July 20, 2007

Beatzcast #42: Crambe Repetita

Mixes2007

Stylus editor Todd Burns presents a mix of electronic music featuring new music from Anja Schneider and the Kindisch label, as well as Dial Records and a remix from the Wighnomy Brothers…

Tracklist
01: Herb LF - Fruchtalarm (Wighnomys Obstkokktailie) [buy]
02: Sten - Undercover [buy]
03: Phonique - Gaga [buy]
04: Einzelkind - Maferefumeco [buy]
05: Anja Schneider - Belize [buy]

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June 22, 2007

Beatzcast #38: Crambe Repetita

Mixes2007

Stylus editor Todd Burns presents a mix of electronic music featuring new music from DJ Koze, the Wighnomys, and Glass Candy, as well as new tunes from Mobilee, Cocoon, and Vakant…

Tracklist
01: DJ Koze - Cicely [buy]
02: Portable - Don’t Give Up (Lawrence Remix) [buy]
03: Keytronics Ensemble - Calypso of House (Julien Jabre Remix) [buy]
04: Stephan Bodzin vs. Marc Romboy - Callisto [buy]
05: Glass Candy - Miss Broadway (Belle Epoque) [buy]
06: Wighnomy Brothers - Guppipeitsche [buy]
07: Onur Özer - Halikarnas [buy]
08: Tolga Fidan - Venice [buy]
09: Marcin Czubala - Consigliere [buy]
10: Loco Dice - El Gallo Negro [buy]

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May 18, 2007

Beatzcast #33: Crambe Repetita

Mixes2007

Stylus editor Todd Burns presents a mini-mix of electronic music…

Tracklist
01: Kollektiv Turmstrasse - Tristesse [buy]
02: Kissogram - My Friend Is A Seahorse (James Priestley & Dan Berkson’s Bariz e Syntho Remix) [buy]
03: Shackleton - Blood on My Hands (Villalobos Apocalypso Now Mix) [buy]
04: Solomun and Stimming - Eiszauber [buy]
05: Depeche Mode - Lillian (Robag Wruhme Mix) [buy]
06: Robag Wruhme Als Rolf Oksen - Dopamin [buy]
07: Chaim - Popsky [buy]

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September 15, 2006

Label Profile: Elettronica Romana

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There have been more than a couple reviews of Elettronica Romana releases that describe the label’s sound as “intelligent techno.” As much as my knee-jerk response is to shun, shudder and/or scream at such terminology, the tag might still be at the very least pointing in the right direction. What’s missing, though, is the velocity. The one consistency of the label through the high-end of Giorgio Gigli’s trance inflections to the low-end of Maurizio Cascella & Joe Casagrande’s dub marches, is how each single becomes utterly cerebral. But as far as descriptions, cerebral is definitely not precise enough. Founded under foundations of arpeggiated analog synths, Elettronica Romana’s discography reveals a roster of artists willing to hypnotically bridge the divide between a caress and a shove.

Although the label’s blurb of a biography pinpoints its origins to Remix, a famous record store in Rome, it also leaves out just enough for a little free-form techno bollocks mythology to maneuver. Sure, Donato Dozzy has bounced around with Berlin labels like Lan Muzik and Orange Groove, but he’s an exception to the rule. Both Modern Heads and Giorgio Gigli have blossomed primarily on Elettronica Romana. Their contributions have given the label a novel spaced-out form of trance that’s alien to current cinematic stabs found on the Border Community label or other under-currents that are polyrhythmically bouncing around Berlin. With eight releases in the past two years and three currently in tow, Elettronica Romana has culled together a very strong base to a sound that’s bound to go further into the black hole of “more deep/space/trance.”

Key Releases

Giorgio Gigli - Geometrik Forms EP [e.r. 002]
From the first kick-drum, it’s apparent that the Geometrik Forms EP chugs along with a complete disregard of pit stops. Gigli’s endurance is fuelled by a healthy dose of Kraut- the EP’s two sides take all the vibrant atmospheric arpeggios of trance, discard the anthemic traps, and then coast into a hypnotic stretch of motorik rhythm.

Donato Dozzy & Brando Lupi - Destination: Eskimo EP [e.r. 003]
Hypothesizing a mash-up of Monoton and your favorite Italo-disco track, the first part of this single (done solo by Dozzy) could birth a new bastard genre: claustro-disco. Following the famous German group’s predilection for huge analog synthesizers, Dozzy might want to consider renaming his instrument the Seekrank synth; the track’s arpeggiated line wobbles in disorienting extremes, leaving many hunched over the side as the ship presses onward.

Modern Heads - Paper Toys EP [e.r. 008]
Paper Toys’ final track, “Puzzle” might find the group sculpting the airy expanse usually reserved to DJ jet setters like the Wighnomy Brothers, but the rest of the EP’s path is far more grounded. Perhaps even underground, as “Cartoon” burrows into the paradox of being equally antiseptic and damp, and “Toy” applies both vantages, using and leaving micro-house in the dust.

[Nate DeYoung]


August 11, 2006

Interview: Amy Grill / Speaking In Code

Stylus and Beatz By the Pound are very excited to bring you an interview with sQuare Productions’ Amy Grill, director and producer of the upcoming techno documentary Speaking in Code.

So, Amy, you’re making a movie about electronic music. Why?

Speaking in Code is a techno movie that’s not really about techno. It’s about people. It is a feature length character driven documentary that follows a global cast of underground electronic music writers, DJs, producers, and label heads as they survive and thrive in the digital age.

Within the indie electronic music community there are many compelling characters. By tracking these characters Speaking in Code discovers some very human truths about subculture, independence, DIY determination, risk, obsession, and eccentricity.

The music (and the ‘minimal’ scene) is a colorful, captivating backdrop and binding force for several intersecting character driven stories—the film has a narrative arc to it based on the life changes and exciting, even funny moments that happen over the course of the year and a half that we will have spent making the film and following these people.

There are a lot of electronic music documentaries out there that have attempted to do one of a few things: capture the spirit of rave culture, survey a specific genre of electronic music, engage the viewer in DJ worship and/or crazy laser light fascination, or make some kind of grand statement about the significance of electronic music, but this film is nothing like any of that.

We are interested in exploring personality, motivation, and getting beyond the surface-y, questions and answers. The film invites the viewer in to experience ‘being there’—at the club, in the studio, in a forest, climbing a hill on the way to see chalk mines, visiting moms in the suburbs, driving through a white-out snow storm, performing at a huge festival, entering the secret underground club or illegal party, and on and on. We have unprecedented access and we get very close with the main characters in the film.

We want to surprise people and perhaps change their minds about electronic music or at least open their minds and show them something they didn’t expect. This movie isn’t just for the techno heads, it’s for the hip old ladies who love character-driven art house documentaries too.

What about 2005/2006 strikes you as the right time for this sort of film?

A film like this could have been made 10 or 20 years ago and although some of the themes and characters would have a different tone and purpose—many similarities would still exist.

There is something special about right now though—from a big picture historical perspective we are seeing the effects of the digital age that make advanced communication and sound technology very accessible. This has strengthened the possibilities for independent music and subculture and our main characters are living proof.

From a more localized perspective on the minimal scene and our characters—over the last year or two minimal techno has arguably become the dominant sub-genre in techno and it has been fun to explore the personalities in the minimal scene and experience the music’s rise in popularity vicariously through our characters. Of course, it’s difficult to even know what minimal really is: is it a sound, an aesthetic, a lifestyle, a hairstyle, a look, or all those things combined perhaps? Some of the characters can’t even be described as minimal at all, but they are somehow minimal by association or connection to the minimal scene. Musings aside, I have to emphasize this is not the “what is minimal techno?” film. I’m sure there is a DVD project like that on the way soon, but we aren’t the one’s making it.

Where all have you traveled to get footage for the film?

We’ve been all over: Montreal, San Francisco, New York, Boston (I live in Boston), Barcelona, Berlin, Hamburg, Cologne, Jena, Amsterdam, Miami…

Most of the film has been shot—what techno celebs can we expect in the final cut?

Well, we’ve shot 217 hours of footage since we began production in May of 2005 and we hope to cull all of that into a feature-length film, so I hesitate to list everyone at this point, but certainly you can expect to see a lot from these people:

Robert Henke aka Monolake (co-creator Ableton Live)
Modeselektor, Bpitch Control
Ellen Allien, Bpitch Control
Wighnomy Brothers, Freude-Am-Tanzen
Bryan Kasenic (minimal techno promoter in NY)
Jimmy Johnson (owner of Forced Exposure)
Philip Sherburne (writer, DJ)
David Day (Label Manager and Marketing Director at Forced Exposure, DJ, writer, promoter)
Mike Uzzi aka Smartypants, Unlocked Groove
Dan Paluska aka Six Million Dollar Dan, Unlocked Groove
Tobias Thomas, Kompakt
David Prince, M3 Summit

Interviews / Appearances (it remains to be seen whether or not all of these people will make the final cut and we have interviewed many more people not included in this list to help us round out the story):/p>

Akufen
Deadbeat
Apparat
Wolfgang Voigt
Michael Mayer
Reinhard Voigt
The MFA
James Holden
Superpitcher
Isolee
Luomo
Anja Schnieder
Richie Hawtin
The Juan Maclean

Any surprising anecdotes that you can share with us (Vitalic actually is a robot, etc.)?

Too many stories to even tell. The whole film is like one big surprising anecdote, but a surprising anecdote with a point. ;)

What kind of role has Philip Sherburne played?

Philip is a character in the movie, and as a co-producer he has been part tour guide, advisor, consultant, and friend throughout the entire process.

Tell me about financing something like this—what sources are you relying on to keep it going?

Plastic, lots of plastic (as in credit cards) and a handful of small private investors and a community of online supporters—although we are nearing the end of our credit limits and this last Europe trip tapped most of the small investments. So we are now really relying on grassroots fundraising online and also an upcoming benefit/screening/art party/happening here in Boston on August 26 at the sQuareone studio space in Fort Point / South Boston (New England’s oldest and largest artist community). We want to stay away from corporate sponsorship, so we are hoping that people who want to see the film made will help us make it. Anyone can donate any amount on our website—we are offering screen credit in the film for any donation of $50 or more. The grassroots efforts are to make the film mirror the DIY attitudes you’ll see in the documentary.

We are also seeking a film producer to help us cultivate prospective investors and help manage the business end of the film…and most importantly we are looking for investors—big and small.

We need another 25K in the very immediate future to finish production in the fall (Camera and equipment rentals, bus/train/plane tickets, gas, tape stock, the Director of Photography’s day rate) and also to purchase a G5 and enough drive storage (several terabytes) to be able to cut the film. We are currently hobbling along with my laptop and a few Lacie Hard Drives. We also need to be able to pay an assistant editor to log the tapes.

It isn’t cheap making a film—especially when the locations are all over the world …even if we eat on the cheap and stay with friends when we can. And, now Scott (our Director of Photography) is paid—he volunteered for a full year, but it is important to start paying him. Fortunately the most expensive part of the production is out of the way—we can see the light at the end of the tunnel—we just need a little more funding to get through the last few months of production and post production.

By May 2007. Then begins the festival circuit and search for distribution. We would like to see the film get international and domestic theatrical distribution, some broadcast play abroad, and a DVD release too—with lots of extras for the collector type.

Related Links
sQuare Productions
Speaking in Code @ MySpace
Photos from Speaking in Code’s Production
Contribute to sQuare Productions [Todd Burns]


July 28, 2006

Beatzcast #7: DJ Surface [Cosmo Lee]

“Give In”
Download

01: Give Intro
02: Gui Boratto – Strobe / Phortune - Can You Feel the Bass
03: John Tejada - Sucre
04: Tiga - Hot in Herre
05: Booka Shade - Pong Pang
06: Gaiser - And Answer
07: Memo - APN Jam (Jeremy P. Caulfield Remix)
08: Wighnomy Brothers - Dukktus
09: Knossos - Tarak (Makedon Remix)
10: DJ T. - Funk On You (Putsch ‘79 Remix)
12: DJ T. - Time Out
13: MAT101 - Haunted House
14: Einmusik - E Keli
15: Marco Carola - Ascent
16: Carola Pisaturo - Dorilla
17: Tony Thomas - Bonus Beats
18: Davor O - Long Gone (Short Edit)
19: Carola Pisaturo - Gambariga
19: Anja Schneider - Addicted
20: Rhythm & Sound - See Mi Version
21: Dominik Eulberg & Gabriel Ananda - Harzer Roller
22: Wighnomy Brothers - Moppal Kiff
23: Marco Bailey - Siestanyol
24: Oliver Hacke - Subject Carrier (Alex Under Remix)


December 22, 2005

2005: The Year In Review

A look into the year that was in electronic musics…

Top 10 Albums

Matthew Herbert – Plat du Jour
Audion – Suckfish
Vitalic – OK Cowboy
Ark – Caliente
Dandy Jack & Junction SM – Los Siete Castigos
Marc Leclair – Musique Pour 3 Femmes Enceintes
Pier Bucci – Familia
Who Made Who – Who Made Who
Lindstrom & Prins Thomas – Lindstrom & Prins Thomas
Alex Smoke – Incommunicado

This young Glaswegian producer’s debut came on like a shock: marrying a heady combination of electro, old school techno, minimal, and an innate pop sense. A collection of tracks that were just as liable to make you stop dancing in wonder, as it was to get you on the floor…

Top 10 Singles

Booka Shade – Mandarine Girl
Spare Time - Lazy
Luciano – Bomberos
Donato Dozzy & Exercise One - Skarciofen
Common Factor – That Was Then
Unai – Oh You and I
Royskpp feat. Karin Dreijer – What Else Is There?
Daso – Daybreak
Patrice Baumel – Mutant Pop
Stefan Goldmann – Blood

After previously appearing on the smaller Classic and Ovum labels, Goldmann steps up to the plate for Perlon’s 51st release—three enormous monster tracks of clicks and bass that start out with the most modest of intentions…

Top 5 DJ Mixes

Dominik Eulberg – Kreucht and Fluecht
Ewan Pearson – Sci.Fi.Hi.Fi, Vol 1
Annie – DJ Kicks
DJ Clever – Breakbeat Science 5
DJ Naughty – One Naughty Night in Berlin

Showcasing the vocal-end of electro-house, while throwing in classic disco and Italo to boot, DJ Naughty further pushed the dirty disco sound to its limits on this mix from the Eskimo label…

Top 5 Producers

Jesse Somfay
LCD Soundsystem
Putsch 79
Trentemoeller
Nathan Fake

Finding himself on seemingly every single DJ mix released this year, Fake had a massive year on the residual effects of the classic “The Sky Was Pink,” Traum’s 2005 crown jewel, “Dinamo,” and the white label of “Silent Night”…

Top 5 Remixers

Ricardo Villalobos
Abe Duque
Switch / YES Productions
Robag Wruhme
Stuart Price

Almost made the Killers listenable. No mean feat.

Top 5 Labels

Get Physical
Gomma
DFA
Eskimo
Traum/Trapez/MBF

Located strategically across the road from Kompakt HQ, the Traum family had its best year yet with strong entries from known quantities (Steve Barnes, Dominik Eulberg, Jeff Samuel) and a whole host of new producers (Alex Under, Jesse Somfay, Noze, Patrice Baumel)…

Top 5 Reissues

Keith Hudson – The Hudson Affair: Keith Hudson and Friends
DJ Shadow – Endtroducing
Luomo – Vocalcity
Prince Douglas – Dub Roots
AFX – Hangable Auto Bulb

Richard D. James’ formerly ultra-rare drill ‘n bass template sounds as fresh as ever, showing why betting on jungle in 1995 was the best decision he ever made…

Top 5 Compilations

Cybotron – Motor City Machine Music
V/A – Spectral Sound, Vol. 1
Senor Coconut – Coconut FM
Robag Wruhme & Wighnomy Brothers – Remikks Potpourri
Greg Wilson – Credit to the Edit

The first time that this dance music pioneer’s work has been collected. If you were going to clubs in the 1980s, Greg Wilson was your soundtrack—extending and tightening the tracks that you liked and turning them into the epics that you loved…

Words: Todd Burns
Voting Contributors: Todd Burns, Nate Deyoung, Michael F. Gill, Cameron Macdonald, Derek Miller, Mike Powell, Will Simmons


November 17, 2005

Various Artists - Compilation 01

If I’m not mistaken, no track on here isn’t on a 12″ already released by the label. And for dance music fans that “only get the CD”, this should come as a welcome boon. It also acts as a nice history lesson: you can see throughout the compilation the way that minimal techno moved away from the digital disco of the early 00s to the ketamine-house that is in now so very much in vogue: Gamat 3000 to Wighnomy Brothers, basically. The latter duo are the predictable stars here, featuring on no less than four of the 11 tracks, while DJ Koze also makes his mark on two. Couple in the underrated Hemmann + Kaden’s best work and you’ve got yourself a winner. Recommended.

Freude Am Tanzen / FATCD 001
[Todd Burns]


October 20, 2005

Wighnomy Bros. & Robag Wruhme - Remikks Potpourri

The Wighnomy Brothers (Gabor Schablitzki & Sören Bodner) and Robag Wruhme (just Gabor) rightfully collect their various remixes here on the aptly titled Remikks Potpourri. Rightfully, because the two are one of the few minimal techno dudes that seem completely comfortable in a variety of situations (the string and guitar-led hip-hop of “Elbe 1,” the retooling of Namusouke’s dancehall-inflected “Survive,” and the epic and essential “This World” originally performed by Slam and Tyrone Palmer are the odd ones out here). Take those tracks and garnish it all with a healthy dose of the click/clack of the duo’s normal mode of operation on remixes for Dominik Eulberg, [a]pendics.shuffle, and Alter Ego and you’ve got yourself a compilation worth picking up.

Mute / CD STUMM TT8
[Todd Burns]


July 7, 2005

Jeremy P. Caulfield - Scar City / Detached [05]

Scar City, coupled, with Caulfield’s Calvacade EP from late last year signals a run of great productions from this Canadian producer. The feel here is much the same. Deeply tech-y house music, pierced by glistening shards of broken-glass melody. Obviously and lovingly structured, you know exactly what you’re going to get when you pop on both “Flipper Kicker” and “Wreckroom,” the former being the sharper-edged of the duo. Recommended.

Also recommended is Caulfield’s recent mix CD: Detached [05], which sees the producer taking to the decks and crafting an incredibly smooth ride between the Wighnomy Brothers, Alex Smoke, Rocco Branco, Jeff Samuel, Metope, and assorted other artists. Impeccably mixed, the disc is a nice mix between young and old minimal music.

Dumb Unit / DU 022 / DU 020
[Todd Burns]


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