Mixed by Octobird.
Mastered by Octobird.
Artwork by M8.
Ahhh … it’s been a while since the last time I gave these virtual turntables a physically modeled spin. Pretty busy grinding down home made rhythm exercises so that they could see the light of the ether as soon as possible. And of course vacation. In dream states around the globe. I wished myself everywhere. As a lively, vibrating disembodied being that flows unabashedly through the bars of the present. Dancing, dreaming, slowly fading.
With their debut EP Seasick in Salts, uh just recently built a wonderfully suitable runway for these dream trips. Somewhere between trippy Acid Ambient spheres of the Orb and free-spirited pop designs of the late Roisin Murphy, uh embark on a journey that never ends in just 30 minutes. Located somewhere between 1990 and infinity.
Klasse Wrecks also brilliantly mastered the art of lifting genres everyone knows and has never heard before from the depths of our subconscious . Their recent releases are basically the blueprint for everything that buzzes around in this OS episode. Endlessly reverberant hooks, tripping breakbeats and sprinkles of classic rave vocals. And with their latest (and for some inexplicable reason purely digital) Homeboys EP, the two Klasse Wrecks masterminds Luca Lozano and Mr Ho simply nailed it (…to the point where describing words become totally redundant).
In order not to slide into oblivion of interwoven dream sequences, a special magic is required. Lesinge, who already made a lot of promises on his Acid Waxa debut in 2017, has now set up his own acid hit list with Plic Ploc. The melodies play ping pong, the bass runs bowl and the beats make cricket. If he continues to grow so steeply, we urgently need an initiative against home sports.
#staysave dream dancers, headphone ravers, virtual snake creatures…
Play with Me
New Jack the House
Une Verte Deux Blanches
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 … know what I’m sayin’?!
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 constantly urge to get out of hand 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.
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
Soundtracks for dystopian cyperpunk movies that don’t exist. In the retrofuturistic realms of LoFi-House and Electro, a lot is already out of stock at the video shop around the corner. Whether as a stringent concept or as a flowing aesthetic of sound. And yet it is always surprising how new and independent ideas and color palettes result from this world of sound.
The French producer Magnetisme Obscur has been concentrating on his well-chosen hardware tool-set of driving drum machines, washed-out synths and grated vocal samples since around 2016 and publishes the results on his DIY in-house label CPSL records.
On the current release Mondo Hybrid, he adds an ingredient to his sound spectrum, which he himself describes as a “liquid aspect”. And indeed, a viscous yellow smear flows through the entire length of the EP, extracted from kitsch and stored in darkness for decades. The poison of an unfulfilled hope that distorts into a nightmare of lonesome dreams . A sound that I only experienced so clearly from Danny Wolfer’s (aka Legowelt) side project Polarius. But while Polarius likes to digress and stroll into the unknown, Mondo Hybrid seems pleasantly focused. Mind Surf in particular comes up with a hookline that winds its way through the entire track without any problems and still nudges your finger towards track-repeat at the end.
It’s cold and rainy outside and I’m not particularly willing to stand up against the gravity of my couch.
Instead, I slide the “Super Acid Bros” cartridge into my NES with pizza smeared paws and give the power button a kick.
The first two levels are still pretty easy. Actually a bit uncommon for a Klasse Wrecks release, who usually turn the difficulty level straight to the top stop. But from level four onwards, things really get going. Led by FRANCO.D’ , whom I’ve already praised in my last Tentacle Loot, past some absolute nobrainers from D’Marc Cantu, LFO and Ceephax until Level 8 finally gets brutal and dirty.
Im Kellar is probably more of a bonus level with David Vunk as the endboss – the owner of Moustache Records where the only two EPs by the duo Vunk and Spanish has been released. These were duly hyped and Im Kellar is probably back in the basement now. Hopefully not for too long.
Little by Little is another classic Bandcamp stumbling block. While fresh on my radar, the Frenchman already has a pretty busy portfolio, filled with wonderfully functional club standards. But with the special feature that Little by Little has a knack for letting individual elements slide through these pretty pounding tracks with unheard lightness and dynamics. A handwriting that is not only immortalized on I’m Doing My Thing, but also curls more or less through all of his tracks. Next Level Shit!
Well, and then a large portion of Unknown To The Unknown, because life isn’t hard enough yet. A little bit of 808 State, whose comeback has been celebrated properly already, because they do it right and don’t just dust off their party hats.
And last but not least, the absoloute final boss! Rude 66 – My 909 – exactly 20 years old and still a secret anthem. With such a deep rolling bass that this number doesn’t actually work too well on a home listening set, but it definitely works out there in the wild. Promised!
Ah shit, I ran out of potato chips. Now I have to get up in the end… GAME OVER
I Dream About Acid
Let Go Of This Acid
Tan Ta Ra (Moby Remix)
I’m Doing My Thing (Original Mix)
Hell Is Other People (feat. Si Begg)
The Black Night Is Calling My Name
That’s all I get from the release text for Bonafont Division Karma Vol. 10 without throwing it into a Google translator. The remaining well-deserved praises are in Spanish, since the associated label Cuco Records is located in Mexico City. But somehow you don’t need to know much more. In this respect, it is a bit like in Zappa’s famous, infamous analysis: “Writing about Franco.D’ is like dancing to architecture”. Because he just uses all the tools that we are familiar with since the resurrection of classic LoFi-Acid-House traditions. Be it the dry, staccato-like piano licks on Total, the rolling acid lines on Space Junk or slapping electro beats on Cortocircutio. What sets him apart is simply the fact that Franco masters his craft like not many others and unabashedly dances on both weddings: that of the sound tinkerer and that of the floor filler with enough naive lightness to let everything that slips off his machines drop straight to the dance floor.
The Argentinean Franco.D’, who sympathetically cares little about his Soundcloud account and is pretty scattered throughout the depths of the Internet, has already released a bunch of short EPs with different Bandcamp labels that pay tribute to his passion for sonic experimentation with one foot on the floor. So, from what I perceived, the two releases presented here stand more than anything else for his driving, funky Acid House Jacks.
Moreso had his release on Guerilla Tunes been one of the most outstanding in their catalogue. A label that had been on my radar before not only because of their good music but also because of their likeable attitude (intro text: “We want you to be a better person” ). And somehow they manage to reflect this positive attitude auricularly delightful on their releases. You can hear a lot of natural connectedness, especially on their more experimental electronica releases.
Franco.D’s most recent release got out on Cuco Records, another label you should pay attention to. Because, in addition to their authentically kittenish acid house releases, they leave plenty of room for experimentation, which you can easily convince yourself of on their latest mini-compilation CC05.
CORPORATIONS HAVE BLED THE EARTH DRY, LARGE PORTIONS OF THE WORLD ARE NOW UNINHABITABLE. ICE CAPS MELTED, RADIOACTIVE WASTE PREVALENT. CRIMINAL ORGANISATIONS ARE RAMPANT, CAUSING MISERY FOR THOSE WHO CLING ON TO LIFE IN A TOXIC WORLD. AS OF 1995 THESE CRIMINAL ENTERPRISES BEGAN TO CONSOLIDATE, QUASHING LOW-LEVEL CRIME AGAINST SURVIVORS OF WW3 AND INSTEAD TARGETING THE CONGLOMERATES WHICH LEAD US TO INTO THE DARK TIMES WE NOW INHABIT.”
“Wow…that’s rough!” You might say, reading the promotion text from Temporize Records. “I don’t really wanna hang out there! I’d rather stay here and chill.” But I tell you what. As dystopian as it may occur…It’s a quite funky environment. Between all these wrecked cars and robots on deserted sidewalks, there are palm trees blooming. I mean… it’s a bit warm and you have to wear protective suits but it’s better than freezing your ass of in Winter 2020, aint?!
Anyway… World Crime League vol. 1 is all kinds of things but not a dystopically gloomy premonition of an uncertain future. Although … this aesthetic may have sounded different in 1990. As you listen to the tracks, you are joyfully caught up in old memories of Miami Vice episodes and Turrican Amiga Games. World Crime League gambles through all styles of house music, but most of all they make themselves sympathetic as they never go straight four to the floor. Neither are they really tricky or experimental. But somehow … cheeky. And tracks with the tag “cheeky” on it always have a very welcome existence in my collection. Because being cheeky requires courage. You have to get past over-ambitious seriousness, leave genre boundaries behind and prove that you are able to have some serious fun. I obviously did!
Oh, and besides… If you are in Germany and read this text before 1998, with a little luck you might be able to grab a tape copy at your local record dealer … even if they are already sold out at Bandcamp.
I tend to go off topic. No 2020 dystopian megafuture, no winterly cold digital abysses. Instead: Which instrument would you bring on a desert island? … on a strange planet … to communicate with people there … or at least to just hang out and watch the two moons …
In the variety of experimental house music, a handful of artists have emerged in recent years, who have given a very own coloring to the washed-out concept of world music. Far from squeezing cultural assets of non-Western cultures into banging club tracks, but also from subordinating themselfes musically to the researched cultural heritage in false humility by simply creating a prettied blueprint. Instead they trace back their own club culture as a contemporary kind of rite and ecstasy to the origins of this music, which functions far from egocentricity and self-expression. Be it as a musical concept or just as an ingredient in experimental club music.
Probably the most consistent in this ranks are Don’t DJ (which I unfortunately stupidly DJed twice in this set … sorry; /). With their percussive polyrhythms and impulsive monotonous structures, they build bridges between non-western tribal music and the raw idea of techno. The 12th Isle label preferably uses color palettes and publishes wonderfully quirky tracks, impregnated with pale pastel memories from a imaginary Caribbean vacation in 1974(ish). And then there are formations such as Groupshow (with Jan Jelinek), Tru West or even Transllusion that are deeply influenced solely by their clearly audible improvisational character.
Pet Hair Magnet
Forget About It
Chasing The Loophole In A Relentless Spiral Of Self-indulgence