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

 

Octobird Salad #7 | Pacific Planets

I tend to go off topic. No 2020 dystopian megafuture, no winterly cold digital abysses. Instead: Which instrument would you bring on a desert island? … on a strange planet … to communicate with people there … or at least to just hang out and watch the two moons …

…fairly stoned.

In the variety of experimental house music, a handful of artists have emerged in recent years, who have given a very own coloring to the washed-out concept of world music. Far from squeezing cultural assets of non-Western cultures into banging club tracks, but also from subordinating themselfes musically to the researched cultural heritage in false humility by simply creating a prettied blueprint. Instead they trace back their own club culture as a contemporary kind of rite and ecstasy to the origins of this music, which functions far from egocentricity and self-expression. Be it as a musical concept or just as an ingredient in experimental club music.

Probably the most consistent in this ranks are Don’t DJ (which I unfortunately stupidly DJed twice in this set … sorry; /). With their percussive polyrhythms and impulsive monotonous structures, they build bridges between non-western tribal music and the raw idea of techno. The 12th Isle label preferably uses color palettes and publishes wonderfully quirky tracks, impregnated with pale pastel memories from a imaginary Caribbean vacation in 1974(ish). And then there are formations such as Groupshow (with Jan Jelinek), Tru West or even Transllusion that are deeply influenced solely by their clearly audible improvisational character.

TRACKLIST:

Pacific
Untitled (Blue)
Fly Timoun
Repercussion
Silent Elektro
Speedway
Chilazon 2
Syrian Rue
Pet Hair Magnet
Alternative Currents
Forget About It
Moment 4
Chasing The Loophole In A Relentless Spiral Of Self-indulgence

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 #8 | Oxvac – Partials

As part of the American electronic music collective Pr0gramma Oxvac has been releasing his music since about 2015.

On his latest release “Partials” he clearly demonstrates references to abstract rhythm constructs as they were cited by greats like Autechre in the Warp era . However, he neither tries to make himself comfortable in homage nor in practising some kind of beatmashing-competition but adds a very personal coloring. Which, in its warmth, happily stands out from the cold, mathematical IDM sound. The warm analog origin of the modular system responsible for most of the synth sequences is clearly audible and the background noise that accompanies us throughout the whole album sets itself like a little piece of meadow under the tracks so that the organic melodies may writhe on it. The beat structures also seem to hover between complex patterns and a wide-breathing 4/4 bass drum.

So yet again another happy accident to find such beautiful electronic music from the U.S. of A. From this side of the Atlantic’s perspective I can  just say it’s nice that you’re no longer necessarily get overpowered by EDM-Metal-Dubstep, but can also lift the actual treasures (which have always been there!). At least on platforms like Bandcamp and Co.

Inhalts-Ende

That's the bottom of the sky.

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