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 →
‘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.
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 →
THE Nova Dream SEQUENCE – Dream 3 (DJ Yellow’s Abyssal-ienation Remix)
King Britt truly made waves in the electronic scene via his seminal 2003 remix of GusGus’s ‘David‘. It was released on Ovum, who he co-founded with Josh Wink. Though he’s been making quality tunes since the early 90’s, class is permanent. He still churns out the bangers to this day like on his Dub of Manuel Tur’s ‘Maybe Next Lifetime’ on Freerange Records. As well as creating House cuts, he’s manned the turntables for Grammy nominated hip-hop avant-gardist’s Digable Planets, producing one of my favourite Hip Hop albums ‘Adventures in Lo-Fi‘. His pre-eminence of drum machines and musician ship has seen him craft cinema scores for Michael Mann. King’s 2007 The Nova Dream Experiment album was ahead of its time, seamless melodic dreamy experience interweaving through IDM, Minimal and Melodic Techno. Compared to King’s version of Dream 3, Alain Ho aka DJ Yellow builds what is a nightmare. Completely reshaping it, and building on the devilish vocal, it’s murk breeds the emotion of a dank club at most intense.
King Britt & DJ Yellow released Alienation 3.7 on Yellow’s Poussez! label. Juno describes ‘The sound design here [being as] brilliant as is the fantastic programming, resulting in two ass shaking, mind altering journeys into the netherworld’. Clearly it was constructed during the same studio sessions, being called ‘Abyssal-ienation Remix’. It certainly sends the listener into the Abyss. After a hasty defending 3 note sax snippet, the track instantly sends you into another world. Haunting synths glide over pulsating acid synths which feel sound sharp like heavy rain. Undulating gothic pads Wolfgang Voight and Brian Eno may assemble, steeped with emotion float. It’s indicative of the atmosphere of trepidation at hand. Lawrence’s Sten alias has the same vibe. The haunting synths then take the fore as the track breakdown, and uses the sinister vocals. ‘I can feel your heart beat, as you move, and groove’ it says in a drooling languid manner. Bleepy drums kick back in, ensuring the dancefloor patrons stay in the zombie like stasis they would’ve already been induced in. Continue reading →
Beck – Cellphone’s Dead (Ricardo Villalobos’ Entlebuch Remix)
It is always a good sight when producers step out of their comfort zone and remix tracks from other genres. Superpitcher has arguably been one of the best, time and again interpreting playlist tracks into party-ready cuts for the dancefloor. Hot Chip made a steady transition from Indie to Techno. Rarely however is it a minimal remix. This track, widely regarded to be made by Priku on the mysterious EEE outlet (Our theory being East End Edits sub label of East End Dubs’ Eastenderz). An edit of a Depeche Mode’s ‘Little 15’, it attaches a minimal beat to the original melody orchestrated by an organ. It’s an excellent exercise in the stripping back of a track. Ricardo Villalobos’ is a fine remixer, and his morphing of Thomas Dolby’s 1982 new wave release ‘One of Our Submarine‘ shows he has no bounds when it comes to remixing. As Crack Magazine has put, he’s a ‘creator of some of the most ambitious and outright bizarre electronic constructions of the last 20 years’. Audaciously pushing the boundaries, he has cooked up cuts that extend up to 40 minutes long in runtime. A common thread, however, underlining all is that they’re all analogue, and they all carry a distinct sound. Villalobos ups the ante on the uniqueness of this Beck track, ‘Cellphone’s Dead’. Originally a White Label release in 2007, it neighbours an Ellen Alien remix on her own BPitch Control. A compelling escapade in the genius of sampling, it’s an incredible showing of what you can do if you become a master of it.
A 15 minute odyssey, it begins with a chugging bass synonymous with his cuts. You really need to play his other cuts to appreciate it fully. Using polyrhythmic latin flare, the percussive knocks and flutes bring a swing to the track. It’s the critical path he uses to build the rest of the track with, just as Luciano, Lucien or Mirko Loko would. An 8-bit loop sends a charge through the foundation of the track, which then proceeds to use a mashup of vocal snippets from the original. ‘One by one I’ll knock you out’ says the childlike vocal, as Beck proceeds to say ‘Cellphone’s dead, lost in the desert’. It paints a perfect picture of feeling lost, not only in the groove but at a fabric London party it may get played at 2 am. Harmonised choral ‘hums’ in the background are played in a way that elevate the track like a chambré synth. The whole composition is wacky in a way that a DJ Koze track is. Continue reading →
Minimal can emerge under many different shapes and forms. Whether that be house, tech or funk orientated. Cesare vs Disorder is one such producer who likes to dabble with a range of styles. Maybe growing up in his native Brazil, where there is much to catch the eye, inspired such pluralism. Whatever the influence is, it sure does work. Responsible for one of the quintessential labels within the Minimal scene, Serialism Records, Cesare delivers yet another banger here. This one was released on the seminal Vakant Records, responsible for key records from Tolga Fidan,Alex Smoke and Mattias Tanzmann. A perfect fit. His Apparena Jazz EP had a Perlon mainstay Spacetravel remix. Strong and punchy, a paradigm for a 5am set at Studio Martin. ‘Dinner with Bogdan’ was our main draw however. We purchased the vinyl by the power of this track.
Rolling in like a Rominimal Rhadoo romper or Trommel release, the bass is at its warbly and wonky optimum. Rubbery and loaded in funk, the bassline is finely crafted for a party at Club De Visioniare. The definition of free thinking, but suave. Shimmering, and echoed synths are dolloped in, causing a gnarly ripple effect. Much like watching water ripple when dropping a stone in a still forest stream. Murky drawn out synths come in and out in the spirit of a Rick Wade track. The hats, however, give the track stacks of ammunition to push and pull the energy of the dancefloor. Continue reading →
Hailing from New Zealand, Son. Sine hides his face behind a handful number of releases. And all exhibit a masterful understanding of deep tech. Upekah originally came out as a record back in 2000. However the track was revived as part of the EP release by the Dutch label Delsin in 2013.
The track has received support from the Italian techno-duo Mind Against and its easy to see why. Taking it its time, a cracking ambience guides a steady soft kick and layered mellow synths that follows the remainder of the track. The crackle is central to track even being sampled to sound like a clap around the 1:30 mark. For those who are patient, Dub tech is a rewarding genre offering sonically the right environment for introspective thought & self-reflection. Its eternal value rests in the fact that its production isn’t influenced by trends