Elektro Guzzi: Cashmere EP

Stefan Goldmann: Remasters Vol. 2

Macro enters 2013 in fine style with two twelve-inch releases from long-time associates Stefan Goldmann and Elektro Guzzi.

The Cashmere EP is classic Elektro Guzzi: three tracks that gloriously showcase the trio's singular “live techno” sound. The dramatic title cut stokes cool fire with a bass-and-drum groove that's so kinetically tight it feels ready to burst and a series of guitar-generated figures that lend the track an ominous foreboding. A hint of dubstep infuses “Crack Fox” in its incorporation of bass wobble but otherwise the piece is pure Elektro Guzzi, especially in the way it uses six-string textures and an intricate, hi-hat-coloured drum pulse to tackle its steady ascent to euphoria. In an inspired twist, the group ends the release with a “Reverse Mix” of “Cashmere” that folds the original inside-out by reversing the arrangement and re-building the track, resulting in an epic slow-burner that's clearly connected to its parent yet holds up equally well as a dynamic stand-alone. One comes away from the EP thinking of the trio as a single, six-armed entity, its members telepathically conjoined in their shared undertaking.

Remasters Vol. 2, which updates Stefan Goldmann's very first (and long out-of-print) release from 2001 with a remaster by Dubplates & Mastering's Rashad Becker, retains the playful quirkiness of Goldmann's recent 17:50 full-length while also departing from it stylistically. Whereas the album's material is heavily indebted to pitch-bending and the Chalga musical tradition, the EP opts for a sound that's straight-up raw and funky. That's especially audible in the opener, “Closing In,” which plays like some in-studio jam involving Thrust-era Herbie Hancock and Bootsy Collins—think jazzy synth stabs butting heads with a slinky bass pulse while a funky house pulse percolates merrily down below. Silky smooth, “Gee Baby” struts and grooves with a blithe, after-hours spirit while finding room to slip an aquatic, Kraftwerk-styled squiggle in amongst its jaunty flow, after which Goldmann perpetuates that late-night vibe with a stripped-down 2013 edit of “Read That Lips” that skips breezily. His idiosyncratic take on techno and house provides an always refreshing departure from the norm, and Goldmann's signature imagination is as evident in these early tracks as it is in his most recent output.

March 2013