Antonelli: Boogie

Strategy: Pacific Agenda

Paul Dickow's in that sweet zone at the moment where everything released under the Strategy guise seems flecked with brilliance. His Dreck 12-inch, Pacific Agenda, sustains the glorious high of the recent kranky full-length, Future Rock, with two killer jams that achieve a live spontaneity that few of Dickow's brethren seem capable of matching. Sounding at times like a delirious throwdown recorded at a cowbell convention, “Pacific Agenda” stokes an impossibly funky backbeat groove of burbling keys and Rhodes chatter, while the B-side's “Julydub” tracks a double-time drum pulse alongside dub bass lines, gargantuan smears, and synths that sound like they're struggling to wrest free of a straitjacket for most of the tune's ten minutes. Impressive too is how effortlessly Dickow distills the library of music he's absorbed into material that references all of it—dub, soul, funk, techno, house—without pledging allegiance to any one genre in particular.

Dreck's other 12-inch, Boogie, by Antonelli (Italic co-founder Stefan Schwander aka Repeat Orchestra, Rhythm Maker, etc.) can't help but be overshadowed by the Strategy material but the Düsseldorf-based veteran of Background and A Touch of Class makes a strong impression of his own with two solid cuts. The A-side's house track, “Be, Bop and Boogie,” generates an uplifting, summery disco-funk vibe from staccato piano chords and a skipping, bass-addled groove. The flip's “Zabriskie” is much closer in brooding spirit to Schwander's Repeat Orchestra style: building from the alternation of dark shimmering chords, the track slowly gathers force with the accumulation of swinging beats, understated percussion flourishes, and synth punctuations and washes.

November 2007