Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Dance, little sister

Posted By on Wed, Aug 23, 2006 at 12:00 AM

Densely packing 71 micro-edited tracks, loops and effects into a 78-minute mix, ex-Detroiter Magda (Magdalena Chojnacka) reshapes material by various artists into something all her own. She's a Dancing Machine, her first full-length release on Windsor's Minus, takes its cue from label founder Richie Hawtin, whose recent work has helped blur the line between the art of a DJ's performance and technical production of electronic music. On last year's DE9: Transitions, Hawtin used studio hardware and Ableton Live software to sync together more than 180 tracks into a seamless, continuous 96-minute piece much greater than the sum of its parts. In a similar vein, Magda begins and ends her mix on Machine with spacey, ambient tech-house from Italian up-and-comers Duoteque, in between working a funky, minimal disco-shuffle that hits and runs through barely recognizable tracks by Ricardo Villalobos, Robert Babicz, Dinky, Matt John, Onur Ozer and other club artists of the moment. She weaves in fragments of her own songs — "Black Leather Wonder," "Staring Contest" — and those of label mates Marc Houle, Heartthrob, Gaiser, Berg Nixon, Troy Pierce and Hawtin's Plastikman to complete a program both playful and hypnotic. Dancing Machine shows off Magda's gifts as a DJ and producer. She strips and breaks down beats, allows the music within to rise and fall, then reassembles mutant sounds even more alien than those she started with. Finally, when you're disoriented and unsure where Magda will take you next, it's time to get up and dance.

Walter Wasacz writes about music for Metro Times. Send comments to letters@metrotimes.com.

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