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:

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 😉

Octobird Traxxx on Major Streaming Platforms and Digital Stores

Well, I guess that’s called a sellout without income. In a better future, we would all be busy squandering our pocket money on Bandcamp and in record stores. But streaming platforms like Spotify have probably changed our listening habits permanently. And no matter how you understand the statements of a generation of poor bedroom producers, it may not be so much about paying for music, but rather about giving it a value.

No matter! Octobird is on Spotify and all these other Major Players now. Because, well … everyone else is there too … and admittedly I also use Spotify. So go along, click all these links, push all these subscription buttons and give your thumbs up at the checkout.

SPOTIFY | APPLE MUSIC | TIDAL | YOUTUBE | GOOGLE

I love you all!

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 😉

Inhalts-Ende

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