Friday, December 31, 2010

into light

i really love the transition from one year to the next. a great opportunity to reflect on the year past, and prepare for the year ahead. i'm still processing everything that happened in 2010, but it has definitely been a great year. a lot of special moments, memories and experiences... i've been very lucky to be surrounded and supported by a lot of excellent people, and i'm deeply thankful to all of them: yuri, peter, dave, ben, and the labyrinth family: russ, yasuyo and the rest of the hooligirls, donato, peter vh, plus all the other ssgs out there. thank you. this mix is for all of you.

chris - into light mix

excited for 2011. lets make it an even better year.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

a year in mixes

recently we went through our favourite mixes of 2010, but this list was definitely incomplete, as it excluded many of the mixes we listened to and loved the most, our own! this year has been another big year for mixes on mnml ssgs. actually we planned to do fewer mixes, but some how this didn't quite happen... anyway, what i wanted to do in this post was just review what we've had on mnml ssgs this year, encouraging you to discover any you might have missed and revisit the others.

an important shift this year was the 'official' series effectively coming to an end with peter van hoesen's mx50 back at the start of march. this proved a fitting finish - peter has played an important role in the development of mnml ssgs and we are very proud of both the mixes we've had from him so far. the shift from the 'official' series to the more loosely focused ssg 'specials' was, more than anything, a way to give ourselves the freedom to present a wider range of artists, sounds and styles. we were starting to feel a bit constricted by the 'official' series, and while we were uncertain about finishing them, we are very happy with the results. it has definitely given us some more space to explore a wider range of sounds, as you can see and hear.

we are intensely proud of what we've accomplished this year, and we would like to thank all of you for your continued support, and for having faith in our selections, and continuing to download our mixes, whether they be from big names or newcomers. massive thanks also goes to, who have hosted all of our mixes and have been big supporters of us from early on. if you ever post ssg mixes elsewhere, please use the link - unlimited, quick downloads, it is the easiest way to get access to our whole archive of mixes. and, of course, none of this would not have been possible without all the artists that contributed mixes. we are constantly overwhelmed with the remarkably high quality of mixes people put together. we ask them to dig deep and deliver something special, and this is almost always what happens. thank you.

mnml ssgs mxs

mx46: levon vincent. what a fantastic way to start 2010. levon dug deep to give us a special mix to bring in the new year.

mx47: oni ayhun. this was a difficult mix to make happened, but we were determined. as soon as we first oni, we had to have him on mnml ssgs. powerful, distinctive sounds. this is what the ssgs love.

mx48: redshape. the picture redshape gave us for this mix was of the inside of his mask. this is most fitting for a very personal and revealing journey. a stunning mix.

mx49: natural/electronic.system. two of our favourite boys from italy returned to give us a second mix, this time encapsulating some of the feelings and inspiration from their performance at labyrinth in 2009.

mx50: peter van hoesen. this has been our most downloaded mix of 2010. there is a good reason from that. inspirational mix from our pvh that brought the 'official' series to a fitting end.

ssg specials

falko brocksieper. falko dropping this mix our way was the spur to start our ssg specials, and what a great way to commence. lovely low slung, grooving mix from a favourite of ours.

claudio fabrianesi. and back to italy we go... we lined this up after hearing his collaboration with dozzy (which came out on mule). quality slow burning house from claudio.

patrick walker. forward strategy group make the kind of techno we like, so it was a real pleasure to host this tight mix from one half of FSG. patrick really knows his techno and it shows here.

eli verveine. we have a massive soft spot for this girl. few DJs manage to convey such warmth in their mixes. a charming effort from one of our favourites.

deer. this live recording from deer has received a lot of excellent feedback throughout the year and introduced his sounds to plenty of new ears. our main complaint is that much of this remains unreleased, hopefully that will be rectified in the future!

DDKH. plenty of people slept on this one because we didn't announce that the DD meant Donato Dozzy. but if you listened to the mix, you should have been able to work out who it was pretty quickly. as is usually the case when dozzy plays, there are some truly transcendental moments in this mix.

finn johannsen. diverse, engaging, strangely cohesive. finn has a great nose for interesting records and always manages to present them in a way that grabs your attention.

kevin gorman. after delivering one of the highlights in the 'official' series, kevin returned with an expertly structured DJ set. starting ambient and slowly building, this one just grows and grows.

october. i remember the first time i listened to this. when it opened with actress, and followed by moodymann, i had the feeling it was going to be a great mix. and it is. quality stuff from october. expecting big things from him in 2011.

june. a new name to us, but after hearing the lovely of june01 EP, we were curious to hear how he'd sound in the mix. and the results were impressive. classic sounds presented with style. if you missed this one because you didn't recognise the name, i'd suggest grabbing it now.

prosumer. we've been huge fans of prosumer for a long time. it was an absolute pleasure to be able to host a mix from him. as always, in this mix he puts a big smile on your face.

john osborn. this mix is really what mnml ssgs is all about. after many emails over a long period of time, i finally met john on the dancefloor of p-bar and he told me he had a special mix for us. and he was right, this one is definitely special. the response to this mix was huge, and we are very happy john shared it with the ssgs.

roger23. roger is just an out and out DJ. he knows his records, and he knows how to play them right. no bullshit here. just quality music presented and shared with care.

kettenkarussell. as the saying goes, good things come to those that wait. in this case, excellent things come to those that wait. it took a while to make this happen, but it was definitely worth it. a delightful effort by this duo. if you passed this one by because you didn't know the name, i'd suggest giving it a listen. it's a real treat.

steffi. in preparation for her debut at labyrinth, we asked steffi to put together a mix for us, and the results were impressive, to say the least... a pretty clear demonstration of why steffi is one of the best DJs around.

mike pollard. a beautiful mixtape of ambient and synth soundscapes from the label boss of arbor records. music for floating and dreaming.

blackest ever black. this is one label that immediately got our attention with its very strong aesthetic and attitude, which is amply conveyed on the mixtape they gave us. arresting music that demands your attention.

delta funktionen. 2010 was a breakout year for delta, and you can hear why listening to this brilliant 3 hour mix. carefully built, adding piece by piece, setting up the night: this is the way to play a warm up set.

sigha. if anyone had any doubt about how to classify sigha, this mix was a very clear demonstration of his techno credentials. this is another person i'm expecting big things from in 2011.

ancient methods. no one can quite do power techno like ancient methods. this mix again demonstrated why they are one of the most compelling voices in techno music today.

the black dog and regis. an absolute honour to host such a special mix from these foundational figures. it also happens to be a brilliant mix.

felix k. the man behind hidden hawaii covers everything across these two mixes from techno, house, dubstep to d & b. both mixes have a very intuitive feel to them. this guy can definitely DJ.

senking. the man responsible for one of our albums of 2010 put together a killer livepa of deepwater techno and bass music. don't miss this.

donato dozzy. what better way to finish a year of mixes than with donato recreating his opening kosmische set from labyrinth. timeless music presented in a way that only dozzy can.

ok, i think that is all of them! add in some lovely sunday sounds mixes, a few poorly mixed efforts from myself and some other treats, and this really has been a big year of music for us here on mnml ssgs... we are still planning for 2011, but you can expect plenty more quality mixes here. i'm sure there will be new mixes from quite a few of the names here, who are part of the ssg family, as well as many fresh names and sounds.

we've already got our first mix lined up for the new year and it's a beauty. until then, we encourage you to go back and enjoy again some of the amazing mixes we've had in 2010. thanks again.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

some of my best labels from 2010

ok, continuing along with my end of year stuff... same deal as the previous lists. this is all pretty subjective and incomplete. when it comes for labels, i am much more interested in quality than quantity. i don't care if a label only had a few releases, if they were very high quality, that's enough for me. also it is my list so it is going to differ a bit from some of the other ones floating about. there is plenty of stuff i just haven't listened to. anyway, here we go:

some of chris' best labels of 2010 (in random order)

raster-noton: i struggle to think of a label that has been consistently as good for such a long period of time as raster-noton. again, in 2010 they continued to push things forward in that unique raster style. senking's 'pong' is clearly one of the best albums of the year, ANBB's album was pretty strong, and the original EP even stronger. the kanding ray EP is top notch too. a lot of people rate the mark fell album, but i can't bring myself to check it. i have never been able to get into SND.

delsin / ann aimee: you gotta love these guys. nothing fancy, no big hype. just quality music on a remarkably regular basis. great EPs from delta funktionen especially, also redshape, brendon moeller, and finishing the year with an excellent remix EP of morphosis. i'll be surprised if they are not on my list again next year.

sandwell district / downwards: not sure whether these two should be separated or put together, but the way i view them SD and downwards are two different arms of basically the same enterprise / collective. the SD album is finally out, and it is an impressive album. earlier in the year there was the 2 part sampler, which was effectively an album in itself. SD are not remaking techno, they are definitely working within established genre structures, but they are pushing and pulling it in some interesting and distinctive ways. meanwhile downwards had the killer EP from sandra electronics (aka regis and silent servant), as well diverse and interesting releases from dva damas and six six seconds.

semantica: the quiet achievers of 2010. as i mentioned, my track of the year is the regis remix of svreca. the instra:mental EP is great, and they've had some quality tracks and remixes from serious names such as ERP, dettmann, silent servant, oscar mulero and claro intellecto. we should have a ssg special from label boss svreca early in 2011, which i am looking forward to!

kontra musik: this is another label that had a very strong year without too many people noticing. they started out with a great remix EP of jason fine, with oni ayhun and ben klock both giving excellent versions. add in one of my tracks of the year from gunnar jonsson, a gorgeous jason fine release and a very interesting effort from kondens. every release kontra had this year was worth picking up. you can't say that about many labels.

something in the sky: jeff mills returned in a big way in 2010 and the stuff he put out on his new sublabel was jeff back at his very best. powerful, spacey techno. millsart baby!

blackest ever black: ok, so they only had 2 releases, and these came out towards the end of the year. but every track across the 2 EPs is remarkably strong. and there are not many releases i've listened to more than these, so that's enough for me.

honest jon's: actress, t++, mvo were the ones i heard and loved. still got a couple of releases from these guys i need to check. hard to argue with the year they had. bold, innovative, interesting: honest jon's are doing it right.

i'll stop there. as i said, this is just my list, so it is missing plenty of labels that had a very good 2010. rush-hour had a very strong year no doubt. but to be blunt, i didn't listen to much of it. the only stuff i got from them - admittedly both excellent - was the virgo rerelease and the gorgeous bnjmn EP (if you can track this down, get yourself a copy). punch drunk put out some great music too, and mathematics had some gems (but they released too much). there were a couple of techno labels that had very solid years (notably T2X). saying that, there are some other labels that i've very consciously excluded. ostgut had a good year, not a great one, while the year r & s had was more hype than substance. also, given the tendency to focus on big labels, i'm surprised fabric hasn't gotten much love, considering some of the releases they've had this year: d-bridge & instra:mental, optimo, surgeon and shackleton. they've been pushing some interesting stuff... 

anyway, please add your picks in the comments. i'd be interested in hearing some smaller / less obvious labels that we might have missed.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

a subjective, incomplete list of my favourite tracks from 2010

reading the various end of year lists that have been appearing over the last month has been an interesting experience. it seems my 2010 was different from plenty of others out there (or perhaps not). i didn't even know that horrible steaming pile of shit 'without you' existed until it appeared number 1 on the RA top tracks. over at LWE kassem mosse's track on laid was their clear choice for track of the year, but i certainly didn't connect with it to the same degree. we've got the vinyl, but it hasn't been played much. meanwhile i've only heard 2 of the tracks that made it into FACT's top 10. those guys are a bit too on it for me. i'll catch up to some of it in a couple of months in my own good time... my favourite tracks are mainly ones i've found and fallen in love with by myself, and what follows is certainly not a 'best tracks of 2010', it is a 'chris' favourite tracks of 2010'. i think they are all awesome, but shit, who the fuck am i to say they are the best, whatever the hell that means in this context. if the RA top 50 showed us anything, it was the limited use of these exercises... nonetheless, if in listing these tracks if you find one or two gems you'd missed, this will have been worthwhile. and from my perspective, at least, the artitsts and labels involved with these tracks deserve recognition for some quality efforts.

please keep in mind that like with my favourite mixes, this list has been shaped heavily by what i've listened to, and listened to the most. there are plenty of other great tracks out there, but if they are not ones i've heard or played heavily, i don't see much point including them here.

chris' favourite tracks of 2010 (in random order)

sandwell district - 'falling the same way': ok, probably you are all going to think i'm a prick for starting off with a track that has only just hit the stores. whatever, it's my list, and this track is one i've been playing on repeat since i got it. function played it right at the beginning of his monumental set at labyrinth this year. when i listen to that, it brings back echoes and memories of that special event.

senking - 'V8': on an album full of highlights, this is the clear winner. what a fucking epic track. music for a party on the ocean floor.

svreca - 'utero' (regis remix): i don't know quite how to describe this track, but there is so much depth and meaning in it. if i had to pick one track from 2010, this would be it. i have listened to this so many times, and it still hits me just as hard.

shackleton - 'bastard spirit' and 'mukuba special': i am glad sam shackleton exists. we need more people like him making electronic music.

mika vainio - 'it's a muthang': this is about as close as i can imagine mika vainio will ever get to being loose and wild. hell, it is even funky. i am looking forward to playing this at our mnml ssgs party.

the panamax project - 'maximum height': wax30003 might have been the one everybody charted in 2010, but that left me cold. this is the one that gets me hot.

space dimension controller 'journey to the core of the unknown sphere': well, 'temporary thrillz' was very appropriately named, as far as i am concerned. i got nothing out of that release. but 'journey...' is a different story. i'm not as sold on SDC as most others seem to be, but this track is clear evidence that the guy has a lot of potential. the build and kick on this are just awesome.

gunnar jonsson - 'morgonånga': i don't have much to say about this track. it is just beautiful. it could keep on going forever.


peter van hoesen - 'irrational x' (slow mix): peter has had another impressive year production-wise. i am not sure this is the best track he has put out in 2010, but it's my favourite, simply because it brings back very strong echoes of his incredible 2009 livepa at labyrinth.

desolate - 'heroic death': special track, special memories.

conforce - 'pretty far from here': i was a bit slow jumping on the conforce train, but i have now well and truly rectified that problem. while it was his 'grace' EP on delsin that put him on the map in 2010, it was this track that i fell for. there is nothing that complicated or new about this. it's just a classic sound executed to perfection.

move d - 'aspiration 2010': in comparison to the last couple of years, 2010 was a much quieter year from move d on the production side of things. but that is just fine by me, because this is the best thing he has done in ages. an absolute gem. move d at his very best.

benjamin brunn - 'my heart': ah, you gotta love benjamin. his music is just so warm and friendly. listening to this track is like a big musical hug.

donato dozzy and claudio fabrianesi - 'fade out': i really love this whole EP. i am not quite sure why it didn't get more attention. slow burners from the italians...

donato dozzy and dj say - 'your eyes': absolute killer. not much more to say (pun intended).

nuel - aquaplano ltd 01 (A2): while i'm talking about the italians, this one definitely needs to be in there too. the techno cuts on this EP are very strong, but it is this ambient one that kills me. beautiful music from a beautiful person. full respect.

martyn featuring spaceape - 'is this insanity?' (ben klock remix): there isn't anything too complicated going on here, it is just an incredibly effective track. this is not normally something i'd like but klock makes it work.

the black dog - 'sleepdeprivation 2': on a great album, this was definitely my favourite track. it's very powerful and atmospheric, and it manages to convey / induce some very ambiguous emotions. delicate, complex and beautiful.

sigha - 'light swells (in a distant place)': gorgeous ambient track. for me this track was a clear indication of sigha maturing as a producer. the title of this track is actually not a bad description of his future, except the 'distant' part! expecting big things from him in 2011.

l.b. dub corp - 'take it down (in dub)': how the hell this EP hasn't been featuring in more EoY lists i have no idea, as both sides of this are totally awesome. what has been rating high is the ostgut label, and again, i don't quite agree with this. they've had a good, but not great, year in my books. this was pretty clearly their strongest release of 2010. what i love about this track is how perfectly it encapsulates berghain itself. this really sounds purpose built for that space.

urban tribe - 'insolitology': urban tribe really had a great 2010. full respect. probably my favourite track of theirs for 2010 was this one, and interesting enough, if you look at the credits of the record it is not produced by the core group in detroit, but a relatively new producer by the name of mariska neerman. i haven't heard much from her besides this (you can check a live recording of her playing at bleep43 here), but this track makes me keen to find out more.

raime - 'we must hunt under the wreckage of many systems': i could have easily included here any of the raime tracks released on blackest ever black, i love them all equally, and both EPs have received heavy play from me. very strong start from this label and these producers. looking forward to see how their trajectory continues in 2011.

forest swords: 'if your girl': again, basically any and all forest swords tracks could be put here, but i'll choose this one. the  way the track develops, and then the drums come in... ah, this one is beautiful. i still don't know what to think of these new sub-genres forest swords is associated with, but i do know this guy is doing something very powerful and special.

ANBB - 'ret marut handshake': the ANBB album was a bit of a disappointment, mainly because we'd already heard all the best tracks on the EP. there are a couple that i really love ('one' is also great), but this is where the combo really works best, creating a strong and powerful feeling of controlled aggression. powerful track.

kanding ray - 'pruitt igoe' (alva noto remodel): the standout on a very strong EP. when carsten nicolai makes more techno orientated music, the results are always special. raster-noton has had another incredible 2010 and the fact that i don't think i've seen them on any top labels lists (except ours, which are forthcoming), shows you just how bullshit and arbitrary such exercises are anyway.

ok, i am sure there are more tracks, but those are the ones i've remembered... going through this list one thing that is clear to me is 2010 has been a great year for music. looking forward to what 2011 holds. other ssgs, please add your lists in the comments!

Thursday, December 23, 2010 ears of flesh and blood. List, list, O, list! (A spectre is haunting the blogosphere – the spectre of a mixed bag called 2010)


Every recent year we get caught in the annual list-making… what is it? A process? A ritual? A submission to a social fact? An inevitability? Sheer-fitting stupidity? Sociological proof that music is mostly about the accumulation and exchange of social capital? Illness-inducing evidence of the indigestibility of the datasea (you cannot drink the ocean), and the necessity, therefore, of trying to make some kind of curated, theraputic sense of the overwhelming number of audible objects available, willy-nilly, on this network of networks? Or just the best excuse imaginable to get (back)on rapidshare and jack some (more) tunes?

Whatever you interpretation, I always approach the season and its task with a heady mixture of fear, loathing and, yes, anticipation: who will be misjudged? Who will be forgotten? Who will be justly lauded? Which ‘trusted websites’ and magazines will get it totally fucking wrong? And how will the overall year, such as it is and was and will be known, be characterized, compiled, remembered, forgotten, archived, recalled (and so on) by the hacks, pundits, shysters, tipsters, opinionators and ‘audiences’ that comprise this weird but, these days, completely indispensable faire-savoire to savoir-faire. Say what you will about the whole she-bang, but just try refusing to even countenance not rating your favourites (and even ranking the rankers...I was tempted), stay online among your padres, and see what happens… you might as well have refused to talk wikileaks these past few weeks…

One important but overlooked aspect of this annual fever of rating and ranking is the way that different formats shape the lists. Think of many sites’ continued commitment to that favourite 90s profitmaking promo tool, the CD DJ mix, or the way that most sites – be they indie, pop or dance – ask for ‘tracks’, instead of EPs. Or the way that 2010 is always about ‘the music of 2010’ (which, of course, we must stop listening to from January 1, 2011). My favourite recording from this year was from 1985, my biggest re-discovery was from 1971, and the compilation that had the biggest impact on me (at least in terms of ear worms) was an arrangement of Elvis Costello singles that I put together myself, all half remembered favourites from the long-distance car trips of my childhood. Yet all this will not be represented on any list – so how representative are they? Or, to put it another way, who and what do the lists represent? As an old bearded man once said: ‘they cannot represent themselves, they must be represented’. It takes making! And that also means doing some absencing and othering... of course, how could it be otherwise, but...

For me in 2010, the best thing of all has been mixtapes, and podcast series that have strayed away from the now now churn-and-burn that gives us this daily our daily chow, in the name of the commute and the desk, and the gym workout (amen). To me this is a case of mp3 really coming into its own, enabling a range of exciting recordings that were heretofore improbable: long recordings, weird combinations, legal grey areas (what would never make it on to a pressed CD) and the true pleasure of discovering fully formed, deep, rich soundworlds about which I knew approximately SFA.

What follows are recordings - this is kind of my understanding of them - that I have listened to and re-listened to, that I loved more than many of the albums that I would have had to list had I listed more than ten. Though judging by some lists, I’d have to say it’s clear most people aren’t listening to said albums very closely, or even (shock, horror) ‘at all’. But I digress before the bitch begins in earnest – see what this listmaking thing does to me? Grr! And here was I just wanting to share some great stuff with you. So, well, here they are, all wonderful, several of my favourite recordings:

Patrick Russell – RA.194

For me this is one of the best groove-based mixes I’ve heard. The feel is excellent, the track selection and programming nearly perfect and the overall effect makes it a keeper. I find this mix almost impossible to get sick of, and keep finding all these new pockets in it. Not only that, but it is also listenable as a kind of mixtape... yeah, just wonderful, this...

Kowton RA.226

I know it’s a weird statement, but here it is (without qualification): very few mixes this year were contemporary. But this is one of them. Perhaps it’s narcissism ¬– given that I love and own most of the tracks – but I just dig this mix to bits. Can’t get enough. Keep going back. And have you listened to Kowton’s EP on Idle Hands? You should. Quality ahoy from this boy in the year to come.

Convextion – live @ Freshweekend, Spain, 4/7/2010

Gerard, like his music, is unique, and each one of his sets, while more or less recombining a set number of motifs, always sounds fresh and interesting. As with the Patrick Russell, I never get sick of listening to this one.

Promomixes – Pure, Edinburgh, 1996 - Patrick Walker has been one of the few coherent, worthwhile series for my ears. There IS a point, it’s not just a churnfest. Important distinction. The series is a genuine education, and a pleasure. This mix reminds me how much fun techno can be, and how much energy and pace it had in the 90s. Weirdly, at that time, I was reading Irvine Welsh, but not yet listening to techno, ever the untimely...

Simon Reynolds – Eldritchtronica and Wyrd Bliss Mixtape

Music hacks come and go – hell, some just won’t piss off – but Simon Reynolds is a special category unto himself and an cherished exception for me. A thinker, and a writer – and a music lover. As this mixtape shows: Reynolds has the love and the knowledge to weave several of 2010’s interesting tropes into his own musical statement about the past decade. And he does. With aplomb. This mixtape is totally addictive, very excellent and, yes, in terms of form, content, format, and so forth – very 2010, very 00s. Yay Pontone, yay Simon.

K-Punk – The Metaphysics of Crackle

A spectre is haunting contemporary electronic music; it is the spectre… of Derrida? Or just hauntology? Yes, apparently so. Don’t worry, K Punk’s audible interpretation of the dead deconstructor’s philosophy is definitely easier than it might be to try to resurrect the good reader with a ouija board, a theremin, and a copy of Dissemination.

Oneohtrix Point Never – FACT mix 162

Daniel Lopatin totally owned it this year, but as beautiful as Returnal is, it’s this mix that I listen to more often. I didn’t know half the artists on here ¬– which, of course, just shows up my narrowness and ignorance for what it is (to wit: narrowness and ignorance) – and the tape treatment works a treat! The track with the Japanese vocal was genius on the shinkansen… For my eyes, Lopatin isn’t that hot, but if I was his prospective partner and he gave me this mixtape, the woo would have been half won. Daniel: buy me dinner, and I'm yours after this...


Each year I listen to a huge amount of mixes. Most get deleted after one or two listens. Some I'll keep listening to. Some I'll really like, but just forget about, or will ignore because they don't fit my work patterns (distracting mixes are a big no no). I've listened to many mixes this year I've enjoyed, for short times I've loved, but the tyranny of an mp3 player with a rather small memory means only a small amount of mixes stay on it permanently, as others come and go, visiting for a week or two, then joining a big pile of mixes on my HD that rarely get revisited. The list of mixes I've put together are ones that have survived each purge, as these are all really essential mixes for me. 

In compiling our lists, PC and I made a clear decision not to include anything from mnml ssgs. Our mixes speak for themselves. Beyond that, I set myself some extra criteria. First, the mix needed to have an immediate impact on me. There are no sleepers here, each one grabbed my attention the first time I heard it. Second, that immediate impact needed to be maintained. All of these mixes have undergone heavy, heavy rotation, and they still sound fresh. As part of selecting my list, I have been relistening to all of them in the last few weeks to confirm my selections. All still sound brilliant. Third, these are mixes that - in one way or another - I connected with, and in most case the emotions they brought out were more complicated than simple enjoyment. Fourth, all of these mixes have had me fist pumping or grinning like an idiot when listening to them in public places. Finally, I decided not to include any livepas, and just limit myself to mainly studio DJ mixes.

I put a lot of thought into this list, and I would strongly encourage you to listen to, or revisit, all of these mixes. And as a final note, there were a number of mixes I considered including, but I didn't because I haven't listened to them enough yet for them to be 'eligible' (notably: Optimo's 'Creatures of the Night', TVO's 'BrokenRoots', and Surgeon's 'Peter Christopherson Tribute'). Thanks to all the artists involved for helping to soundtrack my 2010.

DJ Pete - Wax Treatment 06 (DL)

This is pure body music. It doesn't hit me in the head or heart, it hits me right in the stomach. I cannot think of any mix that has made me do more stupid fist pumping this year. I still remember getting some very bad looks when I was rocking hard to it at my old supermarket in Wales... I really don't have anything profound to say about this mix, Pete just kills it, that simple.

Hieroglyphic Being - Mix at RTS.FM Chicago

When I was young I used to watch a cartoon called 'The Mysterious Cities of Gold' (太陽の子エステバン). It was totally awesome. I kind of imagine that this is where Jamal Moss comes from. What I love about his music is how incredibly unique and otherworldly it sounds: futuristic house music from the past. Not that this description makes sense... No one really quite sounds like Jamal. Amidst the constant deluge of similar sounding mixes, this sounds so incredibly distinctive and individual.

Kirk Degiorgio - Bleep43 Show 168 (DL)

2010 was another big year of travel for me. Hopefuly my last for a while. I really don't know how DJs manage... Well, one way I survived was by having regular 'go to' music when on the move. And Kirk provided my soundtrack for keeping me sane in and around airports. Not an easy task, but the fact that this mix even made me smile at an airport should give you an idea how good it is. Perhaps it is because the mix has such a fluid feeling to it, I've always associated it with movement and travel. The mix has a beautiful cohesion to it, the groove just keeps ticking over at the right pace. A real treat.

Matthew Hawtin - Once Again, Again (extended version)

Sorry guys, this is the one mix on this list that you actually have to pay for. But I promise you it is worth it. The CD version of this simply doesn't work. A normal CD is not long enough to let these records breathe, and at the end of listening you can't help but feel a bit disappointed. The extended 3 hour version that you can buy digitally is a different story, however. Here all the tracks get the space they need, and the difference it makes it huge. Deep 90s ambient in all its glory. I adore this mix. And just as Kirk Degiorgio's mix was the one I always turned to when in airports, this is what I would put on once that had finished and I was on the plane. Flying in the air, floating in deep space. The combo worked.

Ercolino - Process Part 199 (DL)

This year I heard so many techno mixes that all sounded so same-ish: Ben Klock remix, Sandwell District track, something from Ostgut, a Luke Slater or James Ruskin number, Shed, something from Prologue and/or SA, Dettmann, PvH, repeat. These just bored the fuck out of me. Mixing together a bunch of big, obvious techno tracks really isn't very special or interesting. If I am honest, when I tuned into this mix from Ercolino, that is basically what I was expecting: another rather dull, predictable effort. How wrong I was. In the middle part of the mix it certainly has the kind of techno sound that defined 2010, but the way the mix is structured and packaged as a whole is where it differs and distinguishes itself. It is techno presented in a very personal and direct way, and this put it well above most other mixes I heard.

ASC - RA233 (320kbps DL)

I never really liked drum and bass at all. The Autonomic sound passed me by for most of the year. I'd never heard of ASC until the description for his 'Nothing is Certain' album caught my eye. I was going to buy it, then forgot all about it until the RA 'cast. So I can make no claim to really knowing shit about ASC, this sound or anything related to it. I just know that this mix totally owns. Rarely do I obsess over a mix the way I did with this. This might even be my most listened to mix of the year. For me, it is about as close to perfect as you can ask for. The mix has an amazing balance and structure to, with ASC pushing and pulling at all the right moments. Mixes like this remind me why I love electronic music.

Shed - FACT Mix 116 (DL)

Shed is getting plenty of praise right now in many end of year lists, but I am not convinced he quite deserves all of it. For much of 2010 it felt like he was almost in cruise control. The problem is Shed not putting in 100% is still better than most, but too many of his productions this year just felt like he hadn't put everything he could into them. One moment, though, when I felt Shed's brilliance really shined was with his mix for FACT. For all his abilities as producer, shit, this guy can also seriously DJ. When he drops Aphex Twin's monster rave classic 'Digeridoo', fuck, that is absolutely insane. The perfect reminder of what he is capable of.

Terre Thaemlitz aka DJ Sprinkles - RA188 (DL)

As with many of the other artists here, Terre walks his own path, and that's why we love him so much. Some DJs might sound like Terre, yet no one sounds quite like Terre. He has such a strong vision and distinct voice that filters not only through his productions, but through his DJ mixes, and that is what you find here on this mix. I have no idea how the fuck he manages to transition from Depeche Mode to Faye Wong AND make it work, but he does. And that's why Terre is so awesome.

Peter van Hoesen - Promomix 006

One of the more depressing things about 2010 was the constant flood of mixes, with at least one new podcast series arriving almost every week. Add in soundcloud,, twitter and so on, and there is a nonstop torrent of mixes. What really frustrated the hell out of me is how lacking in vision most of these podcasts were, being reduced to nothing more than cheap promo tools (for the artist, site, label and promo agency). But there were 2 new series that really stood out from the deluge and provided some consistently high quality, thoughtful and worthwhile mixes. The first is Graphite North's 'Unseen Selectors' (my pick of their mixes is definitely 04), which has tracklists without the DJ being named. Not only are the mixes great, so is the concept, though I wish they would later reveal the name of the DJ! The second series is Promomixes. An inspired concept has really led to some inspired mixes. There are a few misfires, but most have been real gems; perfectly combining memories, education and fun. Unsurprisingly, my favourite mix came from one of my favourite people: PvH. What I love about this mix is how he revisits and shares a very formative period in his life, but does it in a way that makes it feel like more than a historical document, he brings out the energy, vigor and emotion of these tracks to their fullest. And like with many of the mixes here, I associate it with a certain time, place and feeling in 2010, and that is one of the main reasons it is so important to me. Kudos to PvH and everyone else involved in both of these series. We need more of this and less of the dross.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Donato Dozzy Kosmische mix tracklist

Here's the tracklist for Dozzy's Kosmische mix, which gives a good idea of how carefully it was composed. Thanks again to Donato and Russ for this.

Ssg Special: Donato Dozzy Kosmische Labyrinth mix

1)    00-37”  sample from Mikrophonie 1 by KarlHeinz Stockhausen (CBS 1965)
2)    37”- 2,37  The Marilyn Monroe-memorial-church by Amon Duul II (from the album “Dance of the Lemmings”-United Artists Records 1971)
3)    2,37- 7,00 Satz Exil Sils Maria by Klaus Schulze (from the album “Irrlicht” – Brain 1972)
4)    7,00- 11,25 Jahresuberblick by Neu! (from the album “Neu!” Brain 1972)
5)    11,25- 16,10 Meditation 1 by Laraaji (from the album “Day of Radiance”, number 3 in the “Ambient” series/prod Brian Eno E.G. rec 1980).    it plays together with a loop from Panorphelia, from the album “Aqua”. Prod by Edgar Froese, Virgin 1974
6)    16,10- 17,33 overture from KlingKlang by Kraftwerk (from the album Kometenmelodie 2, Philips 1973)
7)    17,33- 21,10 Oleo Strut by Mother Mallard’s Portable Masterpiece Co. (from the album “Like a Duck to Water”, Earthquack Rec 1976).
8)    21,10- 29,05 Music for 18 Musicians (movements 9-10) by Steve Reich (ECM Rec 1978). Before the end of movement 10, the previous track shows up again and introduces the next one.
9)    29,05- 31,00 Betrachtung by Roedelius  (from the album “Lustwandel”, Sky 1981)
10) 31,00- 36,18 Kyrie by Popol Vuh (from the album “Hosianna Mantra”, originally released on Pilz in 1972). This version is coming from a Celestial Harmonies repress, 1981
11)  36,18- 51,40 Rubycon Part 1 by Tangerine Dream (from the album “Rubycon”, Virgin 1975). The track slowly fades out accompained by a drum loop taken from “Mad Puppet”, performed by Goblin (from the album “Profondo Rosso”, Cinevox 1975).
12) 51,40- 61,02 Sehr Kosmisch by Harmonia (from the album “Musik Von Harmonia”, Brain 1974)
13) 61,02- 64,00-  reprise from “Satz Exil Sils Maria” by Klaus Schulze, it plays together with “One More Day” by Can ( from the album “Out of Reach”, Harvest 1978) and the looped overture of the following track.
14) 64,00- 71,10 Heiße Lippen (edit) by Cluster (from the album “Zuckerzeit”, Brain,1974)
15) 71,10- 72,20  Traummaschine by Ash Ra Tempel (from the album “Ash Ra Tempel” originally released in 1971 by Ohr, this is a re-press from Spalax Music 2004), plays together with D.I.S., performed by Soft Machine (from the album “Seven”, CBS 1973)
16) 72,20- 79,26 Tanzmusic by Kraftwerk (from the album “Kometenmelodie 2”, Philips 1973)
17) 79,26- 82,37  Radio Stars by Kraftwerk (from the album “Radio-Activity”, Capitol Records 1975)
18) 82,37- end       “Transparent Radiation” by Spacemen 3 (from the album “The Perfect Prescription”,  Fire Records, 1989)

Monday, December 20, 2010

yuka - sunday sounds tracklist

really happy with the fantastic response we've received to yuka's lovely sunday mix. her downbeats have been very popular. not surprising, it is a great mix... what i love about yuka's sound is that there is something unassuming about it - there is a real warmth that lures you in, rather than imposing itself. anyway, here is the tracklist:

yuka - sunday sounds mix

 1. COLLEEN - past the long black land / LEAF
2. TIED+TICKLED TRIO - other voices other rooms / Morr Music
3. DASHA RUSH - paris spring / H2C
4. TIED+TICKLED TRIO - a rocket debris cloud drifts / LEAF 
6. DASHA RUSH - little death / H2C
7. DASHA RUSH - 64 dreams /H2C
8. ROSSELLA - logistic intelligence / E.R.LTD
11.SALZ - running miror (salz dub mx) / TELRAE
more info on yuka at her RA DJ page, and a few more mixes from on her soundcloud.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Ssg Special: Donato Dozzy Kosmische Labyrinth mix

'Since this was to to be the tenth Labyrinth, I wanted to open the event with a set that had historic significance. The idea of showcasing Kosmische music (more commonly known as Krautrock) seemed an obvious choice.

I'm not very informed of this critical period, but the story of this music that so desperately tried to escape the oppressive gravity of German post-war legacies and Western rock's influence is fascinating to me. Even with casual listening, it's pretty easy to trace so much of modern electronic music back to those early pioneers, such as Tangerine Dream, Amon Düül II, Faust, Popol Vuh, Can, Cluster, and others. There are few periods where you can point to such an explosion of original, revolutionary, and mind-bending music.

So I started thinking about who would be a good DJ to book to present a Kosmische set that would reference the history of that music while pointing towards the sounds of today, towards that weekend's showcase of techno. Then I realized I already had one.

When I was in Italy earlier in the year for Donato Dozzy's wedding, I saw in his apartment a huge collection of vinyl covering these legends. After I asked him if he would be interested in playing a Kosmische set, he enthusiastically started pulling records off the shelves, saying "This one has to come, and this one, and this one!" On the couch quickly grew a stack of spirits who were to join us.

What I thought was a casual request to spin a few old dusty records turned into a bit of an obsession for Dozzy. To create something that really matched his vision of the Labyrinth sound, he went in the studio and created edits of all the tracks he wanted to play. Meanwhile I was building a timetable that would have him start the festival at exactly the same time that he would bring the cycle to an end two days later.

For that opening set, we were lucky that night to have a beautiful moon in the sky and a poetic atmosphere on the floor. And what we're lucky to have here is a studio mix that re-creates the opening set Dozzy played, which he has prepared to share with all of us. I think it's beautiful and profound, the kind of recording you want to save and listen to years down the road...


--Russ, "The Labyrinth"

Ssg Special: Donato Dozzy Kosmische Labyrinth mix

There is a tracklist for this, which we will put up next week. For now, Dozzy just wants to say that the final track in the mix is a tribute to a band that were not strictly part of the Kosmische period, but for him perfectly embody its spirit.

If you want to find out more about Kosmische, I'd strongly recommend starting with two recent documentaries: 'Krautrock: The Rebirth of Germany' and 'Kraftwerk and the Electronic Revolution'. For more info on Dozzy, check his RA DJ page, and for bookings, he is now with Prologue Booking. Thanks to Donato and Russ for this. We are very happy and proud to be able to share this with you all. Consider it an early Christmas present...

Sunday, December 12, 2010

sunday sounds - yuka

quite a few people have been asking about why there haven't been more sunday sounds recently... one of the main reasons is simply that it can be difficult getting the right kind of mixes that are perfectly geared for a sunday; something that works whether you are relaxing, hungover, studying, preparing for the next week, whatever. relaxed, downbeat, but yes, still having that beat there ticking over helps... this new mix from yuka definitely fulfills all of those criteria... lovely deep beats for a sunday.

that'll do for an introduction. put it on, relax, enjoy your day. and if you missed it, make sure you get yuka's mnml ssgs mx28, it's a killer.

yuka - sunday sounds mix

for more info & other links, check yuka's DJ page on RA. big thanks to yuka for sharing this mix with the ssgs.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

ssg special - senking

it is again that time when 'best of' lists are appearing, and everyone is weighing in on the high points of 2010. we are still finalising our selections, but both PC and i are firmly in agreement that senking's 'pong' will definitely be in our top 10 albums, and raster-noton will once again be in our top 10 labels. given this, we are truly delighted that this week's ssg special is a live set from senking.

i've been trying to work out how best to introduce this recording, and i'm really not sure how, as PC's excellent set of reflections on 'pong' are equally appropriate here. what PC highlights so well is the unique combination you find: 'a perfectly contemporary interpellation of 90s d&b tropes, but ... with the kind of sound design that has made raster-noton the home of some of the advanced music of the past ten years.' the result is utterly compelling. there is something incredibly epic and powerful in senking's music, and i think this is where the reference to deep sea diving really makes sense... this isn't supposed to be an easy way of saying the music is 'deep', because that isn't what i'm getting at - listening to this you are heading for the ocean floor, music for underwater exploring. enough talking, here you go. electronic depth charges from the mighty senking:

ssg special live set - senking

special thanks to jens for creating this stunning recording for us. given his long and impressive discography, we are especially proud to be featuring what i think might be his first online recording. thanks also to janet and remco, and markus at r-n who all helped in setting this one up. for more info on senking, including booking, check raster-noton. now put on your diving suit, and go under with this set from senking.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

tokyo party update

taken from where next?

just a quick post about some good parties coming up in tokyo over the next month or so. NYE is looking surprisingly quiet, but that's fine, as there are some other cool events happening.

first up, tonight (tues 7th) stewart walker is making a surprise appearance at dommune. nice one. walker is someone who i've been wanting to see since the late 90s, but i have always missed. glad that will finally be rectified! if you want to come tonight, you can register here, otherwise tune in at 9PM japan time. and on friday night jack sparrow is playing the next basement ltd. party at module, which should be interesting.

this weekend also sees the return of a good friend of the ssgs, mike parker, who is playing at the next mariana party on saturday 11th at warehouse702. along side him will be two other ssg favourites, iori and c_olvrin. i'm really looking forward to this. i was lucky enough to see mike play a private party earlier this year, and it was one of the best sets of techno i have heard in 2010. it had his usual driving intensity, but it was deeper and trippier than what i had previously heard from him. very excited to see what he comes up with this weekend... mariana has big december planned, as they are also bringing ben klock to play christmas night, again at warehouse702. full info on both the mariana parties here.

but the one to get really excited for is 8th january... mindgames, the crew behind labyrinth, are bringing sandwell district to tokyo. regis and function at unit, all night long. it is very rare for mindgames to do a club party (the last one was a few years ago), so this is definitely something to put in your diaries. quality sound and production is guaranteed, and with sandwell district on board, you can be assured there will be a night of awesome music. super excited for this. it has been a while since regis was last here, and this will be the debut of sandwell district in japan. good timing too, as their new album feed forward is finally about to drop. some details here and we'll have more info closer to the night.

the sandwell district party should kick off a strong january in tokyo (including some nice looking gigs at eleven), and we are now looking at organising the first MNML SSGS party here in tokyo for 2011... so plenty to look forward to!

Monday, December 6, 2010

mnml ssgs' xms ssg szl!

About a year ago, Melbourne-based readers began getting in contact with Chris and I, asking if there'd be any ssgs-related events in the future. Well, finally things have come together fortuitously at the Melbourne end of things.

What I've put together is a kind of two speed evening. Earlier on, we're going to be having a sausage sizzle (will sort some vegetarian options), while Dave Slutzkin, Joshua Meggitt and I will play a broad selection of music, ranging between contemporary classical, electronica new an old, key selections of 2010, which house (who can say?), and some ssg-related favourites. I'm really hoping that people with kids, husbands, wives, partners, pets, gimps or whoever else keeps 'em in the bosom of the oikos will come down earlier. The music won't be too loud and it shouldn't be too crowded, so kids should be okay too.

Later on, Loose Joints' residents Tig and Blake (Two Bright Lakes) will turn on their regular selection, twisted into ssg-shaped forms. I might train wreck a few deeper house and techno records, if I'm not too drunk already (actually, the danger is that I'll play anyway). Then, finally, Not Happy Jan is coming in to play a special set of Chicago and early 90s NY house to tie a bumping bow on everything.

Entry is free all evening, ssgs by negotiation (which means I'm still working those details out), the sound system is reasonable and the espresso martinis are second to none.

Among other things, 2010 taught me that this blog is real. The effects are diffuse, but they're there, and all the people I've had the pleasure of meeting in real life through ssgs have been lovely. This should be a good chance for you to get a good sense of that. Or that's what we hope. In any case, if you're in Melbourne, pencil it in, hope to see you on Saturday the 18th.


Thursday, December 2, 2010

Ssg Special - Felix K/Hidden Hawaii

Some mixes are simply better than others. I can’t figure out which one is which here, because each is better than the other… both sound as supple as if Felix just pulled record after record out of his box and followed the flow of his own mixed thoughts - effortless. It just so happens that the mixing is also super tight, and the programming is perfect. Labels are for jam jars, tracklists are for trainspotters, good mixes are for keeps – and these are keepers.

Felix has been around for a long time, but came to our attention only earlier this year, via the anonymous 1-sided QNS series, which you can check out here, here, here and here. Basically, Felix is in the midst of the manufacture of some very advanced music.

Felix K (Hidden Hawaii) - Ssg Special Mix pt1

Felix K (Hidden Hawaii) - Ssg Special Mix pt2

More info: Felix K / Hidden Hawaii