iO Mulen is part of a cabal of producers that includes Janaret, Ion Ludwig & Lowris, who straddle the line between the Romanian interpretation of Minimal and Deep House. Bewitching as much as it is functional, the sound is a certified crowd pleaser at its best. iO also part of a faction of DJs like like Tommy Vicari Jnr, East End Dubs and Traumprinz who tend to release purchase-on-sight records coveted by Discogs fiends. Listening to any of these producers’ tracks makes it’s pretty easy to see why. Having previously featured on labels such as Apollonia and Diynamic to name a few, it comes as no surprise that the Ukrainian found his way to One Records. Introduced by the great John Dimas, it surely is a shrewd move by Adam Shelton and Subb-an. ‘Na Latnem’ had already been signed to another label, but it was so good that Shelton begged for it to be released on his own outlet. Coming out in 2015, though it served as a B side you’d be satisfied if it had a full A side to itself.
The track kicks off with energetic drums and hats that resemble a live feel. Bursts of whistled air plumes give it a light tone. However, it’s deceiving in form as what comes next is bone-rattling. Replicating many of his other tracks, the bass is punishing, bulldozing the ears opting to be held rather than staccato’d. It’s the definition of what one may refer to as a ‘dance floor roller’. “I love to work with samples for arrangements by adding Roland Juno-60 synthesizer and Roland TR-909″ the Ukrainian told Magazine Sixty. Utilising horned samples, Mulen then elevates the track with pads drenched in reverb that permeate the Ibizan sun at dusk. Yes it’s a tool, but an epizootic one at that. Continue reading →
Schneider & Galluzzi feat. Florian Schirmacher – Too Late To Land
In Maceo Plex’s recent Time Warp mix, the American DJ played a track dedicated to the festival’s 25 Year Birthday. He’s certainly not the first to have dedicated a track for such special occasion. Think Da Hool’s ‘Meet You at the Love Parade‘ or Mike Huckaby’s ‘The Tresor Track‘. Heck, type in Berghain into any streaming platform and you’ll come across hundreds of tracks titled after the notorious club. Already having the maestro Moritz Von Oswald dedicate the track of the year to their label, Cocoon really outdid themselves by dedicating a whole LP to the concept, Cocoon Morphs Tokyo. Hosting three parties at Japanese venue Womb, it featured exclusive bangers by Ricardo Villalobos, Tiefscharz and Guy Gerber. The highlight of these cuts, is Galluzzi and Schneider’s weapon of mass Minimal Techno destruction, ‘Too Late To Land’. Hearing the two collaborate for Minimal heads equals the creation of a DC vs Marvel movie for comic book fans.
The LP is also a celebration of the world-renowned German photographer and artist Andreas Gursky and Sven Väth. Andreas has been responsible for the design of Cocoon Club in Frankfurt, as well a many of the set designs featured at the Cocoon Parties. The cover art features a shot of the crowd below a poker-dots laced silver sheened curtain that draps over the dancefloor. The aesthetic is sonically replicated in the track. It starts with an ascending filtered chopper noise that harmonises with the modulation. Clever. Any producer wanting to learn more about the art of subtle glockenspiel percussion needs to rampantly study this track. The two so effortlessly displayed here click perfectly to give it soul. The muddied bass line bobs up and down in toe. Capping the track off though is the metallic, wonky, robotic synth stabs that darkens the tone. Similar to Schneider’s collaboration with Jay Haze ‘Acai‘, these are dialled up fifty notches to give the listener a jolting experience. Coupled with the drawled vocal saying ‘It’s too late to land‘ it leaves you in agreeance that you’ve gone way too far to stop the trip into outer space. Continue reading →
Neversea, like Sunwaves is the annual mecca for all Minimal Techno aficionados. Neighbouring the Black Sea, both festivals are in the beating heart of the scene Romania. Mixmag chronicles “the compelling power of Romanian minimal, a lean and intricate style popularised by frequent Ricardo Villalobos-collaborators RPR Soundsystem (Petre Inspirescu, Raresh and Rhadoo)”. It comes as no surprise therefore that the country has become the “staple in the planet’s finest dance parties, placing the nation firmly on the dance music map‘. This Premiesku set, recorded live by the Mixmag team in 2018 is a mirror reflection of such grand depiction. Celebrating the scene, the mix is infectiously groovy.
Livio, Roby & George G comprise Priemesku and bring an avant-garde perspective when it comes to the ‘Live’ performance DJs. Speaking with Electronic Groove they asserted to ‘really believe that a live act should be based on live jamming and using real instruments‘. Well these fellas take it to the supreme by designing three distinctive, custom-made hardware consoles. Each consists of parts from various machines that have been completely rewired, modified and re-patched. The recording first starts out with some intricate filtered synths and a muddied rolling bass. After some Chicago House influenced jams, at 16th minute comes their own release ‘And Other‘. It opens up with fluttering delayed horn stabs with echoed sonar sounds to create an epic soundscape. Continue reading →
Being part of a collective that was once referred to as “House music’s most lucrative supergroup“ is some feat. Such was the title given to Visionquest in the early 2010s. Part of the renowned ensemble alongside Lee Curtiss & Shaun Reeves (as well as formerly Seth Troxler), Ryan Crosser has always shared his crews ambition to push the boundaries of textures, while retaining an enthralling rhythm. His own production can be best described as a liquefaction of Techno, Tech-House and Minimal. None is more evident than in his 2014 remix of Igor Vicente’s ‘Mystericordia’, an unapologetic revelry of the mind-expanding sounds.
Igor Vicente’s original takes a more subtle approach, maintaining alluring mellowness throughout. Crosson’s interpretation on the other hand awakens the spirit of modern Detroit, elevating the intensity into benumbing levels.Conjuring up his contribution to Visionquest Records Bricolage EP, Crosson claims to source sound samples from the mundane, everyday life. “I used field recordings from the street, sometimes people would be doing construction on my building” he explained to Vice back in 2014. Nonetheless, the DJ’s processing in the studio interprets the banal in a aphotic fashion. The first half of the track is an amalgamation of white noise, isolated grand piano notes and comatosed vocal echoes. A misty, aquatic atmosphere often associated with his longtime collaborator and friend Cesar Merveille has clearly rubbed off on Crosson. Meanwhile, the spaced-out thumping of a kick repeatedly increases in tempo. This is almost a reflection of the dancer’s heartbeat, about to enter a delirious state. Once the standard 4/4 looping of the drumming percussion clangours into the mix, its impact is thunderous. The heavy sidechaining of the choleric bassline dynamites the listener into the extrasolar. Continue reading →
Guillaume and The Coutu Dumonts – Fair Is the Field
DJs such as Floating Points, Francesco Tristano and Oliver Coates reached the peaks of the Underground by transferring their formal musical training into the Electronic sphere. Another fine example is Guillaume and The Coutu Dumonts. Montreal-born DJ and producer studied latin and classical percussion, and even played in a live funk band prior to undertaking the decks. Now a recognised name in the scene, his previous education has granted him an edge when it comes to his production. Unsurprisingly, his byzantine sound has seen him perform alongside Luciano, M.A.N.D.Y and Visionquest’s Cesar Merveille. His enticement for experimentation has been noticed by the DJs who share his enthusiasm. Released in 2018 on Musique Risquée as A2 of his ‘Shouts, Moans And Significance’ EP, ‘Fair Is The Field’ is a wizardous marvel that demonstrates the level of Guillaume’s savoir faire.
At its simplest terms, ‘Fair Is The Field’ is Ibiza‘s answer to John Coltrane. The sense of freedom exercised by the floating key notes that are with the skill of Bill Evans is only matched by the accompanying saxophone. Less than a minute in, the listener is introduced to a bass you’d expect from Serialism Records. Guillaume’s sophisticated percussion work landed him a release on Watergate Records with 2015’s ‘The Drums‘. What is heard on ‘Fair Is The Field Field’ come to be no exception. The samples of wild birds hooting evoke a tingling sense of finding oneself in a venue situated out in the jungles of Ecuador. ‘I love this music..and it’s 24 hours a day…You hear the same?‘ asks a husky narrator’s voice, the music fading out into oblivion. The returning amalgamation of components throws a ramshackling synth into the mix. With a potency that would take Alice back down the Rabbit Hole to the Wonderland, the track is intoxicating even at the most sober state. Continue reading →
Although we don’t like to emancipate in the underground, there are a still a few ‘trophies’ one can nod too. Closing at Time Warp. Playing at CircoLoco, DC10. And, of course, playing at Room One fabric. To get an even better nod, was to get a slot on their acclaimed Mix Series. Omar S, Shackleton, Ricardo Villalobos and Peter Inspires all had mixes that featured their own cuts. Mathew Jonson’s is different however. Not only did it feature exclusively his own production, it came from a recording of him playing live at fabric. His set was so good that the fabric team decided to put it on a mix cd. Being in awe of such a producer and DJ, the quality of his tracks made this decision easy. From the genre-defining ‘Decompression‘ (released on Minus), to ‘Dump Truck‘, a product of his collaboration with Danuel Tate and Tiger Dhula as Cobblestone Jazz, Jonson has many strings to his bow. And they all shine the brightest. His 2017 collaborations with The Martinez Brothers and Martin Buttrich were certainly an escapade in unadulterated dancefloor fun. What Jonson is most notable for, however, is his brand of emotive, bare-laden, minimal cuts. ‘Typerope‘, ‘Learning To Fly‘, and ‘New Identity‘ all summon such branding. None more than ‘Marionette’ though. Released in 2005 on his own Wagon Repair label, the track is the ultimate in chiaroscuro disposition.
Don’t get it twisted, Jonson is the major-domo of inculcated synth stabs and manipulation. Where others bearing such style may seem a tad ostentatious, knowing his background indicates he is one for for untrammelled experimentation. Beginning with a splurge of synth stabs, the melody is played with the subtlety of a classically-trained pianist. These notes are, however, performed with the sinisterness of Sergei Prokofiev. Syncopated in the highs, mids & lows they’re a reflection of Jonson’s freewheeling Jazz heritage. In conversation with Roland he remembers receiving his first piece of analogue back in 1986, a collection of MT-32 sound module, PR-100 sequencer and an HP-3000 electric piano. The SH-101, however, is the main weapon of choice for his music and was ‘used in combination with the JX for Marionette’. If you hold a preference for blippy minimal, I would steer clear. An ample kick then kicks in giving instant vivacity. Using an Ensoniq DP4+, ‘Marionette has a modulating distortion that slowly mixes between wet and dry signals’. It’s a momentously disorientating effect. Chopped hats with a touch of reverb flutter to add to the headiness. His tracks ‘Symphony for The Apocalypse’ and his remix of Joel Mull’s ‘Begun The End Has’ are moulded with similar mordant tones. Eery string synth pads warp in and out munificently, adding to the cinematic effect. To describe it as mystifying would be a criminal understatement, even sibylline one might say. Continue reading →
Our first introduction to Marcel Dettmann came in the form of his 2008 seminal mixtape, Berghain 02. A business card of sorts that presented a snapshot of Klubnacht, showing that whoever turns up will be left in a state of obsequiousness. Featuring an unreleased T++ cut as well as bangers like Risque Rhythm Team’s ‘The Jacking Zone‘, Shed’s ‘Warped Mind‘ and Tadeo’s ‘4‘, the mix rubber-stamped Dettmann’s fabled status in the underground scene. Not long after an album followed, released by Ogstut Ton. In conversation with The Quietus Dettmann mentions his love for EBM and all styles of electronic music, which is seeped into his debut LP. On the remix package, however, were 4 tracks, paying homage to originals that never reached the record store shelves. Two coming from his good friend Norman Nodge, two by the mysterious Wincent Kunth. With his bio on the MDR Records webpage being just a photo, you won’t find much else about him apart from learning that the producer hails Switzerland, and is a close associate of Dettmann. Being more elusive than a post-Communist era Yugoslavian leader wanted for war crimes, Kunth’s remix of ‘Vertigo’ let’s the music speak on his behalf.
Wincent so far has only released a four tracker on MDR named MDR 08. The beautiful ‘Relove (Edit)‘ one of four gems distilling a crystalline synth stab over a dubby bassline. Apart from that, Kunth’s catalogue comprises of unreleased tracks for Dettmann and Ben Klock’s Fabric mixes, as well as a collaboration with Dettmann for his DJ Kicks mix. Tense and atmospheric, they all diverge with no two tracks sounding alike. Boomkat describes Vertigo being ‘driven by lushly hypnotic bass sequences and etched with alleviated Detroit synthlines’. That word hypnotic most adequately describes all of Wincent’s cuts to date. His ‘Vertigo’ interpretation kicks off with a thudding sub bass glittered with assuage, rasping percussion over the top. Crafted with precision for for a mix in. Morbid and defiant, the rhythm of the added bassline to put simply is engrossing. It perfectly reflects the sullen glum nature of the EPs picture of the moon’s surface. Synthlines that billow like laboratory steam preluding the emergence of bio-hacked creature, limber ever so slowly. The end result is grim stuff. With the runtime being shy of 6 minutes, yes the track is a tool at best, but certainly one that’s abstruse. Continue reading →
‘To influence a person is to give him one’s own soul’ proclaimed Oscar Wilde in his bookThe Picture of Dorian Gray and Other Stories. That can certainly be said of the indomitable Perlon Records. With a propensity to release experimental and obscure cuts, it’s possibly the most influential Minimal label of them all. Releases such as The Mole’s ‘Lockdown Party (DJ Sprinkles’ Crossfaderama)‘, Minimal Man’s ‘The Chicken Store‘, and Binh’s ‘Noah’s Day‘ are just drops in the ocean of the many far-fetched bombs released. A lot of their cuts like Margaret Dygas’ ‘Even 11‘ are purely for after-hours or headphone listening only. Many of these have been release on their Superlongevity series. Seeing label stalwart Sammy Dee drop cuts by Egoexpress and Guillaume & The Coutu Dumonts at The Egg last summer was a reminder why their acclaimed Get Perlonized parties receive such high fanfare. Their more conventional 4/4 releases certainly get equally as much praise. Israeli by birth, a Berliner via New York and Amsterdam, Maayan Nidam is a producer synonymous with trippy drugged out releases. Having previously released albums on Candeza, and Powershovel Audio, her most recent third LP ‘Sea of Thee‘ landed on Perlon. ‘Don’t Know Why’ was her first of four releases on Perlon. A groggy affair, it is quintessential for DJs looking to calm things down on the dance floor whilst keeping a stomp.
The track chugs at a 120 BPM, much like how Clive Henry plays his sets. Woody drums tap away giving a makeshift off the cuff jamming production. Feel-good tambourine claps jingle with brightness. It displays power in its raw simplicity, much like Motown tracks like Marvin Gaye’s ‘How Sweet It Is‘ or Bill Wither’s ‘Kissing My Love‘. Alongside this is the powerfully floppy electro-tinged bass. It’ll ensure not one body stands stiff in the building. Basslines like this make tracks skittish. Audion’s fine catalogue as well as Tommy Vicari Jnr’s phenomenal ‘Moy Lally In D‘ bring a similar rubbery dance. Due to the slower BPM, the cut makes it the nifty DJ tool to transition out of an Electro or Nu Disco cut. The longer the track goes, the louder the womps get. It’s a jolting experience. Rickety pianos tinkle in, bringing a countenance to the shindiggery. Being an odd incision, it’s one normally heard in the overcast weather soaked music of Christopher Rau, Moon or Benjamin Brunn. This works, however, and you can see a Ricardo Villalobos’ type figure playing along whilst on the dancefloor. Or in this case, singing along to the drawling ‘Don’t Know Why’ Vocals. An intoxicating affair.
Maayan’s Boiler Room sets are well stocked in similarly funkadelic tracks. Unfortunately the cameraman doesn’t give the crowd much attention, because they’d surely be locked in Alice’s Wonderland. Nidam has stated that her music is inspired by the phenomenon of dreams. Whatever dream breathed life into this track was certainly one of untroubled spirit.
Brian Harden’s ‘Where You Are‘ oozes the Jack and pizzaz of your vintage Chicago House cut. ‘Delight Where You Are’ the vocal sample rings with the staple disco sample. At first glance, this style synonymous with Mike Banks, Robert Owens, Roy Davis Jr, Marshall Jefferson can seem a juxtaposition to the Rominimal sound. Listen a bit more thoroughly though and the two styles appear congruent. SIT aka Sideways Invisibility Theory is comprised of one of the most revered in the game, Cristi Cons and Vlad Caia. Appearing on the rerelease, this SIT remix is a one stellar cut. Cristi himself notably made heatwaves after his remix of Azimute’s ‘The Secret‘ released on Cocoon racked up more than 30,000 Youtube views before release. Individually they’ve released records on their own label Amphia, as well as similarly minded labels Meander and Serialism. Their first LP, Sideways was rich in experimentation, described by PlayedBy as ‘a groundbreaking definition of what we call the Romanian sound’. The duo hit a creative high point with their LP Invisibility Chapter on Sushitech. On this album, their Housier interpolations weaved into the nooks and crannies. In this remix, SIT elevate the original showcasing this shade of their production in full flight.
Chicago native Brian Harden’s original was released back in 2001on his The World Peace EP. It came out on Nite Life Collective, an outlet for jazzier cuts coming from the likes of Glenn Underground, Roy Davis Jr & Moon Man. In the same spirit, the release contained some sublime freeform jams. This is not surprising, considering Harden’s bio cites Herbie Hancock’s ‘Rocket’ as well as the music of Axel F, Paul Hardcastle and Miles Davis as inspiration. Listening to his atmospheric Deep House track ‘Chicago to Detroit‘ proves that he is a master of the dusky Detroit synth sound that partners modular keyboard work. With a chunky 808 bass and lush synths, it sounds as timeless now as it did back then. SIT up the ante on the remix making the elevating the staccato elements of the original. The bassline pounds with the rhythm and the force of a pitched down jack hammer. MIDI bleeps ascend with a sound of a Super Mario mushroom pick up. Chimed synths are looped, twinkling effortlessly. In a similar fashion to another track we reviewed by Sublee the synth’s intertwine compressed from the original, echoing out of time at will. The breakdowns nod to Harden’s composition, being interpreted with the same atmospheric descent. Continue reading →
Robert Hood is credited with inventing Minimal Techno, but Ricardo Villalobos surely can be accredited with defining it. Listening to his first ever release, ‘The Contempt‘, you knew you were in for something special. The Chilean’s ‘Alcachofa‘ album has been referred TO as the nirvana of Minimal Techno, the fulcrum pinnacle which all will refer to as the high point of the genre. Ricardo’s legendary status as a proponent of the abstract, sees him only affiliating with a few to keep the creativity flowing. He told Crack Magazine that he only likes to chill with ‘10 to 15 people’ including Raresh, Rhadoo, Zip and Dorian Paic. If you know the Rominimal scene, you know it has followed his lead. It’s an analogue, vinyls only affair, for those who are serious about the genre by paying for it. The warbly bass and extraterrestrial noises you find on your average Trømmel and Meander releases aren’t here though. ‘808 the Bassqueen’ is a love song to the famed Roland machine. Released in ’99 on Playhouse Records, it’s a tough yet elegant track. It’s not a regular showing for Ricard to release something as such, but if he was going to release only one record, this game-changer would be enough.
The TR-808 is famed for its expressions of the bass note. As much as it is loved by Electronic music enthusiasts, Hip-Hop producers have loved it just as much. Kanye West made a whole album from it, ‘808s and Heartbreaks‘. Lil Jon’s Crunk-induced tracks were defined by the booming bass produced using this machine. Such mastery is also found within Villalobos’ track. A rigid, throbbing bass verging on the borderlands of Dub begins the track. It is a strident sound which can also be found in the productions of Subb-an and Tuccilo. Chords with the sheen of Caribbean steel drum are stabbed with precision of a harpist. Warped drones plague like a dark mist over the track. Half way through the track beautiful strings are drawn out to give the track a warmth akin to Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake soundtrack. His LP with Max Loderbauer on RE: ECM has shown his dabble in avant-garde classical and this experimentalism, surely inspiring others such as Petre Inspirescu. The warbles, delays and reverbs at different parts add to the fascination. All in all it leaves the listener musing, whilst remaining in the groove. The cut is Ricardo’s exegesis in less is more. Continue reading →