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!

Tentacle Loot #18 | The 36 Chambers of Danny Wolfers

 

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.

“Word.”

Tentacle Loot #16 | magnetisme obscur: mondo hybrid

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.

Tentacle Loot #15 | Franco.D’: Sinergia // Bonafont Division Karma Vol​.​10

¨4 Tracks For The DJ That JAAACKS¨

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.

Tentacle Loot #14 | World Crime League vol 1

“1997, EARTH

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.

Tentacle Loot #13 | Neurolucifer – Keygen

Finnish producer Neurolucifer has been diligently spreading his driving Breaks and Braindancers over various net labels during the past year. For the various label cross-references alone it is worthwhile to travel with him from Cyberia via Sun Hole to the New World. With his latest release on Pr0gramma, he now has a sojourn at the label that has already given me shelter once or twice.

On Keygen he guides us through 4 tracks and 3 remixes of Braindance and Breakcore tracks with a classic Planet-µ coloring. Tense, nervous, but always optimistic enough to give the twitching brain little strikes across all emotion sectors.

And since labelhead Ismael Stein (as always) wrote a wonderfully rich accompanying note for the release, there’s not much more to do than pass on the computer keyboard in awe …

“Adopting a mythical namesake, Neurolucifer opens with some low-flying early harsh Aphex Twin-ambient/DnB fusions. These early hints of DnB and 90’s club are refined to a T with stuttering bit crushed breaks, resonating 303 lines, and space documentary friendly sound design. Heartblead and Chrysopoeia both balance this advanced-level puzzle like composition style arranging ethereal pads with fiercely chopped breaks and a squelching lower register. Three remixes round out the bottom end of the album with an initial well deserved chilled take on Heartbleed followed by two versions of Irtauduttuani – one more bass and break driven while the other floats around textures of echoing arpeggios and breaks.”

Tentacle Loot #12 | Mætadata – Simulacra & Simulation

Simulacra and Simulation is synonymous with Jean Baudrillard’s book of the same name, a thing that’s no longer a thing. Something completely born out of virtual building blocks, refusing any reference point from the real world.

In an already alienated world of electronic music, one searches in vain for crutches, created by the artist to carry us back into the real world. Although it is “Electro” in the distant sense, it does not want to make us believe that it was written on analog sound generators with buttons, rotated by human hands. And although it sounds damn “funky”, every note, every beat is set by artificial intelligence. The only remaining reference is the core of this human tragedy: the loss of any reference point, wandering around in a hyperreality with the remaining question of whether this is the next logical step or the last step…

… and all in all, it’s damn funky, polished and suitable for clubs. Five out of five stars, desperately searching for their place in the vault of heaven.

Tentacle Loot #11 | The Hatcliffe House Tapes Vol. 7 – Incidental Moments And Accelerated Fusion

… or just one of countless research papers from the John Lee Richardson lab.

When you first land on the Bandcamp site of Indifferent Space Recordings, you feel a bit lost but yet tied up by unknown forces at the same time. What kind of planet is this? A tape label … an acid planet? But then track after track you become aware that you’ve stranded in a peaceful dictatorship, because this planet counts only one inhabitant:
Captain John Lee Richardson.

Richardson recently released the collected works of his two senior alter egos from his self-managed discography: Acrelid – Illegal Rave Tapes and The Hatcliffe House Tapes. While he indulges in a good old sample-loaded Braindance style on his Illegal Rave Tapes, his “House Tapes” are more dedicated to the laid back psychedelic spheres of retrofuturistic electronic music.

On the warm, limited frequency spectrum of a cassette recording, one get carried away into the infinite vastness of space and yet always has the feeling of being in a very personal, comfortably furnished parallel universe. Sometimes stoically impulsive as on old recordings of the Silver Apples, sometimes leaning back and playful as on many Ghost Box releases.

As I said, Vol. 7 – Incidental Moments and Accelerated Fusion is actually just an entry-level terminal if you decide to travel with Richardson. Because once you’ve started, you’re out there for a while. Far out!

Highly recommended are also his early Oscillopeisia releases as well as his YouTube channel, which gives a wonderfully blurry look from his spaceship.

Tentacle Loot #10 | Tihomir Zdjelarević – Mikrowelt

“Tihomir Zdjelarević is a Berlin based musician. He works with modular synthesizer, string synthesizer, guitar, Four track and hardware effects to create a large soundscape with a kosmic vibe”

Tihomir pretty obviously follows the paths of classic ambient music from the golden age of the analogue synthesizer. But he does so with a lot of passion and sensitivity. He put’s the Warp Speed Engine straight on 1 Lightmeter per hour and follows the routes of Cosmic Music, Krautrock and Psychedelia slowly and carefully. Therefore this music is by all means meditative, as it takes you to a place you’ve already been before – somewhere save – and lets your mind wander and expand.

So we highly recommend to just take these 40 Minutes off. Put away your smartphones turn off your computer, shield yourself from the surrounding Wifi and find a way to listen to MP3s in this rather uncommon setup.

Damn, what a stressful world.

Tentacle Loot #9 | Mindcolormusic aux4410

Mindcolormusic’s one man label mastermind DJ mnvr has been pretty busy releasing wonderful little mindbending braindance gems since last year. Sympathetically he skips back and forth between Compilations, EPs and Split-Eps on which he relies less on proven formats than on his sense of coherent track compilations. And so – behind the superstructure of Braindance, Acid and IDM – his publications  always tell a flush story beyond genre boundaries.

The fact that we are choosing the aux4410 from these short stories is, of course, due to the fact that Veglord Vodor L Zeck contributes his part on the knobs here. But together with Quadratschulz, Bromic, Sonornote, Bovaflux and a few others, it creates a wonderful something of nervous drum shuffle, sprinting acid lines and hovering disharmonic megarave emotions.

May the end of this story remain open for a long, long time!

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