What is this we in the title of Rajko Müller's sophomore full-length under the name Isolée? Does Müller roll in the royal plural? Whatever the reason, we're ecstatic to be inundated with Müller's cloisters of detuned inner voices. Even as songs progress with the resolute oscillations of Chicago house, they digress into orotund dovetails adhering Krautrock and Kompakt techno to flitting eight-bar excursions with pliable chord progressions.
Jamie Lidell: Multiply
Many artists have long touted electronic composition's ability to submerge their humanity, and about 100 albums that sound like whales with metallic penises performing cervical calligraphy come out every year. Jamie Lidell's sophomore full-length stands out by wholly embracing the opposite end of the spectrum, sounding like a reverent, soul-crooning tribute to mid-'60s Motown and Stax. Only later do you begin to recognize the nuances of the mischievous, intricate embroidery threaded throughout Lidell's silky façade. This digitally flecked funk is about strutting elation as much as it's about Princely vamping electronics.
Ellen Allien: Thrills
Cranes like watchtowers dotted the Berlin of the '90s, and these uneven (re)building blocks contributed to the music of many German producers such as Bpitch Control label head Ellen Allien. Allien's third full-length exhibits a similar uneasy tug, swept by nervy synths atop cleft percussion. Melancholic and overdriven, existing between the Bpitch label's splenetic and kinetic strains of techno and electro, Thrills sometimes seems more concerned with headroom than main room. Yet Allien's frosty austerity never overwhelms the CD's galvanic, sweat-beaded contortions.
Dominik Eulberg: Kreucht & Fleucht
For every musical genre, there is a formative tipping point; an album that says almost more about the movement than it does about actual, well, movement. Kreucht & Fleucht, a digitally etched double-CD mix by German producer Dominik Eulberg, may well be that collection for "ketaminimal" house. Two discs (their titles loosely translated as Crawling and Flying) feature Alex Smoke, TrentemTimesller, Nathan Fake, Robag Wrume, Luciano and Wighnomy Bros. The mix explores the phantasmagorical state of German underground dance, a haunted friction of clarity and clatter.
The unflagging hype directed toward M.I.A.'s debut boded well for the crushworthy Sri Lankan. Was the wait worth it? Well, for anyone curious enough, there was no wait; M.I.A.'s mangled dancehall hooks were widely distributed on mixes such as Diplo's 2004 Piracy Funds Terrorism well before the Honda ads disseminated the globalist rebel revelry (and then diluted it). For those relying on traditional channels, Arular's electro mélange ended up being highly useful as a multiculti primer during a year in which the phrases baile funk, reggaeton and Baltimore club entered the mass audience's lexicon .