Short Circuits 17 - By Volume

Gotta get out, before my heart explodes. Candy Says - Not Kings

Short Circuits 17

Ballooning synths, tongue-in-cheek moments, childhood nostalgia and some nail gun action -- it's another edition of Short Circuits. Author: on March 21, 2014
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GFOTY - Secret Mix (PC Music, 2014)

“It’s big.” London-based record label PC Music spawned last year with dance music that skips between bubblegum pop and internet subculture playing fields, with a GFOTY (Girlfriend of the Year) single amongst its leading charge. She returns to the label with Secret Mix, which bounces between ideas on whim, as if there’s actually a small child with a sugar rush sequencing the proceedings. There’s definitely a childlike feeling to the tracks, and where SOPHIE’s “Bipp” (the first point of comparison considering its impact) has a sense of guile, GFOTY’s music feels more open to the listener. “LOVER” in particular brings to mind school playground clapping sounds and chants from kids that simply wish to be cheerleaders one day. As such, the vocals glue themselves to the inside of the skull with staggering alacrity and you might find yourself uttering peripheral observations about US culture without realising. In between the candid, candycane electronics, there are vocoder ballads such as the Disney soliloquy “It’s All Coming Back To Me Now” whilst “Un-break My Heart” heads down the 90’s pop-rap mixtape-Matrix disintegration-harpsichord route. The mid-section of “LOVER” carries young, playful innocence with, “What’s your name? / I like your smile”, and the end of the mix is just as earnest, though it’s the combination with tongue-in-cheek moments like “KISS” that works so well to put a smile on your face and keep it there.

Karen GwyerLay Claim to My Grub (No Pain In Pop, 2014)

No Pain In Pop and Opal Tapes alumna Karen Gwyer returns to the former, following up yesteryear’s Needs Continuum album with her New Roof EP. “Lay Claim to My Grub” is more than just the record’s opener, it’s Gwyer’s invitation through her looking glass and it’s sixteen minutes of off-kilter, padded analogue techno. It begins to beckon with intimidating, church organ-like chords that act as a siren throughout the entire ordeal. Like any horror film, intrigue overcomes the initial demoralisation and the feeling is propelled onwards by ever-present murmurs of rapid percussion. The synths balloon into bloated static as the final third becomes a shadow of its predecessors, ghostly echoes as layers peel off into the abyss like the segments of a rocket in space. It’s a whole experience within itself – recommended if you liked Prurient’s “Through The Window.

Nick Klein - Iron Lion (Private Archive, 2014)

Private Archive are a self-described “small cassette label specializing in minimal and maximal electronic music” based in the US, and they describe Current Rider with emphasis on its Miami-lilted forceful freneticism. They’re not exaggerating. Nick Klein’s second tape is inaugurated with “Iron Lion”, an introduction to Klein’s taste for industrial and noise that orbits around garage drumkit breaks. The track sits comfortably in the groove the entire time as each loop packs as much punch as the last. It’s as if Klein is trying out a set of new toys with one of the first tonal deviations taking the form of what sounds like distorted, backmasked, turntablist scratches, later chucking in the dismembered limbs of a bassline. “Iron Lion” is like a scrap metal explosion of breakbit and big beat, taking cues from rusted sounds and setting them off with fireworks. It’s brash and rather than be indifferent towards the fact, “Iron Lion” is genuinely proud about it.

DJ RichardNailed to the Floor (White Material, 2014)

DJ Richard co-founded NYC/Berlin label White Material with Young Male in 2012, and last year oversaw the breakthrough of Galcher Lustwerk. With an increasing profile since then, the label hasn’t put a foot wrong and DJ Richard continues to impress with “Nailed to the Floor”. It’s not often we’re treated to such perfect storm of kinetics so intense they render the body motionless as we try to process things. The beat hits the sweet spot as far as basic shuffles go when it comes to moving the dance, while some sort of aquatic torpedo effects propel things further. Then the nail gun action gets underway, daring you to keep dancing. As riffs saw through the end of the track, it becomes clear that this wouldn’t really fit on any of the rough analogue labels despite how coarse the textures are. I’d say it does what it says on the tin, and it does it well, though Snoop Pearson’s summation is more fitting a tribute: “This here is gunpowder-activated, .27 caliber, full auto, no kickback, nail-throwing mayhem, man. Shit right here is tight.

Marquis HawkesLet’s Do It (Dixon Avenue Basement Jams, 2014)

Feed The Beast was one of those EPs that actually reminded me that I like house music, as opposed to just reasons why I might. Marquis Hawkes has been the most regular feature on Glaswegian imprint Dixon Avenue Basement Jams, and he releases on DABJ once again with a record packed full of funk-flavoured house cut for club use. “Let’s Do It” begins with the throwback sample, yet it’s the bassline which trails a light piano progression that steals the show. It manages to be uplifting without being patronising, positive without feeling forced or cheesy. Coloured in with cowbell sections and the vocal reprise, “Let’s Do It” is an eviction notice for the wall, it’s time to get loose.

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