Buy Music Club #2 | “Beam me back, Stevie!” A very subjective trip into Warp Records back catalogue.

As someone old enough to remember the days before the digital music democratization but just a tiny bit too young to have experienced the magic of the Berlin post-wall-techno-revolution, for quite some time there have only be two important music labels for electronics: Ninja Tune and Warp. As much as we might moan about drowning into a state of invisibility with our own music, simply from the pure amount of supply out there, it’s always helpful to take a step back and remember how different the musical landscape of experimental music was 25+ Years ago. It almost seemed as if the top distributors of “intelligent dance music” would have passed artists and releases to each other, depending on the bpm mood of their average listener.  Everything on the 90bpm landmark for the dope heads came from Ninja Tunes, at 120bpm Warp Records stepped in for the more conscious braindancer and when computer science was as far as making breakcore possible, the gap was open for Planet-µ. (This, of course is less science and more of a blurred polaroid of the 90’s.) Of course there where other labels, but our world was still so small and therefor these ones became the cornerstones that thrived the music of tomorrow.

So why care about this now, at this very moment? Well, there are two reasons: One, Warp Records finally warped their entire back catalogue onto Bandcamp, what gives me the possibility to make a BMC-List. And second, they just used some of their powers to drag you away from Bandcamp back to their very own platform veteran Bleep.com with a Boxing Day Sale. 50% of on their digital catalogue is just a great chance to fill some gaps in your Warp Collection. Which is exactly what I just did. (You might have maybe missed that deal when you read this, because this whole article took longer than I expected). I’m also guessing, I’m not the only one spending a lot of time in dim light behind concrete walls, right now. With not much else left than traveling in memories of brighter days.

And so, like many others before me, I grab the opportunity to share my perspective on this milestone of electronic music history. Deliberately not as some Top-10 kinda list, as I know there is an army of hardcore AFX/BOC/AE fans out there who wouldn’t share my views (…and shouldn’t have to). Instead I rather take on a totally subjective position and take a look back on some albums that actually had an profound impact on me at well remembered moments in time. And maybe one or two of them are part of a collective subconscious, who knows?!

Autechre - Amber

Back in my teenage years there still was a very strong urge going on to decide which sonic subculture you wanted to belong to. And while I was still soaking up all these diverse influences of a blues playing father, my punkrock brothers and my hip hop homies it took some persuasion to get me into this cold, technical stuff called IDM. Weed definitely helped.  And so I remember this moment like not many other stoned situations: Sitting on the backseat of a friends car late at night and perceiving Autechres Teartear for the very first time on full blast. This piece of music was the most terrifying blank peace of paper ever to encounter. Cold, mechanical, full of everything that stroke against my naive believe of “true music” but still a catalyst of strong emotions I had not experienced from music before.

This was not only my starting point into experimental electronic music, but also the moment I realized that there is a kind of music that isn’t more, but just very different from all that music that makes us feel understood, belonging or emotionally confirmed. A kind of music that pushes us into the unknown infinite spaces of our subconsciousness. Often visualized with images from space, but actually digging for unknown places right inside us. And that’s still – also in the process of making music myself – the decisive force in electronic music. It’s not purely a direct channel of emotional expression, which is enjoyed and shared with others. But more of an opened dialogue between you and the pure sonic possibilities of machines (good ol’ “men vs. machine” cliche).

Boards of Canada - Twoism

While I was still busy figuring out all of these Autechrian fractal sonic landscapes, Boards Of Canada where a little bit more kind. Instead of diving into sound in their most abstract shapes, BOC provided us with associations. Their music was quite literally boiling over from them. Experiencing their music was like finding an old box of Polaroids in the cellar. Warm and earthy, like walking over the dry gravel of a country road and smelling the musty pond nearby. But this approach alone wasn’t totally new. There was something else to it. I guess, besides the total mystery of how exactly they managed to uplift these sonic landscapes, there were always some kind of hidden messages. As there are in memories too. The things we banish from our past to make room for everything we joyfully look back to. Something I just recently understood in it’s full potential with the help of a wonderful little DIY BOC documentary by the name This Is Hexagon Sun. But while this one decodes a lot of the hidden messages in BOC’s music there’s also the purely emotional level. And this is where Twoism stands out from their other releases (at least from my very subjective perception). Twoism skillfully combines the naturalistic soundscapes that made them famous (Sixtyniner), with sadly optimistic elevator music for office buildings (Iced Cooly) into a frightening mechanic force of nature (Basefree). A force they later went back to on their last Album Tomorrow’s Harvest, which still scares me so much that I’m not able to make it past the first one or two tracks.

Plaid - Double Figure

When I had my first introduction into the world of Plaid with their Double Figure album I was totally puzzled. There were so many things going on I learned to despise in my naive belive in musical taste, and yet I’ve instantly became hooked by these playful melodies and glitchy sounds. It was a courage for melody that soon should spread all over the place with artist like Kettel, Proem or Ochre jump on the train. But Plaid pefected this sound with Double Figure very early on. They were telling stories instead of handing over big chunks of cotton candy and the complex sound design still had a tiny bit of a raw charm. Like a beautiful rainbow, this whole spectrum of sound was never ment to last. It was just there and you never knew how much of it would outlast the signs of time. But Double Figure certainly did.

I still remember that Plaid were performing live quite regulary in the early 2000’s. It was just on of these acts you would always stumble into and I also remember one of my early gigs on the second floor at Maria am Ufer (R.I.P.) where Plaid was playing the Main Floor. It was funny because they would always come with some big sound concepts, like playing Dolby Sourround sets, just to fail on the technical possibilities on site. At the end they were just playing their tunes, one after the other, in stereo. So for me, personally, their legacy still is the creation of the perfect electronic home listening music. Because the sad truth is, once you reach perfection in electronic music, everything to come is just sound design.

Aphex Twin - Drukqs

Whenever musical genres like Glam Rock, Big Beat or Minimal Techno vanished and got replaced by something new, in retrospect it always seems like there was one defined moment in time to declare the death of a genre. If we would have had this moment in Intelligent Dance Music it would have been Drukqs. It was the perfect IDM album even though at a first glance it was quite complicated to understand it as an album at all. The odd contrast of pseudo accoustic instrumentals and hyper complex breakcore masterpieces just didn’t seem to belong together at first. But in effect you would just listen to it again and again, because both sides where just too beautiful on their own to be put aside, and before you could figure it all out you inevitably felt in love with it and it became the one IDM album we could all agree on. In this sense it was also one of the last great albums of the CD era, I guess. The last time we performed the great braindance unitedly, everyone in his own brain but interconnected trough the shabby connections of a 56k Modem. The death of IDM, only that we just kept going afterwards, everyone in his own niche of breakcore, acid and whatnot.

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

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...

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 #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!

Octobird Salad #10 | Dream State Inhabitants

Ahhh … it’s been a while since the last time I gave these virtual turntables a physically modeled spin. Pretty busy grinding down home made rhythm exercises  so that they could see the light of the ether as soon as possible. And of course vacation. In dream states around the globe. I wished myself everywhere. As a lively, vibrating disembodied being that flows unabashedly through the bars of the present. Dancing, dreaming, slowly fading.

With their debut EP Seasick in Salts, uh just recently built a wonderfully suitable runway for these dream trips. Somewhere between trippy Acid Ambient spheres of the Orb and free-spirited pop designs of the late Roisin Murphy, uh embark on a journey that never ends in just 30 minutes. Located somewhere between 1990 and infinity.

Klasse Wrecks also brilliantly mastered the art of lifting genres everyone knows and has never heard before from the depths of our subconscious . Their recent releases are basically the blueprint for everything that buzzes around in this OS episode. Endlessly reverberant hooks, tripping breakbeats and sprinkles of classic rave vocals. And with their latest (and for some inexplicable reason purely digital) Homeboys EP, the two Klasse Wrecks masterminds Luca Lozano and Mr Ho simply nailed it (…to the point where describing words become totally redundant).

In order not to slide into oblivion of interwoven dream sequences, a special magic is required. Lesinge, who already made a lot of promises on his Acid Waxa debut in 2017, has now set up his own acid hit list with Plic Ploc. The melodies play ping pong, the bass runs bowl and the beats make cricket. If he continues to grow so steeply, we urgently need an initiative against home sports.

#staysave dream dancers, headphone ravers, virtual snake creatures…

TRACKLISZT:

ARTIST

uh
B12
The Boys From Chariss
Route 8
Jay Ka
Cliff Lothar
Alphonse
Luca Lozano
Justin Cudmore
Lesinge
Luca Lozano
Innerspace Halflife
Horsepower Productions
Ex-Terrestrial

TRACK

Contact
Play with Me
Bass Love
Turning Point
Dirty Earth
Devotion
Xanax 123
Bedroom Beat
New Jack the House
Une Verte Deux Blanches
Biohazard
Wind
TP
Insect Reject

LABEL

Prah Recordings
Central Processing Unit
Klasse Wrecks
Lobster Theremin

Turbo
Klasse Wrecks
Klasse Wrecks
The Bunker New York
Acid Waxa
Klasse Wrecks
M>O>S Recordings
Sneaker Social Club
Magicwire

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 #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.”

Octobird Salad #9 | Home is where your House is

Okay… easy, easy!

Let’s leave that headline in all its ambiguity regarding the state of the nation and devote ourselves to an extra large portion of escapism. It’s dream time, baby! Because dreaming is the only true alternative to Netflix these days. And Dream House was a genre long before Netflix was a clinically recognized addiction.

I’ve been a bit off lately from simmering velvety smooth track transitions. Instead, I was quite busy jacking up my own tracks to somehow work.

Without being among those who suddenly have a lot more time (but rather those who simply take their time) I was pretty intensely involved in expanding my own mixing and mastering skills. So why not just sprinkle one of my own compositions right at the beginning? Roughly mixed and not mastered at all, but laid back and totally unobtrusive.

With everything that follows, this seems to be more or less a Future Times Label Special. Which surprised me myself and was not on purpose at all. But I guess that’s exactly where the fine instinct of Future Times releases lies. A forward-looking sound aesthetic that uses sound colors that are already deeply rooted in our imagination. All covered with a fine digital pastel, to which we haven’t dedicated ourselves so meditatively to since New-Age Times. Rhythmically, on the other hand, these Tracks are always encouraged not to break the well-known patterns, but rather to prepare the listener patiently for some next-level experiences.

Our other companions also join this joy of playing. Among them Linkwood, who – in addition to his collaboration with Foat – recently rereleased his Disco-House masterpiece System. As well as His Master’s Voice, a fairly new pair of hands on the machines and, above all, someone who stands out in the continuing Electro trend with his excessive digressions. Not by reinventing the toolbox, but simply by completely doing his own thing. 1st class dreamer!

TRACKLIST

ARTIST
Neu Balance
Octobird
Garies
Outboxx
Linkwood & Foat
Dreems
Jeremy Hyman
Ov
His Master’s Voice
Diego
Bandhagens Musikförening

TRACK
Tread
Rubbing Fingers
Don Bongo
How You Know
Pressure
In The Jungle
Slide
Perc Song (Chords)
Taurus
Crack
Protokoll A

LABEL
1080p
unreleased
Future Times
Well Rounded Housing Project
Athens Of The North
Multi Culti
Future Times
Future Times
KCZMRK
Future Times
Northern Electronics

 

Inhalts-Ende

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