Sunday, 30 October 2011
Sunday, 28 August 2011
Here is a review I did for Resident Advisor on Omar S at PS1. It was a great day, much enjoyed by all.
Having been held for 14 years now, MoMA PS1's Warm Up, a series of parties in the Long Island City venue's giant courtyard, have set something of a benchmark for summertime electronic music in New York. Acts like Chez Damier, DJ Harvey, Spacetime Continuum, Afrika Bambaataa and Carl Craig have provided New Yorkers with the sort of uniquely euphoric moments that this wonderful space was tailor-made for, and the recent booking of Omar-S lay the groundwork for another healthy event.
For those arriving from Manhattan, there are a number of ways of accessing the venue, but few can claim to be as good a warm up for the Warm Up as taking the water taxi from East 34th Street. After an edifying walk from the shore side, we entered to see Beppe Loda, a PS1 veteran, guiding the small but growing crowd through a selection of his trademark afro-cosmic electro. Lindstrom's "I Feel Space" sidled up comfortably alongside Henrik Schwarz's "Kuar" remix. Like a muddled cross between New Order and Oneohtrix Point Never, Steve Moore's 45 minute synth excursion after Loda's set failed to set feet a-tapping, the dance floor thinning as the beer tents bulged.
This lull played into Simian Mobile Disco's hands. Feelings tend to be divided over SMD, with harsher critics accusing them of straying closer to pop than heads down house and techno, even if Delicacies and some of the tracks on Is Fixed showed that they knew their Blake Baxter from their Burt Bacharach. Here they started strongly. Levon Vincent's "Man or Mistress" and Axel Boman's "Purple Drank" provided early highlights as a wave of cooling rain ruffled hipster hairdos. Then came Oliver $'s "Doin" Ya Thing." And then the crowd went wild. Much digital ink has been spilled over the relative vices and virtues of this Moodymann-sampling ditty. Having witnessed its rapturous reception here, it seems safe to assume that this particular crowd wasn't overly caught up in issues of intellectual property.
Omar-S took to the stage as the rain started falling more heavily, and "Here's Your Trance Now Dance" was welcomed by a patchwork of bobbing umbrellas, each a toadstool of approval. The precipitation did nothing to cool the crowd's enthusiasm, and the Detroit resident's vocal-heavy set provided a glorious complement to the simple enjoyment of dancing in the warm summer rain.
These parties do an admirable job of walking a difficult tightrope between anaesthetised commercialism, art world bureaucracy and dance floor mayhem. It is in the crowd's recognition of how unique these events are that provides the stimulus, year in, year out, for collective explosions of smiling faces and hands in the air. When the last record stopped spinning at 9 PM, most were too grateful to complain.
Monday, 22 August 2011
Tuesday, 12 April 2011
On Good Friday (April 22), we will be hosting the second PUEBLO at Miss Tipsy Champagneria, Falckensteinstr. 16. The last one was a real success so if you find yourself in Berlin this Easter, pop down. Music comes from myself, Tommy, Will Davis, and Jack Haighton (RA).
A few weeks ago, as a wave of unseasonably warm weather hit Berlin, I found myself one Saturday afternoon in Golden Gate, one of Berlin's most underground spots. I've spoken about Golden Gate at length on this blog and don't plan to write any more about it now. For those that are interested, there is another nice piece on it here. Suffice to say though, that it stays open pretty much non-stop from Thursday through Monday, and features some of Berlin (and Germany's) younger, up and coming talents, rather than the big names you tend to see at Berghain, Arena, etc etc. Although it's not unusual to see house acts here (I remember one memorable set from Oskar Offermann and Edward), the music policy tends to be more plonkety plonk tech house, and marching minimal. Not everyone's cup of tea, but those inside don't seem to mind much. The soundsystem is compact, but punchy and always seems to deliver. On this auspicious Saturday, a young female DJ from Cologne was playing called Anna Steffens. After the show we shared a beer and a Jaegermeister and she agreed to answer a few questions. Thanks a lot to Anna, and if you find yourself in Cologne, go check her out.
Hi, could you tell me a bit about yourself, and where you come from?
Hi, I'm from Cologne and I've been living there for ten years now. I grew up in Remagen, near Bonn, and after school I moved to Cologne to work in the media. But then I decided to study (Music, English, Communication) and started DJing by the way.
How did you end up DJing in Golden Gate? How did your set go?
Two years ago I played in Wilde Renate and someone listened to my set. He's a friend of the guys who do the 5vor12 parties and he asked the booker to invite me to play one afternoon. I liked the atmosphere and the staff and crowd were really nice. It was fun to play there and i think they liked what i played, I didn't hear any contrary. :):)
Is Golden Gate well-known throughout Germany?
If you know the clubs in Berlin I think you may know Golden Gate as well. It´s a Berlin institution and exists for a long time now.
How would you describe your sound?
I don't like this stereotyping in describing sounds but i would say it's groovy deephouse going ahead.
How does playing in Berlin compare to playing in Cologne?
In Berlin the clubs are open from Friday til Monday. In Cologne we don't have this afterhour phenomenon, clubs close at 7/8 in the morning. Apart from that it's not very different.
Do you release music? Do you have any plans to do so?
I go to the studio with a friend whenever we have time. I have Abelton at home and I try to learn a bit more now and then. But i have a job as well and not the time to be a full-time DJ or spend my time in the studio the whole week. We already did some tracks but we haven't yet sent them to anyone. But I don't stress myself with releasing something.
What's your next step in terms of DJing? Do you have any goals?
I don't have any concrete plans in terms of DJing. I just go with the flow and stay with my style of sound. What will be, will be. :):)
Monday, 4 April 2011
Thursday, 31 March 2011
Very excited to post the latest in the Wunderkind Mix series, this time from Ana Helder, a vastly talented Argentinian producer who recently released her debut on Cómeme, Matías Aguayo's label. The eponymous record mixed classic Detroit and Chicago jackers with hallucinatory, often mind-warping disco funeral dirges. In short, a truly staggering debut. Ana's mix features lots of new material from a host of South American underground names including Mamacita, Isaac, and Daniel Maloso, sitting ever so comfortably alongside Right Said Fred and Dee-Lite. Thanks so much to the lovely Ana for this great mix, and let's hope we will see her in Europe soon. Interview and tracklist below.
Could you tell me a bit about your musical influences? What did you listen to as a kid?
As a kid I listened to a lot of Otis Redding, Bob Marley, Madonna, Sumo, “El tortelín y el canelón”, Spice Girls, Prodigy, Nirvana, Massive Attack, Actitud Maria Marta, TLC, Los Illya Kuryaki.
You are from Argentina. Could you tell me a little bit about the music scene there?
The music scene in Argentina is very varied and in clubs you hear reggaeton, cumbia, electropop, minimal, techhouse, dubstep and lots more. I’m not so into the larger clubs which tend to be, I don’t know, not my scene. A bit excessive. January was pretty cool though. Cómeme took over a a small parador in Buenos Aires where you could dance all afternoon. Gary Rock was there and over the course of the afternoon, lots of other DJs popped over and we all played together. Diegors came from Chile just for the show and whilst there, I got to know Dani Nijensohn, Mascarpone, Ceci y Fer and lots of other BA DJs, like the DJs Pareja. Everyone came and brought their music on CD or MP3 or whatever and played. It was special because there aren’t many places here where people can come and play music and dance and have a drink during the afternoon. Then there’s also the Bumbumbox parties which are with a soundsystem on batteries.
In your EP you can hear clear house and techno influences from Chicago and Detroit. Were these important influences for you? How did you get into this music?
Well I feel I grew up with this music. It was always around. Not so much in Argentina, but I got into it through the “New dance show of Detroit” clips on Youtube. In my house, we listened to a lot of rock, reggae, classical, experimental, pop, you name it. At about 12 I started going out and there I heard electronic music, but I was never so into it. I really started getting into it a few years ago via the “Youtube revival” (in quotation marks because it never really went away). That and ripped vinyls. I think those were my main influences.
How did you meet Matías Aguayo and how did the release come about?
I got to know Matías via Myspace. I liked what they were doing with Bumbumbox and the Cómeme label. I wrote to them to tell them that, and they always replied with really positive vibes. One day they wrote to tell me that they wanted to have a copy of the ‘Complicado’ MP3 which I had on my Myspace. They said they had been playing it at a few parties and that they wanted to edit it. Later I met with Gary and Euge in BA, we went out, had a great time, and that night I also met Pablo Castoldi, who drew the image for the cover of my release. I first met Matías last summer in Santiago where we played at a few parties. Whilst there we did the mix of Next Club, at Diegors’ house. We also made ‘Camuchi’ there. The rest of the tracks I made at my house in Rosario, and I passed them to them via Soundcloud.
You use your voice in your music. Is this important for you? do you think you will continue to use it in future releases?
Yeah I definitely want to keep using voices and mine as well. I find that one’s voice is the best tool for getting ideas out of my head. When I have a melody, first I sing it, then put it on MIDI, and go from there.
I like your music a lot, but it is also very strange, very unique, and i mean that in a good way. How did you come to this bizarre, weird sound?
Mainly through trying different things, listening to the track thousands of times, to see which arrangements are ok, which I should leave out, which structure works best, and so on, all according to my slightly madcap ideas. Styles are already very defined I find, and to adhere to one style, you have to leave lots of other arrangements behind that you might also like. So I struggle between going with what I like, and what I think works, but then also whether or not something works stylistically. Cómeme have helped me a lot with this. To be honest, my record is very varied. One track is disco, the next techno, and so on. I think that no track on there could easily be pidgeon-holed though. But as Witold Grombrowicz says, there is no real form, only immaturity.
I also notice lots of other non-electronic influences from South America, like cumbia, and champeta. Which Latin American styles are important to you? Have any particularly influenced you?
Haha. I imagine this comes from listening to Matias and Diegors play so much champeta. I’m not so sure there are latin rhythms per se in my music though. I can understand what you mean, but I don’t know if they are specifically latin, more universal.
What music have you been listening to recently that you have been enjoying?
I’ve been listening to some new tracks by Mamacita. She is a Chilean artist who has just moved to BA, and luckily, I went to hear her play for a recording on the www.enlaterraza.com show. I’ve also been listening to a band, Isaac, that is from Russia and a guy called Rony Douglas. That and lots of other things ranging from the Hotmix blog, to European and Chilean radio stations, to the music friends play me at home and at parties.
Have you got any plans afoot for developing your sound, any goals in mind, long or short term?
I have no plans at the moment. I would say that I now have more experience in how to organise myself before making a new track. I’ve also been loaned some new equipment, I bought a controller, and my state of mind is now more positive, which helps me develop new material.
What does the future hold in store for you? Are you going to release more music via Comeme?
At the moment, nothing is certain. Soon I will head back home to Rosario as I am in Santiago at the moment. Once there I will start working on some new staff, or continue with ones i have already started.
Do you have any plans for visiting Europe or any other countries?
I would love to go to Europe but I need something that could take me there. Now I am in Chile where they always seem to welcome me with open arms, and I would like to go to Brazil too. To be honest, I’d be happy to go anywhere!
What equipment do you use to make your music?
Fruity loops, Ableton and lots of plug ins.
When did you start making music?
In 2003 I started making music with a guitar and programming with fruity Loops. Later I got more into techno, electro and disco.
How long does it take you to make a track? is it quick or do you take your time?
“Mugre” and “Buena puntería” were really quick, like half a day. The rest took a bit longer but I went over them hundreds of times trying to see how I could make them better, what was missing and so on: about a month with each. If after a month I still wasn’t tired of them then I decided there must be something in there that was alright.
K- Alexi - Don't you know (Chicago feel mix) - Dopewax
Matias Aguayo - Naranja - Total/Kompakt
Right Said Fred - I'm Too Sexy (Betty's Mix) - Control
Matias Aguayo - Naranja - Total/Kompakt
Daniel Maloso - Caracol - Cómeme
Diegors - Marcup Mipp - Cómeme
Mamacita - Mi Corazon
Angelique Kidjo - Batonga (Jungle Stomp Instrumental) - Great Jones
Gesloten Cirkel - Yamagic - Moustache
Ana Helder - el groove de tu corazón - Cómeme
Isaac - One - Cómeme
Ana Helder & Diegors - Camuchi - Cómeme
Olivia Newton - John - I need love (A Deep Need For Love Mix) - Geffen
Deee-Lite - Pussycat Meow (Murk Boys Miami Mix) - Elektra
Erotic Drum Band - Plug me to death - Prism reocrds
Ana Helder - Complicado -Cómeme
Daniel Maloso - No doy nada - Cómeme
Wednesday, 2 March 2011
Thursday, 17 February 2011
Here is the most interesting article I wrote whilst at The Observer. A list of more boring ones can be found here.
I've been incredibly busy of late. After spending a week in London working at The Observer, I'm now back in Berlin for a few days before leaving for Copenhagen early tomorrow morning, and Spain on Tuesday morning. Whilst in London, I found myself on a somewhat boring coach journey between Oxford and the capital, and decided to lay down a brief mix of recently-enjoyed tunes. It can be perused below. Apologies to the pretty girl sat next to me. I hope I wasn't the reason she chose to disembark at Hillingdon.
Marko Fürstenberg - In Der Pappelei
Mood II Swing - Move Me
Mod.Civil - Somebody To Love
Tolga Fidan - Berg
Simon Baker - Too Slow (Radio Slave Panorama Garage Remix)
Amadou Et Mariam - Sabali (Vitalic Remix)
Head High - It's A Love Thing (Piano Invasion)
Alan Fitzpatrick - A Small Decline (Mark Broom Dubbed Mix)
Anna Helder - Next Club
Appleblim & Ramadanman - Void 23 (Carl Craig Re-Edit)
Tuesday, 25 January 2011
Here is another mix, this time with 75% new tracks. There is also a great deal of Rush Hour in there, testament to how strong they were in 2010. Enjoy.
Thugfucker/Plastic Bertrand - Disco Gnome (Tomboy Remix)/Stop Ou Encore (Ron Hardy Re-Edit) [Life or Death]
Massimiliano Pagliara - Sensation 9 (Dubbed Remix) [Rush Hour]
Maurice Joshua (With Hot Hula Hands) - I Got A Big Dick (Vocal) [Trax]
West Norwood Cassette Library - Blonde On Blonde (Pearson Sound Remix) [Teal]
Delta Funktionen - Silhouette (Original Mix) [Delsin]
Snuff Krew - Are You House (Neville Watson Remix) [Snuff Trax]
Carl Craig - Angel (Jerome Sydenham Vocal Dub) [Planet E]
Dj Koze - Mi Cyaan Believe [Pampa]
Braiden - The Alps (Kassem Mosse Fix) [Doldrums]
Mount Kimbie - William (Tama Sumo & Prosumer Remix) [Hotflush]
Italoboyz - Dont Talk Feat Fadila (Simone Tavazzi Remix) [Material]
Chymera - Curl [Dirt Crew]
Rick Wilhite - Get On Up!! (Theo Parrish' Late Dub) [Rush Hour]
Tevo Howard - Move (Acid Mix) [Rush Hour]
Friday, 14 January 2011
About this time last year, I wrote a post regarding the new breed of Italian mnml. In a recent RA profile, Davide Squillace points out that Naples has always been a techno town. Specifically, he highlights the first time he heard the Minus bandwagon roll into town:
'Yeah, we had for the first time Richie [Hawtin] playing in Napoli and the Detroit wave blew our minds, because before that we were into this English sounding progressive thing and with this new wave from America, this was the sound we wanted to promote and what we wanted to do. We did Jeff Mills, Model 500, Derrick May.
I'm a huge fan of Richie back in the day because it seemed to me that he'd just put one huge record on, the flow was so logical. It didn't sound like mixing records, it just sounded like one big long vinyl. You know when you are a kid and you have a hero? My brother's was a football player. Mine was Richie.'
The Hawtin element is not hard to discern in recent Italian mnml. it can be found everywhere from the artists' stage names to their sparse, technologically driven (cheap?) sounds. Squillace goes on to note that 'Richie [Hawtin] is really big in Italy and Minus is huge there.' No surprise there. A current look at the Beatport Top 100 includes tracks from Luigi Rocca, Stefano Noferini, Andrea Bertolini, Simone Cattaneo, Alex Gardini, Gianluca Meloni, Simone Tavazzi (who actually did a great Italoboyz remix of 'Don't Talk' feat. Fadila), and Squillace himself. They dominate the Tech House and Minimal genre sections even more. So one year on, it appears mozzarella minimal has become an established part of the electronic music world. Demau5 must be quaking in his boots, that is if he hasn't already signed these guys up.