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.
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.
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”.
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 😉
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.
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.
Oh my dear Analord! I just realise that it’s been quite a while since my last recorded confession. So forgive me as I have been hiding in dark places jamming out tunes. What actually brought me back into recording another episode of Octobird Salad was a quite significant update in my gear arsenal. I just recently got myself a pretty good deal on an Allen&Heath Xone:DB4 mixer. And as most A&H DJ-Mixer this one is in particular great for straight on Techno music, advancing the gracile art & craft of carving out elements and layer them over a workspace of four decks.
Preeminently I went for a certain style of Techno I think I first encountered through the one and only Developer. A hypnotic and driven sort of music, embedded in evolving textures and floating hi-hats, worn by a straight four to the floor kick drum. It vehemently refuses catchy hooklines and replaces it with repetitive textures and sequences to drill itself a path into ones subconscious.
Another representative of this guild is probably Luke Slater under his alias Planetary Assault Systems. Unbelievable he only managed to get on my radar two or three years ago. Especially on his recent releases on A-tone Records (a very courageous, offbeat offshoot of the Berghain label Ostgut-Ton) he indulges these style elements with immense sensitivity. His current release Plantae is no exception from this development.
And just before it might get a bit too repetitive, we take the branch into the relatively sluggish rhythms of electro. Not only to carry the current release of my trusty companion Vortex Traks into the world. With Kafkactrl’s “Entropy Model” they travelled again into harsher areas, which are personally always my favourite.
Last but not least, Animistic Beliefs deserve a mention. While the finally played track still makes use of the usual tools of electro, particularly on their current release Mindset: Reset they managed to give the genre a very personal touch. Perfectionist, smooth and yet playful enough to let both sides of your brain play table tennis together.
1 Etienne Jaumet: For Falling Asleep (Christian Vance Slow Burning Saxless Remix) [Versatile Records]
2 NHK yx Koyxen: Parallel Displacement [-ous]
3 S Olbricht: T
4 Donato Dozzy: Back [Tresor]
5 Staffan Linzatti: Dizziness [Balans Records]
6 Planetary Assault Systems: Give It Up [Mote-Evolver]
7 Developer: Over the Eurphrates [Coincidence Records]
8 Simon Haydo: Contortions [MindTrip Music]
9 Israel Vines: Afterever [Interdimensional Transmissions]
10 DJ Spider & Franklin De Costa: F Planet [Berceuse Heroique]
11 Ekman: Doomsday Argument [Crème Organization]
12 Kafkactrl: Occam’s Razor [Vortex Traks]
13 Animistic Beliefs: Digitone X005 [Solar One Music]
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!