Sunday, 27 December 2009

Aaron Atkins Mix


Following a tip from Kyle Hall, it is with great pleasure that I can introduce the fourth installment in the Wunderkind mix series, and this time it comes from Aaron Atkins, nephew of the original techno pioneer Juan Atkins, and an outstanding electro producer in his own right. 2010 should be a big year for vintage electro, and Aaron's sound, represented here by cuts from fellow Detroit native and Micron Audio co-conspirator, DJ Stingray 313, and AUX 88 pays testament to the enduring appeal of the sound. Bearing more than a passing resemblance to some of the not-quite-DnB currently being explored by artists like Instra:Mental and D-Bridge, Aaron delivers a powerful journey through the heyday of electro, and gives us an insight into where it may well be heading in the not too distant future.

Download here.

It is rare to come across someone as in love with classic electro as yourself. Could you tell me what it is you love about it?

As far as electro,I like the energy, the sounds and pace and the arrangements.

Coming from Detroit, do you not feel pressure to be more into house or techno?

Well not exactly. In one of my sets I'll play a house record called Adonis 'No Way Back' and mix it in with a techno record like Juan Atkins 'Infinti Game One' and then put on an electro record called 'Future Cities' by the Advent. I really try not to get boxed in because its all electronic music.

Your uncle is Juan Atkins, one of the original founders of techno, does he have any interaction with your music?

Well just like any uncle he gives me advice but in terms of being hands on the answer is no, and he really pushes me to learn things on my own.

Growing up with that around you, did it influence what you listened to growing up as a kid?

No I listen to all types of music: Juan Atkins, Derrick May, Kevin Saunderson, AUX 88, Dopplereffekt, Drexciya, The Advent, DJ stingray. In terms of hip hop, TI, Gucci Mane and OJ da Juice Man, Young Jeezy too. You know, just music man.

Could you tell us more about Micron? Is it a record label, or a collective?

Micron Audio is both a record label and collective ran by Sherad Ingram with 8 or 9 different artists including myself from all over the world who are makeing electro music.

How do you make your music (ie. with what equipment)?

I like to keep that confidential but I will tell you I like to use a mixture of machines and software.

Do you play much in Detroit?

Not as much as I would like to but that is changing.

Do you have any plans for releasing your music? If so, how (what label etc.)?

Look from material from me from Underground Resistance, Metroplex and Micron audio on wax or mp3.

The electro sound is a timeless one, but also to a certain extent, a dated one. Do you see evidence of it starting to enter more into modern productions?

I don't agree with the term dated i think the problem is with how people classified electronic music i mean how can something be timeless and dated at the same time?

Are there any contemporary electro artists that really stand out for you?

AUX 88, Mike Banks of Underground Resistance, the Illektrolab, DJ Skurge, and DJ Stingray.

Are there any non-electro artists working at the moment who really interest you?

DJ Skurge, Kyle Hall, and Omar S. Like I mentioned before, I'm interested in electronic music period.

What's next for you personally?

Well I will continue to work hard, release some hot records out in the year 2010, hopefully play more gigs in Detroit or overseas if possible, and just develop myself better as a artist.

Tracklist:

Intro - Alien Contact
1 Cybotron - Clear
2 Chaos - Afrogermanic
3 Aux 88 - Direct Drive
4 Aux 88 - Space Satellites
5 Aux 88 - Let it Ride
6 Aux 88 - Erase the Time
7 DJ Stingray 313 - Microthol
8 The Exaltics - The Truth
9 DJ Stingray aka Urban Tribe - Her
10 DJ stingray aka Urban Tribe - RNA
11 Aril Brikha - Groove la Chord
12 Los Hermanos - Birth of 3000
13 Cybotron - Alleys of your mind
14 Cybotron - El Salvador
15 Cybotron - Cosmic Cars
16 Model 500 - Night Drive Time Space
17 Model 500 - Technicolor
18 Cybotron - Cosmic Raindance
19 Kraftwerk - Tour de France
20 Kraftwerk - It's more fun to compute
21 hasim its time extended mix
22 DJ Stingray 313 - Serotonin
23 DJ Stingray 313 - Counter Surveillance

Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Mnml Bln


Given all this end of year, end of decade nonsense, and the fact that I find myself back in the UK for only the second time in a year, I thought it a fitting time to address an issue that has been bugging me for a while. RA have just delivered their end of year lists, as have LWE and FACT.

What can we take from these lists? Well, firstly, and perhaps inescapably (I'm keen to get this out of the way as quickly as possible), it has been a good year for Joy Orbision. His 'Hyph Mngo' tops the FACT and RA lists. I side with Reynolds on this one - an uninspiring track 'for the headz to nod off to'. What else?

Well, it's clear that 2009 has been the year shit got deep. The transition from minimal crustiness to how-deep-can-we-go insouciance is pretty well documented, and I don't really want to go into it here. However, after a year living in Berlin, I thought I would try to examine where this has left minimal. Philip Sherburne is doing some interesting archival work on his website examining how minimal (or mnml) has changed over the last decade, but it remains a thoroughly retrospective exercise, the blogosphere's intellectualized version of "I Love the Noughties". We all laugh as Richie tweets his set lists, safe in the knowledge that listening to the DJ Sprinkles album makes us a better man than him, but to acknowledge the fall of minimal is also to try and trace its continued relevance, just as DnB took over the rest of Europe whilst it spluttered to a ghastly death in the UK.

Ironically, for all the critical/blogosphere idolisation of Berlin (and London for those funky/UK bass/dubstep/future garage headz out there) as the epicentre for all things tech, deep house has arguably had a lesser impact there than it has had in other places (namely specialised sites for the consumption of deep house: think Sud nights in London, Trus Me's Disco3K festival in Croatia, late Sunday afternoons in Panoramabar). Berlin actually still has a lingering love affair with mnml that reminds me of London's love/hate position towards DnB at the turn of the millennium. You can't forget that it was mnml which created the modern electronic Disneyland that is the "Berlin" of the Easyjetset's wildest dreams, and the sound persists in a stubborn, uncompromising form.

One need only go into any club that isn't Watergate or Berghain, preferably mid-week, to be assaulted by this new breed of minimal from labels such as Autist, Budenzauber, Italo Business and at the more well-known end of the spectrum, Tom Clarke's Highgrade. The sound pushed by these labels, and the associated artists, is an updated form of mnml. Tracks like this, and this, perfectly sum up this new breed. We've still got what Sherburne calls the clicks and cuts (although if anything, less cliques and cuts), but these have been yoked to an avowedly un-mnml beat that has borrowed freely from 2007/8's tech-house paradigm (think Nick Curly, Jamie Jones et al).

The other thing that is interesting about this new wave of neo-mnmlism is that very little of it is German. Arguably, this has always been the case: Robert Hood, Steve Reich, Richie Hawtin, John Acquaviva and so on were adopted and consumed by the German early to mid-noughties minimalists in the same way that Motorcity Drum Ensemble and Sascha Dive are consuming the Strictly Rhythm back catalogue at the moment. But these neo-mnmlists are by and large, Italian. Sure you always had your Marco Carolas, but the new face of mnmlism is, on the whole, more Latin than Teutonic: Andrea Giuliani, Luca Rossetti, Andrea Tamburini, Stephan Barnem. Oh, and they're young. Fucking young. Usually late teens, early twenties. Perhaps most intriguingly though, is the fact that they all seem to be coming through at the same time. Check out Francesco Bonora's '18 minutes to 2009' released on Model in February. The implication, clear as day, is that 2009 is not about this critically adored/maligned deep house business, but instead Italian mnml.

Yet this isn't an isolated Italian scene, taking place somewhere on the Neapolitan peninsula. It has its aim fixed squarely on BLN. One need only check the best compilation of this stuff yet to surface. It's called 'Winter In Berlin'. It's even got a track called 'Open the Watergate' by M_Ferri (note the interesting reappropriation of the M_nus logo/name). And if you still don't believe me, go to Golden Gate, a club under Jannowitzbrücke, on a Thursday or Friday evening. Not only will tunes of this ilk be rinsed until 3pm of the next day, everyone in there, and especially those selling drugs, will be Italian.

It seems to me like the situation we had a few years back when Umek and Marko Nastic borrowed freely from northern European, and US techno, but fitted it for their European audiences in Serbia and Slovenia. They upped the BPM, toned down the industrial austerity, and ratcheted up the progressive, almost psychedelic elements, and in so doing, like Stephen Daedalus in 'Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man', they 'forge in the smithy of [their] souls the uncreated conscience of [their] race.'

I have no desire to speculate what this neo-mnmlism says about the uncreated conscience of young Italian mnml producers, or if it plays any part in a larger Italian socio-political narrative, but I will say that under their tutelage, mnml, for the first time in at least five or six years, feels important again. Whether or not this is an act of nostalgia, prompted by the critical ubiquity of deep house (even if that critical ubiquity is not paralleled by a physical ubiquity in Berlin), remains to be seen, but in a fucked up, quasi-nostalgic way, here's hoping. Avanti ragazzi.

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Memories



This track really passed me by this year, which is a shame because it is fucking amazing. Better late than never I guess.

Son de El-B


Music journalist Joe Muggs has posted a mix of proto-dubstep beatsman El-B, playing strictly Colombian music. Apparently:

'his real passion, and what has always given his own productions a unique syncopation, is Colombian music. As Lewis himself says in the interview I did with him for the Wire (incidentally, the interview which inspired me to start this site) “you might not even like it but you can’t help it, you have to move a hip or an elbow or something… it’s infectiously bouncy… just really fucking dancey”.'

Although I admire El-B's appetite and passion for Colombian music in all its forms, this mix has more than a touch of a Dilpo or DJ/Rupture set from late 2007, early 2008. Nonetheless, big up musica Colombiana, good to see it finally getting the props it deserves. Heck I may even post my own cumbia mix shortly...

El-B Mundo Musica Cumbia Mix by veryverymuch

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

David Schwertfeger Mix


Next up in the Wunderkind mix series is David Schwertfeger, an Ableton employee who runs the quite frankly excellent Carambolage dub-techno night in Berlin. Here he drops an hour of serious dubwise pressure including cuts from Scuba, Sigha, and the incredible Variance IV (Regis Edit) released on Sandwell District. Interview to follow shortly.

Download here.

Tracklist:

01 Intrusion - Montego Bay [Echospace]
02 Pinch - 136 Trak [Punch Drunk]
03 Sigha & Spherix - Separation [Immerse Records]
04 Headhunter - Lifeform [Tempa]
05 Scuba - Golden [Hotflush]
06 Sigha - Hold Your Heart Up To The Light [Hotflush]
07 Resoe - Cosmic Blast [Baum Records]
08 Deadbeat & Fenin - Teach The Devil's Son [Echocord Colour]
09 Kalon - Man Is The Superior Animal [Sandwell District]
10 Claro Intelecto - X [Modern Love]
11 N/A - Variance IV (Regis Edit) [Sandwell District]
12 Monolake - Titan [Monolake / Imbalance Computer Music]

Ashes to Ashes



...dust to dust? Could 2010 be the year Minimal stopped being a dirty word, and stepped up to the plate, unfurling its ashen wings, rising from out of the fiery embers of deep house mediocrity, and make a cause for why it is still valid? Perhaps if the Italians have anything to do with it, as per this monster (on which more to follow), but I think 2010 is going to be the year we rediscover electro en masse. Big up UR, Mad Mike Banks, and the HI TECH SOUL fraternity. Watch this space, you have been warned.

Thursday, 10 December 2009

Under the Radar


Here is the latest IA review, Mike Shannon's 'Under the Radar' [Cynosure].

Mike Shannon and his Cynosure label have been around for a while now, and although they’ve yet to register a full-blown hit, they consistently deliver difficult but deeply rewarding avant-techno fare. Shannon worked with vocalist Fadilla Demirtas on the excellent Sweets, a haunting, esoteric workout, that confounded and pleased in equal measure, and she returns on ‘Under the Radar’, a title that could well encapsulate the Canadian’s long presence in electronic music.

Shannon’s original cut adopts a more techy beat than previous outings, and he once again puts Demirtas to good use, coming across as a house diva for the Arab world. Villalobos too, provides a neat fit with Cynosure, and his remix is a welcome, if underwhelming addition. Harking back to the not-quite-walking, not-quite jogging pace of Alcachofa, he shows there’s still life to his micro-house aesthetic. The highlight though, is Deadbeat’s slowburner (with which Shannon began his FACT mix), a sultry beast that couples a steppas growl with twinkley chimes for over four minutes before relapsing into a crunchy, ritualistic release. Rozzo plums Motorcity Drum Ensemble territory for his take, all conveyor belt chords, cymbals, and a hint of handclaps.

The great revelation of the EP however, is not the beats, all competent as you please, but the way in which each artist makes Demirtas sound so different. Part Muezzin, part diva, with just a hint of Dancehall chanteuse, Shannon has found a more than suitable accomplice for his musical skulduggery. Under the radar? Probably not for long.

Destruction



Really feeling this.

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Music of the Decade


Apparently I'm a "valued contributor" to RA, so they've asked me to assemble a list for their Albums of the Decade list. Albums eh? Didn't they start becoming irrelevant after Ok Computer? Well, even so, here goes, in no particular order apart from the top three:

1 Metro Area - Metro Area (Environ)
2 Burial - Untrue (Hyperdub)
3 Kelley Polar - Love Songs of the Hanging Gardens (Environ)
4 DJ Koze - Kosi Comes Around (Kompakt)
5 Lil Wayne - Tha Carter III (Cash Money)
6 Rhythm and Sound - See Mi Yah (Burial Mix)
7 Sally Shapiro - Disco Romance (Discokaine)
8 Mayaan Nidam (aka Miss Fitz) - Nightlong (Powershovel)
9 Vitalic -Ok Cowboy (Play it again Sam)
10 Shed - Shedding the Past (Ostgut-Ton)
11 The Strokes - Is This It (RCA)
12 Vampire Weekend - Vampire Weekend (XL)
13 Kings of Convenience - Riot on an Empty Street (XL)
14 Amy Winehouse - Back to Black (Island)
15 Skream - Skream (Tempa)
16 Of Montreal - The Sunlandic Twins (Polyvinyl Records)
17 Jonny Greenwood - There Will Be Blood (Atlantic)
18 Portishead - Third (Mercury)
19 Death Cab for Cutie - Transatlanticism (Barsuk)
20 Pinch - Underwater Dancehall (Tectonic)
21 Burial - Burial (Hyperdub)
22 Mungolian Jetset - We Gave it away…now we're taking it back (Small Town Supersound)
23 Damian Marley - Welcome to Jamrock (Umvd)
24 Vincent Gallo - When (Warp)
25 The xx - xx (Young Turks)
26 Onra -Chinoiseries (Label Rouge)
27 Dr Dre 2001 (Interscope)
28 Dizzee Rascal - Boy in Da Corner (XL)
29 Matthew Dear - Asa Breed (Ghostly International)
30 Calle 13 - Calle 13 (Norte)
31 Jaylib - Champion Sound (Stones Throw)
32 The Strokes - Room on Fire (RCA)
33 Gui Borratto - Chromophobia (Kompakt)
34 Kanye West - The College Dropout (Roc-a-fella)
35 Davendra Banhart - Cripple Crow (XL)
36 Amadou et Mariam - Dimanche a Bamako (Nonesuch)
37 Kelley Polar - I Need You to Hold On While The Sky is Falling (Environ)
38 Hercules and Love Affair -Hercules and Love Affair (DFA)

Next up, compilations and mixes, once again in no particular order after Dimitri from Paris:

1 Erlend Oye -Dj Kicks (K7)
2 Michael Mayer -Fabric 13 (Fabric)
3 Various Kompakt -100 (Kompakt)
4 Omar S -Fabric 45 (Fabric)
5 Ricardo Villalobos -Fabric 36 (Fabric)
6 Dimitri From Paris -After the Playboy Mansion (Respect is Burning)
7 Royksopp -Back To Mine (Back to Mine)
8 Paul Kalkbrenner -Berlin Calling (Bpitch Control)
9 Various -Box of Dub (Soul Jazz Records)
10 Various -Disco Not Disco (Post Punk, Electro & Leftfield Disco Classics) (Strut)
11 DJ /rupture -Uproot (Agriculture)
12 Marco Carola -Fabric 31 (Fabric)
13 Marcel Dettman -Berghain 02 (Ostgut-Ton)
14 Cassy -Panoramabar 01 (Ostgut-Ton)
15 Various -The Dark Side Of Disco Vol. 1 (?)
16 Spankrock -Fabriclive 33 (Fabric)
17 Danny Tenaglia -Global Underground: Athens (Global Underground)
18 Various -Nigeria Special: Modern Highlife, Afro Sounds & Nigerian Blues. 1970-6 (Soundway)
19 Underground Qualtiy -Tape Club Berlin Presents Underground Quality (UQ)
20 Various -Twice As Nice: Sexy & Stylish Volume 1 (Twice as Nice)
21 Various Artists -Freerange Colour Series White 06 (Freerange)
22 Colombiafrica - The Mystic Orchestra -Voodoo Love Inna Champeta-Land (World Music Network/Riverboat)
23 Various -Warrior Dubz (Planet Mu)
24 Various -2OO (Planet Mu)
25 Various -10 Tons Heavy (Planet Mu)
26 Hyperdub -5 Years: Hyperdub (Hyperdub)
27 Various -The Roots Of Dubstep (Tempa)
28 Various -The Very Best Of Ethiopiques (Manteca)

And finally, here are my top 20 tracks of the decade. These have a far more electronic slant given the nature of the publication, apart from A Milli which I just felt HAD to be in there. In defense of Lil Wayne's breakout anthem, I have heard it dropped by artists as disparate as Drop The Lime, and Loco Dice, so it must have some electronic currency. There is no real order outside of the top 5.


1 Miura -Metro Area (Environ)
2 MyMy -Fast Freeze (Cocoon)
3 Lil Wayne -A Milli (Cash Money)
4 Burial -Unite (Soul Jazz)
5 Levon Vincent -Games Dub (Underground Quality)
6 Ada -Les Danseuses (Kompakt)
7 Nathan Fake -Sky Is Pink (James Holden Remix) (Border Community)
8 Claude Von Stroke -Deep Throat (Dirty Bird)
9 Feist -My Moon My Man (Boys Noize Remix) (Universal)
10 Wet Summer -John Dahlback (Kompakt)
11 Blood On My Hands (Ricardo Villalobos Apocalypso Now Mix Part 1) - Shackleton (Skull Disco)
12 Hercules and Love Affair -Blind (DFA)
13 Lindstrom -I Feel Space (Smalltown Supersound)
14 Matthew Dear -Don and Sherri (Ghostly International)
15 Samim -Heater (Data)
16 T2 -Heartbroken (All Around the World)
17 Burial -Archangel (Hyperdub)
18 Cheshire Catz -Ringshifter (Berwick Street Records)
19 Digital Mystikz -Earth a Run Red (Soul Jazz)
20 Precious System -The Voice From Planet Love (Running Back)

Monday, 7 December 2009

Kyle Hall Mix


The latest guest mix, comes from Detroit Wunderkind Kyle Hall, a prodigious young talent with a genuine flair for classic mid-Western house and techno. With a recent Hyperdub remix for Darkstar under his belt, and his own record label Wild Oats, alongside releases on FXHE, Kyle's doing pretty well for an 18 year old. His mix is a thrilling ride through the more jacking and soulful elements of house music. Interview after the drop.

Download here.


The electronic music scene in Detroit seems to be based on the idea of heritage. The older guys still hold a lot of sway. You are often hailed as a bright light of the scene. Are there other people of your age coming through the ranks and picking up where the older guys have left off?

Yes there are a few other people aside from myself. One of them being the nephew of Techno Pioneer Juan Atkins. His name is Aaron Atkins, he has been working on quite a few really dope electro tracks lately that have caught my ear. Check out his myspace page. Of course The Quran he’s actually featured on the new wo-30000 on the track Lax Adrenalin. He’s continuously working on very interesting music. In addition to those guys, the kids I teach at Youthville (a Detroit after school program) show some promise especially this one kid who's 12! OMG hes on his way to being a beast on the Beats his name is Reuel Walker . Its crazy because hes actually quite skilled its scary one of these days I'm going to make a Youtube video of him throwin down on the beats. Trust Me this Kid is SICK! Detroit has much young growing talent for real.

Your meeting with Omar S seems to be by now legendary. How has his influence shaped your artistic development?

Omar has influenced me in a since when it comes to the approach to sound and making songs. Omar is very much an out of the box type of guy when it comes making music hearing him do what he does just furthered promoted my experimentalism in my music. He was also one of the people who supported the idea of me starting my own label.

You've already set up your own record label, an impressive feat for someone of your age. How does that differ from producing and DJing. Is it something you enjoy?

Running a label pretty cool. You have control over every decision made with a release but with control comes the cost. How it differs from producing and djing is that you are thinking about an overall end result of a package as opposed to when your producing your thinking about the song you are working on. Running a label is very much about materializing a vision you have in your head to your medium of choice.

You did a remix for Hyperdub. How did that come about?

The remix I did for Hyperdub came about through me getting in contact with a guy from Warp. This same guy also works at Hyperdub. So through that person Darkstar contacted me about in doing a remix for a new track of theirs. I said yes and went to work.

In your opinion, can house and techno fully interact with dubstep?

Yes I do definitely feel that House and Techno can fully interact with Dubstep. If you listen to artist like shed and Martyn that fact is made evident. I feel a lot of the stuff I’m hearing in Dubstep has very close qualities to the sounds that are in my head. Dubstep seems to me as a genre that is very much connected to many forms of electronic music. So for me I feel right at home with much of the stuff. Some of the music that is categorized as dubstep I don’t know if I would have made a separate genre if the name dubstep didn’t exist. A lot the music Could be house or techno and Hip Hop also.

You've mentioned that you are into 4x4 garage. A lot of the music coming out of the UK that used to be called garage now has a much housier flavour. Do you think there is a natural correlation between the two?

Yeah easily. I think that whole genre is a melting pot of sound and to include house into that pot is not surprising. House is what really came first and has had a lasting affect on dance music so naturally elements from that would be infused into garage music. So the correlation makes plenty since to me.

You also work under the name DJ Kase n Point. Is there any difference between the two personas?

Yes. Originally Kase N Point was intended for hip hop production but on and off in Detroit I would use it as a Dj name. So I decided to do a mix cd under that name. Sometimes Kyle and Kase cross paths but in the future I plan on them to be separate. Kase N Point will have some projects out that will really distinguish his personality from Kyle Hall.

You come from the home of Motown and your music places you firmly within the history of soulful music in America. Is that something that is important to you, tracing a line from the past and onwards into the future?

Yes it is important acknowledge and honor that but honestly I don’t spend a lot of time thinking about it. I’m trying to do new shit that is connected as little as possible to my for fathers. I want people to think of me when my music is heard not Berry Gordy.

Aside from you and your friends, what are the kids listening to at the moment that is really shaping the musical consciousness of America?

It really changes every month it seems. Last time I checked though it was Oj the Juice man and Drake. Though I think Kanye has really shaped the musical Consciousness in America. He introduced a kind of European flavor to American "Hip Pop music". That and old school mismatched hipster 80s gear. I think in a way Kanye has opened the doors for more unconventional music to be accepted by the normal commercial realm simply because its different. So essentially today in America kids just want to be all Hipster and Different so that means anything that can be placed in the category of hipster and different has a chance commercially, which could potentially include the entire dance music world. SO GOOD 4 U$ LOL! Kay stay payed!

Friday, 4 December 2009

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

El Año Viejo



Very odd but weirdly beautiful video this. I've been listening to a lot more cumbia of late.

Monday, 23 November 2009

Saturday, 21 November 2009

Ceramik



The highlight of an excellent LP.

Klockwerk



The best house track of 2009 (IMO not far off, although admittedly this uses the hugely inferior Dixon rerub) gets given the Klock treatment. Are Innervisions hellbent on global domination?

Friday, 20 November 2009

My My


Here is the latest IA review.

After ‘Fast Freeze’, MyMy could do no wrong in my eyes. The song (and it is a song, not a track, or a tool, or whatever else you choose to call it) was written as a song should be: it had a beginning, a middle and an end. But more than that, it exhibited an attention to melody, to sonic craftsmanship, that more producers would do well to emulate. If subsequent MyMy releases failed to a certain extent, it was only in comparison with the singular grace and noblesse of ‘Fast Freeze’. For their latest release on Will Saul’s Aus Music, MyMy have once again stuck to what they do best – woozey synths, breezy vocals, and that trademark attention to melody - but once again struggled to reach the dizzying heights they have previously set themselves.

Opener ‘Price Tag’ kicks things off with a slap-bass riff that gets yoked to mouth-wide-open vocals from Emika. Spaghetti-western whistling heralds the arrival of more vocals that scream “playful”, but are actually only playful in the way a puppy dropped on his head is playful. ‘Lights Go Down’ exhibits a more dance floor-oriented direction with tribal-not-tribal drums stomping away whilst ascending and descending synths attempt to add an eeriness that quite frankly isn’t there. The real highlight though is the Appleblim and Komonazmuk remix that teleports MyMy into a 90s London garage club, and leaves them sounding all the better for it. Refashioned as a post-garage ode to Mousse T’s ‘I’m Horny’, the vocal snippets work far better in these disorienting 2-step environs, literally dissolving before a Wagnerian doomfest of a breakdown. The digital only Sideshow remix works in the way public transport “works”: better than a horse and cart, but no Mercedes Benz.

The public transport analogy is a good one actually. Much like the thoughts of the bus driver, constantly travelling the same route, there is little here to surprise. Thanks to sterling work from Appleblim and Komonazmuk, this is not quite seen-it-all-before ennui, but it is certainly no ‘Fast Freeze’.

Rollerskate



File next to 'Remember Love'. Future Bar 25 anthem methinks.

Thursday, 19 November 2009

mnml


Only two comments stand out as having any worth in this mutual wank-off:
  • maybe it's like: once upon a time everyone wanted to be playwrights. The standard was high, the field competitive, and lots of good, memorable plays got 'wrighted'.... but how many great 'wrighters' wanna write plays anymore... probably they're writing the Wire in stead, no?
  • maybe indie is the answer... like what jay-z said with indie and hip-hop. he said the indie revival is great because it has overtaken hip-hop in innovation which should "push" hip-hop producers into lifting their game
This also has some validity to it:
  • something dies in techno everytime Richie tweets
The rest? Latersssssss

I know


This blog is currently experiencing its leanest period in its entire history - I feel like the Pharaoh who wished he'd followed Joseph's advice and packed every available grain silo along the Nile basin with excess wheat, before a nasty seven year famine kicked in. Too much?

Either way, my silence is due to a number of reasons. Firstly, I spent two weeks in Morocco, Tangiers to be precise. I won't say too much on it, as hopefully, there will be more to follow on the subject but I will say, that if you've never had the pleasure of stumbling across this den of iniquity before, do so ASAP. It really is the seediest, slimiest anachronistic throwback to some Evelyn Waugh-esque année dorée where men were immaculately presented and invariably hiding from something. For an Arab city, it's actually pretty liberal in terms of alcohol and night-life. One place in particular stood out.


Following my return to Berlin, it was not long before a large group or Brits arrived on my doorstep, keen to sample the delights of the German nightlife, and so off we went into the night (or should that be morning) to see Cassy's Birthday at Berghain. Arriving at about 9am, we staggered on until 8pm on Sunday night (with the party still showing little sign of stopping) having witnessed Cassy (an absolute pleasure), Zip (what a nice guy), Ricardo (seriously, get over yourself), Faki (a CD set at Berghain?), and the absolute highlight of the show and the best performance I have ever seen up or downstairs, Boris, playing the LOUDEST set of mindfuck avant-techno I, or anyone else for that matter (?), had ever heard.

So forgive my silence, and instead allow me to give a brief round up of tunes that have been entertaining me of late.


Thanks for this one Tate.


Thanks Cassy.


Thanks iPod Shuffle.


Thanks UQ.


Thanks Farley.

Thursday, 12 November 2009

Incandescent



The whole Skream La Roux, Xx, Florence, dubstep, funky melting pot shows no signs of stopping. Hooray?

Saturday, 7 November 2009

Dance Paradox


Here is my first review for Inverted Audio on Redshape's Dance Paradox.

Anonymous techno personas, aside from being examples of a larger current trend in techno nostalgia, are not without precedent, and Redshape, a fellow disciple of the incognito school of the genre, has clearly geeked up on his musical antecedents. His latest EP ‘Dance Paradox’ is exactly that, part dance, part paradox; a scientific exploration into the nether regions of what techno is, that could quite easily soundtrack the darker moments of an L. Ron Hubbard biopic.

Opening track ‘Seduce Me’ crafts a beat from the gentle thud of a dove’s wing, albeit a dove on nandrilone. From this eerily organic opening, Redshape wafts in and out with psytrancey flashes that merge into the opening moments of ‘Garage GT’, where organ stabs create an atmosphere of panicked heartbeats in lieu of an almost-there 4/4 beat. In ‘Bound’, Redshape wears his influences on his sleeve, but Blade Runner knifings and insistent synths allow him to create his own future-noir soundscape. In ‘Man Out of Time’, a breakbeat shuffle acts as a warped homage to Anthony Shakir, an act of deference that is coupled with darkcore swooshes, more Indonesian sweatshop terror than boxfrsesh Force Ones. Throughout the EP, there is a sense of Redshape acknowledging contemporary trends, but filtering them through the infected prism of his abstract musings. Thus ‘Globe’ flirts with a congohouse wobble, before unleashing a nostril-full of ketamine-laced hi hat horror. Likewise ‘Dead Space (Edit)’ throbs with the menacing minimalism of Donnato Dozzy at his most trance-like, but also finds space for a twenty year mash up of dance music history - be it jungle, breakbeat, house or techno - within its fuzzy parameters.

Yet for all of Dance Paradox’s knowing insouciance, its double-faced acknowledgements of musical cut and paste, it remains a Paradox, too austere for home listening and too self-reverential for slaying the dance floor. What it does, it does exceedingly well, but by doing it so well, denies itself much of the emotional impact that such cross-generational music could and should have.

Thursday, 5 November 2009

Never in a Month of Sundays


It is with great excitement that I can post the first guest mix for the site, and it seems fitting that it comes from a longtime Wunderkind collaborator, Gringo. This is a stunning mix of original and exclusive material that is completely free to download. Taking influences from across the musical spectrum, expect cumbia, Bollywood, funk, and noir samples, blended together to make something that is truly special. The mission of the mix, entitled Never in a Month of Sundays, was to record a new beat, every day for a month. I hope you all enjoy it as much as I have, and check out the interview with Gringo below.

Download here.

Stream it here.

How long have you been making music?

I wouldn't really call it making music - it's more like messing around with music other people have made - but I started looping samples and playing with synths with a friend, George, when I was about 14. We didn't really know what we were doing - I still don't - but it was always a fun thing to do. George is still making beats as well - definitely worth checking out.


What do you use to make your beats?
I used Logic for a bit in a Music Technology class at school, but my teacher was an ex-acid house dj and I only ever really learnt how to do rave pianos (frankly, I wish I'd stuck with that). Then I used Reason for a long time, but my computer died. My brother's got a Mac, so recently I've monopolised his computer to use GarageBand, which this whole mix is made on. It's an amazing programme, really, particularly for something that's free. This mix is just me learning how to use it properly.

What were your major musical influences growing up?

I wasn't into hip hop at all until I was about 13 or 14. I didn't even know what it was. The closest thing I'd listened to before was the Outhere Brothers - 'Boom, Boom, Boom' was the first single I bought (actually, I got my mum to buy it for me and she humiliated herself by pronouncing the name wrong). I went through the same phases as a lot of kids - britpop, then euro-house, then jungle - before ending up at hip hop. The music collection around the house wasn't up to much - my mum liked King Crimson and Hawkwind and my dad's taste didn't go far beyond Gregorian chanting and Spanish zarzuelas.

Are you strictly a hip hop man, or are there are genres that make up your musical soundtrack?

Soundtracks are something I love
. For one thing they're great for samples (there's some bollywood soundtracks in the mix, plus - embarrassingly - a loop from the Twilight soundtrack), but there's also such a huge range of moods and styles. I love soul and funk, mainly because of hip hop. I love RnB, reggae, house. Klezmer, I love. In fact - without wanting to get all gap year on you - I love world music. I''m not entirely sure what world music means, but anything where I can't understand the words is good for me. Basically I'm completely undiscriminating. I even - in a moment of madness, surely - found myself bopping my head to 'Boom, Boom Pow' by the Black Eyed Peas the other day. Shameful.

A broad question, maybe too broad to answer properly, but what do you make of the state of hip hop in 2009?

I don't think hip hop's ever been a form where the important thing is careful craftsmanship or precision. The excitement has always been to just throw everything into a pot, mix it all together, and see what it tastes like. Hip hop's simple to make. It's a form that's driven by anger and adrenaline and that's why a rapper can put out umpteen mixtapes for every U2 album. The result of that incredible proliferation - I mean Tupac's still releasing songs from beyond the grave, simply because of his phenomenal output; Saigon and Statik Selectah recorded an album in 24 hours - is a saturation of the market and a lack of quality control. So yes, the hit rate's lower than it was ten years ago, but there's so much more hip hop now. When it's good it still has the power to shock and amaze ('A Milli' has to be one of the most surprising hits since 'Mr Blobby') and, because it doesn't aspire to the poetics of songwriting, it connects with people much quicker. There's so many more words in rapping - a Nas track probably has more lyrics than an entire Kings of Leon album - so it's easier for hip hop to burn out, which is why people complain that rappers have nothing new to say. I think that's untrue, or rather irrelevant. It's not what you say, it's how you say it. But if you're the type to prize the originality of material then you're probably not the sort of person that would take any interest in hip hop beats made from samples. That's more of a rant/ramble than an answer. Apologies.

Is there any musician, producer, or artist who has been making waves for you of late?

I like Nate Dogg, but he had a stroke, so he's been a bit quiet of late. That said, I discovered his song 'Shake That' (with Eminem) only in the past couple of months, so I've listened to that a lot. I've been listening to quite a lot of this sort of stuff - Miriam Makeba - which I guess is afro-jazz. I thought DJ Quik and Kurupt's album Blaqkout had some stunning production. I'd love to make that kind of West Coast hip hop - that wheezy synth sound.

What's next for you?

In terms of music, probably nothing. My brother's gone away to Japan for a few months, so my access to GarageBand has gone. I pretty much stopped making music a couple of years ago. This mix was mmainly a product of me wanting to teach myself how to use GarageBand. What I'm hoping to is put together some short films and score them myself. Easier said than done, but watch this space (just don't hold your breath).

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

The Best Track of 2009



An absolute no-brainer for me, this track has been killing me since I first heard it. Levon Vincent sums up everything that has been great about house and techno in 2009, and alongside 'Games Dub' and the upcoming B-side of his next Novel Sound release, we have three of the standout tracks of the last few years. I feel like I work for Boomkat saying this but seriously, ESSENTIAL.

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Last of the Summer Wine










Sorry Phil, but I'm jacking your photos. This was a great party.

Friday, 23 October 2009

The Neues Museum






The Neues Museum reopened last weekend after an 11 year restoration by British architect David Chipperfield. When I went to have a look, there was a cue so large the city had thrown in a marquee to protect the assembled hoardes from the rain. It does look pretty special though.

Lolek and Bolek

One of the weird and beautiful things about childhood is that memories from that time often induce a physical reaction. The smell of my grandmother's Irish lamb stew, or of the tropics - all diesel and briney palms - when the door of the plane was first opened after a long haul flight, still manage to cast me back in time, make my toes curl and the seams of my mouth crease up. The same is true of Lolek and Bolek. A Polish cartoon created in the mid-sixties, it bears all the flair of Soviet arts and crafts, but with anti-establishment lashings of innocence and a joy of play in its most sincere form. Brought back to my childhood home by a friend of my parents who was posted to Warsaw at the time, these silent ten minute epics still captivate me in a way that few other works of art have EVER managed.



Imagine my surprise however upon entering university and mentioning to a Polish friend about my love for the series, that his grandfather, Władysław Nehrebecki created the show, and that it was based on his two sons, one of them being the father of my friend (I'm not sure which). I mean, I know a few Polish people, not hundreds, but a few, yet even so, what are the chances of that happening?

In all honesty, I haven't thought about it for a while until I came across a track which is also quite obviously endebted to this seminal series, the Polish Catz N Dogz' 'Lolek and Bolek'. Cue a slew of hazy memories: rainy days in spent watching a worn out Soviet VHS, dreaming of these surreal and alien Polish landscapes and yearning for the freedom to explore the woods, derelict fairgrounds, and mountain lodges, that these two adventurous lads were able to.

The weird thing is that the track is about a million miles away from my notion of what Lolek and Bolek stand for. It's quite literally a ghettoisation of their agrarian adventures, full of inner city attitude, shuffly samples, and a complete disregard for the pre-lapsarian sanctifying of the outdoors. Which is a shame really. But here it is nonetheless. I wonder what Darek will make of it all?

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Tentative Bidding


Now that all that 'Hyph Mngo' clamour has died down (?), it seems like the right time to point you folks in the direction of 'Tentative Bidding', the best thing Herr Orbison has put his name to so far, although I must say I'm looking forward to hearing 'The Shrew would have cushioned the blow'.

Tokyo Calling


My mate Tommy's latest. Favourite bit?

'The lack of camping and the proximity to Tokyo kept away all the usual urban hippy kids, and apart from the usual few irritating poi "practitioners," there was a much darker feel overall.'

God I hate those "practitioners".

Oilsands

Phunklarique -Oilsands by andreablufin

Another absolute groover from Phunklarique. Their best release yet?

El Bandido



Great piece by Philip Sherburne on Nicolas Jaar in RA. Great track by the frustratingly young man himself.

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

Benoit and Sergio

Song02 - Benoit & Sergio "What I've Lost" by thesongsays

Described by Seth Troxler in our interview as New Order meets Perlon, I think Paul Simon is more fitting, but how lovely is this minimal molecular mollusk?

Saturday, 10 October 2009

Saturday



Phew. It's Saturday. And we're throwing a party tonight in our wonderful Berlin residence. The invitations have been sent, the bath filled with beers and ice, and all that remains is for people to arrive. Well, almost. I'm actually in bed writing this and have just woken up. But that will be the case in a few hours.

Firstly though, a quick heads up. Aside from posting interviews and tracks, not very much has made it onto the page about what's going on chez Gab. So basically, this is how it stands. In December, I will be returning to the UK for a month, before going on to spend the next six months in Colombia, Barranquilla to be precise. Home to the second best Carnival in South America don't you know? The aim is to return to Berlin in June 2010, hopefully having bagged a foreign correspondent gig for some top Latin American broadsheets.

This blog, it now seems clear, is so very much a product of this city, that I couldn't possibly tell you how it will mutate after six months in the tropics. However, in the interest of continuity, I have chosen not to end it and start another but carry on, and see where it heads to next. I imagine less house and techno, more cumbia. Nonetheless, it has already survived one move from London to Berlin so why shouldn't it survive another?

In the meantime, everything will carry on as usual. I have been asked to write for Inverted Audio, so you can expect more writings from there and from RA. There will also be more interviews, and even my first mix for the site which is very exciting. Then, I am very proud to announce the first mixtape as well which will be premiering soon from a very special guest.

Here, everything carries on apace. Days consist of sweating into my capacious messenger bag or getting pissed on by October showers whilst evenings have tended towards the culinary and contemplative. That is of course all set to change. Tonight: party. Next weekend: Bish (et al?) Two weeks: Tangiers. Four weeks: The Scolt Head. Six weeks: London. Twelve weeks: the Caribbean.

NOMAD

Saturday, 3 October 2009

Firenze



Someone's been listening to some Todd Edwards.

I think we've found autumns first 'Let's get ravey' tune. Has this hit already?

Nose Dive



Sascha Dive has taken the route well-travlled and it's not done him any favours whatsoever.

Wednesday, 30 September 2009

Todd Bodine interview


Highgrade regularly play at Panoramabar. What is your favourite venue in Berlin to play at?

In Berlin you have a few venues which are really cool. But at the end I´ve two favourite clubs here in Berlin, the Panorama Bar and Watergate. Both venues are really different but they bring a good vibe. These are places where Techno / House music becomes reality. There you have the best sound on one hand and a really cool audience on the other. So, it´s a perfect mixture.

You are a born and bred Berlin DJ, something that is less and less
common in the city. How do you feel about the influx of nationalities
that have come to Berlin to live and work here? Do you feel Berlin as
a city has retained its ethos regardless?


First of all it is the best thing for Berlin that so many people comes to join the vibe of the city. Now the city is full of different people who want to express them selves. And that´s good. I mean, if you go maybe 10 year´s in the past - Berlin was a small village. If you came back from London at these times the streets and subways
and so on were empty. And now Berlin is loud, fast and fresh, compared to other big cities. And at the end it was good for the music-scene as well. I think people forget the past if they rail against the tourists!

You've released on Mothership. How did your relationship with Claude VonStroke come about?

It was really simple. He was asking me for a remix. Then he wanted to listen to more stuff and he was asking me if I can send him some tracks. I think I was sending the stuff while he was at an airport and he was listening to the stuff on the flight later. After he landed he gave me the feedback and told me that he wanted to do a record with me. He is really one of the coolest guys in this business.
I like him and his work really much.

You play live and as a DJ. Which of the two do you prefer? Is one better suited to certain environments?

First of all I like both. But at the end I can express myself much more if I play live. It takes much more time to prepare a live show because every show is different but it´s really interesting to see the reactions to my tracks. The moment when I know what comes in next is great for me. Only I know what will happen. But it has to be
something special!

Aside from house and techno, what were your earliest musical influences?

My earliest musical influences I found in Techno. In the early 90s. This was the first moment I tried to listen and understand music. It was stuff from Robert Hood, Jeff Mills, Underground Resistance. All this Detroit stuff. Many artists say that jazz and funk are their earliest influences. But not for me. Later, then I started to explore more experimental stuff. And now I love Herbie Hancock and so on. I love all this funk and jazz stuff. There you can learn allot about rhythm and moods.

What is your take on the MP3 vs Vinyl debate?

I love the sound and handling of vinyl. With Highgrade we already do vinyl but I play digital. The possibilities of playing digital are incredible. I mean you can play your stuff you made the night before. This is amazing. On the other hand it´s also important for me to hold something in my hand. A result of your work. Therefore many artists only want to release on vinyl or CD. But the biggest problem we have to see is the the kids don´t by CD´s or Vinyl anymore. The art of how to play music has changed. They use iPods and so on. So maybe cd´s are coming back? I don´t know.

What's next for you in terms of releases?

There are some projects on Highgrade beside the label-work. First there are two compilations. The second part of "Our Thing" is out now and at the beginning of November "Highgrade vs. Freak n´Chic" will come out. Between then, I will release my Album. It will be out at 26th of October as two maxi´s, CD.

What do you think the future holds for you, and for electronic
music here in Berlin?


I think the network between all the artists and labels will be closer, and I will do my best.

Tuesday, 29 September 2009

Underground Quality


Here is my latest RA review.

In many ways, 2009 has been Underground Quality's year. DJ Jus-Ed's charmingly homespun label has been the launching pad for a string of releases from the likes of Nina Kraviz, DJ Qu, Fred P, AKA Black Jazz Consortium, Jus-Ed himself and perhaps the release of the year so far (from perhaps the producer of the year), Levon Vincent's "Games Dub." Yet with UQ, you get the sense it's not just about the music they release, but also how they go about it — rants against illegal uploaders, special promotional CDs for one-off gigs with plenty of unreleased material, appearances with the roster of artists all wearing personalised UQ shirts — so far removed from the icy cynicism of some of the larger house and techno outfits. It is this joy in the process of house, in the community and inter-relatedness of the music, that made the recent Underground Quality night at Tape an absolute must-see.

For the first time in the label's history, six of the label's roster were brought together to play under one roof, a Cold War détente that saw the Russian contingent of Anton Zap and Nina Kraviz playing alongside their American comrades. Given the hodgepodge nature of the night, the first few hours were characterised by a free-for-all behind the decks with each act taking turns to get the crowd going. From the proud MCing of Jus-Ed, the perfect counterpart to his capriciously funkadelic cuts, to the wild hip-shaking of Kraviz, it was an opportunity to see how each act would put their stamp on the evening before the sets proper kicked off.

The relaxed opening was useful in giving an overall impression of the UQ sound, but somehow lacked the homogeneity that characterises the label. As such, it was the individual sets that best managed to combine the individual flair of the artists with the all-embracing appeal of the collective, and Nina Kraviz kicked off proceedings before handing over to Anton Zap. The Russian take on this quintessentially US sound is an interesting one, and these two offered vastly different approaches to it—Zap studiously unlocking the beat, with Kraviz allowing her soulful ruinations to take her and the room over.

Handing over to Fred P proved a turning point in the evening, as the beats became more thugged out, yet no less prone to set feet a-stomping. His new material provided some excited smiles in the crowd, but it was Levon Vincent who really showed why he is hailed by artists as disparate as Marcel Dettmann and House of House. At times coy and understated, at times flirting with melancholia, his clanging beats never let up, and when he dropped the B-side from his upcoming Novel Sound release, he brought the house down to its knees. Following on from a set of such epic proportions was a tough task, but one that DJ Qu set about with relish, and not without a little aggressive tomfoolery of his own, all growling low-ends and staccato midranges.

Aside from the hard work put in by Jus-Ed and his crew, Tape should be praised for allowing such a special night to take place, and for providing a hub in Berlin for this sort of music to flourish. Underground and quality.

Monday, 28 September 2009

Onra interview


Here is an interview I did with the brilliant Onra.

For Chinoiseries, you sampled a lot of ethnic Vietnamese music. I was wondering if you might ever be interested in working with any Oriental hip hop groups, or if there is even a scene for the sort of music you make in the East?

Hip-Hop is still very new in Asia, and most of the people only know what they see on MTV or those kind of medias. I haven't met no vietnamese band, but in China, I met a couple people who were rapping in Chinese over 90's Hip-Hop influenced beats. I've never thought of collaborating with asian groups, except Japanese, that could be an idea, but it's not something I'm really looking forward to.

Given the success of Chinoiseries, is looking for inspiration in world music something you are interested in pursuing? Perhaps taking samples from Latin or African music? Like a hip hop Peter Gabriel or Paul Simon?

Chinoiseries is just a concept that happened because I went to Asia and I managed to find some records. It wasn't planned. I'm looking for good samples, no matter the country, the time, the artist, the genre of music. I like to make albums with themes though. The Tribute one only has Soul samples, 1.0.8 is made with Bollywood samples, and Chinoiseries is Chinese/Vietnamese. My next project is only made with 80's Funk samples. After the second volume of Chinoiseries, I don't think I'll do another theme album, though it's very important for me that each project has its own particular concept. I want to move on from making beats to making songs and collaborate with vocal artists.

1.0.8 features a very different sound to Chinoiseries, lots of surf guitar and gothic soul, is that a sound that you have always been drawn to?


1.0.8 is strictly made with Bollywood soundtracks, it happened that Indian music and Chinese music have some similarities, especially in the type of instruments and percussions they used, but still I find them different.

I've seen that you consider yourself a 'beatmaker'. In a way, that is a lot like being a producer. Are you interested in working with MCs ever?

Yeah beatmaker, producer, that's almost the same thing basically. I've worked with MC's already, but nothing has ever came out, it was just demos that we did for fun. Of course in the near future, you will hear more vocal artists over my beats, hopefully around the end of next year.

If so, who would you like to work with?

I'd like to work with people that really inspired me, legends and unknown underground talents. I can't really give you any names cause I have to figure out if those collaborations are possible (budgetwise), or if it's only something I can dream about.

Do you have any plans for any collaborations at all?

I have to keep it for myself cause nothing is confirmed so far. I don't want to announce something that's not gonna happen, I did this in the past, and I don't like this feeling of unachievement.

As a hip hop fan, I'm interested to know what you think of the state of US hip hop nowadays? Things have changed quite a lot since the early days, and the power balance seems to have shifted southwards (ATL/New Orleans/Houston/Bay Area). What are your feelings of where US hip hop is at right now?

It's a very difficult situation to analyze. First, you can't really talk about US Hip-Hop in general. What you mean I guess, is the kind of Hip-Hop that is played on mass medias like MTV and mainstream radio channels. This is music for the kids and for the club. All they talk about is party and bullshit and I don't really see this changing and going back to the essence of Hip-Hop. But I have a feeling that it's gonna get better anyway, music is like a cycle, maybe Hip-Hop needs to die for real before resurrecting into something new, and more relevant.

Though, I agree this type of music is usually wack, I think some mainstream artists are really innovative. And sometimes, when I don't understand how people can appreciate this garbage, I'm thinking that I'm too old already to understand.
To finish, I'd say that real Hip-Hop is more than alive, and there's bunch of people who keep doing it right and making it evolve. People must dig deeper than what the medias are giving them,

I know that you are very passionate about hip hop, but are there any other genres of music that are drawing your attention at the moment? A lot of the forward-thinking dubstep is getting a lot of hype, is that of interest to you?

I like a lot of different styles of music. I can't name everything cause there's so many genres and sub-genres that I would need to be too precise and it would be boring. I'm passionate about Hip-Hop, but I'm passionate about Music first.
As for the new kind of music, there are some really good things. I personally don't like Dubstep, there are some good songs that are always gonna work in a club, but I'm just not into it. Though I have to admit, some elements of it are interesting and can be inspiring.

Growing up in France were you surrounded by hip hop from a young age, or did you come to it later in life?

Let me tell you that France is (or was) the second Hip-Hop nation behind the U.S. So It's pretty big here. I discovered about Hip-Hop in 91 cause my older step-brother gave me some tapes and he was watching this TV show called "Rapline" on french TV. Although, at that age (10), I couldn't really make a difference between Kriss Kross, MC Hammer, N.W.A or A Tribe Called Quest. To me, as long as I heard someone rapping, it was good.

I know you are about to start work on your next album. What can we expect? A whole new change of direction?

The next project is gonna be released in January 2010, on irish label All City. You can expect some trakcs in the veign of "My Comet", it's gonna be all inspired by 80's Funk. It will be follow by the second volume of Chinoiseries on french label Favourite Recordings, later the same year.

What does 2010 have in store for you?

Besides those two albums, I'm looking forward to travel more and do more shows. I want to come up with a new live set, so it's gonna be a lot of work, and I'll be working on my first real solo album with vocal guests.

Saturday, 26 September 2009

Vital-ic



The new Vitalic album aint half bad actually. My only concern: sounds a bit dated. Like soooooo 2006.

Late Night Jam



Appearing very shortly on Tama Sumo's Panoramabar 02, this is another classic from Levon. Dig.

Shipyard



I'm quite a big Piemont fan. Thanks to Herr Trott, I got into them about 9 months ago, and ever since, they have featured pretty heavily for me (although sadly I missed them play Berghain which would have been nice). Their new EP, Shipyard, delivers on every front. Is this the funkiest techno outfit in the world? Oh and speaking of "funky", the new Guillaume & the Coutu Dumonts' is quite tasty too. D'you wanna get funky?

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

Lucia y el Sexo



Have you seen 'Lucia y el Sexo'? It's Medem's second best film after 'La Ardilla Roja', and this whimsical little ditty is omnipresent throughout. At first I was certain it was this beautiful Gabriel Yared piece from 'The English Patient', but it was not until it appeared on the last episode of Mad Men that it became clear. But what can honestly compete with Bernard Herrmann's masterpiece, the 'Taxi Driver' soundtrack, the last movie he scored before his death.

Planet Love



It's all change round these parts. New directions, new jobs, new perspectives. Highlight of the week was undoubtedly the UQ night at Tape of which more to follow. Having heard the next two Novel Sound releases, trust me, Levon Vincent is set to EXPLODE. They seem to get better every time which is no mean fucking feat. Other exciting projects ahead as well including a very exciting and much-feted collab with Gringo, and more interviews. Is the above not better than 'Blood On My Hands'? Thanks to Terry Church for finally clarifying something I had been wondering about for a while and which I thought, erroneously I had already cleared up.

Friday, 18 September 2009

Bonnie



Latest Todd Edward's offering. And here is an excellent interview with him from Asianmandan.

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

Patrice Scott Interview


As promised, here is an interview I did with the exceedingly talented Patrice Scott.

I don't know if this is entirely subjective, and it has arguably always been the case, but I feel there is a really positive momentum in much of the electronic music coming out of America at the moment, particularly house. Detroit feels musically, amongst the doom and gloom of the economy, to be producing powerful and exciting stuff by yourself and Omar S, Theo Parrish, Moodyman, and New York has Wolf+Lamb, Underground Quality also releasing interesting material. Do you feel that this is the case at all?


I have always had the opinion that the best electronic music comes from America. We can go back to the beginning and the roots of where this music all started in the early eighties. The Chicago legends, the Detroit legends, etc... The music has always been good. Artists from all over the world have some type of American influence in their music today and that is because American artist have always produced quality music.

Detroit has obviosuly been hit quite badly by the financial crisis, do you feel any of that has filtered down into the music that comes out of the city?

I don't feel that Detroit's economic crisis has had any effect whatsoever on the music coming out of the city. Before the economic crisis occurred good music was coming out of Detroit and it is still happening at the moment from the guys who did it in the past as well as up and coming producers.

You split your time between Berlin and Detroit, is that for work reasons or because you enjoy living and working there?

Although I enjoy being in Berlin when I am there, the primary focus is work.

You played in London last weekend, how was it? Where do you enjoy playing most?

London was great, as always. I can't say that I have a place that I enjoy more than others but most recently I visited Manchester & that was a great experience. The crowd seem to really enjoy and understand the music. They also were very open when it came to being educated on the music.

I went to a talk here in Berlin given by American artists discussing how the future of the arts in America will be affected by Barack Obama becoming President. The mood was overwhelmingly positive. I was wondering if you feel as an artist, a change in atmosphere or mood since his inauguration?

As an American citizen I do feel that there has been a change in mood since the inauguration of Barack Obama. People now have a sense of overall hope that things can go in a positive direction. The overall situation had gotten so bad in America that things could only get better. Once you hit rock bottom you can only go to the top. It will take some time but if Obama is given the opportunity people will see a positive change.

I've heard that you don't play much in the US. Do you think that is a different training ground to some of the European DJs who are playing out all the time?

I don't play much in the U.S. because their is not much of a scene in the U.S. So therefore, yes, the training ground for European DJs is different. They have more opportunity to play than American DJs. The scene is flourishing in Europe and in the U.S. it has gone in the opposite direction.

I know you have lots of friends in the music community in Detroit, but between people in Chicago, New York, San Francisco - how much of a community is there amidst the house and techno community within America as a whole?

America as a whole does not have a house community. There is really no scene in America. This is where it all started but if you do not continue to educate or people are not willing to be educated then it will not grow and this has what has happened to the scene in America.

Your music has very high levels of production. It works just as well out as it does for home listening. Is that something that is important to you, that it be deeply layered?

I really don't consider my music to be at high levels of production. I consider it to be basic and I feel that I could and will get alot better. But I do try to put my all into it and I try to give it from the heart. I do enjoy having musical elements in my tracks. It is important to me to provide feeling in my music.

Is the deep sound you have always been drawn to? What would the primary influences on that deep sound be?

I have always loved the deep sound. Larry Heard has been a big influence on me for a long time as well as many others.

What's next for you and for Sistrum?

The next release on Sistrum will come from me. I do not have any names or titles yet but it will be out before the year ends.