Monday, April 30, 2012

Next Sound Garden events

There has been a bit of a break between Sound Gardens, but we will back at Orbit for our next party on Sunday 3 June 2012. We are very pleased to welcome as our guest Hiyoshi, one of Japan's best ambient DJs. He is one of the residents at The Labyrinth and graces the festival each year with his beautiful ambient sounds. We are very glad he'll be joining us, as his attitude and music is perfect for Sound Garden. Please make sure to come down! Details are:

Sound Garden - June party

Sunday 3 June 2012
16:00 - 23:00
Bar Orbit, Sangenjaya

Guest: Hiyoshi
Residents: David Dicembre / Jelomu / Chris

A few weeks later, we are very happy to be putting on a Sound Garden chill out room at the next Frue party. It is on Saturday 23 June at WWW. In the main room Demdike Stare will be making their Japan debut and Terre Thaemlitz will be DJ'ing. In the lounge we'll be doing our thing with myself, Dave the silent ssg, David Dicembre and Jelomu, as well as guest OSG (who will be playing while we are all watching Demdike Stare!). We are looking forward to this. The first Frue party was great and WWW has an excellent sound system, so all signs point towards this being another fun night... Details are: 

Frue - A Midsummer Night's Dream

Saturday 23 June 2012
WWW, Shibuya

Main: Demdike Stare (live), Terre Thaemlitz and more
Lounge: Sound Garden chill out

After that, our next Sound Garden chill out party at Orbit is planned for Sunday 22 July. So please put these dates in your diary. We are continuing our mission to bring chill out back to Tokyo!

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Ancient Methods promo CD at Disk Union

After a bit of a break, we are very happy to announce another promo CD with Disk Union Tokyo, just in time for Golden Week. This time it is the brilliant 'Some Strings Attached' mix from Ancient Methods. For the promo CD version, it is presented in lossless and the mix has been mastered by Neel. It really sounds incredible. Even more punchy and powerful than before! We also have some special artwork for the mix, which our friend Patrick kindly did. So from today spend 5000 yen or more on techno or house music at Disk Union and get yourself a copy of the CD. All the details are here. And the good news for other ssgs is that next month we'll be giving some copies to Hardwax to distribute, so keep an eye out! Big thanks to Ancient Methods, Neel, Patrick, Hardwax and Disk Union for making this happen.

コアなミュージック・フリークから絶大な支持を集めるDJ MIX配信ブログ"MNML SSGS"とDISK UNION、HARD WAXによるスペシャル・コラボレーションが実現!

4/28(土) 0時以降のご注文から、税込5,000円以上お買い上げでANCIENT METHODSのMIX-CD(NOT CD-R!)1枚をプレゼント!  今回のためにNEEL(VOICES FROM THE LAKE)がマスタリングを施してくれたスペシャルな1枚です!  また、今回はなんと世界中のアンダーグラウンドなアーティスト/DJが敬意を表して止まないベルリンのレコードショップHARD WAXでも本作を配布予定! 

※MIX CDの内容は「Ssg Special - Ancient Methods 'Some Strings Attached'」と同一のものです。

+ 特典は無くなり次第、キャンペーン終了とさせていただきます。予めご了承くださいませ。

+ 対象商品 : 新品または中古品のTECHNO, HOUSEのCD・レコード等音楽ソフト(イベントチケットは対象外)。
+ 交換方法 : 期間中に対象商品を一回のお買い上げ5,000円(税込)で1枚プレゼント。

+ 開催店舗 :
CLUB MUSIC ONLINE(通販) 渋谷クラブミュージックショップ 新宿クラブミュージックショップ 下北沢クラブミュージックショップ 柏クラブミュージックショップ  吉祥寺店  町田店  千葉店 北浦和店 池袋店

Friday, April 27, 2012

Superb + Solid: The Most Vibrant House in Australia

It happens every day; someone sent me a link. I tabbed it, kept emailing, did a bit of immaterial labour, read a couple of Terre's latest articles, on bullying and contemporary Russia, both raw and honest and a little frightening. Then I read the article which provoked what you're reading: Deeper Shades of Melbourne. Apparently, Melbourne has one of the world's most vibrant house scenes.

I was incredulous, and straight away I felt ranty. I mean, this is so at odds with my impression and my empirical experience. 'Not so fast,' I told myself, 'when was the last time you went out? You are in no position to evaluate. For all you know, it *is* the most vibrant house scene in the world. In the past six months you have been out more in Tokyo and Berlin than you have in Melbourne.' (NB: in my self talk I am prone to exaggeration. I have been out quite a few times in Melbourne in the past few months. But I had a well as a niggling feeling I wasn't the only Melbournian who shared those kinds of party patterns).

So I did what you probably do when you feel this way. I sent an email to a friend, wondering what they thought of the article. Above the link, I wrote: 'we have one of the best house scenes in the world, apparently.' I wrote it to him because if there was a way to the underground, he would know how to get there (of course it's in a fucking laneway), be exchanging rollies and nicknames and high fives with the door bitch and bouncers and so forth. If there was something to be inside, he would be an insider.  If there was a dwelling called house in Melbourne, he would be among its proud occupants. This was his response.

'So I keep on reading. I do not think that is one of those things you should read about your city to find out…'

I'm not posting this to call anyone a liar or suggest that their evaluation is wrong or whatever. Nor do I want to have a dig at any of the artists featured in Deeper Shades. But the article really, really bothered me; I want to tell you why.

At this point it behoves me to disclose my point of view I suppose. My read - for what it's worth - is that Sydney has a much better scene going now, whether for house or techno. It's not big, but it's pretty good, and it is so because of the week-to-week scene, and careful choice of venues, and promoters that book parties that are respectful of the internationals who travel so far to play here. This obviously can't be a total characterisation of 'the scene'. But it's what I know. Back to Melbourne, home of a world class indie scene and a good, if overpriced, restaurant scene (both quite wanky, it must be said). TISM nailed the Australian dichotomy(and if you care to learn about great Australian electronic music, click): it's not hipsters and bogans, it's yobs and wankers. Class is real, but it's more about behaviour... but I digress...

From what the piece indicated, there are, finally, a new generation of people in Melbourne who aren't still thinking back to the docks and 140bpmx3decks bangin' fully sikk loop techno; reifying a mythologised Detroit; or just homosocial lunchbox legends doing second-rate stuff on gear they don't seem to get much out of – ie, producing anything but distorted projections of their own greatness. On this point: HMC aside, name me one great Australian techno producer. Your mates don't count. So look, I'm really glad to see evidence of emerging producers here, and that they've been given RA as a platform (though as always I am very wary of promo, content, and boosting). And the parties have been getting better, here and there, as a minority have become rightly disgusted with jetlagged internationals playing half-arsed sets on second-rate systems and profiteering shyster promoters (where it is 100% a business and all about the money), and total balls ups where people did not get paid (where it is a bunch of fucking amateurs who could use a few lessons in business from the businessmen). Cocaine might be a suits drug and a destroyer of talent; but it's universally true that you don't let the sound guy drop acid before he's set up the decks.

The 'world's most vibrant' claim stuck in my craw, given the RA context and its power to frame. I mean, Howard Arkley (above) his shit was vibrant.  Mardi Gras in Sydney, even after it became all about shopping and feather boas, it is still vibrant. Rainbow lorrikeets, they are fucking vibrant, and raucous, and have horrible dinosauric tongues and talons and creepy flat red eyes... RA have mostly given up on one of its editor's dreams of journalism proper (whether because of the will or the resources), but even though FACT have caught them off garde in the podcast department, they still do strongly contribute to the framing of things, for better and for worse.  World's most vibrant? It made me feel doubly alienated. Alienation the first: to find this out by being sent it as a link. That was weird. I do not think that is one of those things you should read about your city to find out. …Alienation the second: I kept asking people who might be insiders (if, as mentioned, there was/is a structure, even a humpy, to be inside, to shelter from all that cool, all that cold). The response that kept on coming back was this: ?!

I have this tragicomic image of confused Mutek-y Canadians from Montreal getting off the plane and trying to find this underground. Maybe the underground is so underground that no one can find it - this is, surely, the most underground thing imaginable, and so appealing to our instincts as consumers, moreso even than that rumoured shop in Tokyo (I couldn't find it) with the random opening times, where they reserve the right not to sell you the item you desire arbitrarily. 'Sorry boys, private function'.

The problem is not that there is/not this amazing house underground in Melbourne - like I said, there might be, for all I know, although I confess it seems strongly counterintuitive. And from what I've heard, some of the artists mentioned show strong promise: they're talented, they're doing shit. What's the problem?

The problem is first of all that it appears to be a fiction (or may actually directly, nakedly be a fiction, or an illusion, or an error, or just plain false), a fiction that comes to be believed as a fact, because the primary context for electronic music is now the internet. Ssgs should know the interpretation I've been developing over the past few years here: house/techno is actually made up of networked laptops running a few key pieces of software, capital, civil aviation, promo and content. What I mean by this is that if you remove one of these elements, the assemblage changes, or (if you pull the structurally integral one) falls apart, Jenga-like. What does a scene *mean* here, in this context? Is it a structure I could shelter under? Would I want in, if 'in' was possible? Would I download it, if I could? Would I pirate it in 128kbps just to see what it sounded like? In what sense does it actually ever 'take place'?

What follows is deliberately cynical: nightclubs and festivals (especially festivals, these days) are just secondary places where people talk about that assemblage, and/or where DJs have to appear in order for all the money to change hands. The difference between us and the midwest ravers in that amazing/terrifying Hipster Runoff piece is a difference in degree, not in kind. Sneer at them, and you are sneering at yourself. Skrillex is what now is. So what if you think you have better taste, that doesn't matter. In fact, we've been labouring under the woeful misapprehension that our estimation of having superior taste 'saves us' from anything. It does not. Release, promotion, content, consumption, appearance. Appearance is just fee collection, recognition receipt, the final post-consumptive act. You get your tissue, the DJ gets his Euro. Bye. The internet is where the names are born, exchanged and forgotten, where the Truth begins, where the patterns are released, as content, to be pirated and forgotten.

What I've described in this paragaph: a scene proper, it should shelter us against all this, all this cynicism, this commodification, this disposability. Does it?

If it exists, if its vibrancy, its quality is what the article asserts….  why does the dudes/fans ratio seem so out of whack? Obviously, this is not science, just my impression… Quantitatively: can three (or several) dudes be a scene or an underground? In a way, if they can be an underground, build a scene, and make and maintain something world class, that's really cool. Kompakt did that in Cologne, Dial did that in Hamburg, UR did that in Detroit. Shit, Lawrence English puts and holds together world class shit in BRISBANE. So on that level, there is no excuse: if Australians put out mediocre stuff, it's because they are mediocre. That is all.  I honestly hope that, if it doesn't actually have it, that the passions of interested people living in Melbourne do build a world class vibrant-as-a-lorrikeet house scene. My fear is that now people will go along to a fairly decent party, and either fail to believe this world-beating, world-fluffing claim or, what is worse, believe it. But whether worldmaker, worldbreaker, or recordfaker, back on the internet, the true danger is still within the Jenga, within the structure, within content and promo and how it appears - so mercilessly, so relentlessly - online: this week's unsupporting claim is already last week's content. And what today's content is suggesting is that in the long run content neither shelters, nor interests, anyone that much.

I would love there to be a world-class house scene in Melbourne.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

ssg special: "We Confess - 1977-1984" - compiled by The Black Dog & Regis

One of our most loved ssg mixes has been "High-Rise Living 78-86", compiled by The Black Dog & Regis. It was tantalizingly subtitled as "part 1", with the implication being that there would be a second act. We have often been asked would we ever see part 2. Well, here is your answer... Massive thanks to The Black Dog & Regis for delivering another beauty.

"We Confess - 1977-1984" - compiled By The Black Dog & Regis

"There was nothing for us…So we did it ourselves" -  Richard H Kirk

Virgin Prunes - Sweethome Under White Clouds - 1982
Associates - White Car In Germany - 1981
Human League - Marianne - 1980
Alex Fergusson ( featuring Daniel Miller )  - Stay With Me Tonight - 1980
Dave Ball - Sincerity - 1983
Crawling Chaos - Sex Machine - 1980
Ultravox - Hiroshima Mon Amour - 1977
Thoma Leer - Private Plane - 1978
The Wolfgang Press - Prostitute - 1983
Dorothy -  I Confess - 1980
Fad Gadget - Coitus Interruptus - 1981
B Movie - Remembrance Day - 1981
Vision - Lucifer's Friend - 1982
The Chameleons - Don't Fall - 1983
Felt - My Face Is On Fire - 1982
UK Decay - Disco Romance - 1980
Sex Gang Children - Into The Abyss - 1982
1919 - The Scream - 1983
Play Dead - Walk Away - 1984
Josef K - Sorry For Laughing - 1981
Test Dept. -  Pulsations 2 -1983
Crispy Ambulance - Drug User Drug Pusher - 1983
Honey Bane - Boring Conversations - 1979
Adam and The Ants - The Day I Met God - 1979
Rudimentary Peni - Dead - 1981
Zounds - Demystification - 1981
Poison Girls - Persons Unknown - 1980
David J & Rene Halkett - Nothing - 1981

More info: The Black Dog / Downwards

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

No one sees the barn

Several days later Murray asked me about a tourist attraction known as the most photographed barn in America.  We drove 22 miles into the country around Farmington.  There were meadows and apple orchards.  White fences trailed through the rolling fields.  Soon the sign started appearing.  THE MOST PHOTOGRAPHED BARN IN AMERICA.  We counted five signs before we reached the site.  There were 40 cars and a tour bus in the makeshift lot.  We walked along a cowpath to the slightly elevated spot set aside for viewing and photographing.  All the people had cameras; some had tripods, telephoto lenses, filter kits.  A man in a booth sold postcards and slides -- pictures of the barn taken from the elevated spot.  We stood near a grove of trees and watched the photographers.  Murray maintained a prolonged silence, occasionally scrawling some notes in a little book.

"No one sees the barn," he said finally.

A long silence followed.

"Once you've seen the signs about the barn, it becomes impossible to see the barn."

He fell silent once more.  People with cameras left the elevated site, replaced by others.

We're not here to capture an image, we're here to maintain one. Every photograph reinforces the aura.  Can you feel it, Jack? An accumulation of nameless energies."

There was an extended silence.  The man in the booth sold postcards and slides.

"Being here is a kind of spiritual surrender.  We see only what the others see.  The thousands who were here in the past, those who will come in the future.  We've agreed to be part of a collective perception.  It literally colors our vision.  A religious experience in a way, like all tourism."

Another silence ensued.

"They are taking pictures of taking pictures," he said.

He did not speak for a while.  We listened to the incessant clicking of shutter release buttons, the rustling crank of levers that advanced the film.

"What was the barn like before it was photographed?" he said.  "What did it look like, how was it different from the other barns, how was it similar to other barns?"

- Don Dellilo, White Noise, 1984


Sunday, April 22, 2012

Sunday Sounds - synthesis mix

A new mix that I recently put together, meant for studying and thinking. It kind of brings together a lot of the synth music that I have been listening to and enjoying, hence there being a very healthy dose of Pulse Emitter... The mix is nothing too mindblowing, but it is not supposed to be. One for late at nights or walking around the streets at night. I will add the tracklist later on, for now just enjoy.

chris - synthesis mix

*tracklist added*

Panabrite - "Focus"
Pulse Emitter - "Spaceship"
Popol Vuh - "Aguirre"
Pulse Emitter - "White"
Suzanne Ciani - "Lixiviation"
Panabrite - "Equinox"
Charlatan - "Lime Beauty"
J.D. Emmanuel - "Grandioso"
Symmetry - "The Maze"
Cliff Martinez - "Rubber Head"
Symmetry - "Winner Takes All"
Pulse Emitter - "Jupiter"


Friday, April 20, 2012

ssg special - SCB B2B John Osborn @ Panorama Bar

Having a recording each year of John Osborn doing his thing at a sub:stance party at Panorama bar has become a bit of a tradition here (2010 and 2011). And we are very happy to continue this in 2012, only this year it is a bit different, as it is a recording of John playing back to back with Paul Rose under his SCB guise. The SCB ssg mix we posted back in 2009 has been one of the most popular mixes we have hosted, and it proved to be an important early outing for Scuba under his SCB alias. So we are very happy to welcome back together two former contributors. Anyway, if you read this blog, chances are you know about Scuba and about John Osborn, so I don't think any further introductions are necessary. Just get ready for a fun, jacking party mix from two DJs at the top of their game.

This is what John had to say about it:

"Before the gig I was apprehensive about a B2B set with SCB at Panorama Bar for two reasons: one being that Paul Rose is a DJ of such high caliber, and second that I am quite a selfish DJ in the sense that I generally have my own plan and I like to lay that plan out and adjust it as I see fit. So I wasn't sure how this was going to work out at all, especially that it was at Panorama Bar! These apprehensions were laid to rest as it very quickly became clear that this B2B set was a very fluid process of reading each others track choices providing plenty of 'I'll set 'em up and you knock 'em down' moments. I think Paul later tweeted something like 'nothing like Panorama Bar & Berghain when it is on the point' - that pretty much sums up the set."

SCB B2B John Osborn @ Panorama Bar, 2012

Unsurprisingly the boys are keeping themselves very busy. John's TANSTAAFL RECS has its second release out shortly, care of October. Meanwhile the TANSTAAFL NIGHTS is moving to Tresor Globus, with the first party on 23 June featuring a lineup made up completely of artists who have done ssg mixes: Kassem Mosse, October, Eric Cloutier and John. Obviously we approve... As for Scuba, he has recently released his album "Personality" and is continuing his quest for world domination and endless air miles.

Much thanks to John and Paul for letting us share this recording. Enjoy!

March / April charts

I put together a chart last month, and somehow it never got posted. Anyway, here is a slightly revised version.

Pulse Emitter - "Aeons" [Aguirre]

Peaking Lights – "936 Remixed" [100% Silk]

Symmetry - "Themes For An Imaginary Film" [Italians Do It Better]

Frak - "Triffid Gossip" [Kontra-Musik White Label]

Conrad Schnitzler - "Endtime" [m=minimal]

Wolfgang Voigt - "Rückverzauberung 6" [Magazine]

Tomoroh Hidari - "Some Stars Not Yet Black Holes"[RecordLabelRecords]

Ukkonen - "The Isolated Rhythms of Ukkonen" [Uncharted Audio]

Christian Cosmos - "Enthronement By God As The First-Born Of The Dead" [Hospital Productions]

Somaticae - "Lack Of Serotonin" [In Paradisum]

I picked up the new Sand Circles on NNF the other day, and that is sounding very cool, as does the Design release on 100% Silk. I need to give them more listens, though.

Also my wife invested in the new John Bender boxset on Vinyl-On-Demand and from what I have heard it is thoroughly excellent. Expensive, but money well spent (not by me). If you are thinking about getting any stuff from Vinyl-On-Demand, I would really encourage you to buy direct from the label. Fantastic service and super nice to deal with.

More soon.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

ssg special - Ukkonen

Ukkonen’s sound world is one that is both utterly local and locatable and unplaceable and enigmatic. On the one hand, what’s clearly audible is a synthesis, a techno axis, drawn high above the earth as an abstract line made of beats, melodies and harmonics between Detroit, Hamburg, and Turku. What it takes from all these three intertwined archives is emphatically *techno*. More, it’s techno made by an exceptionally good and careful listener. But Ukkonen also understands the right time and place for reverence. As well as close attention to and respect for the archives the music draws from, Ukkonen has also taken things in a thoroughly particular, definitely irregular, and ­even peculiar direction. In this sense it’s thoroughly a Finnish thing: what is normal, regular, or conventional about the music of Mika Vainio or Sasu Ripatti? But musical nationalism has its limits, and more than anything, I humbly submit that what Ukkonen has given us here is something incomparable. But I would also say that, as different as this is to Bee Mask, Panabrite or Pulse Emitter, when I keep trying to explain what I find commonly exciting here is the sense of space, a space that’s hard to place. Like theirs, Ukkonen’s is a kind of New Space Music. I don’t want to prejudice your ears by saying much more than that. Ssgs is very proud to be able to present this unique, exceptional set, which I strongly recommend that you listen to closely on headphones, or at high volume on a good stereo, or walking through Shibuya in a jetlagged daze, as I did a few days ago. In any case, a listening situation where you have the combination of attention and drift that can move with the unique flow of of the music here. Seriously, I feel like if ssgs had a coherent mission to present 'it', (probably we’ve had several semi-coherent ones over the years), then, well, we might have achieved it in this instance. What you have here is a bright, strange future of techno – who knows where it will form, and what it’s capable of becoming?

In Ukkonen's own words: "there is no real tracklist for this recording, as I was jamming most of it… The other mixes I've done have been concept ones, so for this I just kept it totally abstract, it's just about the sounds and rhythms and no messing about with anything else! It was done on my live setup which is mainly an obscene number of samples loaded onto a Roland SP-404SX and some kids' toy keyboards (which is where most of my pad sounds come from) - although for this special occasion I added one or two secret weapons..."

If you love Ukkonen's music, you should really catch up with the EPs, which I've talked about previously on the radio these past few months, and which are available from Rednetic and Uncharted Audio. The big upcoming news is the album, The Isolated Rhythms of Ukkonen, now due out in May. It's wonderful. Keep an eye on for the final release date and details on buying the vinyl.

Okay, now to the wonderful mix...

ssg special - Ukkonen

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Why EDM matters

Before reading this post, please go and read "The Trancecracker" cartoon, from which the above picture is taken. Not only did it popularise the brilliant term "trancecracker", it also is seriously funny and contains a bit of truth that is relevant for what is being discussed here.

The whole "Electronic Dance Music" (EDM) phenomenon crept up on me. Perhaps Japan has been a bit more insulated from it here, I am not sure. But it is only just recently that I have come to learn about who Skrillex is, exactly how big a chump that David Guetta is (how do you become such a famous DJ without even having basic DJ skills?), who the #asianjesus hashtag refers to, and what "molly" is. And the more I have learned about the EDM, the more I am simultaneously shocked and amazed. It is kind of like seeing a guy suck his own cock - you can't help but be impressed at what he has achieved, while still finding it super nasty. If you haven't heard it, I really encourage you to listen to Skrillex's "Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites", which at the time of posting has been listened to on youtube more than 77 million times and is kind of like the musical equivalent of a guy sucking himself off:

I think for most of us something like this instinctively offends us, and our immediate reaction is just to say "this is fucking shit" and go back to ignoring EDM. But I am coming to the opinion that we may have to seriously engage with EDM, for better and worse. Whether we like it or not, it is people like Skrillex and Deadmau5 that have become the flag bearers of electronic music in popular culture today. And I think the potentially negative ramifications of this are far greater than simply a lot of people listening to shitty music after having had too many shitty energy drinks.

Perhaps the most obvious problem is the way EDM has taken, and essentially re-appropriated, fundamental aspects of dance / rave culture. One example is the way '90s rave culture - the glowsticks, the fluro, the lollypops and so on - have all been resurrected in a way that looks like it is a joke but actually seems to be genuine. While they have taken the trappings of the rave era, certainly many of the worthwhile ideals and ethos are missing. I always found the whole PLUR and TAZ stuff pretty bullshit, but in certain contexts there was - and still can be - a kind of powerful communal feeling that can be shared. What I find interesting, and troubling, is how deeply individualistic these EDM events seem to be, perhaps best symbolised in the figure of the DJ placed high above everybody else. In a strange way it seems that EDM simultaneously raises the position of the DJ to some kind of superstar god, while at the same stage completely devaluing and removing the art of DJ'ing. When you check these guys on youtube it is amazing that most of them can barely even mix - at best it is a crossfade, at worst a proper trainwreck, or some choose the Peter Hook route of letting the CD do the mixing for them. For one example, look at the video above of David Guetta in action. That is truly amazing. Try not to think about how much he is being paid to suck that bad. For another example, check this horrible track by Steve Aoki and Laidback Luke (this one has been viewed only 15 million times). If you can get over (a) how bad the music is, (b) what complete douches they are, and (c) how cheap their tacky dress up costumes are, try to focus on the way the CDJs and mixer have essentially become little more than props. They aren't even plugged in for most of the clip! On a side note, I find it interesting that most of these artists use CDJs - is it perhaps because the computer doesn't look as cool?

The larger point is that these people are presenting a very different image of what a DJ is, and should be. To take another example - in the video below, shot at the recent Ultra Music festival, Steve Aoki throws cakes at people in the crowd during his performance. I mean, what the fuck? I honestly have no idea why the fuck this dude is throwing cakes at people in the crowd while he is supposed to be playing, and understand even less why the people in the crowd seem to think it is a great idea. And with EDM moving into the mainstream this is the image of the DJ that is being transferred and promoted in the public realm, which is something I find rather disturbing and problematic.

But even if these complaints are valid, so what? We are living in a post-modern world and the way EDM reappropriates elements of 'traditional' electronic music fits within that. Complaining that "this is not what a DJ is" or "that is not how a DJ should act" might simply be a bit anachronistic. Cultural artifacts being taken, changed and used or interpreted in a new or different way is something that is constantly occurring, this just happens to be a case that rubs me - and presumably many of you - the wrong way. Where I do think there is potentially a serious problem, however, is some of the consequences that may come from mainstream culture and society taking EDM - a horribly superficial and banal phenomenon - to be representative of what electronic music is. While most of us prefer the "underground" locale of our music, it does create problems and it does make the scene vulnerable.

One issue that we don't discuss enough is space. One of the great threats to our music is the space that we need disappearing. Gentrification is the hidden killer of techno music. The spaces where we can listen, dance and enjoy music are slowly being eaten away. Clubs are disappearing as more and more apartment blocks and shops appear everywhere. More noise complaints, stricter licensing laws, property developers - these are things that will be taking away our places to dance and share the music we love. So what exactly does this have to do with EDM? I want to suggest there are two main ways that EDM can negatively impact upon this dynamic. The first is the point I suggested above - that EDM is becoming taken to be representative of what electronic music is, which I think most of us would agree is a deeply misleading situation, one that further increases misunderstanding and miscomprehension over what electronic music is and how it operates. If people think that electronic music equals Steve Aoki, it is hard to mount a convincing argument for why it is something that should be respected, funded, supported and granted social space for. The second aspect is that from what I can tell is that these EDM events - like this god awful Ultra music festival the clips are from - are presented primarily in the form of festivals. These are big events, the club is removed from the equation. Instead these EDM acts are in the form of spectacles - huge stages, enormous lighting rigs, massive video screens, even fireworks. If mainstream society comes to understand electronic music as taking place in this format, there is the danger that there might be even less patience and space for clubs. Meanwhile these festivals will lack security and continuity - each year they have to apply for all the necessary licenses and permits. Look at the history of the Detroit Electronic Music Festival for an example of this. And these large festivals are parasitic - they do not build or maintain scenes, they are not there every week providing space and opportunities for locals and up and coming artists. Either you've made it or you are in the audience. Not much space in between for these mega-events. Perhaps I am wrong, but I am concerned that if mainstream society does come to understand electronic music has taking place largely in the format of festivals, it could have seriously damaging consequences. This problem of gentrification is one that we will be increasingly having to deal with. It is worth thinking about it now, before the spaces disappear.

Maybe this is all just a case of me being overly precious. I must admit that I do hate the idea of somebody thinking that what I am listening and going to is this. But beyond this, I have a serious concern with EDM coming to represent a much greater, deeper and more significant cultural phenomenon, something with far greater value and depth than this garbage. And if EDM does come to represent and speak for other forms of electronic music, not only is it all a big embarrassing for us, it makes it even harder to make the very valid argument that there are serious, valuable forms of electronic music that deserve to be supported and given space in our societies.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

ssg special - Frak

Frak are not exactly newcomers. They've been making music for 25+ years, it just seems that many of us have not been aware of it. And shame on us! Based on their 2012 output it is pretty clear Frak have lots of talent and are doing some very interesting things. It has taken the "Muzika Electronic" LP on Digitalis, and now the "Triffid Gossip" EP on Kontra Musik's new sub-label for us to wake up to Frak. Their music on these two records stands in stark contrast to much of the same conformity that dominates contemporary techno. 'Triffid Gossip" is wild, raw and overflowing with personality. It does not sound like it was made for Ben Klock to play at Berghain, and thank fuck for that. To get a better feel for what Frak are like, check this video of them playing at Inkonst, which is from the same performance as this recording is taken from:

We love this video. This is techno! It also got me thinking: Dopplereffekt and Frak both wear lab coats. And they both make awesome music. That might not be a coincidence. So my initial conclusion is that techno needs more people with lab coats. If you need further convincing, check out this ssg special, which is a recording of Frak's set at the "Triffid Gossip" release party a few weeks ago. We want more techno like this please.

ssg special - Frak

The "Triffid Gossip" EP on Kontra has been disappearing quickly, so I would suggest getting a copy while you can. If you want to check out more Frak, the best place to look is their label and online store, Börft Records. Their sub-label UFO Mongo has started a new series called 'Sythesator', which has some amazing music. For anyone in Malmö, on 18 May there will be a Börft Records 25 years celebration at Inkonst. And for the rest of us, I have a feeling it is time for us to all doing a lot of digging around Frak and Börft. Thanks to Frak and Ulf for the recording. Enjoy!

EOD tracklist

Here's the tracklist for EOD's ssg special. The mix is a great introduction to his music, and also gives you a good indication of what you can expect in the future under the EOD and CN aliases.

ssg special - EOD

01 EOD - Retcho (upcoming, TBA)
02 Point A (upcoming, TBA)
03 Travellax (upcoming, TBA)
04 Basin (upcoming, TBA)
05 EOD - Matter (upcoming, TBA)
06 CN - Adyton (Ra, WeMe313.8, OUT SOON!)
07 EOD - Planet Buster (upcoming, TBA)
08 EOD - The Fishmen Arrive (upcoming, TBA)
09 CN - Beyond the Corridors (The Derelict, WR, OUT ... SOMETIME!)
10 I See 3 (upcoming, TBA)
11 CN - Numeron (!!!???)
12 EOD - The Fishmen Depart (upcoming, TBA)
13 EOD - Cannibal Acid 3 (upcoming, TBA)
14 EOD - Branch (upcoming, TBA)

Thanks again to EOD for the mix. We'll be back tomorrow with another ssg special...

Sunday, April 8, 2012

MNML SSGS at Dommune on Tuesday!

After a very fun and successful session at Dommune last Tuesday, we are back again! Last week it was two established artists, this week we have two up and coming talents... First up with be a live from Japanese artist Sapphire Slows. She has just returned from her maiden American tour, where she played at a Not Not Fun / 100% Silk showcase in Los Angeles, as well as in San Francisco and in Austin during SXSW. This was actually be her first time playing live in Japan, so we are looking forward to hearing her. She will also be playing on 30 April at the Foundland party with Grouper and En. Following Sapphire will be Neel, who will be playing the rest of the night. Neel has been getting some well deserved attention recently for the Voices from the Lake album he made with Donato Dozzy. He is also a quality DJ, as many readers of this blog will know, and on Tuesday night he will be showcasing his skills over 2.5 hours. In addition, PC happens to be in Tokyo just for this night, so this will be the first occasion both of us will actually be at a MNML SSGS event. About time! Very excited for this...

* Register here to attend *

MNML SSGS night at Dommune
21:00 - 21:30 Sapphire Slows (live)
21:30 - 24:00 Neel (DJ)

Tuesday 10 April 2012
21:00 - 24:00 (Japan time)

Tune in at Dommune or ustream

For people in other timezones, according to my calculations, you should tune in at these times (anywhere else, I suggest using this timezone converter):

Melbourne 22:00 - 01:00
Moscow 16:00 - 19:00
Berlin 14:00 - 17:00
London 13:00 - 16:00
New York 08:00 - 11:00

Come down to Dommune or tune in online. Big thanks to Yuko, Atsushi, Sapphire, Neel, Yuri and Ukawa-san for making this happen.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Thursday, April 5, 2012

ssg special - EOD

Finally we are back with a new ssg mix. Sorry, we have been busy... Our latest mix is from EOD. We first discovered him with his "Utrecht" 12" in 2010, which coincidentally has just been repressed. If you missed a copy the first time, I strongly recommend grabbing one now. It is one of my favourite records from the last few years. For me it was very reminiscent of Aphex Twin, without it ever feeling like he was trying to copy RDJ. There is an obvious debt, but EOD is doing his own thing. As I have discovered more of EOD's work, and his other alias CN, I have found his sound to lie somewhere in between on the one hand, Aphex and the Rephlex crew, and on the other, the Dutch electro sound of Legowelt, Bunker and Creme. What EOD shares with all of these artists and labels is a very classical analog sound, and a general "fuck it" attitude. And this is definitely on display in the mix that he has put together, which is made up all of his own productions. It is a bit chaotic and messy at points, but the mix has a real charm to it. Some proper electro and braindance music...

ssg special - EOD

For more on EOD, check his website and follow him on twitter and on facebook. He has EPs upcoming on Wil-Ru Records and WeMe (which recently released a killer collab EP from DJ Stingray and Heinrich Mueller). There is also lots of music available to purchase through his bandcamp. And appropriately, he will be playing as part of the Rephlex 21st birthday lineup at Bangface Weekender in September. So plenty on the way... Big thanks to EOD for sharing his music with us. Enjoy this 45 minutes trip into the world of EOD.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Neel in Tokyo!

Thanks to everyone who came down to Dommune or tuned in online. It was another great night. I was seriously impressed with DJ Nobu and Luke Slater played a great set that had Dommune rocking. Special thanks to Luke, Nobu, Heidy, Ukawa, and Yuri for making it happen. We will back at Dommune soon!

Just a quick post to say that our good friend Neel is in Tokyo this weekend. He is playing with Iori and Claudio PRC at Eleven this Saturday 7 April. Neel has been getting some attention recently for being one half of Voices from the Lake, along with Dozzy. No, this is not a press shot for Voices, but when I googled 'Voices from the Lake' this picture came up, so I am running with it. I am sure these guys would love the album too... Anyway, Voices is a properly collaborative project, so it is great to see Neel getting credit for his role. While he hasn't released much to date, he is a very talented producer and DJ and I think he has a very bright future. He has an incredibly good ear and understanding of sound. This is one distinctive element on the Voices from the Lake album - the production is excellent, it is a very subtle and well balanced piece of work. On a side note, some people have asked why we haven't been talking much here about Voices from the Lake. The main reason is that you are not going to get anything like an objective review from us. I wrote the final version of the promo sheet for the album, and I also did the liner notes for the Japanese version. So I am completely biased about it! Saying that, we do really love the album, so get yourself a copy if you haven't already.

And time permitting, we should finally be able to post a new ssg mix tonight or tomorrow. Sorry, been very busy with work and organising parties... We are sitting on two really fun mixes we want to share with you all!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Luke Slater and DJ Nobu at Dommune

MNML SSGS are back at Dommune this Tuesday for another session and our special guest is techno legend Luke Slater! This is an event I am super excited for, especially as Slater is someone who was a very formative influence on my tastes. One of the first techno tracks that I was really hooked on was Slater's mighty remix of Joey Beltram's "Forklift". This, along with "Class Action", were two tracks that got played out very regularly in Melbourne. Luke Slater was one of the biggest influences on the Melbourne scene in the late '90s. For most of us growing up at that time Luke Slater was one of the key guys. And he still is... The first time I saw him DJ was '98 or '99, and it is amazing that even after all these years, he is still at the top of his game. So it is a real pleasure and honour to be doing a Dommune night with him.

After doing a Planetary Assault Systems livepa at Ageha last Saturday night, at Dommune on Tuesday he will be doing a DJ set under his L.B. Dub Corp guise. This is an alias that Slater has been slowly cultivating over the last couple of years with a number of releases, mainly on his own Mote Evolver label. Most people would probably know L.B. Dub Corp because of the killer 12" on Ostgut, "Take it Down (In Dub)", one of the better records from the last few years. I am very interested to hear how these sound translate into a DJ set. Joining Slater will be DJ Nobu, who I think is probably Japan's best techno DJ right now. He has a deep record bag and is a versatile DJ. Nobu will be a great accompaniment for Slater. This will be a very proper 3 hours of music...

* Register here to attend *

MNML SSGS night at Dommune
Luke Slater (L.B. Dub Corp set)
DJ Nobu

Tuesday 3 April 2012
21:00 - 24:00 (Japan time)

Tune in at Dommune or ustream

For people in other timezones, according to my calculations, you should tune in at these times (anywhere else, I suggest using this timezone converter):

Melbourne 22:00 - 01:00
Moscow 16:00 - 19:00
Berlin 14:00 - 17:00
London 13:00 - 16:00
New York 08:00 - 11:00

Come down to Dommune or tune in online. I have a feeling this is going to be a very awesome night! Special thanks to Luke, Heidy, the Clash crew and Ukawa-san for making this happen.