Party platters and last-minute deals

A party given on Friday exposed some truths:

1. Non-aficianados will scoff at the Stones, but once the record settles in, even the nerds sing along.

2. Norweigan Kim Hiorthay’s Hei (Small Town Supersound, 2000) is a great party record. At first it cries out for classification as “toy” drum & bass – think Casio tones and Fisher-Price xylophones accenting fleet, high-end beats – but after a while it is so much more. This guy is a genius.

3. When it’s late and everyone who really cares has gone home, the average types will put on Kid A, get stoned and be content with the basics.

Now more truths:

It was erroneously reported in this column last week that the 75 percent-off sale at Ozone began last Sunday. How disappointing it was to realize the mistake. Nonetheless, it was pleasing to find a few things that were well worth paying half-price for on Sunday.

The real winner turned out to be an LP by Parisian duo Bumcello (Comet Record/Dicograph, 2001). Somehow we passed this record up countless times before taking the chance, and how pleased we were when we did.

When a band’s sound is characterized as mixing drum & bass sounds with those of world music, the tendency is to roll the eyes, expecting to hear an Islamic chant over speedy breakbeats. Bumcello steers way clear of this. Utilizing all sorts of percussion sounds and a somehow non-grating electrified cello, drummer-vocalist Cyril Atef and cellist Vincent Segal grab the ear and don’t let go. They have just enough French pop sensibility to let you know that they are French, without going overboard into the campy zone.

Germanic sextet Bergheim 34’s self-titled debut LP (First Love, 1998) offers up some tepid minimalist techno instrumentation. The best track here is “Lights Out,” a lo-fi electric brood, with a nice, slow distorted bass sound. It is the most progressive of all the tracks, and makes it worth listening to the whole disc (it comes at the end).

One disc that was somehow passed over by the hordes that have swept through Ozone during January is Groenland Orchester’s Trigger Happiness (Staubgold, 1999). This Cologne duo, consisting of Reznicek (aka Nova Huta) and Jyrgen Hall, gets more emotion out of their music machines than just about anybody. They easily move from frenzied robo-inspiration to a warm buoyancy that will melt any technocrat’s heart, working a magic that seems culled straight from outer space.

Also not-to-be missed (though out-of-stock at Ozone for months now) is Groenland’s Neurobic (Staubgold, 2000). Even better, check out Hall’s spin-off release under the moniker Gunter Adler, 15 Electronic Pieces (Staubgold, 1999). This CD’s opening track, “Brussels,” opens up into the beautiful, lilting synth piece “Gatebourg.” That sends shudders up the spine, it is so playful, yet true. Don’t ever say there’s no emotion in electronic music until you’ve heard a sampling of music from Cologne.

Another stalwart from that German city is Philippe Cam, whose music helped lay the foundation for what would come to be known as “the Cologne sound.” Still available at Ozone on Sunday was a 12″ single we picked up just because it was there. This is repetitive, minimalist bleep-and-bloop type stuff that seems to go nowhere until you realize your ears are unpeeling layers not apparent in the first five minutes of any given 20-minute track.