Sub Dub

Another Instinct Ambient record, on the dub side this time. Sub Dub are John Ward and Raz Mesinai, a duo that soon established a name in its rather short-lived career, with releases and compilation participations in big NY labels like Axiom, Asphodel and of course I.A.
They were promoted alongside Illbient/Crooklyn artists of the above labels as they shared their heavy dub techniques and dark, otherworldy atmospheres, yet their sound had ethnic elements due their love for Middle East percussions and samples, as well as (relatively speaking) some kind of song structures. Both characteristics Mesinai kept using in his solo work or his recent dubstep infected releases as Badawi.
This is their first album, rough, polymorphous and interesting.

Sub Dub - 1996, selftitled
Part 1 - Part 2
Info here.


It turns out that what I wrote in that post was crap and a vinyl version of 'Hypothetical Situations' does exist, available for sale here. I think for Drexciya fans it's a must-have release so if you missed it go there and get one, I just ordered mine. By the way, when someone detects an error like this one it wouldn't hurt to point it out, right?
The Drexciya Research Lab is doing a wonderful job on tracking the whereabouts of the Drexciyans and has been doing so for a long time, providing us in the meanwhile tones of geeky info and serious thoughts on each project. Surely a great way to spend some time reading while listening to the actual albums.

Kotai + Mo

Another cryptic label out of the Berlin scene, Elektro Music Department was/is run by Kotai and Mo. It has mostly released their stuff plus collaborations with well respected artists like Baby Ford (*) or Riley Reinhold of Traum as well as the lesser known but great El Puma and 100records. This is a compilation of the first Kotai + Mo 12''s.

Even though they had strong connections with the Cologne empire, WMF, Perlon, Monica Enterprises and many more of the Berlin old school, EMD artists remained obscure for the mainstream, just because of their music. An atavistic approach to rhythm and the love of dark throbbing analog electro basslines, borrowing heavily from the city's techno dub tradition as well as from minimal synth and early acid, was stretched to the point of monomania by repetition and spiced with druggy vocals. References to Suicide are as strong as these to Basic Channel and their sound is almost unique in its bass fixation and its solidness, a synthetic wall of low frequencies. Despite its claustrophobic atmospheres due to their sound some tracks work well in clubs, although mostly for crowds of heavily drugged children of the night.

Unfortunately Kotai and Mo, following the spirit of many of Berlin's artists in general, embedded their various influences in a single creative norm, a sound blueprint and sticked to it so hard that most of their tracks ended sounding identical - new ideas were scarce and got lost in the otherwise similar 12'' releases. When they tried different things the results were magical, but sadly it didn't happen much. Releases by other artists refreshed the label a bit, with moderate results in the long run. Later Kotai released a solo album with a lot of vocals in WMF, out of which came the 'Sucker DJ' hit (written by Tommi Eckart of 2raumwohnung). A re-release of this on the EMD label may be the only still available vinyl from them, check the back catalogue in the Kompakt shop.

This post may seem weird, since they have already put out their music in their sites. Yet I believe it's important to listen to this compilation in (relatively) good quality in order to understand their sound, so start here and then go there for a better idea of what they were all about. Then BUY THE VINYL.
Kotai claims the Disko B(ombs) #4 release back in 1991.

Elektro Music Department.
On previous posts, there are two EMD artists' tracks (here and here).

Kotai + Mo - 1999, selftitled
Part 1 - Part 2
Info here.

One Year

So, it's been one year... I'd like to thank you all for the occasional comment and stuff, or just for dropping by and leeching, you know.
I wish I had prepared some special post. But I didn't, so I'll put up a frame from a favorite movie and repost one of my all-time top tracks that passed unnoticed earlier. As it feels appropriate I won't say much about it, just a hint: try it on two decks simultaneously.

Robert Hood - Minus

And have a better year than this one.


Actually, it's 'Chapter 1' but there never was a second, so...
Out through the Values series of Tresor label, it's an ambient, almost '70s trip with 'trancey' edges, great chilling music.

More on TV Victor here.

TV Victor - 1996, Trancology Chapter 1
Part 1 - Part 2
Info here.

The First Wave of Pacific

Pacific Records was a mid '90s rather low profile UK label that released a certain amount of 12''s and this CD compilation before disappearing.
The special thing about it was that without being far ahead of its time or ground-breaking in some way, its releases managed to maintain a certain level of quality and musicality without losing the dancefloor sense. By developing a style influenced equally by mature UK house and Detroit Techno without the oldschool elements, they could be included in the definition of the tech house sound along Plastic City or any other good label of the time.
In my mind they stand musically near certain Soma releases, Circulation's straighter tracks or Pure Plastic. It also brings to mind some more underground techfunk labels like Solid Groove, Subtech or even Ferox with a more minimal approach (all characterized 'techno' labels at the time). Imagine a cross between Aubrey and Mark Broom with the Detroit deep elements accented and you have a good clue.
A lot of people did remixes for Pacific, like Carl Craig, Stacey Pullen, Claude Young, Damon Wild, Dennis Ferrer, Steve Rachmad, the big Mike Dunn and Mark Broom (of course). Still I think the real power came from the original ideas. There are no standouts or super hits (except maybe 'The Theme' which was recently released again by NRK with new remixes), mostly it was the consistency and solidness of the label's sound aesthetics that made their mark on me. It's a compilation you can listen to either at the club or at your place doing something else or just chilling. Because it has a story to tell, interesting for us now because it's the story of today's music, where techno and house blends are the norm, where minimalism meets melodies, where angular and deep elements co-exist.
Sadly most of their releases were made by (very) short-lived teams and artists. Producers I know that are still active (and kicking) are Charles Webster (of Hot Lizard) and Quenum (of Access 58). Amongst those who passed from there are Sunrise Society and the weirdest of them all, tech-jazzist Ian O'Brien.
Not much people liked this stuff at the time, it was too soft for the techno fans and too minimal (and not-disco) for the house fans. Too modern, actually.

VA - 1997, The Pacific Records, The First Wave
Part 1 - Part 2
CD2: Part 1 - Part 2
Info here.

Like A Motorway

One of the many beautiful tracks by legends of pop Saint Etienne, reconstructed by:

Dust Brothers (UK)- a rather typical early era Chemicals remix
David Holmes - a motor-driven 13 minutes long acid epic
Autechre - a low-profile masterpiece

I was lucky to have the 1991 'Fox Base Alpha' LP from back then. It still sounds the same. I love Saint Etienne. 'Would you like some sweet?'

Saint Etienne - 1994 Like A Motorway EP

Info here.


FFWD is Robert Fripp, Alex Patterson, Thomas Fehlmann and Kris Weston aka Thrash.

More or less The (1993) Orb vs Fripp, it's a heavy dubbed '70s psychedelic trip built on Fripp's guitars and treated by Orbish feedbacks and paranoia, jumping from moody melodies and soft ambiances to thunderous manic explosions and back again. Not for the weak-hearted, and not a chill-out album. Also one of the few non-hippie non-retro successful attempts of combining '70s and '90s music creatively. Unique.

FFWD - 1994, FFWD
Part 1 - Part 2
Info here.

Magic Tracks

Compilation of timeless Detroit tracks by Juan Atkins, out in Pow Wow (NYC label that sometimes promoted the Detroit-Berlin axis). It's also noted here and here as the (lost) Tresor24CD, later four tracks were released here.

Tracks by Scan 7, Keith Tucker, Drexciya, Gerald Donald solo, Ron Cook of Audiotech, Eddie Fowlkes and Juan himself. Highest quality archetypal Detroit sound, you won't regret it. Personal favorites are the deepest techno soul ever 'Deepcover' track of Flashin' Fowlkes, the tech-trance-dub '21st Century' epic of Scan 7 and Infiniti's club classic 'Flash Flood'.

Despite the inexplicable cover and the problems with disc mastering (apparently no one did any, Fowlkes' track is non-existent) it's a classic. I recently noticed it's on sale for 30 euros, so it must be out of print. It's a pity.

VA - 1993 Magic Tracks compiled by Juan Atkins
Deep Detroit Volume Two

Info here.

Me, The Disco Machine

A compilation of the first Antonelli Electr. 12''s in Italic.
Picture Moroder in a Cologne club late '90s. Pure bliss.

Antonelli Electr. - 1999, Me, The Disco Machine
Part 1 - Part 2
Info here.

And also here.

The Fire This Time

Not often do we see such confrontational political work in the electronic music industry networks.
This a documentary in audio format, a tribute to the people of Iraq and a reminder of the destruction (continuing to be) caused by the direct aggressive intervention of certain western countries. If you feel the war on Iraq is a fair one, avoid this record at all costs. It may make you feel bad. Or sad, but that's normal.
For information on this project start from the surviving homepage, the Discogs link or this release reference, sadly most other links are deactivated (it's been six years...). Some current info on the Iraq situation overall here.

On the first disc you'll find the original creation of Grant Wakefield (text, narration & mix), on the second the underlying soundtrack. Mostly unreleased tracks or remixes by artists like AFX, Higher Intelligence Agency, Pan sonic, Bola, even the great AshRa, construct an dark ambient background with industrial and breakcore explosions, spiced by moments of extreme beauty (especially the work of Nareem Shamma, of whom I know nothing more than his name, or the field recordings treated by Wakefield himself). The project went out on Hidden Art, a label associated with side projects of Steve Wilson, head of neo-prog rock icons Porcupine Tree.

I had forgotten this one for years, found it very recently. Sadly, tracks #3 & #4 of CD2 are not included (scratched disc). On the other hand, I included the original booklet that was not included the CD release, found in the project's homepage above. I don't know if it's a rare piece, I know it's surely not talked about a lot and very few people have it, so listen to it here and then go buy it. For british electronica fans it's essential.

Grant Wakefield & VA - 2002, The Fire This Time
CD1: Part 1 - Part 2
CD2: Part 1 - Part 2
Info here.

P.S. The past-homepage of this project now shelters this project.

The Matrix Of Us

An atypical record for John Tejada, creator of monumental tech house tracks and experimental works for over a decade through his own Palette and other influential labels (Plug Research, PokerFlat, 7th City, Immigrant, Fenetic, etc.) often along with friend Arian Leviste.

Not one of his more famous records, it went out on deFocus, a low-profile UK label with IDM background and some Plaid (+One) and CiM releases among others. Here are revealed his early pre-house influences; hip hop, detroit funk and '90s electronics. Shifting and flowing, mostly downtempo tracks of various styles blend into each other on an urban sound canvas, presenting a solid, coherent and personal view into the world of John Tejada. You may call it a chill out record but it'll do it no justice. Music to watch the city lights late at night .

John Tejada - 2000, The Matrix Of Us
Part 1 - Part 2
Info here.


Frugivores of the world unite. Mr Burger eating strawberries. A classic.

The Bionaut - 1993, Frugivore
Part 1 - Part 2
Info here.

Reposting #1

I upped the track #6 of the GAS 1996 album that was missing, so go there and get it.

Electric Opium

Substanz-T are a duo publishing in Hymen Records, the more accessible sub of weirdness distributor ant-zen label. They have released three albums (all in Hymen) and their music sounds completely mature and distilled, a hallucinogenic mix of electro and EBM-ish influences and phat european post-WARP electronics (a bit on the DUB side). 'Chill-out' music bordering on the unsettling but never quite crossing over there, introvert and deep yet at times bright. Participating are the always great FM Einheit as well as Yapacc, one half of Perlon's Narcotic Syntax. Also contained is a great rhyme by Sisco (no info...) that drops like a bomb in this otherwise totally otherworldly atmospheric collage.
Member Arne Stevens participates also in In-Waves project along with Stefan-X.

Substanz-T - 2003, Electric Opium
Part 1 - Part 2
Info here.

Beroshima oldies

After the Autotune post I thought a bit about Mueller and realised that most of the people probably know Beroshima only from the recent Cocoon release.
He goes back a long way. He started at the early '90s, released almost exclusively through his own labels and paved his own personal way against shifting hypes and styles by sticking to his obvious love (=compulsion), early '90s german rave techno just before it mutated a bit and went on to be called 'trance'. Of course, the Beroshima version of 'trance' has nothing to do with meta-hippie travelers and Buddhism and everything to do with 8-bit soundtracks for race games, Italo on speed, pop culture and Japan techno. I guess that explains the Berlin-Tokyo axis, the ever-growing connections between Mueller and various Japanese DJs/producers (like Takkyu Ishino, Kagami and more), as well as Frank Mueller's fascination with the Japanese culture. Fat synths, strong melodies, racing BPMs, getting blind by flashing strobos, even manic disco guitar samples, this is for me the Mueller style. 'Watch The Moving Bodies' as the robo poet says.
Many of Berlin's old school have one way or another contributed to the Mueller/ Beroshima/ Acid Orange/ Tanjobi catalogs. Putting Autotune, Tok Tok and affiliates aside, we have releases by Tom Clark of Highgrade, Alex Krueger aka Dub Taylor/Tigerskin, Rok, Ulrich Schnauss (!), Keen K aka Divider, Dave DK, Treplec of Milnor Modern label, the incredible Richard Davis, Sylvie Marks, Latex aka Steril, Lab.Insect of Lasergun and a Best Of ... by Air Liquide. And I-F as Frank Castle, and a lot more. I won't talk about remixes, it'll need another post. Still he has remained relatively unknown. At least he enjoys the respect of a lot of producers.
This is a compilation of tracks off the many 12''s he published (but only two albums so far), plus some remixes (check the Selway one) and live excerpts. Sums up quite nicely his progress until then. Nothing changed much until recently, when he took a more detroit-ish, hypnotic turn towards sunset/ sunrise music. Hope he goes bigger than everyone else and finally gets the recognition he deserves. He stayed underground for too long. The cover of this compilation should tell you something about him.

Beroshima - Best of ... compilation 2001 (Japan edition)

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

Info here.


Erobique is Carsten Meyer, one of the International Pony 'supergroup' trio (see here). This album went out in Acid Jazz Records, more or less a compilation of existing tracks released firstly on vinyl, then on his debut CD 'Erosound'.
I found this some time ago in the crates, forgotten. At last I was able to understand a big side of Ponies' weirdness, the r'n'b elements (in relation with the acid squelches), as Erobique is a born groover, mostly keeps the tempo down and is rather more interested in modernizing a funky beat than in 909s. Of course, when he bangs he does it with no regard to norms and styles.
If you're interested in the Hamburg scene, check this one. If you like the Pony, it's mandatory.

Erobique - 2001, Discodebut
Part 1 - Part 2
Info here.


And after all these clicks and cracks and pops and the rest, time for some heavier stuff.

Welcome the machine called Autotune, that is Adel Dior, Toni Planet and Fabian Feyerabendt of Tok Tok (see also the UMO post). After their experimenting days they started their club excursions from Mueller Records. With a super-rich past, the future ahead of them seemed brighter... in a manner of speaking. Actually it turned out to be dark and dirty and rough (if you've heard the 'Player Stuff' or 'Psycho Revolution' 12''s you know what I mean). With their collaborators in various combinations (as The Dose, Tulasonic, Ultrahigh) they helped Woody to make Fumakilla the landmark in Berlin music that is. Even though lately we don't seem to have common tastes anymore (the FumaLab 12'' was disappointing) I had always anticipated their next move and I still do.
I bought this one almost by luck, just because I barely knew the label and liked the cover or something. I don't know what I was actually expecting , but what I found was a familiar yet truly new style of music. Electro sounded too poor a description, I called it Disco Tech and up to now I haven't found a better term. Crazy filtered disco samples over tightly compressed hard beats, arpeggio synths and vocal samples in plenty, imagine Chicago meeting Berlin in a back alley of Tokyo for a quick one. Parallel routes you'll find in Daft Punk's manic drum programming or Moscatello's disco obsessions and Chicago minimalism; although I think Mr.Mueller pushed towards a certain (synthy) direction.
Especially tracks 5 and 6 were never left out of my set for a long long time (even though I hated playing CDs). In track 4 Soffy O. borrows her voice for cut-ups, later on she did it in full to made a beautiful pop record with Feyerabendt and Tok Tok and hit the jackpot. So, these days Autotune go minimal (as if they weren't enough already) but also thin... but who am I to tell them what to do. I just would like to feel again the rush of condensed energy of 'Blade Runner' or 'Strike Back'.

Autotune - 2000 Ladyshaker
Info here.