Wednesday, December 31, 2008

zero zero 9!


I wish you all a groovy new year full of new thrilling musical discoveries! And all the other goodies too! Happy 2009!!!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

In da box & playlist: October - December


The end of the year is approaching quickly, and it's time to put down 10 records wich were significant for me these last months.



> DOP – Horns N Roses [Eklo]

A serious groover, tight and funky like no other. If we compare this release to other French jazz-minimal producers, this time they sound closer to Guillaume & The Coutu Dumonts than to Noze (as they sounded in their previous outputs). It comes from the excellent I’m Just A Man EP.

> Seuil – Double Room EP [Moon Harbour]

An outstanding EP, all 3 tracks are excellent! Very detailed percussion, perfectly fitting sample snippets and smooth arrangement. Laidback atmospheres combined with more energetic outbursts.

> Los Updates – Getting Late (Luciano’s remix) [Cadenza]

As many other Luciano’s works, his take on Los Updates’ song is quite relaxed yet masterful combination of minimal loops and beats with more organic elements. Even if it’s not exactly a peak-hour burner, weirdly sweet vocals and bleepy texture sets a nice mood.

> Appleblim & Peverelist – Over Here (Beat Pharmacy remix) [ApplePips]

Brendon Moeller turns the original dubstep track into a deep and hypnotic dubhouse. Excellent! And it’s got a killer bass.

> Heinrichs & Hirtenfellner – Tromp It [Supdub]

After some rather mediocre releases, the guys have delivered a real hit. It’s one of those funny big tracks that can easily get annoying if overplayed but it still works really well with me. The flipside ain’t bad either.

> Masomenos – What Is This? [WTM]

I’ve spotted this French project this summer. They definetely have their own flavour and ability to combine minimal palette with beautiful meloties. This particular piece could easily be their most techno-like track so far.

> Guillaume & The Coutu Dumonts – I Was On My Hell EP [Circus Company]

It’s hard to choose one of the two present tracks – both are rockers. Guillaume is certainly one of my favorite producers this year. Once gained wider recognition he doesn’t stop making outstanding tracks. His highly percussive rhythms (he has studied drums) and skillful sampling of ethnic music is much more advanced than many other tracks based on this now popular formula.

> Luciano & Mirco Loco – Family EP [Desolat]

Serena – an easy-going track with a volatile ambient atmosphere; Liah is reminescent of Lucien’s laidback tracks under his Lucien-N-Luciano alias, one of the tracks's central motifs is based on weirdly sounding bells; Mousa Big Band – a kicking beat coupled with funny muttering, shouts and other "exotic" samples.

> Robert Dietz & Markus Fix - Shunsower [Cécille Numbers]

The track is quite functional, but the main vocal sample in background is just damn catchy and the groove – nicely progressing and welcoming to move along.

> Jark Prongo – M-Tech [a.r.t.less]

Rereleased and remastered. A little techno train brings us back to Detroit.

> Move D - Cube [Running Back]

A deep, tight and stripped down (micro)dubhouse with a very fine and moving groove.


LPs:

There were quite many outstanding albums lately.

> Lee Jones - Electronic Frank [Aus]

It could easily be my favorite electrinic dance music albums this year - classic house chords arranged in innovative way and decorated with interesting yet organic samples. Beautiful! (You can read an elaborated review on this album by Gosh at FFF site).

> Deadbeat - Roots And Wire [Wagon Repair]

Deep and dubby rhythmic structures at his best.

> Minilogue – Animals [Cocoon]

Finally Minilogue puts out an album. Although some tracks are heard before, there are still many great moments in this LP if you are up to their juicy and jazzy sound.

> Sten – The Essence LP [Dial]

Moody and melodic tracks that owns much to Detroit. One of my favorite tracks might be the freaky Take Me To Fridge.

> Extrawelt - Schöne Neue Extrawelt [Cocoon]

This is another goodie on Coccon. Well, yes, there are references to (neo)trance, progressive house, abundance of melodies, but one must admit - it's just a great piece of music after all.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

In brief: TikTak Radio & Singalong


Hello everybody, it's been a while... Brief news this time.

Minipower/No Rest guys have created a new online radio - TikTak Radio - with the finest selection of deep, atmospheric and groovy 4 to the floor tracks plus some special mixes by the hosts and guest-DJs. I have a pleasure to spin some records in their studio on Friday 28/11 from 19.00. Don't be shy, tune in.

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At some point all the good things have to come to the end. On Saturday 29/11 there's the last night at Singalong hostel/artists residence (see the flyer). Right, they are closing down and moving out of Andrejsala. As those are people who stand behind every project, let's hope to see something new from the Singalong crew sooner or later. We love you guys! ;)

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Finally, my interview with Ewan Pearson in full glory has been published in the November's Veto issue featuring some other interesting stuff too. Ask for your copy at a local newspaper store. Otherwise, the English version can be still read here.

Good-bye!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Still enthusiastic: interview with Ewan Pearson














Ewan Pearson, as you may probably know, is a well known, respected and demanded producer, remixer and DJ. The list of musicians and bands that he has worked with is impressive and quite long, including many instantly recognizable names from the both electronic and popmusic worlds, such as The Rapture, Gwen Stefani, Tracey Thorn, Ladytron, Chemical Brothers, Depeche Mode etc. But not the commercial merits is that makes a producer interesting per se, rather the way he expresses himself through his work and his attitude. In both of these aspects, Mr. Pearson is an interesting and quite unusual person in the circles of electronic music production. His own productions and remixes typically have no-nonsense uplifting and melodic qualities that I would call balearic. Whereas, judging from his solid academic background (he has studied for PhD in English literature, philosophy and cultural studies, plus he has co-written the book “Discographies: dance music, culture and the politics of sound”) and his refined and witty written expression (see his Enthusiasm blog), I imagined him to be a smart, intelligent, yet open-minded guy, which absolutely proved to be true when I met him in person.

It happened few months ago while I was visiting C/O POP festival in Cologne (here you can read my short review of C/O POP). Mr. Pearson had been invited to DJ at Kompakt Total party - one of the central events of this festival. We had a chat about clubs, the art of remixing, his plans, living in Berlin and, of course, music.

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To begin with, could you please tell what you are doing at the moment? Are you mostly DJ-ing or being busy with productions?

A bit of everything. It's a high summer, so there are a lot of DJ gigs, but I'm trying to be quite careful to keep DJ-ing down to 5 or 6 gigs in a moth, unlike some people who play 3-4 times a week and they are always away, so I can still do a studio work as well. I've just done a few remixes actually, remixed Hot Chip and a band from UK called Foals - they are something between Battles and Bloc Party, very good musicians, very tight, but groovy... Basically it's Kompakt remixing Foals - Supermayer has done a mix, and I've done a mix.

So, it will be released on Kompakt?

It will be released as a vinyl on Kompakt and as a digital single through Foals' label Transgressive. It's a proper collaboration. Foals are really big electronic music fans and loved Kompakt for years.

Since you do quite a lot of DJ-ing, how do you find balance with working in studio. Do you also work while being on road?

Sometimes I work on my laptop, but you know I have to take time to be in studio. And if I make production, I have to take time out of DJ-ing. When I'm working, I really don't have much of personal life, I'm just working. But it's good. I'm really happy to have this job. Very few people are lucky to be self-employed musicians, so I don't take it for granted, and I would like to last as long as I can.

You're mostly known for your remixes and production for other bands, how does it actually happen - those are bands, their managers who address you asking for remixing or other way?

Almost always. Occasionally I ask if there's a record I really love. I've done a remix for Feist, which is on her first album. I was given a copy of album before it went out and I absolutely loved it, so I spoke to the record company that I would like to do a remix...

How about Cortney Tidwell?

I know the guy who signed her, and I loved the record and heard her couple of times playing, and then friends of her came and suggested that we do a remix of... or I can't remember if I suggested, I think actually I said that I really liked "I love Stars" and I would like to do a remix, and they agreed.

I just remember that you were quite enthusiastic about her music on your blog.

Yeah, I think I asked that one, and it was for free, because I liked it... She has just finished the new album, just heard it, which is amazing, so I could do another one... we'll see.

But it's mostly about finding music that I really like. I'd rather do a remix for free of something that I love than be paid to remix something that I hated. I never do a remix for things that I don't have any connection with. I've turned down a few quite big acts, it's not like I wouldn't like to do pop... I remember I turned down a Shakira's remix for the first single from her last album, unfortunately it wasn't "Hips Don't Lie", if it was "Hips Don't Lie" I would love to remix it, but I just couldn't hear the way to do a track. I don't have a problem with pop, I love pop, but it has to make sense, it has to fit with what I do and have to fit with what they do, there's no point in doing a remix they gonna hate or a remix they would like but I wouldn't.

In this regard, don't you feel like a craftsman sometimes?

No, I do, I'm interested in crafts much more that the art, I suppose. But I still have to feel it's representing what I do. Obviously, that's why DJ-ing is good, because DJ-ing provides me with basic income. That means that I can basically choose the projects purely on musical grounds. Which is good, but it probably means that I'll probably never gonna be rich... [laughs]. But I gonna be happy, which is much more important.

Well, still you are doing remixes for big names.

Sometimes, not so much at the moment.

In your view, what's the purpose of a remix in general or what's your idea about remixing? Pure functionality, adding beats, something else?

It's different. You can look at it in almost the disco way, just doing enough to make it work in the club context, which is often what I do - I try not to change it too much and use quite a lot of original parts, or if it's a song I try to include the entire song. Sometimes you can do a complete transformation, it's a rich area, there's a lot of different methods, approaches to take. I think that some of the best dance music it's been people remixing other things. It's a proper art form in its own right. So, I'm very proud to be continuing in that tradition.

Some of your favourite remixes?

Oh God, yeah... I don't know, going back to like Patrick Cowley's mix of Donna Summer's "I feel love" or...

What about your own ones?

Oh, mine, that's for people to decide. There are many that I like.

At what point did you realise that you would just make music for living?

I made the decision and tried to switch about 8 years ago when I'd already released an album for Soma, made like 5-6 singles and started to do quite a few remixes, but I was still in university, still doing a PhD.

Wasn't it a hard choice?

Yeah, it was, but at the same time I'd have rather tried and failed than be disappointed that I'd never tried. I know some people who started doing it and then decided to get a proper job. But I've worked hard and for a long time, it's been a gradual building, it wasn't an overnight success. It just makes me happy to do something creative and work for myself, deciding what I gonna do on a day-to-day basis.

Anyway, regarding DJ-ing, doesn't it get boring sometimes - just another night in another club. How do you avoid feeling that this is just a job?

First of all, it is a job and it is tiring sometimes, not all the gigs are good, but it's a great job, and people are usually nice. It's OK as long as you play in clubs where you can play the music you like. The problem is when you get into a situation when you feel that you have to play a certain track or sound.

Do people address you sometimes with some musical requests?

Sometimes they ask you to play faster or harder or do this... But at the moment I'm actually playing quite techno.

Really?

I'm quite enjoying, I'm slightly embarassed to admit that I'm enjoying some of the most successful commercial techno at the moment.

Like what?

I don't know, like Dubfire's remix of Radio Slave which is that "Grindhouse" record. I think it's a tremendous record. Some of the sounds getting quite obvious, all kind of "ssshhhh..." sounds and certain elements, but technically it's so well put together, and when you playing something like that and everybody gets crazy, it's exciting. But the thing is to mix things up, you can't just play big obvious records in a row. There's so much stuff I like at the moment, from disco to slower records, but the difficulty is putting it all together so it makes sense. But sometimes I like just banging for couple of hours and playing hard. People forget that I used to record for Soma and I used to go out with them and used to hear them playing tough Chicago and Detroit stuff, the stuff like Jeff Mills, that sort of minimal techno, I grew up listening to that, so sometimes I quite like... ergh banging :) It's like trying different hats, tonight I gonna wear this one...

So you prefer improvising in your sets, you don't have prepeared playlists?

No, it's more about having an instinct.

Is there a difference between a live mix and a mix to be released on CD?

It is different. With CD it's got to have many repeated listenings... I want to tell a story, I want to go through different styles, to have a beginning, a middle and an end. Well, it's quite similiar with DJ-ing. The only thing I don't like is when you just hear one groove, one style, one sound for 2-3 hours. Whatever the style is, I just find it boring. I like sort of wander around. Sometimes peoples don't get it though.

Are there any particular clubs where you are always happy to return?

There's a bunch of favourites: Robert Johnson in Offenbach, Pulp, which sadly shut last year, in Paris, and people from there like Ivan Smagghe who is one of my oldest friends in dance music, and the woman who ran Pulp... I met there people like Jenny Cardini and Cloé, people with whom I one day DJ-ed in Paris and now they've become international stars, awesome. You make friends with these people years ago when nobody knew who any of us were, and it's quite strange that something like 8 years later we all are travelling around the world. It's great, but kind of amazing - how we got here, it's very weird sometimes.

Don't you think about making your own live stuff?

I did it once, when I recorded for Soma. Now, I like DJ-ing, playing other people's music. Sometimes I play my own records. No, I don't think I will go back to play live.

What about releasing your own solo album?

There's gonna be more stuff from me... I'm doing that Partial Arts project with my friend Al Usher for Kompakt, although he is about to have a baby.

Is he also based in Berlin?

No, he's in London. We actually don't get so much time to work together. However, we are currently working on the next Partial Arts record.

Will it be released on Kompakt?

Yeah, hopefully. And I've got a couple of rough ideas in my head, but I'm not quite sure which one I gonna do first... Well, it will happen when it happens.

How have you met the Kompakt guys?

I'd been a big fan of the label for years and years. Actually there's a track of mine on the Michael Mayer's first "Immer" CD, like a shuffle track. I think it was the only non German thing there. I met a guy called Jon Berry, who worked for Kompakt, he's Canadian, at Sonor [festival]. He just told me how much they liked what I do, and I told him how much I liked their stuff.

OK, there's no strict connection, but still...

It's more like a sensibility, you have the same kind of attitude.

A bit of pop sensibility?

Yeah, absolutely. I think we have similiar tastes, influences in commmon. We had this track we wanted to put out ourselves, called "Trauermusik", and then I met Jon and I thought that he should hear that, so gave him a CD and we ended up as Kompakt artists. And now I'm so proud about playing here.

Is it the first time playing for Kompakt?

It's the first time oficially playing at their event. When they sent the flyer to me I had a bit of a lump in my throat, it's a big honour to be on the list with all these guys.

Even the festival is called Cologne On Pop :)

I don't see why I should be interested in just supposedly underground music or pop, maybe that's what I share with the Kompakt guys. My heart is in independent, self-produced music, that's a kind of post-punk attitude, doing things yourself... Even if I remix a big artist it's still with this kind of attitude.

Are there any new music styles or ideas you find interesting?

I have a really diverse taste. My favorite record this year, apart from dance records, is a guy from Mali called Toumani Diabaté, the best kora player that Mali has ever produced, like Ravi Shankaar of kora. Incredible.

Traditional music?

It's actually a kind of mixture, something between folk music and chamber music, really modern and ancient at the same time. And the band Fleet Foxes from America, which I adore. My dad used to sing in a folk group, maybe that's why I like harmonic music. There are also reissues of Volgang's Gas project and other really amazing electronic music at the moment. And then house music again, like Matt Edward's Radio Slave, there's loads of stuff.

What kind of things inspire you?

In terms of inspirations it's also hearing other music, it's not really competition, you just wanna make something that makes someone feel as that record made feel you. It's kind of trying to put something back... I wanna make others feel like what I felt when heard Andy Weatherall's remix or New Order's track, whatever. You wanna create the same effect. But also I read a lot, I'm trying to keep my brain active, cinema and various other art forms. Just being interested in things and curious.

Will you ever write another book about music from theoritical point of view?

You never know, but it's hard, because I haven't been keeping up with academic reading... But I could go back to school, you know, I started PhD but didn't finish it, I'd love to go back to school at some point, but maybe when I'm older. Well, I'm writing a bit - a column for Groove magazine, but that's a little silly opinion column, that's not a proper theory.

Huh, that manifesto thing was funny.

Some people took it a little more seriously than I intended, although I agree with the most of things that I wrote. It was partly for fun, to tease people.

I didn't get the point about EPs, if honestly.

I'm not even sure that I agree with that, because there are records I love where you get that B2 track which is a bit weird or different. Sometimes I'm just a bit bored hearing 3 or 4 mediocre tracks. What you should do - throw away 2/3 or 3/4 of what you do and only put out the stuff which is really good.

I think it's quite common in the dance music in general - there are many albums with just few good tracks and the rest feels like just filling gaps.

I'd rather make one single in 18 months but it'd be something quite different or special than trying release an EP every 2 or 3 months and it would be just a bit dull. When I did the record for Soma, I through so many tracks away. I started with maybe 30 tracks but just 11 or 12 came out at the end.

But also in general there is too much music being released.

Definetely there's too much music at the moment. Brian Eno in his diary was complaining that he had a feeling like there was too much music in the world and everybody should tap some time off, but this point was also about doing something else. It's just good to be more rounded person, to do some other things that influence you in different ways.

Following about quality, sometimes I've got the feeling that music listening turns more and more into consumption, rotation is faster and faster, more and more records coming out and if you don't sell them immediately you don't sell them at all. That regards also people listening just to new records. As far as I know, you're not happy with all the illegal downloading and file-sharing. But in this context and given that there is so much bad music, perhaps it just doesn't deserve to be sold at all?

I don't think that people who download music actually think - ok, this one is really good, I'm going to pay for this. But of course there are so many promos and stuff coming out that sometimes you just feel drowning in music, and also sometimes it's hard to hear good stuff, to pick out a good track. Just being bombarded with too much music. Still there's so much interesting music, we just have to go through so much more to get it.

You work a lot in clubs, so you see people who come to parties. In your opinion, is it just entertainment or there's something more that attract them?

There's nothing wrong about just dancing and having fun, in the sense that provides very important function in people's life. I get really annoyed when people talk it's just the escapism. The idea is to provide a space for people, to go somewhere else... I don't wanna sound too over top, but kind of transcedent experience, even if it's only for few hours.

A ritual? Spiritual ritual?

Yeah, i don't know if spiritual but they go somewhere else for a little bit, experience this state of jouissance. It's a little vacation from yourself, from your ordinary life, I don't think it's a bad thing, unless you don't have anything else in your life. It's for people to take as seriously as they want to. It can be done for a couple of years or to be a lifetime passion.

Are you sometimes going to clubs when you don't have to DJ?

I love dancing, I'm one of those DJs you'd see dancing to other DJs.

Quite exceptional, huh?

Well, maybe it sounds surprising but I know quite many DJs who like dancing.

Maybe that's Berlin? So many DJs out there...

DJs in Berlin are like rats in New York, you know they say you're never more than a meter away from a rat in New York, so I guess you're always never more than a meter away from a DJ in Berlin [laughs].

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The full interview (however, in Latvian) will be published in Veto Magazine, which is due to come out in the beginning of November.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

minimal punks and disco freaks @ EXIT














The American indie music label The Death From Above or simply DFA is undoubtly one of the icons of the modern dance music, especially when it comes to live rock bands playing disco and electronic music influenced stuff. Immediately after releasing the breakthrough albums of the Rapture and James Murphy's own LCD Soundsystem, the DFA established itself as one of the most interesting and original labels at that time. In attempts to describe the DFA sound, critics even coined the term disco-punk or punk-funk. As the time went by, many bands with similiar approach appeared - and now, in the era of nu rave and bloghouse, despite all this rock'n'roll 4 a dancefloor hype, the DFA bands and projects still sound quite outstanding.

This was just a small introduction to the DFA and you should know it all, unless you're not alienated to the current streams in disco music. So, I was quite excited when learnt that a band and couple of DJs from the DFA camp would perform at Exit. As the first one, Prinzhorn Dance School gave an amazing performance. They are not your avarage dancepunk or singer-songwriter act. There are just 2 persons in the band operating on a fancy setup: a girl on bass and stomping two pedals for kick-drums, plus a guy playing chords on guitar, with his legs operating with snares and occasionally hiting toms and cymbals with a stick furiosuly. So, basically they both were operating on a single modified drum kit, which supposedly requires very good interaction, which was in a way very physical. Naturally, sometimes the guy missed a snare beat slightly, but it just gave some extra swing and that special lo-fi feel. In two words I'd describe their music as a minimal punk.



Afterwards, a guy from Mock & Toof had a great and groovy disco set. Their original productions are well crafted disco- and funk-infected house tunes. Apart from working with the DFA, they also have releases on a very recommended label from UK - Tiny Sticks Records.

He was followed by a DJ set from Tim Sweeney - the official DFA's deejay, who also hosts Beats In Space radioshow on NYC's WNYU (however, you can hear his shows on his BIS page too, tune in). The set was amazing mixture of disco, house, italo, some acid house and everything in between and beyond - very groovy and refreshing from the omnipresent Berlin's techno/house or nu rave sound.

Well, there is no big point in describing DJ sets, it's enough said both DJs were great, and I can just advise not to miss them if you have a chance to see them around. See you!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

In da box and playlist: july-september

It's been a long time. Well, the summer just passed too quickly, and autumn melancholy is already all around. The following are some of my favorite 4/4 tunes currently and lately.


> Matias Aguayo - Minimal [Kompakt]

A funky and passionate disco-like groover by the Chilean producer and singer Matias Aguayo. First I heard it played by DJ Koze at Kompakt Total party, Marcus Rossknecht's mix though. The funny lyrics worked very well, and the song became an instant hit for me. Also, it was the unofficial anthem of Riga Night (and days) in Brussels.

> Kevin Saunderson - Good Love (Luciano remix) [KMS]

This one comes from History Elevate series - a rather successful remix project of Kevin Saunderson's tracks. This particular one was a vocal house production under Inner City moniker. Luciano stripped down version is quite basic and laid-back, a minimal beat, some percussion, the original vocal with dubby delays. It's not outstanding, however I like its deep and repetitive vibe and summer feel.

> STL - Something Is Raw [Something]

STL aka Stephan Laubner is my recent discovery. He is a master of percussive house grooves and loops, that's a proper minimal house. This track, which is a real stormer, has been released back in October 2007, however I must mention it because its groove made my day and I has been playing it quite a lot.

> Mutant Clan - Kenesai [Connaisseur]

The track sets an irresistable tribal groove. I don't know anything much about the authors except that one of them is Timo Maas. Another side of this From A Lesson In Drums release is fine too, done by someone called Pele.

> October - Say Again [Perspektiv]

Very deep and hypnotic, though having quite accented and metallic snares. I believe it might be some dubstep influence. October has almost arrived.

> Stimming - Una Pena [Diynamic]

Although latino sapmples and motifs have become over-used, this Stimming's track still sounds interesting. It's got that typical and quite distinctive Diynamic sound, also typical for Solomun - music is very melodic yet different from usual Get Physical / Cocoon epic stuff. I don't know, but probably it's more psychedelic and dreamy, those melodies and samples sound distant somehow creating a transcendental effect. A nice, more punchy Argy's remix on the flipside too. Check also Stimming's track Anger for Liebe*Detail - it has a very nice strings when reaching the culmination.

> Brendon Moeller - Electricity [Leena]

A deep tech-house banger from one of my favorite producers. The whole EP is a goodie. Well, B.Moeller know how to dig deep still having his own original approach. Besides, he's done an amazing remix of Intrusion - Tswana Dub, you should definitely check it out if you're into electronic dub / dubtechno.

> Dave Aju - Crazy Place [Circus Company]

This guy is from San Francisco and making weird minimal house records for the French label Circus Company. Kind of DJ Koze's style, you know. Crazy Place is a cool and relaxed gem with a nice vocal and strange samples.

> DOP - I'm Just A Man EP [Eklo]

I can just agree with RA's review that this is their best and tightest release so far. A pure jazz dope, very groovy and dancefloor friendly. Should become a hit.

> My My - Pink Flamingos [Ostgut Tontraeger]

It's been out for a while, but I've given it a listen just recently. My My successfully continues exploring funky disco basslines and dreamy deep house atmospheres avoiding boring cliches.

> Morgan Geist - Detroit [Environ]

A hilarious vocal track on the electronic disco and Detroit techno tip.

LPs:

> Stefan Goldmann - The Transitory State [Macro]

The first of two CDs is a slightly edited selection of his tracks mainly for his own Macro imprint which all sound together surprisingly well. Nice collection.

> Shed - Shedding the Past [Ostgut Tontraeger]

Very interesting and experimental deep house meets dubtechno meets dubstep tracks. The soundtrack of now.

> V.A. - Recovery [Fractured]

Although it's not really a dancefloor stuff, I can't avoid mentioning it - so great it is. Originally it's a set of 10 7-inches. All of them are covers of pop songs done by respected electronic music producers. Yummy, thanks Gosh for suggesting.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

exit is open










Good evening, ladies and gentlemen, freaks and clowns!

Exit has been relaunched again. Although the main opening party was on Saturday, there were some events on Thursday and Friday as well. For instance, on Friday Gangpol Und Mit performed (don't ask me why it sounds German, actually they are two guys from Bordaux, France). They own music + they own videos. That was outstanding indeed! Very cartoonish, baroque, creative, funny and sick at the same time. But you have to see it yourself.



Now a short review of the main event. The night took off with a live performance by Bass Clef - a very fine and interesting dubstep producer from UK, Bristol I guess. A little detour: first I found out about this guy on Tape blog few years ago, a couple of his tracks were put there. He was practically unknown yet, at least internationally, and his artist's nickname was RLF. That time most of dubstep was very dark and monotone, but his tracks were surprisingly different and fresh - more subtle, daring to experiment and with some electronica/IDM influence, I'd say. Sounded good to me. Since that time he has released a critically aclaimed album (as Bass Clef) with a very cute title - A Smile Is A Curve That Straightens Most Things - and some other 12 inches on his Blank Tapes imprint. Check also his blog. Alright, now back to the party. He played his tracks from CD, adding some samples, mainly percussion, tapping on a sapmpler and effects, such as delay. Besides, Bass Clef used a mic for playing trombone, cowbell, whistling etc. Interesting rhythmic patterns, sometimes just loosely related to the clasic dubstep. For instance, there was one kuduro rhythm, some other sample palettes were reminiscent of Rio's baile funk etc. Altogether it sounded as intelligent and electronic dubstep yet having some ghetto music roots. It was freash and enjoyable, just wished the sound system had more bass, but this was just a technical detail.

As the next one, Max Tundra tooked over the stage. He had an impressive set of gears. Music was quite different, a lot of singing and guitar, quite funny and funky, sometimes even a bit too cheasy and not enough groovy for my taste, but no doubt he is a diverse and talanted musician. I wish people danced more, especially when he fired some ravey cover version (was it KLF, huh?). But, well, that's a typical Luxembourg's crowd - it takes ages (and quite a few drinks) to get them moving. No pun intended though, that's just the way it is over here.














The last guest artist was Rodion - a guy who makes quality nu school italo disco for Gomma Records. And he is actually Italian. Although before seeing him I quite liked some of his tracks and there was one worthy his mix in my possession, his live performance turned out better than I expected - it was very groovy and entertaining. Rodion played together with a bass player, and due to the fact that he used analogue synths and vocoders it sounded as a proper underground italo disco. Whatever he did, sounded just cool avoiding beeing too cheesy - even a cover version of Supertramp's song was a kicker. Finally, people were dancing.

Some more photos here.

It was a realy good start, and there are some other goodies to come. The next event will be the DFA night on October 3 with a live performance by Prinzhorn Dance School (a real live band)and DJ sets by Mock & Toof (also released on Tiny Sticks and Mule) and Tim Sweeney (of Beats In Space radioshow fame). Gotta be sweaty!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Riga -> Luxembourg & Rotondes -> Carré














First of all, I would like to say that the extension of Riga Night Brussels in Luxembourg went really well - Martinez Gonzalez had an amazing performance in d:qliq. Thanks to Fred for inviting us over. We even managed to get an extra gig in some private party which was pretty cool as well. You can check some photos here.

Now about this week-end. The great news is that Rotondes - a culture site specially developed for European Cultural capital project in 2007 - is reopening. The name has become CarréRotondes and also its location is different (hence no round buildings any more). It comprises Exit venue as well which was responsible for so many outstanding concerts and events last year. Anyway, Marc is still in charge of musical programmation there, so hopefully we can expect many great bands. At least, the line-up for opening party is promising: Bass Clef, Max Tundra and Rodion.

More information about opening events here.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Riga's still on tour


I'm just start recovering from the crazy week-end, all can I say is that Riga Night Brussels was amazing. Great music, talented and open-minded freak-friends and suprisingly good response from the other people who were there. I must also add that it wasn't just playing music, dancing and performing, it was definitely much more - in the best FuckForFriendship traditions. I mean, it's not just about performing, it's more like a way of life and attitude.

While Riga Night Brussels is over, you can still catch some echo of it this week in Luxembourg. This Friday, September 12 Martinez Gonzalez will have a live set and I will play some records in d:qliq bar. This time I plan to do it a bit more pop, also some vocals and joyful melodies, but we'll see how it turns out. Everybody's welcome.

By the way, while driving in a car through Brussels, there was a Flamish radio on telling about some DJ festival. I didn't get a word, but for some strange reason the guy on radio kept mentioning mojitos. So, just to know - d:qliq likely has the best mojitos in the town.

Thank you Riga and thank you my friends!

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Riga @ Brussels


As I've already posted before, this weekend (Saturday, September 6 to be precise) Riga Night Brussels will take place in an abandoned beer brewery (address: Quai du Hainaut 43 à 1080 Bruxelles / Porte de Ninove, that's near the Channel).

The event will start at 8 p.m. with a showcase of Latvian documentary, animation and short films.

That will be followed by a party from 11 p.m. DJs Ivars Mednis, ZeDmitry and me, Heincha, gonna spin some "underground" electronic dance music as we like it - deep, sexy and groovy. Plus, Martinez Gonzales will play his own warm and melodic tracks. For those less enthusiastic about 4 to the floor techno and house there will be a smaller stage outside with a bit more pop sensibility.

Music will be accompanied by video-mixes from our visual wizards-lizards: VJs Linards Kulless and Ginta Tinte.

To do it in a proper Riga way, the one and only Space:Garage Bar's crew will take care of providing booze and fun to the people.

Needless to say, all the abovementioned artists are from Riga. And now a bit pathetic line: that's right, we all are friends in one or another way, so it's not mere an official presentation of our city that we love so much, it's also about friendship and having fun. In my view, there's nothing wrong with that, these kind of projects may be even more effective and certainly more sincere than very official ones, because in the first case it's somewhat more concentrated and dedicated.

Well, come and meet us! :)

Oh, yes, almost forgot to add that, besides the Riga night, there will an exhibition too. Already acclaimed young artists (guess from where) - Voldemars Johansons, Maija Kurseva and Linards Kulless - will exhibit their installations at M'ATUVU Creative Shopwindow (Lakensestraat 113, 1000 Bruxelles). The codename is Fluid States, so it all will be about ever-changing and transforming liquids and fluids. The opening is this Friday, September 5, and it will be open until September 17.

More info: http://riganightbrussels.com

Friday, August 29, 2008

Riga rox à Bruxelles



Well, here we go again. This time quite important news. In September 16, Riga party will take place for the first time in Brussels. On this occasion, a bunch of my fellow DJs, associated with Fuck For Friendship / Space:Garage posse and all known in Riga, will spin for a good groove. So, it's gonna be me, ZeDmitry and Ivars Mednis. Furthermore, expect a live performance by Martinez Gonzales, visuals by Linards Kulless and Ginta Tinte, plus a Latvian film programme.

More info will come soon, meanwhile check the event's website.

And massive thanks to my lovely wife Liene Reine, Katya Delimova, JosWorld, Roi Baudoin Foundation, Air Baltic, FFF and all the others involved for making this happen!!

In brief: a DJ set @ "Baltā nakts"


I'll be playing an Ableton Live set at Dirty Deal cafe in the frame of "Baltā nakts" (Nuit blanche) in Riga. That will be tomorrow, Saturday 30/08. Expect quite diverse music: from minimal to disco to electro.

I'm also eager to see performances by Jan Jelinek and Pole nearby at Space Textures event.

Don't sleep!

Cologne breaths pop














I had a great time in Cologne during C/O Pop festival. Lots of gigs, movies and presentations. It seemed that all venues and clubs were taking part in this event in one or another way, so it was imposible to see everything. However, I liked the idea that it was rather a network of parties than a one-spot festival with different stages. So, one can freely stroll around the city and check different clubs.

On my arrival I saw a live performance by Crytal Castles. Perhaps, it was due to the poor soundsystem or the crowd of young hipsters why I didn’t find it interesting enough. Afterwords we checked out Berlin Calling party with Bpitch artists which was pretty good.

The next day there was a Silent Movie Night where Vladislav Delay played a specially composed soundtrack for A.Kaurismaki’s movie “I Hired A Contract Killer”. His music was OK, but nothing too surprising — the usual deep vibes with clicky rhythmic structures. However, the performance by Adolf Noise — DJ Koze’s alias for more experimental listening music — was outstanding and highly entertaining. Basically, everything was built on looped samples, playing and additionaly sampling some live instruments (flutes, xilaphone, trumpet etc.) and voices. All that was tweaked and FX’ed. The performace contained also quite many lengthy spoken samples in German, apparently very funny judging by people’s response. Ah yeah, it was a headphone party — no headphones, no sound.

The next thing was definetely the highlight of the festival — Kompakt Total 9 party. Actually it turned out to be one of the best parties I’ve ever been. First, Expo XXI sounded quite dry as a name of venue, and I was expecting one of those impersonal huge expo centres which all look the same. Fortunately, I was wrong — it was a reconstructed middle-sized building with brick walls and curving archs, supplied with two dancefloors. It was spacious enough, but still cosy, also because of very tasteful and elegant lights and video projections all over the walls. Furthermore, both rooms had exceptionally good soundsystems which is so important to enjoy music properly.














When we entered, on the big stage Supermayer was starting its show. No minimal at all. Groovy electro beats, tight basslines, kitschy videos, some funny samples and interludes. Superpitcher even sang a bit. Then Ewan Pearson continued as a DJ. (By the way, I did an interview with him which will be published in Veto magazine. I will post a part of it in this blog as well, so stay tuned.) His set was quite techno, not the hardest one though. Meanwhile, we checked the small room which was more about kicking techno. Quite simple, but pleasently tight and effective. Again, the soundsystem was brilliant. I’m not sure who played at that point — could be Navid Tahernia or Reinherd Voight — but it was all groovy and having a nice drive.

Back to the main hall. After Ewan, Aril Brikha commenced his live set. At first, after having exposed ourselves to proper techno beats, Aril’s music seemed too uplifting and melodic, kind of epic. As we started to dance, the mood changed quickly. The purple and blue lights plus his music set a good vibe. Aril’s epic journey was continued by DJ Koze’s set. Quite different style again — more minimal yet outstanding and weird tracks. Maybe his style is no style, in fact. One of the funniest tracks was his own remix of Matias Aguayo’s Minimal. Actually Aguayo was playing in afterparty. Without stimulating substances we were just a bit short of energy to continue there, despite it was quite tempting. Anyway, it was totally enough.

The next night started with a chilly concert by Jose Gonzalez. It was on a boat. There was water all around and quite small audience, which made this experience even more unique and intimate. Enjoying some sekt, his marvellous singing and the night covered Rhein. I must admit that I prefered Teardrop instead of Heartbeats.

During the same night we managed to visit Treibstoff party and MBF/Traum/Trapez party. Both venues were really underground and crowded, and somehow we didn’t manage to stay long. On the way home, we checked a small club where Larry Heard DJ’ed. A true legend of house music, as we all know. However, it was a bit strange that grandfather of house music was DJ-ing on CDs. Well, OK, it was still nice house groove on a sweaty dancefloor.

The last day, Sunday, I was chilling in a park before my leaving. It was quite strange feeling realising that Sven Vath and Ricardo Villalobos are rocking nearby.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Inhale mix (radio mix)


Below is a link to the mix I played on Bloë Baaschtert radioshow, which is hosted by two nice chaps Unki and Claude. The mix features some new stuff that I find interesting as well as some other bit more classic tracks. In fact I've realised that on the tracklist there are many artists whose music I mix quite often, so you can say it's kind of my typical mix. For instance, in almost all my recents mixes you'd find Guillaume & The Coutu Dumonts and Brendon Moeller. Also, the omnipresent Villalobos is here, and other frequent names like Tigerskin/Dub Taylor, Tolga Fidan from the Vakant camp, Rekids, Lee Jones from My My, liebe*detail and Mothership appear. Well, have a listen, I hope you'll enjoy this moody and groovy voyage.

Heincha - Inhale mix

1. Guillaume & The Coutu Dumonts - Mederico [Oslo]
2. Ricardo Villalobos - Minimoonstar [Perlon]
3. Masomenos - Aftermama's [Welcome To Masomenos]
4. Brendon Moeller - Electricity [Leena]
5. Claude VonStroke - Scarlet Macaw [Mothership]
6. Tigerskin - Darkcold (Sweet N Candy remix) [Morris Audio]
7. Tolga Fidan - Us And Them [Cocoon]
8. Dapayk & Padberg - Pantomime Horse (Dapayk remix) [Mo's Ferry Prod.]
9. Audiofly & Paul Harris - Miscalate (Partial Arts remake) [Rekids]
10. 3 Channels - It's Getting Kinda Hectic (Shane Berry remix) [Trapez]
11. Maetrik - Stab Jockey [Mothership]
12. Stimming - The Anger [liebe*detail]
13. Lee Jones - Aria [Aus Music]

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Mixing at Bloë Baaschtert radioshow


Hello funky people! Just a quick notice: I'm kindly invited to do a mix at Bloë Baaschtert radioshow this Monday, August 4, 18.30-20.00. The show is about Luxembourg-based musicians, bands and DJs. Expect moody tech-house/minimal tunes. Those who live in Luxembourg can tune in to radio Ara (103,3 & 105,2 FM), otherwise you can listen to live stream from Ara's website. Anyways, I'll try to record the mix and post it here afterwards.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

24 h electroniques + C/POP Cologne


Hey folks!

A couple of weeks ago I've been to an event called 24 heures electroniques, few words about it.

Indeed, it lasted 24 hours non-stop: during the daytime there were some rather useful and interesting workshops concerning producing, DJ-ing, circuit bending and related topics. When the night started, a party in 4 halls kicked off.

I must say that with few exceptions all the big names represented nu rave and electro camp. Sometimes I wonder why this style is so popular in French speaking countries... Fortunately, not everything was so bad. For instance, there was a nice DJ set by Cassius decorated with samples and effects, Alex Gopher played some no-nonsense electronic house tunes, and even the live show by Digitalism positively surprised me (it's better than their records). However, the best electro live band was Shameboy from Belgium - never had heard them before, but their music was definetely better that usual avarage electro-rock stuff. Check their myspace.

It was already morning when for a pleasant change Apparat dropped some tough beats and bittersweet melodies in one of the halls, and one of the Tiefschwarz guys took over the turntables in another room to play something closer to my taste in dance music, e.g. German kind of house/techno. A happy end.

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For the first time I'm going to C/POP in the mid of August, which ir likely the best electronic music fair and festival in Cologne. In the frame of its clubnight, all the appropriate venues will host an impressive array of local and international artists, including such names as R.Villalobos, DJ Koze, Larry Heard, E.Pearson, R.Voigt, G.Ananda and many many more, see the full list yourself. It means not just great music but also a hard choice. The last but not least, the almighty Kompakt will hold their annual Kompakt Total party there. I'm hardly waiting.

Monday, July 07, 2008

miximal 4 minipower


Now it's time for some miximal.




I've put together a mix for the Minipower installation, which can be downloaded from their site. The mood is quite deep and trippy yet groovy, hence its codename "No Gravity Jack Mix". Don't ask me why listening to this kind of stuff I imagine some interstellar sci-fi shit, could be a bad influence of Polish comic books in my childhood or just my spoiled imagination. Whatsoever, groove along.

The tracklist

Heincha : No Gravity Jack Mix (Minipower 027)

1. Vladislav Delay - Recovery IDea (Andy Stott remix)
2. and.id - One Is Not Enough
3. Brendon Moeller - One Man's Junk
4. Sety - Mogane
5. Marcel Dettmann - Quicksand
6. Szenario - Demeaner VcAll
7. Hugo - The Siren
8. Lauhaus - Downunder + Marc Houle - Techno Vocals acapella
9. Radio Slave - Tantakatan
10. Jens Zimmermann - Rocket
11. Benno Blome - Eramina
12. Brendon Moeller - Changes
13. Pitto - Aphex

groovily yours,
Henchaman

In da box & playlist: May/June


A quick round-up of the records that have been thrilling me in last months.






> Ricardo Villalobos - Vasco EP [Perlon]

He did it again! Is it techno, dubstep, a kind of futuristic jazz or simply electronica? I think it doesn't really matter if music is so unconventional and inventive as this. Villalobos keeps surprising us. The both remixes are dope too!

> Vladislav Delay - Recovery IDea (Andy Stott Remix) [Semantica]

A.Stott's amazingly boosts up the original supplying a killing bass to V.Delay's generally mellow clicky sound.

> Brendon Moeller - One Man's Junk EP [Third Ear]

Another remarkable deep, dubby and jazzy excursion guided by B.Moeller. All tracks are a quite different and... great.

> Touane - The Birds [Persona]

This track comes from the same titled EP. A smoothly pumping bassline together with some brass instruments and percussions lead into abstract and deep atmosphere. Landers Grove is not bad either, given that you don't equal the bad with the dark.

> The Per Eckbo Orchestra - Kodo Verano [Oslo]

This is another project by lately highly demanded Guillaume Coutu Dumont, this time together with Federico Molinari. The tribal percussion and weird aboriginal samples are nothing original nowadays, however track's deep and hypnotic flow works nicely.

> Mark Henning - Jupiter Jive LP [Soma]

Funk in a trunk. I had to give some more listen to this, but it's clearly a goodie.

> Henrik Schwarz & Amampondo - I Exist Because Of You (Henrik Schwarz Live Version) [Innervisions]

A brilliant afro groove with likembe-like instrumentation. Check also his take on Ane Brun's song Headphone Silence, both tunes are lovely if you are not scared of melodies and actual singing.

> Dapayk & Padberg feat. Caro - Island (Noze remix) [Mo's Ferry Prod.]

Noze guys have provided a beautiful remix for this song. A melancholic and easy tune to enjoy when you are tired from all the big summer anthems.

> Cassy - A Plea For Me [Cocoon]

Taken from Cocoon compilation H. A hypnotic and percussive gem that might easily become a hit. Seductive.

> Four Tet - Ringer EP [Domino]

Kieran Hebden have done some 4/4 (not necessarily for the floor). Still sounds different and surprising. In a good way.

Other goodies:

Chic Miniature - Chanchita [Crosstown Rebels], Robin Drimalski - Hidden Peak [Vidab], Lauhaus - Downunder [Intacto], Hugo - The Siren [Tuning Spork], Dominik Eulberg - Es Klebt Noch Morgentau In Deinem Haar [Traum], Rhadoo - Dor Mit Oru EP [Cadenza], Los Updates - 4 Wheel Drive (Original Edit) [Cadenza]...


...have I've forgotten anything?

In brief: summer breeze


Hey folks! It might be the right time to interrupt the silence which has been lasting over here for some span. On the other hand, there's no many things to tell, apart from: don't be a geek - get out, breath some fresh air and enjoy the sun, visit some open-air festival, the summer is here!

So, in general I am at ease now: less DJ-ing, spending less time on smoky dancefloors or dusted vinyl shops. Said this, I must add that my life without music would be hardly imaginable, just the mood has got slightly different. Typically, the summer is a time for big, sometimes fluffy anthems, those have-fun-not-gloom-under-the-summer-sun hits appear everywhere. Hate it or take it. Or you can choose indulge yourself into the deep and dopey world of dubtechno. Or something else, everything goes.

Speaking about hits, our friends from Berlin's White label have succeeded to hit the right button with their 002 release - Martin Zadak's track Zahara to be more precise. I've seen even Juan Atkins playing this record at Luxembourg Philharmonie, who is a creator of techno as we know it. Not bad at all!

The last remark. As some of you may already know, our favorite venue Space:Garage has been closed down (thanks to the authorities, suckers!), so indeed less spinning and clubbing. This club has already become a legend and it served as a fertile soil for reviving the local 4/4 music scene. The guys (Fuck For Friendship crew) who were in charge of this club promise to keep doing some parties after having a summer break. We'll see, but it's clear that there's a need to fill the gap since the only Riga's club specialising in contemporary house and techno music does not exist any more. Anyway, my gratitude who made it happen - I'm not sure about the sexual implications, but for sure it was a damn groovy fun and I think this was the beginning of a beautiful friendship. Watch out for the follow-up (I can already tell you that the Garage's crew and the resident artists will be widely present at Riga Night in Brussels this September, more info will follow soon).

Pagaidām!

Friday, May 09, 2008

Live Signals


While I was in Riga, I had a live mix session on radioshow Signals. In fact, I was supposed to be a guest already around Easter time, however that show got cancelled. So, better later than never, and here you can listen to the recorded show. In the first hour the host Ivars Zaļkalns plays new music, and my mix is in the 2nd hour of the show. Although it was quite improvised and not perfectly smooth mix but, on the other hand, I suppose that it gives some special feel of spinning live. As you can hear, musically the selection includes different subgenres: the introduction is more minimal, then it goes more acid/chicago house, even some Detroitish strings etc.

Here's the tracklist:

1. Rhadoo - Slagare [Cadenza]
2. Sammy Dee - Ultrastretch [Perlon]
3. [a]pendics.shuffle - No Reduction (M.Schaffhauser rmx) [Adjunct]
4. The Houze Vectors - We Bring U Muzik [M>O>S]
5. Prosumer & Murat Tepeli - Dontstop [Ostgun Ton]
6. Toma Sumo & Prosumer - Play Up [Ostgun Ton]
7. Tigerskin - The Thing [Tiny Sticks]
8. Gary Beck - Stolen From The Jake (Droido rmx) [Fine Art]
9. Kevin Saunderson - Just Want Another Chance (John Tejada rmx) [KMS]
10. Move D. feat. Fragment - Untitled [Workshop]
11. Contra Communem Opinionem - Dreamin [Mathematics]

In brief: Berlin & Riga


Good afternoon! I've been travelling for a while: first, Berlin, now still being in Riga.

Riga Night in Berlin was pretty cool: relaxed and cosy atmosphere, a lot of booze and back 2 back mixing, but that's how we do that :) I would like specially thank Ivonna and the guys from White label for the warm welcome - it was great! By the way, White002 and particularly Zadak's track seems quite big - I even heard it at Panorama bar next day (I'm not sure who was at the decks that moment, but could be A.Galluzzi). As far I know, White003 by Oskar Offermann is on its way, so watch out! Not just the party, but Berlin in general was fun, of course - hanging out with friends, sunny afterhours in parks with blossoming trees all around, drinking beer on Kastanienallee and Oranienstrasse, in such moments life seems sweet. No wonder that I missed the plane back to Luxemburg. Instead, I headed straight to Riga.

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Riga. It's cool in both senses: quite many cultural events take place here these weeks, and the weather is quite cold. First of all, the festival of contemporary and electronic music Skaņu Mežs has taken off. So far I've got impressed most by Hauschka and Alva Noto, but there are many interesting artists/projects this night and tommorow as well.

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As you might already know, Space:Garage club was closed down all of sudden (the authorities in Riga suck etc., but more on this subject later). However, FuckForFriendship team promises to continue their activities in some way. Tonight they present a party with a live set by Jake Fairley aka Fairmont, who's a wizard of melodic, quite mellow yet masterful tracks. I've seen him once at Le NAME festival, and can assure that he is doing great stuff.

Alright, see you probably tonight either at Skaņu Mežs or Fairmont's gig. Or at both!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Riga in Berlin


I'm already selecting records for the Riga Night in Berlin, which will take place at ZUR Moebelfabrik this Friday (April 25). Other DJs from Riga are Ivars Mednis, DV5 and ZeDmitri, but VJ Linards Kulless will be in charge of videos. Besides, the line-up includes the resident DJ Jackie Treehorn and a live performance by Oskar Offermann from White label. Last but no least - thanks Ivonna N. for making it happen!

In da box & playlist: March - April


Here we go again with a round-up of important/played/bought/listened tunes lately.



> The House Vectorz - We Bring U Muzik [M>O>S]

What a wonderful acid house gem! Makes me think of Larry Heard's and Mr. White's megahit The Sun Can't Compare.

> Martin Zadak - Zahara [White]

Deep and hypnotic tech-house with interesting voice samples. First I heard it in the set of Till von Sein at Space:garage. I'm looking forward meeting the guys from White label in Berlin this w-end.

> Jahcoozi - Ali McBills (Robert Johnson 6am X Ray Italo Rework) [Careless]

Well, this is not a new thing, but I've descovered this amazing remix just recently (thanks to Ewan Pearson). It's an unconventional blend of grimey dub sound, on one hand, and italo-disco, on another hand.

> Marcus Meinhardt - Jerry Lee (Marek Hemmann Remix) [Upon.You]

Marek Hemmann phunks and bleeps the original up, and the result is pleasantly rocking!

> Move D feat. Fragment - Untitled [Workshop]

Workshop 004 contains a brilliant deep and funky house cut by the legendary Move D. Excellent groove and work with vocal samples!

> Liviu Groza - Samedi Aprés-Midi EP [Minimood]

Although maybe not a dancefloor rocker exactly, all 3 tracks are subtle and beautiful.

> Holger Zilske - Bees [Playhouse]

Yes, yes, this is that famous record with artwork by our fella Dmitri Zagga. However, it's not the artwork which made me include the record in this list - both sides are excellent examples of stripped down electronic dance music with some nice chords on top. Holger definetely knows how to produce.

> Kabale Und Lauhaus - Shaved Monkey [Remote Area]

Apart from interesting sample, the A side doesn't impress me, however, there is a very fine minimal track on the flip-side: deep, dubby, yet groovy.

> Contra Communem Opinionem - Tired Feet EP [Mathematics]

Mathematics imprint is based in Chicago and is known for releasing very original house, techno and electro tracks, keeping that underground spirit alive. The latest release contains non-standard, even weird (we love weird stuff!) compositions with killing basslines and sweet melodies.

> Exercise One - Intensity [Mobilee]

Mobilee used to be one of my favorite labels in 2006, but lately their releases don't surprise me so much any more. Don't get me wrong, it is still good stuff, but somehow less extraordinary. However, the latest 12" by Excercise One is very nice. Intensity sets a vibrant drive full of unexpected twists and noises, whereas the B side is more laid-back track with a warm ambient lushness.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

La musique noire : Dark star mix


Traditionally darkness is associated with evil, perilousness and other negative and depressing things - and don't ask me why, because there is no direct reason why dark should equal negative. On the contrary, dark could be beautiful, true and deep, it can be mystic and tempting. Thus dark colours are elegant, for instance, and techno music is sombre in general. And there's nothing wrong with that.

I've completed a new mix, which was my reflection on several aspects of the current state of (minimal) techno. As you can see from the intro above, it contains the element of darkness, although just to certain extent. There are some tracks representing the trend of dubstep influenced techno - massive bass, sharp percussions, echoes, sci-fi themes... No wonder that this sound comes mostly from british producers/labels. One of the best examples is Emptyset who hails from Bristol and is involved in the dubstep scene too. However, even more accesible producers like Matt Edwards aka Radio Slave have some of such elements.

Then Leftroom's funky, bleepy and phrenetic tracks are present in the mix, as well as some darkish tunes with italo disco references from the Careless camp, and my usual companions - melodic and percussive abstractness a la Cadenza and some deeeper shades of house and techo music.

As always, the mix is accessible via Zshare for a limited period of time:

DJ Heyncha : Dark Star mix

The tracklist:

1. Jesse Rose alongside Henrik Schwarz - Stop, Look & Listen (Henrik's Version) [Front Room]
2. Alejandro Vivanco - Madre Tierra (Digital Downmix) [Cadenza]
3. Martin Zadak - Zahara [White]
4. Marc Ashken - Sock Puppet [Leftroom]
5. Matt O'Brien - Serotone (Radio Slave remix) [Rekids]
6. Minilogue - Ghost [Mule]
7. The Man Who Can - Copy And Paste [Leftroom]
8. Emptyset - Seclusion [Future Days]
9. Jahcoozi - Ali McBills (Robert Johnson 6am X Ray Italo Rework) [Careless]
10. Guillaume & The Coutu Dumonds - Can't Cheat With Concrete [Musique Risquée]
11. Gui.tar - Push In The Bush [Careless]
12. Dusty Kid - Luna [Bpitch Control]
13. Emptyset - Achupase [Future Days]
14. Claro Intelecto - Nodrex [Modern Love]
15. Jackmate - Buccaneer [Phil e]

Friday, April 18, 2008

white is white


The story goes like this. Some time ago Till von Sein had a great set at Space:Garage (as I've already mentioned that in one of my previous posts). One of the tracks he played was Zahara by Martin Zadak - it's the 2nd release on Berlin's label White. Actually I indentified it later when going through new releases on decks.de. A nice track, I thought, however I didn't realised that it's a name of an actual label, because I took it for an anonimous white label - one of those releases with a white apple and without proper information, you know.

At the same time Ivonna Neikšāne - one of our connections in Berlin - was organising two exchange parties in Riga and Berlin. While Riga is represented by FFF associates, on Berlin's side there are ZUR Moebelfabrik and White. Just when I saw who would actually play in Riga, I realised that that's the same White label which has released Zadak's track. Good surprise.

So, the bottom line is that this Friday (that's tonight) there will be a showcase of the new and promising White label at Space:Garage, and I strongly recommend seeing them.

The line-up:

LIVE: Oskar Offermann (White)
Dj’s: Tristen (White)
Kotelett (White)
Jackie Treehorn (ZMF)
Visuals: Pixelfestival (ZMF)

After a week - Friday April 25 - Riga will strike back in Berlin.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Happy birthday, Garage!


Today is the anniversary of Space:Garage club, it's becoming just a year old, but during this short span it has achieved so much. It's our own little Paradise Garage - one and truly, located in our beloved city of Riga, on the bank of the river Daugava. That's a special place connecting to the space.

On this special case there's gonna be a proper party tonight, with the man of many talents who doesn't need an introduction - DJ Koze!

It's a shame that I won't be able to be there, but I bet you'll celebrate it properly. On this occasion, I would like to express my respect to Dmitri, Kirill and all the crew - well done, guys, and keep it going! Keep in mind that there are reasons for celebration - the club was a pure success story, after all. So I shout: Happy Birthday, Mrs. Space:Garage! Priekā un uz veselību!

Labels: Leftroom & Careless


Recently these two labels have been of my particular interest.

Leftroom imprint comes from Nottingham, UK. Its sound is a sort of bleepy, funky and raw minimalism with a feel that I call "analogue" - imagine Minus gone funkier. Even if not all of their records I would play as a DJ, Leftroom's style is truly original and interesting therefore. It's releasing music from such artists as Marc Ashken, Matt Tolfrey (who's the owner of the label), [a]ppendics.shuffle, Alexi Delano & Xpansul among others.

The Berlin based Careless is another discovery for me. It goes for quite melodic, uplifting and neatly produced melange of minimal, house music and italo, a kind of Ibiza sound in a good way. Its most known project should be Gui.tar. Another highlight is the remixes for the grime/glitch-hop queen Jahcoozi, from which the dubby Ata's & Sasse's version stands out.

In brief: Till Von Sein, Bees & Berlin


Hello folks! Hope you're allright. I'm fine, thanks!

It's been some time since last writing here (as always :)). Meanwhile I've been in Riga again, where had a chance to spin at Space:Garage along with Till Von Sein and the local resident jocks. That was a hell good party, the atmosphere was vibrant and uplifting, Till's music - deep and driving. It's rare to see a proper Berlin's DJ using CDs instead of the "black beauty" or its digital sister, that is FinalScratch/Serato. Nevertheless, who cares about the medium if mixing skills are so excellent as Till's got. But as they say - it's better to hear once rather than read about that a million times, so here and here you can listen to his mix that night at the Garage (thanks NoRest for recording and hosting it!). Enjoy!

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During last month or so, I've bought a considerable amount of new records, and now hardly waiting to test them on a dancefloor. Regarding records, I'll draw up a new chart soon.

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Last week-end, when I was shopping at Dr.Vinyl record store in Brussels, I was pleasently surprised finding Holger Zilske's From Birds And Bees in the pile of records, which was kindly selected by a guy that works there. Both tracks are great, I'm telling you, but its artwork was the particular reason of my delight, because it is designed by Dmitri - a friend of mine who is running the Space:Garage club in Riga. So, it was almost like meeting him in persona.

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I'm heading to Berlin, where I will take part (behind the decks) in the Riga Night. Other DJ's from Riga are ZeDmitri (yes, that's the same guy) and Ivars Mednis. The event will be animated by our own VJ Linards Kulless, and we also expect a bunch of supporters from Riga. More or less, all these people could be associated with Space:garage/FuckForFriendship concepts, and will do our best to represent Riga and Andrejsala. The flyer and more detailed information will follow soon.

Stay tuned in!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

An Easter mix on Signals


Just in brief. I'm heading to Latvia again, and likely will stop at Space:Garage on Friday, but on Sunday, which is the Easter day, I will have a live mix in the radio show Signals. Its hosted by Ivars Zalkalns (a.k.a. DJ Ivarzz) and it's aired every Sunday 22:00 - 24:00 on radiostation Naba 93,1 FM in Riga. You can hopefully listen also to live stream in Naba homepage by clicking on "Tiesraide"(if it's not down, which happens sometimes). Find some more info and recordings on No Rest blog.

Now about another thing. Somebody has left a comment in this blog that the link to my Funkya! mix does not work any more, which is, I have to say, a normal thing, because most of them are links to Zshare filesharing service and they are temporary. So, should someone be interested in a mix with an expired link, please let me know and I will try to upload it again. This particular Funkya mix is available at my page on LX5 website. There you can also find another mix which is dedicated to Latvian electronica.

Happy Easter and let's celebrate that days finally will become longer than nights! Let there be light!

Monday, March 10, 2008

In brief


-- Friends of mine have set up a new label Regroovable Records - focused on limited and quality minimal/deep techno releases. The first release contains two nice tracks by DV5 - a DJ and producer from Minipower.info project. I wish them good luck in keeping delivering awesome music!

-- I've started a new blog Videoritmi, containig my selection of music videos from Youtube. A large spectrum of genres is covered there - from italo-disco to world beat to booty to 90's dance pop to classic tunes.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

In da box & playlist


It's time for an overview of tracks that have been somewhat most important for me this year so far.

> Bruno Pronsato - Why Can't We Be Like Us LP [Hello? Repeat]

This year started with a grand record - a long-player by Bruno Pronsato, which became an instant classic as soon as it appeared. Abstract samples and complex drum patterns - he takes electronic dance music one step further. Looking forward to hearing anything else from Pronsato.

> Radiohead - Everything Is Its Right Place (Afefe Iku Re-Edit) [White]

Gosh introduced me to some of his discoveries in dance music, and indeed they were outstanding. Particularly this Afefe Iku's unofficial edit of Radiohead's song made my day. The building tension and work with samples in some way is reminescent of another great remix - Villalobos' take on Depeche Mode's Sinner - whereas the tight rhythm more owes to the afro-deephouse tradition (Osunlande might be a good example). Have to be a bomb on a dancefloor!

> Michal Ho - Screw The Coffeemaker (Inxec's Neschino Blend Remix) [Turning Spork]

The original track comes from the same titled LP, which was very good by the way. Now Inxec delivers an insane electronic boogie version.

> Anthony Collins - Bricolage [Liebe*Detail]

A brilliant, deep and melodic track from Anthonny Collins - easily his best work so far. Also Rose's track on the other side is a serious groover. Liebe*Detail keeps its standards high.

> Sian - Wear Your Scars Like Medals [Aus Music]

A peak-hour techno anthem with mind-blowing sirens. Simple, yet effective somehow, the type of tracks like Audion's Mouth To Mouth. Actually the most technoish track heard from Aus Records so far.

> Todd Bodine - Secret Edge EP [Mothership]

Two solid deep tech-house tracks.

> The Cheapers & The Incredible Hochzeitsband - Muaäh [Upon.You]

Taken from Upon.You compilation From Home Sweet Home - Session Chapter 2. Ruede Hagelstein is involved in this project, so no wonder that the track is so funny. Funny yet hypnotic - which is unusual combination.

> [a]pendics.shuffle - No Reduction (Mathias Schaffhauser remix) [Adjunct]

I like the beat.

> Flip & Def Jaguar - This Sound (Dubnoodles remix) [Brut!]

My vote goes for Dubnoodles remix - a dirty electro bassline coupled with bleepy and groovy percussion. Check also Murat Tepeli's Chicago house version.

> Minilogue - Hispaniola [Cocoon]

In terms of jazziness and phat basslines it can easily compete with Mathew Jonson. However, the title track does not impress.


From the camp of IDM, electronica and ambient:

> Clark - Turning Dragon LP [Warp]

Crazy experimental techno meets IDM. Pure blast of energy. So good!

> Rod Modell - Incense & Blacklight LP [Plop]

A voyage into the world of deep, dark and dubby atmospheres by the dubtechno maestro of many disguises: Echospace, DeepChord, CV313 etc.

> Bjorn Torske - Feil Knapp LP [Smallsound Supersound]

Laid back grooves, dubby atmospheres, 8-bit bleeps, contrapunctual melodies - very interesting record by this talanted Norvegian producer and DJ. I saw him DJ-ing last year in Luxemburg - awesome.

Spring's for springing


Oh it's March already! Although there was no proper winter this time, anyway the arrival of spring makes difference - people are ready for new things, new projects, they become more active... That means we can anticipate good parties and hopefully good records coming out too.

I'm just back from Riga - a quick overview. First, I participated in Intelligent Debosch party. My set was rather experimental, consisting of more abstract and laid-back tunes than usually, so I was glad that people seemed to accept it well. Actually I find it amazing - our beloved Space:Garage is probably the only club in the Baltics where such music is played and welcomed. Another good point about this venue - time after time in the Garage I meet people whom I know from my "clubbing past" but haven't seen for long time (years!). So, for instance, this time I had a pleasure meeting Gosh and Dmitriy (the one who was a good house DJ). In general, the crowd was very mixed at this Debosch - from drugged youngsters to regular people to more "solid" ladies and gents whom you usually don't meet there. Probably that was one of the reasons why there was some tension in the air (or was it the full moon?). I mean, the mood wasn't bad, just a bit weird. In general, that's an interesting topic - mood in parties and the factors behind it. The interesting thing is that this ir largly unpredictable, and organisers can't have a complete control on providing the best atmosphere, vibe, mood - call it as you wish. Probably there are too many factors involved - and music is just one of them. Said this I must add that it isn't a simple polar dichotomy - either a good/positive or bad/negative vibe. It can be uplifting, spiritual, psychodelic, energetic, crazy, melancholic, chaotic, deep, thoughtful, friendly, full of affection and love etc. For instance, next week-end DJ Vobla from Moscow and our local Datashock (Ivars Mednis) were in the house with untypically pop-dance tunes (from electropop to all times anthems), and it worked out so well - smiling smaces, openness and positive craziness all around. That moment I realised that it's perfectly OK sometimes to play old hits or even somewhat naive but lovely tunes, because it's not just about pushing boundaries and exploring new musical teritories but first of all entertainment and having fun. Simple like that!

Meanwhile, Ind-ex site has published my another mix, which could be seen as a homage to the real house music (whatever it means), uplifting melodies and analogue drum machines. The new school meets the old school, and the mix is a kind of bridge between contemporary minimal aesthetics and house music roots that stretch back to Chicago. I must confess that I've grew up dancing and listening to Detroit techno and Chicago house (apart from the European Tresor, Disko B, R&S stuff), and although I've never really played Chicago house trax as a DJ, I really like those groovy jacking minimal tech-house tracks with references to Chicago yet produced in a more contemporary way (think of e.g. Tigerskin, Todd Bodine, Marc Romboy). Regarding "analogue approach", sometimes it's a conceptual opposition to music made on computers, but more often it's incorporation of elements from the both hardware and software worlds. Think of Move D, Jackmate, Carl Craig, Oliver Huntemann...

Last but not least. Some people told me that actually they regularly reading this blog, it's good to know, and so I will try to write here more often.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Artificial Intelligence


Hello! I’m kindly invited to play records at Intelligent Debosch — it’s a regular night at Space:Garage by the Intelligent Beats radio show and Ksenia Kamikaza if more concretely. The concept behind these events is to present slightly less different stuff than usual that you can regularly hear in this club, something more “intelligent”, abstract, not that straight-forward, as well as presenting live artists… Alright, I’m not so sure what kind of intelligence is expected exactly (does it mean music having an impact more on mind than on body?), but I’m looking forward trying out some tracks that in some way would differ from my usual repertoire.

This time as a live act Martinez Gonzalez will perform, who’s our local hero of soulful and melodic electronica. Other DJs are the hostess Ksenia Kamikaza and a talented and well-respected Latvian DJ (also a producer) Vital.

Among other things, Ksenia runs ind-ex web portal, which features general news, club and parties agendas, music reviews and DJ mixes. I have recorded a couple of mixes for them; the first one is already available on ind-ex site.

This mix takes on a deep and melancholic journey, consisting of some amazing tracks which are on my playlist lately, and as such it is primarily made for listening pleasure (see the tracklist below this post).

While the first mix focuses on boundaries-pushing minimal tech-house with complex rhythmic structures and awesome production, another mix is a homage to true house music and analogue approach to production. The second mix is not published yet, but I will announce its appearance when it happens.

That’s it for the moment, see you probably in Riga! The event will take place this Saturday, February 23.


DJ Hencha - Snowing Outside mix:

1. Onur Ozer - Eclipse
2. Bruno Pronsato - Same Faces, Different Names
3. Pawel - Early Bird
4. Kabale Und Liebe feat. Daniel Sanchez - Mumbilng Yeah
5. Ark & Mossa - Christina Aguleira
6. Melchior Productions Ltd. - Out There
7. Onur Ozer - Orion
8. Marcel Dettmann - Sepia 807
9. Prince Du Pantha - Eisbaden
10. Sideshow - Scary Biscuits (John Tejada remix)
11. Brendon Moeller - Saviour
12. Luciano - Montana
13. Touane - Chamber
14. Gudrun Gut - Cry Easy
15. Bruno Pronsato - What They Wish
16. Selffish - Demo177v4