Friday, February 22, 2008

loud silence

i am on sick leave at the moment, which means a few more posts from me than normally would be the case. unfortunately, though, this one is putting the boot into m_nus so you may just want to skip ahead to the new lawrence set below if you don't want to hear another rant about richie and his gang. at the beginning of the year, m_nus announced that it would begin its 10 year anniversary with 10 weeks of silence. i must admit, i found all of this rather ridiculous - announcing so loudly that m_nus was going to be quiet. fair enough, richie + most of the others not djing for 10 weeks is a bit unusual (but even then, it is currently the winter season in europe), but for many labels, not having a release or special event for that period is certainly nothing to proclaim to the world. if anything, all this noise about m_nus deciding to be quiet seems an excellent indicator of how overblown the label/crew/sound has become. indeed, the very concepts the label seems to represent - minus/subtraction/minimalism - are the complete opposite of the way they've been operating.

looking through their back catalogue, the first releases came out in 1998. jump to 2005 and you have the 25th release, the 'minimize to maximize' compilation, which is roughly about when the m-nus brand really started to explode. in the first 7 years or so, m-nus was a smaller and more subtle label. releases were reasonably infrequent and of a high quality. but by the end of 2007, the total number of releases had more than doubled, with barem's ep bringing the total to 59 (plus two releases on the items and things sublabel). plenty have commented on the declining quality of the releases, so there is no need to say much more here. i am ambivalent about that aspect - while m-nus is no longer a bastion of quality as it once was, it still has a very good roster of artists, and as a djs and liveacts they are amongst the very best when on their game. so it is definitely stupid to write m-nus off. you cannot deny the quality of people like troy pierce or magda (and richie when in form, which seems to be not that often at the moment).

the point i am really trying to make is that the whole m-nus thing has become so overblown, it has completely betrayed the ideas which motivated it in the beginning. and this seeming need to tell everyone that m-nus is now being 'quiet' (despite the fact that i've received 3 emails from them during this period - more than any other label's email lists that i am on) is very representative of how far richie and co have strayed from the original path of m-nus. anyway, it reminded me of this passage from one of my favourite texts, an old samurai book called hagakure:

"A group of eight samurai all took the same road for some merrymaking. Two of them, Komori Eijun and Otsubo Jin'-emon, went into a teahouse in front of the Kannon temple at Asakusa, got into an argument with the male employees there, and were soundly beaten. This could be heard by the others, who were in an excursion boat, and Mute Rokuemen said, "We should go back and take revenge." Yoshii Yoichiemon and Ezoe Jinbei both agreed to this.
The others, however, dissuaded them, saying, "This will cause trouble for the clan," and they all returned home. When they arrived at the mansion, Rokuemon again said, ''We should definitely take revenge!'' but the others disuaded him. Although they sustained heavy wounds on their arms and legs, Eijian and Jin'emon cut the teahouse men down, and those who had returned were taken to task by the master.
In due course some thought was given to the details of this event. One person said, "By waiting to get the agreement of others, a matter like taking revenge will never be brought to a conclusion. One should have the resolution to go alone and even to be cut down. A person who speaks vehemently about taking revenge but does nothing about it is a hypocrite. Clever people, by using their mouths alone, are taking care of their reputations for a later date. But a real stalwart is a man who will go out secretly, saying nothing, and die. It is not necessary to achieve one's aim ; one is a stalwart in being cut down. Such a person will most likely achieve his purpose.''

i have no problem with the concept of 10 weeks of silence, as such. but if m_nus want to be silent, then just be silent, rather than telling everyone about it. like all addages and cliches, there is more than a bit of truth in 'actions speak louder than words'. i know there has been plenty of complaining about m-nus of late, so apologies for contributing to it. but after receiving the 3rd email from them during their silence, i couldnt resist posting about it. anyway, lets leave berlin and move to hamburg:

a plus to that minus

three of the four members of this blog have a borderline fetish for the dial record label out of hamburg (the other is trying in vain to start a dial backlash to follow on from the m-nus one, which is so passe). anytime a new set a dial artist appears, we all get pretty excited. this time it is a dj set by lawrence, recorded at pacotek on NYE. i have nothing but good things to say about the pacotek crew. as well as great taste in music, they also kindly record their sets for the rest of us. so here it is, almost 4 hours of lawrence behind the decks. while known for his productions, lawrence has been djing out more in recent years and the guy can definitely play. a nice mixture of deep sounds. enjoy.

lawrence @ pacotek 31.12.07*

*this is a direct link. if it goes down, leave a message and i'll re-up it.


  1. This reminds me of a recent "Curb Your Enthusiasm" episode where Ted Danson and Larry David donate wings to a museum, but the former offers his as "anonymous," despite telling all his friends about it. Hi-jinks ensue.

  2. Hooray for Lawrence! (But you *knew* I'd say that, right?)

  3. Anyone sitting on a tracklist for the Lawrence set? Or at least can tell me the artist/title of the song that is playing around 1.05 into the set?

  4. M_nus sold out long time ago, IMHO. The quality of material they're putting out nowadays is terrible - like Tom Cox of ISM says: "technical demos for technology products and gadgets that Hawtin is pushing..." R.I.P.

  5. Hi there, I'm a new reader - just found out about the site from the 909 list. Great thoughts, I'm going to have quite a time crawling back through the whole thing, I can tell already. Would've sent an e-mail but I don't see any address on here...

  6. thanks for the comments.

    m50 - and thanks for the kind words. you are right - no email listed. will fix that shortly. the blog is still in its early days... i'll send you an email.


  7. thanks for the lawrence set chris!


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