Friday, April 29, 2011

Riga here I come

Long time no hear, right? :) No long texts this time either but you're welcome to hear me speaking through music - tomorrow night (30 May) I will play records in two different venues in Riga. Also, the musical concepts will be quite different.

Firstly, you can catch me at Skaņu Mežs venue (Miera str. 12) as from 21:30. Expect obscure, minimalistic, avant-garde New Wave music and its different offsprings: Cold Wave, Minimal Wave, Dark Wave, Goth Wave, Neu Deutsche Welle, Electronic Body Music, New Beat etc. To give you a better idea - two examples below: American experimental minimal wave band Crash Course In Science and the French guys Polyphonic Size.

Afterwards, I will be off to the club Straume to share some of my recent house/techno/electro findings backed up with more classic tunes. We will see how the vibe goes but it will likely be some spacey and melodic stuff.

Anyways, I'm excited to check out the both venues - haven't been there yet but heard lots of buzz about them. See you there?

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Attention for sweet tension !

Hello dear reader!

Finally, I have completed a new mix featuring some of the finest house music around lately. All groovy things that are deep, raw and sexy. You can check it out here.

And this is the track-list:

1. Nina Kraviz - I'm Gonna Get You
2. Reggie Dokes - Dancefloor Spectacle
3. Precious System - Voice From The Planet Love (Dixon edit)
4. Donnacha Costello - Fathoms Deep
5. Omar S. - Foe Show
6. Soulphiction - A Short Story
7. Dave DK - Coimbra
8. Kevin Yost - Photo Shoot
9. Moodymann - Freeki Muthafucker
10. Lee Curtiss - Smoking Mirrors
11. Pan-Pot - Confronted (Dapayk remix)
12. DJ Sprinkles - Masturjakor (Kink & Neville remix) + samples from Precious System - Voice From The Planet Love
13. Nina Kraviz - Pain In The Ass
14. DJ Kaos - Way Out Pleasure
15. Guillaume & The Coutu Dumonts - Safety Meetings
16. Soulphiction - Who To Call

Thursday, January 14, 2010

10 albums in 2009

After the 33 selected tracks, now it's turn for 10 best albums of 2009 - see them listed below. More or less, they are from the domain of electronic rhythms, although no surprise that the distinction dancing/listening is very loose in this case, because a proper album, in my opinion, should have certain "listening" qualities to be enjoyed from alpha to omega.

> DJ Sprinkles - Midtown 120 Blues [Mule Musiq]

A very beautiful, ethereal and moody oevre. Technically it's deep house, but there is much more - it's rooted in the classic house music, that we are used to, but it's taken a step or even few steps further. In very organic and subtle manner, non-pretentious pulsating house beats are interweaved with live jazzy instrumentation, spacey atmospheres and field recordings, including many spoken texts. The irresistible result does not that much provide dance energy as relaxation and a true listening pleasure. Furthermore, the album works incredibly well as a whole piece (which is an achievement per se in this kind of music). Sit back, relax and dive in!

> Lawrence - Until Then, Goodbye [Mule Electronic]

Lawrence is quite known for his output on Dial records from Hamburg (actually he is one of the co-founder of this label), however his best work to date is brought to us by the Japanese imprint Mule Electronic. There are two types of tracks on the album - uptempo beat groovers (e.g. "Don't Follow Me", "Jill", "In Your Eyes") and somewhat more abstract, slower or even beatless compositions. The overall mood is deep and sometimes haunting, filled with unorthodox, airy melodic textures. I'm pretty sure we will hear some more high quality works from this artist in the future, but until then, goodbye!

> Sven Weisemann - Xine [Wandering]

Last year this young producer has captured my attention after a string of outstanding EPs which were balancing somewhere between deep house, electronic dub and ambient. The album, issued on Mojuba's sublabel, is even more detached from beats - in fact, the majority of compositions are pure ambient and piano pieces backed up with strings and deep yet minimal atmospheres. There are no big hooks, as this kind of music requires patience and getting in the appropriate state of mind gradually, however, once you get there, you get fully rewarded. Music as a spiritual experience or meditation.

> Monolake - Silence [Imbalance]

Robert Henke's project does not really need an introduction - since it's early Chain Reaction years in the mid 90's, this name is a synonym for the top-notch dub-influenced electronica and techno. Actually, such records as "Hong Kong" are cornerstones of this subgenre. The good news is that Monolake is still thrilling and experimenting with new rhythmic and sonic palettes. On this album the trademark masterful use of delays and reverbs is still present, but also sounds from the real world and the overall dark, sometimes even threatening ambience have been employed, creating a kind of suspense reminiscent of the classic Orbital's track "The Box", just less obvious perhaps. The sound is also stunning because of its spatial qualities - the record certainly has its own space within. I am not even sure should it be referred as music or sound design, but it doesn't really matter as far as the result is as good as it is.

> Tapes - Hissing Theatricals [Jahtari]

A grand and very original record. Its originality lies in the unorthodox marriage of the 8-bit chipmusic with analogue noises and hisses. As the title implies, the sound deliberately replicates tape hissing. As far as the groove is concerned, it is heavily leaning on dub aesthetics. Impressive!

> Bass Clef - May The Bridges I Burn Light The Way [Blank Tapes]

I wonder how little resonance this record has caused, but it may be due to the fact that it was released close to the end of the year. Anyways, what we've got is a set of highly original, bass driven rhythms. This guy surely has dubstep background, but from his actual productions it's quite obvious that he has gone his own path and this album just has some formal dubstep elements, apart from that also exploring other rhythmic patterns, e.g. from Caribbean and Brazilian dance styles. Last but not least, Bass Clef adds some nice lively tones by using brass, especially a trombone. By the way, he uses trombone in his live performances as well - I had a chance to see his live performance once in Luxembourg. My personal faves from this album are "You Do My Head In", "Kiss Me" and "Promises".

> Silkie - City Limits Volume 1 [Deep Mehdi]

I've got to confess that I have always been a sucker for warm, jazzy strings and pads that are so typical for many drum'n'bass productions (especially from the mid 90's). Basically, Silkie has taken these kind of warm, melodic sounds and used them with more contemporary beats. Said this, I have to add that it's not merely dubstep which sounds as drum'n'bass, there is much more, and actually the tracks are quite complex and intriguing. But the flow is still easy. Big respect!

> Mathias Kaden - Studio 10 [Vakant]

In the recent years, Mathias Kaden has been known for his minimal house/techno tracks with accented, complex rhythmic structures. Obviously, he was much into exploration of traditional tribal percussive patterns, especially the African ones. Now, when even many die-hard minimalists have leaned toward deep house, no big wonder that in "Studio 10" he proves to has undergone a similar change. Due to some live instruments, vocals (there are many other featured musicians in this album) and general composition of the tracks, it's very deep house, but still there are rich additional percussive layers and programming on the micro level. Anyway, the result is very sincere, dreamy and... well, musical. My personal highlights are "1981" and the closing "Re Menor". Jus' groove!

> Luciano - Tribute To The Sun [Cadenza]

The Luciano's full-length is remarkable, indeed. Although the ending of the album is weird, perhaps unnecessary eccentric and is somewhat contrasting to the rest of this album, this rest - something like the first 3/4 of the album - is brilliant. There is no boring minimalism or whatsoever, on the contrary - it is rich with joyous chants, vital energy and colorful details. In general, the ethnic elements are too overused in the dance music nowadays, however, I must admit, that Luciano is one of the few producers that still do that very expertly and somewhat naturally. Also, guest vocals - and there are quite many on this record - have been integrated so well. This album (the first 3/4 at least) is recommended for those sombre and freezing winter days when you wish it was sunny summer again.

> Fever Ray - Fever Ray [Rabid]

It's not an easy task to draw a fine line between pop music and more tracks-based music. Where the one ends and the other starts? But perhaps this kind of distinction is too artificial and formal, at least it seems that Karin Dreijer Andersson don't care much about stylistic references but music itself. Surely, her vocal is outstanding and unmistakable, but the mood is quite different if compared to The Knife - somewhat more mature, melancholic and bizarre. There were also some great remixes of her singles "Seven" and "Trinagle Walks" issued, but go for the original first to get the complete picture. Karin is an artist through and through. Let's try to see her live in concert this year.

That's it, my friends, have a nice year and lots of good music!

Monday, January 11, 2010

33 trax in 2009

Hello! Here we go again (it's unbelievable how fast time flies!) with 33 dance music tracks that were the most important for me last year. Some of them - like Leave It All Behind, Voices, No Fear, Freaki Mutha F*cker, the Theo Parish's remix of 45:33, Elden St (Sebo K's remix as well as the original) - personally for me were true anthems , whereas the others - just top notch tracks that I enjoyed and deserve to be mentioned.

Before to start listing of the tracks, I would like to point out some producers whom I discovered or just suddenly realized how great tracks they make. So, besides my usual suspects like Brendon Moeller, Lee Jones, Guillaume Dumonts, Villalobos, Bruno Pronsato, Seth Troxler, Move D, DJ Koze, some new names appeared or reappeared on my radar. First of all, the year kicked off by falling in love with Photonz - Portuguese guys who make rather bizarre stuff on the verge of house, disco and Detroit for Dissident label. Then, Levon Vincent was responsible for quite many raw deep bangers with straight-forward analogue drums and monstrous use of reverbs that - at least in some cases - made my day. This kind of analogue Detroit/New York sound (also producers like Omar S, Jus' Ed, Donato Dozzy) was a welcome relief after all that minimal sound got too cliché and basically reproducing itself. It doesn't mean that there were no good and enjoyable minimalism, but anyway the mentioned raw sound and back-to-basic attitude were just right for the change. Speaking about this direction in the music production, I would like to particularly mention Nina Kraviz, who scored with her "Voices" single on Underground Quality and the more recent tracks "Pain In The Ass" and "I'm Gonna Get You" on Rekids - I really like all of them.

Another very interesting playground for experiments with beats and grooves was all that British bass music scene - from more classic dubstep to its various derivations like wobble, UK funky and the new forms of drum'n'bass. Some incredible stuff was delivered by Instra:mental whose music went behind any stylistic frames, in fact. Very diverse, futuristic and interesting. A fresh breeze for me was also Silkie's creations which were more following the drum'n'bass tradition rendering it into dubstep production techniques. Of course, other producers, who had caught my attention even earlier, kept making thrilling and challenging stuff - like Martyn, 2562, Peverelist, Appleblim, Shackleton, Bass Clef...

Returning back to the dubtechno/deep house, I would like to specially point out Sven Weisemann, who did some amazing work last year! No-matter was it house, dub, ambient or neo-classic piano pieces, everything from him sounded sincere, deep and moving. Last but not least, a guy whom we knew already before, but whose music last year very well coincided with my personal tastes - I'm talking about Donnacha Costello. OK, it's enough of theorizing, music is for listening.

Peace, brothers and sisters!

> Instra:mental - Leave It All Behind [Apple Pips]

> Michel Cleis - La Mezcla (Paul Kalkbrenner remix) [Strictly Rhythm]

> Martyn - Elden St (Sebo K Watergate Edit) [Watergate]

> DJ Jus-Ed pres. Nina Kraviz - Voices [Underground Quality]

> DJ Koze - Mrs Bojangels [Circus Company]

> Brendon Moeller - Juice [Mule]

> Guillaume & The Coutu Dumonts - Pussy Shepherd [Musique Risquée]

> Gus Gus - Add This Song [Kompakt]

> Photonz - No Fear [Dissident]

> Oni Ayhun - OAR 003 B1 [Oni Ayhun Records]

> The Mole - For the Lost [Internasjonal]

> Walter Jones - I'll Keep On Loving You [DFA Records]

> Moodymann - Freeki Mutha F*cker [KDJ]

> Precious System - The Voice from Planet Love [Running Back]

> Pan-Pot - Confronted [Mobilee]

> Tapes - Gold Love Riddim [Jahtari]

> Stefan Goldmann - Art Of Sorrow [Victoriaville]

> Matias Aguayo - Rollerskate [Kompakt]

> Soulphiction pres. Missing Linkx - A Short History Of... [Philpot]

> Darkstar - Aidy's Girl Is a Computer (Kyle Hall remix) [Hyperdub]

> Jamie Jones feat. Ost & Kjex – Summertime [Crosstown Rebels]

> Donnacha Costello - Ten Thousand Hours [Look Long]

> LCD Soundsystem - 45:33 (Theo Parish's Space Cadet remix)

> Instra:mental - Watching You [Nonplus]

> Levon Vincent - Late Night Jam [Ostgut Ton]

> STL - Checkmate [Echospace]

> Omar S - Flying Gorgars [FXHE]

> Reggie Dokes - Flowers Forever [We Play House]

> Taho - Energy Fields (Quince's Dubbed Out Reconstruction) [Delsin]

> Helixir - Peace Dub [7EVEN]

> Bassline & Kavsrave - Lucky Charms

> Silkie - Poltigiest [Deep Medi]

> Nina Kraviz - I'm Gonna Get You [Rekids]

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Get down to this funky disco sound!

Hello Hello!

This year is running out, but there are still some parties ahead. Now a brief information about a couple of events I will be spinning at.

Firs of all, this Saturday - 19/12/2009 - "Disco Not Disco" night at our beloved Space:Garage. Seems like it will be a rather deep yet joyful ride. You can always expect a quality disco selection from Homeradio guys, who are the hosts of this event, then, on the other hand, Gosh is an expert of deep and dubby grooves with his excellent musical taste... Arno is going to put some music in the beginning with supposedly dub influenced vibes. As regards me, I'm planning to go rather deep path with records from artists/labels like Brendon Moeller, Coutu Dumonts, Liebe*Detail. Actually it's been a long time since I've played a proper set with vinyl records, so really looking forward to this. And last but not least, Rodion and Wickiss will celebrate their birthdays there.

Well, I also will have a reason for a celebration soon after - I'm turning 33 years old on 22/12. On this occasion, everyone is very welcome to pop by on my b-day party which will take place at Dirty Deal on Wednesday, 23/12/2009. The mood is intended to be quite private, and very eclectic music from me, Kristaps and my friends (feel free to bring your records/laptops with you for some bit of DJing).

OK, see you and cheers!

Thursday, December 03, 2009

In da box and playlist: october-december


These are the dance tunes that currently rock my world:

> Instramental - Leave It All Behind [Apple Pips]

Bristolian dubstep and new wave drum'n'bass producer goes disco, and the result is amazing! The tune is quite simple, but very nicely done - smooth, deep bases, a pitched-up vocal sample and a strong melodic hook is all we sometimes need.

> Brendon Moeller - Juice EP [Mule]

I've been keeping my eye on him for quite a long time - last couple of years he has had numerous remarkable releases. The new EP on Japanese Mule Electronic is pure bliss - even if I'm not a big fun of everything which now comes out labeled as deep house, however this kind of deep house easily fits in my cup of tea. All three tracks are great.

> Markus Nikolai - Kiss Your Mind [Perlon]

A funky, quite raw (Chicago) house track with catchy, teasing vocals. The beat sounds to be made on proper hardware.

> AGF/Delay - Connection (Heartthrob remix) [Bpitch Control]

From the four provided remixes, Heartthrob's treat might be the best (although Kiki's version is great, too, especially if you are looking for a lighter disco sound). It's one of the rare cases when collaboration among different producers actually gives some additional qualities which probably couldn't be achieved if they worked on their own. Heartthrob has given it some dancefloor-friendly boost, still leaving space for subtle details from the original Delay's production. Also, the lyrics are quite sophisticated - which is not so common for electronic dance music in general as we know.

> Guillaume & The Coutu Dumonts - Pussy Shepherd [Musique Risquée]

Although Guillaume Coutu Dumont has been one of my favorite producers for quite a while, recently I hadn't heard much good stuff from him, I mean nothing outstanding. However, the new EP on Musique Risquée - a home for fine dance music from Canada - is very solid. He has always been keen on using funky gospel vocals, and this times they are present in all three cuts. Actually Safety Meetings is a proper song with a vocal that sounds as Marvin Gaye would be produced by a deep house producer. The title track ain't bad either - a deep and thoughtful house track backed with tight percussion and a funky, driving bassline.

> Keny Leaven - Odyssey (doP remix) [Elenore]

I don't know anything about the original artist and this new label, but doP's funky, bluesy shuffle beat remix sounds refreshing. Grab a mic, and rock along.

> Michel Cleis feat. Toto La Momposina - La Mezcla (Paul Kalkbrenner remix) [Strictly Rhythm]

The original version is fine, but somehow I wasn't very enthusiastic about it - perhaps just too many latino-tech tracks were around that time. Nevertheless, Berlin's techno playboy P. Kalkbrenner has taken it to a new level and rendered into a hypnotic, spacey peak-hour groover. Huge tune, an anthem!

> Sven Tasnadi & Juno 6 - Tranquillo [Liebe Detail Spezial]

Jazzy chords, flutes and atmospheric strings plus a wicked live drums brake... make a soul resonate.

> Martyn - Elden St (Sebo K Watergate Edit) [Watergate]

Elden St was likely my favorite track from Martyn's Great Lengths LP which came out earlier this year. Sebo K keeps the same mood, just slows it down and gives it some dubtechno pulse. This track was included in Sebo K's Watergate 04 mix.

> DJ Jus-Ed pres. Nina Kraviz - Voices [Underground Quality]

I just cannot resist this beautifully haunting piece of deep house. Nina Kravitz is a talented and very good-looking DJ and producer (and obviously a singer, too) from Moscow, whereas remixes are provided by Jus-Ed and his mates from the U.S. Eastern Coast who dig that raw, uncompromised deep house sound. Anyway, the original still stands out. From the remixes, Levon Vincent's rework might be my favorite - it is as sick as usually. (By the way, Resident Advisor has a new, interesting feature about Nina, read it here).


> Lawrence - Until Then, Goodbye [Mule]

No doubt a masterpiece of modern deep electronic dance music. Seems as the best work from Lawrence to this date. No wonder it's less about drums, more about melodies, interesting harmonies, strings, bells, tones - as we know Lawrence is closely associated with the Dial sound. The overall mood is dreamy, sometimes wandering, hypnotic. Technically, upbeat tracks are followed by slower beats or even ambient pieces, but I must say that attempts to describe this album are destined to fail - take a seat, have a listen and enjoy the journey!

> Mathias Kaden - Studio 10 [Vakant]

Kaden's first album is not very typical for him laidback excursion into a realm where deep house meets jazz but still having all those neat microsamples and percussion he is known for. In fact, most of the tracks feature some guest musicians or vocalists, and all together it actually sounds as a proper album, not a collection of unrelated tracks. Impressive and beautiful!

> Luciano - Tribute To The Sun [Cadenza]

It's already been a while, since this LP was released, but it certainly deserves to be mentioned. As typically for Luciano, tracks are very detailed, loaded with myriads of various percussions, however this time most of the tracks avoid being just functional DJ tools but strive towards more a song-like structure. The album features some prominent guest vocalists (Keren Ann, Martina Topley-Bird, Ali Boulo Santo), and the majority of tracks apparently haven't been designed with the dancefloor needs in mind. As the album title suggests, it would be a joyous fiesta celebrating the Sun, unless those freaky samples on the last tracks - it seems as if Luciano got afraid to make the album sound too sunny and therefore decided to drop some darker psychedelia at the end, or perhaps it is meant as the antagonism between the light and the dark. Anyways, the result is a profound, experimental record - a highly original oevre of the contemporary world music.

Friday, November 27, 2009

HOAX: Technics 1200 will disappear

Today a worrysome message pops up around the net - that Panasonic is going to cease the production of the living club culture icon Technics 1200 turntable in 2010. You can read it, for instance, here.

However, it looks like a hoax, I would suggest not to believe the hype! The given arguments, even if they seem reasonable at first glance, actually are not very well grounded. Any numbers? I'm quite sure it is still the best selling turntable, even if the sales have decreased in general numbers. Besides, how about the fact that so many digital DJs still use the good ol' pair of Technics to ride timecode controllers of such applications as Rane Serato Scratch or Traktor Scratch?

So, sleep well, the 1200s will outlive many fancy digital gimmicks.