Wednesday, September 29, 2010

ssg special - blackest ever black

a few weeks ago i was catching up on new hardwax stock and i came across the 1st release from a new label called 'blackest ever black'. the description immediately caught my interest: 'subtle pulsating droning ambient electronics'. that sounds like some ssg music right there. sure enough the samples sounded great and a copy of the EP was soon on its way to tokyo. since the record arrived it has been on repeat. the EP is by raime, i believe it is their debut. and what an impressive record it is. i will be shocked if it is not in my top 10 for 2010. the 2nd EP on blackest ever black is out in november and is again by raime with a regis remix. it is equally good.

this is clearly not just another label, there is a purpose, there is intent to what they are doing. RA did a short interview with the label boss, and their explanation for why it is called 'blackest ever black' really struck a chord with me:

"Creating anything of real substance, particularly in music, is a more difficult and thankless task than ever. The label wasn’t founded in spite of this hostile climate, it was founded because of it - in less trivial times I wouldn't have needed to bother. The name is simply an acknowledgment of that fact, as well as a constant, carping reminder to myself to stay fucked-off and resolute."

this kind of attitude resonates with the ssgs, it is pretty similar to some of the motivations that led to the founding of this blog. so i'm really glad we are now able to present something from a like-minded soul. given that clearly a lot of thought has gone into the label, and likewise, this mixtape, we asked the person behind blackest ever black for an explanation of what they have put together to share with us:

"This mixtape aims to give some sense of the predilections and prejudices that stirred Blackest Ever Black into being. Most of its content is drawn from the 1980s - not a conscious choice, but rather a natural result of favouring music of real character, imagination and volatility. Music to make you feel all over again a truth which the mind becomes adept at evading, and which can be expressed in a single, simple command: you must change your life."

blackest ever black - scripts for the pageant mix
*tracklist next week

for more info, check the website for blackest ever black. there are still some copies left of BLACKEST01, i'd strongly suggest tracking one down, otherwise it'll be out on digital next week. BLACKEST02 is coming in november. definitely keep an eye out. i'd also recommend checking the excellent mixtape from raime, which is in a similar vein to this one.

big thanks to blackest ever black. we need more of this.

Monday, September 27, 2010

it's a FACT

one of the biggest surprises of 2009 for us was the mnml ssgs mix by ancient methods. we were not surprised by how good it was - we expected that - but we were shocked by how it was received. SCB was the only mix that was downloaded more from ssgs last year. whatever ancient methods did, it struck a chord. what they've done is created a sound that people have really connected with. without really trying, they've found the techno zeitgiest. or something pretty close to it. drawing on the harsh, industrial sounds of old birmingham and the raw aggression and power of '90s techno, ancient methods is recombining, updating and extending these influences and channeling them to create something very distinctive and very good. if you are not yet convinced, i strongly suggest heading over to FACT and checking this rare live recording of ancient methods in action:

FACT mix 188 - ancient methods

at a time when i fear techno is starting to stagnate, i really feel what ancient methods are doing is important. keep a close eye on these guys. they are part of our future. and don't worry, ancient methods 05 is on its way. and i can assure you it is just as sick as their previous releases.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

disk union promo mx: steffi

labyrinth might be over for 2010, but we have one more collaboration (for now) with our good friends at disk union shibuya. the latest promo mix CDR is the recent mix from panorama bar resident steffi, which tied in with her japan debut. unsurprisingly, steffi killed it at labyrinth, a definite highlight. and i think most of us would agree that the mix steffi put together for us is a real beauty. so we are super happy to be able to offer it to tokyo ssgs on CDR. the deal is the same: spend more than 4000 yen on electronic music at disk union shibuya and you'll get yourself a free copy. copies are limited, so get one soon!

huge thanks to disk union for their support of labyrinth, mnml ssgs and quality music in tokyo!

STEFFI MIX CDR プレゼント企画 開催中!!

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Thursday, September 23, 2010

ssg special - mike pollard / arbor

earlier this year PC suggested i check out the 'shades of grey' EP by pale blue sky. it was a new name to me, but i trust my fellow ssg, so i got a copy of the record. on the sleeve was written, 'intended for listening at a modest volume in a quiet room'. after reading this i had a feeling i was going to like it. and i did. after a quick look at discogs, i discovered pale blue sky is better known as mike pollard, the person who runs the arbor label. sometimes when we ask for a mix, it is because we've been following someone for a long time, but often it is quite the opposite: we are curious to learn more about an artist or label we don't know enough about. the three records i had quickly purchased from arbor had perked my interest and i was very keen to hear more from them. luckily mike obliged, and he has put together a mixtape of current and future releases from arbor records. what mike has constructed is perfect for where my head is at right now: careful, soothing ambient and synth sounds. what i like is the way this is music that can generate lost thoughts and emotions. in certain ways some of it reminds me of some of the old ambient music from the early/mid 90s, even though it is doing something quite different. anyway, i'm doing a bad job of explaining, just listen, it's beautiful.

mike pollard - arbor ssg special mix

     from forthcoming lp album "passage to morning"
02. EVERY HIDDEN COLOR 'PART 1 [excerpt]'
     from forthcoming lp album "luz"
     from forthcoming c44 cassette "a personal reality"
     from split 12" ep with cloaked light
     from forthcoming c20 cassette "lucifer pt. ii"
     from self-titled lp album
     from forthcoming split lp album with rene hell
     from forthcoming double lp album "husk"
09. CONCERN 'MENDING [excerpt]'
     from forthcoming lp album "cæsarean"

since all the music is from new or forthcoming arbor releases, we didn't think there was much point delaying the tracklist. my guess is that for many ssgs these artists are going to be new names, just like many of them are for me. and that's a good thing. new avenues to explore!

for more information, check the arbor homepage. you can buy stuff direct there, or i've picked stuff on boomkat and other similar places. also the final track of the mix is from concern, who are touring with their new album. tour dates are here. they are playing in japan, and i'm planning to check them out on 12 october at super deluxe, tokyo. should be interesting.

thanks to mike for sharing this music with us. after labyrinth my head is sore and my body tired, these soothing sounds are just what i need. enjoy.

exit the labyrinth

labyrinth might have finished, but there is one final part of the story, before we all begin preparing for 2011. on saturday night there is the labyrinth exit party, featuring move d on the decks 12-2:30, then dozzy till close. it is on at legato, shibuya. and don't worry, of course there will be funktion one sound... more info at the mindgames homepage. looking forward to seeing old & new friends there on saturday night. many special memories from last weekend to relive. catch you there!

SD radio mix 2

tracklist speaks for itself.

silent servant - sandwell district radio mix 2


i don't believe in fate. i don't believe things happen for some predetermined reason. i don't believe in god. but i do believe in luck. i do believe in passion. i do believe in hard work. and i do believe in the power of inspiration. and when these forces come together - luck, passion, hard work and inspiration - sometimes people can create something truly beautiful and special. these moments are very rare, but sometimes they do happen. and labyrinth 2010 was definitely one of those moments. this was my 3rd time. my first trip to labyrinth was life altering, somehow the next year managed to surpass that, and once again, in 2010 it was even better.  

there is no point me trying to describe what happened yet. those who were there know, the rest will find out in a few weeks when we've managed to process more of what took place. i wish i could write now, but i simply can't. the words are not there. all i can say is thanks. thanks to russ, yasuyo, so, charles, steve, the artists and every other member of the labyrinth family for creating something incredibly powerful and inspirational. obviously music is central to labyrinth, but ultimately it is about something much more than that: it is a celebration of life. i'm deeply grateful and humbled to have been part of something so valuable and worthwhile.

thank you.

see you next year.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

death by techno 2010

no fucking about. it is almost time.
PC & me will see you on the dancefloor.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

steffi tracklist

glad everyone is feeling steffi's mix. the reactions so far have been amazing. it has definitely got a lot of people excited about seeing her at labyrinth, which was one of the reasons we wanted to do the mix. and for those of you in japan, but not coming to labyrinth, she is playing on wednesday night in chiba at the future terror party with marcel fengler, nobu and others. the other good news for people in japan is that this mix will be the final promo CDR mix in our collaboration with labyrinth and disk union. it should be at disk union shibuya later this week...

steffi - labyrinth ssg special mix

luke hess - EP 01 - FXHE records
various - edition 1 - metrolux music
xdb - espac - sistrum recordings
morphosis - dark myths of phoenicia - morphine records
wireman - armour EP- prime numbers
conforce - cccp ep - modelisme records
john daly - organ track -1track
delano smith/norm talley - constellation/detroit 2-step - sushitech
dplay - samoah ep - mild pitch
goldwill - what is behind - wandering
james blonde & oliver deutschmann - milanse remixes - falkplatz limitiert
kai alcé featuring azulu phantom - the power thru pt. 3 - NDATL muzik
disco nihilist - disco nihilist - love what you feel
roberto auser & alden tyrell - blondes & brunettes - bear funk
thanks again to steffi for the mix and to nick at ostgut, who helped make this happen. i'm super excited to see her this weekend!

Monday, September 13, 2010

in perspective

mnml ssgs would look very different if i had never heard regis' music. hell, the blog might not even exist. this is how influential his work has been on me. regis is one of a handful of producers that has really defined the way i understand and appreciate electronic music. quite simply, he is one of my techno gods. and once again, i'm left in awe of regis after listening to his new remix of svreca's 'utero'. the remix is not necessary anything new for regis, or a great departure from elements found in his previous work, but it is just a beautiful piece executed to perfection. for me it is one of those tracks that demonstrates the complex and ambiguous emotions electronic music can bring out. here regis flexes his musical muscles, and makes clear why he is the one of the most important and fundamental talents in techno.

as with all semantica releases, there is a very limited run - only 100 records - so my advice would be to buy a copy while you still can, otherwise it is also on flac. this is essential. definitely one of my highlights of 2010 so far. (and yes i know this post is gushing, but i will always be a massive regis fanboy, i can't help it).

labyrinth disk union promo mx: donato dozzy

we are very proud to announce another promo CDR mix in our special collaboration with disk union and labyrinth. this is from a DJ who has built a very special connection with the event, and someone who obviously needs no introduction here: donato dozzy. the mix we've chosen is DDKH, which we originally posted anonymously. now seemed like an appropriate time to confirm it, as russ (the organiser of labyrinth) has made clear this is a mix that really encapsulates much of the spirit of labyrinth. so, of course, we are super happy to be able to do present a limited amount in CDR format at disk union shibuya. the deal is the same: if you buy a labyrinth ticket or spend more than 4000 yen on electronic music related purchases, you'll get a copy. the plan is to have one more in this series, but obviously this is one you'll want to get! we are very happy to be collaborating with disk union on this and are very grateful of their support of mnml ssgs, labyrinth, and the techno scene in tokyo in general. if you are coming for lab, i strongly recommend paying them a visit (info here, but please note they are now on the 4th floor).

DONATO DOZZY mnml ssgs MIX-CDRプレゼンキャンペーン!

いよいよ間近に迫ったLABYRINTH。当店の好評企画、『LABYRINTH×mnml ssgs』MIXシリーズに

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Friday, September 10, 2010

labyrinth ssg special - steffi

with labyrinth just over a week away, we've got a very special mix from someone who will be playing there for the first time: steffi. while steffi has obviously been carefully honing her skills for quite some time, it is in the last couple of years that she has really emerged to prominence. through her residency at panorama bar and a couple of carefully placed, and truly sublime, mixes online, people have quickly become aware of steffi's abilities behind the decks. after hearing her podcasts i was very excited to see steffi play, and i've been lucky enough to catch her twice this year at p-bar. and both times i was not disappointed - she really burned up the place. i've seen a lot of good music in 2010 and steffi has been right at the top.

what a really love about steffi's DJ'ing is how natural it is. she has real intuition, a beautiful feel for the records and a great understanding of how to construct a set. put simply, steffi is a pro. as you will hear, all of these skills are amply on show in the mix she has put together for us.

steffi - labyrinth ssg special mix

don't worry, the tracklist will be up next week. all i'll say is that immediately after listening to this mix i went straight to the record store...

steffi has been super busy playing all around the place, as well as finishing off her debut album, which will be out early 2011 on ostgut ton. so huge thanks to her for taking the time out of her busy schedule to put this together this for all the ssgs. steffi is someone both PC and i really love, and it is an absolute pleasure for us to be able to feature her here. for more info about steffi, check her myspace. also keep an eye on the labels she co-runs: klakson and dolly, which have been putting out some great music lately (PC has been seriously tipping the jacob korn EPs on dolly).

if you happen to be in japan, read this blog, and don't have tickets to labyrinth already (perhaps unlikely), this mix surely should be enough to convince you to come. and if you are going to labyrinth, this will make it very clear that steffi is not someone you should miss. for the rest of you, it just confirms what you already know: steffi can seriously spin.

今回のssg specialはラビリンス初の女性DJとして登場するSteffiです!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

getting ready for labyrinth...

labyrinth is fast approaching. less than two weeks away... it is only really hitting me how close it is. i'm getting very excited for a whole bunch of reasons. an amazing lineup, plenty of friends coming, a big group of techno lovers making the trip from overseas, dozzy's 40th birthday during the event, both PC & myself both being at a party for the first time in i don't know how long, and many other reasons i'm looking forward to lab...

so here is a post with a bunch of labyrinth-related stuff, including some tips for people making the trip for the first time.

first things first, if you haven't bought your ticket, i'd suggest you do so now. and if you need any more incentive (why on would you?!), disk union are doing a final promo CDR mix to tie in with labyrinth: a very special mix from donato dozzy...

next: interviews with two lab and ssgs favourites: donato dozzy & peter van hoesen in english & japanese (dozz & PvH). the most important things to take from the interviews are:

dozz: 'i'm going to perform 3 sets during the laby 10th anniversary!  kosmische music, ambient/downtempo, and techno.'

PvH: 'The live set has been changed for Labyrinth in that sense that it's one of the only places where I can present slower, more psychedelic sounds. For this occasion I have prepared new material, new tracks which have not been played out before.... My dj set will be a bit different from what I did the last time, with a bit more attention to abstract sounds and breakbeats.'

more: clubberia has done a special feature on labyrinth, which i'd strongly recommend checking. they've interviewed russ & so, two of the core organisers. if you want to know a bit more about the thinking and concept of the festival, it is definitely worth having a look at the interview. what comes through is exactly how much thought goes into lab. and there are pictures from all the previous editions. amazing to see how the festival has developed over the 10 years...

clubberia also has a new podcast which is a live recording from one of the highlights of the 2009 labyrinth: natural/electronic.system. going back to my report from last year, i described this set as: 'perfectly weighted set of deep, heady techno'. definitely give it a listen.

CB43: natural/electronic.system. @ labyrinth 2009 pt 1
CB44: natural/electronic.system. @ labyrinth 2009 pt 2

one of the things that will make this year's labyrinth a bit different is that there are quite a lot of people who are making the trip to japan for it. now i'm living in japan, but the last 2 years i've travelled here specifically for labyrinth, and all i can say is that for me it has definitely been worth the effort. and given that things are a bit different over in japan, and labyrinth is a bit of a different event as well, i thought i'd give some tips for labyrinth first-timers. to be clear, this is not an offical guide or anything, but i think the organisers will be posting something on the mindgames website in the next few days, so keep an eye out for that too.

a few tips for labyrinth

  • lab is not your usual event (but you know this by now). it is outdoors. it is in japan. there are no compromises. it might rain. the sun will shine. it will probably get cold. the music will be... well, we will have to find out. best way to approach the whole event is with an open mind.
  • please remember that things work a bit differently in japan. just be aware of that and be respectful of the differences. my advice is picking up a lonely planet guide book or something similar before coming here. japan is not another planet, but it ain't europe, that's for sure.
  • one important thing to realise is that nasty trance parties have given outdoor events a bit of a bad name here. the authorities are much stricter in japan than in europe, so please don't go around trying to score. that would be an absolutely horrible idea. there is a fully stocked bar where you can purchase all kinds of alcoholic beverages. feel free to use it.
  • it is an outdoor party, so be prepared for all weather. it can get very hot during the day so remember a hat, sunglasses and sunscreen. and definitely deodorant. no one likes smelly ravers. at night it gets cold. fast. so bring some warm clothes. last year it got freezing when it went dark. you will struggle without warm clothing. also sometimes around late september you get typhoons (it is raining like crazy today), so either bring a rain jacket or buy a poncho here. just remember what the boy scouts say: be prepared!
  • if you haven't worked out how to get there yet, train will probably be your best option. anyway, mindgames has info on how to get there.
  • bring a torch. leave the glowsticks at home.
  • plenty of people get dressed up, but this doesn't mean they are into cosplay... anyway, feel free to join in the fun.
  • there are plenty of great food stalls at the party (much better than any other event i've been to), but you might want to bring some extra food/snacks in case you get hungry.
  • pace yourself. it is a long couple of days. you don't want to run out of gas before dozzy's closing set. 
  • a lot of overseas mobile phones don't work in japan. just be prepared that you might be out of contact for a couple of days. but this might not be a bad thing.
  • if you see me during function, don't talk to me. i am busy.
  • in short, just be sensible and have fun. it is going to be great!
  • EDIT: one other thing i remembered: most ATMs here do not accept overseas bank cards. in major centres like shinjuku, shibuya etc., there are citibanks, but other places you might struggle. in the past 7-11 ATMs accepted foreign cards, i dont know if they still do. regardless, it is highly unlikely you will have access to ATMs up where labyrinth is, so make sure you bring enough cash!!!
if you have any questions about the event, please leave them in the comments here and we will try to answer them. for more general stuff about japan, get a guide book and/or look online. all of this is a much better option than bugging the organisers, who i can promise you are now working like crazy to prepare everything. also keep an eye on mindgames for updates. the timetable is normally announced about a week in advance, so you've got plenty of time to prepare yourself. we'll make sure to post it when it comes out. russ says in that video interview that dozzy is opening AND closing the festival. so make sure you are there for the whole event!

and last, but certainly not least, the next ssg special will be from an artist playing at lab for the 1st time. that'll be up soon.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

roger23 tracklist

here's the tracklist for roger23's lovely ssg special mix. have fun hunting...

roger23 - ssg special mix

00 - INTRO - T. Learry
01 - ZERKALO - Last Meeting
02 - ULTRAVOX - Alles Klar
03 - KEITH WORTHEY - Rockit Science
04 - EMJAY - Come 'N Get It
05 - JOHN SWING - Unknown Feeling
06 - BIG STRICK - 100% Hustler
08 - TROY BROWN - All We Need
10 - MANDRAKE - Eternal Mind
12 - PCB - Wallflower
13 - GABRIEL ROTH - You Think You Got Soul?
14 - SMYGLYSSNA - Rekonstruktion
15 - DJ BOOM - Kinda Kickin'
18 - IMAP - Headroom
19 - BIT STREAM - Vic Twenty
20 - ELEKDROIDS - Foatation
21 - RIUICHI SAKAMOTO - Riot In Lagos
22 - LOGIC - Clash (Chinjyu Sun)
23 - DEUTSCHE WERTARBEIT - Deutscher Wald

and if you haven't heard the most recent ssg special from kettenkarussell, make sure you do. now.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

ssg special - kettenkarussell

This one has been a long time coming. Last year some time, Chris passed me a link to a live set by a duo called kettenkarussell, who the Sherburnator had been talking about on his blog, as I recall. The set in question, which, hopefully, many of you have heard (please remedy this if not!) was pure magic.

I love microhouse. But sometimes, it doesn't quite deliver the goods: My My at their best were brilliant but, for me, at times, festooned their tracks with too many bells and whistles. Entre Lee Jones' solo album, which still stands up. Seriously, get it, or get it out (if you've got it) and give it a rub/spin. But but but: the problem was always one of time. On the one hand, microhouse is all about the interacting intrications, the way a melody sets of FX ripples, becomes a texture through modulation, fades into a sympathetic rhythm, etc, until the whole musical assembly turns into a mobile liquid. As a musical practice, it's a kind of cloudshaping. On the other hand, for this effect to fully take hold, you need a time/space canvas that's really, really big. Sky big. This is part of the reason why, for me, RV's best tracks on Vasco or The au Harem... or Bruno Pronsato's Make Up, Break Up work so well. Such origami (aura[l]-gami?) needs time to (un)fold in all its intricacies. The trouble is that all that time taxes the listener, and unless your rhythms, textures and melodic motifs build, shift and morph in sufficiently engaging ways - it's boring. In most cases, I would rather watch the clouds fucking.

kettenkarussell are, for me, one of the few duos really doing justice to the creative possibilities of the microhouse microverse. They not only pull off the requisite formulas and push all the right buttons, they add a whole dark thicket full of animated organic sounds, wind up dolls (perhaps demonically possessed, be careful!) and forest clearings filled with soft, shining, melodic lights... fairies? I'm not sure... more than anything, the duo create an intense, dense, total mood that fills their enormous canvas, but one that never ever feels 'stuck', hurried, or sluggish. They add something that is inimitably their own. We are really, really happy to get this mix so we can share it with you. I hope you love it - I do.

If you're in the area, kettenkarussell are playing at oe, which Konstantin describes as 'a small festival more like a privat party on a little danish island'. Check here for details.

For those of the Isles, on September the 17th KK are also playing at the alphaville festival, which will be held at Whitechapel Gallery in London'. Details.

And now, nuff gabbing, here it is. Enjoy!