Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Seen that, been there

I'm back from Le NAME festival in Lille, where good friend of mine and a member of Fuck For Friendship posse Linards was VJ-ing. Apart from that, the line-up was impressive.

I couldn't see everything but here are some acts I enjoyed the most:

# Nathan Fake (live)

He performed a live set of amazing and up-lifting music, which, in fact, hadn't so much to do with the standard minimal techno - somehow, despite its 4x4 beat, it had more common with IDM's aesthetics. Also, the way Nathan performed - it was really sincere and energetic - resembled Apparat.

# Paul Ritch (live)

I hadn't expected anything special from him, and saw him rather accidently. The first impression was that his music was a bit simplistic, but actually it turned out to be very good and perfect for dancing. Kind of bleepy and progressive minimal stuff.

# Heidi (DJ set)

The queen of Phonica had a great set in the smallest yet the cosiest of the halls. Great selection, but what I enjoyed even more was her way of DJ-ing - actively and joyfully dancing along and unlike many other DJs not hiding her emotions behind a smart and serious looking expresion. She seemed so natural and music was so good that she managed to make everybody dance.

Other remarkable acts/DJs that come to my mind: Jennifer Cardini, Shonky, Chloe, Loco Dice.


Few weeks ago I saw Mouse On Mars performing at Exit07 in Luxemburg. Oh, that was awesome! One of the best electronic music live shows I've ever seen. The guys used a lot of different gear, also hardware, which is getting rare nowadays. Their beats were so innovative and sometimes tough, but still so groovy. It seemed that MoM really enjoyed the gig themselves too, and there was a good contact with the public. For instance, they let some volunteers speak into a mic to sample on the fly and then transform and incorporate these samples into their music.


I've also seen Modeselektor live in Brussels. Sure, they make ones of the toughest and grooviest beats around. Particularly I liked the tracks with vocals, whereas there was something too much in those instrumetal ones with arpeggios and baroque melodies. Anyway, Modeselektor rocks, plus they have very cool video accompaniment by Berlin's visual artists Pfafinderei. As you probably know Modeselektor's album is out, although if you have a chance - see them playing live - it's definetely worth.


I've put together some tracks that I'd been enjoying recently.

Hencha : Skymix


1. Andre Kraml - Safari [Crosstown Rebels]
2. Vinyl - The Weasel [Rebelone]
3. Bobby Peru - Heart [Glitter]
4. Pier Bucci - Horizont [Crosstown Rebels]
5. Gabriel Ananda - Stream Of Conciousness [Karmarouge]
6. Canvas - The Cat [Rebelone]
7. Simon Baker - Confused [Viva Music]
8. Fuckpony - Lady Judy [Bpitch Control]
9. [a]pendics.shuffle & Mikael Stavostrand - Take Me Higher [Adjunct]
10. Bobby Pery - Erotic Discourse [Glitter]
11. Marcin Czubala - Starliner [Mobilee]
12. Mark August - Just Like That [Connaiseur]
13. Mikael Stavostrand - Marble [Thema]
14. DJ Koze - All The Time [Philpot]
15. Mathias Kaden - Myal [Vakant]
16. Jaxson - Smokemachine [FreakWaves]

Current chart 25/09/2007

It's time to make a round-up for my favorite tunes at the moment and lately, which is not so easy because lots of good music has been floating around.

> Jaxson – Smokemachine [FreakWaves]

Smokemachine is a beautiful, dramatic track neatly coupling a minimalistic, pulsating beat with live instruments. Awesome production and mood.

> Fuckpony – Lady Judy [Bpitch Control]

A sick and extremely groovy track by Jay Haze. The pitched, narcotic voice, bursting and stomping beats sound as if Green Velvet turned into producing slightly more minimal stuff. Can't wait getting it on wax and testing it in some party. Check also his recent Death Of A DJ EP on Junion and his e-dub project Sub Version which has an album out on Future Dub.

> Mikael Stavöstrand Feat. Big Bully – Please My Pain EP [Thema]

The prolific and talented Swedish producer have scored with several outstanding releases lately, he might easily be one of fave producers at this moment. In Please My Pain EP all tracks are brilliant. Furthermore, Housedays – two 12 inches containing three his tracks and three additional remixes – aren't any worse, and least but not last – Take Me Higher (co-produced with [a]pendics.shuffle) on Adjunct.

> Mark August – Old Joy / Just Like That [Connaisseure]

Harmonic and melodic tracks, yet having top-notch production qualities. Soulful avoiding being cheesy. I'll definetely keep eye on this guy.

> Smith N Hack – Space Warrior [Smith N Hack]

A crazy space invaders saga full of chip-music bleeps. Not minimal at all. A no-nonsense italo disco on the flip side.

> Kollektiv Turmstrasse – Tristesse [Connaisseure]

Even if Tristesse is not such a big hit as Grillen Im Park, I like its melancholic melody and just the way it sounds. These guys will perform at Space:Garage November 2 - don't miss!

> Pier Bucci - Chiloé EP [Crosstown Rebels]

All 4 tracks are goodies. Just check yourself!

> Seph - Wooden (Guido Schneider remix) [Phonocult]

G.Schneider delivers a great remix of the classic Seph's hit. Spaced out atmospheres, weird samples and off-beat percussion.

> Digitaline - Honolulu [Cadenza]

The original remix has a nice bass and deep chords, wheras Luciano's remix is more chilled and having very neat drums. For those who like tracks with lots of details and unexpected twists. Cadenza going stong this year!

> V.A. - Spies & Lies [Items & Things]

The second Items & Things compilation keeps its standards high - I find all tracks interesting, giving some special points to Alex Delano and Thrill Cosby though.

A special highlight:

> Max Brannslokker - Teika EP [De'fchild]

Max Brannslokker is upcoming and likely the most successful Latvian producer. Utopia is a bleepy, bassy microhouse in his best traditions. Reindeer and Pragma are leaning towards IDM. Dave Aju's remix is dope - he's added some vocals and made the track more minimal but it's still so damn funky. Another remix is a moody electro piece by Circuit 73. By the way - The Monument of Liberty and three stars on the cover look sweet and funky too :)

Other goodies: Luetzenkirchen - Brazilian Experience, Mathias Kaden - Myal EP, Pan-Pot - Charly, Pan-Pot - Charly, Alter Ego - Why Not?, Peo de Pitte vs. Huntamann - 37 Grader Varmt.

p.s. some of these tracks I've included in my latest mix - see the next entree.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007


Here are few my recent mixes.

The first one that I've titled Deep & Sensual mix is a journey into the sonic universe of deep and rather soulful tech-house tracks, but I couldn't really avoid incorporating some bleepy and minimal sounds as well :)

Hencha : Deep & Sensual mix


1. My My – Butterflies & Zebras [Aus]

2. Andre Crom - Nightmare On Alm Street [Memo]

3. Mike Monday – What Day Is It? [Playtime]

4. Phonique – Gaga (Tim Paris remix) [Moodmusic]

5. Guy Gerber & Chaim – Beaches [Supplement Facts]

6. Radio Slave – My Bleep [Rekids]

7. My My – Lifetime Trick [Circus Company]

8. Wahoo – Make Em Shake It (Isolee remix) [Defected]

9. Alexkid – Nightshades (Chicken Lips remix) [F Communications]

10. Chaim – Carolin [My Best Friend]

11. Vildtand – 25 Timer [Kickin]

12. Marc Romboy – Sunburst [Simple]

13. Sasse – Soull Sounds (Dirt Crew remix) [Moodmusic]

14. Alexkid – Love Letters (Marc Romboy remix) [F Communications]

15. Gus Gus – David [Underwater]

16. Lawrence – Place To Be [Liebe*Detail]

17. AIR & Alessadro Baricco – Musica [Thrive]

Two other mixes are made for Minipower radioshow. One (minipower006) is already available at their site, but another one (minipower011) will be aired soon and then placed on-line. The idea of this mix series is to keep continuity, so the last track of a mix is also the first track of the following mix, made by other DJ. The result is kind of back to back mixing.

Sometimes it's getting too minimal

So called minimal techno is becoming (actually have already become) a hype word, even in Latvia, which is a somewhat good and bad thing at the same time, IMO.

In a way it's OK to use this cliché, because "those who know" and are familiar with the history of electronic dance music they know that it is just a label for all that new techno / tech-house, and that even using "minimal" as a description does not necessarily means that it is really minimal by traditional standards — a highly repetitive, looping techno where nothing much happens apart from subtle changes that, if produced properly, create a special psychedelic effect (think of early Plastikman, DBX, Robert Hood etc.). On the other hand, the contemporary minimal can be quite minimal actually (for instance, Sleeparchive, some of Guido Schneider's and even Luciano's tracks).

So, its becoming mainstream may be annoying for the insiders, but, on the other hand, there are good things about it, too. I can't see any harm that young kids learn about this music and fancy this entire minimal thing, quite contrary. For instance, I see that many rather young girls in Latvia who does not necessarily represent underground techno community, just normal girls, have got into minimal, listening to this kind of music and coming to the parties etc. That's not bad.

Actually the newcomers include also many DJs, who used to be into other music. Sometimes it looks like simply following the trend, particularly regarding those DJs who were into more commercial house music and progressive house. It can seem like a funny mimicry, but as far they play better music than before, let it be.

Given that minimal is all around and it has become so accessible, what might be indicators for what is better or just more honest and true? Well, music itself matters, of course, but not only that. As I've stated before, DJ-ing is not just a technical but also a spiritual and emotional thing. Some deeper understanding and openness are essential. However, after all, those are people who come to parties and actually make them happen. Playing the same tracks for different public won't work the same way. So, not the DJs but people who come to dance to their music are the essence of a scene.