Thursday, March 19, 2009

Blackbelt Andersen Takes Balearic To The Motor City

Though the whole Balearic scenario has left me in a state of advanced disinterest, especially in relation to its current manifestation, — Why isn’t Chris Rea revered, or Mister Mister for that matter?— schmooveness of a Shcandinavian ilk, or so many beards, so little time, I do have a little ting for Danny Blackbelt Andersen’s self-titled debut rekkid. He most definitely deals in the same kind of breezy electro fare that has become a staple sound for the likes of Prins Thomas — on whose label he records — and Lindstrøm, but adds a little techno flair to it.

And when I say techno I mean Detroit techno, not the current glut of funkless, melody free, software demo music that we have been inundated with for too long, in fact I’m always amazed by the tendency to intellectualize about music that doesn’t really do anything that interesting or musical, call it the emperor’s new clothes of music. That said, local minimal techno maven Roman Stange needs to get his stuff out to a larger audience. It’s nasty, funky and heady stuff and I want to hear it very, very loud!!

Back to Blackbelt Andersen already. His album is a melodic sojourn in a Balearic place that is smitten with early phase Detroit techno. So what you get are nice chunky, chewy bass lines, pitch bendy strings, à la classic Derrick May, and the kind of warm, alien textures that Carl Craig used to trade in before he became the “very long remix that does the same thing forever and then changes a bit near the end and then goes back to doing the same thing” purveyor.

We know Carl’s from Detroit and a certain amount of adulation is warranted (god knows I’ve done my fair share) but please take us back to the mystery and funk injected abstraction of BFC and Psyche. Sorry, but even though The Juan MacLean and the DFA posse will wax endlessly about Carl’s mix of “Falling Up,” it was good but it was no “Elements” or “Galaxy” or "Domina" remix. I’m not trying to be a purist, but I love Detroit techno, obsessed on it and collected it forever and then edited XLR8R’s techno section when the genre wasn’t cool in SF. My techno standards are high and I hate being minimally lulled into herd-like acceptance.

Mr. Andersen takes that sense of motor city mystery, the sound ringing in Johnny Gambit’s ears as he policed Cabaret 7, and rivets it onto his Nordic/Cosmic vehicle. The results are very pleasant and the whole album listens very nicely, has a few decent dance floor cuts but sounds better in headphones while on the sofa or on the beach (with Chris Rea per’aps). If you like pretty electronic music it’s a must and if you want to romanticize and remember the old techno or scheme the next wave of galactic robot music it will come in handy for that too.


No comments: