Friday, March 28, 2008

mountain contact

ok, it has taken a while, but we've finally got the blog a bit more organised. in the top right hand corner of the blog we've now got our email listed, along with a link to our fancy new myspace/ssgspace. there is also - finally - a feedburner for subscribing to the RSS ssg feed. nice. but all you smart ssg readers had probably done that already, hadn't you? hopefully this will get us all contacted/connected/etc. and it is definitely worth keeping an eye on the ssgs as we are currently working on some things we are really excited about...

anyway, i can't just have a post about that - way too boring. so perhaps some suisse musical treats to sweeten this post. like pete, i've been listening to rozzo, the mountain people and all the lovely deep house sounds floating down from the suisse mountains. it seems almost every set i listen to these days includes a mountain people cut or the latest sascha dive ep (do you think people like the B side so much because it samples ultra-sonic?). and this is most certainly not a bad thing - i am thoroughly enjoying all this deepness. but it has got me wondering what has been going on up in those mountains. have the sounds always been so good? or has suisse really emerged as an important pole/point in the techno-sphere quite recently? i remember when chatting to bruno pronsato last year he said that for him outside of berlin, zurich was where it's at. and based on my nights out in geneva and lausanne the other year, i was also impressed with the suisse scene. it struck me as very well developed and mature. one only needs to look at the mental groove label, based in geneva, and it is obvious there are some cats (or mountain dogs?) that really know. so chances are, it is perhaps more a case of the zeitgeist moving up into the alps, rather than the suisse adjusting to current trends. case in point is one mountain person, rozzo - looking at his entry on discogs, i felt embarrassed that i only discovered him in the last year. his hiking partner, serafin, i found out a while ago care of betalounge, but it was really only when 'berlin has no cows' came out that i started paying closer attention. so i think it could have been a case of me - and many others - just not knowing about the amazing music and dj existing in suisse, and elsewhere for that matter.
it makes me wonder what else i am missing... so who are the hidden treasures out there guys? thoughts?

this has turned into a very longwinded introduction to two sets i discovered this week which i've really been enjoying. despite these being almost a year old, as far as i know they haven't been posted on the regular liveset boards, most likely for the same reason i hadn't downloaded them before - i/we didn't know better. but now we do. enjoy:

dj p45 radio may-07-show: guest mix by eli verveine (playlist)
dj p45 radio april-07-show: guest mix by rozzo (playlist)


  1. ha never knew it was the same Rozzo. I have his Bush release from all those years ago. Ssgs brings the goods again.

  2. well, there must finally be a good promoter behind the story. but it's also true that swiss guys are a bit slow in general ;-)
    no seriously, suddenly there is a story in germany's number 1 club music mag "groove", then a lot of word-of-mouth, and now on your blog;-) the rules of hype?

    to also comment on his MUSIC a bit: the latest rozzo "i wish i was a cat" has an incredibly irresistible groove to it. at the same time it sounds like a Perlon 2002 release... some of his other tracks are a bit dull in contrast. his peter dildo (what a pseudo...) "curly blonde" was a masterpiece in dramaturgy though.

    conclusion: mixed output, but on a high level indeed.

    Cheers, Zuckermann for Berlin's-and-so-no-cows-indeed club netlabel

  3. Yeah - if I started a production duo, they'd be called 'Backlash & Bandwagon'.

    What's interesting is how much the whole rise of this sound is being welcomed by people I spoke to a year ago who were going out of their way to disavow minimal. DJ T is the most recent and significant example. He says that all the MP and Rozzo stuff (among others) is allowing him to enjoy playing house again, where the hegemony of minus-style minimal had made him feel he wanted to play Laurent Garnier-style '25 years of house' sets... interesting, eh? And 'cos we're all plugged in and listening to things at roughly the same time around the world, you do get this diffusion of some kind of quasi-Jungian 'collective unconscious' at work. There really is something approaching a diffuse, planetary Zeitgeist, and we're all involved in following it, shaping it, riding it, biting it, disavowing it...etc, etc. This is something that's world-historic.

    Interestingly though, we're ending up with a culture that is increasingly virtual and overwhelmingly computer-mediated. The only difference between the diffuse global house scene and Warcrack etc (massive multiplayers) is that the 'software' we're into is a bit different. But then again, they 'push buttons' and 'sounds' come out - how different is it really?

  4. pc, that's some chilling analysis. not that it's new, though, i mean i've read it here and there and over there, too (:pointing at random techno forum:)


    seriously, though, your point about dj t (and others on the warpath against all things mnml) is definitely interesting, as a lot of this sound - especially, from my pov, the high-water mark so far of "no disco future" - could be some academic (as opposed to "scene") definition of minimal house... there's a huge (largely contextual, which is what it's all about) difference between "laurent garnier's 25 years of house" and "i wish i was a cat", is what i'm trying to say, and that's the greatest irony, to me.

  5. hey PC, without knowing you, but let's start that act: it'll work!-,

    but first i'd say, let's not get caught up in that conspiracy theory thing.
    second i might add: people like DJ T don't just "welcome" any sound that "rises" (all by itself?). they SHAPE that very sound (plus, as long as i know dj t, he ALWAYS was into house btw.).

    which sounds a bit contradictory perhaps. what i really want to say is: there are people who have a LOT of media coverage - and thus possess media power which directly translates into power over other peoples MINDS -, and there are people who don't (in spite of the internet, our blogs etcetc.). but this is no conspiracy thing, it's just a POLITICAL fact. Which translates directly into a commercial one too...
    So "the system" lives by stardom (which techno when it started was there to abolish to begin with) now, and those in the game just cover their interests. fair enough.

    let's just be aware of that and be critical about hypes (uhm, ed banger for example, we all read the very same "justice remixed simian mobile disco and SUDDENLY, oh my god every world renown DJ played it" press release over and over again in all kinds of mags/blogs whatever - which was written by a certain man named pedro winter which is the manager of daft punk etcetcetc. and you all know the drill).

    Cheers, Zuckermann for Berlin's-and-so-into-a-Brecht-tradition club netlabel

  6. Zuckermann - well, I wonder to what extent that traditional media model applies for electronic music these days.

    I think the most any one individual could hope for is 'influence', not control and therefore power over people's minds...

    The exception to this is google and beatport. Search tools and distribution - to a much greater extent, they influence what we can find, how we find it and how we receive it.

    I don't know if we can treat 'stardom' as a 'political fact' in something as small as dance music. Strikes me that the overwhelming majority of people barely make enough money to eat. Even big DJs make a pittance compared to someone like Timbaland, who in turn makes a pittance compared to anyone in the Hollywood machine... now THERE'S something/where that might be said to have some influence over people's heads - but again, it all comes back to having control over distribution.

    I'm not an expert, but it seems to me like that's the 21C stitch up - control distribution and you control whatever media it is you're into.

  7. I wanna add that like 95% of news comes from two sources these days, Reuters and AP.

    Add to that: more than 30% of the global economy is finance! Just castles in the sky, numbers, and magical thinking. How did it get that big? What are the consequences? And how are you or I to participate in this? Who controls it? And what does it control?

    On a much, much, much smaller level, what's the impact of having Beatport mediate so much of electronic music? People talk about 'when pets go bad' or 'when clowns go bad' - what would happen if Google went bad, or if Beatport went bad?

    If we're going to talk control/influence, I humbly submit this as my greater concern.

  8. @PC, interesting questions. where to begin...?
    isn't it funny that we all certainly could agree on: "we have left behind 20th century media and how it used to work". and in the next paragraph you're talking about 95% of news coming form TWO sources (btw, where did you get that from: google?-:).

    so that doesn't sound so 21st entury too me. where's the "news are conversations" paradigm change if we ALL do rely on (and here i not only repeat myself but what you were saying as well) TWO sources? (well, ok, and some bloggers no one in europe at least is really taking seriously). the sad truth is: even online most people tend to consume mass media.
    proof: the irak war, proof: the publics vague fear of terrorism (they should fear a car accident or a heart attack, but not to be blown up on their bicycles by swarthy men with curly hair), proof: the all pervasing CCTV crap in the UK (all in the name of security, while most studies on the subject proof otherwise) - and so forth.

    wow, that was a sweeping statement... to come back to dance music: i was just trying to show that imho, we are all quite brainwashed (incl. myself of course) by the media we consume. so we tend to "discover" a lots of things that other people WANT us to discover - which seems to be the very reason for this discussion. so - again imho - even on this small scale, beatport has some control over our minds. plus one of the worst web interfaces i have ever seen;-)
    i don't know about you guys of course, but it SEEMS to me, that there is a lot of mediocre stuff out there which is just getting too much media coverage (let's NOT, nonono;- talk about earnings but assume that people are in the industry for the sake of being there). isn't that often the result of simple nepotism? well, of bad taste too;-)

    there is no such thing as justice (please, feel free to misinterpret).

    Cheers, Zuckermann for Berlin's-and-therefore-tired-of-playing-for-150-bucks-in-a-shabby-cellar-because-you-know-a-"club"owner-who-is-on-the same-loser-trip-as-you club netlabel

  9. Z,

    Agreed on Beatport's interface (blech), and on the important point that there's too much mediocre crap getting too much coverage.

    I guess I should be more specific. When I said 'we' I meant electronic music fans. And I think that, compared to news and current affairs, there is a lot of diversity and lots of sources for discussion and debate, this humble blog being but one example.

    As far as news goes - well, that 90% comes from a friend of mine who works for a major broadsheet. The issue is that even when it doesn't say AP or Reuters at the bottom that it's usually information gathered from those agencies - they're the ones gathering all the news, something that independent newspapers used to do a lot more of. Even the Guardian appears to be succumbing to this (I mention this because it's usually cited as a healthy exception).

    I think the issue is form and content: I would tend to say that the 'old media' appear to be working in an 'old way', but they're doing so under a 21C operating logic that is globalised in scope and globalising in tendencies.

    It's a bit like that scene at the beginning of MIB where the alien being (the giant cockroach) inhabits the body of the hillbilly. On first glance, same old hillbilly...but look closer...

    ...but this seems distinct from electronic music, which is on the very margins of all these changes, 'cos there's no money/power in it, relatively speaking. As Eminem said:

    'No-one listens to techno anyway.'

    So yeah... they don't get it, there's no money in it, so they ignore it, and we're left to post waffle like this on blog sites without any fear of extraordinary rendition. Just don't anyone start talking about a 'techno jihad' or say that 'it's the bomb' otherwise we might all become 'of interest'.

  10. Hey, you speak German ("Blech"!:_)?
    Since this subject came up: most of NI's interfaces are Blech indeed. They mostly don't support standards like undo or right mouse click for MIDI learn (battery is a nightmare with its controller map! plus no sequencer: double blech!!). so often these are waaaay to complicated. the first easily accesible NI interface that i know of is FM8. so much for today's NI bashing (uhm, of course do they do a wonderful job in general).

    anyway, very good point about the 21 century operations logic of 'old media'. and i also see the difference between 'mass media' as opposed to - in comparison - almost 'no media' in the electronic music business (who wouldn't?). But still, is the operations logic you were talking about not the same? money and the dirty hunger for political power left aside for a moment.
    don't we face a globalised - and globalising - media coverage in our little world as well? even with our heroic:_) blog efforts? don't get me wrong, i am not complaining. i think we all do it for the love (or whatever you want to call it) of the music and so on. ok, maybe also to get heard, to share our views etc. but always so in relation to a thing we obviously like to do. plus no one forces us to do it.
    sometimes i can't help myself thinking though that a lot of the influencial dance/ club media often work as a mouthpiece for the interests of already WELL established players - and players is meant to be quite literal: i wonder why a relatively small group of producers is booked to play worldwide ALL the time (although they often almost have given up producing in the process, look at M.A.N.D.Y.).
    i am not talking about the commercial dance stuff of mr. "i fly only 1st class" paul van dyck of course. it's rather people like paul kalkbrenner (veeery mixed outpout), ellen alien (actually apparat's output) and others from the bpitchy posse (with the explicit exception of modeselektor). or the very questionable uprise of oliver koletzki (made by sven of course, but that's the tunes this guy likes...). just examples.
    so in this respect these media serve the assumed interests of promoters who wants their clubs filled, because the stars draw a crowd (though certainly not always the best DJs, tiefschwarz may serve as just another example).
    they also think they serve their own interests because even the one millionth sven väth feature wiil still sell more copies than more on hartchef, sex tags mania or the house label you've never heard of before. and i am not talking about closing people like sven out, he's deserved his place in the sun for his pure passion and all the efforts he's put into it, whatever you might think of him as a person.

    so yeah, i think the scene is quite caught up in 20th century thinking, another example: statements like the one received when talking to a guy writing for a well established mag lately, i was told they "don't usually write about mp3 releases, or about net labels or blogs" for that matter. that's really not only arrogant to the max, but wow, sooo 20th century (fox, and it works like fox news in a way). why not mp3 releases? isn't it about the music and not so much about the medium anymore? today more so than ever? with all the iPod mania plus a lot of DJs who use CDs along their vinyls or traktor scratch plus ableton live plus...?

    hmmm, hope this doesn't sound like an envious chap complaining? i am just wondering how this all reeeally works. so, to start with, no techo jihad, but a cluetrain maifesto for the club "industry"?


  11. Well put Zuckermann!

    I totally agree on bpitch - what has Ellen done to deserve yet another mix CD? Ben Klock is the only bptich artist putting out anything consistently of a decent standard.

    In Ellen's case... well, I kind of feel she's the 'Sophia Coppola' of techno. She's not that talented, but she knows where to stand in a room, who to collaborate with, who to form alliances with.

    The case of 'the anointed' is really interesting with DJs, especially when you think of the class of hard working professional DJs in Melbourne with OUTRAGEOUS skills who would slay any touring producer/DJs in Europe, but because they don't produce or play the Coppola, they'll never make it outside this hemisphere... which is, as everyone knows, the wrong hemisphere.

    For God's sake, look what happened to Sven when he made it all the way down here:
    (thanks to Chinstroking for that one)

    And then he went and played at Revolver (Melbourne's after hours flophouse) and all the kids were like, 'Who's this old geezer?! Where's boogs?!'

    Z, I'm sure the mp3 landscape will change, but snobbery ain't going nowhere. That's the difference between humans and dogs: dogs don't know how to be snobs. Cats, on the other hand...

    And yeah, NI's interfaces are all rubbish. The other month Mike Huckaby was like, 'why don't people learn Reaktor.' Um, 'cos unless you're a programmer/geek, it's really, really, really tiresome battling that program for a year in order to become 'proficient'. You'd have to be into software for software's sake...

    ...but then, there's plenty of people who say they're into electronic music who are actually into software and nice equipment...

  12. Yo!-, finally a decent discussion on a club music blog. PC, i appreciate your not being PC. (plus, finally i checked your myspace profile and now i better understand why... i like the sausages:-)

    although i don't totally agree on sophia coppola;-) i liked 'lost in traslation' a lot. but ok, that was before i became aware that bill murray can't play but this ONE character (which he had proven times before innumerous i heard) and that the beautiful girl who plays the other main part (whatever-her-name-is) is just another braindead hollywood product;-). so let's not even talk about 'marie antoinette', which is quite a refreshing approach to the genre of the costume movies (but what "genre" is that?) - and otherwise a jawning exercise in empty aesthetics.
    at least she made something out of being her fathers daughter - which you can't say for anyone with a great ancestry...
    ellen's case is completely different though, she is a self-made woman. basically an entrepreneur and a parvenu of techno - if a parvenu fits in with the original concept of club music...
    but both are cats and no dogs for certain (which is the black one from rozzo?)

    thanks for that photo btw: a real "high"flyer.... "if you like this, you might like that too":

    and that leads us directly to NI again, doesn't it? but rather the results of tackling these programmer friendly interfaces (regarding reaktor, well, honest thanks all the guys out there who supplied us with some great and working and mostly rather cryptic ".ens", because and quite frankly; I can't built my own). so does anyone of you mnml ssg crew put out music? anything i could listen too? i'd really appreciate!
    sorry for my ignorance, i just stumbled across your musings recently. plus it's true, not being a superstar dj myself, i have no idea what's going on in australia in the "scene". last thing i heard (uhm, a couple of years ago...) was that uk breaks was big chez vous, adam freeland, plump djs etc.

    about the mp3 landscape: i don't know if you read my article (no unwanted promo spam meant, just for the very sake of it): this friend of mine (not connected to the club scene at all) commenting on the matter really hit the spot when saying that this attitude towards vinyl is nothing else than trying to cling to one's assets (i freely translate here).
    finally, since you mentioned this "wrong hemisphere" thing. any interesting "aussie" and DJs in sight iyho (apart from you of course.-)? i am always interested in new music out of the ordinary.


  13. Okay Zuckermann,

    if you're keen to hear some very Melbourne musical output, try this site

    and subscribe to the poshcast...

    ...check Boogs' mix - I guess you could say he's the quintessential 'Melbourne sound' DJ.

    I haven't listened to the mix, so can't vouch for the contents, but it's boogs...

    Also, check this puppy:

    Put together by a friend of mine Adam, who's a wonderful DJ.

    Ransom is another exceptional DJ:

    As far as Australian production goes... there's not much in Melbourne that's really exceptional. Lots of stuff bubbling up though... there's a lot of people coming up through the Sydney scene like Jimi Polar and Deepchild and others. My friend Jan has just started a label which as some very promising things in the pipes. Here's a set he did the other day:

    I guess you could say that mainstream club culture is really, really disconnected from the underground and the parts of scenes that are connected to Europe and either side of the North Atlantic.

    Clubbing is big here, but 'big clubbing' in Oz is shiny, corporatised and feekin awful. Cue Marilyn Manson:

    'the horrible people, the horrible people'

    There are lots of experimental Australian artists to check out... I'm trying to think of other techno-related people.

    Dave Miller from WA does some really interesting stuff (Background, Scape). HMC is for the old school... Patrick HAF is keeping it real in Detroit style.

    Can anyone else add?

    And yes, breaks was huuuuuge here. No doubt because it works with the Melbourne shuffle:

    My lady's lil bro goes to OneLove, which epitomises the shiny side of things mentioned earlier

    And then, of course, there's all the electro-coolsies, who are associated with Modular:

    As far as the SSG crew go, no, we do not produce music. In fact, we may even be against it...

  14. And yes, the whole vinyl thing... well, I've said my piece on that here

    And as far as production goes... I wish people would start making some weird shit in the dance context. I feel like electronic dance music has become very, very safe and mostly very conservative and boring...

    Like Brikmann and Theo Parrish and others have been saying recently: where's the sacrifice? Where's the hurt?

  15. PC,

    thanks for all the links indeed. i'll definitely check those out!

    listen, your article on vinyl is great, no really, beautifully put as far as my english "sprechen" goes. i almost surrendered;-) but as they say in that nasty place future: resistance is futile!

    and so i must admit: i at least LIKE my interface (audio 8 DJ). not that is has a "life" in the sense a vinyl record has. but obviously a lot of care, thought, and the will to make something outstanding went into it. and it shows. it's almost as good as the inevitable iphone.
    and about these DJs: those who can't tackle to have their whole record collection with them instead of leaving most of it at home should stop consider themselves "selectors" maybe.
    the most important point though is: as a musician i start to discover the MUSIC much more so than with vinyl. i mean that inexplicable, abstract power of it - undisturbed by often poor or misleading cover art, memories of cramped record stores and their geek owners and the anxieties about scratches and other afflictions (reminiscences of our own withering of course).

    i also love to LOOK at old cars, but actually driving them is mostly a nightmare. so i prefer a modern mini cooper s - even though it has no soul, is a marketing product and a bmw with a peugeot engine really. but who cares? because it's anyway only in our minds, that objects come to life, whether it be music, cover art, or a digital item.

    a last one on cover art, that will change too, not satiesfied with an mp3 only release? why not make a microsite for it, or ask a designer to create a cool animation for your blog etc.? (not a sausage;-).

    a very last one on what you said about electronic music being so safe. i couldn't agree more! even villalobos pointed out recently that club music is: “very dogmatic and almost unchangeable”. more on that and why i am still optimist about it in this post of mine:
    so in one or the other way, aren't we all the romantics???
    asks himself --->z

  16. Zuckermann and pc, did any of you guys see the recent BBC World debate on media? It was with one of the guys from Google, Queen Noor (no kidding), a guy from Rolling Stone (i think), a psychologist and still some other people. VERY interesting debate.

  17. Last comment was from rhak who seems to have a problem posting under his own name

  18. Thinking about the article, there is quiet a few swiss guys who are doing pretty whell.

    Agnes / Sthlm Audio , 60 sec...
    Luciano / Cadenza...
    Lazy fat people / boarder community...
    Kalabrese /perlon, phictiv...
    Jonction SM (sonia Moonear) /Perlon, Karakoe pets...
    Lee Van Dowsky / NUM, toy for boys...
    Alessandro Crimi / sthml Audio...
    Pompelmoessap /Plak
    Alex Attias/ num...
    Quenum / plak, num...
    Chaton + Hopen / plak
    Styro 2000 / Bruchstuecke...
    Bang goes / Bruchstuecke...
    Crowdpleaser / MG...
    Water Lilly / MG..

    And so on :)


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