Monday, August 31, 2009

RE: Re-presenting representing music [how one TF felt about how PC feels right now]

~ This week, as both a part II and a rejoinder to PC's piece on 'where he's at' with writing/reviews/online, regular RA scribe and now international man of mystery meats, the 'from-now-on'irregular sausage, Mr Terrence Fuller, replies... ~

Hey Peter:

Thanks for the chance to respond to your post about music reviewing. I'm the type of guy who works better when given something to react against, instead of given an open canvas of infinite possibility. I also tend to write a bit shorter than you, because I don't go in for all that flowery language. Hopefully, though, you'll appreciate the time I've spent thinking about this.

As someone who has been writing for RA for a (relatively) short time, but been reading the internet since…well…it began entering into suburban homes, I've been intrigued by the comment box mentality. I was recently listening to a radio show that had someone on that talked about "online disinhibition," which related some of the more heinous ways that people can act. Whatever, nothing new.

But, even in their less crazed forms, the kidz (z, because I still count myself as one of them, even as I edge closer and closer out of the age range) are unruly. And music criticism (a thing we must say that is VERY different than music journalism) is a playing field that has been supposedly leveled. (Everybody has a blog, etc. etc.) But what I think people don't seem to understand is that there is more music journalism than ever. The regurgitation of press releases, the posting of mp3s, the "bassline sounds like this," the "remix toughens up the drums" is all information. Some of it is phrased poorly. Some of it is flat-out wrong. But it's all journalism in one form or another, because it doesn't speak very much at all to whether it works better. Or why it works better.

That's of course the hard part. And that's where the kidz get unruly. Compare it to something they don't understand, and it's a knee-jerk reaction. Try to make a fanciful turn of phrase along the way, and you'll get the hordes out calling for your hide. How dare you advance an argument that I don't understand immediately? That is, if they're reading the review at all. As Peter rightly points out, it's mostly "rating, scan, comment, close window, post on twitter" with some steps being added and some steps being taken away—depending on the type of person you are.

In any case, to get to your specific points: Your first—that descriptive previews are thoroughly unnecessary is on-point. In writing my own reviews, I try to be careful as possible to use those descriptions as jumping-off points to describe how or what the person is doing. And why. (I'm not a mind-reader, of course, but it's part of the job…that doesn't pay.) Any time I read a review that simply tells you how it sounds, my eyes glaze over. There are very few internet-based writers that are going to delight your senses with a turn of phrase.

Your second is a bit hard to parse, but what I get is that you're frustrated by people reviewing the review. To that, I don't know what to tell you aside from "buck up, kid." But I'm not sure the ssg readers want to hear our self-help session. I don't want to blow smoke up RA's ass either. There is a bit of free-wheeling idea-driven stuff on there, but it's just as likely to offer up the same dance music mag clich├ęs as anyone. Which I think is down to the wide variety of contributors that they have.

Getting off that point, though, I wanted to ask you a question: What do you think that artists think of journalists that don't seem to have gotten what they're going after? I don't mean the guys that have spent the time researching the work, and deciding it ain't up to snuff. But the people who completely miss that, say, Butane's new album is all about "evolution" and Darwin. (We can argue about how good it is later. I think we both know.) I imagine it's the same feeling that you're getting out of the commenters. This guy didn't even take the time to hear what I was trying to do/read what I was saying. Similarly, I also wonder how much artists care about fans that come up to them, have listened to the album three times and say they love it. And what about the ones who do that before the album has been released, because they've downloaded it instead of buying it? I think you're simply agonizing in the same way that an artist agonizes over his album. And, that's a good thing. It's something that perhaps artists should know about. We actually care too. We don't want you to suck!

To your third point: Fuck this. Anything that we can do to facilitate the idea that if music is good enough to be listened to today, it should be good to listen to three months from now is a good thing. MORE late reviews please. MORE early reviews please. MORE reviews of tracks that have come out 18 months ago. I want to hear about your now. I don't want to hear about your now, as pushed upon you by publicists and labels that have been forced by the marketplace to rely so heavily on a release date to make their living. (Although I did read an absolute fascinating thread on ILM a while back that talked about how labels really do rely completely on first week sales in the dance music world. Which, if you think about it, is shocking considering that so many other genres now seemingly, anecdotally rely on more long-term strategies for their (ugh) product. I guess that's just the world of the 12-inch, though.)

Anyway, enough for me. Thanks again for sending this along – hope you get something out of here to chew on.


Afterthought from TF: I think once you get past all the music crit inside baseball talk, what you're really asking is a question that I've seen asked in countless magazines and books in the past few years. "Is Google/the internet/the modern age making us dumber?" And I think the answer to that is an unequivocal "No, but..." The but being that it's not making us appreciably dumber or smarter overall as a society, it's just changing the way that we learn and process information. It's all breadth, no depth. As you always say, we're sailing the datasea. Not willing/bothering/able (?) to dive underneath the surface lest we miss a new horizon that we (think we) haven't seen before.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

mnml ssgs mx37: SCB

Six or so months ago, after interviewing him for RA, I asked Mr Paul Rose (aka Scuba) a very special request. Inspired by what I thought was one of the best tracks of the past twelve months (and still do), I wondered what a distinctly 'SCB' mix might sound like... so, on the off chance, I sent Paul the brief... - what we've received has exceeded this wee SSG's wildest expectations. SCB's mix not only belongs among the best SSG mixes so far (which, I think I can say openly, has been an incredibly high standard), I think.... well, I'll let your ears tell your brain, but personally I reckon SCB has just re-set the standard. This isn't necessarily dubstep, or house, or techno - this is simply excellent. I don't want to say much more, 'cos all I'm gonna do is gush... gosh.... ladies and gentlemen, SCB.

mnml ssgs mx37: SCB
soundcloud mirror

For more info, check hotflush recordings or myspace. Big thanks to Paul for the mix.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

more mike

some people were complaining that mike dehnert's recent ssg mix was a bit short at 40 minutes. this new recording, which clocks in at 2 hours 15 minutes, better be enough to satisfy people's appetites.

mike dehnert @ tresor bunker, nature one 1.8.09

the next ssg mix probably won't be up until tomorrow or wednesday, so until then enjoy this slab (not slice) of seriously red hot techno.

Monday, August 24, 2009

sunday sounds

i was struggling for inspiration when trying to work out what to post for 'sunday sounds' today. i started off this morning listening to the first waxtreatment podcast from dj pete, which is totally awesome. despite listening to different things, i couldn't quite escape the dubstep mood and ended up turning to this recent liveset from shackleton. i am not sure why it hasn't got much attention, considering it is a rare recording from one of the most forward thinking, innovative, worthwhile producers about. and despite being a live recording, it is pretty good quality (at one point for about 20-30 seconds it does only come out of 1 channel, though).

deep underwater dubstep diving. this sunday, submerge yourself in some shackleton...

shackleton @ sonar 20.6.08

should be another ssg mix up either tomorrow or tuesday. we got 2 heavy duty mixes on the way. get ready...

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Richard Skelton

Near the end of last year I picked up an album called ‘Marking Time’ by Richard Skelton, a collection of beautiful yet sparse arrangements of bowed strings, piano and acoustic guitar that evoked both a sense of space and melancholy. (If you put a gun to my head and forced me to pigeonhole it into a genre, I’d call it “ambient ethereal folk”.) At the time I liked it, but what with the age of information and sensory overload that we live in I didn’t give myself the time I needed to really live with it, to fully explore its spaces, to truly take in its feelings of longing and loss – other, more immediate pleasures caught my attention.

However, not long ago something made me pull it out and start relistening to it. Around the same time Skelton released a new album, recorded under the name Clouwbeck, called ‘Wolfrahm’. Listening to the two in conjunction, it hit me – there was a special, unique voice at work here, with a very distinctive vision.

The Lancashire based artist has been releasing music since 2005 under a number of names (A Broken Consort, Clouwbeck, Carousell, Heidika, Riftmusic), mostly on his own Sustain-Release Private Press label. Skelton created the label as a tribute to his late wife, who was an artist. He hand-makes special, personalized packages for his albums in very limited editions using the work his wife left behind – what Skelton calls a “posthumous collaboration”.

The standard editions look gorgeous, with personalized, canvas paper coverbands and unique art prints, but special editions can also be commissioned – exquisite wooden boxes filled with carefully chosen pinecones, leaves and stones taken from (I believe) the West Pennine Moors. (You can see photos of these beautiful packages here and here.) For Skelton there is a very powerful connection between music and place, something his packaging emphasizes.

There’s an excellent interview with Richard Skelton here. I particularly like what he says about the importance of the physical side of music, while also acknowledging the “object-fetish” nature of it all:

I might be in the minority with regard to this, but there’s also something about a physical, tactile object which bestows a sense of weight and purpose. It has a beauty and integrity which cannot be ignored. Music is essentially aetheric and temporal, but the physical artefact grounds it in reality, creating a landscape for the music to inhabit. Moreover, with my personalised editions, the package feels very much like a gift, creating a connection between myself and the recipient. Consequently, many people write to me, describing their emotions upon receiving, opening and playing the music, and responding to the artwork.

Clearly, most people nowadays don’t experience music in such a ritualised way, and eventually a whole generation will consume music entirely through digital means, and never bemoan the passing of physical formats. Having said that, the proliferation of “tape” labels recently seems to indicate the resurgence of certain diy aesthetic, and a form of rebellion against the ubiquity of the MP3. Ironically, many of the kids making these tapes weren’t here to experience them the first time around, so perhaps they represent something of a novelty. And of course Tompkins Square releasing a lavish vinyl version of Box Of Birch represents a more elegant contribution to the object-fetish subculture. Perhaps these formats won’t completely die out after all, if they continue to be produced with such passion and dedication?

I’m immediately reminded of Brock Van Wey/Bvdub here, with his hand-produced limited edition packages with photographs taken by Van Wey himself. I’m also reminded of The Tapeworm, the new cassette only label sold through the Touch shop, and the cassettes produced by labels such as Digitalis Limited, Stunned Records and others …

I'm going to order some releases directly from him (which are surprisingly cheap - only 7 or 8 pounds for the "standard" editions) ... there's something very genuine and honest here, and I'd really like to help support that.

You can find lots of sound samples of Skelton’s work at his Sustain-Release Myspace, his Landings Myspace, and his catalogue page. He also pops up on the recent Type Records mix over at XLR8R, which is well worth checking out if you haven’t done so already.

Friday, August 21, 2009

mx36 - falko brocksieper: tracklisting

sorry about the slight delay on this, here is the tracklisting for falko's special ssg mix. now you can work out what all those amazing records he played are! keep an eye out for the next ssg mix dropping start of next week...

Mouse On Mars - Schnick Schnack Meltmade [Too Pure, 1997]
Two Lone Swordsmen - Mr. Paris's Monsters [Warp, 1998]
Grumptronix - Black Orchid [Silicon Audio, 1996]
Peter Elflein - Roots [HAL9000, 1999]
Mark Ambrose - Greetings From Madam Dominique [Mosaic, 1999]
Vibert/Simmonds - Aple [Rephlex, 1993]
Pin-Ups In Exile - Body Shop [Pomelo, 1995]
Baby Ford - Mobile Home [Black Market International, 1997]
DJ Sneak - Purple Haze [Relief, 1995]
DJ Slip - Sketches Vol. 1 [Missile, 1996]
Robert Hood - Wandering Endlessly [M-Plant, 1996]
Anthony Shakir - Fact Of The Matter [7th City, 1998]
La Cienda Honduras - Om Igen [Gungeligung, 1999]
Funky Transport - Vice [Playhouse, 2003]
JP Buckle - One For Da Laydeez [Rephlex, 1998]
Kenny Larkin - Azimuth [Warp, 1994]
Steve Stoll - Ausgang II [Synewave NY, 1995]
Dettinger - Blond [Kompakt, 1999]
JP Buckle - Heavy Soil [Rephlex, 1998]
Dave Tarrida & Tobias Schmidt - Teenager [Tresor, 1998]
Photek - Glamourama [Science, 2000]
Todd Sines - Can't Keep Up [Residual, 1996]
Hell+Jonzon - Bastoya [Disko B, 1995]
Ratio - Motorcity Revisited / Daniel Bell Mix [Central, 2001]
Justin Berkovi - Temptation [Nightrax, 2001]
Fred Fresh - 5 Mouths [Sounds, 1995]
Alenia vs. Torul V - Ladua Theme [Tissju, 2000]
Planetary Assault Systems - Function 4 [Peacefrog, 2000]
Plaid - Ol [Warp, 1997]
Chiapet - Tick Tock [Phonography, 1999]
G.T.O. - Majika Dub [React, 1995]
Tobias Schmidt - Mean It [Scandinavia, 1999]
DJ ESP - Sick & Tired [Communique, 1994]
Cristian Vogel - The Eternal Now [Mosquito, 1999]
(on top: Andrea Covington - Glen21 Interview [Tomorrow, 1999])
Le Car - Cinematic Automatic / Heinrich Mueller Remix [Intuit Solar, 1999]

back into the labyrinth...

last year's labyrinth festival has gone down in ssg history, thanks in part to donato dozzy's mindbending closing set, which were lucky enough to share with everyone. the lineup for this year's party has been announced and tickets went on sale today. the organisers have again managed to put together an amazing lineup that is very, very ssg friendly:


september 19-22 : saturday - tuesday
naeba greenland: niigata


donnacha costello [ minimise / look long , ireland ]
vince watson [ bio / planet e / delsin , uk ]
function [ sandwell district , us ]
peter van hoesen [ time to express , belgium ]
koss aka kuniyuki [ mule musiq , japan ]


donato dozzy [ aguaplano / dozzy records , italy ]
marcus aka minilogue [ cocoon , sweden ]
three [ hallucination , us ]
dave mothersole [ swag / new groove , uk ]
daniel bell [ accelerate / 7th city / logistic , us ]
peter van hoesen [ time to express , belgium ]
marcel fengler [ berghain / ostgut , germany ]
will saul [ aus music / simple records / balance , uk ]
eric cloutier [ the bunker / down , us ]
natural/electronic.system [ stomafunk , italy ]
eavesdropper aka sendai [ knobsounds / line / time to express , belgium ]
so [ labyrinth / mindgames / tri-bute , japan ]
hiyoshi [ labyrinth / mindgames / global chillage , japan ]


function-one [ air project , japan ]

not bad, eh? ... this really is the creme. what a lineup! there is incredible momentum and energy building around the festival again. i've been speaking with quite a few of the artists playing and i'm expecting everyone will be bringing their A games. this is going be a few days of pure techno heaven. it really does not get any better than this. the venue has changed this year, moving to naeba, and due to sound restrictions it will be a day party. this will add a different dimension to it. while the night time would have been fun, there are definitely advantages to having it on during the day. hell, and with a lineup like this, i don't really care when or where they are playing...

i booked my flights for japan yesterday. there go the last of my meager savings. but to a worthy cause, if there ever was one. last year's labyrinth festival was - and this is no exaggeration - a life changing experience for me. i feel incredibly lucky i am able to attend again.

as a reminder of last year's labyrinth, here is a special video that donato recorded during his closing set. experience it from the eyes of the dj:

check the labyrinth website for more info. and for those of you who are unable to make it, i'll be doing my best to try to share some of it with you.

pump up. this is what techno is all about. massive respect to russ for making this happen. can't wait for the labyrinth 2009...

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Re-presenting representing music [how this PC feels right now]

~ Caveat for the harried and hurried: I know this is a long post: I’m not going to split it up, break it down, or sloganise it. I want you to please try to read, read slowly, even re-read. Or not read. This is integral. ~

For many years there have been murmured suspicions of something like a male menstrual cycle; for my part I know there are long ebbs-and-flows in my modes and moods, and I’ve learned to respect them. If something is giving me the shits, it’s usually (in retrospect) for good reason. The only sane and sensible thing to do is pull back, withdraw all affect, regroup, then make a decision to either incubate or jettison whatever it was.

Right now, writing about music has become one of these cyclical things. I want to state from the get go that the major reason for this – for me, personally – has been a competing list of other priorities and activities, all taking up headspace, each making an increasingly unavoidable claim on my time. After spending all day juggling the many balls of the Masters of the University (and believe me, in large part, it is mostly all complete balls), the last thing I feel like doing is analyzing, evaluating, and agonizing over music.

Of course this is not true, I’m just being precious and jaded about something I love, something I still love. Nonetheless, I am constantly dogged by a suspicion that music ‘criticism’, or just ‘being a music hack’, is something that has to be thoroughly re-thought in light of the present conjunction of factors: technologies, media, sounds, people, passions, etc…. in fact, I have three suspicions....

The first is that descriptive previews (as distinguished from critical reviews) are now thoroughly unnecessary. Writing for Rolling Stone in ’79, or NME in ’93, describing the up-and-coming, was a valuable endeavour (as well as being an act of audience shaping and, arguably, cultural gatekeeping). Music was relatively scarce, and most people hadn’t had the chance to hear the next big thing before it was grew and ripened to become ‘it’. In 2009, being descriptive amounts to guarding the already well-picked carcass of the (still officially unreleased) work from the vultures and trolls of the online forums.

This brings me to the second point, which is about how descriptive previews interact with their online audience, typically ‘forums’. I spend time (a lot of time, maybe too much time… I’ll come to this next) thinking about what I’m saying, trying to do justice to the release, then all the respondents want to do is shoot you down, they who already know the 'truth' of the release (their opinion, their mates’ opinions). Why have me say something different, just so they can vulturise it and review my review (the forum metareview, which places itself above scrutiny by placing the review[er] under scrutiny)? .... I'm so thoroughly, utterly sick of this. The online agora, such as it is, has become something I don't want to engage with at all or give anything to at all, for the simple reason that there is no engagement or debate: just contradiction, biting – nasty little shots across the bow, or (to mix metaphors) little anonymous text turds left on your interface doorstep.

I’m thinking here about RA in particular, but I don’t lay any of this at their feet. Todd and RA have done more than almost anyone to facilitate intelligent, interesting discussions about music on a free, open space, and have given a lot of people (myself included) an invaluable platform to put ideas out there. I sincerely thank them for it – and so should you! RA is an incredibly powerful connective, communicative tool... But! The question this immediately begs is simply how/why the overall quality of engagement with this platform is so low, so thoughtless, so, well, mean. A large minority within the apparent readership, and the way they read, is a big issue for me – actually, it’s close to being a dealbreaker. Again, the key factor is time. It takes months, years to write an album; it takes careful hour(s) to write a review; it takes 10s of seconds to read a review (it would seem), then single digits to say something thoughtless and nasty about it, just because you disagree… no, not disagree, because this would imply one haa a counter-interpretation. Mostly it’s just flat contradiction.

Overall, with regards people's online reading practice, the intense impression I have is that many people scan websites for reviews of new releases they’ve already heard based on the starring of the review: if it gets a high or low review, then, and only then, they click, and if the review doesn’t confirm their belief, if they even slightly disagree with the reviewer’s assessment (without reading closely to find the nuance and the connected chain of meanings in the flow of the words), then they reserve for themselves the sovereign right to unload. It got to the point where part of the reason I was missing deadline was that I was agonising myself into a ball trying to nail a review, because, unlike the way it was in print media, I knew the person who wrote the album was going to see it, read it, and, in some cases, take it to heart. This gets even harder when the work itself is thoroughly ambiguous and ambivalent… or you don’t care that much. But in any case, to agonise over an interpretation, then have to field (or simply ignore) attacks from thoughtless morons who know they know better (and we are ALL thoughtless morons who know they know better) is wearying, unrewarding, and ultimately untenable. The only way to psychologically survive in that environment is to become callous toward artists and contemptuous towards the audience… which was where I was headed…

...On the surface you might imagine this to be a good thing: the audience’s revenge, etc. True in theory, perhaps, and it would be true in practice - if only these wonderful online forums, these supposed havens of equality of voice and engagement, were not treated as they are – the hypertext toilet for a whole bunch of shit that people would never dare say to your face. I know I’m at risk of sounding precious here (I concede I am being a bit precious, in fact), so to be clear – I welcome agonism, disagreement. But it has to be respectful and engaged. What we get all too often online these days is a pale version of this, and I don’t want to play. Bad asssemblage, boring conversation, with Morrisey in my ear singing 'there is no debate, no debate, no debate....' and I haven’t got time. And, to return to the first point, we’ve all heard the album already anyway, right? Or we can find it with a click if we’re interested. I mean, it’s not like recorded music is scarce or precious anymore, is it?

What is precious though is time (and here we come to point the third): the expectation of reviews is that they’re written according to the dictates of publicity bubble manufacture, as anyone who's been grumbled at for reviewing a six week old record, or received a 'how very dare you' email from a PR company for saying something that wasn't on the publicity sheet.... In effect, as a busy reviewer, this typically means not only having to nail out an interpretation that does some justice to the artist’s work, but having to do so without having what is (in my view) sufficient time to allow sentiments to settle. Some of my favourite albums were bloody hard work: if I had only heard Pavement’s Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain of Slint’s Spiderland once, on shitty promo-quality mp3, rather than living with them to and from high school every day for months, I never would have really come to understand what’s so great about both works. My New Years’ Resolution commitment to some kind of listening discipline has been great for me, but it’s also meant my clearing folder of new music is running into the 100s of titles. It’s also meant having to ignore almost every piece of publicity and hype that bombards my inbox: once again, I just haven’t got time. I’m too busy trying to listen properly (I flatter myself, once again)… actually, this week I’m still getting further into Shed’s Shedding the Past.

Time, finally, also becomes precious because of a dearth-making glut. The glut is that, in 2009, there really is more recording than creativity going around… creativity takes the slow time of boredom, incubation and inspiration…. recording works in realtime… and with zip compression, one-click hosting, broadband transmission, and USB hard-drive storage, the time of three hundred years’ creativity is sitting on my desktop. Meanwhile, the dearth: I’ve still only got 24 hours in a given day, and somehow, we’re expected to listen to it all. That, just by itself, would be a full-time job.

There is no ‘solution’ (contrary to what the ICT industry would have you believe): technology is a pharmakon, a poisonous remedy. There is also no fixity and closure, though we’re constantly trying to attain some degree of it in our lives. We have to, if we’re to be able to function without breaking down. Unlike computers, we're not closed, logical systems - we're open and entangled matters (and we should try to live up to this). But given all the above, 'the way I feel right now' makes things seem to be necessary. The first is a constant work of presentation: Chris’ ‘set up’ posts are perfect in this regard. The second is a reflective work of analysis, the slow breakdown of the datasea into something resembling sense and meaning. I flatter myself (I know I’ve been doing that a lot with this post, I apologise) by thinking that last year’s End of Year wraps for RA were a good attempt to do just that, and I will, Todd willing, be doing it again this year. I think you will find that, if you read it slowly (please?), there’s some wisdom there, especially in Phillip Sherburne’s thoughts. The third needful thing is a positive, thoughtful engagement from you guys, who are not only some passive audience but also always actively the co-creators of this blog. So far, at least as far as all you SSGs are concerned, this goes without saying: and I thank all of you for your commitment to the potential of this weird media landscape we find ourselves in. And now, back to the music.

~ Getting to this point made me think: well, that's where I'm at, but is it representative of much? I wonder what somebody who's fist-deep in the RAviewing right now would think of all this? So I asked him to reply.... stay tuned for part two, next week. In the mean time, what say you? ~


Thursday, August 13, 2009

mnml ssgs mx36: falko brocksieper

photo taken by h. lingor at club der visionaere, berlin

this week we've got a real treat for you: falko brocksieper has dug deep into his record crates and pulled out just over 2 hours worth of hidden gems and lost treasures. i really like falko's thinking in doing this mix - rather than just going for obvious choices, he has focused on quality tracks that we all might have forgotten about during the constant quest for something new, the latest record. PC describes the mix perfectly: "it's a music that teaches you something about groove-based electronic music; that reminds you of important things; that re-focuses and refreshes you by showing you the new and the old, the glittering of the half-forgotten... classic, not plastic."

i want to tell you more about falko's mix, but it is best just to listen. it is a careful, complex mix that has great depth and rewards multiple listens. this is definitely something the ssgs have come away from feeling like we've learnt something. this mix really shows off falko's skills as a DJ and his great knowledge for the music. much respect.

mnml ssgs mx 36: some old junk from falko's shelf
soundcloud mirror

falko has a new release coming on contexterrior (#35), 'adobe', and along with benjamin fehr they have produced together as 'the result', and have an ep, 'flagship', coming out on brouqade rec. nice. he is playing a bunch of gigs in berlin, and other places, all the info you can find at his myspace.

tracklisting to follow next week. huge thanks to falko. i know he spent quite a bit of time digging to come up with this, and it was definitely worth it. enjoy.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

sunday sounds

this sunday i've got two mixes for you, one from myself and one from dave, the silent ssg.

mine is a mixtape, recorded last sunday when suffering from a nasty headache and generally feeling pretty bad. the motivation for putting some tracks together came from a visit to meiji jingu in tokyo, when i was also feeling bad. it is one of my favourite places in the world and always has a very calming effect on me. right next to the crazy shopping district of harajuku, there is meiji jingu - a beautiful temple nestled within a deep, lush garden full of tall trees. a slice of tranquility in the heart of tokyo. the other week when i was frustrated, i put on my HD25s, pressing played on the aguaplano sessions mix from dozzy and nuel, and headed for meiji jingu. it was raining pretty hard, but that just made it all the more beautiful and relaxing (the picture is from my visit). the combination of the music, the rain and the surroundings made for a really powerful experience. soon after that i felt the urge to do a new mixtape. the format is the same as the other ones i've done: all tracks are played out at their original speed and mixed with basic crossfading (a few transitions are a bit rough, sorry). it is not really trying to be a mix per se, but plenty of thought went into the records chosen and the order they are placed in. if there is coherence in the mix, it comes from the feelings these sounds evoke in me. i like playing tracks that have deep emotions to them, and that is what i think unites this mix. i'll post the tracklisting in the comments tomorrow, but for now i'll say that the starting point for it came out of shed's recent livepa at sonar. he finishes with a very powerful reworking of 'estrange' which really hit me hard. i took that track and built the mix around it. anyway, enough talking, here it is:

chris (mnml ssgs) - meiji jingu mix

the other mix is from dave, the silent ssg, who is my techno brother. he put this mix together recently and i think it is something plenty of ssgs might be interested in hearing. it is a mix made up exclusively of early gescom and autechre material, mainly from around 1993-98 (for those who don't know, gescom is basically autechre and 'guests'). the gescom stuff is pretty rare and hasn't got the love it deserves, which is partly what motivated this mix. dave explained that the mix is focused more on the stuff where autechre weren't as concerned with creating new sounds and were more into playing their instruments/gear. listening to this mix i was impressed with how well much of this has aged. impressive. for people who don't know gescom and the early autechre, this will be a nice introduction, and for the rest it might be a nice trip down memory lane. also, it is good giving some ssg love to gescom because chances are mnml ssgs would never exist without them. i first met cam at a skam night at the liquid room in 2002 where gescom were playing. cam and i became friends, later cam and pete became friends, later cam introduced me to pete and we came friends, later i introduced dave to cam and pete and they became friends, and there you have the ssgs!

the silent ssg - gescom/ae mix

wishing you a relaxing and peaceful sunday...


Thursday, August 6, 2009

mnml ssgs mx35: mike dehnert live @ berghain 1.8.09

sometimes you'd be mistaken for thinking the only people from berlin currently putting out quality techno are dettmann, klock, shed and the rest of the ostgut gang. this is most certainly not the case, as mike dehnert clearly demonstrates in this week's ssg mix. dehnert has been very surely and steadily been building a name for himself over the last few years through a string of impressive records on his own fachwerk label. his productions are succinctly and accurately described by hardwax as 'raw techno', and are perfectly geared for injecting some real energy into the dancefloor. the recording mike has given us is a great showcase of his take on techno, treating us to 40 minutes from his liveact at the fachwerk label night held at berghain last week. it doesn't get much fresher than that... the set is a tightly programmed set of powerful techno that i am sure would have had berghain heaving.

mnml ssgs mx35: mike dehnert live @ berghain 1.8.09 (direct dl)
soundcloud mirror

mike is a busy man, with plenty of releases and gigs scheduled in the coming months. the next fachwerk 12" (FW010) coming out at the end of the month will be from dehnert, followed by EPs from roman lindau (FW011) and sascha rydell (FW012) later in the year. dehnert also has a new record out on clone bassment (001), "umlaut 2", with a levon vincent remix, and there is another release in this series (003) coming up. to see where/when he is playing, check mike's myspace - he has upcoming gigs in berlin, helsinki and the UK, so plenty of opportunities to see the man in action.

thanks to mike for sharing this recording from what must have been a very memorable night. next week's mix will be a special mix from falko brocksieper consisting of classics (remembered and forgotten) and other rarities. something to look forward to, for now enjoy this slice of dehnert doing his thing at berghain.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

this<->is : |boring| : .<->?

Anonymous said...

"...i'm 22, I've only experienced the new style and scene, and I don't think you're jaded. when I was a kid I thought the little snippets of ravey stuff I heard sounded stupid, now I'm totally bored with how stylish and rounded off current dance music is and getting kind of obsessed with discovering old hardcore and detroit techno tunes. I am totally excited about the future though. there is so much further that dance music can go and explore and once more people get bored it's gonna be amazing..."

July 21, 2009 4:51 PM

Terre said...

"...Feeling space… it's strange, because I do often talk about sound in visual terms. I think a big part of this is my visual arts background, and having read a lot of visual theory. But I usually ‘feel space’ in a literal way – the space of playback, the quality of the sound system, etc. I think the issue of time is more directly related to the compositional process. For me, boredom is the most informative way of ‘feeling time’. It's about borders and limits of personal tolerance. When do we get bored? What happens after we get bored and the audio keeps going? Why weren't we bored before? Is it possible to ‘go back in time’ as the audio continues, and regain interest? Suddenly we have to confront our expectations about something, and decide to continue or retreat to silence and hope that's more interesting. Conceptually, boredom is much more exciting than traditional models of compositional momentum intended to captivate an audience..."

March 2, 2008

Sunday, August 2, 2009

sunday sounds

ok, i got enough to encouragement to try to turn this into a regular thing. lets see how we go. a few weeks ago a good friend of the ssgs sent me an email entitled 'something for your mind'. it had no description, just a link. i trust his judgment, so i downloaded the link. and i am very happy i did. he had sent me a really deep ambient mix which reminds me a lot of some 90s ambient stuff and namlook's best moments. i have since found out it was mixed by someone from belgium called the cocabots. this is his description for the mix: "a 65 minute trip in space. use a good soundsystem or headphones to enjoy it the way it should be heard. almost beatless ambient and spacey." perfect for first thing in the morning or late at nights. or a sunday.

ambient journey - melkweg

it is recorded as a .wav file, so the sound quality is top notch (also means the file is a bit big).

enjoy your sunday...

Saturday, August 1, 2009

mx34 - traversable wormhole: tracklisting

tracklisting for traversable wormhole's scorching ssg mix. if you haven't listened to it yet, i strongly suggest you change that asap.

mnml ssgs mx34: traversable wormhole

1. Traversable Wormhole Vol 3 - Exotic Matter
2. Donato Dozzy & Cio D'Or - Menta (Peter Van Hoesen Remix)
3. Scuba - Hundreds & Thousands
4. Monoloc - Black Pot
5. The Chain - Letting Go
6. Fabrice Lig - The Track
7. Traversable Wormhole Vol 2 - Where 3D Meets 2D
8. Planetary Assault Systems - Woodoo
9. Orphx - Alternation (Sleeparchive Mix)
10. Monolake - Atlas
11. Obtane - This Town Is A Rotten Morgue
12. Planetary Assault System - Angel Street
13. Exium - Togo Togo
14. Luka Baumann - Emergence Nine(Oscar Mulero Remix)

not sure when the next mix will be, or who it will be from, but we are very excited about the people we are expecting mixes from in the next month or two. plenty to look forward to! in the meantime, i'll be posting another 'sunday sounds' set tomorrow. hope everyone is good.