Seattle duo Lou-Lou return to the recorded realm with another homespun charmer of a CD-R, this one titled Running with Sir. The prolific sonic playground of Ryan and Sarah Tranum (with help from longtime collaborator Alan Gutierrez), Lou-Lou continue to explore their peculiar vein of bedroom electronica with a kind of shuttered-from-the-outside-world single-mindedness.
As with previous Lou-Lou releases like Annie's Bitter Gut and Bad Puppy, Running with Sir balances cute, miniaturist electro-pop song structures with atmospheres that toggle between gently ominous and whimsically unhinged. There's darkness aplenty here, but it's tinged with a winking neon light that exposes the human inside the monster costume.
"A Minute Intro" leads you into Running with Sir via a sprightly, quirky electro miniature that recalls the cuteness of the roster of former Seattle label Slabco. "You'll Never See Me Again" places Sarah's sweet, demure vocals over an off-kilter species of lugubrious, spectral triphop. The title track takes hauntology to the Residents' residence. "Juggernaut Jukebox" consists of slapstick, madcap electro that moves at a swift, clown-car clip, but with surprising funk in its trunk. Both parts of "Excuse Me Sir or Ma'am, Whatever the Case May Be" are superbly chilling excursions into downtempo disorientation, gently disturbing yet strangely appealing. "Post Bitter Gut" closes the disc with some subzero gamelan eeriness, nudging you into the microscopic, mad otherworldliness of Bügsküll's Phantasies and Senseitions. Once again, Lou-Lou assert their uniqueness on the local electronic-music grid.
On a much different tip, Portland-via- Kansas City DJ/producer Ben Tactic—who is half of the Tactic group with ex-Seattleite Brent Lippincott—pushes extroverted club music of many gaudy stripes that lights the fuse to your synapses and joints with powerful insistence. A resident at the burgeoning Bubblin' monthly in Portland, Tactic moves with facility among dubstep, garage, UK funky, deep house, and bashment. 214 (Seattle's Chris Roman) is one of the city's foremost electro producers and DJs; his taste is impeccable and his tracks immaculately produced for maximum tactility and funkiness. Scratchmaster Joe will be returning from the DMC DJ Championships in Long Beach, California, so his turntable skills will be at their most potent. As Joe recently told Trent Moorman on Line Out, The Stranger's music blog, "Through scratching I create melody, rhythm, and percussion. My taste is diverse, and I collect virtually every genre of music. I have well over 5,000 records. Digging for records allows me to feel my way through sounds new and old. It makes it a process of intuition rather than intellect."
214, Ben Tactic, Scratchmaster Joe perform Fri May 28, Electric Tea Garden, 10 pm, 21+.