly imprint, home to a colorful spectrum of electronic talent, is offering up another free compilation of rarities to follow up its first handout. They’ve already released some of the most compelling records this year, and they keep the quality coming on this fine volume. A sweet mix of clever ambient and restrained techno, Ghostly Essentials features an abundance of new and previously unreleased material from Matthew Dear, Christopher Willits, Mobius Bands. Osborne’s extended cut of “Hydraglim Exit” is particularly sublime. Download here: http://ghostly.com/news/2010/9/758-free-download-ghostly-essentials-rarities-vol-2-out-now