Monday, October 31, 2011

Roll The Dice Tracklist

From all reports Roll The Dice put on a very impressive show in Berlin last week. Would have loved to been there... Anyway, here's the tracklist for the mixtape. Lovely stuff!

Ssg special - Roll The Dice

1. Philip Glass - Ik Ook
2. Cut Hands - Welcome to the Feast of Trumpets
3. Isao Tomita - Bydlo
4. Public Image Ltd. - Hymie´s Him
5. Flash and The Pan - Welcome to the Universe
6. Plastikman - Plink Plonk
7. Antti Rannisto - Numbers
8. The Cramps - Human Fly
9. György Ligeti - Musica Ricercata: No. 2
10. Perc - My Head Is Slowly Exploding
11. Blind Willie Johnson - Dark Was the Night, Cold Was the Ground
12. Ghostwriters - Moon Chant
13. Wendy Carlos & Rachel Elki - The Shining Main Title

Thanks again to Roll The Dice for the mix. Next up we'll be featuring a duo responsible for another one of our favourite albums of 2011, Jonsson and Alter...

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Sunday Sounds

This Sunday I am revisiting a couple of mixes I dearly love. I've posted them here before, so chances are you might have heard them. That's fine. If you haven't listened to them lately, or you missed them the first time, I encourage you to check both. They might be a few years old, but time is irrelevant with mixes like these. They have a timeless beauty: balanced perfectly, the sounds flow with grace and ease. Donato's especially is one of my all-time favourite mixes. I have lost count of how many times I have heard it, but it still sounds just as fresh and special as the first time I listened.

natural/electronic.system.- hypnos mix

donato dozzy - bleep43 podcast 134

Put these on, tune out, and enjoy your Sunday.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

From the Shadows

I've been following Hospital Productions for the last couple of years, since Kevin Drumm's two "Imperial" releases. For me, Drumm's "Imperial Horizon" is perhaps the best ambient album of the last decade. If you have never heard it, I strongly, strongly urge you to address this situation. And while I deeply love this album, most of what I've tried from Hospital since then has been a bit "too much" for me. But I have remained interested, because I got the sense they were right on the fringes of sounds I do really connect with, as the Drumm releases showed. So I was very interested when a FACT mix appeared from label head Dominick Fernow under his Prurient guise. The really stand out moment in the mix was a track by Vatican Shadow, another name Fernow is working under. But it was a cassette only release, so I gave up and forgot about it until Boomkat released the digitals a few weeks ago. I immediately purchased them and... wow. There are some really killer tracks across these releases, with the strongest being on 'Washington Buries Al Qaeda Leader At Sea Decks 1-3'. And bonus points from the brilliant names and imagery (I wonder if the next release with be about Gaddafi). To give you an idea, here is one track from that release:

Vatican Shadow is operating in a similar territory as the darker, gloomier sounds that has been popular recently - the most obvious markers are Raime and Blackest Ever Black, Regis and elements of Sandwell, through to Shackleton etc., and he is presumably working with similar influences from the late 1970s and the 1980s, with perhaps Muslimgauze being one of the strongest (I say perhaps because I really do not know his music very well). If you've been enjoying these kind of sounds, there is a strong chance you'll like what Vatican Shadow is doing. So my advice would be to head over to Boomkat and pick up the digitals. According to discogs, it looks like there are two releases that are still cassette only - including an album of which only 33 copies were made (what is the point?). Hopefully these will also get a digital release soon, as I am very keen to hear them. So keep an eye out for Vatican Shadow, I think many ssgs will like it.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Ssg special - Roll The Dice

As PC detailed last week, Roll The Dice have been on our radar since their excellent debut album on Digitalis last year. This was followed by a rather massive live EP, a few impressive mixtapes (here and here), and now their next album, 'In Dust', which continues this strong trajectory. The new album is neither a simple repetition of their first one, nor a massive break from it. Rather, it is another steady, sure step forward. Given their name, which reflects the open approach to the creation of their music, what is noteworthy and rather distinctive about Roll The Dice is how careful and measured their output is. Compared to much of the neo-kosmische music currently floating about, this isn't simply just a couple of dudes jamming on some synths. The sound of Roll The Dice is much more measured, the influences distilled are perhaps more diverse. Then there is that certain sense of gravity that grabs your attention. And while the gravity is very noticeable, it is not overbearing. It is balanced and in proportion. This is what really stands out about Roll The Dice. It reminds me of the catch line for a bad advertisement we used to have in Australia: 'not too heavy, not too light, just right.' And this is what you'll hear in their mix for us, in which they pull together a range of different sounds to create something that is coherent and makes sense as a whole. It also reflects, and engages with, some of the themes of their new album in some interesting ways. Give it a listen and find out how Roll The Dice are 'just right':

Ssg special - Roll The Dice

Tracklist will be up next week. We've been pushing 'In Dust' pretty hard for a while, so hopefully you've all heard it. If not, we recommend purchasing a copy. Linking in with the new album, Roll The Dice are playing a bunch of shows over the next month or so. Based on their live EP, it sounds like they are not to be missed. Dates are:

Thu 27 Oct 2011 Kantine Am Berghain, Berlin
Fri 25 Nov 2011 Le Guess Who? Festival, Utrecht
Tue 29 Nov 2011 Point Ephémère, Paris
Wed 30 Nov 2011 Corsica Studios, London
Fri 2 Dec 2011 Urbaines Festival, Lausanne

For more info check their homepage and artist page at Leaf. Thanks to Roll The Dice for the mix, and to Ben at Leaf for helping to organise it. Enjoy.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

omg: ts th mnml ssgs xms prty! & fkn hll, n mlbrn!


Hello all, Chris and I are... not promoters. Which means doing the party things is tough. We get asked a lot, but... well, let's just say, as promoters, we make great opinionated SOBs. It must be the eyebrows. Anyway, I really wanted to have another ssgs xmas party this year, but was afraid I wouldn't be able to pull together something worth the name and your time. But I think we've done that. I say we, but... well, Tig and Blake have done most of the legwork here (thank you). The duo, who played at our last ssgs xmas party at Horse Bazaar, a actually *are* two of the best... well, not promoters exactly (I know this because they've never added me to any email lists without asking, and they actually do email you apart from when they want something). More like... gentlemen about town? They're also awesome DJs, and have been keeping things locked down at RAOBGAB (Buffalo Club) among other places. It's a perfect match, given that RAOB is one of only three or so places in Melbourne that has some fresh juice in the fruit. I have to mention also that Tig and Blake are putting together the Sugar Mountain Festival this coming year, Jan 14. The lineup is amazing - inc. John Maus!

So this is it: with Virgo Four you have two of the greatest original house producers alive playing, you have ssgs' mix guest and good friend Magda Bytnerowicz DJing (check out her Forty Fathoms mix if you haven't already), Tig and Blake keeping shit locked down, and Michael Kucyk, the voice and brain behind Noise in my Head, the show that, along with our good friend Dave's To and Fro, makes Sunday evening on RRR the best evening of radio in Australia, nay the interwebz.

Both Magda and Tig+Blake have promised me mixes to go along with this, so stay tuned for those. In the meantime, look forward to seeing you all at the Buffalo for some serious house shenanigans. I am genuinely excited and very proud.

*edit*: check out this recent live set from Virgo Four.

Virgo Four at the Rush Hour Label Night, on August 28 2011

this one is also available by subscribing to the boiler room podcast, which I highly recommend.


Monday, October 24, 2011

Ticket info

For the last 2 years Mindgames, with our help, have experimented with a system for people from overseas to register for special discount tickets for Labyrinth to be held at the gate. For practical and other reasons, this will not be continued in 2012. Neither Mindgames nor MNML SSGS will be organizing ticket reservations for international guests. Instead it will be reverting to the previous format where tickets are only available for advance purchase through all the normal outlets in Japan, some of which offer online purchase. We thought it best to announce this now so people could factor it into their plans.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Chill out on Sunday!

Just a reminder: our next Sound Garden chill out party is happening this Sunday evening. If you are free, please come down and join us for a relaxing, fun time. Our guest Yusaku played a great set at Dommune last week before Marcel Fengler, and now we are really looking forward to hearing what he will play for us. Everything is set for another great night at Orbit!

Details and timetable:

Sound Garden - October party

Sunday 23 October, 16:00 - 23:00, FREE
Bar Orbit, Sangenjaya

16:00 - 17:45 Jelomu
17:45 - 19:30 Chris
19:30 - 21:15 Yusaku Shigeyasu
21:15 - 23:00 David Dicembre

Hope to see you there!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

F̶i̶v̶e̶ from Pete

With Chris’ having covered some of his favourite shorter releases yesterday, I thought I’d focus on some of the amazing albums that I’ve been wearing out over the past few months. All of these releases have survived their novelty to become firm favourites round these parts. I’m kinda like the teenager I used to be this year in my listening habits: I listen to far fewer releases, but those I like I tend to listen to ‘heaps’ (as my teen self might have said).

Ricardo Donoso - Progress Chance
Well, I’ve already heard rumblings from two of my friends that suggest a big synth backlash. In a sense its understandable, given the deluge of releases, and the very mixed quality overall. A friend talked about ‘synth piffle’… Ricardo has done something different here: this album manages to channel several different sounds into something extremely fully found, well articulated. It’s just a beautifully well considered, extremely well-articulated, self contained record. I listen to it over and over and don’t get sick of it, and on different systems and headphones (even during different kinds of weather) it reveals many, many different facets. I really appreciate the work and care that's gone into it, and it totally works. Fascinating and excellent album.

Julia Holter - Tragedy
I checked this based on boomkat’s extremely gushing précis; in this case, almost all the wordjizz is, err, not wasted. Julia has really gone all out here, building a world of her own from samples, found sound, synths, drum machines, and vocals. I really like the way Holter has composed a series of complex suites with interacting movements, much more like classical than pop. And she's pulled it off, too - much respect to her audacity here. The comparisons with Laurie Anderson deserve to stick, but only because so few other people attempt music this quirky and ambitious – space and voice. I mean, it could all be a horrible, pretentious mess, but Julia ‘carries’ the whole thing through its many rooms, like a lone girl carrying a lantern through a cavernous temple on a moonless night (with only her songs and the Gods for company). This is totally one person's 'vision'. You have to do a bit of work and give it your undivided attention (this is too demanding and dynamic to work as BGM - but that’s a good thing, surely), but if you do, you’re almost sure to find one of this year’s real gems.

A friend said to me: ‘this isn’t ambient music, it’s Ambien music.’ ‘Enjoy the fade –without risking an MJ-esque dulled spiral into deathly cotton wool.’ There’s more to it than that, of course: this is beautifully composed, totally poised. At high volumes, it also shows a completely different side. But mostly I listen to it at low volumes, at which it sounds blue, but a lovely light blue, like the cover, under lavender blankets. Winged Victory maintains a carefully constructed ebb/fade/flow throughout – sustain pedal to the metal. I suppose its easy to float when you have wings, even if you’re sullen. There is meditation, and there is medication, and then there is music.
Chris and I have been following RtD carefully since we heard their first collection on Digitalis last year. In Dust really fulfils the promise of the first. Like Progress Chance, though ostensibly a synth album, this ain’t ‘synth piffle’ at all: these boys have got their own clear and good ideas about where they’re going and what they’re doing with all that equipment. There are lots of strong lines and industrial themes here; some of them are quite harrowing. Like OR, there are lots of oblique references to capitalism in here, but if OR canvasses the soaring, crashing everything/nothing instants of fibre-optic fed animal spirits, In Dust takes us back to the factory. Back to work, drone! ‘Moments are the elements of profit’, and you’re one the boss’ clock. This monster isn’t done with us yet.

Jonsson/Alter - Mod
There are lots of synths here, but this is a house album. Best of all here is the way it all comes together: I think the press release mentioned dynamic tension-in-balance. Well, for once the promo peepz are on-the-money. Lots of attention here has been given to tuning the percussion; this makes these many of these tracks total late night floor bombs. But then, if you were out on said floor and the system was really good and you were listening carefully, you’d also notice how ‘just so’ everything else was: the tones, the melodies, the way everything sits in the mix. There have been several earlier ‘attempts’ at 'this album', but for me, this is the iteration that has actually gathered everything, arranged it, then recorded it as it should have been done.

Okay, at this point I have to totally 'violate' both myself and the title of the post. It's true I can barely count, but that's another story. There's a reason why I chose social theory, not mathematics. Nuel has really, really done something here. In fact, like all these albums (and almost everything I've loved this year) the hallmark of Trance Mutation is its inimitability. It is totally non generic. This is not a trance album - either that, or it re-defines what trance means. Hence the mutation. It's a percussion album, it's a hypnotic album, it's an 'all corners of the Mediterranean' album (that also riffs off both sides of the black Atlantic) - and it's all played by one guy: Nuel. I don't want to say too much more about it, just really, really, really check it out.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Five from Chris

I've been consuming a lot of music recently, playing catch up after being away and also preparing for our chill out party this Sunday. So there has been a lot of stuff I've listened to briefly, then put aside to return to later, or just sent straight to the trash bin. What I wanted to do here was pick out and share a few tracks that have avoided this trend and have been on heavy rotation. I've selected five, and PC will do the same thing in the coming days. My selection is not that representative of what I have been listening to overall, but whatever, these are all awesome:

Autechre – 'Skin Up You're Already Dead': I don't think this is an official release, but whatever, just get a copy because it is a beauty. Classic Autechre. That is really all that needs to be said.

Legowelt - 'Transmissions From Earth 2011' [Echovolt Records]: I know a lot of people really liked his recent free album, but for me it was just another example of Legowelt's frustrating ability not to fully cash out his ideas. But the man definitely has talent, and when he utilizes all of it, the results are special. This track is one of those occasions.

Arab League - 'Hollywood Goblin' [Universal Rejection]: The first time I listened to PVH's Smoke Machine mix this was the track that immediately hit me. Nothing too complicated, proper hands in the air rave music that does everything it is supposed to. I think this will probably make it into my end of year lists. What a killer.

Mark Ernestus Meets BBC – 'Version 1' [Honest Jon's]  - Quite simply, this is a perfect track. I was completely floored the first time I heard this. So precise and refined. I think the true beauty of it comes from how effortless the whole track feels. It just flows...

Innercity - 'The Pyramids Of Northeast Belgium' [NNA Tapes]: Innercity's music is tripped out, chaotic and demented - sometimes a bit too much so for my liking - but when it all comes together, wow... I'm not quite sure how this track sticks together, somehow it does. If I was a writer for Boomkat, I'd probably describe this as 'sounds like Legowelt in a mental institution thinking about flying unicorns'.

Ok, those are my 5. Fee free to contribute and leave comments with yours. PC will add his soon.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Valerio Gomez de Ayala (natural/electronic.system.) tracklist

And to complete our NES double, here is the tracklist for Valerio's enchanting mix. Thanks again to both of the NES boys for two gorgeous mixes, we are so happy to share them with you.

Ssg special - Valerio Gomez de Ayala (natural/electronic.system.)

Pub - Summer (Nick Rapaccioli Remake) [Vertical Form]
Susumu Yokota - Circular [Leaf]
Mike Parker - FWD Donato Dozzy Remix [Prologue]
DJ Qu - Be Who You Want (Hardknock Shaker's Dub) [Strength Music]
Vermittelnde-Elemente - Zeitfrei [Bruchstuecke]
Skirt - In The Meadow Under The Stars [Horizontal Ground]
Kassem Mosse - Untitled [Workshop]
Pattern Repeat - 001B [Pattern Repeat]
Hubble - Floating Souls [Haknam]
Silent Servant - Lo Profundo [Historia y Violencia]
Upwellings - Snow Motion [ZeECc]
Luke Hess - Reel Life (CV313 Dimensional Space Mix) [Echocord]
Pan American - For A Running Dog [Vertical Form]
Field Rotation - Mondfinsternis [Fluid Audio]

New ssg mix soon...

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Ssg special - Valerio Gomez de Ayala (natural/electronic.system.)

I wouldn't be 'here' if it wasn't for great mixes: the Globus mixes from Herbert and Dan Bell; Juan Atkins' Master Mix; and, of course, Michael Mayer's Immer. These days it takes me about half an hour of clicking per week just to manage all the mixes, mixtapes and lectures that come to me by way all the podcasts I subscribe to. It's hard to swim in the datasea (first world problems...). With so much 'content' competing for our fickle attention, it's hard for any kind of mix to be recognised as special.

What Valerio has produced here is very fucking special indeed, as special as (and complementary to) Antonio's sublime mix for us from around a fortnight ago (which, if you haven't listened to, you must - pronto). In the comment box I suggested that Antonio's mix reminded me of Immer; Valerio's reminds me of Tyrant (though it's better than that). What I especially love in this case is the the 'sound' it manages to evoke and sustain, as well as the genuinely psychoactive nature of the mix. This is potent stuff: genuinely hypnotic, deep grooves with a beautiful momentum - a mix takes you and keeps you in that lovely 'somewhere' (you know where). Amazing...

Ssgs has been privileged in 2011 to have been able to share some of the best mixes we've ever hosted, in my view. The irony of a year when there appears to be so little exciting 'movement' in house/techno is that both DJing and compiling (with all the amazing mixtapes I've heard) appear to be the best they've ever been. Well, this mix is ample evidence of that. Antonio and Valerio remind us is that most DJs and their audiences are not looking close enough, or listening well enough. If you did both those things, you might come up with a mix this good. There's a beautiful future in here, for the close listener... Oh, and listen to it back to back with Antonio's - the mixes work perfectly as a pair.

For Chris and I, this mix, like Antonio's, is one of the thing that we *hope* ssgs can be about. Like Van Damme says in Bloodsport: 'I just want to be the best that *I* can be.' Well, this is as good as we can be... it's so much more than we could have hoped for when we started the blog. More than that: it excites me, it makes me want to DJ, to seek out new sounds, to push myself (just like all those classic mixes mentioned above did). I'm so proud to have this platform to share it with you. It deserves the widest possible audience.

For the trainspotters in our midst, rest assured, there will be a tracklist published. All in the fullness in time. In the meantime, to the mix....

Ssg special - Valerio Gomez de Ayala (natural/electronic.system.)

Many thanks to both the n/e.s boys for their love and care with these mixes. Respect!


Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Next chill out party - Sunday 23 October

Due to travel and various other commitments, it has been a while since our last chill out party, but now it is time for another one. The next Sound Garden is taking place on 23 October, 4pm - 11pm at Bar Orbit, and as always, entry is FREE! This month's guest is Yusaku Shigeyasu, a Tokyo-based DJ / producer / promoter / nice guy. Earlier this year he DJ'd at the excellent Free Rotation festival in the UK, which suggests he is alright behind the decks. The genre he is most closely associated with is dubstep, so perhaps we might be getting a different slant on the chill out vibe from Yusaku. We shall find out on the 23rd...

Sound Garden - October party

Guest: Yusaku Shigeyasu (Basement Ltd. / ALMADELLA)
Residents: David Dicembre (Combine) / Jelomu (Drone) / Chris (MNML SSGS)
Sunday 23 October
16:00 - 23:00
Bar Orbit, Sangenjaya

If you are not doing anything, come down, you'll have a great time. These parties have all been really enjoyable. It is a nice opportunity to relax with friends, have some drinks and food, all soundtracked by some ambient and down beats. Hope to see you there!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Sunday Sounds

John Osborn has been hosting some lovely guest mixes on his radio show, which is now going under the title of TANSTAAFL SIGNAL. My favourite so far (besides my own, of course) is the recent contribution from INNEN + AUSSEN, otherwise known as nd_baumecker and Jenus Jackman. This is a bit of a departure from what you'd usually hear on John's show, and perhaps not completely what you'd expect from nd_baumecker, but that's totally fine - it's a fantastic mix. A heady affair, with a diverse and interesting collection of tracks. The mix is great for a Sunday, at least the Sunday we are having with our new cat Juno. Head over to John Osborn's soundcloud for the mix, INNER + AUSSEN start at the one hour mark:


Wherever you are, have a good Sunday people...

Friday, October 7, 2011

October agenda

Back in Tokyo, and after a quiet 6 months, the music is slowly flowing more freely again. I was hoping to have a restful weekend at home, but unfortunately that will not be possible, as there is a Raster-Noton showcase. Both Alva Noto and Vladislav Delay have new albums on R-N, so I'm excited to hear them in a live context. This will be a rare visit to Womb for me, it seems a very odd decision to have the party there, especially when Unit has worked fine for previous label nights. The usual crowd at Womb is one that would most definitely not have heard of R-N, so lets see how it works out. In fact, after being to Womb once in the last 5 years, it looks like I might be going twice in the next week, as Sigha is playing in the second room there next weekend. Again a bit of a weird place for the booking, but so be it, it's good to have him in Tokyo and luckily he is not on the main floor. In between, one of our favourite techno people, Marcel Fengler, is playing next Friday at Eleven. It will be good to have him back in Tokyo. And after that, we've got our Sound Garden chill out party the following weekend on Sunday 23 October, which is always a lot of fun. Details for the events are:

Sunday 9 October: Raster-Noton Express at Womb
Thursday 13 October: Marcel Fengler at Dommune
Friday 14 October: Marcel Fengler at Eleven
Saturday 15 October: ummm Loco ummm Dice and ummm Beatport presents Sigha at Womb
Sunday 23 October: Sound Garden chill out party at Orbit

There are more ssg friendly people playing Tokyo in November, including one artist we are particularly excited about, so there are some nice parties coming up...

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Antonio Giova (natural/electronic.system.) tracklist

We are glad people have been enjoying Antonio's mix, because we totally love it. An inspired, personal journey...
And, as promised, here is the tracklist:

Ssg special - Antonio Giova (natural/electronic.system.)

Donato Dozzy - Moonlight [Mule Electronic]
Andy Stott - Passed me by [Modern Love]
Relapxych.0 - City Nightlights II [Ghost Sounds]
Neel - Snow in the tube [unreleased]
Midnightopera - Untitled [Workshop]
Madteo - Sheepdipping [Meakusma]
Stl - In my dreams (Intrusion dub) [Something]
Jouem - Drifting [Just Another Beat]
Mohlao - Luminescent [Field]
Kangding Ray - Leavaila Scheme [Raster Noton]
Mike Parker - B1 [Geophone]
Anders Ilar - Paragram []
Dorisburg - Sinai Hypnosis Dub [Aniara]
Ryo Murakami - Lunch of God (Stereociti rmx) [Pan]
Dj Snotburger - Snotann [Fxhe]
Emmanuel Top - Flux [Planete Rouge]
Slop Salon - mr J [Aspeak]
Nuel - B2 [Aquaplano]

We will post the mix from Valerio, the other half of natural/electronic.system., next week...

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Back in the J

My wife and I have just returned from our Europe trip, which took us to The Hague and Berlin. TodaysArt was a great experience, and MNML SSGS was very happy to have the opportunity to collaborate with them. Across the two nights, there was some really great music, with all the artists in the MNML SSGS room performing well. After The Hague, we spent a week in Berlin relaxing, seeing friends, buying records, enjoying the food, and checking plenty of great music. The trip was a very necessary one, and I am feeling much better balanced after it. And one of the big reasons we had such a good time was because of others. Thanks to Remco, Stacie and the rest of the TodaysArt crew for their help in the Hague, all the artists who played and to those that came and danced. In Berlin, thanks to friends old and new, and especially to Patrick for housing us, Hardwax for accepting a big pile of Cio D'Or and Dozzy CDRs (there are now some free copies of "J" available in the store),  and the Ostgut crew who were very hospitable. Glad to be back in Tokyo, but already looking forward to our return to Europe in 2012.