Sunken Treasures #2 | Alex Cima – Cosmic Connection

Alex Cima‘s debut album from 1979 stands in line with a long series of space-disco records from this time that completely dispensed with the classic band concept and produced sophisticated studio albums with lots and lots of synth in it. And with a little dedication to this very niche, you will be caressed by well-known stylistic devices at first listen already. Lots of analog keys, embedded in classic synth-strings, funky stumbling drums that were probably still triggered by hand. And in the best moments, lush vocoders that convey the message of a bright future.

And yet Cuban born Cima has found his very own place in the vicinity of space: planet earth. Because as much as his pieces make use of the tools of his time, he remains pretty close to earth. He tells the story of a brighter future on our home planet much more than of the uncertainty of infinite vastness. It gets cheesy at times, but somehow never boring or arbitrary, because Cosmic Connection always comes around the corner with some clever twists, has its very own groove and proves again and again that he’s not a lazy copycat, but rather someone diligently paving his way trough sonic space.

Luke Vibert was fondly reminded of Can in his homage to Cima, I’m somehow often reminded of Edward Upton‘s (DMX Krew) funky numbers on his own Fresh Up Records.

Tentacle Loot #25 | Fuewa – Complete Earthworks

Fuewa‘s second-born Complete Earthworks already celebrated its fifth birthday recently. And, given today’s musical attention span, it should probably be in a sub-category of unheard classics. But as much as releases suffer from those brief attention peaks nowadays, I also have the feeling that the ephemeral trends of these days no longer really disappear from the scene, but rather retreat to niches where they are still celebrated and loved. And therefore are worth being mentioned even if they weren’t exactly fresh from the eaves.

In addition, Fuewa has put together a completely timeless album with his still most recent work, which despite all this has received far too little attention. At least if you believe the numbers on Bandcamp, Spotify and elsewhere. And that regardless of the fact, that Fuewa‘s label of choice, Sonic Router, did took the right turn at a time when the word Future Garage was already part of our collective memory and went on towards something … well … I guess more post-future. Once again they deconstructed the well-worn legacy of Dub- and 2-Step, Garage and IDM and explored alternative timelines with great tape releases by Broshuda and Fuewa. But while Broshuda dismantled his drum patterns until he produced more or less ambient from beats, Fuewa‘s strength lies in the discipline of not achieving musical renewal through limitless complexity. As much as his pieces are influenced by the pioneers of Dub, Jungle and IDM, he retains very driving and repetitive structures and thus leans on a sound that at the same time was mainly shaped and released on Livity Sound (above all Kowton‘s Utility), who married UK garage and driving techno in equal measure. And yet one can clearly hear that Fuewa doesn’t only have a club surrounding as the cathedral of its sound in the back of its head, but also us aging home listeners. Therefore he weaves timeless melodies into his earthy sound textures, lets ambient pieces flow in and takes us on a journey across a planet that seemed so familiar to us.

For me personally, Complete Earthworks – along with the already mentioned Utility by Kowton – is one of the most elaborate albums of this very special straightforward form of UK Garage and should therefore be brought to the mind especially of those who haven’t sorted it into their memories yet. Especially since we are slowly but surely facing a wildly gesticulating drum & bass revival.

Future Sounds of 1990’whatever | A retrofuturistic IDM.bient Playlist for the oldschool Dopeheads

With a new vinyl edition of Autechre‘s “Amber” LP and B12‘s “Time Tourist“, Warp Records already revived two unforgettable milestones of an alternative future last year. Now Global Communication‘s “76:14” is moving up and Future Sound of London are providing an update from archived data sets with “Cascade 2020“. 

Time to take a look back for a glance at the future of the day before yesterday. Always with a couple of long papers in your luggage, of course!

As someone who, in the heyday of Berlin’s techno culture, mostly acknowledged electronic music with a critical sideways glance, pepped up by psychedelic rock and MPC hip-hop, my IDM entry-level drugs came more from the direction of Boards Of Canada and the typical Ninja Tune gimmicks. In order to expand my sonic emotional spectrum, it took less of a warm hug than an ice-cold lesson. And so I still remember pretty well how I nearly pissed my bell bottoms when I first listened to Autechre‘s “Tear Tear“. Just to understand that music can be much more than a mere confirmation of my emotional longings. That it could be a challenge, a profound process and … one hell of a trip.

Read on...

Tentacle Loot #24 | Titch Thomas

“[…] music for humans and others with formidable frontal cortexes.”

Noviellion (Discogs User)

The Titch Thomas Tape Trax had a constant spot on my hard drive for quite some time, a recurring companion for stimulating my frontal cortex, until the latter finally formulated a comparatively simple thought: Where that comes from, there must be more!

Lo and behold, at Titch’s Bandcamp a Pandorian can is just waiting to be opened with a handful of old IDM spells to be brought to life. If you look over the quickly put together album covers, you come across well-known ingredients from Acid, IDM and Braindance hold together by a very special cement called Talent. Unforgettable melodies twist out of the creaky goo. The rhythm section always acts on the verge of physical feasibility and these acid sequences work hard on prophecies of an approaching Apocalypse.

It’s been a bit quiet since his split EP on the beloved Mindcolormusic label, but his Facebook profile gives some hope for continuation. Until then, I would advise you to throw a few voluntary coins into his Bandcan: Perhaps just one or the other battered 303 has to be replaced to make him continue his journey 😉

Tentacle Loot #23 | Wagawaga – OuterYerO’er

Wagawaga has been a silent companion in my musical metacosmos since the very early days. With his first releases on Acroplane – where I also had my first flying lessons – he absorbed the quintessence of dubstep very early, freed from its bursting clichés and reassembled from a fund of unbridled creativity.

While early albums like JinJaNoonBus still shot from all directions with genre references from Dubstep, Breakcore and Acid, his wobbly sound now seem to spring from a center point. That’s neither good nor bad, because Wagawaga has always been somehow … eh ….. Waga Waga … has always been fun, but it offers a different approach to his world. You may stumble and dissolve, change your physical composition, threaten to give up your body in a literal jungle of bass and swelling drums but finally are caught again with a swing. He utters you the desire to use awareness and control as a crutch and fulfills the unspoken desire to be reborn as a rubber ball. Musically, he puts the complete dubstep manual aside and relies entirely on a breathing carpet of bass and natural field recordings. On this he lets his stumbling jazzy drum patterns swell up and down, weaves in sound effects and mantra-like melodies.
What a wonderful late summer!

Tentacle Loot #22 | Lesinge – Plic Ploc

Okay, I’m getting old… starting to repeat myself. But in the case of Plic Ploc, you can’t repeat yourself often enough. Just as I can’t stop treading the repeat button on my tape deck for this great Acid Waxa tape.

The quirky French man Lesinge had his album debut with Slide Blinders 2017 on Acid Waxa and in a peculiar way his sound spectrum developed parallel to that of his label by laying on quite a bit thicker. Because just as Acid Waxa slowly and skillfully pulled itself out of the LoFi love affair (a bit), Lesinge has also served a lot of butter since his debut. Always with a base dough made from pure organic Acid, of course.

When listening to his debut one always got the feeling that this was an extremely talented rookie. For example, when he lets entire tracks sink into a swamp of effects on the master track and all these YouTube tutorials mentally impose  that taught us that we should never do something like that … still it somehow worked perfectly fine.

With Plic Ploc Lesinge is now delivering a Christmas tree that can barely hold up to all these presents underneath. With generously friendly gestures, he takes us on a journey through (almost) all the playing styles that made us love acid. From funky super hooks on Une Verte Deux Blanches to dystopian Leftfield House on Eruption. From melodic space night jams on Chain to this nervously whipping IDM aggression training a la AFX on Bless.

The whole thing is neither a blueprint nor a retrospective, but simply rounded off extremely neatly. There will certainly be a lot more to be heard in the future. Je ne peux plus attendre!!!

Tentacle Loot #21 | Metadata – TRANS EP

Open your ears and tip your toes for this handy 2-Track-Banger from Metadata!

The Argentine label Infinit Records dropped their third EP into the realsm of Bandcamp in notime. And slowly but steady the musical cornerstones that pull the two labelheads Franco ‘D and Cruz Coronado together emerge. Trippy acid jams, analogue breaks and a balanced preference for classic MPC Downbeats without committing to the 90s all too much – at least not in terms of BPM.

Quite the contrary – Metadata’s TRANS EP (a side project by Cruz Coronado and Lan) raises the pace bar siginificantly. Stubbornly impulsive and yet somehow playful, more drum machine than sample chop, the drum carpet whizzes over the almost 10 minutes. The melody part, meanwhile, jumps happily irradiated alongside. Grinning broadly without noticing how the warning tempo limit signs roll by. It all sounds kind of like Plone at a 90s jungle party, but it’s a fun portion of braindance that warms up for the next group activity.

J’s rolled with fingers crossed 😉

Buy Music Club #1 | All my Friends are on Acid

Regardless of whether you are fully immersed in global insanity or just chilling out with a tequilla on your hermetically sealed veranda. It’s good to be on acid!

I could expand this cliffhanger now. With pupils dilated in surprise, ponder where the omnipotent influence of psychedelic sound roots comes from. But the real reason for this list is that I generally have a hard time writing extensive reviews for people who are close to me personally. It is obvious! You’re just too scared of hurting your dear friends feelings.

So let’s keep it short and sweet! Shall we?!

My dearest musical colleague and friend Vodor L. Zeck gets busy! In addition to countless releases on his own Zanderhythm, he pours out some funky quirky acid stoners on Acid Waxa and Sitdownanddance!

My new favorite Argentinean trip sitters Franco ‘D and Cruz Coronado have a brand new label! The first long player on Infinit Records features wonderfully trippy downtempo acid jams. Stoned to infinity!

I only met Briain recently when he sold me his Elektron Octatrack on Ebay. Damn nice chap, part of the Berlin Skizze Crew, who (kinda like my good old Various Veterans) do their part to keep the Berlin club culture diverse. And a pretty talented Amen Breaker too!

My best pal Vertical67 has already made way too much acid. Now he lies horizontally and creates a nice ambient. I like it very much! I guess I’ll leave him there for a moment.

Gajek – a companion from the early days of our acid diaries. And someone who had obviously already way too many Kraut! I guess it helps him not to be so cerebral. But it’s the mixture of both that makes his music so great. Cerebral Kraut!

And me … Octobird. Oh, I’d rather not say anything. I am afraid to hurt my feelings!

Tentacle Loot #20 | Nicolas Spampinato – 0000 Drama

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.

Tentacle Loot #19 | Northern Ncounters – Steel City Records 1995​-​1997

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!

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