Wednesday, April 28, 2010

out


just a quick post to say i'm off for a bit of a break... will be in berlin for this weekend, which i'm looking forward to. hope to see some fellow ssgs out and about. not sure exactly where i'll be, but presumably berghain, club de visionaire, one or two other places and then the stroboscopic artifacts party on sunday. and of course there will be the obligatory record shopping... after that, off to italia for a very special couple of days. looking forward to seeing lots of friends there, old and new.

my aim on getting back to j-land will be to take a bit of a break from ssgs for may. after 2.5 years of continual posts, organising mixes etc., i'm pretty exhausted. PC and i both want to try to push some different things here, still working out how to do that. as part of it, i think i need a bit of a breather, get some energy and come back stronger. so chances are there will be less posts from me in the next few weeks. never fear, PC will be looking after things, and there is plenty on the way - a new kevin gorman mix, an interview with the black dog and some other things. so the ssgs will keep on cooking. i just won't be around the BBQ so much...

Saturday, April 24, 2010

tokyo twitter techno...

dommune in full swing

one thing we've talked about on SSGS is the desire for different ways to engage and enjoy with techno music. in this regard, there is an interesting new development in the tokyo scene i wanted to talk about. on monday i went to a new club here called 'dommune', which has been open for about a month or so. it is a small one room space in a basement, decked out with some really nice funktion ones. the concept is an interesting one: it is only open sunday through thursday, 21:00 - 24:00. the purpose is twofold: (1) by not operating on weekends they complement other clubs, rather than directly competing. (2) they provide an alternative for people who simply don't have the stamina and/or desire to do the allnight clubbing thing. this way you can go, dance for a couple of hours, and be in bed by 1 or 2am. not bad at all... by being open on weekdays, it has also allowed them to have follow up gigs from internationals that have come to town - steve bug, sammy dee and maurice fulton have been some of the people to have spin there so far.

given the small size of the space, the club is limited to 50 people, and you have to register online to get a ticket. if you are not lucky enough to be one of the 50, all is not lost, as video and audio of the party is streamed live on ustream. this has been very popular in japan, with each night regularly getting a couple of thousand viewers (it has already had over 1 million visitors in total since it started streaming). the result is a rather interesting dynamic: both people at the club and those watching at the home are using twitter throughout the party. being at the club this made for a weird situation where probably half the people on the dancefloor had an iphone in their hands the whole night. so more interaction with people on the interwebs, less with those around you - real virtual partying (or something like that). the other consequence of the live streaming is there is some serious attention whore action going on, as partygoers do their best to get on camera. this did my head in a bit, but was also pretty amusing... put together the whole thing is all a bit surreal. then again, when you've got maurice fulton killing it on a funktion one, it is going to make for a fun night.

i'm not completely sure what to make of dommune. i really like the basic concept, but the whole interactive component with twitter and video streaming makes for a dynamic that is definitely a bit different from the usual club and quite different from my preferred mode of engagement: a dark anonymous space... anyway, it is great to see developments like this happening and it is a sign that the tokyo scene is really becoming stronger again, which can only be a good thing.

for more info on dommune, check their homepage. and try tuning in sometime...

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

eruptions and disruptions...


sometimes the best laid plans go to waste... when a big angry volcano fucks with everyone's shit. if there is one thing the last week or so has made clear it is that the degree to which electronic music is reliant upon the airplane... DJs grounded all over the place, lineup changes, *shock* locals having to play in prime slots, and so on... my sense is that as soon as the smoke clears, things will go straight back to usual, but should this be the case? is it really that bad to foster local scenes more? look at bleep43's mammoth effort last week - they lost all their lineup. what happened? they got surgeon into play, someone they rate as the best DJ out there. not a bad ring in.... obviously this is much more possible in places where there is a higher density of techno - i.e. europe. still, something to think about... is it productive/positive/dangerous/inevitable/etc that electronic music is so dependent upon airplanes? can we just go digital and dance on virtual dancefloors (as i do everyday)? hmmm... plenty of questions. if you missed it last year, go back and read PC's very timely and thought provoking piece at RA: 'one planet, one million DJs'.

and if you want a soundtrack for all of this, you will not do any better than the new album from the black dog - 'music for real airports'. a simply stunning musical document. a textured, powerful and thoughtful album. without doubt one of the highlights of 2010. more info about it here.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Sunday Sounds like Solid Gold

Hello SSGs,

well, far be it from we to become aggregators of content, but in this case, this was the mix that, yet again, got me to smiling my way to the end of Sunday.

FACT's mix series is an amazing resource. We've spoken elsewhere at greater length at their punishing schedule, and how, for better or worse, it really contributes to the sense I think we all have of drowning in the datasea.

A few of FACT's mixes have really stood the test of time, but this is easily my number one.

Too often these days the emphasis is on making the 'right' mix with the 'right' tracks then delivering a technically perfect, FX-enriched finished product. Sometimes you slide off the bonnet sheen, sometimes it's all surface... okay, sometimes it works, BUT

This mix pays very, very close attention to track selection and programming. Not only that, but the live effects, vocals and commentary not only connect each track with the next, but generate an additional interesting space inside the flow of sound - queue tardis metaphor.

To be honest, I really think this mix is superior to the trio's very good album, which, at times, is just a little bit like another Massive Attack album, one they didn't record. Okay, that's unfair, it's really nice, but I don't come back to it again and again like I do with this 'ere thing. I think they've put something really precious and enduring together. Worth the price of admission for David Sylvian's vocal and lyrics on 'Ghosts' and the AMAZING Dabrye remix of Midas''One Ting'. In fact, said track is a fucking classic - get it, if you haven't got it.

Meantime, Midas. It's a keeper.



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Wednesday, April 14, 2010

SSG Special – Live, lovely and by no means skittish: Deer @ Galleria Civica Modena

Hello fellow SSGs and Cervidae,

around six weeks or so ago, we were quietly excited to offer a set from Deer, Martin Hirsch's current project. Deer music takes in a number of different sources and influences, from field recording, electronica, ambient house (now there's a term you don't hear much these days), and the full spectrum of Hamburg and Heidelberg-related deep, minimalist house and techno. You can check out what he does at his website.

More immediately, Deer is part of the Weimar scene, that takes in a lot of the other talented/interesting peepz releasing on the Giegling label. Deer's own release in Giegling (and all releases on said label are limited, with amazing hand done sleeves), is still available from Clone, here. SSGs also hosted a set from Giegling affiliate Kettenkarusell last year that was one of our favourites - put it this way, I have a 30 gig iPod and mostly listen to lossless, and the set is still on there and getting a regular rinse. Fingers crossed the lads are almost recovered from their laptop theft last year...

The last Deer set we offered was, in the words of its author, "a case of 'i have to do everything improvised in max/msp phase' that disregarded the notion of building transitions or a longer narrative." This sparked a back and forth with Martin, Chris and I via email, which ended in the request for what you are about to receive (and may ye be truly thankful).

It's a typically-contemporary act of pointlessness to describe in words music you can just listen to yourself, so I'll refrain.... except to say that this set pays very close, smart attention to transitions and narratives. Yes, it's great. Deer aficionadoes will note the striking musical development since the last set; those new to the sound.... well, I'm sure it'll endear itself to you. Sorry, no excuse for the punning but too much coffee...

Context from the beast himself: "The set was recorded at the afterparty of an exhibition called "Pagine Da Un Besstiario Fantastico" at the Galleria Civica in Modena, Italy on March 20. Basically an exhibition featuring modern and contemporary art with animal depictions (and in some cases rather crude ones at that). Some surrealists like De Chirico and a lot of unknown (to me) stuff."

Oh & Ah: as Dave Aju (and every funny comedian) reminds us: timing is.....

everything!

And Deer is playing this weekend in Berlin - not in the Tiergarten. Oh dear. No, here. The link also has a pretty neat description of house music.

Okay, 'nuff text, here's the set.

Deer, live @ Galleria Civica di Modena, March 20, 2010


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Saturday, April 10, 2010

the art of tokyo


just a quick post for everyone in tokyo about some cool things happening this week. there are 12k showcases today (saturday 9th) and tomorrow (sunday 10th). i'll be going tomorrow to catch label boss, taylor deupree, along with solo andata and minamo. also deupree has a new exhibtion on next week called 'unseen', a project based on expired polaroid film. the pic above is one of them. linked with the photos is a new release called 'snow (dusk/dawn)'. there are only 63 copies, each with a unique polaroid, which will be for sale on the opening night of the exhibition (thursday 15th april). as luck has it, i have an unchangeable family commitment that night so i am going to miss my chance to get one of these CDs. i'll just have to wait for it to be released digitally a month later... shame, as the concept is one that really appeals to me. i really love the image i've posted here, so i'll definitely be going to the exhibition at some stage. special stuff... anyway, info here about the 12k tokyo shows and deupree exhibition, and info here for the new release.

keeping with the art theme, our good friend stefan marx also has an exhibition in tokyo this week. for those who dont know stefan, he does the artwork for smallville, and many of the mule records. a lovely guy and an incredibly talented artist. his exhibition is opening on tuesday 13th then runs for a week or so. definitely check it out. i'll be there for the opening night. looking forward to it. details for the exhibition are here.


ok, that's it. i'll be trying to include more posts about upcoming gigs and stuff going on here in tokyo. more soon, including new ssg specials from deer and kevin gorman. plenty of extra heat on the way.

Friday, April 9, 2010

and the golden ssg goes to... autechre


today we are very proud to give out the first ever GOLDEN SSG for lifetime achievement and contribution to electronic music. the first people to receive this very prestigious and special award are:

AUTECHRE!!!

listening to their new album, 'oversteps', once again i am filled with such deep respect and admiration for these guys. this is one of the rare times i wish electronic music was mainstream, because more should know how brilliant autechre is. they could have stopped 10 years ago and they still would have made an immense contribution to techno. instead, they kept going. and going. always challenging, always pushing forward, always inspiring. simply put, autechre is electronic music at its absolute peak.

thinking about autechre's unparalleled and completely unique approach and oeuvre, i found these words by sean booth in a new interview really interesting and revealing:

"There was kind of a cynicism that grew up during the 90’s. You had the club circuit people bringing up the new generation of young stars during the late 80’s. Production was limited to singing over awful backing tracks and churning out stuff on a production line. Then the KLF book came out, which was very cynically pointing this out. Then you had a generation of wiser producers who wanted to take this on board on a musical level. Cos no one likes mediocrity and being sold a shit idea, everyone wanted come out with fresh stuff. Which was nice for a bit. But nowadays, kids have grown up with X-Factor and all that shit. So it’s like gone full circle again, the club scene people running the show again. Kids thinking that they can sing and dance and make every single fucking genre of music, do you know what I mean? Its like taking away the personal element.

And kids are growing up now are thinking ‘Im being really expressive, I’m really in control of my life, I’ve got all these goals and agendas’. Whereas having that mindset is exactly the problem. The self image is being programmed externally. But, fuck it, whatever. (laughs)."

i dont really have to much more to say about ae. you could talk for ages about how amazing autechre is, then again, the music and their career speaks for itself. if you haven't heard the new album, 'oversteps', go out and buy it. now. this is clearly one of the stand out releases of 2010. i dont listen to albums as often as i should (i go for mixes, if you hadn't guessed...), but i've had this one on repeat since getting hold of it. the melodies, the patterns, the depth, it is all there, brilliant as ever.

and for all these reasons, and so many more, mnml ssgs wants to recognise autechre for an outstanding career of service to the advancement of electronic music. autechre, we salute you! thank you from the bottom of our hearts. we graciously give you the mighty golden ssg!

Monday, April 5, 2010

ssg special - eli verveine



when there is another mix from eli verveine, you know there is a reason we call it a ssg special... eli is an artist who has really connected with the ssgs - she represents exactly what we are about. and it has been great the amount of positive feedback and responses we've got about the mixes from her we've feature here. probably because there is a real beauty, love and appreciation in what she does. i really love eli and her music to bits, and that is why i asked her a while ago to make sure she did another mix for us. she's nice and said yes. the result is what you'd expect: warm and friendly music for humans. there is a real sincerity in it that i deeply appreciate. not much more to add, besides we made sure she recorded this one in 320kbps...

eli verveine - ssg special mx

sunpeople - check your buddah
anton zap - time dub
dreesvn - maen-mix
oz artists - as if the living were moving
g-man - skiz
j.dahlb├Ąck - a day at work
substance & vainqueur - reverberation
j.dahlb├Ąck - a day at work
oz artist - zx spectrum
hi-lo - run!
robert hood - wandering endlessly
salz - III
mono box - realm 02 (substance mix)
anthony "shake" shakir - arise (trus`me rmx)
pink elln - i know (stardub club slam)
taksi - helikopter

for more info, make sure to check the eli verveine page on facebook and also on soundcloud for some of her older mixes, if you've missed any. big thanks to eli for this. and much respect for her super cool t-shirt. i want one!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

sunday sounds


short sunday post. this is more on the house tip. i've been enjoying this mix quite a bit. it is from an artist i don't know much about, but the tracklisting looked promising so i decided to give it a go. and i'm glad i did. great sounds. it also let me ID a track i've wanted to know for ages. unsurprisingly it is from atom tm, under one of his many guises... beats in space is normally a bit too hip for me, but sometimes they'll have great mixes like this. enjoy it.

beats in space #512 part 2 with brontosaurus

Adonis Presents Late Invitation - Thus

I:Cube - Operation Hypnosis

Mim Suleiman - Mingi (Instr.)

Quarion - Pepper Candy

Tin Man - Love Sex Acid
The Utopia Project - File#4

Rick "Poppa" Howard - I Won't Lay Back (Original Instrumental)
Leron Carson - Red Lightbulb

Mr. Fingers - Stars
? - Historical Archives # 13
?

I - L.T.B.C.Y.B.

Donnie Tempo - Mental Problem

TNT - L8

Hardy -
$tinkworx - Coelacanth

also, the previous post has become the april discussion thread, so please feel free to comment if you want. some really interesting discussion so far. anyway, have a good sunday people...