Kron

Happy new year everyone! Blessed be.

It's been some time since my last post... I've been out for some time, things happen, you know. For your back-to-work or -school coming down, this is a triple pack by Kron, an artist better known as Reinhard Voigt, brother of Wolfgang and another key figure in the development of the Cologne sound. I noticed they don't circulate much, so there.
Not much more to say, these are the two albums and a remix CD single. As usually, he manages to create full ambience out of a few repeated loops, maximizing the effect by sending everything into a shimmering abyss of reverb, still the feeling is rarely obviously dark (check his releases as Sturm for the more deepspace/darkforest sound). The interesting thing in the Kron records is that he often escapes the deep techno minimalism or the wall-of-sound ambiences that later defined the Pop Ambient idiom. He's exploring downtempo electronic breaks territory with an almost jazzy approach, a reference to the old(er)school class of Air Liquide, etc. But the sounds are of course detuned violin samples and the like and drum loops lock in rhythms out of a scholar's book or a madman's imagination, so it all goes a bit weird but never disquieting. Well, not never... But he's not called Sweet Reinhard for nothing.


Kron - 1998 Gold Und Liebe
Part 1 - Part 2
Info here.


Kron - 1998 Die Remixe
Here.
Info here.


Kron - 1999 Silikron
Here.
Info here. Track 6 is missing (scratched CD, sorry).

Hacker

A typical Rother release, the 'Hacker' album went out on Psi49Net. Even more brooding, mechanical and fat than previous records, signifies more or less the peak of his dark electrofunk mannerisms. 'Die Macht' was like a hit, almost, and in a strange way paved the way for the first moves of Datapunk or his later releases in Cocoon.
I think Rother pays a small homage to Clock DVA here, using the obvious track name as a title. And maybe I'm seeing too much there, but another thing he borrowed is the idea of a concept through every track in the album (a thing he did from day one in 'Sex With The Machines'), something which Clock DVA were not the first to do but surely did it good.

Antony Rother - 2002, Hacker
Part 1 - Part 2
Info here.

No Sign Of Bad

Actually I didn't knew these guys until last year, when I first heard at a record shop the 'Chapter One' 12'' (with a Trentemoeller remix) where a serious Roots voice (that of Jah Bobby) describes the history of a certain carribean island over a heavy techno dub bass, and the whole thing hit home. A must, the original. Later I came upon this album (somewhere at NoNaMe.ru, I think) and a Quango 12''.

And what's with these northern guys and dub? And why do they do it so well? Maybe it's just the weed is good and plenty, or that they live relaxed and good lives. Or it's just the crappy weather and the time they have to spent indoors (DJ T-1000 said that for Detroit and Finland, not me). Anyway. At least one of them has now moved to LA, I think, so the Dane character will soon fade, eh?

More or less it's a downtempo album, but don't mistake it for a 'chill out' one (even though a lot of said compilations include tracks of them). They combine the northern style in volume, crispiness and quality of production with the natural flow of the more roots oriented dub bands. They play instruments and use some good vocalists. Some times they sound almost reggae-ish, others they remind me of Rhythm & Sound and Pole (and that's a huge compliment). When they go for the beat they bring to mind other Danish guys like Trentemoeller or Martinez. And they can also go ragga. Quality.

This one went out in Panamericana (their label, obviously) but soon got re-released in Music For Dreams and later in Quango with different playlist (the dark dubs 'Darkness' and 'Ragga Foo' are replaced and the hidden track is missing). This is the Panam one, though the track order is a bit messed up (I noticed it only when I checked the Discogs page, sorry). It's a bit rare but at the same time the only one floating at times around the net. Here are also the tracks of Quango 12'', a massive bass mix by Def Jaguar (aka Djuma Soundsystem aka Ben Horn) and a more housey affair by Parov Stelar.

Djosos Krost - 2005, No Sign Of Bad
CD: Part 1 - Part 2
Info here.
Djosos Krost - 2006, No Sign Of Bad Remixes
12'': Here.
Info here.

And while we 're on the Northern Dub thing, for some mixes check this. Finn guy, not recently updated site but excellent dubs, electronics and disco. What more?

I don't really feel good to post something easy to find as this 12'' is, I just think that they are not as known as they should be and the Def Jaguar remix is really good. If you like it, buy the actual record (or keep striving towards the extinction of vinyl in a very few years).

U.M.O. 2

Unidentified Musical Objects is a collaboration project between Adel Dior, Cem Oral and Terrible. This one was released in Caipirinha, in the year of their lord 1997.

Adel Dior is an important member of the Berlin scene for a long long time, mostly known through his collaboration with Fabian Feyerabendt of TokTok fame as Autotune (now they've split). They released mostly in Low Spirit, Beroshima's Mueller Records and later Woody's Fumakilla, and they helped a lot Miss Allien in the beginning of BPitch (check here the credits of the first 30 or something releases).
Cem Oral aka Jammin Unit, member (with Ingmar Koch or Dr.Walker) of Air Liquide is a top electronic musician. It's hard to pinpoint him as an artist, as he has done more things than a hundred others more well known, and they're so different between them... The only common between all of them seems to be his obvious love for acid.
Terrible seems to be a friend and occasional collaborator of them. I didn't know him , so read it out of discogs.
Participating in this album is Cem's brother, Can (Khan) and long time collaborator Roger C. aka Kerosene and Zulutronic.

Expect to listen to some weird breaks, hip hop mentality and acidic lines and a lot of distorted sounds, some exquisite programming and organic mixing. Consider these guys to be the fathers of the style that was later further developed by Funkstoerung. Personal favorite is electro-infected 'Ox'.

U.M.O. - 1997, 2
Part 1 - Part 2
Info here.

Mixmasters Live

A blast from the past. Issued in 1993 on tape, re-printed 1996 on CD.
Paterson's mix is a typical Orb-ish construction, where everything that might be considered interesting to hear is thrown in a reverb and some more samples are put on top. Still it's just four tracks plus FX, interesting if you don't have it but nothing special really (btw, The Orb is one of my favorite groups since the beginning).
I posted this one is because of the Mixmaster Morris mix. Few people have claimed the title of mixmaster and deserved it, but Morris Gould does it rightly since the late '80s. In this mix, he's playing mostly stuff from the Fax label, blending multiple sources and probably using effect units. When you listen to it, remember it's still the early '90s, no mixers with FX built in or fancy cut buttons, no zooms and no laptops. It's only half an hour long, but I remember I used to put it on repeat and let it play for long. All ambient fans should check it. Regardless if you like MMMorris as a person or as an artist or not (though I haven't met him personally, I don't), he was one of the best Mixers. I hope he still has it, I haven't heard any mixes of his for some time now...
He released few albums in Rising High and Ninja Tune as The Irresistible Force, and he's involved in the Big Chill festival and label.

Alex Paterson & Mixmaster Morris - 1993, Mixmag Live Vol.9
Part 1 - Part 2
Info here.

99 Rooms



I found this in an old post on the blog of G1zmo.

Quiz #2 B

Same guy in a more typical pose. Is it easier to find him now?

Electrilogy +

Carl A. Finlow is also known as Random Factor, Silicon Scally and Voice Stealer. His collaborations with others have been mostly with Ralph Lawson, owner of 20:20Vision label, and/or Daz Quayle (of IL.EK.TRO fame).

His music is like a sweet kind of electro funk; sometimes retro, sometimes housey (obviously his other great love is Chicago). Sometimes he just goes for the dancefloor, sometimes for the headphones, sometimes bordering on cheesy '80s pop but never reaching there. My soft spot is some tracks and remixes he's done for Playhouse, like 'Broken Mirror' or the reprise on Blaze's 'Lovelee Dae' (oh gods...).
The one thing you could say about him for sure is that he's tireless. Lots and lots of tracks and remixes come from him under other names and they never fail the standards he has set really high. I hope he keeps it up like this.

This is one of his lesser known projects, a trilogy of 12"s out on Device (it's been some years since its last release, I think) with three extra tracks as a CD bonus. Pure electro forms mostly for listening, blended with some '80s pop elements and a touch of '90s electronica. Solid and good for personal moments.

Carl A. Finlow - 2003 Electrilogy +
Part 1 - Part 2
Info here.

Aer (Valid)

Uwe Zahn aka Arovane or Nedjev has been a personal favorite since the DIN days, when he was releasing early stuff with the likes of Dynamo/T++, Monolake and Pole.
Although a lot of people at the time classified him as an(other) Autechre imitator, his roots go way back, he's definitely more tranquil and anyway his mentality and the songs' feeling have more to do with the typical Berlin sound melancholy than with the british duo. After DIN he released mostly in City Centre Offices, one of a group of Berlin-based labels that combine IDM forms with pop aesthetics, like (almost sister label) Morr Music or the more experimental Lux Nigra. There he defined his style of dreamy electronics with attention to sonic details, yet without exaggerations.
He also released this one with Phonem, an Englishman I had noticed by his output in Morr Music, which I remember as a combination of broken dirty glitchy breakbeats and underwater-like strings. It went out in Vertical Form, an interesting UK label that focused on the more glitchy minimal experimental side of IDM.

Arovane_Phonem - 2001 Aer (Valid)
Info here.

Process

Caipirinha Productions is a NYC based company which published several short and two very interesting long play video documentaries, 'Synthetic Pleasures' and 'Modulations', the second being an honest and well delivered attempt to define modern/electronic music. Caipirinha Music has released stuff from a variety of artists, either top American sound explorers (and techno freaks) like Terre Thaemlitz, DJ Spooky, Si Begg, T.Dupree - S.Ysatis- T.Inoue (the Instinct posse), Dietrich Schoenemann and the mighty Khan, or first class German experimentalists (and techno freaks) like Adel Dior of Autotune, Cem Oral aka Jammin' Unit of Air Liquide, Kerosene, etc., etc. Of course lots of others have a track or two in the numerous compilations the label released, better known of which are 'Synthetic Pleasures' Vol.1 & Vol.2.

Although at the beginning the output was mostly experimental techno and weird ambient and breaks, later on Caipirinha turned almost exclusively towards d'n'b and extreme US-flavored IDM releases (Datach'i, Panacea, DJ Spooky), and at the same time released thematic compilations. This is a weird techno compilation from the early years, focusing on the process of creating a track. Contains experimental beats by the likes of Friedmann, Mika Vainio, Si Begg alongside some pure and hard techno bangers from Steve Stoll, Surgeon, Freddie Fresh and Subhead. It may be difficult for the average listener, but it was a request (the rest will follow), it's rare, and Khan's deep house track is smooth enough to lure anybody.

VA - 1997 Process
Part 1 - Part 2
Info here.

I had the films on VHS, now long gone (taken...). Does anybody know where I can find a DVD (euro PAL, that is) copy?

Soundtrack Saga

Peter Benisch aka FPU of a previous post, released in Turbo this magnificent ambient album in 2001.

Actually, whatever I wrote on Traxxdata applies here as well, it's just the musical form that's different. Instead of electro techno pop, Pete Benisch chooses to mute almost all beats and focus on long pads, shimmering reverbs and simple yet beautiful melodies. His music still sounds melancholic, clear and you can almost hear the sound of snow falling outside his window as he composes these tracks. Nothing extremely new or cutting-edge here, for some it's just good chill-out music. For me it's an album that it's full and compact, with personal character and above all beauty. And it's a personal favourite. So here it is .

Peter Benisch - 2001, Soundtrack Saga
Part 1 - Part 2
Info here.

Pansoul

An absolute must.
Fathers of French house Etienne De Crecy and Phillipe Zdar united, giving us some of the greatest moments of dance music, for me along with DP's 'Homework' the top albums ever from Paris. Another classic, never actually surpassed in terms of quality, feeling and impact on the french (and global) scene. Deep as hell, hard, smooth, crystal clear and dark at the same time, to listen or to dance, this is a diamond everybody should listen to at least once in full.
Les Ondes.

Motorbass - 1996, Pansoul
Part 1 - Part 2
Info here.

Lo-Fi Stereography

This is for the minimal fans.

Lo-Fi Stereo is a all-star low-profile Frankfurt based label run by C/rock aka Dubstar or Stardub, half of better known and rising Motorcitysoul project. Existing since the mid '90s, the label focuses on some kind of house, minimal, deep, technoid, filter, sometimes sentimental stuff and others pure dancefloor tools. His other label, Stir15 is pure house oriented.
With a lot of support from Steve Bug and the Pokerflat/Dessous posse (Gamat 3000, Jeff Samuel), releases from the now star latinos (Villalobos, Luciano, Pier Bucci, Argenis Brito) and from oldschoolers like Redagain P, Marvin Dash/System 360, Jackmate and Geoff White on the other hand, Lo-Fi Stereo could have been another Pokerflat or something but it remained relatively unknown. I guess it was too weird for then and is too housey for the contemporary mini-techno market. Still I read that C/rock is resident at the Cocoon Club. I hope the best for him, although he is sometimes drifting towards the easy 'minimal' category, his taste is great and the Stardub LP was shocking when I first heard it (P.S. find it here)

This compilation also includes a Michael Mayer remix. All tracks have character and quality. This compilation was a small but important chapter in the evolution of minimal dance music. 'Chicks with Beepers' and '808 the Bassqueen' are simply classics.

VA - 2000 Lo-Fi Stereography
Part 1 - Part 2
Info here.

Quiz #2

So, Dick spotted the serious gentleman of the first quiz, Mr. Gerald Brousseau Gardner. I'm happily surprised actually. I was reading 'Witchcraft Today' the other day and decided to see how long it would take for someone recognize to him. A week is much less than I expected.
I won't say I'm a total fan of the man, I just find his life story interesting and his beliefs attractive. Some cold facts and archive here and here. Some more enthusiastic approaches lie all around, start by the Wikipedia links. Get past the various "initiates" and other merchants and/or fanatics and you'll find good food for thought.
I think the most witty and respectful approach of Wicca in the last years I've encountered is in Terry Pratchett's often looked-upon Discworld series, just check the "Lords & Ladies" book. Easy to read and good fun, but most of all serious stuff.

The new one is a worse quality picture but an easier-to-find guy. The post was more or less ready, so here it is. No, he's not your great-grandpa or something.

Nuf Said

This is one of the few records I've been lucky to listen to since 1995 and I still enjoy it the same and even more.
It was released by Incoming!, a totally weird label who released a lot of avant-garde, really far ahead of its time electronic dub and drum'n'bass stuff, alongside with 8-bit synth reggae and almost cheesy chill-out sentimental stuff. NUF., Unitone Hi-Fi and Cee-Mix were its most frequent contributors, but I believe the real strength of Incoming! were its 'Serenity Dub' compilation series, breeding ground for a lot of young artists and outlet for experimental stuff by the more famous ones.

For those who don't know him, Bernd Friedmann is a really talented artist releasing music since the early '90s. He's worked together with guys like Uwe Schmidt, Jaki Liebezeit (the drummer from Can) and David Sylvian/Steve Jansen and he's remixed a lot more. His groups are Drome (with Frank Hernandez) and The Nu Dub Players (with his laptop). He has released mostly in Ninja Tune and N-tone, Incoming! and ~scape, while in the last decade he's publishing and re-releasing older stuff on his own Nonplace label.

Still I haven't seen this one reprinted yet and it's a pity. It's impossible to pin it down in the mid'90s, it sounds like it was released yesterday. Music-wise it could be described as electronic music with dub techniques, yet in there you'll encounter kinky spooky house, a disco dub marathon, weed jazz excursions in hip hop, Carribean samples and space FX, all those in a cocoon of weird ambience. Intro-outro track 'Chilled' was, is and will be for a long long time in my personal top ten of electronic tracks.

Nonplace Urban Field - 1995 Nuf Said
Part 1 - Part 2
Info here.

Friedmann discography here and info here.

Incoming! seems to be totally obscure to (or ignored by) the people on the share-net. I'll try to post some more.

Everything Is Green

I was going for another double feature, on Toytronic label this time. But since the magnificent Autres Grooves blog has already posted the 'Neurokinetic' compilation, I'll go for just this one.

Toytronic is an English IDM label owned by Chris Cunningham, with some well known names in their roster (Digitonal, Multiplex, Gimmik) and some VERY well known ones in their compilations (Arovane, Funckarma/Quench, Fizzarum, etc.). Still even with the not-so-well-known artists, the level of quality never drops. The Toytronic sound is a melodic electro version of the typical IDM sound, with some 8-bit and retro elements stressed. Meaning that more emphasis is given in melodies' complexity and rhythmic interplays than in experimenting with the limits of your sampler and ears. And breakbeats are more or less understandable, instead of distorted rolling snares or hardcore grinders. (Sorry to put like this but, for example, although I really respect Autechre I totally lost them after their LP5 phase and lots of the IDM scene went that way also.) Anyway, the Toytronic stuff is pure electronic music for listening, smart, deep, interesting and enjoyable.
'Neurokinetic' and 'Everything Is Green' were sold at a low price, if I remember correctly. Toytronic vinyls are of good quality, heavy and sometimes colored, if you find any of them grab it. Sadly, it's been some time since they put out something.

VA - 2004, Everything Is Green (Toytronic compilation)
Part 1 - Part 2
Info here.


P.S. After i finished this post I found out that someone named ismagic through the IDMtrade blog's C-box gave this folder address where you can find all Toytronic releases. Thanx and Hmm...

Quiz #1

A small thing to pass the time. Do you know this man?

Isolation Raum

A double feature of Thomas P.Heckmann.

His second album as Age, on Force Inc. 'Isolation' combines full-on techno bangers and acid chasers with Detroit techfunk elegies, making it difficult for everyone to resist at least nodding head or tapping foot. For me it's clearly an album with open space ravers in mind (as most of Heckmann's are, actually). Loopy, repetitive, fat and strong, yet with banging and mellowing moods alternating and sounds breathing, it's ideal for 5 o'clock madness or sunrise euphoria.

Age - 1998, Isolation
Part 1 - Part 2
Info here.

Using his own name, one year later he releases 'Raum' on Mille Plateaux. As expected, it's a more abstract ambientish release, atypical of Heckmann at the time, yet strangely fitting with his darker, more EBMish repertoire that got published later through his own Wavescape.

Thomas P. Heckmann - 1999, Raum
Download here.
Info here.


Bio here.

Sex With The Machines


The beginning of it all. The first album that brought the message of Anthony Rother to the world as he really meant it. Cold funk mixed with brooding melancholy and apocalyptic robotic slogans, in a time where eurotrance and disco house ruled. Only ones I can remember since then are UR and the Clone/Bunker guys. Short but effective. Released on the great Kanzleramt, still active, still banging. Respect.

Anthony Rother - 1997, Sex With The Machines
Link here.
Info here.

Art and Technology

Βack to Anthony Rother, this is an ambient album he released on his own Stahl Industries. Almost typical '70s Berlin School electronics, without any drums or guitars though. Heavy basslines and ethereal pads create synthetic psychedelic landscapes that manage to sometimes retain the cold, almost gothic feeling of the rest of the Rother releases.
For me, the most balanced album of his 'quiet' ones, representing in the best way the listening side of Rother's work.

Anthony Rother - 2005, Art Is A Technology
Part 1 - Part 2
Info here.

Midnight Magic

Most of you might know Kiko from his recent releases in Datapunk and Confused, or even from his collaborations with Alexander Robotnick in his own Hot Banana label. The differences between these two phases are fairly obvious, a jump from a totally rough oldschool cyber italo sound to the current angular minimal 'electro' trickery that's dominant everywhere. His older stuff is further more different in terms of musical orientation and feeling. It's hard for me to follow this new angle, especially as his sound nowdays borrows heavily from the work of others like Stephan Bodzin or Huntemann (still sounding to me slightly better, to be fair). And that's something unusual for a guy like Kiko, who always seemed to be able to combine the oldschool feeling with 'modern' technics in production and to always sound original, even unique.

The truth is that his retro sensibilities are easy to explain since he actually was one of the older class of french producers and a focal character in the development of the Grenoble scene (the only ones who actually played on even terms with the Munich guys during the first Gigolos Rising era). Alongside friends and collaborators Oxia, Human Body and The Hacker and with the support of 'Naughty' Moscatello and Al Ferox, since mid-90s they developed in their own Ozone label (and record store) an energetic mix of techno, hardcore and funky house, the latter especially through friendly BlackJack label (just check their roster). Later (1998, after the Daft Punk impact on Western civilization) Goodlife label was born, where this proto-crossover was further infused with the appropriate italo party feeling, electro futurism and EBM roughness to produce diamonds like Oxia's 'Body EP' or Arno Riva & DJ Speep's 'Sundown EP'. Every release actually has something to keep you interested.
Still, when I first tried 'Midnight Magic', his first album, I hadn't heard of Kiko yet, I just liked the cover (wish you could see the back side, I have to find a scanner...). I was left speechless, I bought the record and just run home. The vinyl version starts with 'Italomatic', which I kept playing for three or four years continuously until it got plowed from needle scratches and then I bought the 12'' and I still play it from time to time. The ultimate combination of techno rush, disco feeling, rough pumping beats and loud synth lines, one step beyond the relatively smooth Daft Punk mentality. 'Monique' (released separately as 12") is an excellent peak time electro techno track which went hit and 'Running Through The City' is perfect for those times you might just want to go instantly berserk without chemical support. And 'Burn Out' has the most accurate title I've encountered, a Blade Runnerish tidelike wave of power, pure synthesized emotions and deep fierce driving beats. Shit, I could write for this record for ever.

Later the Hot Banana label started as a poppier housey electro affair, with the adorable Sinema releases, but soon went oldschool and rough. A lot of old electro labels took the same course when 'electroclash' became a word in the mouth of every money-addict promoter and magenta and black was in every mag cover. House and electro started to sound silly when together, so people turned to the '80s italo sounds (which officiated the beginning of the now dominant 'cosmic' disco revival) or went hard. Soon Kiko was releasing hardly accessible hardcore EBM-style tracks with vocals and lately went modern.

Without judging him (how could I, anyway, he's a hero of mine) I think his peak was 'Midnight Magic', and that's why I'm presenting this to you. Though it may sound 'old' to some, (fat drums pumping, wall-of-sound production, fat synths, etc) it's still a marker of the french evolution of techno and a fine example of raw passion and inspiration. And it sounded like nothing else back then. It still doesn't, actually.

Kiko - 2001 Midnight Magic
Part 1 - Part 2
Info here.

For more Goodlife albums, go there.

Baila, baila

The first official part of Senor Coconut's 'career', in Rather Interesting label circa 1997.

Actually, some experiments had preceded this album in the same label (where almost all releases are by Uwe Schmidt). Unfortunately they were at that time unobserved, lost in the river of Atom pseudonyms, waiting for future recognition. Still, the impact on European electronic music and Pop culture of this Latin-infused Electro amalgam was so big that a lot of people felt the need to turn back and listen to Los Samplers, Eric Satin, etc., only to find out that Rather Interesting original records were sold for three digit numbers. I guess that especially after the YMO tribute album, Atom records are even more out of reach.

Anyway, thank your gods for the Multicolor re-releases and their support of certain South American artists like Villalobos, Jorge Gonzalez and Mambotur aka Pier Bucci & Argenis Brito.

Senor Coconut - 1997, El Gran Baile con...
(Multicolor re-issue, 2000)
Part 1 - Part 2
Info here.

Elektroworld


I noticed that most popular record in this blog has been Abstract Thought's CD. I knew it wasn't common, but didn't know how much. Guess I was lucky to find it then, and actually it was much later I heard it was a Drexciyan record. Since Stinson died, demand on records of related projects has grown to stellar heights. Which I really like, since they're really worth the attention. Still I think it'd be better if the labels start re-printing old numbers than us having to pay 200 euros just to be able to hear a 12'' from 1995 or something.
Anyway, I noticed that this 1995 project Elecktroids (releasing on Warp) also isn't too common on the share-net and it's been a loooong time since I've seen it on vinyl, so here it is.

Elecktroids - 1995 Elektroworld
Part 1 - Part 2
Info here.

Artificial Material

This is the Electronic Corporation label compilation (check here for more). Eighties influenced serious electro stuff, romantic and dark and poppy as it should be. From EBM through pop and punk to electrofunk, here you'll find some more gems hidden underground. Every '80s fan should definitely check them.

MAS 2008 and Interfunk run this label. Electronic Corporation 12''s are nor easy neither difficult to find, but I try to support them as much as I can. Because these guys have been around for some time doing their thing and they are doing it really well.

VA - 2003 Artificial Material
an Electronic Corporation compilation
Part 1 - Part 2
Info here.


Label site here.

Initial Public Offering

Broker/Dealer are a San Fransisco based duo with sporadic releases mainly in Traum and SF's Sentrall. This is their first and yet only album, in legendary Asphodel, and a weird release as far as this label goes. Deep fat sounds and lots of synths and melodies shape B/D's techhouse style, relying more on hardware and music than the rest of the minimal SF guys (the Dirtybird crew, for example). Only the first track 'Take your Time' stands out a little, the rest of the album works as a whole perfectly, from deep techno cuts to simple electronica. Exceptionally effective for those times when you'd like to hear something sweet but not totally laid back (say 6am after the club).

Ryan Bishop as The Beat Broker lately focuses on discoid releases and re-edits, with wonderful results.

Sadly, track 8 didn't want to get ripped. I also posted the 'Feel Free' video by Delray which came on the CD as a data track.

Broker/Dealer - 2003 Initial Public Offering
Part 1 - Part 2
Data track .

Info here.

Geben & Nehmen

Forever Sweet is Reinhard Voigt, Michael Mayer and Tobias Thomas.
This album went out in Ladomat 2000.

Forever Sweet - 2000 Geben & Nehmen CD
Part 1 - Part 2

Info here.

P.S. Tobias is one of the most interesting DJs I've ever heard. Also, one of the nicest ones and a real gentleman even when his eyes roll up on a build-up, like the killer one in their 'Welcome Back Kotter' Thomas/Mayer remix. Imagine him playing a Studio 1 track mixed with the Daft Punk remix of Ian Pooley's "Chord Memory" and saying "This is the other side of Germany, ya?".

Ambience

Today is environment blog day. You know all about the ozone hole, pollution, eco awareness, etc. If you don't, everybody has more and better things to say about all this than me. All I wanna say is:
a) Do your best, and
b) Don't fuck with Gaia (this was a warning).

Hitparade

Station 17 is a more or less rock band based in Hamburg, which with this release crossed over to the electronic side. A number of artists from Berlin, Cologne and locals remixed their work and published this CD in Mute Tontraeger in 2001 giving a strong push to this totally great project, while an album of more or less electronic tracks by the band was released about a year ago.
Stars like Thomas Fehlmann, Steve Bug, The Modernist, Antonelli Electr., J.Koehncke and Tobias Schmidt (as T.Tobsen) appear side by side with Automatique and the yet semi-known International Pony guys Koze and Cosmic DJ, while on the listening side this album is supported by holy cows FM Einheit and Pole, with contributions by To Rococo Rot, Kreidler, Barbara Morgenstern and german hip-hoppers Denyo 77.

A lot of tracks are really good, others are weird but interesting. But you HAVE to listen to Cosmic DJ's magnificent track. Totally addictive groove and crazy samples, it stands out like a prophetic mantra, as if he describes today's techno 'scene' (haha). Hey mr.DJ, play me your song.

Station 17+ - 2001, Hitparade
Part 1 - Part 2
Info here.

Info on the Station 17 project here and here.

Racer Car

I first heard this CD during my first trip to Germany, on my way back. In my mind it will be always connected with my short stay at the Frankfurt airport (as someone once said, airports are transient), with the runway passing by sideways and with the knot in my stomach from the rush of liftoff.

Most of you will remember FPU by the cover on 'Crockett's Theme' from the Miami Vice OST, which top-charted when remixed and vocalized by Tiga. Arguably one of the top moments of electro pop in this decade, the 'original' FPU version is included here. Released on Turbo, it contains all the power and sweetness and melancholy you would expect from a Swedish guy that makes music since the mid '90s, is a friend and collaborator of Adam Beyer and Jesper Dahlbaeck and releases under his own name incredibly beautiful ambient albums (promise for a later post). Putting aside the misleading introduction track, the electro pop feeling runs through the whole CD with arpeggios pulsing melodies and vocoder vocals, never becoming cheesy or anachronistic, most of the times driven by a fat nordic tech beat. 'Racer Car' and 'Waiting For Snow' stand out as powerful dance tracks, yet the album works also as a conceptual soundtrack theme of sonic and sentimental coherence.

Yes, this summer was awfully hot and too long. I hope it's over. I'm praying for Winter to come. Some snow, maybe.

FPU - 2003 Traxxdata
Part 1 - Part 2
Info here.

Timeless Decceleration

TV Victor is another one of those oldschoolish guys that almost nobody knows, yet those who do they love his work. Obviously friends with the Sun Electric guys and the Tresor posse and affiliates, he released some wonderful albums during the nineties of hypnotic ambient, then called (without shame) trance. Later Tresor records re-released some of them and some people (like me, for example) finally got to hear his name, still though it was a weird ambient release in a techno label and it got overlooked. Surely the name of friend Moritz von Oswald (aka member of Maurizio, 3MB, etc and officially declared demi-god of Berlin techno and dub music) drew some attention, as he participated as co-producer in CD2 (first release 1994 as "Invitation 1 (All You)", then 1996 as "Schwarzenraben Eins") and mastered CD1, written for this Tresor release.

Two CDs, three tracks. CD1 is one heavy hypnotic track, 'Agai', which borrows from the Berlin music tradition (of which I believe mr.Heitfeld had some personal experience) in the vein of Manuel Göttsching. 'All' and 'You' is a more relaxed affair, more easy listening but without becoming boring lounge shit.

HisSpace here. More of him later on.


TV Victor - 2000, [Tresor.151]

CD1 (Timeless Decceleration)
Part 1 - Part 2

CD2 (Schwarzenraben Eins)
Part 1 - Part 2

Info here.

Welt in Scherben


Thomas P. Heckmann Musikprodukt.

Techno. Acid. EBM. Das Ende Vom Lied.
No comments.

Welt in Scherben - 1998-2000 I-V
Part 1 - Part 2
Info here.

Music For Children

And something blue.

This is the only CD release by respected swiss label Bruchstuecke I know and it's totally worth listening, more also as it's a co-production with Ruta 5 with great support by the Berlin oldschool scene of Fehlmann, Move D & Tom Thiel aka Sun Electric, etc.

Based on an idea by Chica (& the Folder) from Gudrun Gut's Monika Enterprise, this is a tribute to children music, full of kids voices' samples and soft melodies. The structure of the tracks ranges from over-the-edge experimental electronics to techno to pop, always with that special minimalistic edge. With tracks from all the above and Villalobos, Luciano, Pink Elln, Dandy Jack, Console, Miss Dinky, Mo & El Puma of the Elektro Musik Department, etc., mastered by Stefan Betke, it's an interesting affair and offers a nice view in the Berlin/ South America/ Switzerland interaction.

VA - 2003 Music For Children
Part 1 - Part 2
Info here.

For TV junkies


Something borrowed.

If you don't know it already, there, you'll find almost everything concerning TV series, films, etc. Since I'm a series maniac, I download from there wholesale.

Everything Rapidshare

Guys, you do a great job.


P.S. This site's off... Check this one.

Welcome to Psicity

Something new(er).

After the Kanzleramt years and aided by the impact of 'Sex With The Machines' album in the electro world, Antony Rother made a new home for his puristic electronics, the Psi49net label. Participating in almost every release as musician or producer, he slowly built a new school electro sound.

With total respect to Kraftwerk and the Miami/Detroit masters, with seemingly simple but totally effective programming and bass heavy but still clear analog production, focusing on the funkiness of the robotic beats and on spacious melancholic ambiences, he paved a road lots were soon going to follow. Similar only to the electro side of The Advent and the more Detroit oriented of the Clone/Bunker guys, totally oblivious of the 'electroclash' crap fad of the time, he played his robofunk around the world, collaborated with Karl Bartos and a hundred more, published the magnificent 'Little Computer People' project and ruled. Even Electrolux records decided at this time to have a more electro output and gave us Microlux, on which Rother had the first release. Sometimes the bass is so full and the breaks so groovy and shuffled that it's hard to mix Rother with other tracks without them sounding weak.

Then he abandonded the Psi49net projects, created Datapunk and changed his style a little to fit the emerging electro techno current, still with quality results. Nowdays Datapunk is well known with releases by Sven Vaeth and Kiko (respect!) and all the younger & emerging new heroes of the 'scene', etc., etc., and stands beside Great Stuff, Craft and all these great commercial german labels.

But PsiCity is different. For me only 'Bad To The Bone' had the same drive thereafter. Truly underground stuff, with totally special sound, it will always have a place in my heart. This 2CD compilation packs some of Rother's 'hits' ('Don't Stop The Beat', 'Simulationszeitalter', etc.) along with lots of unreleased tracks by all artists of PsiCity, all interesting and some just excellent. Downtown CD dives deep into dancefloor electro funk Afrogermanic style, while the Uptown CD variates through electro pop, IDM, electro techno bangers and melancholic vocoder ballads.

I dont' really remember where I got the Piano mix of 'God of the Gods'... but it's nice.

Anthony Rother presents Electro Commando 1 -
2002 Welcome To PsiCity

Part 1 - Part 2 Downtown CD.
Part 1 - Part 2 Uptown CD.
God Of the Gods (Piano Mix)
Info here

Motor City Machine Music



Something old.

This is a compilation issued in 2005 of Cybotron tracks released on Fantasy label from 1982 to 1985 with two X-Ray tracks from 1987. For the oldschool fans mostly, as most of these are in mono and sound like they were transferred from tape (which probably is the truth anyway).

Interesting view in the first steps of Juan Atkins, although I would emphasize a little bit the influence of Rick Davis aka 3070 on the whole concept and theory that gave Cybotron its special character and later was copied by all Detroit. Major influence sounds to be Kraftwerk as far as the sounds and rhythm go but the music genre I'd say is Space Funk, dopey and jazzy and dreamy stuff flowing over those robotic beats. It's a reminder for all those who forget the influence of '70s soul-r'n'b-funk music on electro.

Cybotron - 2005 Motor City Machine Music.
An Exploration Of Cybotron
Part 1 - Part 2
Info here

The Forest Trilogy

Again, not much to say. Another Wolfgang Voigt project, GAS released 1st album at 1996 and this trilogy during the next four years at the legendary Mille Plateaux, along with some remixes here and there, mostly in Kompakt.
Mostly using strings and FX over a bass drum, W.Voigt manages a wall of sound totally psychedelic and lyrical, yet unsettling and spooky. The first two albums are deep and dark, sometimes like a blizzard on the Mountain of Magic mentioned in the title, sometimes like a night ride through a thick forest. 'Pop' is different, more ethereal, based on flute and harp samples. Comes like the sunrise to scatter the fears, still the feeling of awe is there.


GAS - 1997 Zauberberg [MillePlateauCD45]
Part 1 - Part 2
Info here


GAS - 1999 Koenigsforst [MillePlateauCD65]
Part 1 - Part 2
Info here


GAS - 2000 Pop [MillePlateauCD83]
Part 1 - Part 2
Info here

'Koenigsforst' was downloaded from Square Dancing In A Round House blog, go there and read Voigt's interview also (thanx man).

Soon I'll upload the first one.

Eau de Cologne

Fly back to grandma continent.

In 1998 Kompakt label was officially born. From very early, founders W.Voigt, J.Paape and M.Mayer tried to establish its name as a pop culture phenomenon through the standard use of custom graphic design (following the Profan/Auftrieb example), their city as a symbol and, more importantly, custom sounds. All labels aimed for the spreading of this special kind of trance derived and house infected minimal techno, trademarked as 'Cologne minimalism'. Obviously did a VERY good job, as now Kompakt is as large as it can get, the Cologne sound is everywhere and Michael Mayer is rightly considered one of the best and more respected DJs internationally.

Back then apparently he needed a little introducing. As far as I know, this is his first released mix CD, released by Neuton. Fully promoting the local sound by the Voigt brothers, Joerg Burger, Jurgen Paape, etc., alongside some close friends' work (Herbert, R.Fluegel, etc) and some personal contributions (Zimt, Forever Sweet).

Try to place that CD where it belongs, in 1998. At that time only the Basic Channel posse was in a similar path in Germany, while outside Detroit the world danced to disco house, psy trance and was happily shocked by Daft Punk. Maximalism at its peak, I'd say. Anyway. I like Kompakt better at it's later era, where it had established a balance between the neu trance aesthetics and the monomaniac glitchy tool tracks. Still, it's a rare CD to listen and it's nice to spot that Mayer was playing back then with the same attitude he still does.

Everytime I hear 'Fackeln Im Strum' after all these years it still feels the same.

VA - 1998 Mix CD
Kompakt Koeln praesentiert Michael Mayer

Part 1 - Part 2

Info here

Biometrics

In the same vein with the previous post, Heinrich Mueller as Der Zyklus in 2004 releases this one in Clone's electronic (as opposed to electro...) sublabel D.U.B. Abstract dark ambient tracks flow thickly over a really interesting concept, yet still it feels that it's a solo effort, a little single-minded and simple. Of course only compared to previous and later efforts of the same people, full of the crossbreed of styles and ideas that characterize them. Still, it's a Drexciya Nation record.

Der Zyklus - 2004 Biometry
Part 1 - Part 2
Info here.

Linear Acceleration

Gigolo 99 vinyl release in 2003 presented two tracks of rare beauty by Dopplereffekt. The CD version that followed was a weird long play including these and four more.

Instead of the typical Drexciyan electro or the '80s retro sound of earlier releases, a more experimental approach was attempted. Two repetitive fully FXed dark & noisy abstract tracks of 21' and 14' duration each for a start, followed by a 15' ambient excursion into really deep space. Then the 12" tracks fall from the sky, full of analog synth beauty and melodies and weirdness. Borrowing heavily from the Berlin School of Kraut electronics, it's like they're out of a '70s soundtrack for a sci-fi film or a thriller, such as the ones Tangerine Dream members produced in plenty (check some of them here). The closing act is the more typical Drexciya one, sweet pads and soft arpeggios over a chopped, no bass drum electro beat. Overall it's a difficult album, with it's three quarters of being too weird for the average Gigolo fan and no beat at all.

A smart move of Mr.Hell, this one. Although experimentation was always a part of Gigolo mentality, it was only the second time a listening album was issued (after the Tuxedomoon one which didn't go well I think). Only Dopplereffekt could made this effort more accessible to the critics and interesting to the listeners at the same time.
After this one Gigolo tried to make a drastic turn towards more 'difficult', non dancefloor music, away from the '80s electro and oldschool techno norms (although there was always an appropriate remix available). The infamous NYC associated Gigolo Rock phase came along with the Fisherspooner releases and kept me away from Gigolo for some time (I liked the older ones more, no other reason). It's interesting though that after four years rock influenced electro still rules the market. Hell was making a leap forward then and soon others followed (he took no credit for that).

Still, this for me is the last release of the first era of Gigolo, even if it's an atypical one. And it's a Detroit affair. Check the vinyl if you find it.

Dopplereffekt - 2003 Linear Accelerator CD
Part 1 - Part 2
Info here.

P.S. In Drexciya Research Lab, a different opinion is stated here on the reason of this album's inaccessibility.

The Detroit Escalator Co.

Some more forgotten jewels.

Neil Ollivierra aka The Detroit Escalator Co. has been an active part of the Detroit scene since very early, yet with only scarce releases through the last decade. An obviously talented musician (just one among other artistic skills), first released two 12"s in 1996. The first of these was included in his later first LongPlay 1996 release "Soundtrack [313]" on Russ Gabriel's Ferox Records, now deactivated. A personal top ten of all times album, it's an ambient masterpiece and simply one of the best sounds to ever come out from Detroit.

Later Peacefrog took care of all D.E.C. releases, starting in 2000 with the "Black Buildings EP", most of which was included in the "Black Buildings" album. During the same year, both of the first 12"s along with a yet unreleased track appeared in "Excerpts". Later on in 2003 a remix track appeared in Charles Webster's "Remixed in the 24th of July", and in 2006 a Ltd.Ed. (see previous post) 10" "Blue Science/Between Dubnotes EP".

Again, so few have heard of The Detroit Escalator Co., it's a shame. Although after "[313]" all releases became more introvert and never peaked that high (personal opinion), they're still important to have and to listen too. When I'll be able to upload from vinyl, I'll post the rest of them. For now:

The Detroit Escalator Co. - 1996 Soundtrack [313]
Here
Info here.

The Detroit Escalator Co. - 2000 Black Buildings EP
Here
Info here.

The Detroit Escalator Co. - 2001 Black Buildings
Part 1 - Part 2
Info here.

Charles Webster - Put your hurt aside (The Dub & Space Mix by The Detroit Escalator Co.)
Here
taken from this compilation

P.S. I realize Ferox is revived through digital only releases. Hope it goes well, GO AND BUY '[313]' if you find it there.

Limited Edition

Indulge me for the long post. There's a story I need to share.

Once upon a time, in an second hand vinyl store I came upon a 10'' in an would-be-exquisite but was-badly-pressed folder. I have one worn-out copy of this somewhere in my place. We recorded this with a band I was then part of it in the early 90s.
It was what now is called a 'Limited Edition'. By that I mean that neither the label nor we had the money to print more than 550 copies, so we made do with these at first and gave away some promos and finally covered the expenses. Then we printed an extra 450, as far as we were told. That adds to a 1000 copies. It was also red colored vinyl and a 10" cut, totally unusual at this time for my country.
With no money for publicity and due to crappy distribution, not all of them were sold. Overall, as a band we got paid the equivalent of 250 to 300 euros (we had drunk and smoked more than that to record it, of course). Some years later the (really small) label shut down and sold all stock to the distributor. We got nothing. I saw then a few copies in the low-price section of some stores sold for about 3 euros. I had no interest then in buying my own records, yet I felt bad about them selling out so cheap. This was more or less the story of the indie scene in Europe those days, CDs were coming forth. Then the distributor went off too, and that was it.

Year 2007, in front of me, this average early '90s indie EP was priced 170 euros.

Qui bono, comrades?

For whom does this used-vinyl market exist? Who profits? The artist? No. The label? Not really, unless they're very clever and they set things up for 15 years ahead. The industry as a whole? I doubt it. Money spent on old records are not spent on new ones. The "I've GOT to have it" collector? Only if he intends to sell it at a higher price. Some merchants and E-bay? Ahh, yes, I think we're here.
I'm a vinyl junkie. For me a record is always a vinyl record. I go at used-vinyl stores and sit through rows of dirty boxes for hours, literally. I'm always looking for something good but overlooked, or badly appraised. And I like old stuff, which is often highly priced. But I've promised to myself I will never pay a big amount for anything 'rare'. I think the most expensive record I ever bought was X-102's 'Atlantis' second-hand for 25 euros. Because I know where the money goes. How come that when the vinyl market is supposedly going down, some vinyl stores get richer? It's only enough that vinyl stores sell on a 80-100% profit on new records, throw in the 'Vintage', 'LtdEd' and 'Rare' commerce and if you don't get mad, you never will. A collectible vinyl record is the same thing as a collectible stamp, a persian carpet or a silver plate. It's merchandise.
If I share this record through the internet, am I stealing from someone? Actually, not even the stores' owners give a shit cause what they really sell is records, not the music in them. It might even work out good for them, cause if the record becomes famous through the net in 'specific circles' then more people will be willing to pay 170 euros for it. Everything is promotion.

And I really disagree with this whole attitude of 'Limited Edition' releases, which certain labels and artists keep pushing, especially in the avant-garde scene. And I can't understand how music fans who may have really deep knowledge in this field and truly positive intentions, always fall for this crap and support it. A cool folder and 20 minutes of uninspired "Improvisations" (aka rehearsals) or "Experiments" (half an hour with a laptop and an afternoon of writing a page of text to explain why this release is different than last week's) is NOT important by default. But if it's released in only 300 copies and it's a part of a series of 20 similar projects, it will get an article and an ad in the Wire and most or all of it will pre-sale. It's ridiculous. Most of these records would never sell more copies than the ones printed, so it's good they don't print more. But calling them 'Ltd.Ed.' it's only for raising their price.

Don't be fooled. It's more of a cultural thing than it seems. Limited supply raises the prices but also creates an Elite for the richer, the more informed, the inside people, the Savants. Simple people should do the Animal stuff, like dance, shout, smoke, take drugs and fuck at the disco/club/bar remaining ignorant of the Deeper Meaning, while they alone have access to the Higher Forms of Contemporary Art (installations, video art, experimental music, performances, you know) in museums, galleries, art-cafes and similar establishments.

Mass distribution of art brings it closer to everyone so everyone can be inspired by it. That's what 'publishing' is about. If you don't publish you're not an artist. If you publish for the few you're an Elitist. If a label wants to publish a special but expensive edition, they may do it for a number of copies and then present a simpler one for the 'people', us poor bastards who can't afford a 200 euros box set. Or they wait a little for the first one to sell, and then print again or distribute it through the net.

Dance labels are somewhat different. Excluding promos and bootlegs, of course, who play a different role (big discussion). Due to the small average amount of copies printed (from 500 to 2000) virtually all 12''s are LtdEd, so mostly they play with picture or colored vinyl. Hardwax based labels traditionally print an small amount of colored vinyls for the collectors and feed this market anyway, yet they're not too expensive and they always print some pure old good black vinyls for the others. They constantly repress older releases (thus making the older ones more valuable for the collectors...) so they 're always available. The 7x7" pack by Rhythm & Sound's "See Mi Yah" was limited, but was sold at half the normal price and then got re-printed at LP form. On the other hand, I'm not able to find the Deepchord/Echospace 12''s and it's a real shame cause I love their music and I cannot buy anything by them to listen to and play it. Cause it's Limited Edition.

Recently, I heard Jay Haze talking about the Contexterrior project and the rejection of the need for physical existence of the music medium. His ego aside, it's a valid point expressed very well and supported many years by a lot of people. Maybe they're right and surely that's the future. Yet I'm a little old and set in my ways. I am a vinyl junkie. Call me a consumer, if you like. I like to believe I have a right to feed my 'sickness' as long as I want to, without anyone taking advantage of me. I won't store my records in a shit plastic bag and treat them like 'investment'. I wanna be able to enjoy them and play them in front of other people. It seems that soon I'll have to fight for that too.

Abstract Thoughts

Not much to say about this. Abstract Thought is another moniker of Drexciya, an one-off project released in Kombination Records (home of The Advent) in 2002.

Interestingly, it's a mostly 4/4 techno beat driven album, fully compatible with other releases of the Kombination label (though slower). Drexciyan electro funk is also included of course, all the custom fat sounds are here with an extra melodic, almost pop touch.

Yet it was not released in vinyl. I never understood that. Because of that it didn't got the support or recognition it deserved. (P.S. Correction here.)

Corresponding to each track a number of Hypothetical Situations are noted in the booklet. I'll transfer them here, along with the playlist. Consider this:

1. Bermuda Triangle
(What if the triangle pivoted over the island of Jamaica, what would become of the population?)
2. Synchronized Dimensions
(What if we existed within three planes of reality simultaneously?)
3. Me Want Woman's Punani
(What if for one week, male sex organs became petrified, how much punani could the average man consume?)
4. Consequences Of Cloning
(What if they cloned a perfect human specimen, but did they clone the perfect god given spirit for this specimen?)
5. Solar Pulse
(What if a solar flare ten thousands time larger than the average flare were emitted, how would this electromagnetic wave effect electrical and communication systems on earth?)
6. Galactic Rotation
(What if the galaxy were thrown off its normal cycle due to dark energy emissions from black holes?)

Abstract Thought - 2002 Hypothetical Situations
Info here.

Pop Artificielle

This CD it's just CLASSIC. If you like electronic listening music and you've never heard this please do now, you won't regret it. A work of Uwe Schmidt aka Atom Heart aka a million other names (LB stands for his older Lassigue Bendthaus moniker), it was released through KK Records (at first) in 1998.

It's a tribute record, mostly. A number of pop/rock/funk classics are surgically dissected, pieced together and electrobolted back to life by Mr. Schmidt, yet with (some) respect for the originals. And far far away from the nowdays concept for an easy cover track, which constitutes of dropping everything but the beats and the bass, adding some 'dubby' echoes and the currently 'modern' production tricks and cashing on the dancefloor.

The production must have took ages to come to an end. Full of ultra-detailed programming, full of hand-made glitches and clicks and drones and noises before the Clicks 'n' Cuts compilations, it's a digital poem shining like a diamond through a mist of noise. And it shines because of the vocals. It's customary to say (it says so on the booklet) that they were produced by Raw(TM), some self-developed voice-emulator synthesis software, although curiously I couldn't trace anywhere a single line on this elusive source of fractured, vocoderized voices. Once you hear it though the result is very difficult to forget, especially in 'Angie' or 'Silence is Golden', real voices or not.

It's interesting that this album precedes the Senor Coconut's 'El Baile Aleman' as a cover album. The Senor Coconut facade had already been functional, yet 'El Gran Baile' is an electronic avant-guard album with excursions into Latin rhythmology, not an attempt to play or cover pop songs (I'll post it soon). Anyway, I think that later on he decided to have some more fun at the time he was paying tribute to the Robots.

LB - 1998 Pop Artificielle
Info here.

Generic info on Atom here and here.