...Ho-Tu...6k...Jenny Mae...Jessica Bailiff...
...MotorPlant...DJ HipE and Red Void...Fatboy Slim...Genuine...

Ho-Tu / self-titled / Ho-Tu (CASS)

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What HO-TU isn't: slick looking -- it's recorded on a store-bought cassette with computer-printed labels and booklet. It's also not slickly recorded -- we're talking low-end Fostex, if that. What HO-TU is: a wonderful, delightful change after stacks and stacks of Pearl Jam soundalikes and Green Day wannabes. The steady drum beats and simple, driving guitar owe more to punk rock a la Joy Division than any flavor of the month, and the songs don't all sound alike. Presumably Erik, Karen and Tex all contribute vocals, but Karen's high-pitched trill is good for an aural double-take, too. I'll take a tape like this over a flashy by-the-numbers release any day. -- gz

6K / Mythology EP / Mindfield Records (12")

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Throbbing bass is the foundation for this Edinburgh, Scotland duo's sonic attack, as these drum and bass tracks are sure to physically move your internal organs upon your initial auditory ingestion. Along with a standard Detroit feel and pulsating rhythms, the adequately placed dripping keyboard drops on side A display the brilliant ability of 6K's finagling of standard IDM into their own distinctive style that breathes independently of most techno. -- am

Jenny Mae / A New World Record / American Pop Project (7")

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A-Side "Dairy Boy" is low-fi, low-tech trip hop, with live drums, almost adult-contemporary piano/keyboard melody and whucka-whucka guitars backing Jenny Mae's ultra-breathy vocals. "Drapes (Megamix)" is poppier, while "I'd Do The Same For You" cuts its melancholia with a sprawling, raw and unexpected guitar solo that took me completely by surprise. Another great bit o' wax from AmPOP. -- gz

Jessica Bailiff / Even In Silence / Kranky (CD)

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On Even In Silence, thick textures of feedback accompany delicate guitar melodies and Jessica Bailiff's ethereal voice. The album (recorded with Alan Sparhawk in Low's home studio, for those keeping score) is reminiscent of noise-pop stuff (read "Sonic Youth and Co."), though less punky, with longer, more slowly developing tracks -- in this sense perhaps more related to trance, but with minimal drums. It's compelling in its simplicity and hypnotic in the way that only extended, droning records can be. -- nw

MotorPlant / Inside the Walnut / Shiretown Records (CD)

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Another competent effort in the post-grunge alternapop loud rock department. Nice upbeat melodies, good recording quality, obvious musical skill, and I suspect MotorPlant is a pretty tight live band. Unfortunately, if you cornered me with a knife and demanded that I tell you what's unique about this disc, I'm afraid I'd end up getting stabbed. -- gz

DJ HipE & Red Void / Drop the Dance Music / Defective Records (12")

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Parceling out tidbits of retro-based loops and thick drum and bass tracks, these Central Floridians authenticate the use and engagement of recurrent samples tweaked via appropriate speed adjustments as a viable instrument. The repetition on these tracks provides a trance-inducing quality as they produce entertaining atmospherics. Designed for DJ's, this hip combination of old school breakbeat and futuristic stylings equals a finely produced 12". -- am

Fatboy Slim / The Rockafeller Skank /
Astralwerks (CD)

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Expectations are fairly high for Mr. Cook these days, and this first new single delivers in a radio-ready and ear-pleasing manner. "Rockafeller Skank" boasts a driving breakbeat, squelching keyboards, a sampled voice saying "Right about now...the funk soul brother" and some twangy, Duane Eddy-ish guitar loops (in fact, they almost sound like they were sampled from the Art of Noise's Eddy-fied cover of the Peter Gunn theme). There's also an abrupt slowdown and pace change at the midpoint -- it's sort of Big Audio Dynamitey. You get a short and a long mix, plus the funky "Always Read the Label" (in many ways superior to "Rockafeller") and the beatless 303 workout "Tweakers Delight". A pretty good deal, really. -- gz

Genuine / Nu Ambient Grooves / Ninetysix Sounds (CD)

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Genuine is the nom de guerre of Berlin dance musician/producer Chris Zippel, owner of the Chill Out Studio. This adjective describes his particular version of electro-ambient music to a "t". On Nu Ambient Grooves, old-school rhythms blend with liquid sound collages, resulting in subtle-yet-listenable tracks. Subtlety is, of course, the name of the game in chill-out music and Zippel's strength is to create mellowness that can also draw the listener in. -- nw

es - elliot s. | nw - noah wane | gz - george zahora | am - andrew magilow

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