Monday, September 28, 2009

mnml ssgs mx38: nuel

we've had a bit of a much needed rest with the ssg mixes, but now we are back for more, and this is the first in a series of killer mixes on the way...

mx38 comes from one of the ssgs' favourite countries, italy, care of nuel. when i was in london in june, i talked to donato about who he'd suggest we approach for mixes. his immediate response was nuel, the man he has co-produced the first two aquaplano records with. unsurprisingly, dozz was on the money and nuel has delivered a really beautiful mix for us. this is what nuel said about it:

"it's me, (with my good records, my mistakes and my pindaric flights between musical genres). being without a studio i chose the 'one take live' approach, with no edit at all... and i like it because i think it's alive and true."

alive and true. yep. that is a pretty accurate description. what really appeals to me about nuel's mix is the flow and tempo. the distinguishing feature is a very slow, but distinct build, with nuel gradually warming things up over the 60 minutes. this is a high quality mix, one that reflects the skills and talent of a mature dj who really gets it.

mnml ssgs mx38: nuel (direct dl)
soundcloud mirror

building on the success of the first two releases, in october nuel will release a solo ep on aquaplano ltd, which is a sister label for nuel, donato and their other close friends to release some special projects on. nuel sent me his release a while ago, and it is definitely one of my favourite eps of 2009 (and it has already been charted by dettmann). it evokes a similar vibe to the other 2 aquaplanos, but also clearly demonstrates nuel's own sounds. my favourite is the A2, which is a lovely ambient track. keep an eye out for it at hardwax in the coming weeks.

big thanks to nuel for taking the time to put together this mix. for more info, check his myspace. ok, that's it. enjoy the mix. more soon...

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

out of the labyrinth

just back in tokyo after a couple of incredible days at labyrinth. completely exhausted due to lack of sleep and the intensity of the experience. full report to come later on when i gather my thoughts, then find some time and energy. for now all i'll say is that it somehow managed to be more special, more powerful, more beautiful, more intense and more inspirational than last year. i really am in shell shock at the moment. most aspects of the party were as close to perfect as you could hope for. the music was amazing, the sound system was out of this world, the mountain setting was just right, the weather was good etc... personal highlights (all 10/10 performances, but many other artists were pretty close to pefect too) were peter van hoesen delivering a livepa that was on a whole different level, function absolutely destroying the place as it went to dusk, and, of course, dozzy's closing set. all 7 hours of it... (and before you ask, no, it was not recorded).

thanks to everyone for a truly unbelievable couple of days. and most of all, respect to russ for realising his vision. see you next year.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Full Set says 'Hello Hiatus...' (sets on reflection like jelly in a mirror)

Hello fellow SSGs,

Chris and I have decided to take a full fortnight off. Yes, SSGs are having a fully-blown, no alibi holiday. Never fear, we shall return…. and in greater numbers… with some new ‘casts that we’re particularly excited about... more on that in a fornight, natch...

In the meantime, I thought I might list some of the mixes that have been favourites of the year so far. This list is in no strict order, and for reasons of humility (I suppose) I've excluded all SSG casts. Anyway, here they are. All of them come with my double thumbs up guarantee, having proved not only their superlongevity, but also the slow revelation of some glinting hidden gem.

Seth’s second Save the Cannibals podcast (Episode 22)

this one is just divine…. feels like you’re floating, then there’s the final track (sounds almost Depeche Mode-y, can someone confirm). Seth proves with every one of his very many ‘casts what an excellent DJ and tasteful selecta he is, but with this mix he’s created something elevated, rare, and, for my money, perfect. This has undoubtedly given me more pleasure and longevity than any other mix this year. Get on it.

Mike Huckaby’s Bunker podcast

Mixing is over-rated; track selection is not. This, to me, reminds me of an older tradition of mixing records. Huckaby lets every record shine (and picks classic after classic) creating dialogues between them that end up telling a bigger story, which then brings the whole thang home with a final track that ‘reveals’ the gestalt. I just dig this so much.

DJ Koze’s RA podcast

I’ve included this one here because of, enjoyment aside, its timely, symbolic character. Bookended as it is with Mount Kimbie at one end and Animal Collective at the other, Koze seems to be saying (whether intentionally or not I don’t know) that the whole micro/click/minimal thang has run its full course… or that’s how I read it: a kind of symbolic completion, the full play-through of all the recombinations within a genre. In a way, this is the last possible ‘great Kompakt mix’ in the manner of Koze’s All People is My Friends and Tobias Thomas’ Smallville mix… an era passes into the past.

Steffi’s Panoramabar Mix II

Steffi, for me, has totally eclipsed Cassy of late as the Panoramabar stylist par excellence. Where Cassy just seems to be just mixing one record into the next in an almost totally aimless way, Steffi has a masterplan. Her pace and programming is always impeccable – everyone of her mixes (like this and her still incredible RA podcast from last year) has this fantastic arc to it. She builds tension, she moves deftly, AND she knows exactly when to grant you the big release…. Steffi takes you places… I’m not bored of this mix 6+months/12+ rinses in, and that, on an iPod with a few hundred mixes loaded, says it all.

Jus-Ed’s “On the Roof” ( podcast

The whole ‘shout outs to the massive’ thang that the UK has unfortunately inherited from soundsystem toasting gives me the howling, screaming shits… likewise ‘banter’ on podcasts…. to me several of the To the Bone podcasts become junk after one listen, despite the impeccable track selection, because of the irritating, sniggery-pokery banter going on. Yes, I know it’s a kind of a radio show, but having a recording as opposed to a live on the air broadcast (which you intend to listen and re-listen to) changes the game for me. I’m not sure the radio paradigm works for files…. But Jus Ed has gift of gab, he’s charming and engaging – and he plays amazing music. I gave this to a friend’s sister as a gateway mix into the world of house… now she might as well be Screaming Rachel….

Scuba’s new Hotflush mix

Every now and then, somebody does do something new. Paul Rose in 2009 is just such a somebody. And boy oh boy… as if the SSG SCB mix for us wasn’t enough, here comes even more: this mix covers dubstep, techno, minimal/house, and even some two step… with a rock earcleaner in the middle which I dug too. This is some new shit, this is fresh, this is just fucking excellent. Please do yourself a favour and get on it right away: Scuba is digging the trench; watch everyone follow in his wake.

Alva Noto’s Bunker performance

It’s amazing to see somebody cross so convincingly out of the white box of the sound/art world into the black box of the club/floor. This live set has so much white intensity (in all senses of the phrase)… ‘Gosh’, as a white person might say. So much intensity, so much passion in such precision. It’s not very often that Raster.Noton brings on a bout of spasming head-banging… I want to say: be careful listening to this one if you’re already on your way, you might just lose your shit.... unfortunately, the bass is way overblown on the other Raster sets, so I can't recommend 'em, but this one....

DJ Pete’s Wax Treatment cast

This one’s just got a real ‘sound’ to it. No super outstanding moments or ‘gee whizz’ Alva Noto-ish highpoints…. and yet… I just have to keep listening to it. What can I say? This is just extremely good dub/substep.

Bruno Pronsato’s Bunker performance

SSGs might know that Chris and I are split on ‘The Question of Bruno’: Chris can’t seem to see ‘it’; me and silent SSG Dave W both think that Make Up, Break Up is one of theeeee pieces of music this year so far in any genre, and both got longlasting microhouse stiffies (now there's an image to make weep) over Why Can’t We Be Like Us…. there are other Pronsato sets floating around, but for me, this is where he really, really, really nails ‘it’: not just his own material, but also the laptop/live perfomance… and it’s a perfect sublimation of most of what was interesting about minimal, but with more, so much more....

Matias Aguayo’s FACT mix

….I get that 14 tracks thing from boomkat, and when the Aguayo one came in the other week, I thought to myself: ‘come to think of it, Matias *actually* wrote several of the best tunes on Kompakt’… and might have been their most talented artist, or one of the three. Certainly, he’s one of he only ones who’s doing something now that doesn’t have a nasty whiff about it… anyway, I’ll spare all of us the Kompakt rant, not least of all ‘cos Matias is doing something new here, doin’ his own thang. The Whirlpool Productions track in this set is like a fucking firecracker up your sex bits…. in fact, that’s the hallmark of this whole set: it’s fucking sexy. Red rocket, coming right up ya.

…okay, so that’s the full set from me, what about you SSGs? Let’s use the comment section for everyone to nominate a few of their own faves from this year so far…. in the meantime, I’m off. See you all in a fortnight... oh, and sorry for the bodgy layout here, Word imported it with all this formatting, then I added the links (all too late) and, sorry, I can't be bothered going back and doing it again.... anyhoo....

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

a moment of intense calm

i wanted to share a special moment i had this evening. when leaving the office i had a sore head, so i put the black dog's ambient mix (which i posted recently) on my HD25s and started walking home. as i was walking, slowly a really intense combination occured between the music i was listening to and the environment around me. the sky was clear and there was a beautiful sunset. i walked home marvelling at the sky as i listened to the black dog mix. i arrived home but realised i couldn't stay inside. i put down my bags then continued walking, heading down to the ocean, just near my place. the feeling was really amazing. i think i passed one person the whole time i was out. there was this incredibly powerful sense of still-ness and calm. it combined with the beautiful sounds of the black dog's mix to create a really intense experience. it was yet another reminder (as if i needed another one) of the strong impact music can have.

i took a series of pictures while walking and listening the mix, which i wanted to share with you. i've put them in chronological order. the last one was taken just before the mix finished. i am not sure how well they convey the beauty of my surroundings, but i wanted to try to express this to you. it was a very beautiful moment.

Monday, September 14, 2009

sunday sounds

sorry for things being a bit quiet round here. pete has been super busy and i've been super sick. makes for a bad combo. anyway, a quick post because it is sunday, so something for your afternoon (this will also cheer you up if you are reading it on monday morning).

the first i heard of joy orbison was in SCB's ssg mix. after finding out that last track was from orbison, i checked out his my space and discovered this mix. besides that, i don't know shit about him, except there is a lot of hype and discussion around his new record, hyph mngo. well, this mix certainly isn't dubstep. mainly old school, downtempo jams. like the awesome jackmaster mix i posted the other day, this mix just makes me really happy. it is a lot of fun.

Thriller - Genie
Floating Points - Love Me Like This
C.O.M.B.I. - It A Late
Eddie C - Make It Better
The Revenge - Night Flight
B.W.H. - Stop
James Pants - We're Through
Alicia Meyers - I Want To Thank You
Fudge Fingas - DinsDins4Dada
Bumblebee Unlimited - Lovebug (DK Edit)
Arthur Russell - Hop On Down
Nite Jewel - Weak For Me
The Samps - Traincummings.....
C.B. Funk - Subway To Cologne
Kate Bush - Cloudbusting

ok, that's it. thanks to everyone for yesterday. i'm finally feeling a bit healthier. off to japan later in the week for labyrinth. pumped. hope you all are well... and if you have any mixes for sunday, feel free to put them in the comments.

Sunday, September 13, 2009


another pic from just near my house

exactly one year ago i was in the hills of japan at labyrinth. those few days had a very big impact on me. with mnml ssgs, it gave me a much firmer idea of what to do with it and all the possibilities open. the music itself was from another planet. some of the most amazing experiences from all the years listening to techno were across these few days. i also began building strong connections with some really beautiful individuals. one of these special people i met at labyrinth has come to play a very, very important part of my life and i am deeply grateful i met her there. simply put, it truly was a life changing experience. yesterday i was thinking about these things, especially as it became clear just how powerful the connections that were built at labyrinth and through mnml ssgs are. the 12 months following labyrinth were incredibly difficult and challenging, definitely the hardest part of my life. the experience and memories from labyrinth, the friendships i formed there in japan and through the ssg cyberspace, the incredibly positive and powerful energy and feedback around mnml ssgs, the close support and friendships of my other ssgs, and the love of someone very special, all these helped get me through a dark part of my life. and now, as i move towards better and brighter things, it is great having all this support and momentum, much of which has been somehow tied to ssgs.

so these are the thoughts circulating in my head as i prepare for labyrinth again this year. for a long time it looked like i wouldnt be able to go, but once again the techno gods listened to my prayers (thereby confirming my theory that they live at the old liquid room in tokyo). the thing about labyrinth is that it is not just about the amazing lineup. or the ridiculous sound system. of course, they are the focal point, but it is more than that. it is a group of likeminded people gathering, creating and sharing something incredible that you cannot feel in other context. for a couple of days you leave all the crap behind and you just lose yourself, it is a process of renewal that prepares you for the next 12 months. from my own experience and talking with others, it feels this is what labyrinth is about.

last year my time at labyrinth were some of the best days of my life. and, as i said, it had a very powerful and positive impact on my life. i am expecting the same this year. actually, i am expecting it to be a lot better than last year. sorry, i'm not writing this post to make everyone not going jealous, i just wanted to share some of the thoughts going through my head yesterday when the depth and strength of the connections i have built up through labyrinth and mnml ssgs was demonstrated very clearly to me.

soon i'll depart for an intense, amazing stay in japan. for all our ssg regulars who cannot come to labyrinth, you'll be there in spirit. and for the rest of us also there in body, i'll see you there. it is time to enter into the labyrinth.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

sunday sounds

the reason sunday sounds hasn't been exactly every week is that, besides being busy, i am only going to post something if (a) i'm really feeling it, and (b) it fits. and the last couple of weeks i've been struggling with mixes that matched those categories. this week i've had no problem and have found something that fits and vibes nicely: it is an ambient mix from the black dog, the 2nd of a 12 part podcast series they're doing. i am a big fan of mixes like this that show a different side to an artist. in this sense it reminds me a bit of cio's 'on clouds' mix. anyway, it struck me as something good for your sunday, and it has been appropriate for my sore head. for all the hardcore audiophiles, i should warn you that it is unfortunately only 128kbps.

01. Intrusion - Under The Ocean - Echospace [detroit]
02. Intrusion - Static Waves - Echospace [detroit]
03. Louderbach - Autumn - Minus
04. Terry Riley - Poppy No Good - Rough Trade
05. Robin Rimbaud - Sans Soleil - Bine
06. Peter Broderick - Music for Falling from Trees, Pt. 3_ Pill Induced Slumber - Erased Tapes
07. Peter Broderick - Music for Falling from Trees, Pt. 6_ Electroconvulsive Shock - Erased Tapes
08. Stars Of The Lid - Hiberner Toujours - Kranky
09. Robin Rimbaud - Anna Livia Plurabelle - Bine
10. Peter Broderick - A Glacier - Erased Tapes
11. White Rainbow - April 25th 11.14PM - Kranky
12. The Black Dog - Plinth (Tones) - Soma
13. The Black Dog - Plinth (Beatless) - Soma

have a good sunday people.

Friday, September 4, 2009

set up!

this is where i now live. i am not in tokyo anymore...

i've been getting a lot of really awful migraines over the last fortnight. the reason i'm mentioning this is that it has changed my usual listening habits. i've had less music playing, and most of the stuff i have been listening to has been ambient and easy on my poor head. one recent release that has been keeping me company is "monochromes" by t 'um. really beautiful soundscapes. you can hear some of it and see some accompanying images at their site, so give it a go. anyway, normally before i post sets i like to give them all multiple listens and be sure they are up to scratch. i try my best to act as a filter for you all. because of my fucked up head, this time i haven't had a chance to listen to most of these sets properly. but from what i could hear, they all sound pretty nice and are from reliable artists. and i figured you guys would be getting keen for something fresh. so here you go, but keep in mind the caveat that these have not been as closely filtered as usual.

move d @ nachtigital 1.8.09: just listening to this for the first time now. so far i've got through 40 of 261 minutes. lovely, lovely sounds. i must admit, i've gone off D's productions a bit lately (i'm not sure why exactly), but he has fantastic taste in records, and his dj'ing has really improved from all the gigs he has been playing. nice.

stewart walker - livepa for i'd been meaning to ask walker for a ssg mix for a while, but was holding off because the books are pretty full right now. and these guys beat us to it. nevermind. the sounds are out there, and that is the most important thing. i felt walker had lost his way for a bit, but this is the 2nd recording in a row i've heard that has really impressed me. this has plenty of unreleased material, which bodes well. i've been a fan of walker for a long time, so i'm glad to see he is getting back into form.

scuba - hotflush podcast03: if the SCB ssg mix wasn't enough evidence, he is further proof of why paul rose is one of the most essential talents in the business right now.

seth troxler - keepin whores of the street mix: trox has become a total podcast whore. i've lost count of how many different mixes he has done in 2009. but. but they've all been incredibly fresh, funky, and totally essential. keep 'em coming. i ain't complaining.

eric cloutier - projektion07: i haven't been able to listen to all of this yet, but i've got faith this will be the first quality mix in a pretty weak podcast series. eric is moving from strength to strength as a DJ. he has agreed to do a big post-labyrinth ssg mix for us, which i am very, very excited about. i'm expecting big things from this man over the next 12 months.

kevin gorman - august cookery: again, i haven't given this a proper go yet, but it is kevin gorman, and i'm yet to hear a dud mix from him. it looks like a good serving of fresh techno.

jackmaster - tweak-a-holic 2 mix: unlike the other mixes here, this is one i have listened to. a lot. it could even be my favourite mix from the last month. lots of old, fun records. listening to this just makes me happy. and it has old school madonna, which is a cheap route to my heart.

well i've gotten further through the move d, and it is still hot. this is shaping up to be the best mix i've heard from him in a while. guess i'll find out if he keeps together. i hope this, and all the other ones, are up to scratch. i have a feeling they will be...