With just a few days from the current year left, I’ve compiled a list of 20 albums from 2018 that I enjoyed this year. Among these I have to highlight the much anticipated Mutant Beat Dance debut album, the first ever album from Gerard Hanson under the E.R.P. project, a new Gerald Donald project and a compilation of unreleased Heinrich Mueller remixes, a Silent Servant follow-up on Hospital Productions, a very interesting Fred Ventura compilation of unreleased house tracks, a new Lebanon Hanover, the beautiful debut album of Curses, the impressive Eindkrak album and the debut album of the Romanian producer Șerb.
The list is compiled in chronological order.
Eindkrak – Brullend Staal [Unknown Precept]
Mutant Beat Dance has returned to Rush Hour. The debut album from renegade trio Mutant Beat Dance (Traxx, Beau Wanzer and Steve Summers) takes the wild and free sound of Chicago’s Music Box era into the 21st Century. Over 25 tracks the album mines an oft cited but rarely understood ground at the intersection of Post-Punk, Minimal Wave, Industrial, Disco Dub, EBM and proto-House / early-House. “Mutant Beat Dance.” is an epic journey into a classic American ideology that had its apex in Chicago. Traxx has been working on this concept in various forms throughout the last decade on release for Discos Capablanca, Rong Music, Hour House Is Your Rush Records, L.I.E.S. (Long Island Electrical Systems), Light Sounds Dark, Rush Hour and his own Nation label finally refining his concept into its most thoroughly developed explored on this the debut M.B.D album that was started in 2015. Mutant Beat Dance was originally a duo made up of Traxx, and self-described weirdo, Chicagoan Beau Wanzer. Given the scope of the new project it became logical and necessary to expand the unit to include its newest member Brooklyn based Steve Summers. Together this hard-working trio has completed an album with an enormous diversity of song styles unlike anything they have ever done before. Unique in its musical range and content from obscure electronics with subliminal messages to funk laden machine grooves, industrial soundscapes, Detroit dirge, cryptic ankle bitter anthems and beyond this is a genre-bending challenging epic of an album.
Traxx and Beau Wanzer team up for another Mutant Beat Dance release. Who know these Chicagoans are out to push music into a different realm every time they work… The Mutants call it Jakbeat, inspired by the early days of house music.
Four Tracks on this new Mutant Beat Dance EP Protagonists, Capitulo Finale, Low Life and The Fight. Obscure wave and Chicago in the blender.
Every 1st Tuesday of the month hot on the heels specializes in music that relies heavily on synthesizers and drum machines of the past without being genre specific and since this is the month of oozing wounds, Chicago Duo Mutant Beat Dance played evil, crazy scary themes to kick off october right and recorded thee entire evening IN FULL with the 1st 2 hours from Nation/MBD/Streetwalker artist; Beau Wanzer and the 2nd 2 hours from Nation/MBD/Saturn V artist; Traxx.
Strap in for this chapter of unrelentless bizzare trip of menacing material from everywhere in between.
While everyone was sleeping Mutant Beat Dance (the production duo of Chicago’s Traxx and Beau Wanzer) were in the studio cooking up something nasty. If you know these guys then you know they are out to push music into a different realm every time they work. On this 12″ we get two very different songs, the lead cut being driven by 727s, JX-3P bass, and some sampled horns which make this a driving and funky excursion bring you back to another time and place. Sketch III clocks in at around 110 bpms and drives on and on and on, plodding through the depths of your mind while conflicting voices (mis)guide you through your trip. Strictly for the freakz.
Fully Koded Chicagoians Traxx and Beau Wanzer team up for another Mutant Beat Dance release. Together they have produced arguably ‘the best 80s Chicago house record NOT made in the 80s. The Mutants call it Jakbeat, inspired by the early days of house music. ‘Let Me Go’ is as intense and rhythmically inclined as they come. Naughty Wood’s sparse vocals cry desperation, almost nearing insanity, which makes up for a pressure cooker like warehouse anthem. ‘Rottonfunk’ is another intense work out which has a killer groove and makes us wander off to the Promised Land (wherever that is).
Mutant Beat Dance is a collaboration between research scientist and vintage synthesizer enthusiast Beau Wanzer and pioneer of the jakbeat sound Traxx. ”Another World” takes you on a bass heavy psychedelic journey. Think old school psychedelic jakbeat with a bit of a Fingers vibe but more banging. On the flip is ”New News is Old News”, a deep and hypnotic analog track,sort of a more updated take on an 80’s industrial / italo sound.
DFA Records presents “Night Sky”, a track that grows and grown into an 13 minutes odyssey. The buzzy bottom end enters and expands before Russom’s vocals – alleyway dark and mysterious – make their way in. The song dips and dives, going from barebones synthesizers resting on organic percussion to explosive vocal choruses. The end reunites nearly every sound that made a previous appearance in an ensemble of ecstatic rhythms and noise. Mutant Beat Dance aka Beau Wanzer & Melvin Oliphant III, undo the original and transform it. There are so many new elements to be found here – a thick bassline, shuffling beat, wiry electro etchings, eerie washes of synths that swell unexpectedly and unannounced – it all makes for a collection of sounds that, thankfully, are head swimming in their unique and wonderful unpredictability.