Wednesday, October 28, 2009

mnml ssgs mx40: dasha rush

mx40 has been a long time coming. when we first began working on this series early last year, one of the first people we decided to try was dasha rush. i'd first heard about dasha in a RA interview with dozzy, and since then had been keen to discover more. so i emailed her about doing a mix, but never got a reply. earlier this year, it was really bugging me. i felt like dasha had to be in the mnml ssgs series. her sounds really belong here. so i decided to email her again. this time she replied. she had never got my first email (the spam filter was obviously working well). lucky i tried again, as she agreed, and has come up with something special that perfectly encapsulate what we are trying to do.

the other reason i am really excited about these mixes is that i strongly feel dasha rush is one of the most criminally under-rated people in techno. over the last couple of years she been releasing some serious techno through fullpanda records, and i'd strongly suggest checking her productions if you don't know her work. dasha has the key qualities we look for when chasing people for ssg mixes: a powerful, distinctive and unique voice, someone looking forward. and all these characteristics are strongly reflected in the 2 mixes she has kindly done for us.

intense vertical mix (direct dl)
soundcloud mirror

this pretty much speaks for itself. the 'intense vertical' mix shows off dasha's talents as a techno dj, delivering an excellent mix of what we like to call headfuck techno. no messing around here. and she plays one of my alltime favourite techno records, so she gets bonus points for that.

sleepless horizontal mix (direct dl)
soundcloud mirror

as much as i love the vertical mix, it is the horizontal one that really excites me. why? because it is exactly what we like to see - something different, pushing things forward. it is an ambient mix with spoken word throughout it. dasha explains the thinking behind it:

"The idea of it was: to bring another element of expression with music together , it could be a video clip or something else. I chose a text. So it could become, like a little oral theater, if i might say that, and give another aspect of the way music or text can be perceived .

In the interaction between sound and text, personally , i could perceive, how the sound could force a mood of a story to a slightly different angle, as well as accentuate or attenuate the meaning and strength of a word, rather than the initial intonation of a text line, if it would be known from single source, just as reading a book ,to be more exact. Or vice versa."

there you go... a special 2 part mix from dasha rush. i'd strongly suggest listening to both mixes together. despite being different in style and presentation, i view the two very much as a whole. for the horizontal mix, the text is by victor pelevin and voice by tim o’loghlin. massive thanks for dash for really digging deep and producing something very special and personal. i am proud i can share it with you all. for more info on dasha rush, make sure to check her myspace, and keep a close eye on fullpanda records.

thanks to dasha and enjoy the mixes...

Friday, October 23, 2009

another friday

as far as new mixes floating about, by now everyone should have been destroyed by the RA sandwell district mix. quality, quality stuff. if you like it, make sure to check function's sandwell mix available through beatport. it is of a similar standard. these guys know what they are doing. much respect. anyway, a few other mixes i thought people might like:

forward strategy group @ detatched: i was hoping to make it to this party. the flu got the better of me and i missed it. listening to this, i have the feeling i missed a special night. this is some seriously heavy gear. almost as rough as the ancient methods stuff. quality, tough techno. further proof of the techno renaissance presently taking place in the UK. get on it.

silent servant @ interface: over at oursoundtracks there are two live recordings from mr mendez in full flight. i am incredibly disappointed i missed him play recently in leeds and then berlin. as far as i am concerned, he is one of the most distinctive, powerful and worthwhile voices in techno right now. respect.

samuli kemppi @ valtimo: a monster 5 hour set. i'm only half way through it, but so far the BPMs have been pitched perfectly, deep and low. nice. plenty of prologue sounds and a lot of the big techno records (horizontal ground, silent servant, blueprint etc.). to be honest, i've felt a bit like samuli's sounds haven't progressed as much as i would have liked, but this mix feels like it has a bit more going on.

dj pete @ plex: ahead of their birthday party next weekend, plex have just released this 3 hour live recording of pete doing his thing. for some unknown reason, some times pete manages to trainwreck the hell out of mixes, and other times he is spot on. i dont get it. but. but the guy knows music. and you can always guarantee he'll play bomb records.

finn johannsen - process part 168: the latest in the never ending modyfier series. i am a long term supporter of what rayna has been doing, but i do worry that modyfier has lost its way a bit. the mixes are coming way too often, and gems like this don't get the attention they deserve. anyway, my advice would be to download it first, then check the tracklisting later - on paper it looks a bit odd, but listening to it, the mix just works. lovely stuff.

that's about all i've had time to listen to this week. enjoy and if you've got any recommendations, make sure to add them in the comments. have a good weekend people.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

friday night fun

to be honest, i don't really like london. i know a lot of people love it, not me. but last friday i had a fantastic night there. it started out with me checking out the 'genesis' exhibition at the chapter one gallery in soho. i was there to check out some of stefan marx's works, which are showing as part of the exhibition. for many of our readers, stefan maybe better known for his illustrations for smallville and mule. i love his drawings. they have a very open and genuine feeling of warmth. i like that. so it was nice being able to see some of them up close. if you are in london, i'd definitely suggesting heading down. a nice space run by some good people.

i wasn't done with visual pleasures, as i then headed over to the barbican to see GAS. i was very lucky and somehow managed to find a spare ticket only days before the event. i was incredibly fortunate i was able to be able to go. i am not really sure how to describe GAS. it was what you'd expect - powerful, intense, beautiful. i don't know exactly how much voigt was doing up on stage, his setup was minimal and the focus was on the visuals. regardless he did more than enough to keep me happy. and this was more than just music: it was accompanied by a specially made movie, which did an amazing job of visually recreating the sounds of GAS. for almost ninety minutes we all got lost with herr voigt in a deep, dark german forest. the music and visuals were in perfect harmony, shifting from light to dark, and back again, some times generating a feeling of peace and rest, at other moments creating an oppressive and ominous atmosphere. the whole thing built to a climax that was the clear highlight of the show. despite all the various VJs and other artists, more often than not i've been left unsatisfied with attempts to integrate audio and visual components. at least from what i've seen, GAS is a very rare and important exception.

i'd already achieved more in one night than i would in a month or six back where i live. but there was still one more thing left on the agenda: scuba... he was playing at the new T bar. i was a fan of the old one, so was interested in checking this out. my feelings are mixed. one good thing is that you can go see first calibre artists for absolutely nothing. the advantage of this is that on friday we got to see scuba deliver a high quality set, one which effortlessly jumped between BPMs as if they meant nothing. the bad part of the free entry is it meant that the crowd was well, completely fucking awful. it was full of people who just shouldn't have been there. without getting into a big berghain style of discussion, my feeling was that the door policy was such that the crowd mix made no sense. there was no vibe, people were more interested in pointing at themselves than listening to scuba (if they even knew who we was). it is a shame, because i actually really like the space at the new T bar and it has a good funktion one system. anyway, scuba killed it and i was happy enough. and it confirmed a feeling i already had: if there was a techno situation like in the bond film 'moonraker' (kind of like noah's ark), scuba is definitely one of the guys i'd be saving. this guy is the future. exciting, exciting stuff.

so i must give london its props. i had a really excellent friday night. i decided not to risk it by heading to the fabric birthday celebrations the next night. the idea of having to 'enjoy' DBX live in a ridiculously over-crowded club did not appeal to me. if anyone went i'd be interested to know how jam packed it was... and i think i am probably going to head back to london for the plex birthday party on 30 october, for a lineup that kicks the hell out of the fabric one: scion live, ancient methods live, scorn live, plus norman nodge and rene lowe on the decks. now that is a fucking ssg party! and it is at corsica studios, a venue that really impressed me when i saw dozzy back in june. so i think i might make the journey over for it. nice space, killer lineup, sounds like it will be worth the trip.

Acid Casualties: or, how to embrace silicon (and not neccesarily for the better)

Techno wouldn't be techno without shark jumpers. What ever happened to Michael Mayer? What ever happened to Luciano? One thesis: Coke + bitches (NB: only 50% of bitches are female) ...I don't want to give Richly too much of a canvas, given the reams of hypertext (yes, now issued by the ream) spunked on the fella. Nonetheless, I was round at a friend's place on the weekend, we pulled this one out (from a pile of scratched CD-Rs) and holy hawting fuck it's enough to make you ask: 'what happened?' I ask this not because we should all be shedding tears over Richly. I ask it because, from a certain point of view, what happened to Hawtin is what happened to a lot of techno...

Plastikman, Live in Wellington, 1999
*possibly/actually just Richie Hawtin, still in Wellington, 1996

Lesson? Technology ≠ progress.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

bits to pieces

if you are anywhere near berlin on thursday, this is where i'd be going. it is killing me i won't be there. the full sandwell gang in force, plus sleeparchive and adam x. there isn't even space for a toilet break with this kind of lineup...

the good news for me, though, is that i'm in london this weekend, which means i get to see gas play at the barbican, then go catch scuba spin at the new t bar. the old t bar was one of the few venues i've been to in london that i actually liked, so i'm keen to check the new version. if there are any other ssgs going, make sure to say 'hi'.

after london, i'll be off for about a week, so probably no posts from me, unless a new ssg mix appears (which is always a possibility). anyway, figured i'd share some new sets before i disappear. most of these i haven't had the chance to listen to closely, but i figure people out there will be keen. so they don't come with the usual chris guarantee, but i reckon you can bank on them...

ssgs keeping themselves busy

yuka - mock sun mix

rossella - biomechanics podcast

delta funktionen - october 09 promo mix

more mixes that taste good

byetone livepa @ MNAC 29.9.09: this shit is fucking ridiculous.

move d livepa @ redbox 3.10.09: listening to this for the first now. i like.

claudio PRC - 2009 mix: more italian talent.

surgeon - DEAF mix: he is definitely on form at the moment.

evad - process part 165: a lovely mix from a good friend of the ssgs.

sheffield bleep - SCR tribute mix: superb. this mix is an absolute delight.


unfortunately they are only available in streaming, but i'd suggest heading over to for mixes from the prologue boys and kassem mosse. and if you happen to be in tokyo, i'd strongly suggest making sure to catch kassem play at module on 23 october. to be honest, right now the scene in tokyo is pretty conservative and uninteresting, so it is great to see some gigs like this are still happening.

ok, that's it. be well ssgs!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

sunday sounds: iori

this week sunday sounds is a bit different. instead of posting a mix i've found somewhere, this week's mix is one that has been especially made for the ssgs. recently i've been enjoying the galaxy radio show/podcast by iori, a japanese dj based down in okinawa. these mixes have been perfect for late at night and on the weekends. he has a dj'ing style that really appeals to me: the tracks are played out, the mixing is simple and straightforward, the music is allowed to breathe and speak for itself. my original plan was to post his most recent galaxy mix (which is really beautiful), but then i thought i'd see if he could do something just for the ssgs. luckily he agreed. and as expected, the mix is perfectly geared for a sunday...

iori - sunday sounds mix

thanks to iori for taking the time to put this together for us. you can find his other galaxy mixes over at deeper frequency (you just need to register your email to get access) and more info, as well as some of his productions, at his myspace. i'll add the tracklist in the comments section tomorrow.

have a good sunday...

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

mnml ssgs mx39: donato dozzy

while there won't be any live recordings from labyrinth, what we will have is a series of mixes from artists who performed there. these mixes will build on the energy and inspiration of those intense couple of days and try to share some of the magic with all our techno brothers and sisters who were not able to be there with us. fittingly the first of these mixes comes from donato dozzy.

donato's closing set at last year's labyrinth was a defining moment for himself as an artist, labyrinth, and later for mnml ssgs when we shared it with the world. that moment cannot be recreated so we are not trying to. instead, this year we are presenting a different side of dozz, and a different side of labyrinth. the night before his 7 hour monster closing, donato treated those still standing after function to a stunning 3 hour ambient journey. and this is what he has recreated for us...

so this year we get to hear another part of dozz: it may not be headfuck techno, but it still warps your brain. these perfectly arranged other worldly sounds transport you somewhere else for a couple of hours. the whole mix has a beautiful sense of calm and tranquillity to it. often with ambient music the imagery used is outer space, but for me this mix feels like deep sea diving: you float around all these sounds swimming by as you dive deeper and deeper. my advice would be download both parts of the mix, find a couple of spare hours and some good speakers or headphones, then let dozz take you some place special...

i'd like to thank donato for taking the time to put together this lovely mix, and more generally, for his friendship and support. donato has played an important role in the way mnml ssgs has developed, and we are deeply grateful for all that he has done. i really feel this gentle and delicate mix strongly reflects donato's personality: someone who dreams, cares and believes. beautiful music from a beautiful heart. enjoy.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

the labyrinth 2009

welcome to the labyrinth...

it has taken a while, but i'm now ready to try to put into words the feelings, experiences and sounds from a very intense and powerful couple of days at the labyrinth festival in japan. i will try my best to do justice to what took place, but i am not sure if i can fully convey in mere words how powerful many moments were. before i continue, a disclaimer: i consider the organisers and many of the artists friends, and i strongly support the vision russ (the key organiser) has for labyrinth. as such, this account is unavoidably and unabashedly biased. indeed, in many ways, labyrinth is a living, breathing version of what mnml ssgs tries to do on a weekly basis online.

a beautiful outdoor setting for some amazing music.

this was the 9th labyrinth (and my 2nd). an important thing to realise is that the festival is most definitely not something which can be taken for granted. japanese authorities have become increasingly sensitive to outdoor parties due mainly to some high profile drug related incidents, plus they are pretty conservative in general. for some time i was not even sure whether labyrinth would be on this year, or if i would be able to go. but luckily for everyone it happened, and i was able to get my ass back to japan. it was at a venue different from last year, now in the ski resort town of naeba. it was a bigger space, which had its advantages and drawbacks: it lost some of the intimacy of the previous venue, but i liked all the open space. over the years i have developed a serious intolerance to packed clubs. i just can't enjoy music when the dancefloor is overcrowded. i hate it. so all the space and ability to dance freely in the open air was a pleasure.
another point to note is that on rather late notice the organisers were forced into making it primarily a day party, though there was a smaller stage running at night. this did mess with the initial scheduling, but on the whole i thought the day format was a blessing in disguise. dancing in lovely sunny weather, and sleeping at night worked for me. actually, my preference is for it to continue as a day party in the future, regardless of whether they have to or not. i think it worked really well , especially as the venue got pretty chilly at night (we were up in the hills). on a side note, i think techno as a whole could benefit from a lot more day and evening parties. i don't see why techno can only be enjoyed at stupid hours when we should be sleeping.

eric cloutier being introduced to techno, j-style.

in setting the scene, one major thing you need to keep in mind is the sound system they have at labyrinth. the funktion one speaker stacks are simply ridiculous. the rig was even bigger than last year, and i think it is about 3 times the size of what they have at berghain. so basically just imagine the best club system you've ever heard, and i can guarantee you it sounded better than that. despite listening to music for 3+ days, at no stage did my ears hurt or get tired. when i am describing all the amazing music i experienced, you have to remember that it was on a mindblowing sound system. the other general comment i'll make is that not only was the lineup great in terms of music, it was great in terms of people. the artists were a very warm, friendly and enthusiastic group who really understood what labyrinth was about and got into the spirit of things. they all bonded well and supported each other and i am sure this contributed to the exceptionally high standard of music. compared to last year, when there were a few weak sets (mathias kaden's 3 hours + of painful bongos especially), this year i really didn't hear a bad one. there were sets that weren't to my tastes, but no means did this make them bad. rather, they created a needed diversity and offered a range for people to choose from. the care that russ took in choosing the lineup paid off and i commend him for the thought and effort he put into it. the other thing to understand about the lineup and timetabling is that it really was an embarrassment of riches. it simply was not possible to see everything. whatever happened, you were going to miss some cool music. it was just a matter of who. pick your poison...

the mighty funktion ones.

ok, onto the party. it started on saturday night with hiyoshi warming up the funktion ones. he played a lovely downbeat set, with the standout moment being a bvdub track - the heavy basslines sounded divine. it was great bumping into friends and there was an electric feeling in the air, everyone excited about what was going to happen in the coming days... after hiyoshi finished, we headed back to the hotel where we were staying (no point sugar coating it, i was too soft to do camping). after a couple of hours sleep, we got up nice and early to catch marcel fengler, who was starting the 1st day off. i am guessing the logic for putting fengler first was to give the festival a bit of a kickstart, but i think people were adjusting to the new timetable and still on route from tokyo, so the crowd was not as big as it should have been. nonetheless, marcel did what was expected: deliver a high quality set of techno. much like ssg mix, fengler did a great job slowly building things, gradually raising the tempo step by step. while i thoroughly enjoyed his set, i would have loved to see him with a bigger crowd to work with.

marcel fengler kicking things off.

next up was eric cloutier, another dj playing for the first time in japan. the first half an hour of eric's set felt a bit nervous, but he soon settled down and got into the groove. eric covered a fair bit of ground in his 3 hours, and he skillfully managed to win over the japanese crowd, not always an easy task. with more and more people appearing, eric built on fengler's opening and got the party started. it was a thoroughly enjoyable set that showed this is a dj definitely on the rise. following cloutier was will saul. i was due for a break and lunch, so i missed his set. the reports i heard were all very positive, and from what i gather he dropped some old school house and built on the vibe eric had created. it simply wasn't possible to catch everyone and i was keen for some techno later on.

techno fun in the sun.

after saul was another ssg mixer, koss, playing his first of 2 livepas on the day, this being the dancefloor one. over the next 60 minutes koss show very clearly that he is presently japan's most relevant and talented producer. i think he took a lot of the crowd by surprise, i am not sure they realised just how good he is. but by the end they definitely knew. what impressed me is how koss played a sound that should have been stale - he was basically playing tribal tech house - but managed to make it feel exciting, new and fresh. koss also made full use of the magnificent sound system at his disposal. so far all 3 ssg mixers had delivered, and now it was the turn of italian debutants, natural/electronic.system. the italian boys made it 4 from 4, winning the crowd with a perfectly weighted set of deep, heady techno. my favourite moments were hearing the villalobos remix of shackleton and silent servant's 'discipline', both which sounded spectacular on the funktion ones. for me, natural/electronic.system. were the highlight of the first day. they showed a deep understanding of what labyrinth is about and their sounds were a perfect match for day turning to night.

the natural/electronic.system. boys taking it deep.

next up was donnacha costello, who started his ambient dj set rather abruptly with what sounded like death metal. umm. yes. i'm not sure if this was the best move, as it undermined the vibe the italians had built up. nonetheless, donnacha soon settled into some nice ambient sounds. about half an hour into his set the offer of a lift down the hill to our hotel was too tempting to refuse, as we were tired and needed a rest before a big day 2. the only problem is that it meant we missed the rest of donnacha's set and koss' ambient livepa, which i am sure would have been lovely. after that, things moved to the smaller 'midnight lounge' stage, where 2 local djs (maxxrelax and KZA) spun, before there was a sendai dj set from peter van hoesen and yves de mey. reports on the sendai set were all very positive and i am pissed i missed them, but it simply wasn't possible to catch everyone. i'd decided to focus on the main daytime stage and rest at night. pick your poison.

eavesdropper starting day 2.

hard to believe that was only day 1. we still had 2 more to go... day 2 proved to be the peak of the festival, with a veritable feast of techno, house and ambient magic. we arrived to catch the 2nd hour of eavesdropper (yves de mey), who was warming things up nicely. he finished his set with a ridiculous old LFO record, which was a real highlight. wow. what a bomb. next up was peter van hoesen doing his livepa. this would prove to be the first 10/10 set for the labyrinth. i have had a long standing respect for peter, but i must admit that i was completely shocked with how good his performance was. without trying to be harsh, his livepa last year feels almost amateur compared to what he did this time around. even his recent LWE recording does not come close to how he sounded this year at labyrinth. he started the set with very low BPMs: really trippy, pyschedelic stuff, before building it slowly and deliberately over the 90 minutes. indeed, the whole set PvH kept the BPMs down, but did so without sacrificing any of the raw power or dynamism that defines his productions. for me, peter's set was the perfect example of what makes labyrinth so special. here was someone who played last year, was deeply inspired, and came back with a set that built on these positive energies and memories. you can feel an amazing synergy here between the artist and the event. and what peter demonstrated is that he is one of the most worthwhile and distinctive voices in techno today. keep a close eye on PvH. i have a feeling he is only just getting started...

the hose providing one of the highlights of labyrinth.

three had the difficult job of coming on after peter had just raised the bar to a remarkably high level. the question i was asking was, 'how the fuck do you follow this?' well three's answer was, 'i'm going to play the first 20 minutes of "the make up the break up"'. umm. that would qualify as a pretty darn good response (even if i don't feel this track as much as most others do, i appreciate it). to be honest, i had yet to be persuaded by three, but some people whose taste i trust suggested i give him a proper go. so i did. and i was pleasantly surprised. he delivered a really nice party set that brought out a lot of smiles and good feelings. there was a weak patch of about 30 minutes punctuated by some nasty reboot, but overall three did great and really played to the crowd. the highlight of his set was when he dropped the new cheap and deep record. cool. up next was a livepa from vince watson. i saw vince last year and while enjoyable enough, he is not quite my thing - a bit too heavy on the synths and melodies for my taste. so it was break time for chris. while i was off eating hamburgers, vince watson put together a livepa that was very well received, from what others told me. after watson was so, a local dj who is an important part of the labyrinth family. i didn't catch him as i was still in relax mode, but from what i heard in the distance it sounded like he was playing a set well fitted to the mood and time.

the day party format worked really well.

by the time so finished i was a bit more rested and prepared for what was an absolutely killer lineup - dan bell, function, donato dozzy. first up was bell. do i need to even bother describing his set? if you've seen him, you can guess: 3 hours of perfect minimal house effortlessly mixed together. my nickname for bell is 'mr consistent'. he never drops a beat. the mixes are always spot on. the records are always quality. i really cannot conceive of dan bell playing a bad set. that would blow my mind. hell, he even managed to play a record with a michael jackson sample and made it work. i have no idea how the fuck he got away with that. but he is dan bell and he knows. for some, dan bell was the highlight of labyrinth, but for me he was a prelude to function. at first glance having function follow bell might seem a bit odd - minimal house to serious techno - but this was a stroke of genius. bell lined them up, function knocked them down. come to think of it, function was so good, i will give him his own paragraph.

function owning labyrinth.

before labyrinth i questioned russ' decision to book function solo instead of sandwell district with regis. i am glad i was not listened to. russ 1 - chris 0. with no disrespect to peter, dozz, or any of the other artists that performed, function totally owned labyrinth. i've been listening to techno for a long time now, well over a decade, and i've seen plenty of amazing performances. and this was right at the very top. without thinking too much about it, this would be in my all time 5-10 best sets. function was given the dusk slot, and this was the perfect setting. in addition to his laptop, he had a 909, 808 and a bunch of other gear. this was clearly not just another gig for him, he was ready to create something special. and that is exactly what he did. over the next 3 hours function put together an intense and powerful set of techno that totally destroyed the place. within the first 15-20 minutes he'd already dropped DBX, plastikman and kraftwerk. not a bad start... by no means was this a retro set, however. it was a deftly blended mixture of the old and new, demonstrating the depth and breadth of this man's understanding of music. for me, function's set was similar to dozzy's closing set at last year's labyrinth: a revelation. like dozz in 2008, this was a master at the very height of his powers, compiling years of musical learning and thought into a perfectly conceived set. respect.

dozzy fixing heads after function.

where do you go from there? function just delivered the hammer. it really felt like a big ass techno bomb had been dropped on labyrinth. donato dozzy was given the difficult job of cleaning up function's mess. of course, donato was up to the task and created a beautiful ambient journey. he began with more beats and slowly removed them as the set progressed. unfortunately about half way through his set i was falling asleep while standing, feeling completely and utterly exhausted after function's onslaught. luckily, though, i was there long enough to experience one of the highlights of this year's labyrinth, which was donato playing for the first time his unreleased track, 'rudeboy'. dozz introduced me to 'rudeboy' a couple of months ago, and since then it has come to occupy a very special place in my heart. while having that unmistakable dozzy trademark, it differs from his usual output by having vocals through most of it. dozz goes pop... leading up to labyrinth i had been unsubtly encouraging him to play it, and i'm so happy he did. he dropped it at just the right moment and the reaction was fantastic. i really think this is going to be a big record when it comes out. fortunately someone recorded a bit of it and posted it on youtube:

definitely keep an eye out for 'rudeboy'... alas, fatigue kicked in and i didn't get to enjoy all of dozz's ambient set, which you could feel was something special. the good news for me and all the other ssgs is that he has provided us with a 3 hour ambient mix that recreates the vibe of his labyrinth set. we'll be posting it on wednesday. not only did tiredness cause me to miss the 2nd half of dozz's set, it also meant i didn't catch any of the midnight lounge, where eric cloutier, the natural/electronic.system. boys and dan bell played tag. fuck. how could you miss something like that? i know. 2 days of non-stop techno. pick your poison. pick your poison.

while dan bell spins, eric cloutier considers which records to steal.

the final day. the wise decision was made to stop the night stage a bit early and start things in the morning slightly later, thereby giving everyone a chance to rest and recover from a very long and intense day 2. things kicked off with peter van hoesen doing a dj set. much like marcel fengler, peter suffered from being on too early, a consequence of the timetable being turned upside down by the shift from night to day. by this stage people were just exhausted and suffering from a lot of partying, so it took quite a while for the crowd to build up. peter played a good set, including dropping an old new beat track early on which got me very excited. the problem was he was limited by the context: people were just waking up, there was no point him going for it. he played well, but it wasn't until the labyrinth exit party the following week that he could really let loose on the decks. next up was labyrinth regular dave mothersole. i was still suffering majorly from the previous day, so i had to rest. from what i could hear mothersole played a tech-trancey set that was very well suited to the environment, getting people awake, moving and having fun.

donnacha costello doing his thing.

having recovered a bit, i made sure i was back in time for donnacha costello's livepa. on returning to the dancefloor i quickly noticed that things were getting messy. a couple of days and nights of heavy partying meant that the crowd was in pretty bad shape at this stage. of course this is pretty standard at most techno parties (and japan is much better than most places), and it was fine for most of the party, but i found on the 3rd day it was a bit too much and sometimes detracted from things. anyway, back to donnacha: i've been following donnacha since his first release on force inc., 'growing up in public', and only now was i seeing him for the first time. he did not disappoint, putting together a dynamic and thoroughly enjoyable set including quite a lot of stuff i didn't recognise. really lovely sounds. and the transitions were amazing. from memory, i think he even dropped something from his brilliant 'together is the new alone'. nice. and there was a rather surreal moment where i had people on both sides of me crying during donnacha's set. i guess that means it was very good. at most parties this would have been the highlight, but today was always going to be dozzy's day... immediately following donnacha was marcus from minilogue. after a lunch break, i caught the 2nd half of his set. it was tribal, tech-trancey stuff and a lot of fun. not quite my thing, but it suited the context very well and the crowd loved it. the dancefloor was full and excited, and he did a great job of getting everyone ready for the final act: donato dozzy.

marcus from minilogue making people happy.

everybody had been waiting a year for this. anyone who has listened to dozzy's set from labyrinth 2008 understands just how mindblowing it was. now it was time for dozz to step up and do it again. and of course, he did. and then some. he played for 7 hours, but it felt like half that. music flowed, time disappeared. what impressed me most about dozz's set is that not only did he manage to recreate the vibe and feel of last year's set, he actually improved on it, and did so using completely different records and sounds. well, there was one record he played again. plastikman's 'consumed'. boom. and again for about 10 minutes i was sucked into a big techno vortex...

dozzy finishing off an incredible couple of days.

as for his set, to be honest, i dont even know how to fully describe it. he traversed a lot of territory (and vinyl) over 7 hours and basically provided a blueprint for what we've been calling 'headfuck techno'. deep, warped, powerful machine music that hit your mind, heart and legs all at the same time. the mixing was super tight (even dan bell commented on it), the track selection was flawless, the energy was electric. this set confirmed what i'd already decided quite a while ago: dozz is one of the very, very best in the business. there might be people as good, but i am not sure if there any/many better than him. he has such a deep understanding and feeling for the music, and it shows in every record he selects, every mix he makes: donato just knows. just like peter's livepa, and function's dj/live, dozz's performance was as close to perfection as you could imagine, the ultimate synergy between the artist and the event. and so, as expected, an amazing festival finished on an incredible high.

a techno master at work.

so, all in all, labyrinth lived up to all the hype and expectation. again it went far beyond the norm and created something special, unique and worthwhile. what separates labyrinth is its purity. there is no bullshit, hype, egos, corporations and crucially, no compromises. this is techno enjoyed at its most basic and elemental. the result was a deeply inspirational and motivating experience for everyone involved. labyrinth showed very clearly how powerful and beautiful this music can be. i came away from these few days with a great sense of happiness and appreciation, mixed with motivation and energy, ready to keep pushing things forward with mnml ssgs, and life in general. i would like to express my sincere appreciation to all the artists involved and to the organisers for their hard work. in particular, i applaud russ for his dedication, vision and belief. to finish, all i will say is this: next year will be the 10 year anniversary of labyrinth. it is going to be special. if you care about techno as much as i think you do, start saving. now.

see you next year...

Saturday, October 3, 2009

sunday sounds

somewhere between tokyo and london...

good news. another sunday sounds. sorry these posts haven't been as regular as some people would like, but i am only going to post a mix when i am really feeling it and it fits with sundays... this week i've found one that is just right, and surprise surprise it is from a place called italy. shit, i think this might be italian week at mnml ssgs - first nuel, now brando lupi, next donato dozzy. but the beauty of techno is that it doesn't matter where it comes from. techno transcends arbitrary borders and demarcations. for me this is one of the most beautiful things about techno and one of the major reasons i dislike attempts to fix it to certain places/cities/countries. anyway, this is all a big aside. back to the mix. brando lupi was someone i discovered through his co-productions with dozz, and a lovely ep he did, 'sleeping world' (you can listen to his productions over on his fairtilizer page). i'd searched around for a mix of his without success until dozz sent me this new mix of his the other day. not much description is needed. downbeat, ambient sounds perfectly suited for a sunday. enjoy.

brando lupi - ambient mix august 2009

thanks to dozz and brando for the mix. enjoy your sunday. labyrinth report will finally be up tomorrow, and dozz's ambient mix on wednesday.

Friday, October 2, 2009

mx38 - nuel: tracklisting

glad everyone has been enjoying nuel's ssg mix. here is the tracklisting for it, full to the brim of seriously quality producers.

mnml ssgs mx38: nuel

pub - summer
moritz von oswald trio - pattern 3
fluxion - atlos
g-man - luftblasen
question - untitled
alex cortex - untitled
sigha - bruised
mikkel metal - kenton (marcel dettmann rmx)
planetary assault system - the watcher
jesse somfay - a closing out of the sky
pan sonic - hapatus (jg wilkes edit)
silent servant - discipline
claro intelecto - a piece of mind
154 - apricot

ssg mixes...

just a few notes about our mixes series:

- glad people are digging the latest ssg mix from nuel. i love it. if you haven't grabbed it yet, i'd strongly suggest you do. tracklisting will be up over the weekend.

- we have already been getting lots of questions about whether there will be any mixes from labyrinth. at this stage, we will not be hosting any live recordings from labyrinth. why? there is a pretty simple answer to that: i don't have them. so please, don't keep on asking.

- what we will have, however, is a number of labyrinth inspired sets. of course this is not the same as being there, but we are getting some of the artists who played there to convey some of the feelings, inspiration and sounds from those special couple of days. our next mix will be a 3 hour ambient mix from donato dozzy, which resonates closely with his ambient set at labyrinth. and there are a couple more after that too. so still plenty to look forward to.

- also, we have reached a decision that the mnml ssgs mix series will end in a couple of months, probably december or january. to be clear, mnml ssgs will not be finishing. the blog will continue, and the close of the mix series will allow us to move forward in new and exciting directions. in the future, there is a strong possibility we may start a second series, or a different kind of podcast. and we will likely host guest mixes and artist profiles. but the current mix series will definitely come to a close. why? what we want to do is create something complete. we want to offer a complete archive of high quality mixes from artists we deeply believe in. we cannot do this by continuing the series indefinitely. and we want to go out on top, before the quality gets diluted. this is not a decision we've reached lightly and it something we've thought hard about for a while before concluding this is the way to go.

- so the plan is that we will have an intense couple of months with an onslaught of killer mixes from ssg favourites and debutants, and then it will come to an end. you'll have to wait and see, but trust me, we have a super impressive lineup, which will ensure the series finishes in style. we, along with the artists that have contributed, thank you for all your support with the mixes. i ask that you stick with us, take the time to enjoy and appreciate each mix, and when the series finishes, go back and enjoy the full back catalogue of mixes.

- for now, continue enjoying nuel and get ready for dozz's ambient mix. it is a stunner. the picture below sums up how i felt listening to it for the first time today...

we really consider all our readers a part of mnml ssgs - it is a collaborative effort - so i just wanted to be open about what we are thinking and have planned. i've just started the write up for labyrinth, so that is on its way soonish.