This could be a big post, I'll try to keep it short.
A listening project going on for several years on Saturday nights at (now defunkt?) Berlin's WMF Club, of which sadly I had neither personal experience of nor many info anyway, Komfort.Labor passed in history when they documented their efforts in three mixed CD compilations through the remarkably potent WMF Records.(*)
The first part is mixed by Stefan Betke aka Pole, and it's more or less a presentation of the just established ~scape 'style', a mix of dub, clicks, some jazz and few beats. Betke is trying a few new things here, showing his tendencies to explore dub hop and jazz territory in the future (as he did, actually), mostly though it's hisses and cracks and bass, just as you'd expect anyway. Usual suspects include Atom, Friedman, Vladislav Delay, Kit Clayton, Jan Jelinek as Farben, etc.
Second CD is mixed by master Thomas Fehlmann (respect!) and always enchanting Gudrun Gut of Monika Enterprise and Malaria! fame, as (leading) members of the Ocean Club. Musically it's the most interesting of the three, as it constantly shifts between genres and styles without letting the listener's interest down. '80s blend with Cologne techno, Berlin dub with Arto Lindsay, diversity is the word here, possibly emulating their radio show adapted to the club era. The Berlin-Cologne axis stands strong and all tracks are strategically selected to please everyone while teaching some history.
The third and final compilation is in collaboration with Native-Instruments (see Reaktor, Kontakt, Absynth, etc.), that showcases half of the Mille Plateaux posse and some more artists manipulating their own material with Reaktor and achieving the kind of sound that later on would dominate clubs as well as headphones. Once again, concept overcomes art and to my ears it sounds like the weak link in the WMF discography, still you'll find interesting times and some clicking tech mixes in here. For glitch fans it may be awesome. Included was a ~3MB data track, an interface to manipulate a Lazyfish track. I'll post it anyway just in case it works for someone (never did for me).
VA - 2001, [Komfort.Labor] presents ~scape
Part 1 - Part 2
VA - 2001, [Komfort.Labor] presents Ocean Club
VA - 2002, [Komfort.Labor] presents Native Lab
Part 1 - Part 2 - Data.
(*) WMF comes from 'Wuertembergische MetallwarenFabrik'. The label published all kinds of quality goodies, all highly recommended, with Kotai's 'Sucker DJ' being their biggest club hit.
Highfish (who did the stunning remix) has also participated in the Engel remix of Colder's 'To The Music', which in my opinion is the best thing that ever came out of the Output vaults along with DK7's 'The Difference'. He's also a bass player and a totally cool DJ, that effortlessly cleared all other stages and filled his own full in 15 minutes while in Sonar just by playing good music for the people. We need a few more guys like him, I'd say.
This could be a big post, I'll try to keep it short.
Electronics from the Republic of Slovenia, the more or less richest and most privileged ex-Yugo country, that luckily stayed out of the wars in the area during the '90s. Thanks to its position people from there always had a direct access to mid-Europe countries, and Slovenia is part of EU for some time now. As a result of all these, electronic music from Slovenia has circulated widely since very early.
I guess the incredible Laibach were the first to draw attention during the '80s, through the Mute label of course, as well as Borghesia (through Play It Again Sam), leaving a dark industrial heritage to the younger ones, that was nevertheless happily adopted and cultivated. During the Post-Yugo (and rave) era followed the Trans Slovenia Express compilation (later there was also a Vol.Two), a tribute to Kraftwerk which introduced us some of the newer wave of electronics 'artists. I heard again of Random Logic at about 1997 (from TEEx#5). Few years later Umek, Kanzyani and their friends were wrecking house and techno dancefloors under their various disguises, while Octex is a constant in quality electronics and deepness (and a personal favorite).
By 2000, the Wire magazine gave out this free CD compilation along with #199, showcasing the above mentioned (by many names) along with some more unknown or newcomers (Temponauta, Rotor, Ouroborots). The key word here is obviously Techno, mostly Basic Channel and Detroit inspired, sometimes hard sometimes housey, often with experimental tendencies and electro touches. A solid compilation, it still sounds fresh and interesting. For all fans of Deep Techno, listen to this. Also contains two wicked electro tracks by Plasma Vortex (?) and by the great Zeta Reticula project of Umek, that released four 12'' gems in Billy Nasty's Electrix.
Many european and UK techno labels supported Slovenian artists, no others than Primate, Monoid, Superbra, Potential, Tortured, etc, especially in the early '00s techno uprise. And many labels were as well created by them to release their own stuff. I remember Tehnika since a long time, even though I now have nothing and it seems to be inactive for some time. Recycled Loops and sub Earresistible of Umek/Kanzyani have already left a mark in recent club music, as newer Astrodisco will probably do. More experimental PharmaFabrik seems also to be doing well.
By no means I am an expert in Slovenia music, I just like it a lot. I may have some wrong info here. If someone out there has anything to share on the Slovenian scene or point us to an forum (in English, if possible) I'd be more than happy to hear.
VA - 2000, Elektrotehnika Slavenika
Part 1 - Part 2
P.S. The Zeta Reticula 12''s are in Trian's blog (here).
snd is a project of visual artists Mark Fell and Mark Steel, both better known from their more recent Raster-Noton release as Blir.
This was one of the first projects to fully embrace this approach to sampling and editing called Clicks & Cuts. Abstract technoid minimally constructed rhythms and dubby 'IDM' atmos are its prime ingredients, fitting perfectly in the mentality of Mille Plateaux at the time it was released. Its short untitled excerpts sound like (and 99% are) variations of the same track with subtle modifications on settings, levels and effects during the mixing. A totally academic art project you'd say, therefore irrelevant and boring (at least to me, if you know me a little by now). Yet they somehow manage to achieve an organic feeling, reminding me the deep dub releases of Chain Reaction (without the all-immersing reverbs) or the early ~scape releases, so after a while the whole album flows easily as one big track and you're surprised it's over. Ambient played by the Brian Eno rules and expertly performed.
One of the more minimal and abstract, still sentimentally interesting records I have. At the same time, a short peek at a timeless project of some guys currently on tour with Autechre.
snd - 1999, makesnd cassette
Part 1 - Part 2
Do you like minimal techno? The '90s? Brinkmann-like grooves? Post-industrial minimalism? Japanese experimentations? B/W artwork? Well, you're lucky.
This is Riou Tomita's world. This album, recorded in his bedroom, reached the world through Belgium's legendary KK Records. It's a solid, repetitive, spacious techno affair with eerie interludes, tainted by the isolationist mentality that often characterizes artists from Japan. The outcome is somewhere close to late PWOG's mini-grooves and Plastikman' s 'Artifacts' era, only a bit edgier and darker (...).
Two or three tracks I was playing constantly back then and for some time. They mix well with Detroit minimal. Sadly I don't have any other releases from him.
KK Records are an incredible source of weird and beautiful music, and maybe the best example of how experimentation and dancefloor aesthetics can be combined without compromising either one's principles.
Riou - 1995 Exhibition Of The Samples
I've been digging some time in the crates of this site. Incredibly interesting and hard-to-find movies from all kinds of fields of cinematography and documentaries, this site really fills my movie time at home (I really hate TV right now, if I watch another ad my head will explode).
From trash to art and back again, contained herein are hundreds of weird and beautiful pieces of work from everyone you can think of and the final effect is actually more than you can handle. David Lynch and Jesus Franco, Terry Gilliam and Wong Kar Wai, R.W.Fassbinder and giallo, Alejandro Jodorowsky and East Europe realism, Brothers Quay and the Emmanuella series, witches and bitches, the list goes on for long. And Pam Grier's '70s films, for the love of your God. And Kenneth Anger and Laloux and blah blah blah.
I think a big THANX should go out for these great movies fans that share their treasures with us. Tread your way with respect in there, because they've surely earned it.
[feis] was an short-lived label activated at the millennium turn. It was based in Stuttgart as I gather, run by two until recently unknown persons, that nevertheless influenced subtly yet greatly the evolution of modern dance music.
We are talking about the chiefs (and main artists) of the older incarnation of Monoid (older techno fans will surely remember this label) and partners in Plastic City's Soda Inc. and Lexicon. One of them is Len Faki aka Lamonde, better known now for his recent releases in Club Berghain's quality techno label Ostgut Tontraeger. Later he also established Figure and Podium. The other is Jost Gerisher aka Jon Silva, owner of Cologne's Pesto house label.
Borrowing from German techno and the French neo-electro scene, its releases were so difficult to pinpoint by an conventional ear that (with few exceptions) they remained in relative obscurity. Shortly after this mixed CD compilation (sadly there never was a Vol.2) the ship was abandoned, as their distributor went broke. As for their music, all I can say is that it's no joke at all. A multinational, futuristic mix of weird techno and weirder electro with many hard Chicago touches, sometimes spiked with acid and even jazz, always aiming for the throat.
Other artists released here were the mighty Bolz Bolz, New Yorker John Selway, crazy Englishman Si Begg, The Hacker, Jason Leech of Subhead, old Plastic City friend Kriss Dior or else Bassface Sascha, dark minimalist Rotorik (later TET) and Denard Henry. Every release has something interesting to say and a certain edge in them, pointing the way towards the future to come. This all-merging, experimenting mentality showcases better itself in the few wonderful albums, Selway's 'Edge Of Now', Bolz Bolz electro classic 'Human Race' and the weirdest of them all, Lamonde's 'Music For Some Place Other Than This' (no other title could be more adequate).
Few tracks made it as hits (supported largely by the Turbo posse), like Si Begg's 'Welcome To The Discotheque' (first on Mosquito), Bolz's 'Take A Walk' (with a Dima aka Vitalic remix), or Selway's 'Moving Effortless'.
A good insight on a mostly unknown label, presenting some not at all unknown artists.
VA - 2002, Feis Labelcompilation Vol.1
Part 1 - Part 2
P.S.: As I found out here, the label is revived with a new release.
Another personal classic.
If by any chance you missed this, don't even think about it.
Music to sleep on.
Pan American - 2000 360 business / 360 bypass
Mark Nelson info here.
P.S. Updated links. For those who had already downed it, track 3 is here.
So, this is the second part of the series, out in Mille Plateaux of course. Three CDs this time, presenting all the usual suspects giving us the widest range available of clicks 'n' cuts, from pure techno to glitch-noise. In my opinion the best of the series.
VA - 2001, Clicks & Cuts 2
P.S. Links erased after label's request.
Instinct Records is a New York based label that played a crucial role in the popularity spreading of dance and chill music in the US (especially outside the Chicago/Detroit area of influence).
A lot of compilations of UK and european labels (like Rising High, em:t and the Kickin' label) more or less defined stylistically the later developed chill-out and ethnic ambient tendency of US electronics that ruled the '90s (not always with good results, I might add). And of course the first Moby releases were the reason the label got so big so early. Later it spawned various respectable sublabels as the breaks/ hop/ d'n'b Shadow Records, Sonic Records as an outlet for the hard tech style of Prototype 909 and Church Of Extacy aka GTO aka Tricky Disco, and of course the incredible Instinct Ambient.
I.A. managed to gather in some interesting faces of the NY scene of the time, sound explorers with a twisted pop appeal, a sense of the dancefloor and an eye in the art galleries. Names like Terre Thaemlitz, Taylor Dupree (owner of the magnificent 12k), Dietrich Schoenemann, Tetsu Inoue, Abe Duque aka Kirlian, John Selway, Savvas Ysatis, Sub Dub, Shuttle358 (later), they all had a steady outlet for their more abstract and experimental works and collaborations in between them. With just a small risk I'll say that Instinct Ambient played in the US the same role with the Mille Plateaux/ Force Inc./ Ritornell group in Europe , in the sense that both groups of labels presented techno producers as 'artists' and experimental productions as club-friendly music, dipped in tons of socio-political analysis (or art gallery crap, occasionally). It's not strange that most of the above have also released in the (currently revived) Szepanski axis. Abe Duque worked a lot with Munich's Disko B and Gigolo, Selway grew big through various labels, Ysatis published in Tresor, etc. There were also some direct connections with the often mentioned here Caipirihna label.
Besides history facts and such, I have to say that this was one of the records that inspired me to dig further and seriously into electronic music. Up to then, considering the Ambient genre, the british style of electronica was everywhere. Either it was Warp's or The Orb's legacy, or even trip hop, it had some distinct characteristics. Fewer people liked the german, more '70s kraut electronics oriented scene, which I liked a lot. But I hadn't yet heard the new sound from NY. After a decade and more those guys are still around and totally upfront, while modern electronics from the US and Canada are shaped by the Instinct releases in ways too obvious for me. From warm chill electronica to cold, alien soundscapes through few bad trips of cosmic proportions, sometimes it's a mental game, sometimes it's like a sentimental overdose. Free floating in deep space, that's the feeling after all.
If you consider yourself a fan of Ambient music do yourself a favor and check this compilation. Some few I.A. releases will be posted later.
VA - 1996, Ambient Systems II
CD1: Part 1 - Part 2
CD2: Part 1 - Part 2
This is one of the early releases of the Finn boy wonder Vladislav Delay released in the same year with the 'Ele' album, 1999. Out in Phthalo, the label of Phthalocyanine, weird-breaks artist relatively known through early Plug Research and with releases and compilation appearances in Planet Mu, Klangkrieg and Mille Plateaux.
Here dear Sasu follows the Panasonic path of techno - old equipment, minimal attitude, experimentation. This one-record project in a way set the ground for the future Uusitalo outputs, yet without the (later developed) sense of groove. Definitely a cerebral project. In my opinion, despite some brilliant moments it doesn't reach the heights of later albums. Still it's interesting to hear and curiously has more similarities to today's music than, say, the incredible 'Multila'.
Sistol - 1999, selftitled
Most of you have heard of this one and some of you have it already, but I know that a lot of people missed it. This is the blueprint for the modern (clicking- and ) cutting-edge electronics. From the catalog of Mille Plateaux.
VA - 2000, clicks_+_cuts
P.S. Links erased after label's request.
(There are so many artists from so many places in here that I'd have to use all post labels. So I made a new one.)