Tentacle Loot #27 | Kapha Selections: Sun Castle / Ke’So [KS04]

At first glance, nothing seems to fit on this 2 track split-tape. A solo piano piece on the A-Side and a 15 minute lofi house jam on the B-Side. And yet it apparently reflects the experimental musical melting pot of this New York collective. I say “apparently” because I couldn’t really find out that much about Kapha Selections, except that they have been releasing split tapes for about a year, which largely reflect the underground culture of their hometown.

A little more obvious is the International Winners Collective, to which this tape is dedicated. They’ve been organizing events and parties in Brooklyn, New York and releasing stuff on Bandcamp for a number of years now. Constantly strolling between art gallery and club without seeming to give a damn about whether they should please one or the other target audience. With a cross-eyed look across the Atlantic, such a concept, of course, brings up prejudices about would-be high culture immediately, which are also shaped by experiences from my own hometown Berlin. However, these can be completely dispelled with the two tracks on this EP alone. Because two things come to the fore here: curiosity and honesty. As different as these two pieces may appear, they are both a sincere invitation to a physical, spiritual experience. Both pieces do not want to be viewed and evaluated from the outside, but rather be experienced. (Sorry that I’m doing exactly the opposite of that at this point 😉 )

For these reasons, however, I will simply save myself from describing or even explaining the two tracks in detail. Instead I close with the realization that this short tape is a wonderful reminder that music is a living part of our confused cities and communities and that we will not be able to transport these experiences into virtual spaces.
And that’s a good thing!

Hold on!

Octobird – Faeces | available on Bandcamp (and everywhere else)

There we have him, the newborn. That happy little companion who will cheer you up about the first hardships of the approaching winter. A handful of tracks that are rather creamy, soft and warm, but won’t refuse a little dance or two.

“Faeces” Release Site

The links to the streaming services could still take a few days before they actually lead to the release, but Bandcamp is up and running. Everything else is fake anyway! 😉

Austin Cassell is back on IFM feat. Acroplane Recordings!

Get closer to your radio, kids! Austin Cassell, a loyal supporter of the experimental electronic community, is back on IntergalacticFM after a seven month hiatus! This time with Special Guest Acroplane Recordings. A particularly happy coincidence, as I also had my very first releases at Acroplane in the glorious beginnings of netlabel culture.

Tune in at 21:00 GMT(22:00 CET) on The Dream Machine at www.intergalactic.fm
 
Acroplane links:
Bandcamp – http://acroplanerecordings.bandcamp.com/
Soundcloud – https://soundcloud.com/acroplane
Facebook -https://www.facebook.com/acroplanerecordings

Tentacle Loot #26 | JHM – Exhaustive Portal EP

Whenever peripheral areas in music are explored, whether in terms of speed, complexity or aggressiveness, there is always a critical point. Regardless of whether we are irradiated at a gabba party and crave for a climax that we have long since passed, or if we boastfully exchange our favorite breakcore tracks until the complex rhythm structures hit us as a wave of snare drums. At a certain point we cross the threshold from art to sport. And while some feel right at home in this spot, I personally often balance on that very partition, driven by a mixture of curiosity and skepticism. My own approach to music is just far too emotional and physical to be charmed only by my left brain hemisphere. And so, after this highly subjective process of elimination, in the end there aren’t that many who still manage to convey a physical or emotional message under the flag of hardcore-whatever.

JHM (aka Jens Masimov) is probably a little too smart for that.

In his self-description he describes himself as a multimedia artist working with ritualistic distortion, and his musical mainspring could hardly be better described. Located in a gloomy no-man’s-land somewhere between driving techno and gabba, he doesn’t seem to care too much about whether he could under-challenge some and overwhelm others. Instead, he fearlessly dives into the very core of the ecstatic ritual of contemporary club culture. With stoically hammering, distorted kick drums and tirelessly circulating sequences, he keeps us in a sustained state of physical exhaustion at just around 150bpm, which can ultimately only be maintained by fading out all conscious thought processes. Masimov’s talent finally reveals itself in his ability to maintain this state. And although you intuitively feel overwhelmed at first, he still allows room for improvement and allows the individual elements of his music air to breathe. And so ultimately he leaves us with the last remaining conscious decision, whether we want to swim or run.

Octobird Salad #12 | Digital Natures

A silent evolution is taking place between pixel-flooded landscapes and rhythmic clacking wood emulations. An Euclidean alternation between melody and texture, structure and color. And while hype addicts are still looking for the perfect hookline, the free spirits have long been researching new parameters of expression. And so this episode of Octobird Salad is intended to pay tribute to those free spirits who are looking for new parameters of composition in a mixture of club functionality and emotional expression. And by the way, a sneak peek into my own attempts in this field, which will see the light of day in the very near future. But you have to stay until the end of the party.

It is probably the hidden merit of Jan Jelinek (who is represented here with his Farben project) to have pushed the deconstruction of melody and rhythm. For almost twenty years now, he has been busy blurring the familiar patterns and levels in music and thus lovingly freeing us from our cherished bonds. Always deeply experimental in his musical approaches, somehow he never wanted to scare us. He was rewarded with all kinds of attempts to put him in some kind of genre. Yet he was minimalist before Minimal became a short-lived club trend. Was too conceptual for Ambient and Lounge.

While Jelinek seems to have long since arrived in the academic quarter of his existence, there are plenty of descendants who are striving for structural changes on the dance floor. On Firecracker Recordings all varieties of house music are doused with liters of paint. Dauwd just nailed the Theory of Colours with their eponymous album and 1080p Records owe their independent character in the LoFi corner primarily to their color spectrum. Instead of releasing anyone who can run an R’n’B sample through a tape plug-in, they mainly stood out for their selection of independent sound spectra (which was then run trough a tape plug-in).

So this isn’t all big news and some might even legitimately doubt my brave claim to set Jan Jelinek on the throne here. Let me be honest and reveal that this is all a frame for my own musical intentions in this science and the final track might give a glimpse in this. For me personally this is all very much connected to the art and science of sampling, of finding the hidden textural magic between the peaks of recorded sounds to give them a second birth of something the sound itself wouldn’t have imagined. So keep your ears open, either here at octobird.org or on my Bandcamp for something up-to-date…finally.

TRACKLIST:

Journeyman Trax: Inside
Farben: Love Oh Love
Beta Librae: Swope Park
Lnrdcroy: Terragem
The Room Below: Freedom
Kowton: Bits & Pieces
Gerry Read: Legs (Kevin McPhee Remix)
Dauwd: Silverse
Octobird: Flute Loot
 

A Blog is not a Blog is not a Blog: Three human resources to identify high quality music

Probably every person who manages to cross the magical Cobain-Morrison-line of 27 years will experience one or the other profound global change in the course of his life, either due to historical or to technological progress. The changes in the music journalistic landscape and thus the way in which we discover and perceive music is probably one of the profound changes in my (average) existence.

While we used to sit in front of the TV until late at night to catch some of the more remote formats on MTv, while we recorded local radio stations, being grateful that John Peel was even broadcasted as far as Berlin and while we followed in the semi-mainstream music magazines looking for creative misfits, we now live in times of limitless diversity. And while print magazines are still looking for new horizons, the classic blog is almost dying out again. Replaced, it seems, with algorithms and influencer playlists on Spotify. And yet besides the little big players of online magazines (Fact, XL8R, etc.) there are still plenty of smaller formats. Well-arranged, cozy places where it’s only about one thing: staying true to the music. You just have to find them!

At this point I would like to remedy the situation a little and showcase my three favorite (kinda-)blogs and at the same time present three quite different formats and approaches.

Read on...

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...

Octobird Salad #11 | Muscle Memory

Even if the vinyl supplies in my apartment are slowly starting to displace me, I’ve always been a fan of digital DJing. At least when I’m standing behind the wheels myself. And in this playground I’m finally in the process of replacing my totally undersized MP3s with Flac files once and for all. And again in the same process I got infected with a serious case of audiophily and catch myself diggin for all these ultra polished electro tracks to convince myself that all the effort of re-encoding and re-recording is worth the effort. So Instead of the usual insider tips, this time I simply present a best of electro on steroids.

As an old friend of trashy sizzling acid music with a constant allergy to perfection, I am still quite reluctant when basses fly by slightly over-inflated. But there are a few who have mastered the double game of knocking out perfectly produced tracks that stand the ravages of time without getting tired.

Morphology have been part of this group since their very first releases on Zyntax Motorcity in the early 2010s. And my good friend Vertical67 with his label Vortex Traks was lucky enough to get some of their great pieces a few years ago.

Also part of the immediate vicinity are Mechatronica, who have set a well-guarded milestone in Electro when they released their “I Am Mensch” 12 “inch by Zeta Reticula and Helga Neuer.

Marco Bernardi is one of my absolute favorites next to D’Marc Cantu (who for once does not appear here). His efforts to produce club tracks in which he explores the rhythmic fringes, exposes us to dystopias and at the same time puts us into a deep trance, are unparalleled.

And from that point it gets dirty again with circulating, endless loops of drooling acid by Boris Divider, Isabella and Clatterbox. Including the title track of the Murder-Capital full length masterpiece by Gesloten Cirkel “Submit-X”.

TRACKLIST:

Inhalts-Ende

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