Ein Verzerrer, dessen Platine die Form Berlins zur Zeit der Mauer hat. Das ist die Idee hinter diesem Verzerrer: Berlin Wall Distortion
Diese extrem krasse Metall-Box ist ein Verzerrer. Das beginnt schon bei der Optik des Gehäuses und zeigt, dass sie Kunst ist und sein möchte. Ein Stück Mauer, einige Knöpfe und Schalter und wie Berlin selbst – es wirkt unfertig und scheint in einer Art Beta-Zustand zu sein.
In der Mitte findet man die Schaltung des Gerätes als Platine wieder. Diese Leiterbahnen wurden in den Formen Berlins zur Mauer-Zeit geätzt und die Bauteile sind dementsprechend kein Zufall, sondern so gesetzt, dass sie wichtige Stellen markieren. In diesem Falle Checkpoint Charlie und andere historisch bedeutende „Plätze“.
Berlin Wall Distortion
Auf der Website von Ore.E Refineries kann man sich genauer ansehen, welche Elemente was genau bedeuten. Allerdings dürfte das Berlinern (gemeint sind natürlich Berliner, nicht Schwaben) bekannt vorkommen, so sie denn zu der Zeit bereits in Berlin waren. Genau genommen handelt es sich um das Berlin von 1990, zur Zeit des Umbruchs und Endes und der neu aufkommenden neuen Pulse des Neuen.
Übrigens ist das zwar künstlerisch und wirkt wie der Plan, so etwas auf keinen Fall durch andere Leute machen zu lassen. Das ist aber ein Trugschluss, denn man kann Plan und Möglichkeit zur Herstellung auf der Website herunterladen. Alles ist „Open Source“, denn die Grenzen sind ja nun offen und alle dürfen frei reisen.
Da alles authentisch ist, kann man den Hersteller ausschließlich per Telefon erreichen: 00 358 50 57 29743. 00358 ist die Kennung von Finnland, du musst das nicht extra recherchieren.
Die Website hat den Look von frühen Websites. Auch das ist nicht dem Zufall geschuldet. Tja, dieeese Finnen. Die sind schon schräg.
Hier ein Video mit Demos, damit man auch den Klang beurteilen kann:
Talk about minimal techno: Nicolas Bougaïeff and Narciss made a selection of 60-second locked grooves. Here’s more on that project and their practice.
If you’re hungry for electronic music that still pushes boundaries and technique, Dr. Nicolas Bougaïeff is a good place to start. (Yes, he’s a real doctor – the Ph.D. is in music composition). And lately, he’s been on a tear. Apart from a fanciful EP for our own Establishment, his recent output has focused on aggressively distorted, dystopian timbres, expertly constructed machines that pound forward like giant robots. He’s gotten deserved attention for that, as well, including the 12″ release of Cognitive Resonance, which relaunched Daniel Miller’s seminal NovaMute label.
There’s no paint-by-number techno here: each rhythm, each sound is considered. (It’s little wonder that Nick is working in offering composition lessons on the side – in a field that has been largely short of expert training.)
But I thought we’d take the occasion to explore a unique set of etudes that came at the beginning of this year. It’s called Vocabulary C, and it takes the meticulous construction of techno to an extreme. The whole album is a set of locked grooves, each just one minute in length.
It’s not just a simple DJ “tools” release, though – think of it as tools that are also effective etudes. You can actually listen to each of these as a one-minute, standalone composition. There’s audio material drawn from Principles of Newspeak, but you almost don’t need to know that: these stand on their own. (Miniatures are a topic Nicolas has taken up before, not surprisingly – he’s got a release called 24 Miniatures coming out now, too.)
Nicolas teamed up with Berlin-born artist Narciss for this one – an artist who has literally grown up in the middle of Berlin techno, and has a DJ resume (and more releases upcoming on DRVMS LTD. and Seelen Records) to match.
With the fusion of composition and technology here, of course, we had plenty to talk about with these two.
There are two video documentaries as a starting point. First, there’s a short feature of Principles of Newspeak, visiting Nick in his studio:
From there, there’s a second video in which Nicolas and Narciss talk about the project and their collaboration:
CDM: Nick, from the release for Daniel Miller to your own follow-up on your label to this reusing materials … it feels like you’re making connective tissue now between releases. Is that about your own continuity? Is it about a narrative?
NB: Making a large scale musical work inspired by 1984 has been on my mind for over 20 years. Once I got started, I owed it to myself to explore every aspect of the topic. I’m happy I found an angle to the novel that hadn’t really been covered by other musicians, so I just kept on going. Vocabulary C gave me a feeling of closure.
And you’ve worked with miniatures before, too, yes?
I’ve done this sort of project before. Back in 2011, I recorded a new sketch every day for nearly the whole year, 20 minutes every day first thing in the morning no thinking allowed. That yielded hundreds of musical fragments. From those I eventually compiled an album by selecting the very best moments, no further whatsoever besides touching the mixdown and trimming the shortest edit possible. It kind of sat on my hard drive for seven years now, which is a nice contrast to how spontaneous the original process was. I feel it really aged well so I’m finally about to release the 24 Miniatures album via Denkfabrik.
All of these projects draw from the well of dystopia and dystopian imagination – what was that inspiration here? (What’s the Orwell connection?)
NB:Vocabulary C is the last release in a thematic series of three records, all of them inspired by the appendix to George Orwell’s 1984. The lead single “Cognitive Resonance” came out as a 12″ on NovaMute; the album Principles of Newspeak came out on my own label Denkfabrik, and finally, Vocabulary C as a collection of locked grooves inspired by the sounds from the album.
The 1984 appendix is focused on the particular way language is distorted in that fictional universe, a mashup of political slogans and the Whorf-Sapir linguistics theory. The idea is that if you destroy words, you destroy the ability to think of that concept. Fortunately, that’s not the way language works in reality. In the book, vocabulary C is a facet of the language that is used strictly to describe technical processes. In parallel, it seemed to me very fitting that a locked groove, historically, is a very technical musical tool.
6. Also to repeat the video a little bit, maybe you can elaborate on those vocabularies? How did you apply them to managing the material here?
NB: Best to directly quote Orwell here.
“The A vocabulary consisted of the words needed for the business of everyday life — for such things as eating, drinking, working, putting on one’s clothes, going up and down stairs, riding in vehicles, gardening, cooking, and the like”
“The B vocabulary consisted of words which had been deliberately constructed for political purposes: words, that is to say, which not only had in every case a political implication, but were intended to impose a desirable mental attitude upon the person using them.”
See, both of those are interesting, but way too literal to be used for instrumental music. But when you get to Vocabulary C, it’s abstract and detached in a way that seemed to really fit with techno.
“The C vocabulary was supplementary to the others and consisted entirely of scientific and technical terms.”
Can you explain what a locked groove is?
NB: A vinyl groove is normally cut in a spiral. A locked groove is a circle, so the needle loops around over and over. You literally have to pick up the needle to choose another loop, you can have lots of different loops on a record. Pioneering techno artists — Jeff Mills, for example — produced and performed with locked groove records, sometimes making it a central part of their process.
Narciss: To me, it’s kind of the most stripped down techno tool in existence. It really is just an endless loop that can, for example, be used to mix two tracks that don’t perfectly mesh together, or to add some spice to your transitions. Instrumentation is pretty interesting, because using the sounds we had, meant, we mainly patched things through different effects.
There’s something a bit cheeky about embracing minimalism in this way, right? This isn’t phases like Steve Reich; it isn’t messing with time like Morton Feldman. You’re into full-on repetition – right into the heart of what many people claim to dislike about techno. What made you go that route? Is there a personal story to this embrace of rigid structure and repetition, intellectual curiosity aside?
NB: There’s a holy grail in techno: that magical moment when the groove is so good that you bliss out and don’t touch the machines anymore. We experience this all the time as music producers working in the studio, and also on the dance floor when everything is just spot on. You get the same thing in many improvised musics – searching until you lock in. That’s what I wanted to focus on with this project; I wanted to focus on finding self-standing moments where time stands still.
Timbre is significant here, too, I feel. There’s a real brutality to this, maybe something missing in a lot of drenched-out, effect-pedal, too-much-reverb music trending now. What was the source of those sounds; how did you arrive at them?
Narciss: This can mainly be accredited to the extremely raw-sounding base material that we were working with. Both of the albums that Nicolas made have a very violent, heavy structure to them, so naturally working with sounds from them, you would get something like that out too, although even on the loops where we didn’t use any of that material, it was a pretty natural adaption to what we made before, I guess.
NB: The sound palette was more of a consequence of where I had been with my other projects rather than a conscious conceptual choice. We used a a bunch of Narciss’ favorite drum loops as well as a big chunk of my personal sound library from the past couple years, that was all industrial and electroacoustic sounds derived from electric cello, modular synth and loads of distortion pedals. Looking back, I can now better appreciate the tension between the timeless locked groove format and the sounds that grab your attention.
I want to ask about the element of setting the timer. In order to be that immediate, did you find that there was practice necessary first – on your own, as a duo?
Narciss: I didn’t really see it as practice, we pretty much sat down and recorded everything from the first loop to the last. Obviously, quality improved – generally towards the end of the process, we hit it home more times than in the beginning. But I think a little less than half of the record was made during our first day.
NB: I’ve been an improvising musician for over 15 years – working fast feels very comfortable. Also, quantity was a very important part of this project. Our goal was to make 100 locked grooves, and then we would select the best 20 or 30. Many of them were really bad, silly or just boring, but that didn’t matter, because five minutes later, we had an opportunity to begin again.
Actually, I’m kind of interested now that this has been out in the world for a while … uh, not just to rationalize turning in these questions late. What’s happened in the interim; what has the response been?
NB: I’ve been notified from Bandcamp about who downloads the records. I’ve had some interesting surprises there!
Functionally speaking, how do you expect these tracks to live? Are people DJing with them – are you? How do they work as tools – are they intended as tools? Would these encourage people perhaps even to DJ in a different way
Narciss: I’m certainly playing them out live, yes. Not all of them, of course — “Loop C-02” is a particular favorite. Some are definitely meant more as an exploration of the medium than as an actual “locked groove” in its regular function. I think it does force people who only blend two tracks at a time to play differently, though, yeah – because in that environment, a locked groove doesn’t make much sense. But if you play with three decks or more, then I think the more dancefloor-oriented grooves won’t challenge you that much.
NB: Of course they’re tools! They’re radically minimal not only in their form, but also in their sparseness. I’m always trying to figure out what is the least amount of instruments necessary to get a really banging sound. Now whether they’re played on their own or deep in the mix, that really depends on the musical context.
Does that change the meaning, if they are blended with other tracks?
NB: No, they don’t need to be played as stark naked loops on their own, unprocessed. As a central element, my challenge to DJs would be to try to figure out how long you can keep them going on with the least amount of transformation and mixing.
Narciss: It’s an interesting thought, to be sure. But since this project was more of an exploration of this “Locked Groove” concept, I think that if people play them out, it doesn’t as much change the meaning,as hammer home the functionality of it, even if you get analytical and deconstructive with it.
I know you’ve worked together before. This got you working more closely, though, yes?
Narciss: For sure, for me personally this project has furthered this “Sensei student mentality” with Nicolas just so much more, although I think he hates it when I say that, ha!
NB: Yeah, Narciss contributed a remix for my release on Establishement, and I just did a remix for his new record on DRVMS Ltd. We’ve been friends for a couple years, and with this project it was a really intense five or six sessions actually. The five minute non-stop sprints was pretty exhausting. And we’re still friends now!
Narciss, you’re obviously out there in the trenches, too, in the DJ scene. What was the connection like between this slightly experimental format and that clubland experience?
Narciss: There most definitely was a connection between the two. I mean originally, locked grooves themselves are something that only make sense in the context of a DJ-set. So it actually took me personally quite a while to get away from the “four-to-the-floor-mentality” of the medium.
Also, being born in this city, where do you look for inspiration – are you attracted to new things that are flowing into the city’s cultural life? Is the familiarity of growing up here something significant, or is it that turnover that drives you, or some combination? (I do notice different perspectives of natives and transplant.)
Narciss: I love this question – but there are so many aspects to this subject.
It definitely is a combination. Growing up here, the extremely hedonistic way in which Berlin is perceived from the outside was always very perplexing to me, because this was simply not the way that I saw it. Even when I started DJing, I didn’t actually go out that much because the way I got into it was actually just by discovering the genre in my record store, not by going to the parties. The problem with this is that Techno is, of course, a genre that is inspired by parties and clubs, from the way it sounds to just the overall existence of it. I only really understood this, though, when two British friends of mine moved here, because they had so much unbridled passion for techno, that only through them did I fully understand that these two things cannot exist without each other.
So for me, personally, I do actually like to get my inspiration from the memories that I have of Berlin before it got “un-dangerous” or the corners that people just do not explore enough (like Marzahn, for example). Ed.: Take note of Marzahn, architecture fans. Oh dear; I probably just sent someone down a linkhole. But to be honest, without the turnover of Berlin, and just absolute heaps of people moving here from all over the world, I probably would not be making the music I am making today. That being said, if someone who is thinking about renting an overpriced apartment just to go to Panorama Bar loads, is reading this : please don’t you’re making my rent go up. [laughs]
Will we see these animations live outside of the digital release? Audiovisual show?
NB: Itaru Yasuda — itaru.org — made the Vocabulary C animations, that was the beginning of a new live AV collaboration. Itaru and I just released a new video and that live AV project is moving forward fast.
And lastly, what’s next? I know you both have a bunch of upcoming projects and maybe at least one of you big bookings… will this particular project or collaboration also carry on somehow?
NB: I have a couple big bookings coming up, and I already have 3 solo EPs confirmed for release this year. Narciss and I took one of the locked grooves from Vocabulary C and fleshed it out into a full track, that should be coming out later this year as well.
Narciss: Well, there’s a track of ours on the next Seelen Records Release that was still part of the same sessions in which we made “Vocabulary C”. Other than that time will tell I think, I’d definitely be down to make more stuff together, but the magic about this project was that the process was so different to how we individually usually make our music, so I’m not sure how we would go about just making “normal techno” together.
Miami-born Uchi is a fresh face as LA collective BL_K NOISE meet up with Berlin’s Raster – and that’s a perfect time to catch up with her and reflect.
Dive in, commit. It’s that moment when the mixer fader is up and you start your live set, the let’s-screw-up-our-lives risk-taking bigger moments we make sometimes for musical passion. It’s the willingness to screw up live and screw up life, maybe.
That sums up why a lot of us are here as well as anything. And so that makes Uchi’s approach refreshing. Just as your email promo inbox is full of drab, sound-alike techno and washes of disinterested distorted ambience, Uchi kind of doesn’t follow any rules. Her DJ sets are diverse and daring, her live sets going deep and abstract and back again. And she talks to us a bit here about that abandon.
It’s also paying off. Uchi has gone from being known in Miami to becoming a regular at Berlin’s most sought-after slots – including Berghain’s upstairs Panorama Bar and its darker, weirder new ground floor Säule. But the best part is, I think we don’t know quite what she’ll do next. There’s a couple of EPs, a full-length album, and various podcasts coming and … well, the hell with predictability. The artists you want to watch are the ones that will surprise you.
January is definitely when we celebrate new music gear, thanks to Anaheim, California’s massive NAMM convention show. But then why not celebrate new noises, too? BLK_NOISE has assembled for Saturday a party made up of artists willing to push their electronic instruments until they hurt. From team USA, you’ve got Richard Devine, Surachai. From Germany, label Raster – the imprint formerly known as Raster Noton – Grischa Lichtenberger, and label co-founder Byetone. (Carsten Nicolai aka Raster Noton is going solo again, reverting his label to Noton.) And then there’s secretive BLK_NOISE anchor Belief Defect, who have feet in both Berlin and LA.
PK: What’s the set you’re preparing for LA? I loved this noise set that just streamed from Halcyon [in New York].
Uchi: I don’t know what happened there! It’s so weird! I have the recording of it myself; I gotta hear it and see!
I think for this show I’m going to use somewhat similar setup I’ve been using for most noise shows these days, a narrow selection of stuff, and complete improvisation — or zero preliminary sequencing. It’s the first time I’ll try an AV setup, which is exciting!
It seems like you’ve had some pretty significant shifts in your life, your musical direction … especially as some of the folks who will be hearing you in LA as well as our readers may not know you yet, what’s the trajectory been from Miami to Berlin? How did you get where you are currently?
Yeah, I guess there’s been a lot of changes the last couple of years. I lived in Miami since age 10, up until college. After I finished a degree in Computer Science, I took DJing (obtained from radio hosting at University) more seriously, as well as actually working on something I used to do for fun — (Ableton fiddling) making music.
The Boiler Room set came about from Juan Del Valle, now a friend. His influence was to convince me to make a live set. That being said, it was my first live set ever, and it was on Boiler Room – lol! BUT it was a great way to learn how to use hardware! Then Berlin came after the release on Plangent Records, which made the first gig in Panorama Bar happen. That made me decide not to get a flight home, basically.
The interesting thing is that just before I left Miami, everything had already started changing. I was pretty active in the noise scene, which was a whole different level of exploration in music, the exact opposite of composition and programming or what I used to make the Boiler Room set. Noise changed also the way I record, too. It seems I find single takes, and master out mixes more interesting than spending hours on a single detail or mixing down. I guess trying to finish ideas in one day if the case has a lot of details, otherwise just simple pressing record (mistakes included) and room recordings.
I made the album and the last couple EPs basically playing them. Since moving to Europe, which changed literally everything about what I knew, and also playing for promoters in different cities, I’ve had the chance to do something different. Nowadays, I’m combining all influences together — noise improvisation, changing patterns, speed, writing melodies or lack thereof, depending on so many different things. For instance where, when, and for whom each show is prepared for, relative to time, and where things are for me at the moment — it’s never the same. I’m still figuring it out, but if there is something to expect, it should be to expect something new.
These Saüle appearances have been great … in this age and (city!) people can cling to a somewhat narrow and clasutrophobic view of genre, so that’s a relief. Can you talk a little bit about you’ve been playing lately?
Well, I guess Säule was a bit of the turning point. It made me realize its not far-fetched to combine everything into one presentation. Funny you say claustrophobic view of genre! That puts it a bit better in perspective actually. I think the first time was probably one of the most liberating DJ sets of my life, the first time I felt like myself. The struggle of genre has been real for a really long time, but thanks to that lately, I reeeally don’t care for dance floor “rules” too much, and follow just, whatever feels right at the time. I’m curious to what you would describe those gigs as.
Mmm, eclectic? This is why I wouldn’t really call myself a music journalist, just a musician. So to that — what are you using to play for this live set? Not just to sort of get gear-focused, but instead — what does this mean as far as instrumentation, as composition?
For sure, it will be a Moog Mother [Mother-32 synthesizer] running, pitching it sporadically, plus vocal whale sounds … maybe some screaming. Also some Koma Elektronik noises generated from the Field Kit [“electro-acoustic workstation”] and BD101 [analog gate-delay pedal] as main effects, messing with any signal sent to the aux [input] of the Field Kit.
I guess as “composition,” I suppose breaking it down by frequency – the vocal stuff is a lot of mid-range melodic, of course, with a ton of reverb and delay, the Moog for low-end and the Koma stuff for texture, high-pitch screeching, and pulsating static. These have been my favorite pieces of gear to use for noise shows. I made the last album using the Moog heavily, so it’s kind of been my main instrument for almost two years, along with Koma stuff which is heaven for noise freaks — the Moog sounds on another level! And some classic reverb and distortion pedals, Boss DS-1 [distortion pedal, since 1978] and Eventide Space.
What do those instruments mean to you; how do they impact how you play spontaneously?
They are my children!!! I supposed their user interface totally affects how they are played. For example, the large knobs of the Mother and the semi-modular part for patching and combining it with it with the BD10 light sensor (which kind of acts like a theremin), and putting that in the Field Kit mixer, which has got a life of its own. The signals kind of bounce with each other. Feed-backing is waaay fun. Also, the continuity of LFO’s makes it easy to do multiple things at once. Whatever instruments I’m using at the moment play a really large role in every live set, if not the biggest role. I hope to be switching to full-on modular this year! Wish me luck.
If you’re in LA, check out the event! I wrote about Belief Defect’s live rig here and for Native Instruments; now it’s America’s turn to get that live. Co-hosted with Decibel Festival:
Samplestate has launched the 10th volume of Minimal, Tech & Deep, its successful collaboration with the Little Helpers label, this time produced by Berlin’s underground powerhouse Hugo. Much mystery surrounds Hugo, but his music speaks volumes. Releasing quality music since 2003 and featuring releases and remixes for 20/20 Vision, Kling Klong, Gruuv, Suruba X, Little […]
They’re all released on or forthcoming on our label Establishment, and all of them have robust projects of their own, from live coding work in the Algorave scene with Miri Kat, to their own up-and-coming label projects (Gradient from Jamaica Suk, Denkfabrik from Nicolas Bougaïeff, and a new project emerging from Stanislav Glazov aka Procedural). They’re also teaching – Stas is a modular and Touch Designer guru traveling the world with those projects; both Nick and Jamaica teach privately, and Nick teaches modulars and coaches composition as Dr. Techno – because he’s a real doctor. Oliver Torr on behalf of Prague’s XYZ project is preparing an interactive light installation that will evolve over the course of the night, as well.
Stratofyzika, intermedia group.
I wanted to invite Lenka to send some vibrations to our readers all over the world. Lenka’s own projects are myriad: she’s a founding member of female:pressure, the network and advocacy organization that has worked for years to break apart the gendering of electronic music, she releases and performs and DJs as akkamiau and hiT͟Hərˈto͞o, and adds live sound and music to the choreography- and audiovisual-driven intermedia project Stratofyzika.
She’s also recently hosted quadraphonic sound workshops, working in Ableton Live, plus the wildly popular jam room at Ableton Loop.
And while the trend these days seems to be on narrowly-defined DJs, I believe all those broad influences come across in her DJ mixes as well as her music. Lenka has shared an exclusive mix with us, recorded straight from the mixer in the grimy confines of Berlin’s club Suicide Circus aka Suicide Club. It was the opening of the respected RITUALS series, which takes commanding, dark techno into Berlin’s Thursday night / Friday morning (well, because this is Berlin, and Thursdays are a big night).
Just don’t expect monotonous pounding. Lenka’s mixing is effortlessly fluid and organic, unfolding across the duration, putting beautiful, strange otherworldly textures atop heavy, dirty pulse. And that seems to have as always Lenka’s quirky cosmic feline character there. That doesn’t mean it’s soft in any way: these space cats have big rockets.
Dark but not drab … industrial with groove … powerful but dreamy … sounds like good new years’ resolutions for techno to me.
Track listing (yep that Ancient Methods and Perc are each two favorites of mine, for starters):
Moerbeck & Subjected – 006SB1
Mamiffer – Enantiodromia
Adam X – It’s All Relative
Alexey Volkov – Corner
H880 – weird signs
Drasko V & Kero – Exponent (Drumcell Remix)
Tensal – Levia
Regis – Keep Planning (Original Mix)
Discord – Backyard Trapp
MTd – Basement (Moerbeck Remix)
P.E.A.R.L. – Station1
Tsorn – Strange Theory
FJAAK – The Tube
Ancient Methods – Knights & Bishops
Perc – Look What Your Love Has Done To Me
H880 – KEPLER
Niki Istrefi – Red Armor
Join us in Berlin if you can, and regardless, stay tuned for more of akkamiau, these other artists, and Establishment. Frohes Neues!
Follow akkamiau on SoundCloud, MixCloud, and Facebook
For more listening, check out akkamiau’s work on Colaboradio 88.4FM Berlin. There’s a special episode devoted to the voice:
— and one highlighting those Ableton Link-ed jam sessions at the company’s Loop conference from November:
Bitwig has announced Polarity Tools, a free sound library by Polarity. The pack includes a total of 47 presets, with instruments, effects, note effects, and utilities. The package comes with some long, evolving sample sounds with interesting artifacts, as well as deep live-sampling patches. “Bitwig Studio is the only place where I can easily switch […]
Bitwig has announced Polarity Tools, a free sound library by Polarity. The pack includes a total of 47 presets, with instruments, effects, note effects, and utilities. The package comes with some long, evolving sample sounds with interesting artifacts, as well as deep live-sampling patches. “Bitwig Studio is the only place where I can easily switch […]
Year-end lists, while valuable, can blur into vague hype, dizzying lists of artists and tracks. Let’s start by spending some time listening.
Long-time friend of the site Sofia Kourtesis, the producer/DJ with German-Peruvian-Greek connections now based in Berlin, fired over a new mix and her latest production this week. I make no claim of weighing what’s important in grander schemes, but I was moved by the fact that it touched so much of the music I resonated with personally this year, in headphones and in clubs both. There’s Octo Octa and Benjamin Damage – each mastering live performance – and Avalon Emerson and Etapp Kyle and DVS1, who dazzled me as DJs and with productions. And then onward from there.
Sofia calls this “pieces of winter sky”:
1 Olof Dreijer-Echoes from Mamori
2 Adam Marshall – Hose Shipping, Jammed Mix
3 Avalon Emerson – One More Fluorescent Rush
4 Etapp Kyle – Essay [KW20]
5 DVS1 – In The Middle [KW20]
6 Octo Octa – Adrift (Official Video)
7 Benjamin Damage – Montreal
8 Helena Hauff- Do you really think like that, als MP3 im Anhang
9 Sofia Kourtesis Iquitos
10 Aphex Twin – Alberto Balsam
Sofia is busy. In addition to handling bookings at Chalet (the former tollhouse right next to the Berlin headquarters of Native Instruments), she’s playing a festival in Peru organizing around the issue of child trafficking on May 17, has a full schedule of some of the most respected venues in Germany, NYC, and Latin America (see below), and will be curating a concert series at Berlin’s storied Funkhaus (ex-DDR radio facility and host recently to Ableton Loop). She also has a new EP in the works for spring.
Here’s what she says about this mix:
This mix is somehow playful, but also really dynamic, with sounds of mellow, Amazonian, and moody techno and electronica.
I took Olaf Dreijer to begin with, because it always makes me go out of myself on a dreamy journey, thinking about home, or about what home is. I really like his Amazonian elements — and this bass kills me, it’s just beautiful. It keeps me motivated throughout the day.
I also selected some of my favorite female artists at the moment, not just for them being women, but mainly because they’re talented producers using a lot of analog gear. Helena Hauff always brings it to the point, and without needing to try, she simply sounds really organic. I really love her new EP on Ninja Tune. I also like Avalon’s new track that she released on Whities, one of my favorite labels at the moment, alongside Studio Barnus.
The production, the video and her artwork are always really special. I wonder why she didn’t write music for computer games. She could totally do it – what a dream; I would be the first one to buy it. Ed.: We may have to round up some video game music at some point, on that note – see for instance SØS Gunver Ryberg’s wonderful work.
I just found out about Octo Octa this year. She’s a wonderful artist; I really like playing “Adrift” in the middle of a set; it takes me on a journey. Also really good for dancing is Benjamin Damage’s “Montreal” — what a tune… wish I had made it!
I also dared myself to include one of my own new tracks called “Guerrero.” It’s about a close friend of mind who is fighting against FIFA’s corruption.
All the best things at the end — I will never forget to include Aphex Twin in anything I do; he’s always been my hero.
By the way, from Sofia or anyone else, I will rabidly defend left-turn mixing and surprises; I think mixing and DJing could use more risks, not less. Seems a good resolution for 2018.
We’ll have more audio content from CDM coming on 2018, so consider this one end-of-year teaser as we squeeze in some holidays. If you have ideas for how you’d like that to go, I’d love to hear from you. But I believe there should always be more room for listening.
In person is even better, so here are Sofia’s coming dates:
19.01.2018 Chalet Club Berlin
16.2.2018 Institut für Zukunft Leipzig
22.02.2018 Bossa Nova Civic New York
24.02.2018 New York [TBC]
17.05.2018 Proyecto Play Me Lima-Peru
25.05.2018 Mexico City [TBC]
KOMA Elektronik are discontinuing their BD101 and FT201 pedals after a final limited run. 7 years ago, these products launched an upstart boutique brand.
The BD101 analog gate/delay and FT201 state-variable filter/10-step sequencer were released as two pedals in the now-distinctive KOMA white, way back in 2011. They launched that name in Berlin as the company’s first two products. Now, KOMA says they’ll use up their last parts in one final production run, not expected to last too far into January.
And seven years is a pretty decent lifespan for any product. But these particular pedals accomplished a lot – not only heralding the arrival of KOMA, but part of a generation of gear that marked a new age in boutique, independent devices, often emphasizing analog and underground sounds. Now much of that has been swept up in the Eurorack phenomenon, but it has surely included desktop gear, too.
KOMA for their part have gone on to a range of influential gear, a massive artist following, and even a music label, event series, and community space in their native Neukölln, Berlin. As recounted in the press release:
Over the course of their seven-year existence, the BD101 and FT201 have gone through four production runs, including a 50 unit special black edition and a special edition for Scottish post rock band Mogwai. Their sonic signature can be heard on a ton of records, and its signature white enclosures can be found in top notch recording studios as well as on stage with amongst others electronic musicians Alessandro Cortini, Pole, Addison Groove, Henning Baer, RAC, Jimmy Edgar and more rock oriented musicians like Lee Ranaldo, Vessels, Chvrches and a bunch of noise music legends!
Now, KOMA can take that know-how and make room for new machines. (The press release teases some new things to come. It’d be great to see more pedals, of course!)
CDM has managed to be there for some of this history, like the Musikmesse video I shot (really badly) in the back of a van, since KOMA couldn’t afford a booth at the time. That video makes it into the press release:
Jimmy Edgar walks through those pedals in his studio:
And we’ve had some fun Kodak moments with these things over the years:
Find the pedals back at KOMA – or go pay them a visit at their new community space for music electronics, Common Ground:
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