Tuesday, June 29, 2010

ssg special - october

not only is october a month of the year, it also happens to be what julian smith calls himself when he is knocking out quality DJ sets and productions. i must admit it is only really in the last year or so that i've discovered october's sounds. a strong recommendation from eric cloutier plus a growing interest in caravan recordings was enough to starting paying close attention. and i have been impressed. the mix october has put together for us i think is a great representation of what has attracted me: it has personality and charm, and programmed beautifully. some serious heat here. strongly recommended...

ssg special - october mx

october is a busy man, and he's got plenty coming up, including collabs with appleblim, geiom, cornelius harris and ewan pearson, not to mention a longplayer of his own. he is also playing at this year's free rotation festival, which consistently has one of the best lineups this side of labyrinth. for more info, check his myspace and the home page for the very excellent caravan recordings. my suggestion is to keep a close eye on october and caravan. i'm expecting some really interesting stuff in the future... enjoy the mix. we'll post the tracklist next week. big thanks to october for making this happen.

Monday, June 28, 2010

labyrinth disk union promo mx: PvH

earlier this year we collaborated with disk union, tokyo's major record store, to produce a promo CDR version of marcel fengler's killer ssg mx. it was such a success that we've decided to do it again, this time also joining forces with the labyrinth crew. i like to think the relationship we've had with labyrinth over the last few years has been symbiotic: we've been very happy to see some of the major artists and sounds mnml ssgs has been supporting appear at labyrinth, while at the same time, the festival has been such a vital source of energy and inspiration for us. without labyrinth, mnml ssgs would look very, very different, that's for sure. so we are super happy to be doing this collab together.

leading up to the labyrinth in september, disk union will be featuring a series of special promo CDRs of mnml ssgs mixes from artists playing at the festival this year. people who purchase a ticket for labyrinth, or spend 4000 yen or more on music from labyrinth artists will receive a copy of the mix. there will be mixes from different artists. first up is our good friend, peter van hoesen. the CDR is a remastered, lossless version of his mnml ssgs mx09. for me, at least, this is one of the very best and most important in the series. and it still sounds as fresh and essential as ever. it is not as if you needed any incentive to buy your labyrinth tickets, so consider this a little bonus for signing up to the best couple of days of techno to take place this year...

PvH's mx is now available at disk union shibya. for more info, check disk union here. and keep an eye out, this is just the start. the other CDRs are going to be just as hot...

Friday, June 25, 2010

June Discussion Thread: you're not a gadget... are you?

The Labyrinth 2010

The full lineup for The Labyrinth 2010 has been announced:


A Guy Called Gerald [ Perlon, Laboratory Instinct : UK ]
Mathew Jonson [ Wagon Repair, !K7 : Canada ]
Shackleton [ Perlon, Skull Disco, Mordant Music : UK ]
Move D & Jonah Sharp: Reagenz [ Workshop, Source : Germany / US ]
Peter Van Hoesen [ Time to Express, Foton : Belgium ]
Convextion aka E.R.P. [ Matrix, Down Low : US ]


Donato Dozzy [ Aquaplano, Further : Italy ]
Function [ Sandwell District : US ]
Scuba vs SCB [ Hotflush, Sub:Stance, OstGut Ton : UK ]
Marcel Fengler [ OstGut Ton, Berghain Resident : Berlin ]
Peter Van Hoesen [ Time to Express, Foton : Belgium ]
Steffi [ OstGut Ton, Panorama Bar Resident, Klakson, Dolly : Berlin ]
Dj So [ Mindgames, Tri-Bute : Japan ]
Hiyoshi [ Global Chillage, Dakini : Japan ]

This is by far the most coherent and complete lineup I've ever seen for Labyrinth. It quite simply reads like techno perfection. Labyrinth's 'resident' Donato Dozzy is joined by previous favourites Mathew Jonson and PvH. Convextion floored everyone in 2008, last year Function quite simply destroyed the place. Both are back. After an impressive showing last year, Fengler is also returning, this time joined by his Ostgut colleague, Steffi, who will be making her Japan debut. I saw her recently at Panorama. Watch out, this woman can spin... Notable this year is the inclusion of more dubstep sounds with two of the biggest and best names out there - Shackleton and Scuba - appearing. Rounding out the lineup will be Reagenz and A Guy Called Gerald both playing live, as well as local stalwarts So and Hiyoshi. It is scary to think that Move D and Jonah Sharp are not also DJ'ing because there is simply not enough time in the schedule... The is going to be HUGE.

I have been to the last two Labyrinth parties. As I have reported here, both have been truly revelatory experiences for me. Amazing music, a great vibe, a beautiful outdoor setting, the most ridiculous Funktion One system you can imagine (put it this way: it is much, much bigger than what Berghain has), and it all has the added civility of now being during the day and evening. I am expecting this year to be better than last year, which was better than the year before. I know the Labyrinth organiser has put a ridiculous amount of thought and effort into designing the lineup. I think the results speak for themselves. It would be hard for me to imagine a better party.

The Labyrinth will be on 18-20 September (Saturday - Monday). In total, about 35 hours of techno... It is at the same venue as last year: Naeba Greenland, Niigata, Japan. For more info about the party, keep an eye on The Labyrinth website and twitter. We will also be keeping you updated here. And to celebrate, mnml ssgs is again collaborating with Disk Union and Labyrinth to release a number of limited promo CDR mixes of ssg artists playing this year. First up is PvH. More news on that soon...

Tickets are now on sale. Both PC and myself will be going. See you there.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

mike parker in the mix

here is some serious heat from a good friend of mnml ssgs, mike parker. unlike the two mixes he put together for us, this one is a live recording from when he played last december in tokyo. unfortunately i was not in japan at the time, but i did have the pleasure of seeing him spin about a month or so ago. wow. incredibly powerful, distinctive techno. when so many DJs and producers sound like carbon copies, it is so important there are people like mike parker cutting out their own sound. having seen him twice now, i can definitely say he is one of the must under-rated people in techno. he also gets bonus points for being an incredibly nice and humble guy. much respect.

mike parker @ mariana v2, tokyo, 5.12.09

mike will be touring europe 19 - 30 august this year, including his berlin debut (finally!). for all our berlin ssgs, definitely make sure to be at tresor on the 27th. he still has some open dates, anyone interested should contact: bookings@mym-tokyo.com

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

captain kirk

just a quick post: if you haven't already heard kirk degiorgio's recent mix for the consistently excellent bleep43 crew, i strongly strongly suggest you go get it now. i've had this one on constant repeat since it went online, and yesterday found myself accidentally dancing like an idiot to it at sydney airport. luckily i got onto the plane without being picked up by security... anyway, the point is you should download this mix because it is awesome. beautiful downbeats from degiorgio. classy stuff.

bleep43 podcast 168 - kirk degiorgio

Friday, June 18, 2010


been going back to my roots lately and listening to a lot of electro again after a pretty long break from these sounds. and i'm really loving it... this mix appeared recently and fits in perfectly with my mindset. plenty of old tracks i absolutely love and have unfortunately lost (i have them on CDs somewhere in my parent's house in australia. i think). this is a killer mix of old school hip hop and electro beats. important not to forget these sounds... i might be wrong but it seems like one difference between people discovering electronic music now, and maybe 10-20 years ago, is that the hip hop connection is not as strong (saying that, i dont listen to contemporary hip hop so i might be completely mistaken on this). anyway, for me this is all an essential part of the history of techno/electronic music, so it is worth checking out if these sounds are new(ish). and for the rest of us, it is worth revisiting. and i know i am romanticising this time, but it just feels like there is a real purity to  this music, much less cynicism. respect to sheffieldbleep for putting together another killer mix.

the wildstyle mix - sheffieldbleep in association with DJ Tat

Rock Master Scott And The Dynamic Three - The Roof Is On Fire (Club DJ)
Newcleus - Jam On It
In The Bottle
Al-Naafiysh (The Soul)
D.E.F. - Momentum (Hip Hop Mix)
The Wreckin Cru - Surgery (Vocal)
Rock Master Scott And The Dynamic Three - Request Line (Vocal)
Hashim - We're Rocking The Planet
Grandmaster D. ST. & The Infinity Rappers - Grandmaster Cuts It Up (Un-Cut)
Jazzy Jay - Def Jam
Just Ice - Put That Record Back On
Scott La Rock & The Celebrity Three - Advance (Vocal)
Shango - Shango Message
T LA Rock - Bass Machine (Club)
Word Of Mouth & DJ Cheese - King Kut
Symbolic Three Featuring D.J. Dr. Shock - No Show
Steady B - Yo Mutha (Radio Edit)
Skinny Boys - Jockbox (America Loves The Skinny Boys)
CD III - And You Know That
Cold Chillin' In The Spot
Just Ice - Latoya
Skinny Boys - Feed Us The Beat

also, i strongly encourage you to watch this clip from one of my alltime favourite movies, breakin'. this scores very high on the awesome scale. definitely worth searching this one out.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

A Funny Little Thing Happened on the Way to the Disco

Earlier this year Maurice Fulton came to Melbourne. I was excited. Fulton’s betalounge mix had been one of the key therapeutic mixtures that had got me through the silly season, and now I was getting the chance to see the man play on what was, according to my memory from a Trus’me gig a year or so earlier, a decent venue with a proper sound system and dancefloor. I know it seems wild to say this, like: ‘wow, a restaurant with tablecloths and cutlery’, but in Melbourne in 2010, a such things as a proper space to dance and a proper system are…. luxuries, pleasant surprises, or flat exceptions to the rule. A question that keeps repeating on me like a bad King St kebab (but that I won’t answer until the end): why is it that so many nightclub proprietors treat their patrons with such utter fucking contempt?

Back to Maurice: I made my way down, past the amity line, over the hill, beyond the Pale, to King St: home of said kebabs and site of moral panics about random knife attacks, as well as the actual possibility of random knife attacks, strip clubs of the calibre of Peppermint Hippopotamus and the Minge Gallery, and… Sorry Grandma.

Sorry Grandma had opened to much fanfare last year, the bold new venture of Michael Delaney*, ex of Honky Tonks. Honky Tonks was a venue whose early snobbery was outmatched only by its good taste in DJs and its consistent commitment to programming the world’s best house DJs for Sunday eve parties. True, at times it was a snootfest full of nasty wankers, but it was also one of the best clubs that Melbourne has ever had, and it was a place in which I had some of the best nights of my life, such as I remember them… (And say what you will about that nasty doorbitch Dylan/Dillan from back in the day, but he did keep the munters out… ah, the vicissitudes of exclusion…)

But Honky Tonks went the way of player pianos, was replaced with Third Class (pronounced with an Irish accent it’s a more apt description) in the same space (a gutted version of HTs for Gen Ys on rave juice and worse), and when the shutters mercifully rolled down on the space, a lot of people were wondering what Delaney was gonna come up with next.

The answer: Sorry Grandma. And, I'm sad to say, it is a sorry state of affairs, if my experience is any indicator. You can get the general context here, in this extensive interview with Andee Frost, a long-time friend of Delaney’s and now one of Melbourne’s best-known selectors.

I hadn’t been back to Sorry Grandma since the Trus’me gig. At that time, the place still had the shiny sheen of fresh minting, and the not yet nervous tick of approval from the club hipster gen Ys that the club appeared to be pitching its patch to. But already you could see the subtle effects of the initially gentle, but eventually no holes barred munting any nightclub is gonna get when it gets who’s coming to it, especially when who’s coming to it is coming from the vicinity of King St, probably with a still warm kebab and an equally fresh dose of syncopated clap from a Rihanna-led lapdance underneath some hussy’s um-bah-rellah (ella, ella, hey, hey, hey). Well, of course, not initially, when such pre pole-danced punters can be barred with little more than a ‘sorry mate, private function’, but: when you have a dancefloor for 700+, you want the cool kids to come, but you’ve entrenched yourself over the bad side of town, and there’s a moral panic going on in the media about glassings, knifings, fisticuffs and fistings in the area, well… how are things gonna play?

But with the benefit of the doubt and Maurice in mind, I was back in the badlands in the diminutive queue outside our Unfortunate Generatrix. I went in, but I didn’t stay long. But when I got in: the whole upstairs closed, the downstairs mostly empty, the smoke machine in full effect, and the sad spectacle of a old husk, a withered, dried up, very sorry grandma indeed. Maurice was in the corner looking miffed; my friends and I didn’t want to stay in a room with more fake smoke than real people, so we left, went elsewhere, had a great night, and thought no more about it, no more than: ‘well, I’m never going there again.’

So much so far so what? Well.

About three weeks ago, I received a pink letter in my snail-slimed mail box (there had been rain). In it was a direct marketing campaign from none other than the aforesaid female ancestor who I’d just disowned. The direct marketing thing contained this smarmy letter that read, to me, in that same shit-eating female voice that’s common for female announcers on Channel 7 and/or at the airport (you Australians will know, the ‘attention passengers’ one) …apparently I was one of her favourite grandchildren’. The letter invited me and a friend to some ‘VIP’ soiree with free champagne on arrival; it smacked of desperation. I felt sad, I tore it up, and put it in the recycling bin. But (asked my lady): how did they get my address?

I wondered. I figured it must have been from my street press days, and forgot all about it. Then three weeks or so later, early last week, I got an email from a friend of mine who was there with me on the abortive Fulton excursion. Not only had he also received the pink letter, he was being pestered by Sorry Grandma to become facebook friends. Irritations aside, the question was raised again, in the plural, and with emphasis: how did they get our fucking addresses?

The only clue was this: our third friend with us at the time, who doesn’t have a drivers’ license, did not receive any marketing material…

I sent a polite email to Sorry Grandma asking them to explain how they obtained my details and requesting that they remove me from their lists. At the time of writing I have not received a reply. Then I contacted someone I know who I figured might have the skinny on what happened: what they confirmed shocked me.

Sorry Grandma had scanned our licenses and then used our personal details to market stuff at us.

But we had been presented with a fait accompli at the door: it was demanded as a condition of entry that those of us who had drivers’ licenses allowed the bouncers to scan them. No ID, no entry. Drivers’ licence = ID. No scan-ee license, no entry, Mistah Fulton fan. This seemed very odd to me. My friend asked for an explanation, and was told that the scanned details were kept for the same amount of time as the security video, and then destroyed.

I can’t emphasise this enough: it was explicitly represented as a security measure, and no further information was given or even indicated.

My friend was luckier than me: he received a reply from Sorry Grandma, which explained the following:

“Sorry Grandma is a private club that makes our "Conditions Of Entry" very clear.
Below is the exact wording on the posters displayed outside the building during trading hours, in the foyer, above our scanner andnext to our liquor license.

1. "It is a condition of entry that your id will be scanned and added to our guest list data base"
2."This guest list is accessed by Sorry Grandma alone and not sold to third parties"
3. "You may opt out at any time after your initial visit"”

At best, this might represent a series of lapses, oversights, and poor training. But really, even if it could be said to be defensibly legal, the de facto situation Sorry Grandma involved us in – music lovers who came to a place to support an artist whose work they love – could also be said to be sneaky, deceitful, cynical, and manipulative.

More than that, it could be seen as an act of bad faith; an abuse of trust, and a transformation of those particulars proper to a person into ‘details’ that, once translated into data, can and are explicitly and intentionally used as tools for the pursuit of private gain. My warm trust was transformed into a cold tool to grab some chump change. And that makes it a sad episode in a sorry story that, to me, speaks volumes about how low you can go when profit and legality are the aim and limits of your behaviour.

What I’ve just explained is what happened to us one evening at Sorry Grandma, but, more broadly, to return to my opener: why is it that so many nightclub proprietors treat their patrons with such utter fucking contempt?

Anyone who lived in Australia up until the 70s (ask 'yer mum) will tell you about the standard of restaurants (shit, or French), bars (those are called pubs, love, and women don’t drink at the bar, I’ll bring you a shandy in the beer garden, there’s a good girl), and cafes (70s White Aussie Male says: are you a wog or a poofter or somethin'?).

But people educated themselves and each other, and, over time, Melbourne at least has produced a healthy ecosystem of restaurants, cafes and bars catering to myriad niches of interest, place, budget, perversion, etc… Some scenes are a bit smug, true, but mostly they are also healthy, competitive, dynamic – and if ANY café, bar, or restaurant treated its patrons the way so many clubs do, they would go out of business within weeks, rightly.

Of course, we need to talk about the hideous impact on clubland of the licensing laws, securitisation, gentrification, the smoking bans (read the checklist at the end of Frosty's interview), and – my two cents on the red elephant in the room – energy drinks, which can make drunk people (even more) aggressive.

Those are all important factors in the mix, but they let off the hook certain club owners and the very insulting, very cynical, very unethical and generally shithouse kinds of treatment they offer their patrons in Melbourne in 2010. It is bullshit, and it should not stand. If you don’t like the venue, don’t go; if you were treated badly, tell people; if you know it’s rubbish, if you know it’s not right, then refuse it. I'm not saying 'all clubs are bad'. I'm going out this Saturday to a good one, and maybe you should do. I urge: support the people you love, negate those you hate. I'm not sorry as I wish: champagne for my real friends; real pain for my sham friends.

*Clarification from Frosty's interview: "I should make this clear: the management is not Michael [Delaney] (who has also resigned now). The management of Sorry Grandma! is a company called EMS. It is run by Peter Iwanik who also owns the following venues: Bubble, Mens Gallery, Inflation, Centerefold Lounge and a few more I can’t remember, but basically the guy owns half of King Street." PC adds: my understanding is, however, that Delaney was still managing on the night of the Fulton gig. May have even been the last night, but this does not exclude him from implication with the swiping malarkey...


Sunday, June 13, 2010

sunday sounds: penélope

it has been quite a while since i've posted a mix on a sunday, and this is probably a bit different from what i might usually share on this day of the week, but now is a good as time as any - quality music sounds good every day... this is a new mix from penélope, a spanish DJ and producer doing some really interesting work. she is part of the zwischenwelt project that we've been featuring on mnml ssgs. listening to this mix, it is clear penélope has pretty impeccable taste. the tracklist reads looks like a menu of techno purism. and that works just fine with me...

atmosphere by penélope

penélope has also been involved in a project called ArD2, which conceptualises in musical form orwell's classic '1984'. you can hear a number of tracks from it here in this mix. also, there recently was a remix EP from the project, which i strongly suggest tracking down. for more info on penélope, check her myspace. we'll have more on zwischenwelt as the project comes to fruition on rephlex.

thanks to penélope for the mix. have a good sunday people...

Saturday, June 12, 2010

defying gravity

the final statement (for now) from one of the most important contributors and innovators in techno music. like all their previous work, this is totally essential. if you haven't yet discovered pan sonic, it is not too late. the new album, 'gravitoni', is as good a place as any to start. you can buy it direct here. no excuses. much respect to pan sonic for all their sonic explorations over the years, and for having the courage to walk away now. uncompromising and wholly unique to the end.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Zwischenwelt 情報 0

Heinrich Mueller (Dopplereffekt)Beta EversSusana Correia、そしてPenelope Martinの4人組からなる





またHeinrich Muellerへのトリビュートミックスはこちらから


the king

'Artists who go out on a limb, artists that go beyond the point of no return and artists who push things to the very limits of good taste and respectability, I have always found the most heroic.'

'I’m not sure what value we place on Art and Music anymore as it seems to have become just a commodity – we’re exposed to things rather than discovering them. I think there are some very gifted programmers working within music right now, but for me that’s just not enough (or maybe it’s too much). I, like many I’m sure, have been waiting for the next cultural ‘kick up the arse’ for years. I hope someone wakes me up when it happens.'

'I can’t escape my sound, I’m just trying to hone down what I do. The music is just a part of the process…'

'If anyone was looking to make a sound investment – in life, love or art – then I would advise them to buy the lot.'

Thoughts from the mighty Regis in a very rare interview with FACT. I strongly urge you to all go read this now. Someone said to me earlier this year something along the lines of: if people actually knew all the projects Regis has been involved in, everything had done, his name would be at the top, higher than them all... That person is probably not far from the truth. Techno owes Regis a big debt of gratitude. Selfless, principled and visionary. All too rare. Much respect to the King.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

record round up

Some more stuff I've been enjoying recently:

Keith Worthy - Moments In Rhythm Vol 2: Absolutely killer release. All 3 tracks on this EP are great.

June - June01: Reminds me a bit of stuff from Donnacha Costello's Colour series days. Old school, warm vibe. Don't like the A side so much, but the two tracks on the B are lovely. Nothing amazingly new but good sounds done well.

Drexciya - Neptune's Lair: Absolute classic remastered and reissued. If you missed it the first time, get it now because this shit is absolutely essential. Few artists come even close to achieving what these guys did. Electronic music doesn't get better than Drexciya.

ArD2 - 2084 The Mixes: Staying on a similar tip, this is some really nice pure electro. It includes a remix from Heinrich Mueller, an artist you'll continue to hear more about on ssgs as we continue explore the new zwischenwelt project he is involved in.

Nuel - Aquaplano Ltd 01: After many problems with pressings, this EP is finally out. Like the other Aquaplanos, this has a great balance between deeper tripping techno and carefully crafted ambient. Quality stuff from a thoroughly under-rated artist. If you missed nuel's ssg mix, make sure to check it - one of my personal favourites from the series.

Space Dimension Controller - Journey to the Core of the Unknown Sphere: There has been a bit of a buzz around this record and with good reason. All the original cuts are very nice, but the standout is definitely the Kyle Hall remix. Very, very impressive. The Hall remix is probably one of my favourite tracks from 2010 so far.

Music From Mathematics Vol. 4: Ashamed to say I've only properly discovered Mathematics reasonably recently, but better late than never. This EP is exactly what you'd expect from this label: raw, gritty house jams. Great.

Pale Blue Sky - Shades Of Grey: Lovely release on Arbor by label boss, Mike Pollard. I have closely followed the advice provided on the sleeve: 'intended for listening at a modest volume in a quiet room.'

V/A - Earth Tones: This is worth buying just for the Move D track, 'Aspiration 2010'. Best thing I've heard from him in a while.

And a few CDs:

Subway - Subway II: Bit slow on discovering this, but PC put me onto this recently and I am glad to have found it. Fantastic krautrock inspired synth jams. There are some real beauties on this album.

Jeff Mills - The Occurrence: Probably the best thing Jeff has done in a long time. The hybrid vinyl/CD format is pretty stupid, but besides that it is a seriously impressive release. It is a mix CD of his own material in the vein of 'Sleeper Wakes' and 'Something in the Sky'. Advanced spacey techno at its very best.

Dj Sprinkles - Deeperama mix series: These have flown under the radar (as much of Terre's best stuff does), but definitely worth getting hold of. A series of live recordings of Dj Sprinkles in action, which you can buy direct from the source. Do I need to tell you how good they are? No, you can probably guess.

I'm sure there is other stuff, but that'll do for now. I have a huge pile of promos I need to make my way through, so there is plenty here I know i've missed out on. Will try to keep doing these kinds of posts more regularly...

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Music by real people for real people (in real airports)

As soon as we first heard about the new album on Soma from the Black Dog - 'Music for Real Airports' - we were instantly interested. The more socio-political dimensions of this project immediately appealed to us. Luckily it was more than just a conceptual exercise, as it happens to also be a really excellent album. It is tempting to describe it as 'ambient', but i don't think this is quite right, there is some 'oomph' to it. Regardless, definitely one of my favourite releases of 2010. I strongly urge you to check it out, if you haven't already.

One thing we took from 'Music for Real Airports' is that the Black Dog seem like an interesting bunch, and this motivated us to do the first proper interview mnml ssgs has had in a very long time. Here are the results. We sent through a bunch of questions, they picked some to answer. Big thanks to the Black Dog for taking the time to engage with us.

Is "Music for Real Airports" made for listening in real airports?

Ken: That's entirely up to the listener, surely?

Martin: I know a lot of DJs we’ve sent it to have listened to it in airports, a couple have reported back saying that it's very surreal and that they'd just missed their flights!

We didn't write the album with a view to having it played at or in airports. It was always a double edge sword. It had to stand-alone and also work as part of visual presentation with Human. The important thing for us was ensuring that the "document" made emotional sense and that it left space for the listener to be involved.

Richard: It was never intended to be a companion piece to that environment, but a reflection on the experience as a whole.

Ken: Being in an airport is bad enough. Listening to music for real airports in a real airport would make me want to punch somebody, I think. Nothing makes me more incandescent with rage than a jobs worth barking orders at people. I appreciate that to a certain extent 'customers' have to surrender their individuality and personal freedoms for the sake of greater safety and more efficiency. But, my favourite place to listen to the album is in the bath, or out on a walk, watching the contrails of planes going/coming from London.

Martin: I think that depends on which airport really Ken, I can see it working in somewhere like Barcelona or Rome, the vibe is very different there - I think I'd enjoy playing it at people in Heathrow, you could do the "punching" bit .

Ken: You've seen more of them than me. I dislike the way that all 'romance' has been stripped from the modern flight experience. Aviation should be wonderful. You're up there, temporarily defying gravity, in accordance with the laws of physics. It should be an awesome experience. But it's often mundane and regimented to the point of boredom. Seaports are much more fun.

Martin: True, the early days of flights leaving from Croydon looked amazing, pretty much like when they opened the M1 Motorway, people actually went out on it for the day out!

What are some of the personal political contexts that encouraged you to focus specifically on the space of the airport, as opposed to other generic, ubiquitous spaces such as the shopping mall, the gated community, or the immigration detention centre?

Ken: I have a real loathing towards being treated like a meat parcel. When you arrive at the airport, to some extent you have to surrender your individuality and your uniqueness. That's not something I’m comfortable with, personally. Nothing in life has angered me more, than having orders barked at me by a man in a brown shirt.

Richard: And we have to pay for that privilege. For a service industry, there's a distinct lack of service.

Martin: I see airports as a microcosm of what society is about to become, what people will accept for a couple of weeks pleasure in someone else's misery - this is the price we'll pay.

I can usually last about 20 minutes in a shopping mall. They're just design by lazy modernists who think this is what we want and this is what will work - they seem to have learnt nothing - it's not what we want and it's certainly not how we live.

Ken: I've seen a lot of changes since the 1970's. Since Brussels has decreed there should be no more duty free shops, the range of full price products you can buy and expensive things you can eat has increased so much, the airport has become like a mini-mall. And the people who design planes, have obviously never sat in them. They probably looked great in a CAD program, but the real life experience sucks. I'm not a giant, but I always end up sitting with my knees under my chin for four hours, because some twat wanted to squeeze another seat in. Or catching a cold, because the airlines are too miserly to scrub the air regularly. They're not jolly places anymore. And all this, is before we even start talking about terrorist paranoia and security measures.

Martin: I've also wanted to do it because I didn't take to Eno's version. I've always had a thing about it and it's bugged me for years. Ken and Richard will tell you that when I get into something it has to be thought through, made and then done. I can hold onto an idea for years, in this case since 1979, but that's the way I work. I'm a bad person to pick a fight with because I will come back even if it takes 20 years.

How do you understand/define the music you make and play?

Martin: Techno, simple as that really. I think it stands on it's own and holds it's own, that's enough for me.

Richard: Techno is about the closest "genre", although I'd describe that in quite broad terms - forward thinking, exploring future technology, the involvement of machines in creation and performance. It certainly doesn't mean "relentless 4/4 bangers". As Martin says, we're confident that the music will stand on it's own, regardless of what category anyone wants to push it in to.

Ken: I'd like to think we're a part of the electronic avant-garde. I have tremendous respect for the pioneers of acid, house, and techno. But I love psycho acoustic music and musique concrete the most. Those people weren't afraid to experiment or be ridiculed for stepping out in their own direction. And I don't know if Martin and Rich would agree, but there is also an element of 'punk sensibility' about what we do. But we have a dance floor presence too. I think that's our anchor, and where we're grounded. Are we just "techno"? I don't know. I've never thought about it that much. Don't fancy being pigeonholed as anything, much. Normally, I just say "artist", if people ask what I do. That's what's in my passport.

How open is "techno"/ this music? Are its creative possibilities limited or still open? Are there any dimensions that you feel constrained by?

Ken: No, if there are any limitations, and I can't think of any off-hand, I'd try to work round them.

Martin: None that I can think of, perhaps other people’s attitudes and opinions, which have got worse since the Internet took off. I look at some of the comments left on YouTube/Forums and do wonder what happened to intelligence. I guess it’s much easier to be hateful and spiteful these days. That said, there are still many creative possibilities to explore and rules to break. I don't feel limited by anything other than the limitations of the media we are supplying the recording on, or the human ear.

Richard: There really shouldn't be any constraints. Those that exist are just social, cultural and artistic "rules" defined by others. We do need to do our own thing. If you set out to try and please everyone else, you're bound to fail. There'll always be someone who just wants you to repeat the tone or style of an earlier release.

Is equipment important?

Ken: It used to be. But it would be a cliché to rely entirely on an 808 + 303 + 101 these days. I used to enjoy making patches on the Pulsar modular synth system, but now everything is entirely laptop based, because a tower system and studio full of synths would cane the boat batteries. I enjoy squeezing new sounds out of such a basic system. It's a challenge, and it keeps things fun.

Martin: Not really, we have enough equipment and only add to it when we need to. We don't constantly buy stuff because you end up getting distracted from the important bit - writing music. We get asked a lot to do interviews about our studio and how we do things but I find that really boring and have no interest in that side at all.

Richard: There can be some fun to be had playing with new stuff but it is a distraction. At the end of the day, they're just tools. If they get the results that we need, that's what really matters. 

Ken: It's nice to be asked and flattering that journalists would take an interest in TBD's collection of equipment. But I don't have any 'tricks' to pass on to people. Music production is hours and hours of listening to the same thing, over and over again while I tweak it a little. Watching me make a cup of
tea would be more exciting.

Richard: People have also been slightly shocked when we've pointed out that many of the ambient recordings were made using just an iPhone. Although I also think we'd have been arrested if we tried to record in airports with anything bigger.

What equipment is important (if any)?

Ken: I have a fondness for VST instruments. Purists may scoff at having to twiddle a knob with a mouse button, instead of the time honoured tried and tested hands on approach. But I think aural fidelity to the originals has improved considerably over the years. They're fun to use, and don't require lots of electricity to run.

Martin: The Laptop. It means we can go anywhere and play, record or make music. That freedom is fantastic, without it Music For Real Airports wouldn't have been made.

What's something that you've learnt (about music, your work and yourself)  as the hard truth of bitter experience?

Ken: I don't have any bitter experiences. Everything that's happened on this road has been a part of a progressive journey. There are good and bad times, naturally. I think the whole thing has been a learning curve.

Martin: Nothing bitter at all, one thing that did surprise me in the last 6 months is that I don't like people messing around with our music, that seemed to come from nowhere and I'm still not sure what I'm going to do about it! I like the idea of things being final at the moment, done!

Richard: Only one thing from me, although not really a bitter experience, but spending a long time working on a track doesn't guarantee that anyone will appreciate the track. Some of the best feedback we've had has been for small tracks and ideas that were quickly bashed out in an afternoon.

Who/what do you think your 'sound' is?

Martin: People do try and lock us into a sound or time period but we're not having any of it. You can't say that kind of shit to an artist and if you do, it just shows that you don't understand what an artist is. What they actually want is a designer to do the same thing over and over - that is not The Black Dog.

Richard: It really isn't fixed, it all depends on what we're into or thinking about at any given time (which can also change on a daily basis).

Ken: I don't paint or sculpt, so for me, music is a means of artistic expression. I like the fact that music is invisible and intangible, yet it can still physically move people to tears, laughter or anger. It's a very powerful medium.

How do you describe what you do to people who have no background/understanding in electronic music (like your grandmother)?

Ken: I came from a musical family, so funnily enough, my grandmother played me all sorts of music when i was growing up. To people who have absolutely no idea, I say "recording artist", or "I'm in a band". I used to say, "Record Producer", but that sounded too overblown and pretentious.

Martin: Our house always had music, my father would buy ex-jukebox singles for us to play and I always had records as kid. I just explain "I make music with machines", it's not a big deal.

Ken: My mum used to DJ at Mecca. So we got the singles too.

Richard: I gave up trying to explain it a while ago, it's easier just to hand over a CD.

What excites you about electronic music at the moment?

Ken: It got assimilated into the mainstream quite rapidly, but it was strong enough to survive media saturation. It's inspired a whole new generation of people who've picked up the torch and are finding happiness making their own tunes.

Martin: So much, lots of good Dubstep, I'm waiting for UK Funky to turn the creative corner. I love music so much and I'll try anything really. But right now, the label Downwards are doing some really interesting stuff. Kyle Hall, Fever Ray, there's so much good stuff out there.

And what frustrates you?

Ken: People downloading our entire back catalogue from sites like rapidshare, megaupload, etc. two days after the promo comes out. 'Try before you buy' is fine, but artists such as myself have a hard time surviving in an almost total theft environment. I suspect that many other artists are similarly affected. And I do find that aspect of modern internet life frustrating. I don't have any suggestions or fixes, but thank you for this opportunity to have a little moan.

Martin: People trapped in the past, although it's useful as a device to learn when not to engage with people. Rapidshare are the new EMI, I'm surprised people haven't sussed them yet but the tBd fans are pretty cool and support us direct and for that I'm very grateful.

Ken: Good point, Martin. It's hard not to sound like an old bollock, when going on about piracy. Considering our early records were almost entirely samples, it's thin ice. There are a lot of good people around, you're right there. Making music purely for money is not a good place to be, anyway.

Martin: It is hard to sound like you're not moaning, but I worry about the new people starting out, people who just need a "bit" of something back and there's a massive difference between a "head" doing a blog with the odd track and these new blogs that are churning 300-400 releases a week. It's important to me that younger/new people get supported. I often wonder how many people have just given up because they have to "worry" about the wrong things. It's also very strange when someone mails you to say how great something is and you know they've download it because it's not out for 8 weeks. Some of the magic has gone, perhaps people aren't interested in watching the trick anymore, perhaps all they want is to know how it's done - Jung wrote a lot about that actually.

Richard: "Music by numbers" - Bands that churn out tunes based on a set formula tends to irritate me. I'm always surprised why people buy the following singles when they all sound the same. It's just lazy and uncreative.

Who inspires you? What inspires you?

Martin: Art, Music and Spirit. I've been enjoying Autechre's new release’s and looking into the history of Matisse and his art but it's different stuff every single day, you have to let other artists in and be influenced.

Ken: Rock and roll inspires me. Nature inspires me and also the bizarre and surreal.

Richard: Sound design in cinema and other media, plus experimental music and noise. Outside of music, the work of James Turrell is interesting. Very minimal but effective use of space and light.

After doing this for such a long time, what keeps you motivated/excited/interested?

Ken: The thrill of the unexpected, and the feedback from people who enjoy it.

Martin: I've actually been involved in bands a lot longer than Ken, but for me music is a real chance to express what can not be spoken - that's where the magic is for me and that flame still burns very strong and it hasn't so much as flickered yet.

Ken: Much longer?? pffft... I apologise for waiting a year after 'Never Mind the Bollocks' to start a band, but I was only 12. Jeez, I started as soon as I could mate. But the paper round dosh only stretched to florescent socks, not a guitar.

Martin: Ha-ha. My first band didn't even have any instruments, just a name, 1978 Ken. Can't believe you had florescent socks tho, we dreamed of such things.

Do you feel you've made a contribution to techno music? If so, what?

Ken: Yes, I do. Amongst others, we've helped shift the focus away from the dance floor, which at one time, held the monopoly. Not that the dancefloor isn't good fun but there's many more facets and interesting angles to explore.

Martin: I don't really look at it like that, as a contribution that is, it's just what we do really.

Ken: You're forgetting about those 'Music Industry' lectures you did in Glasgow where the audience applauded what you said. That was a contribution. And if even one of those people goes away and makes their own tunes, that's another.

Martin: Well I don't see it like that, that's just talking to people in the hope they find something interesting and carry on doing what they want rather than working 9 to 5. I think my biggest message has always been "take that risk and do it".

Richard: I think that's a question best answered by others.

What's something that people often ask you about you and your music (that you find unexpected or strange)? What's something that people never ask or notice about you and your work (that you wish they would)?

Ken: *shrugs*

Martin: I think people tend to get the wrong ideas about a lot of it but then they're people who you could never explain inner space or the values of "dance" to.

What kind of music would you make in a world without electricity?

Ken: Even if the power went off forever, you've still got the whole classical and orchestral palette to play with. I guess in a situation like that, I'd be drawn back to pagan music. Always fancied having a go at being a percussionist. Reed flutes, drums, bells, and brass are all easily achievable without watts and amps.

Martin: Yeah, "human" music.

Ken: I thought you hated bongos?  LOL.

Martin: I do hate bongos and the flute mate.

What do you wish for the year ahead?

Ken: Less rain. More sunshine. Good health and no periods of illness.

Martin: Just to get a little better at what we do, I'm not after much :)

What’s something you know now that you wish you’d been able to tell yourself ten, fifteen years ago?

Ken: Chill out you twat. None of it is important enough to make yourself ill.

Martin: Buy shares in Apple! I guess I wish I hadn't spent so much time working for other people and just done what I wanted.

Richard: Everything that they said! And "Other people's advice is often bollocks. Keep making your own decisions and learn your own lessons."

What is important to you in life?

Ken: Happiness. Going with the universal flow, but not being part of a herd.

Martin: Same. Family and a close circle of friends. Space to be alone with my thoughts and music.

Richard: One more vote for those. It's the simple things that matter.

Thanks to the Black Dog for talking with us. All the photos were taken from their flickr. You can directly buy 'Music for Real Airports' digitally from the Dust store for just 6 pounds. At that price you really have no excuse not to get it! You have the mnml ssgs guarantee on this one... The album is also available through other digital retailers and, of course, in physical format. More on the 'real airports' project can be found here, and for info on the Black Dog, including a wealth of really interesting and worthwhile mixes, make sure to check their homepage.

Friday, June 4, 2010

new tones

just a quick post about a site and some sounds i've wanted to mention for a while. for those who haven't discovered it yet, pontone is fantastic little corner of the net for finding out more about some really interesting and worthwhile sounds. unlike so many sites (this one included) that are geared around guest mixes, pontone's defining feature is a series of mixtapes they curate exploring a range of different sounds. it is definitely worth having a dig through the archives and checking out the impressive selection they've put together. what i want to highlight in particular is the 'spectral cassettes' series pontone has compiled. for those of you without a cassette player and an eye for obscure labels and limited run releases (like myself), this is the perfect introduction to a particular sound that is only just beginning to reach the surface, with emeralds and oneohtrix point never both releasing albums on editions mego this year. not sure how to properly describe this music, but synths, drones, strong krautrock influences and dreamy ambiance all stuck together to create something pretty magical. give these fantastic mixtapes from pontone a listen to get a feel for what i mean:

pontone - spectral cassettes mixtape vol. 2

pontone - spectral cassettes mixtape vol. 3

pontone - spectral cassettes mixtape vol. 4

[vol. 1 appears to be down.]

also, if you are keen for more, check this short, but very dreamy and beautiful cut from oneohtrix point never on rare frequency radio.

i'd definitely encourage you to give these sounds a go. dave the silent ssg put me onto about half a year ago and i have found that these really fit with where my head has been going. enjoy...

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

research: heinrich mueller

following on from the previous post about zwischenwelt, here is a new mix paying tribute to the musical experiments of heinrich mueller. as noted, mueller is one of the core members of zwischenwelt, and this new project builds on one of the central themes of mueller's work: the interconnection between science and music, or put differently, exploring scientific themes and concepts through the medium of music. for those of you who don't know mueller's remarkable back catalogue, this is an excellent introduction, and for the rest of you, this is a great opportunity to revisit some very special tracks.

vlr - research: heinrich mueller

Der Zyklus - Optical Fingerprint Correlation
Arpanet - NTT DoCoMo
Sébastien Tellier - Kilometer (Arpanet Remix)
Dopplereffekt - Hyperelliptic Surfaces
Arpanet: Großvater Paradoxon
Der Zyklus - Cherenkov Radiation
AIR - Le Soleil Est Pres De Moi (Dopplereffekt Remix)
Arpanet - Event Horizon
Japanese Telecom - Enter Mrs. Suzuki
Station Rose - Dave (Heinrich Mueller: Stanley Kubricks Vision Mix)
Dopplereffekt - Pornoactress
Japanese Telecom - The Making of Ultraman
Tuxedomoon - What Use (Heinrich Mueller Technik Mix)
Japanese Telecom - Nipponese Robots
Dopplereffekt - Scientist
The Hacker - Fadin' Away (Heinrich Mueller Remix)
Arpanet - Probability Densities
Ar2D - Inside The Rock (Heinrich Mueller Anti De Sitter Space Mix)
Japanese Telecom - Mounting Yoko
Der Zyklus - Der Tonimpulstest
ScanX - Wasteland (Prototype 2 by Dr Finn & Otto Henke)
Glass Domain - Fairy
Intellitronic - Pixel
Arpanet - Software Version
Der Zyklus - Formenverwandler
Kavinsky - Arpanet Nightdrive Rework
Le Car - Cinematic Automatic (Heinrich Mueller Remix)
Dopplereffekt - Myon-Neutrino

respect to VLR for this great compilation.