Thursday, June 4, 2009
Case study: big-box festivals
One of the key symptoms of the appearance pie shrinking has been the dramatic increase in big-box festivals. Ten years ago, large-scale 'super' events would have relied on one or two big name internationals, with the other slots filled by local DJs. But as the number of tour-dependent internationals has skyrocketed, greater and greater numbers of interstates and internationals are corralled into one event. Here, dance music has pulled a Walmart; everyone is sheltering under the umbrella of scale: promoters distribute risk by diversifying their portfolio and increasing their own profile by marketing the whole she-bang as a branded lifestyle event (and appear to be doing quite well, thank you very much); ex production-based artists receive the income they would formerly have received from producing; while audiences addicted to names, brands and spectacles increasingly reluctant to go out (but for the appearance of their favourite international producer/DJ) now happily fork over a three figure sum on the prospect of seeing him or her—and a few other artists they're kinda keen on.
Big box events like this have come to represent "good value" for punters, promoters and producers, and they've been very lucrative for the X Van Ys of this world, but they show in miniature how networked computing has destroyed the profitability of electronic music production, undermined the local DJ scene and forced dance music to become almost completely dependent on practices that are profitable because of affordable civil aviation; they're are also, for the same reasons, disproportionately environmentally destructive and ultimately unsustainable.
The dominance of this model as the profitable one, and the thorough un-profitability of electronic music that is exploratory, ambient, dissonant or in anyway incompatible with dancing (pushing it from a cottage industry to a closet industry) has meant that many producers who formerly could have scraped a measly living out of non-standard music have been forced to either adapt to the big box, surrender any hope of profit, or shelter in academia and government-subsidised sound art scenes—notice the evaporation of chill out rooms and the other small niches that supported those wee spaces for weird music. If you're a producer and you like both modes of music and are good at making 'em, this mightn't matter to you much. But if you are an electronica savant with dubious social skills, no interest in live appearances and a hatred of flying, sunglasses or VIP lanyards, you'll have some tough knobs to chew on, in your ample spare time.
Local DJs—those who don't produce—now find it more and more difficult to get high quality gigs, missing out on opportunities to build their profile without recourse to production. In all but a handful of cities (Berlin, London, New York), this has hollowed out the local scene, driven the over-production of mediocre tracks and labels, and forced a lot of talented people who are exclusively DJs to look for other work. These are sociological issues to ponder and questions of personal life choices for DJs and producers, but they pale in comparison to the third factor, the environmental question.
Thoughts on this forthcoming. Depressing, though, isn't it?
Friday, May 22, 2009
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
Wednesday, April 29, 2009
Sunday, April 26, 2009
MONDAY APRIL 27, 2009
Sonotheque, 1444 West Chicago Ave
9:00 pm • $5
Video program and musical performances
(I'll be doing an Ableton set before/between/after all the performances, all night. Have some v. special stuff planned, hope you can make it out.)
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
Been stuck inside my head ever since hearing a v. interesting mix this weekend. Was considering purchasing a copy on Discogs when I realized that I already have the record - for some reason I overlooked this song in a big way, or it's just been that long since I've picked it up that I completely forgot about it. Either way, this seems to happen to me a lot, and it's annoying - I would have totally brought this with me to Phyllis' on Sunday and played it like five times, just like I wanted to do (but ultimately didn't) with "S-S-S-Single Bed."
Speaking of Phyllis', here are some lists.
Tracks I did play: Liars, "Broom"; some Will Oldham song that's way better on Youtube/the radio than it is in studio; Imagination, "Just an Illusion (Lindstrøm Vocal Edit)"; the whole 9+ minutes of Neil Young's version of "Down by the River"; "Jeepster"; "Dead Souls" (Still version); and I can't recall what else, but not much, really.
Things I wanted to play but didn't / forgot to: "Seen All Good People"; "Going Mobile"; "Sunrain"; "The Precise Temperature of Darkness"; "Take a Chance"; and this way out Circulus song.
Point: the set that didn't happen seems a lot more interesting / fun than the one that did.
Monday, April 20, 2009
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
The day has come!
It`s Judgement Day!
In the North:
Computers are taking over the world.
In the East:
Humans are becoming slaves to their own creations.
In the South:
People are running for their lives.
In the West:
You have to choose!
You can run, or you can hide!
You can talk, or you can fight!
Everything you say, can and will be used against you...
So shut up and dance!!!
Whether you`re in the North, East, South or West...
Everything you say, can and will be used against you...
North, East, South, West!
Ok, so this is obviously from the same show, but it's the only other footage I could find, so I guess I'm at least somewhat wrong about point #3, above.
That said, I feel like some contradictions / oddities from the lyrics to "Judgement Day" should be pointed out here. I know what they say about glass houses and all, but still...
The North, where computers are apparently taking over the world, and the East, where humans are becoming slaves to their creations, sound like they're having similar issues, computers being man-made and all.
What, in fact, are the people in the South running from? A bit of detail would go a long way toward securing my credulity, Devil Man.
And I guess the big issue here is, do we, as Westerners, have to look forward to other than a choice? I'm going to go ahead and assume that whatever we choose, we'll ultimately end up opting for "shut up and dance," but I wonder why this apparent world-wide plague has yet to reach an entire quadrant of the globe.
Four notes about this:
1. Do you ever get the feeling, when telling someone who's not "down," that you're into / dj techno, that this is among their immediate associations with the term? For me it's either this or "Firestarter."
2. Best comment:
3. The video is under four minutes. That's quite an elaborate stage setup for a four minute song. Do you think D-Devils had other songs that they played at this show, or was it just "Dance With The Devil" and fin.52772 (4 hours ago)I will rather hear gothic music!
4. What do you think these guys are doing now? Any chance they had something to do with Dubfire's remix of "Grindhouse Tool?"
(BONUS INSIDE JOKE)
5. I laughed not because I remember this song from the ads on B96 for haunted houses in Joliet, but because my initial thought was of Snooch.
Monday, April 13, 2009
Other records that arrived:
Others, "Take 1 / Take 2" [Musique Risquee]
Jichael Mackson, "Baff" [Hartchef Discos]
Minimono / Markus Fix, "Sweet Murmur / House in the House" [Love Letters from Oslo]
V/A, "Exchange Place" [Strength Music] (in my most humble opinion, easily one of the most overlooked records of 2008 - two tracks feature prominently in tite mixes from last year, Steffi's RA podcast and Norman Nodge's mnml ssgs set, but I don't recall reading much about the record, label, or artists beyond that. I could just be ign'ant, though - this is very likely.)
Woods 7" from Captured Tracks. Listen to the B-side, "The Dark," @ hypemachine.
Saturday, April 11, 2009
A few things I could go on and on about but won't, rather illustrating in brief: "bridging the gap"; the fact that this sets was done up on laptops, using Ableton, and how Pietro + Meier use the software to their advantage; how the setlist here illustrates "where we're at" in 2009, past + future classics.
Pietro + Meier join forces again this Tuesday @ Sonotheque, another 2 hour set warming up this time for Kode 9. Consider it a can't miss.
Jeff Pietro + Karl P. Meier. Lava. 13.2.09
82 min | 256 kbps | 150 mb
Exos - Begin (curved space edit) - Force Inc 208 - 2001
Basic Channel - Q1.1 (Edit) [warped loop] - BC04 - 1993
T++ - Audio1995#8_2 - Apple Pips 004 - 2008
Oz Artists - Matrix Noise - Æ LP01 - 1999
Burial - Night Train - Hyperdub 001 - 2005
The Black Dog - Floods V3.2 (Surgeon Remix) - Soma 231 - 2007
Can - Future Days (Carl Craig Blade Runner Remix) - Spoon 039/40 - 1997
Shackleton - Shortwave - Skull Disco 010 - 2008
Stasis - Once Around The Moon (stable orbit edit) - SSR 187 - 1997
Monolake - Alaska (Substance Remix 1) - ML021 - 2006
Mordant Music - Olde Wobbly - MM024 - 2008
Female - Exotica (O/V edit) - RSB 03 - 2005
Autechre - Lost - Warp 54 - 1994
Archae & Grovskopa - Dwell & Dive (version) - unreleased - 2002
TRG & Dub U - Harajuku - Tempa 036 - 2008
Headhunter - In Motion - Tempa CD014 - 2008
Martyn - Vancouver [warped loop] - 3024-002 - 2008
Hookian Mindz - Freshmess (Bandulu's Remix) - Flagbearer 106 - 1995
2 Bad Mice - Waremouse - Moving Shadow 14 - 1991
The Memory Foundation - Nutritious Dub - Central 17 - 2002
Jus Wan - The Crossing - Tube 10 003 - 2008
Shake - Landing, Surveying - NSC 1-4 - 1998
Plug - 3.41 - Rising High/Plug 1 - 1995
Scanone - DarkDub (Scanone VIP) - Combat 10 - 2006
Boxcutter - Grub - Planet Mu 147 - 2006
Funckarma - Otrivines - Ad Noiseam 99 - 2008
T++ - Allied - Erosion 008 - 2007
Monolake - Static - ML004 - 1999
Rumenige & Loktibrada - Rumbrada - UFF 6.0 - 2006
Bandulu - Ki - Infonet 024T - 1995
DJ Nex - Respect Is Due (shot edit) - Stafford North 1 - 1992
Heiko Laux (HLX) - Granulate Two - Kanzleramt 110 - 2004
Caustic Window - Clayhill Dub - Rephlex 009ii - 1993
Andy Stott - Blocked - Modern Love 024 - 2006
Boards Of Canada - The Beach At Redpoint - Warp 101 - 2002
Friday, April 10, 2009
Eric is on to some, as we say, "out shit" lately. Anxiously awaiting his latest, and also hoping he can filter through some of the Mutant Sounds stuff for me, as I think I'm going to have my hands full (if/when it arrives) with a bunch of new records. Also received a disc of material dated 1991-1993 by a mutual acquaintance/neighbor, John of Shifty Science. Met him at the 25+25 party and was very excited to hear that he had this archive of tracks. The actual sounds have thus far totally surpassed my expectations (which were high to begin with) and when he says that he might be "getting the band back together" I seriously hope this is true. May be able to share some stuff with (all 2 of) you in the future.
Sunday, April 5, 2009
The guys at mnml ssgs have come up with a term for this type of sound - "head-" or "mind-fuck" techno. Donato Dozzy (whose name, interestingly enough, is reminiscent in some synaesthetic/onomatopeiatic way of his preferred sound) has been carrying the torch for this new breed of "true" minimal techno, and his RA podcast #105 is a great place to start. As the ssgs say: "elemental." It's easy to get wrapped up in sonic trends of genre music, but this stuff really excites me; it does with synths what Rob Hood did with percussion.
There's some overlap between this and the "Berghain sound" pushed by Ben Klock, Norman Nodge, and of course, Marcel Dettman, so it's only fitting that the news accompanying the mix is thus: Dozzy and D'or will be releasing an EP together on Peter Van Hoesen's Time to Express label. So into it.
Thursday, April 2, 2009
Few random thoughts / observations (not necessarily re: the above, though I do encourage you to take the time to check that out).
My first go at Sonotheque in five years wasn't what I expected. The setup was a bit janky - the feet of the decks were positioned precariously upon cigarette ashtrays with rubber bands tied round - and the main console wasn't an option for some reason. I had a hell of a time using the pitch sliders on both decks, as every time my meaty hands got hold of the pitch it would cause the record to skip. I guess the lesson here (in many ways) is that I do not play out often enough. Kind of sucks to know that the practice I'm constantly doing at home doesn't have much real world application, though - my best nights of late have been at the Let's Go Deep nights at Cafe Lura, where I usually end up bringing my own 1200's and am fairly comfortable with them. Excuses are like assholes...
Steve asked me about the SXSW trip and mentioned that I hadn't written about it. I really don't know what to write, for a number of reasons. I feel like my relative ignorance of the cultural context for a lot of what we saw allowed me to enjoy the shows without the burden of any kind of active, in the moment, metaphysical analysis - most discussions I had with Eric at the time, re: the music/crowds/etc. was limited to what was actually seen and heard, with some rote extrapolation. Knowing, now, just how much hype surrounds some of those bands makes it somewhat difficult to get my thoughts in order. I'll try, sometime.
(It doesn't help that for as much fun as I had going out to the shows, I still feel that the best parts of the trip involved getting to hang out with our dear friend / host, Will, which would make any honest, written discussion of the trip less of a critique and more of a diary entry.)
Finally got to meet Jake last night. Hey, Jake! I picked a URL at random.
A link to a Youtube video of Thee Oh Sees playing one of the shows we attended down in Austin gives me an idea - I think my SXSW roundup (get it? I mean, do you get it?) will consist of videos from shows we were at. It should be relatively easy, given the amount of iPhones present wherever we went.
Final note: discussion re: the label Troubleman Unlimited (relevant, again, in 2009) led to an immediate connection, one of the finest examples of the mid- to late-90's "emo" sound. What a loaded term that is. Indian Summer did it best/earliest, and the Canadian band Shotmaker ran with it. Troubleman released a great double-disc discography of the band's output sometime in the early 00's (which I bought from a bandmate's mini-distro on a Buy Nothing Day, which means I got it for free dollars and never followed up on my promise to pay him), and for reasons possibly limited to nostalgia / the amount of times I listened to those cd's, I think it "holds up." Those of you who are both curious and have loose morals can check out the complete discography here.
Wednesday, April 1, 2009
Amazing house track. My tastes tend to run along two lines - "tracky" long loops or "tools" and euphoric, melodic stuff like this. Will never get enough of this one, especially when used tastefully in mixes... I first fell in love with the tune after hearing it in Panoramabar resident Steffi's Resident Advisor podcast #120. Steffi deploys the track toward the very end of the mix, serving upon first listen as a most pleasant surprise, an oasis after so much abrasive (in a good way), psychotic, dirty, looping house tracks (prime example: Marcus Mixx's "Psychousic"); repeat listens render "Deep Burnt" as sort of a mnemonic "goal," knowing you're going to be fed some well deserved sugar once the timer starts running to close, paired neatly with a Charles Webster remix of Justin Martin's "The Sad Piano," yet another melancholic / melodic earworm, though not quite on the same scale as "Deep Burnt."
Eric Cloutier (Bunker, NYC) used "Deep Burnt" early on in his recent podcast @ mnml ssgs, coming right out of / into (I forget which) one of my favorite house tunes of the moment (for entirely different reasons), Seth Troxler's "Aphrika," which uses a pitched down sample of a reading of Maya Angelou's poem, "Phenomenal Woman." I feel like Steffi may have set the standard for the use of "Deep Burnt" (toward the end of a mix, rather than early on) but despite this (personal/subjective) faux pas, Eric's mix is a terrific blend of the "deepest" house music played at a clip no faster than 120 bpm (sort of his m.o.). Keep an eye out for Eric's 3+ hour set from our 25+25 party (once we sort out some technical issues with the recording) - our expectations were high, and he exceeded them with little effort. Brilliant stuff.
Monday, March 30, 2009
Can't decide which of these is the most bizarre (i.e. my favorite) - probably the baseball cap with the razors stuck to the back, or "guy running down sidewalk wielding a machete."
(Apologies for the gruesome still - the video itself isn't gory at all, unless you count the proceedings of a montage supplemented by a totally inappropriate HI-NRG soundtrack.)
Saturday, March 28, 2009
Friday, March 27, 2009
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
Also put together a hot mess of a mix. Just pressed record and played some records. Some nice transitions, some terrible ones, but great tracks (I think) nonetheless. Includes: Laurine Frost, Ben Klock, Sound Stream, wBeez, Jeff Mills, Surgeon, Reboot, Aki Latvamaki, Sophie Nixdorf, Radio Slave, Shed remix of Substance, a Golden Groove edit, and an edit by John Camp (aka Jaz).
Download the mix here, and post a comment / email me if you'd like a complete tracklist, I'll have it sorted when I return.
Wish us luck, we may need it.
Friday, February 20, 2009
Embedded below is Part 1 of Transistori's performance at The Factory of Toppila, which I assume to be located somewhere in Finland, as well as info from the Youtube page.
Transistori is a percussion group from Oulu, Finland. Specialized in self-made instruments built from scrap and recycled material. Transistori's music is improvisation, which requires listening to the other group members and knowing their playing style by heart.
The Shooting took place in a closed power plant at the Toppila cellulose factory built in the 1930's
Transistori was challenged to play the old factory hall and utilize the sounds found there, as well as their own instruments.
The documentary is divided into three parts. Each part consists of one set. The sets were recorded on six cameras and twenty microphones. No overdubs have been made.
The documentary uses visual means to explore the true essence of Transistori behind the soundscapes and rhythms.
Director: Ilmari Huttu-Hiltunen
Performers: Otto Byström, Jouni Haapakoski, Pekka Heinonen, Jaakko Jokipii, Aki Latvamäki, Olli Miettinen, Lauri Sallamo
All four parts are definitely worth checking out if you enjoy Part 1 of the "sound documentary." Visit the full playlist here: http://www.youtube.com/view_play_list?p=6DDF9AAB1DC665F2
More on Aki Latvamäki (aka Artificial Latvamäki) can be found at his personal site and Facebook artist page.
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
Inspired by the popular 90’s TV drama, Twin Peaks, Nike presents this upcoming Nike SB Dunk High Premium for release in 2009. This SB Dunk High features a mixture of black suede on the lacing area/toe/heel, leather on the toebox, and crackled leather on the side panels with green stitching outlining the entire upper. A blue owl is placed on the ankle which represents one of the three murder mystery clues from the show, “the owls are not what they seem”. There’s also some red materiel covering the inner lining and zig-zag designs on the insoles that represent key details taken from the “Red Room” in the Black Lodge that also appears in “Twin Peaks”. No release date information in currently available, but they’re expected to drop in-stores Spring 2009.
Monday, February 16, 2009
Carl Craig, "Movement 8 (ReComposed Remixes c2 version)" [Deutsche Grammaphon]
Wireman, "Armour" [Prime Numbers]
Ben Klock, "Before One" [Ostgut Tontrager]
Artificial Latvamäki, "Ratts Leaving The Sinking Ship In Nortt" [Curle]
Kassem Mosse, "Untitled (A)" [Workshop]
Yoshio Maeda, "Flip-Flop" [Eukatech]
Reboot, "Vandong" [Below]
Sophie Nixdorf, "Yokohama Nights" [Overdrive]
Surgeon, "Untitled B2 (Dry)" [Dynamic Tension]
Interesting how this compares (on the fly) to the live setlist; the space between the Yoshio Maeda track and Reboot was probably necessary. Looking forward to having a finished mix (clocking in at about 2x the length of this) within the week.
Saturday, February 14, 2009
Fela Kuti, "Lady"
Quiet Village, "Too High To Move"
Slowdive, "Crazy For You"
Gary Ogan & Bill Lamb, "I Want To Live"
Sibylle Baier, "Forget About"
Life Without Buildings, "Daylighting"
The Wedding Present, "Suck"
The Clientele, "Monday's Rain"
Pluramon, "Irene's Angel"
Tim Hecker, "Chimeras"
Julee Cruise, "The Voice of Love"
AC, "It's You"
Hopefully the tracklist / sound is a better indication of intent than the 'cover' photo is.
Friday, February 13, 2009
Pretty good night, despite low turnout. We talked in the past about splitting up into rotating 40 min sets, and as we planned to do so for the launch of the night (with a name), I pitched the idea of doing (generally) a house and a techno set each. Of course there would be overlap, and of course I hated the idea as soon as the words left my mouth. That said, we all had fun with the challenge, offering up our own interpretations on the theme. No recordings were made of the sets, but I compiled the following lists thanks to my finicky crate organization.
James Kartsaklis - Set #1 (House)
1. Soul Center, "Can I Ask You?" [W.v.B.]
2. Makam, "The Hague Soul" (Soweso)
3. Melchior Productions, "Let's Go Deep" (Playhouse)
4. Tom Ellis, "Concentrate" (Hartchef Discos)
5. Burnski, "Schizophrenia" (Morris Audio)
6. Todd Sines, "Never Again" (Morris Audio Citysport Edition)
7. Miss Fitz, "Colici (Sascha Dive's Dark Beat Mix)" (Raum)
8. Andomat 3000, "Vertical Smile" (Cecille)
James Kartsaklis - Set #2 (Techno)
(out of Jason's last track, Ricardo Villalobos, "Enfants" [Sei Es Drum])
1. Mateo Murphy, "Contact" (Uppercut)
2. Artificial Latvamäki, "Ratts Leaving The Sinking Ship In Nortt" (Curle)
3. Kassem Mosse, "Untitled (A)" (Workshop)
4. Yoshio Maeda, "Flip-Flop" (Eukatech)
5. Ben Klock, "Before One" (Ostgut Tontrager)
6. Gimmik, "Untitled (A)" (Toytronic)
7. Levon Vincent, "Invisible Bitchslap" (Deconstruct)
8. Reboot, "Vandong" (Below)
(All vinyl, as always)
Friday, January 30, 2009
Watch the video and see how they're messing around with guitar chords via the note editor. What's interesting about this to me is that it seems like software is getting to the point where it might start bringing out the most in acoustic instruments. I'm not much of a geardhead by any means, but I remember when doing "amp modeling" on GuitarRig was a big deal. And now this!
Related to this: in the brief interview between Paul Frick and Littlewhiteearbuds on the latest podcast, Frick mentions doing an organic/acoustic group with the duo Scott. A new record by the duo House on House features what sounds a lot like a standup piano (doubt those are samples). Is it possible that software is going to become more and more "transparent" over time, aiding the use of real instruments rather than being the instrument itself?
Somewhat related (refutation):
Moritz Von Oswald, Max Louderbauer, and Vladislav Delay @ Club Transmediale, 2008.
Thursday, January 29, 2009
Tonight I stopped by because a friend (Tyrel Williams, a truly great DJ, if you ever have a chance to check him out, do) was working and I had no other real plans. The intent of the trip was just to check out the new arrivals and build up a new hold stack. Unfortunately, I have a way of convincing myself that if I buy used, I'll leave the store happy with a cheap haul of gems. This leads to even more time spent hanging out (past close, usually) and tonight was no exception. Here's what I picked up:
Todd Sines, "Awake"
(2008, Morris Audio City Sport) - Knew the City Sport imprint of Morris/Audio wasn't that old, but had no idea this record had come out so recently (April of 2008). It's got a really clunky (in a good way, think Melchior Productions or STL) deep house groove on the A side with an interesting vocal by Natacha Labelle (an apparent Sines co-conspirator) over the top. Pitched-down synths and wonky percussion make this a clear example of the whole "mnml deep house" thing, suppose, but it's a lot more subtle than certain offerings by certain labels that have come out over the past eighteen months or so. Overall, digging both sides (B is a little more straight forward) and can't wait to play this out.
Various, "New York Anthem"
(2004, Next Moov Traxx) Don't really know much about any of this other than Quentin Harris is apparently involved. I picked it up for the Jovonn "Sub Beats" track, which is pretty much a tracky drum workout. The A side has a nice little Latin thing going on but not enough to hold my attention forthe whole side.
Solomun, "Sambada" (2007, Dessous)
Another example of a record I didn't know was so recent. Judging by the overall sound I'd have placed it even earlier in Solomun's discography. Speaking of, I'm not entirely sure I'm sold on Solomun. I think what initially struck me about this record was the label, Dessous, whose output I really enjoy checking out, and the title, which reminded me of the recent Mara Trax record, "Sambad." I thought it would be worth giving a shot but listening now, at home, everything about Solomun's tracks that I'm not really feeling is apparent here. I understand it might be right for others (the guy has put out a LOT of singles over the past year or so) and respect what he's doing, but it just doesn't have enough cojones for me, which is probably more a fault of mine than of Solomun's, anyway. That said, there's not really much to discuss on this record - it's a nice night-tripper, but it's beyond me to explain what's going on with all the synths. Halfway through the A things do pick up when a more definite bass track drops in, but it's still a little too proggy + synth-laden for me to really dig in on.
Jaz, "Show Me On The Doll" (2008, Sixty Five)
DISCO EDITS! This is where it might get weird/embarrassing for anyone who expects me to just be "techno / house" guy. I hope that's not the case. Anyway, funny thing is I didn't even listen to this - I picked this record out at closing time and wanted to get moving along so I wouldn't be shouted at. The label art + track titles were enough to sell me on it (at $2.99, the price was nice, too!). So far, so good. A1 is a slow burn with a driving groove and a weird vocal. I'm definitely into this (and can't wait for another "rock bar" night where I can freak out the crusty regulars with this record).
(NB: If you live in Chicago and like disco of the out-sound / "cosmic" variety, Gramaphone's "Choice" night @ Sonotheque a week from tonight will feature the guys from Disco-Nap. Just sayin'!)
The other track on the A is kind of a tool more than a track, but B1 is just as, if not even more, out there and great compared to A1. Starts off with a pitched down vocal proclaiming "I'm the Joker" that leads into some gritty, guitar-based funk, and then... a brilliant rocker vocal. "Watch out, Mister Joker, cause you're jokin' my way." I wish the original artists were listed here cause I'd be on them so damn fast.
Mateo Murphy, "The Contact EP" (Uppercut, 2002) Hard techno, but not excruciatingly hard. More like Detroit in the mid-90's than Sweden in the early naughties, if you catch my drift. 909s, handclaps, and a rolling (this is just one reason why I don't write about electronic dance music) synth that can be best described with numbers (i.e. an area code) rather than words. This is a white label, "EXTREMELY LIMITED EDITION" promo of the release linked above. I'm into the A so far, and kinda wonder when this hit the used bin, as this is the sort of thing that seems very much "in" these days. It'll be fun to slot the A in with a variety of different sounds. B1 has a little more shuffle and a harder edge, but it still sounds like something Jeff Mills would play. A very HRO type thing to ask here would be if one day, in the future, will Jeff Mills be known more as a genre than as a person?
Terrence Dixon, "Minimalism III" (2005, Background) Speaking of Detroit... Anything I say about how brilliant I think Terrence Dixon is will likely come off sounding somehow pejorative (e.g. honest question, is it not fair to try and find a way to compare the man to someone like Philly Joe Jones? Does doing so make me a bad person?), so I'll just leave it at this: I think Terrence Dixon is one of the most brilliant artists in electronic music, currently (or, how's this: if Jeff Mills deserves a genre, then so does Terrence Dixon; if everyone who professes love for the minimalists of the 50's and 60's got into electronic music, they'd all love Terrence Dixon and parties would be a lot more fun; and on and on). That being said, I think Terrence Dixon's genius comes off more on a record like Point of View or the truly amazing 2x12" he did for Yore. I don't have any other of the Minimalism series installments, and so I picked this one up just because it was available. A1 is doing all the things a Terrence Dixon track tends to do, but lacks the spatial dynamics (provided, I assume, by sampling) that make them so interesting. And just as soon as I finish complaining about that, along comes "Grey Area" to blow my bullshit out of the water. A monster of a "bass" sample (it's more like an off-kilter industrial stamping machine on the fritz [again, this is why I don't write about edm]) sets the groundwork for a no-nonsense drum pattern and a loopy synth. The "space" is back and the groove is a killer. B1 sets things off with the kind of haunting mallet-synth line that so many mnml artists strive for, while not oppressing the proceedings with any kind of "dark, creepy" vibe. B2 stumbles along under the weight of its forward progress, but not as effectively as the Train of Thought tracks. B3 is a synth workout that I'm not ashamed to admit I'm looking forward to using as a "tool." Great stuff, but the records mentioned earlier are worth checking out if you're not familiar.
Dietrich Schoenemann, "Shine" (2002, Hidden Agenda) I don't know what to say first. I guess I'll start by saying that I have a few newer Hidden Agenda records that went over extremely well in a set I played for a bunch of people (i.e. my immediate social circle) that aren't necessarily into dance music. They have a harder edge that's also a bit wonky (the one track, off the one record, which I don't recall off hand) has a bass line that wouldn't sound out of place on a, uh, "fidget" house type of record, except that it's supported by a totally banging techno beat. Anyway, yeah. This record has the space + relentless, hypnotic groove of a Radio Slave record, and the percussive loops of an Oslo record. I could probably do without the vocal samples ("Shine") but every other sound makes up for that one kinda lame aspect. Oh, and the B is a killer cut. Another record I can't wait to play out, big room be damned.
Michaelangelo, "Untitled" (2002, Labrynth) Hard techno from a Portugal based label without the cheezy tribal percussion. The Advent remix of "Golomalar" is the clear winner here, but "OM-13" has its moments, and what percussion is present only adds to the groove, rather than take away from it. Loving the understated synth work on both sides.
Heiko Laux, "Dedicated 2 All Believers" (1997, Yoshitoshi Recordings) Don't know what to say about this other than that I am loving it (and that I kind of wish I had the white label Kanzelramt version, which apparently just had the words DEDICATED 2 ALL BELIEVERS stamped on). I guess it betrays my youth / ignorance to say this, but I feel like a record like this kind of speaks to the tumultuous state of electronic dance music back in the year 1997 (when, for those doing the math at home, I was all of 13 years old). I'm hearing the Moonside Playground remix of "To All Believers" as a reaction to the glut of "big-beat" commercial pap (the stuff that went a long way in getting me into edm) coming out that year, as well as the explosion of shitty trance and "rave crackdown" that soon followed. This is as understated, yet weighty, a track as I've ever heard, and I am buying into my non-memories and false nostalgia wholesale. "To All Believers" has a sound that would fit in with the current dub techno revival (that is to say, it sounds like a reaction to mid-90's deep house from a techno artist, which is how I read a lot of the less obvious dub techno going on currently), but it's nowhere near as compelling as the remix.
Maddslinky, "Dark Swing / Future Chicano" (2001, Sirkus) Swinging broken beat on the A. in 2009 this sounds like dubstep with a house vibe. I guess that's context for ya. B is more of the same but with a more interesting combination of beats, muted synths, and vocal samples. I think I'll end up playing the B out at some point, but listening to it again I honestly have no idea why I bought this other than that I liked the housey shuffle of the tracks.
A Man Called Adam, "Duende Dubs #2" (1999, Other Records) A "big deal" was made about this record when I brought it to the counter. The A is the vocal track and might be a little too cheezy (not to be confused with "sincere," though at times they can be one and the same) for my taste. I'm giving it the full listen it apparently deserves, and while I like the groove, I don't know that I have the skill to convincingly fit this into a set. The B, on the other hand... wow. Maybe it's because the vocal/synth/bass kind of reminds me of "Good Love." I don't know. This is the sound that is being jacked real hard right now by a lot of producers, and this record is proof that it's hard to beat the 'genuine article.' This will be in my "hot picks" crate for a long time to come.
Yoshio Maeda, "Flip-Flop / Wa-Splish" (1997, Eukatech) I have a few Eukatech records now, and they seem to specialize in the tracky house sound that I love. This record - the only release credit for Yoshio Maeda on Discogs - follows the trend, but with an insistent, psychedelic synth pattern that is very much up my alley. I guess the difference between this record and the above is that this record totally fits with my sensibilities, where the A Man Called Adam record (above) fits right in with what people seem to be into for the time being (not that I don't like it, it's just that Yoshio Maeda seems to have been coming from a similar place w/r/t his music that I do). It's a balancing act, I guess, between what you're all about and the, uh, zeitgeist. Rather than say much more and stray into hyperbole, I'll just leave it at this: I think this might be my favorite used find in a long, long time.
Lee Jones, "Aria" (2008, Aus Music) Literally grabbed this out of someone's hands (I asked first). Passed on it when it was new, and now almost a year later, I knew I had to have it. The Tiger Stripes remix of "Aria" is one of my favorite tracks of the past year, both a great home listen as well as a fine bookend to a set. I still think I prefer My My's output to Lee Jones solo, but he made a strong case with Electric Frank.
Maurizio, "M7" (re-issue) Can't have enough of these!
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
I hope to do less writing than posting tracks + a few idle thoughts on this blog, but what truly/directly inspired me to get started here was the Winter Mutiny Dubs blog.
Winter Mutiny has been taking dusty dub reggae 45s and working up his own live edits, which he then posts to the blog. Simple. Not that WMD (ha) is a re-tread, but the same spark and a bit of cash is what got Basic Channel off the ground 20 years previous; now, with blogs, all it takes is a bit of material and HTML trickery. Trite though the idea may be (it's 2009, already) it's still rather impressive.
All that said, the live edits featured on WMD are pretty great. My favorite so far is the "Love Thy Neighbor" version - cold techno groove with the crackling warmth of Yabby You's original. Check it out, as well as the others!
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