DiscoEx Archive: 3Z #7: You Schaeffel, I'll Cut the Decks

A Disco Ex Machina Re-shaeffel, Minimal Danish Muslim Dance Music and the Great Michigan Drum Pattern Compromise:
Download 3Z-7 here. (10 MB MP3)
Liquid Liquid -
“Bell Head”
(Liquid Logan Re-Shaeffel)

Disco Ex-clusive!
So we start with my own hasty but tasty re-edit, which I’ve wanted to do for a while. Anyone who’s witnessed my disco sets knows that the live drumming thing is a lot of fun, but it can be the bane of my existence when I’m trying to really work it live. But I’m quite fond of mixing the stuff, so I appreciate re-edits that quantize the music without sacrificing the character of the music. Detroit electro masters Ectomorph have made a nice little stream of records called “Secret Mixes and Fixes” on which do some blazing reworks (check out #4’s Prince “Controversy” re-edit — Aireon 51 knows what I’m talking about) while also fixing some disco/electro/techno classics to be more mixable. Liquid Liquid’s “Bell Head” has always been such a track for me: such raw drum-crazy disco-not-disco power but with huge groove drifts and weird timing; the only re-edit I have (DJ Harvey’s, ironically, from 1998 on Mo’Wax) is lamentably sub-par and does not actually fix the tempo. Since then, Liquid Liquid have re-formed at the behest of Glaswegian club duo Optimo and NY nu-disco impresarios DFA. And they’ve recorded a bad-ass version of “Bell Head”, which you can get me for christmas next year. This is not that version. This, instead, is my own attempt to make the original Bell-Head into an entirely different kind of mixing challenge: a shaeffel track. Fans of the Kompakt label and plenty of other recent minimal records from Deutchland have probably heard the style — it’s Gary [perv] Glitter’s “Rock and Roll Pt. 2″ rhythm applied to techno. It’s damned catchy, triplet-based stuff that’s blowing up a drum machine and a dancefloor near you.
Ibn Al-Khimiya -
“Conference Of The Birds”

Buy it @ Dancerecords.com
Ibn Al-Khimiya isn’t the name you’d generally associate with minimal techno, but that’s what I love about techno- it crosses these borders completely without a hint of self-consciousness. Of course, the border is the one between Germany and Denmark, as the shaeffel beat migrates northward from its origin. Mr. Al-Khimiya may be one of those lucky Muslim Danes who find themselves in a peculiar position right now, residing in a country which has been attacked mercilessly for a cartooned offfense against Islam. Perhaps this record will salve the restless world before we lose all right to free expression? This track, “Conference Of The Birds” isn’t the A-side, which is a minimal tech-house stormer with a sound that could be 1994, could be 2006, so classic are the synths. But it don’t mean a thing if it ain’t got that swing, and I’ll likely get more mileage out of this B-side as long as I like challenging funk. The label is Out of Orbit and it’s showing some real promise as purveyor of a sound that’s a bit more bombastic than your average minimal dancefloor music: let’s call it medial instead of minimal.
Audion -
“The Great Compromise”

Buy it Direct from Ghostly
Across the ocean meanwhile, Michigander Matthew Dear is all about challenging the funk. His minimal techno-pop records were quite the sensation the last couple of years, and “Dog Days” is a fat beated bomb (Symbio knows what I’m talking about), but I think the real story is the material he releases as Audion. These are some seriously fucked-up techno records, more manimal than minimal, with exceedingly rude titles (”Titty Fuck” is on this EP) and even ruder synth sounds and beats. I’m fully enchanted by this instrumental side of Mr. Dear and I wish when I saw him play live opening for Miss Kittin he’d played this kind of thing more. I swear I messed with this track about 20 times before I discovered what the hell is going on - it opens with a way-slowed down shaeffel beat that’s practically unmixable even with like-tempo material because it’s off kilter and loops on six beats instead of 4. But I think with the right pairing this track will give dancers three broken legs. It’s called “The Great Compromise” and indeed, as it switches things up midway through the cut and begins heading directly for your four-to-the-floor tech-funk jugular, you realize that Dear has pulled off a beatwise compromise so nice Henry Clay is getting jealous.

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