Saturday, February 28, 2009

Monday, February 23, 2009

delta force

just a quick post for now, full report on NYC to come. since getting back, i've had these two sets from delta funktionen on repeat. this artist has been on my radar for a bit now, but as is often the case, it took hearing a liveset for me to fully sign up. he is still a relatively new artist, but his sound is already well developed, which is particularly clear in the livepa. what impresses me about the livepa is how well put together it is - the whole thing has a great pacing and build. as for the dj set, well the tracklisting pretty much speaks for itself. deep and dark. nice.

Delta Funktionen Live-Pa @ Doornroosje 29-11-2008

01. Phantom Regiment - Stratosphere
02. Phantom Regiment - 130 Lightyears Below
03. Delta Funktionen - Nebula
04. Delta Funktionen - Lunar Cataclysm
05. Delta Funktionen - Outflow
06. Delta Funktionen - Silhouette
07. Delta Funktionen - Untitled
08. Markus Enochson & The Subliminal Kid - A Lot Of Bait (Delta Funktionen Daily Funk Mix)
09. Conforce - Fictional Environment (Delta Funktionen remix)
10. Delta Funktionen - Intruder
11. Phantom Regiment - Breaking Earths Atmosphere
12. Counterpart - Another World (Phantom Regiment Remix)

Delta Funktionen - The New Worck 211, 10 February 2009

- Intro: Anthony Rother - Past, Present, Future (Psi49net)
- Ø - Pakkasherra (Sähkö Recordings)
- Pendle Coven - Iamnoman (Modern Love)
- Unknown - Unknown (White Label)
- Alka - Gema (Resopal Schallware)
- Porter Ricks - Port Of Transition (Chain Reaction)
- Helical Scan - Index I (Monolake / Imbalance Computer Music)
- Idjut Boys - Two (Droid Behaviour)
- Marcel Dettmann - A Req (T++ Remix) (MDR)
- Delia Gonzalez & Gavin Russom - Relevee (Baby Ford Remix) (DFA)
- Hallucinator - Black Angel (Chain Reaction)
- T++ - Storm (Erosion)
- Unknown - Unknown (White Label)
- Peter Van Hoesen - Casual Care (Samuli Kemppi Remix) (Time To Express)
- Monobox - Realm 02 (Substance Remix) (Logistic Recordings)
- Basic Channel - Phylyps Trak II/II (Basic Channel)
- Steve Bug - A Night Like This (Richie Hawtin's Dub Like That Mix) (Pokerflat)
- Dopplereffekt - Z-Boson (International Deejay Gigolo Records)
- Pom Pom - Untitled (Pom Pom)
- Outro: Anthony Rother - Past, Present, Future (Psi49net)

enjoy these two for now. i am. more soon.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Machinefabriek: The Engineer

In December last year I said that Machinefabriek’s magnificent ‘Dauw’ was one of my favourite ambient albums of 2008. Looking back now I realize that it’s actually an equal first for me (alongside Ezekiel Honig’s ‘Surfaces of a Broken Marching Band’) – yes, it really is that good. But for those new to Rutger Zuydervelt’s Machinefabriek project, ‘Dauw’ is just the tip of the iceberg. And what an iceberg it is – since he started releasing music in 2004 the Dutch artist has rapidly built up an enormous body of work (just check his discogs entry and you’ll see what I mean) spread across several full-length albums, 12”s, 7”s, cassettes, and his preferred format of limited edition self-released 3” CDRs (most of which are thankfully available for download from Boomkat).

This constant stream of releases has seen Zuydervelt developing a unique voice in experimental/electronic music, one that ranges comfortably across genres and sounds, from warm gentle drones to delicately plucked guitar strings to almost oceanic roars of intense noise. His music is by turns soothing, disconcerting, melancholic, bracing – and above all, absolutely compelling.

Zuydervelt kindly answered some questions for us, along with providing a link to a 24-minute live track recorded in October of 2008.

Tell us a little about your musical development: what were you listening to when you were you a child, a teenager, and a university student?

My first cd was a compilation called 'Synthesizer Greatest', given to me by my dad, for my birthday. At that time (I must have been 10 or so), my little brother and I were completely into that stuff. The Miami Vice theme, Night Rider theme, etc. Not much later I found about hiphop. Not really underground stuff, but populr acts like LL Cool J and De La Soul. As soon as I got into high school i found out there was way more music and I got into Nirvana, Alice in Chains, etc. Quickly followed by Metallica and Pantera.

In the (I believe) second grade we went on a sailing camp with school, and I saw this extremely cool dude there, with long red hair and a jacket full with metal-band patches. I had never heard of the names on his jacket, but i thought it had to be cool, so i wrote all those names down (Morbid Angel, Death, Carcass, etc) and hired the cds from the library. That's how i got into extreme metal. After that it went from dark ambient to triphop to idm....

How have all of these sounds and styles shaped the development of your musical perspective? And which of these do you think has had the greatest influence on the music you make now?

I actually think the music that i listen to at the period when I'm making an album is the biggest influence. Of course the stuff i listened to in the past was important, but it's hard to point out specific elements of my music that can actually prove that... 

When did you decide to start making music, and why?

It started because my parents thought it was a good idea to send me to piano lessons. And it was. After some years of piano playing I wanted to take lessons for guitar. Of course, in the 'grunge period' i wanted to play like Cobain. Everyone of my age wanted that. I bit later I was in a metal band, played one gig and after a month or three the band had quit. That's when i got a simple music program fro a classmate, and that's when i started doing solo music.... 

Something that I find really exciting about your work are the constant contrasts, the different sounds and moods … sometimes tranquil and meditative, sometimes intense and noisy. What attracts you to these contrasts?

The one makes the other stronger. Something beautiful becomes extra beautiful when it's combined with something 'ugly', if you know what i mean. These contrasts work really well i think, and it keeps the music from being to 'ambient' or 'new age'... 

How would you describe your style? What do other people tell you about your music?

Other people mostly call my music 'experimental electronica' i guess. If someone asks me i say that 'it's film-music, but without film'. Listeners that usually don't listen to experimental music can'r really relate to it most of the time, though sometimes at a gig a get nice reactions from 'newcomers'. And that's actually the biggest compliment. 

Tell us a little about your composition process: (typically) where and how does a track begin, how long do you work on it, and when does it feel 'finished'?

I work fast, so I don't work on a track for a very long time. For me, a couple of weeks feels like way too long. It has to stay fresh...
I start by recording some basic material. That can be improvised guitar, field recordings, or a live performance. After having that done i start messing around on my computer. Cutting and pasting, using the source material as building blocks. 

Do you think your preferred release format, 3" CDRs, influences your approach to composition? And why did you settle on self-released 3" CDRs as your primary means of delivering music?

The 3-inch format didn't change my way of making music. How i make my music is the reason that i started with 3-inches. It just turned out the 20 minutes is a super nice length for me to work on... It seems to be the perfect time span to tell a story without being boring or too quick. 

I have to say I'm astounded by your release rate! Why are you so prolific? Are you ever worried about releasing too much?

I'm a bit worried sometimes, but as soon as i notice that people keep being interested it's alright. It just happens. I'm a nervous guy who wants to do a lot of things, in a short period. It's the way i think. I have so many ideas, why not try them out, and why not release them? It's so nice to design sleeves as well, so it's a good excuse for that also! 

What equipment do you use? Is the kind of equipment you use important to you?

My major 'tool' is SoundEdit, a pretty old Mac program. Very simple, amateuristic editing in sound. It doesn't even run on modern Macs anymore. I was excited to hear that Janek Schaefer uses it as well! 

What makes a great track for you?

It's a cliche answer... but if it's feels right, it is right. I think it has to be hypnotic and dynamic at the same time. And i like to be surprised by myself. Sometimes trying out combinations can lead to great results, without being intended. That's the great part of making music myself... 

Which of your own tracks is your favourite, and why?

I'll go for 'Engineer' then, a track on my 'Dauw' album. It was actually the first track i made, before i decided to continue with tracks to make an album. I had been asked by a guy to make a track for his art school graduation project. I agreed, but only if he could supply me some percussion/drum sounds (he's a drummer). It was the first time i worked with (scraped and bowed) percussion, and it was such a joy to work with. It was rawer then my average output, but it's a great combination with long (over)tones.
Two other I'm really fond of are 'Huiswerk 1' and '2', from the (duh!) 'Huiswerk' 7-inch. I made that music in two days, to try out my newly bought sampler. It's very spontaneous, and i can still listen to those tracks with great joy. 

What music are you really excited about at the moment?

I listen to so much music. As soon as this is published I will listen to other stuff, but right now my favorites are Giuseppe Ielasi's 'Aix' and the demos for a new cd by German pianist 'Nils Frahm'. That one is astonishing. 

Can you tell us a little about what you have planned for 2009?

There's a cd coming out on a Greece label, with edited material of a gig i did in Athens. Also in the making, a collaboration with Peter Broderick. Nice droney piano stuff. There will be a short tour through the UK in may. For the rest... plenty of releases, i guess.... ;-) 

What's something that music has taught you about life? And what is something that life has taught you about music?

Probably making music had a positive impact on my shy personality. I think it helped me to become more self-conscious. So that's what music taught me about life, to be self assured. And what life taught me about music? That's a difficult one.... i have no idea. 

Finally, can you tell us a little about your live piece "Vrijhaven"? You said that "it pretty much sums up what [you] want in a good performance". What is it that you attempt to achieve when you perform live?

This recording was made as part of a short tour i did with Mark Templeton. I hadn't played a show for a month or two and i wanted to try out new stuff. Better stuff. Not just the cliché e-bowed guitar drones. More space, and more rawness especially. Without practicing (i barely do that) it worked out superfine. Sometimes, if a gig goes well, you can have the feeling of totally being in some sort of state where everything goes right. 'The vibe' is there, so to speak. Hearing the recording back proofed me right. The building of tension, the nostalgic feeling, the minimalism (with maximum results), it's all there. This probably sounds like bragging, but i just feel that i barely played a better show....

You can hear more of Machinefabriek’s over at his Myspace, and his own website (which has a rather large downloads section that includes the track “Zucht 2”, one of the most heartbreakingly beautiful pieces of drone/ambient I have ever heard).

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

We Were NEVER Mnml, February 2009

I lost my mp3 player and Sennheiser HD25 headphones in the Marysville fire, (here's a full account written by my ladyfriend) and in order to deal with that, I’ve spent the week procrastinating doing the work I can’t concentrate on, scouring websites for information on players and ’phones, wondering if I could turn my loss into an opportunity to fetishise electronic products and find myself a better listening combination.

In doing this, I discovered two things I already knew (a typical google experience). First of all, I discovered that mp3 players have totally and completely transformed the way we listen (duh, but it’s true)… Most of what appears to be the big sellers at hi-fi shops, even snobby in audiophile joints, is either for iPods or has been forced to take the iPod into account.

The second thing is that ‘DJ headphones’ remains a late 90s category. Most, if not all the phones available are so tacky, tastless and ‘modern’ looking (in that aluminium look plastic kinda way) that you would have to be the kinda person who (still) wears triangle bags, Fudge 'hair product', Royal Elastics (or Acupunctures), and Alphanumeric (or Syke) to think they’re cool. Or you could get a pair of HD25s…

Then there were other new things. I noticed, for example, how canalphones like Shure and Etymotic have blown up in popularity, and that there is a market within this market that doesn’t balk at paying 600+ dollars for the top models, which tells me that a lot of people with a lot of money (even snob audiophiles) are doing almost all of their listening using a portable player. And that people have a very strong urge to totally blot out the world, the tram, and their office. The way things are going at the moment, who can blame them?

What else? All iPods, except the 4th and 5th generation models, sound like rubbish (if you believe what the geeks reckon, at least), either because of the signal routing or because of the cheap DAC. NB, the older ones were much better than the new ones. For Pod haters or jaded ex lovers, Samsung and Cowon are much better (and cheaper), but fie on you if you use OS X and want to ‘freely choose’ something un-Apple. You will be cursed with compatibility issues and zero iTunes compatibility for years and years and years. Ubuntu, here I come. But if you do have a 4th or 5th gen iPod, you can get ‘em modded to make them sound shit hot (google ALO audio). And if you have a broken one (which so many of us do) and you live in Melbourne (which some of us do) you can get ‘em repaired, cheaply, on Elizabeth St (google Happy Mobile). Don’t let anyone in an Apple shop tell you otherwise. Apple gets more like Scientology every day.

You need an mp3 player in 2009: it’s the new way to go digging. The simple reason for this is the explosion in podcasts – and not just quantity, but quality. It is now entirely possible to have an endless stream of top notch mixes delivered 100% free to your player, and mostly they’re supported by websites with exhaustive tracklists and discussion forums. Coupled with discogs, this can catapult you to the Kingdom of Geekdom in a manner of months. And no matter what style you’re into, there’s a podcast for you. Why bother nicking mix comps off BitTorrent? And why, for that matter, would you ever pay money for a mix CD? Or go to a club, unless you’re single, young, and full of the devil?

In 2009, the onus is on two groups of people. First, it’s on anyone in the business of publishing mix comps, who need to explain to their listeners why they should fork over thirty-plus dollars for something they can get better (longer sets, more community/discussion, often more up-to-date and better tracklists ‘cos of less licensing issues) for free. Second, it’s on anyone in clubland who thinks they can still take the piss with poorly organised parties (has-been DJs, shitty venues, inferior systems, overpriced drinks, thug bouncers) once their punters spend a few years getting educated. We live in interesting times.

What follows is a list of some of the better podcast series (to add to the ones we’re all familiar with [RA, BeatsinSpace, LWE, Infinitestatemachine, Modyfier}), all available for free.

Bleep43 (Impeccable selection, unobtrusive back announcing, great live sets)

Bunker (often outstanding long, live sets, heaps of minimalisms)

Bodytonic (house/techno, good, long sets, good quality files)

Rinse FM (thee spot for dubstep, bassline, ‘wonky’ etc – the shout outs are annoying)

To the Bone (great disco to house, great guests, but way too much talking)

~ NB this appears to be the unfortunate legacy of sound systems and pirate radio. All the 'casts with annoying shout outs, MCs and blathering on are British ~

XLR8R (wide variety, has beats as well, but no real 'feel'... it's not a series)

Save the Cannibals (new series that’s minimal/tech/house [Cassy, Steve Bug] so far)

Audio Explorations (M A Hobbs-style blimey, grimy, abrasive, ~step music, 320kbps)

Cool in the Pool (Balearic, twinkle disco, italo/disco/house)

What do you make of the explosion in 'casting? What's your favourite series? What's your favourite episode of all time (thus far)? And which directions would you like to see 'casting taken in?


Friday, February 13, 2009

Klimek: ssgmx20 tracklist and interview

Here is the tracklist for Klimek’s recent ssg mix, followed up by an interview with Sebastian Meissner himself.

unknown artist - unknown track
anthony pateras & robin fox - $ 2.50
Idaman walat akhmudan - bell song
anthony pateras & robin fox - flex and belch
fred frith - any other world
hoahio - chatchat
leonard cohen - avalanche
slovenly - thank you purple jesus
stian carstensen - solo improvisation #1
ikue mori - woke up aghast
butthole surfers - kuntz
henry kaiser & david lindley - todiavo jeso
fred frith - any other world
john zorn - modulus
nicolas cage & laura deren - wild at heart dialogue from industrial symphony
saint etienne - the birdman of ec1
melvins - fast forward
jason spaceman - paris beach
werner herzog - father umbrillo's broken nation
coil - tainted love
moha! - B5
alec empire - get some
the flaming lips - miracle on 42nd street
primal screem - space blues #2
snd - push #4
tore elgaroy - spooky mind
susumu yokota - flying cat
kode9 & daddi gee - sign of the dub
bob ostertag - sooner or later
guy klucevsek - rumbling
soliman gamil - dance of ka
eric dolphy - inner flight #1
asteroth - lumina part 2
jimmy edgar - telautraux
peer raben & jeanne moreau - each man kills the thing he loves

Tell us a little about your musical development: what were you listening to when you were you a child, a teenager, and a university student?

when i was a child i was listening to my father's music, like the rolling stones, beatles, led zeppelin, tangerine dream, kraftwerk, and king crimson. the first record i purchased was a 7´´of "heart of glass" by blondie. as a teenager i was into ac/dc, black sabbath but at the same time i was also following the pop charts especially via the early MTV and the german MUSICBOX. later than i was into so called indie music like the smiths, the fall, birthday party, gun club, SST & discord records. after public enemy's "it take a nation of millions to hold us back" hip-hop became important for me (poor righteous teachers, geto boys, brand nubian) and at the same time the early break beat scene from the UK (shut up & dance, silver bullet), and dub: king tubby, i roy, lee perry, the uk-scene, and those like twilight circus and blind idiot god, praxis. techno: early warp, basic channel, underground resistance. later i was doing my jazz lessons, followed by blues and music from the caribbean. right now i listen a lot to music from africa.

How have all of these sounds and styles shaped the development of your musical perspective? And which of these do you think has had the greatest influence on the music you make now?

there has never been one style only, maybe I prioritized a certain style for a period of time. moving on and discovering new music styles kept me excited about music intact. i hope that my mix can answer some questions about the "how's" of my musical development.

When did you decide to start making music, and why?

i started creating sound-jingles on my first PC in 1995 at the same time also, as i was discovering photoshop (and related graphic software) as tools to post-produce pictures. my output kept growing over the years and the development of software, the growth of computer memory and faster CPU's made new things possible. my acquaintance with ekkehard ehlers and achim szepanski of mille plateaux helped me to bring my sound productions to a new level. and having the opportunity to release my output created new encouragements and challenges.

From interviews that I've read with you online I get the impression that you are distinctly uncomfortable with the genre tag "ambient" (particularly as used by the Kompakt label). Could you tell us about your feelings on this?

well, ambient is such an over-used music tag, and in my mind it is rousing clichés connected to the marketing of certain types of music too close to zeitgeist phenomenon's as "wellness" and "esoteric". i find this term also pretty imprecise - same as with the big tags such as rock and pop - they blur more than they can describe. so the title and the album cover of "music to fall asleep" is showing a person falling asleep in the middle of a dirty urban street/environment, without any safety and protection, like a narcoleptic person. the quality of being able to fall asleep with music doesn't necessarily refer for me to so called ambient music. i can fall asleep with drone, heavy doom rock, as well as with dub or techno. so my focus on this album wasn't about if (and to what kind of music genre we are able to fall asleep), but "where".

How would you describe the music you make as Klimek (if not "ambient")?

a soundtrack

Do you feel that there is something subversive about the Klimek project?

my music deals with issues which are challenging me as a person who is living in a specific geographic area, as a participant of specific society, certain economic system. with my thoughts i am reaching for the outside at the same time as i am trying to understand the inside of the society i am living in. in all of my projects i am connecting explicitly those issues/questions with my "aesthetic" output. and since nearly every kind of instrumental music can be redefined in nearly every possible context, i am trying to be as unmistakable as possible about the content and thoughts behind my sound-works. releasing for kompakt i had to compromise to a certain level and to express some things more silently and subtly as i was practicing in on my mille plateaux releases. but i am not the right person to judge the subversiveness of my work.

In the introductory write-up to your mix, I described your work as "intensely political – political in the sense that [your] work seeks to actively engage with, question, and open a discourse on various cultural, social, and historical scenarios." Would you agree with this statement?


What do you feel the role of an artist is in society? And how do you respond to people who say that it's "just about the music"?

plenty. perceive/consume as much different art forms/genres as possible. ask questions. be ready to be refuted. try to say something that you haven't heard before. and finally it's only YOU who decides about where you draw the line between "art" and "the world outside".

Tell us a little about your composition process: (typically) where and how does a track begin, how long do you work on it, and when does it feel finished?

sound generating, sound processing and sampling come first. then organizing your libraries. the next step is a rough sketch/patch (which can be also at the same time a basis for a live-arrangement). exporting the rough sketch into the timeline of a final arrangement. if possible/required: additional recordings with musicians and then the editing of this material and adjusting it into the final arrangement. finishing a track is about learning to make decisions and reflecting on your own expectations and goals. not getting overwhelmed by perfectionism, like some people who work up to 10 years on their phd, their first book or first album. getting lost in music(production) is easy and a very productive part, but then you need to step back or just forget about a composition for awhile and resume with a new perspective. it's also important (for me) to ask for the opinion of as many people as possible (unbiased persons such as my parents included).

What equipment do you use? Is the kind of equipment you use important to you?

actually, talks about gear are really boring me. equipment is equipment, it shapes your sound. and reflects your economic situation. your knowledge & skills about your equipment let you grow as a sound/music producer, from time to time it's good to renew your equipment or to learn something new about it or/and to revise your production techniques.

You've got a new Klimek album coming out on Anticipate in April called 'Movies Is Magic' – from what I've read online it sounds like the album will address movie soundtracks and the relationship between "movie making" and "reality". How will the album address these issues?

film music is applied sociology of culture: collective, deeply entrenched patterns of reception that create precognitive feelings indicate where the music either confirms or confuses. the rewards for the pleasure and pain of this game are a primary part of the cinematic experience. my quest started with my re-discovery of the "orange crate art" album by van dyke parks & brian wilson (especially of the track "movies is magic") and slavoj zizek's analysis of the cinema. "movies is magic (...real life is tragic)" is a sentimental revue formula for the controlled illusion that one is devoting oneself in the movie. which is healthy for our sanity and savvy. who does not know the reality aftershocks of the magnificent experience that cinema provides? the adjustment of swollen intensity to the banality of the entertainment. the magic makes the tragedy bearable. in his "a pervert's guide to cinema," zizek, addresses the vitality, the fictions, fantasies, and fascinations the film provides the audience and through which their reality is confronted and symbolic systems are strengthened. cinema ensures that the shit is flushed down the toilet with hygienic motivation. this is what zizek describes when analyzing the basis of the shower scene in the bates' motel and the scene in "the conversation," in which when gene hackman inspects a toilet. with the rise of the shit there is disgust which must be suppressed. when the film ends and the screen disappears behind the curtain, the pathos softens into the profanity of everyday existence. with my partner hartwig vens i wrote a longer text about this topic which will be included in the booklet of this album.

Can you tell us a little about your Ghetto Ambient and Autokontrast projects? They're both related to your visual art projects, right?

ghetto ambient is an audio-visual project of mine which explores the terminology of "non-places". It is raising questions about how home and exile, identity and urban spaces can be understood and defined today and how those values are created and maintained. I arrange, processed and dismantle my photos taken at various geographic locations into fragments and combine/adjust them to my compositions of an abstract but somehow narrative movie, which is divided into numerous chapters and which is moving slowly from one geographic location to another. autokontrast is my photographic archive.

What's something that you know now (both about music and life in general) that you wish somebody had told you ten years ago?

i think remembering & reviewing what happened in your life so far is a necessary process of self-reflection but i don't want to look back in wistfulness. the same as i never seriously addressed the question to myself how would my life look like, if my parents hadn't left Poland in 1981. i don't regard this hypothetical question as constructive (or enlightening).

What's something that music has taught you about life? And what is something that life has taught you about music?

"music is the healing force of the universe" albert ayler

Thursday, February 12, 2009

ssg on tour

my dancefloor drought comes to an end this weekend. i won't tell you how long it's been since i last was actually out enjoying the music i love, but lets just say this has been the longest stretch of time since i first started going out to parties, which was late 1997. and i will be breaking this nasty streak in style, as i will be in new york for the weekend. and as it happens some really tasty sets have just appeared from the DJs i'll be seeing.

on saturday night, i'll be checking cassy at save the cannibals. she's just done a seriously hot mix for them, and is being supported on the night by anthony parasole, who has provided the latest bunker 'cast and is definitely worth checking. i must admit, i am very disappointed there is no bunker party on this weekend, but i've been hanging out to see cassy for a long time so i'm glad i can finally see one of my favourite ladies in action.

on sunday, wolf + lamb have a 2 part party going on. first up will be gadi mizrahi and ryan elliot spinning at a rooftop bar. sounds cool. i'm keep to check that. been digging elliot's sounds for a while and i've just finished listening to his set from NYE, which is spot on. after that mike shannon is playing somewhere else, but i'll be skipping that because i have never gotten into his sound at all and i got work stuff the next day.

i'm toying with the francois k institution on monday night, but might not have the time/energy/motivation, we shall see...

warm up the party bus! toot toot!

Friday, February 6, 2009

mnml ssgs mx20: Klimek

Sebastian Meissner is a Berlin based artist who works across a number of different, yet related, mediums – photography, video, and sound art. His audio explorations, largely built around sampling and digital manipulation, have been released under a number of names: Random Industries, Random Inc, Bizz Circuits, Autokontrast, and Autopoieses (with Ekkehard Ehlers) – names which may be familiar with those who remember the experimental/conceptual Mille Plateaux label.

At the moment Meissner’s main musical project, and the one which drew my attention to him, is Klimek. First appearing on Kompakt in 2002, and every year since on the label’s annual Pop Ambient series, Meissner’s Klimek tracks are restrained pieces of beauty built from shimmering samples of plucked guitar strings (and other organic instruments). No doubt because of the Kompakt connection, Klimek is usually described as an “ambient” project, although the term – all too often used in connection with aural wallpaper or music to just relax to – fails to describe the tension that exists at the heart of Meissner’s carefully measured compositions. While the music is undoubtedly beautiful, there are moments of melancholy – even iciness. And if the music is meditative, it is because there are real-world issues and tensions that Meissner would like us to meditate and reflect on.

Consider, for example, the cover art of the 2004 ‘Milk and Honey’ album – it’s a photograph of Israel’s West Bank barrier.

Or the fabulous 2007 album ‘Dedications’ on Ezekiel Honig’s Anticipate Recordings, where every track is named for the two people Meissner has dedicated it to, thereby creating a link between them. For example, the last track on the album is titled “For Steven Spielberg & Azza El-Hassan”, which may not mean much at first glance – that is, until you put Azza El-Hassan into Google and realize she’s a Palestinian filmmaker. In this interview, Meissner said, “I want to draw attention to the relationships and tensions between two characters symbolizing opposite values, different discourses or personalities.”

It’s clear to see that Meissner’s work is intensely political – political in the sense that his work seeks to actively engage with, question, and open a discourse on various cultural, social, and historical scenarios. For example, he is concerned with Israeli-Palestinian issues, particularly with how these issues are represented and portrayed. For his 2002 Random Inc release “Walking In Jerusalem” Meissner built his tracks around field recordings he had made in the city. His platform Intifada Offspring is for “artists from Palestine, Israel and other regions who have dedicated their work to the artistic deconstruction of the so called Middle East conflict.”

For his ssgmix Meissner presents a narrative that flows fluidly across a wide range of styles and sounds. His thoughts on the mix:

This is sort of a personal selection of tracks which I regard as timeless (boundless) in terms of styles and sounds and I intended to mix across the various production years, but still to achieve a coherent and fluent listening experience. Also because I hope that through the recent changes on the global music markets and digital music formats listening and the perception of music (productions) generally becomes more free and independent of trends and time aspects (which were to my experience in all the past years very much dominated by short-living press coverage). There are sometimes up to 4 different tracks playing at the same time.

mnml ssgs mx20: Klimek (click to dl)

Rapidshare Mirror

In keeping with the current ssgmix philosophy we’ll hold back the tracklisting of the mix until next week to encourage you (as George Michael once urged us all) to “listen without prejudice.”

You can find out much more about Meissner and his various artistic projects at his website, as well as listening to some of his Klimek tracks at his Myspace. You can explore his visual art at Ghetto Ambient and Autokontrast. Finally, many thanks to Sebastian for providing such a thoughtful and fascinating mix.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

i set you up

serious stuff boys and girls... it has been a while since i've posted some fresh sets. there are heaps i could/should post, but these will have to do:

i have a steffi for klock, or, i want to klock steffi
ben klock, steffi & sissi @ ostgut labelnacht, harry klein 17.09.2009
huge. almost 8 hours worth. and soooo good. go to the 3 hour mark and let your brain melt. klock's definitely got the touch. i remember dave saying it seems like klock and dettmann are in a friendly, ongoing battle to one-up each other. i tend to agree. you listen to this and dettmann's RA'cast is a long lost memory. there are some truly mind altering moments in this set. so marcel, your turn.

shaped to perfection
redshape livepa @ rote sonne 4.10.08
this has gone straight on repeat since i downloaded it. it took me a while to warm up to redshape, but there is no mistaking, he makes some great sounds. the last part of this performance is especially good. the final 20 minutes is old school perfection, which may bring about plenty of fist pumping. and it is one of those sets that after it finishes you have no idea what to put on next, what can capture that same feeling?

trox rocks x2
seth troxler @ fiction 9.5.08
seth troxler @ rex
this guy really has something. he just feels the music. i know this is a big call, but i think there is potential for him to become a figure like ricky v. obviously not in the same way, but comparable in terms of depth and ability as both a producer and dj. troxler is already next level and he is like 23 or 24. if he doesnt succumb to the superstar bullshit, he could be really special. i know everyone is currently losing their shit over his ibizavoice podcast, but i much prefer both of these sets. check 'em.

take this for a walk
stewart walker @ fricoti 2008
i used to love walker. he has such a distinctive, deep sound. then i kind of stopped listening to him. i am not sure why exactly. he kept on making quality music. i've tried coming back to him a couple of times, but i've had trouble reconnecting with his sound. until i put this on today and it all clicked again. this is a 2 hour livepa and what is so impressive is how coherent and well paced it is. the whole thing just fits together so well and the tempo is right on. i normally don't post a set after only listening to it once, but i have a feeling i'll have this on a fair bit in the coming days, so i wanted to make sure you guys gave it a run, or walk, too.

one for the late nights
natural / electronic.system. hypnos mix 30.12.08
further proof that there is some seriously quality coming out of italy these days. this mix is real deep. bit more slowed down, but still has a nice beat to keep things ticking over. it has done a great job of keeping me company in the office later on in the nights. not enough people make mixes like this. pitch the bpms and go under.

more gold
cio d'or @ klickklackklub 15.08.2008
cio has rightly been getting plenty of love for some of her sets we've posted here, so i figured you'd be keen for more. this one is a bit different because it is a live recording. as such, it doesn't have quite the same level of tight-ness as her other mixes, which is more than understandable. the records and sounds are the same though - dark, driving, hypnotic, reduced. and quality all the way, of course.

the others will have to wait. i have to work! enjoy...

salazar tracklist

here's the tracklisting for ssgs mx19 from santiago salazar:

01. DFA - 3/5 Human - Surveillance Recordings
02. Delano Smith -- Overseas - Mixmode Recordings
03. Sebo K - Diva - Mobilee
04. Rick Wilhite - Can You Feel Me? - Stilove4music
05. Jus-Ed - Project 49 - Underground Quality
06. Kerri Chandler - For the next x=1 to 1000 - Deeply Rooted House
07. San Soda - Got Me Jumpin' In My Car - We Play House Recordings
08. DJ Qu - Buzz - Strength Music
09. Move D. - Heidelberg Gals(Parts One, Two & Three) - Running Back
10. DJ Jus-Ed - Don't Answer the Phone - Novel Sound
11. Brothers' Vibe - Feelin' House (Raw Mix) - Mixx Records
12. Jeff Mills - Protection - Axis Records
13. A Guy Called Gerald - In Ya Head (feat. MIA) - Perlon
14. Fred P. Theropy - Underground Quality
15. Vince Watson - Dualism - Mule Electronic
16. Silent Servant - Lo Profundo - Historia y Violencia
17. Moodymann - J.A.N. - KDJ
18. The Other People Place - Running From Love(s2 edit) - Warp

mx20 will drop in the next couple of days, care of klimek. stay tuned...