MNML SSGS PARTYが今週の土曜に迫って参りました！
Monday, February 27, 2012
MNML SSGS PARTYが今週の土曜に迫って参りました！
Sorry we have been a bit quiet around here, PC and I have both been incredibly busy with work... Well the good news is that it is almost time for our ssg party in Tokyo. After having to cancel the party last March, we have been waiting a very long time to do this. And we plan to do it right... It is happening this Saturday night at Module. We are opening at 11pm, with natural/electronic.system. starting at 11:30 and playing until end. Expect 7+ hours of slowburning techno. And Module will be the perfect environment to get lost in the sounds of natural/electronic.system.. We think it has one of the best sound systems in Tokyo - strong bass and clear mids and highs. This is going to be a very proper session...
If you want more of an idea of what to expect from natural/electronic.system., here are some mixes to check:
natural/electronic.system. - ssg mx23
natural/electronic.system. - ssg mx49
natural/electronic.system. - live at labyrinth 2009 part 1 and part 2
antonio - ssg special
valerio - ssg special
And here are the the details and set times:
MNML SSGS PARTY
Saturday 3 March 2012
23:00 - late
3,000 yen (door)
B2F: Main Floor
11:30 - close: natural/electronic.system.
B1F: 'Sound Garden' chill out
11:00 - 12:30 Chris
12:30 - 02:00 David Dicembre
02:00 - 03:30 Dave the silent ssg
03:30 - 05:00 Jelomu
And for everyone the next day, we've got our Sound Garden chill out party happening at Orbit from 4pm. Our guest DJ duo INNEN + AUSSEN will be playing a long set, probably starting around 6 or 7pm. So get ready Tokyo, ssgs are taking over this weekend!
Tuesday, February 21, 2012
It is not long until our MNML SSGS party with natural/electronic.system. on Saturday 3 March. Less than two weeks! We are expecting this to be a very proper session... Details for the party are here. And we thought that the best way to recover from the big night would be with a chill out party at Orbit the next day. And luckily we have as our special guests DJ duo INNEN + AUSSEN. Expect something very special from these guys! If you want an idea of what to they might do, check this fantastic mix by them:
MNML SSGS PARTY
Saturday 3 March 2012
23:00 - late
3,000 yen (door)
B2F: Main Floor
natural/electronic.system. (Italy - all night set)
B1F: 'Sound Garden' chill out
Chris (MNML SSGS) / Dave the silent ssg (MNML SSGS) / David Dicembre (Combine) / Jelomu (Drone)
Sound Garden - March party
Sunday 4 March 2012
16:00 - late
Bar Orbit, Sangenjaya
Guest: INNEN + AUSSEN
Residents: David Dicembre (Combine) / Jelomu (Drone) / Chris (MNML SSGS)
Module party with natural/electronic.system. on Saturday 3 March and then INNEN + AUSSEN at Orbit on Sunday 4 March. This is going to a weekend of seriously good music. Mark your diaries!
Friday, February 17, 2012
Alex Barnett - Push.
Guy from a noise background goes solo and releases post-techno synth music. This was quite a common occurrence in 2011 but this release stands out from the rest. Barnett's sound is dark, minimal and very much inspired from b-movie soundtracks. He doesn't use sequencers which gives his tracks an added tension despite the strong reliance of repetition. If i was to compare him to anyone i'd probably say he's a bit like Xander Harris' early work but with the added minimalism of Ricardo Donoso. Push, released on Draft last year, is one of my favorite releases of 2011. Then there is his split LP with Fielded which takes his sound into even eerier territory. I really think this guy is one to look out for in 2012.
Æthenor - En Form For Blå
This is a collaboration between Sunn O)))'s Stephen O'Malley, Ulver's Daniel O'Sullivan and Kristoffer Rygg, and Steve Noble. However, I don't think you can really use the collaborator's origins to anticipate Aethenor's sound. There's no doom metal or overly dark ambient music here... it's more atmospheric and haunting than anything else. I first heard En Form For Bla early last year and it took me a good 3-6 months to even start to understand it... yet until then I was still enjoying it immensely. It's a great album to get lost in and even a year after my first listen i'm finding new things about it. As PC has pointed out, we live in a time where music can be quite disposable and we quickly accumulate and discard new releases. For me, if there was one release that went against this trend in 2011, then this is it. It's hard to classify this album but i do hear some Supersilent influence in there and others hear some late Miles Davis in it as well. However, I just suggest you dive in and explore it for yourself. Invest plenty of time and soak it all in.
Golden Retriever - Light Cones
I'm aware that there's many readers who have already had more than their fill of synthy jam session releases. I'll admit that this scene suffered from over-saturation and a lack of progression throughout 2011. However, much like how it was for minimal techno in the late 00s, there were still some exceptional releases to come from the scene last year and this was one of them. I read someone comparing this release to Fripp and Eno's collaborations which isn't far off... the improvisation between modular synth and bass clarinet is much looser than other releases to come out of this scene... but what i really love about it is how epic this is. It's very powerful, emotional, life affirming and uplifting music... If you're considering giving up on this scene, please, please, plllease give this a listen before you do. Once this scene inevitably dies out, Light Cones should be one of the releases that will be considered a classic.
Grasshopper - Goodnight Sweet Prince
Grasshopper's "Classic Jazz Moods" was one of my favourite releases of 2010 and the followup is just as good. This is the work of 2 trumpet players who heavily treat their instruments to make walls of drone and noise. The sound is strongly rooted in jazz but with an added intensity. This is another one of the cruelly-underrated releases to come from the drone/synth scene last year that was overlooked due to saturation. If you were a fan of Hecker's Ravedeath and can tolerate a little extra noise and darkness then i'd highly recommend this. Also, by all reports their live sets are incredible to be sure to check them out if you get the chance
KPLR - TEK NO MUZIK
I know i already raved about KPLR in my post techno post, but it seems that this release has been overlooked in favour of their debut album on Digitalis. However, this EP is vastly superior and if i were to choose my #1 release of 2012, this would be it. The digitalis release is still pretty good but more of a culmination of ideas they have explored on their previous EPs and not the best introduction to their work. I'd recommend giving this a listen then having a look here. As I said in my previous post, this is techno in its most pure and raw form. If KPLR or some other artists are able to develop the ideas shown on this EP further, then we are in for some incredible music in 2012.
During the late/mid 90s my listening was dominated by Autechre. They got me into Warp Records and from there into Mego and other labels of that ilk. I can distinctly recall reading about their Lego Feet album but having heard their Cavity Job EP and the more rave/techno tracks from their pre-Warp days I assumed Lego Feet was going to be more of the same... a sound more inspired by AFX/Rephlex's braindance hardcore rave style. However, having finally heard it I can see how wrong I was. This is vintage Autechre... much like their Basscadet remixes and early Gescom releases only more raw and less calculated... and yes, more inspired by club music. I can recall Booth/Brown saying in a late 90s interview that they'd tried many times to make techno but weren't able to pull it off but while Lego Feet isn't techno in it's pure form, it is club music. Having discovered that Autechre are capable of making music for a club and discovering a new classic album of there's was one of my highlights of 2011. Essential.
I was a huge fan of Mika Vainio a few years ago but was starting to tune out over the past few years. It felt like his newer work, while still very good, sounded like minor progressions of ideas which i was losing interest in. I wasn't going to bother with Heijastuva until i was told that this was an entirely new direction for Mika: warm, fuzzy and beautiful ambient music inspired by fripp & eno's 70s work. For me this is the best ambient album of the year. It's minimal, very minimal in fact... but not in a cold or alienating way. I can totally see why so many have overlooked this as I almost did myself, but it really is essential listening for fans of Mika and/or minimal ambience.
Panabrite - Frequency Bath 1 & 2
I think a lot of people know about Panabrite now. Especially after his excellent ssg mix earlier this month. For those of you who are new to him, i'd say his frequency bath recordings from this year are the best place to start as it's a compilation of his earlier unreleased works and will give you a good idea of his range of sound... from his prog-synth work, to library music, to experiments with guitar as well. Oh and they are free too! As Chris has already mentioned, he's got an album on the way really soon so keep a look out for it.
Perfume - JPN
If you have already listened to Perfume before then you can stop reading now. You will have already decided if you love them or hate them. If you haven't then it's time you start. Perfume are an all girl J-pop group produced by Yasutaka Nakata. Nakata is Japan's Timbaland or Neptunes, ie a super-producer who can take any pop star and make them essential listening. That's not to say Perfume's 3 singers have nothing to offer themselves, but Nakata, for me at least, is what makes them so great. His production crams so many hooks and other ideas into a single track in a way that shouldn't work yet it does. He also pushes a sound I was never a fan of (post Daft Punk Discovery electro-house) and makes it sound fresh, dynamic and fun. I'd honestly place him up there with Maurice Fulton, Thomas Brinkmann, The Neptunes and Timbaland in terms of production skill. Not everyone will like this, but a lot of you will. Go and watch their video for Spice then also check out Kyary Pamyu Pamyu, Nakata's other prodigy, here. I haven't heard Prefume's other albums as yet but from all reports JPN, their most recent album, is as good a place as any to begin.
Run DMT - Dreams
The best thing about holding off on making any year end lists for a while is you get to explore other lists and find things you'd missed previously. This is an album I found out about through Altered Zones in late December and it's probably been my most listened to release since then. I love how it blends fuzzy beach boys pop with ambient loops and forest swords-esque sounds. It's not often that my favourite ambient and pop track of the year is on the same 30 minute album. You can stream the whole album here and buy it over here.
Staccato Du Mal - Sin Destino
Very strong album and a highlight of the recent resurgence of cold wave music. I think it's safe to say that there will be a lot more to come out of this scene this year with the trust album already getting a lot of attention. There's not a weak track on here and it plays really well from start to finish with the bleaker, dark moments being well balanced with warm melodies. This is another one of those releases i purchased early in 2011 but i keep coming back to it.
Tommy Four Seven - Primate
Primate, along with the Morphosis and Container releases, were my favourite techno albums of last year. However, while Morphosis and Container got the props they deserved, many people seemed to overlook Tommy Four Seven which is a mystery to me. Chris has suggested that it's due to the album being released on Chris Liebing's "un-hip" CLR label. If that is the case, then I must say that is pretty disappointing. I really hope it isn't true... Primate is a fresh, ambitious and cohesive techno album. And it rocks too. With berghain stagnating and sandwell calling it a day this is exactly the kind of music we need to hear more of. If you didn't give this album a fair chance at the time then please revisit it. It deserves your attention.
Tuesday, February 14, 2012
Here is the tracklist for Panabrite's lovely synth excursion. If you haven't checked this mix yet, I really recommend you do. It is perfect for soothing the nerves. And as you can see from the tracklist it is also pretty educational, being made up of mainly old music. Interesting to see how directly it talks to the current synth music being made...
Panabrite - ssg special mix
1) Giampiero Boneschi "Etude Rythmiques No. 165" from Caratteristici (Fonit, 197?)
2) Arturo Stalteri "Il Prisma Magico" from Andre Sulla Luna (RCA, 1979)
3) Giorgio Moroder "Aus (The End)" from Einzelganger (Oasis, 1975)
*segway: Jean C. Roche "Gran Sabana (edit)" from Oiseaux du/Birds of Venezuela
4) Venn Rain "Velvet Trees" from Humming Hills (Goldtimers Tapes, 2011)
5) Eric Peters "Haunted Planet" from Music for Synthesizers (Studio G, 1978)
6) Gianni Safred "Electronic Brain" from Futuribile:The Life to Come (Music Scene, 1978)
7) Charlatan "Like Glass" from Charlatan/Spare Death Icon split (Stunned, 2011)
8) Lino Capra Vaccina "Voce In XY" from Antico Adagio (No label,1978)
9) Gary Sloan "Turbo" from Nightraid (Proof, 1983)
10) Malcolm Cecil "Birth of Light" from Radiance (Unity, 1981)
11) David Casper "Crystal Waves 1" from Crystal Waves (Hummingbird, 1984)
12) Enno Velthuys "Untitled #7" from Ontmoeting (Kubus Kassettes, 1982)
Thanks again to Norm for the mix. More soon.
Saturday, February 11, 2012
On 31 January 2009 I recorded process part 127.2 for the Modyfier mix series. On 30 January 2012 I recorded a new mix for Modyfier, process part 293. The new mix is a consideration, reflection and partial representation on the intervening 3 years. I wasn't quite sure what I was going to do with it, but the mix ended up being pretty heavy going, so I wouldn't recommend putting it on if you are in the mood for something relaxing. The image / memory it evokes in my mind is the water crashing up against the rocks on the Welsh coastline...
chris (mnml ssgs) - process part 293 (we may be through with the past...) by modyfier
Thanks to Arnaud and Rayna for the invitation that resulted in the mix. I was very glad to have the opportunity to do this.
*Edit* And here is the tracklist for the mix:
1. Ben Frost & Daníel Bjarnason - "Saccades" (from "Sólaris", Bedroom Community, 2011)
2. Tim Hecker - "Sketch 5" (from "Dropped Pianos", Kranky, 2011)
3. Ben Frost - "Leo Needs A New Pair Of Shoes" (from "By the Throat", Bedroom Community, 2009)
4. Roly Porter - "Hessra" (from "Aftertime", 2011)
5. Lawrence English - "Organs Lost At Sea" (from "Kiri No Oto", Touch, 2008)
6. Tim Hecker - "Where Shadows Make Shadows" (from "An Imaginary Country", Kranky, 2009)
7. Tim Hecker - "200 Years Ago" (from "An Imaginary Country", Kranky, 2009)
8. Ø - "Näkinkengät" (from "Kantamoinen", Sähkö, 2005)
9. Barn Owl - "Void and Devotion" (from "Shadowland", Thrill Jockey, 2011)
10. Ben Frost - "Theory of Machines" (from "Theory of Machines", Bedroom Community, 2006)
11. Björk – "All is Full of Love" (from "Homogenic ", One Little Indian, 1997)
Wednesday, February 8, 2012
We are currently right in the full swing of a synth / kosmische / new age revival, and that's great, we are all having fun with it. One unsurprising consequence of this is that there has been a flood of synth music coming out. And lots of it sounds 'nice'. Hell, synths are cool fucking instruments. But great synth music involves more than just some pretty sounds... Luckily for us Panabrite is one artist working with these tropes who has managed to transcend the danger of simply sounding 'nice'. His music is nuanced, textured and reflects a deep understanding of the genres he is working in and with. This is most likely due in part to his deep knowledge of library music, synth, kosmische and related obscurities, as evidenced on his 'Lunar Atrium' blog.
Two free Panabrite releases - "Frequency Bath" and "Frequency Bath II" - caught Dave's attention and we've been keeping an eye on him since then. And he seems to be just getting better, with the most recent Panabrite album, 'Illumination', being particularly excellent. I would thoroughly recommend you invest in it, at $5 through bandcamp there is no good reason not to. Much like his music, the mix that Panabrite has put together is rich, warm synth music with strong historical sensibilities. Enjoy:
Panabrite - ssg special mix
As usual, we will post the tracklist next week. I am not sure how much it will help, though, I literally recognise only one artist in it! Panabrite has a string on new releases coming up, including the eagerly anticipated "Soft Terminal" LP on Digitalis, as well as the "Sub-Aquatic Meditation" LP on Aguirre and the "Blue Grotto" cassette on Love All Day. And more in the pipeline after that... If you can't wait for these, I would suggest spending some time at the Panabrite bandcamp. You can find basically all of his releases there and they are very reasonably priced. For more information also check the Panabrite page. Big thanks to Norm for this lovely mix.
Monday, February 6, 2012
as in the past - gosh, for years now - I went in to RRR for two hours' worth of to-ing and fro-ing with Dave Slutzkin. As always, lots of shit talking, and more than a few good records (if I do say so myself). Tried to connect the dots on a few things, remember a few records worth remembering, and showcase some of the sounds that Chris and I have been obsessed with over the past few months.
Ukkonen – Thrym [Erriapo, Uncharted Audio 2011]
Julia Holter – So Lillies [Tragedy, Leaving 2011]
Nike Bordom – Vulmio [Music for Non-Existing Dancefloors, Dial 2003]
Silent Servant – Untitled (Regis edit) [Sandwell District, Sandwell District 2011]
HTRK – Synthetik [Work (Work, Work), Blast First Petite 2011]
Aphex Twin – Ageispolis [Selected Ambient Works 85-92, Apollo 1992]
Bee Mask – Scarlet Thread, Golden Cord [Elegy for Beach Friday, Spectrum Spools 2011]
Flowers – Icehouse [Icehouse, Regular 1980]
Quiet Daze – The Scenic Route [Viewing a Decade EP, Transmat 2001]
Peter Van Hoesen – Rites de Passage (Naeba Variant) [The Labyrinth, Time to Express 2011]
Andy Stott – Posers [We Stay Together, Modern Love 2011]
Deer – Twisted Neck Companion [Full Circle, Silent Season 2010]
Bee Mask – Stop the Night [Elegy for Beach Friday, Spectrum Spools 2011]
John Maus – Times Is Weird [Love Is Real, Upset! The Rhythm 2007]
Download here. To and Fro's site - full archive with tracklists and DLs - is here. To-and-Fro is one of the best ways to keep up with what's happening across a broad spectrum of interesting electronic music. Along with Noise in My Head, which follows it, it makes up the best fours of Sunday radio audible anywhere… iTunes subscribe to To and Fro here, RSS here. Many thanks to Dave once again for 'avin me on.
Friday, February 3, 2012
As you may have read in my final post for 2011, I really lovehate the EoY malarkey. It’s as necessary as it is impossible: to try to put a year in some kind of order, to give it good sense, to make it meaningful. I mean, fuck, I’m still trying to understand the past decade’s worth of musical statements and changes. So in a Pyhrric bird flip to timeliness, here, in February, are my final thoughts on 2011.
What can we say about 2011? The soufflé didn’t rise? Some did, some didn’t... It’s about time? Sure, but it always is. Things are never timeless. Nothing except God is outside of time, or so she tells me. Apparently that’s why we need saving, and why we’re so hard to redeem (like vouchers from a now-bankrupt department store). There are still important things about last year we won’t know for some time, such as whether the FBI’s crackdown on one-click download sites like megaupload will have any affects/effects on people’s downloading habits. Dave the Silent Ssg suggested it’s a bit like Whack-a-Mole. I'm worried, given that the FBI did get Capone, but the US got prohibition into the bargain... I’m also skeptical, given that, in my view, what most people want most of the time is convenience, provided quality is deemed sufficient (the Walkman beat the hi-fi, the iPod beat CD). Ie, most of us are content to listen to depleted music, provided the content is delivered well enough, and above all conveniently. Dead Kennedys said it best. So then, what was 2011 about? Doom/Gloom, retromania, and synths aside, I can see two things that, from my perspective, really set 2011 apart as an excellent vintage: collaborations, and mixtapes.
Within the spectrum of music I gave my attention to (a mere sliver, but then, I only have two ears and one iffy brain), 2011 was a massive year for collaborations. More specifically, collaborations between veterans and/or masters (sorta 'super groups', though it's hardly The Travelling Wilburys), often working in pairs, sometimes in trios and the odd quartet. The following spring to mind immediately, leaving aside HTRK and Junior Boys (who, while notionally duos, are sorta/kinda bands, and don’t really seem to fit among the following): A Winged Victory for the Sullen; Noto + Sakamoto; Fennesz + Sakamoto; Burnt Friedman + Jaki Liebezeit (okay, they are a band); Ricardo Villalobos + Max Lodebauer; Pinch + Shackleton; Jonsson/Alter; Atom + tobias.; Roll the Dice; Moritz von Oswald Trio; Vladislav Delay Quartet (to say Sasu otherwise had an 'off year' would be an understatement... time for a 'year off'?), and Haino, O'Rourke & Ambarchi (which also wins best title of the year, I think... Leyland J Kirby will have to try even harder on this front now). I add in Peaking Lights' 936, because it was just such a fucking good album, probably my 'high rotation' favourite, and an album I listened to all year without getting at all sick of...
Several of these collaborations produced exceptional, if unsurprising results. A lot of them were my favourite records to actually listen to. Again, this is unsurprising, given that we’re dealing with well-established projects and, well, middle-aged dudes and dudettes who’ve really nutted out their approaches to sound. This is why, fundamentally, I think of the best of these as culmination records, recordings that cash out a bunch of ideas that have been kicking around for the past decade or more. But/so: not that exciting, really. And also, you know, I really hope that each is kind of the ‘last one’ in its sequence or series. For the sake of transformation. Culmination, then conclusion, then... rip it up, and start again. To continue on these trajectories would be to court the trage-comedy of true repetition. Add in more time, and you’ll end up with farce, if Woody A is to be believed. But being careful, culminating collaborations between people who really, really know their shit, these records are also very satisfying, if you give them your full attention. Repeat: they are amazing to actually listen to. Which I think you should, especially the following (strict three sentence summa applies):
Winged Victory: The compositions are magnificent, and the recording is astonishing. It breathes, it cries, it swoons and subsides. This is pure Kranky sigh music.
Noto/Sakamoto – Summvs: I was obsessed by Vrioon, and never quite loved Insen – but this one has the most consistent, subtle, and involving compositions. I feel like this recording needs to be ‘set’, like a table for dinner. My advice on perfect setting: play it at high volume around sunset after a long sunny day.
Friedman/Liebezeit – Secret Rhythms 4: Friedman and Liebezeit’s first collab is, for me, one of the great recordings of the 00s, while 2 and 3.... sounded like mere sequels. But here, the edge is back, and each of these ‘pistes’ pushes further than both have managed to go together into their amazing sound world. And: what fucking time signature is that?!
Portable/Portable – Into Infinity: This album is a pair collab. It's Abrahams vs himself (confronting himself with himself, singing over the top of himself, playing himself, ‘killing himself softly with his song’ &c). Until this release I was an ever-curious Portable skeptic (well, I liked his Bodycode album), but here? The ‘high school existential’ mode of the lyrics (kinda naff, but in a soul-baring way that makes me love them), the harmonies, the arrangements... it took a decade of trying for him to get his formula just right, and here, perfectly, it is. An audacious house album in 2011. The soufflé riseth.
The medium is the message (and the massage!). But what is the medium for the mess age? And what kind of massages could it convey? The medium-quality medium that is mp3 manages to evoke a lot of thought and emotion in people, considering the necessarily depleted nature of the signals it carries. It’s not just that most of the message arrives in spite of the depletion. As Soullessness is going to point out to us for hours, it’s also that the medium enables different kinds of messages to be conveyed. In case you hadn’t noticed, mp3 actually has marvellous creative possibilities. And I see mixtapes as one set of these.
Okay, there’s nothing ‘2011 new’ about either mp3 or mixtapes, but nonetheless, several of recordings I was most obssessed by last year were mixtapes. Not albums. Not EPs. Mixtapes... that were often denser, and more challenging and interesting than the published work of the artists who assembled them. And they’re free! You don't have to get whacked with the IP phallus of the angry sovereign, Mr Mole (see megaupload link). We really need to pause and appreciate this for what it is. A feast is in front of us. What follows are a few of the recent best:
Endless House Foundation - FACT 223: this is just such an engaging and wonderful listen. The track selection and programming is flawless. Proof of this is that I have played it end-to-end pretty much once a week since it was released.
Psychological Strategy Board - Industry, What Industry?: this one is deep and intense. If you haven't read Glister, by John Burnside (great review here by Irvine Welsh), you should. This mixtape takes me into that headspace (sort of 'mixed in' to The Memory Chalet, by Tony Judt), an English headspace, where things are old and falling apart... (sorry England, but that's cool, you've been falling apart for hundreds of years). Thank you Pontone!
Moon Wiring Club - FACT 310: I'm still digesting this one. The density, the care, the audacity! To me this is the clearest demonstration of the artistic superiorities of mp3 as a medium.
Mark Van Hoen - Pontone Synth Mix: Hands down, the best introduction to 'synth' I could give anyone. I especially like the carefully curated focus on earlier stuff. This is obviously by someone who knows their shit, and has been at it for a while. Wisdom, I think that's called. Yes, this mixtape is nothing but wise choices. And, well, you'd be wise to get your ears around it.
AnD - No UFOs mix: Still digesting this one, too, but it's awesome. Goes well with the recent Sandwell Where to Next? farewell mix. One look at the tracklist and you'll understand why...
c) some albums stand alone
Finally, one album - my undisputed favourite of the year on all counts, aforementioned others notwithstanding. Julia Holter’s Tragedy. There are some dodgy vinyl rips kicking around. Don't stick with them. Get FLAC at least, it’s worth it. 'Cos this is the most original, involving, challenging and rewarding album from 2011, without a doubt, one that could never have been a pair collaboration. This is one woman's musical vision, and, wow, she nailed it.