Sunday, December 28, 2008

true. techno. music.

i discovered something strange today. i didn't listen to any techno/eletronic music for one whole week. i almost listened to no music at all, except for occasionally what was playing in the background. in taking a one week holiday, i accidently also took a break from music too. i cant't remember the last time i went so long - intentionally or not - without listening to some form of electronic music. i think it might have been the start of 2001. i am not sure. but it just happened by accident. i was aware it wasn't there, but i was fine. for someone who uses music as a coping mechanism (amongst other things), this situation feels a bit strange in retrospect. today that silence came to an end as i sat on the metro heading to the airport i put on shed's amazing ssg mix. wow. boy did it sound good. with slightly refreshed ears i soaked up and appreciated every minute of shed's set. once again i am in technoland and and i'm happy to be back (as i type this i am listening to the excellent random mix by rising sun - definitely worth checking). anyway, this is just a little story to introduce some of my thoughts and reflections on 2008 and the first year of mnml ssgs (cam will be posting about this soon - we recently had our first birthday).

i still haven't quite decided what to think about this year, so it might be a bit early to write this post. but if it doesn't happen now, it won't happen for a while. i know there has been much talk about whether the music we love is still keeping strong or starting to get a bit stale, and the related discussion of how 'deep' the supposed deep house revival has been, but i think i might avoid these increasingly well worn issues. thinking about 2008, there are two main currents/themes for me, and both are clearly inter-related. the first is something that just hit me today as i was returning from my holiday (from life/work/music): this year i re-discovered techno music. as shed perfectly put it, 'true. techno. music.' the way i really came into this music was through hard techno in the late '90s. mills/speedy j/advent - these were the key acts that opened my mind up. after a few years of mainly listening to this style of hard, minimal techno, my sound palette broadened considerably (even though, i must admit i remained and continue to remain somewhat closed minded in regards to some things). very slowly i listened to less and less 'true' techno. the sound tired. and so did i. increasingly it was minimal, deep house (not too many vocals please), (proper) electro, and especially that genre in between which was opened up to me by the globus mixes from herbert and dan bell, minimal house. but in 2008 i found techno again. or perhaps it found me. most likely a bit of both. for me the most exciting development of the year is a return of techno. but not as we have known it. yes, the berghainers have a major part in this. but it is far bigger and wider than just ostgut. they may be one of the flagships, but there is plenty more bubbling and going on. as pete has discussed, techno (as house) may increasingly have become a 'genre' form of music, but this is not necessarily a bad thing, and i think we are in the process of a really interesting renovation and exploration of techno, even if it is still largely remaining within its traditional structures and shapes. my bet is 2009 is going to be the continuation of this, and for me, neo-techno/mindfuck techno/whatever it is will be a defining trend in the next year. and this is definitely a good thing!

so for me, as 2008 has progressed i have found myself listening to more and more techno. harder, more sparse, dynamic, reduced sounds that pulsate and drive. i feel excited about these sounds in a way i havent felt for a while. i guess this can lead into my second discovery of 2008, which is perhaps best summed up in two words: passion and inspiration. whether it is hearing how much love and care goes into each one of bvdub's tracks; the way dozzy lets his records breathe and live; that raw and almost violent feeling silent servant, function, regis and the whole sandwell district label can generate; the thought and attention to detail that goes into cio d'or's sets - the way she crafts them as a whole; the warmth that is conveyed through benjamin brunn's nord modular; the intuition and touch steffi's displays (her new set must be listened to); the simple beauty and elegance of donnacha's 'trust' and melchoir's 'who can find me (i can't)' - i could keep listing examples but i think i've made my point. when i look at 2008, i don't see junk or banality, i see a long list of examples of people that have inspired me by their passion, dedication and love for what they do. one of the best parts of doing this blog has been getting in contact with so many people and discovering how many are in it for the right reasons. while some people might continue knocking out the latest fad and others will continue to crawl deeper up their own ass, as long as we have people that are passionate, dedicated and care, we will have true. techno. music. that is what i have really worked out this year.

i'll post all my end of year lists later, but i want to share my top 5 tracks from the RA poll here as i think it helps to demonstrate my point. what unites them is that each in their own way are all full of passion, emotion and care:
01. donnacha costello – trust [minimise]
02. melchior productions ltd - who can find me (i can't) [cadenza]
03. tobias. - i can't fight the feeling [wagon repair]
04. mathew jonson - symphony for the ap
ocalypse [wagon repair]
05. newworldaquarium - the force [NWAQ]

for now, what i'd like to do is list names of people who have inspired and impressed me throughout 2008. i am going to miss some, but hopefully i will get most:
donato dozzy, peter van hoesen, shed, bvdub, convextion, the labyrinth organisers, smallville, benjamin brunn, cio d'or, thomas melchoir, cassy, pacotek, betalounge, samuli kemppi, tobias, sherbs, silent servant, todd burns, hard wax, teleosteopathy, basic channel, modyfier, richard brophy, ostgut, juan atkins, kraftwerk, shackleton, perlon, seth troxler, lee jones, jasper tx, marcel dettmann, andy stott, appleblim, steffi, vladislav. actually, i know the list is longer. probably much longer. but i'll just add one more then stop: my fellow ssgs, cam and pete and yes, even dave the silent ssg.

i know sometimes people don't necessarily agree with what's on mnml ssgs, and others tire of posts which may occasionally end up being a bit long, wordy and admittedly academic (sorry, this is what happens when two of us are academics), but we care and this is what is the ultimate purpose of the blog (at least as i understand it): to focus on those people doing special things, call out the shit, while questioning and discussing everything in between. we don't make any money out of this (nor are we trying to) and we all do it in our spare time. it has been a very positive experience for me discovering that one can make a direct and positive impact without being a dj, producer, label owner or whatever. while it has sometimes been frustrating and tiring, for the most part, doing mnml ssgs has been incredibly rewarding. so thank you for reading, contributing, writing, voicing opinions, engaging, debating and taking the time to see what we have to say. i'd also like to thank all the artists who have contributed in one way or another to mnml ssgs, especially to those who have taken considerable time and effort to take part in the our mix series. i know it sounds biased, but i think the quality of the series so far has been amazingly high. i was listening to some of them again today and i was floored with how good the mixes have been. so thanks. we are very proud of the series - we've tried to do something a bit different and so far it has been working tremendously well. we've got more mixes in the pipeline from people we are very excited about. so keep an eye out for future developments in '09...

ok, that's all from me for this year. 2008 has been an incredibly challenging year for me and i am looking forward to making '09 a very good one.
i hope you all had a good christmas and i wish you each a happy, safe and positive 2009.



  1. Great post Chris. And great use of Totoro.

    I totally agree on the passion and inspiration thing. For me Labyrinth plays the biggest role. Every year, just when I'm beginning to feel tired and sluggish and the previous year's Labyrinth-euphoria is sort of wearing off, I go back and I'm reminded again how much passion and inspiration there is. But this year was especially moving. The background of the party and organizers, the amazing artists, and the great people there, it was all great.

    Trust rocks!!!!

  2. Thanks for all your hard work, each of you SSGers. And thanks for popping in to LWE's comment section to help stir the pot a little.

  3. Well I came across this blog about 1'4 of the way through the year and it opened me p to a hell of a lot of amazing music (and other blogs linked too) to the point where I feel like i'd actual like to start playing again after a few years of losing interest.

    the seriousness of some of the content on here shows the passion that people have for music (also quite evident on the the comments) and the ssgs mixes have been a god send on several occasions (the hose being my fav.)

    so props.

  4. i really want to thank the crew and members of mnml ssgs for their passion and believe in the music. i must admit i've lost touch with the true. techno. music. but thanks to you i'm back on track. more passionate than ever, more willing to achieve my goals and - most importantly - to live my dreams.
    many many many thanks and great respect for keeping this (scene) alive.
    i wish each and everyone of you a great 2009!

  5. I am a big fan of your blog as an anonymous person. I feel I must finally write to tell you that I am so happy to find a blog that talks about music in the way you guys do. And as a artist I love to engage in this dialog even if it is one way.
    Thanks, and hope to see more in 2009.

  6. Big thanks for everything guys.

    This blog has been an awesome resource this year. So many rainy days have been brightened up a bit by the ssgcasts, and heaven knows the commentary is dead on!

    Nice one on the Totoro, as well!

  7. not to detract from the post, but the marcel dettmann resident advisor podcast is blowing my brain up right now.

    this makes me think "true techno music" more than anything. good lordy!

  8. thanks for the kind words guys. and eric, mentioning dettmann is *never* detracting from a post here at the ssgs. figured it was just a matter of time until RA got him for a mix. and you gotta give RA credit - their podcast series has had some absolute gems this year...

  9. Thank you very much for everything.This is the best blog on the web right now, if not, it's clearly the one that fits my tastes perfectly.You have great taste in music and you don't only talk about dancemusic and clubculture which is really appreciated.Plus your ssgs mixes are always top quality and make most of CD-mixs releases sound useless and boring. (I haven't bought a single CD mix in a year, thx to quality blogs)

    Keep on going the same way.It's always a great pleasure to read your posts because it's written with heart and spirit


    Tibal from France (sorry for my bad english)

  10. i got on day 1 via the "mnml board" and i have never looked back. i look forward to checking this blog everyday i am able and i can honestly say i have not been back to "mnml" in months cause you all offer so much here. from the mix series to the recommendations and forecasts i use this blog as meeting place and cheat sheet(we don't get much up here in seattle) for what's hot what people are saying about it. i have built a trust for you hope to see it go through 2009. my one gripe? what happened to "the mountain people" in 2008? you said they were gonna be huge. anyways... keep it up.

  11. probably no better time or place than now,

    an anonymous ssgs reader's top 10 albums of 2008...

    1. MIKE MONDAY - songs without words
    2. DEADBEAT - roots and wire
    3. STEFAN GOLDMANN - the transitory state
    4. FENNESZ - black sea
    5. O - oleva
    6. HEADHUNTER - nomad
    8. FLYING LOTUS - los angeles
    9. GAS - nah und fern (reissue)
    10. BRUNO PRONSATO - why can't we be like us?

    top 10 rockish records of 2008...

    1. gang gang dance - SAINT DYMPHNA
    2. fuck buttons - STREET HORRRSING
    3. portishead - THIRD
    4. growing - ALL THE WAY
    5. max tundra - PARALLAX ERROR BEHEADS YOU
    6. jaguar love - TAKE ME TO THE SEA
    7. tv on the radio - DEAR SCIENCE
    8. yamataka eye - RE...REMIX?
    9. ponytail - ICE CREAM SPIRITUAL
    10. high places - HIGH PLACES

    thank you for a great year mnml ssgs !!!
    please don't stop.
    i adore what you have started -
    2009 is gonna pop.

  12. We need more academics in techno. The theory and criticism is at least half the fun of listening to these never-ending loops of bleeps and basslines that we call music.

    On the Dettman note, I'm dying for someone to explain to me why he's going to Boston and New York but not Chicago. His "Let's Get Over it" remix was my top song of the year (I alternate every week between that and 2562's "Techno Dread"). Someone convince the LWE people to pull off some magic.


  13. i want to add a little to my previous comment:
    on this very last day of the year, the mnml ssgs mixes are the soundtrack of the day. just finished number 1, bvdub. atm norman nodge is playing.
    it's cold outside, i'm too lazy, so i'll just stay in bed for a couple of hours, preparing myself mentally for 2009.

  14. happy new year ssgs!

  15. I haven't posted here before, but I'd just like to say nice job for the blog, you seem to have really good music taste, and attracted to the same aspects of music as me.

    It's funny because I have been thinking exactly the same thing about the techno thing, and had a similiar feeling to which you described this year. I love minimal, minimal house and so on, but in a way i think during the whole thing, techno got a little bit neglected, and there's something completley different in the way techno works, i missed the hypnotisicm and the kinda deeper/transcendental sound of true techno as more and more people put so much into their productions. it looks almost as though it'll be a wave 2 of what happened before when techno got too much then minimal came about, and then "minimal" got saturated to the point where it was all about high production values, that stripping back to techno again will be kind of refreshing. my perfect environment would be like a mix between the two, I want to hear parties playing good groovy minimal/house but also developing into harder more sparser minimalistic techno later on

  16. Chris et al.

    I too rediscovered techno this year. In my opinion, 2008 was a great year for techno, and I believe mnml ssgs had a lot to do with it (at least, for me). With groundbreaking releases from Marcel Dettmann, Function, and Peter Van Hoesen (to name only a few) to the excellent mixes from the mnml ssgs mix series by Mike Parker, Donato Dozzy, and Marcel Fenger, I was inspired to begin making music again. It sounds cheesy (and I’m not a fan of cheese) but mnml ssgs has influenced me more than any other source, second being Richard Brophy’s Test Industries blog.

    I stumbled across your blog in April while I was searching for a mix by Marcel Dettmann. I downloaded the Marcel Dettmann and Len Faki at Houztekk Radio Show 1.2.08 from your blog and have been a frequent visitor ever since. I remember emailing you shortly thereafter for a tracklisting and eventually it became a dialog about the fresh sounds resonating from the Berghain camp. You even said they’re onto something big; you were right. In addition to tipping the next big thing, the ssgs initiated a desperately needed conversation about the merits of some artist who will go unnamed considering the uncalled for backlash that ensued. Unfortunately, blogs like mnml ssgs are rare, where the music trumps profit, which makes your blog, and other like it, critical to the advancement of EDM.

    To address your concerns, in my opinion, the longer and more intellectual the post the better. I live in a town were EDM is frowned upon and mnml ssgs has kept me company on many lonely days. For this and everything else, thank you.


  17. Can someone please give me a couple of examples of

  18. tracklist for Steffi's amazing mix:

  19. hmm .. I 've followed techno electro for 10 yrs+.. unit moebius..// the scene // right up to sleeparchive ..electro revival .. bangkok impact et. al. ...

    and I've got to say it has some problems! .. and I think other ppl here are starting to see them close in..

    I think the main prob is if you listen to say hip-hop the variations in beat at 90bpm add the live element of an mc [realtime/human] and is can really blow techno out of the water! ..

    Been as party where techno played all night then some good mc's decided to rap 4 bit .. the immediacy and presence of it was glaring in contrast to techno..

    I think the only way to compete is in complexity of structure .[esp cluding analog /human elements. meaning live sequencing of drum [african style]... combine with hypnotic sleeparchive / 1994 hood rythem .. + *laced* with triplets and stutters *everywhere* [indian time sigs..]with sounds morphing

    I think incorporating indian time sigs [densly] over 4/4 is the *only* way forward..

    note indian percusion music is not boring to listen to cause of time sig..

    show what can be done with sequencing

    this stuff is hard to find!

    only way for 4/4 to compete!

  20. mnml ssg admins can we have a front page topic on pushing 4/4 further .. I have collected some tracks that are examples of what I'm talking about


Say something constructive, bitte. Or if you're gonna take a swipe, at least sharpen your nails.

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.