Thursday, December 31, 2009


given the amount of time i've spent travelling this year, this picture i took on one of my many flights felt appropriate for my final post for 2009. for me, this year has been incredibly intense. it feels like i have had about 2-3 years worth of experiences within the last 12 months. i am just starting to recover from much of it and beginning to process a lot of what has happened. intense is definitely the right word to describe 2009. there have been some amazing highs and these have been matched by some equally strong low points. for someone who always tries to be in control, it has been very difficult trying to deal with constantly feeling like i was not in control, as was the case for much of 2009. exhausted, beaten (but not totally broken) and chastened, i have made it through the year in one piece (just), and now very much looking forward to 2010.

throughout all the highs, lows, and instability, one constant throughout 2009 has been mnml ssgs and the network of friends and contributors around it. both pete and myself are very proud of how the blog has developed and 2009 has been a great year for us. the amount of readers we are getting is now almost double this time last year, and we are getting hits from about 100 different countries. this all gives us confidence in what we are doing. i know sometimes we do stuff that doesn't quite work or pisses people off, but we will keep experimenting and trying different things. even if the execution isn't always there, our hearts are in the right place. and we are proud of the fact that there is no advertising on this site. in a world where capitalism dominates, it is nice to have some spaces like this where it is not about money. and for people who have wondered, this is why we've never had a proper podcast for our mixes. we dont make any money out of the blog to pay for the kind of bandwith we'd need. but that's fine. i know it might not be as convenient, but it means you need to consciously choose to download the mix, which we hope increases the chances of it actually being listened to. so big ups to fairtilizer, who have been very supportive in hosting all our mixes.

so as the year comes to an end, thanks to everyone who has contributed to mnml ssgs in 2009. whether through their productions, mixes, writing, emails, comments, or just taking the time to have a read - your contribution has been greatly appreciated. in particular, i'd like to thank all the artists who have done mixes for us in 2009. we are very proud of the mix series and deeply appreciate that each contributor has really signed up to what we are trying to do. on a personal note, many of the people who i've met through mnml ssgs i have forged strong friendships with, and i'd like to thank them for their support during a very challenging year. in particular, i want to express my deep and heartfelt appreciation to a couple of people very close to me that have been a constant source of guidance and help during the most difficult year of my life: ben, dave, pete and yuri.

thanks to everyone for all your support. mnml ssgs will continue stronger in 2010 - we've got some absolute killers lined up to finish the mix series, pete is preparing what looks to be a really interesting series of pieces reflecting on 2009, and we've got some other collaborations and ideas on the boil. plenty to look forward to. thanks again and mnml ssgs wishes you all the best for 2010. lets make it a good one!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

shining bright in '09

as 2009 comes to an end, i thought it'd be good to highlight some of the people that i thought really owned this year, took things up a level and pushed the sounds forward. this list is definitely not complete, but it's a start.

rené pawlowitz (shed): this guy is scary good. i dont think there are (m)any producers about the moment better at the moment. following up his breakout year, in 2009 everything he touched was bang on. i havent properly compiled my tracks of this year, but i can tell you 'wax20002' is right near the top. he is someone who makes me excited about the future of techno. cant wait to see what 2010 has in store for him.

levon vincent: an obvious choice, but hard to dispute. he came on strong in 2009 with a series of great releases, and fittingly his final EP for the year - 'double jointed sex freak' - is his best to date. he nailed his RA 'cast, making it clear that he can spin as well as he can produce. at a time when so much there is so much average shit about, levon really stands out.

paul rose (scuba): if there was a techno apocolypse and i was in charge of noah's techno ark, paul rose is one of the guys i'd be letting on board. this guy is a couple of steps ahead of everyone else. his SCB mix was the most popular ssg mix of 2010, hotflush was clearly one of the best labels about, and his own productions are of the highest order. respect.

robert henke (monolake): i know most people talk about him in revered tones, but truthfully, i have not been that impressed with much of his output for a while. his monolake stuff has never been bad, but for quite a while it definitely was not progressing. it was all getting a bit too cold and clinical. i am happy to admit that 2009 has been a change. it is definitely worth reflecting on how good and diverse a year henke has had, releasing 3 impressive albums: 'atom/document', 'indigo_transform', and 'silence'. of these, it is the last one that i've been most taken by. under his monolake guise he is really pushing things again. unfortunately it came out too late in the year for most lists, but 'silence' is definitely in my top albums of 2009.

sandwell district: ok, everyone else on this list are individual artists, but it feels a bit inappropriate to list the sandwell gang separately, because they are such a collective endeavour, as was made clear by the way 'variance' was released. silent servant continued his impressive run with 'negative fascinations', and a couple of killer mixes. meanwhile, with 'variance' function delivered perhaps the biggest techno bomb of 2009. not to mention his DJ sets - his 'cast for RA and the sandwell mix on beatport were of the highest order, and well, what more needs to be said about his set at labyrinth... he simply owned the festival. and we should not forget regis, who - from what i can gather - plays a huge role driving the whole sandwell thing and is probably producing more than we realise.

peter van hoesen: i'm definitely biased on this one. i consider peter a good friend after experiencing two labyrinths together. regardless, it is hard to dispute what a killer year he has had. a string of impressive releases have been matched by some super tight dj mixes floating around the net. but for me, it was his livepa at labyrinth in september that was his defining moment in 2009. like with function, a few months on and i'm still in shock. despite holding his productions in high regard, his livepa completely took me by surprise. it was ridiculously good. here's to another great year for the hose.

shackleton: again, an obvious choice, but impossible to leave off. like with scuba, this is definitely someone that gets a spot on the techno ark. i dont have much to say abot shackleton, i think we all know how good he is. in a world of similar sounds, he manages to sound unique. that ain't easy.

ancient methods: one thing which took us slightly by surprise was how big a reaction there was to the mix ancient methods did for us. of course we knew it was excellent, but it really exploded. it was the 2nd most popular ssg mix after SCB, and there was a huge amount of buzz about it. i dont know what exactly it is about their sound, but what ancient methods are doing is definitely a barometer of where the techno winds are blowing. they suffered a setback after having their laptops stolen off stage at a gig, but lets hope they are back big and better in 2010.

raster noton: again, like sandwell, it seems inappropriate to single out one person. these guys are light years ahead. techno for the future made in the now. i must admit, i've been very slow fully getting into the raster sound, but i'm glad i finally have. a seriously impressive year for raster noton, and you just know they will be pushing things further forward in the years to come.

stefan marx: ok, he doesn't make music (at least that i know of). but he makes art. and some art for music. specifically the smallville and mule labels. i've found his pictures and drawings a great source of inspiration and enjoyment over 2009 and while i dont know much about art, i love what he does (the picture above is one of my favourites of his).

anyway, i know there are plenty of other people, and this list is just a start. please add who you think have been the real standouts of 2009 in the comments.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

sunday sounds

welcome to the last sunday of 2009.

butane - slow pitch vol. 1

nothing fancy, just great records put together. have a good one people.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

mnml ssgs mx45 - yves de mey

last year, benjamin brunn gave us a special christmas ssg mix. we really liked the idea, and thought it'd be nice to do it again this year. perhaps this will become an annual ssg tradition, who knows... like with brunn, we wanted someone who kind of fits with christmas, someone that combines a warm personality with beautiful music. in this regard, we thought yves de mey (eavesdropper) would be perfect. yves is known for his work under his own name, as eavesdropper, and along with peter van hoesen as sendai. earlier this year, he released 'lichtung', a beautiful 35 minute piece that is one of my favourite albums of 2009. i'm not sure how best to categorise it - abstract/ambient/experimental/whatever - it is lovely and worth tracking down on the line label. anyway, i was lucky to meet yves at labyrinth in september and have struck up a friendship with him since then. i've discovered the warmth of his music strongly reflects his character. he really is perfect for doing the christmas mix for us. this is what he said about the mix:

"I became interested in ambient music in the early days of Techno, when every party night had an ambient after-party as a counterweight for the mayhem, the sweaty club rooms and the chemically fueled body workout. For a lot of people, ambient was nothing more than audible wallpaper, but I was immediately fascinated by the ever-changing textures, the stripped down rhythms and tempo and the time and space those ambient tracks imposed on the listening experience. During the last 2 decades I've spent an incredible amount of time listening to minimal music, avant-garde, drones... finding out there's a huge scene of artists who are not afraid of making essential music, essential as in reducing compositions to fundamental elements that evoke emotions and state of being.

The request for an ambient mix came at a good time: wintertime. Probably my favorite season with its crisp air, cosy warmth inside, more dark than light, and the occasional snowy landscapes. I wanted to combine certain tracks that have a strong emotional connection,
music that often sounds like frozen moments in time, compositions that take you from the outside to the inside, from cold to warm. I allowed the majority of the tracks to take their time to develop, to go slowly, at the pace of a glacier... This music makes me think of how a snow blanket makes everything look more uniform, flattened in a way, but more brilliant. And at times it reminds me of how an environment's sound becomes muffled when covered in ice and snow."

not much more to add... apologies to everyone down in the southern hemisphere, who are currently in the middle of summer (i am still not used to december being so cold). but for them, this mix could work nicely late at night to cool off slightly...

mnml ssgs mx45: yves de mey
sendspace mirror

big thanks to yves for taking the time to produce this beautiful mix. for the moment he is working with peter van hoesen on their sendai project, and he recently started working on a new full album. with sendai he just released a various artists EP on time to express, and there is more to come next year. for more info, you can check his homepage.

that's it. a merry ssg christmas to you all!

Monday, December 21, 2009

mx44: eric cloutier - tracklisting

mnml ssgs mx44: eric cloutier

01. donato dozzy + lerosa - gas snake [apnea]
02. konrad black - a broken down mustang [240 volts]
03. iori - magnetic [prologue digital]
04. acid jesus - uraniumsmuggle [neuton]
05. kevin gorman - shakey (stripped) [mikrowave]
06. giorgio gigli - spazio [prologue]
07. david alvarado - blue [strive]
08. mike mind - resonate [turbo]
09. roberto bosco - login dub [mowar]
10. don williams - orderly kaos [a.r.t.less]
11. delano smith - this heart [mixmode recordings]
12. jesper dahlback - a day at work [svek]
13. baby ford - one for sorrow [background]
14. cheap + deep productions - tight [cheap + deep]
15. st. plomb - escape run [brut!]
16. obtane - thrilling love [prologue digital]
17. nuel - b1 [aquaplano ltd]
18. helical scan - index 1 [chain reaction]

go live

i have managed to catch some fantastic live techno this year, and the trend continued last weekend when i got to see atom tm vs tobias. for just over 90 minutes the two masters jammed on their machines, delivering a seriously awesome set of organic techno. what made it all the more impressive was how it was composed (or not as was the case): it was basically all improvised. atom told me they were using hired machines and all they'd prepared was the opening, the rest was on the fly. and they said about 2 words to each other across the whole set. there were some messy moments, but i found these enjoyable. and when they hit, wow. and like when i saw tobias. live earlier this year, no laptops at all. totally analog. nice. and to top it all off, it was an evening party. they had finished shortly after 10pm and i was home by 11pm. that made it so much more enjoyable. if there is one thing i wish there'd be more of, it is daytime and evening parties. i dont know why we are only supposed to enjoy techno and dance at ridiculous hours...

this impressive performance from atom tm and tobias followed on nicely from my recent trip to belgium, where i saw sendai's first livepa, a true audio-visual feast. my crappy pic above does not do justice to the show peter and yves put on. in brussels i was also finally was able to see vladislav delay live, which made me very very happy. when i get the chance i'll give a full report on cimatics festival.

i dont really have much more to say, i just wanted to make two points:
(1) live techno is totally awesome.
(2) atom tm and tobias are techno masters. give them respect! (and track down their live recordings on logistic records, if you have heard them).

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

mnml ssgs mx44 - eric cloutier

mx44 comes from a very good friend of the ssgs, eric cloutier. after an excellent first ssg mix, and then winning over the japanese crowd at his debut performance at labyrinth, we wanted another mix out of him and he agreed, so good news for everybody. and, as expected, he has really stepped up to the plate. i think this is probably my favourite mix i've heard from him. demonstrating his breadth, the sound is quite different from his earlier contribution, but there is one element that can be found in both, and that is the pitched down BPMs. if there is one thing i think defines eric's sets is that they are serious slow burners. he does a great job of getting maximum impact without jacking it up too much. this mix has a fantastic pace and flow throughout, building up nicely before really taking off around the 20 minute mark. and he gets bonus points for finishing with a record i love. i have a feeling a lot of ssgs are going to really enjoy this one...

mnml ssgs mx44 - eric cloutier
sendspace mirror

if you want more info, check eric's myspace or homepage. you can catch him playing regularly around new york, and he is heading over to europe for some gigs in the 2nd half of february and early march 2010. a good opportunity to catch someone who is definitely on the rise.

big thanks to eric for the mix. don't worry, there is a tracklisting for this... next week we've got our christmas special, then a couple more mixes lined up to finish off '09 and start '10 in style...

Monday, December 14, 2009

quality, not quantity

well, it is getting to that time when charts and 'best of' lists appear for the year. i know pete has done some. to be honest, i'm not sure whether i have the energy or desire to. i certainly know i wont be compiling or publishing any lists yet, because 2009 hasnt ended. last time i checked a year had 12 months. it'll be interesting to see how dj sprinkles does in the charts, or whether he'll be forgotten due to the january release date.

anyway, what i might do if i have the motivation is offer some thoughts on interesting trends/developments etc in 2009. i can start writing this first one now because i doubt what i am going to say will be altered much in the next 2 or 3 weeks (unless any of these artists suddenly release a shitload of records, but i think it is a safe bet to presume they wont).

when i did have a brief think about some of my favourite EPs and tracks from 2009, i quickly noticed something. quite a lot were from artists who only had one or two releases this year. BUT. but the few tracks that did appear were such massive bombs the impact was far greater than a handful of EPs from many other artists.

probably the clearest example of this was function. as far as i know, he had only 2 tracks this year, his remix of miss kitten and the hacker, and the variance edit. can you tell me a techno track that has been more played, and has had a bigger impact than variance? there have not been many. i have seen this record in so many tracklists and heard it in so many mixes, but i am yet to get sick of it. i still get a shiver down my spine every time it drops.

pretty much the same could be said for function's label mate, silent servant. he has had one or two tracks on his split label with santiago salazar, plus his 'negative fascinations' EP on sandwell. and 'discipline' is my favourite techno track of the year hands down. my jaw dropped the first time i heard this record and like with 'variance', it still has a massive impact on me. also, mendez co-produced with camella lobo the tropic of cancer 10" on downwards, which is just quietly one of the best releases of 2009.

and then there is one of the biggest revelations of this year for me - oni ayhun. in 2009 oni only released one EP and a remix. just in these 3 tracks, though, are some of the most exciting and worthwhile sounds i've heard in 2009. in a year where i found plenty of music to get excited by, the B side of OAR003 hit me the hardest. there is nothing overly complex about the track, but much like donnacha costello's records, the impact comes from the reduced number of elements and the expert production. an impossibly beautiful record. much respect to oni. this is someone who has me excited about the future.

and when thinking about techno's future, in 2009 a lot of people realised kassem mosse is someone we should be putting our faith in. after a string of seriously good eps - which got us interested in him last year for a podcast - it was with workshop08 that people started to realise how special his sounds are. this was his only release in 2009 (i think), and that's just fine, when it is this good.

i could keep going, i am sure there are plenty of more examples - john roberts and tin man are 2 others that quickly come to mind. the lesson i take from this is the pretty obvious one: it is quality, not quantity that counts. this observation is all the more important at a time when digital technologies mean it much easier to make and release music. when combined with the considerable creativity and work ethic of many artists, there must be the temptation for some to put out more and more. even if m-nus completely fail to follow - or even understand - the concept, often there is definitely something to their formulation:
less = more.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

mnml ssgs mx43: lawrence english

this week we've got something a bit different from many of the previous mixes, and definitely contrasts with the intense techno we had last week with mike parker. mx43 comes from lawrence english, an australian artist who has been making some amazing and beautiful ambient, experimental and more abstract music for a while now. this is not a great way of describing his sounds, but he covers a fair bit of ground, and i am not sure how exactly to pin him in down in a sentence or two. but from what i can tell, quality and creativity are his defining trademarks.

i must confess, i was rather late to the lawrence english party, discovering him only last year with his stunning 'kiri no oto'. after boomkat gave the album a 'massive recommendation' i decided to check it out, and was not disappointed. 'kiri no oto' translates roughly to 'the sound of fog' and across the album he expertly explores those ideas. he followed it up this year with, 'a colour for autumn', which - as the title suggests - is conveying the feeling and sounds of autumn. if you haven't heard this, i strongly suggest tracking it down. 'a colour for autumn' is definitely in my top long players for 2009. intensely beautiful music. i cannot recommend it strongly enough.

as soon as i heard 'a colour for autumn', i immediately contacted lawrence about doing a mix. luckily he agreed. for me, at least, his mix reflects much of what i love about his music: it has an amazing depth and, in a strange way, a beautiful feeling of calm and tranquility. these are sounds to get lost in.

mnml ssgs mx43: lawrence english
sendspace mirror

if you want more info about lawrence english, you can check out his website or have a look at the homepage his excellent label, room40, which continues to release some amazing stuff, including a lot of cool special projects like limited releases on tape. and if you happen to be in/around london, there is a 2 night room40 showcase taking place tonight and tomorrow (wednesday 9th and thursday 10th december). it is a fantastic lineup (including english) and i am seriously unhappy i'll be missing it by a day or two. definitely head down if you can.

huge thanks to lawrence for taking the time to make this mix, especially as he finished it while touring all around europe. we are very happy that we can present music like this here at mnml ssgs. our original desire was to include more mixes of this kind in the series, but this hasn't quite happened. so we are very glad we have beautiful contribution from lawrence english. enjoy.

mx42: mike parker - tracklisting

mnml ssgs mx42: mike parker

01] :zoviet-france: / Signal
02] N/A / Variance III (Marcel Dettmann Edit)
03] Stanislav Tolkachev / Blue Mood
04] Samuli Kemppi / No One Can Hear Your Echo In Space
05] Sub Space / The Bi-Machine
06] Smear / Transect (Broadwave Execution Mix)
07] Kevin Gorman / Nearly (Original)
08] Sleeparchive / Hospital 04
09] VX / Particules
10] Miss Kittin & The Hacker / PPPO (Function's Sandwell Mix)
11] KS / Ice Sol
12] DJ Slip / Minneapolis Sessions C1
13] Traversable Wormhole / Superluminal
14] Zahgurim / New Flesh
15] Mike Parker / Caesura 2
16] Samuli Kemppi / Metal Space (Mike Dehnert Remix)
17] David Hykes & The Harmonic Choir / Harmonic Relation

glad everyone has been enjoying mike's super tight mix. the good news is that 2 more mixes arrived today, so you can expect more soon...

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Sleepers, Wake!

chris says:

ok, so the RA top DJs for '09 list fucking blows. it is frankly embarrassing. and please dont start with the 'taste is subjective blah blah argument'. ok, i dont expect everyone to like what i like, but that doesn’t mean that if you call a piece of shit a bar of gold, it is suddenly gold. it is still shit. you are just an idiot for thinking it is gold. anyway, should we be surprised the list sucks so fucking hard? no. of course not. the warning signs have been there. every month the aggregated top 50 tracks for RA have been simply horrible, and getting worse. in november, the king of stink - johnny D - is at number 1. yep. if that ain’t a big fucking red light, i don’t know what is. and the thing is, i actually think charts like these are a good thing. there is a real danger that from reading places like mnml ssgs, some of the other blogs and a selection of the features and reviews on RA and FACT that you get a really distorted view on the current state of the techno/electronic music scene. at the end of the day, most of the stuff we pump here ain’t that popular, these arent the artists being booked every weekend and playing at massive festivals. there definitely are signs of hope, but the mainstream still sucks balls.

2009 has been a great year for electronic music, but not because of most of the people listed in the RA charts. most of them are part of the problem, not the solution. so we need to keep fighting against the constant acceptance of mediocrity, and instead keep pushing and supporting quality music and quality artists.... like these:

chris' top 5:

1. function

2. donato dozzy

3. silent servant

4. peter van hoesen

5. scuba/scb

PC says:

Well, it’s rare that any kind of EoY poll elicits a visceral reaction from me, carrying around, as I do, Dirty Harry’s famous maxim: ‘opinions are like assholes… everyone’s got one.’

What’s fascinating (and a bit frightening) about this poll is that it is not the amplified projection of a small number of geeks and tastemakers; it is, rather, an accurate representation of what the people who voted think is hot now when it comes to DJing.

And what’s striking about this list in particular is how many of the people in this top 20 are DJs whose best sets are at least 5+ years behind them. That’s the thing that jumps out at me: the people I voted for are people who I think are really hitting their straps right now.

So is this a reflection of the contemporary? At this point, I have to wonder about people’s methodology when choosing their faves… were these cautiously chosen? Whittled down? Remembered from a millennium nightclub? What else could explain Luciano arriving at number three… in 2009? Seriously, this is an artist who released an interesting but very flawed album and has been playing, well, boring dishwater. This is a talented guy who – in my deeply personal/subjective/prejudiced opinion – has had one of the least productive and interesting years of his recent career. His productions are the worst they’ve been in ages; Cadenza is a shadow of its former self; his DJing has lost almost all of its funk, daring, passion and historicity – in short, this is a dude who spent 2009 playing bongo dishwater for dollars.

Leaving aside this one egregious howler, a look up the list reveals a startlingly high percentage of legacy votes: has beens, sentimental favourites, unexamined choices (or are they?). Sasha… and Digweed? Steve Bug? The Wighnomy Brothers?? Derrick May??? It’s not that these people aren’t good DJs, the question is whether they merit inclusion in a ‘best of 2009’ list… I’m left with a number of possible provisional conclusions: 1) people’s choices are – statistically – sentimental favourites based on past experiences; 2) large numbers of people’s listening tastes are way behind the curve (ie people are still listening to, and digging, the same shit they were digging three, five, hell, even ten+ years back & so this IS a fair representation of who’s hitting their straps right now) ; 3) it is I who lives in a parallel universe; 4) opinions are like assholes…

All year in interviews, producers, musicians, DJs and the like have been grousing about the rot (just check recent interviews by Jeff Mills and DJ Bone that we linked here a week or two back). The thing about the rot is that it is very hard to put your finger on... yeah, of course, you can have a vague feeling that things suck when you go out, that there are a lot of lame, bland records around, but is that the rot? After looking at this, I wanna say that the rot is a lot; the rot is.... very popular indeed.

Oh, and these were my favourite DJs in 2009:

1. Scuba

2. Steffi

3. Donato Dozzy

4. Kevin Gorman

5. Sandwell District

...then check this out:

...yet another parallel universe, one which is bigger than ours by a factor of 10....


Monday, December 7, 2009

the purposemaker

"Dance Music producers have a strange habit of mimicking other producers. When this happens, large bodies of available tracks lean to a particular style - leaving certain areas of creativity un-explored and ignored. To be able to discovers these voids, I think one has to have a wide perspective on what other artists are doing and more importantly, why they're doing it."

"As a whole, I think that most Dance Music producers and DJs no longer produce at their highest level. Many simply do whatever it takes to get noticed and stay in minds of their audiences. It's a free and unstructured industry, so I guess there is room for everything(?)."

"I wish that people would demand more from producers/DJs, event organizers, club managers, media, etc. I believe a lot of negative things persist because we do not question others and ask for more."

"People are much more aware of what's available in the market now and I think the audiences listen more closely than ever before. It's a different time and it takes different applications. It would my great wish if this approach was applied not only by DJs/producers, but promoters, the production crew of clubs/venues and all others that work on events in this industry."

"I think that part of being a DJ is knowing the history and the possible future of what you’re dealing with."

"I think if DJs and producers begin to put more of themselves (not their machines/software) into their productions, try not to mimic and copy other people, adapt a mindset that any and everything is possible, we might have a chance of raising the level of the genre [techno] where new discoveries come more frequently then they have in the past decade."

"With the technology that most DJs and producers have and are using, we should be hearing many more interesting things. Perhaps it too early in the genre to measure what really hasn't been touched upon."

"Producers could consider making music without the objective of releasing vinyls, CDs, sounds files -- maybe they could make music for the sole reason of learning on how to make it differently. If this truly catches on, I do believe we would begin to hear extraordinary work."

"My perspective is that it [techno] isn't taken seriously enough. Just about any thriving art form takes a certain amount of attention in ensuring that the people are understanding and hearing as much as they want. I don't feel that this understanding is shared by most people in this industry. There are many people that make Dance Music for their life career, but when it comes to doing/saying things that may not be directly connected to themselves, they tend to not be involved or speak up/about. It's not like this in other genres of music, in art or in dance. It seems that Electronic Music distances itself by not being thoughtfully considered by those that are in the industry."

taken from

sunday sounds

something more upbeat this sunday. i don't have so many words right now, i just love this mix. for full disclosure, finn has invited me to contribute to one of his columns in the future. but this has nothing to do with why i'm posting this. there is just something in his dj'ing style that really appeals to me. it has a great pace and energy to it. and at a time when i'm getting sent so many dj mixes that sound the same, the distinctiveness of this mix really stands out.

finn johannsen - la maison des ingénieurs de l’aggro

sendspace mirror

Odd Machine – Phase Out
Instra:mental – Leave It All Behind
Zomby – Tarantula
Stress – Down In The Dungeon
Shake – Indagoo
Dread & Fred – Warriors Advance
Posthuman – Callisto
Paul Du Lac- Blow Back
Ricardo Jefferson – The Egg (Part One)
Patrick Cowley & Jorge Socarras – Memory Fails Me (Oni Ayhun Remix)
Mark Grusane & Mike Cole Feat. Deanna – Time & Space (Vocal)
Marcello Napoletano – Space Voodoo
B.D.I. – City & Industry
Anthony “Shake” Shakir – Arise
The Oliverwho Factory – Disco Nights
Rennie Foster – Good Time Charlie
Octave One – A World Divided (Jupiter II Mix)
Gesloten Cirkel – When It’s Late
Iamthatiam – Inri
Moderat – Seamonkey (Surgeon Remix)
Patrick Cowley & Jorge Socarras – Soon (KiNK Remix)
Ben Klock – Ok (Kenny Larkin Remix)
Optic Nerve – Origins
Oni Ayhun - OAR003-B
San Proper – December 10th
Dan Curtin – Other
Tama Sumo & Prosumer – Alien Mutts
Kirk Degiorgio – Isidora
Roska – Sheppard
Lowtec – Angstrom
Peter Kruder – After The Dawn
As One – Freefall
Newworldaquarium – The Force (Âme Remix)
dBridge – Wonder Where
Kinf Midas Sound – One Ting (Dabrye Rmx)

have a good sunday people.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

tu m' - monochromes vol. 1

just a quick post. been meaning to write about this release for a while. tu m' are a new name to me, but they are now definitely on my radar after 'monochromes vol. 1', which has become one of my favourite albums of the year. despite the strong techno focus of my contribution to mnml ssgs, this year, and especially in recent months, i've come back to ambient in a big big way. and 'monochromes' is exactly the kind of ambient i like: atmospheric, tranquil, contemplative...

not knowing too much about this italian duo, from looking at their website, it appears there is a strong visual component to their work, and this certainly adds something to the monochromes project. here is one excerpt:

[i cant get the video working, you can view it here.]

the video gives a pretty good representation of the album. not much more to say really. if interested, they've got some other videos and various mp3s on their website. anyway, this has been one of my finds for 2009, so i just wanted to share it.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

mnml ssgs mx42: mike parker

following on from last week's killer from jay ahern, now some more heat from a good friend of mnml ssgs, mike parker. this is his 2nd contribution to the series, the first being way back with mx6. things have developed a lot since then and the strength of the early mixes - from people like mike - were key in shaping the overall series. so we definitely owe him a debt of gratitude and we are very glad that he agreed to do another mix. the result is exactly what you'd expect: deep, dark, driving and hypnotic. this is a sound mnml ssgs has become well known for, and mike's mix was the 1st example of it here, so it is fitting it will probably also be the last mix of this kind in the series. beyond that i dont really have too much to say, the music speaks for itself, as does mike's distinctive take on techno.

mnml ssgs mx42: mike parker

mike delivered a killer set of power techno at last year's labyrinth, and he is about to make his return visit to japan this week, playing in tokyo with another ssg favourite, cio d'or on saturday 5 december. for those lucky enough to be going, this is a great taste of what to expect, and for the rest of us, we still get to enjoy a prime techno cut from a quiet achiever.

mike is a man of many talents, as can be seen from the picture. for info on his various arts - visual and musical - check his website and his homepage. big thanks to mike for the mix.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

mnml ssgs mx41: hauntologists vs cheap and deep

one of the trends i've noticed over the last year or two is that many of the producers making waves are people who've been at it for a long time. these aren't new kids on the block armed with a macbook and a cracked version of ableton. two names that immediately spring to mind are peter van hoesen and move d, but there are plenty more. another one is jay ahern. this is a name you might not instantly recognise. but if you've been keeping up with the best of techno over the last year, chances are you might have heard records from two projects he does: the hauntologists, composed of jay and stefan schneider, and a new solo project, cheap and deep, which has been getting serious play from a lot of techno heavyweights (and rightly so).

we first got in touch with jay about mix a year or so ago, in relation to yet another one of his guises - add noise (check the 'handwerk' releases - they flew under the radar a bit, but are some seriously quality techno cuts). it didn't quite work at that time, but luckily for everyone we reconnected this year. so this has been a while in the making. but like so many other mixes in this series, definitely worth the wait. in true ssg fashion, jay has dug deep and put put together a special live recording for all of us, made up of hauntologists and cheap and deep material.

one thing we look for with contributions to this series are mixes that give a real representation of the artist's sound and that is certainly the case here. jay's live reflects his productions perfectly: raw, dirty, analog machine techno. this is what jay said about it in an email:

"this stuff is done exactly that way [machine techno], i don't even use midi, i use the 808 as the master, slave the sampler to it using a special box and then the 101 gets a clock pulse from the 808 , and i punch in notes live on the 101 while tweaking the 303 and 808, plus a bit of dubbing on the mixer... there's a couple of moments in the mix where i am really sweating, trying to juggle all that stuff, but i think that 'human touch' thing works out ok."

fuck yes it works out ok. much more than that.

mnml ssgs mx41: hauntologists vs cheap and deep
soundcloud mirror
sendspace mirror

* update: got a DL link for soundcloud. if it stops working, just try the other ones.

massive thanks to jay for putting this together for us. we are very proud and happy to have this, it really fits exactly with what we are about. big respect. for more info on jay, check his homepage and his twitter. now, it's time for some machine techno...

kassem and his funky machines in tokyo

i dont have much to say, except this shit is essential. unfortunately there is some crowd noise in it, but the recording is still good enough to check, especially as i'm pretty sure this is the first live set from kassem to appear online. unsurprisingly, it is shit hot: kassem mosse @ mariana, tokyo

thanks to dave for recording this. i'd also suggest checking his set from the night, definitely the best mix i've heard from him. good late hours techno.

and if you are in tokyo, the next mariana party is on 5 december, with two ssg favourites: cio 'dor and mike parker. dont let labyrinth fool you, the scene in tokyo is pretty disappointing these days. it is rare to get nights like these, so if you are in the kanto area, definitely go check cio and mike.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

sunday sounds: murmur (meanwhile)

following on from last week's treat from silent servant, something special again this sunday. this time it from the murmur boys. after falling in love with a mix they'd recently done i got in touch, and they had another one they'd also finished around the same time, and we thought it'd be good to present them together. 2 for the price of 1 this week... both mixes are bang on, excellent excursions into all things deep. they've got a great groove and feel to them, and well suited for a sunday...

murmur session mix

murmur single session mix

these guys keep an intentionally low profile, but if you are around manchester they've recently started a monthly night, with big things planned for 2010. the next one is on december 29th with sean canty from demdike stare/finders keepers. i'm hoping to get up there and check it in the new year. label-wise, meanwhile has 12 inches on the way from pendle coven (do these guys ever sleep?), murmur and conforce, which also have a longplayer. plus they've got a new handstamped label going, 1XA, so keep an eye out for that.

big thanks to murmur for hooking up with these mixes. have a good sunday people...

Saturday, November 21, 2009

to the bone

just a quick post: i'd strongly suggest heading over to RA and reading the new interview with dj bone. admittedly it does start in a horribly banal fashion: 'Detroit has always held a certain currency in the techno community. After all, the genre did first emerge as an underground black movement in the city, with originators Juan Atkins, Derrick May and Kevin Saunderson acting as musical prophets to an entire generation of DJs and producers.' jeez... if you skip that terrible intro and cut to dj bone talking you'll get an insightful and thoughtprovoking set of observations. to be honest, these days his music and dj'ing doesn't really do much for me, but years ago his 'subject: detroit volume 2' had a very strong influence on me, and he was one of the few artists from detroit besides jeff mills i really connected with. and while i am not so interested in his music anymore, i greatly value his reflections on techno in this and other interviews. i really respect his attitude and approach.

one thing i'd disagree with him about is the lack of filters now with the digital market. this is true to some extent, there certainly aren't the same barriers with starting labels and publishing music. in that regard, the entry point is much much lower and there is definitely a flood. but i'd disagree in his suggestion that there is no equivalent to the people in the record store 'who are knowledgeable about the music—that's their job and they know this stuff—and when the customers come in they say, "hey, i got a hot one for you".' in this regard, i'd say the filters have changed. i strongly feel that blogs like this one, test, LWE etc. fulfill a similar function. indeed, i'd say they do so in a more democratic and open way. often you'd have to be in with the person behind the record counter for them to give you one of the few copies of the hot record had come in. with blogs and other sources on the net this is much more equalised. and i should say that a very explicit aim in setting up mnml ssgs was precisely to act as a filter. so in this regard, i think dj bone is a bit behind the times. besides that, most of what he says is pretty much bang on.

respect to bone and i'll finish with these wise words of his:

'What I really wanted to say was that it's a crucial time for underground electronic music and the underground community to take a stand, and basically take stock in what they they've grown to love; so they need to be really, really, careful and they need to be smart about how they spend their money, who they support, and that they can't fall for any old bullshit that's out there. Make a choice based on what you feel is good and not just what's popular.'

Thursday, November 19, 2009

full of love

just a quick post, my girl has been going on a big maurice fulton bender recently, and this has encouraged me to revisit this mix of his, which is very dear to my heart. this mix kept me company on many long, boring drives between melbourne and canberra... despite maurice being around since the year dot and generally being recognised as a house legend, i still feel he is massively under-rated. as far as i'm concerned, he is one of the best house djs about and his productions are light years ahead of most house music. simply put, maurice is the bomb. i'd strongly suggest following his bubbletease podcast mixes (i think this is the link). and here is this classic mix from him. warm house music that puts a smile on your face. enjoy.

maurice fulton @ betalounge 15.2.04

0:00-07:06 I:cube - vacuum jackers (maurice fulton remix)
07:06-12:35 Touche - Wrap it Up (maurice fulton remix)
12:35-17:35 Extra - Haven't Been Funked Enough (maurice fulton remix)
17:35-19:55 ?
19:55-25:55 Second Image - Can't Keep Holdin On
25:55-29:05 Quando Quango - Love Tempo
29:05-33:20 Tata Vega - Get It Up For Love (maurice fulton remix)
33:20- 40:05 MSFB - Love is the Message
40:05-45:20 Willie Colon - Set Fire to Me
45:20-51:05 A Guy Called Gerald - Voodoo Ray
51:05-59:00 Herbie Hancock - Thought It Was You (maurice fulton remix)
59:00-1:05:45 Skyy - Here's to You
1:05:45-1:12:50 Gwen Guthrie - It Should Have Been You
1:12:50-1:17:30 Jimmy Bo Horne - Is It In?
1:17:30-1:21:30 Boz Scaggs - Lowdown (maurice fulton remix)
1:21:30-1:25:20 George Benson - Love x Love
1:25:20-1:30:00 Stevie Wonder - All I Do
1:30:00-1:35:00 Billy Ocean - One of Them Nights
1:35:00-1:39:10 Chi-Lites - Are You My Woman?
1:39:10-1:43:10 Can never remember who this is
1:43:10- Bob Marley - Could You Be Loved
1:48:55-1:54:55 Gewn Guthrie - Ain't Nothin Goin' On but the Rent
1:54:55- Ost & Kjex (Cheese & Biscuit) : Eaten Back To Life EP (Maurice Fulton mix)

Sunday, November 15, 2009

sunday sounds: silent servant

we've got something special for you this sunday: a new mix by our very good friend, silent servant. inspired by a super deep opening set from regis at the recent sandwell district gig in berlin, this is a more downbeat and introspective mix, well suited for a sunday. in his own words, "it is an all vinyl mix from a stack of my favorite dub techno and dub inspired non techno tracks. it was mixed in one shot." this shows yet another side of juan mendez, further illustrating the depth and breadth of his musical knowledge. i am consistently impressed by this man's creativity, and strongly feel he is one of the most interesting and worthwhile voices in contemporary techno. respect.

there is a tracklisting, which i'll add in the comments section in a day or two. big thanks to juan for this mix. i'm very happy we've had another opportunity to collaborate with him. for more info, make sure to check sandwell district's 'where next?' blog.

have a good sunday people...

Thursday, November 12, 2009

PC and Dave-stra-damus put the techno cat among the plugin pigeons

Hello all,

what follows is the uncut funk of a to-and-fro that I (Pete) had with Dave Wiltshire.... Dave has a musical prescience that borders on the freaky - I've learned that when Dave intuits something, you probably won't agree.... for a coupla years. Then you realise he was right all along.

Dave (DW) is the silent ssg in our midst; we'd initially planned to have DW as an integral active blogger, but he's repeatedly said it's not the kind of engagement he'd like to have..., then, is a different way through a thicket of problems, plugins, cables, rough patches, physical music, gag reflexes, personal obsessions, hang ups, ways forward, dead ends, and so on....

[12/11/09 8:42:52 AM] PC: You on?

[12/11/09 8:43:26 AM] DW: yep i'm here

[12/11/09 8:43:52 AM] PC: Well then... shall we get into it?

[12/11/09 8:44:01 AM] DW: yeah sure!

[12/11/09 8:44:28 AM] PC: So... about this time last year, you said, unequivocably, that Perlon had jumped the shark...

[12/11/09 8:45:00 AM] DW: yeah... but at the same time i was also praising oslo :P

[12/11/09 8:45:10 AM] DW: but yeah... i did!

[12/11/09 8:46:00 AM] PC: What was it about those two labels at that time that made you think so... 'cos by that stage I was dead sick of Oslo, and I thought Perlon had had quite a good year... from memory you were saying that the big Perlon records, especially the STL one, *wasn't* a Perlon record

[12/11/09 8:48:26 AM] DW: i'm not sure i can totally explain why i liked oslo at the time. but perlon to me has always been a very important part of techno and a label that was always pushing their own sound. but that sound appeared to be less and less obvious in their records. like it was being diluted

[12/11/09 8:48:45 AM] DW: or like in STL's case it was just them taking one of his releases to borrow his sound

[12/11/09 8:49:53 AM] DW: they were one of the few big labels left that still appeared to be making it their aim to continuously push forward or at least keep its ground

[12/11/09 8:50:01 AM] PC: Right.... not just suPerlongevity, but also hyPerconsistency.... but in 2009, both quantitatively and qualitatively, where is Perlon? ... Both the Dygas release and the San Proper release, they're timid and boring... but see this...

[12/11/09 8:50:56 AM] DW: hahaha

[12/11/09 8:51:00 AM] DW: holy shit

[12/11/09 8:52:08 AM] PC: Hmm... yeah, so if Perlon abandons 'Perlon', in what sense does that old minimal/house assemblage meaninglfully exist anymore?

[12/11/09 8:52:49 AM] DW: i can remember when you could listen to most perlon releases and work out why they decided to release it... but why san proper?

[12/11/09 8:53:20 AM] PC: And meanwhile, you have Sascha Dive, who, for me, was totally one of the people perpetrating the very dull bandwagoneering minimal/house + "soulful" sound, unloading here and saying this: Right now it feels like there's not as much good music out there as there was before. Most of all this so-called minimal/deep/Detroit house sounds all the same. There are unfortunately only a few labels and artists left making good music these days. You can fell that what they do comes from their hearts; has a lot of soul. Many just jumped on the train simply because it's the new hip thing. But it's not new at all actually. Good house music has been there since the very beginning of this whole culture.

[12/11/09 8:53:57 AM] DW: like how kalabrese's chicken fried rice was the first thing perlon released from a demo. it was really hard to get a release on perlon. but what the fuck is with san proper?

[12/11/09 8:55:02 AM] PC: ...yeah, what's 'proper' about it?... that Sascha Dive comment reminds me of Magda's comment in 06 or 07, when she says, when I think about minimal, that's not what we play.... ....yeah, the Kalabrese EP is a good example... I mean, it's *such* a good EP, and still holds up. I played it on the radio the other week, then listened to the podcast of the recording, and was completely immersed in it...

[12/11/09 8:55:21 AM] DW: yeah exactly. that was what depressed me at the time when i thought perlon had jumped the shark. it's kinda a big deal in some ways
[12/11/09 8:56:14 AM] PC: ...maybe it's like: once upon a time everyone wanted to be playwrights. The standard was high, the field competitive, and lots of good, memorable plays got 'wrighted'.... but how many great 'wrighters' wanna write plays anymore... probably they're writing the Wire in stead, no?

[12/11/09 8:56:28 AM] DW: yeah i don't know what to say about the sascha comment. i haven't really listened to much of his stuff but from what you and chris said he seems to be the worst offender

[12/11/09 8:57:21 AM] PC: ...well, we're in a year where vinyl retail has been more or less cleaned out of everywhere, and all the big 'names' (Luciano, Isolee, Losoul) have been releasing stinky, second-rate work...

[12/11/09 8:58:42 AM] PC: ...well, for me, the Sascha thing is that, well, he made some funky, swinging minimal/house records, they were fine as tools, but no more... but he became the flagbearer for this whole movement, which was mostly about all the plugins/mmnl people being able to dig as 'deep house' what was, really, just more flatlining plugins minimal... you just substitute ping-pong reverb a la Robag Wruhme for bongos... and presto!

[12/11/09 8:59:25 AM] DW: for me the problem is techno was always supposed to be (for me) about pushing forward with new sounds and use of technology. the whole "future music" thing... then also with a punk aesthetic in sound but also with culture (raves, drugs...)

[12/11/09 8:59:48 AM] DW: techno needs constant progression

[12/11/09 9:00:35 AM] DW: and also a relationship between man and machine (or computer) but how is there such a relationship when someone is using plugins?

[12/11/09 9:00:57 AM] DW: isn't that just machine-machine instead of man-machine?

[12/11/09 9:01:08 AM] PC: Yeah... my schtick right now is that we need music which much, much, much more PHYSICAL

[12/11/09 9:01:52 AM] PC: In March 2007 I wrote this: and quoted Mad Mike as saying the following:

[12/11/09 9:01:56 AM] PC: In a recent ‘Slices’ DVD interview, Underground Resistance’s Mike Banks talked movingly about the impact of hearing Kraftwerk as a kid: “When we were kids and we listened to Kraftwerk, we thought they was robots. We figured ‘Hey man, this is some cool shit’ and the guys was robots. We never thought ‘black Kraftwerk’ or ‘white Kraftwerk’ – it was just ‘Kraftwerk’. And the shit was funky and it permaeated the inner city.” It’s cute imagining ‘lil Mike dreaming of robots, but boyish chuckles aside, what’s so touching about the comment is the bitter, metallic taste it leaves in my all too human mouth. Fact is, we gave up dreaming of a future filled with electro-hearted robots in the mid ‘80s.

[12/11/09 9:02:25 AM] PC: ...I wanna say, isn't that what's great about Pansonic? It isn't electronic, it's electric. And it gets you in the guts.
[12/11/09 9:03:34 AM] DW: yeah i agree. for me the most "techno" thing someone could do right now is make their own synths or drum machines and pump out their own stuff. even if it had more in common with 80s acid than anything else that would still be more techno than a lot of the new stuff

[12/11/09 9:03:43 AM] DW: oh yeah totally

[12/11/09 9:03:59 AM] DW: that's what i mean... pansonic is more techno than almost anyone else at the moment

[12/11/09 9:04:34 AM] DW: love that mad mike quote btw :)

[12/11/09 9:05:09 AM] PC: ...Raster Noton, too... I mean, the shit is BANGING.... I mean Perlon 2009: you listen to that Dygas record, or the San Proper record, or the Baby Ford record... reminds me of that Lou Reed lyric: "I'll take Manhatten in a garbage bag, with Latin written on it that says: "It's hard to give a shit these days."

[12/11/09 9:05:56 AM] DW: oh my fucking god cyclo was so amazing

[12/11/09 9:06:13 AM] PC: Yeah, the other Mad Mike quote at the end is great, too: A robot future was a better future – Mad Mike talks in the same interview about how Kraftwerk came and ‘hi-teched’ the mindset of inner-city Detroit youth, giving the first-wave of techno innovators a dream of a brighter world. But the robots, and their future, never came – Detroit, Takadonobaba – the revolution never happened, then it returned as a cute setpiece in the middle of an erstwhile junkspace. No wonder techno floundered – they were no longer able to dream. Back to you, Mike: “We need some hi-tech motherfuckers to come through. Until that, kiss my ass.”

[12/11/09 9:06:31 AM] DW: also, have you heard the album nickolai and mika did on raster notion back in hte early 00s? it's like the best thing on the label. pure electricity

[12/11/09 9:06:52 AM] PC: So were Cyclo some high-tech muthafuckers? .... No, I haven't. Can you hook a brutha up?

[12/11/09 9:07:17 AM] DW: yeah will do! it's super droney but awesome

[12/11/09 9:07:35 AM] DW: yeah cyclo were super hitech and funky too

[12/11/09 9:07:39 AM] PC: ...but don't you think this is why Oleva resonated so strongly with techno people? 'Cos it was like, you needed someone who didn't have this laptop/Ableton/plugin/produce/remix/tour/DJ mindset to come out and say THIS is what it sounds like...

[12/11/09 9:07:42 AM] DW: people were dancing their asses off

[12/11/09 9:08:06 AM] DW: sorry don't follow.... what's oleva?

[12/11/09 9:08:11 AM] PC: ...but then Richie comes along and plays the Byetone 'plastic star' record and tweets it as he goes... something dies in techno everytime Richie tweets

[12/11/09 9:08:14 AM] DW: is that an old mika ep? can't remember :P

[12/11/09 9:08:48 AM] PC: Mika's last 'Ohm' record

[12/11/09 9:09:12 AM] DW: ahhh yeah got it

[12/11/09 9:10:16 AM] DW: i think you make a good point in the 2nd mad mike grab. the relationship between man and machine has changed so techno has to change accordingly

[12/11/09 9:10:57 AM] PC: But, the thing about Mad Mike that I agree with is, it's a mindset: we need to renovate our mindset. I mean, it's unfathomable to me that 2009 has been a boring year for music... I mean, it reminds me of my sister's ex, who moved to Madrid and now says 'Melbourne is boring'. I mean, Melbourne is a bit boring, but the thing was - HE was boring in Melbourne. Then he goes to Madrid and he's got this 'I'm on a working holiday' mindset, and the whole situation changes...

[12/11/09 9:11:55 AM] DW: techno is just due for a slump

[12/11/09 9:12:05 AM] DW: but it will pick up eventually... i hope!

[12/11/09 9:12:54 AM] DW: maybe indie is the answer... like what jay-z said with indie and hip-hop. he said the indie revival is great because it has overtaken hip-hop in innovation which should "push" hip-hop producers into lifting their game

[12/11/09 9:13:02 AM] PC: ...yeah, like Jeff Mills' black/sci fi/Metropolis futurism... he's never given up on it, to his credit... I kinda feel... I know this is weird, but I was watching the new Star Trek film, and it reminded me how incredibly timid people have become about the future... I mean, the only Americans with a Vision for the Future in the early 00s were the fucking neocons....

[12/11/09 9:13:09 AM] DW: he went on this big rant about it after going to a grizzley bear concert

[12/11/09 9:13:41 AM] PC: Indie is *not* the answer... I mean... well yeah, if you mean Grizzly Bear, then yes... but if you mean Pitchfork-reading motherfuckers in tight jeans on fixies, then NO

[12/11/09 9:13:42 AM] PC: :)

[12/11/09 9:13:49 AM] DW:

[12/11/09 9:14:16 AM] PC: Yeah, well hip-hop died because it became inward-looking and conservative and rejected innovations in lyricism and sound design as

[12/11/09 9:14:33 AM] DW: yeah just like techno :P

[12/11/09 9:15:15 AM] PC: sorry... as not hip-hop.... thus all the Anticon stuff, Prefuse, you know, they were really taking things in one direction, Outkast in another, Miss E and Timbaland in another, but all those directions were regarded as anomalies by people 'within' hip-hop... they rejected it, 'cos they could read the new signifiers as hip-hop...

[12/11/09 9:15:29 AM] DW: but it will be back... as will techno. but that whole "tweaking" of the sound and revisiting old sounds which you were talking about last year is a good point but only part of the solution

[12/11/09 9:16:05 AM] PC: ...yeah, just like techno... to finish up on the Star Trek thing, it's like …we forgot to boldly go. We forgot to dare… I remember Cam talking to Brinkmann, and him saying (of German DJs and certain records): ‘they do not dare!’

[12/11/09 9:16:24 AM] DW: haha! it's true

[12/11/09 9:16:32 AM] DW: i'm waiting for "post-techno"

[12/11/09 9:16:55 AM] DW: it will be like the early mego stuff. anti-preset and in many ways anti-technology

[12/11/09 9:17:13 AM] DW: techno doesn't need to tweak the past it needs to learn to hate it and rebel against it

[12/11/09 9:17:22 AM] DW: and totally piss off the detroit fanboys

[12/11/09 9:17:34 AM] DW: when they get offended then we'll know things
are on the right track :P

[12/11/09 9:17:47 AM] PC: Yeah... well, how come so few people sample techno in the same way that house does with disco and hip-hop did with funk and soul... ...nah, it's 'cos the plugins/mnml people have no historical horizon in their music... 'cos plugins/laptops is the future, sailor

[12/11/09 9:19:17 AM] DW: yeah good point... we need someone to sample and bastardise the past

[12/11/09 9:19:27 AM] PC: Yeah... the key is to not equate technology with progress... most technologo-centric producers have a very stupid undersanding of technology... one which is totally 'unplugged' from history, context, anything.... was talking about it here

[12/11/09 9:19:28 AM] DW: like your detroit sampling group idea

[12/11/09 9:19:38 AM] PC: I thought that was your idea, no?

[12/11/09 9:20:03 AM] DW: i think it was both of us... but you in particular mentioned sampling detroit very heavily

[12/11/09 9:20:23 AM] PC: To sample 'sacred' Detroit techno records, and turn it into fun music, like early Daft Punk/Stardust... something a bit fucking ridiculous... is humourlessness not techno's worst problem?

[12/11/09 9:20:51 AM] PC: Yeah... like get that double CD of Derrick May's classics, and shred them... .with love, natch...

[12/11/09 9:21:00 AM] DW: the residents are a perfect example. they were futurists by tearing up the past. they released a few albums of "awful" covers of old classics... especially the beatles and james brown

[12/11/09 9:21:19 AM] PC: Did you ever listen to James Forrest?

[12/11/09 9:21:56 AM] DW: yeah i loved his ideas... didn't quite like the execution (too fast and frantic for me) but really liked what he was trying to do

[12/11/09 9:22:22 AM] PC: Yeah, this album:

[12/11/09 9:22:44 AM] DW: oh wait i didn't hear that one though...

[12/11/09 9:22:48 AM] PC: ...also Soft Pink Truth... I mean, that's where Matmos' high concept rubber really hit the road for me...

[12/11/09 9:23:04 AM] DW: yeah they were good too...

[12/11/09 9:23:27 AM] PC: But Q: why haven't more people emulated the 'ethos' or mindset of Richard James? Why have we got these po-faced, humourless laptop muthafuckers whingeing about boring music which they're perpetrating?

[12/11/09 9:23:36 AM] DW: but i want someone to do it much more disrespectfully

[12/11/09 9:24:12 AM] DW: in my opinion "put your hands up for detroit" was such a great track for that reason. i want something like that but with a little more irony

[12/11/09 9:24:15 AM] PC: ...I mean, why was it that laptops captured imagination... it's 10 years of Ableton, and it's been the Ableton decade for dance music, definitely...

[12/11/09 9:24:16 AM] DW: or like crazy-frog!

[12/11/09 9:24:48 AM] PC: ...yeah, but .... yeah, crazy frog! That's why I didn't mind the last Alter Ego... the thing is though, I think it was 'seriously' fun music....

[12/11/09 9:25:15 AM] DW: fuck "serious-fun"

[12/11/09 9:25:34 AM] DW: actually no i take that back... serious fun is good

[12/11/09 9:25:42 AM] DW: but i want some other forms of fun too

[12/11/09 9:25:45 AM] PC: So is fun, natural fun.

[12/11/09 9:26:18 AM] DW: isn't the sort of fun we're talking about just free-creativity?

[12/11/09 9:26:24 AM] PC: All these visions have been put forward though - KLF sprung to mind immediately - so how come the serious laptop music thing took hold so much?

[12/11/09 9:27:00 AM] DW: mabe because it was easier? i dunno...

[12/11/09 9:27:06 AM] PC: Yeah maybe... .creativity, expression... but, I mean, Shed's music isn't 'fun' per se, and it's definitely classicicst techno, but it's great... same as Redshape... the difference is some kind of 'power' , I guess.

[12/11/09 9:27:08 AM] DW: was it you who told me that kid-606 quote?

[12/11/09 9:27:17 AM] DW: about how easy it was to make music now?

[12/11/09 9:27:21 AM] PC: no? Which one?

[12/11/09 9:28:42 AM] DW: i can't remember exactly but he talked about how he could make a track in 15 minutes nowadays or something like that. he's a pretty interesting guy actually... good quotes

[12/11/09 9:28:48 AM] DW: i think i read it in inpress a while back

[12/11/09 9:29:12 AM] DW: sorry it was years ago now so can't remember

[12/11/09 9:29:25 AM] PC: ...yeah, but then, some of the Gas records were made in an hour... ...I wanted to say, this Alex Cortex 'statement' REALLY got my goat

[12/11/09 9:30:09 AM] DW: this is what i want to see

[12/11/09 9:30:23 AM] PC: ...just some laptop entrepreneur whingeing about 'the scene'.... I dunno, is *that* a reason to make music?

[12/11/09 9:31:26 AM] DW: i kinda like this though

[12/11/09 9:31:38 AM] PC: ...great clip.... I wanna say, I agree with Terre when he said this: How do you see your craft developing (if indeed it is a ‘craft’ to you)? And how is technology influencing this?

‘Craft’ is no longer suspect to a lot of electronic producers. Especially in the house genre. Everybody wants to be a full-on musician. I think that makes a lot of music complacent, because we stop challenging social norms around how music should sound or be performed.

As for technology, does anybody else find it unbelievably patronizing that the default file name for most Apple software follows the formula ‘My…’ – ‘My Disc’, ‘My Song’, ‘My Movie’, etc.? It's a real sign of how we've socially come to project personal identity onto corporately structured media. It goes hand in hand with the rise of the ‘DJ as Artist’.

[12/11/09 9:31:53 AM] PC:

[12/11/09 9:32:14 AM] DW: it's like techno people know there's something wrong and are finger-pointing and in-fighting. admittance is a good first step :P

[12/11/09 9:33:29 AM] DW: hmmm maybe computers have to be shunned entirely in techno?

[12/11/09 9:34:19 AM] DW: i want some really elitist new producer to come out and make some sweeping statements like "techno cannot include laptops" or something silly like that. even if just to ruffle feathers

[12/11/09 9:35:30 AM] DW: haha this is exactly what i want to see!

[12/11/09 9:35:47 AM] DW: but do it with detroit instead of rock classics

[12/11/09 9:36:36 AM] PC: # Denial — "I feel fine."; "This can't be happening, not to me."
Denial is usually only a temporary defense for the individual. This feeling is generally replaced with heightened awareness of situations and individuals that will be left behind after death.[1]
# Anger — "Why me? It's not fair!"; "How can this happen to me?"; "Who is to blame?"
Once in the second stage, the individual recognizes that denial cannot continue. Because of anger, the person is very difficult to care for due to misplaced feelings of rage and envy. Any individual that symbolizes life or energy is subject to projected resentment and jealousy.[1]
# Bargaining — "Just let me live to see my children graduate."; "I'll do anything for a few more years."; "I will give my life savings if..."
The third stage involves the hope that the individual can somehow postpone or delay death. Usually, the negotiation for an extended life is made with a higher power in exchange for a reformed lifestyle. Psychologically, the person is saying, "I understand I will die, but if I could just have more time..."[1]
# Depression — "I'm so sad, why bother with anything?"; "I'm going to die . . . What's the point?"; "I miss my loved one, why go on?"
During the fourth stage, the dying person begins to understand the certainty of death. Because of this, the individual may become silent, refuse visitors and spend much of the time crying and grieving. This process allows the dying person to disconnect oneself from things of love and affection. It is not recommended to attempt to cheer up an individual who is in this stage. It is an important time for grieving that must be processed.[1]
# Acceptance — "It's going to be okay."; "I can't fight it, I may as well prepare for it."
This final stage comes with peace and understanding of the death that is approaching. Generally, the person in the fifth stage will want to be left alone. Additionally, feelings and physical pain may be non-existent. This stage has also been described as the end of the dying struggle.[

[12/11/09 9:37:08 AM] DW: haha that's what i was thinking

[12/11/09 9:37:27 AM] DW: in the meantime i want some techno troublemakers... to speed up the process??

[12/11/09 9:37:47 AM] DW: maybe that put your hands up for detroit guy can rip off The Bells or Jaguar :D

[12/11/09 9:38:16 AM] PC: Imagine the outrage... back to Brinkmann: they do not DARE!

[12/11/09 9:38:34 AM] DW: we need outrage

[12/11/09 9:39:00 AM] DW: and we need outsiders to "out-techno" the current scene. to damage some egos

[12/11/09 9:39:10 AM] PC: And a power outage.... ...I mean, from a purely sociological point of view, what is the difference betwen the contemporary scene and a massive multiplayer like Warcrack? Not enough, unfortunately.

[12/11/09 9:39:30 AM] PC: ...hasn't Animal collective kinda done that with Merriweather?

[12/11/09 9:39:48 AM] PC: It's so much more bold and colourful than stuff within the mindset of electronic music...

[12/11/09 9:40:01 AM] DW: yeah i think so! also, i get the feeling that animal collective wouldn't even know much about techno. which makes it so much better

[12/11/09 9:40:55 AM] PC: ....hmm... yeah... but so many of the people making interesting techno don't listen to techno much... Vladislav...

[12/11/09 9:41:19 AM] PC: ...Ben Frost doesn't listen to much laptop music, and his new album is amazing... I'm not saying it's amazing BECAUSE of this, but...

[12/11/09 9:41:45 AM] DW: yeah i'm pretty impressed by the frost too

[12/11/09 9:42:22 AM] PC: It gets you 'by the throat'... a very visceral music, very physical response...

[12/11/09 9:42:22 AM] DW: it's pretty much unclassifiable too

[12/11/09 9:43:29 AM] PC: Hmm.... true... so, to kinda wind up, would you say that techno's being bad is gonna be good for techno?

[12/11/09 9:44:10 AM] DW: because we need people to stop being comfortable

[12/11/09 9:44:27 AM] DW: and the boosterism telling them they are still talented and progressive

[12/11/09 9:44:43 AM] DW: how doesn't luciano know he's being a total tool now? seriously

[12/11/09 9:45:32 AM] PC:'s true... complacency is the real disease... ....yeah... but that Luciano album is too weird to simply suck... I mean, it's so 'off' it's kinda on... and that cover? Is he taking the piss? No! But it's the kinda yacht rock phase of minimal/house....

[12/11/09 9:45:46 AM] DW: techno people need to feel like they need to lift their game... and mnmlssgs and a few other (correct) vocal minorities isn't enough unfortunately

[12/11/09 9:46:40 AM] PC: ...what I really don't like is the new Tama Sumo mix.... I mean, she looks so UNHAPPY on the cover, and it is such a boring, boring, boring mix... even though I really like Tama as a DJ and I really dig a lot of the artists she chose... but the 'final statement' is a 'serious mix by a serious Dj' and it's seriously fucking boring to listen to....

[12/11/09 9:46:40 AM] DW: i actually haven't listened to it all the way through!

[12/11/09 9:47:09 AM] PC: Tama, or Luciano?

[12/11/09 9:47:59 AM] DW: serious music is only interesting if it's really progressive and fresh. so techno isn't in the position to be serious at the moment imo :P

[12/11/09 9:48:01 AM] DW: luciano

[12/11/09 9:48:34 AM] PC: Yeah. I'm with what AGF says on her new AGF/Delay album (which is actually really, really good) "There's nothing progressive about/progressive thought, ever"

[12/11/09 9:49:20 AM] PC: I mean, progressive house? Like Margaret Thatcher: If you have to say you're a powerful lady you're neither...

[12/11/09 9:49:35 AM] DW: hmmm yeah very true

[12/11/09 9:50:35 AM] PC: The moment for me was when stinky mainroom proggers from Sydney - Sydney, OMG! - started putting out minimal mixes.... ...but now I'm bitching... shall we wind it up?

[12/11/09 9:50:53 AM] DW: yeah i should probably get going

[12/11/09 9:50:57 AM] DW: it's been fun though

[12/11/09 9:51:03 AM] DW: always fun to bitch :)

[12/11/09 9:51:18 AM] PC: Cool... well, thanks for your time... yeah,really
fun! Wanna do this on a semi-regular basis for ssgs? I mean, whenever we feel the urge

[12/11/09 9:51:42 AM] DW: yeah sure no probs!

[12/11/09 9:52:05 AM] DW: alright, cya!

[12/11/09 9:52:57 AM] PC: Cool, Cya!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Happy Feelings: 11/11/01 - 11/11/09

Hello all,

I'll hope you'll indulge me with a bit of a personal mix.

It's November 2001: I've finished my undergraduate degree and I'm working in a shop flogging Japanese antiques, dreaming about being elsewhere and not quite managing to actualise one of several plans for becoming the human being I'd prefer to say I was.

It was coming up to my twenty-second birthday, and, well, I was depressed, buried under the wake of the September 11th attacks, the predictable responses, the warmongering, the paranoid-schizoid rants about 'them', the CIA operations in Afghanistan already underway... ...all I knew was that the next decade was going to be hijacked by the worst possible interests involved in the stupidest possible conflict... I wasn't disappointed. And meanwhile, I just wasn't able to get my shit together in mean ol' Melbourne... it was so strange to be overtaken by large events while day-to-day life seemed crushed by the banality of working in retail. I spent the lead up to Christmas driving my car to the crowded staff carpark nearly a kilometre away from the shop where I worked with people I hated in a shopping mall that gave me mild panic attacks. Boo hoo, I know...

My two consolations at the time were love and music; I compiled 'Happy Feelings' both as a way of trying to get myself out of the funk with the funk (recalling George Clinton's aphorism: 'Funk doesn't just move, it re-moves') as well as reflect some of the songs that had soundtracked the process of falling in love which had occurred in the year preceding. Without love and music, I would have been lost. Without love and music, I would be lost.

I worked my arse off getting the track selection and programming right on this mix, which went through several versions in the early days of November, but I think it was worth it - well, you tell me. But I think this one holds up, both as a personal document and as a mix in its own right for anyone who's feeling partially buried under the sometime concrete of existence.

11/11 is a significant date, too. Armistice Day, the anniversary of the creation of Sesame St, silent SSG Yuri's birthday, as well as the anniversary of the death of my dear friend Manabu's mother. It's also just after the fall of the wall, as well as, maybe, the quiet grave of rave culture ('89-'01).

Please NB - I have not published the tracklist here, and probably won't, as there are a few big names that might track I down. This version of the mix was made by taking a WAV of the CD direct from a player (which was then transformed to 320 kbps mp3). The old CD-R struggles at points, and you get a few nasty wee digi-pops along the way... but then again, this is integral to the artefact.

Anyway, I'll shut up, here it is. I wish you happy feelings.

soundcloud mirror

...and click on the image below, too... funny what google images throws up...

Monday, November 9, 2009

sunday sounds

i didn't know quite what to put up this week, but found myself listening to this on the way to the office today and realised it'd fit just nicely... here is a lovely little mix by ezekiel honig for his anticipate label.

ezekiel honig - anticipate mix #1
soundcloud mirror

1. M. Templeton + aA. Munson - It's OK to Fall - Acre Loss
2. M. Templeton + aA. Munson - Safer - Acre Loss
3. Nicola Ratti - Voluta Musica - From the Desert Came Saltwater
4. Sawako - Purple Sky Coming - Madoromi
5. Ezekiel Honig - Past Tense Kitchen Movement - Surfaces of a Broken Marching Band
6. Nicola Ratti - Coconut - From the Desert Came Saltwater
7. Mark Templeton - Please Take Me - Inland
8. Morgan Packard - Untitled - Album title TBA
9. Mark Templeton - From Verse to Verse - Standing on a Hummingbird
10. Klimek - Sound of Confusion - Movies is Magic
11. Klimek - For Marvin Gaye and Russell Jones - Dedications

quiet, reflective ambient sounds for a sunday. enjoy.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Godspeed You Black Notebook: Ben Frost's theory of machines

An example before an explanation: I'm planning a series of thinkpieces for the end of the year and decade. Before I launch into paroxysms of introspection, critique, invective, hand wringing, finger pointing, genuflecting, wailing, gnashing of teeth, and (finally) affirmations for the future, this is one set I'd like some ssgs to wrap their best auditory apparatus around... I also think you might dig it... I hope so... also check out Sherbs' big megamix for unsound, which is another way to do critique without 'dancing about architecture'... it also all somehow fits back into Karin Dreier's outstanding RA podcast, which I'm sure some of you have heard, but deserves the widest possible audience.

Ben is an artist that I think a lot of people working in electronic music with a groove-based mindset need to listen to; the application of the loud/soft dynamics of Kranky-associated post-X sounds reminds me of what's possible... and this is just such a great set.

Ben has also just released a new album, which you can check out at Boomkat.

Another important missive in the battle between creative expression and complacent recapitulation... but more on that very soon.


Wednesday, November 4, 2009

brussels bound

just a quick post about the cimatics festival in brussels later this month, which is going to be my next techno roadtrip. i booked my flights for the final weekend for what looks like two great nights of music. on friday 27th, there is a time to express label night with function, peter van hoesen, eavesdropper, sensu, and the first ever live performance of sendai. nice. very excited to see the belgians on their home turf and function killing it again. then on saturday 28th, vladislav delay is doing an audiovisual show with lillevan at the brussels planetarium. i'm super excited about this. vlad has been my favourite producer since about 2000 and now, finally, i will be able to see him live. can't wait. and if that isn't enough, to finish things off, donato dozzy and norman nodge at playing the closing party at fuse. nice. a perfect weekend of tasty ssg music.

in related news, i'd strongly suggest having a look at this new indepth interview with dozzy. a really interesting discussion that covers a lot of ground.

more soon when i get a bit more inspiration. feeling rather flat after a very demotivating experience in london last weekend. but more on that later.