Sunday, October 31, 2010

autumn 2010 mixtape


i've put together a new mixtape. this is a bit different from previous ones i've done, which have been much more personal. this new one was inspired by the good responses to PC's radio appearances. basically i thought i'd copy him. so what i did was put together a bunch of new tracks i've been liking into a vaguely coherent structure. almost everything is from 2010, and most has come out in the last few months. i couldn't include plenty of stuff i wanted to (such as the new jason fine on kontra, the next semantica from instra:mental, PvH's recent outing on xone etc.), simply because i couldn't work out how to make these tracks fit. and it is a digital mix, which means i couldn't include any vinyl - a shame because there are some great records about right now. as this mix is about showcasing new music, i've included an annotated tracklist below. hopefully this will encourage a few extra purchases, or suggest a few more artists/labels to start following. the mix itself is nothing special, but there are plenty of great tracks.

chris - autumn 2010 mixtape

shackleton - el din 2 [mordant music, 2009]
ummm... i basically included this because i've been freaking out about shackleton since labyrinth. ideally i would have liked to use his new 'mukuba special' on congotronics, which is one of my favourite tracks right now, but i think it is vinyl only. i've had one listen to his forthcoming fabric live CD and i can assure you it sounds just as good as you'd expect.

raime - retread [blackest ever black, 2010]
this is from what i'd say is one of the most important releases of 2010. both the label and the EP are really tapping into a part of the history of electronic music (post punk, synth, new wave, and other related genres from the late 70s and 80s) that has not been explored enough by contemporary techno, except for regis, some other british artists, notably the optimo DJs. if you want to get a better idea, make sure to check the mixtape blackest ever black did for us, and the raime mixtape that is also floating about.

forest swords - hoylake misst [olde english spelling bee, 2010]
i did a post about forest swords recently, so i don't have much to add. after discovering this, i have started digging around for similar artists and sounds in some of these sub-genres, many don't quite work with me, but i really love this stuff by forest swords. powerful and evocative music.

raime - this foundry (regis version) [blackest ever black, 2010]
this is from the second blackest ever black, which is coming out in mid november i believe. it is just as good as the first record. getting regis to do a remix makes a lot of sense, as he has probably been the biggest proponent/influence of bringing these sounds into techno music. unsurprisingly he does a great job reworking raime. just quietly, regis is doing some really amazing stuff in 2010, both individually and collaboratively. the king.

ben frost - theory of machines [bedroom community, 2006]
taken from frost's first album, which largely slipped under the radar when it first came out, but many are now rediscovering (and i think there might be a re-release this year). PC put me onto it about 1.5-2 years ago, from memory. i really liked the 1st half, 2nd half not so much. my feelings are still the same. this is the first track from the CD and it's a killer. a very important figure for electronic music, and definitely worth following closely.

ANBB: ret marut handshake [raster-noton, 2010]
this is from the collaboration between alva noto and blixa bargeld. i've got mixed feelings about the album, 'mimikry'. after hearing the EP i was super excited for the LP. and while it is very good, basically all the best tracks were already on the EP... still worth checking. big fan of this collab and 'handshake' is perhaps my favourite of their tracks.

scorn - LT 94 [ohm resistance, 2010]
scorn is ridiculously under-rated. i have no idea why mick harris does not get more attention. this is from his new album, 'refuse; start fires', which most people have slept on, despite it having some great moments. what i love about scorn is how distinctive his sound is: slowed down, death metal dubstep. when you listen to his stuff it kind of feels like the world is collapsing. powerful stuff. you can get the album direct from the label for $13 on CD or $19 on vinyl. considering how crap the USD is right now, there is no good reason not to get it!

shed - mayday [ostgut, 2010]
taken from shed's much talked about second album. this is one of my favourite cuts. nothing too complex going on here, feels more like a sketch than anything too concrete or finished, but i like that. anyway, everything i needed to say, i've said already, no point repeating it here.

senking - V8 [raster-noton, 2010]
most people have looked over senking's new album, 'pong'. that's a mistake, because it's brilliant. PC is writing a post about 'pong', and we've got something special with senking in the works, so i won't say much here. but 'V8' is probably one of my tracks of 2010. absolute stunner. once again, raster-noton miles ahead of the rest.

TVO / the village orchestra - lost memory [broken20]
this is from the first release on TVO's new label, broken20. TVO is perhaps better known for his powerful DJ sets, fusing together techno/idm/dubstep and other related sounds. but i think TVO's productions are equally compelling, which hopefully more people will realise after checking this. the release consists of an hour long live recording, and a number of extra tracks more geared towards DJ sets. i've had the live recording on my mp3 for quite a while now, and of the additional tracks, this is definitely my favourite.

giorgio gigli & obtane - psychological scene of the imagination (psychoacoustic edit) [zooloft, 2010]
to be honest, i think obtane has been getting more praise than he deserves. he has been making some good techno, but most of it still feels a bit underdone. if he focused more, produced less, i think we'd be hearing some great records from him, instead of their good ones he has been doing. this track, collaborating with gigli, shows what the two are capable of. it's a brooding, atmospheric and very powerful number. definitely the best thing i have heard out of either of them. i hope they pursue this direction further. on a similar tip, i'd recommend 'the end of all existence' EP by milton bradley (who also does a remix on this release),

eleven pond - watching trees [angular recording corporation, 1986/2010]
not sure if i can justify ending with this, but i've had this track on repeat since picking up the excellent 'cold waves + minimal electronics' compilation on angular. this is one of my favourites on the release, and sums up much of what i love about the 80s. not much to say about the track, it is just totally awesome. listening to this makes me wish i had a time machine.

ok, that's it. hope you enjoy some of the tracks, and if you do like them, go out and buy the releases!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Ssg Special - Delta Funktionen: warm-up set for Jeff Mills, Doornroosje Nijmegen


If haven't yet heard Delta Funktionen's Electromagnetic Radiation II EP, please remedy this immediately. It's rare that an EP manages to do everything: here are four tracks, each with its own distinct role in a good set; but each stands on its own as a composition, as a piece of music - transforming genre-based craft into a work of art. It is the primary reason why Delta Funktionen is my favourite techno producer working at the moment. I don't make that claim likely: there's a level wisdom in all of Niels' releases that belies his age, and makes me keep returning to these recordings again and again and again. They stay with you. Maybe the difference is care? Whatever the reasons, these are wonderful records that we'll still be listening to long after 'which house' (or whatever) has been and done and gone for good (or evil).

Delta Funktionen is no slouch behind the decks, either. Alex, one of my good friends, worked his way through the ssg mixes a while back. A few months ago he commented at length on how the Delta Funktionen mix we hosted had become his favourite. 'It was just one of those mixes you could really feel,' he told me. 'Every track, track after track, from start to finish, again and again.'

See the pattern? And Niels certainly hasn't been fucking around since he recorded that mix for us sixteen months ago if this puppy is anything to go by.

DF, in his own words:

'This a 3 hour recording of my warm-up set for Jeff Mills in Doornroosje Nijmegen, The Netherlands (22 Oct 2010). It was probably one of the most difficult gigs I've played 'til now, as it was all about timing to bring the set to an end where Jeff Mills could take over from zero. Despite some small fuck ups – probably due to some nerves (and some little resonance..) – I'm very happy with the result. Nowadays it's pretty rare having an opportunity to play deep stuff like this in The Netherlands. But this was the right night to do so.

In the end, it was a legendary evening. Mills was supposed to play for three hours, but he and the crowd ended up enjoying themselves so much he played for an extra hour. From sci-fi techno, old ravey stuff, right through disco, with several 909 solos and a strobe running all night long, it was like the room was in a time machine, travelling between 1991 and the next century. I'm very glad I was part of this night and even though I'm not a big fan of live recordings, I still feel like I want to share my set with all you digital warriors.' DF.

Ssg Special - Delta Funktionen @ Doornroosje Nijmegen 22.10.2010

For more info, check Delta Funktionen's homepage and myspace. Thanks to Niels for sharing this special set with the ssgs.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Nurse with Wound Halloween mix


Halloween doesn't mean much to us Australians, but Dave the silent ssg has used it as an excuse to put together a mix showcasing the sounds of Nurse with Wound. To be honest, I don't think I'd ever heard of this group before Dave sent me his mix, so this is something new for me (and presumably quite a few of our readers). Enough from me, here are some words from Dave' about the mix:

"Nurse with Wound is a group which I've always felt is under-appreciated and misunderstood, perhaps because they are often tagged as being part of the industrial and noise scenes when their music doesn't really share much in common with any of those sounds.  Steven Stapleton, the project's founder and only constant member of the group since its formation in 1978, has often spoken of his fondness of Dada and surrealism and I think these are bigger influences on NWW than any genre of music.

Up until recently, I'd always felt that NWW's music would translate well to techno, but for the most part this hasn't really occurred. However, now guys like Demdike Stare (definitely the best thing to come out in the last year or so, in my opinion) and Suum Cuique really seem to be tapping into that sound, which is something I find really exciting.

NWW have released a really wide range of different sounds, but for me their primary sound is dark, hypnotic and unnerving, exactly the sort of thing which is coming from new synth artists and some of those sub-genres Chris recently mentioned (witch-house and others).  So for me it seems like a good time for NWW to receive some of the appreciation they deserve.

I've felt that for a while techno has been eager to go back to its more psychedelic/trance roots and this has been occurring to some extent (Oneohtrix Point Never and Emeralds are some of the most obvious crossovers), but there is still room to go deeper, and explore much further krautrock, prog rock and 70s synth work. In this way, NWW's surrealist take on music could offer another source of inspiration. 

For this mix I decided to focus more on the surreal and dark ambient side of their sound because it fits better with the Halloween theme and because I think it's what techno fans would most easily relate to.  Most of these tracks are also off major releases and some of their more famous work so it should (hopefully) act as a good introduction to the group. I'll give Chris a tracklist including albums/EPs the tracks can be found on later if you want to explore their sound further. I hope you all like it!"

Dave the Silent Ssg - Nurse with Wound Halloween Mix

For more info on Nurse with Wound, check their homepage. And if you need more Halloween action, I strongly recommend the excellent 'Black Moods by the Grave Lady' mix put together by Camella Lobo over at the Ladies and Gents Auxiliary. Enjoy.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Ten Years in the Labyrinth, 2000-2010: 風が吹けば桶屋が儲かる

There is really nothing to add to Chris' monumental post describing Labyrinth in 2010. So what I decided to do was tell you all how I got there, and how I felt when I arrived, and how that is connected to mnml ssgs and everything else. Bear with me, this story takes some telling. For my part, I'll do my best to make it worth your while.

I entered the labyrinth sometime around the middle of January 2000, when I walked into a small shop on one of the top floors of Harajuku’s Laforet Building. Single, barely twenty, first time in Tokyo, I was looking for flyers for techno parties, still riding the fantasy of actually seeing Jeff Mills live at the Liquid Room, and maybe meeting some really cool, hot girl who ‘totally got me’. Most of the flyers were for shitty cyber trance parties, but there was one that stood out precisely because of the absence of eye-popping fonts and laser beam colours. I was, of course, totally clueless, but I was mad keen for a way in, and now I had the way in my hand: a small, square, unobtrusive flyer for a club called Maniac Love. I didn’t know shit about it beyond what I’d read in the Lonely Planet: it was a dedicated techno club, where Jeff Mills himself had played. Maybe he’d be there that night! On the spot I convinced my friend Dave to come along with me. All we had to do now was figure out where the fuck Minami Aoyama was.

On the night in question we found ourselves wandering around Aoyama, at the location of the club as indicated by the map on the flyer. It was deserted, and the last train was ten minutes off (if we could even find our way to the station). We were just two Australian backpacker schmucks standing with nothing in our hands but a tiny, square flyer on a featureless residential back street. There was a long moment where we were about to concede defeat, and run to find that train. Then I spied a foreigner.

‘Maniac Love? You’re standing right on top of it, mate!’ So said a fairly geezerish English guy, before leading us down a tiled staircase to an unadorned door. We had found a way in! In weird contrast to the empty, silent street upstairs, the club was more than half full – had the locals and the DJ come in through another, tinier, even more secret entrance? It was dark, the sound system was massive, and the techno was remorselessly intense. Perfect.

We danced until about 4am, then retired to the mezzanine bar overlooking the floor. That’s where we met Tsutomu: not a girl, and not really that cool – but hey, he definitely ‘got me’. Six months later, and Tsutomu was living in my friend’s shed in Kensington, making Denki Groove compilations for unsuspecting Melbourne friends, practicing Bob Marley songs on a purloined acoustic guitar, smoking weed, and feeling paranoid and depressed about losing his kanji and his social capital in a city that couldn’t give a shit what Todai was. Now Tsutomu works for Sumitomo Bank, and lives in Setagaya with a wife he bitches about to anonymous bartenders, or anyone else who’ll listen. His first role at Sumitomo was selling agribusiness chemicals to Jamaica.

Forward to March or April 2002, and I’m lying on a futon on Tsutomu’s living room floor, in a rickety first floor 1LDK in Higashi Jujo not far (enough) from the local rubbish incinerator, feeling totally pleased with myself. I’d made my first dream come true: now I was living in Tokyo, with a cool, hot girl I’d brought with me from Melbourne who ‘totally got me’ (some things do work out just like you planned, without you deserving or earning it). I was living it: now there would be ample time to make it to the Liquid Room, and see Jeff Mills, finally. ‘Hey guys, what took you so long?’ he would say. ‘Hey Jeff, wazzup!’

Beside the futon was a massive set of Ikea cases, filled with records. And on top of the cases was another, fresher fantasy of mine: a pair of decks (actually, and very irritatingly, one CDJ and one Technics turntable) and a battle mixer. On my chest, a collection of short stories by Patrick White, open at a passage that had made me pause and drift and, you know, think about, like, where I was, and how cool that was, ’n stuff. I ‘just knew’ I was gonna totally make it, either as world’s coolest DJ (taken very seriously by smart people who knew about these things to the point of writing for the Wire), or as a Very Important Literary Author. Probably I would follow Patrick and win the Nobel Prize for Literature. Hell, I would show them all and DJ all night at the wild afterparty that would surely follow my memorable acceptance speech! The fact I couldn’t even beatmatch, that I hadn’t so much as written a chapter, didn’t matter, not at all: my self belief was as monumentally unshakeable as my stupendous, stupid inability to understand what becoming either of those two dreamy people might actually involve in terms of hours, tears, pain, sacrifice. I was far from all that.

A month later, and things were really bad at Tsutomu’s place. We’d had too much duty-free vodka, and a falling out over Detroit techno (why is it always Detroit techno?) that involved me mocking his fetishisation of a particular Kevin Saunderson record by licking it, and him throwing a full can of Asahi Red right at said record. What was I doing staying at his place for nearly six weeks? Why did I think that it wouldn’t all end in tears? That’s how I was: I ‘just knew’ things would work out, because, shucks, I was a lucky guy. That’s how little I thought things through back then. I navigated everything on passionate intuition, buoyant optimism and force of personality. I might as well have been America.

Despite coming to Japan without a job, without contacts, without so much as a suit or a CV, I had miraculously scored a job in Shibuya, not five minutes walk from Cisco’s House and Techno stores, which a still-friendly Tsutomu had introduced me to. Now I had money for a place of my own, records, and soon: turntables. My worries were over! In the penultimate discussion before Kevin’s groove met Tsutomu’s can, Tsutomu leveled with me: you will never be a DJ if you keep buying classic records: ‘You should find contemporary techno, push new sounds.’ I listened to that, at least. In fact, he’s still right. On the next visit to Cisco, with Tsutomu’s words in mind, I decided to stop buying stuff that had already been, and start browsing for the future. Which seemed to be from Berlin, not Detroit. So I spent over an hour scouring the boxes, and came home with two recordings that, little that I knew it at the time, would change my life, enable the possibility of mnml ssgs, and lead me (and maybe even Chris) to labyrinth in 2010.

The two recordings were Pantytec’s Elastobabe, and DJ Highfish’s Nighteffect. I’ll come back to the Pantytec later: first, Nighteffect. I bought this one for the amazing cover, the intimation of an impossibly cool Berlin nightlife at this WMF place (that some German had told me I HAD to go to, along with Robert Johnson), and the fact that I thought I was buying a mix CD by a DJ who had managed to string Chicks on Speed, Zombie Nation, Steve Bug, Farben and Pole into a mix. Wow, Berlin was so cool! It turned out to be a mere compilation, but, with burgeoning Berlin dreams in my head, I wore the sucker out on my commutes to and from my new job teaching English, which didn't yet seem like the life sucking, soul-destroying monster it quickly became.

Nighteffect wasn’t the best compilation ever (actually, it’s worth tracking down for the amazingly cool track with Ben Klock doing electro and the classic ‘Die Discofibel’ by Mitte Karaoke), but it was good enough to get me to DJ Highfish’s gig a couple of months later – about June 2002. It was him and David Caretta, who pumped out a beyond-lame electro set in a cape and lycra… maybe there were even sequins? Anyway, while Caretta flopped it out for about an hour or, I met Highfish, who was very personable, told me to come to Berlin, and even gave me his email address, which was on the back of a WMF business card (the same font and colours as the compilation! OMG!). After the social success of my Highfish high I was ready to meet and greet anyone and everyone. It was at this precise mood and moment that I busted up and introduced myself to Cam Eeles, who longtime readers would know as one of the founding SSGs.

Cam and I became close friends. For the first time in my life, I had someone to go to electronic music gigs with. In my formative years transitioning out of noise rock and post rock, I had to bribe people with ‘incentives’ in order to get them to join me in late night escapades. Because of this, my approach to electronic music was inseparable from a certain alienation: going solo to nightclubs, putting on CDs that everyone else hated, cultivating a passion that few of my friends cared about our understood. Like Tsutomu, Cam did really ‘get me’. Unlike Tsutomu, Cam was not (is not) crazy. This is a conspicuous advantage for the formation and maintenance of friendships.

I don’t want to diminish the independent value of my friendship with Cam, but his invaluable role as a link in the chain bears mentioning: Cam was how I met Chris. No Cam, no Chris. No Highfish gig, no Cam. No Highfish CD, no Highfish gig. No Tsutomu, no Highfish CD. No Maniac Love, no Tsutomu. No Tokyo, no Maniac Love. No Jeff Mills, no Tokyo. Of course, any of those links were possible independently, they might have happened. But it’s a long shot, a crap shoot, a dice throw. The point is, that’s what did happen, and that’s why things are the way they are.

Everything I’ve mentioned so far gets you to mnml ssgs, or at least, the conditions that enabled it to be. Of course, in the interim, Chris and I managed to stay alive, stay in contact, stay friends, stay passionate about music, and even develop our passion through our (dis)agreements with one other. Given the amount of people who’ve dropped off in one way or another, that by itself is no mean feat. But that doesn’t get us to labyrinth. Back to Pantytec.

I knew Tsutomu was right about techno: there really was no point playing old classics. Mourn the past, then turn and face the strange. Anything else is just pretending that change isn’t happening, that change is what happens to other people. In a way, Tsutomu just gave me the confidence to carry the inkling of the new I got through hearing Herbert’s Let’s All Make Mistakes mix (about which a long post forthcoming). Let’s All Make Mistakes might have reinforced my unfortunate tendency to be socially sloppily exuberant, but the other important message it gave me was Playhouse and Perlon… ‘This was the way in,’ I thought. Herbert may be a (talented) douchebag, but I have to thank him, and Tsutomu. I owe them a lot. That’s life: you walk around bumping into things and people, accumulating debts and lumps.

So, Perlon: when I heard ‘Elastobabe’, I thought my head would cave in. It didn’t sound like house, it didn’t sound like techno, it sounded like magma. ‘This shit is from space,’ I thought. I was an instant, deep, categorical Perlon convert, and bought every one of their new records on sight as they arrived at Cisco, throughout 2003–4. I even defended Narcotic Syntax’ ‘Calculated Extravagant Licentiousness’ to an unconvinced Scott ‘Deadbeat’ Montieth in Yellow. I think Narcotic Syntax won that one.

During this time, Cam and I (and, after a while, Janet) were going out to gigs almost every weekend, treating Kompakt, 12k, Raster Noton and Alter Ego with equal passion. Then, in early 2004 (I think), at a Superpitcher gig at another tiny club in Minami Aoyama called Loop, I met an obnoxious but friendly New Zealander named Jeremy. Neither of us were that taken with Superpitcher’s set (who could be?), but we quickly discovered that both of us had a lot of musical ground in common, so we ended up making a long night of it, detouring via his house in Shimokitazawa. If memory serves, we then shlepped back to Maniac Love, which by 2004 had become a pretty nasty recovery joint full of big drag queens (why is it the nastier the recovery club, the bigger the drag queens?). By this stage, Tsutomu was wearing a suit on a plane to Kingston.

Little more than a year later, and my Tokyo dream was over. It all happened with a weird combination of bangs and whimpers: some of it imploded, some of it decayed, some of it just faded away. But I could beatmatch (sort of), and I had written half of the first draft of a mediocre novel… Oh, and I had met Jeff Mills, though not at Maniac Love or the Shinjuku Liquid Room, which had closed the year before. He was like a fey little tiger, very well dressed and softly spoken, and he dealt with my fandom as quickly and smoothly as a crossfade out of a fluffed mix.

So we’d done it, and we were done, and it was all over. Now we were on our way to Europe, first for my lady’s dream (Paris), then for mine (Berlin). I even got to go to a temporary club the WMF had set up that summer. But the place that people were really buzzing about was this joint called the Panoramabar that had opened only a year before. It had a real Wolfgang Tillmans original on the wall, it never closed on the weekend, and if you were really hardcore, there were all these dungeons that smelt of shit and amyl nitrate where you could make your fantasies come true… or so I’d heard… I indulged my tame fantasies by staying upstairs for the Perlon night, keeping myself awake by drinking long glasses of wheat beer, and smugly telling people how much better the clubs were in Tokyo.

In September 2005, I returned to Tokyo on my way back to Melbourne: penniless, rudderless, emptied out, sobered up, but well aware of where I actually was. All I had to do was go home, face life in the wrong hemisphere, nurse the tender scars of budding adult ‘reality’, and figure out what the fuck I was actually going to do with whatever time I had left. Honestly, it felt like that. From the psychological safety of 2010, the poignancy seems delicious, especially given the ridiculous pretenses and delusions I’d entertained circa Tsutomu’s futon. But in 2005 I thought the world was ending; I was too bummed to taste anything, least of all the filter coffee, bananas, white rice and natto I was living on. I did all I thought I was capable of at that low ebb: I slept in and hung out at my friend Ryan’s apartment in Itabashi, watching documentaries and browsing online and in Shibuya for drum machines I couldn't afford but did anyway. Ryan’s place was on the 13th floor. In the evenings I stood on the balcony and watched the Saikyo line spit commuters into and out of the belly of the beast, and nurtured the cut-price comfort of a cheap, shoddily constructed, self-indulgent melancholy. Some days the sunset over Akabane was so beautiful I even forgot to feel sorry for myself, just for a few fading orange minutes.

A few days further in to that wannabe downward spiral holding pattern and I got an email from Jeremy, about some outdoor party called ‘the Labyrinth’ that I’d vaguely heard of. I have a deep and abiding suspicion of hippies, and I hate psytrance. And I was broke. But: I was bored. Shit, I was even getting bored of feeling sorry for myself. So I called him to let him convince me. ‘Who’s playing?’ I asked. If he said Tsuyoshi Suzuki, Ree K or Infected Mushroom, the answer was gonna be an unconditional NO. ‘Mathew Jonson,’ he replied. I instantly thought to myself: ‘Typerope’. And besides, he’d released on Perlon. ‘Okay,’ I said.

Labyrinth 2005 was amazing; it pulled me out of my stupid funk, and showed me how incredible electronic music can be when its shared in the company of warm, friendly people on a proper sound system (which shouldn’t be that tough or rare a combo to crack, but is). Not even the psytrance hippies bothered me. Actually, I liked them. Most of them. Not the yakuza ones, they were a bit scary. And even though there were some stinky trance acts and a few fairly forgettable sets by Minilogue and some dude associated with Border Community, Mathew Jonson totally owned it. It was one of those pivotal moments, where you look around and notice everyone going ‘Oh’. In fact, what Jonson proved that day was the extent to which the techno kids and the hippies need each other. This is still true. In fact, Labyrinth has been proving this year after year ever since. All you have to do is let the techno kids, with their tight, maniacal geek intensity, take care of the music. But put them in front of a group of people who won’t let ‘away toilet situations’ and any kind of weather get in the way of getting loose, and freaking out, all night and all day (hint: those are the hippies). Then, just install and tune the best sound system known to mankind… and keep the techno kids away from the cactus.

Labyrinth 2005 re-opened a gig imagination that had become torpid, jaded, and full of stupid prejudices (that was me, in case you didn’t guess). It also turned me off nightclubs forever, and made the conditions in most Melbourne nightclubs unbearable. But again, my being there was a total dice throw. No Cam, no Superpitcher gig. No Superpitcher gig, no Jeremy. No Jeremy, no Labyrinth 2005 – just me staring at an Akabane sunset with a can of Yebisu in one hand, wondering where it all went wrong. Actually, SSGs– and maybe even Labyrinth – owe Jeremy more than that. After all, he was the one who sent Chris and me the first Dozzy set we’d ever heard, on Mental Groove’s old website in 2006.

There are further weird connections, once you add in Lado, Cam’s old English teaching school, and the way that connects Cam to Tami, Tami to Chris, Tami to Jeremy, Cam, Chris and me to Jeff, Tami and Jeremy to RA, and even Tami and Jeremy’s adventure at RA to Todd Burns’ current stewardship of the website. Again, any of these connections may have been made otherwise: the point was, they weren’t – what I’ve told you is actually what happened, and as far as I’m concerned, those are the only reasons why anyone is at any gig anywhere. Thank you, contingency. And stupidity: in some cases, none of these connections would have happened without my gauche, indomitable enthusiasm. And thank you sociability: in all cases, these connections were a matter of flesh-and-blood people busting up to and introducing themselves. I have to remember how much my life was changed by these meetings, and be a bit less standoffish, like I used to be back then. You should too.

In 2010, almost everything else about electronic music has become ambivalently entangled with information, promo, piracy, and jet lag – all of which there is too much of, and which has destroyed many of the possibilities that existed ten years ago (while opening up other possibilities, like stealing music, podcasts, iPods, and mnml ssgs). But all that will change, or be destroyed. The only thing that matters is passion for the music, friendship, and transformation – for as long as we remember.

All of the above blurred through my brain the moment that Scuba dropped AFX’s ‘Tha’ on the first night of Labyrinth 2010. That track was like a memory bomb that detonated – I know I wasn’t the only person on the floor who felt that. I thought (in the voice of David Byrne), ‘My God, how did I get here?’ Like most great moments, it had that exquisite bittersweetness: lost worlds, faded friendships, broken dreams, disillusionment – goodbye Liquid Room, goodbye Maniac Love, goodbye Cisco. And maybe (with the open possibility of a future hello): goodbye Cam, goodbye Janet, goodbye Jeremy. But it also opened a whole horizon of expectation, laying out a new experience, and a new set of connections, that I’m still very much processing. Gimme another decade on that one. Then, on the following night, Sam Shackleton – there’s Perlon again, they’re not lying about the superlongevity thing – ripped me a new one, guaranteeing that I’ll still be here, or there, or anyway in the labyrinth, with my friends, for another ten years and more. I’m already saving. Be careful: this shit will change your life. No, take care – it already has.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

sunday sounds: reagenz at dommune


if you are on twitter or soundcloud, chances are you will have discovered this already. but i figured i should post it, as it is a really great set of music and i want to make sure everyone hears it. reagenz were one of the many highlights at labyrinth, and i was one of the lucky few who was also able to catch them the day after playing at dommune. not only did they deliver a great set, the dommune show had quite a different feel from at labyrinth. it reflected that jonah and david really know what they are doing: they have a deep understanding of their machines and a great feel for working together. and to repeat something i have been saying a lot, reagenz are another example of something i keep noticing: good people make good music. both jonah and david are lovely individuals, it was a pleasure being able to spend some time hanging out and getting to know them. so on this sunday enjoy some quality sounds from two quality guys:

reagenz @ dommune, 21.9.10

you'd be glad to know that reagenz were able to sneak in a small amount of studio time during their stay in japan, so fingers crossed there will be some new stuff from them soon. huge thanks to reagenz!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

lost in a forest of genres


the good news is that this week i discovered some music that i didn't know about and really like.
the bad news is that this week i discovered some music genres that i didn't know about and really wish i had never heard of.

the other day a friend suggested i should check forest swords. i had a look on youtube, then ended up wasting the next hour at work listening to everything i could find online. when i got home i bought the flacs and they've been on constant play since then. obviously i am a bit behind the times, it appears all the hipsters and tipsters picked this one up straight away. according to the painful review at pitchfork, 'If there's any space left between micro-genres like witch house/drag, hauntology, hypnagogic pop/chillwave, and drone-step, Matthew Barnes [Forest Swords, and i think his name is Mike] has found it.' i hadn't heard of most of this genres, and fuck i wish i hadn't. witch house?! drone-step? i think a more appropriate genre would be 'punch the fucking reviewer in the face-step'.

if you ignore the surrounding bullshit, i think there is something pretty special in what forest swords is doing. rather than me trying to describe it (everything i have read has failed horribly at this task), just watch the videos below, then go buy the flacs/records. that'll work better. what i will say is that listening to this got me super excited. yes, there is a lot genre music being produced (and when i say this i mean established genres like techno, house and now dub-step), and much of this is enjoyable enough. but it is when you go exploring and head to the fringes you can find some really interesting stuff being made. this music may exist between or beyond genres, which can make it difficult to describe, but that's fine.







anyway, the basic point of this post is not to complain about stupid ass genre names, but to suggest that it would be worthwhile tracking down forest swords. for more info, FACT did a good interview with him, there is also a forest swords facebook and myspace. and an his 'dagger paths' EP is coming out on CD next month, which you can pre-order here at a stupidly cheap price. give forest swords a listen. even if it is hard to describe well, it sounds good.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

the labyrinth 2010


all photos by kazuhiko kimishita, thanks to mindgames.

OPENING THOUGHTS

labyrinth finished a few weeks ago, but for me it is only really felt like it came to a complete end the other day, when i said goodbye to dozzy and his wife, who are about to leave japan. as soon as i got home, suddenly i felt ready to write about this year. i say this as way of introduction to emphasise the fact that this is most certainly not an objective review of labyrinth, quite the opposite: this is about as subjective as you can get. i'm writing this from the position of someone who has become deeply involved: i consider the organisers and many of the artists good friends. it would not be an over-statement to say that the labyrinth crew are basically my family in japan. this year mnml ssgs had a much more direct involvement, we had some CDR promos with labyrinth artists at disk union, and we also served as something of a middleman in helping people from overseas get ticket tickets. what i am basically saying is that i'm heavily invested in all of this: i believe in labyrinth, and i have tried my best to support it, so keep that in mind when you read what follows.


another introductory point is that labyrinth is something intensely personal and it is impossible for me to separate it from the trajectory of my life. my first labyrinth was in 2008. i arrived in japan en route to the UK, where i was about to take up a new job. everything was in flux, work stresses and opportunities combined with problems in my personal life, meanwhile mnml ssgs was only just starting to get going. at the time labyrinth had a very powerful impact, but it is only looking back that i can now see exactly how important a moment it was. labyrinth 2008 was when i met for the first time the person i am now lucky enough to call my wife. it was also the first time i met russ, donato and pvh, people who have all become close friends. and as a whole, the inspiration gained was absolutely central in further developing the blog. the bond between ssgs and labyrinth became stronger when we posted the live recording of dozzy's closing set from 2008, which remains one of the most important moments in our (short) history. my 2nd labyrinth, 2009, was a different experience. in the intervening 12 months, i had gone through major upheaval in my personal and professional life, and was continuing to struggle with living in an environment that did not work with me. labyrinth was a brief interlude from this turmoil, another powerful, inspirational moment that helped me work out my priorities. in contrast to my first two labyrinths, in 2010 i didn't have to get on a plane. i moved to tokyo in march and i'm now happily living in japan. whereas the last two years my life had very much been in flux, things are now finally settling down a bit. given all of this, labyrinth 2010 was a rare opportunity to reflect on an intense couple of years, let out a few deep sighs, and then celebrate with a group of very special people. what made this even better is that PC also made the trip, and it was great being able to share all of this with him. so clearly this is something more than just a party for me. labyrinth has served as marker points in my life over the last few years, and when i think about 2010, this is unavoidably the framework through which i view it. and for the same reason, this is also a very long post, but even if only for myself, i feel i have to try to record what happened.


2010 was a special year for labyrinth for many reasons. perhaps the most significant is that it was the tenth edition. given that this event is not backed by any corporations or sponsors, and is essentially the work of a handful of very dedicated people, it is impressive that they reached number 10. the first labyrinth took place in 2001. over the years, the sound of labyrinth has changed and evolved considerably, and obviously what was on show in 2010 was very different from 2001. saying that, some important aspects have remained, most notably the ethos of the party, the logic behind it, the lack of compromises, the care for details, the respect for the crowd and the surroundings. in saying this, it is important to recognise and appreciate that labyrinth has had a different trajectory from many comparable events. labyrinth is a unique beast.


the lineups for labyrinth are undoubtedly impressive. it is rare anywhere in the world to find such a collection of top shelf artists. but if i think about what makes labyrinth special, it is the fact that these high calibre musicians are given the perfect environment to do something different, something important. arguably the biggest draw-card on the lineup is not any of the artists, but the mighty funktion-one system that dominates the landscape of labyrinth. it really is impossible to properly describe how good the sound is. i've been to berghain, i've been to fabric, i've been to plenty of places, this shits all over them. the F1 setup was bigger this year, and with another year under their belt at the naeba venue, it was tuned even better. full respect to steve, who is in charge of the sound. his role at labyrinth might not be so obvious, but he plays an absolutely central part in the success of the party. so when i am describing all the music, please keep in mind that it was all coming out of some serious F1s.


one of the strongest memories i will take from the 2010 edition is that this is probably the best crowd i'e ever been part of. labyrinth always has a great group of people and with only 2,500 tickets for the naeba venue, it is a pretty intimate affair (as far as larger scale events go). the crowd was great: warm, friendly, polite, you couldn't ask for much more. and in terms of attendance, this was the biggest labyrinth ever, with tickets selling out about a week in advance. respect to everyone who came for their support and contributing to the fantastic atmosphere. it was great to see so many people made the trip from abroad - mnml ssgs helped bring about 50 people (i think) - to the hills of japan. this element of like-minded people who had made a big commitment (with their money and time) to come to labyrinth added a new and positive dimension to the party. thanks to everyone who made the trip.


the venue was the same as last year, naeba, a lovely spot, as you can see in the photos. the outdoor element definitely sets this apart from most parties. techno in the hills of japan is not how i am used to relating to this music, but it is something i have quickly accustomed myself to. the beautiful surroundings of the venue, and its remoteness, add to the intensity and power of the experience. it is good enjoying techno music in a more natural setting. this year they stuck with the day format, and given they had more notice, the timetable was adjusted accordingly. and it worked very well. it is much easier on the body having the party run across more normal hours. it means people don't have to push themselves so hard, it is a healthier way to enjoy yourself. given that labyrinth is a bit of a techno marathon, anything that helps you survive it is a good thing! the timetable was just about right this year, though it could probably do with a bit more tweaking. regardless of what time the music is turned off at the night, people are pretty slow getting going in the morning, so pushing the whole schedule back an hour or two next year might be advisable. some great music was wasted on the final morning of this year, dozzy and convextion played to a very small crowd, as most people were still recovering from the previous night.


DAY 1: FRAGMENTATION


the party opened with labyrinth's favourite son, donato dozzy, playing a special kosmiche set. given the crucial role krautrock played in the development of contemporary electronic music, i've been happy to see a growing interest in it recently. keeping this context in mind, it was great for labyrinth to be opening with krautrock. staying mainly on the spacey/ambient side of things, dozzy's gave the audience a thoughtful and enjoyable history lesson. hearing steve reich ('music for 18 musicians', i think), what i am pretty sure was vangelis, and many other records from the krautrock era was a lovely way to commence the party. my only complaint was that he played perhaps my favourite kraftwerk track - 'radioaktivität' - but then cut out of it very early on, before it fully hit. what a massive disappointment! dozz explained later it was because he mixed in another track related to radioactivity. fair enough, but i would have much preferred to hear the full version of kraftwerk, because it is such an amazing record. besides this, it was a great way to open what would be an amazing few days.


scuba was given the difficult task of following up krautrock. the fact that dozzy had kept more on the ambient tip made his life a bit easier, so scuba started slow, commencing with mount kimbie (i think). some people weren't convinced about the transition, but i was impressed. it was a tough ask following krautrock, and he managed it well. soon after came one of his own tracks, 'symbiosis', which was a pleasure to hear on the F1s. but it was when scuba played tracks by plastikman ('plasticity', i think) and aphex twin (perhaps from SAW) that he really took hold of the crowd. these two artists are perfect examples of the 'labyrinth sound' and it was these records that made me think, "yes, labyrinth has begun". the first two hours of the set flowed quickly, as he managed to combine his scuba and scb sides well (think his RA 'cast). in the final hour he pushed it a bit too much for my liking and lost me. but overall it was a very good set. and it was fantastic hearing dubstep sounds on the F1s. it was the first time for labyrinth to have an artist that sounded like that, and it worked. i really hope to see similar bookings in the future.


the final act for the night was peter van hoesen. when peter first played in 2008 he only just starting to be recognised. a few years later and PvH has firmly established himself as one of the leading lights in contemporary techno. labyrinth has played an important role in his trajectory, so it was great to see him back up on stage. PvH took most of the crowd by surprise, starting his set with new beat. one of the highlights of this labyrinth was hearing 'flesh' by a split second - the crowd erupted and i was jumping up and down like a madman (i would regret this the next day). having quickly taken control, PvH went straight for the throat and put together a powerful set weaving plenty of new records in with some classics (ron trent, nitzer ebb and others). while i enjoyed peter's set, i have preferred some of the other times i have seen him. i felt like musically the first night was very open and i would have been interested in him pushing it a bit further away from the dancefloor. saying this, these are minor complaints, especially as his set was very well received. and thanks to peter, the first night finished with a bang.

DAY 2: ESCALATION


after the opening being a bit more intense than perhaps what the organisers expected, the timetable for the second day was pushed back a bit and shortened. while this makes sense in theory, people that did get up earlier in time to be on the dancefloor in time for reagenz at 8:30am instead found the first record just being played. this is the second year in a row i've been on time to discover the schedule had been changed and i could have slept more... for next year, i think it'd make more sense if the organisers just accepted that people are slow getting going and not start quite so early. this did mean i was able to see all of one of the local DJs, hiyoshi, who put together a lovely set of morning ambient music. a nice way to start what was going to be a very long day of music. still, some extra sleep would have helped...

when reagenz took the stage, the crowd was still waking up and wandering out to the dancefloor. move d and jonah sharp were given the task of facilitating this process and getting day two going. they achieved this with style and grace. reagenz started pretty relaxed, slowly building, and as the music developed, the dancefloor continued to grow. by the time they had finished their set, there was a big crowd of smiling faces happily moving to the sounds reagenz were creating. seeing jonah and david work their magic with a huge stack of gear was another highlight of labyrinth. reagenz don't play together too often, and it is rare they are given so many toys to play with. it was awesome seeing them going at it. bonus points to jonah and dave for being super nice, relaxed guys. when they stopped after 2 hours it felt like they were only just getting going, i'm sure they could have kept on playing for quite a while. but it was time for steffi...


anyone who follows this blog will know that i'm a big fan of steffi, and the two sets i saw her play at p-bar have been amongst the best i have heard in 2010. so i had high hopes. the sun was out, people were on the floor and reagenz had set things up perfectly for steffi's debut in japan. and unsurprisingly, she totally delivered. steffi's set was exactly the right kind of music for the middle of the day: driving house music with balls. she got the dancefloor moving with her distinctive brand of house and impressed a lot of people. one of the best daytime sets labyrinth has seen. i really hope to see steffi back again, i thought she fitted perfectly.

next up was a guy called gerald, otherwise known as a guy called lunch break. after reagenz and steffi i needed a rest. while some people raved about his set, the half of it i caught didn't interest me much. it was basically very well done tech-house, with some added twists. if you want to reach your own judgment, he has posted the live recording on his soundcloud here. even if it wasn't my thing, AGCG kept the dancefloor going, so he definitely did his job.


the sun was still out when marcel fengler took to the decks, and he had no problem continuing the good vibe that had been built by all the previous artists. having seeing both dettmann and klock recently, this set confirmed what i already felt: fengler is the best of the bunch. he balanced the set just right, going harder, but never too tough - the sun was still shining and it was still a bit early for too much dark techno. fengler rocked and it was great seeing how much fun he was having, especially as his energy really flowed over into the crowd. marcel also provided another labyrinth highlight for me by playing one of my favourite alltime techno records - the surgeon remix of 'it one jah' by the advent. this record is also in marcel's alltime top records on his ostgut page, and when i first saw that, i knew i'd like him. i totally lost my shit hearing it on the F1s. such a perfect record. still sounds amazing after all these years... so full marks to fengler. he really did good.


by the time PvH started his livepa, it was dark. fengler was the transition point from day to night. no more fucking about, shit was about to get serious. unfortunately it was about this time that a huge wave of tiredness hit me. i had not slept much after the first day, and had been at the venue since about 8.30am (it was about 6.00pm or 6.30pm when PvH started, i think). i would love to hear peter's livepa again, as i wasn't able to enjoy it fully because my body was in temporary shut down mode. but i was definitely able to listen enough to work out it was good. very good. what impressed me about PvH's live is that this was the 3rd year in a row he had done a livepa, and it was the 3rd year he had done something that sounded different from before. the first half of his set was very deep, i even had trouble grasping onto it, before he really toughened it up towards the end. for the second time at labyrinth 2010, he had the crowd rocking with an impressive performance. what i love about peter van hoesen is that he is one of the few people who is equally skilled as a DJ and liveact, as people at labyrinth can attest to.


PvH finishing meant it was time. time for function. his set at labyrinth 2009 was a revelation, and i had been waiting twelve months to relive the experience. except i wanted/expected it to be better this time. lucky for me it was. there were a few differences from the previous year. one was that the first time he played at labyrinth he basically took everyone by surprise. we all knew he was good, but i don't think anybody (except maybe eric cloutier) knew that function was going to totally destroy the place. this time everyone was prepared. so instead of surprise, there was anticipation. lots of it. but the anticipation went both ways, function was also ready. function stepped up and delivered another benchmark performance, which confirmed his place right at the top of contemporary techno's elite. he started with a more ambient, old school sounding track from the new sandwell album, and from there function put together an impressive set that demonstrated his deep understanding of techno. compared to last year, his set was more diverse, and definitely had more of a 'labyrinth' feel to it. he also made more use of the many machines at his disposal, which i loved. the result was that function created something powerful and special. i could try listing some tracks he played, but i don't see much point. it was the overall impact of his set that mattered. what made this such a great moment was seeing the beautiful symbiosis between the artist and the event: function has an incredible amount of talent and knowledge, and labyrinth provided the perfect stage for him to dig deep and create something with real meaning. function did that. full respect.


when function finished, so did i. i was beyond tired. only problem was that shackleton was on. this was definitely one of the masterstrokes of the event. if you want to know why russ is different, why lab is different, this is the perfect example. after a long, powerful and intense day of music, people were exhausted. rather than ease up, it was time for the headshot. function had killed everybody, shackleton would fuck their corpses. the dancefloor was an amazing sight - no one knew quite how to dance or react to what was coming out of the F1s. i only saw half of it before i had to leave (there was still another day), but i witnessed enough to recognise the importance and value of this set. an impressive performance from one of the most unique and important people making electronic music (given this, it is worth emphasising what an incredibly humble, thoughtful and nice guy sam shackleton is). once again, labyrinth provided the right stage: it allowed shackleton to really explore, and offerwd a setting to be at his most fucked up best. in essence, it was modern day tribal music summoning up ghosts and demons. from most of the people i spoke with (and from what i saw) there was general agreement that shackleton was definitely one of the highlights of labyrinth. it was placing him after function, and at the end of that day, which really allowed it to happen. a successful experiment, and one i'd encourage to be repeated in the future. this was the right way to finish an incredibly intense and important day of music.


DAY 3: CONSOLIDATION


there had already been more than enough awesome music. but it wasn't over yet. still one more day to go... dozzy started proceedings with an ambient set in the rain. unfortunately we missed most of it because the bus was about 40-50 minutes behind schedule. which was not super cool. we arrived in time to hear the final few records, and donato's set finished with a track from his new album 'K'. sounded great on the F1s.


next up was convextion, who was unfortunately stuck with a pretty empty dancefloor, the combination of some rain plus exhaustion from day two meant people were slow getting going. given this setting, convextion played a mellow set that focused more on his dub and melodic side. it was a subtle, careful set which demanded attention. to be honest, i really wanted to hear an ERP set, but it just wasn't the moment. it was too early, there weren't the people or the energy. he played just right for that time, but a real shame he didn't have a bigger crowd. still, the set confirmed what i had fully discovered at labyrinth 2008: convextion is seriously good. he might not get that much attention or release on big labels, but he is a talented individual, and that is what i heard again this year.


while russ is perhaps the most well known outside of japan, he is not the only organiser of labyrinth. another key individual is so, who also DJs at the party each year. so was given the difficult job of getting everyone up and going in time for mathew jonson. in previous years i haven't listened closely to him, but this time i did, and i was impressed. he played a well fitting set that helped build the dancefloor and prepare the stage for jonson and dozzy. so understood his role in the overall scheme of the party and played the set he needed to. by the time jonson started, the dancefloor was getting full and ready. he has played labyrinth a few times before and is definitely a favourite over here. jonson's set was a bit predictable for my liking, there wasn't much that was too different or new in his performance. but saying that, it didn't need to be. when he played 'marionette', the whole place erupted. it was a really beautiful moment, everyone was so incredibly happy. i was back stage and it was so cool to see all the artists react - jumping up and heading straight for the dancefloor. by the time jonson finished, he had the crowd eating out of his hand. people were happy and having fun. now it was time for dozzy to bring things to a fitting end.


closing labyrinth is obviously an important task, and one dozzy takes very seriously. this year there was a lot of extra added pressure - for various reasons 2010 had been a big year for donato, and to top it off, this was his 40th birthday. so it certainly was a special occasion for him. given it is dozzy, and also knowing how significant this set was for him, i had super high expectations. so i was a bit surprised when the first hour was good, but a bit cautious, even a bit underwhelming. it felt like he was struggling to find his groove. then in the space of about 15 minutes or so, dozzy took off. i can't remember the exact records, but quickly the tempo had been raised, the beats got a bit harder, but more than that, it felt like dozzy's attitude had changed. it was time. dozzy took flight. the rest of his set was a blur of a positive memories. the feeling of the dancefloor was so incredibly good. all the labyrinth crew were dancing together, sharing this special experience with new and old friends. i remember at one point i was jumping around, having fun, and wondered how much longer dozzy had. i was shocked to look at my watch and discover he only had another 10 minutes. last year he played too long, and it took away from what was otherwise a great set. this year he played just the right amount, bringing labyrinth 2010 to an end after a brilliant 4.5 hours. i don't really know how to describe dozzy's set (this might also be because i was tired and suffering from a bottle of russian vodka our friends a mixmag.ru kindly provided), but all i can say is that it was the most emotional set of techno i have ever heard. donato shared his heart with everyone there. and this made it the perfect way to finish what was basically the perfect party.


CONCLUDING THOUGHTS



i wonder how many people have actually read all of this monster post... if you have, thank you. i know there is a lot of text here, but i place great value and meaning in words. labyrinth is something incredibly important to me. it has changed who i am, how i view the world, and how i understand music. my attempt to document what happened at 2010 is my way of trying to do justice to something i deeply value, and to say thank you to everyone that contributed to making labyrinth 2010 something much more than a just a music event. as i said previously, for me this was a celebration of life. a celebration of what people are capable of. i know that must all sound terribly overblown, but that is how i understand what happened.

i want to thank russ, yasuyo, so, charles and all the rest of the crew that created labyrinth. thanks to my awesome wife yuri, my fellow ssg and essential friend PC. massive respect and thanks to all the artists, especially donato, peter and dave. i better stop. those who were there know what happened. the words i will leave you with are some of the final lines from one of my favourite movies, ghost dog. these have been bouncing around my head in the last few weeks, i think because they kind of sum up what labyrinth does differently, and why it matters:

"sometimes you gotta stick with the ancient ways.
the old-school ways.
i know you understand me.
i know you understand me."


see you in 2011. the preparations have begun.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

lawrence english in tokyo

without doubt, one of my favourite producers these days is lawrence english. for me, he really makes some of the most beautiful music currently about. if you haven't come across him before, i would strongly suggest you check the brilliant mnml ssgs mx43 english put together for us. for everyone in tokyo, the good news is that lawrence english is returning. this will be my first time seeing him live and i am very excited. the details of the gig are:

lawrence english (room40 / 12k, Australia), christopher willitis (ghostly / 12k / USA), minamo (12K, japan)
friday 19 november, 7:00pm for 7:30pm start
sonorium
you have to reserve in advance for this event, which you can do here.
there are only 80 places, so i suggest you register soon, if you want to come.
more info here (there is an osaka gig on the 20th)

i've seen willitis before, and he was good. i also saw minamo early in the year at a 12k showcase, and i was very impressed by them. a talented trio from japan. definitely worth checking. they have just released an album with lawrence english, 'a path less travelled', which i would strongly recommend. another high quality release from room40. and also track down lawrence english's contribution to the excellent series of 7 inches that touch has been releasing. it's a stunner.

hope to see some of you there on november 19th!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

john osborn @ panorama bar tracklist


we received a fantastic response to the recording we posted on john osborn playing at the sub:stance 2nd birthday party at panorama bar, and we also received a lot of requests about track IDs. it has taken a while (john has been busy in the studio) but he has very kindly produced a full tracklist for his set. ok trainspotters, no excuses now, go buy some records!

ssg special - john osborn @ sub:stance 2nd birthday, panorama bar, 9.7.10

Echologist. Slow Burn.
Sigha Reimagining. Steadfast

Luke Hess. Motor Dub. FXHE MUSIC

Keith Worthy. Lost In Sound. Aestetic Audio

Marko Fürstenberg, Without You --Sven Weisemann rmx Rotary Cocktail 024 

Luke Hess, Slow To Speak. Sound Mind EP. Deeplabs 001
Larsson, Ruanda. Marko Fürstenberg Rmx. Rotary Cocktail 011
RIBN Light Black EP
Langenberg. Times. Manuel Tur's Fround Reflex
Joey Anderson. Dive Deep. SMR-008

Keith Worthy. Rocket Science. Aestetic Audio

Vampire EP. Echochord 042
Goldwill. What Is Behind. The Curtain Aera Edit. Wandering/5th Journey

MO 4.5

Mood II Swing. Move Me

Wax 10001

Jason Fine. Many To Many. Ben Klock Remix. KM013
Levon Vincent. Solemn Days. Deconstruct-002

Skudge 001. Contamination

Ben Klock. Viscoplastic. DRH028

Levon Vincent. Double Jointed Sex Freak. Novel Sound
Tevo Howard. Boing Pop. Rebirth

Phylyps Trak II

Wax 30003

Skudge 002. Melodrama

Deep 'a & Biri. Fragile. You & Me Edit. Rotary Cocktail 017
Precious System. The Voice From Planet Love. Dixon Chic A Go Edit. Running Back 016

Ben Klock. OK ft Elif Biçer. Kenny Larkin Remix. Ostgut Ton 026
Donnacha Costello. Black Bag Job 737. Minimise 034A

Omar-S 004. FXHE Music.
.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

blackest ever black tracklist



if you haven't already checked the most recent ssg special from blackest ever black, this tracklisting should give you the extra encouragement you need. definitely one of the most refreshing and interesting mixes we've had on here for a while. i've been constantly listening to both this mix and the raime EP since getting hold on them. worth checking for sure.

blackest ever black - scripts for the pageant mix

1. Pink Industry - Is This The End (Zulu, 1983)
2. Raime - Retread (Blackest Ever Black, 2010)
3. Caroline K - Animallattice (Earthly Delights, 1987)
4. And Also The Trees - The Headless Clay Woman (Reflex, 1986)
5. Death In June - Heilige Leben (New European Recordings, 1989)
6. Tropic Of Cancer - Victims (Downwards, 2009)
7. Dalis Car - Cornwall Stone (Paradox, 1984)
8. Mecanica Popular - Las Maravillas Del Manana (Grabaciones Accidentales, 1987)
9. Minimal Man - I Don't Resist (Subterranean, 1981)
10. Abigail Mead - Leonard (Warner, 1987)
11. John Foxx - The Garden (Virgin, 1981)
12. The Wake - Chance (Factory Benelux, 1984)
13. Prurient - Pretext (Hospital Productions, 2008)
14. Andrew Liles - The Captain's Apprentice (Nextera, 2004)

if you really love this mix, keen an eye on the blackest ever black website, as they will be releasing 25 copies of a free CDR version of it. they will announce the details on how to get a copy very soon.

thanks again to blackest ever black for this.

ssgs take tokyo!


just a quick post to say thank you to everyone who helped make the 1st ever MNML SSGS at dommune last night a big success. thanks to the dommune crew for having us, to yuri for organising so much of it, craig (c_olvrin) and dasha for playing great music, to all those who came, and to everyone who tuned in during the night. there was a great atmosphere at dommune; a really warm, friendly vibe. we had a lot of fun. and about 20,000 people checked the broadcast at some stage during the night, peaking with a constant 1700-2000 viewers for dasha's set. to be honest, it was all very last minute & pretty stressful, but i'm really glad we did it. no way it wouldn't have happened without the support of our friends and fellow ssgs. so thanks!

most of our readers should know dasha, but you can hear more of her music on her soundcloud and myspace. i also strongly suggest checking c_olvrin, he is doing some great stuff. here is a live recording of him warming up for PvH in tokyo earlier this year at mariana.

thanks again to everyone for their support! with a bit of luck there might be another ssg party in the future...

Sunday, October 3, 2010

mnml ssgs ナイト @ dommune


明日10月4日の月曜日、初の mnml ssgs イベントがお馴染みの Dommune にて行われます。
時間はいつも通り9時から12時、
出演は今回大阪、神戸公演で来日している Dasha Rush、
そして Mariana などに出演しいるカナダ人DJ&プロデューサーの c_olvrin です。

Dasha Rush の ssg mix を再度チェックしたい方はこちらから
前編は力強く、かつ繊細に丁寧に構成されるハードテクノ、
後編はその対極とも言えるエクスペリメンタルエレクトロニックセットです。Dasha の Berghain でのライブ音源はこちらから

c_olvrin のセットも以前にフィーチャーしています
メロウで心地よいDJとライブのハイブリッドセットは定評を呼んでいて
プロダクションは Continental Drift という自身のレーベルからアウトプットしています。

予約はこちらから↓
http://www.dommune.com/reserve/1004/

Dommune の宇川さん、ジェナさん、イレブンのゆうこさん、Dasha、Craig
今回の Dommune ギグ実現のために協力していただいて本当にありがとうございました!

mnml ssgs night at dommune


mnml ssgs quest for world domination continues tomorrow night, with our first event, which will be held at the tokyo club, dommune. since appearing early in 2010, dommune has quickly emerged as an important club in the tokyo scene. it is open from sunday - thursday nights, from 9pm - midnight. there are 50 places available each night, and it simultaneously streamed live on ustream, which regularly attracts large audiences. as well as local japanese DJs, touring international artists have been playing there, with jeff mills, reagenz, derrick may, maurice fulton, shed, prosumer, cio d'or and many more having played there already. nice concept, nice club, nice people. our kind of place. so we are super happy to have been able to put together a party there tomorrow night (monday 4 october) featuring two artists we've previously featured on mnml ssgs: dasha rush and c_olvrin.

dasha rush should be familiar to most of our readers, after her impressive two part ssg mix (you can find it here). as a producer, liveact and DJ she has developed a distinctive brand of powerful, robust techno. high quality stuff and we love her. i saw her play live on saturday night in osaka for almost 2 hours and i was very impressed. if you want to have more of an idea of what to expect, check this live recording of dasha rush at berghain in may. dasha rocks hard. not to be missed.

c_olvrin (craig to us) is a canadian DJ and producer based in tokyo. he has been making a name for himself with his carefully weighted hybrid live/DJ sets. craig has started a label called continental drift as an output for his productions, and has been playing out in tokyo, including at the mariana parties. earlier this year we featured a live recording of c_olvrin, which you can find here. i've been very impressed with what i've heard from craig. definitely a rising talent.

if you are in tokyo and would like to come, you need to register in advance. there are only 50 slots available, so do it quickly:

register for mnml ssgs night at dommune

the details are:
dasha rush, c_olvrin @ dommune
monday 4 october,  21:00 - 24:00
1500 yen entry

for ssgs not based in tokyo, don't worry it will be streamed live on the dommune website from 9pm japan time (which is 1pm london, 8am new york, you work out the rest!).

big thanks to the dommune crew, teion club, yuko at eleven, dasha, craig and yuri for all helping to make this happen. hope to see you there!

Friday, October 1, 2010

weekend listening


when two mixes arrive in the one week from silent servant, you know it has been a good week. this mix is as good as it looks. for me, this guy is perhaps the most under-rated person in techno right now. ridiculously talented.

silent servant - promo mix 08A - tresor 1998

Electrosonic - Celestial Cantabile (KPM)
Quadrant 01.1 - II (Basic Channel)
Metric System - Wasp (Trope)
Scion - Emerge (Chain Reaction)
Aphrohead - In the Dark We Live (Dave Clarke 313 Mix) (Reload)
Planetary Assualt Systems - Booster (Peacefrog)
Octave One - Eniac (430 West)
Jeff Mills - Captivator (Purpose Maker)
Planetary Assualt Systems - Funk Electric (Peacefrog)
Regis - Escape from Yourself (Downwards)
Cyrus - Enforcement (Mills Mix) (Basic Channel)
Ignacio - Organa (Music Man)
Bandulu - Serial Operators (Foundation Sound Works)
iO - Station to Staion (Cheap)
Murat - Pilgrimage B1 (Method 11:11)
Missing Channel - Gold (Hardwax)
Laurent Garnier - Rex Attitude (F Communications)
Richard Benson - Diamonds and Pearls (Force Inc.)
Mario J - Home E.P. - B2 (Method 11:11)
Regis - Speak to Me (Downwards)
DJ Funk - XTC- Run UK (Dance Mania)
Jack-Tronic - The Hustler (Planetary Assault Systems Remix) (Peacefrog)
Bam Bam - Where's Your Child? (Desire)
Norman - Green Room (Synewave)
The Advent - Standers (Internal)
Silver & Kash - Session 2 (Generations)
Grenn Velvet - Flash (Paul Johnson Mix) (Relief)
Dan Bell - Science Fiction (Tresor/Nova Mute)
Funk D'Void - Jack Me Off (Soma)
Jay Denham - Car Jacker (Black Nation)
Surgeon - Action Balance (Ideal Trax)
Themis - Your Round (Ideal Trax)
Regis - Allies (Downwards)
Fade to Black - Insistent Rhythm (Fragile)
Fix - Flash (KMS)
Infiniti - Flash Flood (Tresor)

tracklist speaks for itself, but if you want more info check promomixes.

have a good weekend people. we are heading down to osaka to see donato dozzy play tonight, and dasha rush play tomorrow. should be fun.

october charts


i've decided to try to get into the habit of doing a chart every month or two for clubberia, a website which is a bit like a japanese version of RA. they have some good mixes in their podcast series & are also a good resource for information about parties in japan. you can find my first chart here, but i've also listed it below. i've tried to include stuff that has either been released or is due out very soon. there is plenty of music that i have been enjoying, this definitely is not an exhaustive list.

mnml ssgs october chart (chris)

1. Svreca - 'Untero' (Regis Remix) [Semantica]
2. Raime - 'Raime' EP [Blackest Ever Black]
3. Donato Dozzy - 'K' [Further Records]
4. Forever Delayed - 'Forever Delayed' [Islands & Islets]
5. Sistol - 'On the Bright Side' [Halo Cyan]
6. ANBB - Ret Marut Handshake [Raster-Noton]
7. Mika Vainio - It's a Muthang [Comfortzone]
8. L.B. Dub Corp - Take It Down (In Dub) (Ostgut Ton)
9. Urban Tribe - Urban Tribe [Mahogani Music]
10. Steffi - mnml ssgs promo CDR mix [Disk Union]

please feel free to post in the comments your charts or any releases you've really been enjoying lately.