Sunday, February 27, 2011

Sunday Sounds - Tin Man presents Vienna Blue

A very special Sunday Sounds for you this week, care of the one and only Tin Man...

It seems one of the most difficult things for an artist to do is develop a distinctive voice, a sound that is unmistakably their own. One producer that has most definitely managed to achieve this is Tin Man. What is interesting is that he does this less through the instruments he uses, or the way the music is composed, but by really putting some of himself into his productions. In a recent interview on RA, Johannes explains why he chose the name Tin Man: "The ambition of Tin Man is to become more human, to find a heart. That's a lovely metaphor for making music—taking bits and pieces and putting them together and also always be tied back to the human condition and the condition of having a heart." That makes sense; there is something very personal and intimate to Tin Man's music. Listening to Tin Man, you sometimes feel like you are listening to someone's musical diary.

For this Sunday, Tin Man has very kindly shared with us a mix of songs from a new project he is working on:

"These are all songs I am working on now for a record called 'Vienna Blue', which is a winter record featuring cello, violin, and clarinet as well as physical modeling synthesis.  A moody narrative record playing with a variety of classical motifs. Hopefully fitting to any winter train journeys your listeners might take."


2011 looks like a busy year for Tin Man. Following on from his 'Acid Test 01' on Absurd, he has an album coming out on Salon Records called 'Perfume', which is accompanied by a single featuring a Tobias remix.  Tin Man also has remixes for Hitsafe on Shaddock, and for Giorgio Gigli and Obtane on Zooloft. He is playing in at the Unsound Festival in New York on 9 April at the Bunker. There will also be gigs in LA and the West Coast, so keep an eye on the Tin Man homepage for more info.

Big thanks to Oliver at Absurd and Donato for making the mix happen, and to Johannes for this gorgeous mix. We have been long term fans of Tin Man and we really are so excited to be able to share this with you all. Have a good Sunday...

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Chatting with Kirk Degiorgio

Kirk Degiorgio is someone who really doesn't need much of an introduction - he has been making and DJ'ing music for the last couple of decades, and remains an important voice in contemporary techno music. He is also someone who is clearly reflective and thoughtful about his craft and the larger scene he operates in. So we are very happy that Kirk made time to answer a big pile of questions we sent his way. I must admit, I always kind of thought this press shot of Kirk Degiorgio made him look like a bad guy from a James Bond film, but as you will see in this in-depth interview he is a nice person who has no (announced) plans of taking over the world.

SSGS: You might be sick of talking about it, but do you want to comment at all on the vinyl – digital DJ’ing debate?

Kirk: Most of the talk is spent shooting down myths and ill-informed opinions of a few vinyl-devotees. My point of view can be summed up very simply. As a DJ – you’ve either got ‘it” or you ain’t. Whether you use decks, CDJ’s, Traktor, Ableton, Serato, etc.

I love hearing a great set, no matter how the person is delivering it.

Whether it’s Mancuso playing tracks one after the other, in their entirety just using a single deck or Surgeon layering multiple tracks in Ableton – if they are moving the crowd with the music, telling a story, taking them on a journey in a creative manner then I’m all for it.

My preferred method has been Ableton Live for modern music forms, such as techno & house – but if I’m booked to play soul, funk, disco, boogie, I’ll use CD-J’s.

My reasons for each are: I’ve been DJing since the age of fifteen: spinning electro at breakdance contests to lugging boxes of vinyl around the world. Around 2001 I was getting frustrated with CD-J’s. It was at that stage where burning your own edits/masters was financially viable – but sometimes CD-R’s would skip or refuse to load.

Then came Ableton – and it all sort of clicked. This went ‘beyond’ the segue-ing concept of traditional two-deck mixing and after trying it out at a few gigs I got over the weirdness of not having the reassuring feel of vinyl and the confusion of a few onlookers.

Recently I played Berghain with Samuli Kemppi and he mentioned that he was in the crowd in Helsinki when I played one of my earliest Ableton sets. He said there was much talk afterwards because I was not using vinyl or CDs or even using headphones for some of the time. I was a real pioneer in this case. This was before Sasha or Richie Hawtin began publicizing Ableton for DJing, but I persevered because what I was able to do went beyond what was physically possible with vinyl or CD’s.

Nowadays it’s commonplace for laptops to be used – mostly I would say using either Traktor or Serato – which I think is great, because it keeps the art of beat-matching alive which is a fun, musically useful skill to learn. Ableton is very much different – a lot more difficult in my opinion. It’s so customizable, powerful and open-ended. I liken it to something like a powerful compressor or EQ – if you have the skill, it will help you attain the highest quality results – but in the wrongs hands it can end up being a route to disaster.

SSGS: I’ve noticed on twitter you’ve started providing a production tip each week. What is the motivation behind this? How has your approach to production developed over the years?

Kirk: Whether as a collector of rare records, a DJ or a producer – I think it’s important to share information with others. It helps form a dialogue and that feedback can often be helpful to me also. I don’t exactly walk people through techniques, I just provide a general tip that has proved useful to me – and hopefully both young and experienced producers will gain some insight and in turn share it around.

I was lucky to have Derrick May, B12 and the guys from The Black Dog to introduce me to various production techniques when I started out. They provided a starting point and I set about self-learning – and still do.

Another reason is to support the various hardware and software manufacturers making great equipment. If I know of something interesting on the market I like to recommend it to others rather than keep it secret… sometimes.

SSGS: The ART label has been pretty active since you restarted it a few years ago. Are you happy with how it has been developing? What are you trying to achieve with the label? Where is ART heading?

Kirk: ART has had a strange, disjointed history. It’s been so tied to my personal and professional life that it’s never had a particularly stable or prolific period - and that in turn has meant its profile has never been as strong as it could have been. Especially considering the artists the label has worked with; The Black Dog, Plaid, Aphex Twin, B12, Carl Craig, Stasis, Photek, Gerd, etc.

The label was hitting a peak in 95 when my career pretty much took a turn towards major label production and work composing for TV commercials. Due to sheer workload the label ceased almost overnight. 

I did manage to start a sub-label called ‘Op-ART’ which lasted a year or so – the name changed slightly to reflect the more diverse material which included drum n bass, downtempo breaks, etc. But once again, I had to put it to one side as I got signed by Universal and I didn’t trust either ART or Op-ART to any other A&R person.

My work with major labels continued up until New Religion ceased to operate as a subsidiary of EMI in 2006. The seeds for ART to start again were sown with the ART/New Religion collaboration: ‘The Electric Institute’. It was a great release, but suffered from poor promotion from EMI’s marketing team. But it garnered enough interest on the underground for me to approach Rubadub Distribution regarding a relaunch, and we started in earnest in 2009.

I do still have my mainstream pop project The Beauty Room to take care of, but now that is complete I’m determined for ART to have a long period of regular releases and a much higher profile than ever before. I still want it to be a label that identifies and works with great producers early in their careers – as I did with The Black Dog, Aphex, Carl Craig and Photek – and I think with The Third Man (Toby Leeming) and Deep Space Orchestra I have achieved that A&R goal again.

Rather than 8 releases in 4 years, it will be more like a release every 3-4 weeks from now on. The challenge is to keep the quality level of the releases to the levels expected from ART.


SSGS: Can you tell us a bit about the new Machine night you are starting with Ben Sims? What is the custom rig you are using? Why the emphasis solely on new and unreleased techno? What do you hope to achieve with the night? 

Kirk: Machine is a quarterly club night based in London, which we also plan to bring to other cities around the world. The concept is to get all DJ’s to play upfront and forthcoming Techno exclusively.

All too often Techno nights can be a bit of an excursion into nostalgia – and although I do love many of the classic tracks, I personally have little interest in hearing Strings Of Life, Good Life, The Bells, I Feel Love, etc - for the millionth time.

The rig will be a combination of Funktion One and Turbosound. I think Function One has the smoothest, clearest top end of any system I’ve heard. It would be hard to choose between the setup at Cielo or Berghain for the best system I’ve played on recently – both Funktion One rigs.

I hope Machine becomes a regular feature of the Techno scene. A place where guest DJ’s do not have to feel obliged to play familiar tracks to get appreciation from the crowd. My favourite clubs over the years have always been ones supporting new music; like the early Techno clubs such as Rage, Lost, Speed for Drum’n’Bass, Co-Op for Broken Beat, FWD for dubstep, etc.

SSGS: What do you think the contemporary techno scene in London / UK is like?

Kirk: It’s difficult to tell being away myself most weekends, but if I do have a weekend at home I will usually check out Fabric. They consistently have interesting line-up’s – a mixture of familiar names and more underground. It’s a very European crowd too and perhaps less cynical/jaded than big London club crowds tend to be.

SSGS: What feelings / emotions / expressions / thoughts do you try to convey through the music you produce and play?

Kirk: Everything. I really like to go on a journey – as clichéd as that may be. From dark to uplifting, increasing and decreasing in tempo subtly over time, minimal locked grooves to melodic, etc.

When I DJ, I surprise a lot people hearing me for the first time, because I’ve always essentially been a true ‘party’ DJ. My style is always to make people dance. I’m not a DJ who aims to the chin-stroking obscurants.

This happened recently at Trouw, when I was invited by Erwin Van Moll – who I’ve known professionally for years as Max 404 and now TJ Kong – and Nuno Dos Santos, to play at their album launch. The crowd loved my set – which always happens – but Erwin and a few others were quite shocked.

Maybe they expected something more melodic, maybe less energetic/pounding – but that’s the way I’ve always played. The music I make has elements of soul, funk and jazz in it’s harmonic content – but these influences aren’t exclusive of intensity.

Funk is raw and hard-hitting, Disco can be relentless as well as uplifting. When I get booked to play a pure Disco set - at Melting Pot in Glasgow for example – I play with intensity; pure emotion and rhythm together, track after track. The same if I’m playing rare-groove, soul or funk.

Jazz can also be intense. I was fortunate to be able to go to clubs like The Goldmine and Flicks when I was very young – and later on Dingwalls. The jazz dance tracks they played have ridiculous energy – ‘Expansions’, ‘Sweet Power, Your Embrace’, ‘Mother Of The Future’, etc. Smooth it ain’t!

All these black music genres influence both my production style and my DJ style.

SSGS: What colour is your music? 

Kirk: Black. 

SSGS: You’ve been making music for a long time now, what have been the biggest transformations for you (both in your own work, and in the work of others around you)? 

Kirk: Producing and co-writing for my mainstream band The Beauty Room was the biggest transformation for me, without a doubt. I had always wanted to work with a ‘real’ band and write ‘real’ songs. Because of my background in black music, I thought it would be predictable and corny to go in a ‘faux or neo-soul’ direction. So, I went for something different, based around complex harmony, but with a more ambiguous soulful sound. Most fans say we sound like Steely Dan – which is incredibly flattering and humbling. Along with Joni Mitchell, they represent the pinnacle of musical achievement for me. 

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

Kirk: I can only assume most of my music is defined by a combination of musical influences and non-musical inspiration – which can be anything, from reading fiction, watching movies or a new piece of music technology or recording equipment.

I also think the fact that I’m completely self-taught and cannot play any instruments, yet have a good understanding of harmony and rhythmic structure defines my music to a large extent. 

SSGS: How open is ‘techno’/electronic music? Are its creative possibilities limited or still open? Are there any dimensions that you feel constrained by? 

Kirk: I personally don’t feel constrained by anything when it comes to electronic music. Techno is a narrower definition and to me that signifies a certain ‘futuristic’ element. Which is ironic being that the classic instruments associated with ‘Techno’ are all 30 yrs old now. 

SSGS: Is equipment important? What equipment is important (if any)?

Kirk: For techno, no. Categorically not. Personally I find equipment inspiring, but if you have talent – all you need are the very basics – such as a sampling workstation, or Garageband, Fruity Loops, whatever. Too much equipment can be a hindrance. There is virtually no EQ or compression on any of my early tracks – they are basically straight through a flat mixer onto a 2 track reel-to-reel and later DAT.

For a vocal or acoustic project, a decent mic and room is important perhaps.

SSGS: How do you think electronic music relates to larger social and political issues? Do you see them as being connected? If so, how? Does this shape the way you interact and present music?

Kirk: Some tracks relate to the social issue of drugs – more so in the late-eighties, early nineties; some in actual reference such as Joey Beltram’s ‘Ecstasy’, but perhaps more so in the general druggy feel of a lot of tracks. Bland ‘peace and love’ vomit-inducing house tracks aside, I don’t see much evidence of socio-political issues being explored in electronic music these days.

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

Kirk: That most people have shit taste. It’s a fact of life that the DJ’s at the top of all the Best DJ polls are always the worst because that’s what the majority of people like. My career has been possible because of a sizeable minority.

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

Kirk: People take kindness for weakness.

SSGS: Who/what do you think your ‘sound’ is? How do you describe what you do to people who have no background/understanding in electronic music (like your grandmother)?

Kirk: Because my productions range from hard techno to acoustic balladry I usually change the subject very quickly when somebody asks me to describe what I do. My parents are still waiting for me to get ‘a proper job’.

SSGS: What excites you about electronic music at the moment? And what frustrates you?

Kirk: Both these questions can be addressed by Machine. New music excites me. Predictable, tired old classics in Techno sets frustrate me. It’s lazy, insulting and patronizing. Digital DJ technology also excites me greatly as it becomes more established and more DJ’s push the envelope and really get to grips with it, rather than it just becoming a tool of convenience or a short cut to perfectly synced sets.

SSGS: Who inspires you? What inspires you?

Kirk: Literature, movies, art, music, traveling, history, people, astronomy, astro and theoretical-physics. I’m a culture-head. I was recently inspired by the history of the Spartans (resulting in a forthcoming track ‘Sparta’), a trip to Pompeii (culminating in the track ‘Vesuvio’), my track ‘Asa Nisi Masa’ was inspired by Fellini’s 8 ½, many of track titles are about astronomy or physics.

I get inspired by fellow artists. Carl Craig and Mad Mike in particular are two guys you can’t help but get inspired by being around. My son influences me all the time. He is eight years old and is at the high-functioning end of the autistic spectrum. He is like myself x1000 with his attention to detail and other abilities. The way he thinks and views the world from a completely different angle is a constant source of inspiration.

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

Kirk: I love music. Simple, It’s all I’ve ever known since my aunt gave me her funk & soul 7” collection when I was eleven years old. Everyday I discover new music – whether old or new that excites me and keeps me interested. Also, music technology always keeps me motivated. Digital DJing and production is making huge strides on a weekly basis it seems. With the internet there is always something of interest to keep me motivated for many years to come.

SSGS: Do you feel you’ve made a contribution to electronic music? If so, what?

Kirk: I sometimes get delusions of grandeur that my work as an artist, label and DJ somehow is responsible for driving the whole scene, despite my name having less of a profile than others. Seriously. I like to think ART keeps everybody on their toes and sets a benchmark for other labels. My pioneering efforts in digital DJing changed the whole game and whilst others get the headlines – it’s my first fumblings that made it all possible. I believe everybody hangs on every word of my Twitter and Facebook posts. My charts influence sales on a huge level and can make or break a career.

Like I said ‘delusions of grandeur’. :-)

SSGS: What’s something that people often ask you about you and your music (that you find unexpected or strange)?

Kirk: “Do you take drugs in the studio?”

SSGS: What’s something that people never ask or notice about you and your work (that you wish they would)?

Kirk: That I sing lead vocals on one of the tracks on The Beauty Room album.

SSGS: What do you wish for the year ahead?

Kirk: To get out to even more countries where my style of DJing has not really been experienced and return to all the places where it has. For ART to maintain it’s current prolific release schedule and finally, to make my first audio-visual work.

Rather than re-score an existing movie as others have done, I plan to shoot my own movie. I do everything on my Techno productions – I don’t use a mix engineer – and it will be the same for this movie project. I will be filming, editing and scoring it.

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

Kirk: I would sing and play drums.

SSGS: What is important to you in life?

Kirk: Family, friends, health, knowledge and my hearing.


Big thanks to Kirk for taking the time to answer all our questions. For more on Kirk Degiorgio, check his RA page, soundcloud, blog and twitter. The first Machine party is happening in London this Friday 25 February. For more info check the Machine page and the RA event listing

Me?! Again?!?! - PC meets DS for another excavation of the future

It's that time again: Dave of To-and-Fro extended his largesse to a brutha ssg once again. Had he forgotten about last time?! Well anyway, this time I feel like I was struggling with sie Englisch languwich on a number of levels - but I am Australian, so perhaps this is just expected by all you peepz, folks and lad(d)ies out there in ssglnd (whereverthefuckthatis).

Theme this time was: lost; an attempted setup that wasn't properly set up, by way of some microhouse greats, a short Isolée 'anthology' of sorts - the new album is definitely worth a close and persistent listen, by the way, it's well subtle; and a bit of a shack attack. On the matter of Shackleton I am increasingly tempted by hyperbolic statements such as: greatest contemporary producer.... but I would never succumb to such loose shayings, Shimon... schtill, when I shee the towers fall...

To and Fro is one of the best ways for people of all jurisdictions to keep up with interesting releases new and recent; the perverse among you could also use it to perfect your Melbourne accents (useful for confounding your enemies and wooing Antipodeans and any odd others with an Oz fetish). In any case, the link is here; the tracklist is here, and you can subscribe to the 'fro podcast here.

As always, I'm interested to pick up on some of the threads covered in the on-air discussion via the comments section, so please dig in, dig it, have a dig, let's do it.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Input Selector mix

Just a quick post: I've put together a new mix for the Input Selector podcast series. It is a deepspace ambient mix, and a good example of the kind of sounds you can expect in the chill out room at the MNML SSGS party in Tokyo next month. I am pretty happy with how it turned out - plenty of beautiful records and it kind of fits together alright.

IS 083 - Chris (MNML SSGS)

Vangelis - Blade Runner Main Titles
Speedy J - Fill 25
Dadavistic Orchestra - Strung Valve Checkout
Relapxych.0 - City Nightlights
Koss - Odyssey
Roswell Return - Up Here
From Within - Future Surfacing (What Lies Ahead)
The Black Dog - Witches Ov (Beatless Version)
Vangelis - Tears in Rain

There is a longer writeup and more info about it here. Thanks to Arnaud and Input Selector for inviting me to contribute to their series.

For more info about the MNML SSGS party at Module on 20 March keep an eye on the blog. You can also check the event page on RA and the facebook event page. Of course I am super excited about Convextion and Sprinkles, but also really looking forward to doing the chill out room upstairs. It is going to be really nice to have it there.

Hope you enjoy the mix. More soon.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

sunday sounds - cio d'or point of origin 11 mix

a special treat for you this weekend, a lovely new ambient mix from a very good friend of the ssgs, cio d'or. this is a delicate, beautiful mix that follows on perfectly from the last sunday sounds mix from tengui.

this is what cio had to say about the mix:

"it was this typical winter feeling in the beginning of february, nature is sleeping before it will be awake again... this time has the charisma of silence. a perfect time for reflections."

cio d'or - point of origin 11

thanks to cio for sharing this mix with us, and also to emanuel geller who mastered it. enjoy your sunday...

Friday, February 11, 2011

Zwischenwelt transmission 2:Q & A with Beta Evers

Over the last year, we have had a series of posts in regards to the upcoming album by Zwischenwelt (see transmission 0, transmission 1, and a sunday sounds mix from Penélope). This collaborative project features two well established producers, Heinrich Mueller and Beta Evers, and two relatively new names, Susana Correia and Penélope Martin. The album is out soon on Rephlex, so we thought it would be a good chance to ask Beta (and Mueller) some questions:

What was the genesis of the ZW project? How did it develop?
Evers: It was meant as a group-project that illuminates the field of parapsychology in a musical and visual way.

A distinguishing feature of ZW is that it has a very strong conceptual dimension. How did it influence and translate into the music?
Evers: The concept was omnipresent and influenced everything from written words to the visuals and to the music, of course.

How do the audio and visual components relate in the ZW project?
Evers: The visuals are a part of the concept and the presentation.

Four is a lot of people working together, especially when not being in the same place. Can you explain how the collaborative process worked? How were the tracks developed? What were some of the challenges and advantages of doing it this way?
Evers: Especially during the first two years there was a lot of contact through internet and phone. We were in daily touch; brainstorming, discussing the concept, musical developments and sending files back and forth. We needed to get used to the remote work, but we found a way to manage it well. There was also a real time meeting for an extended period.

Is ZW an ongoing project or just a once off?
Evers: I joined this project for one album.

What were some of the influences and motivations that helped to shape and give life to the ZW project?
Evers: Documentations and books about parapsychology.
Mueller: ------

How does it relate - or not - to other trends and strands of music? 
Evers: I don’t know. I haven’t reflected about existing trends.

What colour is your music?
Evers: I would say ‘multicolor’.

How do you understand/define the music you make?
Evers: I don’t really try to understand or define it.
Mueller: -----

Is equipment important? What equipment is important (if any)?
Evers: Important for me is that I am able to create the desired sounds and effects with my equipment.
Mueller: -----

How do you think electronic music relates to larger social and political issues? Do you see them as being connected? If so, how? Does this shape the way you interact and present music?
Evers: Every kind of music or art can transport political or social messages. There are many ways to present them, if wanted.
Mueller: ------

What’s something that you’ve learnt (about music, your work and yourself) as the hard truth of bitter experience?
Evers: Take care and stand your ground.

What’s something you know now that you wish you’d been able to tell yourself ten, fifteen years ago?
Evers: Don’t waste too much time.

Who/what do you think your ‘sound’ is? How do you describe what you do to people who have no background/understanding in electronic music (like your grandmother)?
Evers: I would always play something instead of trying to describe it with words.

What excites you about electronic music at the moment? And what frustrates you?
Evers: At the moment I neither feel exited nor frustrated about it. There are good things and there are bad things, as always.

Who inspires you? What inspires you?
Evers: Mostly I get inspired through sounds that I hear more or less incidentally. Sometimes inspiration comes through pictures, movies or other things.

After doing this for such a long time, what keeps you motivated/excited/interested?
Evers: I have also other interests and non-music projects I spend my time with. This keeps it diversified. To create a nice piece of music feels still great.

Do you feel you’ve made a contribution to electronic music? If so, what?
Evers: My contributions are my releases. I leave it to others to value.

What’s something that people often ask you about you and your music (that you find unexpected or strange)?
Evers: The most-asked question I hear is, if I can make a living from music. I wonder why this is of such big interest.

What’s something that people never ask or notice about you and your work (that you wish they would)?
Evers: There is nothing that comes to my mind at the moment.
Mueller: ------

What do you wish for the year ahead?
Evers:  I hope the Zwischenwelt album will be available in record stores soon. Besides I wish to have the necessary time and motivation to work finally on music independently again. During the last few years I was totally focused on team works. It was a great time, but I started to wonder if I will ever find my way back to independent musical work.

What kind of music would you make in a world without electricity?
Evers: Music with drums/percussion and voice.

What is important to you in life? 
Evers: Being able to do what I enjoy and to have fruitful encounters with others. 


Rephlex will release 'Paranormale Aktivitat' late February, 2011. It will be available on CD and digital, as well as a limited LP run. Also out now is an EP by Beta Evers and Heinrich Mueller under the name Gedankenexperiment, called 'Experiment Defined' (available direct here).

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Kowton tracklist

Here's the tracklist for Kowton's ssg special. Big thanks to Joe for a great mix.

Kowton - Ssg Special

Instra:Mental - Lets Talk (Nakedlunch)
Kowton - Drunk On Sunday (Idle Hands)
Szare - Snake Cave (Horizontal Ground)
Shackleton - Death Is Not Final (Skull Disco)
Kowton - She Don't Jack (Idle Hands)
Kowton - Never Liked Dancing (Idle Hands)
Geeman - Rubberband 2 (Jack for Daze)
Levon Vincent - Six Figures (Novel Sound)
John Swing - Play Records (Relative)
Omar S - Just Ask The Lonely (FXHE)
Pepe Bradock - Deep Burnt (Kif Music)
Kyle Hall - Dr Girlfriend (Wild Oats)
More soon.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

february charts

I put together a new chart for Clubberia. Here it is:

G Strings - 'The Land of Dreams' [Seventh Sign Recordings]: Classic Chicago house sounds. Repress from 1990. Sounds just as awesome. Gorgeous record.

EOD - 'Utrecht' [030303]: This one has been on heavy repeat the last few months. Most people missed it, their loss. Very Aphex Twin, without trying to be like Aphex Twin. It works at both 45 and 33, but I prefer it slower... Hopefully we will be featuring a mix from this guy at some stage in 2011.

Mike Parker - 'Subterranean Liquid' [Prologue]: What a package! Beautiful cover, two excellent tracks by Mike, and an absolutely massive remix by Dozz. First bomb techno EP of 2011.

Dadavistic Orchestra- 'Dokument .01' [Dust Science]: The Black Dog have teamed up with 3 former members of the Psychick Warriors of Gaia on this new project and the results are impressive. Thoughtful, beautiful music. They are only pressing a limited amount, I would strongly recommend ordering a copy ASAP.

Roswell Return - 'Probe' [SD Records]: Deep ambient and dubby tech done right. I really like this album. A strong album.

Skirt - 'In the Meadow Under the Stars' [Horizontal Ground]: Impressive debut from Skirt. Recently I hadn't been following FB or HG closely - not because they were putting out bad stuff, I just wasn't so interested... But that changed as soon as I heard the samples for this EP. Proper techno.

E.R.P. - 'Evoked Potentials (part 3)' [Semantica]: A new track from Convextion. Enough said.

Bvdub - 'A Silent Reign' [Styrax Records]: This took me by surprise, as it sounds more like what Bvdub was doing a few years ago. Well the reason is that this was actually made a few years ago, even if it is only coming out now. I really love this more balanced side of Bvdub.

cv313 - 'Seconds to Forever' [Echospace]: The two versions of the title track are more well produced and not very interesting dub techno, but the 22 minute live recording on the other side - 'Beyond the Clouds (reprise)' - is a reminder of how talented these guys are.

E.M.A.K. - 'A Synthetic History Of E.M.A.K. 1982-88' [Universal Sound]: Another repress, this time from Germany. Post-Kosmische I guess you'd call it. I don't know. Still sounds incredibly fresh a few decades later.

Hopefully another chart next month if I can put one together...

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Ssg Special - Kowton

Funny thing is, both you and I probably have boomkat to thank for Kowton. From this end, it was boomkat’s glee-filled, glowing description* of last April’s Basic Music Knowledge EP that pricked my ears in the first place – I mean, how could I resist a release described as ‘a narco-nautical groove where subbass blackens the waters like squid ink and snares cut the flesh like coral'?! But wait, there's more: 'severely deep stuff that'll give lesser divers the bends…. recommended to fans of the Szare 12"s, Kassem Mosse and listening to Marcel Dettmann records on 33’? Well, that is pretty much a description of the content and soundtrack of my ideal lost weekend…

From Joe Cowton’s end, it was shopping in Boomkat's old physical store, Pelican Neck Records, that he says was the decisive (and no doubt wallet-lightening) habit in the formation of his basic tonal vocabulary. Shopping at Pelican Neck also introduced Joe to Liam from Mindset, who put out the first Narcossist record, back in 2008; but, as I see it, it was the move to Bristol in the same year that really clinched it. Joe started haunting Rooted records, where, while developing his current sound signature – deliberately trying to fuse earlier, darker garage sounds with 'all houses narcotic and nautical' – he was introduced to Chris Farrell, who runs Idle Hands.

Kowton’s EPs are the best possible fit for ‘the devil’s workshop’ – they’re not only deep, dark and warm, but also seductive and, at a pinch, sexy – just like the Dark Prince, or so I've been told. Perhaps I’ve come under Satan’s sway, but for me, both EPs released so far on Idle Hands sound like someone who’s been at it for much, much longer: this is a music knowledge which is anything but basic.

Joe can also mix: his RA cast from September last year was one of the three or so that I played off the hook all through the last part of 2010. It even survived a January Pod purge so merciless that Ming would fain dip his lid in a flash**. What my feelings kept forcing me to repeat to Chris – and anyone else who would listen – is that Kowton’s RA podcast was genuinely and sincerely contemporary, in a year where so much music was all naked bathing neck deep in tape hiss and its pastiche-y analogues. It's a fine line between nostalgia and neuralgia. For me what that means is that Joe’s music is focused on the now – by which I mean his now, not some colourlouss, odourless zeitgeist – developing new and subtle directions from the recombination of influences he’s accumulated and assimilated over years of careful listening and creating. And this is a creative mix that bears and rewards careful listening. Over to Joe:

‘The mix is some of my favorite records of the moment, a few classics, and some of my more recent tracks. Most of the early drafts of the mix I recorded were late at night, just on headphones, and I think the way it came out reflects that, both in the tunes and the way it was mixed. I've tried to keep things simple – and hopefully it works.

Kowton - Ssg Special

Future Releases:
Kowton - Keep Walking / Show me (Nakedlunch)
Kowton - Looking At You / Dusk - Fraction (Kowton remix) / Dusk Fraction (Keysound)
Kowton - Metronome / Clak Clak Clak (Commune)
Kowton - Untitled 29-6 / Never Liked Dancing / ? / ? (Idle Hands)
5th Feb @ The Blast, Bristol w/ Funkineven
11th Feb @ Dubstudio Sessions, Bristol
1st March @ Acetate, Leeds w/ Pinch & Peverelist
5th March @ Disconnected, Nottingham w / Andrew Weatherall
26th March @ Club Cosmique, Bristol w/ Space Dimension Controller