Friday, February 26, 2010


tomorrow i leave wales and the UK for a new, and happier, life in tokyo. the last year and a half here has been the most challenging period of my life, but i got through it, and learned a lot and am now heading to j-land. anyway, i just wanted to thank all the ssgs out there that have supported me along the way. i've made many great friends and connected up with some wonderful people during my time here. i look forward to that continuing in tokyo, which could impact on the blog in some interesting ways. lets see... speaking of which, we have been listening to you, and PC and i have come up with a new mix series plan for later in the year, something we are very excited about. a bit different but we have high hopes for it. but more on that later...

on my way to japan, i'm stopping off in berlin for a couple of days. hopefully i'll see some of our german ssgs out this weekend. on saturday night, i'm heading to maria for the electrodes & wires party with cheap & deep, dasha rush, and adam x, then over to berghain for the sandwell district party. sunday night i'm off to the waxtreatment session. so if you are about, please say 'hi'. very glad to finally be back in berlin.

then it is going to be a very busy month in tokyo. i feel like i am getting back to japan at just the right time, as it really feels like the scene is starting to head in the right direction. in march there are some great parties: lerosa, deepchord, delta funktionen, mika vainio, shackleton, and a mule night with levon vincent and terre thaemlitz (albeit at womb). and yellow has just reopened under the name 'eleven', but with basically the same crew, so that is another positive development. plus it looks like we are in the process of putting together some cool collabs with people in tokyo and elsewhere.

ah, and for those who want some music, check these two recent mixes from dave at sonic sunset, both are fantastic and will be keeping me company as i travel: idle blues mix and emotions unknown mix.

well, in short, exciting times ahead! hope to see some people this weekend in berlin, and tokyo after that...

Thursday, February 25, 2010

ssg special: falko brocksieper


today we have something new for all the ssgs out there, a new irregular series we are going to call 'ssg special'. this will basically be a way for us to showcase some nice mixes that our friends have passed on to us. just because we will be stopping the main mnml ssgs mx series, it doesn't mean that we will also be stopping the supply of tasty mixes.

what got our asses into gear was when falko sent us this lovely mix. we jumped at the opportunity to host something from him again, after his killer ssg mix last year. i'm not sure exactly what it is about falko, but i love the way he DJ's - he just has such a good groove and feel for the records. things really flow when falko is in control.

according to falko, this one is a bit more deeper, showing off his 'dark' side. well, if this is his dark side, i think he is a lot more mentally healthy and happy than me (and a lot of other people, i imagine)... not much more to add really, a quality mix from a quality dj and person. get on it.
falko brocksieper - dark whisperings mix

Anonym - Untitled 20 (Redevice)
Dino Sabatini & Donato Dozzy - Nocturnal (Prologue)
unknown orange vinyl with "flammable" sticker
Linkwood - Lost Experiment 2004 (Prime Numbers)
Joel Alter - Mellan Raderna (Sweatshop)
Leigh Dickson - Praise / Baby Ford's Heavenly Circuit Remix (Qube)
Coordinates - In Cycles (Sub Static)
Lopazz & Eddie Zarook - Twotwo (Apparel)
Lula Circus - Desperhate / Danilo Schneider Remix (Brouqade)
Mike Shannon - Under The Radar / Ricardo Villalobos Remix (Cynosure)
Richard Bartz - M√ľnchen 70 (Disko B)
The Railway Raver - To Be A Man Like Ingerso (Rephlex)
Peter Grummich - The Garden (Karloff)
Mark Thibideau - Distance Between (Sub Static)

enjoy. looks like we should have another one in this series in a few weeks. next up, though, will be ssg mx50 from another good friend of ours, which should be dropping start of next week.

Monday, February 22, 2010

I Don't Like Mundane: hear, my Deer

I've just instituted a new policy on Sundays where I turn off all electronic sources and dig through my collection of records for sounds. Mostly, this also means having a break from house/techno, and listening to those other releases that get shunted to the background, when working hours interfere with vocals, or vice versa.

After listening through Fripp and Eno's Evening Star and the equally lovely Oil on Canvas double LP by Japan, I flipped through my 'black plate things' (as they would say in Indonesia - piringan hitam) until I came to Kettenkarusell's extraordinarily good You and Me Make Love Forever, which led me to violate my own Sunday rule, as I then clicked and scrolled through an hour's worth of online sources looking for other Giegling-related artists, especially those that might be available by, err... not having to source one of the 3-500 vinyl copies in existence and have it posted back to the antipodes at great cost (which I'm sure I will do anyway, but...)

Anyway, in doing so, I stumbled on Deer's soundcloud (and his website); and in stumbling on Deer's soundcloud, I came across this liveset he recorded for the Neo Ouija re-launch party, late in 2008.

The set has some bumpy transitions, and I'm not sure about the 'kooky' track right at the end, but it's also brimful of interesting ideas and some very, very good grooves. One for those who don't like Mundane, or quiet time in the wee smalls.

Deer is another one of those artists working in the interstices of microhouse, ambient techno and electronica, a niche he occupies interestingly with Kettenkarusell, Benjamin Brunn, Move D and a whole bouquet of other sounds that sit well on low volume Monday mornings just has they beg to be turned up and left to run (like a hot bath ready for a tired body, I guess).

Deer has also released an excellent EP on netlabel ekwal, which you can checkout, and download here.

...all this provoked by picking up a piece of vinyl...


Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Don't bring me problems, bring me.... the pledge...

Last week, SSGs raised some of the possibly-problematic issues surrounding Marcel Dettmann's Australia 'tour' - bounce is more like. One of the lingering thoughts that I've had since writing the post is that the key problem is that, as a model, music touring is primarily a business model (mostly about brands, events, and publicity, in any case)... ...which, although profitable in the short term, is corrosive of any kind of free association which is either un or non profitable... the social, at best, only ever breaks even - despite the fact that it is actively and immediately the producer of most things of value.

This week, Dave Slutzkin, of RRR's excellent To-and-Fro, where I've been an occasional guest...

...actually, that reminds me, you can find our last co show (really/actually Dave at the controls and me yapping out of control) here, and download it here... There are some - what I think are - great old Perlon and Kompakt records, as well as some discussions about the respective directions of said labels.... and we play an amazing single by Melbourne-based artist Kharkov, the b side of Kettenkarussell's 'I believe you and me make love forever EP, on Giegling (of which more soon), and finish with two of my favourite tracks ever... well, check the fucking show out, it's the only way of shutting me up...
No matter who you are and what your electronic bent is, you should really consider subscribing - Dave's taste is as immaculate as it is broad...

'nuff preambling... *ahem* Dave has come up with what is not only a response to the post on the Dettmann tour, but also one possible 'solution'... here 'tis:

On this side of the world, we lament the lack of great artists playing comfy venues with sweet sound systems in front of receptive crowds - seethis recent post. To paraphrase an incompetent boss: "Don't bring me problems, bring me solutions". Well, here's one which just might work.

Pledge-fund these tours. What's that mean? When you're considering getting someone out, solicit pledges from the punters who want the tour, and take the money later when the tour is confirmed, giving them a ticket to the gig. If you can't get it up, the pledge lapses and the money's never taken.

Essentially, interested punters are buying their tickets well in advance, with the security of full refunds. They're also getting something of a say in decisions - you've coalesced a nice little community around the shared interest who you can ask for advice. You'll probably sell to the general public later, but not until all your pledges are taken care of, and you don't rely on public ticket sales to make the gig viable.

It can all be done through Kickstarter:

This is currently US-only, though I know at least one Melbourne-based gig funded here, by the great Soundbytes chiptune collective:

The most important part is that the whole thing is not-for-profit, and the books are open wide. Yes, we still need a promoter (or team of promoters), but because they're personally motivated, we avoid the the usual profit-motivated-promoter problems of overcharging, overcrowding and under-equipping the venue.

And actually, because we're not worried by profit, these gigs should be attractive to venues. There's no reason for the promoter to take a cut off the bar, so the venue gets to keep that cash, and potentially a lump sum up-front payment can be factored in as well. If the gig's more profitable for the venue then the venue has an incentive to give a bit of slack in sound system outfitting, for instance, or allowing a tentative booking.

The bottom line is that it's cheaper all round because we're removing expenses - the promoter profit margin - and uncertainty - it's easier to predict crowd numbers directly from pledge numbers. Done properly, this should make a great gig for a bargain basement price. Yes, it'll still be more expensive than it would be in Berlin. But that's the tyranny of distance right there.

All you need is a motivated group to put it all together.


Sunday, February 14, 2010

sunday sounds: c_olvrin


this week we've got another special sunday sounds recorded live in japan. today's mix is taken from the mariana:m2 party last december, which featured two ssg artists, cio d'or and mike parker. warming up the place was c_olvrin, known to friends and family as craig. i should state up front that craig is a friend. this is not the reason i'm posting this mix, however. i'd been hearing good things from friends about his music for a while, but to be honest, i was a bit sceptical. i was wondering whether my friends were just being kind because he is a mate. well, after hearing this recording it was clear to me that this wasn't the case. this is genuinely good: deep, careful, thoughtful music that you feel. and what's more, it is really perfect warm up music for someone like cio. one worrying trend i've noticed is warm up DJs not knowing their job and their (crucial) role in the party. so sets like this always make me happy. and it is especially heartening to know that you can hear sounds like this in tokyo. this is further evidence for me that the scene in tokyo is heading in the right direction.

enough talking. here are some perfect downbeat electronics for a sunday. enjoy.

c_olvrin - warm up @ m2, tokyo 5.12.09

big thanks to dave from mariana, and to craig for the excellent mix. craig is also producing some really nice music and co-founded a new label called continental drift. worth keeping an eye out for. and for all our friends in tokyo, craig will be playing at the next mariana party on 13 march at module along with another ssg artist, delta funktionen. really looking forward to it. see you there!

to all that care, happy valentine's day, and for everyone: have a good sunday!

shifting patterns


this is a mixtape i put together the other night. i've been wanting to do one for a while, and with my impending departure it felt like the right time. as with previous 'mixes', i thought very carefully about the tracks and the way it was composed, but after that it is just crossfading. i recorded it just using a basic mixing program, in realtime and with no cueing, so that means some of the transitions are a bit rough. also, one or two tracks the volumes were too low, so afterwards i fixed it up a bit in audacity. so, basically, the mix is a bit rough. but. but there are plenty of really beautiful tracks in it, with lots of feeling and emotion. 

the mix is called 'shifting patterns' partly because i felt it reflected the structure of many of the tracks, and also because it was an apt description of my life now, and over the last 18 months. my time in the UK has been, and continues to be, unstable, shifting, and challenging. it has been very difficult and there have been some very dark periods. but during this time there has also been lots of incredibly positive and happy moments, achievements, new friendships made, lessons learned and even, on rare occasions, brief moments of peace. i tried to express some of these experiences and feelings in this mix. have a listen if you want. it is a good representation of where my head is at right now.
*i've added the tracklist in the comments

this mix is dedicated to yuri.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Meanwhile, in the Antipodes...

Yes, it's true, Australia is a long way from Western Europe. For years, visitors have suffered through bad food, bad films, the threat of deep vein thrombosis and the sleepless, wakeless reality of jet lag just to to make it down to what one of our ex-Prime Minister's called (quite rightly) 'the arse end of the earth'.

And for what? Well, for most tourists, I guess it's about nice beaches and cute but often very dangerous animals. For DJs, historically, Australia was a way to make a few dollars during the northern hemisphere winter and spend some time at said beaches with said animals... I guess. They certainly weren't coming for the charlie...

Ten years or so ago, dance music Down Under was big business. Those of you with the wrinkles and shoddy short-term memories to prove it would remember (if you do remember anything) the time when Melbourne was Techno City: when flyers for international gigs – printed on thick, glossy paper stock – extolled the underground credentials of that week's must see innovator.

In hindsight, a lot of the techno boom was about middle class kids getting into ecstasy. When indie kids figured out you could just take pills at the pub (and when this notion slowly permeated out into the outer suburbs), it was game over for amphetamine-fuelled warehouse parties in Melbourne...The fact that this information has only just reached Frankston explains the demographics attending Summadayze these dayze... well, no doubt the reasons are much more complex than this, but... I think it's safe to say that the techno boom is over in Melbourne. These days, the only 'dance music' artist capable of filling stadiums is.... Tiesto....

Nonetheless, house and techno has continued in Melbourne, with mixed fortunes. A marginal proposition from the point of view of profit, techno artists now share the bills with ex proggers and breaks artists, as 'big box' comes to take on a meaning quite different from its bouncier early 90s version.

At this point, a caveat: I don't go out much any more, I am a jaded old so-and-so, and it is no doubt true that I, along with people even more entrenched in sighs for a Gen X yesteryear, recall 'the good old days' through rose-coloured glasses with very strong prescriptions - otherwise we'd barely see a thing.

So what's happened? Well, profits ain't what they used to be. And inner urban gentrification has done for most of the good middle-to-large venues, especially those focussed on music and the dancefloor. These days, most 'clubs' are either aesthetics-driven bars with a dance floor area and overbearing 'security' staff or they are niche venues financially protected from bankruptcy by sex (the Peel, the Market) or benders (Revolver). With exceptions, the clubs that have survived are either about needing a root or being on drugs and having nowhere else to go on Sunday at 11am to keep the good times rolling. 'The party', such as it is, has moved on to occasional gigs and festivals...

There's no need to rehearse at length what's happened to the profitability of recorded music. For the purposes of what I'm trying to get at here, what this means is that in the current environment, electronic artists who need to turn a dime from their creative work *have to* tour and do DJ gigs and/or live PAs.

So: so far we have a Melbourne that is still 20+ hours from Euro by plane, but that has fewer decent venues, slimmer margins, higher costs, more fickle audiences, and lower expectations and excitement... but DJs who will still tour, because, well, that's how they earn their living.

How else to explain this situation? Marcel Dettmann, first tour of Australia. Friday: Perth. Saturday: Sydney. Sunday: Melbourne... at Revolver... ...then take a sec to read through the promoter's response to this, here (or click the gif below to for a choice sample of how prospective audiences are supposed to feel about this):

My two cents: How to justify what seems to me, on balance, a big fat waste of time, energy, talent and avgas... ever heard of climate change? I mean, for Chrissake, if you're gonna fly one of the world's foremost techno DJs half way around the world, could you at least give 'em a decent rig, a decent party, and a few days between each appearance to cuddle up with all our wonderfully dangerous animals? But what... no... we should be grateful? I humbly submit: flying 15962.54km in one sitting, then another 6,500km over one weekend, just to bring you some very good techno - is absurd. And also totally normal. It's a topsy turvy world, oh indeed...


Tuesday, February 9, 2010

mx49: natural/electronic.system. - tracklisting

we've been super happy with the fantastic feedback to this great mix. one of the key aims of this blog is to push new artists we really believe in, so a situation like this always makes us really happy. natural/electronic.system. have some very powerful and unique sounds, and it is great that more people are discovering them

mnml ssgs mx49: natural/electronic.system.

Qads - Beginning [S!te]
Mohlao - Ambrose [Meanwhile]
Jouem - Day Lily [Just Another Beat]
Odd Machine - Phase In [Non Standard Productions]
Leo Anibaldi - Feed 1 [Cannibald]
XDB - Desert Storm [Metrolux]
C.B. Funk - Deep Sea [Story]
AU - Guild [General Elektro]
Mike Parker - Amalgamated (Extension Mix) [Geophone]
Najemsworb - Teranidian [AI]
Frozen Border - 04 B [Frozen Border]
Let's Go Outside - Exercise for Snails [Slant]
Grit - Traction [Statik Entertainment]
Dozzy/Say - Transparent [Unreleased Attic Music]
XDB - Rising Sun [Metrolux]
Posthuman - Monsters Exist [B12]
Cheap and Deep Productions - Darkroom Beats [Cheap and Deep]
Schubert - Subconscious [Statik Entertainment]
Holger Flinsch - Wiegenlied [Choke Music] - Microstruttura (33rpm) [Hefty]

sounds like pan sonic

finn johannsen kindly invited me to contribute to his 'rewind' series over at sounds like me. i chose to talk about one of the most important influences on my musical development, pan sonic. you can find the interview here (including a link to a live recording from pan sonic at sonar). much thanks to finn for the opportunity to discuss an act that is very close to my heart.

Monday, February 8, 2010

sunday sounds: mx @ labyrinth 2007

today we've got a special sunday mix for you, a live recording taken from the 2007 labyrinth festival. it is a 2 hour ambient set from mx. i'm happy we can share this, not only because it is a beautiful set, but also because it shows another side of labyrinth, it really is amazing you can hear sounds like this on the main stage of a techno festival. speaking of which, for ssgs around the world thinking about heading to japan for labyrinth 2010, i think the dates will be announced soon. i'll make sure to keep you in the loop... anyway, i asked mx to say a few words about the recording:

"In 2007, Russ asked me to play an ambient set at Labyrinth. It's not often you get asked to play an ambient set on a sound system of that size and quality, let alone in such beautiful surroundings. The music that year continued non-stop for 3 days and Russ asked me to play a set which (at least at the start) people could sleep to. After all the machine music on the first night, I remember searching for a place where I could reset with nature. The sounds of nature represent, for me, the ultimate music. In the end I couldn’t find anywhere out of reach from that sound system. I wanted to give people that opportunity to reset in a similar way with this set. It starts off very slowly, with field recordings (glaciers melting) through soundscapes and moves on to more electronic music and dub. That was my first Labyrinth experience. Beautiful and intense."

mx @ labyrinth 2007

mx is working on a new label called blackmaps, which sounds really interesting, as it focuses very heavily on combining music with other art forms through the way it is packaged and presented. music interacting with film, literature, textiles and all other kind of stuff. very creative... if we are thinking about ways to try to break out of the existing music models, this kind of collaboration and interaction with other art forms seems like one worthwhile avenue to pursue. you can find out more info about blackmaps on their website.

also, blackmaps have kindly offered ssgs a 30 day limited download of 'brooklyn', an electronic drone composition by xela, aka john twells, who runs type records. it was released by blackmaps/static caravan on the transit EP in 2009 as a limited edition 10" clear vinyl. so we are being extra nice to you this sunday!

xela - brooklyn

thanks to mx for this lovely ambient journey, and to blackmaps and xela for the track. perfect for a sunday. have a good one people...

Sunday, February 7, 2010

thanks london

currently feeling supremely average after being awake for about 30 hours to undertake one last techno roadtrip to london for the plex party yesterday. great night, as expected. function and sandwell were in full flight (no surprises), TVO was very good (but i missed most of his set), and forward strategy group delivered some serious techno (watch our for these guys). one big complaint is that because of scheduling i only got to see about 15 minutes of peverelist. it was an excellent 15 minutes, but i wanted to see a lot more...

this was my last night out in the UK before i relocate permanently to tokyo next month. i havent had an easy relationship with this country, but i must say, i have really enjoyed the parties i've been able to go to, and i'd like to thank all the people in london (and beyond) for being so open and friendly. i was lucky to meet quite a lot of ssg readers on the dancefloors at corsica (mainly) and your kind words were greatly appreciated, and it has been great getting to find out that unsurprisingly our readers are a bunch of quality people. so thanks to everyone in london and the rest of the UK for being so supportive and friendly during my time. to be honest, there is plenty i dislike about this country, but as far as my musical experiences go, they've all been very positive and i dont have much bad to say. it makes me happy to see some really strong scenes of quality artists/promoters/clubs/crowds emerging here. keep it up. respect!

(ps -for those who arent aware yet, the next bleep43 party in april has dozzy AND mika vainio. BOOM!)

Thursday, February 4, 2010

february: where next?


a few days late, but here is the discussion thread for february. this is a space to discuss whatever you want that fits within what the blog is about. saying that, one thing PC and i are very keen to hear your thought and talk about is the direction of mnml ssgs. we are now both thinking and debating a lot about where to go with the blog. in just over 2 years we've accomplished far more than we ever expected or dreamed. the support we've received is incredible and continues to grow. indeed, the last month has been one of our most successful yet, averaging more than 1,000 hits per day. but as our position has changed and the blog has developed, we are now wondering if it has altered what we can and should do with mnml ssgs. for us, it has always been meant as an open experiment, and we strongly value the engagement and thoughts of all our fellow ssgs out there. so please, any thoughts you have about what mnml ssgs is doing, and where you think we should be going, fire away.

and after listening to an absolute killer drexciya special today, this seemed like the perfect track to complement the thread:

Monday, February 1, 2010

mnml ssgs mx49: natural/electronic.system.

this week we continue with our very slow reliving of last year's labyrinth, now with a 2nd contribution from one of the standout acts of the festival: natural/electronic.system.

i know it is something that we keep on talking about, but having a distinctive sound is absolutely key for us. there is plenty of good music out there, we want something a bit more. and that's what is so great about what natural/electronic.system do. they are really developing a sound and feel which is distinctly their own. these guys just pitch it down a bit deeper than most, then take you under.

this is what natural/electronic.system. had to say about the mix:

"2009 has been a year full of emotions for us. Something so special that it's difficult to find good words to describe it, but music can be really handy with that...

The idea behind the podcast this time is to recreate the light differences during sunshine through the music... A start with light that gradually fades into darkness... This would sort of recall what we experienced in Japan during the 3hrs of our set, but at the same time with a different approach. So you can feel the flow changing during the recording and slightly differences with the last mix we made.

This mix is our wish for a great new year to all our old and new friends around the world.
Just enjoy it...

Antonio + Valerio"

mnml ssgs mx49: natural/electronic.system. 'sunshine over greenland' mix
mirrors tomorrow

it was an absolute pleasure getting to know antonio and valerio in japan last year, and i am really happy they were able to do another mix for us. it is nice the way this mix series has become a way not only of discovering new sounds, but also finding new friends. i keep noticing a very strong link between quality music and quality people...

check myspace for more info on natural/electronic.system. there should be a tracklist for this in the next week. enjoy this one, it's a real trip.