Saturday, November 29, 2008

mnml ssgs mx14: marcel fengler

as we approach the end of each year there are always attempts to try and work out what have been the major trends and themes of the last 12 months. without doubt one of the big stories of 2008 has been the continued rise and rise of the berghain club in berlin and its accompanying label, ostgut tonträger. most of the attention has been on marcel dettmann, ben klock and, more recently, shed. for whatever reason - perhaps because he hasn't produced as much - i think marcel fengler has been under-rated slightly in the process. if this is true (and it may not be), it is a situation that won't be lasting for much longer. in my books his 'friction/yaki' ep on ostgut has just quietly been one of the best releases of '08, and as a dj, he is most certainly the equal of any of the other berghain residents. listen to this mix and you'll hear what i mean. this really is a perfectly crafted mix of forward-thinking, dynamic techno that demonstrates fengler's distinctive take on the 'berghain' sound. describing his philosophy to DJing, marcel says that he likes to build his "sets up, then down again. it has to be varied and it has to snake through the night in waves." this is obviously a man who practices what he preaches, because that is exactly what he does in this ssg mix he has kindly put together for us. much like rossella's set last week, marcel keeps a very close eye on tempo and structure, carefully building something special over exactly 60 minutes.

i have, rather belatedly, asked marcel some questions (better than last week i promise) and will post them up soon. but i didn't want to sit on this mix any longer. i figure you guys need something to dance to over the weekend. and marcel's set will most definitely get the body moving. for all of us not lucky enough to be at berghain, this is a very good substitute.

mnml ssgs mx14: marcel fengler (direct dl)
mirrors: rapidshare / megaupload

no tracklisting so far and that works fine for me. as i said, q&a to follow. more info about marcel over at his myspace or at ostgut booking. much, much thanks for marcel for continuing the incredible string of mixes for the ssgs. this really is next level shit. respect to marcel. enjoy.

Thursday, November 27, 2008


ok, few bits and pieces to cover in this post. first of all, get ready for the fengler ssg mix to drop at the end of this week. we've just got it, and all i can say is 'wow'. and to top it off, next week mx15 will be from the lovely ms eli verveine.

next up, pete is too modest, so i'll have to do it: if you haven't already seen it, i strongly recommend heading over to RA and reading his interview with move d. i think RA has had some really excellent features this year, and in my completely biased opinion, this is definitely ranks among the very best.

while on the topic of RA, i have to say something about their latest podcast from some dude called emerson todd. to be honest, i have been participating and involved in the melbourne/australian dance scene since around 1997 and i've never heard of the guy (admittedly he is from sydney, but i thought i knew most of the main djs/crews there, obviously not). he might be a nice guy, he might be a nice dj, but the feeling amongst the ssgs is that this was a disappointing choice as the first australian to do an RA'cast. in our opinion, there are a host of djs from down under that would have been much more appropriate. with our ssg mixes, we've made an effort not to be the slightest bit parochial. our aim, though, is that at some stage in the near future is to get a mix or two from australian artists that we think are really worth listening to.

speaking of (mis)representing, i am really quite dissatisfied with fact magazine's list of the supposedly best 20 mixes of 2008. i've got two issues with it. first, it strikes me as attempting to present itself as a list which goes across genres and is reasonably inclusive of different styles. i cannot comment on the quality of all the mixes mentioned, as i have not heard many of them, but i do not think it is a particularly broad cross-section. some genres are rather over-represented, while techno has only one clear inclusion, and there are no exemplars of the deep house sound that has been so pervasive this year (the closest they get with house are the metro area and prins thomas mixes, but neither of these fit with the deep house sound of '08). my second problem comes down to there being only representative of techno (yeah, optimo is in there but they only 1/2 count) and the inclusion is deetron. if you are going to put a mix in there, you could do much, much better with that. there are so many possibly candidates, but logical places to start would be with the dozzy labyrinth set, the cio d'or modyfier mix, or the berghain 2 cd by herr dettmann. this has been a fantastic year for techno in my books and it is a shame not to see that reflected. anyway, enough complaining. you'll be getting my list at some stage in the coming weeks.

as for good mixes, i've been absolutely drowning in them recently. here is just a small sample:

santiago salazar september 08 mix: santiago is part of the UR crew and lately has a new label, historia y violencia, with ssg favourite silent servant. you can read an interview with them about it here. anyway, like anyone associated with UR, the man can spin.

01. Mad Mike Banks Interview
02. Silent Servant - Violencia (Function Remix) - Sandwell District
03. Silent Servant - Lo Profundo - Historia y Violencia
04. 2 Noisy Heads - String Factory(Noirdegout remix) - Exit Audio
05. Matt Chester - Cut Adrift - Sula Muse
06. Lil Tony - Cosmic Afro Pan - Versatile Records
07. D.P.O.M.B. - VERSION 1 - Innervisions (Ame, Henrik Schwarz, Dixon)
08. Paul Mac - Raw Basics 3 - Stimulus
09. Rolando - Where Were You? - Delsin
10. Underground Resistance - Unreleased
11. M5 - Celestial Highways(the Plan remix) - Unreleased
12. Aroy Dee - Life Of Raw - MOS Recordings
13. Lee Holman - Depart - -Mowar
14. Nomadico - Night Walker - UR
15. C2 - untitled - CDR
16. Stefan Goldmann - Prefecture - Macro
17. Drewsky - Night Games - Nite Life
18. Seldom Seen - Arcade - Macro Promo
19. Scuba - The Upside (Martyn's down mix) - Hotflush
20. Mad Mike Banks Interview
21. Underground Resistance - Blaxplotation - Unreleased

eric cloutier @ down 20/11/08: it burns! it burns! this is one seriously slow burning affair. eric keeps a close lock on the bpms and builds a very cohesive and consistent vibe throughout the set. i love long sets like these. they can really carry you through a day when need be.

01. kris wadsworth - at 11 [static records]
02. adultnapper - tewa (nick chacona remix) [ransom note footnote]
03. joachim spieth - abi '99 b1 [kompakt]
04. round two - new day (dub) [main street records]
05. move.d - lush summer rain [shanti records]
06. edit select - need for more [edit select]
07. samuel l. session - choose one [be as one]
08. lee jones - soon (the mole remix) [aus music]
09. martin landsky - he's gone [pokerflat recordings]
10. holy ghost - hold on (mock's mod mix) [dfa records]
11. dj koze - i want to sleep [international records]
12. submania + ekmoah - funkfahrt [background]
13. peace division - in my mind [tsuba records]
14. andy toth - linwood [people mover productions]
15. alex picone - furby [cadenza]
16. superlova - something on my mind [stir15 recordings]
17. sascha dive - midnight blues [love letters from oslo]
18. guillaume & the coutu dumonts - halleluyah yeah [oslo]
19. melchior productions ltd. - different places [perlon]
20. stephane attias - distant planet [neroli]
21. cobblestone jazz - b2 [itiswhatitis]
22. oleg poliakov - midnight vultures [circus company]
23. 2000 and one - bang bang [bang bang]
24. chaton - catch the beat (agnes remix) [sthlmaudio recordings]
25. hans thalau - lassur [moonpool]
26. iron curtis - ass & cash [unreleased]
27. lil' mark - nonsense [disco 45]
28. sebo k - moved (prosumer stob dub) [mobilee]
29. steve bug - loverboy (reworked by cassy) [pokerflat recordings]
30. arto mwambe - ombala mbembo [brontosaurus]
31. alex picone - floppy [cadenza]
32. johnny d - pako mana [love letters from oslo]
33. seth troxler - love never sleeps (adam marshall's sedition mix) [crosstown rebels]
34. dj t. - before light [pokerflat recordings]
35. dorian paic + chupacabra - dub 17 [raum...musik]
36. david labiej - choose red [sushitech purple]
37. spencer parker - e lucia (federico molinari mix) [tsuba records]
38. martin madhatter - get in time [mighty rider records]
39. a guy called gerald - voodoo ray [warlock records]
40. tomoki tamura + nono - 3 years (manuel tur remix) [four:twenty recordings]
41. willie graff + tuccillo - when the sun goes down [drumpoet community]
42. gipsy family - strangers in all lands [contexterrior]
43. rhythm plate - lean [mantis recordings]
44. swayzak - so cheap [swayzak]
45. snooze - quiet alone (swag's hp dub) [ssr records]
46. africanism - les enfants du bled [yellow productions]
47. dj marley marl - beyond [west end records]
48. franck roger - dub life [real tone records]
49. roland clark - family (nick holder vocal mix) [home recordings]
50. slutbox - backseat driver (jason emsley remix) [siteholder]
51. frankie - hunt (mike shannon's let the hunt begin mix) [frankie]
52. polder - bold orange [intacto]
53. kenlou - the bounce [maw recordings]
54. slam - positive education [soma quality recordings]
55. green velvet - answering machine [music man records]
56. fingers inc. - i'm strong (instrumental mix) [r&s records]

mike huckaby @ betalounge 08/11/08: there are very few things better than a proper betalounge set. unsurprisingly huckaby steps up to the plate and delivers the goods.

i'd also strongly advise paying a visit to infinitestatemachine for their latest guest mix from m50. it's a beauty.

and last, but most certainly not least, pete was a guest on 'to and fro', a show on melbourne's triple r radio station (yes, these still exist it seems). head over here for the tracklisting and download link. as you'd expect, a quality selection from one of the ssgs. go team!

ok, more links will have to come another night. this ssg has to sleep.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

mnml ssgs mx13: rossella

at one stage during donato dozzy's labyrinth set, the last in the ssgs mix series, mike parker leaned across to me and said, 'this track is by an italian DJ, rossella. you definitely should check her out.' well mike is a man whose taste in music i most certainly trust, so i followed his advice and chased up her up. rossella is someone who has been making a name for herself in the italian scene over the last couple of years, and has also started doing some production, including a release this year on tadeo's 'cyclical tracks', entitled 'photographers'. like all the people we approach for this mix series, rossella is someone who is pursuing her own path and developing a unique voice in the scene. here she has provided the ssgs with a quality selection of deep minimal records, with the mix being defined by a carefully controlled tempo and flow throughout. this is definitely one that grows on you...

given that rossella might be a bit less known that some of the other recent contributors to the series, i thought i'd bang together a couple of crappy questions to ask her (apologies, i really didn't have the time to put any thought into coming up with some decent. in the future i may just steal the quetions LWE asks...).

ssgs: tell us about this mix.
: this mix is a summary of some of my personal experiences in almost 10 years as a dj. saying that, obviously it's not exactly what i play actually on the dancefloor...

ssgs: what is the scene like in italy?
rossella: nowadays the scene in italy is very diverse: there's a predominance of "house", but minimal-techno is spreading, especially among the very young people.

ssgs: how do you feel about techno music at the moment? what interests and excites you?
rossella: i feel there's always something interesting to me, but not so surprising.

ssgs: name some major influences on you and your music.
rossella: steve bug's style, sleeparchive's productions, alex under's feeling, tadeo's dj sets, donato dozzy's reflections and, above all, my personal sense of rhythm...

ssgs: what are you working on at the moment?
rossella: producing...

ssgs: anything else you want to share?
rossella: this is the first time i've appeared before a large audience and i'm really excited about it. thank to those who gave me this opportunity...

ok, there you have it. enough talk, on to the mix.

mnml ssgs mx13: rossella

1.Monobox-TRADE(Pantytec mix)-LOG040LP
2.Dima-MOONOLOG- BAR25-09
4.David Labeij-RENTAL-REMOTE 014
5.Todd Bodine-PARTICLES (original)- TRESOR 217
6.Onur Ozer-ENVY-VAKANT 05
7.Jens Zimmermann-C30-IF6
8.Sety-FOGO PURO (bonus beat)-CCS028
9.Dan Berkson-THE HOOLOW-CRM037
14.Kristian/Christian-FLASHES_AFULAB 04
15.Sasha Funke-VANISH (CELINE remix)- AND 010
16.Pantytec-ELASTOFLO (T:Melchior & P.Ford remix)-PERLON 26

rapidshare mirror

big thanks to rossella for taking the time to put this together. check her myspace for more info. and get ready for what is going to a pretty serious end to 2008 for the ssgs. next week mx14 comes from berghain's marcel fengler, and we've got some other people of equal quality in the pipeline after that. but for now, enjoy the sounds of rossella...

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

notes and votes

ok, lots to catch up on:


on friday i was in london and unfortunately my plans of dancing to kassem mosse doing his thing live were cancelled with kassem being sick (get well soon!). very disappointing... on the plus side, it resulted in me getting to the rothko exhibition showing at the tate modern. i spent a few hours there hypnotised by his amazing paintings as i listened to donato dozzy's labyrinth set. dozzy's deep sounds matched the visuals perfectly... definitely get to the rothko show if you are anywhere near london in the coming months.

ssg mixes

again, huge thanks to all the support and feedback about donato dozzy's labyrinth set. donato and all the ssgs have been thrilled by the response. the 13th mix in the series is from another italian dj, rossella, and will be up later in the week...

dc knows

there don't seem to be as many quality mix cds coming out as there used to be, but there have been a string of goodies recently. pete will likely be posting about some of them soon, so i just want to highlight one, and that is dave clarke's 'back in the box'. it is an incredibly well put together and thought through mix of old chicago house records. i've had this on repeat since getting it. strongly recommended.


plenty has already been said over at RA about philip sherburne's thought-provoking (as always) set of reflections on the state of techno at the end of 2008, but i'd just like to add a few observations. first, i am in very close agreement with richard brophy's much more positive assessment of things. to be honest, i am not sure how anyone could listen to dozzy's ssg mix, move d and brunn's 'songs from the beehive', convextion's livepa, dettmann's dj sets, pretty much any ostgut release - the list could go on, and think there is a problem. ok, so there might be plenty of junk floating about. but lets not start building up a false nostelgia for a past that never was - there always has been plenty of crap records, beatport and myspace just make them a bit more obvious. but if you dig, you explore and you listen there is plenty of creative, amazing, inspiring music being made. quite simply, i think some people need to take a step back and reassess.

the other thought i have on this matter - and this is one i still havent quite worked through - is in regards to the way people tend to define techno and how that shapes the way it is assessed. techno is often defined - and this is the way i have traditionally understood it - as 'future music'. juan atkins recently said that, 'techno is synonymous with technology and evolution'. evolution. this is key. built into the way we think about techno is an inherent bias towards progress. for techno to be healthy, there is a general notion that it must be moving forward: onwards and upwards, developing in a way different to what has come before. but is that a realistic expectation? and should that be how techno is judged? could it be that a cyclical conception of time and development is more appropriate? rather than techno always progressing, maybe it repeats in infinitely different patterns but within a certain structure or scope? i am not suggesting this is the case, my point is that most people generally seem to be working with a very linear conception of how techno does and should operate. rather than blaming techno, perhaps we should be reflecting on how we understand it, how we define it and what it means to us. anyway, enough musings for now...

the harder they come...

speaking of techno, i've been in the mood lately for some harder, tougher sounds. these are some sets i've been enjoying:

speedy j live at rome 2008: this is speedy dj'ing with efx. i've been a longtime fan of his and one thing i have liked is the way he has managed to reinvent himself over time and stay relevant. i have a feeling he is in the process of moving into a new stage, with the launch of electric deluxe and his open collabs project. i'm very interested to see what speedy will be doing in 2009 and what he does with open collabs. i have high hopes.

surgeon - 'for dog faces only': i must admit, i've become soft. i used to love surgeon, but these days most of the time he is just too brutal for me. this set, though, isn't quite as rough. and damn, it is seriously good. the man has taste.

Ed Chamberlain — Trapese
Go Hiyama — Unreleased
Scion — Emerge (BMB remix2)
Anstam — Aeto_b
DJ Hell — Totmacher
Add Noise — Handwerk
Basic Channel — Enforcement (Mills mix)
Inigo Kennedy — Aching To Get Beneath
Kraddy — New World Empire (DiskChordians remix)
Radial — Premium
Oscar Mulero — Baskerbill's Dog (Regis remix)
Blackham — The Crusade
Warlock — TV controls your mind
Ed Chamberlain — Resistant
ScanOne — Trotter
Surgeon — Floorshow 1.1
Makaton — 41_43
Inigo Kennedy — Kaleidoscope
Jeff Mills —Humana
Monolake — Alaska (Substance remix2)
The DiskChordians — M-329 Class A
Ed Chamberlain — Charley
Go Hiyama — LisB
Anstam — Aeto_a
Ed Chamberlain — Does Ape
Joey Beltram — Drome

kevin gorman mikrowave mix, november 08: gorman is definitely another guy to keep a close eye on. part of a group of artists that are really refining techno in a way that harks back to the older stripped back sound, without being limited by it. and it ain't just ostgut. others are doing it too! (we forget this sometimes...)

Kevin Gorman - untitled (unreleased)
Damian Schwartz - Get Into
Rebotini - Horns of Innocence
Model 500 - Starlight (Soultek mix)
Shinedoe - Ibo Grooves
Brendan Moeller - Ignition
Mike Parker - Voice One
Jonas Kopp - Andregeno
Vogel - Xpute
JPLS - Combination 2
Zuni - DaHood (Kevin Gorman remix) (unreleased)
Kevin Gorman - SevenEightNine (Marcel Dettmann remix)
Kevin Gorman - Art01 (unreleased)
Alex Under - untitled (unreleased)
Alex Under - untitled (unreleased)
Kevin Gorman - untitled (unreleased)
Gideon - Need No Permission
Gideon - The Flash
Planetary Assault System - Kat
Roman Flugel - Make your move (Sterac remix)
Peter Horrevorts - Romance is Overrated
Gideon - Last Apocalypse
Rebotini - Decade of Agression
Kevin Gorman - Cyclik (unreleased)

Perc - October 2008 Radio Mix: you can put this in the same category as the mix above. shit, just look at the tracklisting. quality all the way.

1) Vapourspace - Humana Vista (Vista Stickmana Mix) - Plus8
2) Scuba - From Within (Marcel Dettmann Remix) - Hot FLush
3) Gary Beck - Drifting (Perc's Dub Mix) - Perc Trax
4) Donato Dozzy - Tropical One - Railyard
5) Planetary Assault Systems - I Am The Funkster - Peacefrog
6) Jean Ramesse - Jobby Noir (Perc Remix) - Sleaze
7) Speedy J - Red Shift - Electric Deluxe
8) Sawf - On Surface - Perc Trax
9) Haioka - Garasha - Blank Records
10) Chris Liebing - Turbular Bell - CLR
11) Simone Tavazzi - Poltergeist (Perc Remix) - Analytictrail
12) Perc - Swords (Misc Remix) - Lost Souls
13) Scuba - Ruptured (Surgeon Remix) - Hot Flush
14) Gak - Gak 1 - Warp presents Samuli Kemppi/podcast MixTape #16 2008: i've talked enough about samuli here before. this mix kind of went under the radar a bit, which is a shame because it seriously rocks.

1. Kenny Larkin - Life Goes On | R&S Records
2. Ellen Allien - Elphine | Bpitch
3. Lee Holman - Bravo | Ferox
4. Shed - Another Wedged Chicken | Ostgut Ton
5. Roman Lindau - Raumgestaltung | Fachwerk
6. Marcel Dettmann - Plain | Beatstreet
7. Steve Stoll - Was Here part 6 | True People
8. Samuli Kemppi - Välitila | Pakkas Levyt
9. MLZ - One State | Modern Love
10. Smear - Transect | Forward Strategy Group
11. Pacou - Levitate | Cache
12. Dj Rush - Unsoaked Girl | Cosmic Records
13. Schatrax - Wasichu | Schatrax
14. Plastikman - Elektrostatik | NovaMute
15. Human Resource - The Complete Dominator (Frank De Wulf #1 mix) | R&S Records

ok, that'll do for now. i've got some other sets i want to share, including an amazing cio d'or set i've had on repeat for the last month, but that can wait to next time...

Monday, November 17, 2008

quality service

hot on the heels of the excellent ssg mix that silent servant was kind enough to do for us, here are two new mixes he has completed which really show the depth and breadth of his musical knowledge (not to mention his artistic skills). no need to say anymore, by now you should associate the name 'silent servant' with quality, and the tracklistings speak for themselves...

la discoteca mix (link expired)

Laura Logic // Brute Fury
Dorothy // Softness
Pig Bag // Sunny Day
A Certain Ratio // Guess Who
Electric Chairs // So Many Ways
Capricorn // I Need Love
Simian Mobile Disco // State of Things
Alexander Robotnik // Intro for Live Performance
Padded Cell // Savage Skulls
Eddy Grant // Time Warp
Hawkeye // Born
Glass Candy // Always Say Yes
Love Fingers // Zoysia
Emperor Machine // Labocatocs (V. Markowski Remix)
Glass Candy // Computer Love
Sexual Harassment // K-I-S-S-I-N-G
Emperor Machine // Labocatocs (Original Mix)
Chaz Jankel // 3,000,000 Synths
Gina X // No Gdm
Mirage // Lady Operator

el baile mix (link expired)

Throbbing Gristle // Camera
Liaisons Dangereuses // Peut Etre ... Pas
Oppenheimer Analysis // Devil's Dancer
Fad Gadget // Love Parasite
Kraftwerk // Robots
Chris & Cosey // Hazey Daze
Fad Gadget // Collapsing New People
TGV // Partie 1
Ultravox // Mr. X
Experimental Products // Golden Hours (Brian Eno)
Cabaret Voltaire // Walls of Jericho
Throbbing Gristle // Distant Dreams part 2
No More // Suicide Commando
N.O.I.A. // Stop Thinking
Absolute Body Control // Automatic I
Christof Glowalla // Erde 80
April Orchestra

will be doing a few more posts in the coming days catching up on all the other sets that have been rocking my world of late. enjoy these ones for now...

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

dis.connect mix

you may have noticed that i haven't been posting much recently (then again maybe not, since pete and cam have been doing just fine keeping the ssgs sizzling). to be honest, i have been going through an incredibly difficult transitional phase in my life. one result has been is that i have had very little time, energy or motivation to write here. one of my reactions, however, has been to turn to some of the most important records in my collection. these have provided comfort and solace in a way. listening to these inspired me to put them together in a mix (well, a mix tape is probably the more accurate description). the mix below is the result. each track i have included is one that has great significance and emotional resonance for me. when some people stupidly say that electronic music is devoid of emotion, i immediately think of these records as compelling proof against such a position. each of these compositions is dripping with emotional content. and in many ways i think the lack of words actually enhaces their power, as these records are able to convey feelings and emotions that words cannot always do justice to.

based on my current circumstances, i didn't have most of my music collection at my disposal, but i was able to include all the tracks that were absolutely essential to the mix i wanted to compose. the mix was done through ableton, which was hardly ideal because (a) i don't think it is very good for mixing and (b) i don't really know how to use it beyond the basics. but i didn't have any other options, so ableton it was. i have kept all the records at their original speed and pretty much play them out. so while the mixing itself is essentially glorified crossfading, a lot of time and thought has gone into the selection of tracks to be included and the order they were placed in. this is the first time i have done something like this, so it may have been successful, or it may not have been. i'll leave you to judge. regardless, these tracks are all intensely personal for me and in this sense, as taban hayes says when describing his modyfier mix, 'you are listening to me'. the artwork i have chosen for this mix is a painting i love by my favourite artist - 'despair' by edvard munch. despite its title, i have never found it quite so bleak. pensive and melancholic yes, but perhaps not as total as a title like 'despair' might suggest. anyway, here is the mix with an annotated tracklisting.

chris - dis.connect mix, november 2008

jeff mills - 'violet (21 counts)': this is from his little known album, 'from the 21st'. when it first came out, i was obsessed with jeff and spent a lot of time and energy getting this from japan. the album showed a more experimental and introspective side of mills than i had previously seen, and i liked it. this track may seem somewhat unremarkable, but it has always really appealed to me.

pan sonic - 'liuos': i remember reading a long time ago that one of the guys from pan sonic has a lot of trouble listening to their productions because it feels they are so intensely emotional. for some that may sound like a strange statement given what harsh and cold sounds they often use, but it completely makes sense when listening to this. it is hard for me to properly convey in words how deeply this track resonates with me; ah, i can't describe it, so i'll stop now.

vladislav delay - 'untitled': my very good friend dave introduced me to vlad. when he gave me this album on tape or cd - i cant remember - there wasn't enough space to fit the whole album on, so this track got chopped because it only lasted about 1:30 minutes and that was all the space we needed to fit the rest on. later when i got the full album, i realised how big a mistake this earlier decision had been. this is vlad at his evocative best: the short interlude creates a powerful sense of longing and loss. like much of his work, the real beauty of this track lies in the sense of fragility and incomplete-ness.

vladislav delay - 'kotilainen': another favourite track from my favourite producer. while i have never tried smack, for me this kind of sounds like the musical equivalent of being on heroin. 'kotilainen' has a real distorted, fucked up sense of beauty to it. it kind of feels like everything is falling apart, but in an incredibly beautiful and serene way.

plastikman - 'consumed': this may seem like an odd choice to follow up vlad. it probably is. i spent a lot of time working out what to do about this track because i had to include it, i just didn't quite know how. this is where i ended up placing it (which unfortunately meant me removing a track i love by the much under-sung you dee). if you've read the labyrinth post, you may recall 'consumed' means a lot to me. often i would listen to this very late at night driving home from work. it suited the mood well. as with most of plastikman's best work, it has a dark, pensive, and introspective feel to it. and like many of the tracks in this mix, i have a strong visual association with 'consumed'. i always think of the title sequence to one of my favourite movies, 'vertigo': it has that feel of infinitely spiralling down and down, deeper and deeper...

speedy j - 'patterns (remix)': this was on an old nova mute compilation i used to have, and i played it a lot. but i moved on, the cd got buried away and this track with it. suddenly a few weeks ago i had an overwhelming urge to hear it again. i dont know why exactly. nonetheless, i felt i had to listen to it again and that it must be the centrepiece of the mix i was slowly composing in my head. it is an incredibly powerful and violent record, but in a strange way i also find it very uplifting. i have always associated it with a huge thunder storm, which eventually disappears leaving behind clear skies and sun. i should say, the levels are off in the original and i decided not to tamper with them, so just a warning that parts of this are a bit louder than the rest of the mix.

speedy j - 'tuning in': this is the lead in track before the original version of 'patterns' on speedy j's excellent album 'public energy no. 1'. i have always considered this part of patterns and normally play the two together, so it was hard for me to exclude this (also it worked as a suitable transition). it does a good job of creating the strange sense of calm that comes at the end of 'patterns'. i am not quite happy with the way i mixed in or out of this, but so be it.

aphex twin - 'cliffs': i remember dave gave me a cd where he had compiled the two discs of SAW2 into one disc of all the best bits and stuff i’d like. he gave it to me at a time when i was suffering from a lot of bad headaches and migraines. i would often put the cd on and listen to it in the dark. there are a number of tracks i could have easily taken from SAW2 to include in this mix, but i ended up with this one. i am not sure why exactly – it has a certain poignancy, well, i am not sure if that is the right word, but it is a very delicate track and also very soothing.

donnacha costello - 'dry retch': i bought his first album as soon it came out. i didn’t really know who he was, but at that time I would buy pretty much anything force inc would release. i liked it a lot. but his 2nd album, which this is from, i held off buying for a while. why? because the picture had donnacha with a guitar. yep, that’s the reason. i was worried it was going to be him rocking it out on his acoustic guitar. eventually cam and i became friends, and he had a copy, which is when i found out there were no guitars on it (phew!). the whole album really is spectacular, and i fear that many people who only know donnacha through the 'colour' series may overlook this classic. on an amazing album, 'dry retch' remains the clear stand out. like pretty much everything included in this mix, this is another track i find incredibly beautiful, albeit in a slightly sad, incomplete way. i was very tempted to follow this up with an exert from the 2nd volume of william basinski's powerful 'the disintegration loops', but eventually decided that 'dry retch' was a fitting way to conclude the mix.

ok, sorry this has turned into a rather long and personal post. this was something i wanted to share with you all. take from it what you will.


Monday, November 10, 2008

Take this Mule for a ride

For the last few months I’ve been particularly enjoying Terre Thaemlitz’s full-length debut under his DJ Sprinkles moniker, Midtown 120 Blues, released on the Japanese label Mule Musiq. It’s an exquisite album of lush deep house, underscored by a note of melancholy, as Thaemlitz directly addresses the current revival/reappropriation of the deep house sound and the decontextualizing/eraser-like nature of this revival. (Scroll down to the bottom of the album page I linked to above to see Terre’s thoughts on the matter. They’re well worth reading.) However, it’d be unfair of me to rave any more about the album at this point – although it was released here in Japan in August, the rest of the world won’t get to hear it until January 26, 2009. Expect to hear more from me about the album closer to the date. (PC adds: you *can* however purchase the album and anything else from Terre's back catalog immediately, via his website. Here's the link directly to the ordering page)

What I can talk about right now though is the Mule label, which over the last few years has become a label well worth keeping an eye on. Based in Tokyo, Mule has been releasing music since the end of 2004 across three branches: Mule Musiq, Mule Electronic, and Endless Flight. Home to a stable of excellent local acts such as Kuniyuki/Koss, Dublee, and Code E, and attracting international names such as Lawrence, Thomas Fehlmann, DJ Koze, and Theo Parrish, Mule’s releases move across a number of sounds, including deep house, dub, ambient, and the more melodic end of minimal techno. The label also serves as the main point of contact in Japan for Kompakt and its affiliates, with Mule often bringing over Michael Mayer, Tobias Thomas, Lawrence, and Koze for its club events.

There have been some real gems released on Mule, so I’d like to shine a light on a few of them for you. In 2006 the label proved itself quite prescient in regards to the current deep house revival by releasing ‘You? Again?’, a compilation of ten Terre Thaemlitz tracks originally released on his Comatonse label in the late 1990s and early 2000s that were out of print and extremely hard to find (some of the original EPs were limited to only 100 copies outside of Japan). It’s the Mule release I find myself reaching for the most – deep house that’s lush, warm, and comforting with traces of sadness and some seriously good grooves. As well as making this music available to a wider audience, ‘You? Again?’ brought renewed attention to Thaemlitz, a producer who’s been doing fascinating stuff since the early 1990s (check here for an excellent in-depth interview fellow ssg Pete did with Terre). I’d also urge listeners to check out the ‘Terre’s Neu Wuss Fusion/She’s Hard’ remixes EP, featuring a gorgeous 12-minute ambient remix by Thaemlitz on the A-side, and an absolutely kicking remix by Max Mohr on the B-side.

Lawrence fans are strongly advised to pick up last year’s ‘Lowlights From The Past And Future’ CD, along with the ‘Friday’s Child’ and ‘Rabbit Tube’ EPs. The Lowlights CD is a collection of some of Lawrence’s vinyl-only highlights along with a few unreleased tracks, including ‘Spark’ (from the 2004 EP of the same name on Ghostly), ‘Further’ and ‘Lowlights From The Past’ (from the Mule ‘Lowlights’ EP), and his amazing remix of Superpitcher’s ‘Happiness’ (which, quite frankly, was the best thing to come out of the whole ‘Here Comes Love’ debacle, but the less said about that the better). This is classic Lawrence – gorgeous, gentle, and romantic.

Optimo’s incredibly eclectic yet coherent DJ sets have always gone over well with myself and the rest of the mmnl ssg crew – listening to these guys is always something of a musical education, as they trace connections between tracks and sounds I would never have previously considered. Of their mix CDs ‘Walkabout’ (on the Endless Flight sub-label) is one of their best, kicking off with the proto-techno of Throbbing Gristle and some early experiments from Pan Sonic and Wolfgang Voigt’s Grungerman project before moving into some brain-melting minimal from Thomas Brinkmann, Shane Berry, and Marc Houle, while taking detours through New York legends Suicide and the drone-metal of Japanese band Boris. As is to be expected from Optimo it’s quite a walkabout indeed, and one well worth taking.

As I mentioned earlier Mule is home to a number of excellent Japanese acts, such as Code E and Dublee. My personal pick of the litter, however, is the prolific Kuniyuki Takahashi, who records under the names Kuniyuki, Koss, and (with pianist Saiko Tsukamoto) Saikoss, moving easily between ambient, deep house (with a touch of jazz), and minimal sounds. Not long ago Pete said some very positive things about the Koss album ’Four Worlds Converge As One’, praise which I’ll echo here – for ambient fans it’s strongly recommended, particularly the opening 29-minute track. Those who enjoy their ambience with a classical touch should check out ’Kossaiko’, with Takahashi adding electronic treatments, washes, and the occasional downtempo beat to Saiko Tsukamoto’s introspective piano pieces – perfect home listening material right now as the Northern Hemisphere heads into winter. (Anybody who wants to check out Takahashi’s diverse sound palette right now can stream a live set from his website recorded earlier this year, or download it from here.)

As well as the upcoming international release of the DJ Sprinkles album (finally!), the next few months will see several remixes of Minilogue’s IMPS project, featuring the talents of Jan Jelinek, Isolee, and Move D, and the release of a mix CD from Stefan Goldmann, which Philip Sherburne recently described as “the most satisfying mix CD I’ve heard this year.” So if you haven’t already, Mule is most definitely a label you should consider taking for a ride.

You can check out quite a few Mule tracks over at their Myspace pages, here and here. Mule has also released a few retrospectives (such as this one and this one), which are pretty good entry points for those new to the label.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

mnml ssgs mx12: donato dozzy live @ labyrinth 2008

at a time when cookie-cutter mnml and deep house lite seem to dominate the (limited) mental horizons of most DJs, donato dozzy stands out as a unique and individual voice. dozzy has a very distinctive sound - deep, hypnotic, elemental - which he continues to pursue, regardless of fads and trends. as shed would say, 'true. techno. music.' the other month donato played an especially memorable closing set at the labyrinth festival in japan. we've already given the full rundown on it here, so no need to go into detail, but suffice to say, over 3 nights and days of incredible music it was donato's set that proved the standout. and now, for all of you who were unable to experience it, we give you the next best thing - the live recording. over 4 hours of dozzy good-ness for your listening and dancing pleasure.

listening to this mix again, it is just as good as i had remembered it. to get a better feel for the setting, there are some videos below from during donato's set. from memory he started around 2.30/3pm and played through until about 7pm on the monday afternoon/evening (the party had started on the friday night). enough talk, here you go:

donato dozzy live @ labyrinth 2008, part 1 (direct dl)
(sendspace mirror)

donato dozzy live @ labyrinth 2008, part 2
(direct dl)
(sendspace mirror)

donato dozzy live @ labyrinth 2008, part 3 (direct dl)
(sendspace mirror)

again, thanks to the organisers of labyrinth for putting on a great event. and i would like to offer my sincere gratitude to donato for recording his set and making it available to all of us. beyond being a truly special DJ, what really struck me about donato is what a wonderful person he is. thanks donato.