Amen to Zombie: March 26, 2010

In a world where experimental electronic music exponentially splinters into a multitude of rogue genres that slowly shuffle the globe from demilitarized dance floors to sleeper cell bedroom studios and back, a team of disparate scientists tracks this solanum-like pandemic while desperately trying to interpret cryptic field recordings of Samhain’s past, not one day at a time, but from Amen to Zombie


This marks the last entry for the Bs.  It has been a long — and some would say fruitful — passage through the sinuous curves of the Bs.  And, absolutely, I’m trying to make a boob joke here.  So to wrap it all up for the second letter of our alphabet, let’s take a look at some of the albums up for grabs on Juno.  This last time around I guess I’ll just go ahead and put up all the links to the Juno release pages so that you can click away and check out the music that I’m so fond of blabbing about.  I’ll just say a few things about what’s up with the releases and then let the music do the talking.

Notable Releases

Black Sun Empire - Cruel & UnusualBlack Sun EmpireCruel & Unusual

I’ve talked a bit about BSE in a previous A to Z and here’s a good way to get a bunch of cuts from them that don’t suck.  This release is a 4-piece vinyl.  I don’t usually tell non-heads/DJs to grab d&b albums on vinyl, but you get what you need and no unnecessary mixed CD like in so many other d&b packaged albums.  “Masquerade” is a stand out track.

Blame - Two RevolutionsBlameTwo Revolutions

Kind of a shocker here.  Old head Blame still holds his own with an old-ish release on the influential 720 Degrees label.  Not an album, but a compilation of some nice Drum Funk and “intelligent” cuts on the label.  This time a 3-piece vinyl.  By the way: buy more vinyl.  Especially these old releases from the late 90s/early 00s.  It’s nice to listen to the production on the tops and tails of tunes when it’s done right.  Usually they get chopped or mixed when you buy electronic music compilations.  Also know as mixed CDs.  Boo to that shit.

9th Wonder EP, mixed by Breakage9th Wonder EP – mixed by Breakage

Except when you have a mixed CD that’s mixed by someone who knows how to mix a CD for home listening.  Dieselboy comes to mind.  Most of the mixed CDs you get will make the error of trying to recreate the way a club set works.  Breakage does a nice job of balancing tempos and moods with his mix.  The first CD nicely brings together a label showcase of Progress and includes some hard to find cuts from their LTD sub-label.

Breakage is also worth a specific mention here, in that he just released his new album Foundation.  I’ve given it a few listens and I’m not entirely sure it’s that good.   Everyone’s zoomed in on the Burial co-lab.  It’s way hyped right about now so I decided to not include it in a list of some things that would get you used to the idea of listening to d&b.  And it’s mostly a dubstep thing.

Blu Mar Ten - Natural HistoryBlu Mar TenNatural History

Now, before anyone says that the link above is broken, they sold out of the CD of Natural History and the link is to two bonus tracks from the album.  That being said, this album is very musical and absolutely showcases the producers’ talent.  If you track down one album off of this list make in this one.  Blu Mar Ten are also old guard and have tons of releases.  This was put out last year; Blu Mar Ten has been releasing 12″s for I’m guessing 15 years and this is their first album proper.  And it does not disappoint.

There was two other things that were on the page from Bizzy B and a Good Looking comp called Earth 7.  Not albums in the true sense of the word but still worth checking out.  I think I stretched the limits of an “album review” entry enough by including the Progress and 720 Degrees comps.  But it does illustrate a good point and gives you a rule of thumb.  Good d&b albums are few and far between.  Also, if an album has an unmixed as well as mixed CD that goes with it, don’t bother.  The mixed CD is there to filter out all the crap that only DJs require from the unmixed versions of the songs.  And you don’t want to pay double for some shit that the very people who are putting out the music are saying is 75% unnecessary to listen to.  Of course there are exceptions, but very few.  If you can go for the vinyl of an album, do that.  You usually get the critical cuts and since they’re kind of pricey to sell to the public (five pieces of vinyl can sometimes be like seventy bones) that serves as a filter for half baked b-sides.  Onwards to C!

So it Goes