I finally managed to order the 'Maybe Logic' DVD, a documentary about Robert Anton Wilson, as well as the video recording (in DVD, again) of RAW's almost-a-musical 'Wilhelm Reich in Hell', both by Lance Bauscher for Deepleaf Productions Inc. I totally urge you to buy them, they're good, cheap and were delivered really fast. His Wiki biography you can find here. More you will find at his official website (check my links).
RAW, though a person known to me only through his books, tapes and (later) the net, had HUGE influence on me and defined my mindset in many ways almost as strongly as my family or friends did. First I read the 'Illuminatus' trilogy (which I think that everyone should check sometime) and later all fiction and non-fiction I could find, but it was the 2nd Cosmic Trigger book 'Down To Earth' that really got to me. I've read some autobiographies, but never one so simple and powerful and touching and almost unbiased at the same time. I knew he had post-polio syndrome for a long time, but in January when I heard of his death (age 75) I was sad for a week or so and actually then it did click, how important for me he had been.
I actually prefer to remember him from these last days photos, with the grandfather look and his mind still sharp as a knife, despite of his illness doing all he can to get along without money, to soften the blow of his coming death for his children and friends, to keep everyone happy and make them a little smarter and better.It's my small memorial, I guess. I have lots of recorded audio and video of RAW, some of them you'll find here: RAWilson Fans. If someone wants anything more than that, just leave a comment.

Pony says hello!

Yep, it's another classic from the Hamburg area (with total support by Kompakt distribution, as always). Formed by Cosmic DJ, Erobique and DJ Koze, they were hailed as a 'supergroup' from the beginning. They deserved it, in my opinion, and you can easily find out why in this record.

With a heavy background on hip hop, funk and listening electronics, International Pony add a touch of dancefloor rush, play live a lot of instruments, balance tho lo-fi elements with a decent production and some great programming. It's a complex album, always shifting and twisting around pop themes, presented in a variety of styles ranging from r'n'b and funk to electro punk, with house and techno peaks and abstract interludes. Humor plays a certain role as well. And jingles. Mostly though the thing that makes this record stand out is that it's an Album, not just some recordings thrown together and re-packaged for promotion. It has a motif, an attitude that keeps everything together, no matter how diverse the prime materials are.

Of course, the First Album of most bands usually has this 'advantage'. It represents a whole era of in-band dynamics building up in order to overcome the obstacles in the beginning. I'm talking about some years of putting the songs together, practicing, ego-clashing, performing live, finding (or founding) a label, recording, up to the date of release of the album, when at last it's off your hands and out in the world. Because of the diversity of the various situations and events experienced, creativity manifests in various ways and even has some time to develop itself into fresh forms that yet fit easily within a certain picture. At the same time, during this incubating period (two or three or five or ten years) a LOT of songs are tried, so it's easier to pick some out of them for release.
Usually after a successful album follow big tours which leave the group exhausted, yet eager to record again. Second Albums tend to be more focused, concept-oriented or with a heavy eye in the market, especially if the 1st one did good sales.
Some perfect examples of worthy dance First Albums are The Orb's 'Adventures Beyond The Ultraworld', The Prodigy's 'Experience' and Daft Punk's 'Homework'. In a few years I think I'll add this one too in the list.

International Pony - 2002 We love Music
Part 1 - Part 2
Info here

By the way, does anyone have this?

P.S. Koze compilation found, here.

Hamburg greyscapes

Another Hamburg release, in the year 2000. Peter Kersten, mostly known as Lawrence or Sten had just released 'Teaser' 12'' on Kompakt and some 12"s on his own Dial label. This is (to my knowledge) his first LongPlay release, establishing his trademark sound (mostly dark strings over soft beats under grey skies). Which has not changed a lot through the years, just got refined and more crispy and occasionally bordering on happier, even euphoric feelings. Still, Melancholy seems to be the key-word to his work.

Released on both Dial and Ladomat2000 (I have the latter edition), with no track names or much other info in an artwork of hazy monochromatic urban photos, this release represents fairly good Lawrence 's early period. I also noticed that it's not very common to find on CD or in the net (most of the Dial releases aren't actually), so here it is:

Lawrence - 2000, selftitled [Ladomat 2137-2]
Part 1 - Part 2

Info here

The Golden Age

Another compilation, this time from those deep vaults of weirdness and beauty called L'Age d'Or or Ladomat2000, LadoMusic, Enduro, the old Hamburg family with friends from all over Germany.

WiR is a truly crossover compilation, extremely difficult to pin down in terms of music styles, artists' locality, or anything actually, and a very good mirror of what Lado is about. If you're looking for a tag, then Pop Music might be the most applicable answer. From vocal indie pop songs to Cologne techno, from disco and punk to dark ambient through electro hybrids too complex too be described, the Popular Art aesthetics collide with the 'indie' experimentalist mindset of the artists. This is pure and simple Music.

For reference reasons, Ladomat2000 is more oriented to danceable music, Enduro thrives on the electro 8bit pop punk side, while the parent label acts like a big umbrella for all kinds of indie pop acts. Actually, L'Age d'Or supported 'guitars 'n' drums' acts long before the French electro-rock hype, even long before DFA records. Anyway, though it might not be obvious at first sight, if you check every group name in the Discogs info link below you''ll find some very well known artist either incognito or in collaboration with members of other bands.

Mostly though the difference between Lado and a typical record label is that it kickstarted and later supported artists that later boomed on, but were considered too weird for beginners (Ascii.Disko comes to mind, Whirlpool Productions much earlier). On the other hand it provides a platform for experimentation to many established names, who are allowed to go a little crazy even if (or just because) the result won't fit in the stylistic definitions of their own labels.

P.S. Egoexpress RULE.

VA - WiR (l'age d'or - Ladomat compilation)
CD1 - Part 1 - Part 2
CD2 - Part 1 - Part 2

Info here