Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Oldschool vs. new-school or just Fuse it

Last Saturday there was one of the best gigs I’ve ever experienced: Jeff Mills DJ-ed in the big room of Fuse, plus Mobilee night in the small room of the same club. As you could imagine, it wasn’t easy which room to choose.

Well, Jeff started the first one, so naturally I checked him first. First impressions were rather mixed: he played really nice tracks, but his style of mixing irritated me a bit – he let a track last for some 45 secs before starting a transition which wasn’t that clean in many cases anyway. In fact, I was wondering how he manages mixing on 4 decks. Apparently the lack of precision he compensated by that special feeling of groove and excellent selection. Actually I was expecting much harder techno – although it was quite fast and percussive, music was deep and even soulful. Lots of Detroit stuff etc., quite eclectic, in fact. For example, I was rather surprised when he played out Rej. However, it was a pleasure to hear it on one of the best club sound-systems in Europe, on a dancefloor totally packed with responsive people.

Then I checked the small room, where Exercise One was on. There were two guys behind laptops, controllers and synths, making a solid click-groove. Well, to be honest I was expecting a bit more from these Berlin’s top producers. What I heard was a really nice minimal (or what term shall I use here?), some tracks were simply great, but anyway – after spending there an hour or so – I headed back to the main floor.

Meanwhile, Jeff Mills had started to play even better tracks (or I was just more drunk by that time), and it seemed that he let some tracks play for a longer span. I was standing in the mid of the floor readily absorbing all the vibrations that flew out of the speakers. Some moments were definetely kicking, bringing it that overwhelming feeling of irrational cosmic happiness. One of the peak moments came when he played Strings of Life together with the famous Martin Luther King’s speech. At some point he left just the voice – „I have a dream,” sounded over the crowd before Strings was mixed in again. Truly amazing! A bit later Jeff managed to play the classic Moskow Diskow by Telex, which was obviously a homage to Belgians, followed by some real disco track, then back to techno drums again. The last track was really minimal - nothing but a drum-machine. By the end, I was totally high, thanks to Jeff and the incredible tracks he played.

In another room Anja Schneider – the boss of Mobilee – had already started her set. After Jeff Mill’s banging beats first the music seemed too calm to me, but soon I managed to find a key to this another kind of beauty. Crystalic, spooky still subtle sounds, pleasent beats, perfectly balanced layers... Just immerse yourself and let it go. At some moment I clearly realized that this kind of music was dark, not evil, just dark, being positive at the same time, you know. If it was too joyous it just wouldn’t sound as good any more, I guess. Anja played many things from Mobilee’s catalogue, and many of them on the good sound-system were so good. What a night!

By the way, Mobilee was presented by the local promoters LessizMore – they do some really good events, check their site.


It was 1999 or so, when I was playing records in the chill-out room at Metro Club. Monolake was on. Some girl approched me asking whether it was Chain Reaction record. I was positively surprised - yes, it was! (I know, I know, this is a kind of stereotypical attitude from my part, but, girls, perceive this as a compliment.)

Some weeks ago I was behind the decks in Pulkvedis, when I noticed a blond, high-heeled, rather main-stream looking girl leaning towards the booth with a request on her lips. My first thought was that in the best case she would ask for some Depeche Mode’s song. I was wrong! Actually she asked for Audion. When I couldn’t catch what she was saying because of a near standing speaker, she told something like: c’mon, don’t you have anything from Matthew Dear? I had to shamely admit that my copy of Mouth to Mouth staid at home. Then some other similiar artists were mentioned.

I talked to her later after the gig. It turned out that she used to be into more traditional house music, but then had got really hooked on deep/minimal and all that shit. So seriously that she was ready to go to Berlin for getting some records and start learning DJing. On the other hand, she was sort of doubtful about her skills etc. I tried to encourage her, telling that the most important thing is a good taste and that practicing can do miracles.

A while before that, going for a piss, I accidently met Moro there – one of Riga’s very first vinyl DJs. He certainly was one of those people who influenced me a lot when I was still a youngster (the mid 90s). Unfortunately, he quit spinning many years ago, but in a way it was with his help why I got into records and DJing. And then there was that girl willing but not entirely daring to become a DJ. I noticed Moro again and took the girl to him, introducing him to her as one of my „teachers” and briefly telling Moro what the problem was. Naturally he also tried to convince her to fulfil her wish... Probably, all this sounds a bit pathetic, but what I wanted to say is that no matter that people come and go, ideas or dedication to certain things or whatever you’d call these things – they stay, they live on through communication.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Things 2 see/hear in Brussels

First of all, briefly about The Clippers performance at Fuse, Brussels. The Clippers are actually Areal's guys Metope + Basteroid. Both were playing live, sounded as using Ableton Live. Honestly, the beginning, except few moments, was nothing spectacular - beats seemed a bit flat and predictable. Furthermore, I wished transitions/mix between tracks have been better. However, gradually they started to play better and better, and after a while they succeeded to set a right groove to make people dance. In fact, some tracks were rather amazing.

Regarding the club itself, I hadn't been in Fuse for ages. I keep wondering what makes it one of the most popular techno spots in Europe - the darkish room does not impress much, and the crowd mostly sucks. But it should be the soundsystem - it's a true pleasure to stand/dance in the midst of the dancefloor, being able to recognize all the details from a record. Plus if music is really good, you don't care about people any more.

I'm thinking of going there next saturday (20.01.) again, just can't miss it. Figure out yourself: the techno legend Jeff Mills stops there while being on his world tour. And that's not all - at the same time it's gonna be a Mobilee label night featuring Exercise One live and Anja Schneider. Said this I must add that Mobilee is one of my favourite labels at the moment.

A day before, on Friday (19.01.), another superproject from Berlin - Pan-Pot - is performing in Brussels. As far as I know their live stuff is something really special. Besides them, Quenum and Lee Van Dowski will rock the floor. So, Exercise One and Pan-Pot in one week-end. Not bad, not bad.

Getting back to Fuse. Some other remarkable dates: 10.02. - Robert Hood + Mikael Stavostrand (live); 17.02. - Alex Under (live) + Alexi Delano.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Summary of 2006

Everybody's is doing some round-ups and charts of year 2006, let's also have a look at my faves. Most of them are the usual suspects, and - like it or not - these popular tracks just simply deserve this scale of recognition, because they are just... outstanding productions. In fact, the previous year delivered plenty of interesting records. Let's hope for quality music in 2007, too!

5 LPs:

+++ The Knife - Silent Shout [Brille]

At first I was expecting some cheesy still groovy synth-pop, something like the duo did on their Deep Cuts LP, and I got quite surprised to find out that the new record is much deeper and darker. After every listening I started to like it more and more, until it became a very special record for me. Spooky and pitch-shifted vocals, outstanding melody hooks and crisp production - a perfect combination of techno and popmusic!

+++ My My - Songs For The Gentle [Playhouse]

Quite different tracks, but still having something in common. That funky playfulness? Phat groove? Outstanding use of samples? Whatever it is, My My have created a true masterpiece, which sometimes sounds as nothing before.

+++ Ellen Allien & Apparat - Orchestra of Bubbles [Bpitch Control]

Another highly original record that contains smart beats, epic melodies and unexpected twists.

+++ Booka Shade - Movements [Get Physical]

Even if we are getting fed up with that Get Physical sound, we must acknowledge that Movements is something really special - it was a really big suumertime record.

+++ Alex Smoke - Paradolia [Soma]

That typical, original Smoke's sound - sophisticated, filled with melancholy and layered melodies. Brilliant.


30 tracks:

Anja Schneider - Lily of The Walley [Mobilee]
Salif Keita - Yamore (Luciano remix) [Cadenza]
Ricardo Villalobos - Que Belle Epoque 2006 [Frisbee Tracks]
Konrad Black - Coma Couch [Things & Items]
Trentemoller - Take Me Into Your Skin [Poker Flat]
Cobblestone Jazz - India In Me [Wagon Repair]
Dominik Eulberg & Gabriel Ananda - Harzer Roller [Traum]
Booka Shade - In White Rooms [Get Physical]
The Knife - Like A Pen [Brille]
[T]ekel - Smet [Initial Cuts]
Joel Mull - 4 Me [Underwater]
Format:B - Sex Drive [Opossum]
Gabriel Ananda - Doppelwhipper [Platzhirsch]
Xpansul & Daweed - What It is [MSX]
Junior Boys - Equalizer (Morgan Geist rmx) [Domino]
My My - Swiss On Rye [Playhouse]
Sebo K - Horizons (Excersise One rmx) [Mobilee]
James Holden - Lump [Border Community]
Jens Bond & Benno Blome - Tentacular [Sender]
Heinrichs & Hirtenfellner - You Are I [Supdub]
Extrawelt - Fernweh [Kompass]
Latex - Porcupine [Rebelone]
Gavin Herlihy - Machine Ate My Homework [Moodmusic]
Claude VonStroke - 7 Deadly Strokes [Neuton]
Inxec - Clay Pigeon [Contexterrior]
John Tejada - The End Of It All [Palette]
Rekorder - Rekorder 6.3 [Rekorder]
Hot Chip - Over And Over [EMI]
The Egg - Walking Away (Dusty Kid Pop Ga-Ga Remix) [Great Stuff]
Blackwall - Hairy popper [Force Sense]



### Mobilee
### Get Physical
### Opossum
### Contexterrior
### Tiny Sticks

2007 has arrived

Hey, everybody! I'm back from holidays - the end of the previous year was hard in terms of partying, no sleep and amounts of consumed alcohol.

Ralf (DJ Ruftata 110) from Hamburg's Pudel Club was playing at Pulkvedis. Obviously because of the Christmas time (it was on December 23) there were very few people, but anyway it turned out to be a nice, intimate party with outstanding music. He played rather different stuff - from the crazy Justice's cut-up elektrofunk to Si Begg's nu breax to electropunk to some electronic wierdness, from unknown bootlegs to seminal hits (e.g., Digitalism and T.Andersson). That was fun. You can check some pics here.

In fact, a day before there was also some private party in a former factory canteen, which looked a bit like a soviet era secondary school disco room. Thanks DJs Ruftata 110, -=UHU=-, Ivars Mednis, DV5, Android and NGC-5128 for playing good music! In fact, it was a presentation of the first netcords.net release: NGC-5128 - Outworx (more about this, when the netcords website is launched - a delay occured due to technical reasons, but should be on-line in january). Some photos.

Furthermore, I DJed several times in Pulkvedis together with ZeDmitry. I was surprised that even very straight and mainstream looking people now dance to minimal/deeptech music without any complaints. Is it some kind of trend or what? But I'm ok with that. By the way, I had one of the strangest requests ever - a guy asked me whether I could play any song from year 2004 :)

Alright, speaking about numbers - I wish you a groovy and creative 2007!