Skynet

I thought it'd be nice to end this troubled year with a classic.

Infiniti is Juan Atkins' project for spaced out techno and Chicago deep beats, mixed with his trademark future-funk electro sounds. During the early '90s several classic 12"s went out under this guise, many tracks from them included in the self-titled Tresor compilation; 'Skynet' (along with the incredible 'Never Tempt Me' 2x12") was his late '90s comeback.

I know Tresor stuff is rather common around the net, yet I couldn't resist since I also noticed that although the label did some reprints of older stuff, this one was not included. Pity, as it is the best album of that period.

Infiniti - 1998 Skynet
Info here.


Happy new year to everyone.

Terror is the name of the game

Please read this one. It just started, but it's going to get bigger.
Stop Police Violence blog.

A (mostly) valid source of info is Indymedia Athens, while many many videos can be found in TVXS (TeleVision Without Borders)- use the Translate tool, then switch back to select the link you're interested in. I had no time to search for foreign sources of info; most of the major news' networks have reports, however biased they may be. The same applies to anarchists' sources, they're much more accurate though.

BTW, another schoolboy (age 16) was shot by 'unknowns' last night. 'Someone' aimed at a group of about ten boys sitting outside their (occupied) school's yard from a distance long enough so that accurate aiming was impossible (more than 50 m/ 150 feet). Luckily, he had his hands in his pockets and the bullet was caught in his wrist instead of blasting his liver, though it could easily have had his head blown off.

The city is in constant turmoil. The pigs hit, teargas and torture at the police stations little kids and their supporting teachers, mostly participating on sitting protests and other peaceful demonstrations, trying to scare them off the streets. Meanwhile, the media are covering up the whole case big time; the National Broadcasters' Council 'suggested' to the TV channel owners and journalists they shouldn't 'promote acts of violence' by screening the riots, so now all TV cameras are gone from the streets and the pigs can do their job unobstructed by the foul menace of evidence, while all TV focus on are burned-down christmas trees and propaganda footage of attacks on policemen from the national channels. Mostly, though, TV shows films and series and crap as if nothing happens. Without the internet we'd be lost.

The other day ended the trial of eight policemen that beat a student's face into pulp in a demo two years ago. At first they had said the kid fell and hit a plant-pot... then an amateur video surfaced. They were pronounced guilty; the judge charged half of them with thirty six months in prison, the other four with eighteen, yet gave them all the right to buy off their time for 5 euros per day. That is, with 5475 euros each they walk.

The forensic reports on the bullet that inflicted the fatal wound on Alexis Grigoropoulos suggest that it 'ricocheted' somewhere, ergo the cop wasn't planning to kill the kid after all (in spite of the dozen eye witnesses that say that he aimed directly at him, he fired three shots and then left the crime scene cool and calm). As it seems, certain substances were found on the bullet, indicating it first hit a wall.
The last drop for me was something I read in certain free-thinkers' fora and blogs: policemen learn that before certain 'difficult' assignments or patrols it's practical to rub bullets in a wall before loading them. That way the bullet's surface keeps some traces of the above mentioned substances, so it's easy to forge a 'ricochet' in case of an 'accident' (=an unplanned or otherwise uncomfortable fatality, aka murder).

Is anyone of you at least interested in the above? If yes, how about a protest demo to the greek embassy or consulate of your country? Or just spreading the news a bit? I'm not interested in comments of sympathy. Just do a small thing, anything. For your sake, most of all, for practice. Soon you'll have to do more than this.

This shit is coming your way too.

Elektro Codes. Trilogy

Electrolux likes projects, 'Space Night' being the most famous and longest running. But this one is in my opinion the most interesting.

These CDs compile tracks from previous releases on Electrolux, from almost everybody in the label's roster; included are some early Anthony Rother classics (and a Karl Bartos remix on them). Robotic, ambient, funky, deep, minimal, in short all forms of late '90s electro are represented (except the dirty retro style of Clone and Gigolo), though once more a bit on the glossy tip. I'd say it was the success of those compilations that motivated the birth of specialized Mikrolux label, with some excellent results (*).
Vol.1 stays on the chill side of things. In Vol.2, CD1 samples some modern electro classics, while CD2 goes smooth again and at times a bit experimental, mostly downtempo stuff. The same norm was followed through Vol. 3.

Possibly not groundbreaking, yet essential compilations, especially for those who are interested in the electro scene before the electroclash and (later) the electro-house fads.


VA - Elektro Codes. One 1997
Here.
Info here.


VA - Elektro Codes. Two 1999
CD1 - CD2
Info here.


VA - Elektro Codes. Three 1999
CD1 - CD2
Info here.

A stroke of bad luck

Later than most of you, I'm sure, I was informed that Moritz von Oswald suffered a (rather mild) stroke, at about the end of October.

Having a few years back witnessed my father having (also a mild) one right in front of me, I can tell you that no stroke feels mild to the sufferer. Possible damage may be permanent as well as not, varying from brain damage and body paralysis to simple small problems with memory, speech or sense of space and direction (I'm no doctor, I just write what I've seen). A guy I've worked with for years, one of the best electronic musicians in Greece, suffered a good one at the age of thirty; ten years later he's composing more than ever and still plays live (Fripp-like) guitar using an e-bow.
Time is on the side of the patient, as I understand; so let's hope that things will clear out, the sooner the better. He's been one of the most important people in the music scene of the 20th century, sowing the seeds of the next generation of brain-shaping music to come; the one that still dominates the present, that is. A true pioneer, a flag carrier and an example to all of us. My hopes are with him.

I was looking some stuff on Basic Channel when I found this interview (a first, I think) that he gave for the Red Bull Academy; then I found out about the sad news.

Get well soon.

The sequel

Well, it's actually rather early to talk about the aftermath of the situation described in the last post, when most of the major cities of Greece (especially Athens and Salonica) are still in turmoil. Things got completely out of hand, the city's downtown is burning every night. The pigs kept back long enough so that many buildings were destroyed by fire, creating infernal snapshots and shot angles for the media, then with a quick sweep they cornered the rioters inside the universities. The destruction that took place will cost millions to the state (especially after they announced financial help to everyone affected by the riots on a scale they cannot afford), the market is frozen out of insecurity and lack of cash and all politicians try to exploit the situation on their behalf.
On the other hand, the pigs hired one of the 'best' lawyers in Greece (the worst weasel around) and with no remorse at all still claim it was 'an accident', even though there are about 30-40 eye witnesses that insist the boy was shot and abandoned. If they continue on this defensive scenario or use the temporary insanity plea, the cities will burn again.

There's nothing more accurate to describe the current situation than an old old saying:

He who sows wind will harvest storms.

I'm too freaked out to post anything. For the desperate, check again next week or start trying the links (and their links as well).

The 6th of December, 2008

The Athens district of Exarchia is a hangout for artists, students and junkies and traditionally the refuge of the various counter-culture movements in the last three decades. Interestingly, it's also the place with a minimum of violent crimes against person and property downtown (except against policemen). In contrast with many European cities or the USA, no one carries a gun and even knives are extremely uncommon (not even junk dealers use them). Surrounding this area are universities, museums, the main commercial district and government buildings.
During the last years the conflicts between the cops and locals have escalated. People occasionally throw rocks at passing police cars; then an hour later dozens of fully-armed squads troop the bars and cafes, gather as many people as they like as 'suspects' and put them behind bars for a process called 'identification', which gives them the right to hold you in a police station all night to 'check your criminal record' until the officer in charge comes in the morning to release you (or charge you with something). During all these hours they have the right to 'search physically' (=undress and humiliate) everyone, looking for 'guns', drugs or whatnot. Of course, 99.9% of the people there go in Exarchia for recreation or work, mostly naive students and rock fans that like to get away from the expensive bars and poser 'cool' places in the nearby areas. Things are coming to a head, as a wise man used to say.
It's Saturday night, about 9.00 PM and people are gathering around the local cafes. Just a few minutes before , a police car went by and some people (it's not sure who they were) swear and threw a couple of stones at them. The cops park the car a little further on and try to drag into the 'conflict' a SWAT squad. When they fail, they return to the place they were 'attacked' and verbally provoke a small group of kids to fight with them, giving them the finger and shouting insults in front of dozens of witnesses. When the kids fail to respond in a 'suitable' way (that is to throw some things or make a move towards them so they can have an excuse), the cops take their guns out, one of them throws a sound bomb and the other aims and shoots three times towards them, the last bullet hitting one of the group in the chest. Having their job done, they calmly walk away and mingle with the SWAT squad mentioned before a few yards away. The boy shot is dead on the spot, his friends in shock. As a direct result, minutes after the 'incident' riots break up in all major Greek cities (yes, news like that travel really fast). Police stations, banks and (unfortunately) cars and stores are attacked, often totally destroyed. The city is in turmoil since, roads blocked all over, schools closed, universities occupied (they provide asylum, no policeman may enter their premises), streets destroyed.

The cops claim the group initially attacked them with clubs and stones, even with Molotov cocktails ready, so they had to fire warning shots. As is usual in these cases, one of them hit something (the asphalt ground...) and ricocheted towards the direction of the kid. The Ministry of Internal Affairs cover them up and press releases are sent to the BBC (and other networks). This is a report written after it became widely known and indisputable that the cops killed the kid in cold blood. It still focuses on the riots. Thankfully, others check their sources better.
Bad luck for them; it was a 15 years old kid from a good family out with his friends they shot. Not a military radical, not a drug user that no one will care for. Just a fucking kid, 15 years old. And with many witnesses in line of sight, as well as an (indistinct) video, showing the cops calmly leaving the scene after they're done (check here, upper right corner).

Some photos and reports from Sky here: (*, *, *).

A lot of people die because of police brutality. Police has always been a serpent's nest, a haven for fascists, psychopaths, or the spiritually deficient but physically gifted. And lots of people died, were injured or humiliated because a freak happens to own a uniform and has the power to fuck with the lives of his/hers fellow citizens. It's not something new, a lot of cases are recorded where cops shoot and kill people, then never get fittingly prosecuted and punished. Yet I didn't sleep well these nights. Most of the people around me walk in silent shock and cannot really believe what happened. It could be their fucking kid dead that night. I can believe what's happening, yet it cripples me in a emotional level so deep that I'm constantly ready to break in tears. Don't believe what you read, we don't live in a Democracy. It's a Police State. It's a war and we are the side casualties. Fuck my house and fuck my couch and fuck this shit.

MAKE PIGS PAY

Lazyfish & Mewark

Another one from k2O Records (*). A deep record, at times cosmic, glitchy, abstract and/or cosy, balancing through ambient atmos and weird beats. It sounds a bit similar to some Merck stuff.

Alexander Potekhin aka Lazyfish and Alexander Petrunin aka Mewark are Russians; so very few things I could tell about them I won't even try. I just knew Lazyfish from the early Trapez and Salo days. Nowdays they seem connected with the Lagunamuch Community, where Selffish and Alexandroid also release.

About 8 years ago I also knew SCSI-9 and Nooncat. And Nikakoi. And I can remember no other artists from the ex-USSR, in any kind of music outside psy-trance. I can't figure out the exact conditions that held them back that much. I blame the long distance from the rest of Europe and the difficulties of the post-communism era most; possibly some russian friends might enlighten us more on that. Yet apparently at that time some few managed to break out of their (vast) borders and the first target was Germany. The music I got to know, through a series of moody deep and trancey techno 12"s, was mostly directed to the dancefloor (call it tech-house, if you like).
Later, with the boom of the net-based labels and free downloads (and the share-net and piracy) millions of bedroom musicians flooded the world with their fresh stuff, listening electronics, hard techno, 8-bit electro, post-rock amalgams, modern classic stuff, neo-goth and electro-house. Everything, actually. Still, I believe their strong spot is their idiomatic electronica, abstract enough to be cerebral but also dipped in melancholy and sentiment, something rare in these days of fast produced club hits. It's no wonder that some of the best artists on the best of the netlabels' circuit (check the end of this post) are from the ex-soviets.
I also think that there should be a medal or something for labels like this one that discovered and promoted certain artists like these here.

Lazyfish & Mewark - 2002 selftitled
Info here.

Laconic

Alexander Neumann aka Alex Cortex first appeared in the mid '90s. The passage of time showed that his creativity was endless as his releases became a flood (without compromises in the quality or diversification of the material released). I first encountered his name in the first Kanzleramt CD compilation (curiously named 'Five'); through other established labels like Source Records (*), Klang Elektronik and recently Platzhirsch/ Kahlwild, he built a solid underground reputation even though commercial success eluded him (and still does).

I could only define his style as close to Move D or similar crossover artists, a bit more Detroit than deephouse oriented (for a smart dancefloor though). Collaborations with Lopazz in his early crucial 12''s and now as Bad Cop Bad Cop and releases in other labels are scarce compared to his output in his own Pathmusick netlabel, where the main volume of his work is offered free.

In these fifteen unnamed tracks you'll find everything you can expect from a Source record. Sweet ambient, Detroit references (Carl Craig mostly), jazzy electro, minimal deep techno, laidback grooves, acid, it's all there solid and sound for your pleasure. More sweet and smooth than some of his future releases. Grassy like the knoll, I'd say.

Alex Cortex - 2000 Laconic
Info here.

The Quest

I thought I had lost this one.

In this Drexciya Research Lab post you'll find more than I would even dream to write.

Drexciya - 1997 The Quest
CD1 - CD2
Info here.

Sunday Island

I had promised this one. Michael Peter and Martin Retschitzegger aka Hi-Lo aka Rhythmiker vs Ratio aka The Memory Foundation present themselves here as Glory B, releasing this one in Minifunk(*).

Hailing from Vienna, now living in Berlin, they're giving us here some tough and deep dubby ('90s style) minimalism with that extra hallucinatory factor that's always appreciated. Beyond the typical Salz and Berlin influences, Detroit references are more than enough and at times they bring me to mind Bandulu or Bushflange. There are deep moments as well as hard tracks, all with that extra special something; its head-on mentality must have made it a sure hit in the spanish techno dens. Personal favorites are 'Glory Morning' and 'E-Dub', while 'Multiple Suns' can only be compared with Brihka's 'Groove La Chord'. And if you're a fan of the neo-Detroit scene, just don't let it pass.

Uncompromising, cerebral, truly underground techno, an excellent example of a well hidden quality album.

Glory B - 2001 Multiple Suns
Info here.

Active Technologies

System 360 was an alias under which artists from Leipzig published their collaborative efforts in the realm of subtle electronics and minimal techno. Though this album went out in Source Records (*), their main output was a group of labels focused around R.A.N.D. Musik (a record manufacturing company), these being Out To Lunch, United States Of Mars, Science City and 3B.
This bunch seems connected with Vienna's electro scene (see below), the Playhouse posse and C-Rock (see this) and were actively supported by Move D and the Source guys, while Alex Krueger (aka Dub Taylor aka Korsakow and now known as Tigerskin) took some serious first steps here. These labels claim releases by Scape One, MAS 2008 (*,*), Benjamin Brunn and Klystron aka the mighty Salz (*).

Participating in this project are five underground producers, a couple of them still active. Ronald Reuter or Marvin Dash, mostly known from his output in Force Inc.'s 'disco' sublabel Force Inc. US, is exploring his electrofunk roots (a style darker than but similar to Max Brennan or british tech funk, closer to Eskimo's electro releases), though his is also this album's gem ('KB 100'), a deep and psychedelic techno affair. Lowtec, with remixes and releases in Playhouse and Workshop, focuses on minimal electronics and experimental techno, a style he's still exploring successfully. Finally, Marko Fischer aka Krok is responsible for the more robotic Motown electro cuts. Sadly he seems to have disappeared, as the other two (Digable Rhythm, Ty Frazier) also did.
As a result, the outcome varies in mood and style but not in character (a true Source record). If you like it weird and underground but also quirky and sentimental and deep, these are your guys.

Krok also published as Bannlust in Vienna's Sabotage/ Craft Records (I didn't know that, but check here); I also didn't know that Glory B (*,*) published in these labels as The Memory Foundation. I already had their album prepared for the next post. More coincidences...

System 360 - 1998 Active Technologies
Info here and here.

Sounds From The Electronic Lounge

This one was a curiosity for me back then. It still is, in a way. The title is more than disorientating, yet the sumo wrestlers give a hint.

I knew Scanner. Didn't have a clue who Michael Wells was but this (loosely) mixed CD caught my attention at once due to its mentality, constantly shifting through styles yet retaining a definite aesthetic proposal. Starting somewhere between KK Records' dark electronics and early Warp's rave, inserting a dose of experimental techno and some sentimental interludes, Wells makes a bold proposal, not uncharacteristic of the spirit of the times, merging oldschool sounds and forward thinking. Breaks, acid, Irdial-like beats, isolationist ambient, mini techno, take your pick, it's there and it's really interesting. Special guests are none other than To Rococo Rot, Techno Animal, Panasonic & Ø, Riou (*), Abe Duque as Kirlian, Starfish Pool and Roman Fluegel as Eight Miles High. The Vienna scene is represented by G. Potuznik aka G.D.Luxxe and Alois Huber from Craft Records (which I recently discovered and appreciate more and more).

By the way, Michael Wells aka Signs Of Chaos is better known from his other legendary collaborations with deceased Lee Newman in the early '90s as GTO, Tricky Disco (in Warp), Church Of Extacy and Technohead. He doesn't have the infinite number of releases as, say, Baby Ford does, still the early records were incredibly influential (and successful) and the next ones were just too weird to be ignored.

VA - 1998 Sounds From The Electronic Lounge

a Scanner vs. Signs Of Chaos presentation,
mixed by Michael Wells
Info here.

Somewhere I had a album he 'd spread for free on the net, I'll get back on it later on.

Electric Ladyland Clickhop Version 1.0

Mille Plateaux had the advantage of having some legendary names in its roster right from the beginning (Heckmann, Alec Empire, Oval, Khan and co.), not to mention the support from the european and british IDM scene as well as from the Cologne scene later on. Thus, through releasing compilations that included works from all the above and some more usual suspects, it had the greatest impact possible on the scene during the '90s, defining german electronics and effortlessly breeding a few new genres. Most important were the archetypal 'Modulation & Transformation' series (mostly experimental electronics and cutting edge techno), the 'Electric Ladyland' series (post hip-hop ultra twisted breaks) and finally the 'Clicks & Cuts' series (* + *).

Somewhere between the cut-up sensibilities of the Ladyland series and the clicks 'n' cuts craftsmanship stands this one. You 'll hear a lot of weird hip-hop, post-dub illbient and IDMish US breaks, though a lot of the old Mille Plateaux posse stick to the abstract glitch thing they know how to do best, with the addition of a loop or two. Click Hop they called it, trying to define a new hybrid style. Time tells us they were wrong (it didn't exactly make it as a genre), yet the success of artists like Funkstörung, Prefuse 73, the BPitch Control's and Shitkatapult's breaks departments, as well as the evolution of mainstream hip hop techniques (adopting a lot of ideas proposed here) show that they were totally on the right track.

Also included is the first (and best) collaborative track between Vladislav Delay and AGF.

VA - 2001 Electric Ladyland Clickhop Version 1.0
CD1 - CD2
Info here.

Globetrotting

It's been some time since I encountered the term 'techfunk'. Though it's out of fashion for a decade or so, it was really big in the UK during the '90s and describes this amalgam of house, techno and electronic funk that originated as an idea in Detroit but was willingly adopted (and quickly transformed) by important names of the UK scene; Aubrey comes to mind, Leftfield with Offshoot, Russ Gabriel and the Ferox 'techno soul' scene (*), the Subtech label and early Circulation stuff. We might say it was the closest the UK got to the Detroit feeling. It mostly stayed underground, yet sometimes it surfaced and gave the occasional hit, like with this album by Dave Angel.
It's rather hard to add more to his bio in Discogs or here. I'll just have to say that his label Rotation was a constant reference for me and I believe it seriously upgraded the quality of continental and UK techno with its level of sophistication, without losing the hard edge or the dance feeling.
I also never did quite grasp why most people defined Dave Angel's music as just 'techno'. I mean, he's definitely influenced more by funk and house, with jazzy elements and even '80s electro and hip-hop references, while the definitely repetitive form of many of his tracks might be traced to the harder side of Chicago or UK acid house, especially in this one (out in '97). Later he got rather harder. This genre thing is crap anyway, just don't think you're about to hear banging stuff, it's much more than that.

Dave Angel - 1997 Globetrotting
Info here.

This was a request, but also a good opportunity to travel back in time a bit. Next stop, Aubrey.

Into Forever

Infinite sweetness by guitar hero Manual and Alexander Perls or Icebreaker International (once part of Piano Magic).

Out through a sub-label of Berlin's 'pop' emblematic Morr Music, this music is destined to be transmitted from Antares, "... a deep-space probe fitted with high powered audio projectors..." after his launch in May 2011 from Novgorod, Russia, towards the nebula NGC 10007 (though I have yet to find even a tiny piece of info on that mission..). The sound nods sleepily towards the shoegaze direction (down?), post-Fripp guitars blend with post-Eno abstract electronics, like a glossy 'No Pussyfooting' (but sounding a bit retro instead of cutting-edge). The funny thing is that '90s shoegaze didn't sound so '70s-like. Still, the outcome is exceptionally good, relaxing and spacey. Ambient.

This release is backed up by both RISAcorp (?) and NATOarts (a sponsor of old for the I.I., old site here). Creepy, to say the least.

Icebreaker International & Manual - 2003 Into Forever
Info here.

Audiomatik

Savvas Georgiades is one of the few guys in Greece that managed to built a decent reputation in the european techno scene since the early days.
Through the '90s he deejayed and recorded as DJ Savage; lately he's known through his releases in Treibstoff, Morris/Audio and Tongut by the name of Novatek. He's also the owner of Kinetik Records and has a constant (though not overtly frequent) presence in discography, contributing releases and remixes in Euro and UK labels.

This one was released through the most respectable label in Greece for the last (many) years, Poeta Negra, a strange attractor of extraordinary culture and weird music right from the heart of sub-capital Salonica, the northern Greek gray metropolis by the sea. Experimental electronics collide with dreamy/ noisy post-rock marathons, ambient scapes with industrial bangers. In one of its rather accessible releases, presented here under his electro moniker Neuro D, Savvas Georgiades builds loopy electrofunk constructs on the Duesseldorf-Miami axis with a slight '80s EBM tint, similar to early Rother releases, slightly more synth-based and always funky.

For compulsive electro heads, I consider this one mandatory.

Neuro D - 2002 Audiomatik
Info here.

Trance Atlantic I & II

From the Volume label, in the same spirit as the 'Trance Europe Express' series.

After having a big impact on the European scene with three or four TEX volumes, in a big way defining (UK's) perspective on 'techno', 'trance' and 'electronica' and establishing/ introducing artists, the project crossed over the Atlantic and featured stuff from dance legends side by side to less known artists from USA and Canada. Of course, due to their importance and history Chicago and Detroit are much more represented here, still it more or less presents a certain picture of the then surfacing US 'rave' scene.
Many of the usual suspects are here, too much to mention (though some more are rather blatantly overlooked). A look at the artists' list will convince you. The first volume has an overall approach music-wise with a slight emphasis on Detroit artists, while the second one points a bit more towards Chicago.

All tracks were exclusive back then, though later some surfaced in compilations or re-edits.
Get them.


VA - 1995 Trance Atlantic
CD1 - CD2
Info here.


VA - 1995 Trance Atlantic 2
CD1 - CD2
Info here.

Tracks 1-02 and 2-01 of Vol.1 are not included here. Sorry.

Human Race

From Len Faki's never forgotten [feis] label (check here first), an album to fill the emptiness inside every poor robot.

Infinite respect to Bolz Bolz from Cologne for the World Electric label and for introducing me to the Kitbuilders; most of all though for just doing what he did, being at the right place in the wrong time and still coming through. Comparable (but not similar) only to also analog-based 'Rest' from Isolée.

A modern classic.

Bolz Bolz - 2001 Human Race
Info here.

Combination Traffic I & II

Some wonderful electronics by Combination Records, a rather low-profile quality Düsseldorf freestyle label active for about seven years now.

Focusing on sweet breaks, equally balanced between down- and uptempo stuff, combining IDM synths and germanic Ableton beats with acidic touches here and there, these compilations have easily been of my favorites when it comes to the 'freestyle' sound. Overall a serious counter proposition to the 'lounge' sound of Paris or Vienna, for example (both scenes have released some really interesting records, but IMO also a lot of uninspired crap). Reminds me a bit of Hydrogen Dukebox (they share Norken aka Metamatics) or Clear, in the sense that these labels were also pigeon-holed as 'electronica' while they didn't actually sticked to a certain sound, promoting producers rather than genres or styles.

Many artists come from the drum'n'bass, nu-funk and future jazz scene, like The Green Man, Hidden Agenda, Fehlmann & Louise, Telescope, housey Matt Flores, or the magnificent Kabuki. There are also some rather heavyweight guys here like Hardfloor (as Dadamnphreeknoizphunk) or Christopher Just, side by side with Clatterbox , Brothomstates, even BOC. Or sweet tech stuff from the likes of SCSI-9, Delsin's Aardvarck, Lowtec and the great Swimmingpool project (Antonelli Electr. & Michael Scheibenreiter, also one half of Phoneheads). The sound is rather indescribable, I could sum up saying only it's futuristic urban music for everyone. I also appreciate a lot that many side-projects here put out stuff that's really different from what they usually do.
Other label guests have also been Staubgold's Ekkehard Elhers (aka Betrieb aka Auch), Stefan Schneider (aka Mapstation) and Hanno Leichtmann (aka Static of CCO).

It's true a Combination vinyl is a rare sight down here. I only have Traffic II (2LP) and I've seen another 12" during the last six years. Still, these two CDs have been keeping me company for a long long time. I consider them to be daytime music, still the choice is up to you. Τotally recommended for all.


VA - Combination Traffic 2001
Info here.


VA - Combination Traffic II 2002
Info here.

(If someone has a rip of Traffic III, please let me know).

k2O, Musica Obscura

So, evidently, this one isn't listed in Discogs...

It's a compilation of tracks released on k2O Records, Kanzleramt's experimental electronics sub-label, specially compiled as a label showcase for Freeze magazine, the longest standing (though more or less sad) greek mag on electronic music. Possibly around 2003.

If you're familiar with the sound of k2O Records you should definitely get this; know that many tracks appeared on CD first time here (and possibly never again).
For those who don't know k2O, it was an output for Kanzleramt's artists and guests for stuff that didn't fit into the original concept. From the more abstract electronics a la Lux Nigra or DIN to glitchy deep tech or monotone breaks, for me it has always been a welcome deep dive into Berlin's dark heart. Interesting and daring, k2O acted as a much needed counterpoint to mother label's melodic yet aggressive techno (a mentality to be envied, especially today). Appearing here are the usual Kanzleramt boys plus famous (yet even unexpected) guests in disguise, check the links thoroughly.
Though Kanzleramt still releases some 12"s once in a while, k2O is defunct for some years.
I'd also recommend the already posted 'Art Is A Division Of Pain' trilogy. (P.S. For more check here).

VA - 2003 Musica Obscura, a k2O showcase
Info here.

Due to the lack of a scanner I wasn't able to provide a cover. Maybe in the future...

P.S. I did the Discogs post, soon to be full with covers and all. I'll repost this one then.

Birthday

- Do What Thou Wilt Shall Be The Whole Of The Law. -

If he was still alive it would be his birthday today (and he would be 133 years old), so I kind of owe this to him. Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you... (menacing bongos and snare drum roll) The Great Beast himself.

This is a compilation of various recordings he did on wax cylinder (the recorders of the era) about a century ago, repressed many times in more modern formats since the '80s (check here), though the first one must have been this. Contains extracts from rituals, readings of his poems, a praise to the american people, even some singing. Found in various rips from the different pressings around the net (it's rather common as 'The Great Beast Speaks'). I don't exactly remember which is the one I have (I just kept the best rip I found), though they're all almost identical.

Aleister Crowley - 1910-1914 The Wax Cylinders recordings
Here.

To always be remembered as teacher, user, philosopher, scoundrel, evangelist, free man.

- Love Is The Law, Love Under Will. -

Ghost In The Shell

As I said before, I decided to post here some more visually focused stuff, so here is one of my top five anime films of all time.

Ghost In The Shell (1995)

688x348, XviD, 1.4GB, 83'
Language: Japanese, incl. english subtitles (.srt)
IMDb Link: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0113568/
Director: Mamoru Oshii
Description: Based on the manga by Masamune Shirow.
Usually mentioned either in comparison with William Gibson's work or for its influence on the Matrix trilogy. It was also the first anime to target the European and US market at the same time as the Japanese, of course. Obviously focusing a lot on technology, cyber fetishism and the concept of the 'ghost', the plot is rather typical; just there to get things rolling, because the true protagonists of this epic are its heroes' and villains' existential quests, reminiscent in a way of Blade Runner (which imo has been the greatest influence on GITS, and not only in its aesthetics).
A classic.

Info and download links here.

I'm thinking you'll need a Premium account for these...

opensource.code

This release is the first of a few to come from legendary german label Source (not to be confused with the british or the french one), run by David Moufang and Jonas Grossmann.

One of the Ableton efforts of showcasing its software, it gathers some sacred monsters of the german minimalistic and clicks 'n' cuts scene (Monolake, Brinkmann, Jelinek, Lippok, etc. and the mighty Sun Electric) plus some already established of the new blood from across the sea (Sutekh, Akufen) and of course the label owners in various disguises. Techno, experimentation, ambiances and minimalism in one nice package.

VA - 2002 opensource.code
Info here.

Many, many thoughts

This post is following the thread that started in the last post's comments. My reply got too big, so I'll take it from there.

A lot of good music is indeed published today, as it always was. I don't believe there has ever been a Golden Age of electronic music on global terms. There were creative outbreaks here and there during specific periods, but not for the whole world at the same time and they were always surpassed very soon by the next wave. So I am not gonna go crying about the end of it or something. It's just that I have an idea, a concept, something I'd like to share. I hope that through my DJ sets, my writings and my everyday attitude I have a tiny chance of influencing the world around me, even for a little while, even for a night. On a level, every creative person does that, 'artistic' or not. We all are here shaping the music scene for the next big change and everybody is pushing towards where it feels better for him. (And that's why I don't keep my mouth shut anymore, I've done it for a long time and it now feels stupid.)

It's obvious to me that a great change signifying a new era has happened about five years ago when vinyl distributors started closing down one by one (EFA was the first big one), dragging down great labels with them (Force Inc./ Mille Plateaux, for example). I don't feel it's a coincidence that at the same time specialist e-shops like Decks.de conquered the European scene, lowering the purchase cost while putting local vinyl shops out of work. People learned to buy vinyl through the net, even though they might live in a big city and had direct access to stores. Since then the constantly growing digital market became stronger and stronger, as it makes better use of (and has more direct influence on) the media. Profits for the e-shops (not the artists or the labels) are bigger than ever, with apparently very small cost (promotion, mainly). Overthrowing the previous distributors' trusts, they've grown to be cartels, whether we like it or not. That's the story, as far as I'm concerned.

Whining about 'Minimal', 'electro house' and related commercial genres has not much to do with the music itself (which I can easily ignore). But it has a lot to do with what it represents, as well as with the people who promote that music. The above mentioned businessmen, who define the future of music as it was only done before the rise of indie labels, usind the same strategies the big corporations used. Or the opportunist producers, who constantly jump on someone else's train as the old guy used to say, while forerunners and pioneers are drowned in this media directed digi-flood of releases and superficial info. They are re-designing modern culture through the distorted prism of commercial success, cashing on the DIY network and the 'underground' credentials they so easily abandoned when they finally had the chance. Good for their pocket, not for our souls, but we are letting them do it.

I'm going to disagree with the view that good stuff floats (mostly shit does). It doesn't, unless it has marketing behind it. For example, watch Get Physical. Good music (not ground-breaking at first) made by professional producers/ sound engineers (Booka Shade), spread by good DJs (M.A.N.D.Y.), backed by the maturity of DJ T, a DJ for 20 years and Groove editor for 15 years. And they have a full company, managers, publishers, accountants and all. They had the media by their side from the beginning. They have the potential to succeed, but they also have the power to do it. They're pros. Same with the BPitch Control posse, same with Cocoon, for me the ultimate example of non-commercial music having success through commercial tactics.

Now imagine a techno freak, some half-crazed trash making music in bedroom with two synths and a drum machine or a humble PC, living on dreams/ drugs/ noodles/ inspiration/ thin air. If s/he happens to write the best techno track ever, will YOU be able to listen to it? It might be out there in a net label, buried under tons of uninteresting stuff. It's the label's A&R man work to find it, but it might be lost in a small label. Big ones sign mostly famous names to keep their sales up, very few dare to try new shit. It's also the media man's job to find the next good one, but he has to listen to this year's 182nd release from the current hip Mini Label and its Beatport exclusive remix. Techno is mainstream in many places, taken over by pros to replace euro-trance and progressive house in the commercial scene.

All we need is a break.

I've said it before and I'll say it again. The only way to cancel this mediocracy crap is to stop supporting it. Stop listening to stuff you find average, it's shaping your mindset. Fully support what you really like and spread the word. Most artists give up because they feel that what they do doesn't have any effect on people because some clown sells more than them. Go to gigs, communicate with the artists, buy from the labels directly if you can and say 'thank you'... Show that you care.

We shall overcome.


P.S. I should be a motivational speaker. Do this. Do that...
I am not
now, nor have I ever been a member of the Communist Party.

Minus 61 in Detroit

I always hate that in every presentation or review I read lately, I find the same cliche expressions like "sure floorfiller", "a real burner", etc. Mostly they apply for tracks that you couldn't stand to listen unless you've blown a least half a g of ketamine, obsolete by next month. Which mentally brings me to the reason I started avoiding clubbing per se (the empty-eyed, self-entangled 'dancers').
Well, to borrow, this is a real slow burner from 1995. It goes for 9'22'', which used to be an enormous amount of time then but now is rather typical, so don't you dare press the pause button until it's finished.

David Holmes - minus 61 in Detroit


Few days ago I played in a small yet very friendly club, where I've been a customer and guest DJ of old. Due to the imminent rain I thought nobody would show up, yet at about 2-3 am it was packed and we kept it up till morning. Mostly over thirty years old, people were drawn in by and surely danced to the more modern stuff but again went crazy over some older classics with which I sticked to after 5 am. I even dropped 'Acid Trax', some BC, 'Amnesia' and old Cologne stuff and the point is, they had better fun with them than with the adorably perfect productions and almost scientific percussive trickery of the new school of rave music. Instinctively companies started to mingle and people started dancing with other people instead of next to other people. Very few drugs were going around, so I know it was the fun (and not the drug) factor that moved and kept them there.
And I remembered the time when through the unholy combination of many nice people, some open space, unprescribed medication and good music (in whatever amount one would choose to sample them) I sometimes felt that yes, the whole is bigger than the sum of its parts.

Recently I was informed that in Switzerland good old acid is used again in medical research, concerning its therapeutic uses, trying to decide if a (slightly bigger than) normal dose will effect more profoundly some patients than the 1/10th of it that they now take as a test (it will).
By the way, read this.

I'd finally like to grab the opportunity to strongly recommend to everyone into DJing or clubbing to read Jeff Noon's 'DJNA' story from the infamous 'Disco Biscuits' compilation, both an allegory of the late '90s UK scene as well as a sadly prophetic vision of the future to come (the one we're living in).

Berlin Calling

I'd like to watch that one when it comes out.

Might be cheesy, like a Berlin reply at "It's all gone Pete Tong". Still, Paul dB+ is the man.

More info on www.berlin-calling.de.

PS. The OST is the new album of Paul Kalkbrenner in BPitch Control.

Parasols 02

Plink Plonk was a label run by Richard West, better known as Mr.C of The Shamen, co-founder since 1995 of The End club (and label) in London.

Not much I know about PP as I wasn't quite following back then when it started (1992-3), still it's rather obvious that it played a pivotal role in the enrichment and development of UK techno. I bet it was due to the combination of Mr.C's love for music and his business skills, as in its roster appear some of Detroit and Chicago's finest while many british acts presented there were or later went really big. Using the club as a base has also been useful, I guess. Anyway, along with Irdial (*), Mark Broom's A13 and Pure Plastic, Ferox and Ifach they defined in a big way the course of England's underground techno scene, totally underrated and almost subdued by the whole mid '90s commercial UK club crap. Just listen to this compilation, or even check the artists' list. To give you a clue, in order of appearance, there they are:

LA Synthesis is Carl Grant and Tony Gallagher. (*)
Kosmic Messenger is Stacey Pullen.
Innersound are The Advent. (*)
Urban Groove (Alliance) is Hope Grant aka Envoy of Soma.
Underground Science is Krypto and Laggy Pantelli of Megalon. Who appear here as a stand-alone act and in their legendary collaboration with Irdial's Lee Purkis aka InSync.
Ansicht is Ian Pooley. (*)
Tone Theory is Derrick Carter.
Kasm are Mark Broom & Dave Hill aka Rue East.
God Of The Machine is Derrick Thompson of Soiree.
Hiroshi Morohashi had some 12"s out in DjaxUpBeats, Shield, Acacia.
Kumo is Jono Podmore, sound engineer and d'n'b-breaks oriented producer.
Interloper is Jon Ryman, and Stranger is Ian Tregoning, unknown yet respected engineers for the post-industrial scene in UK.
Music For Freaks is of course Luke Solomon of the Freaks and Derrick Carter.

People from the Plink Plonk roster not participating here are the famous (of Layo &) Bushwacka!, Pluto, the Somnabulist, Christopher Benjamin, Michel De Hey vs Literon (=Gerd) and many more less known. Many aliases are collaborations or cameos of Mr.C.
Is it a wonder the End went so big?

Lately he's running the Superfreq label, working a lot with Adultnapper as the Sycophant Slugs with an eminent release in Get Physical... Which seems to copy Mr.C's tactics really well, when it comes to inviting big names with good networks behind them for a release.

VA - 1996 Parasols 02
. a Plink Plonk compilation
CD 1 - CD 2
Info here.

I just read that The End is gonna close in a few months.

Branches and Routes

Some more from the FatCat label, .

Following the already posted 'Across Uneven Terrain' were 'No Watches, No Maps', a demos compilation (which regrettably I don't own) and this 2CD showcase out in 2003, And yes, they do have a landscape/mapping fixation concerning titles, but as a metaphor it's on the spot when it comes to describing the compilations' character. The label sound was slowly turning towards more electronic pathways as well as getting more noisy/glitchy, still mood and tendencies are more or less the same: experimentation, acoustic sources through digital proccessing, organic development in songs' structures, the melting of all influences into an undefined amalgam where the unexpected is... well, eminent.

Even though some of the FatCat stuff was too far away from me to get it, there were certain artists and releases that I value among the best of my techno collection (Various Artists, Ultra-Red, Grain) while others have provided me with a lot of listening material. Many people went for the more abstract or the DSP stuff, while others got to know FatCat through Sigur Rós and múm. What I really mean is that this is not your average electronica label. It's something in there for everyone. Respect.

VA - 2003 Branches and Routes
a FatCat records compilation

CD1: Part 1 - Part 2
CD2: Part 1 - Part 2

Info here and here.

Anti-musings

From time to time I spend some- no, a lot of time wandering aimlessly around the net, as I'm sure you all do. Occasionally I come upon something really good which I instantly bookmark and then forget for some months, until I finally come back checking what it was that I spotted and liked in the first place and if it's still there.
I spent last month trying to gather a disco and italo set for a special occasion I happened to DJ to and I was approximating at least 12 hours per day going through CDs and hard disks, listening to tracks (some I even didn't knew I had them), organizing everything, etc. It was really fun but I had nowhere to practice, still it went rather well. But I got tired.
The thing is, I'm bored of music now ("HERESY!!! HERESY!!!"). It's only dub and some ambient stuff I can tolerate at low volume. So I'm looking for books as well as films, clips, visual stuff in general. Whenever I find something exciting, instead of dumping it in my bookmarks I'll just drop the link here. I still have some posts half-ready, by the time I finish with them and post them I hope I'll be able to cope with music again.

Turquoise

I'm sure some of the older ones remember Salz, or else Emanuel Geller & Axel Erbstößer, oldschool Cologne duo that through the late '90s and early '00s quietly but distinctly left its mark in the yet still developing local scene. Their sound epitomized what was to become one of the trademark styles of Cologne, a cross between BasicChannel-like dub and Studio1 minimal tech with quirky pop ala Yellow Magic Orchestra, UK synth pop and Thomas Dolby (with whom they later worked together and had a relative hit). Their own releases were not few but almost exclusively published through their own label (Salz, again); they also did remixes for some of the scene's most important labels - while their tracks are seemingly always included in every compilation. Moreover Emanuel Geller is a mastering engineer, responsible for the final sound of many good records out during this decade (check his 'Appears On' list in Discogs), which also explains a lot the respect of less-experienced producers he enjoys. Still, due to the ultra low profile they kept, not a lot of people know them. I had them in the same mental folder with BC artists, anonymous, consistent and legendary, as it was extremely hard to find Salz records here (I only have a couple) and info on them was scarce.

Recently I decided to gather what I can find of them, 2nd hand of course, in Discogs. eBay, etc. And I came upon this one, not by Salz (the duo) but on their label. Turquoise is Gerd Türke, obviously a friend of theirs as he published exclusively there. I know almost nothing about him, except that he seemed to be in the group Les Immer Essen with a certain Joerg Burger (*) during the '80s and '90s, with whom they're still exchanging remixes and obviously share the same sensibilities when it comes to pop vocals or synth techno.

To my ears this is more of a pop record than a techno one, in the sense that it's more influenced by wave pop than by Jeff Mills and has more 'songs' than 'tracks'. Oldschool, you might say, but that also goes for most of the Cologne releases of those years, there's more emphasis on melodies and song structure than in percussion trickery or sparky programming. As you can assume, it fits well besides releases by The Modernist. A similar music-wise release is the earlier posted 'Du Bist Die Stadt' compilation.

Turquoise - 2002 selftitled
Part 1 - Part 2
Info here.

A Salz track can found here. More here.

Muto

Infinite OZ

The Zoom World

Spaces

I realize I haven't posted yet anything from Greece, so this is a first.

Fluxion is Konstantinos Soublis, owner of Vibrant Music and an extremely proud member of the Chain Reaction roster (who wouldn't be, right?) through which he released several 12"s and two albums (3CDs overall) of deep techno and Berlin dub of the Hardwax variety. And interesting ones, actually, for those who don't own them (*).
Later on he established Vibrant Music to release his projects mostly, though quickly came along some newcomers (Qebo, Naono, Pridon) as well as the rather famous in Greece Coti K. A change in his style became apparent, especially in his CD-formatted outputs (his 12"s and sporadic live sets are a bit more energetic), moving away from the nautical dub excursions of the BC camp to sound art/ sonic landscapes territory and sound-designed ambient.
Best suited for headphones, this album is more for the isolationist than the smoker.
Some more of Vibrant will be posted in the future, though by visiting their site here you can listen to most of their stuff.

Fluxion - 2001 Spaces
Part 1 - Part 2
Info here.

(*) And if you really don't own them, just stop reading and go buy them and have a great weekend.

Time Trap Technik

Some more of The Advent. Just Cisco Ferreira, that is (earlier posts here and here).

This is the electro side of The Advent, mechanistic and jittery and spacey. First released on his own Kombination Research and then on Gigolo Records (half of the tracks were previously released in his KR 12"s), most tracks are typically loops in rather fast BPMs, without many changes and far from the average electro pop song structure, while others sound as if they were customized for Hell's label, with '80s feeling and arpeggios. The basic fierce energetic Advent feeling is always there, of course, so an old fan would hardly be disappointed (I know I wasn't). On the other hand, the whole project seems caught somewhere in the middle between Ferreira's desire to experiment with pure electro forms and his natural tendency to produce club tools. When it works it's great (see 'E-Tox', a masterpiece) but in my opinion his tracks are designed for and work better as breaks between his more 4/4 tech tracks. Still, for that special night when you'd like to listen to robots music, 'Time Trap Technik' delivers.

The Advent - 2000 Time Trap Technik
Part 1 - Part 2
Info here.

sound+

Yesterday I came by this one which has a lot of direct downloads - interesting live and DJ sets from a lot of people I like. And a couple of great mixes. So go there and get them.

sound.modelfruit.com

By the way, every once in a while I update the 'Detroit Audio' post with links of new sites.

Art Of Dance: Exhibits

Back from a relatively short but much needed summer break, I thought I'd kickstart this season with more Detroit goodies.

Art Of Dance is an early '90s label run by Kenny Larkin, a rather famous one of the 'Third Wave', also known as Dark Comedy, Yennek, Lark, Pod, etc. He had some early releases in Plus 8 and WARP so it's no wonder he quickly got big, especially in Europe. Through Art Of Dance he released only a few 12"s. This is the CD version of ART-2001 plus a few extras and was first out through Distance, then through its sub-label... Substance. Of course, most tracks are by Larkin, along with the Sean Deason (*) track 'The Shit' (which was re-vamped by 2003 through Matrix) and Stacey Pullen's self-explanatory 'Freeky Deeky' (as Kosmic Messenger). Soulful deepness and banging beats in a nice package, with love from Detroit.

Larkin is preparing a new album, while aspiring to work as a stand-up comedian in California where he now resides.

VA - 1996 Art Of Dance: Exhibits
Part 1 - Part 2
Info here.