INTEGRIER DICH DU YUPPIE
A COLOURFUL STORM | 12" | £8.99
You know it's 2018 when the best dnb record of the month is also a conceptual petrol-bomb railing against the accelerated gentrification of Berlin. Blimey, it's a far cry from 'Da Bass II Dark'...but also maybe not...resistance, isn't that the thing...?
Picking up where last year's Here Comes A Fucking Startup Campus left off, Integrier Dich Du Yuppie ("Integrate Yourself, You Yuppie") draws attention to the recent sale of the Uferhallen building - a 20,000 sq ft, hitherto city-owned artists' studio complex in Wedding - to a group of venture capitalists (for €30 million) promising "cautious development". Putting aside the obvious point that artists are always the true harbingers of gentrification, unwittingly scouting out ground for the start-ups and tech outfits who usher in Babylon, it's not hard to get behind Mark here...London is gone, done, there's hardly fuck-all left to save (just memories, and most of them not ours), but the battle for Berlin's soul is ongoing, and hasn't been lost...yet.
Anyway, don't worry, the lecture begins and ends with the title and artwork (love how the guys on the cover look like they could work for a private equity firm, sure, but could also plausibly be some !K7-signed jazz-tronica trio from the mid-2000s.) The music itself is direct and unpretentious: dread, stripped jungle-techno rollers, schooled in the old ways but totally contemporary sounding; dyed-in-the-wool darkside but lithe and light on their feet - anyone into Pessimist, vintage Photek/SD or Christoph de Babalon's Grim Zenith, should be all over this. The bleepy, controlled menace of 'Samwers In Der Uferhallen' is the highlight for us, while the gloomy industrial ambient of '...Careful development without haste' is nothing if not compelling - the sickening groaning girder sound of construction and investment and PROGRESS.
PLAYING IT COOL AND PLAYING IT RIGHT
BASIC REPLAY | LP | £14.99
Re-press! Basic Replay's long-out-of-print reissue of this full-length classic from the Ghetto Dentist: the dense, digressive and thoroughly zoned Playing It Cool And Playing It Right, recorded with Bullwackies and released in '81 on Joint International in the States. Like Flesh Of My Skin Blood Of My Blood, it's about as close as reggae comes to psychedelia, Hudson's disarmingly funky phrasings fractured and dissolved into cyclical, darkly sensuous dub excursions that have an almost Fourth World quality about them (served well by Moritz von Oswald's mastering). Just phenomenal...every home needs a copy of this.
LA CONTRA OLA: SYNTH WAVE AND POST PUNK FROM SPAIN 1980-86
BONGO JOE | 2LP | £22.99
You might well ask: do I need any more cold wave / post-punk / minimal synth comps in my life? Course you don't! But if you still can't resist - and frankly the immaculate 'dos those cover girls are sporting was all it took to reel us in - you will be very handsomely rewarded by this amazing 2LP. Often with these sorts of comps you tolerate a load of half-arsed tape-music/proto-industrial filler because there's two or three un-Pop KILLERS on there that you need, but La Contra Ola has been put together not just with historical expertise but also a firm eye on quality control - steering well clear of the aforementioned noisy blah, and of the dull-as-dishwater darkwave that Spain produced no shortage of in the early-mid 80s - focussing instead on more idiosyncratic, less generic stuff, with electronics clearly foregrounded.
Whether by accident or by design, the tunes on here to me sound so much more interesting than the by-now-canonical Belgian/Dutch/French MW classix.. there's a wildness (dare I say "latin flair"?!) to the songs and the performances, the instrumentation and arrangements are is dense and weird and unpredictable but invariably PARTY-minded. I don't think it's the case that Spanish post-punk at large was better than any other country's, but the track selection here is so good that it really makes it seem that way. Sometimes it just comes down to what's under the hood: cut any act on here, even the most synth-centric or dubbed-out (check Derribos Arias's mad ricocheting percussion work-out 'A Fluor'), and they would bleed rock'n'roll...check out Zombies' nervy surf-punk curio 'Extranos Juegos' - sounds like Cramps armed with a drumbox and a Polysix. Esplendor Geometrico are the . best known act included: their well-worn but still scintillating proto-electroclash, mecha-billy banger 'Moscu Esta Holado' is a perfect, signal opener.
CHRISTOPH DE BABALON
IF YOU'RE INTO I'M OUT OF IT
CROSS FADE ENTER TAINMENT [CFET] | 2LP | £19.99
"If you're gonna go out... go out like a mothafucker." Christoph De Babalon's manic-depressive avant-junglist masterpiece reissued! Clearly recognisable as something pretty special when it first came out on Digital Hardcore in 1997, If You're Into It I'm Out Of It has only grown in stature in the 20 years since, and today its bleakly Teutonic, anti-establishment/anti-self/anti-you breakbeat abstractions sound nothing short of visionary. It's now obvious that the Hamburg producer's claustrophobic, Isolationist (nigh-on suicidal) take on dnb - combining hectic Amen choppage (so hectic, at times, that you'd have to say it has as much to do with breakcore as it does with UK jungle proper) with droning industrial textures and passages of supremely paranoid, bombed-out ambience - laid the groundwork for a huge swathe of contemporary fare from Demdike Stare, Pessimist, tnc6, Raime, Kareem, Mark etc, and represents a form of cold futurism that will never truly date. This beautifully presented 2LP edition comes via CDB's own CFET label, and hot on the heels of last year's Grim Zenith 12" for Vis (which confirmed what didn't need confirming: badman.) ESSENTIAL.