The Argentine label Guerilla Tunes has woven its very own sound carpet over the last few years. A knitting pattern bursting with colorful joy, and yet permeated with patterns that you have to look at from some distance before you understand them. With a mixture of nature-loving field recordings, interwoven yet friendly rhythm experiments, straight acid house and great artworks they celebrate sonic diversity like hardly any other (musical) island. And yes … it all fits together somehow … thanks to this very fine pinch of Balearic gentleness … just in Argentinian … and straight in your face … you know what I mean.
Or no…don’t you? Then perhaps Nicolas Spampinato’s 0000 Drama could provide a smooth introduction to this complex unity. His recently released 4 track debut is one of the more accessible releases on Guerilla, which does not mean that they have gone too far off the beaten track here. Because although we are dealing with 4 house tracks, which cling to the lingering 90s nostalgia by rolling along quite funky with a manageable number of elements, all tracks have a personal signature. Nicolas Spampinato appears on this EP as an artist whose personal note nestles in the details. Consistently in the tradition of the old school, somewhere between old Traxxx Records, early LFO tunes and refreshed L.I.E.S records and yet never completely cliché, but always idea first. And so all the musical elements urge to get out of hand again and again to escape the rhythmic bars, but are always reminded of their task just at the right moment: Serve the groove! And that’s good! Because the result is a playful design, a stubborn head soaked in sunlight.
Braindance with a parasol.
Hey there Earth Persons…I am very happy to announce that Octobird’s current release “AM Sessions” is available in the form of manifested electrical vibrations now. So go grab your (free) digital copy from Bandcamp.
Inspired by the recording workflow from the sessions with his like minded fella Vodor L. Zeck, Octobird got himself an 8-track digital recorder and startet jamming.
Similar to the recordings from the recent Tram Komputer Release, these jams reveal themselves more or less as a raw distillate from spontaneous sessions, driven by repetitive patterns, exuberant modulations and a midi clock. Recorded in a single run and shrunk down to a bearable size later on.
Like Dessert Sessions… but on Midi Clock.
When you experience this compilation, it quickly becomes clear that this is not a well-researched subcultural gem from the history of niche techno. These are contemporary witnesses, those who have been there and who look back on an imprinted fragment of their past with a well-deserved and balanced portion of nostalgia.
Over 12 tracks from the back catalog of the few main players from Steel City Records, we explore a pool of acid tracks that are as uncompromising as they are experimental, and to which the sweat of blurred Warehouse Club nights generated by them is still clearly attached.
Anyone who has ever stretched out their sensors between Detroit and Manchester cannot avoid recognizing musical parallels. However, these tracks are far too honest, truthful and stubbornly naive for a result of quotation and imitation. Rather, the same spirit speaks from them, which also drove the disoriented youngsters from Detroit and Manchester. For them (unlike 90s Techno in Berlin, for example) the awakening of techno was not the soundtrack for (spiritual) liberation, but a tool of escapism from their bleak, industrially colored world. This can especially be recognized from the fact that these producers represented here were striving for a much more driving, minimalist and hypnotic sound. While there are excursions in typical Berlin high-speed techno from time to time (such as Opgang 2 “DeChirico”), the naive testing of musical limits infected by experienced freedom does not occur. These Tracks had a task, a clear function (and still do!)
The attached PDF Liner Notes are very much recommended and yet too quickly overlooked. In the brief history of Steel City Records and the associated techno enclave of Canada it becomes clear that Detroit and Manchester were indeed important cornerstones of the musical orientation. Pleasingly, the written transcript of the SCR history is not a hedonistic celebration of better days, but rather an honest review of missed opportunities, youthful egocentricity and loyalty to ideas. The explanations are also exciting as a contemporary document of the pre-Internet hypes, from a time when the social networking of different local subcultures was still so completely different from today. Especially since we are now at a point where the dream of the Internet as a tool for cultural independence has been swept away in many ways and we are once again asked to reinvent ourselves.
Without a doubt, “Steel City Records 1995 – 1997” would be worth a vinyl release. But as usual you would probably have to seize the opportunity to create a musical hype. Maybe you should miss this chance a second time? I guess so!
Danny Wolfers, better known as Legowelt or Bontempi 666, Calimex Mental Implant Corp., Clendon Toblerone, Commanchee’s Revenge, Coverti World, Danny Blanco, Dickie Smabers & The Moerwijk Crew, Florenza Mavelli, Franz Falckenhaus, Gladio, House Of Jezebel, Jackmaster Corky, Klaus Weltman, Lords Of Midnite, Nacho Patrol, Nomad Ninja, Occult Orientated Crime, Phalangius, Polarius, R-Zone, Raheem Hershel, Ray Escortienda, Rising Sun Systems, Saab Knutson, Salamandos, Sammy Osmo, Satomi Taniyama, Seaside Houz Boyz, Smackos, Squadra Blanco, Star Shepherd, The Psychic Stewardess, Twilight Moose, Ufocus, Venom 18, Westside Box Savants is a man who needs no introduction, but a separate Wikipedia page.
Usually, if you are a musician with only half as many identities, you can be sure that you have lost any prospect of any kind of musical career. After all, the musical identity of one’s own alter ego is usually the creatorˋs greatest asset. And once a recipe has been found that will keep your place in the queue of abundance free, you have to stay tuned and repeat formula X-Y until you get bored and get back into freelance poverty.
So it seems that the only conceivable way to escape this creative one-way street is to have a musical output that a single imaginary identity simply cannot cope with on its own. Regardless of the question how a real person can handle this
… because Danny can.
Where (contrary to popular preferences) I enjoy to hear musicians like Kid606 or Mark Pritchard keep breaking their blueprints constantly and pushing me into completely new worlds of sound, the wondrous “Aha!” moment with Legowelt always arises when someone from my musical arena comes back to with something like: “Oh … yeah, that’s good shit, right ?! Thatˋs actually a Legowelt Track.”
All the more I blossomed through a random Bandcamp fanmail thing from Danny Wolfers, which (far too late) made me realize that another incredible treasure trove of musical parallel identities lives on his very personal Bandcamp site. And even more, mostly on a pay-as-you-please principle. While I recently bought one of the records listed there for a ridiculously low price on Discogs, I guess I will be busy looking at this level of musical effusion even approximately for quite a while now.
Overall, Danny Wolferˋs Legowelt Bandcamp site is a little bit of a personal cabinet of loving curiosities.
Among countless hand-painted, fluffy album covers that reflect a uniquely sympathetic, deliberately naive DIY ethos, circulating Tape Acid Jams and warm, analogue ambient treasures abound, which alternately plant stories of elephants in city parks, extraterrestrials in fast-food restaurants or retro-futuristic vampire societies in the listener’s imagination. And probably the greatest achievement of Danny Wolfers is that you can believe all of these stories. Because he believes in them himself. Because he chose to believe all of these stories. And so with each release you understand a little more that Danny is a great role model for the eternal child in us. Someone who takes well-groomed naivety and an exorbitant knowledge of kitschy micotrends of underground culture to create his dream worlds uninhibited. Someone who does not criticize or condemn exaggerated musical clichés like coolness, but simply soaks up everything and let his robots translate his own version of it.
Danny Wolfers, the man who makes music faster than others can hear it.
As much as I try to avoid mentioning the C-Word these days, opportunities often do lead to inspiration. And so we start this review with a figuratively clichéd thesis once again:
“Isolation is a warm place.”
Not just since his Nocturna Tracks releases I+II Poisson Chat cultivated a very deep and warm sound. In his minimalistic Deep-House compositions he takes us into the comforting realms of pure emptiness that only someone with a truly introverted mind can empathize.
“What I’m looking for when I’m composing music, is an isolated, quiet, and peaceful environment (like the deepness of the ocean). Going like a fish (-cat) to a new world to express what I feel. With my music, I think people can imagine their own underwater stories, and swim into some nice places.”
This is how the artist himself described his musical world of inspiration in one of his rarely seen web appearences – a DJ-Set Podcast / Interview, which was published for the Italian online magazine Electronique.it in 2014. And these ambitions can still be recognized as a driving force in his releases. In the same interview he also described his efforts to strip down his sound as much as possible in order to archieve a clear idea. And indeed, precisely these ingredients lead him to an amazingly focused sound, well-placed in genre terms such as Minimalism, Deep House or LoFi House, but skilfully eludes the corresponding genre clichés. His driving grooves, warm sound carpets and resting melody sequences, create tracks that work on dreamy, lost dance floor escapades as well as on peacefully exhausted six-hour drives back home from the latest festival weekend (which will definitely come ;).
Those who take the rewarding venture to dive deeper into the Poisson Chat‘s catalog will also discover a handful of downtempo treasures in which he has clear evidence for a fluid connection between the early Lofi masterpieces by Boards Of Canada and contemporary LoFi House Trends. This preference is particularly evident on his Unidata alias (which I almost certainly suspect is his creation too, even if this is not clearly written anywhere).
Okay… easy, easy!
Let’s leave that headline in all its ambiguity regarding the state of the nation and devote ourselves to an extra large portion of escapism. It’s dream time, baby! Because dreaming is the only true alternative to Netflix these days. And Dream House was a genre long before Netflix was a clinically recognized addiction.
I’ve been a bit off lately from simmering velvety smooth track transitions. Instead, I was quite busy jacking up my own tracks to somehow work.
Without being among those who suddenly have a lot more time (but rather those who simply take their time) I was pretty intensely involved in expanding my own mixing and mastering skills. So why not just sprinkle one of my own compositions right at the beginning? Roughly mixed and not mastered at all, but laid back and totally unobtrusive.
With everything that follows, this seems to be more or less a Future Times Label Special. Which surprised me myself and was not on purpose at all. But I guess that’s exactly where the fine instinct of Future Times releases lies. A forward-looking sound aesthetic that uses sound colors that are already deeply rooted in our imagination. All covered with a fine digital pastel, to which we haven’t dedicated ourselves so meditatively to since New-Age Times. Rhythmically, on the other hand, these Tracks are always encouraged not to break the well-known patterns, but rather to prepare the listener patiently for some next-level experiences.
Our other companions also join this joy of playing. Among them Linkwood, who – in addition to his collaboration with Foat – recently rereleased his Disco-House masterpiece System. As well as His Master’s Voice, a fairly new pair of hands on the machines and, above all, someone who stands out in the continuing Electro trend with his excessive digressions. Not by reinventing the toolbox, but simply by completely doing his own thing. 1st class dreamer!
Linkwood & Foat
His Master’s Voice
How You Know
In The Jungle
Perc Song (Chords)
Well Rounded Housing Project
Athens Of The North