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).

9 comments:

Atlantis said...

nice track. I'd never heard it. You should check out the new Shed album. it's new, but not overly trendy sounding, just good techno.

pipecock said...

Re: the set of old stuff.... i feel like a lot of the people really championing much of this new music just don't get to see how an effective mix up of other sounds can really be. its always good to play new stuff too, but its always going to be better when it is stuff with feeling. and that is what works well with that older shit!

Nightlight said...

4 atlantis:
Yeah, Ostgut is one of the few new labels I keep an eye on (but I liked Len Faki anyway...) Track is from 'This Films Crap, Lets Slash The Seats'

4 Pipecock:
Man, let's face it, most of the new DJs play mp3s. If they base their sets on what they grab from the sharenet, it's totally normal not to even know there were techno tracks before 2005, and if they do have some of them, them oldies will probably sound crap due to bad compression.
Why do you think 'Minimal' spread around so quickly? Sure, it's a cultural thing, a new tendency, blah blah blah, but moreover it's music to down from Beatport, Juno and the likes (and then get pirated). Stuff that sounds good even in crappy soundsystems, easy to produce and remix so digi-labels can retain a steady production rhythm, creating a multitude of digital releases to flood the market. Occasionally someones puts a chord in a track and he is hailed as the sensitive creator of a 'rave monster' or something. Emotions? Fun? Where is that?
I feel that only the almost-rock (tragically called 'nu-rave') scene of Kitsune and the likes value fun and feeling. They also use older tracks and they fit them well. Coming from an indie background I respect them and occasionally like a track or two, yet I have many objections regarding their aesthetic proposal (what they're mostly feeling is 'drunk' or 'drugged', I think).
So, when the hit shits the fan, it's back to oldschool. Once more.

stephen said...

I think you're being overly negative, nightlight. There's loads of good music being made in numerous genres these days - dub techno is enjoying a welcome resurgence (maybe as part of the backlash against minimal); dubstep/bass is mutating its genetic codes as fast as bacteria do; breakcore still throws up interesting projects; in ambientland it doesn't get much better than Gas (still going strong)...

If you want to get down about the scene it's always easy (people used to moan at the tail end of 88, for fuxake!). Ultimately I thoink this flood of digi-music is a good thing - the good will out. Punk was a flood of amateurism and independent productions - and the dross soon got forgotten. I'd rather stroll around cities like Berlin and Amsterdam and hear predominantly mediocre, anonymous techno leaking out of cafes, shops and clubs than be subjected to mainstream radio and nostalgic poison everywhere I go.

Plus, music doesn't have to perfect, ideal and played through a killer system. One of my best friends, a painter, listens to all music at such a low volume that I can barely hear it. Sometimes people get too precious about music - it's just part of the environment.

How's that for blah blah blah?

pipecock said...

"Punk was a flood of amateurism and independent productions - and the dross soon got forgotten."

but at least punk was all about feeling and energy. bad production values and crappy songs are one thing, a production line aesthetic with no feeling is a whole other kind of bad. i cant think of any other genre where there is such a flood of shit that all sounds exactly the same and it is all instantly forgettable. and i dig through thousands of terrible records on a regular basis!

stephen said...

I suppose it must be a tad annoying if you're a DJ or something, but it's not so bad for the end-consumer.

Slightly off-track, but there seems to be quite a lot of antagonism between producers and consumers at the mo, e.g. Morgan Geist @ RA:

I feel trapped. It's like being in a bad romantic relationship. Even when you're trying to be nice to each other, it's not working. People write me now, like, "Oh, I love the new album." It's like saying, "Your mother's so pretty. I noticed while I was fucking her last night." Everyone who writes me about the album has taken it from somewhere and there's no way they're going to buy it. What do you say to that? "Thanks for complimenting my album that's not out for three months"?

You aren't supposed to listen to this on your iPod?

Listening to music isn't an event anymore unless it's live. No one sits down and just listens. I think entertaining yourself on the go is turning into a huge problem. It's like yogurt tubes versus nice Greek yogurt with honey drizzled on it. And it makes me second-guess everything. I've spent days setting up my home stereo, which transmits frequencies that literally do not transmit via today's most popular ways to listen to music. There is no bass coming through earbuds under a certain range. Part of it is to feel it. You're never gonna feel anything with stuff shoved in your ears.

How obsessive are you regarding the sound textures?

Very. I take them very seriously.


Just a bit snobbish, imo. iPods/mp3 players do not rule out listening to music on big fuck-off systems - it's an alternative (which not everyone has the money or space for). Writers don't expect every reader to get all the nuances, references and symbolism in a text - there are different levels of reading and different levels of listening which do not necessarily rule each other out.

He's obviously got a point about people stealing his music, but surely illegal online distribution is a form of promotion which will only help his name, and so eventually lead to more money (gigs, collaborations etc.) One of the consequences of file-sharing is that people have to make their real money through performance rather than sitting in a studio, which means they have to stand out from the crowd - not a bad thing imo.

Nightlight said...

OK, I'll admit I'm on the pessimistic side (at this time), still I had the decency to admit it a few posts back, ha ha.

Yet Ι'll stick to my opinion. My view is thoroughly expressed in the next post, forgive me for the rumbling once more.

As for the good sound and perfect productions issue, you just have to see the state of my 12"s or my soundsystem. Still I'm an sound engineer at heart, so I respect people who manage a good outcome, and when I play in a club I demand some quality, space and comfort. When I play in a squat or in a field I don't.

I recently stole an mp3 player from my wife, felt good to walk around again with music in my ears, Hadn't done so since the Walkman days, when I did mix tapes and checked them there. It has always been listening music for me in the HPs, more personal stuff. But I'll always like everything that sounds good on HPs and big speakers alike. That's rare, because it's the music that has to be good, not the production or the medium.

Dub techno is not one of the genres I'd go look for ingenuity or innovation, even though I obviously love it and am still devoted to it. Yet it's retro, a reproduction of the Maurizio and early Detroit deepness blueprint, promoted by similar channels to the whole 'Minimal' thing and aiming a lot at the same target group, just for different times of the day. Still I prefer it and I search for releases, though what I said in the 'Limited Edition' post applies here for good.
Dubstep/ grime also shares a lot with 'Minimal' (media support and sales points, not to mention same tracks) even though it comes from a different background and mentality. I haven't gone down this path. My respect for bass is absolute, I'd just like it to be a bit more sentimental. I feel it often borders on clinical detachment (ganja does that a lot), with its approach on extreme frequencies, thin samples and programmed FX as opposed to organic improvisational dub stuff or more traditional and funky d'n'b. It's great, yet not exactly for me.
Ambient is such a large portion of the global music production that me talking about it would be at least superficial. But I'll never give it up.

Punk is where it all started. It taught us to turn the volume up and go crazy, to print things on photocopy, to not care for our clothes, to play live with awful sound and still get through, to adopt ridiculous fake names, to record an LP in a dozen of hours cause we didn't have to pay more studio time but it would be a shame not to record this song or that track. It never ended. It just changed form. The core of DIY is every track ever made out of love, in every home-made release, in every specialist mag, in this fucking blog I'm writing right now.

pipecock said...

"Punk is where it all started. It taught us to turn the volume up and go crazy, to print things on photocopy, to not care for our clothes, to play live with awful sound and still get through, to adopt ridiculous fake names, to record an LP in a dozen of hours cause we didn't have to pay more studio time but it would be a shame not to record this song or that track. It never ended. It just changed form. The core of DIY is every track ever made out of love, in every home-made release, in every specialist mag, in this fucking blog I'm writing right now."

now that is what i am talking about. punk and hiphop will always be my roots, i will always be fiercely underground and DIY because that is all i knew. the problem is that i dont get that same kind of feeling from the over production crew. it is in fact the antithesis of that spirit, it is all about "professionalism" and things being "right", to the point where it sucks the soul out of the music.

the other problem is that even the more crappily made newer things dont sound as interesting as say Dance Mania records which have that spirit by the boatload.

Nightlight said...

Don't get them wrong man, it's all they ever learned. My class grew up with The Clash and Sex Pistols, most younger people in the scene grew up with Tiesto, Digweed and Sasha. That's their roots. How can it be the same? They have such an idea about music stardom, that still gets so constantly magnified by the media, they might not even learn something else exists. Hell, they even think Hawtin is underground.
And the tech thing, with its rapid development rates shifts the attention from the result (the track) to the process (the making). Get the new plugin, get the newest version of Ableton Live, it's very thinly disguised consumerism at its core and it's everywhere around us, even in the deepest pirates' forums. That's why I'm saying that this mentality is corroding our culture. When they are left with no alternative even the rawest of the tribe will eventually succumb, or quit.

On the other hand, someone with some luck might start with UR instead of Sasha. My two-year old god-child demands every day 'Anarchy in the UK' to dance to, I dread to think what he will dance to when he's twenty. My children (to be) will hopefully consider Maurizio as anachronistic as I now consider Elvis, always the King yet definitely from a long time away. I'd never consider countering evolution. I just like to feel that some people won't forget some crucial points.