Beats In Space / A Personal Top Ten

Beats In Space is ceasing operations. It was announced around a month ago that Tim Sweeney and Co. would end their run of hugely influential radio shows, but yesterday came the news that the label would also close.

What can you say about the radio show other than it was an institution. Running for 21 years! 20 fucking 1!!! There can be no arguing from any quarter that the broadcasts built a global community, helped keep underground dance music, in all shapes and sizes, fresh, and without a doubt inspired countless others to attempt to do the same. When they had guest slot coups, like DJ Harvey, prices of dusty vinyl drops and plays would go through the roof overnight, and promos would become hyped, super hot property. Being on the show yourself was such an accolade, for sure a sign that you’d finally made it (I of course, never was, never did : ) You’ll find the final shows on Soundcloud.

When I read that the radio show was stopping I assumed that Tim was gonna re-focus solely on the label, but sadly its appears that`s not the case. When I contacted Tim he told me not to worry, that new ventures were afoot and soon to be announced. He said it was important to keep moving. 

Beats In Space are currently holding a final sale – care of close friends RVNG Itnl.  where you can purchase parts of the BIS catalogue at discount prices. I thought I`d take this chance to say a huge, huge “Thank you”, make a few recommendations by picking a  personal top ten. 

Paradis / La Ballade De Jim / 2011

The label`s debut release set the bar high with the super slick synth-pop of Paradis, aka French duo, Simon Mény et Pierre Rousseau. Electronic bass bumping, machines discreetly swinging behind a cool, love lorn, croon. Pierre’s solo outing, Musique Sans Paroles, from 2020, is also well worth a punt. 

Tornado Wallace / Desperate Pleasures / 2013

This wasn’t the Antipodean ace`s first release, but it was the first I`d heard of him. Desperate Pleasures seemed to come out of nowhere, and I remember it taking both me and Paul at Test Pressing off guard. Its contemporary kosmische leapt out to be shouted about – from the Amazonian twilight of the title track, accompanied by Ashra-esque axe work and acidic analog arcs, to the melodic marimbas and tumbling chimes of the cinematic Space Tropics. 

Selvagem – Nada – 2013

As with Tornado Wallace, I don’t think we`d heard of Selvagem before – the Sao Paulo duo obviously going to on to considerable success, both together – with their “wild”, wild parties, and then individually – Augusto Olivani / Trepando launching Selva Discos with Optimo; Millos Kaiser compiling Onda de Amor for Soundway and establishing the local audiophile bar, Caracol. This 12 of edits contains a Portuguese pump of Donna Summer`s I Feel Love, the sleazy Shake, and the party-starting (trust me I’ve tried it) Nada, which loops, phases and expertly extends Rolando Reseda`s E Novamente Mas Que Nada (of course, I didn’t know that at the time). 

Hidden Fees / So What / 2014 

I recently posted about infamous NYC hotspot, The Mudd Club, and wondered out loud what kind of music the post-punk shrine would play if it were open today. This – from DJ Ivan Berko and Thomas Gluibizzi – one time member of Psychic Ills –  without a doubt would be one of the tunes getting a regular spin. At the time, Paul described it as “The Stones on E”, which is pretty much perfect. I remain the more verbose one. 

House Of Spirits / Keep Holding On / 2014

Music enthusiast extraordinaire, Superior Elevation`s Tom Noble, teams up with psychedelic seers Peaking Lights. The original mix is full band, fully strung, and fully sung, dance floor gospel gold – sharing something with Ze Records` mutant disco groove. While it`s far from straight forward, hold on to your hats `cos the dub`s a real doozy. With delayed congas, and echoed everything, the orchestra gets isolated and the drums are sent spinning in crashing colliding orbits. The backing singers get locked on the phrase “the lord he giveth, the lord he taketh away” – turning it into a mind-bending mantra. The whole thing shaken and shocked by mixing desk effects. A mirrorball free-fall, free-for-all, moment for those who adhere to the legend, Love Saves the Day. Imagine a Black Ark-era Lee Perry laying waste to Studio 54, The Gallery, and The Garage. At the time of release I described it as “the best new disco record you’ll hear all year.” When I raved on to Tom, he promised that there was an album and accompanying dub LP on the way. I’ve no idea what happened. 

E Ruscha V / Who Are You? / 2017

Mr. Ruscha recorded for BIS early on – producing a plethora of dance floor pyschedelia under his Secret Circuit alias – but its this return to the label, after a 4 year hiatus, that`s the winner for me. Dropping the microdots for a milder, mellower, magic, mushroom brew. Masterfully mixing ambient, dub, electronica, and folk. 

Palmbomen II / Memories Of Cindy / 2018

The musical component of Kai Hugo`s multi-media public access TV parody / project – soundtracking his imaginary community of Carmel Vista. Classic Chicago house drum patterns undercutting the strange synthetic, saccharine Commodore Amiga 500 versioning of Twin Peaks. 

Anatolian Weapons / To The Mother Of Gods / 2019

Aggelos Baltas eschews the excellent EBM he’s licensed to the likes of Lurid Records, and supplies a smart set of drone and shimmer-soaked folk and psyche to support Seirios Savvadis` ethereal songs. 

Dukes Of Chutney / Hazel / 2020

A pukka prescription of dream pop and dub explosions produced by globe-trotting beatniks with machines for a generation raised on post-acid house. 

Dima Panyushin & Sasha Lipsky / Peshekhod / 2021

From Russia with love, a suite of 14 synth-pop shorts, stuffed full of found sounds and field recordings – from marching feet to radio announcements, sidewalk sirens, sampled crowds, cheers and applause. Juxtaposing temple gongs and rave riffs, racing robotic motorik, rock `n`roll, with computerized cabaret. Nature is the kind of burlesque show nod you might find hiding on a Haruomi “Tropical Dandy” Hosono LP. House (With An Attic) is suitably 4 / 4`d. Pigeon, complete with “cooing” birds, is a new beat stomp – a little bit crackers and a little bit cosmic. Think a more far out Falco. There are church bells and cowbells set dancing to slo-mo boogie. There are ballads with spoken word sections, monastic melodies, and epic aspirations. In some places the album is sorta psychedelic, in a Sgt. Pepper`s Lonely Hearts Club Band way. The bulk of it, though, is ZTT-esque, slapped basses and Fairlight fancies, at its most accessible perhaps on the eccentric electro, the clock-ticking, 808 bang and boom, of Chess. 

Don’t forget the Beats In Space sale over at RVNG Itnl. 

I don’t know what’s gonna happen to the BIS Bandcamp – but for now it`s still there. 

Beats In Space Closing Sale Poster

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