Friday, July 13, 2012

so long, and thanks for all the ssgs

MNML SSGS began on 11 December 2007. While we definitely had plans when we commenced the blog, we certainly had no expectation that it would ever develop in the way it has. A lot of time, energy, thought, love and luck has shaped the path(s) MNML SSGS has taken in the intervening 4.5 years. It has been a weird and wonderful ride, but it is time to bring the blog to an end.

Even though the blog is closing, Chris will be continuing to fly the MNML SSGS flag in Tokyo through putting on more parties, doing some more DJ'ing and engaging in some other activities that he hasn’t quite worked out. The Sound Garden chill out parties will be continuing, with the next ones being on Sunday 22 July and Sunday 9 September. There is also another MNML SSGS club night at Module planned for later in the year on Saturday 17 November. For more information about these and other activities, Chris has set up a MNML SSGS TKY tumblr, which he will be regularly updating, and he will continue to operate the MNML SSGS twitter account. After some rest and time out, there are plans to start some new projects. He is not sure what, how or when these will occur, but Chris is not done with electronic music, that’s for sure.

PC intends to continue the critical and reflective trajectory of ssgs ‘in some form’ as yet undecided. It may well involve an online presence, but would most likely be heavily text-based, though in a way which, if it works against the medium, deliberately sets out to do so in a creative and productive way. It may also feature interviews, interactions with live events, even recordings, though more like PC’s semi-regular radio appearances. It would also emanate from Melbourne, though it could hardly be ‘Australian content’ in that horrible cultural cringe-responsive, cringe-inducing way. For this reason it will have no relation to any iteration of the ABC, living or dead. Likely as not, it will not be a blog; it will not have a comment box; it will not be called MNML SSGS – but it may embody its spirit, in some rearranged form.

The MNML SSGS blog may be complete, but we are interested in maybe finding a way to continue to connect the community of likeminded souls that we have found through doing this. In case that happens, we are creating a mailing list as a way of being able to update you of any future plans that may eventuate. There definitely will not be any regular emails, so in case you would like to subscribe, please do so here.

We will be leaving all the content of the blog online – including the mixes – and we hope that it will still have some use, either as a historical record of one particular take on electronic music between 2007 – 2012, or as a resource for people interested in exploring some of the sounds we have featured on the blog. We are proud of what is here and believe it has – in some small way – a certain enduring value.

Thank you to everyone who has contributed to and supported MNML SSGS over the years.

MNML SSGS / Chris and PC


Terre Thaemlitz Terre's Neu Wuss Fusion (2007 Archive of Silence Mix) from thisfatzoo on Vimeo.

MNML SSGSが誕生した2007年12月11日から早4年半。


ブログとしてのMNML SSGSは終わっても、クリスは東京を拠点にリアルでのMNML SSGS活動、そしてDJ活動を続けます。
チルアウトパーティーSound Gardenの次回とその次は7月22日と9月9日に開催するので、皆さんいつも通り奮ってご参加下さい!11月17日には2回目のMNML SSGS PARTYを前回同様渋谷のModuleで開催します。ゲストなどの詳細は追って発表します。今回も自信を持って一晩音楽をケータリングしますのでご期待下さい!東京での活動など、クリスからの諸々の情報共有のためにはこちらのtumblrを作りましたので是非チェックして下さい。MNML SSGSのツイッターアカウントも今までと変わらずクリスが更新していきます。

という媒体からは離れるものの、何らかの形で思慮深く学術的な音楽にまつわる批評や考察をメルボルンから発信し続けていきます。まだ具体的に何とは決められていませんが、ラジオ番組への出演、ライブイベント、インタビュー、レコーディングなどを通し、ブログではなく、コメント欄もなく、MNML SSGSという名前でもない「何か」を通して今後もMNML SSGSの観念を貫き続けることには変わりありません。

今後のMNML SSGSの動向が明確化された場合や臨時のニュースなどを必要に応じて皆様にお届けするために、ニュースレターを設置します。興味がある方はこちらから購読して下さい。

ます。2007年から2012年にかけての一個人によるエレクトロニックミュージックの一解釈として、または私達がMNML SSGSを通してプッシュしてきた音を追求したい人のためのリソースとして、私達自身も誇りに思える、テキストとミックスから成る4年半の軌跡のアーカイブが今後も音楽愛好家やエレクトロニックミュージックに興味のある人達の目に触れ、役に立つことを願います。

最後に、MNML SSGSをサポートしてきて下さった皆様。MNML SSGSに関わって下さった皆様。改めまして、4年半もの間、

MNML SSGS / Chris and PC



Chris: ‘The end is important in all things.’

'When guests are leaving, the mood of being reluctant to say farewell is essential. If this mood is lacking, one will appear bored and the day and evening’s conversation will disappear.'
Yamamoto Tsunetomo

MNML SSGS was always an experiment of sorts – it was an attempt to make a critical intervention on our own terms. There has always been a critical intent in what we have tried to do, and by this I mean not simply offering criticism, but also providing alternatives, standing for something and trying to carve out our own particular (and personal) vision of what electronic music should be. This was never meant to be an open-ended project, however. Yes, we could keep publishing mixes, putting together the occasional think piece or round up and so on, but we have done all of this, and we have done it for quite some time now. In this specific format and structure, I doubt we can come any closer to achieving our core aims. A more basic reason why it feels like the right time for the blog to end is a very simple one: I am tired. I don’t have enough energy left for it. It is time to take a step back, rest and gain fresh inspiration so that I can find a new way to contribute.

It is quite difficult for me to really comprehend properly the distance I have travelled – physically, mentally, emotionally – between when the blog started and now. MNML SSGS commenced at the end of 2007 when I was in living in Canberra, and since then I have spent a couple of years in the UK before relocating to my current home of Tokyo. The blog was founded between 4 people. Dave: my oldest and closest musical friend, Cam: the person that joined us together and subsequently departed, and Peter: my very dear friend, sparring partner and trusted co-pilot. Dave has always been the silent partner in the back seat, Cam got out at some point, and Peter and I have driven the ssgs bus together the rest of the way. But the close personal relationships relating to the blog extend well beyond these 4 people: one of the most rewarding parts of doing MNML SSGS has been the many wonderful people I have had the chance to connect with over the years. A defining moment for me that sums all of this up was Labyrinth 2008. Arriving on my birthday, over the next few days I met the woman I am now very lucky to call my wife, and a number of people that have become some of my closest and most trusted friends. And though Labyrinth is the obvious reference point, through the blog I have been fortunate to connect with people literally all over the world. The majority of my musical life was lived in near isolation – pre-internet, in Australia and with only Dave to keep me company – so to go from that to a situation where I have been able to meet, engage and develop friendships with many like-minded people has been something I have really appreciated. 

The blog has been a powerful learning experience for me in many different ways. Musically, my tastes have changed and evolved over the years, as can be evidenced from the various posts in the archive. While some readers may have viewed MNML SSGS as a resource, for me it has been an incredibly good way for discovering more. I have learned more about music in the last 4.5 years than I have in the rest of my years combined. And during this time I have also found out - through trial and error - more about how the internet works, the power (and problems) of words and so on. There have been mistakes and missteps over the years, but this has all been part of the process. Another incredibly valuable lesson I have learned through doing the blog is simply what is possible. We built MNML SSGS from scratch into something that has had – in its own unique, limited way – some kind of ‘impact’. My point here is not to try to make claims about what we have done, but to hopefully leave our experience as something that others can benefit from. If you care about electronic music and you want to contribute, you can. It is not easy: it takes a huge amount of time, energy, persistence and much more, but it is possible for you to play your part. One of the great things about electronic music is that there is plenty of space to move and groove. There are lots of opportunities out there, and plenty of ways that you can make a contribution. And doing so does not simply mean making music or DJ’ing – the scene is reliant on so many other people: organisers, journalists, bloggers, label owners, and of course, those that buy the music and go to the parties. For years I wanted to be able to contribute more to the music I so dearly loved, but I felt I couldn't because I wasn't a DJ, producer or promoter. Eventually I found through doing this blog that there was a way I could do something and play my part. If you want, you can too.

The only thing left for me to say is ‘thanks’. Doing this blog has been an incredible experience and I feel deeply grateful to everyone who has contributed to it. We have been very fortunate to have had so many people support us – the artists, the labels, many other people in the scene, the various sites and blogs we’ve bounced off, and good ol’ blogspot, and, of course, all of you for listening, reading and engaging with us. There are many people I could thank individually, but they know who they are. I would, however, like to specifically thank my wife Yuri for all her love and support, as well as providing very valuable help with the Japanese translations on the blog and twitter. And most of all, I would like to thank Peter. I can honestly say Peter is one of the most truly excellent people I know and it has been a privilege and a pleasure to do MNML SSGS with him. This blog is as much about my friendship with him as it is about music. I’ll leave it at that.

Thank you ssgs. Catch you on a (non-existent) dancefloor again soon.



PC: Stick a fork in it and turn it over – it's done

The passage of ssgs passing and past

This has been a real adventure. We started ssgs as an experiment for ourselves, and as a response to what we thought were the deficiencies of the way electronic music was being written about at the time. It was about finding a way to say... something we wanted to say... in a way we were comfortable saying. It was about making a space for this 'something to say', a space that didn't exist in the way most dancefloors do, but that was available because of the materials we had access to. But at the same time, I can only say all that retrospectively. It's funny how we have cultural frames for premeditation and preemption, but struggle with meditation and emption, and can barely conceive of postmeditation and postemption. There's a quote from The Man Without Qualities where Musil conceives the course of history as being like the passage of clouds that captures something important about this. He writes:
The course of history was therefore not that of a billiard ball, which, once it is hit, takes a definite line – but resembles the movement of clouds, or the path of a man sauntering through the streets, turned aside by a shadow here, a crowd there, an unusual architectural outcrop, until at last he arrives at a place he never knew or meant to go to. Inherent in the course of history is a certain going off course.
Processing ssgs: the starting and sustaining thereof

For me this is what the process was actually like, much more like meandering, bumping into music and people that interested or repelled us, ending up somewhere we hadn't expected, ending up defending something we only realised we'd built at the very moment we were engaged in fighting for it. I don't want to get defensive about the structure we've built, I think it's defensible. It's weaknesses and follies are all our own... I hope also it shows you that anyone can do what we've done, there's nothing special about any of the components, they're still all there. It's among the things I enjoyed doing the most, building something then defending it. I guess I never outgrew my Lego sets, and my particular fondness for re-building the castles contrary to the instructions. That's not what was challenging about the whole thing, I have to say...

It's not difficult to start a blog; many I know have started blogs, or talk about wanting to do so. It seems to be a common wish, still: start a blog, express yourself, reach a public, become something. That's what we wanted, too. And yet... what doing a blog over so many years has taught me is that it's much more difficult to keep going, to sustain things. There are moments of inspiration, and there is momentum, but often it's a matter of continuing when you're tired of the routine, impatient for new patterns (and hoping someone else will make them for you), or just plain old fashioned bored (especially of your own schtick). This can be doubly stressful when you're supposed to be the people providing an excess of passion and enthusiasm.

Boredom is also fundamental though, and not least of all to the future of any possible sustained storybuilding. And so is silence. But even then, to repeat, it's hard to sustain something... much harder than beginning it. The Spanish author Javier Marias talks about this: much easier to imagine something, to dream up a story, than it is to really sustain that vision, to see it through to the end. I wish the keyboards we use had a sustain pedal. We seem to need to keep hitting the same notes, with various attacks, in order to strike the kind of chords that might resonate in the space we made. Perhaps I should have done my piano practice, as mum instructed, instead of dreaming over Lego.

habit-forming ssgs (now with 30% more wrinkles)

A stone never acquires the habit of its trajectory. Not only are no two throws the same, they never tend, with repeated throwing, to form a habitual arc. Unlike us. That's another thing that makes ssgs different from stones. We're creatures of habit, and creatures of habit carry the scratches of their repetitive paths: 680 posts, to be precise - and god knows how many comments, how many words. It's easy to see now, as we end the blog, how note and passage worked, one by one, mix by mix, toward a collection of grooves that have deep relations to one another, that mix. The round and round of ssgs has made a lasting impression on me. Ssgs is in the mix for the rest of my life. Then again (again) I don't remember everything; I re-read the shit I wrote and I am actually surprised by myself: 'I said that?' Or, on the other hand: 'fuck, I've been saying the same thing over and over since we started, with only the tiniest variations.' Upon re-reading, I notice that some of what we wrote was okay, it didn't even make me cringe or flinch. This is as close to contentment as I ever am with anything I've ever written; I don't like the way this post is going... it sounds too much like... me...  

our pop crackle present: this beautiful ssg box

I can say confidently that most of the music we presented was really magnificent. In fact I'm quite astonished at how well it turned out. This is what makes the archives so precious. Now that all's said and done for the purposes of the blog, this is what I feel the strongest fidelity to. I'm very proud of the archive we've managed to put together, and the way in which, as a gathered thing you can put in the ssg box, it marks out a space in time that I am thankful for being a part of.

And most of all, finally: thank you for listening.



Thursday, July 12, 2012

fnl series

Ok, the mixes are done. We thought it'd be good to present them together as collectively they are meant to be a final statement about what we have tried to do with the mixes here on MNML SSGS. We encourage you to spend time with these last mixes. And, of course, don't forget about the rest of the archive - there is plenty there to (re)discover. Some people have asked whether we will be removing the mixes. Don't worry, we definitely will not. We want to make sure they are freely available for people to continue exploring at their own leisure. When we have some more time, we'll try to find a good place to back them up online too.

Donato Dozzy

Svreca (tracklist)

Morphosis (partial tracklist)

Bill Kouligas (tracklist)

Peter Van Hoesen

part 1:

part 2:

More very soon...

Monday, July 9, 2012

mnml ssgs mx fnl - peter van hoesen

After more than 4 years of doing mixes deciding how to finish should have been difficult, but somehow the answer presented itself in a very easy and natural manner. The two artists that have most strongly shaped and defined MNML SSGS have been Donato Dozzy and Peter Van Hoesen. It is fitting that Donato opened our fnl series, and now with Peter we close our mixes.

The mix that PVH has provided is the live recording from last year's 'Enter the Labyrinth' party, which was held at Unit, Tokyo on 3 May 2011. The context for this set is vital: it took place during Golden Week, approximately 7 weeks after the Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami that devastated Japan. The weeks that followed March 11 were incredibly difficult for those of us here: discovering the extent of the damage to the Tōhoku region, dealing with the way this tragedy had impacted on loved ones, watching the disaster unfold at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, trying to stay calm amidst the constant aftershocks. Life in Japan was not normal, far from it, yet the people here did their best to manage in these tough circumstances. Within our circle, the majority of the electronic music community was incredibly generous and supportive during these difficult times. Slowly things got easier, but still there was a strong sense of unease. Golden Week - a traditional holiday period in Japan around the end of April / start of May - felt like an important turning point when a greater level of normality began to return. One sign - at least for us - was that people felt like it was ok to start going to parties again. This was the setting for the Mindgames party, which featured Eric Cloutier and Peter Van Hoesen. After Eric gracefully warmed up the Unit dancefloor with his distinctive deep-burning take on techno, it was Peter's turn. Over the following hours PVH constructed one of the most beautiful, emotional and powerful sets of techno music I have had the fortune of experiencing. The defining element of his set was how incredibly fluid and natural it was. The music snaked through the night, changing styles and BPMs, with the crowd following the whole way. After all the sadness, the anger, the stress, the fear, on this night we were together and we shared something very special. Often live recordings fail to do justice to what actually happened. But sometimes, just sometimes, the magic carries over.

Some words from PVH:

The last mnml ssgs mix. Here it is. I've been asked to provide some words to go along with it. Let me see. There are so many things to write about, as the connection with my ssg friends over in Japan and Australia is a multi-layered one. I could write about Japan in the aftermath of the Tohoku quake. I could write about courage, stamina and the will to persevere and to party on in the face of adversity. I could write about being supported in a heartfelt way. I could write about opinions and how you can disagree and enjoy the disagreement. I could write about a place up in the mountains. I could write about witnessing people developing a particular taste and share it with others. I could write about music, tying us all together, without end. But let's not. All I want to say is that May 3rd 2011 was a very special night for many reasons, linked to a unique group of people. It is a pleasure to present this mix to my friends from mnml ssgs and their loyal readership. Most of all I dedicate this mix to the people who were there at Unit, that special night. Let's do it again, soon. 

PC and I would like to thank Peter for this recording and his previous ssg mixes, as well as Mindgames who put on the party and kindly agreed to let us use the recording. Once again we would also like to express our most sincere thanks to all the artists who have contributed mixes over the years, to for their incredible support, and to all of you for trusting us and listening. Doing these mixes has been an incredibly powerful and worthwhile experience, and we are incredibly grateful to have been able to do this. Thank you.

Bill Kouligas tracklist

Since posting Bill's mix, I have now had a chance to listen to the latest release on Pan: a massive collab between Mika Vainio, Lucio Capece, Kevin Drumm and Axel Dörner. Wow. The LP is ridiculous. Definitely not for the faint of heart, it is an intense, powerful listen. If that sounds like something you'd be interested in, or if you like any of the artists involved, I strongly recommend checking it out. On a related, but slightly different tip, here is the tracklist for Bill's quality mix:

Lawrence Weiner 'Nothing to Lose' (Van Abbemuseum)
John Sangster 'First Light /Sunrise/The Birds' (Cherry Pie)
Frieder Butzmann 'Wie Zeit Vergeht' (PAN)
Instant House 'Lost Horizons' (Jungle Sounds Records)
Pépé Bradock 'Attaque De Boulangerie' (Atavisme)
Robert Hood 'Behind This Door' (Cheap)
Lee Gamble 'PLOS 97' (PAN)
Étant Donnés ‎'Plutôt L'Exil Du Cinq Doré'  (Vita Nova)
Kassem Mosse '578' (Mikrodisko Recordings)
Trevor Wishart 'Imago' (PAN)
Leron Carson 'Red Lightbulb' (Sound Signature)
Master C & J 'Face It' (State Street Records)
Aybee 'Nigg#z And Space Machines' (Deepblak)
Driphouse 'Slow Sum Part One' (Spectrum Spools)
Magic Mountain High 'XX B' (Workshop)
Aaron Dilloway 'Labyrinths & Jokes' (Hanson)
Kowton 'Des Bisous' (Pale Fire)
NHK'Koyxen '101' (PAN)
NHK'Koyxen '629' (PAN)
Convextion 'Untitled' (Matrix Records)
Levon Vincent '1000 Miles From Home' (Novel Sound)
Eli Keszler 'Catching Net' (PAN)
Flux of Pink Indians 'The Value of Nothing' (One Little Indian)
Fred P 'No Looking Back' (Soul People Music)
Moodymanc 'Coleman' (20:20 Vision)
DJ Qu 'Secret Place' (Strength Music Recordings)
Togashi Masahiko 'Spritual Nature' (Inner City Records)
Gallifré '117 (House Beats)' (Danica Records)
Maximillion Dunbar 'Cassette Arabic' (L.I.E.S.)
Risque III 'Essence of a dream' (Stride Records Inc)
R/S 'Chicago II' (PAN)
Dreesvn 'Untitled' (Acido)
Elgato 'Blue' (Hessle Audio)
Jeanne Lee 'Angel Chile' (Earthform)
Bernard Parmegiani 'Pop'eclectic' (INA-GRM)
DJ Sotofett 'Untitled' (Sex Tags / Wania)
'Shake' Shakir 'Indagoo' (Morphine)
Rhythim Is Rhythim ‎'Beyond The Dance' Cult Mix (Transmat)
Actress 'Shadow From Tartarus' (Honest Jons)
Jacques Lejeune 'Final À La Cour Du Prince' (SFP)
Ed Barger 'E Coli' (LAFMS)

Thanks again to Bill for putting this together. The final mnml ssgs mix will be up in the coming days.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

mnml ssgs mx fnl - bill kouligas

Our penultimate ssg mix is from Bill Kouligas, the man behind Pan, one of the most interesting - and perhaps important - labels operating right now. Pan first appeared on my radar care of a ssg reader who strongly recommended I immediately get a hold of Keith Fullerton Whitman's Disingenuity / Disingenuousness. And so I did. Even though I have struggled to fully connect with it, I'd say this is arguably one of the most important releases to come out in the last 5 years. It seems to be bringing together some very important strands together, and is an incredibly well produced record in its own right. The label has flourished since then, with releases from a range of impressive newcomers (Heatsick), mid-career bloomers (NHKyx), and some seriously heavy hitters (SNDPeter Rehberg). Pan occupies a very interesting location, which is hard to fully identify but perhaps best described as existing on the boundary between experimental and techno, though I am not sure this description really does justice to what they are doing. The label has distinguished itself with an impressive combination of uncompromising sounds and beautifully packaged records, and is currently playing an important role in challenging and rewarding our collective tastes.

When we started doing mixes here, one of the original aims was to use them as a tool for discovering more about artists, sounds and labels that intrigued us. And this was certainly the intent with asking Bill for a mix. Pan has clearly been doing something very interesting, and our feeling was that we'd be interested to hear more from the person responsible. Now that we have the mix, I am not sure if I know that much more about Pan, but I certainly have learned something about Bill (I think). We honestly didn't know what we'd receive, and this mix confused what few expectations we had. And this is most definitely a good thing! Clocking in at 3 hours this is another lengthy, weighty mix that takes time and consideration. Like with our other big servings from Svreca and Morphosis this is also worth investing yourself in. Unsurprisingly it covers a fair amount of ground, but at its core I think I'd describe it as a house mix. Certainly not a normal one, however... It kind of reminds me of old Matthew Herbert at his best - classical perhaps, but a very bent, crooked and wandering form of house music. With those words, I will leave you to discover the rest.

We will have the tracklist next week. For more information on Pan, check the homepage and soundcloud. You can also follow Bill / Pan on twitter. The label has just released an excellent new EP from Heatsick (killer B side), and two others I am excited to check: one from Helm, and the ridiculous lineup of Mika Vainio, Lucio Capece, Kevin Drumm and Axel Dörner all on the same record. Big thanks to Bill for finishing this expansive mix during an incredibly busy period of time for him. Enjoy.