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...

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.

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:

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!

Octobird – AM Sessions

Hey there Earth Persons…I am very happy to announce that Octobird’s current release “AM Sessions” is available in the form of manifested electrical vibrations now. So go grab your (free) digital copy from Bandcamp.

Inspired by the recording workflow from the sessions with his like minded fella Vodor L. Zeck, Octobird got himself an 8-track digital recorder and startet jamming.

Similar to the recordings from the recent Tram Komputer Release, these jams reveal themselves more or less as a raw distillate from spontaneous sessions, driven by repetitive patterns, exuberant modulations and a midi clock. Recorded in a single run and shrunk down to a bearable size later on.

Like Dessert Sessions… but on Midi Clock.

Tentacle Loot #19 | Northern Ncounters – Steel City Records 1995​-​1997

When you experience this compilation, it quickly becomes clear that this is not a well-researched subcultural gem from the history of niche techno. These are contemporary witnesses, those who have been there and who look back on an imprinted fragment of their past with a well-deserved and balanced portion of nostalgia.

Over 12 tracks from the back catalog of the few main players from Steel City Records, we explore a pool of acid tracks that are as uncompromising as they are experimental, and to which the sweat of blurred Warehouse Club nights generated by them is still clearly attached.

Anyone who has ever stretched out their sensors between Detroit and Manchester cannot avoid recognizing musical parallels. However, these tracks are far too honest, truthful and stubbornly naive for a result of quotation and imitation. Rather, the same spirit speaks from them, which also drove the disoriented youngsters from Detroit and Manchester. For them (unlike 90s Techno  in Berlin, for example) the awakening of techno was not the soundtrack for (spiritual) liberation, but a tool of escapism from their bleak, industrially colored world. This can especially be recognized from the fact that these producers represented here were striving for a much more driving, minimalist and hypnotic sound. While there are excursions in typical Berlin high-speed techno from time to time (such as Opgang 2 “DeChirico”), the naive testing of musical limits infected by experienced freedom does not occur. These Tracks had a task, a clear function (and still do!)

The attached PDF Liner Notes are very much recommended and yet too quickly overlooked. In the brief history of Steel City Records and the associated techno enclave of Canada it becomes clear that Detroit and Manchester were indeed important cornerstones of the musical orientation. Pleasingly, the written transcript of the SCR history is not a hedonistic celebration of better days, but rather an honest review of missed opportunities, youthful egocentricity and loyalty to ideas. The explanations are also exciting as a contemporary document of the pre-Internet hypes, from a time when the social networking of different local subcultures was still so completely different from today. Especially since we are now at a point where the dream of the Internet as a tool for cultural independence has been swept away in many ways and we are once again asked to reinvent ourselves.

 Without a doubt, “Steel City Records 1995 – 1997” would be worth a vinyl release. But as usual you would probably have to seize the opportunity to create a musical hype. Maybe you should miss this chance a second time? I guess so!

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.”

Tentacle Loot #17 | Poisson Chat: Nocturna Træcks I+II

As much as I try to avoid mentioning the C-Word these days, opportunities often do lead to inspiration. And so we start this review with a figuratively clichéd thesis once again:

“Isolation is a warm place.”

Not just since his Nocturna Tracks releases I+II Poisson Chat cultivated a very deep and warm sound. In his minimalistic Deep-House compositions he takes us into the comforting realms of pure emptiness that only someone with a truly introverted mind can empathize.

“What I’m looking for when I’m composing music, is an isolated, quiet, and peaceful environment (like the deepness of the ocean). Going like a fish (-cat) to a new world to express what I feel. With my music, I think people can imagine their own underwater stories, and swim into some nice places.”

This is how the artist himself described his musical world of inspiration in one of his rarely seen web appearences – a DJ-Set Podcast / Interview, which was published for the Italian online magazine Electronique.it in 2014. And these ambitions can still be recognized as a driving force in his releases. In the same interview he also described his efforts to strip down his sound as much as possible in order to archieve a clear idea. And indeed, precisely these ingredients lead him to an amazingly focused sound, well-placed in genre terms such as Minimalism, Deep House or LoFi House, but skilfully eludes the corresponding genre clichés. His driving grooves, warm sound carpets and resting melody sequences, create tracks that work on dreamy, lost dance floor escapades as well as on peacefully exhausted six-hour drives back home from the latest festival weekend (which will definitely come ;).

Those who take the rewarding venture to dive deeper into the Poisson Chat‘s catalog will also discover a handful of downtempo treasures in which he has clear evidence for a fluid connection between the early Lofi masterpieces by Boards Of Canada and contemporary LoFi House Trends. This preference is particularly evident on his Unidata alias (which I almost certainly suspect is his creation too, even if this is not clearly written anywhere).

With a few exceptions from the early days, Poisson Chat consistently published on his own label creations Poisson Chat Musique (PCM) and Wave Memory (VΛV).


 

Tentacle Loot #16 | magnetisme obscur: mondo hybrid

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.

Octobird Salad #8 | Super Acid Adventure

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 66My 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

TRACKLIST

TRACK
Basical
I Dream About Acid
Let Go Of This Acid
Total
Maddance
Tan Ta Ra (Moby Remix)
South Bank
The Scene
I’m Doing My Thing (Original Mix)
Hell Is Other People (feat. Si Begg)
Tokyo Tokyo
The Black Night Is Calling My Name
Antipodean
My 909

Inhalts-Ende

That's the bottom of the sky.

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